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I'm currently working on a Sha'ir Gish character that will eventually PrC into Zhentarim Skymage (LoD) and I need to buff my charisma as much as possible. Skymage has a gimmick of giving you a paladin mount, or at least a close facsimile thereof, which can be any creature that's a size larger than you and has no more hit die than your Skymage level + Charisma mod + 1.

I already have Spark (Dragon Mag.) for +2. I'm also considering Prestige Races (also Dragon) for another +1. Unseelie Fey is unfortunately banned so that's not an option. Other than that just about anything official is allowed. I'd prefer to stay at or below LA +1 is possible.

Some other options I considered were Athasian Human (also Dragon mag.) +2 to two stats, Draconic Creature for +2 to strength, con, and charisma, and savage progression half fey. Spark was ruled to only work on PHB races and not variants like Athasian so that's probably off the table, and it kind of negates the benefits of any +2 charisma LA 0 race like Spellscale and Savage Progression Aasimar.

I could use magic items like tomes eventually to raise it farther, but I can't rely on temporary boosts like cloaks of charisma because if my charisma gets lowered, like taking the cloak off, my mount might rebel and attack or abandon me, and that's not fun for anyone.

I'd prefer human for story reasons in the setting and to open up Human paragon as an option for another +2 untyped bonus, though small races aren't a bad choice either because that opens up a medium mount.

Which race or template can I use to gain the highest boost to charisma with no more than a +1 LA?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Jervis, welcome to RPG.SE. I see you've already taken the tour, but if you need more help, the Help Center is a great next stop. \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Jul 20 '20 at 3:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's a close vote for "opinion-based", which doesn't seem to apply to this question. The question could stand an edit for readability and clarity, but the question in the title is pretty straightforward, and the guidelines set out in the question seem clear - "highest Charisma boost from +1 LA race/template choices, prefer human, then small races, then other; here are some options I've considered and which options are allowed". At worst, it might be a "list" question, but hopefully there'll be a clear best bonus or at least a short list. \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Jul 20 '20 at 3:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you willing to consider options using the LA buyoff rules in Unearthed Arcana? \$\endgroup\$ – nijineko Jul 20 '20 at 22:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would if i could, but it's unfortunately banned. Otherwise i would be rolling in with Phenic for the +4. \$\endgroup\$ – Jervis Jul 22 '20 at 5:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question is worded quite clearly, but if we were to interpret this as *"Maximize charisma with 2 ECL budget" instead, one would easily be able to get a 10+ Charisma bonus. It would of course depend on our cheese budget as well. ("Cheese" referring to abusing weird rules interactions the designers did not intend, and the DM might throw books at you for using.) I'm fairly certain I can get it around +14-16 Cha. \$\endgroup\$ – martixy Jul 22 '20 at 7:01
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The unupdated 3.0 template Magic-Blooded from Dragon 306 grants 2 charisma and several other good abilities at the cost of 2 wisdom and is, for some reason, LA+0.

Star elves, Spell scales, Hellbred, and Lesser Aasimar are all LA+0 and give +2 Cha and okay other stuff. There's also plenty of +1 LA templates that give +2 Cha, as you note.

Deathtouched (from Dragon 313 pg 66) is LA +1 and grants +4 Cha +2 Wis -2 Con, along with various weak features.

So your highest option would theoretically be to be a Magic-Blooded Deathtouched for +6 Cha, but actually taking the +2 from Magic-Blooded and any +0 LA +2 Charisma race (like your human) would be a ton better because +2 charisma is not worth an entire level-- at minimum it would be better to multiclass one level of Half Water-Elemental (Dragon 326 pg 89), which grants +2 Cha and changes your type to outsider while leaving you resurrectable and human enough for human paragon, if that's what you want.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Spark is just another name the book gave for magic blooded, admittedly i should have used that because it's the more common name. Water Elemental i didn't know about, though it doesn't give Hit Die, skills, etc so it's effectively a slightly more user friendly LA. Thank you for pointing me too it though, it's likely to be useful for something in the future. \$\endgroup\$ – Jervis Jul 22 '20 at 5:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ One aspect you failed to consider is that Magic-blooded can only be applied to PHB races. \$\endgroup\$ – martixy Jul 22 '20 at 7:25

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