It’s possible for a 1st-level character to qualify for the anima mage prestige class (Tome of Magic) by taking 4 ranks in Intimidate along with Bind Vestige (ibid), Improved Bind Vestige (ibid), Precocious Apprentice (Complete Arcane), and any one metamagic feat. Accruing all those feats requires a bonus racial feat (e.g. human) as well as two flaws (Unearthed Arcana). This is discussed in detail here.
Noted there, however, is the requirement that you have Intimidate as a class skill—and you can’t get it from a feat (even if you had another feat to spare) because feats are selected last in the character-creation process, after your skills are already decided. And in any event, this character doesn’t have another feat to spare.
This is a problem because sha’ir—the class I’d like to take into anima mage—lacks Intimidate as a class skill (Dragon Compendium). Wizards are able to get around this limitation by being enchanters who take the social proficiency alternate class feature (Unearthed Arcana), but as far as I know, there is nothing similar for sha’ir.
Barring high shenanigans like level drain abuse, retraining misuse, really anything that involves having more HD and then somehow erasing them later, as well as manipulate form in its entirety, is there any way for a 1st-level sha’ir to qualify for anima mage, and wind up a 1st-level sha’ir/1st-level anima mage? This must actually be an ECL 2nd character, so RHD or LA are out.
What I’m basically hoping for is that I’m wrong that there’s no ACF that works for sha’ir here, or else to find out that there’s some way, perhaps, to cause 2 cross-class ranks in Intimidate to retroactively become 4 (while still being 1st level). Stuff for bonus ranks would work, only I’m pretty sure there’s only one of those in the game (and it would require two more feats in any event).
Any 3.5e materials published either by Wizards of the Coast or in Dragon or Dungeon magazines (including 3e material in the same that would be legal in a 3.5e game) is legal. Anything that requires leveling up within a narrow window is heavily frowned upon. Any outside assistance (including magic items created by others) must come from a legal E6 character.