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According to "Do the Manuals and Tomes allow you to exceed 20 in an ability score? And can they be stacked?" you can stack their use to increase an ability score multiple times, even beyond 20.

So in theory, you can increase an ability score as much as you like. What practical limitations are there, if any, that would prevent a high-level character from getting an arbitrarily-high ability score via Tomes or Manuals?

In earlier editions I could point to hard limits to deal with munchkins wanting to exploit these, and I'm concerned by the lack of any obvious limit I can point at to stonewall them in 5e.

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You can't create manuals with Wish by default, since the item creation option specifies non-magical items of 25,000 gp in value. A Wish of the variety relying solely on wording and the GM's mercy is highly unlikely to work out well for you.

As for magic item creation, to make a single manual would require 500,000 gp and 20,000 days (54 and a bit years). So it's technically a viable option, but it's going to take you a long time and a lot of gold. Of course, this requires your GM's permission on top of everything else. You might be able to reduce the amount of time required by getting other spellcasters to help you, but once it's finished they're probably going to want it just as much as you do.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ On the bright side, you wouldn't have to make very many of them before the first few would be recharged. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Jun 16 '17 at 17:55

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