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Picklist values by API work around?

Hi. I need my users while editing opportunities to pick from a list which I can update by API. I think you can't do this using simple picklists through the API?

I wondered about doing it by populating a series of custom objects with my picklist values, and having them attach the custom object with that value to the opportunity. The trouble is I really wanted to do this through dependent picklists to simplify picking from a very large list, and so I don't think that's going to work :-<

Can anyone think of a work around to this? Aside from manually getting someone to change things every time the picklist value changes.