Charlatan was banned, but someone managed this build anyway.

Quote Originally Posted by Kole Naerrin
Kole Naerrin

And then, as the evil drow lord loomed ominously over Princess Syra, Garret swooped past on his horse and lopped the dark elfís head off his shoulders with one stroke of his sword...

No, no, thatíll never do. Thatís much too violent for the fainting lilies in the readership, and if they get upset, the Editor gets upset. Letís see, here:

And then, as the evil drow lord loomed ominously over Princess Syra, Garret swooped past on his horse and swept her up into his saddle with a single fluid motion. Together, they rode off into the sunset, as the dark elf swore eternal vengeance.

Ah, much better; the populace will surely not object to that. And now I can keep the drow around as a recurring villain, if need be.

Spoiler: The Premise
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Most of the Thunder Guide's class features are based on their reputation for mighty deeds... but none of their features actually enable such deeds. Thus, the inspiration for my entry: The notion that the much-vaunted "Thunder Guides" are entirely the invention of the reporter who chronicles the "true stories" of their adventures. Thus, Kole Naerrin, a fast-talking, quick-witted con artist, who disguises himself as his creations to give public appearances by them, all the while ensuring their notoriety by splashing invented deeds all over the pages of the Korranberg Chronicle, and getting paid both by his editors and by the adoring public.

Spoiler: The Build
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Kole Naerrin
Chaotic neutral changeling rogue 1/bard 4/spymaster 2/thunder guide 10/spymaster +3

Str: 8
Dex: 14
Con: 8
Int: 14
Wis: 12
Cha: 18 + all level-ups
Initial languages: Common, Elven, Giant

Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
1st Changeling rogue 1 +0 +0 +2 +0 48: Bluff 4, Craft (writing) 4, Decipher script 4, Diplomacy 4, Disguise 4, Forgery 4, Gather information 4, Knowledge (local) 4, Perform (oratory) 4, Sense motive 4 Able Learner Sneak attack 1d6, social intuition
2st Bard 1 +0 +0 +4 +2 56: Bluff 5, Craft (writing) 5, Decipher script 4, Diplomacy 5, Disguise 5, Forgery 5, Gather information 5, Knowledge (local) 4, Perform (oratory) 5, Sense motive 5 Bardic music, bardic knowledge, countersong, fascinate, inspire courage +1
3rd Bard 2 +1 +0 +5 +3 64: Bluff 6, Craft (writing) 6, Decipher script 4, Diplomacy 6, Disguise 6, Forgery 6, Gather information 6, Knowledge (local) 4, Perform (oratory) 6, Sense motive 6 Skill Focus: Bluff
4th Bard 3 +2 +1 +5 +3 72: Bluff 7, Craft (writing) 7, Decipher script 4, Diplomacy 7, Disguise 7, Forgery 7, Gather information 7, Knowledge (local) 4, Perform (oratory) 7, Sense motive 7 Inspire Competence
5th Bard 4 +3 +1 +6 +4 80: Bluff 8, Craft (writing) 8, Decipher script 4, Diplomacy 8, Disguise 8, Forgery 8, Gather information 8, Knowledge (local) 4, Perform (oratory) 8, Sense motive 8
6th Spymaster 1 +3 +1 +8 +4 90: Bluff 9, Craft (writing) 9, Decipher script 5, Diplomacy 9, Disguise 9, Forgery 9, Gather information 9, Knowledge (local) 5, Perform (oratory) 9, Sense motive 9 Disguise Spell cover identity (Farjest), undetectable alignment
7th Spymaster 2 +4 +1 +9 +4 100: Bluff 10, Craft (writing) 10, Decipher script 6, Diplomacy 10, Disguise 10, Forgery 10, Gather information 10, Knowledge (local) 6, Perform (oratory) 10, Sense motive 10 quick change, scrying defense
8th Thunder Guide 1 +4 +3 +9 +4 106: Bluff 11, Craft (writing) 11, Decipher script 6, Diplomacy 11, Disguise 11, Forgery 11, Gather information 10, Knowledge (local) 6, Perform (oratory) 11, Sense motive 10 Speak Language: Argon, cover identity Fajest replaced by Garret Halstrom
9th Thunder Guide 2 +5 +4 +9 +4 112: Bluff 12, Craft (writing) 12, Decipher script 6, Diplomacy 12, Disguise 12, Forgery 12, Gather information 10, Knowledge (local) 6, Perform (oratory) 12, Sense motive 10 Practiced Spellcaster Thunder Lore: Malenti pearl trick
10th Thunder Guide 3 +6 +4 +9 +5 118: Bluff 13, Craft (writing) 13, Decipher script 6, Diplomacy 13, Disguise 13, Forgery 13, Gather information 10, Knowledge (local) 6, Perform (oratory) 13, Sense motive 10 Native Ties: Stormreach irregulars
11th Thunder Guide 4 +7 +5 +10 +5 124: Bluff 14, Craft (writing) 14, Decipher script 6, Diplomacy 14, Disguise 14, Forgery 14, Gather information 10, Knowledge (local) 6, Perform (oratory) 14, Sense motive 10 Speak Language: Drow, Thunder Lore: Xen'drik Boomerang Expert
12th Thunder Guide 5 +7 +5 +10 +5 130: Bluff 15, Craft (writing) 15, Decipher script 6, Diplomacy 15, Disguise 15, Forgery 15, Gather information 10, Knowledge (local) 6, Perform (oratory) 15, Sense motive 10 Obtain familiar (snake) Lionized in the press
13th Thunder Guide 6 +8 +6 +11 +6 136: Bluff 16, Craft (writing) 16, Decipher script 6, Diplomacy 16, Disguise 16, Forgery 16, Gather information 10, Knowledge (local) 6, Perform (oratory) 16, Sense motive 10 Native ties: storm giants of Xen'drik, rescue artist, thunder lore: savage of the mists
14th Thunder Guide 7 +9 +6 +11 +6 142: Bluff 17, Craft (writing) 17, Decipher script 6, Diplomacy 17, Disguise 17, Forgery 17, Gather information 10, Knowledge (local) 6, Perform (oratory) 17, Sense motive 10 Speak language: Draconic
15th Thunder Guide 8 +10 +7 +11 +6 148: Bluff 18, Craft (writing) 18, Decipher script 6, Diplomacy 18, Disguise 18, Forgery 18, Gather information 10, Knowledge (local) 6, Perform (oratory) 18, Sense motive 10 Deceitful Serial hero, thunder lore: dragonsong
16th Thunder Guide 9 +10 +7 +12 +7 154: Bluff 19, Craft (writing) 19, Decipher script 6, Diplomacy 19, Disguise 19, Forgery 19, Gather information 10, Knowledge (local) 6, Perform (oratory) 19, Sense motive 10 Native ties: Elves of Pylas Talaear
17th Thunder Guide 10 +11 +8 +12 +7 160: Bluff 20, Craft (writing) 20, Decipher script 6, Diplomacy 20, Disguise 20, Forgery 20, Gather information 10, Knowledge (local) 6, Perform (oratory) 20, Sense motive 10 Society peer, speak language: Sahaguin, thunder lore: breath of Shargon
18th Spymaster 3 +12 +9 +12 +7 170: Bluff 21, Craft (writing) 21, Decipher script 7, Diplomacy 21, Disguise 21, Forgery 21, Gather information 11, Knowledge (local) 7, Perform (oratory) 21, Sense motive 11 Negotiator Magic aura, sneak attack +1d6
19th Spymaster 4 +13 +9 +13 +7 180: Bluff 22, Craft (writing) 22, Decipher script 8, Diplomacy 22, Disguise 22, Forgery 22, Gather information 12, Knowledge (local) 8, Perform (oratory) 22, Sense motive 12 Cover identity (Thrush Xivdrad), slippery mind
20th Spymaster 5 +13 +9 +13 +7 190: Bluff 23, Craft (writing) 23, Decipher script 9, Diplomacy 23, Disguise 23, Forgery 23, Gather information 13, Knowledge (local) 9, Perform (oratory) 23, Sense motive 13 Dispel scrying
Bard spells known:
0: Detect Magic, Ghost Sound, Lullaby, Message, Prestidigitation, Read Magic
1: Alibi, Scholar's Touch, Serene Visage
2: Suggestion, False Lie


Spoiler: Build highlights
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At first level, Kole Naerrin begins a promising career as a journalist by disguising himself as a warforged to investigate indentured servitude in Thrane. When the resulting story sells, he decides to further develop his skills at disguise, relating to others, and writing, to try for further success.

By fifth level, Kole has found that those who recognize his name often ask him to re-create the warforged disguise he used for his first story. He sees an opportunity in this, and decides to create a heroic character from scratch, and to develop this new character to the point where he can convincingly make public appearances as that character.

By seventh level, it becomes apparent to Kole that his first attempt at creating a hero from whole cloth, Farjest, lacks credibility, and hence is profiting him nothing. He proceeds to establish a false expedition to the Byeshk Mountains, under the supposed sponsorship of the noble Sarnap. Through assorted disguises and use of the Alibi spell, he gives the impression of great preparations for this expedition, which includes both himself and "Farjest". Any witnesses who suspect his sham is subjected to a False Lie spell, to ensure that none will credit their claims. When he returns as the expedition's sole survivor (as the only real person to actually set out on it), there is none to question his story, and so Farjest's career is effectively ended. From this point, Kole realizes that to make any further characters plausible, he must himself set out on a facsimile of their adventures.

As of thirteenth level, Kole's storytelling has impressed both the street urchins of Stormreach and the giants of Xen'drik enough that they both help him with his researches. His new character of Garret Halstrom is thriving, to the point where his public appearances as Garret can earn as much as 200 GP each, and he sometimes supplements his speeches with displays of his skill with the Xen'drik boomerang. He has also learned the trick of vanishing into mist, for the increasingly-rare occasion that his performances are not well-received.

At 15th level, Kole's big score comes: His editors agree to pay him 5000 GP for a thirteen-part serial on Garret's adventures.

By 20th level, Kole is living a life of luxury, with free travel throughout the Thunder Seas region, and free accommodations in Pylas Talaear. He has by this time created a second major character, a nemesis for Garret Halstrom named Thrush Xivdrad, and is making profitable public appearances as each of them. His fame extends even beneath the waves, and he has given brief displays of his characters (up to 8 minutes) to the sahaguins of Shargon.

His total bonuses to key skills at this level are Bluff +42, Disguise +46, Forgery +27, Perform (oratory) +29, even before any items, and he can take 10 on Bluff even under stress.

Spoiler: Sources used
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Explorer's Handbook (Thunder Guide, character names and backgrounds)
Eberron Campaign Setting (Changeling)
Races of Eberron (Changeling Rogue racial substitution level)
Core (Bard, Skill Focus, Deceitful, Negotiator)
Complete Adventurer (Spymaster, Disguise Spell)
Races of Destiny (Able Learner, Scholar's Touch; note adaptation section in Chameleon for changelings to take Able Learner)
Exemplars of Evil (Alibi)
Spell Compendium (Serene Visage)
Complete Arcane (Practiced Spellcaster, Obtain Familiar)
Complete Mage (False Lie)