I'm going to start playing a one shot where the DM told us to make the most annoying level 1 characters we could, so I thought that you guys could help me out with finding the highest possible level 1 persuasion bonus.


  • No Unearthed Arcana

  • 5e content only

  • no magic items

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Since you can’t count on your table mates to make characters to boost this, I think you’ll want to specify “no help from allies” or something similar. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 11, 2022 at 17:22
  • 14
    \$\begingroup\$ How are you generating your ability scores? Standard array, point buy or rolling dice? \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Commented Dec 11, 2022 at 17:27

2 Answers 2


All by yourself, at best +13

Reliably with point buy, +8.

Take a variant human Cleric. Put your 15 in Charisma, put one of your two +1 incerases on Charisma, for at total of 16 or +3 bonus. Pick Persuasion as your skill. Pick Skill Expert as your feat (Tasha's Cauldron of Everything) and select Persuasion as your Expertise skill (you also can put another +1 on Charisma, so if you roll for the ability score, and get an 18, you can get to 20 or +5 bonus). For one of your cantrips, pick the Guidance cantrip. Before engaging in Persuasion attempts, pray for divine guidance with it, to get +d4 on your skill check.

This will give you a total of

  • +3 to +5 (Charisma ability bonus)
  • +2 Profiencincy
  • +2 Expertise
  • +1 to +4 Guidance

Total in the best case: +13

What's even better, your character can be double annoying: first for having a higher bonus, and second, for casting guidance all the time (and demand others pander to your god for you to cast guidance on them).

[PS: Note that you may have to cast guidance in advance depending on how serious the DM is about this one-shot. I'd expect it to be rather lighthearted and would have fun praying for divine aid convincing the misguided right in front of them, given they asked you to create annoying characters. But if that does not work, you can cast it beforehand and keep it up for up to a minute, to avoid problems with casting a spell during social interactions. Or you can leave it out, in which case you will be back to the +7 to +9 base bonus you would have with a simple rogue build.]

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ A rogue can do the same thing, getting Guidance from a feat (e.g. magic initiate), and Expertise from their class, instead of vice versa with a cleric (or druid if you get persuasion elsewhere, or Divine Soul sorcerer. Other subclasses that get access to Guidance require level 2 or higher in their class). Divine Soul sorc can take advantage of that high Cha as their primary stat. (Celestial warlock doesn't get guidance, only a few specific cleric spells added to their choices.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 6:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PeterCordes Thank you, the Divine Soul Sorcerer also sounds like a good option, as you normally would want your best ability score on Wisdom with a cleric. There is one slight advantage in using Skill Expert as the feat instead of doing it the other way round, and that is the second +1 to Cha, which will get your Cha to a full ability bonus increment, even if you start with an even score (for example, if you roll ability scores and got an 18). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 7:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Oh right, forgot about the +1 ability score from Skill Expert. So that make a Divine Soul great for this. On the "most annoying" front, "Bahamut is my great grandfather" could be a super annoying line of conversation in-game, or the ability to persuade NPCs that it's actually true could be the most annoying for the DM at the table. Or you don't talk about it, and it's Monty Python's Life of Brian except he actually is divine. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 7:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't put a lot of weight into using guidance. It only lasts one minute per casting and would only work on one skill check. As an NPC, if I'm talking to someone and they start casting a spell in front of me, I'm going to be dubious about their actions from now on. As a DM, I would make all Persuasion checks one level higher (so +5) which would nullify the use of the spell. So at best, the character could hide around the corner, cast the spell, walk back to the NPC, engage in banter and hope that the skill check happens in the first minute. Not saying it's not a bonus, just not reliable. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 18:26

The highest bonus is +9.

The main assumption is that you can have a starting score of 18 on CHA: depending on your table, this can be possible or not. For example, with point buy or standard array this can not be achieved, while rolling dice allows it (with some luck: the probability to get at least one 18 with rolling dice is 9.34%).

The combination is then

  • Any race that grants a +2 on CHA score, for a grand total of 20 (for example, Half Elf)
  • Rogue Class
  • Proficiency in Persuasion
  • Expertise in Persuasion

The computation is hence:

$$ +9 = +5 + 2 + 2 $$

where the +5 comes from the CHA modifiers, the first +2 bonus comes from the proficiency in Persuasion and the second one from the expertise in the same skill.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This answer doesn't account for temporary bonuses, such as those from spells (Guidance, in particular). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 18:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MatthieuM. You're right: the fact is the OP seems to not want any help from the other members of the party, and other bonuses of this kind at the 1st level are not available (at least, to the best of my knowledge). I was going to put some ways to increment the bonus from the aid of the party, but I am waiting for clarification from the OP. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 20:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ As discussed on Groody's answer, Rogue with Magic Initiate can get Guidance. Divine Soul Sorcerer with the Skill Expert feat (variant human) can get expertise (and be a class that benefits in general from a high Cha). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 21:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Eddymage: Even without the party's help, and without feats, Guidance is worth around 2.5 points, which at 1st level is better in average than Expertise :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 7:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MatthieuM. That's true, but I have to consider two things: 1) Groody has already pointed out this :-D 2) When I posted my answer (before Groody) I did not think about spell that increase the bonus once per interaction with an NPC. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 8:10

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