Just started playing again through DOSBOX.
For fast multi-class changing :
Rawulf is great for monk/ninja/samurai
Faerie is great for valkyrie/ninja and Cane of Corpus
Dwarf is great for samurai/ninja
Felpurr is great for ranger/valkyrie/ninja
Starting Bard should not be faerie (do not get Poet's Lute), then go right to Samurai for more mage spells and then toggle with monk or ninja, depending on race.
As mentioned, have one character start as a thief just to get skullduggery high enough where chests do not become a pain. My faerie valkyrie/ninja started as a thief and the levels come quick.
Priest character can go right to valkyrie and toggle with ninja.
Do the training dungeon, get a few levels, then get the map kit for 2500. Let your thief keep building levels, maybe even a Divine Trap spell, and you should be able to get the Legend map easily.
For easy experience, you can use the black wafer at the New City security house for unlimited fights.
Best early game weapons are Spear+2 and Crusaders 2H Axe (short swim from Eryn bridge). Just put 1 point of swimming into each level up and you'll have 10 in no time.