Creating a Psionic Binder

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So, I had this idea to create a psionic version of the binder class from the Tome of Magic. While this idea is not directly associated with Dark Sun, given that Dark Sun has possibly the most developed psionics rules and concepts, I figured I’d put this idea here for critique.

The idea for most binders is that they are making pacts with spirits called vestiges who are beyond the multiverse in order to gain power for themselves. A cool idea, but not one which readily lends itself to psionics. But that is only the generally accepted theory. Another idea is that the “spirits” aren’t spirits at all, but rather various parts of the binder’s unconscious mind which he evokes with binding rituals, resulting in gaining a temporary selection of powers. This would lend itself more easily to a psionic adaptation.

The way I see it, a psionic binder actually possesses the powers that he is making pacts to “gain”, but due to his misunderstanding of the actual process involved, he is unable to actually manifest powers when not “bound”. This means that he has both a reserve of power points and psionic focus, but lacks any normal choices of powers. Instead, he must bind “spirits” that he has convinced himself give him the power he desires, which are really just extensions of himself.

In order to maintain the utility of the pre-existing vestiges (so I don’t have to create an entirely new set of vestiges just for a variant class), the descriptions used for vestiges will be identical. However, any abilities used are changed from supernatural abilities to psionic powers. This means that they can be more easily resisted, but it also means they can be augmented like psionic powers. Granted abilities will be augmentable as per their closest parallel to psionic powers. If no such parallel exists, the DM rules what the augmentation does and how much it costs.

As for the binding process itself, doing so should require expending one’s psionic focus. Instead of being granted the ability to grant more vestiges at once at higher levels, he is granted extra uses of his psionic focus, which he can use for binding additional vestiges or for other purposes.

As for pacts the binder can make at specific levels, I was thinking of eliminating the level restrictions entirely. Instead, the player will be limited by the number of power points he actually has. Thus, a first level binder could bind an 8th level vestige, but because his power point reserve will be so small, he will not be able to use most (if any) of it’s powers and will still be subject to the vestiges influence and sign.

the influence and sign of the vestige result not from a possessing spirit but from the character’s unconcious mind, and what he believes the vestige would do or look like. Nevertheless, the mechanics would be identical.

Finally, power points would be earned at roughly the same rate as a normal psion of the binder’s level.

Please tell me what you think, and give any critique you can on the design or concept. Also, ideas for Athasian vestiges would be cool.

Green Age Adventures?

I would call it a tribe of one:sunglasses:
keeping that in mind i would drop the signs and come up with something else seeing as sorak didn’t sprout horns or anything similar while another persona was in charge.

as for athasian vestiges, i would tweek the existing vestiges backround and some abilities.
ideas include dead sorcerer kings, cleansed races, nok, tithian, rajaat, irikus gretch qwith, chaksa and prehaps even lost gods


what would you suggest in regards to a replacement of the manifestation?

(nijineko prismaticpsion) #4

I was so vastly disappointed that the authors of the tome of magic simply ripped off pre-existing material (it was public domain material, but still) for the binder class. About 80% of the binder class (i.e.: most of the vestiges and a few of the mechanics) were lifted without change from the public domain source.

As such, I refuse to use the binder as is, unless redone without the P.D. material.

Having said that, if any world would be rife with vestiges, it would be Athas. From the lingering collective minds of destroyed cities, to the swarms of souls from the former oceans, to the tattered remnants of those who caused the Sun altering disasters, world killing defilers, maybe even avatars of or the actual broken shreds of the former Powers themselves… there are so many possibilities.


I was thinking of a vestige for each of the races completely wiped out during the cleansing wars, and maybe the dead and trapped sorcerer-kings. Kreen may be able to bind the vestige of the Great Ones. And for epic vestiges, one could try Rajaat, The Earth Mother, and The Sun.

I still need something to replace the manifestation with, though. Something besides an influence that would give the Binder away, but not so much of a hinderance that it makes the character unplayable (and maybe a word besides Binder to call the class. reminds me too much of a three-ring binder)

And if you could find someone to playtest the class when all adjustments are made, that would be great. I’m running a spelljammer campaign right now, so my abilities to introduce this thing are limited.


oh yeah, you should check out Secrets and Villains of Pact Magic. those two books have plenty of adjusted rules for pact magic.

sorry for the thread necromancy, I just thought this needed to be said.

(nijineko prismaticpsion) #7

Personally, I refuse to use the binder / pact magic rules as is because it bother’s me that they just lifted so much of the material straight from public domain without even bothering to edit it.


These are not WotC resources. They are by Radiance House, and they made some significant changes to pact binding in general, resulting in a system which is thematically similar but much more complex than the one WotC pirated. They even have an option for what can only be called defiler binders, and some other weird rules. Seriously, I’d at least check it out. (It’s effectively a hybrid campaign setting built entirely around pact magic which borrows elements from Eberron, Dark Sun, and Homeric/Judeo-Christian mythology for it’s fluff, and even has a beholder god named Garub-Gyax who is literally a stand in for Gary Gygax. If nothing else, just read it for the fluff)

Also, Green Ronin had an interesting and almost entirely different approach with the Theurgist class from the Medieval Player’s Guide, which treats pact magic like a series of magic items which can be invoked at will.

(Robert Adducci) #9

What’s the history of this public domain fiasco? I never heard of it. Got any links with more details?

(nijineko prismaticpsion) #10

Well, I don’t know that it was ever a fiasco, after all, the evil-panic of the 70’s and 80’s has pretty much died down. If the 3.5 Tome of Magic book had been published back then, there would have been virtual holocaust about it. I’m rather surprised that it didn’t seem to make the papers, at least I’m having trouble finding anything online about it at this late date.

Basically, they ripped off some material from “The Lesser Key of Solomon” wholesale and dropped it in without editing (or error checking judging from the errors in transcription they made) and then used that material as inspiration to make up symbols and characteristics for D&D historical figures such as Acererack (from Greyhawk and Tomb of Horrors fame), Karsus (a failed-god/ possible author self-insert NPC from Forgotten Realms), Tenebrous (Orcus back when he was an undead god), etc…

In any case, here are some links about relating to it: (a fairly caustic yet decent analysis of the book by gamers. the caustic attitude and sarcasm towards this book are well-deserved in my opinion.) (a wiki article about the public domain source they ripped off from. Compare the list of names here with your table of contents list of vestiges.) (the actual public domain source for those interested. WARNING: this book is reputed to be the methods that King Solomon actually used to summon real demons (other books covered angels and djinn) in real life and force them to do good. Setting aside the irony that forcing anyone to do anything is completely against the very nature of Good itself (not to mention God Himself)… some people actually believe in this stuff, or at the least may have extreme reactions to it, so it may be considered VERY NSFW (or home, school, church… or anywhere really) due to the extreme religious and/or questionable nature of anything purporting to actually deal with real demons in any way, shape, or form.)

In any case, I find the material to be poorly written, edited, tested, and designed even for the fairly low standards of WotC. I also find the use of the particular public domain material they used to be in extremely poor taste, and having zero creativity. Considering that all the authors were very actively involved with 4e, this is probably something they shoved out the door in haste, by night.

Most importantly to me, I happen to be one of those highly religious types, and thus stand firmly on the side of God regarding this sort of thing. For all of these reasons, and a few more I didn’t bother to elaborate, I refuse to use this material at all in games I run, and refuse to participate in games using this material.

(Robert Adducci) #11

Interesting, I never thought about them much. THanks for the info!

(nijineko prismaticpsion) #12

You are welcome. Best to have good information to make one’s choices with.