October 25, 2018

Vestige Archetypes | Rebinding

In this series, I'll be slowly tackling a rework of one of our favorite classes, the Binder. The class was originally a straight update of the class of the same name from D&D 3.5's Tome of Magic, including most of the original vestiges, but as we revisit this class, we'd like to examine its mechanics and its concepts with fresh eyes, improve upon them, and write a whole new list of vestiges. 

Community day! I'm going to ask for help collecting as many unique mechanical focuses for vestiges as we can. Leave your suggestions in the comments!

Vestige Archetypes

Every vestige should have a definitive concept behind it, whether it's that of an archer, a rogue, or a healer. The following archetypes are some starting points we can build entire vestiges around. [Things in brackets are included for completeness but are undecided upon.]

Miscellaneous
  • HP Tank: Higher HP, some self-healing
  • AC Tank: Heavy armor proficiency (should only be one or two that allows for heavy armor)
  • Party Face: Social features, with perhaps some charm spells
  • Skillmonkey: Specifically being proficient with lots of skills. For simplicity, other vestiges won't generally give out skill proficiencies.
  • Stealth: All the sneaking abilities. Probably also some spider-climb for mobility or some Cunning Action
  • Flight: Higher level vestige. Grants wings for unlimited flight
  • [Thorns Tank: Deals retributive damage to creatures which damage you. Perhaps also trade your own HP to deal additional damage?]
  • [Mastermind: Knows all the languages, uses Cha for Int checks, etc.]
  • [Disguise: Shapeshifting, deception, and disguises]
  • Magic Items: Summons magic items

Combat Focused
  • Two-Weapon Fighter: Light weapons, bonuses for hitting a target more than once
  • Heavy Weapon Fighter: Heavy weapons and grow to Large size (Tilo)
  • Versatile Weapon Fighter: Versatile weapons + shield proficiency
  • Archery: Bows, special arrows, and ranged vision
  • Unarmed Fighter: 1/3 or 1/2 monk unarmed strike damage
  • Vestige Sign Fighter: Use the natural weapons from vestige signs more effectively
  • Grappler: All the benefits of the Grappler feat, plus enough features to make this work
  • Crowd Control: Warden's grasp + difficult terrain stuff
  • Sneak-Attack: 1/3 rogue SA damage
  • Divine Strike: Higher level vestige which adds radiant or necrotic to all melee weapon attacks
  • [Dervish: High-movement dance-fighter]
  • [Poisoner: Adds poison damage to attacks, applies poisoned condition with a cloud of toxic gas]
  • [Rager: Gains barbarian rage]
  • [Corsair: Dex-based duelist -- proficiency with rapiers, cutlasses, and other finesse weapons]
  • [Protector: Gives you shield proficiency and lets you take hits for allies]
  • [Tavern Brawler: Improvised weapons all the time]
  • [Master Thrower: Ranged weapons by means of thrown objects (also, improvised weapons)]

Spellcasting
  • Buff Allies: Marshal-like package (commanding allies), paladin aura-based package, or bard package
  • Debuff Enemies: Witch-based. Throw in some hexes
  • Illusion + Enchantment: Manipulation-based spellcasting
  • Evocation: At least two vestiges at different levels based upon blasting things. A ray-based vestige works better at lower levels, while an AoE based vestige works better at higher levels.
  • Necromancy: Higher-level vestige with animate dead
  • Conjuration (Summoning): I'm on the fence about including this, but summoning one or two minions isn't outside a vestige's power set.
  • Conjuration (Teleportation): Lots of misty-step (probably unlimited if you cast it as an action) and one or two dimension doors
  • Healing: Some light healing abilities, either in the form of a few cure wounds castings or a pool of healing points
  • [Antimage: Counterspell, dispel magic, and advantage on saving throws against spells]
  • [Telekinetic/Telepathic: Pseudo-psionic abilities]
  • [Divination: See into the future for precognitive effects]

Mechanics to Avoid

I'm trying to generally avoid implementing anything which gives more skill or saving throw proficiencies (excepting perhaps one vestige dedicated to that specifically) and anything which changes ability scores (though using Charisma in place of a physical score, like Strength, should be allowed) or adds flat bonuses to attack rolls. The reason for this is that changing these base statistics can be an absolute pain to keep track of, so static modifiers (like attack bonuses and skill bonuses) should be pretty much fixed no matter which vestiges you pick. Vestiges should be giving you new abilities, not forcing you to rewrite half your character's numbers.

Additionally, there are some old mechanics, like damage reduction, that I think should be avoided.

If there's any vestige archetypes you think we've missed, leave a suggestion in the comments below! Also, let me know which vestige archetypes listed above you like the most.

37 comments:

  1. Might be interesting to have one use Charisma in place of Intelligence for checks, as some kind of super intelligent vestige.

    Just to throw some more random ideas out there, possibly something about being able to read all languages, or gain proficiency in an Intelligence skill after a rest might also be interesting?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So like a super-intelligent mastermind kind of dude? I dig that. Probably a miscellaneous, lower level dude.

      Delete
  2. Seeing Conjuration (Summoning) up there makes me think you could have a vestige give the Pseudodragon Clutch feature from the School of Broodmasters, but change the pseudodragon to something of equal CR, like a wolf or such, to make a packmaster archetype. I think that could be fun, but idk tho.

    ReplyDelete
  3. For the dervish I would try to keep that one I loved the feel of Paimon and playing around with something like that

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also an idea for a caster of a divination/seer type of thing, scyring or seeing a bit into the future, and glad the archer is among the list

      Delete
    2. I think doing a smith vestige that is able to summon different weapons and armor to them for fighting, basically a walking armory (my idea being that while you are bonded to them you are able to rapidly adapt your equipment to the situation at hand, might be a bit to complicated to deal with, partially drawing inspiration from Archer in Fate/Stay Night and his ability to summon swords of different kinds into his hands)

      Delete
    3. Other idea, a master of disguise/shapechanger

      Delete
    4. I've added a bit for a shapechanger/disguise dude as well as a Divination archetype. I imagine, though, that shapeshifting disguises will end up with the party face or the enchantment/illusion vestige.

      Delete
    5. Sweet, excited to see what comes about, I love the flavor and feel of the binder so I am excited to see it made simpler and fit more into 5e, it will be lots of fun

      Delete
    6. Another thought occurred to me, having a tanky spellcaster, based around abjuration spells and stuff

      Delete
  4. For active abilitied on some combat focused vestiges you could consider giving lite battlemaster dice. You could limit then to d4s, only provide ones that fit the vestiges niche or flavor, and don't give too many uses. It should not be too powerful, and there's a feat for superiority dice so it wouldn't be totally unprecedented.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Battlemaster dice are fine in terms of power for a vestige feature, but they're going to end up being really long, which is something we're trying to avoid. After all, I need to include multiple maneuvers you can spend the dice on, in addition to explaining how the dice themselves work.

      Delete
  5. A retribution 'tank'. In the sense that it lets you punish enemies (damage or maybe other effects) for targetting your allies instead of you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Feeling the Binder is pretty close! Can't wait!

    Since the Binder's greatest strength is in versatility and the ability to change your features as best suits your needs, I think vestiges that have "favored enemies" might be a good idea, even if only sticking these features on existing vestiges (the divine striker against celestials/fiends, the archer could be against flying creatures, there's already one against mages, etc.), although creating a vestige dedicated to it could also work.

    In the same spirit, perhaps a vestige focused on travels and journeys (or specific terrains), and one (probably the rogue or skillmonkey) that's a dungeoneer (traps, secret doors, etc.).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Goblinslayer Vestige when?

      On a more serious note, a dragonslayer vestige would have plenty of ability to hook into the flavor/myths of most settings.

      Delete
    2. @Idan: I should clarify: this class is still a ways out.

      Goblinslayer, dragonrider, traveler, and so forth are great ideas when it comes to the vestige's stories and personalities. It won't be hard to link the Versatile weapon vestige to being a dragonrider, for example.

      Delete
  7. I liked the mounted vestige from the old binder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so on the fence about including a mounted vestige. The mounted rules in 5e are a little lackluster in my opinion, and I'm not sure I want to invite that into the book as a vestige. Next week, when we look at the levels of vestiges, we can start looking for an open place for a mounted dude.

      Delete
  8. Aoskar, Paimon, and Tenebrous were my favorites from the original. I hope Aoskar remains somewhat similar in the remake, regardless of name.

    Was building a Binder that used Savnok, Tenebrous, and Kas for heavy combat dual wielding the blade of Kas and a Blade Spirit, but he ended up being gifted a really powerful scythe instead.

    ReplyDelete
  9. With every post my anticipation grows for the new binder. If your still taking suggestions though, I think a druidic, nature magic vestige, like Eurynome, with abilities centered around communing with and shaping nature could be interesting. You could even pull wildshape, spells like nature's wrath or guardian of nature from xtge, or something like the nature cleric's channel divinity. Idan bhk had an interesting notion of favored enemies for various vestiges, I could imagine elemental evil being a particular grievance for this vestige, but there are so many enemies of the natural balance to choose from.
    As much as I'm excited about the new binder, I will miss some of the old meme-worthy personality traits. My favorite was that Andras the Grey Knight, after a poor pact, might cause your character to drop their weapons and sod off during a pitched battle. A noteworthy mention was Aoskar the Flayed God. I remember constructing a scenario that I would spring as soon as a character made a poor pact with him, where I would reveal that the end of a dungeon connected to the temple of a fertility goddess tended by a circle of tall, female clerics. I never got to enact my gag-plot device, yet I smile to this day thinking about a player having to rp such abject terror from a combination of elements that would only yield moderate surprise from the rest of the party.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I definitely enjoy the idea of having a prankster vestige, probably similar to the one who was a devout follower of Olidemara before he repented on his death bed. Using that as a launching point could lead to many interesting abilities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm getting the sense that we'll need two 'rogue' vestiges; one one the skillmonkey-trickster end and one on the assassin-sneak attack end, so that's definitely in the cards.

      Delete
  11. Ultra-insighty vestige that is very good in reading people could be nice, my personal favorite was Dantallion because of at-will detect thoughts. Maybe even if they got to use their Charisma for Insight checks.

    Also, a vestige that's unnaturally good with animals. I know there was the idea of a druidic vestige, but I believe that could be split into plants and animals ones. Because druids can do a lot of things, so giving both a chance to show could be awesome.

    A craftsman, a musician and a gambler. Vestiges based on tool sets mostly. First one based around making objects (think anywhere from craftsman class features to gnomish tinkering), second would be about deafening foes and performing, third would be about trying your luck with some randomness-based abilities. I know these are not quite as short as you'd like for vestiges, but I wanted to list them just for the sake of having them listed. I'll keep ya informed if I come up with more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spellcasting vestiges based around truespeech (casting only using Verbal components), around scribing down runes, one around some dance-casting (Somatic components only)...

      Again, just brainstorming, so feel free to decline any.

      Delete
  12. I like the Corsair idea personally. I think it would also be neat to have a class dedicated to mobility(not flying) rather than wrapping that in with stealth. I also think it would be super cool to see a summoner if you can manage it. Finally, In my mind the more kinda niche utility vestiges the better because it adds another layer of strategy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also I know you touched on this in the last binder post, but if it fits in line with your new binder, but one of the things I liked about the old binder was the some of the traits that you had to find some way to hide or suffer descrimination against the superstitious commoners, I felt it added some good RP opportunities. I know that some would be less noticeable, but I would love to see some physical signs that might be best to hide most of the time.

      Delete
    2. Now that traits are going to be actual features, it should be a really good chance to bring those sorts of issues to the forefront. I think a lot of them are going to be physical things, but I haven't decided if I'm going to include a feature to make them concealable.

      Delete
  13. This might fit some of the same niche as Master Thrower, but maybe something that specializes in improvised weapons? Always liked the idea of a character being able to pick up a nearby blunt object and turn it into a deadly weapon (think Lancelot from Fate, if you're familiar with that series?).

    Also, maybe some elemental specialist vestiges with resistances/immunities (at higher levels) to certain damage types and some spells/attacks of the same type? Was always fun to have a way to make good use of prep time as a binder - the main antagonist of the campaign I played one in was a shadow dragon, so Acererak was incredibly useful in that fight, and I've always had a soft spot for Focalor and his lightning.

    Looking forward to this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An improvised weapons vestige would be a great addition. In fact, it's entirely possible I could merge it with a Master Thrower type, if push came to shove.

      (PS. don't I recognize you from GiantITP?)

      Delete
    2. Yep, that's me! I was working on the old Binder back over on the GitP forums, and its Focalor and Ronove were mostly my design. I had a chance to play both the original version and the second edition (the one with the Minor Spirits), though more of the former, and I'm hoping the stars align in my group to get me out of the forever-DM slot in order to try this new project!

      Delete
  14. Gravity based vestige that increases jump distances, and can push, pull, or slow enemies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe for a Dark Matter Binder?

      Dark Matter vestiges could be really cool.

      Delete
    2. Hm. It really depends on how we spin it. If we throw in random technology, it'd be weird, but something that focuses on hardlight or Old Un could work nicely. Still, that's more of a fluff than a crunch angle, I think.

      Delete
  15. Someone that has access to different magic items. Like a Vault Keeper or maybe the spirit of a dragon who has the perfect item in their hoard. You could allow them to summon a single item from the vault/hoard (with a list of magical/wondrous items to choose from). This vestige may also be so familiar with enchantments that they will make a 'trade' and switch out a Fire enchantment on a sword for an Ice or something.

    Maybe while bound to this vestige you are able to bind additional magical items?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, that's a /very/ interesting premise. I'd have to include a list of prebalanced magic items, but the fact that it ties into your attunement slots means it's somewhat self-balancing.

      Super cool idea! I'm adding it to the list.

      Delete
  16. After reading through “From The Arcaine Archive” I have completely fallen in love with the Dragon Claws cantrip and would love to see it attached to one of the spellcasting vestiges, maybe one with a dragon theme.

    ReplyDelete