Things You Didn’t Know About D&D: Multiclass Spellcasting

I am constantly seeing confusion about how multiclassed spellcasting works, and I am constantly frustrated to see people who have no idea how it works offering up incorrect garbage as though it is incontrovertible fact. It’s about high time this was properly elaborated. 

Don’t forget to also check out our article Multiclassing Like A Pro, which offers helpful advice about multiclassing!

So, you have decided to multiclass. Congratulations! You have entered a whole new dimension of customizing your character, one with a long and storied history dating back many editions. Oh, and you’ve chosen to branch into a second spellcasting class? You’re in for some fun times, for sure!

Unfortunately, with more customization comes more rules, and some of the most complex rules are those surrounding how to handle multiclass spellcasting. In fact, it’s one of the most frequently misunderstood systems in the game, one that even veteran players get wrong.  Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place for help. Here are the points to remember.

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Spell Slots are Calculated and Shared Between All Spellcasting Classes

The Multiclass Spellcaster: Spell Slots per Spell Level table on page 165 of the Player’s Handbook gives you the total number of spell slots you have. The number is based on your total spellcaster level, which is calculated using the following steps taken from page 164:

  • Add together all your levels in the bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, and wizard classes;
  • Add half your levels (rounded down) in the paladin and ranger classes; and
  • Add one third of your levels (rounded down) in the Eldritch Knight (fighter) or Arcane Trickster (rogue) classes

For example, if you are a 5th-level Eldritch Knight, a 7th-level Arcane Trickster, and a 2nd-level wizard, you count as a 5th-level multiclass spellcaster. If you are a 5th-level paladin and a 11th-level cleric, you count as a 13th-level multiclass spellcaster. If you are a 16th-level wizard and a 1st-level cleric, you count as a 17th-level multiclass spellcaster.

Editor’s Note: CorvinusRex pointed out in the comments that Jeremy Crawford’s interpretation of the so-called orders of operation of multiclassing would involve adding up the Eldritch Knight and Arcane Trickers levels before dividing them by 3, so that the first above example would actually be a 6th-level multiclass spellcaster [((5 + 7) ÷ 3, rounded down) + 2] instead of a 5th-level multiclass spellcaster [(5 ÷ 3, rounded down) + (7 ÷ 3, rounded down) + 2]. I can see the merit for both interpretations, but the decision of which to use should fall to the dungeon master. There are just as many mathematical and narrative reasons to retard the progress of spellcasters who split their focus this way as there are reasons for it to work as JC envisions.

Note that warlock levels are not included above, as the Pact Magic feature functions differently (see below).

You Know And Prepare Spells Based On Each Class

This is the point where most people go wrong. According to page 164, when you are determining which spells you can learn or preparing a list of spells, you treat each class separately, completely ignoring the multiclass spellcasting section entirely. If you have one level of druid, it doesn’t matter how many other spellcasting levels you have, you prepare druid spells as though you were a 1st-level druid.

Note that this also means that, when you gain a level in a spellcasting class, you will also gain access to cantrips available to that class at that level. Only the spell slots you gain are shared between all spellcasting classes.

Each Spellcasting Class Has Its Own Spellcasting Ability

If you are a 1st-level wizard and a 1st-level cleric, you use Intelligence as your spellcasting ability for wizard spells and Wisdom as your spellcasting ability for cleric spells, as though you were a single-class spellcaster for each of those classes. You do not get to cast your wizard spells using your Wisdom as the spellcasting ability.

You Will Probably Get Higher Level Spell Slots Than You Have Spells

Say that you are a 4th-level druid who gains a level in cleric. According to the Multiclass Spellcaster: Spell Slots per Spell Level table on page 165 of the Player’s Handbook, you have access to 3rd-level spell slots. However, the Druid table on page 65 of the Player’s Handbook shows that a 4th-level druid does not have 3rd-level spell slots. Therefore, to prepare a spell like call lightning, the character would have to take another level of druid.

This does not mean that such a character cannot use their 3rd-level spell slot. Once they have prepared their spells, they can cast a prepared spell at a higher level following all the normal rules found on page 201 of the Player’s Handbook. For example, if they prepared the 1st-level druid spell cure wounds, they could cast it using their 3rd-level spell slot.

What’s the Deal with Warlocks?

Unlike other spellcasting classes, which have the Spellcasting class feature, warlocks have something called Pact Magic. You do not add your warlock level to your other levels when determining how many spell slots you have on the Multiclass Spellcaster table. Instead, the spell slots granted by Pact Magic are in addition to the ones granted by Spellcasting. What’s really cool about this is that you can use spell slots granted by Pact Magic to cast spells from another spellcasting class, and vice versa. Also, given that all of their spell slots are of the same level, and that level gets higher as you advance in warlock levels, taking some levels as a warlock can be a very appealing option for some multiclass characters.

For example, if you are a 2nd-level wizard who takes a level in warlock, you gain the 1st-level warlock’s spell slot in addition to your three spell slots for being a 1st-level wizard, meaning that you have four 1st-level spell slots. You would not gain a 2nd-level spell slot as you would if you had taken another level in a class with the Spellcasting feature.

Don’t Trust Everything You Read Online

One of the most wonderful things about this day and age is that people can communicate about confusing things quite easily. Of course, this also means that many people who think they know what they’re talking about get to put incorrect information into the public knowledge. For example, Mythcreants put out an article a while back claiming that a 17th-level wizard/1st-level cleric multiclassed spellcaster could prepare 9th-level cleric spells. Their fallacious explanation went as follows:

Page 164 of the mutliclassing rules states: “You determine what spells you know and can prepare for each class individually, as if you were a single classed member of that class.”

It then gives an example of wizard/ranger, neither of which prepares spells like a cleric does.

Back on page 54 of the cleric class rules, after explaining how you choose a list of cleric spells to be able to cast, the book reads “the spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.”

Note that it does not say “cleric spell slots.”

Then back on page 164: “You determine your available spell slots by adding together all your levels of bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, and wizard…”

So when you’re preparing your spells as a first level cleric, you can pick spells of any level for which you have slots, which in this case will be levels 1-9 because when you combine your class levels together, those are the slots available to you for casting.

Now, this honestly frustrates me. It frustrates me because the folks over at Mythcreants have demonstrated that they are clearly capable of reading, and yet it seems to me that they have consciously gone out of their way to display the least degree of reading comprehension imaginable. In their attempt to justify such egregious, shameful rule-breaking, they have completely and utterly disregarded the very first words in the Spells Known and Prepared subsection of the multiclassed spellcasting write-up, which I will quote again for emphasis:

You determine what spells you know and can prepare for each class individually, as if you were a single-classed member of that class.

The fact that they themselves quoted this makes it even worse, but I will endeavour to move on before I give myself an aneurysm.

Remember the example above with the 4th-level druid who had access to a 3rd-level spell slot due to their multiclassing choice, but couldn’t prepare 3rd-level druid spells? The exact same rules apply here. Just as the multiclassed druid counted only as a druid for the purpose of preparing druid spells, so does the cleric in the example the folks at Mythcreants have conceived. In other words: according to the rules on page 57 of the Player’s Handbook, that character can only prepare a number of 1st-level cleric spells equal to their Wisdom modifier + their cleric level. If they have a Wisdom score of 16, that means they can prepare four 1st-level cleric spells. I’ll say again: 1st-level cleric spells.

Now, once those spells have been prepared, they can be cast using any available spell slot, just like the druid in our earlier example could do. Given that the character has 17 levels of wizard, that means that the 1st-level cleric spell could be cast using a 9th-level spell slot. This is the only time the previously-accumulated higher-level spell slots have any bearing whatsoever on the way that the character casts their cleric spells.

So, unfortunately for those who subscribe to Mythcreant University’s Power Gaming 101 philosophy, their thesis is definitively incorrect. This is why it is important to read the rules carefully, and why you should never trust what you see on the internet (unless you see it here first, or it comes directly from the Mouth of God via Sage Advice).


I am a wizard 5/rogue 2 and I level up rogue to get arcane trickster. What benefit do I gain?

Becoming an arcane trickster officially qualifies you as a multiclass spellcaster. From this point forward, you determine your daily spell slots using the Multiclass Spellcaster: Spell Slots per Spell Level table on page 164 of the Player’s Handbook, rather than using the tables in either the wizard or the rogue class entries. You still use these tables to determine how many spells and cantrips you know, the maximum level spell you can know and prepare, and for every other feature of your class.

I am a wizard 2/cleric 2 and I want to take my next level in wizard. Do I get to learn fireball because I have 3rd-level spell slots?

No. You determine the spells you know and can prepare independently for each class, as though you were only in that class. When determining the wizard spells you can learn, you would count as a 3rd-level wizard and therefore would not have 3rd-level spell slots according to the Wizard table. Therefore, you can’t learn 3rd-level spells.

But I would have 3rd-level spell slots?

Correct. This means that you could cast a spell like magic missile at 3rd level, but you still couldn’t cast 3rd-level spells like lightning bolt or animate dead. Think of it this way: someone studying to be a particle physicist decides to branch out and learn some rocket science. He probably became a better mathematician, but he’s no better at particle physics specifically as a result of his cross-discipline studies.

I’m a 16th-level cleric and I want to take a level in wizard. Can I prepare wish

No. As with all spellcasting classes, the cleric Spellcasting feature specifies that spells you learn or prepare “must be of a level for which you have spell slots”. Because multiclass spellcasters know and prepare spells for each class as though they were only that class, and 16th-level clerics do not have 9th-level spell slots according to the Cleric table, you cannot prepare wish. If somehow you find a spell scroll containing the wish spell, however, you could still attempt to cast it, but you would have to roll a spellcasting check as described in the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

I’m a sorcerer 5/warlock 2. How does this work?

Unlike sorcerers, wizards, clerics, etc., warlocks don’t have the Spellcasting feature and therefore do not count toward multiclass spellcasting. You determine the spells they know from their Spellcasting classes separately from the spells that they know from their Pact Magic feature. You can still use the spell slots gained from both features to cast spells from either class.

When I gain a new spellcasting class, do I also gain new cantrips?

If the new spellcasting class has cantrips, you gain new cantrips according to what is laid out in that class’ Spellcasting feature. You do not gain more cantrips in your existing spellcasting class. For example, a 9th-level wizard who gains a level in bard would learn two new bard cantrips. They would not learn another wizard cantrip because they are not a 10th-level wizard.

Some sources from the designers which support my explanations:

  1. Learning 3rd-level spells with a 2nd-level wizard.
  2. Copying vs. learning higher-level spells. (Note: the Player’s Handbook Errata later restricted copying spells into a wizard spellbook to spells that the wizard could prepare.)
  3. And last but not least, a Sage Advice that definitively supports my rebuttal to the folks at Mythcreants, who really need to revise or remove their misleading article.

68 thoughts on “Things You Didn’t Know About D&D: Multiclass Spellcasting”

  1. Hello there!
    Can you help me out?
    My build is a Ranger 5th, intending to MC as a Druid. As one of my Ranger’s spell known I got Cure Wounds spell. The thing is on the 2nd Druid Level I’ll get circle spells feature that grant me cure wound as always prepared.
    Do I loose this feature, or do I get the chance to swap my Ranger’s spell known selection?

    1. Hi Teres,

      Thanks for your question!

      You never lose access to features for multiclassing. In this instance, your ranger 5/druid 2 would simply know cure wounds from two sources.

      When it comes to swapping ranger spells, the Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher section in the ranger’s Spellcasting feature says that you can swap a ranger spell whenever you gain a level in the ranger class. That means you can either gain another ranger level first and swap out cure wounds, or gain a ranger level after reaching 2nd level in the druid class and swap the spell out then.

      the Archmage

  2. Hey man,

    One quick question about the pact magic:
    Take for example a Sor (4) / War (1):
    If he takes a short rest, do I regain all 1st level spell slots, or only the one of the Warlock?

    Thanks for clarifying… .
    Kind regards,


    1. Hello Nephvyr,

      Only the spell slots gained from the warlock’s Pact Magic feature are recovered using the rules of that feature. Note that Pact Magic and Spellcasting are two different mechanics, hence why they aren’t added together using the normal rules for multiclass spellcasting, but rather are kept separate.

      the Archmage

  3. Hello,
    Was there ever a definite answer on sorc and lvl 2 fighter action surge? Could I cast fireball with 1st action then use action surge quicken spell fireball(bonus action) then cantrip(reg action). And does the order actually make a diff?

    1. Hi Razor,

      I don’t recall if it was answered in this article, but I’ll repeat it here. You can’t cast a bonus-action spell in the same turn in which you cast a spell that is not a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action. It does not matter the order.

      You can, however, cast two fireballs when you use your regular action and the fighter’s Action Surge feature. Again, the order in which you do so is irrelevant.

      Check out our more robust discussion on bonus action spell restrictions here.

      – the Archmage

  4. So say I put 3 levels into conquest paladin (they learn armor of agathys) and like 8 into wizard. Can I cast armor of agathys at higher levels? Or can I only cast it as a first level spell

    1. Hi Jotugg,

      Once you have spell slots, you can use them to cast any spell you know or have prepared, regardless of what class the spell comes from.

      If you are a Paladin 3/Wizard 8, you qualify as a 9th-level multiclass spellcaster and should have 5th-level spell slots, even though you only know spells up to 4th level as a wizard and 1st-level paladin spells. So go ahead and cast armour of Agathys up to 5th level.

      – the Archmage

  5. I feel the interpretation of a 17 Wiz/1 Clr is correct. Wizards clearly could have stated
    “You determine what spells you know and can prepare for each class individually, using each classes own level.”
    instead of
    “You determine what spells you know and can prepare for each class individually, as if you were a single-classed member of that class.”
    It even uses a few less words, which means less space taken up. It is also easier to understand and open to less ambiguity.

    1. Would an Arcane Archer be a spellcaster. I chose prestidigition as a cantrip when I became one as a third level fighter. I decided to do a multi-class character at second level. So I was a fighter first then chose sorcerer next. I jumped back and forth leveling both until after I reached 5th level as a character. Arcane Archer/Sorcerer like so level 3/level 2. When I got my next level I decided to commit to magic and I choose this arraignment: Bronze Draconic Sorcerer/Arcane Archer. As of now my character is level 8/level 3. Would Arcane Archer count as a spell caster?

      1. Hi Damon,

        Technically, Arcane Archers are spellcasters because they can cast spells (either prestidigitation or druidcraft). However, while the Arcane Shot feature is magical, the different shot options are not spells. This is an important point because it means they can’t be counterspelled.

        You would technically also be a spellcaster because of your sorcerer levels, which grant you the Spellcasting feature. Not that ‘spellcaster’ is a distinct type of creature, like fey or giant. It merely describes a creature capable of casting spells.

        – the Archmage

  6. Hello, I am a 4th level wizard planing on multiclassing bard for one level. My question is how spell save dc’s would work with this or any combination. Say, as I leveled up to become wiz-4/bard-1, I took silent image as one of my learned spells. It says in the spells description to use “your spell save DC.” not “your appropriate spell save dc”. Does this mean that spell save dcs are fixed, or vary based off of what spell list you are pulling from

    1. Hi Jacob,

      Your spell save DC is determined by the spellcasting class. If you learned a spell as part of your wizard spell list, it counts as a wizard spell for you (save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier). If you learned it from levelling up as a bard, it counts as a bard spell (save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier).

      This is why it’s important to keep separate spellcasting sheets for your different spellcasting classes.

      – the Archmage

  7. Thanks for this.
    I’m putting together a High Elf Arcane Trickster Sage, with a dip into Wizard for a greater range of magical spells. I figure to start with the Fire Bolt cantrip for High Elf since Arcane Trickster gets Magic Hand at level 3 anyway. The character works as an acrobat and entertainer, and juggling fire bolts seems pretty entertaining.
    My plan is to get to level 3 as Rogue to unlock AT, then do two levels as Wizard (probably Illusion, given his profession), then go back to AT for a while, then 2 more levels as Wizard once I get level 9 AT (level 11 character level). Then finish off at AT from level 13 up.

    High Elf gives 1 cantrip
    Level 16 Arcane Trickster gives 4 cantrips, 11 spells total, 4 level 1, 3 level 2, 3 level 3
    Level 4 Wizard gives 4 cantrips, 4 spells total, 4 level 1, 3 level 2

    On the face of it, it would suggest that at level 20 the character would have the ability to take up to 15 spells (plus his innate cantrip), of which 8 can be cantrips, 8 can be level 1, 6 can be level 2, and 3 can be level 3.

    Reading your article, 16/3 +4 would make him a 9th level Spellcaster.

    Are my calculations correct?

    1. Hi Jason,

      You have the correct caster level, but your spell slots don’t stack like that. Also, it appears that you are confusing spell slots with spells known.

      To clarify, a spell slot is needed to cast a spell and sets the level limit for the highest-level spell you can learn, but your number of spells is independent of this. A 16th-level Arcane Trickster would know 11 spells, but they could be of any level for which the Arcane Trickster has Arcane Trickster spell slots when they learn them. For instance, a 3rd-level Arcane Trickster could learn only spells of 1st level, while a 7th-level Arcane Trickster could learn a spell of 1st or 2nd level. Likewise, the wizard has their own progression for accumulating known spells: six at 1st level and two at every level thereafter.

      When determining which spells you can learn, you have to ignore every other class that you have. This is important, because when you multiclass into multiple spellcasting classes, your spell slot progression is different. If you could stack your spell slots like you have written in your comment, you would have eight 1st-level spell slots, six 2nd-level spell slots, and three 3rd-level spell slots. That’s very incorrect. In fact, you need to consult the Multiclass Spellcaster: Spell Slots per Spell Level table on page 165 of the Player’s Handbook. There you will find that a 9th-level spellcaster has four 1st-level spell slots, three 2nd-level spell slots, three 3rd-level spell slots, three 4th-level spell slots, and one 5th-level spell slot. You can’t learn any spells above 3rd-level with your current distribution of class levels (a 4th-level wizard can only learn up to 2nd-level spells, and a 16th-level Arcane Trickster can only learn up to 3rd-level spells), but you can cast those spells using higher-level spell slots and gain additional benefits for doing so.

      My suggestion is to re-read the Spellcasting section in each class you plan to go into, in particular the “Spells Known of 1st-Level and Higher” subsection for Arcane Trickster and the “Learning Spells of 1st Level and Higher” subheading for the wizard. As well, you should peruse the Multiclassing section in chapter 6, “Customization Options”, to ensure that you: a) meet the prerequisites to multiclass (you will need the ability score minimums for both wizard and rogue); b) understand how spell slots are not tied to your class, but are instead a pool for all your spells; and c) ensure that you have the right number of spell slots as you progress through the levels.

      It sounds like a solid character concept, and I wish you luck in your games.

      – the Archmage

      1. I statted him out, and with his racial bonuses he has:

        Strength 10
        Dexterity 16
        Constitution 8
        Intelligence 14
        Wisdom 12
        Charisma 15 (he’s an entertainer, of course it’ll be high)

        He’s good to go on Rogue/Wizard (requirements 13 Dex, and 13 Int).

        Thanks again.

  8. hihi’s i have something totally different for you that ive not found an answer to anywhere

    You hurl a mote of fire at a creature or object within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 1d10 fire damage. A flammable object hit by this spell ignites if it isn’t being worn or carried.This spell’s damage increases by 1d10 when you reach 5th level (2d10), 11th level (3d10), and 17th level (4d10).

    my character is level 13, 3 sorc/9 cleric/1 non magical fighter..
    am i concidered as level 3 because of sorceress my characters real level of 13, or my combined magic level of 12 for the casting and damage

    1. Hi Daniella,

      The intention of cantrips is that they increase in strength based on character level, and not class level. This was confirmed as the intent in the Sage Advice Compendium. However, as it is not actually written anywhere in the books, this is ultimately up to the Dungeon Master.

      – the Archmage

  9. I’m still really confused. I am currently a 3rd level sorcerer and about to take my first level in warlock. How many spell slots would I have? Do I use the table in the PHB multi-classing section to figure out my sorcerers spells slots, and then add in the warlocks? Or does my sorcerer spell slots remain were they are and I just add in the new warlock spell slots?

    1. Hi Nook,

      Please read the section on Pact Magic (“What’s the Deal With Warlocks?”) and review the example of a sorcerer/warlock multiclass (in the FAQ at the bottom of the article).

      There are also several comments above which shed light on how warlock multiclassing works.

      If you are still confused, could you please direct me to what part of the explanation above was unclear so that I can rewrite it?


      – the Archmage

  10. Hi,

    I’m a little confused with the warlock as an multiclass, i have an character named Saintsin that is a 5 th level cleric and a 2 nd level warlock. I see that you have given many good answers but i still need to ask,

    If i use the spell Hellish rebuke that is one of the 2nd level warlock has availible and cast it as a 3 rd level spell slots as my cleric has, or can i only cast it as a 1 st levele since that is the limit for my warlock?

    Looking forward for an answer, my self think this is a little overpowered but still hope it’s possible.

    1. Hi Saintsin,

      Once you learn a spell from a spellcasting class, you can cast it using any spell slot you have of that level or higher, regardless of where you got the spell slot from. If you have a 3rd-level spell slot open, you can cast your warlock spells using it.

      – the Archmage

  11. I am truly thankful for this article. It helped me to clarify a lot of doubts about multiclassing.
    I’m a lvl 11 Warlock and I’m considering to get Sorcerer for my last 9 lvls (or maybe just 3). My questions are: 1) Can I sacrifice my warlock’s spell slots to generate sorcery points? 2) Eldritch blast beams can be used on more than 1 target and to use the metamagic Twinned spell, the spell must be incapable of targeting more than 1 creature. So this makes impossible to combine both or am I supposed to target only 1 creature when using this specific metamagic?
    Thanks a lot in advance!

    1. Hi Jaine,

      I’m so happy that this article was helpful to you! It’s always nice to hear about it when our articles make a difference.

      Your questions are very good ones. Yes, you can sacrifice warlock spell slots to generate sorcery points (but beware, it’s up to the DM to determine when the next short rest is, so you can’t do this infinitely between battles). And yes, the ability of eldritch blast to target more than one creature precludes applying Twinned Spell to it. At least, it does at higher levels. This is one of those weird cases where you lose something when you level up, since a character of 4th-level or lower would be able to Twinned Spell an eldritch blast, as it is only a single beam. However, once you hit 5th level and get access to two beams, you lose out on this option.

      This is rather clearly expressed in the PHB errata, which states:

      To be eligible for Twinned Spell, a spell must be incapable of targeting more than one creature at the spell’s current level.

      Thanks for your questions!
      – the Archmage

      1. Thanks for the fast reply!
        Well, even if I can’t use Twinned spell, I’ll still have Quickened spell for a good combo. Therefore I still believe it’s worth some lvls at sorcerer’s path.
        When evaluating what I’m gonna lose at warlock’s higher lvls, something came up. Other than Mystic Arcanum, can warlocks cast spells beyond 5th lvl? And can I cast my specific lvl 7 Mystic Arcanum as a lvl 8 one (example: Etherealness)?
        Thank you!!

        1. Hi Jaine,

          Spell slots gained through the Pact Magic feature cap out at 5th level. It is possible to get 6th-level spell slots if you invest your other eleven (11) character levels in a class with the spellcasting feature. On the downside, this means it would take you until level 20 to cast a 6th-level spell. On the plus side, you’d have four 5th-level spell slots where normally you’d only have two.

          In regards to Mystic Arcanum, your confusion is totally understandable. While the Player’s Handbook is laid out exceptionally well in comparison to resources for other games (I recently learned Shadowrun 5th Edition, and let me tell you that I honestly contemplated shooting myself in the face on more than one occasion during that process), it still falls into the same trap of wanting to only ever say something once. This is wise in terms of production (making a 350-page book into a 300-page book), but it’s infuriating for players because obscure rules tend to get lost, like how a spell that is cast without using a spell slot is always cast at its lowest level. This rule, which Jeremy Crawford has put forward in clear terms through Sage Advice, is only expressed once in the book, and it’s buried in the chapter 10 description for rituals… after the page flip (PHB 201).

          It’s hidden, but it’s there, and it means that your Mystic Arcanum spells (which are cast without spell slots) are always cast at their lowest level.

          – the Archmage

          1. Thanks! I’ve started playing being taught by friends, but I’ve felt the need to know more so I’ve been reading PHB. I have to agree with you, sometimes I have to look back to find that one information that’ll make me understand what I’m reading atm. Even so, somethings are very well explained.
            I truly appreciate your help with my concerns, your articles make things easier to comprehend. Best of luck!

  12. Hi Callum,

    You delay getting access to a third 3rd-level spell slot, but you would gain a 1st-level spell slot from Pact Magic. You don’t lose any of your 3rd-level spell slots, you gain a fourth 1st-level one.

    In other words, your spell slots would be 5/3/2.

    When you gain another level in a spellcasting class (such as going back to paladin), you would gain that extra 3rd-level spell slot.

    the Archmage

  13. Hello.
    I’m a bit confused with this if I have a level 11 paladin and the take a level in warlock by the formula I and a level 5 spell caster so I lose a level 3 spell slot but gain the level 1 pact magic spell slot. Is my understanding correct.
    Thank you

  14. Hello,
    I have a Lvl 4 Cleric/Lvl 4 Warlock (Celestial)

    The Celestial Warlock class gives me access to Cure Wounds, and Cure wounds is also on the Cleric Spell List (obviously). I have a 20 Cha and a 16 Wis.

    I prepare Cure Wounds each day as one of my Cleric spells, and did not select it on level up as a Warlock spell. Do I then use my Wisdom modifier to determine the additional healing, or can I use my Charisma modifier because technically it is also a part of my Warlock spell list?

    I feel like the spells I know as a Cleric must be cast with Wisdom, and the spells I know as a Warlock must be cast with Charisma, but I’m curious what happens when its on both spell lists, even if I didn’t select it as one of my prepared Warlock spells.

    1. Thank you for your question!

      Spell slots are not tied to a class. You can cast any spell you know or have prepared using any spell slot of the spell’s level or higher, regardless of where you obtained that spell slot. The spellcasting ability for those spells is always that of the class which granted you the spell. In this case, if you prepared it as a cleric spell, you would use your Wisdom modifier. If you decided to swap it out of your prepared list of cleric spells and learn it as a warlock spell, you would use your Charisma modifier.

      the Archmage

  15. Under Sorcerer (same text for Warlock as well):
    “Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the sorcerer spells you know and replace it with another spell from the sorcerer
    spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.”

    This part is confusing for me. If I have 9th level spell slots, can I not chose 9th level Sorcerer spells? They are so explicit everywhere else. A spell from the _sorcerer spells you know_ replace with one from the _sorcerer spell list_, but generically “of a level for which you have spell slots” not “the highest spell level you have according to the sorcerer table.”

    Obviously I can’t chose 9th level wizard spells or 9th level warlock spells. But if I’m Wizard 19/Sorcerer 1, I have 9th level spell slots and it would appear to me that I can choose 9th level sorcerer spells for my 2 known spells at level 1.

    What do you think?

    1. Hi James,

      Thanks for your question!

      I agree that they could be more clear, but they cover their bases at the beginning of the book, where they say: “If a specific rule contradicts a general rule, the specific rule wins” (PHB 7). Generally, sorcerers can learn spells based on their spell slots, but the multiclassing section contains the following guidance: “You determine what spells you know and can prepare for each class individually, as if you were a single-classed member of that class” (PHB 164). The specific restriction here, then, is to use only the spell slots you would have gained as a sorcerer. If you are a 2nd-level sorcerer, you only have access to 1st-level spell slots and thus if you re-train a sorcerer spell you have learned you must replace it with a 1st-level sorcerer spell.

      Hopefully this helps clarify things for you.

      – the Archmage

      1. Hello the Archmage,

        This answer contradicts your below reply regarding the existence of spell slots. The real contention seems to be “as if you were a single-classed member of that class.” However, as you correctly stated below, “spell slots are not tied to class.” You just have spell slots for your spellcasting level. A correct way to look at it is that a Wizard 18/Sorcerer 2 is a 20th-level spellcaster, but only a 2nd-level sorcerer. So yes, rules as written, the character would have access to the 9th level spells.
        I believe the only ruling on this comes from a tweet by Jeremy Crawford, and it really holds no weight ( While he is one of the lead rules designer, that tweet is NOT official (either as errata or sage advice). Officially, it’s equivalent to the input a beholder has on the subject.

        1. Hi Russ,

          Thank you for your comment, but you are entirely incorrect.

          The rules for multiclass spellcasting are plainly clear. You choose your spells for each class “as if you were a single-classed member of that class”. The Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher section on page 101 says that spells you learn “must be of a level for which you have spell slots”, and The Sorcerer table on page 100 says that a 2nd-level sorcerer has three 1st-level spell slots. Ergo, you couldn’t learn 9th-level sorcerer spells (but in this case, you could learn 9th-level wizard spells because you’re an 18th-level wizard).

          You are also incorrect that there is only one ruling. It has been said multiple times. It has also been confirmed through the most recent errata (November 2018). The spells that you can learn and prepare for each class are always tied to what is shown for your level in your class table. You can cast those spells at higher levels, but you can’t learn or prepare higher level ones.

          This is the last comment debating this specific point that I’m going to be approving. The ink is dry, the answer is provided, there’s nothing more to discuss.

          – the Archmage

  16. Hey, love the explanation on multiclassing spell slinging, but I have a slight plan problem here. I am playing as a Pact of the Chain Warlock (currently lv6 – Fiend type) atm, and I am investing in fighter to get better AC and weapon usage (I gots a magic martial weapon), and was wondering how would Eldritch knight work in conjunction with it? Would it give me new spell slots to work with? or give me something else? Same goes for the sorcerer class (if I can get that far).

    1. Hi Ian,

      Thanks for your comment!

      Spell slots stack across all classes, with the exception of warlock. This is because they don’t have the Spellcasting feature, they have the Pact Magic feature.

      A 6th-level warlock who gets up to 3rd level in fighter to become an Eldritch Knight would therefore have two 3rd-level spell slots for being a warlock in addition to the two 1st-level spell slots of an Eldritch Knight. If you then took a level in sorcerer, you would refer to the Multiclassing section in chapter 6, “Customization Options” in the Player’s Handbook, which would instruct you to take one third of your fighter levels and add them to your sorcerer levels to determine how many spell slots you have as a multiclass spellcaster (it comes out to being three 1st-level spell slots). These are determined independently of the warlock class because, again, the warlock doesn’t have Spellcasting.

      Therefore, a Warlock 6/Fighter (Eldritch Knight) 3/Sorcerer 1 would have three 1st-level spell slots and two 3rd-level spell slots. They could then cast any spell they know using any one of those slots, irrespective of what class allowed them to learn the spell. For example, if you have the warlock spell hex, you may prefer to cast it using one of the 1st-level spell slots you have from your spellcasting classes because you will rarely have to cast it with an 8-hour duration (which would be the only benefit of casting it at 3rd level). Alternatively, you may want to do a real number on enemies in a 15-foot cone by casting the sorcerer’s burning hands spell using one of the 3rd level slots you have for being a 6th-level warlock.

      Hopefully that answers your question!

      – the Archmage

      1. Thank you for the reponse~! With you telling me this it allows me to get an idea of how I want to continue my build as a Warlock (chain). The problem that is now coming to mind is when I reach 3 for Fighter for Eldritch Knight, do I continue Warlock for more powerful spells and abilities? or continue EK for more Spells slots available? I know it a choice of my own preference, but this is my first character (I am new to all of this) and I don’t want it to be busted or broken, but I don’t want it to be a way too confusing.

        Also, does the known spells increase with the addition of Eldritch Knight? as in EK gets 2 more cantrips and 3 more spells. so it gets added on? I want to be sure before i jump way headlong into multiclassing this way.

        1. Hi Ian,

          I’m glad my explanation helped.

          In regards to the number of spells known, that is also determined solely by class. Levelling fighter to 3 won’t get you more warlock spell slots, nor vice versa. This also means that if you have two spellcasting classes with cantrips, you get cantrips from both classes.

          As for whether it’s better to go for higher-level spells or more low-level spells, that is entirely up to you. Every character in every campaign is different. I can only recommend that you go with what seems best.

          If you are interested in basic recommendations for different class combinations, you can check out our Multiclassing Like a Pro article, where we rated and offered suggestions for the different combinations.

          – the Archmage

          1. Hi again,

            With the spell casting attack modification, warlocks go off charisma, and EK go off intelligence. so what happens with the multiclassing in those 2 for attacks? Do I have 2 seperate modifiers, or is it all off 1 (I.e the first class you chose, for me which is warlock) now that I’m about to hit level 3 (been along time coming) I want to make sure it’s all ok before jumping in head first and making it harder for me to keep track of everything.

          2. Thanks for your question!

            If you cast a warlock spell (such as eldritch blast), you use your warlock spellcasting ability. If you use an EK spell (such as fire bolt), you use your eldritch knight spellcasting ability. For this reason, we recommend keeping track of which spells you get from which class, even though you can cast spells you gain from any class with any spell slot you have of an appropriate level, regardless of which class gave it to you.

            Hope that helps!
            – the Archmage

  17. So I’m playing a currently 7th level Evocation Wizard and I am planning on multiclassing her into a Warlock at 10th level. What I’m wondering is because I would be a 9th level Wizard and would have access to 5th level spell slots would I be able to get all of the spells in the expanded list? It only says “Spell Level” in each chart. It doesn’t specify Warlock spell slot.

    1. Hi Kat,

      Thank you for your question.

      It is important to remember that, as noted above, when learning or preparing spells that you always prepare them as though you were solely of that class (PHB 164). In other words, your wizard levels have no influence on what warlock spells you can learn, and vice versa.

      Therefore, a wizard 9/warlock 1 character would learn warlock spells as though they were a 1st-level character with a level in warlock, and would prepare wizard spells as though they were a 9th-level character with nine levels in wizard.

      Once the spells are learned/prepared, they can be cast using any spell slot. Because Pact Magic is separate from the Spellcasting class feature, this means that you actually get an extra 1st-level spell slot instead of getting a second 5th-level spell slot (see the Multiclass Spellcaster: Spell Slots per Spell Level table on PHB 165), as you would if you had instead multiclassed into, say, sorcerer.

      This means that you could cast any prepared 1st-level wizard spell five times (using four 1st-level wizard spell slots and the extra warlock spell slot), cast any of your two known warlock spells up to five times, or mix and match any of your 1st-level spells.

      Hopefully this helps.

      – the Archmage

    2. Hi Kat,

      I was looking at your question again and I believe I may have misunderstood what you were asking, so I’ll try to answer it again.

      The warlock expanded spell list is tied to your Pact Magic feature. These spells are available for you to take “when you learn a warlock spell”. Therefore, you could not learn them as wizard spells in the same way that you could not learn a cleric spell as a wizard spell if you were a multiclass cleric/wizard.

      Remember that each class learns spells independently of your other classes, so in order to cast a 3rd-level warlock spell you have to be a 5th-level warlock, not simply a 5th-level character.

      – the Archmage

  18. hey I’ve recently made a 6th lvl bard 2nd lvl warlock and I’ve been wondering how cantrips work when multi-classing?

    1. Hi DMDennis,

      You know and prepare spells for each class as though you were only of that class (PHB 164). This means that your character would know three bard cantrips and two warlock cantrips.

      – the Archmage

    1. Hi Christopher,

      Thanks for your suggestion, and for the Sage Advice link! We’ll definitely look at making that clear at some point in the article.

      – the Archmage

  19. Hi. Im a Sorcery Lv 5 and Warlock Lv 2.
    What is the highest spell slot i have now. The information on the web says i can pick 1 Lv4 spell. Can you help me out with info?

    1. Hi Josh,

      Combining Pact Magic and normal spellcasting can be tricky. Here’s what you have:

      You always know/prepare spells for a class as though that were your only class. Therefore, the highest level sorcerer spell you would know is 3rd level, and the highest level warlock spell you know would be 1st level.

      Because Pact Magic does not stack with normal spellcasting, you would not add your warlock levels to your sorcerer levels to determine spell slots. Therefore, you would have six 1st-level spell slots (including the two from Pact Magic), three 2nd-level spell slots, and two 3rd-level spell slots.

      I hope this helps!

      – the Archmage

      1. I well get and understand this better. BUT i do get it to a extend lol. I relly apreshe it that you message me back.

        1. Not a problem! We really appreciate the opportunity to answer your question.

          If you are still confused, we suggest that you keep track of your spellcasting classes on two separate pages, writing the spellcasting class and level you have in that class at the top of the page. When you go to figure out what spells you can have when you gain your next level in either of those classes, just simply set the other page aside and ignore it. You are simply a warlock, or you are simply a sorcerer.

          The only time the other class will matter at all is when you go to cast a spell, as the spell slots you get from Pact Magic are in addition to the ones you get from normal spellcasting. So if you know the warlock spell Hex, you can cast it using a sorcerer spell slot. Likewise, if you know the sorcerer spell feather fall, you could cast it using a warlock spell slot.

          – the Archmage

  20. So I am a Lv9 Rogue (arcane trickster) about to Multi-class into a level of Cleric for… reasons. (One word: Strahd).

    Anyway, I’ve been staring at the book for hours, but I’m still extremely confused. Now admittedly I’m probably overthinking this, but it worries me that I’m LOSING slots instead of gaining them?

    Performing the math, (9/3) +1 indicates that for multi-classing purposes, I’d be a Level 4 caster, right? Using the chart in the book, that seems to indicate that I get 4-1st level slots, and 3-2nd level slots. Yet, my Lv9 arcane trickster rogue has 6-1st level slots, 4-2nd level slots, and 2-3rd level slots.

    Basically I’m looking for confirmation that I get all the slots listed above instead of just the multi-class slots.

    As in: 6-1st level slots, 4-2nd level slots, and 2-3rd level slots for Rogue Spells and 4-1st level slots, and 3-2nd level slots for Cleric Spells. Is that correct? If not, it appears I’d be LOSING a significant amount of slots to multi-class… so… Can anyone help?

    1. Hi K8AN,

      Thanks for commenting!

      When you gain a second spellcasting class, you use the Multiclass Spellcaster: Spell Slots per Spell Level table on page 165 of the Player’s Handbook. You do not get those slots in addition to other spell slots you have.

      I believe that your confusion arises out of misreading the Arcane Trickster Spellcasting table. In fact, you currently have four 1st-level spell slots (not 6), two 2nd-level spells (not 4), and no 3rd-level spells. You know 6 spells in total (the number which you have mistaken for your number of 1st-level spell slots).

      When you correct for the misread, you will see that, when you take your next level in cleric, you will actually gain one additional 2nd-level spell slot (using the 4th-level line from the Multiclass Spellcaster table), rather than losing spell slots.

      Hopefully this clears things up for you.

      – the Archmage

  21. Hey,

    In my campaign, I’m multiclassing an arcane archer fighter and horizon walker ranger (both from xanathar’s guide). How does my spells work then. I’m currently level 13 (8F/5R). Do I follow the multiclass chart or do I just follow the ranger’s chart for spell slots, since my arcane archer has no spells.

    1. Thanks for commenting!

      Because the arcane archer does not have the Spellcasting class feature, the process outlined above for determining your “spellcaster level” does not apply. You simply follow the ranger’s chart for spell slots.

      – the Archmage

  22. In your EK 5/AT 7/W2 example you should be a 6th level caster not 5th.

    The rules state, “one third your fighter or rogue levels”. The lack of the word ‘each’ heavily implies a third of your combined fighter and rogue levels. You divide after adding, otherwise you’re just doubling the rounding error when it’s not required.

    Thus 2 + (7 + 5)/3 = 2 + 12/3 = 6

    As for the other issue, it’s clear in the examples given in the multiclassing section of the PHB that spells known are determined by the individual level of each class. An example in the rules is the very definition of specific when it comes to the specific vs general rule.

    1. Thank you for your comment!

      Actually, 5th-level spellcaster is correct. Your math seems to have been jumbled.

      To clarify, a 5th-level Eldritch Knight counts as a 1st-level spellcaster (5 divided by 3, round down), and a 7th-level Arcane Trickster is a 2nd-level spellcaster (7 divided by 3, round down). Then you add your two wizard levels for 5. Or, to put it another way:

      1 [5/3] + 2 [7/3] + 2 = 5th-level spellcaster

      As to your point about EK and AT levels not stacking, I’m reasonably certain that this is not the intention of the rules, and it’s certainly not how I would run it at my table. Nonetheless, having found no Sage Advice that would confirm or refute either position, I have reached out to Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford on Twitter to clarify. It may be that you are correct. We shall see.

    2. Apparently JC has stated that RAI is that you round down separately each individual class first, and then add them up. So if you get EK 5, AT 5, paladin 3 and ranger 3, then instead of adding 1.(6) + 1.(6) + 1.5 + 1.5 = 6.(3), round down to 6, you round them down to 1 each and get a total of 4.

      Personally I think it’s ludicrous. Just rounding down at the end already double-nerfs classes that aren’t strong casters to begin with (keep in mind that all half- and third-casters round up in their individual tables), but this RAI turns it into a triple nerf. Seriously, I don’t know what they were thinking.

      1. You are correct, as confirmed with this Tweet.

        Personally, I dislike this because it can cause spell slots to disappear, and in my house rules I have multiclass spellcasters determine their spellcasting level using the following steps:

        – Add up all your levels in rogue (Arcane Trickster) and fighter (Eldritch Knight), then divide by three (“A”)
        – Add up all your levels in paladin and ranger, then divide by two (“B”)
        – Add up all your levels in cleric, bard, sorcerer, and wizard (“C”)
        – Now add A, B, and C to determine your multiclass spellcaster level

        However, this is not RAW, and so it’s not included in the article above.

        – the Archmage

  23. Hey, Oren from Mythcreants here. Thanks for posting a link to us!

    While I wouldn’t rate anything here as 1,000,000,000% wrong (though I’m flattered you thought my article rated a billion on any metric), I do think you’re reading Rules as Intended rather than Rules as Written when it comes to the Cleric multiclass spellcasting.

    The trick comes in the way the Cleric learns spells. That is, they don’t. Per page 58, Clerics effectively know their entire spell list, and are only limited by the spell slots their have available. Druids work this way too. Rangers and Wizards, on the other hand, have a limited number of known spells that they can choose from.

    Per page 164, you determine which spells you know and prepare for each class individually. So when my Wizard 17/Cleric 1 is preparing spells as first level Cleric, he knows every Cleric spell on the list. He need only expend spells lots of the appropriate level to cast them.

    Since my character does not have Wizard Slots and Cleric Slots, only their total Spell Slots from their combined class levels, they can prepare any spell from the Cleric list as a first level Cleric.

    I’m certain this isn’t what the 5E designers intended, but it is what they wrote. I’m not suggesting anyone should run 5E this way, god knows I didn’t, I’m only looking at what the rules actually allow, and in this case they allow for an overpowered combination.

    A GM is always free to say no, but it would have been better for the rules not to allow such a combo in the first place. Experienced GMs know not to allow this, but a newbie GM who isn’t clued into our conversation might not know any better.

    1. Thanks for replying to our comment!

      I would like to say that I understand your position on the matter of preparing spells, but the rules are really quite clear: you prepare spells for that class as though you were a single-class spellcaster. That means that if you are a 1st-level cleric, you can only prepare 1st-level cleric spells. Now, you can point to the general wording in the Spellcasting class feature perhaps giving you a free pass, but in doing so you would be neglecting the specific restrictions described in the Multiclass Spellcasting section. And, as is deliberately specified on page 7 of the Player’s Handbook, specific beats general.

      I’m sorry, but you are conclusively wrong that there is a RAW way to cast 9th-level cleric spells as a 1st-level cleric. If you want to be a GM who says that’s acceptable at your table, that’s your prerogative to suspend the rules. But, no, the rules do not allow for it; you are simply misreading them.


      – the Archmage

      1. Old comment but I kinda get where he is coming from.
        He is combining the “The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots” from the cleric spellcasting section with the “You determine what spells you know and can prepare for each class individually, as if you were a single-classed member of that class.” from the multiclassing section.

        Interesting is the “…as if you were a single-classed member of that class.” The PHB implies that a cleric doesn’t learn new spells he, knows them all from level one, even 9th level spells, but he can’t cast or prepare them since he is lacking the spell slots. So now we are a single-classed level 1 cleric, but level 20 character, we have 9th level spell slots, hence we should be able to prepare 9th level spells. The other possible interpretation would be to interpret “single classed member of that class” that only the level in that class applies, this of course would only get you access to level one spells.

        Of course no sane person would ever allow this, but I can see how this would technically fall under RAW as an oversight from WoTC.

        For me the question is does a cleric really know all spells from level 1 or does he only learn them when leveling up to the appropriate level and does “…as if you were a single-classed member of that class.” Account for other levels?

        Sorry for necromancing that topic, I just stumbled across it and thought it is interesting.

        1. Hi Adrian,

          Thanks for your comment! I certainly don’t mind people responding to this article even a year or so after I wrote it, so no problem there. I would, however, challenge your reading of RAW.

          Take a look at the The Cleric table on page 57 of the Player’s Handbook. Let me know if you see any 9th-level spell slots for a 1st-level cleric because, if you do, then you should probably get yourself another book.

          Until you reach a cleric level that has access to 9th-level spell slots, you can’t prepare 9th-level cleric spells. If you have 9th-level spell slots from multiclassing, then you can cast cleric spells you have prepared using that spell slot, but just having the spell slot doesn’t mean you could prepare a cleric spell to it because doing so would be in violation of the instructions in the Multiclassing section in chapter 6, “Customization Options”, in the Player’s Handbook.

          It is also worth mentioning that the newest errata for the Player’s Handbook puts the nail in the coffin for this by updating the Spellcasting section of the cleric (and every other spellcasting class) to more explicitly tie the spells you cast by class to that class’ spell slots. It still doesn’t explicitly say that you can’t do exactly what you’re proposing, but it doesn’t have to; the other rules already make this clear.

          Besides, multiclassing is actually a variant rule that is subject to the DM’s approval, so it’s not appropriate to include provisions about it in the core rules presented in the class entries in chapter 3. This is something that people don’t give proper accommodation for; you must must must recognize that the multiclassing rules impose a separate paradigm that trumps the existing rules. So when the rules say “you determine what spells you know and can prepare for each class individually, as if you were a single-classed member of that class”, it really means “no, you can’t skip 17 levels of progression to get capstone spells by taking a one-level dip”.

          The long and the short of it is that taking a one-level dip into cleric and being able to cast true resurrection was never the intention of the rules, nor could it be considered RAW by anybody who wasn’t seriously intent on misreading what’s in the book in favour of their powergaming shenanigans. This would never fly at my table, and I don’t know of a single Dungeon Master who would ever tolerate it.

          To answer your other question about whether a cleric knows all the cleric spells of every level for which they have spell slots, the answer is yes. They can only prepare a certain number of them at once, but they don’t need to go and learn their spells like wizards do. Again, it’s just for spell levels for which they would have spell slots as a single-classed cleric, so a 5th-level cleric would know all cleric spells of up to 3rd level. It does not account for other levels.

          Thanks again for your comment. Don’t hesitate to ‘necromance’ any other discussions you come across here. Discussion is always welcome!

          – the Archmage

          1. I think that one of the reasons for this confusion maybe that it’s not clear “what beasts what” and what’s “more specific”:

            “Spell slots” section in multiclassing comes after “You determine what spells you know and can prepare for each class individually, as if you were a single-classed member of that class”. So someone may think that “spell slots” recalculation still beats previous section.

            Still, even assuming this is correct a counter argument is awailable: yeah you can calculate available slots according to multiclassing rule, but when you determine them for “preparation purposes” you should account only for a single class.

            Maybe putting “spell slots” section before “spells known and prepared” would make things a little more clear. But adding some clarification comment would be better, e.g.:
            > …as if you were a single-classed member of that class WHICH ALSO MEANS THAT YOU SHOULD IGNORE ALL OTHER SIDE-EFFECTS OF MULTICLASSING

    2. RAW, yes, a cleric as access to all of the spells on their list, but you still have to prepare what spells you have at the ready each day. (wisdom mod + cleric level, min of one). I am on DND beyond, so I dont have the page number.

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