Mundane Characters Gestalt
( ⇪ Classes )
In a nutshell: With the changes made to higher-tier classes, mundanes got royally hosed, so they need a major leg-up.
Basically, if you chose a mundane class, you also chose another mundane class and take both of those classes simultaneously for that level, choosing the best aspects of each. The process is similar to multiclassing, except that characters gain the full benefits of each class at each level. If the two classes you choose have aspects that overlap (such as Hit Dice, attack progression, saves, and class features common to more than one class), you choose the better aspect. The gestalt character retains all aspects that don’t overlap. If either half of a gestalt level is a favored class, the entire level counts as favored for the purposes of the favored class benefit for the level. However, the conditions for multiclass penalties don’t care whether a non-favored class is part of a gestalt. So, if two non-favored classes become more than one level apart, you start taking a multiclass penalty to XP even if you only ever took them as gestalted with favored classes.
In this campaign setting, you can only gestalt if both of your chosen “gestalt slots” are not prestige classes and are not within a valid category for a prestige class progression (excluding the all-encompassing “+1 level of existing class” as well as PrCs that target all but a certain category and PrCs that target a single explicit class).
Classes that restrict your future class options (such as monk) don’t apply that restriction to classes you gestalt simultaneously with that class. You still cannot take two variants of the same class, but you can gestalt classes that are functionally similar because of a chosen variant. You must otherwise still meet the prerequisites to enter the class normally (thus, it’s still impossible to qualify for both monk and battle dancer as they require opposite alignments, and no half-step alignment qualifies for that).
Effects that benefit from having levels in two different classes (such as the Tashalatora feat) count character levels where those two classes gestalt together in the same character level only once, not twice.
Likewise, the following kinds of classes are forbidden from gestalting since they progress a category as mentioned above:
- “spellcasting” classes (wizard, sorcerer, etc.)
- “manifesting” classes (psion, wilder, etc.)
- “meldshaping” classes (incarnate, soulborn, totemist)
- “mystery-using” classes (shadowcaster)
- “infusion-imbuing” classes (artificer, psionic artificer), which are also advanced with spellcasting or manifesting progression
- “invocation-using” classes (warlock, dragonfire adept), which are also advanced with arcane spellcasting progression
- “truenaming” classes (truenamer)
- “soul binding” classes (binder)
- “martial adept” classes (crusader, swordsage, warblade), although the wording for their progressions is weird
- racial hit dice (RHD) that grant any of the above during that hit die. For example, a silver dragon can gestalt its racial hit dice until its 13th racial hit die (at which point it gains spellcasting as a 1st-level sorcerer). The 14th racial hit die is also ineligible because it gains its 2nd level of spellcasting during that hit die.
However, NPC classes are an exception, and in this way are available to PCs.
Racial hit dice that are mundane can be gestalted with a standard class, but not with a racial class or monster class (which contain their own racial hit dice). You must complete all of your current racial hit die’s levels before taking another gestalted standard class level. For example, A Quesar 3 // Fighter 3 can only take its 4th gestalted fighter level once he reaches his 4th racial hit die at the 5th Quesar level.
Below is a list of almost all gestaltable standard classes:
- Adept (SRD; an NPC Class available to PCs through gestalt)
- Barbarian (SRD)
- Battle Dancer (DrC p26; be aware of the improvements)
- Dragon Shaman (PHB2 p11)
- Factotum (Du p14)
- Fighter (SRD)
- Knight (PHB2 p24)
- Magewright (ECS 256; an NPC Class available to PCs through gestalt)
- Marshal (MiH p11)
- Master (WotL p20)
- Monk (SRD; be aware of the improvements)
- Mountebank (DrC p42)
- Ninja (CAd p5)
- Noble (DCS p50)
- Paladin (non-casting CW p13, or “Holy Warrior” CC p49)
- Psithief (with D353’s “Spellskill” ACF adapted to psionics)
- Psychic Adept (an NPC Class available to PCs through gestalt)
- Ranger (non-casting CW p13, “Champion of the Wild” CC p50)
- Rogue (SRD)
- Samurai (both the CW p8 and OA p20 versions; be aware of the improvements)
- Scout (CAd p10)
- Soulknife (XPH p26; be aware of the improvements)
- Spellthief (with D353’s “Spellskill” ACF)
- Swashbuckler (CW p11)
Remember that there are a ton of alternative class features that make gestalting into a class (even as a 1-level “dip”) more appealing. Also realize that there are alternative class feature chains (if you gain the feature outright).
Building A Gestalt Character
To make a 1st-level gestalt character, choose two base classes. (You can also choose any of the variant classes, though you can’t combine two versions of the same class.) Build your character according to the following guidelines.
Hit Dice: Choose the larger Hit Die.
Base Attack Bonus: Choose the better progression from the two classes.
Base Saving Throw Bonuses: For each save bonus, choose the better progression from the two classes.
Class Skills: Take the number of skill points gained per level from whichever class grants more skill points, and consider any skill on either class list as a class skill for the gestalt character.
Class Features: A gestalt character gains the class features of both classes.
A gestalt character follows a similar procedure when he attains 2nd and subsequent levels. Each time he gains a new level, he chooses two classes, takes the best aspects of each, and applies them to his characteristics. A few caveats apply, however:
- Class features that two classes share (such as uncanny dodge) accrue at the rate of the faster class.
- Because it’s possible for gestalt characters to qualify for prestige classes earlier than normal, the game master is entirely justified in toughening the prerequisites of a prestige class so it’s available only after 5th level, even for gestalt characters.