4
\$\begingroup\$

The question on its head is fairly straightforward. What are the options for Binding Vestiges?

The ideal answer would give the list of available vestiges from official sources as well as which sources those are.

Helpful additions, but not required, for this answer would note which vestiges, resources, etc., are especially problematic and not worth using/purchasing.

What I have so far is Tome of Magic, but I doubt that is a completely exhaustive list.

History of the Question

I am currently in the musing phases to potentially start my own campaign. While I fully want to do this in Pathfinder, I also struck myself with a strange desire. Among the options not available in Pathfinder is binding, something I find rather interesting and unique. I find myself very much interested in converting binding over from 3.5 to Pathfinder.

However, binding is one of the oft used subsets for massive multiclassing in 3.5 (in so far as I have encountered it) and Pathfinder actually tries to actively dissuade multiclassing (It doesn't always do a good job, but it tries). To keep in the spirit of this, I am hoping to get as close to a complete list of binding options as I can before reworking it in the spirit of Pathfinder.

Big thanks to @HeyICanChan for ideas on how to better ask this question. The question, in it's current incarnation now provides passers by not only with resources to find their own vestiges, but with a helpful format in deciding which ones are useful to the campaign they want to run. It is now Part 1, with parts 2 and 3 to follow.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question has now changed from it's original format. Hopefully, in the long run, this format might be helpful to more people, but the title might not actually be the best. \$\endgroup\$ – Naryna Sep 12 '17 at 17:55
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras It's not a shopping question but a list question asking primarily for a list of 3.5e vestiges (which could only be published as such by Wizards of the Coast) and, ideally, which vestiges are worthwhile. Although it's potentially a long list, it's not a limitless, ever-expanding list, therefore it's within the site's wheelhouse. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 12 '17 at 19:20
9
\$\begingroup\$

D&D 3.5e Binder

The binder class is only found in 3.5e; it is not officially present in Pathfinder at all.

Complete Vestige List

Thus, with no further ado, the vestiges available in 3.5e, listed by their vestige level:

  • Tome of Magic

    1. Amon, the Void Before the Altar; Aym, Queen Avarice; Leraje, the Green Herald; Naberius, the Grinning Hound; Ronove, the Iron Maiden
    2. Dahlver-Nar, the Tortured One; Haagenti, Mother of Minotaurs; Malphas, the Turnfeather; Savnok, the Instigator
    3. Andromalius, the Repentant Rogue; Focalor, Prince of Tears; Karsus, Hubris in the Blood; Paimon, the Dancer
    4. Agares, Truth Betrayed; Andras, the Gray Knight; Buer, Grandmother Huntress; Eurynome, Mother of the Material; Tenebrous, the Shadow that Was
    5. Acererak, the Devourer; Balam, the Bitter Angel; Dantalion, the Star Emperor; Geryon, the Deposed Lord; Otiax, the Key in the Door
    6. Chupoclops, Harbinger of Forever; Haures, the Dreaming Duke; Ipos, Prince of Fools; Shax, Sea Sister; Zagan, Duke of Disappointment
    7. Eligor, Dragon’s Slayer; Marchosias, King of Killers
    8. Halphax, the Angel in the Angle; Orthos, Sovereign of the Howling Dark
  • Dragon Magic

    1. Ashardalon, Pyre of the Unborn
  • Cityscape web enhancement “Urban Magic”

    1. Astaroth, Unjustly Fallen; 6. Desharis, the Sprawling Soul
  • Mind’s Eye web article, “Three Psionic Vestiges”

    1. Arete, the First Elan; 6. Gorn–Rujsha–Mintar, the Triad; 8. Abysm, the Schismed
  • Class Chronicles web article, “Binders”

    1. Zceryll, the Star Spawn
  • Dragon magazine

    • Vol. 341
      1. Primus, the One and Prime
      2. Kas, the Bloody Handed
    • Vol. 357
      1. Astaroth, the Diabolus; Cabiri, the Watching Master; 7. Ansitif, the Befouler
  • Dungeon magazine

    • Vol. 148
      1. Ahazu, the Seizer

This list is full and complete to the best of my knowledge—and I am very confident in my knowledge on this subject, as the binder is my personal favorite class.

Vestiges with balance concerns

The vestiges published in actual books are pretty well balanced; they all have a purpose, a reason why you might bind them, without any standing out as clearly must-have or game-breaking. Many of the expanded vestiges are also pretty decent, but not all of them. Primus, the One and Prime, seems a little too good for 3rd-level, for example; it just seems like the best option for a 3rd-level vestige.

But the real problem is Zceryll, the Star Spawn. She provides a scaling summon monster spell that can be used every 5 rounds, potentially allowing the binder to build up a huge army of powerful outsiders. That makes her far-and-away the best vestige available, better even than the higher-level 7th and 8th level vestiges. Balancing her is difficult; the ability to summon the right outsider for the job at any time is kind of her thing. Maybe give the summons a 5-round duration, so you cannot possibly build up an army?

On the flip side, the three psionic vestiges are really weak. They give you power points that you’re supposed to use with their features, but those power points are just really too few to actually make good use of those vestiges.

Astaroth, Unjustly Fallen, is a little confusing about how his item-creation ability actually works, and there is some debate about what the intent there was. It’s not really a balance concern, more just a matter of some confusion. For that matter, it’s kind of weird that there are two vestiges named Astaroth, though this isn’t really a problem per se.

Converting the binder rules and mechanics to Pathfinder

As for Pathfinder, converting the Tome of Magic binder to Pathfinder is not any great hardship; all you really need to do is adjust things to match their Pathfinder counterparts. The mechanics of the binder are largely unique to that class, so none of the changes in Pathfinder directly affect it, and since vestiges grant supernatural abilities and the rules for those haven’t changed, nothing special really needs to happen.

Instead, just replace references to 3.5 things to the Pathfinder version. Change the class skill list to match the corresponding Pathfinder skills, and change skill bonuses to apply to the corresponding Pathfinder skill. Some of those abilities grant natural attacks, which should probably be massaged to align with Pathfinder, some abilities grant feats and should grant the Pathfinder version of them, and so on, but all those sorts of changes are pretty straightforward.

There is, however, one potential exception wherein you could make quite a lot of work for yourself: favored class bonuses. If you want to write special favored class bonuses, beyond the usual options of +1 hp or +1 skill point, that is quite a bit of work. These favored class bonuses are tied pretty tightly to Pathfinder’s crusade, overzealous in my opinion, against multiclassing, though even the +1 hp or skill point goes a long way there. Ultimately, the binder class was only ever multiclass-compatible, not really multiclass-encouraging. The only really notable “trick” involving multiclassed binders was a single level for Naberius, the Grinning Hound, to allow a hellfire warlock to mitigate the Constitution damage he dealt to himself. Since hellfire warlock isn’t in Pathfinder either, I don’t expect it will be much of an issue.

Balance-wise, Pathfinder and 3.5e aren’t really all that different. Binder should fit neatly sort of middle-ish into the power spectrum of Pathfinder just as it did in 3.5e.

Converting flavor and stories

Several vestiges reference Greyhawk and/or the Forgotten Realms; Ashardalon, Geryon, Karsus, Kas, Primus, and Tenebrous were all notable characters in these campaign settings long before Tome of Magic was ever written. For that matter, Acererak of Tomb of Horrors fame shows up as a vestige. These characters and the events of their lives don’t really fit in Golarion, Paizo’s official campaign setting, if you are using it—and if you aren’t, they also aren’t necessarily people from your campaign setting either, unless you happen to be using Greyhawk or the Realms.

You certainly can just leave it alone. The descriptions in Tome of Magic are pretty generic, and the people who became those vestiges could easily have existed in the distant past of your campaign setting, forgotten and unimportant, not achieving the notoriety or world-changing success or failure, rather than being what they are to Greyhawk or the Realms. I didn’t even realize those vestiges were different from any of the others when I first read Tome of Magic, since I pay little attention to those campaign setting. Or you could just assume they’re still from Greyhawk or the Realms, which are separate universes from your own—after all, vestiges don’t actually exist and could easily have come from other universes (in fact, this is canonically believed to be true of Otiax, the Key in the Door).

On the other hand, you can adapt them, and any of the others for that matter, to give them a stronger tie-in to your setting. I have no particular recommendations for doing so, since I know nothing about your setting, but especially if you are thinking about your campaign in terms of binders being a big part of it, making the effort to do so could be very rewarding. If you’re looking for ideas, it may be interesting to note that the names of the vestiges—excepting those that are shout-outs to other campaign settings, and some of the web-released ones—are stolen from the names of the goetic demons in The Lesser Key of Solomon, one of the most famous/historically important books of occultism in the real world. The seals are literally copies of those drawn by Aliester Crowley. Researching 19th-century(ish) European occult societies and the myths and legends of the goetic demons may provide some inspiration.

Pathfinder Medium

In Pathfinder, as I said, there is no official binder and no official vestiges. The medium class from Occult Adventures is probably the most similar in official material, and in the playtest it was actually quite binder-like. The final version, though, only gets to choose from a very small list of spirits.

Pathfinder Third-Party Pactmaker (formerly Occultist)

Radiance House had a class called the occultist, renamed to pactmaker when Paizo’s Occult Adventures was released with its own class called occultist (which is not at all similar to the binder, but a pretty cool class in its own right). These classes are a pretty direct port of the 3.5e binder class, complete with their own version of vestiges. The occultist was found in Pact Magic Unbound (volumes 1 and 2), while the pactmaker update is in Grimoire of Lost Souls.

It must be stated that when binding spirits in this system, a vision is involved, and for several of the spirits in Grimoire of Lost Souls—e.g. Sybee Rose—that vision is explicitly sexual. And since other spirits in the book—e.g. Tommy Greenfinger—can turn the character into a child, the result is potentially one in which your character—under the rules, anyway—is supposed to be subjected to a vision of being in a sexual situation while simultaneously being underage. It’s not necessarily right there in the book, but it is a very plausible situation to be put into, and one I consider it important to warn readers about. (And, for the record, this is after Paizo rescinded the Pathfinder-compatible logo from the book and forced it to edit out the most egregious content, including Anijira raping the pactmaker during his vision, before it could once again claim Pathfinder compatibility.) Pact Magic Unbound lacked these disturbingly sexual spirits.

Pathfinder Third-Party Empath and friends

Disclosure up front: I write freelance for Dreamscarred Press, consider the people who work there friends, and I am about to recommend a class I wrote with some secondary recommendations for my friends’ work. I will literally earn money (a small amount but nonetheless) if you take my recommendation and actually buy the book (the class is, unfortunately, not yet available on PFSRD). My conflict of interest here is obvious and considerable, and I want you to know about it before we start.

Anyway, that said, Dreamscarred Press released Psionics Augmented: Empath, which presents a medium archetype that is 1. psionic, and 2. far more similar to the binder than the actual medium is, with many “zeitgeists” available for binding, which influence the empath’s behavior. Personally, I recommend it highly, but then I would: I wrote it. So take this shaker of salt to go with my recommendation. Psionics Augmented: Living Legend and Psionics Augmented: Host of Heroes also present classes with strong binder-like themes, though the mechanics are quite different. If these interest you, you may be interested in the compilation volume Psionics Augmented: Occult which includes all three, as well as several other psionic takes on Occult Adventures classes. Much of the material there has been very well received (but again, while the others aren’t my work, I consider their authors friends, salt, etc.).

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I have definitely upvoted this answer and it will probably end up being accepted after I wait a day or two. The amount of research, thought and even the advice regarding the conversion is wonderful. I did want to chime in that it seems like the web article links are broken (at least for me). It might be a localization issue (Canada is quite hated), and I'm sure I can find them myself. But, it might be worth either replacing them or outright removing them. \$\endgroup\$ – Naryna Sep 12 '17 at 21:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BrandynBaryski Just checked, all three work for me. But heh, this didn’t actually involve much research for me, per se. Most of this I either just knew, or already had a convenient list written up for my own use, because I love the binder class. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 12 '17 at 21:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Strange. I'll chalk it up to Wizards hating Canada or something. All three links return 404 errors for me. And yes, I love the idea of the Binder class more than enough to take on any work needed in the conversion. I really do think it makes a great addition for options and flavour. \$\endgroup\$ – Naryna Sep 12 '17 at 21:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Upvoted. Though, to be fair with the Grimoire, a lot of images and descriptions are toned down on bestiaries and adventure paths before the book goes to print. Recently, this also happened to the Book of the Damned, where the author left a note saying "if I've stepped over a line, please edit it down accordingly". It was toned down. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Sep 12 '17 at 21:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras But what an author chooses to write, and what a publisher chooses to print, reflect on that author and that company, respectively. And what we, as consumers, choose to buy and promote, reflects on us as well. Grimoire of the Lost Souls is not the only Pathfinder book I would say contains ill-considered, distasteful, and offensive content—and some of the others are things Paizo printed. It may be personal opinion, but it’s a strongly held one. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 12 '17 at 22:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.