What is a gestalt character? For a more robust description, look here at the d20srd site. Short answer: to
Don't ask me to explain how the name links to the word as used in psychology - I don't get it.
If you are running a game, and have only 2-3 players, this is a way to have them cover more capability. I think it takes a more experienced player to handle one, and certainly takes a more experienced DM to attempt to setup encounters in some sort of balance. I think the write up in the Unearthed Arcana is spot on: gestalt characters are more powerful than regular characters but NOT twice as powerful. You still only get one character's worth of actions per round, and even is you have more hit points due to using best in class, it still is not the amount two separate characters would have.
So, in the attack/capability area, you suddenly have more choice which is very powerful. However, since the DM is hitting you with a larger challenge things can get swingy. Our experience so far has been if we play well, and the the opponents hard, we do very well. If we stumble a bit, if we lose the tempo, or get on the defensive things can go sour very quickly.
Most of 'monsters' are just that, regular monsters. The DM may use higher challenge ratings, which can be dangerous if we don't have the necessary capability to take them down, or more often just use more monsters. The DM does occasionally include gestalt opponents, but of course we do not know that until they do something unexpected.
All in all the game is fun. There have been some awkward moments, but I think the DM has done a pretty good job of keeping the party challenged. And there are times, gestalt character or not, we should just run away to fight another day. Alas, that does not always happen, and death has occurred. Usually happens when people get cocky or bored. We may be powerful, but we are still just three in the action economy.
So, in summary, gestalt seems to be a viable choice if:
- the party is 2-3 players
- players and DM are experienced
- you do not mind additional swingy-ness in the game
- you do not get hung up on potential rule collisions and let the DM rule quickly and move on
The party consisted of a Paladin-Sorcerer, Fighter-Rogue, Fighter-Wizard, but the Paladin-Sorcerer perished in the last game. (...know when to run away...). We'll see what he brings in next. I find the Fighter-Wizard I am playing to be quite flexible and potent, and I am quite pleased that I always seem to have something useful and dangerous to do. Have a big bad guy in front of me - go all fighter on him, then be suddenly surrounded by lots of troublesome little cretins - how'd you like that flaming hands.
That's it for now.
The dice never lie.