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Question about Gestalt

   
I've no clue regarding 5e, but given gestalt was formed in UA of 3.0/3.5 it's generally a +1 level adjustment for the average character without tons of min/max or charop involved. This is because the character gets some extra stuff, better HD, better saves, better BAB, better skills, some extra abilities. Yet they are still limited by action economy, and once can only have so many actions per combat.

They basically are a little harder to kill in general, with a few more options, a bit broader skill set, and more endurance for more encounters per day. This means, if you aren't throwing *more* than the suggested encounters daily in the DMG which is something many pbp folks never do because it doesn't fit the story, balance goes out the window. Parties will energizer bunny through your challenges with gestalt characters and never run out spells or dailies. This means you need to push difficulty to challenge them to compensate, which is risky because you can TPK them.

I imagine all of this is rather system agnostic for any version of DnD, so as someone who's ran gestalt games for years, just thought I'd share that with you. GL.

The numbers don't really back that at all. Consider, for example, a L20ish Wizard. If by "without tons of min/maxing or char op" you mean "is really dumb and doesn't think about mechanics at all" then even so, let's compare a straight L19 Wizard|Fighter who doesn't really make use of any synergy stuff at all with a L20 Wizard.

Gestalt: 19d10 hp (109avg), three spell slots each of L8 and L9, +11 Will, +11 Fort, +19 BAB (four attacks), eleven Fighter feats, three Wizard feats.

Non-gestalt: 20d4 hp (89.5avg), four spells slots each of L8 and L9, +12 Will, +6 Fort, +10 BAB (two attacks), four Wizard feats.

We see that the switch to gestalt trades two high-level spell slots (and familiar progression, and one Wizard feat) for oodles of passive benefits. That character can probably also fight in melee pretty well (especially if buffed) using that high BAB and all those feats.

Given that spellcasting is as powerful as it is, it's arguable that the loss of those spell slots is not worth it. At lower levels, you are losing half a spell level, too. But this is a really sub-optimal gestalt example, and it's coloured by the overpoweredness of the Wizard.

Look instead at, say, a Monk becoming a Monk|Fighter. The benefits easily outweigh the loss of a level, since BAB, hp, etc will all be higher. In fact by choosing the right feats you can probably make sure that the gestalt version is straight-up better in pretty much every way.

Arguably this is because the Monk is weaker than the Fighter, so we should compare with a straight L20 Fighter, too - but you probably find much the same thing. As much as anything, Monk levels give us three bonus feats where the Fighter only loses one. The only other things we are losing from Fighter are a little hp and a single point of BAB - the saves are on the whole much better with a Monk. When you consider the Monk's immunities, Dimension Door, Etherealness, etc, sucky as those are compared with spellcasters, this already looks like a good deal, and this is combining the Fighter with a poor class and making use of very few of its features.

Once you actually start considering smart gestalt combos (even just pretty basic stuff like Sorc|Paladin or Fighter|Dragon Disciple or whatever) it's clear that, at the high levels, gestalt is typically worth way more than +1. Obviously at the low levels this is not true. A L1 gestalt is strictly weaker than a L2, etc. This is why I propose something scaling, like +50% level (albeit with some caveats) - that is slightly too generous to the gestalts, I tend to find, but it's pretty close (maybe +40% or something?).

Kind of an aside, but wizard is one of those classes that doesn't really DO gestalt. No matter what you combo them with, they usually end up playing pretty much like a wizard with just a bit of extra stuff and a slight twist to flavor. Wizard is just that good. (Clerics get this too).

Well, if you subscribe to the idea that being a Wizard is basically the best thing that you can do, then the best thing to do as a gestalt Wizard is to continue to be a Wizard and just enjoy some other abilities as passive buffs or backups (or augment your Wizardliness - Factotum and Psion are good candidates for this). You can of course add Wizard to something else and do that something else better but that's probably not "optimal" (whatever that means ).

A gish is possibly something of an exception. In gestalt you can be a proper gish, able to forgo physical combat entirely and cast spells or buff up and wade in, but - in 3.5 at least - there are also some ways to combine the two. This can give you quite a different playstyle whilst still having the strengths of being a Wizard. I guess there's also a question of whether e.g. a Wizard|Archivist plays more like a Wizard or an Archivist, seeing as they both play quite similarly.

In 5e it's probably not quite the same story, though.







 

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