Interestingly this idea resurfaced in 2e as a set optional rules in the DMG as well as a fleshed out example in the complete thieves handbook. Of course like the systems before it, it required some care on the part of the DM.
For those of who liked the Players Option stuff, the rules there were a variant as well. I found them a bit unbalanced and they just felt wrong but they weren't exactly bad rules by my measure.
3x multi classing is pretty different but it to ran into similar problem both with high level adjustment races and with certain multi class combinations fighter/caster and rogue/caster in particular.
I've seen this idea reapplied (in my opinion poorly) in Savage Species for races and in 3rd party products such as Second Look: Arcane Trickster and in some alternate classes in Green Ronin's Advanced Players Manual
Using these "multi class" classes and "races as classes" instead of prestige classes deals away with the old "start you planning at level 1" issue that plagues 3x. Throw in a few flavorful variants and you have a really good set up that has all the bells and whistles 3x offers with a heap less complexity in character generation.
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