Politico (3.5e Optimized Character Build)

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The Politico is an inexcusable abuse of the Diplomacy skill, and originated as a use for bard, although a variety of other classes eventually made it into the final build. It has an extremely slow progression for actual combat and spell progression, although the goal is to finish fights before they start with Diplomacy and duck out of those few that can't be avoided. Unlike most builds, this can be brutally effective even by third level, although the full build goes up to level 10.

This build is an intellectual exercise only. If you use this build your fellow players will probably want to kill you. There is nothing as unfun as watching one guy Jedi mind trick everything under the sun.


Game Rule Components[edit]

Race and Templates[edit]




Rogue, warlockCAr, half-elf paragon, fighter, shadowdancer, exemplarCAd


Skill Focus, Complimentary InsightRoD, and Negotiator are important even though this build centers around skills, and for the most part feats are somewhat irrelevant.

Spells, Powers, Items[edit]

This build benefits greatly from eagle's splendor or a cloak of charisma and other CHA boosting shenanigans, although since they can not actually be created by the build itself, they are left out of the equation. By the end of the build, the character's CHA is assumed to be a natural 20, since this can easily be achieved with most point buys and the two ability points at levels 4 and 8. Any additional boosts are just great.


ECL Class/HD/LA Feats
1st Rogue (Unearthed Arcana variant) Negotiator, Feat: Skill Focus (Diplomacy), Feat: Improved Initiative, Flaw: Vulnerable or Noncombatant
2nd Warlock Eldritch Blast 1d6, Invocation: Beguiling Influence
3rd Rogue (Complete Mage substitution level) Spell Reflection, Feat: Complimentary Insight
4th Half-Elf Paragon Divided Ancestry, Elven Vision, Feat: Sociable Personality, ability score increase
5th Fighter Feat: Dodge
6th Fighter Feat: Mobility, Feat: Combat Reflexes
7th Half-Elf Paragon Persuasion
8th Shadowdancer Hide In Plain Sight, ability score increase
9th Shadowdancer Evasion, Darkvision, Uncanny dodge, Negotiator*
10th Half-Elf Paragon +2 to CHA
11th Exemplar Skill Artistry: Diplomacy, Skill Mastery: Diplomacy


At the end of your ten levels, these will be your minimum in a number of skills.

14 Diplomacy

6 Bluff

5 Sense Motive

5 Knowledge: Nobility

12 Hide

10 Move Silently

5 Perform (Dance)

1 Knowledge: Arcana

Half-elves get +2 to Diplomacy and Gather Info. Persuasion bumps this to +3. (untyped)

Diplomacy gets synergy bonuses from Bluff, Sense Motive, and Knowledge Nobility. Complimentary Insight bumps the +2 bonuses to +3. (untyped)

Diplomacy is increased by +4 by taking the Negotiator two times*.

Skill Focus: Diplomacy adds +3 to Diplomacy. (untyped)

Beguiling Influence adds +6 to Diplomacy, Bluff, and Intimidate for a 24 hour period. (untyped)

Skill Artistry: Diplomacy adds +4 to Diplomacy. (competence)

* Normally, Negotiator cannot be taken twice, but you might be able to convince your DM to house-rule otherwise.

14+3+3+3+3+3+4+4+6= 42 Diplomacy, without a charisma modifier. By level ten, it would be fair to expect an score of 22 CHA, giving us a CHA mod of +6 for a grand total of 48. Since we have a Skill Mastery in diplomacy, we can take a 10 to keep things easy, giving us a working total of 58.

Given a full minute of discourse, the DC to turn an actively hostile character to Friendly is 35, and the DC to turn that same person to Helpful is 50. If all you have is six seconds, you get a mere -10 to your Diplomacy. If for whatever reason you should happen to fail this roll, Sociable Personality allows you to reroll Diplomacy and Gather Information checks.

The Shadowdancer levels are a tip of the hat to an old friend of mine, who always loved the class but could never figure out how to make it work out right for him, which is why there are two dead fighter levels.

Munchkin-Size Me[edit]

While it's great to have helpful friends wherever you want, the problem exists that there are just a lot of creatures that are flat-out mindless. You won't be able to deal with those normally, but the rules again come out to serve us.

The epic usage of Diplomacy allows for a Helpful character to be turned into a Fanatical character with a flat 50 check. Ordinarily, you wouldn't be able to get this kind of check result without being at level 30, but since you've dumped so many points into Diplomacy by now, you should have no problem making that lofty DC. Your goal, then, is to find some kind of awful beasty-killer in either the form of a high-level melee character, a high level spellcaster, or some kind of vicious dragon, and command them to slay your foe in your stead.

Keep in mind that this attitude adjustment abuse of diplomacy is not magical or mind-affecting in any way, shape, or form. Because of the way the rules are written, if your opponent has an intelligence higher than 3, this will work on him. There are no modifiers to be applied for wariness or villainy, this build can legally convince anybody to do anything in exactly one minute and six seconds. There isn't even an opposed roll involved. This is the only build that I know of that can bend Pun-Pun to its will (although Pun-Pun is still obviously stronger, and is better at the build than the build itself is).

Except for the bonus granted by skill artistry, every bonus that's in this build is untyped. Feel free to add your favorite Diplomacy and CHA boosting items and know that they'll all stack nicely with the build's bonuses.

Alternatively you can replace the dead Fighter levels and Shadowdancer with Marshall levels from Miniature's Handbook in order to apply your Charisma bonus twice with the Motivate Charisma Aura which doubles the effectiveness of any CHA boosting items. This bonus is also untyped, I believe, which still doesn't eliminate most magic items.

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