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D&D Next Q&A: 10/10/13
Rodney Thompson

Y ou've got questions—we've got answers! Here's how it works—each week, our Community Manager will scour all available sources to find whatever questions you're asking. We'll pick three of them for R&D to answer, whether about the making of the game or anything else you care to know about... with some caveats.

There are certain business and legal questions we can't answer (for business and legal reasons). And if you have a specific rules question, we'd rather point you to Customer Service, where representatives are ready and waiting to help guide you through the rules of the game. That said, our goal is provide you with as much information we can—in this and other venues.

1 How can a mage learn new cantrips after character creation?

Since cantrips are spells, and the mage can add two new spells to his or her spellbook each level, a mage can choose cantrips for these spells. Likewise, the mage could copy a cantrip off of a scroll, if one exists, or out of another wizard’s spellbook. The mage can obtain new cantrips just like he or she gains new spells of 1st level or higher.

2 Why does multiclassing have ability score requirements?

First, the requirements help encourage character stories that (a) match up to classic archetypes by matching ability score requirements to the typical story of that class and (b) link classes together that should be linked. A paladin/cleric or a paladin/fighter should be a better match than, say, a paladin/wizard because of what we know is true about those classes in the world. That doesn't mean the paladin/wizard shouldn't be possible; it just means that there should be some justification for how such an offbeat character concept comes into being, and we think "having a pretty good Intelligence" is enough of a start in that direction. Second, the requirements ensure basic competence when multiclassing into a new class, which provides a minor bit of protection against accidentally building a character whose ability scores match up poorly with his or her class features. Third, these requirements discourage too much level dipping by making it so that the typical character's statistics usually line up with only a smaller number of classes.

All that said, we're intentionally keeping those ability score requirements relatively low. We have chosen to go this route as opposed to setting strict restrictions on multiclassing because we want to encourage players to be creative while still helping to ensure that multiclass characters don't become too much of a mishmash of archetypes.

3 Mike mentioned in Legends and & Lore that sorcerer and warlock were back to being full classes instead of mage subclasses; is this true for psions as well?

Right now, psionics are not a priority for our design. Because we have many different ways we could go with the design of psionics, we don't have anything further to announce about psionics at this point.

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Rodney Thompson
Rodney Thompson began freelancing in the RPG industry in 2001 before graduating from the University of Tennessee. In 2007 he joined the Wizards of the Coast staff as the lead designer and developer for the new Star Wars RPG product line. Rodney is the co-designer of Lords of Waterdeep and is currently a designer for Dungeons & Dragons.
Still think Sorcerer and Warlock would be good half classes. Only 5 levels, but with the proficiency bonus and spell progression chart in place doesn't get too confusing. A Paladin of Bahamut infused with Dragon Blood Sorcery, or a druid who has made a Warlock's pact with the Fey entity that rules his forest are flavorful options, while using the wizard returns to the classic caster sorcerer or warlock.
Posted By: MacEochaid (10/14/2013 3:17:36 AM)


Thank you for the return of a class for natural arcanist.
Posted By: Eilistraecomeback (10/12/2013 2:55:59 PM)


Isn't the popular point of the sorceror and warlock the alternate casting systems (flavor)? Conceptually they're extremely similar otherwise. Rather than be their own classes, shouldn't Wizard, Warlock, and Sorcerer just name alternate magic systems for the Mage class (school merely how you select your spells)?

I'll have to see more as it comes.
Posted By: Dreamstryder (10/12/2013 5:35:21 AM)


I'm assuming the ability to Scribe Scrolls is back on the menu? So if it's 50 gold per level to put a spell in your spellbook I'm guessing Cantrips are free?
Posted By: ZaranBlack (10/11/2013 7:01:50 AM)


I agree with the prerequisites, except for the fighter I hope it can be possible to choose between Strength and Dexterity.
But for sure, even for a first class with spellcasting, a minimum ability score prerequisite in order to spellcasting is required, because a this time, using the feats, one single magic user can teach to an entire battalion of veteran fighters or barbarians mentally like goats how to cast spells. I'm not tired to tell this.
I'm not tired to tell even that a mage, now, with a single level in fighter class, can cast under the protection of an heavy armor and shield without any penalties or specializations.
Please Wizards, correct those abominations!
Posted By: Eilistraecomeback (10/10/2013 8:00:30 PM)


"sorcerer and warlock were back to being full classes"

Fantastic, at least we know you listened to our feedback now.

Now if you could only fix the comment system, we'd be in business.
Posted By: wetsail (10/10/2013 6:49:19 PM)


Well, personally I don't know how many people would want warlock to be seperate class from sorcerer. IMO a warlock would better work as a subclass for the sorcerer
Posted By: alhoon2 (10/10/2013 11:55:49 PM)


Re: Alhoon

The Warlock had even more justification than the sorcerer to be it's own class. If the sorcerer is based on the 3e core sorcerer, it's not justified on being it's own class because all that one was was and alternate spellcasting variant of the wizard, it'll have to be more like the Pathfinder or 4e Sorcerer to have any justification on being its own class.
Posted By: KoboldAvenger (10/11/2013 10:38:55 AM)


Personally, I'm in love with the sorcerer as presented in the earliest rules of the 5e playtest.

Alternative casting rules, plus rules that slowly change the sorcerer to be more crazy-magical the further he gets into the fight? Sign me up, please.
Posted By: wetsail (10/11/2013 6:48:43 PM)


Memorizing spells is less of a burden with less slots to cast and a lot less to fill, but spontaneous casting is still an attractive alternative. I thought the Sorceror's magical ability being Charisma created significant differences in build and play options, maybe not all Sorcerors need to be mutants.

Invocations are a very different way of casting, and even more awkward when combined with access to ritual casting. I think they should be left on the dust heap, as AEDU was a good fit for Warlocks and some version of it belongs in Fifth Edition.
Posted By: RadperT (10/12/2013 1:30:37 PM)


YES! Thank you for making sorcere and warlocks their own classes.this makes me feel so much better about the Mage and magic schools (such as evoker, illusionist, etc) so much better. I really think warlock and sorcere have enough meat to be their own class. They can still use arcane type spells from Mage list, but work in different ways, and get different abilities (the idea of warlocks choosing different magic patrons such as a demon from the abyss or a mystical fey creature as subclass sounds awesome, and sorcerer that harness magic either because they have dragon blood, or spell fire would make great subclass choices as well). I am very pleased to hear this.

As for the multicassing rules, I love them! The only thing is I think proficiency bonuses should equal the level of what ever class grants that proficiency. If two or more of your classes grants proficiency bonus in the same thing, you can add those levels together for purposes of calculating proficiency bonus. This ... (see all)
Posted By: moes1980 (10/10/2013 6:10:30 PM)


I don't disagree (except for the part above about Warlocks casting spells) but the timing of the (last) playtest release underscored signs that the 091913 Classes file was rapidly revised to standardize attack and spellcasting bonuses and unify them with skills. In short, the final playtest release was rushed, presumably for the same reasons which made it the final playtest release. As always, it is necessary to assess the extremity of our reaction to attack and skill bonuses being nerfed in a way which makes them more like Fourth Edition, a reaction which to me seemed very modest.

Some numbers are almost certain to go back up, and our feedback pertaining to specific combat weaknesses will be invaluable to that. Staff's consistent focus on a simple skill system as a priority, however, makes hybridizing multiclass characters' skill levels unlikely. It would be most helpful, particularly in responding to the upcoming survey, to propose ways to give multiclass characters ap... (see all)
Posted By: RadperT (10/14/2013 7:47:22 PM)


On multi-classing requirements, I will start by stating that personally, I preferred when classes had requirements to meet before I could take them. That was a personal preference though. To only put the requirements on multi-classing though seems confusing to me. As Dausuul said, you can just gimp your first choice and then multi into your 'real' class to get around it, at least for one requirement.

Although pre-reqs are my personal preference, I know that is not the same for everyone. I could see this being one of the "rules" that gets ignored by a fair portion of the gaming populace. I would recommend listing the pre-reqs for multi-classing as an option for those looking for a more old-school feel. In the end, if I don't like a rule or feel it gets in the way of creative play, I ignore it. It would be nice to not have to do that, but trying to please everyone is impossible and really should not be attempted. I expect to have mechanics I do not prefer, a... (see all)
Posted By: Vieh (10/10/2013 4:17:44 PM)


I apologize to Vieh, I don't have anything to say on that until an article comes out on feats.*

I've been trying to post a reply to Sword of Spirit's comment for 4 days and I can't squeeze one in any closer. Every race should have abilities which mature if a preferred class is chosen. In the cases of elves and gnomes, each should receive a cantrip, varying depending on the subspecies (i.e. Minor Illusion for rock gnomes). If the character takes a class with that cantrip on its spell list and advances in that class, the class feature would upgrade to increase the number of other spells which can be cast in the relevant class. Sorry I say "should" so much!

*I believe that backgrounds and feats should have level-dependent benefits as well.
Posted By: RadperT (10/15/2013 11:43:35 AM)


Cantrips: *Thumbs up* It's important to alter high elf, though, since wizard now becomes a very weak choice for it, rather than a strong choice like it's meant to be.
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (10/10/2013 1:58:39 PM)


IMO, the multi-classing prereqs are a roundabout way to address a problem that should be tackled directly. You want to prevent people from dipping six different classes? Then cap the number of classes you can have at three. Boom, done. I have a very hard time imagining a character concept that you can't build with three classes.

Right now, not only do you have to plan out your stats in advance, but the system invites all kinds of shenanigans around the fact that stat requirements don't apply to your first class. If you want to have a "dip" class that you don't commit to heavily and a "main" class that you sink most of your chargen resources into, the way you do it is to take your first level in the dip class and then multiclass into your main class. So if you want to be a rogue with a dip in wizard, you spend your first level as a pathetic sucky wizard, and then start learning to be a rogue. This is silly.
Posted By: Dausuul (10/10/2013 11:25:17 AM)


I would not call 15 for multiclass requirements "relatively low". Also many classes have strength as a multiclassing requirement when they are still valid with dexterity. It's absolutely possible to have a Paladin you wears light armour and uses ranged weapons or a swashbuckling fighting style, and is still a valid choice.

For psionics I know it's too early to really think about it, but the last thing you should think of doing is making too different from any of the core material. It'll mean the class just gets assigned to obscurity and looked over from all new material again.
Posted By: KoboldAvenger (10/10/2013 10:52:10 AM)


I'd say, don't make psionics TOO different, ok, but don't make it too similar either. Just because 3e made psionics basically magic doesn't mean that's the way 5e should go. If it's so different that most people would rather play a wizard, then let that guy play a wizard.
I like that they're at least acknowledging there are a lot of ways they could go with psionics. It was mentioned it might be nice to playtest further additions to the game down the line after a 5e release, let the direction of psionics be decided that way.
Posted By: bogmad (10/10/2013 12:13:16 PM)


Agreed. Psionics is my favourite branch of class/power source and I want it in the core. Most versions have missed the mark however.
A mage has several schools of magic (invocation, illusion, necromancy etc) as should psions (telekenesis, pyrokenesis, cryokenesis, psychokenesis etc).
A psychic warrior should feel like a jedi knight rather than a wardancer or spellsword.
The "spells" can have a similar mechanic to magic, but the effects should feel psionic in nature. For example a mage physically damages a target by setting it on fire; a psion makes the target think its on fire to such an extent that they sprout blisters and run around screaming. At higher levels they might spontaneously combust.
This would make psions stand apart from mages and may actually be preferred employees because they cause less collateral damage.
Posted By: Rartemass (10/10/2013 6:33:17 PM)


Bruce Cordell who was responsible for a lot D and D psionics from late 2e and on said "psions alter reality through a sort of quantum collapse of probabilities" which is more than just manipulating minds. I think most who want pryokinetic psions, want ones who actually use fire and not making enemies believe.
Posted By: KoboldAvenger (10/11/2013 1:42:17 AM)


I'm kinda there but the fire's still spurting out of the guy, rather than streaming over from the mind-mage.
Posted By: RadperT (10/12/2013 12:16:22 PM)


If they stat prereqs are kept can we have some choice in them? Like for fighter why only str? Shouldn't dex or con be options for qualifying? Like if I have a scrawny rogue who makes up for his sleight frame with nimble agility. Eventually he moves on to study sword play more whole heartedly and becomes a swashbuckling, rapier wielding, fleet-footed master fencer.....oh wait he cant do that, his strength is too low, despite his whole fighting style being designed to let him overcome his physical limitations to begin with. He would have to start as a fighter and then move onto rogue despite it not fitting with the characters origin as a little guy who goes from avoiding straight up face to face fights to taking on much bigger men head on in combat and using his speed and skill to trounce them.
Posted By: TCCoffey (10/10/2013 7:54:07 AM)


I can get behind this. It makes sense for there to be room for a dex based fighter. I don't think it should necessarily apply across the board. For instance, the wizard has only one avenue, intelligence, and should be so implemented.

But I'm a little perplexed that we have score prerequisites for multiclassing, but not for base classing.
Posted By: Timmee (10/10/2013 9:33:13 AM)


How about a relatively poor shepherd lad who is a deadshot with his sling (i.e. high DEX) and who is gradually able to increase his strength and constitution to withstand the rigors of sword and shield combat?
Posted By: arnvid2008 (10/10/2013 10:18:05 AM)


Well said!
Posted By: RadperT (10/10/2013 8:35:43 PM)


@seti, if you pull all of the "could be psionic" powers off everyone else's list, then groups that don't play with psionics will have a big hole in what is possible. To be inclusive you can't handicap those groups for what many consider optional material because it not part of the classic Tolkien-style fantasy.
Posted By: Blue23 (10/10/2013 6:16:48 AM)


You don't have to handicap them. However, the Psion should be the best at those types of abilities. This takes foresight and planning. Otherwise the Psion will never bring anything special to the table.
Posted By: Spykes (10/10/2013 12:36:05 PM)


Sorry if I sounded like I want to 'handicap' arcane and divine casters. I don't. I just really want psioncis to be core...That way, if you want to play a character that dominates a monster for one round; making it attack its allies, sees the future, or can flip a wagon with his or her mind, play a psion, not a wizard.

I don't want to take away mage hand, for example. But I want the psion to be able to pull some yoda-level telekinesis at higher levels. On the other side, I don't want a psion to have fireball.

As far as 'Tolkien-style fantasy' goes, true, Saruman can do some pretty cool telekinetic tricks, and even 'dominate'...But, I think that if he were a DnD character, he'd be a dual class or multi-class wizard-psion. Not just an all powerful 1e high level wizard.
Posted By: seti (10/10/2013 8:31:53 PM)


I agree 100% with Spykes.

I really, REALLY hope the Devs are at least accounting for psionics eventual existence in 5e

For example, don't give 'wizards' psionic powers. Things like dominate, reading minds, telekinesis, mind thrust-type attack spells, etc. should not appear on wizard, sorcerer, cleric, bard, warlock, etc. spell lists.

I think it's a mistake to not include psionics in the core PHB, DMG, and MM. Work it out now, and it won't feel dumb, tacked on, or arcane-lite with 'power points' instead of spell books and spell 'slots'.

Posted By: seti (10/10/2013 5:09:52 AM)


Just realized that I didn't pose my follow on.
Are you at least accounting for the eventual existence of Psioncs as you design the current powers that are a priority?
Posted By: Spykes (10/10/2013 4:56:20 AM)


Since #3 was my question, I'll go ahead and pose a follow on:
I'm fine with Psionics not being a priority in the current design, but it would be nice to know that when they finally do become a priority, that there has been some foresight made to insure that they are unique and not just a watered down version of a Mage who also has telekinesis, ESP, teleportation, projection, psychic attacks, etc... You don't have to design it now, but unless you account for it's eventual existence, it could doom the power to its typical second class status it has held in the past.
Posted By: Spykes (10/10/2013 4:51:06 AM)


Considering the history of the game, the direction for psionics is pretty clear: Just say "psionics is a lot like magic, but it's not magic," and have a psionic power system that works a bit differently than spellcasting but can produce similar effects.
Posted By: G_X (10/10/2013 3:25:56 AM)


1) Well and good, no comments here.

2) I like this way of doing it - no "hard limits", but some "soft limits" on multiclassing. I agree that it should be easier to make combinations that make sense together as opposed to more exotic combinations, but the latter should definitely not be impossible. One follow-up question, though: Will there be subclasses that are designed to work especially well with multiclass characters?

3) As I've expressed earlier, I personally would like the Sorcerer and Warlock to go back to being subclasses for the Mage. I will withhold judgment, however, until I see how things work out.
Posted By: FelisLynx (10/10/2013 2:52:48 AM)


Folow up question: How does a druid or cleric learn new cantrips?
Posted By: Bardic_Dave (10/10/2013 1:38:47 AM)


Just old school it and say all casters know all the cantrips associated with their class, but can only prepare the allotted number per day.
Posted By: Timmee (10/10/2013 9:39:26 AM)


Through “Initiate” feats. Nothing stops a cleric from taking Divine Initiate or a druid from taking Druidic Initiate, effectively giving you +2 cantrips and +1 1st-level spell slot (albeit for a “fixed” spell).
Posted By: CHeard (10/10/2013 12:54:23 PM)


That was a HUGE question. Somebody's scribing scrolls with cleric cantrips on them, and they must be good for something.
Posted By: RadperT (10/10/2013 8:20:21 PM)