View Full Version : New Binder Vestige

2007-05-02, 05:58 PM
I'm really liking the Binder thing. However, since Binders aren't supported much past Tome of Magic, there are very few Vestiges available... 28 or so I think, in total, including a few from Dragon magazine. There are, however, guidelines for how to create new Vestiges, given in an article on the D&D website in the design section (see here: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/dd/20060324a ). The basic balance points are as follos:

At-will or constant abilities a binder gains should be about as powerful as what a warlock of the same level can accomplish. (See Complete Arcane for a description of the warlock.)
Abilities with the 5-round delay should be about as useful and powerful as the highest-level spell a wizard of the same level as the binder can cast (assuming the vestige grants just one such ability.) If the vestige grants more than one such ability, you’ll need to scale both powers down. A good rule of thumb is to lower the effective spell level by one for each additional 5-round-delay ability that the vestige grants.
Abilities that grant a feature from another class, such as sneak attack or sudden strike, should be slightly behind what a character of that class gains.

I've also noticed that generally, all vestiges follow a theme, but the abilities of any one vestige aren't usually very synergistic... they do very different things. With that in mind, I've got an idea for a Vestige... tell me what you think:

Nicomas, the Undying.

Legend: Nicomas was a powerful necromancer, and very afraid of vanishing. As such, he studied how to become a lich, that he might live forever. However, he learned too much about lichdom, and realized that while it would preserve his body, it would also stagnate his soul, such that he would not truly be alive. He was now afraid of being either dead or undead. As such, as his life was ending, he devised a powerful spell to prevent his becoming either. He assumed incorrectly that by being unable to die and unable to be undead, he would have to remain the only other option, alive. Instead, however, he faded into a fourth option, existance as a Vestige.

Influence: While bound to Nicomas you are intensely interested in methods of continued existance. Any time you come upon an outsider or abberation with a lifespan of greater than 1000 years, you must spend a standard action to study it before doing anything else.

Sign: Those bound to Nicomas have eyes that are jet black and seem to be looking directly at anyone gazing upon them.

Granted Powers:

March of the Dead: You may animate a single corpse as though you have cast the Animate Dead spell, following all the usual rules for that spell, with your caster level being equal to your effective binder level. This being is under your control, as per the spell, and counts towards your limit of animated undead. Once you have used this ability, you cannot use it again for another 5 rounds.

Deathlight: To your eyes, undead shine like light sources, allowing you to see. This light is not visible to anyone else. Undead of 6HD or less cast light like a torch. Undead of 7-12HD shine like a lantern. Undead of 13 or more HD shine like a daylight spell cast from their location.

Deathward: You are continually protected from Death effects.

As animate dead is a 3rd level cleric spell, and thus could be cast by a 5th level character, I figure this should count as a 3rd level vestige, available to a 5th level binder. Deathlight is actually nearly identical to a feat that's undead only called "Lifesight" that does almost the same thing, except that living people glow instead of undead. Deathward is a useful and characterful ability, but a bit rare to actually come up.

Anyway, some details need to be ironed out, but what do you think?


2007-05-02, 06:05 PM
Interesting. What happens to the undead when you stop binding to Nicomas? Do they crumble, become inert, or become uncontrolled?

2007-05-02, 06:08 PM
It would be like Tenebrous's rebuking, or like the spell. You'd keep them.

After all, if a Wizard simply doesn't memorize the spell one day, he doesn't lose his animate dead undead.


2007-05-02, 09:05 PM
Spell-like abilities do not have verbal, somantic, XP or material components, but you _do_ specify "following all the usual rules for that spell". Does that mean you're required to have the material component (I forget... an onyx gem, isn't it?) in order to use this ability?

2007-05-03, 04:54 PM
No, the idea would be that it doesn't cost an Onyx. There are a number of ways to get onyx free casting of the spell (Pale Master PrC, Eternal Wand of Animate Dead (Divine Version), etc), and this is intended to be one of them. I was actually considing using this vestige in a PbP game with my Gestalt Dread Necromancer//Binder.

So yeah, does 3rd level Vestige sound about right?

And also, here's another one I've been thinking about.

Legend: Vulnan was an incredible dwarven craftsman, known far and wide for his inventive creations and the quality of his work. He lived inside his workshop, which itself was a maze of tools and partially created machines. When asked to create anything, he would disappear deep within the maze, returning only when the device was finished. It seemed he could create absolutely anything. One day, a dwarven prince decided to challenge his abilities. He asked Vulnan to create a machine that, without the aide of magic, could run forever. Vulnan disappeared into his laboratory, and was never heard from again.

Special Requirement: Vulnan can only work with skilled hands. He will only answer the call of a binder with at least 5 ranks in any one craft skill.
Influence: Vulnan was a tinkerer, and always wanted to know how things worked. If you find a trap, you must at least attempt to disable it or trigger it... you cannot go around it.
Sign: While you are bound to Vulnan, your hands seem to be made of iron.

Granted Powers:

Knowledgeable Craftsman: While bound to Vulnan, you gain a +5 bonus to all Craft checks and Disable Device checks.

Right Tool for the Job: While bound to Vulnan you can, as a standard action, create a tool out of thin air. This counts as a masterwork tool (+2 Circumstance bonus to the skill it's used for). The tool vanishes if it leaves your person.

Eyes of the Master Builder: You gain the trapfinding ability, as well as a +5 bonus to all search checks when searching for traps or secret doors.

Vestige Level: 2. Knowledgeable craftsman is roughly equivalent to a casting of the Magecraft Spell. Right tool for the Job, I'm not sure, but it doesn't seem terribly powerful... Eyes of the Master Builder likewise is a +5 bonus and thus roughly equivalent to a 1st or 2nd level spell. Thoughts?


2007-05-06, 06:01 PM
Looks about right. That's definitely a niche vestige—sometimes useful, but not one you'll want to bind every day.

The vestiges need binding DCs, I think. Probably 15 for Vulnan and 20 for Nicomas?

Oh... yes, something I'd forgotten. Nicomas's influence is a bit vague; does the binder have to know what the creature's lifespan is, or does the vestige know and demand the inspection regardless of what the character knows?

2007-05-10, 03:16 PM
I would assume the vestige knows, so you always have to do it.