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nonsi
2015-07-30, 04:12 AM
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I find the concept of pact magic appealing thematically, but I don't like all the fuss about the various vestiges and which powers are granted by which vestige (seems a bit too clunky to me).

I also find it hard to relate pact magic with the Warlock (as in 5e) - someone who wields EB and can fire invocations all day long without slowing down.

So, basically what I'm looking for are ideas of how to invent a manifestation of the Binder that has no vestiges, leaving its patron(s) vague.
What I can say about how I envision such class is this:
- With level progression, it should acquire some set of immunities/resistances (physical as well as mental).
- It should have powers that are visually impressive and basically be someone whose presence becomes harder and harder to ignore (even without doing anything).
- It should have a pool of powers (spells?..... (Sp)/(Su) abilities?..... / something else?.....) to draw from.
- Pact magic should come with a price – something that would illustrate what the patron gets out of the deal (a pool of penalties/hindrances/deformities/payments to choose from or randomly selected).


I'd like to see if we can take this anywhere, leaving the fluff of pact magic, but with a more intuitive and less arbitrary solution than vestiges, and with a result class richer with innate features.


So, anyone feeling particularly inspired today ?



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[EDIT:] . . .

This section will be used for presenting the most up to date version of my remade Binder.
Bolded are class features with repetitions. Spell-like abilities are italicized.



Table: The Binder
HD: d8



Saves



Level
BAB
F
R
W
Special


1st
+0
+2
+0
+2
Binding (1 sphere: Trivial), Renegotiate (1/day)


2nd
+1
+3
+0
+3
Suppress Influence (signs / mental taint)


3rd
+2
+3
+1
+3
Unyielding Mind


4th
+3
+4
+1
+4
Soul Fortress (immune to fear & charm)


5th
+3
+4
+1
+4
Renegotiate (2/day)


6th
+4
+5
+2
+5
Binding (2 sphere: Formidable / Trivial)


7th
+5
+5
+2
+5
Cosmic Reach


8th
+6
+6
+2
+6
Soul Fortress (immune to possession & domination)


9th
+6
+6
+3
+6
Planar Binding, Dismissal


10th
+7
+7
+3
+7
Renegotiate (3/day)


11th
+8
+7
+3
+7
Binding (3 spheres: Magisterial / Formidable / Trivial)


12th
+9
+8
+4
+8
Soul Fortress (immune to energy drain & negative levels)


13th
+9
+8
+4
+8
Plane Shift , Banishment


14th
+10
+9
+4
+9
Maze


15th
+11
+9
+5
+9
Renegotiate (4/day)


16th
+12
+10
+5
+10
Binding (4 spheres: Empyreal / Magisterial / Formidable / Trivial)


17th
+12
+10
+5
+10
Etherealness


18th
+13
+11
+6
+11
Soul Fortress (mind blank)


19th
+14
+11
+6
+11
Recall Essence


20th
+15
+12
+6
+12
Renegotiate (5/day)






Class Features:


Class Skills (as the official Binder): Bluff, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, Knowledge (arcana, religion, the planes*), Profession and Sense Motive.
* Knowledge (the planes) is the skill whose all Binder abilities revolve around. Binders gain maximum ranks in this skill, in addition to whatever skill ranks they choose to invest their skill points in.


Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A binder is proficient with all simple weapons and with light armor, but not with shields.


Binding (Su)
Binders tap into the very layers of reality, drawing power from powerful otherworldly entities inhabiting various planes of existence.
When a binder makes a pact to draw power from a given sphere, he's said to be binding that sphere.
A sphere's characteristics is comprised of the following elements:
- A special attack mode: 4 grades of offensive capabilities (or an evolving offensive capability), useable at will.
- Continual benefits: 4 grades of defenses/beneficial influences.
- Activated powers: 4 grades of harnessed powers for influencing target other than the binder himself (or not necessarily binder himself).
- A physical imprint that alters the binder's appearance: As long as you are bound to a sphere, 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. When bound to multiple spheres, you manifest multiple signs – one for each sphere.
- A mental imprint (a taint) on the binder's personality: This dictates behavioral changes in certain situations and poses a roleplaying challenge for the player. While under the influence of a sphere, you must adhere to its influence to the best of your ability. 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 sphere is no longer bound to you. If you are influenced by more than one sphere, you must act according to all their influences. If you fail to fulfill the requirements of more than one sphere or disobey a single sphere more than once, the penalties stack.
Note: all sphere powers operate at CL equal to the binder's class-level and are Cha-based.

The various spheres a binder can tap into are as follows:
- 4 for the elemental planes Earth/Air/Fire/Water
- 2 for Negative/Positive
- 4 for the aligned planes, Good/Evil/Law/Chaos.
- 5 for Ethereal/Astral/Shadow/Dream/Void

Binding a sphere takes a toll on the binder's soul. A low level binder cannot have more than a single sphere bound at a given time.
When access to greater sphere powers is gained (levels 6/11/16), a binder also gains access to multiple spheres and must prioritize between them, in a sense of which one he's able to draw the most power from and which one takes a sort of "backseat" (as shown in the table above).


Renegotiate
Once per day, a binder may address one of the spheres and negotiate access to it, by abandoning his pact with another sphere.
A binder gains more daily negotiations as shown in the table, at each level divisible by 5.

Regardless of how a binder chooses to prioritize the spheres he has bound, he always seals a pact with the highest entities he has access to. This allows a binder with access to multiple spheres to alter the priority of one of his remaining spheres.
Example: A 6th level binder that has a pact with the Fire (Formidable) and Dream (Trivial) spheres. When abandoning the pact with the Fire sphere in favor of the Law sphere, he has 2 options:
1. Gain Formidable access to the Law sphere.
2. Elevate the Dream sphere's access to Formidable and gain Trivial access to the Law sphere.
The same goes for demoting the Dream sphere.



An alternative has been proposed here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=20708593&postcount=90).



Suppress Influence (Ex)
Starting at 2nd level, a binder may suppress the influence of the sphere he has bound in one or two manners.
In both cases, suppressing influence requires an effort and doesn't always succeed. Suppressing signs requires 1 round. To successfully suppress a sphere's signs, the binder must weigh [d20 + Binder level + Cha-mod] vs. DC [10 + 3 * (max power grade accessible by that sphere)]. Re-enabling the expression of a sphere's signs takes a swift action and is an automatic success.
- Suppress Physical Signs: When suppressing the physical imprint of a sphere, a binder loses access to that sphere's continual benefits. The sphere's attack mode and continual benefits become available at the beginning of the binder's next combat turn, when the signs are fully visible once again.
- Suppress Mental Taint: When suppressing the mental imprint of a sphere, a binder loses access to that sphere's active powers. The sphere's active powers become available at the beginning of the binder's next combat turn. The mental imprint takes effect immediately (including penalties acquired during the previous 24 hours).


This also needs to be redefined/eliminated accordingly.



In both cases, suggestions/ideas will be highly appreciated.




Unyielding Mind (Ex)
A 3rd level bender gains Indomitable Soul as bonus feat and +4 on all opposed Cha-based skill checks applied against him.


Soul Fortress (Ex)
The process of binding a sphere involves the experience of mental images and sensations that are normally unnerving (or even traumatizing) to mortals.
With time and experience, binders learn to embrace the horrors of reality and gain resistance to certain effects:
A 4th level binder learns to embrace the horrors and hard truths of reality and becomes immune to fear and fear effects of all kinds. The binder is now also experiences enough in manipulation to reject all forms of magical charm effects.
An 8th level binder is experienced enough in summoning and dominating powers that he becomes immune to possession and domination.
A 12th level binder's soul has been exposed to so much horror and influence that it becomes immune to energy drain and negative levels (be it for whatever reason).
An 18th level binder's mind becomes an impregnable fortress, closed off to everyone and everything except the binder himself. This does not deny the binder telepathic powers or accessing the minds of others (should those be gained via sphere powers / items / levels in another class).


Cosmic Reach (Su)
Same as the Spirit Shaman's Ghost Warrior ability. A 7th level binder confers the ghost touch special ability to any weapon held for as long as he holds it. He also becomes resistant to the touch attacks of incorporeal creatures, using his normal AC against any touch attack delivered by an incorporeal creature.


Planar Binding (Sp)
Starting at 9th level, a binder may trade a sphere's attack mode(s) in favor of summoning a planar creature associated with his chosen sphere.
This works as Lesser Planar Binding.
Starting at 11th level, this power is elevated to mimic Planar Binding spell.
Finally, at 15th level, this power is elevated one last time to mimic Greater Planar Binding spell.
The binder gains access to the sphere's attack mode(s) 1 round after the summoned creature is defeated, banished or dismissed.


Dismissal (Sp)
A 9th level binder gains the power to banish otherworldly beings back to their home planes.
As a standard action that provokes AoOs, the binder may duplicate the Dismissal spell effect. A creature that makes its save ignores further dismissal attempts by that binder for the next 24 hours.


Plane Shift (Sp)
A 13th level binder may duplicate the Plane Shift spell effect a number of times per day equal to the binder's Cha-mod.
Unlike the spell, this activation takes 1 minute to complete and the binder loses access to the active powers of a Magisterial/Empyreal grade sphere (and may not renegotiate it) for 10 minutes.


Banishment (Sp)
A 13th level binder gains increased power to banish otherworldly beings back to their home planes.
As a standard action that provokes AoOs, the binder may duplicate the Banishment spell effect. A creature that makes its save ignores further banishment attempts by that binder for the next 24 hours.


Maze (Sp)
A 14th level binder may duplicate the Maze spell effect once every 10 minutes.
A target of this power ignores further attempts of Maze usage by that binder for the next 24 hours.


Etherealness (Sp)
A 17th level binder may duplicate the Etherealness spell effect a number of times per day equal to the binder's Cha-mod.
The binder loses access to the active powers of an Empyreal grade sphere (and may not renegotiate it) for 10 minutes.



Recall Essence (Sp)
A 19th level binder gains the power to overcome the boundaries of death itself and mimic the power of True Resurrection.
This power differs from the spell on several aspects.
- It may be used no more than 1/2 the binder's Cha-mod per month (min 1) and no more than once per week.
- It has no material components.
- At the completion of the ritual, the binder takes 3d4 Con burn. If this ability burn drops the binder to negative number, it resets to zero and the effect fizzles. If this ability burn drops the binder to zero or greater, the target if fully resurrected (with a score of zero rendering the binder unconscious). If the binder has no Con-score, Cha is used instead.

Prince Zahn
2015-07-30, 06:09 AM
I don't understand, you want to create/recreate pact magic so that there is no pact making? :smallconfused:

I think that would do more harm than good thematically, but what's important is what you're trying to do.

What exactly do you like in pact magic that you would want to apply to (from what I understand is-) a simpler, more user-friendly approach? (I mean both mechanically and in terms of flavor)

nonsi
2015-07-30, 07:22 AM
I don't understand, you want to create/recreate pact magic so that there is no pact making? :smallconfused:

I think that would do more harm than good thematically, but what's important is what you're trying to do.


I wish to move the pact making part from mechanics to fluff/campaign oriented.





What exactly do you like in pact magic that you would want to apply to (from what I understand is-) a simpler, more user-friendly approach? (I mean both mechanically and in terms of flavor)


I wish for the class to provide a pool of powers/features/gifts and a collection of payments for making a pact rather than fixed sets associated with pre-made vestiges.
That way I aim to accomplish 2 things:
1. No need for a compiled list of vestiges (with pluses and minuses set in stone). Less bookkeeping. Less volume of text for defining the class as a whole package.
2. The player and DM can create their own pact, taking whatever powers they see that would best define the character they have in mind, and taking whatever penalties that best define the sponsor.

You'd get a class that allows you to define your character to the letter (and yet withing the theme of pact-granted powers) and serve almost any party role, without needing to mix&match from existing vestiges or reinvent one of your own.

faustin
2015-07-30, 12:39 PM
Mmmmm... In Valkyria Profile, Freya sends Lenneth the Valkyrie to claim human souls as einherjars for the upcoming Ragnarok. Lenneth can keep them around for a while and make them fight to improve their value as soldiers. If she sends a lot of toughtened einherjars to Valhalla Freya will reward her with cool stuff. If she does not..well, Freya will make sure the Valkyria understands her mistresss displeasure.
Is that a valid example ?

Eldan
2015-07-30, 01:35 PM
If you just select some of the binder powers from a list, freely, without having them packaged into vestiges, isn't that just the warlock?

Where's the difference?

Network
2015-07-30, 02:00 PM
If you just select some of the binder powers from a list, freely, without having them packaged into vestiges, isn't that just the warlock?

Where's the difference?

None. I think nonsi wants a refluffed warlock that changes his invocations daily.

Add the pact augmentation class feature (or similar) to it, allow class feature flexibility (like the ability to get dr /silver instead of dr /cold iron), and give a list of penalties that they need to pick from when they change invocations. You have your binder.

Gideon Falcon
2015-07-30, 07:15 PM
While I understand where you're coming from, making a Binder without vestiges is like making a wizard without spells. It may have similar fluff, but it's not a Binder. As far as your goals, I think a straight-up caster, perhaps bard-level, with spells available based on certain sacrifices. If the set-in-stone vestige packs aren't your style, have a larger number of smaller packs, each with a few similar spells and abilities and an appropriate cost, such as a behavioral restriction, ability burn, and perhaps gp/xp costs for the world-shaking stuff.

nonsi
2015-07-31, 08:08 AM
As far as your goals, I think a straight-up caster, perhaps bard-level, with spells available based on certain sacrifices. If the set-in-stone vestige packs aren't your style, have a larger number of smaller packs, each with a few similar spells and abilities and an appropriate cost, such as a behavioral restriction, ability burn, and perhaps gp/xp costs for the world-shaking stuff.


Yes, that's the general direction I'm aiming at. I just have no idea how to put the mechanics together.
The milestones mentioned in the OP are general guidelines, but beyond that I'm kinda stuck.
AFAIK, the idea of pact magic in RPG goes back at least to the early days of BECMI & 1e, but I know of no other concrete attempt to put it into mechanics other than the Binder class, so I don't have much to go on.

One thing I can say, is that I don't want to replace vestiges with a larger number of smaller pacts, because that won't make the problem of forcing players to study vestiges in depth to be effective go away.
That's why I'm aiming for working with several pools:
1. Class features/benefits - fixed or dynamic with level prereqs.
2. Daily/hourly powers (with level prereqs). Those can come from a fixed list to choose from daily or known spells/powers/abilities/benefits.
3. Continual consequences (upon gaining 1st level and/or accumulated with level progression).
4. Usage/daily/attunement consequences.

faustin
2015-07-31, 05:56 PM
What would you suggest as possible "prices" from the patron?

nonsi
2015-07-31, 11:35 PM
What would you suggest as possible "prices" from the patron?

I'm guessing it should have a lot to do with the nature, personality and agenda of the patron:
- ability corruption
- signs/markings
- deformities
- vulnerabilities
- numeric penalties to combat stats
- always detected as evil / all spells gain the evil descriptor
- taboos
- human sacrifice
- OCD
- phobia
- assignments (soul collection, religious preaching, raising temples, eradicating a city/nation/culture...)

This can basically go anywhere, but the various prices should be of relatively similar costs and not something that would make it problematic for the character to go about his business.

Prince Zahn
2015-08-01, 08:28 AM
The way I see it, you probably don't have to reinvent the wheel. You could take the Warlock and tinker with it's rules a little. Here are some things you could try with the DM to make a Warlock into a vestige-less Binder:

play with the Invocations known. Add spells from other spell lists as invocations, fiddle with durations of those invocations you want, and remove what doesn't fit. Be sure to pick spells and invocations that won't get on people's nerves if used too often. Ideally, you want your Binder to get an invocations list more appropriate to fulfill your vision and feel of a Binder.
Rituals and costs: make a few house rules for the Warlock to give him that versatility from the binder's end of things: for example:

1/day, if you perform a proper ritual, with the appropriate costs and demands, you get to swap some or all of your invocations for different ones. (Add rules and guidelines as needed) if you want to include a binding check like the Binder has, consider adapting it to the Warlock and using it to determine how many abilities you can swap out, or something.
Make your abilities and invocations more potent in certain ways by paying a cost and/or perform a dark ritual.
Add other house rules as needed to get what the cultist nature of the Binder supported by mechanics, if that's what you're looking for, and to provide the crunch you need to use the binder's fluff better.

Fluff? you want pact magic to be dangerous and mysterious and with less bookkeeping involved, I get that. (At least superficially, not enough to agree). Dress your Warlock's theme to suit just that. Who said a Binder needs to fully comprehend the source of his power and know it's life's story? Who ever said the legends of such force(s) have to be true in your campaign? Who ever said all of your Bindlock's power needn't come with a price? This is called "reflavoring"; season to taste.:smallwink:
What About Eldritch Blast? it's the Warlock's primary means of dealing combat damage, but you are not obligated to keep it if it's holding you back. You could try swapping it out with an ability similar to the Hexblade's Curse and dress it with Eldritch Essences/Blast shapes as normal.

nonsi
2015-08-01, 05:03 PM
.


The way I see it, you probably don't have to reinvent the wheel. You could take the Warlock and tinker with it's rules a little.


Seems to me like it's gonna be more than a little... but keep throwing ideas, each reply adds something to make a vague idea more concrete.
I believe that eventually I'll make a class out of this.





1. play with the Invocations known. Add spells from other spell lists as invocations, fiddle with durations of those invocations you want, and remove what doesn't fit. Be sure to pick spells and invocations that won't get on people's nerves if used too often. Ideally, you want your Binder to get an invocations list more appropriate to fulfill your vision and feel of a Binder.


The name "Binder" raises the notion of summoning, so the Planar Binding line seems in order. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with those effects functioning as invocations (not exactly spells, but not invocations either).
Same goes for various compulsion effects – for the same reason.
Same goes for various teleportation (and teleport-counters) and attraction/repulsion powers.
Various polymorph abilities also seem appropriate (you bind a form to yourself / a victim to a form).
Grafting could also play a part in such class' repertoire.

I can't imagine a class named "Binder" not having some combination of the above (better yet if all the above are expressed in some way).
Basically anything that binds something to something (or unbinds) fits the bill.


And given all the above, there are some things that a binder should be better at than full arcane casters, otherwise why take it?
OTOH, I don't want it to touch T1.





2. Rituals and costs: make a few house rules for the Warlock to give him that versatility from the binder's end of things: for example:

1/day, if you perform a proper ritual, with the appropriate costs and demands, you get to swap some or all of your invocations for different ones. (Add rules and guidelines as needed) if you want to include a binding check like the Binder has, consider adapting it to the Warlock and using it to determine how many abilities you can swap out, or something.
Make your abilities and invocations more potent in certain ways by paying a cost and/or perform a dark ritual.
Add other house rules as needed to get what the cultist nature of the Binder supported by mechanics, if that's what you're looking for, and to provide the crunch you need to use the binder's fluff better.



Right. Now it's just a matter of deciding what the powers will be, how they'll function, what requires a ritual and what not....... and what merits a cost (and what that cost will be) and what doesn't.
(basically anything and everything that could possibly go into that class)





3. Fluff? you want pact magic to be dangerous and mysterious and with less bookkeeping involved, I get that. (At least superficially, not enough to agree). Dress your Warlock's theme to suit just that. Who said a Binder needs to fully comprehend the source of his power and know it's life's story? Who ever said the legends of such force(s) have to be true in your campaign? Who ever said all of your Bindlock's power needn't come with a price? This is called "reflavoring"; season to taste.:smallwink:


I never said a Binder needs to fully comprehend the source of his power.
What I don't know is how to distribute those prices.





4. What About Eldritch Blast? it's the Warlock's primary means of dealing combat damage, but you are not obligated to keep it if it's holding you back. You could try swapping it out with an ability similar to the Hexblade's Curse and dress it with Eldritch Essences/Blast shapes as normal.


EB will not be among such class' scope of abilities – that's unquestionable and not open to debate.

Network
2015-08-01, 07:08 PM
OTOH, I don't want it to touch T1.
If a class has access to the conjuration effects you listed (calling and teleportation, to which I would add summoning), polymorph effects, and compulsion effects, you'd have trouble making it less than tier 2. Egregious, since the vestige binder's schtick is the ability to overshadow a different class each day. The warlock is only considered bad because there are few good invocations, but give it a spell-to-invocation mechanism and it is tier 2 (it HAS more versatility than the wilder, after all. Just less and weaker options). One of the few advantages of the warlock over the binder, of course, is the ability to use and create magic items.

How do you plan to nerf the invocation binder to tier 3, if at all?

Qoios
2015-08-01, 08:12 PM
I'm with Prince Zahn on this one, the Warlock is a good base to tweak from for this.

If you want to get rid of Eldritch blast, you should probably replace it with some kind of alternative combat mechanism. EB exists so that a Warlock player who doesn't select offensive invocations will not find themselves without recourse when combat happens. Look at other folks' Invocation classes, both the official Dragonfire Adept, and several Homebrew projects have good examples of creating a comparable EB-Alternative for an Invoker. ErrantX's Ebon Initiate (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?163297-3-5-The-Ebon-Initiate-warrior-necrolock-Base-Class) is a particularly polished and well-realized specimen.

As to the Pact-Alternative, there are three questions that must be asked before proceeding:
What Tier(s) do you expect to be building your Binder class to be able to play within?"
How much custom content are you willing to create to represent the powers of this Binder?
What sort of relationship do you expect between the Power-Granter(s) and the Binder?
The Tier expectation is important for determining the caliber of powers available, their quantity, frequency of use, how freely they may be exchanged, and similar balance concerns. This is the least interesting question, but it is important to bear in mind when selecting & creating powers for the class.

The second question is, again, mostly a mechanical one. If you are willing to custom-tweak a bunch of abilities to round out their Invocation-Alternative list, you'll be able to get something much more consistent with your concept than if you want a formula that turns spells of level X into power-type Y, usable Z times/day. Not to mention that there are many spells (like the Polymorph & Planar Binding lines you mentioned) that are fantastic choices, fluff-wise, but are open to heavy abuse, require a lot of research to be used well (a problem you mentioned with the existing Pact Magic system) and are just so versatile that they can make a considerable number of similarly-costed powers obsolete.

The answer to the final question should get us closer to the heart of the matter. Are these Binders operating on the same fluff as their Tome of Magic brethren? Do they make deals with singular, powerful entities that they must appease, like 4e Warlocks (or Clerics, if you think about it)? Do they subjugate and draw power from many (often unwilling) sources, as the Malconvokers do? Do they steal power covertly, ala Ur Priest? Is it a simple exchange of services between two equal parties who both have something the other desires? Basically, what constitutes a Pact, to you, for fluff purposes?

nonsi
2015-08-02, 12:26 AM
.


If a class has access to the conjuration effects you listed (calling and teleportation, to which I would add summoning), polymorph effects, and compulsion effects, you'd have trouble making it less than tier 2. Egregious, since the vestige binder's schtick is the ability to overshadow a different class each day. The warlock is only considered bad because there are few good invocations, but give it a spell-to-invocation mechanism and it is tier 2 (it HAS more versatility than the wilder, after all. Just less and weaker options).


I'm not kidding myself that the collection of powers I mentioned could ever drop below T2.
The design goal in this case is low-mid T2. The various costs would encourage usage of powers/abilities upon necessity and discourage spamming.





One of the few advantages of the warlock over the binder, of course, is the ability to use and create magic items.


I'd say a definite no on intrinsic association of a binder with magic items.
I also consider it bad thematics to associate the Warlock with magic items. I guess it was necessary mechanically because the official Warlock is so feature-starved.





How do you plan to nerf the invocation binder to tier 3, if at all?


I'm no sure if a vestige-less binder should even be based on invocations as a primary feature. Maybe secondary, like the DFA..... maybe not at all.

Network
2015-08-02, 02:11 AM
I'm not kidding myself that the collection of powers I mentioned could ever drop below T2.
The design goal in this case is low-mid T2. The various costs would encourage usage of powers/abilities upon necessity and discourage spamming.
Ok, so what you want is close to a non-fixed list spontaneous caster, have I got it right?

If this is the case, the class would probably require the character to pay a price to regain spell slots. I suggest separating the spell levels into tiers. This way, lower spells could be regained fairly simply, but higher spells would require more. Maybe also the requirement that the binder can only regain spells 1/day, even by trying many different methods.

As an example, spells of 3rd level or lower could be regained in one of the following manners:
Animal sacrifice.
Vegetal sacrifice, if the patron allows it (a god of nature would. Most demon princes won't).
Libation with holy,unholy, axiomatic or anarchic water (depending on patron's alignment).
1 point of Strength and Constitution burn, if you really can't afford anything else.
Spells of 6th levels or lower (including those of 3rd level or lower) could be recovered with these methods:
Humanoid sacrifice, if the patron allows it.
Undead sacrifice (sacrifice of undead created by you), if the patron allows it.
Saving the life of a creature relevant to the patron's agenda (an animal for a nature god, an innocent for a good patron, a serial killer for a demon prince)
Charity to the poor, if the patron allows it.
Planting a tree, if the patron allows it.
1 point of Wisdom and Charisma burn, if you really can't afford anything else (Strength and Constitution burn is a physical affliction; this one is mental).
These methods should work with all spells:
Significant humanoid sacrifice (at least 6 HD of humanoids, or a person important to the binder).
Advancing the plot/developing your character in a way that makes your GM decide your patron likes you.
Gaining a vulnerability to an energy type (acid, cold, electricity, fire, sonic) you do not already have a resistance or immunity to, with the inability to gain one from a temporary effect, for the next 24 hours.
1 point of Strength, Constitution, Wisdom and Charisma burn (you lose both your mind and your body... but at least you regain your spells!).

To compensate for this, the binder is of course going to need many more low-level spell slots at a higher levels, so it can still dish out stuff when he can't pay the full price for his abilities. A high-level ability may allow him to select a warlock invocation every time he pays the price for his spells of 7th level or higher. The invocation would be retained for up to a week, or until he changes it for another. A single greater invocation that can be changed 1/day isn't going to unbalance the game at 16th level, but fluffwise it would be a good addition.

nonsi
2015-08-02, 02:12 AM
.


If you want to get rid of Eldritch blast, you should probably replace it with some kind of alternative combat mechanism.


I'm so open to suggestions here.
I now remember that I heard the Totemist (haven't explored incarnum) has the ability to enhance itself in combat. Maybe it's worth a peek.





EB exists so that a Warlock player who doesn't select offensive invocations will not find themselves without recourse when combat happens. Look at other folks' Invocation classes, both the official Dragonfire Adept, and several Homebrew projects have good examples of creating a comparable EB-Alternative for an Invoker. ErrantX's Ebon Initiate (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?163297-3-5-The-Ebon-Initiate-warrior-necrolock-Base-Class) is a particularly polished and well-realized specimen.


Yes, but in the end, Netherchannel is a kind of EB.
Maybe some form of elemental damage could have its place in the class' features.





As to the Pact-Alternative, there are three questions that must be asked before proceeding:
What Tier(s) do you expect to be building your Binder class to be able to play within?"
How much custom content are you willing to create to represent the powers of this Binder?
What sort of relationship do you expect between the Power-Granter(s) and the Binder?


I'm not sure what you mean by "be able to play within".
Custom content – as little as possible. I'd prefer tweaking existing stuff and circumvent inventing new stuff as much as I can (keeping things close to home, ya'know).
Relationship – flexible, I wouldn't want that aspect to hold back class design, or make gameflow cumbersome.





The Tier expectation is important for determining the caliber of powers available, their quantity, frequency of use, how freely they may be exchanged, and similar balance concerns. This is the least interesting question, but it is important to bear in mind when selecting & creating powers for the class.


Low-mid T2 is good.
Caliber – high
Quantity – medium.
Frequency – Medium for necessities & utility, low for NOVA. Continual for resistances/immunities.
Exchange – to some degree – probably in the spirit of Expel Vestige feat.

Those are all good questions. I don't see them as "least interesting" at all.

I'll add Quality – partially reliable (for some of them anyway), but the player would have the option of playing with priority between power and reliability - in character build and/or in game.





The second question is, again, mostly a mechanical one. If you are willing to custom-tweak a bunch of abilities to round out their Invocation-Alternative list, you'll be able to get something much more consistent with your concept than if you want a formula that turns spells of level X into power-type Y, usable Z times/day.


I'm not sure I understand why invocations - as a mechanical worktool - are inferior to spells.





Not to mention that there are many spells (like the Polymorph & Planar Binding lines you mentioned) that are fantastic choices, fluff-wise, but are open to heavy abuse, require a lot of research to be used well (a problem you mentioned with the existing Pact Magic system) and are just so versatile that they can make a considerable number of similarly-costed powers obsolete.


That's where the ideas thrown in post #10 come into the equation – the mitigating factor.
Let's not forget that arcane spellcasters also have access to such powers & effects.





The answer to the final question should get us closer to the heart of the matter. Are these Binders operating on the same fluff as their Tome of Magic brethren? Do they make deals with singular, powerful entities that they must appease, like 4e Warlocks (or Clerics, if you think about it)? Do they subjugate and draw power from many (often unwilling) sources, as the Malconvokers do? Do they steal power covertly, ala Ur Priest? Is it a simple exchange of services between two equal parties who both have something the other desires? Basically, what constitutes a Pact, to you, for fluff purposes?


Subjugate and draw power from many (maybe unwilling) sources sounds right.
Exchange of Services – this one will remain flexible for now. Needing to RP this on a daily basis can get really tiresome, so I don't want things to get there.
I wish to disconnect the mechanics from settings as much as possible, so that this could be imported with minimum to no adaptations required.

nonsi
2015-08-02, 02:43 AM
Ok, so what you want is close to a non-fixed list spontaneous caster, have I got it right?

If this is the case, the class would probably require the character to pay a price to regain spell slots. I suggest separating the spell levels into tiers. This way, lower spells could be regained fairly simply, but higher spells would require more. Maybe also the requirement that the binder can only regain spells 1/day, even by trying many different methods.

As an example, spells of 3rd level or lower could be regained in one of the following manners:
Animal sacrifice.
Vegetal sacrifice, if the patron allows it (a god of nature would. Most demon princes won't).
Libation with holy,unholy, axiomatic or anarchic water (depending on patron's alignment).
1 point of Strength and Constitution burn, if you really can't afford anything else.
Spells of 6th levels or lower (including those of 3rd level or lower) could be recovered with these methods:
Humanoid sacrifice, if the patron allows it.
Undead sacrifice (sacrifice of undead created by you), if the patron allows it.
Saving the life of a creature relevant to the patron's agenda (an animal for a nature god, an innocent for a good patron, a serial killer for a demon prince)
Charity to the poor, if the patron allows it.
Planting a tree, if the patron allows it.
1 point of Wisdom and Charisma burn, if you really can't afford anything else (Strength and Constitution burn is a physical affliction; this one is mental).
These methods should work with all spells:
Significant humanoid sacrifice (at least 6 HD of humanoids, or a person important to the binder).
Advancing the plot/developing your character in a way that makes your GM decide your patron likes you.
Gaining a vulnerability to an energy type (acid, cold, electricity, fire, sonic) you do not already have a resistance or immunity to, with the inability to gain one from a temporary effect, for the next 24 hours.
1 point of Strength, Constitution, Wisdom and Charisma burn (you lose both your mind and your body... but at least you regain your spells!).

To compensate for this, the binder is of course going to need many more low-level spell slots at a higher levels, so it can still dish out stuff when he can't pay the full price for his abilities. A high-level ability may allow him to select a warlock invocation every time he pays the price for his spells of 7th level or higher. The invocation would be retained for up to a week, or until he changes it for another. A single greater invocation that can be changed 1/day isn't going to unbalance the game at 16th level, but fluffwise it would be a good addition.


I don't want the Binder to just be another spellcaster.
Maybe it could have a pool of invocation-like powers to choose from daily (with the effects taken directly from spells/invocations/mix), with spontaneous access to what you already payed for and some degree of swapping, but definitely not all day long like the Warlock.
If you pay a price for your powers, you should definitely have more potential power than a warlock, but then I wouldn't want such magnitude of powers being available all the time.

Organizing the prices categorically could work.
Some of the suggestions above are good while others are problematic.
Sacrifices & assignments take too much gametime energy from the player's POV. If you had a choice every time, this could work, but usually when you have to pay for something, nobody's giving you options - they take what suits them.

Qoios
2015-08-02, 05:37 AM
I'm so open to suggestions here.
I now remember that I heard the Totemist (haven't explored incarnum) has the ability to enhance itself in combat. Maybe it's worth a peek.
I don't claim to be an Incarnum Expert, but I have explored it for use in a few campaigns. Totemist is heavily based on Natural Attacks, usually emulating those of certain varieties of monsters. The idea has some merit, but I find that Natural Attack rules are not always the most intuitive or balanced form of combat mechanism, and most characters that use them abuse them, Totemist included, if memory serves.


Yes, but in the end, Netherchannel is a kind of EB.
Maybe some form of elemental damage could have its place in the class' features.
Continuing from the Totemist idea, I am reminded of something used in Xefas' Kathodos (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?301261-3-5-quot-I-have-mastered-the-Elements-a-thousand-times-in-a-thousand-lifetimes-quot&p=15947087) (Think Avatar: the Last Airbender), specifically the Exceptional Mythos "Elemental-Fisted Pugilist Style". In addition to a number of other effects, this ability allows a Kathodos to used Unarmed Strikes at range, while still counting them as Melee Attacks. This has the added perk that augmenting their ranged attacks and augmenting their melee attacks are one and the same. Something akin to this could work for a Binder that is no slouch at ranged or melee combat. But mostly it is a good example because it is outside the box, so to speak.


I'm not sure what you mean by "be able to play within".
Just Tier-wise, who would be their equals? I'm not saying that unbalanced parties are impossible or bad, but what kinds of classes would make reasonable peers and rivals for the Neo-Binder? Low-mid T2 is your immediate answer, so I'll operate from that perspective.


Custom content – as little as possible. I'd prefer tweaking existing stuff and circumvent inventing new stuff as much as I can (keeping things close to home, ya'know).
Relationship – flexible, I wouldn't want that aspect to hold back class design, or make gameflow cumbersome.
...
Subjugate and draw power from many (maybe unwilling) sources sounds right.
Exchange of Services – this one will remain flexible for now. Needing to RP this on a daily basis can get really tiresome, so I don't want things to get there.
I wish to disconnect the mechanics from settings as much as possible, so that this could be imported with minimum to no adaptations required.
Hmmm...Let me think on this, I may be able to come up with something, but I want to put my thoughts together properly, and present you something cohesive.


Low-mid T2 is good.
Caliber – high
Quantity – medium.
Frequency – Medium for necessities & utility, low for NOVA. Continual for resistances/immunities.
Exchange – to some degree – probably in the spirit of Expel Vestige feat.
I'll add Quality – partially reliable (for some of them anyway), but the player would have the option of playing with priority between power and reliability - in character build and/or in game.
Keeping to the Tier 2 realm while inserting an ability-exchange mechanism, or hyper-versatile abilities like Polymorph & Planar Binding will be somewhat difficult. The most defining barrier between a T2 class & a T1 class is options. T2 are roughly as powerful, but less versatile than T1.


Those are all good questions. I don't see them as "least interesting" at all.
I suppose "of later interest" would've been more prudent phrasing. I find it difficult, if not impossible to go from mechanics to fluff, so fluff questions dominate my interest until they're defined enough that mechanics can be judged in the light of how well they represent said fluff.


I'm not sure I understand why invocations - as a mechanical worktool - are inferior to spells.
I don't think they need to be. I just think that spells, as a mechanical worktool, are inconsistently balanced with one another, so we need to consider what spell effects are appropriate for where, rather than apply blanket solutions.


That's where the ideas thrown in post #10 come into the equation – the mitigating factor.
I, personally, don't like "greater power, but at a terrible cost" as a mitigating factor style. The nature of Min-Maxing makes such things frustratingly difficult to balance. Level-inappropriate effects and abilities (usually) do not become level-appropriate due to drawbacks. This is very evident in the form of Flaws or Hellfire Warlock Shenanigans.

If the Neo-Binder is suffering such a detriment for power, fairness dictates that the power should be greater than what someone of the same Tier can get without cost. However, if the cost is too low, min-maxing will mitigate most or all actual effect on the character's experiences, and functionally free power has been gained. If the cost is too high, the option will be ignored if at all possible. It is also difficult to create costs of this form that are truly & consistently fair, so one of the prior two scenarios is quite likely. I would try to put such mitigating factors in the form of opportunity costs, rather than actual character detriments.


Let's not forget that arcane spellcasters also have access to such powers & effects.
Arcane spellcasters are also the most notoriously powerful spellcasting classes for a reason. And it has a lot to with those kinds of powers and effects. I'm not saying don't give them those things, but be careful, and be ready to tweak.


I don't want the Binder to just be another spellcaster.
Maybe it could have a pool of invocation-like powers to choose from daily (with the effects taken directly from spells/invocations/mix), with spontaneous access to what you already payed for and some degree of swapping, but definitely not all day long like the Warlock.
If you pay a price for your powers, you should definitely have more potential power than a warlock, but then I wouldn't want such magnitude of powers being available all the time.
I am of the opinion that the majority of abilities for this class (and almost any class, I think) should be at-will. Uses/Day as a universal resource just encourages short work-days, and resource-impact maximization. This type of system discourages consistent performance, and encourages going Nova, which is the opposite of what you have declared desirable for this.

Uses/Day and similar restrictions should be reserved for rarely-used trump cards. Major, high-impact abilities that you want a player to truly think about the appropriateness of using. Even then, I think there are more interesting costs for such abilities. I think that frequency of use & opportunity costs are a better restriction than number of uses, for the vast majority of abilities, though. I advocate At-Will as the default, with Recharge Times and/or Costs for any abilities that shouldn't be spammable (which is pretty consistent with the original Binder class, actually).

All in all, I have a lot of ideas fluttering around in my mind about this. Give me a smidgen of time, and I'll try to get them to be something other than word-salad. Maybe word-stew? WORD-STIR-FRY!
...and with that, I must get some rest, and attack this anew in the morning.

nonsi
2015-08-02, 01:22 PM
I don't claim to be an Incarnum Expert, but I have explored it for use in a few campaigns. Totemist is heavily based on Natural Attacks, usually emulating those of certain varieties of monsters. The idea has some merit, but I find that Natural Attack rules are not always the most intuitive or balanced form of combat mechanism, and most characters that use them abuse them, Totemist included, if memory serves.
. . .
Continuing from the Totemist idea, I am reminded of something used in Xefas' Kathodos (Think Avatar: the Last Airbender), specifically the Exceptional Mythos "Elemental-Fisted Pugilist Style". In addition to a number of other effects, this ability allows a Kathodos to used Unarmed Strikes at range, while still counting them as Melee Attacks. This has the added perk that augmenting their ranged attacks and augmenting their melee attacks are one and the same. Something akin to this could work for a Binder that is no slouch at ranged or melee combat. But mostly it is a good example because it is outside the box, so to speak.



Ok, this is where ideas started buzzing like crazy.
I suddenly started thinking of elemental melee touch attacks, improving with level to being able to stretch your arms into pseudopods (increased reach instead of range) that deliver elemental damage, then into elemental whips that entangle your foes and knock them prone, with higher levels enabling you to stomp the ground for earthquakes, summon storms, raise tidal waves, ignite cities…. (AAAHHHH THE POWERRRRR) :smallbiggrin:
. . .
Then I paused for a minute, shook my head, took a big breath and just thought: why not just give it the option of taking elemental form for say 1 round / level per day, broken down as the character sees fit (starting at a certain level, of course).





Hmmm...Let me think on this, I may be able to come up with something, but I want to put my thoughts together properly, and present you something cohesive.



I'll be waiting eagerly, since my well is dry on that one.





Keeping to the Tier 2 realm while inserting an ability-exchange mechanism, or hyper-versatile abilities like Polymorph & Planar Binding will be somewhat difficult. The most defining barrier between a T2 class & a T1 class is options. T2 are roughly as powerful, but less versatile than T1.



Maybe if I limit the exchange to 1 / day (just like with Expel Vestige) it'll be enough not to cross over to T1.





I suppose "of later interest" would've been more prudent phrasing. I find it difficult, if not impossible to go from mechanics to fluff, so fluff questions dominate my interest until they're defined enough that mechanics can be judged in the light of how well they represent said fluff.



Definitely.





I don't think they need to be. I just think that spells, as a mechanical worktool, are inconsistently balanced with one another, so we need to consider what spell effects are appropriate for where, rather than apply blanket solutions.



That's my dilemma – what to make available, when and at what frequency.
I know that if I'll see something I'll know if it works or not.





I, personally, don't like "greater power, but at a terrible cost" as a mitigating factor style. The nature of Min-Maxing makes such things frustratingly difficult to balance. Level-inappropriate effects and abilities (usually) do not become level-appropriate due to drawbacks. This is very evident in the form of Flaws or Hellfire Warlock Shenanigans.



Yeah, I already know that Flaws don't work.
As for Hellfire Warlock – my problem with this PrC is not power abuse, but that it's almost mandatory if you wish to specialize as damage dealer (along with that 1-level Binder dip for Naberius vestige), so there's not really an option there.





If the Neo-Binder is suffering such a detriment for power, fairness dictates that the power should be greater than what someone of the same Tier can get without cost. However, if the cost is too low, min-maxing will mitigate most or all actual effect on the character's experiences, and functionally free power has been gained. If the cost is too high, the option will be ignored if at all possible. It is also difficult to create costs of this form that are truly & consistently fair, so one of the prior two scenarios is quite likely. I would try to put such mitigating factors in the form of opportunity costs, rather than actual character detriments.



If I'd figured the balancing factor I'd have had a class by now.





Arcane spellcasters are also the most notoriously powerful spellcasting classes for a reason. And it has a lot to with those kinds of powers and effects. I'm not saying don't give them those things, but be careful, and be ready to tweak.



Oh, I definitely know there's gonna be some tweaking going around.





I am of the opinion that the majority of abilities for this class (and almost any class, I think) should be at-will. Uses/Day as a universal resource just encourages short work-days, and resource-impact maximization. This type of system discourages consistent performance, and encourages going Nova, which is the opposite of what you have declared desirable for this.

Uses/Day and similar restrictions should be reserved for rarely-used trump cards. Major, high-impact abilities that you want a player to truly think about the appropriateness of using. Even then, I think there are more interesting costs for such abilities. I think that frequency of use & opportunity costs are a better restriction than number of uses, for the vast majority of abilities, though. I advocate At-Will as the default, with Recharge Times and/or Costs for any abilities that shouldn't be spammable (which is pretty consistent with the original Binder class, actually).



I hear you loud and clear.





All in all, I have a lot of ideas fluttering around in my mind about this. Give me a smidgen of time, and I'll try to get them to be something other than word-salad. Maybe word-stew? WORD-STIR-FRY!
...and with that, I must get some rest, and attack this anew in the morning.



Definitely.
Just keep 'em coming and we'll turn this mish mash of ideas into a class to be proud of.
(did I mention you're a saint? :smallcool:)

Qoios
2015-08-02, 04:06 PM
Ok, this is where ideas started buzzing like crazy.
I suddenly started thinking of elemental melee touch attacks, improving with level to being able to stretch your arms into pseudopods (increased reach instead of range) that deliver elemental damage, then into elemental whips that entangle your foes and knock them prone, with higher levels enabling you to stomp the ground for earthquakes, summon storms, raise tidal waves, ignite cities…. (AAAHHHH THE POWERRRRR) :smallbiggrin:
. . .
Then I paused for a minute, shook my head, took a big breath and just thought: why not just give it the option of taking elemental form for say 1 round / level per day, broken down as the character sees fit (starting at a certain level, of course).
The answer here should be obvious: Because the first idea is way cooler than Elemental Form for X Rounds/Day. That first idea is badass and can be evolved upon, and the second is just a little 'meh' in comparison, I think.


As for Hellfire Warlock – my problem with this PrC is not power abuse, but that it's almost mandatory if you wish to specialize as damage dealer (along with that 1-level Binder dip for Naberius vestige), so there's not really an option there.
I was using Hellfire Warlock & Flaws as examples of bad design for power-at-a-price.


Just keep 'em coming and we'll turn this mish mash of ideas into a class to be proud of.
(did I mention you're a saint? :smallcool:)
Will do. In fact, I want to propose something, here. What would you think of brewing this concept as a Mythos class? I've been wanting to make a Mythos class for some time, and I feel like this could expand beautifully into one. If you have more specific intentions for it, that's fine. I just wanted to hear your thoughts on the possibility of making the Mythic Contractor with me. :smallsmile:

nonsi
2015-08-03, 12:24 AM
The answer here should be obvious: Because the first idea is way cooler than Elemental Form for X Rounds/Day. That first idea is badass and can be evolved upon, and the second is just a little 'meh' in comparison, I think.


Yes, but the question is: Do I pursue the first idea? Wouldn't it make the class somewhat drift from the "Binder" theme? And there's always the chance that this might get out of hands real quickly, because as you saw, it's easy to get carried away.





I was using Hellfire Warlock & Flaws as examples of bad design for power-at-a-price.


Oh, gotya.





Will do. In fact, I want to propose something, here. What would you think of brewing this concept as a Mythos class? I've been wanting to make a Mythos class for some time, and I feel like this could expand beautifully into one. If you have more specific intentions for it, that's fine. I just wanted to hear your thoughts on the possibility of making the Mythic Contractor with me. :smallsmile:


I have no quarrels with you pursuing that angle, but Mythos is not for me.
Not that I have any agenda against Mythos, it's just that I find it hard to relate to mechanics where all classes are defined so similarly - by their BAB (usually 1:1), saves (usually all good) and skill points (usually 6+ / level)... and a bag-spilled pile of powers/bonuses whose nature is not even hinted in the class' table (MYTHOS & EXCELLENCIES).
I know things go much deeper than that and I usually manage to understand the motivation behind Mythos projects, but that's the vibe I'm getting when viewing those classes.

So you're welcome to pursue that angle if you feel like it, just don't forget to spread some breadcrumbs over here.
I'd prefer it if you prioritize a non-Mythos solution, but I wouldn't want it to get in the way of your inspiration - plus being a total Mythos layman, I wouldn't be able to contribute much.

Qoios
2015-08-03, 09:20 AM
Yes, but the question is: Do I pursue the first idea? Wouldn't it make the class somewhat drift from the "Binder" theme? And there's always the chance that this might get out of hands real quickly, because as you saw, it's easy to get carried away.
I didn't necessarily mean that you should pursue either of those options, actually. Thematically, they're a little too much Elementalist, not enough Binder. But once you figure out how you want to flavor their combat shtick, I think that a design more like the first, with interesting and dynamic abilities, is preferable to simply giving them elemental forms.

Here's my idea for the Binder's basic combat shtick: Give the class a selection of bonus feats, special abilities & such that must be used to pursue mundane combat techniques. Then, give them the option to (using the same number of bonus feats & whatnot) make a second, distinct list from the first. They can swap between these two sets of combat styles. Then let them add a third or fourth style, maybe some options for temporarily blending styles or something as a later-on upgrade or something. In short, let their combat abilities be based on swapping out different sets of mundane training that they've gleaned from the minds of the spirits that they bind. Who said they could only gain spells & invocations?

That's my best idea I've come up with so far. No EB, but nothing shoe-horning them into any powers that are so specific in flavor that they contradict the concept of a Binder.


I have no quarrels with you pursuing that angle, but Mythos is not for me.
Not that I have any agenda against Mythos, it's just that I find it hard to relate to mechanics where all classes are defined so similarly - by their BAB (usually 1:1), saves (usually all good) and skill points (usually 6+ / level)... and a bag-spilled pile of powers/bonuses whose nature is not even hinted in the class' table (MYTHOS & EXCELLENCIES).
I know things go much deeper than that and I usually manage to understand the motivation behind Mythos projects, but that's the vibe I'm getting when viewing those classes.

So you're welcome to pursue that angle if you feel like it, just don't forget to spread some breadcrumbs over here.
I'd prefer it if you prioritize a non-Mythos solution, but I wouldn't want it to get in the way of your inspiration - plus being a total Mythos layman, I wouldn't be able to contribute much.
I really do want to make this a Mythos class. The Mythos Points concept (Which allows you to trade GP for a resource with which you can purchase more class features) just seems so appropriate, to me.

As to your concerns that all Mythos classes are defined so similarly, I strongly disagree. They all have really solid chassis, but their abilities are extremely diverse and distinctive, to the point that any given class can produce characters that one would never guess were class-mates (so to speak). I think the highly similar chassis can be a bit misleading. It's all about the Mythos & Excellencies. They're much like spellcasters in that way.

Either way, I fully intend to share any ideas I come up with that seem appropriate for the paths that both are developing towards. Hell, I may include a Mythos-line that grants modified access to Neo-Binder powers.

And some more thoughts on the Neo-Binder's powers:
I would give them thier own innate powers. Make them a bit of a Warlock/Binder hybrid. They have abilities that are truly their own, gained from class lists, and such. Then have alternate lists, based on the origins of the various spirits they can bind (healing and protective powers for Celestial Spirits, barely controlled, random abilites for Limbo-based Outsiders, etc.). In order to gain access to these alternative powers, they must temporarily lose access to some or all of their innate powers, trading them away to the same source from which they derive their new pact. Or, they can offer something else of appropriate value, if they don't like the idea of trading away pieces of their soul for others to play around with, even on a temporary basis.

These are my initial concepts for a vestige-free Binder. What do you think?

nonsi
2015-08-03, 10:13 AM
I didn't necessarily mean that you should pursue either of those options, actually. Thematically, they're a little too much Elementalist, not enough Binder.


Which is why I thought of elemental form - you bind the elemental form to you and take its shape for a certain period of time.
Less elemental-fu, more binding.





But once you figure out how you want to flavor their combat shtick, I think that a design more like the first, with interesting and dynamic abilities, is preferable to simply giving them elemental forms.


Problem is I haven't.
When I see something that's "not", I'll immediately know that it's not.
I'm just hoping to end up with a pool of "possible" to choose from.





Here's my idea for the Binder's basic combat shtick: Give the class a selection of bonus feats, special abilities & such that must be used to pursue mundane combat techniques. Then, give them the option to (using the same number of bonus feats & whatnot) make a second, distinct list from the first. They can swap between these two sets of combat styles. Then let them add a third or fourth style, maybe some options for temporarily blending styles or something as a later-on upgrade or something. In short, let their combat abilities be based on swapping out different sets of mundane training that they've gleaned from the minds of the spirits that they bind. Who said they could only gain spells & invocations?


Swapable mundane combat styles is something I've encountered suggested for a Fighter fix.
I feel this would drift from the "binder" theme even more than going elementalist.





That's my best idea I've come up with so far. No EB, but nothing shoe-horning them into any powers that are so specific in flavor that they contradict the concept of a Binder.


That's the spirit of things. I just don't think it'll be achieved via Swapable combat styles.





I really do want to make this a Mythos class. The Mythos Points concept (Which allows you to trade GP for a resource with which you can purchase more class features) just seems so appropriate, to me.

As to your concerns that all Mythos classes are defined so similarly, I strongly disagree. They all have really solid chassis, but their abilities are extremely diverse and distinctive, to the point that any given class can produce characters that one would never guess were class-mates (so to speak). I think the highly similar chassis can be a bit misleading. It's all about the Mythos & Excellencies. They're much like spellcasters in that way.


As I said - You don't need to justify Mythos validity to me. I totally get that things go much deeper than that, but that's how Mythos feels to me. It's not gonna change because I get the concept rationally.





Either way, I fully intend to share any ideas I come up with that seem appropriate for the paths that both are developing towards. Hell, I may include a Mythos-line that grants modified access to Neo-Binder powers.


Whatever floats your boat :smallwink:





And some more thoughts on the Neo-Binder's powers:
I would give them thier own innate powers. Make them a bit of a Warlock/Binder hybrid. They have abilities that are truly their own, gained from class lists, and such.


Sounds good so far, even if somewhat vague.





Then have alternate lists, based on the origins of the various spirits they can bind (healing and protective powers for Celestial Spirits, barely controlled, random abilites for Limbo-based Outsiders, etc.). In order to gain access to these alternative powers, they must temporarily lose access to some or all of their innate powers, trading them away to the same source from which they derive their new pact.


Or we can adopt the Signs + Personality Aspects, but roll for those each time (or daily) anew from various pools (celestial / fay / infernal / fiendish / ethereal / astral / limbo...) - with DCs to overcome and the actual patron remaining mysterious (other than its origin & essence).





Or, they can offer something else of appropriate value...


Sure. We just need to establish what constitutes "appropriate".

Qoios
2015-08-03, 11:28 AM
Which is why I thought of elemental form - you bind the elemental form to you and take its shape for a certain period of time. Less elemental-fu, more binding.
I suppose I see your point, but that's all fluff. You can fluff the elementally related abilities you proposed as being gained by binding yourself to an elemental spirit, possibly put them on some kind of modal cooldown or something. But actual Elemental Form, as written, is a very inelegant, choppily-scaled, hyper-specific ability for it to be a class' main combat shtick. I don't like it. Strongly. Sorry. :smallfrown:


Swapable mundane combat styles is something I've encountered suggested for a Fighter fix.
I feel this would drift from the "binder" theme even more than going elementalist.
Again, I feel like this is a fluff thing. It isn't you knowing how to fight so well, it is you binding to yourself the spirits of folks who do know how to fight. The Binder is all about diversity, so this feels like a good substitute for the typical evocation-style blasting. I understand you want to get something that feels "right", but you are creating a very limited set of valid choices when you ban mundane combat and Eldritch-Blast-esques. Try to be more flexible with your fluffing of things.


Or we can adopt the Signs + Personality Aspects, but roll for those each time (or daily) anew from various pools (celestial / fay / infernal / fiendish / ethereal / astral / limbo...) - with DCs to overcome and the actual patron remaining mysterious (other than its origin & essence).
I like the idea of including Signs & Personality aspects that are associated with the type of spirits from which you've acquired abilities. The main thrust of what I was trying to say with this was that the abilities should be sort of like expansions upon your invocation list, based on the types of outsiders bound, rather than by specific individual, and using generalized lists from which you can swap and choose individual items, as opposed to the package-deal format of Vestiges.


Sounds good so far, even if somewhat vague.
Sure. We just need to establish what constitutes "appropriate".
Concept, then Crunch, my friend. We'll get more specific as we get into the grit of development. Right now, we're just doing design.

nonsi
2015-08-03, 05:23 PM
I suppose I see your point, but that's all fluff. You can fluff the elementally related abilities you proposed as being gained by binding yourself to an elemental spirit, possibly put them on some kind of modal cooldown or something. But actual Elemental Form, as written, is a very inelegant, choppily-scaled, hyper-specific ability for it to be a class' main combat shtick. I don't like it. Strongly. Sorry. :smallfrown:


Again, I feel like this is a fluff thing. It isn't you knowing how to fight so well, it is you binding to yourself the spirits of folks who do know how to fight. The Binder is all about diversity, so this feels like a good substitute for the typical evocation-style blasting. I understand you want to get something that feels "right", but you are creating a very limited set of valid choices when you ban mundane combat and Eldritch-Blast-esques. Try to be more flexible with your fluffing of things.


I like the idea of including Signs & Personality aspects that are associated with the type of spirits from which you've acquired abilities. The main thrust of what I was trying to say with this was that the abilities should be sort of like expansions upon your invocation list, based on the types of outsiders bound, rather than by specific individual, and using generalized lists from which you can swap and choose individual items, as opposed to the package-deal format of Vestiges.


Concept, then Crunch, my friend. We'll get more specific as we get into the grit of development. Right now, we're just doing design.


1. Ok, since you mentioned "expansions upon your invocation list", I guess we should start by determining what's gonna be "your invocation list".
What do all binders have access to and what's the usage frequency ?
Are those spells, (Sp) abilities, invocations... what?
My instinct says to go with a pool of (Sp) abilities, where you have access to so many of them in a given to-be-determined time quota.
They should be batched in groups of powers, similar to or exactly the same as invocations.
The basic list should be comprised of a must-have essentials set of effects.


2. I'm also guessing that the official Binder's Soul Guardian is a solid basis to include among our class' features.
I also see the Spirit Shaman's "Ghost Warrior" feature fitting in nicely.
The official Binder starts with light armor and can advance all the way to heavy armor. Somehow, the image of a med/heavy armored binder doesn't slide for me, so I'm hoping to avoid such result (or even option).


3. The more I think of it, the more it seems to me like my ravings from post #20 should serve as guideline for the class' available offensive tools, but definitely not something that's available all the time.
OTOH, if someone could bind the form of an elemental of up to twice his level in HD, maybe it wouldn't be so meh.
One thing I know for certain, is that I don't want anything to do with Pact Augmentations. It's messy as a game mechanic (I have no doubt that thinking of the costs consumes gametime) and anti-thematic.


4. I'm ok with the result being a bit more powerful than the official Binder.


5. We need to start defining the content of pools of Signs & Personality aspects, and maybe those don't need to scale (in the vein of "with experience you learn how to squeeze more out of the pacts you make").
I'm guessing that a given pool of Signs & Personality aspects should come with a given pool of thematically appropriate powers and benefits (so you'd know that you call upon celestial forces for one collection of powers (healing & vigor maybe) and fey forces for another (probably enchantments & polymorph). The Gray Waste would probably be the source of necrotic powers).

It probably wouldn't be a bad thing if each category behaved similar to vestiges, but instead of having dozens, you have less than 10 (I mean, how many could you add to celestial / fay / infernal / fiendish / ethereal / astral / limbo...... 4 x elemental maybe).
Now, if we go for that angle you might say "wait a minute(!) we're throwing away vestiges for... vestiges".
Well, in a manner if speaking, yes. But (and it's a very big but) it's much easier to organize your strategies in your mind (as a player) when things are so well organized by theme rather than practically random named vestiges with random aspects/personalities/symbols/requirements/powers. And you get to pic your gifts rather than have fixed combos forced upon you.

Qoios
2015-08-03, 10:32 PM
1. Ok, since you mentioned "expansions upon your invocation list", I guess we should start by determining what's gonna be "your invocation list".
What do all binders have access to and what's the usage frequency ?
Are those spells, (Sp) abilities, invocations... what?
My instinct says to go with a pool of (Sp) abilities, where you have access to so many of them in a given to-be-determined time quota.
They should be batched in groups of powers, similar to or exactly the same as invocations.
The basic list should be comprised of a must-have essentials set of effects.
I kinda took everything you're saying as (mostly) a given. A pool of (Sp) or (Su) abilities seemed like the obvious way to handle it. I'm of the opinion that they should all be at-will, with more powerful ones having recharge times, as it was with the original Binder class. Though, when you say "batched in groups", what do you mean? I don't think that having any given power should necessitate having any other given power. Otherwise, you have the vestiges-are-counter-intuitive problem all over again.


2. I'm also guessing that the official Binder's Soul Guardian is a solid basis to include among our class' features.
I also see the Spirit Shaman's "Ghost Warrior" feature fitting in nicely.
The official Binder starts with light armor and can advance all the way to heavy armor. Somehow, the image of a med/heavy armored binder doesn't slide for me, so I'm hoping to avoid such result (or even option).
I, personally, would go with light armor, at the very most. I wouldn't even want to do that much armor, really, but I'm not strongly opposed to it. I also disagree somewhat about the Binder's Soul Guardian feature. Something similar, sure. But I don't feel like all spirits should give the same defensive perks like that. Let each spirit-type have a unique set of passive perks. As for the Spirit Shaman stuff, though: YES! I wholeheartedly agree. Maybe not exactly as printed, but their class features are very appropriate, and flavorful.


3. The more I think of it, the more it seems to me like my ravings from post #20 should serve as guideline for the class' available offensive tools, but definitely not something that's available all the time.
OTOH, if someone could bind the form of an elemental of up to twice his level in HD, maybe it wouldn't be so meh.
One thing I know for certain, is that I don't want anything to do with Pact Augmentations. It's messy as a game mechanic (I have no doubt that thinking of the costs consumes gametime) and anti-thematic.
I agree, those "ravings" were great examples of some possible powers available to a Binder bound with Elemental spirits. Pact Augmentations are indeed clunky, and needless. Axe it.

I absolutely do not want elemental form. Monsters are not designed for players to play as. If you want to create a custom set of player-appropriate Elemental-themed powers, and fluff them as being an "Elemental Form" of some sort, that's fine. But I will not be a part of anything that actually uses monster stat blocks for a player. That's as non-negotiable for me as your desire to avoid Eldritch Blast is for you. (I don't mean to be harsh, there, or anything. I just feel strongly about it.)


4. I'm ok with the result being a bit more powerful than the official Binder.
That's virtually unavoidable, here.


5. We need to start defining the content of pools of Signs & Personality aspects, and maybe those don't need to scale (in the vein of "with experience you learn how to squeeze more out of the pacts you make").
I'm guessing that a given pool of Signs & Personality aspects should come with a given pool of thematically appropriate powers and benefits (so you'd know that you call upon celestial forces for one collection of powers (healing & vigor maybe) and fey forces for another (probably enchantments & polymorph). The Gray Waste would probably be the source of necrotic powers).

It probably wouldn't be a bad thing if each category behaved similar to vestiges, but instead of having dozens, you have less than 10 (I mean, how many could you add to celestial / fay / infernal / fiendish / ethereal / astral / limbo...... 4 x elemental maybe).
Now, if we go for that angle you might say "wait a minute(!) we're throwing away vestiges for... vestiges".
Well, in a manner if speaking, yes. But (and it's a very big but) it's much easier to organize your strategies in your mind (as a player) when things are so well organized by theme rather than practically random named vestiges with random aspects/personalities/symbols/requirements/powers. And you get to pic your gifts rather than have fixed combos forced upon you.
This is exactly what I was leaning towards. It isn't so much a Vestige-less Binder, and more a Vestiges-as-Domains Binder.

Can you help me out with something, on this little project? I'm definitely going to make a Mythic version of this concept, in addition to aiding you with your creation. That said, I'm struggling to find enough iconic characters to fill out the banner that goes at the top of Mythic class threads. Can you recommend any characters that fit for a Mythic Binder?

nonsi
2015-08-04, 03:58 AM
I kinda took everything you're saying as (mostly) a given. A pool of (Sp) or (Su) abilities seemed like the obvious way to handle it. I'm of the opinion that they should all be at-will, with more powerful ones having recharge times, as it was with the original Binder class.


Fine.
What will the at-will pool be comprised of?
What will the recharge-times pool be comprised of?





Though, when you say "batched in groups", what do you mean? I don't think that having any given power should necessitate having any other given power. Otherwise, you have the vestiges-are-counter-intuitive problem all over again.


As you said at the bottom: Vestiges-as-"Domains" Binder. Groups/"Domains" - different words, same notion (tomāto/tomăto, potāto/potăto).





I, personally, would go with light armor, at the very most. I wouldn't even want to do that much armor, really, but I'm not strongly opposed to it. I also disagree somewhat about the Binder's Soul Guardian feature. Something similar, sure. But I don't feel like all spirits should give the same defensive perks like that. Let each spirit-type have a unique set of passive perks. As for the Spirit Shaman stuff, though: YES! I wholeheartedly agree. Maybe not exactly as printed, but their class features are very appropriate, and flavorful.


I tend to regard "Soul Guardian" as a really bad name for a valid feature.
My angle is this: a binder, being exposed to visions and influence of the worst horrors and most terrible nightmares of creation, develops an unprecedentedly strong mind that's particularly hard to influence.
Notice that every official binger gets those all the time - regardless of vestiges he has bound (down to zero).





I agree, those "ravings" were great examples of some possible powers available to a Binder bound with Elemental spirits.


So maybe we can act upon them.





I absolutely do not want elemental form. Monsters are not designed for players to play as. If you want to create a custom set of player-appropriate Elemental-themed powers, and fluff them as being an "Elemental Form" of some sort, that's fine. But I will not be a part of anything that actually uses monster stat blocks for a player. That's as non-negotiable for me as your desire to avoid Eldritch Blast is for you. (I don't mean to be harsh, there, or anything. I just feel strongly about it.)


Turn off the alarm, I'm in no way shape or form adamant about polymorphing into elemental(s). It was just an idea thrown that I was thematically ok with.





This is exactly what I was leaning towards. It isn't so much a Vestige-less Binder, and more a Vestiges-as-Domains Binder.


So that's another piece of the puzzle put into place.





Can you help me out with something, on this little project? I'm definitely going to make a Mythic version of this concept, in addition to aiding you with your creation. That said, I'm struggling to find enough iconic characters to fill out the banner that goes at the top of Mythic class threads. Can you recommend any characters that fit for a Mythic Binder?


The best I can think of when it comes to Mythos and binding is Pokémon/Bakugan/Beyblade/Yu-Gi-Oh/Cardcaptor Sakura, but that's about it (a bit after my time, but I have kids so I'm somewhat in the loop :smallbiggrin:)
Stepping away from Mythos, the Belgariad-Malloreon series displayed a lot of Binder-esque powers & features.



I believe we've reached a point where we have enough to go on to start fleshing out our "Spheres Binder" ("spheres" sound better to me than "domains" - as in "spheres of creation/existence").

Network
2015-08-04, 04:30 AM
I absolutely do not want elemental form. Monsters are not designed for players to play as. If you want to create a custom set of player-appropriate Elemental-themed powers, and fluff them as being an "Elemental Form" of some sort, that's fine. But I will not be a part of anything that actually uses monster stat blocks for a player. That's as non-negotiable for me as your desire to avoid Eldritch Blast is for you. (I don't mean to be harsh, there, or anything. I just feel strongly about it.)
Actually, monsters are totally designed for players to play as. For all purposes, the terms character and monster are interchangeable in 3.x.

To Nonsi, I'd say the ability to shapeshift into an elemental of 2 HD/level is still broken for the same reason as polymorph is broken. For one thing, it would allow a 1st-level binder to shapeshift into a small taint elemental (CR 3). Assuming you are going for a tier 2 binder idea, the best is to allow only a limited list of forms based on level. Small air, earth, fire and water elemental would be available from level 1; medium elemental from level 3, and so on (based on a summon spell of a level available to a wizard of binder level +2). If you also make it a Polymorph subschool effect, it would be even more balanced than the Polymorph spell or an effect based on it.

Can you help me out with something, on this little project? I'm definitely going to make a Mythic version of this concept, in addition to aiding you with your creation. That said, I'm struggling to find enough iconic characters to fill out the banner that goes at the top of Mythic class threads. Can you recommend any characters that fit for a Mythic Binder?
I'd like to say Faust, if you haven't decided on including him already. Also, Doctor Facilier (shadow binder), although I remember seeing him on a class's banner before.

A deal for power is one of the biggest clichés of fiction, really. You can probably find a couple fairy tale characters that did it. The serie Heroes has a character who learned swordfighting for a dragon, but the trope is deconstructed.

nonsi
2015-08-04, 05:26 AM
Actually, monsters are totally designed for players to play as. For all purposes, the terms character and monster are interchangeable in 3.x.

To Nonsi, I'd say the ability to shapeshift into an elemental of 2 HD/level is still broken for the same reason as polymorph is broken. For one thing, it would allow a 1st-level binder to shapeshift into a small taint elemental (CR 3). Assuming you are going for a tier 2 binder idea, the best is to allow only a limited list of forms based on level. Small air, earth, fire and water elemental would be available from level 1; medium elemental from level 3, and so on (based on a summon spell of a level available to a wizard of binder level +2). If you also make it a Polymorph subschool effect, it would be even more balanced than the Polymorph spell or an effect based on it.


The primary motivation for thinking about elemental transformation was design simplicity. You get quite a lot for a handful of words, and everyone's gonna know exactly what you're talking about.
Personally, I don't see elemental form as broken.
Elementals are not particularly strong for their CR. Their main purpose is traversing locations that are otherwise difficult/impossible to cross. They also possess several defenses, but that doesn't make them broken.

If I were to adopt this angle (right now the tendency is not), it would definitely not be from 1st level (5th bare minimum).

Qoios
2015-08-04, 08:09 AM
Fine.
What will the at-will poll be comprised of?
What will the recharge-times poll be comprised of?
I think Invocations are a good framework to model it after. Well, some hybrid of Invocations & Domain Casting. The more I think about it, the more I like the notion of each Sphere being broad enough that a binder could specialize in that sphere, and never need to use powers from outside of it. Not for the purposes of filling all of his Invocation Slots, anyway. As long as every Sphere has a sufficient quantity of offensive, defensive, & utility powers, it should obviate the need for a "default" list of powers.


As you said at the bottom: Vestiges-as-"Domains" Binder. Groups/"Domains" - different words, same notion (tomāto/tomăto, potāto/potăto).
I just wanted to be sure we weren't falling into the Vestige Trap of forcing anyone to take a certain specific set of abilities together. I see now that's not an issue. Carry on.


I tend to regard "Soul Guardian" as a really bad name for a valid feature.
My angle is this: a binder, being exposed to visions and influence of the worst horrors and most terrible nightmares of creation, develops an unprecedentedly strong mind that's particularly hard to influence.
Notice that every official binger gets those all the time - regardless of vestiges he has bound (down to zero).
I disagree with it being an assumed part of our Sphere Binder. Sphere Binders will be much more diverse than Tome of Magic Binders were. There can be Sphere Binders who bind spirits from the various Celestial Realms, exclusively. They have healing and defensive powers galore, innumerable ways to smite ne'er-do-wells, and not a single iota of mental trauma from dealing with nightmares and horrors. I think that the abilities offered by "Soul Guardian" would do well as defensive options for those Sphere Binders that do bind strange, alien entities, and have had to develop countermeasures against their corrosive minds. Or something like that. They just don't seem like they encompass universal truths for all Sphere Binders anymore.

And yes, "Soul Guardian" is a silly name.


Turn off the alarm, I'm in no way shape or form adamant about polymorphing into elemental(s). It was just an idea thrown that I was thematically ok with.
Sorry. I just really don't like that kind of thing. I don't think it is over-powered, or under-powered, or anything like that. I just think that it is inelegant. If we want to including an elemental transformation thing, I think we should do the leg work, and define exactly what abilities you get from that, what limitations, if any, such a form imposes, etc. Turning into another monster is one of the most clumsy ways to grant a player powers.


I believe we've reached a point where we have enough to go on to start fleshing out our "Spheres Binder" ("spheres" sound better to me than "domains" - as in "spheres of creation/existence").
I agree. I'll set to work, and try creating a Sphere or two.


Actually, monsters are totally designed for players to play as. For all purposes, the terms character and monster are interchangeable in 3.x.
I understand that they use the same statistics, but that doesn't change the fact that a player shapeshifting into a monster is a clunky process, and there are ways to do it that can be kept more consistent. Polymorphing is fine with me, thematically, but I prefer the notion of defining exactly what you gain, in relation to what you already had, rather than trusting that existing monster stat blocks will do it justice.


The best I can think of when it comes to Mythos and binding is Pokémon/Bakugan/Beyblade/Yu-Gi-Oh/Cardcaptor Sakura, but that's about it (a bit after my time, but I have kids so I'm somewhat in the loop :smallbiggrin:)
Stepping away from Mythos, the Belgariad-Malloreon series displayed a lot of Binder-esque powers & features.
Huh. Definitely not where I had been taking it. As I work on the Mythic thing this thread inspired me to create, it is starting to drift into its own territory. Not that that's a bad thing. In fact, I'd prefer it not to be just the Mythic Sphere Binder.


I'd like to say Faust, if you haven't decided on including him already. Also, Doctor Facilier (shadow binder), although I remember seeing him on a class's banner before.

A deal for power is one of the biggest clichés of fiction, really. You can probably find a couple fairy tale characters that did it. The serie Heroes has a character who learned swordfighting for a dragon, but the trope is deconstructed.

Mostly, at this point, I'm focusing on people who make magical deals & contracts. Which, as you've pointed out, is an ancient, often-used trope, with examples aplenty. The main difficulty is, I'm looking for characters for whom that is a defining feature of their narrative, not just a thing they did once. What I'm trying to make isn't for characters whose Deals-for-Power are just an origin story. This is for those for whom deal-making is their modus operandi.

That said: this isn't the Mythic Schmuck, either. If I were to use someone from Faust, it wouldn't be Faust himself, it'd be Mephistopheles. When these guys make deals, they (usually) come out ahead. Doctor Facilier is a great idea, though. A few other characters solidly on my list: Rumplestiltskin (the Once Upon a Time version), Kyubey (from Puella Magi Madoka Magica), and Yūko Ichihara (from xxxHolic & Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle).

nonsi
2015-08-04, 08:53 AM
I think Invocations are a good framework to model it after. Well, some hybrid of Invocations & Domain Casting. The more I think about it, the more I like the notion of each Sphere being broad enough that a binder could specialize in that sphere, and never need to use powers from outside of it. Not for the purposes of filling all of his Invocation Slots, anyway. As long as every Sphere has a sufficient quantity of offensive, defensive, & utility powers, it should obviate the need for a "default" list of powers.

. . .

I disagree with it being an assumed part of our Sphere Binder. Sphere Binders will be much more diverse than Tome of Magic Binders were. There can be Sphere Binders who bind spirits from the various Celestial Realms, exclusively. They have healing and defensive powers galore, innumerable ways to smite ne'er-do-wells, and not a single iota of mental trauma from dealing with nightmares and horrors. I think that the abilities offered by "Soul Guardian" would do well as defensive options for those Sphere Binders that do bind strange, alien entities, and have had to develop countermeasures against their corrosive minds. Or something like that. They just don't seem like they encompass universal truths for all Sphere Binders anymore.


I see where you're getting at, and now it's obvious that there shouldn't be any correlation between spheres and spell schools, because then a sphere would end up too narrow in scope.
If I understand you correctly, spheres don't even have to be tied directly to specific planes of existence (but that's where I'm in the dark).


OTOH, I don't think it would be a good design goal to narrow down players to only one sphere (even if in theory a given sphere is supposed to cover all your adventuring needs).
I want there to be an option for secondary and tertiary spheres, and that given high enough tolls/risks, one could address other spheres as well (actually, primary-secondary-tertiary seems most intuitive to me for such class, with extreme focus being nonstandard).

Qoios
2015-08-04, 09:37 AM
I see where you're getting at, and now it's obvious that there shouldn't be any correlation between spheres and spell schools, because then a sphere would end up too narrow in scope.
If I understand you correctly, spheres don't even have to be tied directly to specific planes of existence (but that's where I'm in the dark).
I think binding them to planes is a fine way to do it. That was what I assumed the plan was, anyway. I'd love to try to figure out Prime-Material-Plane Sphere bindings, at some point, too. What the heck would those even be?

And, yes, a single spell school seems too limiting for a whole Sphere.


OTOH, I don't think it would be a good design goal to narrow down players to only one sphere (even if in theory a given sphere is supposed to cover all your adventuring needs).
I want there to be an option for secondary and tertiary spheres, and that given high enough tolls/risks, one could address other spheres as well (actually, primary-secondary-tertiary seems most intuitive to me for such class, with extreme focus being nonstandard).
I'm sorry. I didn't mean to miscommunicate. I don't see One-Sphere-Binders as a mandate. I just want it to be an option. The default assumption, in my mind, is a Binder that barters, borrows, trades and steals whatever power they need from whatever entities they can do so to. However, I like options. Why not reward someone who wants to specialize, and only take his Powers from one Sphere? Not reward more than someone who chooses diversity, but reward differently.

I see the Binder's Sphere-diversification-progression not being based on how many Spheres he has access to, but by how many he has simultaneous access to.

Thus, for the low-level binder, they could bind Celestial, Infernal, Astral, or Whatever-else-al spirits, and gain powers from any of them. But they can't maintain binds with multiple Spheres of spirits yet, access any of the higher-order powers of them, or change their selections of powers outside of redrafting the whole bind.

A mid-level binder can simultaneously bind multiple types of spirits (as long as they aren't too diametrically opposed), draw more power from said spirits, and have started to be able to strong-arm the spirits a little, demanding some emergency powers, with some manner of downside.

A high-level binder is adept enough to force a Solar, an Ultroloth, a Secundus Modron, and a Black Slaad to bind with him, despite their anathematic natures towards one another, draw on the greatest powers any of them have to offer, and if needed, drop bonds and form them at a whim without fear of reprisal. They are the master of spirits, now, not some supplicant.

This might not be what every Sphere Binder wants to do, though. So, in exchange for eschewing some of their abilities to diversify the Spheres from which they bind spirits, they can get different sorts of perks, related to the Sphere they've chosen to dedicate themselves to, to compensate.

Options! :smallbiggrin:

nonsi
2015-08-04, 01:33 PM
I think binding them to planes is a fine way to do it. That was what I assumed the plan was, anyway.


Correct assumption.
The "never need to use powers from outside of it" got me confused a bit.





I'd love to try to figure out Prime-Material-Plane Sphere bindings, at some point, too. What the heck would those even be?


I tend to view the Prime-Material-Plane as the sum of Elemental(s)-Ethereal-Astral, so maybe there's no need to figure out Prime-Material-Plane Sphere.
You could attribute the Universal school effects to it, but as you said: "a single spell school seems too limiting for a whole Sphere".





I'm sorry. I didn't mean to miscommunicate. I don't see One-Sphere-Binders as a mandate. I just want it to be an option. The default assumption, in my mind, is a Binder that barters, borrows, trades and steals whatever power they need from whatever entities they can do so to. However, I like options. Why not reward someone who wants to specialize, and only take his Powers from one Sphere? Not reward more than someone who chooses diversity, but reward differently.

I see the Binder's Sphere-diversification-progression not being based on how many Spheres he has access to, but by how many he has simultaneous access to.

Thus, for the low-level binder, they could bind Celestial, Infernal, Astral, or Whatever-else-al spirits, and gain powers from any of them. But they can't maintain binds with multiple Spheres of spirits yet, access any of the higher-order powers of them, or change their selections of powers outside of redrafting the whole bind.

A mid-level binder can simultaneously bind multiple types of spirits (as long as they aren't too diametrically opposed), draw more power from said spirits, and have started to be able to strong-arm the spirits a little, demanding some emergency powers, with some manner of downside.


No argument on my side here.





A high-level binder is adept enough to force a Solar, an Ultroloth, a Secundus Modron, and a Black Slaad to bind with him, despite their anathematic natures towards one another, draw on the greatest powers any of them have to offer, and if needed, drop bonds and form them at a whim without fear of reprisal. They are the master of spirits, now, not some supplicant.


Solar/Ultroloth/Secundus Modron/Black Slaad..... so, are we now putting name tags to to our spheres, or was it just a metaphor?
Accessing Solar powers directly could become a slippery slope toward T1.





This might not be what every Sphere Binder wants to do, though. So, in exchange for eschewing some of their abilities to diversify the Spheres from which they bind spirits, they can get different sorts of perks, related to the Sphere they've chosen to dedicate themselves to, to compensate.


Well, those need to be pretty hefty perks.

Qoios
2015-08-04, 02:20 PM
I tend to view the Prime-Material-Plane as the sum of Elemental(s)-Ethereal-Astral, so maybe there's no need to figure out Prime-Material-Plane Sphere.
There is no need to do so. But I think it'd be fun to try to figure out some not-derivative-of-the-other-planes spirits (plus corresponding signs, influences, and abilities) for a Prime Material Plane Sphere.


Solar/Ultroloth/Secundus Modron/Black Slaad..... so, are we now putting name tags to to our spheres, or was it just a metaphor?
I just picked out a very powerful Outsider from the planes with Neutral Good, Neutral Evil, Lawful Neutral, & Chaotic Neutral affiliations. Just for a quick example.


Accessing Solar powers directly could become a slippery slope toward T1.
Again, I don't intend to give access to the actual powers-as-written of a Solar (or any other monster, ever). But I will fluff some of the higher power Celestial Sphere (or whatever we end up calling that one) abilities as being derived from binding a Solar. That said, this will probably be T1. That's almost inevitable. The things you wish to fix about the Tome of Magic Binder are some of the only things keeping it from being T1, itself.


Well, those need to be pretty hefty perks.
They will be.

SkipSandwich
2015-08-04, 05:12 PM
A thought i had to allow both specialization within one sphere and versatility without forcing the binder into one or the other is this. What if there was a limit (increasing with level) of how much power a single pact can take from any given sphere? Say we use a warlock type progression of least>lesser>greater>superior and at the highest level a single pact can grant 1 superior/2 greater/3 lesser or 4 least powers?

With that i think it would be best to limit the number of binds to between 4-6.

nonsi
2015-08-05, 12:30 AM
Again, I don't intend to give access to the actual powers-as-written of a Solar (or any other monster, ever). But I will fluff some of the higher power Celestial Sphere (or whatever we end up calling that one) abilities as being derived from binding a Solar. That said, this will probably be T1. That's almost inevitable. The things you wish to fix about the Tome of Magic Binder are some of the only things keeping it from being T1, itself.


Let's see if we can avoid T1:

Let's assume, least>lesser>greater>superior powers - as SkipSandwich suggests.
So...
- At 1st level, you can bind only a single sphere, having access to its least powers (to a to-be-determined degree).
- At 6th, you can still bind only a single sphere, having access to its least & lesser powers.
- At 7th, you can bind a 2nd sphere, but you only gain access to its least powers.
- At 11th, you gain access to your primary bound sphere's greater powers.
- At 13th, you gain access to your secondary bound sphere's lesser powers.
- At 14th, you can bind a 3rd sphere, but you only gain access to its least powers.
- At 16th, you gain access to your primary bound sphere's superior powers.
- At 19th, you gain access to your secondary bound sphere's greater powers.
- At 20th, you gain access to your tertiary bound sphere's lesser powers.

Note: You do not gain access to spheres that are not bound..... unless (if we decide to allow this) you pay a terrible price or face a mortal risk - and it's not gonna be at the lower levels.
Note: We could stack all advancements onto levels 1>6>11>16, but I thought it would be a better design if more levels granted nice things.

Along the way, you learn how to unbind spheres:
- At 5th, you learn how to unbind a sphere. and may do so once per day. (let's face it - Expel Vestige is a no-brainer)
- At 12th, you may unbind twice per day, but only once per binding priority.
- At 18th or 17th, you may unbind thrice per day, but only once per binding priority.

Special (just maybe): when unbinding a sphere, one may lower the priority of another bound sphere above it, to make way for another sphere to take its place in the priority ladder. You cannot raise the priority of a bound sphere - you must unbind and replace it to do that.




That's just one of many possibilities, one that keeps the character from owning the game (and along the way covers 12 levels worth of features).
If we decide to adopt this approach, we could also play around with the levels to our convenience.



One more thing.
It's highly unlikely that one would gain 10 Binder levels and more without ever accessing The Far Realm / The Gray Waste / lower planes / plane of shadows.
For that reason, I still see increased mental resilience as a reasonable intrinsic part of the Binder.
If you add Suppress Sign and Suppress personality (and keep them separated), then along with bonus feats you could distribute features to have no dead levels.
(unless of course you have better ideas than increased mental resilience for class features).




If you have better suggestions, I wouldn't mind.
What I would prefer, is that our result class doesn't mop the floor with the more powerful Warlock remakes shown on these boards, because I have no desire for this class to nullify the validity of the Warlock concept.



Btw, are we still going for yes to Conjuration/Transmutation/Abjuration/Necromancy/Enchantment and no to Divination/Illusion/Evocation/Universal, or is it gonna be a free market?
In both cases, we should avoid a class design that spreads upon many pages (which makes class usage cumbersome).
Note that just like the Warlock's limited list of invocations, there's no need to cover all or even most spells. This class can thrive and be extremely versatile even if it has access to less than 10% of the officially published spells/effects.

SkipSandwich
2015-08-05, 12:23 PM
Lets see, a baseline warlock gets 12 invocations total, 3 of each grade with new grades becoming accessible at levels 6th, 11th and 16th.

Lets say our binder will get 6 pacts total, 1 at 1st plus 1 extra at 4th level and every 4 levels after that 8th/12th/16th/20th

Each pact can only grant a certain amount of power, a 1st level that is just a single least power, at 6th 1 lesser or 2 least, at 11th 1 greater or 2 lesser or 3 least and at 16th 1 superior or 2 greater or 3 lesser or 4 least powers per pact.

The binder must have at least 1 least power for a sphere before they can get a lesser power, one lesser power before greater and one greater before superior, so at least 4 pacts must be spent in a single sphere before the greatest level powers can be unleashed.

with all pacts spent in a single sphere they have up to 3 Superior powers (3 pacts), 2 Greater powers (1 pact), 3 Lesser powers (1 pact) and 4 least powers (1 pact) for 12 total powers.

If pacts are spread between two spheres they could get 2 Greater/3 Lesser/4 Least powers from each for a total of 20 powers, or 3 Lesser/4 Least in one sphere and 1 Superior/2 Greater/3 Lesser/4 Least in the other with 17 powers known

If spread evenly between 3 spheres they could get 3 Lesser/4 Least powers from each for a total of 21 powers

If a single pact spent in each of 6 different spheres they end up with 24 Least powers.

In order for generalists to not be too penalized for not choosing to specialize, I suggest that each sphere have a Domain power that you get just for having any number of pacts in that sphere, with the effects scaling by level rather then number of pacts invested.

Qoios
2015-08-05, 01:22 PM
Let's see if we can avoid T1:

Let's assume, least>lesser>greater>superior powers - as SkipSandwich suggests.
So...
- At 1st level, you can bind only a single sphere, having access to its least powers (to a to-be-determined degree).
- At 6th, you can still bind only a single sphere, having access to its least & lesser powers.
- At 7th, you can bind a 2nd sphere, but you only gain access to its least powers.
- At 11th, you gain access to your primary bound sphere's greater powers.
- At 13th, you gain access to your secondary bound sphere's lesser powers.
- At 14th, you can bind a 3rd sphere, but you only gain access to its least powers.
- At 16th, you gain access to your primary bound sphere's superior powers.
- At 19th, you gain access to your secondary bound sphere's greater powers.
- At 20th, you gain access to your tertiary bound sphere's lesser powers.

Note: You do not gain access to spheres that are not bound..... unless (if we decide to allow this) you pay a terrible price or face a mortal risk - and it's not gonna be at the lower levels.
Note: We could stack all advancements onto levels 1>6>11>16, but I thought it would be a better design if more levels granted nice things.

Along the way, you learn how to unbind spheres:
- At 5th, you learn how to unbind a sphere. and may do so once per day. (let's face it - Expel Vestige is a no-brainer)
- At 12th, you may unbind twice per day, but only once per binding priority.
- At 18th or 17th, you may unbind thrice per day, but only once per binding priority.

Special (just maybe): when unbinding a sphere, one may lower the priority of another bound sphere above it, to make way for another sphere to take its place in the priority ladder. You cannot raise the priority of a bound sphere - you must unbind and replace it to do that.

That's just one of many possibilities, one that keeps the character from owning the game (and along the way covers 12 levels worth of features).
If we decide to adopt this approach, we could also play around with the levels to our convenience.

I like the progression you've worked out, there. That's a good arrangement, and keeps new toys coming at a lot of levels. I wouldn't include the once-per-binding-priority clause on the unbinding effect. Also: rather than allowing some priority-rearranging when unbinding, I would make that a separate ability to rearrange Sphere's priorities, with a slightly larger scaling number of uses/day. I would also make both trading out currently bound Spheres or rearranging them take long enough that they can only be reasonably done during downtime (maybe a minute, maybe just a couple rounds, but my point is to make it a non-option during combat).


One more thing.
It's highly unlikely that one would gain 10 Binder levels and more without ever accessing The Far Realm / The Gray Waste / lower planes / plane of shadows.
For that reason, I still see increased mental resilience as a reasonable intrinsic part of the Binder.
(unless of course you have better ideas than increased mental resilience for class features).
I still disagree with you on that point. I think that the option to specialize in one Sphere, or to make full use of the versatility available should both be valid choices for players of this class.

I'm not firmly against those features, though. My instincts say to bundle it with much of the Spirit-Shaman-style features, and have it function in relation to any kind of spirit you could bind (or something like that), but not be useful against, say mortal Enchantment spells.

Eh. I'm fine with it either way, honestly. If you like it, I can't construct a good argument against it, so why not let them be mental juggernauts, I suppose.


If you add Suppress Sign and Suppress personality (and keep them separated), then along with bonus feats you could distribute features to have no dead levels.
See, this one I do feel strongly about. I really don't like Suppress Sign, Suppress Personality, or Ignore Special Requirements. They undermine the very flavor of the class that makes it interesting in the first place. If those abilities must exist, I'd make them a part of the class, and scale with the class. I would have the DCs to suppress those things with Binding Checks have a high base, and weak scaling. I would have player's Binder Check Bonuses do the opposite, starting with a low base, and having strong scaling. That way, a low level binder would be very hard pressed to negate the effects of pacts, but a powerful binder could do so with relative ease.

Alternatively, I would remove the Binder Checks altogether and allow suppression as just a choice. However, I would provide meaningful incentive for them to not choose to try to suppress Signs & Personalities or ignore Requirements. I'd want to give enough incentive that they wouldn't want to do suppress those things without good cause. This would be my preferred method. Immunity to one's own fluff is like, the lamest ability that a class can gain, in my eyes, so we should at least make it a trade-off.

As for some feat ideas, I'd have the Sphere-Specialization options be broken up into Sphere-specific feat(-chain)s which allow you to forgo binding with secondary and tertiary Spheres in exchange for scaling perks based on how much you are giving up by not binding with extra spheres.


If you have better suggestions, I wouldn't mind.
What I would prefer, is that our result class doesn't mop the floor with the more powerful Warlock remakes shown on these boards, because I have no desire for this class to nullify the validity of the Warlock concept.
That is kinda inevitable, here. Sphere-Binder is to Warlock as Wizard is to Sorcerer. This won't invalidate it, but it will be far more versatile.


Btw, are we still going for yes to Conjuration/Transmutation/Abjuration/Necromancy/Enchantment and no to Divination/Illusion/Evocation/Universal, or is it gonna be a free market?
I'd say that spell-choices need to be specific, not by schools, and need to be judged on a Sphere-by-Sphere basis.
As far as ability types go, I say we should have 3

At-will combat techniques
Passive self-buffs
Recharge-based Invocations
Each Sphere should have (at least) one progression of at-will combat features, growing in strength with class level, and receiving new features depending on the Tier of abilities you have access to with that Sphere.

Then, we have a list of passive buffs that can be chosen from for each Sphere, with the list being delineated by Tiers of increasingly powerful buffs, with a specified number of Slots to fill, determined by class level.

Finally, we have a list of Invocations that can be used according to various recharge times, depending on the individual spell effect in question. This will, similarly to the Passives, have a slot-limit determined by class level, and be separated into Tiers depending on potency.

I'd say with both Passives and Invocations, each Sphere should have enough options to fill all slots, if one should choose to, but no more than that.


In both cases, we should avoid a class design that spreads upon many pages (which makes class usage cumbersome).
This class will have some length to it, either way. Almost all of that will be contained within the Sphere's ability listings.

Speaking of which, what should we define the Spheres around, at this point? We've been using Planes as a basis, so far, do you want to just stick with that and do a Sphere for each of the more notable Inner, Outer, and Transitive planes of the Great Wheel? What about Fey? Are they extraplanar, or should those be our Prime Material Spirits?


Note that just like the Warlock's limited list of invocations, there's no need to cover all or even most spells. This class can thrive and be extremely versatile even if it has access to less than 10% of the officially published spells/effects.
I feel as though we shouldn't be aiming to purposefully limit the ability choices. Neither do I think we should be aiming to purposefully expand the ability choices without cause. I think it'd be best if we based ability choices exclusively on what seems appropriate for the given Spheres and Tiers.


Lets see, a baseline warlock gets 12 invocations total, 3 of each grade with new grades becoming accessible at levels 6th, 11th and 16th.

Lets say our binder will get 6 pacts total, 1 at 1st plus 1 extra at 4th level and every 4 levels after that 8th/12th/16th/20th

Each pact can only grant a certain amount of power, a 1st level that is just a single least power, at 6th 1 lesser or 2 least, at 11th 1 greater or 2 lesser or 3 least and at 16th 1 superior or 2 greater or 3 lesser or 4 least powers per pact.

The binder must have at least 1 least power for a sphere before they can get a lesser power, one lesser power before greater and one greater before superior, so at least 4 pacts must be spent in a single sphere before the greatest level powers can be unleashed.

with all pacts spent in a single sphere they have up to 3 Superior powers (3 pacts), 2 Greater powers (1 pact), 3 Lesser powers (1 pact) and 4 least powers (1 pact) for 12 total powers.

If pacts are spread between two spheres they could get 2 Greater/3 Lesser/4 Least powers from each for a total of 20 powers, or 3 Lesser/4 Least in one sphere and 1 Superior/2 Greater/3 Lesser/4 Least in the other with 17 powers known

If spread evenly between 3 spheres they could get 3 Lesser/4 Least powers from each for a total of 21 powers

If a single pact spent in each of 6 different spheres they end up with 24 Least powers.

In order for generalists to not be too penalized for not choosing to specialize, I suggest that each sphere have a Domain power that you get just for having any number of pacts in that sphere, with the effects scaling by level rather then number of pacts invested.
I dislike this idea. It is incredibly clunky. You are either bound with a spirit of a given sphere or not, giving you access to that Sphere's list of abilities, with higher level abilities gated based on whether it is a Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary pact, and the class level of the Binder, as specified in nonsi's post. You then select abilities from amongst all those you have access to, filling out your scaling ability slots.

I appreciate your intention, please continue to offer input and critiques, but I much prefer the method that nonsi and I have been working on.

nonsi
2015-08-05, 02:54 PM
Lets see, a baseline warlock gets 12 invocations total, 3 of each grade with new grades becoming accessible at levels 6th, 11th and 16th.


There's a wide agreement that the official Warlock is weak and severely lacking in versatility - until you get to item creation.
Unfortunately, item creation depends on a few factors (decided upon WBL, available downtime etc).
Therefore, several proposals were made to remedy this problem, one of which was mine (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=18777427&postcount=16). This is the kind of Warlock I'd want to compare the would-be Binder to.





Lets say our binder will get 6 pacts total, 1 at 1st plus 1 extra at 4th level and every 4 levels after that 8th/12th/16th/20th

Each pact can only grant a certain amount of power, a 1st level that is just a single least power, at 6th 1 lesser or 2 least, at 11th 1 greater or 2 lesser or 3 least and at 16th 1 superior or 2 greater or 3 lesser or 4 least powers per pact.

The binder must have at least 1 least power for a sphere before they can get a lesser power, one lesser power before greater and one greater before superior, so at least 4 pacts must be spent in a single sphere before the greatest level powers can be unleashed.

with all pacts spent in a single sphere they have up to 3 Superior powers (3 pacts), 2 Greater powers (1 pact), 3 Lesser powers (1 pact) and 4 least powers (1 pact) for 12 total powers.

If pacts are spread between two spheres they could get 2 Greater/3 Lesser/4 Least powers from each for a total of 20 powers, or 3 Lesser/4 Least in one sphere and 1 Superior/2 Greater/3 Lesser/4 Least in the other with 17 powers known

If spread evenly between 3 spheres they could get 3 Lesser/4 Least powers from each for a total of 21 powers

If a single pact spent in each of 6 different spheres they end up with 24 Least powers.


The current agreement between Qoios and myself is that we're not gonna go for pact-per-power. It's too taxing and too cumbersome a mechanic.
We're going with pact-per-sphere, and the player's not gonna have his hands full in prioritizing between high powers and low powers within a given sphere.





In order for generalists to not be too penalized for not choosing to specialize, I suggest that each sphere have a Domain power that you get just for having any number of pacts in that sphere, with the effects scaling by level rather then number of pacts invested.


I don't remember that being said aloud, but I get the vibe that we're both in sync that a bound sphere comes with domain-power-like gift(s).

Qoios
2015-08-05, 03:03 PM
There's a wide agreement that the official Warlock is weak and severely lacking in versatility - until you get to item creation.
Unfortunately, item creation depends on a few factors (decided upon WBL, available downtime etc).
Therefore, several proposals were made to remedy this problem, one of which was mine (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=18777427&postcount=16). This is the kind of Warlock I'd want to compare the would-be Binder to.
I'd say my statement before will stand, but with a bit more fairness. Your Warlock=Sorcerer, Our Binder=Wizard.


The current agreement between Qoios and myself is that we're not gonna go for pact-per-power. It's too taxing and too cumbersome a mechanic.
We're going with pact-per-sphere, and the player's not gonna have his hands full in prioritizing between high powers and low powers within a given sphere.
Yeah, just lists to choose from daily, and your pacts make your lists bigger.


I don't remember that being said aloud, but I get the vibe that we're both in sync that a bound sphere comes with domain-power-like gift(s).
I was going slightly more for a list of passive buffs, unlocked based on Spheres accessed, and selected similarly to active Invocations.

faustin
2015-08-05, 05:36 PM
Random Question: the more the Warlock attunes himself to a particular Sphere, the more "native" he becomes (fae, elemental, demon, etc..) thus losing his humanity in the process?

Qoios
2015-08-05, 05:44 PM
Random Question: the more the Warlock attunes himself to a particular Sphere, the more "native" he becomes (fae, elemental, demon, etc..) thus losing his humanity in the process?
I like the fluff. Got some crunchy examples to go with it?

faustin
2015-08-05, 06:06 PM
I like the fluff. Got some crunchy examples to go with it?

Err..... no idea, but I would put them as mutations/influences, with certain practical benefits (wings, hardened skin, aura effects, charm-like abilities, etc..) but huge mental/social disadvantages, weakness (iron, holy/unholy water) and weird taboos (like "always keeping the given word"). I´m just thinking back in the Gangrel Clan curse.

Anyway, have you decided finally binding Spheres rather than bargaining Outsider as the main theme?

SkipSandwich
2015-08-05, 07:39 PM
So how many spheres are we looking at exactly?

4-9 for the aligned planes, depending of if we go just Good/Evil/Law/Chaos or break it down into the individual LG/CG/NG ect.

4 for the elemental planes Earth/Air/Fire/Water

3 for Astral/Shadow/Far Realms

Am I missing anything?

Qoios
2015-08-05, 09:12 PM
So how many spheres are we looking at exactly?

4-9 for the aligned planes, depending of if we go just Good/Evil/Law/Chaos or break it down into the individual LG/CG/NG ect.

4 for the elemental planes Earth/Air/Fire/Water

3 for Astral/Shadow/Far Realms

Am I missing anything?
Positive & Negative Energy planes? Feywild (isn't that what it is caled)?

SkipSandwich
2015-08-05, 10:11 PM
So about 14-19 Spheres each with thier own domain + Least/Lesser/Greater/Superior powers.

Even if each sphere only has one power at each tier with Primary/Secondary/Tertiary pacts that would be at least 9 powers + 3 domain abilities available each day, out of about 40-45 powers total.


A warlock has a slight edge in the number of top-tier powers they can call on (3 dark invocations by20), but the binder wins hands down in versatility and ease of build through the abilty to easily change thier whole build around with preparation.

I think these numbers look pretty good.

nonsi
2015-08-06, 01:39 AM
I wouldn't include the once-per-binding-priority clause on the unbinding effect. Also: rather than allowing some priority-rearranging when unbinding, I would make that a separate ability to rearrange Sphere's priorities, with a slightly larger scaling number of uses/day.


I'm allowing myself to remind you that we're trying to dodge the T1 bullet.





I would also make both trading out currently bound Spheres or rearranging them take long enough that they can only be reasonably done during downtime (maybe a minute, maybe just a couple rounds, but my point is to make it a non-option during combat).


Oh, I definitely wasn't thinking of allowing mid-combat swapping.
Nevertheless, I worry that more swapping than I'd suggested might make that bullet impossible to dodge, because with so many swapping opportunities, Mr. Binder would almost always have the perfect tool for any challenge.





I still disagree with you on that point. I think that the option to specialize in one Sphere, or to make full use of the versatility available should both be valid choices for players of this class.

I'm not firmly against those features, though. My instincts say to bundle it with much of the Spirit-Shaman-style features, and have it function in relation to any kind of spirit you could bind (or something like that), but not be useful against, say mortal Enchantment spells.

Eh. I'm fine with it either way, honestly. If you like it, I can't construct a good argument against it, so why not let them be mental juggernauts, I suppose.


Yes. AFAIK, there aren't many mental juggernauts (feature wise, not save wise) out there. Both in theme and the class mechanics we're cooking here, I can't think of anyone else that fits the bill better.

Again, if you have something that would better describe what a binder is with no sphere accessed, by all means I'm open to suggestions.
Till then, this is it.





See, this one I do feel strongly about. I really don't like Suppress Sign, Suppress Personality, or Ignore Special Requirements. They undermine the very flavor of the class that makes it interesting in the first place.


Fair enough. It's just that this makes the class challenging RP-wise, and I'm not sure I'd want it to be over challenging to novice RP-ers, or people that aren't strong RP-ers at heart.
OTOH, IDK, maybe it's ok to leave certain classes to the RP pros.





If those abilities must exist, I'd make them a part of the class, and scale with the class. I would have the DCs to suppress those things with Binding Checks have a high base, and weak scaling. I would have player's Binder Check Bonuses do the opposite, starting with a low base, and having strong scaling. That way, a low level binder would be very hard pressed to negate the effects of pacts, but a powerful binder could do so with relative ease.


Ok, so in what way will this differ from the means by which the official Binder overcomes enforced personality traits and signs?





Alternatively, I would remove the Binder Checks altogether and allow suppression as just a choice. However, I would provide meaningful incentive for them to not choose to try to suppress Signs & Personalities or ignore Requirements. I'd want to give enough incentive that they wouldn't want to do suppress those things without good cause. This would be my preferred method. Immunity to one's own fluff is like, the lamest ability that a class can gain, in my eyes, so we should at least make it a trade-off.


Ok, no argument fluff-wise.
But remember, all's fine and justified fluff-wise, I wish to avoid ending up with a class that becomes overtaxing to operate mechanically (regardless of its power).





As for some feat ideas, I'd have the Sphere-Specialization options be broken up into Sphere-specific feat(-chain)s which allow you to forgo binding with secondary and tertiary Spheres in exchange for scaling perks based on how much you are giving up by not binding with extra spheres.


Looking at SkipSandwich's plane-enumeration + yours + ethereal = 19.
This means that instead of one feat chain, we might end up with 20.
This is most alarming volume-wise. More volume of text = less wieldy class.





That is kinda inevitable, here. Sphere-Binder is to Warlock as Wizard is to Sorcerer. This won't invalidate it, but it will be far more versatile.


I'd wanna aim for a Binder that is more (and less) than just a prepared Warlock. Allowing for too many daily swapping would just make it more than just a prepared Warlock… and then some.
No one's forcing us to allow swapping abuse, so let's not go there.





I'd say that spell-choices need to be specific, not by schools, and need to be judged on a Sphere-by-Sphere basis.
As far as ability types go, I say we should have 3

At-will combat techniques
Passive self-buffs
Recharge-based Invocations


Nothing bad to say about this strategy.





Each Sphere should have (at least) one progression of at-will combat features, growing in strength with class level, and receiving new features depending on the Tier of abilities you have access to with that Sphere.


Absolutely. Now let's give it a solid execution.





Then, we have a list of passive buffs that can be chosen from for each Sphere, with the list being delineated by Tiers of increasingly powerful buffs, with a specified number of Slots to fill, determined by class level.


Both for power balance and functional practicality, there shouldn't be too much of those.





Finally, we have a list of Invocations that can be used according to various recharge times, depending on the individual spell effect in question. This will, similarly to the Passives, have a slot-limit determined by class level, and be separated into Tiers depending on potency.


We need to make sure that any given combo of at-will combat features + rechargeable is a bit inferior to EB + invocations (souped-up EB + invocations that is). Swapping + passive buffs will more than even things up.
And remember – the Binder should definitely not be able to do everything. Any properly designed class (not core obviously) should be able to do things that a binder would never be able to do (not as well at least).





I'd say with both Passives and Invocations, each Sphere should have enough options to fill all slots, if one should choose to, but no more than that.


Ok, but I'll need to see the crunch to have an opinion.
As a concept, I'm ok with a sphere being able to precisely fill all slots – for someone who finds extreme focus appropriate for a given situation.





This class will have some length to it, either way. Almost all of that will be contained within the Sphere's ability listings.


Ok, but let's try to cut it down to minimum.
And let's use existing stuff rather than reinvent (again – keeping things in territories people are already familiar with).





Speaking of which, what should we define the Spheres around, at this point? We've been using Planes as a basis, so far, do you want to just stick with that and do a Sphere for each of the more notable Inner, Outer, and Transitive planes of the Great Wheel? What about Fey? Are they extraplanar, or should those be our Prime Material Spirits?


1. Fey is just too big a part of the game to pass up (chaotic stuff, illusions, trickery, mischief…)
2. I still feel no urgency in attributing a sphere to the Prime Material plane (which I regard to as a sort of sum-of-many)….. unless you want to grant access to Permanency & Wish (?!!!)





I feel as though we shouldn't be aiming to purposefully limit the ability choices. Neither do I think we should be aiming to purposefully expand the ability choices without cause. I think it'd be best if we based ability choices exclusively on what seems appropriate for the given Spheres and Tiers.


Ok. So first we'll accumulate, then we'll decide if and what to cut off.





Yeah, just lists to choose from daily, and your pacts make your lists bigger.

I'm not sure i follow you on this one.
"your pacts make your lists bigger" means that even without pacts you have lists to choose from.
Well, doesn't that mean that we'll have to get our hands dirty with known spheres?
I mean, you wouldn't want to grant access to stuff from all spheres..... unless you're talking about shared powers, but i thought we agreed that there won't be any non-sphere-associated powers/benefits.

Qoios
2015-08-06, 04:01 AM
I'm allowing myself to remind you that we're trying to dodge the T1 bullet.
Fair enough. I just don't see any Watsonian logic behind why (if you can expel Spheres) you can't expel the Spheres-grade which you already expelled that day (up to the limit of expulsions you can pull off in a day). It just seems like Expulsions/Day is enough of a limit. As for the re-arranging, I'm not dead-set on it, but I don't see it as anything too insane, if we go for the numbers of abilities as listed by SkipSandwich, above. I understand not wanting to make the Warlock irrelevant by comparison, but versatility is supposed to be the Sphere Binder's shtick, when compared to the Warlock, so I'd rather give them that, and find other areas in which to compensate.


Oh, I definitely wasn't thinking of allowing mid-combat swapping.
Nevertheless, I worry that more swapping than I'd suggested might make that bullet impossible to dodge, because with so many swapping opportunities, Mr. Binder would almost always have the perfect tool for any challenge.
I'm not suggesting more uses of the Expel Sphere ability. I just think that it should be able to just do exactly what it says on the tin, and that Sphere Rearranging should be a separate action, rather than a package deal. This is largely for ease of use. This is already going to be a complex class to play, and I don't want to add too many clauses and conditions that'll make it less intuitive.


Yes. AFAIK, there aren't many mental juggernauts (feature wise, not save wise) out there. Both in theme and the class mechanics we're cooking here, I can't think of anyone else that fits the bill better.

Again, if you have something that would better describe what a binder is with no sphere accessed, by all means I'm open to suggestions.
Till then, this is it.
I've pretty much come around to your way of thinking on this one. I'm sold. Let's do it.


Fair enough. It's just that this makes the class challenging RP-wise, and I'm not sure I'd want it to be over challenging to novice RP-ers, or people that aren't strong RP-ers at heart.
OTOH, IDK, maybe it's ok to leave certain classes to the RP pros.
You raise a good point, and one that might not have occurred to me. Perhaps I can bend on this point. Let's brainstorm some ways to let the RP-challenged play this class, without creating abilities that incentivize fluff-negation.


Ok, so in what way will this differ from the means by which the official Binder overcomes enforced personality traits and signs?
Just the lack of access to an absolute version of the effect (The Suppress & Ignore feats). If it must exist, so be it, but I do not agree with it being the kind of thing you can permanently, reliably shut off forever with no rolls, at least not until high levels. Not everything that gets relegated to high levels should do so because of power. Sometimes it just makes more sense for the fluff. If any old low-level Binder can suppress spirits too easily, it makes doing so feel much less impressive, rather than it being a sign of mastery.


Ok, no argument fluff-wise.
But remember, all's fine and justified fluff-wise, I wish to avoid ending up with a class that becomes overtaxing to operate mechanically (regardless of its power).
Okay, how about just: No using a Sphere's powers while you have it suppressed? It doesn't offer the RP-averse any mercy, but it is a rather intuitive downside for suppressing, and would make me much more open to suppression being readily accessible in the first place.


Looking at SkipSandwich's plane-enumeration + yours + ethereal = 19.
This means that instead of one feat chain, we might end up with 20.
This is most alarming volume-wise. More volume of text = less wieldy class.
You...may have a point. Can you think of a more concise way to pull this off? I don't want to give the specialist idea up, but I'm not looking to turn people off to the class by sheer bulk, either.

Would it really be necessary for it to be chains of feats? Considering these feats are meant to compensate for the lack of secondary and tertiary Spheres, I think feat-taxing that choice too hard is a bad idea. 1 Feat each seems more reasonable. Then each Sphere will have:

1 Combat Mechanism
4 Active Abilities
4 Passive Perks
1 Specialist Feat
That seems reasonable to me, bulk-wise.


I'd wanna aim for a Binder that is more (and less) than just a prepared Warlock. Allowing for too many daily swapping would just make it more than just a prepared Warlock… and then some.
No one's forcing us to allow swapping abuse, so let's not go there.
I don't think that 3 Expulsions and 4 Rearrangements enters into abusive territory. I stand by what I said about the mechanisms themselves more than the usages, though. 2 & 3 seems fine to me, given the alterations to their functionality that I mentioned. Does that seem safer, to you?


Nothing bad to say about this strategy.
And it has nothing bad to say about you.:smallwink:


Absolutely. Now let's give it a solid execution.
Oh, yeah, the actual brewing part of homebrew...


Both for power balance and functionality practical, there shouldn't be too much of those.
Numbers as above seem reasonable to you?


We need to make sure that any given combo of at-will combat features + rechargeable is a bit inferior to EB + invocations (souped-up EB + invocations that is). Swapping + passive buffs will more than even things up.
And remember – the Binder should definitely not be able to do everything. Any properly designed class (not core obviously) should be able to do things that a binder would never be able to do (not as well at least).
Agreed. They should have limits. But versatility is their thing, so the limits should mostly be in potency, rather than in options. Even so, we should be fine as long as we let the options follow the fluff, rather than make up options, then try to get the fluff to justify it.


Ok, but I'll need to see the crunch to have an opinion.
As a concept, I'm ok with a sphere being able to precisely fill all slots – for someone who finds extreme focus appropriate for a given situation.
I'm now just thinking that a Sphere should grant all of the Tier-appropriate abilities it has, and the specialist feats should grant compensation for not acquiring Secondary or Tertiary spheres. With a cost as strong as 1 feat & ignoring roughly 1/2 your class features, and the limitation of only gaining the bonuses with one Sphere per feat, I think that these feats should grant some very significant boons.

I did just realize a problem, though: Spheres are now Vestiges. They follow a clearer, more consistent set of rules than Vestiges, but the problem of them being pre-packaged sets of powers (requiring appropriate comparative research) has crept back in to the design. Do you think that clearer rules and (hopefully) better balance compensate for this?


Ok, but let's try to cut it down to minimum.
And let's use existing stuff rather than reinvent (again – keeping things in territories people are already familiar with).
Even just on Spheres alone, it is going to be a hefty class. That said, I will avoid padding it in any way that isn't needful.


1. Fey is just too big a part of the game to pass up (chaotic stuff, illusions, trickery, mischief…)
Agreed.


2. I still feel no urgency in attributing a sphere to the Prime Material plane (which I regard as a sort of sum-of-many)….. unless you want to grant access to Permanency & Wish (?!!!)
I just like it, because it is a bit bizarre. I like exploring odd concepts like this. Not saying it is urgent, but it does intrigue me, and I'll be trying to come up with a good Sphere for it before we are done here. Permanency & Wish are both bad ideas here, and you know that.


Ok. So first we'll accumulate, then we'll decide if and what to cut off.
Precisely.


I'm not sure i follow you on this one.
"your pacts make your lists bigger" means that even without pacts you have lists to choose from.
Well, doesn't that mean that we'll have to get our hands dirty with known spheres?
I mean, you wouldn't want to grant access to stuff from all spheres..... unless you're talking about shared powers, but i thought we agreed that there won't be any non-sphere-associated powers/benefits.
Having seen SkipSandwich's numbers, this comment of mine has become outdated. I'm actually having a bit of trouble seeing where I was going with this, myself...

nonsi
2015-08-06, 07:29 AM
Fair enough. I just don't see any Watsonian logic behind why (if you can expel Spheres) you can't expel the Spheres-grade which you already expelled that day (up to the limit of expulsions you can pull off in a day). It just seems like Expulsions/Day is enough of a limit. As for the re-arranging, I'm not dead-set on it, but I don't see it as anything too insane, if we go for the numbers of abilities as listed by SkipSandwich, above. I understand not wanting to make the Warlock irrelevant by comparison, but versatility is supposed to be the Sphere Binder's shtick, when compared to the Warlock, so I'd rather give them that, and find other areas in which to compensate.
. . .
I'm not suggesting more uses of the Expel Sphere ability. I just think that it should be able to just do exactly what it says on the tin, and that Sphere Rearranging should be a separate action, rather than a package deal. This is largely for ease of use. This is already going to be a complex class to play, and I don't want to add too many clauses and conditions that'll make it less intuitive.


Ok, got it.
For simplicity's sake, we'll allow swapping without priority-based limits.
The added bonus is that while swapping, you can downgrade a higher priority binding(s) if you decide that you still need it but not its higher candies and you do not want to waste your daily swapping opportunities.

Q: Why downgrading but not upgrading?
A: When you bind a sphere, you make a pact and the benefits are all that you managed to get out of that bargain. To upgrade, you need a new pact. To downgrade, all you need to do is relinquish some of the bargain's gifts and alleviate its demand/tax on your soul.





You raise a good point, and one that might not have occurred to me. Perhaps I can bend on this point. Let's brainstorm some ways to let the RP-challenged play this class, without creating abilities that incentivize fluff-negation.
. . .
Just the lack of access to an absolute version of the effect (The Suppress & Ignore feats). If it must exist, so be it, but I do not agree with it being the kind of thing you can permanently, reliably shut off forever with no rolls, at least not until high levels. Not everything that gets relegated to high levels should do so because of power. Sometimes it just makes more sense for the fluff. If any old low-level Binder can suppress spirits too easily, it makes doing so feel much less impressive, rather than it being a sign of mastery.
. . .
Okay, how about just: No using a Sphere's powers while you have it suppressed? It doesn't offer the RP-averse any mercy, but it is a rather intuitive downside for suppressing, and would make me much more open to suppression being readily accessible in the first place.


Absolutely brilliant :smallcool:
Simple, makes sense and to the point.
Will it be for perks only, or for active powers as well (or just)?
How long would it take to suppress a sphere and kick-start a suppressed sphere?

Now all that's left to decide is how close to (or far from) the official Binder the means for suppression will be.
Could be identical, could be otherwise. Really no biggie, as long as it makes the class features workout and spread nicely, and not come too late and cripple you at the early levels.





Would it really be necessary for it to be chains of feats?


Absolutely not.





Considering these feats are meant to compensate for the lack of secondary and tertiary Spheres, I think feat-taxing that choice too hard is a bad idea. 1 Feat each seems more reasonable.


Absolutely yes.





Then each Sphere will have:
• 1 Combat Mechanism
• 4 Active Abilities
• 4 Passive Perks
• 1 Specialist Feat

That seems reasonable to me, bulk-wise.


- If you manage a total of 20 different combat mechanisms, I'll definitely take off my hat and bow.
- 4 active abilities – we'll need some versatility there, to circumvent frequent need for swapping. Maybe we'll need 3 or 4 active abilities per grade to choose from when sealing a pact. This will give some more re-binding options, but you can't bind the same sphere twice….............. or maybe yes(?). Maybe this is the hyper focus we're looking for. If you focus, you preserve priority (as in taking it twice/thrice provides synergy); and you suffer less aspects while gaining less perks.
- I'm not sure we need a perk per power grade….. Maybe perk-evolution – something that will preserve the theme without overtaxing design or usage.





I don't think that 3 Expulsions and 4 Rearrangements enters into abusive territory. I stand by what I said about the mechanisms themselves more than the usages, though. 2 & 3 seems fine to me, given the alterations to their functionality that I mentioned. Does that seem safer, to you?


I believe that priority-free swapping + the option to downgrade while swapping (including double-downgrade & multi-downgrade) will give players a lot of maneuvering room without being too prone to abuse.





Oh, yeah, the actual brewing part of homebrew...


I really like where this is going.
Not meaning to brag or anything, but I believe that right now we have the potential of creating something that could end up being a monument to class design.





Numbers as above seem reasonable to you?


If you find my suggestions above ok, then absolutely.
If not, then we'll just have to keep going at it until we figure out our golden path.





Agreed. They should have limits. But versatility is their thing, so the limits should mostly be in potency, rather than in options. Even so, we should be fine as long as we let the options follow the fluff, rather than make up options, then try to get the fluff to justify it.


Absolutely.





I'm now just thinking that a Sphere should grant all of the Tier-appropriate abilities it has, and the specialist feats should grant compensation for not acquiring Secondary or Tertiary spheres. With a cost as strong as 1 feat & ignoring roughly 1/2 your class features, and the limitation of only gaining the bonuses with one Sphere per feat, I think that these feats should grant some very significant boons.


Yes, but if we stick to my proposal of multiple binding on the same sphere, maybe we won't need to sit down and write 20 feats (which I'm not sure will be a better solution than multiple binding).





I did just realize a problem, though: Spheres are now Vestiges. They follow a clearer, more consistent set of rules than Vestiges, but the problem of them being pre-packaged sets of powers (requiring appropriate comparative research) has crept back in to the design. Do you think that clearer rules and (hopefully) better balance compensate for this?


Q: What do the names Amon/Haagenti/Naberius feel like fluff-wise to someone that encounters the official Binder for the first time?
A: Not a goddamned thing. Heck, they still mean nothing to me. All I can remember is Haagenti granting polymorph defense and Naberius being used for buffing EB.

Spheres need to be intuitive theme-wise, not a sporadic collection of abilities & limits. If we manage that, that's a huge part of making the class wieldy.
If we get rid of Legend, Special Requirements & Manifestation, it'll certainly be a step in the right direction in making things less clunky. If a DM wishes to define Manifestations - that's on him/her, but it's not binding for the mechanics (pun intended :smallwink:)

Btw, now that I think of it, are we going for known spheres (+ retraining every so many levels(?)) or do we allow access to all spheres right from the get go?
(again, from power balance and functional practicality POV)





Even just on Spheres alone, it is going to be a hefty class. That said, I will avoid padding it in any way that isn't needful.


Happy to here that.





I just like it, because it is a bit bizarre. I like exploring odd concepts like this. Not saying it is urgent, but it does intrigue me, and I'll be trying to come up with a good Sphere for it before we are done here. Permanency & Wish are both bad ideas here, and you know that.


Good luck. I can't imagine myself being useful here.

Qoios
2015-08-06, 10:23 AM
Ok, got it.
For simplicity's sake, we'll allow swapping without priority-based limits.
The added bonus is that while swapping, you can downgrade a higher priority binding(s) if you decide that you still need it but not its higher candies.

Q: Why downgrading but not upgrading?
A: When you bind a sphere, you make a pact and the benefits are all that you managed to get out of that bargain. To upgrade, you need a new pact. To downgrade, all you need to do is relinquish some of the bargain's gifts and alleviate its demand/tax on your soul.
I don't mean to sound intractable, here, but I really think that Expelling, Binding, & Resorting should all be separate actions. It just makes it all feel smoother, I think.


Absolutely brilliant :smallcool:
Simple, makes sense and to the point.
Will it be for perks only, or for active powers as well (or just)?
How long would it take to suppress a sphere and kick-start a suppressed sphere?

Now all that's left to decide is how close to (or far from) the official Binder the means for suppression will be.
Could be identical, could be otherwise. Really no biggie, as long as it makes the class features workout and spread nicely, and not come too late and cripple you at the early levels.
Hmm...my instinct here is to say that the passive perks & combat gimmick should be suppressed when the Sign is. Actives go away when Personality is suppressed. As for Special Requirements, I'd say they can't be ignored. Binders perform rituals to bind Spirits. Simple as that. What do you think?


- If you manage a total of 20 different combat mechanisms, I'll definitely take off my hat and bow.
- 4 active abilities – we'll need some versatility there, to circumvent frequent need for swapping. Maybe we'll need 3 or 4 active abilities per grade to choose from when sealing a pact. This will give some more re-binding options, but you can't bind the same sphere twice….............. or maybe yes(?). Maybe this is the hyper focus we're looking for. If you focus, you preserve priority (as in taking it twice/thrice provides synergy); and you suffer less aspects while gaining less perks.
- I'm not sure we need a perk per power grade….. Maybe perk-evolution – something that will preserve the theme without overtaxing design or usage.
Every ability we add per Tier is roughly 80 more abilities to come up with. That's a lot. Like, a whole lot. Besides which, why would you want to circumvent the need for swapping? Why not just allow more swapping? Besides which, the sheer quantity of redundancies that will create is staggering. I'd say 1 per Tier is fine, 2 at the absolute most, though I'm against increasing it to that point. Besides which, adding more will only increase the complexity of the class, and will certainly push it into T1 with the massive increase to versatility it would provide. I think it'd be a bit tamer if we kept to swapping whole Spheres, at this point, without a need for internal choices after that.

As for passives, I more just mean that the perks upgrade at 4 intervals, much like active ability access, based on Sphere priority. That could indicate entirely new passives under the same general concept, the prior passive getting stronger, etc. See what I'm saying?

And don't worry about the combat mechanisms. It isn't like they need to be supremely different and innovative things. Relatively minor variations with some strong fluffing can do wonders. I feel confident enough on that front.


I believe that priority-free swapping + the option to downgrade while swapping (including double-downgrade) will give players a lot of maneuvering room without being too prone to abuse.
As stated above, I think these things should be disentangled from one another, and I think Rearranging should work both ways, and have its own set of uses (Something of an on-the-fly renegotiation of sorts).


I really like where this is going.
Not meaning to brag or anything, but I believe that right now we have the potential of creating something that could end up being a monument to class design.
I'll withhold opinions on that kind of thing until completion of this project.


If you find my suggestions above ok, then absolutely.
If not, then we'll just have to keep going at it until we figure out our golden path.
I'm glad you're a reasonable fellow, even when we disagree on design choices, and are able to discuss it calmly.


Yes, but if we stick to my proposal of multiple binding on the same sphere, maybe we won't need to sit down and write 20 feats (which I'm not sure will be a better solution than multiple binding).
After SkipSandwich's number-crunching, I feel like expanded Active ability lists are needless. Thus, binding a Sphere multiple times becomes impossible. Thus we're back to the feats. Besides, I have no problem brewing those feats up.


Q: What do the names Amon/Haagenti/Naberius feel like fluff-wise to someone that encounters the official Binder for the first time?
A: Not a goddamned thing. Heck, they still mean nothing to me. All I can remember is Haagenti granting polymorph defense and Naberius being used for buffing EB.

Spheres need to be intuitive theme-wise, not a sporadic collection of abilities & limits. If we manage that, that's a huge part of making the class wieldy.
If we get rid of Legend, Special Requirements & Manifestation, it'll certainly be a step in the right direction in making things less clunky. If a DM wishes to define Manifestations - that's no him/her, but it's not binding for the mechanics (pun intended :smallwink:)
Okay, I see what you meant, and agree on that, for sure. I would like to retain something similar to Special Requirements, just having them be less niche and restrictive. But no sadistic torture sessions while bound to a spirit from Celestia, a Yugoloth always requires some kind of payment be offered, etc. I don't know...I just don't like the notion of removing the ritualistic nature from binding.


Btw, now that I think of it, are we going for known spheres (+ retraining every so many levels(?)) or do we allow access to all spheres right from the get go?
(again, from power balance and functional practicality POV)
I'd say let them bind any spirits they like. Versatility is the name of the game, here, after all, at least when compared to Warlock.

SkipSandwich
2015-08-06, 10:43 AM
[snip] 1 Feat each seems more reasonable. Then each Sphere will have:

1 Combat Mechanism
4 Active Abilities
4 Passive Perks
1 Specialist Feat
That seems reasonable to me, bulk-wise.



I actually had a thought or organizing the spheres like such;

1 Domain Ability (Limited Daily Uses, Pool Shared between spheres, i'm thinking uses per day equal key ability modifier + 1 per 2 class levels)
Least and Lesser Powers (Unlimited Use, At-Will Activation)
Greater Powers (Unlimited Use, Short Cooldown 1dX rounds, shared cooldown between spheres)
Superior Powers (Unlimited Use, Long Cooldown 1+minutes, shared cooldown between spheres)
Passive Perk

With this we might not need to specify which spheres are Primary/Secondary/Tertiary. Since the main goal of breaking them up as such is to restrict access to too many high-tier powers at a time, giving the high-tier powers a shared cooldown instead does pretty much the same thing.

a Sample Sphere might look like this

Life Sphere
Domain Ability: By expending a use of your domain pool, you may cast Vigor (as the power, but with a range of touch) as a spell-like ability with a caster level equal to your class level.

Passive Perk: Lifesight. You can see the lifeforce of living creatures. You can turn this ability on or off as a free action, while active, you see the light emitted by all living creatures. You can see well enough by this light to navigate in dark places, to your enhanced vision a living creature emits bright illumination out to 5ft x Hit Dice, and shadowy illumination out to twice that distance. The presence of undead creatures interferes with this vision, Undead emit total darkness to a distance of 5ft per hit dice and partial darkness out to twice that distance. Creatures (living or undead) with less then one hit die show only as faint flecks of light or shadow, not enough to illuminate or shroud their surroundings.

Least Power: Healer's Sanctuary. Upon binding this sphere, you are cloaked in a Sanctuary effect (as the spell). While this effect is active, any creature wishing to attack you, or attempting to cause an offensive effect that includes you in the area must succeed on a will save DC 10 + 1/2 Class level + KAM, with a successful save rendering that opponent immune to this effect for 24 hours. This effect is likewise broken for any creature that observes you attack another. For the purposes of this effect, an attack includes any spell targeting a foe or whose area or effect includes a foe, that either causes damage and/or has a saving throw that reads as anything other then X save negates(harmless).

Lesser Power: something something

Greater Power: greater something something usable once per 1d4 rounds

Superior Power: Superior something something usable once per minute

Qoios
2015-08-06, 12:00 PM
I actually had a thought or organizing the spheres like such;

1 Domain Ability (Limited Daily Uses, Pool Shared between spheres, i'm thinking uses per day equal key ability modifier + 1 per 2 class levels)
Least and Lesser Powers (Unlimited Use, At-Will Activation)
Greater Powers (Unlimited Use, Short Cooldown 1dX rounds, shared cooldown between spheres)
Superior Powers (Unlimited Use, Long Cooldown 1+minutes, shared cooldown between spheres)
Passive Perk

With this we might not need to specify which spheres are Primary/Secondary/Tertiary. Since the main goal of breaking them up as such is to restrict access to too many high-tier powers at a time, giving the high-tier powers a shared cooldown instead does pretty much the same thing.

a Sample Sphere might look like this

Life Sphere
Domain Ability: By expending a use of your domain pool, you may cast Vigor (as the power, but with a range of touch) as a spell-like ability with a caster level equal to your class level.

Passive Perk: Lifesight. You can see the lifeforce of living creatures. You can turn this ability on or off as a free action, while active, you see the light emitted by all living creatures. You can see well enough by this light to navigate in dark places, to your enhanced vision a living creature emits bright illumination out to 5ft x Hit Dice, and shadowy illumination out to twice that distance. The presence of undead creatures interferes with this vision, Undead emit total darkness to a distance of 5ft per hit dice and partial darkness out to twice that distance. Creatures (living or undead) with less then one hit die show only as faint flecks of light or shadow, not enough to illuminate or shroud their surroundings.

Least Power: Healer's Sanctuary. Upon binding this sphere, you are cloaked in a Sanctuary effect (as the spell). While this effect is active, any creature wishing to attack you, or attempting to cause an offensive effect that includes you in the area must succeed on a will save DC 10 + 1/2 Class level + KAM, with a successful save rendering that opponent immune to this effect for 24 hours. This effect is likewise broken for any creature that observes you attack another. For the purposes of this effect, an attack includes any spell targeting a foe or whose area or effect includes a foe, that either causes damage and/or has a saving throw that reads as anything other then X save negates(harmless).

Lesser Power: something something

Greater Power: greater something something usable once per 1d4 rounds

Superior Power: Superior something something usable once per minute
I kinda prefer the setup we already had:
1 ability that scales with class levels, meant to replace Eldritch Blast. This is always as damaging ability, and usually the only one a Sphere grants. This ability is at-will.
4 active abilities, organized into Tiers. These abilities neither target nor emanate from the Binder, and occasionally deal damage. These abilities have specific cooldowns, not categorical cooldowns.
4 passive abilities, similarly Tiered. These abilities exclusively target or emanate from the Binder, and (almost) never deal damage. These abilities are constantly in effect.

I very much do not like the addition of domain abilities, or the extremely weak passive.

The passives of the spheres a Binder has bound are meant to equate the entire defense & buff suite of nonsi's Warlock, including both class features and invocation effects. Not just one exceptional sense. That's a good start, but it has to provide more than that over the course of things. Each Sphere should independently provide a little less than 1/2 the value of the entire Warlock suite of abilities (minus the value of the Binder's versatility, and miscellaneous Spirit-related abilities).

As to the domain ability, it should just be one of the actives. Binders & Warlocks are the at-will magic users. I, for one, don't want to diminish that with usage-pool abilities, that stuff should stay with the spellcasters. I further do not agree with the categorical cooldowns. It is an inflexible system that discourages variety between spheres.

I do appreciate your intentions, and your help so far, but I don't want to backslide from where we'd gotten to with the concept.

nonsi
2015-08-06, 03:23 PM
I don't mean to sound intractable, here, but I really think that Expelling, Binding, & Resorting should all be separate actions. It just makes it all feel smoother, I think.


Oh, I'm perfectly ok with a binder having to work hard when making changes – action-wise.





Hmm...my instinct here is to say that the passive perks & combat gimmick should be suppressed when the Sign is. Actives go away when Personality is suppressed. As for Special Requirements, I'd say they can't be ignored. Binders perform rituals to bind Spirits. Simple as that. What do you think?


1. I'm ok with that angle.
2. I think that we could leave the rituals vague without hurting class design.





Every ability we add per Tier is roughly 80 more abilities to come up with. That's a lot. Like, a whole lot.


Say no more.




Besides which, why would you want to circumvent the need for swapping? Why not just allow more swapping? Besides which, the sheer quantity of redundancies that will create is staggering. I'd say 1 per Tier is fine, 2 at the absolute most, though I'm against increasing it to that point. Besides which, adding more will only increase the complexity of the class, and will certainly push it into T1 with the massive increase to versatility it would provide. I think it'd be a bit tamer if we kept to swapping whole Spheres, at this point, without a need for internal choices after that.


Ok, I'm bought on 1 per Tier per perks and 1 per Tier per actives, but those 1 per Tier sets had better be damn god (and yet take the souped-up Warlock notion into account), otherwise we'll just end up wasting our time here.
No simple challenge, that's for sure, but if I had it figured out, I'd have done it myself by now.

Given the above, I'll need to see a complete class table to decide if the #swapping we end up with (and the entire makeup around it) is too much, too little or just right.





As for passives, I more just mean that the perks upgrade at 4 intervals, much like active ability access, based on Sphere priority. That could indicate entirely new passives under the same general concept, the prior passive getting stronger, etc. See what I'm saying?


Ok, now that I think about it, it is indeed hard to believe that we can actually figure out 20 (or so) passives for 20 spheres that would have 4 valid steps.
So we're going for 1 passive per tier.





And don't worry about the combat mechanisms. It isn't like they need to be supremely different and innovative things. Relatively minor variations with some strong fluffing can do wonders. I feel confident enough on that front.


Ok. I actually like cliffhangers now & then :smallsmile:





As stated above, I think these things should be disentangled from one another, and I think Rearranging should work both ways, and have its own set of uses (Something of an on-the-fly renegotiation of sorts).


Again, I'll need to see how things mesh together to form an opinion.
In the meantime, it'd be nice if you told me what numbers you had in mind and how exactly this would work.





I'll withhold opinions on that kind of thing until completion of this project.


I did say "potential". Now it's up to us.




I'm glad you're a reasonable fellow, even when we disagree on design choices, and are able to discuss it calmly.


Of course. I believe we're both sharing the same goal here.





After SkipSandwich's number-crunching, I feel like expanded Active ability lists are needless. Thus, binding a Sphere multiple times becomes impossible.


Obvious – given the above.





Thus we're back to the feats. Besides, I have no problem brewing those feats up.


Absolutely.
Inventing 20 feats is definitely easier than finding 240 additional appropriate powers.





Okay, I see what you meant, and agree on that, for sure. I would like to retain something similar to Special Requirements, just having them be less niche and restrictive. But no sadistic torture sessions while bound to a spirit from Celestia, a Yugoloth always requires some kind of payment be offered, etc. I don't know...I just don't like the notion of removing the ritualistic nature from binding.


Is understand the motivation, but I worry that after several times it's gonna get old and tedious more than anything else.





I'd say let them bind any spirits they like. Versatility is the name of the game, here, after all, at least when compared to Warlock.


Ok, all spheres right from the get go it is then.

Qoios
2015-08-06, 05:08 PM
Oh, I'm perfectly ok with a binder having to work hard when making changes – action-wise.
Groovy.


1. I'm ok with that angle.
Groovy. (this will be a thing)


2. I think that we could leave the rituals vague without hurting class design.
Having considered what you've said throughout this most recent message, I think I agree.


Say no more.
*opens mouth* *reconsiders* *closes mouth*


Ok, I'm bought on 1 per Tier per perks and 1 per Tier per actives, but those 1 per Tier sets had better be damn god (and yet take the souped-up Warlock notion into account), otherwise we'll just end up wasting our time here.
No simple challenge, that's for sure, but if I had it figured out, I'd have done it myself by now.

Given the above, I'll need to see a complete class table to decide if the #swapping we end up with (and the entire makeup around it) is too much, too little or just right.
Yeah, we've pretty much reached the point where we need to start drafting actual Spheres, then recalibrate from there.


Ok, now that I think about it, it is indeed hard to believe that we can actually figure out 20 (or so) passives for 20 spheres that would have 4 valid steps.
So we're going for 1 passive per tier.
Yeah, there are limits to ambition, right?


Ok. I actually like cliffhangers now & then :smallsmile:
I will do my best not to disappoint.


Again, I'll need to see how things mesh together to form an opinion.
In the meantime, it'd be nice if you told me what numbers you had in mind and how exactly this would work.
I posited in a previous post either 2 or 3 expulsions per day at max level, and 3 or 4 rearrangements per day.


I did say "potential". Now it's up to us.
Groovy. (I told you...)


Of course. I believe we're both sharing the same goal here.
We do indeed share a goal.


Obvious – given the above.
Gravy.


Absolutely.
Inventing 20 feats is definitely easier than finding 240 additional appropriate powers.
Yeah, it seemed less tiresome.


Is understand the motivation, but I worry that after several times it's gonna get old and tedious more than anything else.
Having considered it, I find I agree with you, here.


Ok, all spheres right from the get go it is then.
Groovy. (okay, I'll stop now)

nonsi
2015-08-07, 01:04 PM
Yeah, we've pretty much reached the point where we need to start drafting actual Spheres, then recalibrate from there.


I actually wish to start with a class table.
Ok, that one's on me.
It'll take a bit, because I wish to collect all the points we've agreed upon.
Anything we'll have ready will be expressed in the OP (including class table & features - and corrections if and as needed).





I will do my best not to disappoint.


And the spheres are on you (reminder: no Legend/Special Requirements/Manifestation attributed to spheres as are attributed to vestiges, which will simplify your work and make everybody happy).
We'll start with one or two and take it from there.





I posited in a previous post either 2 or 3 expulsions per day at max level, and 3 or 4 rearrangements per day.


In terms of "the need of the day", my gut instinct tells me that 3 swappings and a single rearrangement - a level or two after access to a 2nd sphere is gained - should suffice almost any scenario (I don't want to cover every scenario).
Beyond that, I'll work on the table and see what fits in.

nonsi
2015-08-08, 01:39 AM
.
Ok, this is what I have so far......................







Table: The Binder
HD: d8

Saves
LevelBABFRWSpecial
1st+0+2+0+2 Binding (1 sphere: Least)
2nd+1+3+0+3 Suppress Signs
3rd+2+3+1+3 Suppress Mental Taint
4th+3+4+1+4 Soul Fortress (fear immunity)
5th+3+4+1+4 Unbind (1/day)
6th+4+5+2+5 Binding (1 sphere: Lesser/Least)
7th+5+5+2+5 Binding (2 spheres: Lesser/Least; Least)
8th+6+6+2+6 Soul Fortress (slippery mind)
9th+6+6+3+6 Re-Prioritize (1 / day)
10th+7+7+3+7 Unbind (2/day)
11th+8+7+3+7 Binding (2 spheres: Greater/Lesser/Least; Least)
12th+9+8+4+8 Soul Fortress (immune to energy drain & negative levels)
13th+9+8+4+8 Binding (2 spheres: Greater/Lesser/Least; Lesser/Least)
14th+10+9+4+9 Binding (3 spheres: Greater/Lesser/Least; Lesser/Least; Least)
15th+11+9+5+9 Unbind (3/day)
16th+12+10+5+10 Binding (3 spheres: Superior/Greater/Lesser/Least; Lesser/Least; Least)
17th+12+10+5+10 Re-Prioritize (2 / day)
18th+13+11+6+11 Soul Fortress (mind blank)
19th+14+11+6+11 Binding (3 spheres: Superior/Greater/Lesser/Least; Greater/Lesser/Least; Least)
20th+15+12+6+12 Binding (3 spheres: Superior/Greater/Lesser/Least; Greater/Lesser/Least; Lesser/Least)



Class Skills (as the official Binder): Bluff, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (religion), Knowledge (the planes), Profession, Sense Motive


Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A binder is proficient with all simple weapons and with light armor, but not with shields.


Binding (Su)
Binders tap into the very layers of reality, drawing power from powerful otherworldly entities inhabiting various planes of existence.
When a binder attunes to a given plane, he's said to be binding the sphere where this plane resides in cosmology.
A sphere's characteristics is comprised of the following elements:
- A special attack mode: useable at will.
- Continual benefits: 4 grades of beneficial influences, which the binder gradually gains access to, as shown in the class' table.
- Activated powers: 4 grades of harnessed powers, which the binder gradually gains access to, as shown in the class' table.
- A physical imprint that alters the binder's appearance: As long as you are bound to a sphere, 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. When bound to multiple spheres, you manifest multiple signs – one for each sphere.
- A mental imprint (a taint) on the binder's personality: This dictates behavioral changes in certain situations and poses a roleplaying challenge for the player. While under the influence of a sphere, you must adhere to its influence to the best of your ability. 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 sphere is no longer bound to you. If you are influenced by more than one sphere, you must act according to all their influences. If you fail to fulfill the requirements of more than one sphere or disobey a single sphere more than once, the penalties stack.

Binding a sphere takes a toll on the binder's soul. A low level binder cannot have more than a single sphere bound at a given time.
When access to an additional sphere is gained, a binder must prioritize his spheres, in a sense of which one he's able to draw the most power from and which one takes a sort of "backseat" (as detailed in the class' table).


Suppress Signs
Starting as 2nd level, a binder learns how to suppress the physical imprint of a bound sphere from showing.
When suppressing the physical imprint of a sphere, a binder loses access to that sphere's attack mode and continual benefits.
Suppressing signs requires 1 round. To successfully suppress a sphere's signs, the binder must weigh [d20 + Binder level + Cha-mod] vs. DC [10 + max power grade accessible by that sphere].
Re-enabling the expression of a sphere's signs takes a swift action and is an automatic success. The sphere's attack mode and continual benefits become available at the beginning of the binder's next combat turn, when the signs are fully visible once more.


Suppress Mental Taint
Starting as 3rd level, a binder learns how to suppress the mental imprint of a bound sphere from affecting his judgement and actions.
When suppressing the mental imprint of a sphere, a binder loses access to that sphere's active powers.
Suppressing mental imprints requires 1 round. To successfully suppress a sphere's signs, the binder must weigh [d20 + Binder level + Cha-mod] vs. DC [10 + max power grade accessible by that sphere].
Re-enabling the expression of a sphere's mental imprint takes a swift action and is an automatic success. The sphere's attack mode and continual benefits become available at the beginning of the binder's next combat turn. The mental imprint takes effect immediately (including penalties acquired during the previous 24 hours).


Soul Fortress (Ex)
The process of binding a sphere involves the experience of mental images and sensations that are normally unnerving (or even traumatizing) to mortals.
With time and experience, binders learn to embrace the horrors of reality and gain resistance to certain effects:
A 4th level binder learns to embrace the horrors and hard truths of reality and becomes immune to fear and fear effects of all kinds.
An 8th level binder learns how to wriggle free from magical effects that would otherwise control or compel him. The binder gains Slippery Mind, as detailed for the core Rogue.
A 12th level binder's soul has been exposed to so much horror and influence that it becomes immune to energy drain and negative levels (be it for whatever reason).
An 18th level binder's mind becomes an impregnable fortress, closed off to everyone and everything except the binder himself. This does not deny the binder telepathic powers or accessing the minds of others (should those be gained via sphere powers / items / levels in another class).


Unbind
During daily activities, a number of times per day indicated in the class table, you may detach from a given sphere, purging its influence upon you, and replace it with another binding.


Re-Prioritize
A number of times per day indicated in the class table, you may alter the priority of your bound spheres, essentially re-deciding which one takes which priority in terms of the level of accessed powers.










TODO and Optional TODO list:



I don't have rules for several things yet:
1. Binding a sphere: binding time / DC (not sure this one's necessary) / general requirements…
2. Interrupting suppression – what's the check to overcome interruptions.
3. I'm thinking that the motivation behind "Soul Fortress" should have an impact on a low level binder (1st – 3rd) and that a successful DC check would be required to avoid being shaken (or something) for a period of time.


The class feels a bit empty at 1st level. Maybe [an attack mode + 1 continual + 1 active] at any given time is enough, but IDK.


I'm thinking of making the binder always attuned to some sphere(s), until purposefully unbinding/re-binding, meaning "Unbind" would become "Re-Bind" (or simply "Bind"). That way, a binder always has access to as many spheres as allowed, and ends up with the ability to find the best tools he can 4 times per day (or 5 maybe, at 20th?... capstone level with 2 features(?)).


I'm considering spheres augmenting certain skill checks and other general stuff like weapon profs., but I'm not sure about that one.


I don't like the names Least/Lesser/Greater/Superior, but ATM I don't have better names to replace them (T1/T2/T3/T4 don't sound better to me).
I'm also open to better names for practically all class features.


If thoughts arise for other features that would make this class more complete, I'd wanna hear it.

nonsi
2015-08-08, 04:06 AM
.
I'm considering removing the priority mechanics, for simplicity, but going for that option raises 2 concerns:
1. A souped-up Warlock would have no advantage whatsoever vs. the Spheres-Binder.
2. Levels 9, 11, 13, 17, 19 & 20 become dead levels (maybe not 20, with a 5th unbind, but this just makes #1 even worse).

SkipSandwich
2015-08-08, 09:17 AM
.
I'm considering removing the priority mechanics, for simplicity, but going for that option raises 2 concerns:
1. A souped-up Warlock would have no advantage whatsoever vs. the Spheres-Binder.
2. Levels 9, 11, 13, 17, 19 & 20 become dead levels (maybe not 20, with a 5th unbind, but this just makes #1 even worse).

Concern#1 could be alleviated somewhat if the Greater and Superior level activated powers had a shared cooldown instead of being At-Will, such that using one power of that tier prevented further use of that tier for a period of time. The Warlock would then have a clear advantage of being able to spam their highest tier invocations over and over while the Binder has to be more deliberate, but with greater flexibility.

Another option would be for Secondary/Tertiary to simply always be 1/2 tiers below Primary, instead of having their own progression, like so

1st 1 Sphere (Least)
6th 2 Sphere (1 Lesser/Least, 1 Least)
11th 3 Sphere (1 Greater/Lesser/Least, 1 Lesser/Least, 1 Least)
16th 3 Sphere (1 Superior/Greater/Lesser/Least, 1 Greater/Lesser/Least, 1 Lesser/Least)

Perhaps the Active and Passive abilities could be split up in progression, with passive access coming at say 4th/9th/14th/19th

As for the Combat Methods, do you see those as being each their own distinct attack options, with more spheres granting more options? Like a Martial Adept only your stances/manuvers are determined by your bound sphere, or even just completely separate abilities, where say the Fire Sphere lets you toss fireballs as a range touch that deal xd6 damage to target with 1 point per die of splash damage to adjacent squares and the Earth Sphere grants you a progressively larger Size bonus on grapple checks, opposed strength checks, and other combat maneuvers based on size (does not stack with actual size increases) or would those sort of abilities be better handled by the tiered powers?

nonsi
2015-08-08, 10:53 AM
Concern#1 could be alleviated somewhat if the Greater and Superior level activated powers had a shared cooldown instead of being At-Will, such that using one power of that tier prevented further use of that tier for a period of time. The Warlock would then have a clear advantage of being able to spam their highest tier invocations over and over while the Binder has to be more deliberate, but with greater flexibility.


This is definitely something worth giving attention to and consider as an option. However.......





Another option would be for Secondary/Tertiary to simply always be 1/2 tiers below Primary, instead of having their own progression, like so

1st 1 Sphere (Least)
6th 2 Sphere (1 Lesser/Least, 1 Least)
11th 3 Sphere (1 Greater/Lesser/Least, 1 Lesser/Least, 1 Least)
16th 3 Sphere (1 Superior/Greater/Lesser/Least, 1 Greater/Lesser/Least, 1 Lesser/Least)


Balance-wise, I see where the notion's coming from, but now I suddenly have 2 more dead levels to deal with: 7, 9, 13, 14, 17, 19 & 20 (11th was previously included by mistake).
That's an increase.
Suddenly 12th level becomes a very tempting exit point, knowing that nothing's gonna happen in the next 2 levels (and 15th is no big news).





Perhaps the Active and Passive abilities could be split up in progression, with passive access coming at say 4th/9th/14th/19th


Not enough coverage.
3 levels taken care of (9/14/19), 4 levels still dead (7/13/17/20), 1 level double-featured (4).
Spheres aside, I have no idea what to put in them that would spell out "Binder" (other than the Planar Binding line, which I'm not sure we want as autonomous class features).





As for the Combat Methods, do you see those as being each their own distinct attack options, with more spheres granting more options?


I have no idea what Qoios is cooking, but we already agreed that there won't be any sphere-detached attack mode.





Like a Martial Adept only your stances/manuvers are determined by your bound sphere, or even just completely separate abilities, where say the Fire Sphere lets you toss fireballs as a range touch that deal xd6 damage to target with 1 point per die of splash damage to adjacent squares and the Earth Sphere grants you a progressively larger Size bonus on grapple checks, opposed strength checks, and other combat maneuvers based on size (does not stack with actual size increases) or would those sort of abilities be better handled by the tiered powers?


ToB maneuvers were designed based on 3 things: RL martial arts, anime, and needs that derive from 3.Xe's mechanics (e.g. overcoming DR)
I don't think attack modes will be designed around that trio, so basically anything goes (your proposals might even already be in Qoios' mind... IDK).
Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Qoios
2015-08-08, 01:17 PM
This is definitely something worth giving attention to and consider as an option. However.......
I would retain the priority mechanism. It creates greater depth of choice, allows additional flexibility, but with more limits than plain unbinding. I just think it is a good thing for the class, and I don't see it as over-complexifying.


Balance-wise, I see where the notion's coming from, but now I suddenly have 2 more dead levels to deal with: 7, 9, 13, 14, 17, 19 & 20 (11th was previously included by mistake).
That's an increase.
Suddenly 12th level becomes a very tempting exit point, knowing that nothing's gonna happen in the next 2 levels (and 15th is no big news).
I'd prefer to keep the cooldowns specific to each power, rather than pooled it just allows for greater diversity of power selections for all tiers (some Least-tier powers might have long cooldowns, and some Superior-tier powers might have none at all).


Not enough coverage.
3 levels taken care of (9/14/19), 4 levels still dead (7/13/17/20), 1 level double-featured (4).
Spheres aside, I have no idea what to put in them that would spell out "Binder" (other than the Planar Binding line, which I'm not sure we want as autonomous class features).
I had actually been considering letting Planar Bindings in, but requiring that you trade out a bound sphere for its use (Planar Binding is super-strong, if used well), and you can only bind things appropriate to that Sphere's theme and Tier priority (thus keeping the super-flexibility of PB in check, as well).

Also, Spirit shaman has a lot of abilities worth considering, and extrapolating from. They're very specific and limited to spirit-affecting effects, which makes them tame enough that they can be valued rather cheaply.


have no idea what Qoios is cooking, but we already agreed that there won't be any sphere-detached attack mode.

ToB maneuvers were designed based on 3 things: RL martial arts, anime, and needs that derive from 3.Xe's mechanics (e.g. overcoming DR)
I don't think attack modes will be designed around that trio, so basically anything goes (your proposals might even already be in Qoios' mind... IDK).
Guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Maneuvers won't enter into it, but you're right on the money with the elemental concepts.

As to the tier names: Superficial/Exceptional/Magnificent/Primordial? Just off the top of my head.

SkipSandwich
2015-08-08, 02:36 PM
[/snip]

Maneuvers won't enter into it, but you're right on the money with the elemental concepts.

As to the tier names: Superficial/Exceptional/Magnificent/Primordial? Just off the top of my head.

I like those Tier names. As for the combat methods, I think a mix of weapon-like abilities and/or thematic combat buffs would be appropriate, with the only requirements being having that sphere bound and perhaps a move action to activate/switch between (like forming a Mind Blade).

Fire: throw fireballs as ranged splash weapons, can make itierative attacks, but have low range (basicly act as if you had a endless supply of souped up alchemist's fire). Further levels increase damage and add additional options (focused splash, splash damage increases to 2/die and can apply precision damage effects, but only hits a single adjacent square, free Rapid Shot/Multishot)

Water/Earth I both see as being very battlefield control focused, with water being AoE and Trip focused with Earth being Bull Rush/Grapple focused, both should get abilities that allow them to overcome size disadvantage as level increases

Air: Mobility focused for sure, but not yet sure in what way would be the most fun and appropriate

nonsi
2015-08-08, 02:42 PM
I would retain the priority mechanism. It creates greater depth of choice, allows additional flexibility, but with more limits than plain unbinding. I just think it is a good thing for the class, and I don't see it as over-complexifying.


I'm Ok with the priority mechanism and I'm Ok with nixing it.
What matters is how spheres interact with the choice and that there are no dead levels.
Since you're the one that has the spheres at leas partially figured out, you probably can "feel the air" better than I can.
Assuming my proposed progression on post #57 is very close to the final result, it's now up to you to tailor spheres around that while taking the souped-up Warlock notion into account so that neither cancels out the other.





I'd prefer to keep the cooldowns specific to each power, rather than pooled it just allows for greater diversity of power selections for all tiers (some Least-tier powers might have long cooldowns, and some Superior-tier powers might have none at all).


Ditto on Warlock.





I had actually been considering letting Planar Bindings in, but requiring that you trade out a bound sphere for its use (Planar Binding is super-strong, if used well), and you can only bind things appropriate to that Sphere's theme and Tier priority (thus keeping the super-flexibility of PB in check, as well).


Planar Binding is super-strong, yes, but remember that arcanists can eventually cast it (to its various levels) #12 / day without even putting strategy into it, so i'm not sure it's worth its weight in sphere.





Also, Spirit shaman has a lot of abilities worth considering, and extrapolating from. They're very specific and limited to spirit-affecting effects, which makes them tame enough that they can be valued rather cheaply.


Yes, Ghost Warrior did slip my mind. It's just that I have no vacant place for it and nothing to trade. I could make an exception and allow a double-featured level, but if I have only one such level, it will stick out.
It does feel like a feature that has a right of its own to be among the Binder's features though.

I'm not sure about other Spirit Shaman features, because a binder is not a spirit shaman at theme. I also don't see a binder as having some kind of companion/familiar/guide.
Exorcism can be adopted and expressed as Dismissal effect, equally applicable vs. all outsiders, so it can be sphere-detached.
Spirit form can just be some power of the Ethereal/Astral/Shadow sphere (all can be associated with incorporeality).





As to the tier names: Superficial/Exceptional/Magnificent/Primordial? Just off the top of my head.


I'm Ok with _______ / Exceptional / Legendary / Primordial.
Nothing sounds right for T1 so far (Least... Superficial... Novice... Initiate....... see what I mean? Everything sounds plain or out of context).

Qoios
2015-08-08, 03:08 PM
I'm Ok with the priority mechanism and I'm Ok with nixing it.
What matters is how spheres interact with the choice and that there are no dead levels.
Since you're the one that has the spheres at leas partially figured out, you probably can "feel the air" better than I can.
Assuming my proposed progression on post #57 is very close to the final result, it's now up to you to tailor spheres around that while taking the souped-up Warlock notion into account so that neither cancels out the other.
...
Ditto on Warlock.
Aye-aye, cap'n.


Planar Binding is super-strong, yes, but remember that arcanists can eventually cast it (to its various levels) #12 / day without even putting strategy into it, so i'm not sure it's worth its weight in sphere.
You make a good point, but those kinds of abilities (amongst others) are what make arcane casters Tier 1 so easily.

That said, perhaps just the actives or the combat mechanism? Either one seems like a fairer trade.


Yes, Ghost Warrior did slip my mind. It's just that I have no vacant place for it and nothing to trade. I could make an exception and allow a double-featured level, but if I have only one such level, it will stick out.
It does feel like a feature that has a right of its own to be among the Binder's features though.

I'm not sure about other Spirit Shaman features, because a binder is not a spirit shaman at theme. I also don't see a binder as having some kind of companion/familiar/guide.
Exorcism can be adopted and expressed as Dismissal effect, equally applicable vs. all outsiders, so it can be sphere-detached.
Spirit form can just be some power of the Ethereal/Astral/Shadow sphere (all can be associated with incorporeality).
I will post a more specific proposed list with the first batch of spheres.


I'm Ok with _______ / Exceptional / Legendary / Primordial.
Nothing sounds right for T1 so far (Least... Superficial... Novice... Initiate....... see what I mean? Everything sounds plain or out of context).
Oh...I was rather fond of Superficial...

I will continue to posit ideas on that.


I like those Tier names. As for the combat methods, I think a mix of weapon-like abilities and/or thematic combat buffs would be appropriate, with the only requirements being having that sphere bound and perhaps a move action to activate/switch between (like forming a Mind Blade).

Fire: throw fireballs as ranged splash weapons, can make itierative attacks, but have low range (basicly act as if you had a endless supply of souped up alchemist's fire). Further levels increase damage and add additional options (focused splash, splash damage increases to 2/die and can apply precision damage effects, but only hits a single adjacent square, free Rapid Shot/Multishot)

Water/Earth I both see as being very battlefield control focused, with water being AoE and Trip focused with Earth being Bull Rush/Grapple focused, both should get abilities that allow them to overcome size disadvantage as level increases

Air: Mobility focused for sure, but not yet sure in what way would be the most fun and appropriate
You are definitely on the right track. Excellent ideas, there. Keep in mind, though that these need to compete with (if fall slightly short of) Eldritch blast and all of its augmentations. So balancing them will be a bit of a wrestle

SkipSandwich
2015-08-08, 03:40 PM
On cooldowns, the recharge magic varient in UA has precedent for both general AND fixed cooldowns applying on a case for case basis, so no reason we have to pick one or the other.

Qoios
2015-08-08, 03:54 PM
On cooldowns, the recharge magic varient in UA has precedent for both general AND fixed cooldowns applying on a case for case basis, so no reason we have to pick one or the other.
Precedent may exist, but that system was disgustingly clunky as a result of it. I will be sticking to the cooldown mechanism I have specified unless a very strong argument against it is presented to me.

SkipSandwich
2015-08-08, 05:36 PM
Precedent may exist, but that system was disgustingly clunky as a result of it. I will be sticking to the cooldown mechanism I have specified unless a very strong argument against it is presented to me.

Fair enough, since I agree 100% of the clunky-ness of UA Recharge Magic RAW. I just figured that since we're organizing the abilities into tiers anyway, it followed that, for the most part, abilities of a certain power level (tier) would have similar spam-ability as other abilities of that power level, barring obvious exceptions like pretty much any non-instantaneous, non-passive ability, effects such as Entangle, Grease, Wall of Fire/Ice/Stone/Whatever.

Perhaps instead of a cooldown modifier for Legendary/Primordial powers, we take a page from Hellfire Warlock and institute a non-trivial cost of some sort. Ability or HP Burn (can only be healed by natural rest) comes to mind, 5 HP per Legendary Power and 10 per Primordial, perhaps, either as a base cost or to fuel some sort of augment or rider effect. If follows the fluff after all, that unlike a sorcerer or warlock whose power is innate, the Binder's pacts come with a cost.

Qoios
2015-08-08, 06:04 PM
Fair enough, since I agree 100% of the clunky-ness of UA Recharge Magic RAW. I just figured that since we're organizing the abilities into tiers anyway, it followed that, for the most part, abilities of a certain power level (tier) would have similar spam-ability as other abilities of that power level, barring obvious exceptions like pretty much any non-instantaneous, non-passive ability, effects such as Entangle, Grease, Wall of Fire/Ice/Stone/Whatever.
I get what you are saying, but there are likely not going to be any Active Abilities that are instantaneous, and there are definitely not going to be any that are passive, at all. Literally everything on a cooldown fits the bill of what you're calling exceptions...

Besides which, certain things are powerful for different reasons. Cooldowns will be predominantly based on how long-lasting and wide-spread of an effect an ability has on a battle. Not to mention the complete lack of multiple Primordial powers on a character at a time, given our current structure, which means that collective cooldowns for tiers would have no discernible effect on Primordial powers anyway. I would rather give them something of that tier that they can have 100% up-time on, if possible, given that they'll be compared to nonsi's Warlock, who will have 3 Grand Invocations to make use of with no cooldowns at all. That one Primordial ability has to be a real workhorse.


Perhaps instead of a cooldown modifier for Legendary/Primordial powers, we take a page from Hellfire Warlock and institute a non-trivial cost of some sort. Ability or HP Burn (can only be healed by natural rest) comes to mind, 5 HP per Legendary Power and 10 per Primordial, perhaps, either as a base cost or to fuel some sort of augment or rider effect. If follows the fluff after all, that unlike a sorcerer or warlock whose power is innate, the Binder's pacts come with a cost.
Not a snowball's chance in Avernus. That's not happening. The Sphere Binder's (simultaneous) ability access scaling compensates sufficiently for the greater (non-simultaneous) ability access, when compared to nonsi's Warlock. I will not impose a taxation on the usage of their intrinsic abilities.

One of the greatest selling features of a Binder or Warlock is that they don't run out of steam any faster than their mundane companions, and need never fear the 15-minute workday, and that's a selling point I intend to keep. I would only consider a cost like this for something that is actually comparable to nonsi's Warlock's Overcharge (Intrinsic Hellfire, basically). Something that provides a boost to an existing ability, to be used only when in real need of the boosted power. Even then, I'd oppose it, because, I want no such ability in the class to begin with, as that feels like it steps on the toes of nonsi's Warlock.

I really do appreciate the help you are trying to provide, but I feel as though you should read nonsi's Warlock writeup, thoroughly, in order to gain a better grasp of the comparisons we are making.

nonsi
2015-08-09, 02:29 AM
You make a good point, but those kinds of abilities (amongst others) are what make arcane casters Tier 1 so easily.

That said, perhaps just the actives or the combat mechanism? Either one seems like a fairer trade.


I wouldn't strip a character of his defenses or ability to fight back.
Since actives serve as utility & debuffs, seems appropriate that they're exchanged for Planar Binding, with 2 restrictions:
1. Planar Binding is relevant only to the plane represented by the bound sphere.
2. Developing a habit of binding creatures to be used as cannon fodder would most definitely carry harsh repercussions.






I will post a more specific proposed list with the first batch of spheres.


Ok. 2 issues that come to mind:
1. Levels 1, 2 & 3 seem a bit anemic to me compared to most properly designed classes, which are somewhat frontloaded (and for a good reason).
2. I still don't know your angle regarding my proposal to making the binder always attuned to some sphere(s) and only swapping bindings (meaning 1/2/3/4 swappings at levels 1st/5th/10th/15th..... maybe also 20th). My assumption in this proposal is that each player becomes accustomed to using certain effects and that without special knowledge of what's to come ahead (more often than not, the make-sense scenario when adventuring), you don't usually have any motivation of breaking habit, so you don't really ever need the ability to rewrite your entire repertoire beforehand. And 2 levels after this has any implications whatsoever, you can already reorganize.

If we had something nice and not over the top to add to levels 1-2-3, and put Ghost Warrior at 8th and Dismissal at 14th (as additional features), then a 5th daily swap at 20th would make a nice symmetry of features.


Another thought that came to mind...
Slowly but surely appropriate class features accumulate (Ghost Warrior / Dismissal / 5th daily binding / hopefully something nice for 1-2-3), so maybe we should reconsider SkipSandwich's proposal to batch the progression of sphere powers around levels 1/6/11/16.
I mean, "finally" gaining access to Greater (=Legendary) powers of your secondary sphere – eight levels(!) after your primary sphere. What can I say… "Yay" :smallfrown:
That goes double for Lesser (=Exceptional) powers of your tertiary sphere – 14 levels after your primary sphere ("thanks for nothing" :smallfurious:).

If we go with SkipSandwich's proposal, it would only leave levels 7/13/14/19 empty.
- Ghost Warrior would come at 7th.
- Dismissal would come at 13th. Same as the Spirit Shaman's Exorcism (and Spirit Shaman = full caster).
Now there are only 2 levels to worry about.

I could live with 14th being empty, given BAB & saves all improve (but that's only if you don't multiclass - which i wouldn't wanna take into account as design strategy).
I'm also sure we can find something appropriate for 19th.
(maybe Raise Dead & Resurrection respectively – the ability to re-bind souls to their deceased bodies – with a greatly diminished frequency compared to divine casters, but at no cost).





Oh...I was rather fond of Superficial...


It just sounds so unimpressive – the exact opposite of what "Binder" vibrates.

Qoios
2015-08-09, 06:56 AM
I wouldn't strip a character of his defenses or ability to fight back.
Since actives serve as utility & debuffs, seems appropriate that they're exchanged for Planar Binding, with 2 restrictions:
1. Planar Binding is relevant only to the plane represented by the bound sphere.
2. Developing a habit of binding creatures to be used as cannon fodder would most definitely carry harsh repercussions.
Sounds exactly like what I had in mind.


Ok. 2 issues that come to mind:
1. Levels 1, 2 & 3 seem a bit anemic to me compared to most properly designed classes, which are somewhat frontloaded (and for a good reason).
I will conjure up some goodies for them at low levels.


2. I still don't know your angle regarding my proposal to making the binder always attuned to some sphere(s) and only swapping bindings (meaning 1/2/3/4 swappings at levels 1st/5th/10th/15th..... maybe also 20th). My assumption in this proposal is that each player becomes accustomed to using certain effects and that without special knowledge of what's to come ahead (more often than not, the make-sense scenario when adventuring), you don't usually have any motivation of breaking habit, so you don't really ever need the ability to rewrite your entire repertoire beforehand. And 2 levels after this has any implications whatsoever, you can already reorganize.
I like it. It further exemplifies the Binder's adaptability, without needing the daily reselection of pacts.


If we had something nice and not over the top to add to levels 1-2-3, and put Ghost Warrior at 8th and Dismissal at 14th (as additional features), then a 5th daily swap at 20th would make a nice symmetry of features.

Another thought that came to mind...
Slowly but surely appropriate class features accumulate (Ghost Warrior / Dismissal / 5th daily binding / hopefully something nice for 1-2-3), so maybe we should reconsider SkipSandwich's proposal to batch the progression of sphere powers around levels 1/6/11/16.
I mean, "finally" gaining access to Greater (=Legendary) powers of your secondary sphere – eight levels(!) after your primary sphere. What can I say… "Yay" :smallfrown:
That goes double for Lesser (=Exceptional) powers of your tertiary sphere – 14 levels after your primary sphere ("thanks for nothing" :smallfurious:).

If we go with SkipSandwich's proposal, it would only leave levels 7/13/14/19 empty.
- Ghost Warrior would come at 7th.
- Dismissal would come at 13th. Same as the Spirit Shaman's Exorcism (and Spirit Shaman = full caster).
Now there are only 2 levels to worry about.

I could live with 14th being empty, given BAB & saves all improve (but that's only if you don't multiclass - which i wouldn't wanna take into account as design strategy).
I'm also sure we can find something appropriate for 19th.
(maybe Raise Dead & Resurrection respectively – the ability to re-bind souls to their deceased bodies – with a greatly diminished frequency compared to divine casters, but at no cost).
I like almost all of these ideas. I was considering resurrection effects as actives for certain spheres, but I like it better this way. I will present a proposed new class table with my first sphere write-ups.


It just sounds so unimpressive – the exact opposite of what "Binder" vibrates.
I like the escalation, personally. I think it appropriate that they grow from making unimpressive deals with imps and lantern archons, all the way to twisting pit lords and star archons to your will with pacts that would make Mephistopheles jealous. Superficial and Primordial at opposite ends gave that vibe, I thought.

nonsi
2015-08-09, 09:04 AM
I will conjure up some goodies for them at low levels.


I was considering batching Suppress Signs & Suppress Mental Taint under a single feature "Suppress Influence" that allows choosing either or both.
That way:
1. It'll make the level (2nd I'm guessing) feel like it has "more meat on them bones".
2. Now we only need 2 features: one for the now empty level (3rd I'm guessing) and another minor feature for 1st (optional).





I like the escalation, personally. I think it appropriate that they grow from making unimpressive deals with imps and lantern archons, all the way to twisting pit lords and star archons to your will with pacts that would make Mephistopheles jealous. Superficial and Primordial at opposite ends gave that vibe, I thought.



IDK. "Superficial" sounds like the binder is not even trying hard enough.
Now that I think of it, Initial/Minor both sound acceptable.
If I go for "Initial", it would be just that.
"Minor" would probably be followed by "Moderate", then "Major" then _______ something.





Sounds exactly like what I had in mind.


I like it. It further exemplifies the Binder's adaptability, without needing the daily reselection of pacts.


I like almost all of these ideas. I was considering resurrection effects as actives for certain spheres, but I like it better this way. I will present a proposed new class table with my first sphere write-ups.


Then I guess there's not much more for me to do now but wait and see what comes out of your cauldron...

Qoios
2015-08-09, 01:59 PM
I was considering batching Suppress Signs & Suppress Mental Taint under a single feature "Suppress Influence" that allows choosing either or both.
That way:
1. It'll make the level (2nd I'm guessing) feel like it has "more meat on them bones".
2. Now we only need 2 features: one for the now empty level (3rd I'm guessing) and another minor feature for 1st (optional).

I am on board for these changes.


IDK. "Superficial" sounds like the binder is not even trying hard enough.
Now that I think of it, Initial/Minor both sound acceptable.
If I go for "Initial", it would be just that.
"Minor" would probably be followed by "Moderate", then "Major" then _______ something.
How about "Fundamental->Essential->Magisterial->Primordial"?


Then I guess there's not much more for me to do now but wait and see what comes out of your cauldron...
Expect a content-post by tomorrow night.

nonsi
2015-08-09, 04:45 PM
How about "Fundamental->Essential->Magisterial->Primordial"?


"Fundamental" is awesome. I can't imagine us topping that.
"Essentia"... basically everything that's effective could become essential at a given moment.
"Magisterial" describes someone's majestic presence / authority. Powers just are.
"Primordial" is ok I guess.

Given that tier names should describe the powers themselves, not the one wielding them, right now my gut feeling says: Fundamental-Exceptional-Legendary-Cosmic
(even though "Cosmic" sounds somewhat pompous).




Expect a content-post by tomorrow night.


I most certainly will, but if it's tomorrow night GiantITP time, then it'll take me several hours to get to it, because I'll have my hands full with something.

Qoios
2015-08-09, 07:09 PM
"Fundamental" is awesome. I can't imagine us topping that.
"Essential"... basically everything that's effective could become essential at a given moment.
"Magisterial" describes someone's majestic presence / authority. Powers just are.
"Primordial" is ok I guess.

Given that tier names should describe the powers themselves, not the one wielding them, right now my gut feeling says: Fundamental-Exceptional-Legendary-Cosmic
(even though "Cosmic" sounds somewhat pompous).
I don't really like Exceptional or Legendary. Those are just so over-used, I feel.
Hmmm...
How about naming them not for the powers gained from the pacts, but for the grandeur of the spirit with whom that pact is formed?
"Trivial->Formidable->Magisterial->Archetypal"?
I know that Trivial sounds minor, but in all honesty, it is supposed to. The first tier should be low-key, after all.

nonsi
2015-08-10, 12:10 AM
I don't really like Exceptional or Legendary. Those are just so over-used, I feel.


Maybe you're getting that vibe because of all the Mythos activity going around lately.
I don't remember those being use frequently (or at all, off the top of my head) outside of Mythos context (and this Binder is no Mythos)





Hmmm...
How about naming them not for the powers gained from the pacts, but for the grandeur of the spirit with whom that pact is formed?
"Trivial->Formidable->Magisterial->Archetypal"?
I know that Trivial sounds minor, but in all honesty, it is supposed to. The first tier should be low-key, after all.


That's an interesting approach.
Ok, so we have 2 angles:
1. Grandeur of powers: Fundamental->Exceptional->Legendary->Cosmic.
2. Grandeur of spirits: Trivial->Formidable->Magisterial->Empyrial. (I like "Empyrial" better than "Archetypal")

If we go for option #2, how do we explain Re-Prioritize? (multiple pacts per sphere maybe, with the higher powers remaining dormant/suppressed/inaccessible?)

Qoios
2015-08-10, 02:16 AM
Maybe you're getting that vibe because of all the Mythos activity going around lately.
I don't remember those being use frequently (or at all, off the top of my head) outside of Mythos context (and this Binder is no Mythos)
Maybe so. Either way, they feel uninspired, given the existence (and prevalence) of Mythos content.


That's an interesting approach.
Ok, so we have 2 angles:
1. Grandeur of powers: Fundamental->Exceptional->Legendary->Cosmic.
2. Grandeur of spirits: Trivial->Formidable->Magisterial->Empyrial. (I like "Empyrial" better than "Archetypal")

If we go for option #2, how do we explain Re-Prioritize? (multiple pacts per sphere maybe, with the higher powers remaining dormant/suppressed/inaccessible?)
I was going to just say that the Tier is about what kinds of spirits you deal with. Thus, a Binder capable of binding Empyrial spirits may form any priority of pact with those Empyrial spirits, and then simply renegotiate with them on how much or how little power they wish to draw through the pact.

Also: what do you think of renaming "Re-Prioritize" to "Renegotiate" or "Renegotiate Terms"?

nonsi
2015-08-10, 02:43 AM
Also: what do you think of renaming "Re-Prioritize" to "Renegotiate" or "Renegotiate Terms"?


Wouldn't that imply that you pay extra for upgrading to higher tier powers? (more obvious signs & personality imprint, with more severe implications - not sure I'd even wanna explore that option)
I mean, why would they re-negotiate if they don't have anything to gain for their time and "generosity"?
Otherwise, "Renegotiate" would lead us to view binding in a similar manner to how they describe what Ur-Priests and PF Time Thieves do, and that's more akin to stealing than negotiating.

Qoios
2015-08-11, 07:43 PM
Hey, sorry I haven't posted anything, yet. I have gotten myself involved in a few real life obligations. I am still here, and still working, it's just having to be fit into a somewhat tighter schedule. I'll post what I can as soon as I have the time.

nonsi
2015-08-11, 11:58 PM
Hey, sorry I haven't posted anything, yet. I have gotten myself involved in a few real life obligations.


Oh, that's perfectly understandable.
Actually, I have my hands full myself for the next few days, so it actually works out ok.





I am still here, and still working, it's just having to be fit into a somewhat tighter schedule. I'll post what I can as soon as I have the time.


Glad to here that.

nonsi
2015-08-29, 06:38 AM
.
Ok, I'll be back at my PC in about 24 hours, so if anyone has any contributive ideas, I guess now would be a good time...

Qoios
2015-08-29, 07:57 AM
Hey, sorry that I've been out of touch with you on this for a while...

I am still working on it. I've just mostly been working on the Mythic portion of the project, trying to get all of that figured out, which is much more daunting than this portion. I will still be posting Spheres as soon as I have drafts of them, I've just been really focusing on the other half of it, right now.

nonsi
2015-08-29, 09:07 AM
Hey, sorry that I've been out of touch with you on this for a while...

I am still working on it. I've just mostly been working on the Mythic portion of the project, trying to get all of that figured out, which is much more daunting than this portion. I will still be posting Spheres as soon as I have drafts of them, I've just been really focusing on the other half of it, right now.


Hi, and welcome back.

I wouldn't wanna rush you or anything, but I got an amazing job offer a few days ago.
I'm starting a week from tomorrow and I intend to make the most out of it, so it'll probably clip my wings in a serious way as far as my forum activities are involved, so I'd really want to advance the Binder as far as possible during the coming week.

Again, sorry for urging you and thanks for your time.

Nifft
2015-08-29, 02:15 PM
I'm so open to suggestions here.
I now remember that I heard the Totemist (haven't explored incarnum) has the ability to enhance itself in combat. Maybe it's worth a peek.


I also suggest looking at Incarnum stuff (Totemist and Incarnate).

It's a bunch of at-will abilities which occupy item slots.

You can mix & match every day.

Qoios
2015-08-29, 02:32 PM
I also suggest looking at Incarnum stuff (Totemist and Incarnate).

It's a bunch of at-will abilities which occupy item slots.

You can mix & match every day.
Yeah, I've got a decent familiarity with Incarnum, but I don't think it is quite going to be a fit for this project, mostly because this is a homebrew creation, not an attempt to find a way to emulate something from within the existing rules.

If I were looking to emulate something like what we're trying to create, using only published 3.5 content, I think Incarnum (or the Pathfinder equivalent, Akashic Magic) would be a great start, though.

nonsi
2015-08-29, 08:09 PM
Yeah, I've got a decent familiarity with Incarnum, but I don't think it is quite going to be a fit for this project, mostly because this is a homebrew creation, not an attempt to find a way to emulate something from within the existing rules.

If I were looking to emulate something like what we're trying to create, using only published 3.5 content, I think Incarnum (or the Pathfinder equivalent, Akashic Magic) would be a great start, though.

Absolutely.
I see no association whatsoever between binding planar spirits and body slots.
OTOH, I could see grafting as a possibility (but not a necessity) with this class.


@Qoios: Btw, how much of the class' revised table do you have figured out by now?

Also, I had this idea of having a Void sphere, which would be associated with entities that reside in between the planes (but I don't know how many - if at all - are there in 3.Xe... excluding official Binder's vestiges, of course)

nonsi
2016-01-01, 10:34 AM
.
Ok, I finally have the Binder-remake class table and features figured out (in the OP).
The next thing is to define the spheres (and just maybe come up with additional appropriate spheres).
I could really use some help here, so if anyone's feeling inspired, please share your thoughts.

nonsi
2016-01-02, 01:24 AM
.
Ok, breaking things down to what's required to complete this project, in terms of filling in the blanks, it goes like this:


======================================
Air
- Attack Mode:
- Continual Benefits:
- Activated Powers:
- Physical Imprint:
- Mental Imprint:

Earth
- Attack Mode:
- Continual Benefits:
- Activated Powers:
- Physical Imprint:
- Mental Imprint:

Fire
- Attack Mode:
- Continual Benefits:
- Activated Powers:
- Physical Imprint:
- Mental Imprint:

Water
- Attack Mode:
- Continual Benefits:
- Activated Powers:
- Physical Imprint:
- Mental Imprint:

Negative
- Attack Mode:
- Continual Benefits:
- Activated Powers:
- Physical Imprint:
- Mental Imprint:

Positive
- Attack Mode:
- Continual Benefits:
- Activated Powers:
- Physical Imprint:
- Mental Imprint:

Good (+light?)
- Attack Mode:
- Continual Benefits:
- Activated Powers:
- Physical Imprint:
- Mental Imprint:

Evil (+darkness?)
- Attack Mode:
- Continual Benefits:
- Activated Powers:
- Physical Imprint:
- Mental Imprint:

Law
- Attack Mode:
- Continual Benefits:
- Activated Powers:
- Physical Imprint:
- Mental Imprint:

Chaos.
- Attack Mode:
- Continual Benefits:
- Activated Powers:
- Physical Imprint:
- Mental Imprint:

Ethereal
- Attack Mode:
- Continual Benefits:
- Activated Powers:
- Physical Imprint:
- Mental Imprint:

Astral
- Attack Mode:
- Continual Benefits:
- Activated Powers:
- Physical Imprint:
- Mental Imprint:

Shadow
- Attack Mode:
- Continual Benefits:
- Activated Powers:
- Physical Imprint:
- Mental Imprint:

Dream
- Attack Mode:
- Continual Benefits:
- Activated Powers:
- Physical Imprint:
- Mental Imprint:

Void
- Attack Mode:
- Continual Benefits:
- Activated Powers:
- Physical Imprint:
- Mental Imprint:
======================================


Seems simple enough, right? Well, not quite.

Continual Benefits: I'm not sure if there should actually be 4 grades of continual benefits or just one (something akin to clerical domain granted powers). Should it revolve around feats, skills or defensive stat-augmentation. The mechanic should be as uniform as possible, to make things simple, but the benefits should be different enough to make sphere selection count.

Attack Mode: Coming up with 15 different ways to attack opponents is tough. Should I settle for different damage types, narrowing things to but a single attack option per sphere? It's simpler, no doubt, but would probably end up boring and restrictive.

Activated Powers: Maybe this is where special attacks and defenses Could come into the picture, mixed with utility powers.

And then there's the spheres themselves. Can each sphere coexist with any other bound sphere? (Good-Evil... Positive-Negative... etc)


Tough decisions :smallfrown:

nonsi
2016-04-21, 02:15 AM
.
Hey everyone,

Given I'm quite stuck right now with my Binder project, I'm reviving this thread, hoping someone might be struck with inspiration that will help promote the idea, or take it in a different direction.

Let's shake some branches and see if something falls down to the ground.

nonsi
2016-04-23, 07:20 AM
.
An idea has just popped to mind regarding how to redefine Binding and Renegotiate in a practical manner . . .

What if, instead of attacking this problem from an angle of spheres, I'd say that a binder gains access to Abjuration/Conjuration/Transmutation spell effects according to the following rules:



1. The power grades will be consistent with those of the Warlock:
a. Trivial (1st level): 1st & 2nd SL effects
b. Formidable (6th level): 3rd & 4th SL effects
c. Magisterial (11th level): 5th & 6th SL effects
d. Empyreal (16th level): 7th – 9th SL effects.

2. At any given moment, a binder may wield:
a. 3 spells from his primary power grade
b. 4 spells from his secondary power grade
c. 5 spells from his tertiary power grade
d. 6 spells from his quaternary power grade.
A given grade of powers may hold spells of lower-grade(s), if a binder so chooses.
Each bound spell effect functions as a spell-like ability, usable 3 times (I'm considering lowering it to twice) between renegotiations or between long rests (whichever comes first).
Until used up, bound spells remain accessible indefinitely.

3. Renegotiation allows a binder to re-allocate spells from one of his power grades.
A binder may select any spell from any fullcaster list, as long as its SL is within his grasp and it belongs to the allowed schools: Abjuration/Conjuration/Transmutation.
Note: I chose Abjuration, Conjuration and Transmutation because they seem the most fitting to me to be associated with the theme of binding.
I'm also considering Evocation, to grant some access to direct damage effects, but I'm not sure.

4. Every time a binder renegotiates, he's randomly affected by a single Physical Imprint and a single Mental Imprint ("sign" and "influence" respectively) –
each of which is taken from a pool assembled from the imprints specified for the ToM vestiges and WotC archives vestiges (alternatively they can come in pairs – both from the same proposed vestige).
A binder may abandon all bound powers and lose the Physical and Mental Imprints, regaining access to bound powers (and taking the imprints) upon renegotiating.
Note: This keeps the forces a binder draws power from vague/arbitrary and prevents clunky mechanics.
Also, I regard a pact with a specific being (including a greater demon) as something that should grant a small collection of predetermined benefits, so direct pacts seem inappropriate to me.




The above solution should be evaluated vs. my 3.5e Overhaul classes (Warlock in particular).
Does this seem reasonable in the big picture?

nonsi
2016-04-25, 05:36 PM
.
Ok, I now have it much better figured out and defined.
The general spirit of my solution is that spells and invocations meet half-way.



Binding (Su)

Binders tap into the very layers of reality, drawing residual power from powerful otherworldly entities inhabiting various planes of existence.
Drawing power in such manner is referred to as "Binding".
Similar to warlocks, binders arrange their power groups in 4 grades of powers, named according to the magnitude of entities they draw from and the scale of copers they harness.
The various power groups are:
1. Trivial (1st level): 1st & 2nd SL effects
2. Formidable (6th level): 3rd & 4th SL effects
3. Magisterial (11th level): 5th & 6th SL effects
4. Empyreal (16th level): 7th – 9th SL effects.
Unlike warlocks, binders may only access spells from SLs that are available to fullcasters of their Binder class level or lower (contrary to warlocks that gain access to 2nd/4th/9th SL effects at 1st/6th/16th level respectively).

Binders retrieve spell effects – as spell-like abilities – in a similar manner to that described for the CDiv Spirit Shaman… but not exactly. They have a limited repertoire to draw from:
- At 1st level, they learn how to wield [3 + Int-bonus] spell effects
- At 2nd level and each level thereafter, they learn 2 spell effects
- In addition, a binder also knows all Summon Monster spells of his available SLs.
Each bound spell power functions as a spell-like ability, usable 3 times between retrievals or between long rests (whichever comes first).

The number of effects a binder may retrieve from each power grade is as follows:
- 3 spells from his primary power group
- 4 spells from his secondary power group
- 5 spells from his tertiary power group
- 6 spells from his quaternary power group

Spell retrieval targets a specific power group, not all of them at once.
At 1st level, a binder may retrieve spells once per day. At 5th level and each 5 levels thereafter, a binder gains another daily use of spell retrieval.
Retrieving spells from a given power group takes 10 minutes of concentration.

Each retrieved power group also subjects a binder to a physical imprint/deformity and a mental imprint/personality taint.
- Physical Imprint: As long as you are bound to a sphere, 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. When bound to multiple spheres, you manifest multiple signs – one for each sphere.
- Mental Imprint: This dictates behavioral changes in certain situations and poses a roleplaying challenge for the player. While under the influence of a sphere, you must adhere to its influence to the best of your ability. 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 sphere is no longer bound to you. If you are influenced by more than one sphere, you must act according to all their influences. If you fail to fulfill the requirements of more than one sphere or disobey a single sphere more than once, the penalties stack.
A binder may abandon all bound powers of a given power group and lose the physical and mental imprints, regaining access to bound powers (and taking imprints) upon renegotiating.

Note: all sphere powers operate at CL equal to the binder's class-level and are Cha-based.






I need some educated assessment here.
Given the class features in the OP, is it enough? Is it too much?

Gildedragon
2016-04-27, 02:16 PM
... So they're just a caster?
Part of the fun of binders is the odd assortment of abilities they can have, and their ability to swap them around.
Martial-prowess granting spells are very high level; but for a binder the capacity to engage in physical combat ought'n't be so difficult.

nonsi
2016-04-27, 04:31 PM
... So they're just a caster?
Part of the fun of binders is the odd assortment of abilities they can have, and their ability to swap them around.


Those are SLAs, not spells. Invocations work the same way.

The main problem I recognize with the official Binder is that it's a class that attempts to roll all classes into one. The end result is a class that requires a lot of juggling to handle.
The main theme I'm aiming for is a class that summons creatures and conjures stuff and changes things, gaining innate features as result of the forces that the character is routinely exposed to. That's the vibe I'm getting from the title "Binder".


I traded power spamming (i.e. invocations) for greater flexibility. The limit on known effects is meant to make things easier for players, not as a balancing factor. The limit on #uses is meant to justify the expanded options.
Given that Conjuration and Transmutation are the most versatile schools, I thought that combining them with Abjuration would go a long way in providing the means for character versatility and character power. I was thinking of adding Evocation for some offensive capabilities and some more utility (still hesitant on that one). Evocation is basically summoning elemental forces and exotic energy to serve you, so it fits the bill thematically.




... So they're just a caster?
Martial-prowess granting spells are very high level; but for a binder the capacity to engage in physical combat ought'n't be so difficult.


What I remember from various binders in literature, is that they don't do a lot of physical combat themselves.