Consolidated Binder Handbook

486 posts / 0 new
Last post

Consolidated Binder Handbook



Table of Contents


  • Credits and Information
  • The Binder
  • Introduction to Pact Magic
  • Lists of Vestiges and Abilities *
    • List by Level *
    • List by Type of Ability *
    • Pact Augmentations and Immunities

  • Low-level Binder Advancement *
  • Feat Progression Suggestions for Generic Binders *
  • Magic Items of Note *
  • Strategies vs. Specific Creatures*
  • Combos *
    • Offensive Combos *
    • Defensive Combos *
    • Caster-like Combos *
    • Miscellaneous Combos *

  • Tips and Tricks *
  • Maximizing Save DC’s
  • Customer Service Quotes for Convenience *
  • Reports from the Trenches: Binder in Action*


* NEW INFORMATION NOT IN PREVIOUS HANDBOOKS (but possibly buried in the thread)


Credits and Information




The purpose of this thread is to have one source for all a Binder’s needs, be they basic information, builds, combos, or anything else.

T_G and Gerdreg, being the original authors of the two main Binder sourcebooks, both approve of the compilation here, and both have been really busy lately. This is likely to happen to me, too, so I’ve created a new profile and password that is completely public, so that users may edit the information as they see fit. Here it is:

Username: FinalBinderHandbook
Password: davenport


edit: since the change to the Gleemax system, it requires an email address to log in. Since I used a personal (but secondary) email address, if there needs to be a major overhaul, please PM or email me first, and I'll get back to you w/ the info (if its someone I don't recognize, don't expect it, though).

Even though this is a completely public profile, please respect the work: if you think something is in error, or you’d like to add some combos, please post it first, just so the community has a chance to digest it and to verify its legality.

I’ve formatted the text such that “fluff” would all be in sblocks, which I hope doesn’t insult anybody, and the “meat” such as vestige power lists and combos, which the CO community thrives on, would be readily viewable on the second post.

Much of the work here was done by T_G and Gerdreg, I’ve just been the organizer of some of the more recent developments, and their works (and that's a mountain of data to process, in and of itself). With that, I hope you enjoy, and that it isn’t a wasted effort!

Links to the original threads / handbooks (both have been archived):
http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=605415
http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=607826

-jameswilliamogle


The Binder’s Role




Gerdreg wrote:
Though there are only a limited number of vestiges currently available, and the binder may only bind a small number of them at once (up to four at a time by level 20), the Binder is one of the most versatile classes to date. Based on what vestiges the Binder chooses to make pacts with that day, the Binder can fill many different roles within a group. By combining different vestiges and their granted abilities, the Binder can choose to either further specialize in his chosen role in the party, or create a unique combinations of abilities not possessed by any standard class.

One of the great strengths of Pact Magic is that, unlike spells, the special abilities granted by vestiges are not limited to a certain number of uses per day. Though each vestige does not grant a large number of abilities, a Binder who can make pacts with multiple vestiges can obtain a wide variety of abilities. Many of the more powerful abilities are only available once every five rounds, so a wise binder will make sure he has other abilities or items at his disposal between uses. The highest level vestiges allow access to some very strange and powerful combinations of abilities.

Though not naturally as formidable in combat as the warrior classes, the Binder has medium BAB, d8 HD, and Good Fort and Will Saves. In addition to their vestige granted abilities and pact augmentations, a Binder can be a potent combatant if he or she chooses to be. Despite having a low number of skills points (2+Int per level), the Binder's bonus feats in addition to skill bonuses grants by many of the vestiges will allow the Binder to be very potent in the skills he chooses to pursue.

In addition to this, I'd say, right from the start, Binders are RIDICULOUSLY complicated: if you haven't read the entire class, all the vestiges, and at least the first 3 posts to this thread, you will probably not play one to its entire potential. Even then, if you are an inexperienced player, STAY AWAY FROM THIS CLASS! Play a Rogue, instead, and max out Use-Magic Device for when you want to get tricky.

Play a Binder when:
  • The healing, the arcane, and the trapfinding roles are covered (Binders aren't very efficient at these roles, though they can be decent secondary healers or arcanists. Trapfinding works well with Able Learner and moderate Int);
  • You want to cover the party face role (Binders are GREAT at this!);
  • You are playing gestalt rules, and want something cool on one side;
  • You are going to be dealing with a campaign full of outsiders (all Binder abilities are Su: SR doesn't apply).


Introduction to Pact Magic

Introduction to Pact Magic


If you're at all familiar with magic of incarnum this system should be very intuitive. The flavor is almost the same even. Basically, you gain the ability to make "pacts" with vestiges (invulnerable souls that are neither dead nor alive) and gain special abilities via these pacts. Here's the general procedure:

Draw the vestige's seal: takes 1 minute and a "markable" surface. No checks are required to make this seal. Provokes an AoO. The drawn seal needs to be used w/in 1 minute of making, or doesn’t work.
Call out the vestige's name, must be able to speak for this to work. Binding requires 1 minute more, or 1 full-round action at -10 to your check.

Make the binding check: (1d20 + effective binder level + cha modifier)

You get the benefits regardless of whether you made a bad pact or a good pact, but if you made a bad pact you have a certain role-playing restriction that you must obey, or else suffe a cumulative -1 on all your d20 rolls until you can remove the vestige.

There are two methods of speeding the process up: Vestige Phylactery (item) and Rapid Pact Making (feat). Rapid Pact Making doesn't work if you don't use Expel Vestige (feat), but the Phylactery performs the functions of both items in 1 round. Also, RAW, Rapid Pact Making doesn't remove the necessity to draw the seal (this was surely an oversight: this section of the book is full of inconsistencies; talk with your DM). The Vestige Phylactery is the way to go, but it costs 15k gp, so its a mid-to-high level item (Asteroth gives you the ability to make it, though, which is nice). You bind a vestige ahead of time to use it in combat, or leave it empty, and bind a vestige into it as needed. In other words, its not very practical to switch vestiges in the middle of the day, which decreases the Binders flexibility a little when compared to the Incarnate or Factotum.


Vestiges and Granted Abilities




Below is a list of Vestige and their granted abilities. I've updated the old lists with every vestige thats been published so far. There are four sources of official WotC vestiges aside from Tome of Magic:

This makes for a total of 41 vestiges, which means a TON of combinations (I'll let a statistician do the math on that one). Summarized here.

Check out Epic Binders. Very nice abilities, as well!

Figuring out great combinations is kind of tough: some synergies are obvious, but many are not. When in doubt about what to do, determine randomly what you'll bind (use a deck of cards), then look to see what their abilities are and how well they synergize; just about any combination will turn out ok: these aren't weak abilities, after all. On top of that, check out this post for making custom vestiges and its index:
http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=606718
http://boards1.wizards.com/showpost.php%3Fp%3D10791757%26postcount%3D452
Thats ANOTHER 30+ vestiges, if you are looking for homebrew content... Pretty crazy.

There is a new Vestige and Prestige Class posted with full stats here. Its from the editor of Pathfinder, James Jacobs, and is about as official as non-WotC material gets. Its also very balanced w.r.t. most vestiges (unlike a lot of homebrew content). Its all related to the Age of Worms adventure path.


1st Level
  • Amon - Darkvision, Fire Breath*, Ram Attack
  • Aym - Dwarven Step, Halo of Fire, Improved Sunder, Medium Armor Proficiency, Resistance to Fire, Ruinous Attack
  • Leraje - Hide Bonus, Low-Light Vision, Precise Shot, Ricochet, Weapon Proficiency
  • Naberius - Disguise Self, Faster Ability Healing, Naberius’s Skills, Persuasive Words*, Silver Tongue
  • Ronove - Cold Iron and Magic Attacks, Far Hand*, Feather Fall, Ronove’s Fists, Sprint

2nd Level
  • Dahlver-Nar - Mad Soul, Maddening Moan*, Natural Armor, Shield Self
  • Haagenti - Confusing Touch*, Immunity to Transformation, Shield Proficiency, Weapon Proficiency
  • Malphas - Bird’s Eye Viewing, Invisibility*, Poison Use, Sudden Strike
  • Savnok - Call Armor, Heavy Armor Proficiency, Move Ally*, Savnok’s Armor

3rd Level
  • Andromalius - Jester’s Mirth*, Locate Item, See the Unseen, Sense Trickery, Sneak Attack
  • Focalor - Aura of Sadness, Focalor’s Breath*, Lightning Strike, Water Breathing
  • Karsus - Heavy Magic, Karsus’s Senses, Karsus’s Touch*, Karsus’s Will
  • Paimon - Dance of Death*, Paimon’s Blade, Paimon’s Dexterity, Paimon’s Skills, Uncanny Dodge, Whirlwind Attack
  • Primus (Dragon 341) - Divine Structure, Lawful Attacks, Primus's Order*
  • Ahazu (Dungeon 148) - Ahazu’s Abduction, Ahazu’s Touch, Blindsight, Void Mind

4th Level
  • Agares - Earth and Air Mastery, Earthshaking Step*, Elemental Companion, Fear Immunity, True Speech
  • Andras - Weapon Proficiency, Mount, Saddle Sure, Smite Good or Evil*, Sow Discord*, Sure Blows
  • Buer - Buer’s Knowledge, Buer’s Purity, Delay Diseases and Poisons, Fast Healing, Healing Gift*, Track
  • Eurynome - Animal Friend, Damage Reduction, Eurynome’s Maul, Poison Blood, Water Dancing
  • Tenebrous - Deeper Darkness, See in Darkness, Touch of the Void*, Turn/ Rebuke Undead*, Vessel of Emptiness
  • Arete (Mind’s Eye WotC article) – Psionic Boon, Resistance, Damage Reduction, Repletion
  • Kas (Dragon 341) - Blinding Strike, Bluff Bonus, Undead Reaper, Kas's Protection, and longsword, bastard sword, and short sword proficiency
  • Astaroth (Cityscape Web Enhancement) - Angelic Lore, Asaroth's Breath, Honeyed Toungue, Master Craftsman, Word of Astaroth
  • Astaroth (Dragon 357) - Blackflame, Divination, Serpentine Toung, Silvered Touch
  • Cabiri (Dragon 357) - Arcane Eye, Far-seeing Gaze, Seer in Darkness, Visons of Terror

5th Level
  • Acererak - Detect Undead, Hide from Undead, Lich’s Energy Immunities, Paralyzing Touch*, Speak with Dead, Undead Healing
  • Balam - Balam’s Cunning*, Icy Glare, Prescience, Weapon Finesse
  • Dantalion - Awe of Dantalion*, Dantalion Knows, Read Thoughts, Thought Travel*
  • Geryon - Acidic Gaze, All-Around Vision, See in Darkness, Swift Flight*
  • Otiax - Air Blast, Combat Reflexes, Concealing Mist, Open Portal, Unlock*

6th Level
  • Chupoclops - Aura of Despair, Ethereal Watcher*, Ghost Touch, Poison Bite, Pounce, Soul Sense
  • Haures - Inaccessible Mind, Incorporeal Movement, Major Image*, Phantasmal Killer*
  • Ipos - Cold Iron Claws, Flash of Insight*, Ipos’s Influence, Planar Attenuation, Rend
  • Shax - Freedom of Movement*, Immunity to Electricity, Storm Strike, Swim Speed
  • Zagan - Aversion*, Improved Grapple, Scent, Constrict, Snake Bane
  • Vanus (Design and Development WotC article) - Fear Aura, Free Ally*, Noble Disdain, Vanus’s Ears
  • The Triad (Mind’s Eye WotC article) – Psionic Boon, Call to Mind, Psicraft Bonus, Bardic Knowledge, Empathy, Diplomacy Bonus, Smite Evil, Detect Hostile Intent, Sense Motive Bonus, Weapon Proficiency
  • Desharis (Cityscape Web Enhancement) - City Dweller, Infinite Doors, Language of the City, Smite Natural Soul, Spirits of the City
  • Zceryll (Class Chronicles web article) - Alien Form, Alien Mind, Bolts of Madness, Summon Alien, Telepathy

7th Level
  • Eligor - Chromatic Strike, Eligor’s Skill in the Saddle, Eligor’s Strength, Eligor’s Resilience, Heavy Armor Proficiency
  • Marchosias - Death Attack, Fiery Retribution, Smoke Form*, Silent and Sure
  • Ansitif (Dragon 357) - Blaspheme, Divine Resistance, Fire Immunity, Thrall to Demon

8th Level
  • Ashardalon (Dragon Magic) - Ashardalon's Greed, Ashardalon's Presence*, Ashardalon's Vigor, Fiend's Heart
  • Halphax - Damage Reduction, Halphax’s Knowledge, Imprison, Iron Wall*, Secure Shelter*
  • Orthos - Blindsight, Displacement, Whirlwind Breath*, Whispering Wind
  • Abysm (Mind’s Eye WotC article) - Psionic Boon, Overpower

* useable once every 5 rounds


Lists by Type of Ability




Most of these were already written by T_G; just cut and pasted. The newest Vestiges have been added, however.

Offensive Abilities
Easiest way to survive is to kill them before they kill you.

Extra Damage
  • Smite Good or Evil: [Andaras] cha to attack, +1 damage/level, 1/5 rnds
  • Smite Natural Creatures: [Desharis] as above, 1/5 rounds, animal, elemental, fey, or plant, 1/5 rnds
  • Ruinous Attack: [Aym] double damage vs. objects
  • Sneak Attack: [Andromalius] +2d6 sneak +1/5 levels beyond 5.
  • Strength Bonus: [Eligor] +4 unnamed to strength
  • Noble’s Disdain: [Vanus] +d6 damage when fighting creatures of lower HD than you
  • Chromatic Strike [Eligor] Add 1d6 energy damage to a single attack as a free action. May not add more than
  • once to a given attack.
  • Sudden Strike: [Malphas] 1d6 + 1d6/4 BL. Stacks with sneak attack.
  • Ricochet: [Laraje]: Attack two adjacent targets with a ranged weapon with one attack roll. Extra damage applies only to one.
  • Fiery Retribution: [Marchosias] An extra 3d6 fire damage when you attack an opponent who has the CAPABILITY of delivering sneak/skirmish/or sudden strike damage.
  • Storm strike: [Shax] Swift action, charge your next melee attack with 1d6 electricity and 1d6 sonic. At will.
  • Snake Bane: [Zagan] +2 attack bonus vs. snake-like creatures (nagas or yuan-ti), and +2d6 bonus damage added to melee attacks.
  • Lawful Attacks: [Primus] all your melee and ranged attacks are lawful, and melee attacks (including touch attacks) do +d6 damage against chaotic opponents.
  • Animal Affinity: [Abysm] +4 Enhancement bonus to Str, Dex, or Con, but temporary as the psionic power
  • Earth and Air Mastery: [Agares] +1 to attacks and damage vs those on ground, -1 penalty to those attacking or damaging you from air.
  • Void Strike: [Tenebrous] charge the next melee attack with 1d8 cold + 1/4 BL beyond 7. Once you reach 11th BL you can charge the attack for the full round. 1/5 rnds.

Debuffs
  • Tasha's Hideous Laughter: [Andromalius] 1/5rnds
  • Phantasmal Killer: [Haures] range 10 ft per BL, 1/5 rnds
  • Death Attack: [Marchosias] As an assassin, save is equal to standard binding save. You need a source of Sneak Attack or Sudden Strike to use it.
  • Maddening Moan: [Dahlver-nar] daze all in 30' radius, will negates, 1/5 rnds.
  • Imprison: [Halphax] Std action touch attack, fort save, otherwise as the spell. Can only be attempted every 1d4 rounds and cannot have more than one person imprisoned at a time.
  • Blinding Strike: [Kas] on a critical hit, opponent must make a Will save or be permanently blinded; you can crit undead, and this effects them.
  • Paralyzing Touch: [Acererak] 1/5 rnds
  • Earth Shaking Step: [Agares] knock all prone in 10'. Ref-save.

Direct Damage
  • Gaze Attack: [Balam] 2d6 cold, will negates , [Geryon] 2d6 acid, will negates.
  • Lightning Strike: [Focalor] 3d6 + 1d6/3 BL beyond 5 to a single target. At will.
  • Air Blast: [Otiax] Melee touch attack up to 10' away (like a reach weapon). 2d6 damage (no strength) can make multiple attacks if BAB warrents it.
  • Breath Weapon: [Amon] line of fire, 1d6/level, 10ft/level 1/5 rnds ; [Orthos] Whirlwind breath 1d6/BL 60' cone. Ref for half + wind effects. 1/5 rnds

Buffs
  • Ghost Touch: [Chupoclops] applies to all attacks.
  • Pounce: [Chupoclops] Can be used with any weapon or natural weapon.
  • Eurynome's Maul: [Eurynome] Summon a large magical warhammer that you can use w/o penalty and have proficiency with and can wield in 1 hand. Has abilities based on level.
  • Dance of Death: [Paimon] Make a single attack against any creature you pass during a single move action. 1/5 rnds.
  • Cold Iron and Magic: [Ronove] Your attacks have these qualities once you attack BL 7 (otherwise it's just magic before that).
  • Undead Reaper: [Kas] can ignore all undead DR.
  • Divine Structure: [Primus] gain +1 competence bonus on all d20 rolls for a round, if you performed the same actions in the same order previously.

Others
  • Far Hand: [Ronove] Similar to mage hand except that you can lift an amount based on your BL, useable as a swift action at will. Also allows a telekenetic push attack that deals 1d6 pts of damage and initiates a bull rush useable as a standard action 1/5 rnds.
  • Turn/Rebuke Undead: [Tenebrous] As a cleric of your BL. 1/5 rnds.

Defensive Abilities

Tank like a champ w/ this group of abilities. Also consider tactical movement below.

Debuff
  • Aura of Despair: [Chupoclops]: 10' -2 to attacks, saves, damage, skill checks.
  • Aura of Sadness: [Focalor] -2 to attacks, saves, skill checks for those adjacent to you.

Damage Reduction
  • Shield Self: [Dahlver-nar] Another creature within 10/BL shares damage with you. Will negates for unwilling creatures.
  • Damage Reduction: [Eurynome] 2/Lawful; [Savnok] 1 +1/4 BL /piercing (and magic if BL >= 13); [Ashardolon] 10 / cold iron; [Halphax] 10 / adamantine; [Arete] DR 5/-

Concealment, Crit reduction, and related
  • Light Fortification: [Kas] And Heavy fortification against undead, but it stacks w/ fortification, too, making 2 rolls for each crit or sneak attack.
  • Displacement: [Orthos] At will and continual effect, as the spell.
  • Concealing Mist: As obscuring mist, but you cannot hide in it and it only affects you (not an area). Grants concealment.
  • Awe of Dantalion: [Dantalion] No one who sees you may attack you for 1 round, but you may not attack them either. 1/5rnds.

AC Bonuses
  • Dexterity Bonus: [Paimon] +4 unnamed to dexterity.
  • Prescience: [Balam] +1/4 BL insight bonus to AC, Ref, and initiative.
  • Natural AC: [Dahlver-nar] Enhancement equal to 1/2 Con bonus; [Eligor] +3 enhancement (+4 at lvl 16, +5 at lvl 20).
  • Call armor: [Savnok] Full round action, summon a suit of full plate about you. Has magical qualities based on BL (rather good ones I might add).
  • Uncanny Dodge: [Paimon] if you already have this ability it improves to Improved Uncany dodge.

HP Bonuses
  • Fast healing: [Buer] Based on level, maxes out at Fast healing 5 at 19th level.
  • Repletion: [Arete] body adjustment , body purification, and sustenance while bound.
  • Temporary Hit Points: [Ashardolon] HP = 2 X Binder level

Other
  • Delay Disease and Poison: [Buer] To all in 30,' once they leave the area the effect ends though.
  • Poison Blood: [Eurynome] Those who bite or swallow you whole take poison damage.
  • Freedom of Movement:[Shax] Swift action to use, lasts 1 round. 1/5 rnds.
  • Save boost [Arete] +4 resistance bonus to any saving throw; [Balam] Ref save based on level.

Natural Weapons
Wanna fight like a totemist? Here you go.

  • Horns: [Amon] 1d6 + 1.5 STR
  • Bite: [Chupoclops] based on size.
  • Claws: [Ipos] Cold Iron Claws w/ damage based on size.
  • Rend: [Ipos] Must hit with all claws to gain extra damage. Extra damage = twice normal claw damage (including strength).
  • Constrict: [Zagan] 1d8 + 1.5xSTR in addition to normal unnarmed damage.

Feat-like
So what if you only have light armor prof? You can have heavy any time you like!

Weapons
  • [Andaras] Greatsword, lance, longsword, and rapier
  • [Haagenti] Battle Axe, Greataxe, handaxe, and throwing axe.
  • [Lareje] Composite Long bow, composite shortbow, longbow, and shortbow
  • [Paimon] Rapier and Short Sword
  • [Kas] Longsword, Bastard Sword, Short Sword
  • [The Triad] All simple, martial, and exotic weapons
  • [Ronove] Improved Unnarmed Strike (and damage as a monk of your BL)

Armor, Shields
  • [Aym] Medium Armor
  • [Eligor, Savnok] Heavy Armor
  • [Haagenti]Shields including tower shields

Melee Combat Related
  • [Paimon] Pseudo-Spring Attack
  • [Balam, Paimon] Weapon Finnesse (only with rapier and short sword for Paimon)
  • [Laraje] Precise Shot
  • [Otiax] Combat Reflexes
  • [Paimon] Whirlwind attack
  • [Zagan] Improved Grapple, considered large in size for grapple purposes and damage deal is lethal.
  • [Aym] Improved Sunder

Mounted Combat
  • [Eligor]Ride-by-attack
  • [Eligor]Spirited Charge

Other
  • [Buer] Track
  • [Astaroth] Every item creation feat that doesn't have a feat prereq, and CL = EBL for picking them
  • [Ansitif] Trall to Demon

Buff-like or Magic-Related Augments
Things that directly emulate spells or things that only casters can do.

Offensive (Save or Suck)
  • Fear: [Ashardolon] as spell, CL= BL, 1/5 rnds, immunity to frightful presence works against it.
  • Command: [Primus] Command w/in 100’, no need to share language, is not [Mind], they can’t see or hear you for d4 rounds. 1/5 rnds
  • Command or Suggestion: [Naberius] Command within 30 ft or suggestion (if BL >= 14) . 1/ 5 rnds
  • Suggestion: Astaroth 1/5 rounds, max # = cha mod.
  • Read Thoughts, Energy Missile, Psionic Levitate, Astral Construct: [Abysm] as a psion.
  • Dispel Magic: [Karsus] Dispel Magic in a touch, but only vs. creatures and objects.
  • Animate Objects: [Desharis] CL = EBL, as the spell

Pure Defensive Self Buffs
  • Undead Healing: [Acererak] Heal from BOTH negative and positive energy
  • Invisibility: [Malphas] Full round to use, but lasts rounds per BL. As your BL increases the time required to use it
  • goes down, eventually to a swift action at 15th BL. 1/5 rnds.
  • Gaseous Form: [Marchosias] Lose all Su abilities except this one (binds are not lost, but are not functional). Otherwise treated as the spell with unlimited duration. 1/5rnds.
  • Freedom of Movement: [Vanus] as the spell, others only, gives them an immediate move action to move only.
  • Displacement: [Orthos] At will and continual effect, as the spell.

Scouting
  • See the Unseen: [Andromalius]
  • Soul Sense: [Chupoclops] Blind sense + Deathwatch ability.
  • True Seeing: [Ipos] swift action, duration 1 rnd. 1/ 5 rnds.
  • Detect Magic: [Karsus] Detect magic at will.
  • Disguise Self: [Naberius] At will, as the spell.
  • Toungues (Humanoid only): [Desharis]

Mobility
  • Swift Flight: 1 round of flight 60' move, perfect maneuverability. 1/5 rnds.
  • Open Portal: [Otiax] as open-close, but only to open. Swift action to use. at will.
  • Feather Fall: [Ronove] Continual effect

Others
  • Heavy Magic: [Karsus] +2 DC to all effects produced by magic items.
  • Karsus's Touch: Use any magic device as a wizard of your BL.
  • Empathy, Call to Mind, Detect Hostile Intent: [The Triad] as a psion.
  • Item Creation: [Astaroth]: Make any item w/ a single feat prereq, but need to produce spell still

Miscellaneous
Lots of caster-like abilities in here.

Save or Suck and Debuffs
  • Fear Aura: [Vanus] 10’ radius, shaken or frightened, your choice! Duration = ½ BL.
  • Sickening Breath [Desharis] 60' cone, nauseated 1 round then sickened for d4, or just sickened for 1 round (1/5 rnds)
  • Ipos's Influence: [Ipos] increase effective BL and DC of vestige abilities by 1.
  • Major Image: [Haures] CL = BL. 1/ 5rnds.
  • Poison Use: [Malphas] As an assassin.
  • Read Thoughts: [Dantalion] Full-round action, detect surface thoughts, duration = unlimited over concentration. Will negates.

Tactical
  • Secure Shelter: [Halphax] As the spell, except that only 1 may be up at a time. 1/5 rnds.
  • Iron Wall: [Halphax] As the spell, except only for a minute.
  • Deeper Darkness: [Tenebrous] As spell, except as an emanation centered on you with a range that you can
  • vary throughout the duration. Unlimited duration, std action to activate or suppress.

Scouting
  • Scent: [Zagan] as the special quality MM 314.
  • Low-light Vision: [Leraje]
  • Blind Sight: [Orthos] 30' blind sight.
  • Animal Friend: [Eurynome] All animals automatically friendly with you
  • Unlock: [Otiax] Full round action, open any lock w/ DC <= 2*BL. 1/5 rnds.

Self Buffs and Enhancements
  • Power Points: [Arete, Abysm, The Triad] various amounts.
  • Fast ability heal: [Naberius] Heal 1 pt of ability damage per round and 1 pt of drain per hour.
  • Re-roll: [Balam] "Balam's cunning": re-roll attack, save, or skill 1/5 rnds.
  • Planar Attenuation: Ignore harmful affects of planes.

Other
  • Summon Mount: [Andaras] 1/day summon a heavy war-horse for hours per level.

Skills
Bonuses for skills

Scout Role
  • Listen: [Vanus] : +5 unnamed, or +10 if source is evil
  • Search: [Ashardolon] = Binder level unnamed
  • Hide: [Leraje] +4 competance; [Marchosias] +16 competance
  • Move Silently: [Marchosias] +16 competance
  • Tumble: [Paimon] +4 unnamed
  • Spot: [Geryon] +4 unnamed
  • Search: [Geryon] +4 unnamed
  • Spot (to oppose disguise): [Andromalius: +4 unnamed.
  • Survival: [Buer] +4 unnamed

Social
  • Diplomacy [Naberius]: Take 10, allows a rushed check as a std action at no penalty!
  • Diplomacy [The Triad]: +5 unnamed
  • Diplomacy [Astaroth]: +4 competance
  • Bluff [Naberius]: Take 10, allows a rushed check as a std action at no penalty!
  • Bluff [Kas], [Astaroth]: +4 competence
  • Intimidate [Astaroth]: +4 competence
  • Gather Information [Desharis]: +6 competance
  • Sense Motive: [Andromalius] +4 unnamed; [The Triad]: +5 unnamed

Knowledge or Sage-like
  • Knowledge (All): [Dantalion] +8 unnamed
  • Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering): [Halphax] can make untrained with a +16 competance bonus.
  • Knowledge (Local): [Desharis] +6 competance
  • Knowledge (Nature): [Buer] +4 unnamed
  • Psicraft [The Triad]: +5 unnamed, can use untrained
  • Appraise: [Ashardolon] = Binder level unnamed
  • Bardic Knowledge: [The Triad], [Astaroth] as a Bard = Binder level
  • Appraise: [Andromalius] +4 unnamed
  • Profession (Seige engineer): [Halphax] +16 competance
  • Craft: [Astaroth] +4 competence

Other
  • Trained-only skills: [Naberius] You gain the ability to use trained-only skills a number of them equal to your con bonus. You cannot have ranks in these skills.
  • Perform (dance): [Paimon] +4 unnamed
  • Ride: [Andras] +8 unnamed.
  • Heal: [Buer] +4 unnamed

Tactical
This one is all about covering the Scout role.

Movement
  • Swim Speed: [Shax] speed equal to land speed.
  • Move Ally: [Savnok] Change places with an ally within 5 ft/2 BL. Action length is dependant on BL (at first standard and finally a swift action at 13th BL). 1/5 rnds.
  • Ethereal Watcher: [Chupoclops] Move action to ethereal plane. But you cannot take a move, full round, or standard while on the plane else you return to the material plane immediately.
  • +10 to move speed: [Ronove] enhancement bonus to move.
  • Thought Travel: [Dantalion] Teleportation 5 ft/BL to location seen. 1/5 rnds.
  • Incorporeal Movement: [Haures] 50% miss chance against AoOs, you can pass through a creature's square w/o trouble.
  • Flicker [Tenebrous] As the mystery, except a certain number of times per day based on BL. (as a supernatural ability of course). (3/day at 19th level).
  • Swift Flight [Geryon] Perfect, 60’.
  • Infinite Doors [Desharis] teleport between EXTERIOR doors.
  • City Dweller [Desharis] walk through crowds w/o impediment

Vision
  • Scout Bird: [Malphas] A bird helper with many abilities.
  • All Around Vision: [Geryon] +4 to spot and search, no flanking bonus vs. you
  • See in Darkness: [Geryon, Tenebrous] As a devil.

Small List Items, Feat Suggestions, Multiclass Suggestions, and Other Miscallanea



Pact Augmentations and Immunities

Soul Guardian and other Immunities
Soul Guardian Level 6 - Immunity to Fear
Soul Guardian Level 9 - Slippery Mind
Soul Guardian Level 13 - Immunity to Energy Drain and Negative Levels
Soul Guardian Level 19 - Immunity to Mind-affecting Spells and Abilities
Acererak - Immunity to Cold and Electricity
Agares - Immunity to Fear
Buer - Immunity to Poisons and Disease
Dahlver-Nar - Immunity to Wisdom damage, Wisdom drain, Madness, Insanity, and Confusion
Haagenti - Immunity to Transformation
Haures - Immunity to Mind-affecting Spells and Abilities
Paimon - Uncanny Dodge
Shax - Immunity to Electricity
Kas – Immune to criticals from undead

Low-Level Binder Advancement, Racial Suggestions, Skills, low-level equipment

Low-level strategies



You have to decide what party role you’ll need to help out. Below L3, the arcanist role won’t be available to you, nor healing below 5. At 8th and above, you can check out the Combo section above and decide what will be most useful for you, and focus on that strategy. Here’s some non-combo strategies that I’ve found to work:

Level 1

Basics:
In a 28 point buy, you’d want a 14 Cha, 14 Dex, 14 Con, 12 Int, 12 Str, and 8 Wis. You Wis modifier doesn’t really help except in the case of Buer’s tracking ability and if you are sporting a non-Malphus scouting vestige, trying to cover that role. You get immunity to Fear at 6th, Mindblank if you bind Haures, and Will is your best save. If you had more points to spend (maybe because you are human and don’t need a 14 Int), put them into Str and/or Dex. All your leveling points should go into Cha, though, as your special abilities become more and more keyed off of them and you end up depending on them more.

If you have to start at L1, take Improved Binding. Its too good to not invest in. Your bonus feat, if you have one, depends entirely on your party role, but you can never go wrong with Improved Initiative on any character, really. Unless your DM disallows it, play a neutral or evil, non-chaotic Binder: neutral or evil will allow you to Rebuke Undead with Tenebrous, and Knights of the Sacred Seal can't be chaotic.



Races:
Racial preferences are highly dependent on what role you expect to do the most of. Its written in the PHB that Humans always are decent at everything they do, and it seems particularly true with Binders. Racial choices are really tricky with this class.

[i]Humans[/i] are always a good choice with the extra feat, and with the extra skill points you can afford to roll with a lower Int. My favorite choice.

[i]Strongheart Halflings[/i], likewise, add another feat, and the +2 to hit w/ thrown weapons and +1 AC make for some unusual combinations, like Haagenti, for example.

[i]Dwarves[/i] are great low-level Binders, despite the Cha hit, simply b/c they can tank with Savnok and keep their full movement. Desert Dwarves from UA are a slightly better choice, since you can keep your Cha high. Auto-search becomes useful when you can bind Ashardolon at high level, or if you get +Search magic items.

[i]Elves[/i] get longsword and shortsword proficiency, and the weapon focus with a shortsword is great at 3rd level when you can bind Paimon. The Con penalty hurts. Star Elves are better than normal elves. Auto-search becomes useful when you can bind Ashardolon at high level, or if you get +Search magic items.

[i]Half-elves[/i] receive special mention, because they can get ridiculously high diplomacy checks if they dip Marshall.

[i]Spellscale[/i] make decent Binders, but the “ritual” benefits won’t help at all.

[i]Dragonborn Spellscale[/i] Binders get +2 Cha for -2 Dex, and can get flying, which a Binder can only do through one vestige or magic items. You could also take the breath weapon, which, although weak, does allow you to qualify for breath weapon feats that you can apply to Amon’s fire breath.

[i]Whisper Gnomes[/i] are just awesome stealth-based creatures. Whisper Gnomes do take a penalty to Cha, which sucks.

[i] Karsites[/i] are a +2 LA race from Tome of Magic. They receive all Martial Weapon proficiencies, SR, Spell Healing, can’t cast spells, and receive all the Human bonuses as well. It is a no-brainer to use one in a LA buyoff game.

Anthrompomorphic Ape (Savage Species) have no LA, and only 2 HD. Get +6 DEX, +4 WIS, +2 STR, +3 Natutal Armor, Climb speed 30, 3 naturals attacks. They're great for a Paimon focused build, or in a Swordsage multiclassed concept. Add in Shadow Blade for more craziness.

Bloodlines Are CRAZY Good!
Any major bloodline, RAW, adds 3 levels to your EBL. EBL drives both the maximum level of vestige, and the number of vestiges you can bind.

Add in Prestige Classes. Now, for every class you have that advances EBL, you get +3 EBL for EACH class. A Binder 7 / Knight of the Sacred Seal 5 / Scion of Dantalion 2 / Tenebrous Apostate 1 / Apostate of the Green Lady 1 / Cleric 1 / major bloodline 3 has an EBL of 31, and can bind 4 vestiges as well (though 2 of them are set due to PrCs). With Orthos and Amon, that's 31d6 damage area attacks: not bad!

If your DM allows Bloodlines, make sure he understands this; they aren't worth it otherwise.




Skills:
You should max Diplomacy and Intimidate, but you also need 5 ranks in 3 other skills for synergy bonuses (Bluff, Sense Motive, Kn:Religion), and Gather Information is a really useful skill as well to expedite play. The skills you should ignore completely are Decipher Script, Concentration, Profession, and Craft. A rank in the other knowledge skills would be great, but only after many levels have passed (you can use Naberius for any trained only 0 rank skills, if you need it). Put 4 ranks in Bluff so you can bind Naberius: he's too useful. Make sure to learn the language Giant, for Haagenti.

Cross-class skill selections of use are Ride if you need it for combat riding, which is nice but you get a huge bonus to the ability with Andras, and your Dex should be decent. Use Magic Device is great if you are higher level and just burning through skills to use (if you have all your synergy bonuses, for example). UMD is particularly useful if you want to play the healing role beyond 8th: Wands of Shield Other + Dahlver-Nar's Shield Self + Buer's Fast Healing is pretty damn powerful, but that's a known combo, and not really low-level.



Equipment:
Your initial equipment should be a Morningstar, a standard adventurers kit, studded leather armor, a light crossbow or sling, a longspear, and a dagger or sickle (just for zombies), and a Cure Light Wounds scroll for someone to cast on you, or even a potion if you can afford it.

You have a few options here, but your first item you will look for is a masterwork buckler, as you’ll get an extra AC for no penalty, really, and enchanting it won’t take too long later when you can afford it. After that, masterwork chain shirt or breastplate, depending on your role.


Tank: 3 options:
Savnok grants you normal full-plate and DR 1/ piercing, which is pretty darn good. Go ahead and equip any shield you can afford, if you do this (except tower): shields are like auto-combat expertise, w/o proficiency, as they give +X to AC for –X to hit. You easily could have 21 AC and DR 1/piercing during your first dungeoneering experience (heavy shield, 12+ dex, savnok’s armor).

Aym grants medium armor prof and some other nice abilities. I recommend him after you can afford Breastplate, if you still anticipate the tank role being used a lot, as the only other Savnok ability isn’t useful yet. Sundering items at this level is great, if you fight lots of weak humanoids, and at double damage you are bound to do it, as well. The touch fire damage is nice, if you want to be ultra tank (equip a masterwork heavy shield, and touch attacks aren’t so bad, even with non-proficiency). The aura of flame helps out pretty well at this level. Aym’s fire aura start to lose power after about 3rd level, which is convenient b/c there’s better options then.

Haagenti allows you to use a Tower Shield, and between that and a chain shirt and a mildly decent Dex you’ll have the same AC as a Savnok user. Confusing Touch isn’t really powerful enough to justify using, until 3rd or so, but then really helps with crowd control. You equip yourself with a few Throwing Axes and a Battleaxe, and work the crowd while speaking Giant. IMO, Aym is still better than Haagenti, though, unless you find a +1 Tower Shield or something like that.

Scout:
Malphus’s Bird’s-Eye-Viewing is broken good: its in between clairvoyance/clairaudience and srying for utility. Your bird goes ahead of the party and takes 20 on all spot checks, for a base check of 23. It also has low-light vision and a Str 1, which allows 3 lbs of weight, ie, a Sunstick. There's no range on the bird. Let me repeat that: THERE'S NO RANGE ON THE BIRD. Don’t worry so much about Sudden Strike damage or Invisibility (if you get some, great, but don’t count on it). You still will be doing melee a lot: don’t worry about hiding unless you have time for it (ie, don’t slow down the party by doing it). Getting some custom+Spot items for the bird is well worth it at higher levels, if your DM allows it.

Interaction and non-scouting Chicanery:
Naberius’ Disguise Self + take 10 on Diplomacy and Bluff, plus having decent bonuses in each, should mean you can befriend just about anyone in town. Disguising yourself as the mayor or captain of the guard could get you lots of resources for your party (take 10 on the Disguise check, getting another +10 for the Disguise self ability, and +2 if you can afford a Disguise kit, for a base of 24 w/ a 14 Cha). My favorite tactic is to get forgery and Knowledge: Local as Naberius's Skill, and then disguise yourself as a local shopkeeper, buy something on credit, then dump it for cash, before switching to another identity; another option for Naberius's Skills: SPEAK LANGUAGE, which will allow you to diplomacy just about anybody. If you find yourself thrown into combat, Jedi the first round with Command to fall down, and either run to the back, using your crossbow, or just melee it out: remember, you can still be wearing all your armor. Ability healing doesn’t do much at this level, really.

Vestiges to stay the heck away from:
Ronove: no AC advantage, you have to be in combat to get use out of Improved Unarmed Strike, and your Morningstar deals more damage means don’t do it at this level. Far Hand's Bull Rush is a freaking joke. It has to be a typo: a Binder 10 can use it to do a Bull Rush with a +0 mod? Bologna: I think the ability should give a bonus equal to the Binder Level (ie, talk to your DM). Even if it gets modified, don't bind it yet. The Bull Rush can trigger the Shocktrooper and Combat Brute Bull Rush options.
Leraje: the Ricochet ability just doesn’t cut it, and the superior Bird’s Eye Viewing makes Malphus the king of scouting at this level. The ability to tank pretty easily makes ranged combat subpar early on. Keep Leraje in mind when you want to Snipe at higher level, in conjunction with Malphus. Don't bind Leraje by himself.
Amon: too low level to be highly effective, and the high DC combined with horns on your head make interaction with NPCs too difficult.
Dahlver-Nar: Its debatable about how good he is at 1st, but imo, you don’t have enough HP to make him really effective… just yet.



Level 2
You are looking to buy a masterwork Morningstar, and if you get lucky, get a +1 bonus on your buckler. At second level, your options only increase, but access remains the same. There is one big difference in the Vestige choices.

Tank: 1 new option
Dahlver-Nar’s Shield Self ability, as has been mentioned, is brutal. With a moderate Con (14), a Masterwork Buckler, a chain shirt, and a moderate-to-good Dex (14-16), you could have an AC of 18-19, which is still good for this level. Your Pact Augmentation goes to extra temporary HP. Now, you walk into battle or just stand in the front after an opponent fails his will save, and if they hit you, its not a terrible idea. With a 14 Con, and the ½+1 HP rule, you’ll have 22 HP at 2nd level, which is awesome. Your Shield Self ability keeps you from worrying too much, as well, as it is DR / 50%, essentially. One tactic, if your allies don't want to accept Shield Self, is to target a mount or riding dog.



Level3
New access to lots of vestiges with lots of neat abilities, and you have to pick a feat! Feat choice has more to do with your party than with you, but basically every Binder wants to get into Knight of the Sacred Seal at sometime, and Weapon Focus will make a bigger difference earlier rather than later, so take it now (Morningstar is my favorite choice, but if you are an elf pick Short Sword or Rapier, if you have proficiency somehow).

Equipment-wise, you are starting to go down the same path as every other adventurer: +X weapons, +X shield, and +X armor, extradimensional storage spaces, and low-level wands.

You’ll have 24 HP standard, and if you are doing Dahlver-Nar, 29, but otherwise should be putting Pact Augmentation to your attack or initiative bonus.

Get 4 ranks in Kn:Arcana either immediately or over the next few levels, if you want to bind Karsus, and don't have Ignore Special Requirements, nor plan on taking it at 4th. Ipos also requires 5 ranks in Kn:Arcana and Religion or The Planes, but you'll want that much in Kn:Religion for the boost on Tenebrous's Rebuking, anyways.

Tank: Pseudo-Light Skirmisher:
Paimon can take your moderate Dex and push it really, really high. A starting Dex of 14, a Chain Shirt, and a Masterwork +1 buckler gets you a 20 AC. You have Weapon Finesse with Shortswords or Rapiers, and proficiency, for a bonus of +7 to hit. You also have Whirlwind attack, should you get agro, and Dance of Death is devastating: You attack everyone you move past once; no limit on the number of attacks. Get a warhorse, and you get an extra 4 squares of movement, and end up at +8 to hit if the opponent is med or smaller, for being on higher ground. This is really the best melee vestige for quite a while unless you are the only tank in the party, in which case you can squeeze out a little more AC by binding Focolor and forgetting about non-proficiency of your full-plate and tower shield, since you don’t have to attack with him. Paimon’s ability still works against “any creature you move past”, so a reach weapon works great as long as you can afford the hit to your attack bonus. You should always have Pact Augmentation in initiative when you use Paimon, as flat-footed opponents almost always means no AoO’s on you, and the bonus to initiative is as good as improved initiative. I can't emphasize how powerful this vestige is for the next few levels.

Scout:
Malphus’ Invisbility has become a 3 round thing, and you can actually start to afford poisons at this point. Birds Eye Viewing is still superior to Andromalius’ Locate Object, but Andy’s other abilities are nice, too. Use your discretion: if it’s a “find this” job, then use Andy, but if it’s a random dungeon crawl then use Mal.

Arcanist: 2 options:
Focalor’s Lightening blast will guarantee that you are doing something useful every round, and 3d6 damage ain’t nothing to mess with at this level. The penalties on the saves is useful, too. If you bind this guy, your goal is to have a Tower Shield and the Heaviest armor you can find (up to full-plate), and block the enemies’ way to the squishies as you blast from behind your 23 AC hide. Armor check penalties to swimming aren't as bad since you have water breathing, too.

Karsus is tricky: the use of wands, and at +2 DC, too, is really nice, but its still a little expensive for this level. I think Focalor is much better at this level for the arcanist role, but when you can start to afford Staffs, Karsus rocks much harder, since you get to use your Binder level for the staff’s effects. If you come across some heightened or higher level wands, keep them and bind Karsus for some kick-arse DC's.



Level 4
Nothing much has changed here, except you might start buying +stat items. Cha > Con > Dex >> Str > Int > Wis, for most party roles. You also should start to consider Implements of Binding.

You get a nice bonus feat: I recommend taking Expel Vestige and/or Rapid Pact Making, as you can’t afford a Vestige Phylactery, and Rapid Pact Making may, on DM interpretation, supercede the need to draw a sign, making it very fast to get vestiges you need. Don’t take Martial Weapon Proficiency, as you’ll get all for free when you take 1 level of Knight of the Sacred Seal.



Level 5
New Vestiges, New roles! You definitely want to start picking up +stat items, better armor, and even protection/resistance items.

Its time to start investing in Use Magic Device, as all your synergy bonuses should be met by now. You should have 5 ranks in Kn:Religion for Tenebrous's Rebuking bonus and 5 ranks in Kn:Arcana (assuming you didn't take Ignore Special Requirement) by now.

Cavalry
Andras, as I discovered recently, is absolutely awesome for dealing with BBEG's: your smite gets doubled when riding your warhorse, and w/ a decent Dex, your ride bonus lets you use the horse as cover for no action cost; you easily could be doing 20-30 HP a round IF you don't crit, which would get you into the 60 and above damage range. So you charge w/ the lance, getting +2 to hit, +1 on higher ground (probably), +3 BAB, +Str, +Cha, for about +10, and then use the cover action (usually > 5 on a d20, assuming 14 Dex) to get an additional +2 AC (+4 cover, -2 charge). If you hit, you do 2d8 + 2 X level + 2 X Str damage (2d8 + 14 for 14 Str); that's if you don't crit. The confound ability shouldn't really be used in combat: its more if you sneak up on people. Improved Critical is also nice if you upgraded your Rapier for Paimon (Andras also gives Rapier proficiency). Obviously, you don't use Andras in a dungeon, as the main abilities won't matter.

Healing
Buer adds the main healing support that a Binder gets, and its pretty good. You get fast healing and the ability to heal others. You also can track decently, assuming you didn’t dump Wis, or can at least assist the ranger. Do not use the 1 HP per round ability unless you need to stabilize multiple creatures: d8+5 every 5 rounds is greater than 1 point per round. You act as a melee cleric with Buer: you wear the heaviest armor you are proficient in, and the heaviest shield as well, swinging away with the best one-handed weapon you can afford. Pact Augmentation should probably go to your attack bonus.

Other / Special Mention:
Tenebrous adds turning or rebuking, which is a big deal if you are encountering undead a lot, still. The important thing about rebuking is that it checks ownership only when you rebuke initially, ie, you control any rebuked creature WHETHER OR NOT you are bound to Tenebrous after getting initial control. And given the choice, always choose Rebuking over Turning: this is the main reason to play a non-good Binder, actually. Tenebrous also adds a little cold damage, and concealment, which might be useful in some circumstances. The Dimension Door ability is pretty good: the effect will last 1 round / level; its essentially a 1/day Displacement, except you get to move too. Using it to teleport next to ranged enemies is absolutely awesome.

Vestiges to avoid (unless you were going for them already):
Eurynome and Agares are of limited use. They are great for high-wooded or druid encounter type campaigns, and spiked chain builds (after causing everyone w/in 10' to fall prone), respectively. Agares does get more interesting at higher level, though, once the Elemental gets larger, and speaking any language can be useful, but Fear Immunity is worthless in a level (this may not have been realized during development: Poison Immunity would be fitting – talk w/ your DM). Eurynome’s Maul is cute if you are facing lots of Lawful creatures for some reason, and water walking could be useful (campaign specific), but the minor DR is too minor to be significant; Andras does way more damage at this level.



Level 6
Your 6th level feat is to make you better doing whatever party role you are doing the most of.

Tenebrous can now allow you to get control of Shadows and Ghouls: time for a special quest to find some o' them shades! They absolutely rock at this level. You can have a spellcaster use Summon Undead 5 to create a Shadow, which then kills a squirrel, that rises as a Shadow, that you can then attempt to Rebuke to control, too. You also are immune to fear, which is nice, but not particularly abusable in and of itself.



Level 7
Items are about the same, really.

You probably want to consider +UMD items, and boosting UMD about now. Buy a normal Heavy Pick if binding Acerak, as the Paralyzing Touch makes you able to coup-de-grace, and the X4 crit range is wicked.

Tank: 2 new options, which don't add much
Otiax becomes available, and if you don’t have a decent to hit, he’s the vestige for melee types. 20% concealment and Combat Reflexes is pretty tight, too. The other abilities are flavorful

Acerak is my second choice for melee. The Paralyzing Touch ability lasts 3 rounds at this level, which sets up Coup pretty well (heavy pick, equipped for the purpose): it basically kills when it works. Detect Undead, always activated, is nice, and the immunities are nice as well. Being Healed by negative energy helps you out a lot as well. Speak w/ the Undead is ok, but you’ll be surprised how little every single corpse you encounter will know, after you get this ability.

Arcanist or Scout:
Dantalion is another good vestige for a scout: Read Thoughts is a “No surprise round for us” kind of ability, if you keep it on all the time. The +8 bonus on knowledge checks is a big part of what a Wizard can do, too, and the minor teleportation is nice as well. It also gives you some great options for general interaction abilities (using Read Thoughts, mainly), but I still feel Naberius is more useful in that regard.

Vestiges to avoid... for now:
Geryon and Balam are bad vestiges to bind by themselves. Balam’s reroll is astounding, though, if you find yourself against impossible odds, or if you are pulling some shenanigans like stealing the crown jewels or some-such, and Geryon’s flight is very useful. Both gaze attacks are good in conjunction with either each other or any melee vestige, but Geryon's is better b/c it specifies opponents.

Feat Choices

Feat Selections


Binders can go in any possible direction for party role, which makes planning your career ahead of time difficult. WotC has ruled against Vestige-granted feats qualifying as prereq’s for other feats, recently (and mildly).


Required Feats
There are a few feats every Binder needs:

Improved Binding: While its true that you won’t get any use out of it after 16th level, a Binder starting any level below 12th this will find in invaluable.
Weapon Focus: All full Binders must take all 5 levels of the Knight of the Sacred Seal prestige class. It’s a mandate.

That’s it for required feats, leaving you 9 feats to pick (or 10 if you were human or strongheart Halfling).


Bonus Feats
You’ll get a few bonus feats, but these won’t define your main characteristics. For the two Binder bonus feats, I think the following are good choices:

Expel Vestige (if you start below L4)
Rapid Pact Making (only if the feat bypasses the need for the drawing)
Sudden Ability Focus (if Rapid Pact Making is nerfed)
Improved Binding (if you start after L4, make this a bonus feat)
Ignore Special Requirements (you can afford to take this later, as the main benefit is to bind opposing vestiges)


Other Feat Choices, and Binder Roles
The other feat choices are all dependent on what party role you want to spend the most time doing. The * means the feat isn't really the most important for that particular role.

Melee – Charging (Chupoclops based, add Ipos, Haures, Savnok)
Power Attack, Improved Bull Rush, Shocktrooper, Leap Attack, Improved Sunder*, Combat Brute*, 1 free
Pretty standard: you use Headless Charge to take off your full PA from your AC, using a spear and Chupoclops' bite for X3 and X2 PA damage and lots of Str damage. See the builds section for an example.

Melee – Mobile (Paimon based, add Chupoclops, Ipos, Ronove)
Improved Initiative, Dodge*, Mobility*, Martial Study*, Martial Stance*, Shadowblade*, Combat Expertise*, Deadly Defense*
Dance of Death will provoke lots of AoO's, but adding Dex to damage and getting and extra 2d6 when you win Initiative is all very synergistic. Since Tumble isn't on your skill list, Mobility is actually very useful here. Deadly Defense adds d6 damage to all light and finnessable weapons when fighting defensively or taking 2 off for Combat Expertise, which is useful, as finessable weapons don't do much damage in general.

Melee – Tank (Savnok or Aym based, add Dahlver-Nar, Halphax or Abysm, and Buer)
Dodge, Combat Expertise, Improved Buckler Defense, Shield Specialization*, Shield Ward*, Melee Evasion*, Combat Focus*, Combat Defense*
This is one more than you have unless you went with a bonus feat race. Its an AC combination, obviously, and the most important feat here is Improved Buckler Defense, if you had to pick just one, but Dodge and Combat Expertise both add a lot. The PHB2 feats really add to the sword and board style of combat.

Melee – Tactical Tripper (can have any melee vestige as the basis; Agares, Otiax, Paimon, Balam, etc)
Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, EWP: Spiked Chain, Combat Reflexes, Knockdown*, Hold the Line*, 1 free
The most basic Spiked Chain combination I could think of. Only the first 3 are absolutely necessary (Combat Reflexes through Otiax, for example, or even EWP through The Triad). Agares gives a nice 10' ability to knock people prone, that gets full use of Combat Reflexes, if you decide.

Arcanist – Tactical Nuke (Amon or Haures based, add Zagan, Chupoclops, Focolor)
Ability Focus, Sudden Ability Focus, Favored Vestige, Rapid Recovery, Sudden Empower Supernatural Ability, 2 free.
Nothing in the rules says you have to bind different vestiges, so you could bind 4 Amons and use a 20d6 Fire Breath every round this way. Still, talk to your DM. This combination is too focused on one vestige, imo, but if you do it you definitely want all the above feats. Gerdreg developed this combination for high (ridiculous) DC Phantasmal Killers (I believe 43 once per day was the final DC).

Arcanist – Constant Damage (Focalor and Karsus based, add Halphax and Zagan)
Ability Focus: Lightening, Sudden Ability Focus*, Favored Vestige: Karsus*, Rapid Recovery*, Sudden Empower Supernatural Ability*, 2 free
Ability Focus for something you do every round is nice, and Rapid Recovery on Karsus lets you debuff more often. Still too focused on too few vestiges, imo. Realize that you can only use the dispelling ability of Karus once per day per Binder level.

Scout – The Seeker (Malphus, add Andromalus, Karsus, and Tenebrous)
Improved Initiative, Quick Recoinoiter*, Martial Study*, Martial Stance*, Shadow Blade*, Telling Blow, 1 free
Improved Initiative works well on everyone. Quick Reconoiter is nice, assuming you didn't dump Wis too much, but even then you use the Bird's mods. I think these 2 feats are well worth the investment. Telling Blow gets more precision damage on a crit; make sure to get Keen weapons, somehow. Shadow Blade boosts damage, and Martial Stance: Assasin's Stance gets you and extra 2d6 Sneak Attack, which is nice.

Scout – The Sniper (Leraje early, later Malphus, add The Triad, Andromalus, and Marchosias)
Point Blank Shot*, Rapid Shot*, Precise Shot*, Improved Rapid Shot*, Many Shot*, Ranged Pin*, 1 free
Ranged Pin is just funny. Precise Shot is a redundant prereq. You can pick the right vestiges and just emulate a Sniper easily; not really worth the feat investment.

Trapfinding (Karsus based, add Ashardolon later)
Shape Soulmeld: Theft Gloves*, Open Least Chakra: Hands*, Able Learner
This is a tough, tough role to fill for Binders. They have low skll points per level, and need to invest heavily in Disable and Search cross-class. First level should be Scout, preferably, or anything w/ Trapfinding, and Able Learner as a feat, to ease the pain (renders the Incarnum feats unnecessary). My suggestion is to NOT do this: just bind Karsus, keep Karsus's Sence active, and use Karsus's Touch when you see a magic trap. Mechanical traps mainly just do damage, and poison, and disease, which you should be able to avoid.

My suggestion is to pick a handful of great feats from 2-3 roles that you want to do, and you won’t go wrong! For example, Power Attack, Improved Bull Rush, Shocktrooper, Leap Attack, Improved Initiative, Combat Expertise, Quick Reconoiter, Improved Initiative could do the Mobile, Seeker, and Charging roles, and would be ok as the Tank.

One other note: Fey Heritage, Fey Presence, and Fey Legacy. The save DCs on this scale so freakin' well on a save based Binder, that enchanters basically have to wait until L6 spells (with all feats going to their saves) before they can top it. Its three feats for five awesome 1/day abilities: Confusion, Charm Monster, Dimension Door, Summon Nature's Ally 5 (summon 1d3 Unicorns for healing, etc, the possibilities are pretty wild). I took them on my recent Binder, only starting with a 16 Cha, and at L12 the save DC is already up to a 23. I may retrain them later, but the Confusion and Charm Monster have been taking out at least 1 monster per encounter right away. They aren't considered powerhouses by any means, but they aren't worthless feats for some flavor.

Other Classes to Dip

Other Classes for a 1-4 level Dip



With Improved Binding, you won't get new access to any vestiges past 15th level. That said, you can maintain a +16 BAB by 20th just by going Binder 11 / KoSS 5 / any medium BAB 4 or medium 2 / full 2 and still get 3 vestiges and 3 Pact Augmentations and 2 bonus feats. Your main sacrifice is that you need 4 levels of Binder in epic to get access to 4 vestiges simultaneously, but that's not bad, plus it gives you something to shoot for, since there's no official epic Binder progression, yet. Here's some suggestions (more are welcome):

Totemist: You'll get more natural weapons, greatly enhancing any charging or melee build.

Paladin: Stacks w/ KoSS, but the main thing is the synergy with Cha to saves. See the Heterodoxy variant in ToM for the full implications of adding Paladin to your build.

Rogue: You'd want to start out as Rogue, if you did this, of course, and add Able Learner to your feat choices. Ashardolon + maxed Search gives you a search check of +33, without items.

Fighter: A few bonus feats ain't bad.

Warblade: A few maneuvers ain't bad, either.

Cleric: For the Tenebrous Apostate PrC, which is ok.

Scout: Same as the Rogue, plus it adds to charging builds nicely.

Warlock: Doesn't add much that you don't already have, really, but 4th level taking 10 on a UMD is really nice.

Hexblade: Cha synergy to the curse, and further debuffs when combined w/ Chupoclops and Focolor.

Dragon Shaman: The 4th level would allow you to qualify for the breath weapon feats, which you could apply to Amon's Fire Breath, and a few of the auras would stack nicely (Vigor aura + Buer, for example).

Marshall: Better earlier, but the Motivate Charisma aura can turn your diplomacy based Binder from a diplo-monster into a diplo-god with no feats required. I still think its cheesey, though.

Swordsage, Warblade, Crusader: All add some nice options to melee focused Binders. If you go with Swordsage, don't dump your Wis.

Warlock / Hellfire Warlock : You splash a single level of Binder with the Warlock / Hellfire Warlock builds. Naberius makes you regenerate ability damage really quickly, which is a side effect of the Hellfire Warlock. Its a gimick for boosting your Eldritch Blast damage.

Prestige Classes


The Anima Mage: This is the Pact Magic version of the Mystic Theurge, combining Soul Binding and Arcane Magic. Its special abilities allow a spellcaster to temporarily suppress or sever part of its connection to its vestiges to augment the casting of spells. Like other combination classes, you trade access to the most powerful abilities of either class for the versatility of advancement in both. As it is possible to enter this class with only one level of Binder (using the Improved Binding feat) and either 3 levels of a wizard progression class or 4 levels of sorcerer progression class, access to 9th level spells is possible by level 20.
Tip: The Vestige Metamagic ability can be used with any metamagic feat you possess and does not raise the spell’s level. This could eventually allow you to make a 9th level spell persistent, for example.

The Knight of the Scared Seal: With full BAB and a d10 HD, this class is designed for a more melee oriented Binder. It is a five level class that grants Proficiency with Heavy Armor, Martial Weapons, and Shields. These proficiencies will allow a binder to spend their bonus feats on skill enhancing feats. A level 20 Binder 15/ KotSS 5 will have a BAB of +16. In exchange for the above and some melee buffs, the KotSS will lose 2 pact augmentations, a bonus feat, and the Mind Blank Soul Guardian ability, when compared to a straight level 20 binder.
Tip: Depending on your patron, the Vestige’s Surge ability in conjunction with the Empower feat (can be taken twice), can boost a knight's damage by a decent amount.
KoSS Vestige Choice
This depends a large amount on what role you are emulating the most. You want to pick both a vestige that you won't be bothered binding regularly, and a vestige that has a powerful ability that is normally only usable once every 5 rounds. For a generalist, there's a few poor choices:
  • Any vestige without the powerful 1 use per 5 rounds abilities
  • Ronove, Naberius, Haagenti, Dahlver-Nar, Focalor, Geryon, Otiax, Shax, Vanus, and Marchosias: they all have 1/5 round abilities that are either underpowered or there would be little need to use them more than 1/5 rounds.
  • Any of the new psionic vestiges: limited power points per day makes these not really generally useful.

There are a few that are particularly good:
  • Chupoclops: Serves 3 of the 4 party roles - Scouting, Wizard, Melee. Have to wait until 11th for KoSS. My favorite to use with KoSS. Two rounds of Etherealness gets you anywhere you want.
  • Amon or Orthos: Breath weapon damage twice in a row rocks! Wait for Orthos for this
  • Paimon, Andras, Acerak: Dance of Death, Smite, and Paralyzing touch for the win. Also, no wait for KoSS!
  • Halphax or Ashardolon: Frequent Iron Walls and Fear spells make a funky battlefield control mage. Either's DR with Apotheosis means you have DR 10/everything. You have to wait until 16th for this.
  • Balam has a specialized usage: if you want to do the impossible, this is your choice. Two uses of the reroll immediately once per day is wicked.



The Scion of Dantalion: This class is also a five level class. It gives some cool upgrades to Dantalion’s granted abilities in exchange for the loss of one BAB and the level 16-20 binder special abilities (same as the KotSS above). As the KotSS allows you to pick your Patron Vestige, Binder 10/ KotSS 5/ SoD 5 is possible for a more combat oriented Scion (regaining a BAB of +15 at level 20). If you take Dantalion as your patron, your Vestige’s Surge ability will further augment your improved Dantalion granted powers.
Tip: The Improved Thought Travel ability in conjunction with the Spring Attack feat can allow a SoD to use Spring Attack in relative safety.

The Tenebrous Apostate: This is a very strange class. It does not require Divine Casting to enter, but advances Divine Casting and Soul Binding, four out five of levels. A level of cleric, druid, or even better Archivist, to have some spellcasting to advance, would be highly recommended.
Tip: The L4 ability is crazy good: incorporealness for BL rounds. Combine with Chupoclops, and you can freely hit your enemies while they have a 50% miss chance IF they have magic weapons. L4 also only loses 1 BAB, and with 1 level of Cleric, Druid, or Archivist gets you L3 divine spells. Crazier still is the fact that you could combine the Anima Mage free metamagics on those spells...

The Witch Slayer: This class does not progress Soul Binding and is in fact designed to kill Soul Binders and other creatures with possession-like abilities.
Buer all day long. Its ridiculously effective, and is a great strategy if you are also binding Karsus and/or Fogalar in the "backup arcanist" role.

Others: There are some possible flavorful and fun PrCs possible with a few simple house rules. If you let any class that advances spellcasting advance soulbinding instead, and let Su abilities count as specific spell prerequisites, some interesting and fun results could be generated! For example, a Malconvoker / Binder (Zecyryl focused), a Master of the Unseen Hand / Binder (Ronove based), etc.

That's all for now, I'll consider more later. I highly recomend two levels of Totemist, and 2 levels of something like Fighter or Warblade to finish it out, if you don't want 4 vestiges simultaneously.


Magic Items of Note

Equipment Every Binder Wants (in the rough order that you'd get it)

Chain Shirt, Morningstar, Longspear, Dagger, Standard Adventurer's Gear, some potions

Healing Belt (MIC), Vest of Resistance +X (CA), Chain Shirt +X

Morningstar +X, Mithril Buckler +X, Longspear +X, Rapier +X (if Paimon and Andras focused exclusively), Sudden Stunning enchantment for weapon (DMG 2)
  • The Longspear is probably the best weapon you can use as a Binder... Reach and the AoOs makes it very worthwhile. It doesn't mesh well if you are trying to make a natural attack-based combination (Ronove, Ipos, Chupoclops), but otherwise is one of the better weapons (I prefer Morningstar for Greater Mighty Wollop abuse, myself, though).
  • The Sudden Stunning enchantment is only 2k gp to your weapon, and has a Ref save or the opponent gets stunned d4+1 rounds, usable Cha mod per day, DC 10+1/2 level + Cha mod; this is crazy good on a Binder, even if it is a swift action to activate.


Implements of Binding +X (only for Expel Vestige use)

Cloak of Charisma +X, + strength items

Necklace of Health +X (for melee), Circlet of Persuasion (for social), Teeth of Dahlver-Nar

ToB "learn a maneuver" items (ToB)

Valorous weapons (for Chupoclops abuse)

Veil of Allure (Sandstorm), Soul Lens (ToM) (invaluable for boosting DCs on all Binders)

Vestige Philactery (invaluable before you get 3 vestiges at a time; ToM); remember that you can leave it unbound, then use it as a combination expel vestige / rapid pact making item later. I recommend retraining Expel Vestige when you can afford these.

Assasin's Dagger (exclusively for Marchosias usage); the item is so cheap that I think its worth the investment at high level

Tome of Leadership and Understanding +5 (not before you can afford +5)


Strategies vs. Specific Creatures
This was a write-up from the ultimate Gish thread (Trillith was the specific Binder's name). It hasn't been updated in a LONG time, and several of the specifics could be changed to more recent combos and/or vestiges. Mainly, it serves as examples of how much variety the Binder adds to the table.

Aberrations/Magical Beasts etc: The majority of monsters out there don’t have much immunity to what Trillith can do. Between Whirlwind Blasts and Air Blasts, he can dish out a high amount of damage each round, if he isn’t killing them instantly with methods like Haures’ Phantasmal Killer, Marchosias’ Death Attack, or even Halphax’s Imprisonment. Between Geryon, Chupoclops, and Shax, there’s no place Trillith can’t go, and an edge in mobility is always nice.

Constructs: Tough call. Golems and their kin aren’t immune to supernatural abilities, but none of the vestiges have a hate of constructs. Raw damage output is the ideal here, with the usual strategies (Whirlwind Breath, Air Blast, etc.).

Dragons: Dragons don’t usually like combat, and have immunities to the elemental attacks Trillith throws out. But they enjoy more verbose challenges. Naberius’ powers of suggestion can turn a scaled horror into a source of money. And if that fails, dragons always have horrible Touch ACs.

Elementals/Outsiders: Unfortunately, these guys combine the worst of dragons and constructs: Mass immunities and a lack of related vestige abilities. This means that you fight them the old-fashioned way: Sheer assault and blasting. Luckily, supernatural abilities bypass SR, and some vestiges grant energy resistance.

Undead: Thanks to Tenebrous, Trillith can turn undead as a 20th-level cleric. If that’s no help to him, Whirlwind Breath can come in and save the day. Not to mention that Buer’s Gift of Healing is an ability that uses positive-energy.
Traps: Paimon’s Uncanny Dodge can help Trillith dodge traps he’s set off. However, Haures’ Incorporeal Movement makes sure he never sets them off in the first place. EDIT: There's a few newer combos for Undead killers

Political Intrigue: Trillith has a thing for finding stuff out. Malphas’ birds can swoop in areas he can’t reach and listen in, and can make him invisible. Otiax will help him get into any room with Open Portal. Ipos also has a temporary True Seeing ability which will see through any nasty disguise. EDIT: Chupoclops > Otiax, The Triad + Naberius > the others.

Diplomatic Maneuvers: Naberius is a handy player here, able to make Suggestions to people and capable of taking 10 on Bluff and Diplomacy. His many ranks in the latter help out as well. Dantalion's mind reading abilities are also useful for assessing the situation.

A BBEG/ Mastermind/ Warlord: BBEGs tend to favor single combat when the heroes have gotten this far, and many tend to use brute tactics. Trillith is capable of stopping any enchantments on his foe with Karsus, and even then, he can smite from afar with his numerous supernatural abilities. Outside of combat, Trillith can get the villain's plot with a well-placed Suggesion (Naberius) or Mind Reading (Dantalion).

Mobs: Mobs drop like flies to Trillith. Whirlwind Breath affects every creature in its 60-ft. cone area, and that’s a lot of damage. If they don’t fall to that, Trillith can rush in with Paimon’s Whirlwind Attack to finish them off.
Overwhelming Odds: With over two dozens vestiges at his command, Trillith can do almost anything. Geryon, Shax, and Chupoclops can give him many forms of movement, letting him go places. He can get into places no one should, thanks to Maplhas and Marchosias. He can heal himself, and his saves aren’t all that bad. And of course, Orthos for the win with continuous Displacement and his superb Whirlwind Breath."

Vestige Combination Synergies




I've decided to add a descriptor in front of each combo depending on what level it can be achieved, so the bolded numbers are the numbers that the particular combo can be achieved at. An entry with more than one number indicates that the main combo can go off early, but fully blossoms at the later level(s). Since there's no 2 vestige combos before 8th, there's very few before that: for low-levels, please check out "Low-level Binder Advancement" in the 2nd post. Also, I've started adding descriptors for what each combo is, essentially, so you could search for battlefield control, for example, and get all those combos, etc. I've moved a few combos around: assasination is under miscellaneous; several combos looked like non-combat caster related.


Combat

Old Combos (from previous handbooks)

Movement
2 [Savnok]+Summon Creature/Elemental/Undead: You summon a monster in a hard to get place and then use Savnok's move ally ability to switch with the summoned monster. It's possible to accomplish this feat at 2nd level, making it possibly the lowest level teleportation combo ever. (You need one level of binder, improved binder feat, and a level in druid/cleric/sor/wiz.) You can switch places with Malphus's bird, past 8th.

Pouncers
10 Anima Mage + [Chupoclops] + [Ipos] + Shape Soulmeld [Girillon's Arms] + Open Chakra (arcane version) + Wraithstrike: Pounce, rend when all claw attacks hit for double damage and if 2 or more claws hit you deal an extra double damage. Polymorph you can metamorph into a cave troll to pick up a third rend attack and rake attacks. High level trick, as Ipos is a 6th level vestige. Wraithstrike ameliorates your low base attack. This is one of those OMG PWNZoRZ!!!1!! kinda things... parental guidance is suggested.

Skirmisher
10 Scout + [Paimon] + Dervish and Champion of CL: Between dervish dances, Paimon's death dance, +4 unnamed bonuses to dexterity, tumble and dance bonuses, and uncanny dodge this is just a solid choice all around.

Touch Attacks (Otiax based)
10, 15 [Otiax] + [Malphas] + [Andromelius]: Use air blasts to deliver your sneak/sudden-strikes with greater accuracy as they require only melee TOUCH attacks. You also have reach. The air blast is really only functional for those characters who can add non-strength based damage. Three levels of swashbuckler might add to this combo nicely. RAW, I think you can get Power Attack on, too: talk w/ your DM.

10, 15, 20 Neraph Charge (Planar Handbook) + Power Attack + [Otiax] + [Malphus] + [Chupoclops] + [Andromalius]: Charging activates Neraph Charge which renders opponents flat-footed at the end of a charge, deliver touch attacks with Sudden Strike, Sneak Attack, and Power Attack damage, and get a full attack thanks to Pounce. Malphus' Invisibility and Chupoclops' Ethereal Watcher ability set up pouncing the following rounds.


New Combos (not in the old Handbooks, but maybe are in the threads)

Skirmisher
3 [Paimon] + any horse mount: Again, Dance of Death just requires movement around the opponent, so for a great low-level option, just ride a horse around your opponent. You'll probably get +1 for attacking on higher ground, and the horse will have a higher movement rate.

8, 10, 15 [Paimon] + [Malphus] + [Haures] + [Geryon]: Use Bird's Eye Viewing to scout ahead of the party, and before you get into the encounter, go Invisible. You use Haures to move right through opponents, as they're flatfooted as you attack all of them, getting all the sudden strike in the world: even if they get AoO's, they have 50% miss chance (against AoO's only). Geryon allows you to use Swift Flight, getting an additional +2 to hit from being on higher ground (on top of +2 from weapon finesse and the dex bonus from Paimon), and adds 2d6 acid gaze damage to all those opponents. Obviously, the main combo is just Paimon + Malphus, but the others are nice.

Sniper
8, 10, 15, 20 [Triad] + [Paimon] + [Leraje] + [Haures]: Become a ranged weapon deity. Get a Greatboww/ Ricochet shot, Precise Shot, +4 Hide, +4 Dex, and Low-light Vision makes for a pretty neat Sniper. Any of the sneak attack/death attack/sudden strike vestiges make it that much better, too. Haures makes a Major Image, which you DONT need to concentrate on, that you can fire from behind.

Sunder
9 [Aym] + Combat Brute: Not so great for PC's, but awesome for NPC's. Its simple: use Sundering Cleave w/ Aym's double damage on a Sunder. So freaking effective, it makes me guilty to mention it.

10 [Triad] + [Aym] + Goliath Warhammer = some serious Sundering damage.

Disarm
10 [Triad] + [Andras] + Flindbar = free disarm when you roll a natural 17 or higher, which is nice.

Anti-lawful / chaotic
11 [Eurynome] + [Primus] after 11th: Deal an extra 2d6 damage to lawful enemies, and extra d6 against chaotic enemies.

Ability Buffs
15 [Andras] or [Paimon] + [Abysm]: Up to +8 to Str or Dex (4 unnamed, 4 enhancement), for BL rounds, usble a few times daily.

Anti-Undead
15, 20 Kas + Tenebrous + Acererak and/or Andras and/or Andromalius: The Undead Killer combo. You can crit undead (and have a chance to blind them when you do), can't be critted by undead, bypass all undead damage reduction, can turn undead, detect undead, hide from undead and can speak with dead ...and beyond that you're healed by negative energy, immune to cold & electricity and can toss some added cold damage on your melee attacks ...and more. Toss in Andras and you can Smite Evil and crit more often (you can crit undead with Kas, so why not crit them more often... and possibly blind them in the process). Toss in Andromalius and remind those undead what a sneak attack feels like (again: thanks to Kas).

Heavy Cavalry:fight!:
10, 15, 20 [Andras] + [Chupoclops] + [Eligor] + [Balam] + Shocktrooper + Imp. Buckler Defense: The ultimate in damage dealing potential. Pounce = full attack after charging; Lance = double damage after charging while mounted; Andras = free horsie, smite attack (which will be doubled on a charge w/ a lance), and Imp. Crit.; Eligor = +4 Str, natural armor, and a couple of great mounted feats, AND heavy armor prof; Balam = reroll 1 / 5 rounds, more AC, and 2d6 cold damage once per round; Shocktrooper = full 2 handed Power Attack damage to all the lance attacks, doubled, w/ no penalty to hit. Consider a BAB 16 character (KoSS 5 / Binder 15): 4 attacks per round, attack bonus of +20 w/o further Str or magic weapon mods, and 2d8 + 40 (smite) + 4 (str), + 64 (power attack, 2H, doubled due to lance) per smite hit (2d8 + 108 damage), -40 for the follow-up attacks, if the weapon has the valorous enchantment, thats 4d8 + 216 damage, (triple that on a crit), plus another 2d6 cold damage every round; AC could be a 45, w/o ring of deflection (+8 armor, +5 enhancement, +5 natural, +4 cover using the horse, +2 Dex, +1 shield, +5 enhancement, +5 insight), or 29 on a full-on Shocktrooper run. THAT'S what I think of when I think Fighter.

Pouncer (variant of above)
10, 15, 20 [Chupoclops] + [Ipos] + [Amon] + [Ronove] + Ignore Special Requirements + Shocktrooper + Leap Attack + (Binder 15 / KoSS 5): You use Jump to get a full doubling of your PA damage from Leap Attack and Shocktrooper w/o losing your BAB, as normal. The main advantage is that on top of 4 natural attacks (2 claws, 1 headbutt, 1 bite), you also get to add iterative attacks from unarmed strikes using a monk's damage. At 20th, this combo gives 8 attacks at +18 / +13 / +13 / +13 / +13 / +13 / +8 / +3, at 2d10 / d4 / d6 + d8 / d6 / d6 / 2d10 / 2d10 / 2d10, and all these attacks get an additional +32 damage each (plus Str, some at 1.5 some at 1). Plus rend, plus soulsense, pluse ethereal watcher, plus darkvision, plus a swift action mage hand (carry Cure Serious Potions w/ it, to save time). Wicked damage


Caster-Related Combos

Old Combos (from previous handbooks)

These are both splashes of binders w/ other classes; not true binders, necessarily.

Truespeach
8 EBL 8 + Improved Binding + [Balam] + any Truespeaking class: Re-roll a Truespeak skill check every 5 rounds (or every 4 if you include Favored Vestige and Rapid Recovery).

Metamagic Specialist
9 Anima Mage + Vestige Metamagic + Extend + Persistant + Improved Binder: You don't even need to try to abuse this one. Persistant magic available at 9th level, with minimal effort. Use the build: Binder 1/Wizard 3/Anima Mage 5 for a quick and fully legal entry. By 10th level you can persist draconic polymorph. YEAH BABY!

Direct Damage
8, 15, 20 [Geryon] + [Balam] + [Fogolar] + [Amon]: It's almost guaranteed damage, one way or another - you've got 2 X 2d6 area effect gaze attacks which need not be activated, lightning strike every round for 3d6 + [(BL - 5) / 3] X d6, and a fiery blast for BL X d6 every 5 rounds. Balam's Cunning is useful in any build and Fogalor's Sadness is neat too, particularly since you'll want to be in the center of the enemy when you bind the gaze attack vestiges. Switching out Cabiri w/ Geryon or Balam gives you a 3/day Fireball, and Divination as the spell every round, making for some nice caster-emulating ability, and the 1/2 Vile damage (although better on NPCs) combined with the Divination abilities lets you know if you are going to face an enemy Cleric anytime soon.

10 [Geryon] and/or [Balam's] + Shape Soulmeld (Necrocarnum Shroud): Necro Shroud gives +1 profane to hit and damage if anything gets damaged while adjacent to you for 1 round, and both gaze attacks give continuous damage. Great if you have essentia to increase the radius of the Necro Shroud. And guess what: the profane bonus to attack and damage applies to any attack, and you can focus your gaze (which does not deactivate the area effect damage RAW) to immediately get that bonus off without additional vestiges or attacks.


New Combos (not in the old Handbooks, but maybe are in the threads)

Item Creation
5+ [Astaroth] + [Karsus]: Now, you are capable of not only making almost every magic item in the game, but you also can use them as well. Karsus not only grants you +2 to the save DC's, but also allows you to use items as a Wizard of your level. Thus, if you make staffs when you get to 12th level, you start using your Binder level and your Int for the saves. Sure, you still have to pay for someone to cast the spell, but its so worth it for most items. Astaroth's +4 to all craft skills could be useful (make a Fabricate staff, then use Karsus to make poisons, etc).

Healing Battery
8, 15 [Ashardalon] + [Buer] + [Arete] + Expel Vestige or Vestige Phylactery: Ash gives an extra 2 temporary HP / level, which is a minimum of 30 when you get access. When you expel him, or force him out b/c of the phylactery, they go away, but rebinding will get you the extra HP again, reset to maximum. In the meantime, you have fast healing 3, DR 5/-, DR 10/cold iron, and other abilities relating to healing as well, making you a veritable troll. Combine w/ UMD and a wand of Shield Other and you just became a HP battery. (Arete is probably unessecary if you went KoSS 5 by this point.)

Knowledge / Divination-like
7, 10, 15, 20 [The Triad] + [Dantalion] + [Naberius] + [Desharis] + [Cabiri]: Bardic Knowledge equal to binder level, +8 on Knowledge checks (RAW, should stack, but talk to your DM), and +5 from Call to Mind, for a minimum of +23 on all Knowledge checks (you can't take 10 or 20, though). Use Naberius's Skills to get Knowledge:Local for any place in existence, and Knowledge:Nobility&Royalty, to learn everything about that location (even planar cities! :lop: Desharis gets you another +6 on Kn:Local, for a +29 modifier. "Yes, I know the answer, even though I know not the question, nor have I ever been there." Cabiri is a one-vestige Divination MACHINE: Divination, as the spell, every round. Borderline Broken.

Battlefield Control
10, 15, 20 [Desharis] + [Zagan] + [Haures] + [Halphax]: Another battlefield control combo: grapple a "softie", use aversion on a "meatie", make walls and summon buildings to block pathways, make a major image every once and a while, and animate a ton of small, adamantine objects, just to trip and attack creatures, never letting your initially grappled guy go (unless you decide to use imprisonment on him, and decide to grapple someone else). You also have DR 10 / adamantine, Mindblank, Incorporeal Movement, and the Infinite Doors ability for non-aversion defense, and a smite attack against most natural creatures, a limited Toungues ability, and Bardic Knowledge. This combo pwns in a big fight.

13, 15, 20 Zagan + Haures + Halphax + Ashardalon: First, lay down a field of illusory snakes all around your opponent, then use the Aversion power to make the opponent move as far away from the snakes as possible. Make giant circles of dead snakes around the opponent, and confine them to a 5' square! Add on Halphax and Ashardalon, and you are an awesome battlefield controller (use the Fear effect of Ash, the walls, Imprison, and Secure Shelter abilities of Halphax to block off whichever areas you want). You could also, instead of using Haures, just have the Wizard cast low-level summon monster spells for snakes (or, using Karsus, you use wands instead), or even just have snake corpses or zombie snakes (courtesy of Tenebrous's Rebuke undead). Don't forget you have Improved Grapple plus, to deal with any of the high-will squishy opponents.

15 [Halphax] + [Haures] + [Ashardalon]: A Binder's version of battlefield control. You have Fear as the spell every 5 rounds, Major Image every 5 rounds to screw w/ the opponents, a summonable Iron Wall, Imprisonment, and a summonable 20' square stone building to block holes in your defense. Tenebrous adds Deeper Darkness that you can make really, really big before even starting combat, and that doesn't affect you.

Maximizing Fear Effects / Battlefield Control :surrender
15, 20 [Ashardalon] + [Chupoclops] + [Fogalar] + [Eligor]. You start out charging w/ a full attack, and the following round use the Fear effect. They'll be at -4 to their save already, but even if they make they'll be at -6 to most of their stuff as long as they're around you. The other abilities from these vestiges are really good, as well, for combat and as a general debuff as well. Stacking Fear's Shaken effect on a successful save w/ a maxed out Intimidate is a good idea.

Tactical Nuke
1 [Amon] + Dragonborn (Heart aspect) + metabreath feats: Many DMs don't allow players to select feats based on temporarily gained prerequisites. Being a Dragonborn allows you to pick up a natural breath weapon and qualify for the metabreath feats. My picks would be Shape Breath, Clinging Breath, Quicken Breath, and Maximize Breath (Heighten Breath, while good, is overkill, imo). Entangling Exhalation is nice to use on your Dragonborn Breath Weapon. A single level of Dragonfire Adept can grant your party immunity to your breath weapon (and give ANOTHER breath weapon). Combining with Anima Mage can get you some very nice breath weapon requiring spells. Also, RAW, the metabreath feats say that you add rounds until your next breath weapon attack, but it doesn't say WHICH breath weapon (add the rounds to your weakest breath weapon ).


Miscellaneous Combos

Old Combos (from previous handbooks)

Diplomonster
1 [Naberius] + Exemplar + Marshal: You are able to preform diplomacy checks without penalty as as STANDARD ACTION and you can TAKE TEN!!! Diplomancers just got way more powerful. Add in other PrC dips as you desire, but as a full-binder you really only need to dip outside the binder class for two levels (one for exemplar and one for marshal). Only go for exemplar if your DM does not allow custom items to boost skills.

Assasination
8, 15 [Malphas] + [Andromelius] + [Marchosias]: Sneak attack + sudden strike both progressing off the same thing: your binder level. Never shalt thou see a more beautiful and simple combination. Many other binds also exist which add even more extra dice to your attacks. edit: Marchosias adds a TON of stealth ability, and death attack.

10, 15 [Marchosias] + [Chupoclops] + [Focalor]: Another rogue-like combination with at twist: death attack. Use Chupoclops's ethereal watcher to gain your three rounds of observance and then strike with Marchosias's death attack for nasty effect. You'll also have aura of despair and sadness active giving your target a -4 on the death effect save! I also recommend taking ability focus (death attack). edit: accorrding to CustServ, you still need a source of Sneak Attack.

10, 15, 20 [Focalor or Ipos] + [Chupoclops] + [Haures] + Ability Focus (Phantasmal Killer) + Favored Vestige (Haures) + Favored Vestige Focus (Haures) + Rapid Recovery (Haures) + Improved Binding: Use incorporeal movement + tumble to avoid any enemies in your way and then deliver the death attack to end all death attacks to your enemy. Due to aura of sadness and despair he takes a -4 to his saves and your DC is increased by 3 from feats. Throw on a decent charisma (say 30) and 20 BL and we're looking at a death attack with a save of 33 (don't forget that the enemy must make his saves at a -4 penalty). If Ipos is used the DC increases by 2, but you lose aura of sadness. The net effect is the same, but Ipos also gives you rending and claws.


New Combos (not in the old Handbooks, but maybe are in the threads)

Diplomonster, Part 2
10 [The Triad] + [Naberius] + maxed Diplomacy: Will make for an auto-check of 28 at 10th, plus your Cha. Thats a nice number to work from when you don't have to invest any levels or feats into it. You also get +5 Sense Motive, Empathy, and Detect Hostile Intent, making it a decent high level social/interaction Vestige. Add Naberius, and Naberius's Skills for Knowledge: Local, and you can become a kingpin, even during planar travel, buying and selling secrets for favors, money, or anything else you desire.

Trapfinding
15 [Ashardalon] + Able Learner + search as a class skill + Trapfinding (either through a Rogue level, Theft Gloves, or anything else): Become the Searching GOD. With a 1st level dip in Rogue, and the investment of 1 rank per level, when you get to bind Ashardalon, you'll have a +33 to search, w/ no magic items (which could boost it up to 70 or higher: +30 item, +2 MW item, +5 Magnifying Glass, +Int items). With magic items, you auto-find magical auras, too, hitting the Epic Search skill DC. edit: With such a ridiculous search modifier, you should consider adding the new Dungeonscape feat that allows an auto-search for many traps when you get w/in 5' of it.

Assasination
13, 15 [Andras] + [Marchosias] + [Malphus]: Sneak up on your enemies, staying hidden, then use the confound ability on them, whittling down their HP. After 3 rounds, go ahead and attack one of the "softies" using the death attack, then use Malphus's Invisibility to sneak away, setting it up again.

8, 15, 20 [Acerak] + [Malphus] + [Chupoclops] + [Focolor]: Sneak up on your enemies, invisible, then hit the opponent with Paralyzing Touch, while they have the -4 to their saves. They'll be paralyzed and helpless, allowing a Coup-de-Grace the following round. This combo is much more friendly to random combat than the Marchosias combos, as you need not wait 3 rounds to activate the ability, and have pounce, bite attacks, and lightening strikes that all can be used while waiting to "recharge".

Scouting
10 [Chupoclops] + [Malphus]: Basically, you activate invisibility, then scout around. One round before invisibility becomes deactivated, you activate Ethereal Watcher and do nothing. After 5 rounds, you go invisible again (and return to the Material). Voila, you are invisible as long as you want!

Tips and Tricks



Old Advice (from previous handbooks)

- Buer's small granted heal is useable an unlimited number of times per day. This means that a binder can heal the party back to full during dowtime without wasting any of the primary healer's valuable resources.

- If you suffer a large amount of ability damage or drain and cannot rest, you can use Expel Vestige and then bind Naberius to heal.

- Combined with the Negotiator bonus feat and a Binder's natural emphasis on Charisma, Naberius can make a character an formidable diplomat.

- Savnok's Move Ally ability can be used to bypass some terrain obstacles (which may be even harder to overcome in full plate) by trading places with a more mobile ally such as a summoned raven or earth elemental (as long as they are visible). This could also be used to break a grapple or other confine.

- Balam's Cunning can be used to re-roll a Truespeak skill check every 5 rounds (or every 4 if you include Favored Vestige and Rapid Recovery).

- Paimon's Death of Death ability can be used to trigger Skirmish damage.

- Balam's and Geryon's gaze attacks can be combined for 4d6 continuous damage every round, and leave you free to perform other actions.

- Amon's and Orthos's Breath Weapons can be used to qualify for Metabreath feats (Maximized Breath Weapon plus Empowered Supernatural Ability anyone?). This is debatable, RAW: see the first CustServ quote below.

- Naberius can be used to offset the ability damage caused by the Festering Anger (Book of Vile Darkness) disease.

- Naberius is also the main way the Hellfire Warlock overcomes the Con damage they take.

- A Deathshead can be created using the Create Undead spell and a Murder of Crows may be summoned using the Summon Swarm spell. Though this is not useful to a pure soul binder, an Anima Mage (or any other caster with those spells) can take advantage of this.


New Advice (not in the handbooks, but maybe in the threads)

- The Veil of Allure (Sandstorm) grants a +2 save DC to all charisma-based supernatural abilities.

- Ashardalon's Greed, along with a few ranks in Appraise and some magic items, could easily get you up to the Epic DC 50 needed to detect magic items.

- Ashardalon'g Fear effect actually lasts so long that by the time it no longer effects the enemy, you could've already used it two more times (15th level, the earliest you can bind him).

- The Triad gives +5 Diplomacy and +5 Sense Motive, as well as Bardic Knowledge, making it a great social / interaction vestige.

- If you can get some ranks in UMD, or if you are using the Heterodoxy variant and started as a Cleric, you should bind Buer and use a Wand of Shield Other when available. You get fast healing, and can heal yourself in the back of the party w/

- Otiax's Air Blast ability works as a melee touch attack even up to 10' away; there's nothing in the rules that says you can't use Power Attack with this (it's like the Wraithstrike + Power Attack combo). 2d6+BAB is pretty good damage, imo. Go into it fully equiped w/ a shield. Tenebrous can add 4d8 cold damage to the attack, and specifies you can use it for a full round (at least when it gets to 4d8). Combine w/ Leap Attack + Shocktrooper, Chupoclops for pounce, and Andras for imp. crit in a 16 BAB build and you get 2d6+4d8+32 damage per hit (4d6+4d8+64 on a crit), and can still be 10' away from them. Shax's Sea Strike can add another 2d6 damage to one hit. Not bad if you just got MDJ'd in the World's Largest Dungeon. Air Blast may or may not work w/ Power Attack: its a strict DM call (not even RAW or CustServ can answer the question, apprently).

- Arete some nice defense beyond having Buer bound: being able to heal oneself of 2d12 HP once per day (or more, w/ a crystal), having DR 5/-, and +4 to any save is really nice.

- Dahlver-Nar can be a great way to keep dead things dead at low level. Gaseous Form is a particularly nasty way to keep recurring villains in a fight, for repeated encounters. In fact, any creature with any kind of incorporealness or any kind of heavy DR should be targeted with the Shield Self ability. Don't forget that you can deny yourself your Dex bonus anytime you want, and that a Sneak Attacking Rogue will do a ton of damage to you, if you so desire.

- Knights of the Sacred Seal become Outsiders at 5th level as a Su ability. This goes away if you unbind your patron vestige. If you have Karsus bound, its time to start using a wand of Alter Self, as you get access to a ton of really useful abilities in outsider form (how would you like +18 natural armor, for example?).

- I was rereading Zagan's abilities, and I just got to say, wow. It is THE vestige to be facing high level humanoid parties. Grapple the wizard, then use Aversion against the melee types. Just hope they don't have an active Freedom of Movement going!

- How about charming a monster you don't like and making it your ally with your half-elf bard diplomancer cohort (or some other way..) and send the monster to the Ethereal plane forever? This could be accomplished with "Animal Friend: [Eurynome] All animals automatically friendly with you" so you can dispose of animal monsters chasing you down (that dinosaur causing you trouble? ). Just found this, but it seems like you can use this "Command or Suggestion: [Naberius] Command within 30 ft or suggestion (if BL >= 14) . 1/ 5 rnds." to make a enemy your friend, command him to get naked (don't want to lose his loot after all) and then teleport to the Ethereal plane and switch places with him.

- Speaking of Eurynome, the always friendly animals are a great way to increase your fighting power. If you party w/ a Druid or Ranger, convince them to have a high Handle Animal, and you can train every animal you encounter. How about a bunch of ally fleshrakers?

- Army building can start at 6th: Tenebrous's Rebuke ability can get you undead. 6th level is important, as you can control Shadows. Build your shadow army, just as all the necromancer-types. Combine with Leadership, and you easily can have tons of minions. How do you get a Shadow? Pay a spellcaster to cast Summon Monster 5, have it kill a squirrel, and wait d4 rounds (have the summoned Shadow command the created one not to attack). Then Rebuke.

- A big problem of being a Binder is not knowing what you are going to face the next day. Since knowing is half the battle, The Triad is winning it before it begins. Use Call to Mind plus Bardic Knowledge plus Dantalion to get huge bonuses on knowledge checks. Combining it with Naberius, and using the Con skills to get Knowledge: Local will turn you into a local kingpin immediately. Oh, and let you find out what is happening the next day, who's planning what, etc.

- Binders can do the trapfinding role, but it isn't easy. Karsus grants Detect Magic at will, which can reveal magical traps, and then can use the dispelling touch ability to try to dispel it. Mechanical traps are still a problem, though: Able Learner, a starting level of Rogue / Scout / Ninja, and planning on maxing Search and Disable will work, and late levels Ashardolon adds your Binder level to Search checks (alternatively, Shape Soulmeld and Open Chakra: Theft Gloves will get you trapfinding too, but it won't add the relevant skills). Just stick with Karsus, and take the mechanical trap damage like a champ.

- Haures's Major Image does NOT require concentration to maintain: the effect is as the spell, but it automatically lasts Binder level rounds. Make the Image of a house, or wall, in the middle of your battlefield, and control it as normal. Nothing like a Tarasque jumping out of the ground to really scare the bejeezus out of your enemies, but what also works is to have the opposing party start dropping like flies... they won't know what the heck is going on.

- Tenebrous's Deeper Darkness effect, unlike every other form of concealment, doesn't have the critical words: "you cannot hide in it". Thus, it allows you to get precision damage off much, much easier: its about the equivalent of Hide in Plain Sight.



Maximizing Save DCs


Straight from Gerdreg:
(Save DC = 10 + EBL/2 + Cha Bonus)

Generic
Cha bonus = +12 (18 base Cha + 5 level bonus + 6 enhancement bonus item + 5 inherent bonus tome)
EBL = +10 (level 20/2)
Soul Lens (+1), 12k gp
Veil of Allure (+2), 14k gp

Vestige/ Ability Specific
Ipos's Influence + Favored Vestige (+2 EBL/2)
Ability Focus (+2 to one ability)
Sudden Ability Focus (+2 once per day)
Favored Vestige Focus (+1 for one vestige's abilities)
Ipos's Influence (+1 when Ipos is bound)
Chupoclops's Aura of Despair (-2 to other's saves when Chupoclops is bound)
Focalor's Aura of Sadness (-2 to other's saves when Focalor is bound)
Assassin's Dagger (+1 with Death Attack)

Handy CustServ quotes


Vestige granted feats and abilities weren’t intended to qualify one for prestige classes or other feats:
http://boards1.wizards.com/showpost.php?p=11326619&postcount=181

The save DC for the psionic Vestiges is ½ BL + Cha:
http://boards1.wizards.com/showpost.php?p=11231204&postcount=162

Marchosias’s Death Attack requires Sneak Attack or Sudden Strike from some other source, and this was as intended:
http://boards1.wizards.com/showpost.php?p=11278319&postcount=172

Binders can't bind multiple copies of the same vestige,
Ipos's Planar Attunement clarified, and,
Binders can revert back and forth between the Outsider type and their original type (hello, Alter Shape abuse... bring on Karsus!):
http://boards1.wizards.com/showpost.php?p=11427332&postcount=16

It is ENTIRELY up to your DM on whether Power Attack can be used with Otiax's Air Blast ability:
http://boards1.wizards.com/showpost.php?p=10606961&postcount=133

Nobody knows how the Item Creation ability of Astaroth is supposed to work; talk w/ your DM:
http://boards1.wizards.com/showpost.php?p=11769670&postcount=65

Paimon's Dance of Death, although intended to work only on melee, works equally well w/ ranged RAW:
http://forums.gleemax.com/showpost.php?p=14399439&postcount=7999

Zceryll's Summon Alien ability was supposed to mimic the Summon Monster spell in all ways except for the ability to get multiple lower-level creatures (not a Cust-Serv answer, but from the designer himself):
http://forums.gleemax.com/showpost.php?p=13128772&postcount=121


Reports from the Trenches: Binder in Action

Real Game Experiences from a Binder Player


by jameswilliamogle



Here’s the rundown of how my Binder is working out in the Savage Tides adventure Path, modified for Eberron (I believe its normally LG). For those who don’t know, this is a heavily-aquatic themed series with a diverse array of opportunities and adventure (though there is also a strong central theme as well). I’m enjoying the campaign quite a bit. There probably will be some spoiling, but I will try to focus on the mechanical aspects of how things are working out. So far, I’m following my own advice above, Low-Level Binder Advancement, pretty closely.

The DM was encouraging non-standard classes, and hasn’t really restricted anything yet. The other players are: a Beguiler, a Spellthief, a Psion, a Cleric/Psion (more Psion, now), a Warforged Fighter, and an Elven Blaster Wizard (taking UA options, he’s focusing on fire). The DM has given “Rule 0” power to the players as well as keeping it himself: if a clear majority think a feat, spell, power, etc. is too strong, then its restricted (Shock Trooper and Leap Attack have both been restricted already, for example).

I went with Human. I rolled ridiculously high for stats (4d6, drop the lowest):
Str 15, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 14, Wis 8, Cha 17
Since we started at 1st, I took Improved Binding and Expel Vestige (I wasn’t sure if Expel Vestige was really necessary, but I’m very glad I took it). The DM allowed swapping of 2 class skills: I swapped Gather Info and Kn: Planes for Hide and Move Silently (UMD would've been better, but oh well). For my bonus languages, I took Giant (for Haagenti) and Aquan (since I knew it was an aquatic themed campaign).

1st level: I started bound to Naberius, but quickly switched to Malphus as we were sent on a search-and-rescue type mission. Malphus’s Bird’s-Eye-Viewing, coupled with a sunstick that the bird carried, ensured that the party wasn’t surprised at all. Sudden Strike only came into play when I attacked a grappling enemy (mostly undead). With Studded Leather and a Heavy Shield, I had an 18 AC, which was enough to keep most attacks off of me. I downed quite a few enemies w/ my Morningstar, which was quite rewarding. I tried to expel Malphus, but failed. After resting, I felt that we could use some more melee-oriented characters, and I bound Aym. Unbeknownst to us, we cleared all the enemies away already, and Aym actually was a bad choice: I made a bad pact, and since we had a ton of coinage, and also had to swim to get it ashore, I chose to role-play it out, and refused to leave any coins behind. We got a bunch of coinage, a few wands, and an Earth Elemental Gem that saved are butts.

2nd level: In between sessions, I used Naberius a lot, and disguised myself as a local nobleman. I bought a bunch of stuff on credit, and then dumped it on a fence, making some money that way. Once the session started, I bound Dahlver-Nar, and bought a MW Buckler, but didn’t have enough cash for a MW Chain Shirt (almost all our loot is tied up in magic items, which really sucks, as the Wizard is holding it all, and we’re overdue for some upgrades). I was putting Pact Augmentation to HP. Binding DN, I found, makes your first 1-2 rounds of combat almost completely defensive: you have Shield Self on one of your allies (preferably the Cleric), then target an enemy as you stand near the front, and hope they don’t kill you. Although this reduces your damage output, it really, really helps your HP totals (DR / 50% is awesome). The damage the enemy takes isn’t anything that you really can rely on: its almost strictly a defensive vestige. At AC 19, DN allowed a lot of tanking. I went below 0 once, and only for a few rounds (remember: Shield Self only goes away when the target dies, so I still had it active on the unconscious BBEG’s, which saved me from certain death). After working over some more bad guys, we fought a poorly defended humanoid. It almost assuredly is a recurring villain, as it drank a Gaseous Form potion after HP’s ran really low. Only the unconscious WF Fighter actually had magical weapons (from feats), and it was getting away. It took me a round to realize it, but then I targeted her with Shield Self, and following it, had the Spellthief and the Cleric follow me, backstabbing and healing me as we whittled down her HP until it stopped moving. This was a LOT of fun, and we got some fat loot from defeating it at this time (a 5 charge wand of animate dead, for example, and a +1 Rapier that came in VERY handy). The next day in the city, we had several random encounters, including some raptors (eating people). I (stupidly) forgot how strong Raptors were, and charged one that I could flank. Full attacks suck… Anyways, I was still conscious, but very hurt (<5 HP). I used the Maddening Moan ability of DN to make all the enemies Dazed (dinosaurs are known for lots of things: Will save isn’t one of them); all 3 Dinos that were on me failed the Will save, as well as the Spellthief and Fighter, who happened to be in range, and I moved 30’ without taking any AoO’s (the MM ability seems to be strictly for getting out of melee when things go bad). The cleric healed me a bit w/ a happy stick, and I targeted a Dino attacking our flank w/ Shield Self, and went in after the Spellthief engaged it. The Wizard busted open the Earth Elemental, and that finished combat rapidly. He also animated the raptors w/ the wand, right afterwards (much to the annoyance of the DM :D).

3rd level: I took Improved Initiative, still not knowing where to focus my Binder (as I have to leave the campaign in May, I’m not sure how many levels I’ll reach, and trying to take immediate benefit feats instead). I also started binding Paimon, and put Pact Augmentation into Initiative, for a +11 Initiative modifier. That +1 Magic Rapier put my attack bonus at +8, and damage at a paultry d6+3. AC became a 20, thanks to MW Chain Shirt and Dex bump from Paimon. Combat against mobs was very smooth for the most part: winning initiative means you get to Dance of Death round 1 before the enemy attacks, almost every time, and +8 to hit gives you some pretty good odds (better than the straight fighter, in this campaign). After that, they tend to surround you, but your good AC keeps things from hitting you most of the time, and giving you a great opportunity to use Whirlwind Attack on the following round. Against tough opponents, I found that using Dance of Death like Spring Attack (using the tumbling bonus from Paimon) kept me from taking too much damage, and the skeleton raptors were wicked-good at this level. I got taken down by a Raptor-thing, and actually hit -9 HP before my party killed him. We had almost spent our Happy Stick, and was only at 13 HP, so I used Expel Vestige (successfully) and then bound Focolor, suppressing the Aura of Sadness, and putting Pact Aug into HP. We had a few more encounters, but they were pretty easy: I stayed behind whoever was tanking, and zapped the badguys like a bug. Net result: Paimon is great for mobs of weaklings, but don’t expect to have a huge impact against the tougher BBEG’s, but you can make a difference in every combat with Focolor. Along the way, I took some ability damage, so bound Naberius while we returned home. We got a fight starting next session, and haven't had a chance to level yet (since we haven't rested).

The next session we encountered a couple of thugs, that tried to pick a fight. We beat them easily, and I used Naberius (taking 10 on diplomacy) to convince the city guards that it was their fault with a 22 check ("These aren't the droids you're looking for"). We then encountered 6 low-level Rogues and a BBEG leading them in the city; they surprised us getting sneak attack on the warforged with alchemist fire, dropping him immediately. Then the BBEG went around the side of a building out of sight, and the Beguiler cast Obscurring Mist, to prevent more SA. I went around the opposite side of the building (had only 17 HP at this point, about 70%), and used Disguise Self as a standard action to make myself look like the BBEG (they were familiar w/ her, granting them +6 to spot it, but I had a +13 mod: +10 for Disguise Self, +3 Cha, +2 Bluff, -2 different sex); I then went around and told them that the person they were with was a Changeling, and they needed to attack it now (they believed me, but instead of attacking the other one, just were confused). This gave the Wizard enough time to repair the Warforged, and the Beguiler managed to charm the BBEG, and the others got into position. We then wiped out the group, but not until the Wizard got into negative HP territory.

We then got immediately into ANOTHER battle, but started in it by trying to use Diplomacy. By this time, I was at 1 HP, so I disguised myself as a peasant. The tank, beguiler, and spellthief went up a few floors into a building, trying to talk someone into letting someone else go [trying not to spoil the adventure]. When we went into initiative, I went around the building, disguising myself as one of the minor bad guys. I then went into the building, without anyone taking AoO's against me, until I got to the top floor where half the party was (the other half fighting on the first floor). I bluffed and said the badguys needed to go downstairs to rescue one of the evil-coworkers (on the second floor, the Wizard had commanded two raptor skeletons to guard the stairs, after I had gone up). Half of them went down (all the minor bad guys) got flayed alive. The tougher badguys dropped a Tank, Cleric, Beguiler, and Gnome w/in a round (I drank a CLW potion then). I walked down the stairs, disguised myself as the same badguy that I had pretended was downstairs, and walked into the room where the evil do-ers were tieing up my party. I told them that I had escaped, and needed help defeating the rest of the ones downstairs, again taking 10 and getting a 20 bluff check. They went downstairs, as I said "I need to heal myself", drank another potion of CLW, then went into the room. I poured the last CLW on the beguiler, as the evil do-ers were working on the raptors. The beguiler in turn repaired the warforged. I jumped out of the window with the Gnome Spellthief, and landed prone, but only took 8 damage or so. The party downstairs were all < 0 HP. The party upstairs was running low. Anyways, it was a VERY harrowing fight, but I was dropped at that point w/ non-lethal damage. We won, but one of the bad guys was convinced to leave (Charm Person from the Beguiler, natural 1 on the save), and every party member, all the undead we had made, all of the consumable healing resources all got used up, only the Beguiler surviving at 4 HP.

If I hadn't had Naberius bound, we all would've died (or at least been captured), but the extra time that I was able to grant the party really, really helped out a lot. The DM may have even been nerfing the NPC reactions, but just slowing them down was good enough for me. Having Naberius bound you don't even need to try to optimize for a diplomonster build, and still be ridiculously good at it; what's really, really nice is the take 10 on the bluff check (in this campaign, you can even action point it after taking 10, for some ridiculous numbers, since its Eberron).

Level 4: We decided that retraining for non-power plays would be ok, so I retrained my Improved Binding feat to be in the 4th level bonus feat, and retrained the 1st level feat as Combat Expertise (planning on taking Deadly Defense at 6th). I put the stat bump into Cha, for a 16 DC save vs. my vestige abilities that allow saves. This is (more or less) where we ended on Sunday. More to follow as the campaign continues. Not much outside of standard skill checks occured through the rest of this level... I used Naberius a lot. Don't really remember much else (and the bit I did remember would spoil some of the adventure, too).

Level 5: I started by binding Andras, but as we were going to do some more dungeon crawling, quickly switched back to Paimon. Using Deadly Defense and fighting defensively, I had a +7 to hit w/ a +1 Rapier. Using Dance of Death I managed to crit against 3 opponents... I ended up doing 79 damage in one round, getting initiative, and walked back to behind the (other) main tank (my AC was a 23 throughout this whole delve). I nicknamed this "turning on the blender", and there were many jokes about my recharge meter filling up between uses, me charging up like dragonball, etc. Afterwards, I found out I was diseased, and I managed to expel vestige and bind Buer... ending that.

Levels 6 and 7: Just sucked; the Binder starts to fall behind straight casters and melee types at this point. The Medium BAB really hurt the whole concept of a finesse fighter. Our melee characters started failing Will saves, which really strained the Binder. It became obvious that it wasn't strong enough in melee to continue melee'ing. I was binding lots of different types of vestiges, too, most of which were mediocre. Eurynome sucks, as does Agares (as I thought it would). Buer proved ridiculously useful, but it still isn't a prime choice. Paimon and Andras were still the strongest choices at this level. 7th level, having no new access at all, really felt dead: I almost delayed leveling to get more XP from the remaining encounters.

Level 8: Looking forward to combining Otiax's Air Blast w/ Combat Expertise and Sneak Attack :D.

Theory matches Play: The Binder can melee with the best of them, but then has tons of other options to fall back on. I would NOT recomend this class for an inexperienced player, as the options can be a bit overwhelming, even with only one vestige to bind at a time.

Builds, Concepts, et al



Melee - Charging focused Binder Build
by jameswilliamogle
Human, Str 16 (+2 levels), Dex 14, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 14 (+3 levels, at least a +1 book) (32 PB)
Binder 12 (1-7, 13-17) / Knight of the Sacred Seal 5 (8-12) / Scion of Dantalion 3 (18-20)

Class features and Feats
1 Soul Binding; Feats: Improved Binding, Feat: Power Attack (useful considering the final stats)
2 Pact Augmentation +1 (to hit bonus), Suppress Sign
3 Feat: WF: Spear (prereq)
4 Bonus Feat: Expel Vestige (standard for most Binders)
5 Pact Augmentation +2 (to hit bonus still)
6 Immunity to Fear; Feat: Improved Bull Rush (prereq)
7 no new abilities
8 Aligned Strike, Patron Vestige (Dahlver-Nar), Bind 2 Vestiges
9 Vestige Protection; Feat: Shock Trooper (THE charging feat)
10 Protection Aura
11 Vestige Power
12 Apotheosis, DR 10/magic; Feat: Leap Attack (more charging goodness)
13 no new abilities
14 Slippery Mind, Bind 3 Vestiges
15 Pact Augmentation +3 (still +to hit); Feat: Improved Sunder (prereq)
16 Bonus Feat: Sudden Ability Focus (to amplify shield self, mainly)
17 no new abilities
18 Reroll a Knowledge check 1/day/SoD level; Feat: Combat Brute (more charging goodness)
19 3rd round of Read Thoughts first round, Dantalion's Awe as Swift action
20 Daze a Read Thoughts target (DC 24 w/o items, d4 rounds), Bind 4 Vestiges

BAB 16; F 17, R 8, W 11 (post mods, no items)
HP: 145 (we use the 1/2+1 method)
AC: 28 (assumes Savnok + Andras, no shield) and DR 10/magic and DR 5/magic&piercing
Final attack routine w/ the Melee Vestiges (Chupoclops, Andras) (pre-item, w/o the +2 Str for 1 round): +26 / +21 / +17 / +12 w/ a Spear, & pounce & Shock Trooper & Leap Attack... damn that's hot (+52 damage per hit w/ a Spear).

2 levels of Totemist, and the Defensive Strike feat (CS) would be one way to update this build. I believe the character could get, using all sources, around 5-6 natural attacks per round, and all of them would do an extra d6 if fighting defensively, plus the 4 normal attacks.



Paimon based Swordsage Multiclass
by LucRivNor
Ape 2/Binder 2/ Sword sage 2/Binder +1(3)/ Knight of the sacred seal 5/...

Key feat :
Improved Binding at level 3
Shadow Hand at level 6

Note Weapon focus is get at Sword Sage 1 and Weapon finesse via Paimon Binding. The rest of the feats and levels are open. Ape gets good saves and +2 BAB.



Possesion Obsession
by Gerdreg

Knight of the Sacred Seal 5 + Shape Soulmeld: Planar Chausible = Will Save +5 + Outsider Type + Evil Subtype = Fiend of Possession. You STILL need an alignment subtype to make this work...

An example build (I'll call it the "Master of Souls") would be...
Binder 6/ KotSS 5/ Fiend of Possession 6/ Binder 7-9

EBL 14 (16 with feat) will allow access to 7th level Vestiges
BAB +14
All the FoP goodies (Ethereal at will, Possession, ect.)
Cha Synergy (all the FoP abilities are Cha based Supernatural Abilities)

Skills: Hide 6 (Cross-class), Knowledge: Arcana 6
Feats: Improved Binding, Weapon Focus, Shape Soulmeld (Planar Chausible), Expel Vestige, Rapid Pact Making, Ability Focus (Possession), Split Chakra, Ignore Special Requirements, Sudden Ability Focus

How to maximize your Possess Creature save DC...

Base Possession save DC = 10 + FoP level + Cha Bonus = 28


Veil of Allure (+2) [14k gp Sandstorm]
Ability Focus: Possession (+2)
Sudden Ability Focus (+2)
Chupoclops's Aura of Despair (-2 to other's saves when Chupoclops is bound)
Focalor's Aura of Sadness (-2 to other's saves when Focalor is bound)

For a total effective Possess Creature save DC of 36 (38 once per day)


Battlefield Controller, Melee Focus (Core + ToM, only)
by jameswilliamogle

This was a recent request from a guy that only had Core + ToM access. I think this is a neat concept...

Binder 15 / KoSS (Chupoclops) 5

1,b Improved Initiative, Combat Expertise
3 Improved Disarm
4 Ignore Special Requirement
6 Improved Trip
9 Weapon Focus: Unarmed Strike
12 TWF
15 iTWF
18 gTWF

The idea here is that you use Ronove, unarmed, and disarm opponents (which puts the opponent's weapon in your hands to wield with the Two-Weapon fighting the same round, which is hilarious), or trip them if they aren't armed. TWF and iTWF are to use w/ your unarmed strikes (which I believe works, from the FAQ, but even if it doesn't, just arm yourself, make normal attacks from your unarmed strike, then off-hand attacks w/ your weapons). You can bind Chupoclops for pounce, bite, and ethereal watcher, Zagan for >improved grapple and aversion (never, ever, underestimate the aversion power of Zagan: its wicked powerful). You can become a good battlefield controller by targeting the meat w/ aversion, then grappling the softies: deadly.

edit: Deadly Defense (CS) is a GREAT addition to this build, as it'll add +d6 damage with ALL natural attacks when using Combat Expertise for 2, which you can do while grappling. Earth's Embrace adds a lot, too.


Here's an entry from the complete gish thread.
1 Binder 1 Improved Binding, Supernatural Crusader
2 Binder 2
3 Binder 3 Weapon Focus (Heavy mace)
4 Binder 4 Extend Supernatural Ability (B)
5 Binder 5
6 Binder 6 Defense Against the Supernatural
7 Binder 7
8 Binder 8
9 Binder 9 Skilled Pact Making
10 Binder 10
11 Binder 11 Sudden Ability Focus
12 Binder 12 Improved Critical (Melee Touch Attack)
13 Binder 13
14 Binder 14
15 Binder 15 Supernatural Opportunist
16 Binder 15/ KtoSS 1
17 Binder 15/ KtoSS 2
18 Binder 15/ KtoSS 3 Sudden Ability Focus
19 Binder 15/ KtoSS 4
20 Binder 15/ KtoSS 5

Orthos, Otiax, Tenebrous, Shax: crazy damage touch attacks is the main schtick, here.


The Boltthrower (From Yogo)

Strongheart Halfling Warblade 1/Binder 3/Scout 16

4W6 Skirmish / +4(6)AC
BaB 15
40 ft. Movement
Stats(32 Point Buy):

Str: 15
Dex: 16 +4 Level +5 Tome + 5 Wishes + 4 Paimon + 2 Race + 6 Item = 42
Con: 15 +1 Level
Int: 8
Wis: 10
Cha: 12

Attack Bonus:
15(BaB) + 16(Dex) +1(Small) +1(WF) +5(GMW) = 38

Damage: 1w3+13 with GMW

Feats:
Bonus: Improved Binding
Scout5: Point Blank Shot
Scout8: Precise Shot
Scout12: Ranged Disarm
Scout16: Penetrating Shot
1:EWP (Hand Crossbow)
3:WF(Hand Crossbow)
6:Rapid Reload (Not needed if you have Quick Loading Hand Crossbows) - Good Choice would be Improved Skirmish
9:Crossbow Sniper
12:Two Weapon Fighting
15:Improved Two Weapon Fighting
18:Greater Two Weapon Fighting

Weapons of Choice:
2 +1 Quick Loading Splitting Hand Crossbows

Initiator Level 10 (Level 5 Maneuvers)

Vestige Bound: Paimon
Key Maneuvers:
Press the Advantage (Stance - 10ft Step instead of 5ft step.)
Absolute Steel Stance (Stance - +10ft Movement, +2 Skirmish AC)
Fill your Maneuvers with nice Boots and Counters.

This Build aims for (at least) 6 ranged Skirmishes each round (without magic), since via Press the Advantage you can move 10ft per round and still make a Full attack.
Paimon gives nice Bonuses for this build, +4 Dex is always good,uncanny dodge too and Dance of Death (by RAW nothing prevents you from using it with ranged weapons) lets you shoot every enemy we run past every 5 rounds.
Per Crossbos Sniper we add half of our Dex-Bonus to Damage and can Skirmish for 4d6 up to 60 ft range.
We also ignore difficult Terrain, so the 10ft. step is almost guaranteed.

Show
Basically, we have in the end several options of dealing damage:

1. Dance of Death + Absolute Steel Stance
Running past Enemys using our good movement, we can skirmish everyone we run past. Very good vs. many Targets that are not too far away.
2. Press the Advantage + Full Attack
6 Attacks without Speed/Haste/Splitting, all + 4d6 skirmish. Nice vs. few Enemies
3. Penetrating Shot
I don't exaclty know if you can do that twice a round with two hand crossbows.
Nevertheless, in circumstances where a lot of enemies stand in 1(2) line(es), use it.
4.Ranged Disarm
Use with any tactic above if needed.

If pressed into melee, grab two Short Swords, with GTWF and Weapon Finesse(Paimon) you will still hit something.

+a lot of skill points and scouting potential (Small, Skills)




Two builds which exloit the heck out of Bloodlines by Phoenix00
Race: Illuminan
Books open any

Class Breakdown:
Cloistered Cleric 1/
Bloodline 3/
Binder 1/
Chameleon 10/
Knight of Sacred Seal 1/
Scion of Dantalion 1/
Reflavoed Tenebrous Apostate 1 which now simulate Andromalius as per the Tenebrous Apostate adaption
Knight of Sacred Seal 2 (for a total of 3)

Domains are Trickery and Planning

Feats
1 Able Learner
1 (flaw) Two Weapon Fighting
1 (flaw) Persist Spell
3 Weapon Focus Daggers or Something
6
9
12
15 Improved Two Weapon Fighting
18
Planning Domain gives you Extend Spell
With Heroics get the other Two Weapon Fighting Feats
Don’t forget the floating feat from Chameleon.
Naenhoon thingy to get the ability to persist draconic polymorph and polymorph into a Kelvezu. Also persist Wraithstrike, Improved Blink is also nice.
On divine the only necessary ones are Hunter’s Eye and Divine Power for Full BAB

Bloodlines stack with the Chameleon Caster level giving a bonus of six caster levels.
Bloodlines stack with Binder Levels and anything with Soulbinding thus dramatically increasing your Effective Binding Level, which determines your eligable vestiges, the amount of vestiges you can bind, and the powers of your vestiges.
----
In the end you have full chameleon with a caster level of 26 (30 with beads of karma), can persist arcane and divine spells And
an effective binder level of 17. Thus 3 vestiges up to 8th level.

Sneak Attack
10d6 from Hunter's Eye
8d6 from Draconic Polymorph into a Kelvezu (using Zceryl pseudonatural bind to become an outsider while bound and then persistent draconic polymorph)
4d6 from Andromalius
If I remember there are two +1 weapon enchantments that both give you +1d6 sneak attack damage and stack (source? one was a web enhancement).


At lvl 12
Binds as a 17th lvl Binder (1+3)+(6+3)+(1+3)=17 EBL
Spells Known as a 10th lvl Sorcerer. 1 Base+2 LoreDrake+1 Draconic Rite of Passage+6 Anima Mage=10
Caster Level of 16. 1+3 Base+2 LoreDrake+1 Draconic Rite of Passage+6+3 Anima Mage=16 Caster Level

My Knight of the Sacred Seal vestige be Zceryll

Feats
1 Dragonwrought Kobold
1 Precocious Apprentice
1 Extend Spell
3 Dragon Reservoir Feat
6 Persist Spell
9 Weapon Focus Touch Attack
12 Favored Vestige Zceryll (retrain this as Ability Focus Zceryll’s Bolt of Madness after level 12)
15 Open
18 Open

4 vestiges in order of binding preference


* Zceryll for outsider, daze for 3 rounds, as well as an ability to summon monsters from the summon monster I-IX list.
* Ashardalon. Change the fear spell to the ability to breath a cone of fire with damage equal to your effective binder level*d6 and range of effective binder level*5 feet.
* Orthos for the breath weapon and his ability to simulate something similar to greater blink
* Primus from Dragon 341 for the command ability, also for damage reduction. Save or lose with no mind affecting or language component.
Spells

Spells
From a flavor perspective, all spells such have one of these themes

* Eventually extend life related/immortality related (such as magic jar may eventually allow me to steal bodies)
* Dragon Related
* Defensive Related/Good buff in general (mage armor, remember I only have 9 hd, etc)
* Ray spells


1st

* Mage Armor, spell research this, every 3 additional sps increase the armor bonus by 1.
* Magic Missile, spell research this, every 2 additional sps increase the number of missiles by 1 with no cap
* Grease, Research each 2 sp invested increases the save by 1, Flavor wise I spit the grease on the floor like a breath weapon
* Ray of Clumsiness
* Nerveskitter

2nd

* Wings of Cover
* Alter Self (picking an outsider form to look like a human, such as an angel, wings are tentacle like things due to Zceryll, similar to Tyrael from Diablo 2 Hide his tentacles underneath a cloak)
* Heart of Air
* Ray of Stupidity
* Available at lvl 13 Create Magical Tattoo

3rd

* Frost Breath, Spell research this no damage cap
* Heart of Water
* Ray of Exhaustion
* Open, Available at lvl 13

4th

* Dominate Person, Research to turn this into psionic Dominate except minimum cost is 8 instead of 7
* Greater Mirror Image, Persist this
* Globe of Invulnerability, since this doesn’t folly me around I won’t persist this, Research every additional 3 sp invested increases the spells levels affected by 1. Available at lvl 13
* Open, Available at lvl 15

5th

* Magic Jar, use this to assume the form of a more powerful dragon I had dominated for a polymorph like effect
* Open, Available at lvl 13
* Open, Available at lvl 15

6th

* Open, Available at lvl 14
* Open, Available at lvl 15

7th

* Open, Available at lvl 16


The spells I am persisting with Anima Mage

* Greater Mirror Image at 10, DM will allow me to suppress the images but I can unsupress them as a free action but it doesn’t affect people until their next turn.
* Open second spell I want to persist at lvl 13
* Open third spell I want to persist at lvl 15



Iconic Early-entry Anima Mage by many different folks
Human Sorcerer 2 / Binder 1 / Anima Mage 10 / any full casting PrC 7
1 Extend Spell, Precocious Apprentice
3 Improved Binding
6 Persistant Spell
9, 12, 15, 18 more or less free

You get CL 19, spells known as a 19th level sorcerer, can bind up to L6 vestiges, and can persist up to 3 spells per day.


An Apostate of the Green Lady / Anima Mage of potential interest
Dread Necromancer 2 / Binder 1 / Anima Mage 10 / Apostate of the Green Lady 1 / Shadowcraft Mage 6
feats as above, plus the prereqs

Basically, you get the ability to use the Apostate ability to heal your undead within 30' of 12d6 damage every 5 rounds. Also, has wicked saves, and casts as a L19 Dread Necro. Apostate isn't officially WotC, but its pretty damn close.


I definately like the move to an open account and hope this thread will help "advance and diffuse" the awesomeness that is Binders. Also nice to have it all in one place.


I definately like the move to an open account and hope this thread will help "advance and diffuse" the awesomeness that is Binders. Also nice to have it all in one place.

Thanks!

I love the Binder, so much so that I'm playing 2 in two different campaigns, and almost picked up one as a cohort in a 3rd (I decided to try out the Dragonfire Adept instead).

This has definitely been one of the hardest classes for me to comprehend all the tricks and optimization strategies for (Incarnum classes took a bit out of me too), but after I got it, it really opened my eyes to the possibilities. I also think this is why many DMs aren't perfectly comfortable with it yet (similar to why Psionics isn't widespread, too).
Looking for Binder builds and general equipment not listed above! Links, builds, etc. post 'er up!
Had to put this up: I'm playing a Binder in the Savage Tides adventure path, modified to be in an Eberron setting. We're all L2, currently. There's an early BBEG Rogue, with a pet Fell Drake, that uses Gaseous Form if you drop her HP too low (I'm guessing a recurring villain, of some sort).

Well, we got to her, and I had Dahlver-Nar bound, using the advice I proposed in the guide above. Sure enough, she was Sneak Attacking me about every round, w/ Improved Feint, which in turn was doing about 4 damage per round, her Fell Drake taking the other 4, thanks to Shield Self. When the Beguiler Hypnotized the Fell Drake, and rolled maximum duration dice, that put him out of the fight.

And, shortly thereafter, the BBEG got to her Gaseous Form condition, and went gaseous. The Wizard, Cleric, and Beguiler had blown most of their spells for the day already, and the Warforged with Cold Iron Tracery was already down. We were pretty much guaranteed that we weren't going to kill her, and have to deal with her later.

Then it hit me. I waited for my turn, told the Cleric (who we had bought a CLW wand for) and the Rogue "Stop what you are doing, and follow me!" Gaseous Form only has a movement rate of 20' per round; I've got a movement rate of 30' thanks to being human. I was able to chase down the cloud, use Shield Self on it, and the Cleric healed me while the Rogue Sneak Attacked me, every round, until the cloud finally stopped moving. The Elf wizard got in on the action, pulling out his longsword to take chunks out of my flesh, as well.

It was quite hilarious.


I'm adding it to the "Tips and Tricks" section.
New good race : Anthromorphic Ape (From Savage Species)

- 2 Racial Hit dice but no LA
- Get +6 DEX, +4 WIS, +2 STR
- +3 Natutal Armor
- Climb speed 30
- 3 naturals attacks

Really good in a Paimon/Swordsage build with Shadow Blade, Wis to AC. Get DEX 28 at level 6 with DEX to attack and damage!

Builds/good classes : SwordSage

Mostly for getting the Shadow Blade feat.

Other good feat : Telling Blow (with Malphas/Andromalius build)
That sounds great! How about a build?
That sounds great! How about a build?

Ape 2/Binder 2/ Sword sage 2/Binder +1(3)/ Knight of the sacred seal 5/...

Key feat :

Improved Binding at level 3
Shadow Hand at level 6

Note Weapon focus is get at Sword Sage 1 and Weapon finesse via Paimon Binding.
From T_G's binder thread, I think it's (the 2nd combo that is, the first one is just handy) a useful combo to take out a monster or two permanently without any fuss.

Trick #1:Use Ethereal Watcher: [Chupoclops] & Move Ally: [Savnok] (at 13th level) to move your ally into the Ethereal plane as a swift action (not booting you out) so he can sit there and rest. Move yourself there with "Fast healing: [Balam] Based on level, maxes out at Fast healing 5 at 19th level" and heal up so no one can hurt you.

Trick #2: How about charming a monster you don't like and making it your ally with your half-elf bard diplomancer cohort (or some other way..) and send the monster to the Ethereal plane forever? This could be accomplished with "Animal Friend: [Eurynome] All animals automatically friendly with you" so you can dispose of animal monsters chasing you down (that dinosaur causing you trouble? ). Just found this, but it seems like you can use this "Command or Suggestion: [Naberius] Command within 30 ft or suggestion (if BL >= 14) . 1/ 5 rnds." to make a enemy your friend, command him to get naked (don't want to lose his loot after all) and then teleport to the Ethereal plane and switch places with him.
From T_G's binder thread, I think it's (the 2nd combo that is, the first one is just handy) a useful combo to take out a monster or two permanently without any fuss.

Trick #1:Use Ethereal Watcher: [Chupoclops] & Move Ally: [Savnok] (at 13th level) to move your ally into the Ethereal plane as a swift action (not booting you out) so he can sit there and rest. Move yourself there with "Fast healing: [Balam] Based on level, maxes out at Fast healing 5 at 19th level" and heal up so no one can hurt you.

Trick #2: How about charming a monster you don't like and making it your ally with your half-elf bard diplomancer cohort (or some other way..) and send the monster to the Ethereal plane forever? This could be accomplished with "Animal Friend: [Eurynome] All animals automatically friendly with you" so you can dispose of animal monsters chasing you down (that dinosaur causing you trouble? ). Just found this, but it seems like you can use this "Command or Suggestion: [Naberius] Command within 30 ft or suggestion (if BL >= 14) . 1/ 5 rnds." to make a enemy your friend, command him to get naked (don't want to lose his loot after all) and then teleport to the Ethereal plane and switch places with him.

Trick 2 is great; trick 1 is, well, tricky. According to Savnok's text your ally has to be visible; if he becomes ethereal, he isn't. The soulsense ability won't work to swap w/ him w/o DM fiat. Even if you go ethereal, you still can't see him afterwards. Its a reasonable house rule to allow it, though.
Ape 2/Binder 2/ Sword sage 2/Binder +1(3)/ Knight of the sacred seal 5/...

And Anthropomorphic animals are monstrous humanoids with good BAB and good reflex and will saves... Nice!
More CustServ stuff.
3 Questions on the Binder:

1. Since Knight of the Sacred Seal lose all Su abilities if they don't bind their patron vestige, after 5th level, does this mean the Binder could potentially change type from whatever type they were to outsider and back if they expelled their patron vestige?

2. This may be a silly question, but can a Binder take Knight of the Sacred Seal twice, choosing another patron vestige, and gaining the abilities more than once (although they are redundant, except the BAB and saves)?

3. Can a binder bind the same Vestige more than once? I've scoured the book multiple times, and can't find any text that even suggests they can't. If they could, they'd get more frequent use of the 1/5 round abilities, which would seem to be the main advantage.

Here's another one:
4. Ipos's Planar Attenuation ability is particularly vague in effect. If I used the ability to gain protection from the Plane of Fire, would I gain Fire Resitance of some sort? If I picked the Plane of Shadow, would I gain resistance to Shadow spells? What exactly does the ability grant?

1. They are their normal type when their patron vestige is not bound, and they are an outsider when it is bound.

2. No they cannot.

3. No they cannot.

4. Different planes can have natural aspects that affect travelers to those planes. You can see some of these in the DMG v.3.5 in the descriptions of those planes. Now if you happen to be on a certain plane, you are not harmed by that plane's natural temperatures, toxic atmospheres, or harmful side effects, but you are not protected from dangers that are not part of the plane's nature itself. For instance, if you were on the Plane of Fire, you do not suffer from the plane's side effects while there. Fire from other threats could still harm you, but the plane itself couldn't hurt you.

Thanks for the info! I was curious about 3, though: why can't they bind more than 1 vestige at a time? I've got a Binder in one of my games that's about to hit 8th, and wanted to Bind Amon twice for more frequent breath attacks.

Once the vestige is bound, it is bound. There is nothing in the rules that allow you to double bind a vestige.

Not very satisfying, to me. It says you can bind "a" vestige... that doesn't exclude the same one twice. Oh well...
It's worth noting that 1 level of Binder synergized exceedingly well with the Hellfire Warlock PrC... as binding Naberius negates the penalty for using Hellfire Blast.
Right, but that would be more for a Warlock handbook, as they only do 1 level of Binder. I'll mention it under Naberius's entry next time I add anything, though.
Great guide James, thx!

Here's a little tidbit for evil Binders that really wanna make those Witch Hunters mad.

Knight of the Sacred Seal 5 + Shape Soulmeld: Planar Chausible = Will Save +5 + Outsider Type + Evil Subtype = Fiend of Possession

An example build (I'll call it the "Master of Souls") would be...
Binder 6/ KotSS 5/ Fiend of Possession 6/ Binder 7-9

EBL 14 (16 with feat) will allow access to 7th level Vestiges
BAB +14
All the FoP goodies (Ethereal at will, Possession, ect.)
Cha Synergy (all the FoP abilities are Cha based Supernatural Abilities)

Skills: Hide 6 (Cross-class), Knowledge: Arcana 6
Feats: Improved Binding, Weapon Focus, Shape Soulmeld (Planar Chausible), Expel Vestige, Rapid Pact Making, Ability Focus (Possession), Split Chakra, Ignore Special Requirements, Sudden Ability Focus

[edit]
How to maximize your Possess Creature save DC...

Base Possession save DC = 10 + FoP level + Cha Bonus = 28


Veil of Allure (+2) [14k gp Sandstorm]
Ability Focus: Possession (+2)
Sudden Ability Focus (+2)
Chupoclops's Aura of Despair (-2 to other's saves when Chupoclops is bound)
Focalor's Aura of Sadness (-2 to other's saves when Focalor is bound)

For a total effective Possess Creature save DC of 36 (38 once per day)
Great concept! Very neat badguy. You'd need Truespeak Training and Summon Monster 4 in the build, though.

edit: also, I'm not sure what you mean by the combo, or maybe I'm just not seeing it... what does Planar Chausible and the outsider type add to it?
Great concept! Very neat badguy. You'd need Truespeak Training and Summon Monster 4 in the build, though.

edit: also, I'm not sure what you mean by the combo, or maybe I'm just not seeing it... what does Planar Chausible and the outsider type add to it?

Badguy? I'm playing this right now. Binding souls to myself wasn't enough for me, I wanted to bind my Soul to someone else's like I was a Vestige. Actually, I thought of this build while trying to think of ways to raise the FoP's save DCs.

To qualify for Fiend of Possession, you need the Outsider Type (provided by KotSS 5) and the Evil Subtype (provided by the Planar Chausible if you are evil). With these two, I can do this build with a human or an azurin, for example.

Why do I need Truespeak Training and Summon Monster 4 in the build?

[edit]
I would like to point out that there is some debate as to whether Planar Chasuble gives you the Evil Subtype. It clearly states it on the Soulmelds Chart on page 54 and 55, but on page 83 in the description, it says it gives you the Extraplanar Subtype. As these do not conflict by RAW, and gaining an alignment subtype actually seems what is RAI, my build assumes this is legal.
OH! Fiend of Posession! I was thinking Fiendbinder... sry. I'll have to look up the FoP; which book is it in?
OH! Fiend of Posession! I was thinking Fiendbinder... sry. I'll have to look up the FoP; which book is it in?

Fiend of Possession is in the appendix of the Fiend Folio. It's a monster class intended for Demons and Devils. It is a very powerful class whose biggest limitation is (err...was) the relatively low Possession save DC. The Binder seems to be able to fix that nicely. I think it fits in thematically with the Binder as they both involve the sharing of souls (which Witch Hunters hate by the way). Also, I believe that the Binder should still be able to use his Supernatural Abilities while in Possession of the other creature for a double threat. Like the FoP, Incarnum also fits well into the soul theme of the Binder.

[edit]
I have contacted CustServ regarding the issue of whether Planar Chausible does in fact grant Alignment Subtype and they said it does not. My apologies for wasting space in this thread .

Hi there Gerdreg,

The table entries for the Planar Chausible on pages 54-55 are incorrect. The entry on page 83 is correct. We’ve passed this along to the good folks that make the games and hopefully we’ll see some errata covering this situation soon.

Take Care and Good Gaming!

We would appreciate your feedback on the service we are providing you. Please click here to fill out a short questionnaire.

To login to your account, or update your question please click here.

Sam
Customer Service Representative
Wizards of the Coast
1-800-324-6496 (US and Canada)
425-204-8069 (From all other countries)
Monday-Friday 9am-6pm PST / 12pm-9pm EST

Customer (Gerdreg) 02/09/2007 11:43 AM
Does the Planar Chasuble soulmeld grant the wearer an Alignmnet Subtype as indicated on pages 54 and 55 of Magic of Incarnum, the Extraplanar Subtype as indicated on page 83, or both? Thanks in advance for help.

The link to the mind's eye article doesn't seem to work.
The link to the mind's eye article doesn't seem to work.

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/psm/20070119a

seems to be it's new home.
Thought up a new one, for battlefield control types:

Zagan + Haures + Halphax + Ashardalon: First, lay down a field of illusory snakes all around your opponent, then use the Aversion power to make the opponent move as far away from the snakes as possible. Make giant circles of dead snakes around the opponent, and confine them to a 5' square! Add on Halphax and Ashardalon, and you are an awesome battlefield controller (use the Fear effect of Ash, the walls, Imprison, and Secure Shelter abilities of Halphax to block off whichever areas you want). You could also, instead of using Haures, just have the Wizard cast low-level summon monster spells for snakes (or, using Karsus, you use wands instead), or even just have snake corpses or zombie snakes (courtesy of Tenebrous's Rebuke undead). Don't forget you have Improved Grapple plus, to deal with any of the high-will squishy opponents.

I'll add it later.

Also, I was rereading Zagan's abilities, and I just got to say, wow. It is THE vestige to be facing high level humanoid parties. Grapple the wizard, then use Aversion against the melee types. Just hope they don't have an active Freedom of Movement going!
Decent Binder build i found in the "Ulitmate Gish" contest.'
"Trillith Soringeas, Supernatural Sword
Class/Level: Binder 15/ Knight of the Sacred Seal 5

Race: Human

Ability Scores:
Str: 22 [14 + 6 Enhancement + 2 (Level)] (6)
Dex: TOTAL [14 + 4 Enhancement] (6)
Con: TOTAL [12 + 4 Enhancement] (4)
Int: TOTAL [10 + Bonuses + Level Increases] (2)
Wis: TOTAL [12 + Bonuses + Level Increases] (4)
Cha: 28 [16 +5 Inherent + 6 Enhancement + 3 (Level)] (10)

Tactical Statistics
Hit points = 91

Initiative: +2 [+2 Dex]
Move Speeds: 30 ft. [Base]
AC: 31 [10 + 4 Dexterity + 10 Armor (+5 Mithral Breastplate) + 7 Shield (+5 Empyreal Heavy Steel Shield)]
Conditional Modifiers:
Saves:
Fort: +21 [13 Base + 3 Constitution + 5 Resistance]
Conditional Modifiers: +5 Sacred (+5 Empyreal Heavy Steel Shield)
Ref: +15 [6 Base + 4 Dexterity + 5 Resistance]
Conditional Modifiers: +5 Sacred (+5 Empyreal Heavy Steel Shield)
Will: +18 [10 Base + 3 Wisdom + 5 Resistance]
Conditional Modifiers: +5 Sacred (+5 Empyreal Heavy Steel Shield)

Progression:

1 Binder 1 Improved Binding, Supernatural Crusader
2 Binder 2
3 Binder 3 Weapon Focus (Heavy mace)
4 Binder 4 Extend Supernatural Ability (B)
5 Binder 5
6 Binder 6 Defense Against the Supernatural
7 Binder 7
8 Binder 8
9 Binder 9 Skilled Pact Making
10 Binder 10
11 Binder 11 Sudden Ability Focus
12 Binder 12 Improved Critical (Melee Touch Attack)
13 Binder 13
14 Binder 14
15 Binder 15 Supernatural Opportunist
16 Binder 15/ KtoSS 1
17 Binder 15/ KtoSS 2
18 Binder 15/ KtoSS 3 Sudden Ability Focus
19 Binder 15/ KtoSS 4
20 Binder 15/ KtoSS 5

Class Abilities of note: Binding abilities, Patron Vestige (Orthos), Vestige’s Power, Vestige Surge.

Skills of note: Knowledge (Planes) 23 ranks, Diplomacy 23 ranks, Intimidate 4 ranks

Vestiges of Note: Pretty much all of them. Vestiges Typically Bound: Orthos, Otiax, Tenebrous, Shax

Items of Note: +2 Heavy Mace, +5 Mithral Breastplate, +5 Empyreal Heavy Steel Shield, Tome of Leadership and Influence +5, Cloak of Charisma +6, Belt of Giant Strength +6, Vestige Phylactery x2, Vest of Resistance +5; Total: 318, 920 gp.

Books
Tome of Magic
Book of Exalted Deeds (Empyreal Armor enhancement)
Complete Arcane (Vest of Resistence)

Why is this character the ultimate Gish? Trillith exemplifies Pact Magic’s use in combat. Being able to bind the full variety of vestiges, he can adapt his fighting strategy to what he needs for fighting. Knight of the Sacred Seal gives him the BAB to let him make four attacks per round.
Using the vestiges above, Trillith is a monster. With Otiax, Tenebrous, and Shax, he can make melee touch attacks that deal 4d6+1d8 points of various elemental damages four times every round. He can also use Orthos’ Whirlwind Breath in addition to an at-will Displacement effect. Tenebrous’ Vessel of Emptiness also gives him an edge on movement, especially with Extend Supernatural Ability.
Unfortunately, Antimagic Fields are Trillith’s bane. In them, he can’t use his Binder abilities, although his melee potential can get him out of a scrap there. He’s not a Gish be conventional standards, but he’s more than willing to fight his way into their ranks with his supernatural abilities.

Aberrations/Magical Beasts etc: The majority of monsters out there don’t have much immunity to what Trillith can do. Between Whirlwind Blasts and Air Blasts, he can dish out a high amount of damage each round, if he isn’t killing them instantly with methods like Haures’ Phantasmal Killer, Marchosias’ Death Attack, or even Halphax’s Imprisonment. Between Geryon, Chupoclops, and Shax, there’s no place Trillith can’t go, and an edge in mobility is always nice.
Constructs: Tough call. Golems and their kin aren’t immune to supernatural abilities, but none of the vestiges have a hate of constructs. Raw damage output is the ideal here, with the usual strategies (Whirlwind Breath, Air Blast, etc.).
Dragons: Dragons don’t usually like combat, and have immunities to the elemental attacks Trillith throws out. But they enjoy more verbose challenges. Naberius’ powers of suggestion can turn a scaled horror into a source of money. And if that fails, dragons always have horrible Touch ACs.
Elementals/Outsiders: Unfortunately, these guys combine the worst of dragons and constructs: Mass immunities and a lack of related vestige abilities. This means that you fight them the old-fashioned way: Sheer assault and blasting. Luckily, supernatural abilities bypass SR, and some vestiges grant energy resistance.
Undead: Thanks to Tenebrous, Trillith can turn undead as a 20th-level cleric. If that’s no help to him, Whirlwind Breath can come in and save the day. Not to mention that Buer’s Gift of Healing is an ability that uses positive-energy.
Traps: Paimon’s Uncanny Dodge can help Trillith dodge traps he’s set off. However, Haures’ Incorporeal Movement makes sure he never sets them off in the first place.
Political Intrigue: Trillith has a thing for finding stuff out. Malphas’ birds can swoop in areas he can’t reach and listen in, and can make him invisible. Otiax will help him get into any room with Open Portal. Ipos also has a temporary True Seeing ability which will see through any nasty disguise.
Diplomatic Maneuvers: Naberius is a handy player here, able to make Suggestions to people and capable of taking 10 on Bluff and Diplomacy. His many ranks in the latter help out as well. Dantalion's mind reading abilities are also useful for assessing the situation.
A BBEG/ Mastermind/ Warlord: BBEGs tend to favor single combat when the heroes have gotten this far, and many tend to use brute tactics. Trillith is capable of stopping any enchantments on his foe with Karsus, and even then, he can smite from afar with his numerous supernatural abilities. Outside of combat, Trillith can get the villain's plot with a well-placed Suggesion (Naberius) or Mind Reading (Dantalion).
Mobs: Mobs drop like flies to Trillith. Whirlwind Breath affects every creature in its 60-ft. cone area, and that’s a lot of damage. If they don’t fall to that, Trillith can rush in with Paimon’s Whirlwind Attack to finish them off.
Overwhelming Odds: With over two dozens vestiges at his command, Trillith can do almost anything. Geryon, Shax, and Chupoclops can give him many forms of movement, letting him go places. He can get into places no one should, thanks to Maplhas and Marchosias. He can heal himself, and his saves aren’t all that bad. And of course, Orthos for the win with continuous Displacement and his superb Whirlwind Breath."
Thats a nice build, and I've added the framework w/ a link to your post, but I particularly like the rundown of what the Binder would do against each opponent; I may add that to its own little SBLOCK on the second post.

I've edited the handbook such that everthing that was on the front page of the old handbooks is first, and everything that didn't make it to the front page is second, and these sections have been marked with subheadings.

I thought this would make it easier to read, for people that are familiar with the older handbooks.



I realized something about the Triad + Dantalion combo: if you add on Naberius, and use Naberius's Skills to get Knowledge: Local [pick a region], you immediately gain like a Int + 23 ability modifier to Kn:Local ANYWHERE. And with all the Naberius abilities on Diplomacy, Bluff, and the Disguise Self ability, you just became something like a mafia kingpin, the likes of which will never be seen again. Information broker extraordinaire.

Feel like starting a civil war in Hades, without getting hurt? You got it. Want to broker information about the local naga inner political circle? No problem. Do you want to find out information about a region that you've never been to, but may travel to, including local monsters, political climate, and who owns that +5 Vorpal Holy Avenger the DM has been hinting about ever since you introduced him to this combo? No big deal.
Binders make excellent slayers of the undead.

Kas + Tenebrous + Acererak
You can crit undead (and have a chance to blind them when you do), can't be critted by undead, bypass all undead damage reduction, can turn undead, detect undead, hide from undead and can speak with dead ...and beyond that you're healed by negative energy, immune to cold & electricity and can toss some added cold damage on your melee attacks ...and more.

Toss in Andras and you can Smite Evil and crit more often (you can crit undead with Kas, so why not crit them more often... and possibly blind them in the process).

Toss in Andromalius and remind those undead what a sneak attack feels like (again: thanks to Kas).

You get the picture... ;)
I had been thinking along the same lines, but didn't consider adding in Sneak Attack vestiges as well. Added to the combo section.

edit: Also added a section for "Binders vs. Specific Creatures" section adapted from the Gish Thread post above.

I'll put a detailed account of what my experience has been in the Savage Tides adventure path w/ my Binder, mainly as it pertains to combat and/or important interactions, without giving away any spoilers.
Inspired by TG, I put in a Reports from the Trenches section, and have also added a "vs. enemy" section, using Talkho's post above as a basis. Also, bumping to save from pruning.
Hello,
I've recently discovered the amazing classes Binder and Sword Sage. I saw the partial builds in this thread but was hoping some of you experts could help me in fleshing out a character.

My DM has Ok'd the use of the Anthropomorphic Ape. My character will be joining the game at level 6. I rolled pretty decent stats undistributed so far (14, 14, 14, 16, 17, 18). So the build progression I was thinking of was this at level 6:
Ape 2/Binder 2/Sword Sage 2
Stats: Str 16, Dex 20, Con 14, Int 17, Wis 21, Cha 18

For a final build at level 20 I was thinking of:

Ape 2/Sword Sage 4/ Binder 9/ Knight of the Sacred Seal 5

I'm not sure what maneuvers, stances, or bindings I should look into. I've read the Handbook and the two older threads but it is overwhelming the amount of information contained in them.

Thanks in advance,

Siby
Your build looks fine; you get the requisite +16 BAB, which is all that really matters. You also give yourself something to do in Epic: take binding levels! I wouldn't have gone 4 into Swordsage, but its your own perogative.

edit: the following forgot to take into account the fact that you'll be 4 levels behind in Binding; add 4 levels and its right.

Combat:
Paimon is your main man at 6th; all pact augmentation goes to initiative. Add Andromalus, and Chupoclops replaces Paimon when you get access. At 15th add Otiax. End by adding Malphus to the mix. Take Improved Initiative at or before 6th, Neraph Charge at 9th (planar handbook), and Power Attack at or before 12th, and Leap Attack is good when you get into KoSS and can actually invest in Jump.


Discussion:
At 6th-10th you are primarily a Dex based fighter, and at 8th adding sneak attack whenever you win initiative: it helps to take Improved Initiative (activate Dance of Death at the begining of every combat).

After 10th, you become a blender, adding sneak attack and a full attack at the end of every charge.

At 15th, you add Power Attack damage (with Leap Attack, hopefully), sneak attack, and a full-attack at the end of every charge, and only have to make touch attacks to land them.

At 20th, you add more sudden strike damage to your charges.


End Result:
Touch Attacks that do 2d6 damage each, plus 5d6 sneak attack each, plus 6d6 Sudden Strike each, plus 32 damage each (Leap Attack, if you make the Jump check, +16 BAB). Each one uses either your Dex or Str mod to hit, whichever is higher. Full Attack at the end of a charge which renders charged opponent Flat-footed (once per encounter per opponent). All but the bite attack of Chupoclops can be used 10' away.

Also, 20% concealment, no loss of AC other than 2 on a charge (unlike Shocktrooper builds), a bite attack, Invisibility, Ethereal Watcher, Bird's-Eye-Viewing, Find Objects, Jester's Mirth, Poison Use, a handful of other gimicky abilities.

All-in-all, a pretty wicked character.

Maneuvers should enhance charging and jumping. Stances should add to attacks. Neither should be standard actions, if you can avoid it. (Assasin's Stance is a no-brainer).
Hello jameswilliamogle,

Thank you very much for your reply. It has helped me more than I can every say.

Questions:
1. Why is Sword Sage 4 not great? I see that it takes away from the Binder Levels but you get the Discipline Focus (Insightful Strike) which, as I'm sure you know, adds your Wisdom Modifier to your damage rolls. If I understand it right when you are calculating damage you would add the Dexterity Modifier AND the Wisdom Modifier, in my case it would be +10 to damage for all hits.

2. If I were to take only two levels of Sword Sage and the rest in Binder I would be a 16th level Binder and with Improved Binding Feat I would have a Maximum Vestige Level of 8th. What would be the benefit of going this route?

3. The Anthropomorphic Ape is LA+0, ECL 2. Does it mean that you have to take the two level of Ape as class levels (as posted in the build) or is it treated as if I am two level below my effective character level? It really hurts to lose those two levels (to the Ape, granted I'm getting some good stat bonuses) while they could be used in a class. I guess I'm trying to understand why it is taken as class levels rather than an experience penalty.

4. Should I take the Expel Vestige? I've read in the Handbook that it is a good feat for those starting below level 12 but it seems like it's not worth it if you have a fall back skill set as in the Sword Sage. I was considering taking the Adaptive Fighting Feat at level 1. Also if my DM allows me to take a Flaw I was thinking of taking Improved Binding at level 1.

Once again thank you very much for your insightful response.

Siby
(Reply to Siby)

Hunter stance is really a good stance. Scent can be helpfull at any level.

You have many attacks, so boost help you more than strike. An exmple is Cloak of shadow is really great with no preriquisite. Desert wind have also good boost.

Paimon is supposed to be your Knight of the Sacred Seal Vestige. +4 to DEX is really great. Weapon finesse is great but can also be taken as a feat for applying it to your naturals attacks. Before him Malphas(for bird an sudden strike damage) or Amon(extra attack) can be cool. With your high DEX, don't forget you could be a good sniper with a crossbow.

Chupoclops is a really great fighting vestige and must be your when you qualify. When you can your second vestige, Buer can be a good choice if you want to fully heal your party in downtime (really great in dungeons!).
Take Improved Binding as your 4th level Bonus feat; if retraining is allowed, take it early and then retrain it to something useful when you get the bonus feat.

Here's the problem w/ only making bindings up to 12th: you won't be pure combat every day. Losing 8th level loses Halphax, which is one of the best crowd-control vestiges. I always favor general characters over single-role characters, though, so take it for what its worth. Adding Wis to damage again is still only 5 more points; considering the damage you'll be dishing out, I don't think you need to invest in all 4 levels of SS.

You don't really need Expel Vestige; you can buy a Vestige Phylactery and do the same thing in a few levels. It is ok as a bonus binder feat, though.

I just realize your character is going to have to deal w/ XP penalties, as is.
Hello jameswilliamogle,

Thank you very much for your reply. It has helped me more than I can every say.

Questions:
1. Why is Sword Sage 4 not great? I see that it takes away from the Binder Levels but you get the Discipline Focus (Insightful Strike) which, as I'm sure you know, adds your Wisdom Modifier to your damage rolls. If I understand it right when you are calculating damage you would add the Dexterity Modifier AND the Wisdom Modifier, in my case it would be +10 to damage for all hits.

It is WIS to damage when using a strike. It's good but 1 strike (1 attack) mean no full attack or Paimon dance of death or Whirlwind attack.

2. If I were to take only two levels of Sword Sage and the rest in Binder I would be a 16th level Binder and with Improved Binding Feat I would have a Maximum Vestige Level of 8th. What would be the benefit of going this route?
.

Improved your binding! Like have your 3rd vestige faster, have access to an extra sneak attack dice with Andromalius,...

But both build suffer XP penality at a moment (Ape favored class is Druid or Ranger i think). So after level 12, you could have a problem.

3. The Anthropomorphic Ape is LA+0, ECL 2. Does it mean that you have to take the two level of Ape as class levels (as posted in the build) or is it treated as if I am two level below my effective character level? It really hurts to lose those two levels (to the Ape, granted I'm getting some good stat bonuses) while they could be used in a class. I guess I'm trying to understand why it is taken as class levels rather than an experience penalty.
.

This mean you have 2 animal level (the proper term is Racial Hit Dice). Mean 3/4 BAB, d8 hit dice, 2+INT skill points with very few class skills, ...Read the animal type in the monster manual for more precision.

Example : A Fighter 3 Minotaur is ECL 11(6 racial hit dice of Monstrous humanoid+2 LA+1 fighter). But he can be affect by Deep Sumber (the spell) because he have only 9 hit dice.


4. Should I take the Expel Vestige? I've read in the Handbook that it is a good feat for those starting below level 12 but it seems like it's not worth it if you have a fall back skill set as in the Sword Sage. I was considering taking the Adaptive Fighting Feat at level 1. Also if my DM allows me to take a Flaw I was thinking of taking Improved Binding at level 1.
.

Its better to take the magic item instead of the feat.

Once again thank you very much for your insightful response.

Siby

I hadn't realized the binder could be so potent and versatile. This makes me wat to pick up Tome of Magic ASAP. How well do binders multi-class?
How well do binders multi-class?

They are just below broken when combined with arcane casters and the Anima Mage prestige class. Free metamagics (like Peristant) a few times per day.

They are mediocre when combined with Divine in the Tenebrous Apostate PrC (its not bad, but a Cleric that knows what he's doing will stick kick a Binder's butt: better to just play the Cleric, than to Cleric-up a Binder).

You don't really want to multi w/ Roguish types or Fighter types, if you can avoid it. You could do the Rogue 1 w/ Able Learner and not lose too much, though, w/ a high Int, and still do the trapfinding role (this is a theoretical build, though: I've not seen any actual playtesting). As for most warrior classes, they don't add much to the Binder that they couldn't have already with the proper applications of feats and vestiges.


Tome of Magic is a pretty good book; I think the Binder is the bread-and-butter winner in the book, but Truenamers are very interesting as well (except for that damn mechanic...), and Shadowcasters are ok, if a little weak as written. Truename magic and Shadowcasting follows a lot of what spellcasting is already; Pact Magic is pretty unique in its mechanic, I'd say (more similar to Incarnum then existing magic systems).
Thank you all for the great information.

So the consensus seems to be take two levels of Sword Sage or drop it totally.

The experience penalty is going to be a huge issue given the nature of my DM. I'm reading the wording for Anthropomorphic Characters and it says "Preferred" not "Favored" and the wording leaves it open ended for which class they can be given their diet. Also their "Type" is monstrous humanoid not animal if I read the description correctly. So my question is: Is the Ape really worth all the hassle or go with Human?

I'll parse through the posts later when I have time to think.

Thanks again.

Siby
Thank you all for the great information.

So the consensus seems to be take two levels of Sword Sage or drop it totally.

The experience penalty is going to be a huge issue given the nature of my DM. I'm reading the wording for Anthropomorphic Characters and it says "Preferred" not "Favored" and the wording leaves it open ended for which class they can be given their diet. Also their "Type" is monstrous humanoid not animal if I read the description correctly. So my question is: Is the Ape really worth all the hassle or go with Human?

I'll parse through the posts later when I have time to think.

Thanks again.

Siby

I'd say be a Human, or in LA buyoff, a Karsite.