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I'm considering running an E6 game in Eberron, and I'm curious if there is some way to qualify for the Greater Dragonmark feat.

Skill Beyond Your Years and Primary Contact can let me reach 12 ranks in a single skill, but the feat requires 12 ranks in two different skills. I'll likely houserule it, should there not be a way to reach it, but I'm curious if anyone knows of another way to reach 12 ranks in a skill in E6 (or some other way to acquire the Greater Dragonmark feat).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Even the feat Lesser Dragonmark allows PCs access to select spell-like abilities with spell levels greater than 3. Are you sure this is what you want for your E6 campaign? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 8 at 19:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, users may want to use information from this fine answer to inform their answers. (And with the game line ended, there really should be a How can I increase my maximum skill ranks? general question. I'm sorry that there's not.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 8 at 19:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ At a minimum of four feats (assuming you allow skill points from elsewhere than open minded, and as many as seven if they need to take open minded and Primary Contact twice) and only available to epic characters deeply involved in their House (at the moment) I am alright with adding these thematically selected abilities. Control Winds is worrying, but that's about the only one I would seriously consider removing or replacing. TL;DR: ... Probably? \$\endgroup\$ – Scrollreader Jul 8 at 20:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you using a specific E6 variant? For instance, these rules have Skill Beyond Your Years giving +2 max skill ranks, but these ones make it +3, which would solve your problem. \$\endgroup\$ – A_S00 Jul 9 at 0:22
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You can only acquire Greater Dragonmark in E6 with extreme cheese and a permissive DM.

(tl;dr Dusk Giant cheese is the least questionable method.)


Greater Dragonmark (ECS, p. 54) requires:

Least Dragonmark, Lesser Dragonmark, 12 ranks in any two skills, Member of appropriate dragonmarked race and house

The feat requirements are doable (Lesser Dragonmark requires 9 skill ranks, which you can have at level 6), and the fluff requirement is fine as long as you're playing an Eberron campaign. It's the 12 skill ranks that are going to cause problems.

Normally, your maximum skill ranks are your character level + 3, meaning you would cap out at 9 skill ranks as a level 6 character. There are a few ways to get around this, but they're very cheesy and most of them won't be available in an E6 campaign.

Note that I did find one E6 variant that lists Skilled Beyond Your Years as giving +3 to maximum skill ranks, rather than +2. However, since you can't normally take the same feat twice, that will still only get you one of your two skills to 12 ranks.

Beyond that, you'll need to look into cheesier methods. Let's go through them one by one.


Primary Contact

The Primary Contact feat (Cityscape, p. 61) lets you gain one bonus skill rank, even if doing so would put you above your maximum ranks. So far, so good. Unfortunately, it includes the following restriction:

This feat cannot be taken more than once. If the primary contact associated with this feat dies or is otherwise removed from the campaign, the DM can, at his discretion, either replace that contact with a new contact from the same organization or allow you to name one of your other contacts as your primary contact. In either event, you do not gain the bonus skill rank a second time, but neither do you lose it just because your contact has left the campaign.

This feat will let you get a single skill up to 10 ranks (or 12 with Skilled Beyond Your Years), but it won't help you get two skills up to 12 ranks each.


Bonus HD + Psychic Reformation

By gaining temporary bonus hit dice, you can raise your character level, which in turn raises your maximum skill ranks. Then, you can use the psionic power Psychic Reformation to move skill points into the required skills, and if your DM is feeling friendly they might allow you to keep skills above cap even after the temporary hit dice expire.

You're going to run into problems doing this in an E6 campaign:

  • Psychic Reformation is a level 4 power. It's not impossible for level 4 powers to exist in an E6 campaign, but it'll need to come from either a monster/NPC with more levels than PCs are allowed to have (i.e., friendly DM), or one of your party members will need to employ some cheese of their own to get access to level 4 powers.
  • The standard way of gaining temporary bonus HD is the Bard ability Inspire Greatness. However, Bards gain Inspire Greatness at level 9. Where are you planning to find a level 9 Bard in an E6 campaign?
  • An alternate way of gaining HD is to transform yourself into a Barghest while having the feat Assume Supernatural Ability (Savage Species, p. 30), and then use their Feed ability to gain hit dice. This is possible to achieve in E6, but there's another issue: The hit dice gained via the Barghest's Feed ability aren't temporary. That means if you do this, you're permanently becoming a character of higher than 6th level. "You can't be higher than 6th level" is the central tenet of the E6 ruleset; I've never encountered a DM who would allow this in an E6 campaign.
  • A better option would be to become a Dusk Giant (Heroes of Horror, p. 147). These creatures have the Cannibalize (Ex) special attack, which lets them eat creatures to gain temporary hit dice. The weakest Dusk Giant has 6 hit dice, making it a valid target for Polymorph for a level 6 character. It doesn't even require Assume Supernatural Ability, since it's (Ex)!

So, if you manage to:

  • Find a way to access Polymorph, a level 4 spell, in an E6 campaign
  • Turn into a Dusk Giant
  • Eat at least 15 people or 60 nonsentient creatures
  • Convince your DM to let you be temporarily higher than level 6 in an E6 campaign
  • Find a way to access Psychic Reformation, a level 4 power, in an E6 campaign
  • Dodge any books you might somehow find flying your way

...then this method will work.


Just be Pun Pun

An inevitable answer to these types of questions is "well you can always just be Pun-Pun" (archive link).

Yep, you sure can. Let us know how your DM feels about that.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You can’t take Skill Beyond Your Years twice, at least as far as I have seen there is no version of it that includes a special allowance for taking it more than once. The rules are very explicit that feats cannot be taken repeatedly unless they explicitly say they can. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 9 at 1:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're right; edited. \$\endgroup\$ – A_S00 Jul 9 at 1:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I didn't know I needed Pun-Pun in my life \$\endgroup\$ – Ruse Jul 9 at 3:11

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