[RPG] How to optimize a character for the greatest number of skill proficiencies with the fewest number of levels


I want to build a character with the maximum number of skill proficiencies, 18. 20 levels to work with, multi-classing, feats, all official published books, starting with standard point array.

The best I have achieved is a Half-Elf (2 skills), Rogue 1 (4 skills), Lore Bard 4 (3 skills, and the Skilled feat for 3 more skills), Knowledge Cleric 1 (2 skills), Warlock 2 (Beguiling Influence Invocation, Deception and Persuasion), from any background (2 skills).

This is a total of 18 Skill Proficiencies, 5 of which have expertise. I have only used up 8 character levels. Is it possible to do this with even fewer levels?

Best Answer

If they don't need to be concurrent, or always available, this can be achieved with two levels of Cleric in the Knowledge Domain, which grants:

Channel Divinity: Knowledge of the Ages Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to tap into a divine well of knowledge. As an action, you choose one skill or tool. For 10 minutes, you have proficiency with the chosen skill or tool.

It's not quick, but will legitimately grant you any conceivable skill proficiency in a pinch, as well as all tool proficiencies. And in the right circumstances, ten minutes can be a long time.