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Is there any way to have ability scores above 20 without having magical items? Or is this the only way?

Background of why question was asked: I guess if it is, it is then up to the DM to decide when players can go above 20. Unless there are spells I do not know that can create magical items that increase abilities so characters could make themselves magical items that increase abilities.

The reason I ask is if there is away to increase beyond 20 without the DM allowing it, i.e. character progression and choice.

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The only way (currently) to increase your ability scores above 20 without using magic is to be a level 20 Barbarian. At level 20, the Barbarian gets a feature that increases their Strength and Constitution by 4 each, and raises the cap on Strength and Constitution to 24 instead of 20.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Additionally, the Dungeon Master's Guide contains "Epic Boons and Blessings" (granted at XP stages above 20th level) which can raise ability scores AND their maximums by +2. \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Stening Mar 17 '17 at 3:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RobStening If you read the question, it's explicitly looking for ways to increase ability scores above 20 that aren't the purview of the DM. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Mar 17 '17 at 3:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ My mistake, sorry. Epic is at the DM's option, but then so is level 20, 19, 18, all levels above 1st are DM-dependent in a way. I mean, as those are the only printed rules for Epic, every campaign beyond 20 will automatically have them, unlike magic items. I'm used to playing beyond 20 so that was my subconscious logic. \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Stening Mar 17 '17 at 3:25
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Road to Godhood

After deciding on your voyage to Ascension, after a whole lot of collecting worshippers and destroying magical beasts, you may gain Divine Rank 0. The more worshippers you collect and look after, the higher in the Divine Ranks you go. Its basically another form of levels after you reach level 20, and my Wizard who has recently gained ascension gained many new traits and feats. One of those great feats is the ability to have ability scores of over 20 (no max limit) which is amazing for intelligence modifiers which contribute to my Spell Save DC and Attack. I really would recommend playing a Divine Rank game, because it offers as much fun as playing levels 1 through to 20.

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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This does not seem to refer to 5th edition Dungeons&Dragons rules, which is what the question asks for. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jun 30 '19 at 19:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. All answers must be supported by citing evidence or experience. Have you used such a house-rule? How has it worked, in your experience? (Also, it's not at all obvious in the answer that this is a house-rule/homebrew, so you should make that clear in the answer itself.) Also, if you find that you misunderstood the question, you should edit your answer to make sure it addresses the actual question being asked. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 30 '19 at 21:54

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