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I must keep the details secret, but I have to create a character which has highest possible charisma at 20th ECL (LA buyoff possible, which means character can be like 20 rogue death knight). It must work 24/7. It may not be granted by a class feature neither a racial feature unless it enhances the very ability of charisma (like Doomlord). However spell will be perfectly fine.

LA is acceptable, but not more than +3. Character must be humanoid. Please give me the best recommendations.

Allowed resources are 3.0, 3.5, Dragon Magazine, Wizard archives. No homebrew, no artifacts. Gold is not an issue.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there a restriction on the usage of Racial HDs? Is LA buy-off used? \$\endgroup\$ – Matthieu M. May 10 '16 at 18:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, LA buy-off may be used. Standard rules for racial hd, each hd +1 ECL. \$\endgroup\$ – Momonga-sama May 10 '16 at 18:12
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Disclaimer: The maximum theoretical answer is... as much as you want. An example being Pun-pun. Since those are not playable, this answer focuses on how getting a high Charisma without completely breaking the game.


Total: 99.


Starting from the basics:

  • Base Charisma score 18
  • Leveling points +5
  • Inherent bonus +5
  • Venerable +3

thus a minimum of 31.


A little cheese to sweeten the deal:

  • Lesser Aasimar for +2; type is Humanoid (Planetouched)
  • LA+0 Magic-Blooded template (Dragon Magazine #306, p. 50) for +2; type unchanged
  • LA+0 Unseelie Fey template (Dragon Compendium, p. 224) for +2; type changes to Fey
  • LA+1 Draconic template (Draconomicon, p. 150) for +2; type unchanged
  • LA+2 Half-Fey template (Fiend Folio, p. 90) for +4; type changes to Fey or if you prefer Obah Blessed template (Dragon Magazine #136, p.60), same bonus, type unchanged
  • LA+5 Suel Lich template (Dragon #339, p. 60) for +2; type changes to Undead
  • Polish with a bit of bloodline, such as the Celestial Bloodline (Unearthed Arcana, p.21), granting +1 at level 9

thus a bonus of +15.

Our type is now Fey (Planetouched), unless using Suel Lich, however taking the 1st-level feat Human Heritage (Races of Destiny, p. 152) turns it back to Humanoid (Human, Planetouched). It requires us to be of a half-human or human-descended race, I expect Lesser Aasimar to qualify, otherwise, what's the non-Aasimar part?


I prefer cheese with my cheese:

  • The Worm of Minauros magical location (Fiendish Codex II, p. 49), for +1 unnamed bonus; to be renewed every 30 days by committing an act of obeisance (if non-lawful) or a corrupt act (if non-evil)
  • A Pact with the Devil (Fiendish Codex II, p. 23), for +1 unnamed bonus; it tends to lead one toward damnation

thus another +2.


Picking the right classes:

  • A single level in the Dragon Devotee class (Races of the Dragon, p. 84), for an unnamed +2.
  • A single level in the Anointed Knight class (Book of Exalted Deeds, p. 49), for the Divine Clarity oil and an unnamed +1.
  • A single level in the Half-Water Elemental class for a racial +2 (Dragon #326, p. 89)
  • Two levels in the Half-Air Elemental class for a racial +2 (Dragon #326, p. 87)
  • Three level in the Half-Fire Elemental class for a racial +2 (Dragon #326, p. 88)
  • Four levels in the Ghost savage progression (http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/sp/20040117a) for an unnamed +4.
  • Six levels in the Warchief class (Miniatures' Handbook, p. 24), for an unnamed +6.
  • Eight levels in the Doomlord class (Planar Handbook variant, p. 47) for an unnamed +2.

thus another +21.


Picking the right feats:

  • Ability Enhancer (Dragon Compendium, p. 91), enhances the ability bonus of any Transmutation spell by another +2.

Picking the right spells:

  • From Zachiel's list, the Paladin's spell Righteous Aura [Abjuration] (Spell Compendium, p. 177) for +4 sacred bonus to Charisma; to be persisted.
  • The Bard's spell Snowsong [Enchantment] (Frostburn, p. 105), for +4 Morale bonus to Charisma; to be persisted.
  • The Cleric's spell Visage of the Deity, Greater [Transmutation] (Spell Compendium, p. 231), for +4 unnamed bonus to Charisma (if Good); to be persisted.
  • The Bard's spell Nixie's Grace [Transmutation] (Spell Compendium, p. 148), for +8 enhancement bonus to Charisma; to be persisted.

thus another +20, or +24 with the Ability Enhancer feat.

For persisting Bard spells, Divine Metamagic does not work; an Incantatrix (Player's Guide to Faerûn, p. 61) can, however, persist spells either through Cooperative Metamagic (2nd-level) or Metamagic effect (3rd-level).


Buying the right items:

  • The Command armor property (Defenders of the Faith, p. 23), for a +4 Competence bonus to Charisma.

thus another +4.


Knowing the wrong persons:

  • A Lilitu's Gift (Fiendish Codex I, p. 43), for +2 Profane bonus to Charisma, to be renewed every 24 hours. Makes alignment drifts toward Chaotic, perfect to balance the Worm of Minauros!

thus another +2.


For now, that's a grand total of 99.

Of course, how to manage a deal to get all those is an exercise for the reader... A Cleric/Sublime Chord/Eldrich Master with the Alternative Source Spell feat could get most of it I'm told, which would most probably be foregoing a few of the suggested classes (starting with the Doomlord).


Among other things, I picked ideas from Ways to increase Charisma?, which includes some builds and The most cost effective way of boosting charisma? and I have not read them fully.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I have just realised a major problem. The prestige classes, that you suggested need at least bab of 3. \$\endgroup\$ – Momonga-sama May 11 '16 at 2:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Momonga-sama: Oh there are likely several problems, I doubt that you can actually reach 90; on the other hand, I am pretty sure you can manage to reach at least 80: after all, even with a Wizard's BAB progression, it only takes 6 levels to reach BAB+3. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthieu M. May 11 '16 at 6:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well Aasimar gives you bab of +1. Maybe you can get 3 paragon levels of human to increase it to +3 and get +2 charisma. \$\endgroup\$ – Momonga-sama May 11 '16 at 7:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ You should note that this exercise is ignoring ways to get infinite Charisma, since those exist and are not barred by the question. There are a number of ways to do it, but Pun-pun is (as it always is) the trivial example. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 11 '16 at 19:09
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Also, the question limits LA to +3, while you have +8 (Suel lich’s LA +5 for Cha +2 is clearly the problem there), at least some monster/template progressions require that you complete them so you need to double-check (and note) that you can take just a few levels of each of these, and that you can take them after 1st. There is a divine bard in Unearthed Arcana, or you can use Talfirian Song (not that incantatrix can’t also handle it). And your bottom line grand total still says 97. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 12 '18 at 21:54
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I'm not totally sure this is the best there is, but follow me.

  • Put all your starting (18) and levelup (4*) points in charisma, buy a +5 Tome of Leadersip & Influence.
  • Be old. This gives you -6 to all physical stats and +3 to all mental ones including charisma.
  • Be human. Take 2 levels in Human Paragon and 10 levels in Chameleon (both prestige classes), granting you an unnamed +8 to charisma. I bet this, summed to any charisma-raising archetype we can find, is better than the bonus given by any other race.
  • Use your paladin spells from chameleon to cast righteous aura for a +4 sacred bonus.
  • Use your bard spells from chameleon to cast nixie's grace for a +8 enhancement bonus. This is better than any pre-epic item.
  • Take one level of cleric for the charm domain (+4 to charisma once per day) and to access Divine Metamagic (persist spell) if you need your charisma to stay high all day long.
  • Take one level in prestige bard to access Snowsong for a +4 morale
  • Chew some Mertoran Leaf for an alchemical +2
  • Make a pact with a devil (FCII): +1
  • Visit the location Worm of Minauros (FCII): +1

(out of this build: greater visage of the deity spell [not available with Chameleon], horseshoes of flame [must be humanoid], devil's ego spell [do profane and sacred stack?])

For the archetype, I have absolutely no idea. Death touched comes to mind (my DM houseruled it as a race on its own, thanks Mordenkran for reminding me it is an archetype and thus available to humans). There's probably better options out there, but I think a chameleon / human paragon shouldn't really dabble in dehumanizing archetypes.

*only 4 because you won't get the fifth point at level 20 if your LA is at least +1, and even Death touched gives you a +4 which is better.

Total:

18+4+5+3+2+6+4+8+4+2+1+1+4 = 62 (+26), with possibly some better archetypes.


Or you can be Pun-Pun and abuse transformation into a Sarrukh to raise any stat of your reptile familiar to your (buffed) one, then swap roles and have the familiar buff up to give the even higher bonus to you, and so on, and get arbitrarily high charisma (along with anything else in every book ever. We do not advice going to such lenghts unless it is just a theoretical discussion made to prove a point).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunetly It may not be chamelon's ability boost, neither doppelganger's adapt. It can't be racial neither class feature unless it boost charisma itself, like Doomlord. \$\endgroup\$ – Momonga-sama May 10 '16 at 18:10
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If you want to play a caster class, LA is out of mind. Losing caster level is one of the worst thing you can do. So one of the best humanoid race are the Lesser Aasimar (LA 0) or Aasimar (LA +1). Also the Dragonwrought Kobold is a very good choice because you can play at venerable age without losing physical stats. You can add a template to the race, DeathTouched in the Dragon Magazine #313 (LA +1).

The next point is the equipment. The mental stat can't grow as the physical do. So you can buy a Charisma Mantle +6 or a Tome of leadership and influence +5. I believe the two items stack because the mantle bonus is magical and the tome one is inherent.

So with an aasimar or lesser aasimar you reach +13 char, adding the DeathTouched you reach +15. if you play the Kobold you can reach +14 char and adding Deathtouched +16.

I hope to have done enough optimization

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Since the character is level 20, 3 LA still nets him (a few) level 9 spells. That might not be this bad. \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel May 10 '16 at 17:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ In my humble opinion, losing high level casts, as the 9th spells, to gain some charisma is not worth it. A +3 char can't compensate high level spell; they coukd solve a very bad situation. If the request was more Strength, I would be the first to lose level to gain more stat but if I have to play a caster, there is nothing more important than the caster's levels. But it's only my opnion \$\endgroup\$ – Mordenkran May 10 '16 at 17:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Caster level doesn't matter. It needs to be 20 ECL. Only charisma matters \$\endgroup\$ – Momonga-sama May 10 '16 at 17:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that using the buy-off rules LA+3 is entirely bought off at ECL 20, thus leaving you with the same number of 9th-level spells as any other. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthieu M. May 10 '16 at 18:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I know, this is why LA+3 is the highest possible. \$\endgroup\$ – Momonga-sama May 10 '16 at 19:27

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