Alternate Class - Binder

"I call upon you, Amon, the Void before the Altar. Render unto me your sight and your breath, for I stand before your seal and possess your talisman." - Morden, dwarf binder, calling upon a vestige to make a pact

Between mortality and godhood, beyond life and undeath, souls exist in a place both forgotten and inaccessible. Mortals too strong-willed to pass into the afterlife, dead outsiders too powerful to be absorbed into their planes, the dreams of slain deities put to rest eons before the current age - these are the beings called vestiges. A seal forms the door between these beings and reality, and knowledge is the key to opening it.

Only the binder possesses that key, because only he knows the vestiges' special seals and the rituals by which they can be called from the void beyond reality. By drawing their seals and speaking the words of power, he summons these strange entities, bargains with them, and binds them to his service.

Making A Binder

The binder can redefine his role in an adventuring party on a daily basis, if desired. His potent abilities are always useful in combat, but what those abilities are and what strategies he employs when using them depend on the vestige that he binds. As with any class, the race, alignment, and ability choices made upon character creation influence future choices. The binder class, however, offers a special opportunity to break free of a spellcaster's typical boundaries.

Abilities: A binder typically possesses a healthy body and a strong personality, since high Constitution and Charisma scores can improve many of his supernatural abilities. More importantly, a high Charisma score enhances the binder's ability to make beneficial pacts with vestiges. Since many vestiges grant improved melee or ranged combat ability, a high Strength or Dexterity score serves the binder well. Lastly, a high Intelligence score grants him extra skill points to spend on important class skills.

Races: Because binders associate with spirits beyond the control of the gods, the practice of pact magic is forbidden by most religions. Binders tend to be rare among all humanoid races. Given their ambition and their penchant for a cosmopolitan lifestyle, humans choose the path of the binder more frequently than members of other races do, but binders are no more welcome in human society than in any other. Many halfling traveling communities remain largely unaware of binders, but settlements often gain knowledge of them - and learn to fear them - from the clergy of other races in neighboring areas. Because single deities dominate the cultures of both elves and dwarves, members of these races tend to be more aware of - and more opposed to - binders than their fellow humanoids. Gnomes who know of binders claim that Garl Glittergold appreciates the cosmic joke of mortal souls that grow so powerful that they can be neither saved nor damned. Half-orcs and half-elves, accustomed as they are to existing on the fringe of society and suffering persecution, sometimes even sympathize with the plight of binders.

Alignment: Although vestiges were once beings of light and darkness like all creatures of the planes, their long existence in a strange state beyond normal reality has twisted them into enigmatic and amoral entities. However, their nature does not dictate the alignments of those who bind to them. A fearsome and violent vestige can lend its powers to a good binder, who uses them to make peace with enemies. Conversely, a sweet-faced and kind vestige might grant an evil binder the power to wreak havoc. In some cases, the same vestige might make separate but simultaneous pacts with two binders who are in direct conflict with one another.

Vestiges are not easily defined as good, evil, lawful, or chaotic, but their unfathomable mindsets and strange appearance often disturb lawful and good creatures. Thus, most binders are neutral, chaotic neutral, chaotic evil, or neutral evil.

Starting Gold: 5d4x10 (125 gp).

Starting Age: As cleric.

Class Skills

The binder's class skills are Bluff, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (history), Knowledge (religion), Knowledge (the planes), Profession, and Sense Motive.

Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) x 4.

Skill Points at each additional level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features

As a binder, you can serve many purposes in an adventuring party. Since each vestige grants you a different set of supernatural abilities, you can choose which role to play on any given day - diplomat, scout, support, melee combatant, or ranged combatant. At higher levels, you can host more than one vestige at a time to gain an even wider range of abilities. You also gain special defenses and bonus feats that let you further refine your role in the party and play to your strengths.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: As a binder, you gain proficiency with all simple weapons and with light armor, but not with shields.

Soul Binding (Su): Through special methods known only to binders, you can contact a vestige and make a pact with it. At 1st level, you can make a pact with one vestige at a time. At higher levels, you can form and maintain pacts with multiple vestiges simultaneously, as shown below. You must complete the summoning and binding process with each separately, so each has its normal chance to influence you. You bear the physical sign of binding for each one. Your effective binder level, or FBI (your binder class level plus any soul binding bonuses you receive from prestige classes or other sources), determines the maximum level of vestige you can summon, as well as all other functions related to binding vestiges. This value equates to your binder class level, as given below, for this purpose. If the vestige you are trying to contact is of a higher level than your indicated maximum, you cannot summon it.

To contact a vestige, you must draw its unique seal visibly on a surface (generally the ground), making the image at least 5 feet across. Drawing a seal requires the ability to mark a surface and 1 minute of concentration, and the act provokes attacks of opportunity. A seal not used within 1 minute of its drawing loses all potency, and you must draw a new one to contact the vestige. A vestige might also have other requirements for contact, as noted in its entry (see The Vestiges, page 16 Tome of Magic).

Once the seal is drawn, you must perform a ritual requiring a full-round action to summon the corresponding vestige. During this time, you must touch the seal and call out to the vestige using both its name and its title. The ritual fails if you cannot be heard (for example, if you are within the area of a silence spell). Otherwise, a manifestation of the vestige appears in the seal's space as soon as you finish the ritual. This image is not the actual vestige; it is merely a figment - an illusion that cannot harm or be harmed by any creature. Creatures that interact with the image or study it carefully automatically recognize is a illusory. The summoned image ignores everyone but you. If you fail to address it within 1 round it disappears. The vestige speaks in whatever language you used to call it.

To make a pact with your summoned vestige, you must make a binding check (1d20 + your effective binder level + your Cha modifier). This process requires 1 minute but you can choose to make a rushed binding check as a full-round action at a -10 penalty. The DC for this check is provided in the description of each vestige. You must make your perilous pact alone; others cannot aid you in any way.

Whether the binding check succeeds or fails, you gain the powers granted by the vestige for 24 hours. During that time, you cannot rid yourself of the vestige unless you possess the Expel Vestige feat. Success or failure does, however, determine other aspects of the pact. If you fail the binding check, the vestige influences your personality and your actions, and you are said to have made a poor pact. (Specifically, the vestige's presence changes your general demeanor, and it can force you to perform or refrain from certain actions.) If your binding check is successful, the vestige has no control over your actions and does not influence your personality. In this case, you are said to have made a good pact. While under the influence of a vestige, you must adhere to its requirements to the best of your abilities. If you are conscious and free-willed, and you encounter a situation in which you cannot or will not refrain from a prohibited action or perform a required one, you take a -1 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, and checks until that vestige leaves you. If you are influenced by more than one vestige, you must act according to all their influences. If you fail to fulfill the requirements of more than one vestige or disobey a single vestige more than once, the penalties stack.

As long as you are bound to a vestige, you manifest a specific physical sign of its presence, as given in its entry. This sign is real, not an illusory or shapechanging effect, and someone using true seeing perceives it just as it is. You can hide a sign by mundane or magical means without penalty, or you can prevent it from appearing at all if you have the suppress sign ability.

Vestiges are bound to your soul by the pact. They cannot be targeted or expelled by any means except the Expel Vestige feat, nor can they be suppressed except by an antimagic field or similar effect.

The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against any supernatural power granted by a vestige is 10 + 1/2 your effective binder level + your Cha modifier.

Suppress Sign (Ex): At 2nd level and higher, when you make a good pact, you can choose not to exhibit the physical sign that normally accompanies a pact with a vestige. You can suppress or reveal the sign at will as a swift action. With a poor pact, you gain the powers of the vestige, but you cannot suppress its sign. You show it for the duration of the pact and are influenced by it as normal.

Bonus Feats: At 4th level, and again at 11th and 18th level, you gain a bonus feat of your choice from the following list: Armor Proficiency (medium), Armor Proficiency heavy), Diligent, Investigator, Martial Weapon Proficiency, Negotiator, Persuasive, Shield Proficiency, and the feats presented in this chapter. These feats are in addition to those normally gained for attaining higher levels, but you must still meet any prerequisites for the bonus feats

Pact Augmentation (Su): Beginning at 2nd level, you can draw additional power from the vestiges you bind. As long as you are bound to at least one vestige, you can choose one ability from the following list. Each time you rebind a vestige, you also reselect your pact augmentation ability.

As you attain higher levels, you can make additional selections from the list. You gain one additional ability at 5th, 10th, 16th, and 20th level (to a maximum of five selections at 20th level). You can choose a single ability multiple times, and their effects stack. For instance, at 16th level you could choose bonus hit points twice and damage reduction twice, gaining +10 hit points and damage reduction 2/-.

Pact Augmentation Abilities

+5 hit points

Energy resistance 5 (acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic)

+1 insight bonus on saving throws

Damage reduction 1/-

+1 insight bonus to Armor Class

+1 insight bonus on attack rolls

+1 insight bonus on damage rolls

+2 insight bonus on initiative checks

Soul Guardian (Su): Beginning at 6th level, you have immunity to fear effects as long as you are bound to a vestige.

As you attain higher binder levels, the vestige guards its time with you even more jealously, granting you protection from additional effects that would harm your soul and life energy for as long as the pact lasts.

At 9th level, you gain the slippery mind ability, which allows you to wriggle free from magical effects that would otherwise control or compel you. if you fail your saving throw against an enchantment spell or effect, you can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. You get only this one extra chance to succeed on your saving throw.

At 13th level, you gain immunity to energy drain and negative levels.

When you attain 19th level, your bound vestiges completely protect your mind, granting you immunity to all mind-affecting spells and abilities.

BinderHit Die: d8
CLBABFortRefWillSpecialMax Vestige lvl
1st+0+2+0+2Soul binding (1 vestige)1st
2nd+1+3+0+3Pact augmentation (1 ability), suppress sign1st
4th+3+4+1+4Bonus feat2nd
5th+3+4+1+4Pact augmentation (2 abilities)3rd
6th+4+5+2+5Soul guardian (immune to fear)3rd
8th+6/+1+6+2+6Soul binding (2 vestiges)4th
9th+6/+1+6+3+6Soul guardian (slippery mind)4th
10th+7/+2+7+3+7Pact augmentation (3 abilities)5th
11th+8/+3*7+3+7Bonus feat5th
13th+9/+4+8+4+8Soul guardian (immune to energy drain and negative levels)6th
14th+10/+5+9+4+9Soul binding (3 vestiges)6th
16th+12/+7/+2+10+5+10Pact augmentation (4 abilities)7th
18th+13/+8/+3+11+6+11Bonus feat8th
19th+14/+9/+4+11+6+11Soul guardian (mind blank)8th
20th+15/+10/+5+12+6+12Pact augmentation (5 abilities) soul binding (4 vestiges)8th

Binder Lore

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (religion), or who have the bardic knowledge ability, can research binders and pact magic to learn more about them. Also, although religious groups try to quash the stories of binders, bards often find the intrigue and romance of pact magic so alluring that they can't resist sharing the tales of it, if only with other bards. When a character makes a skill check or a bardic knowledge check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs. A character with ranks in Knowledge (the planes) can also gain some information about binders, though each of the DCs below increases by 5 for such checks.

A character trying to establish contact with a binder or an organization opposed to such individuals can make a DC 30 Gather Information check to discover the necessary intermediaries and protocols for contact. Talking directly to a binder member of an opposing group won't work, because both are likely to feign ignorance. A PC who can offer something of value (such as information or a magic item) to the person or people he is trying to contact gains a +2 circumstance bonus on the check.

Source: Tome of Magic

Alternate Character Classes
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