November 9, 2018

The Roadmap | 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. 

As the culmination of our last two articles, we're finally coming to a roadmap for vestiges to be included in the new binder. Now that we know how new vestiges will be structured and which archetypes we'll tackle, we can start writing them!

The List

Here's a list of the archetypes we intend to tackle, with some vague notes on what they're including. I'll talk about the first four levels, since those are the vestiges I'll be tackling first, but I'll include the whole list for completion's sake.

1st Level

Rogue: Stealth, thieves’ tools, limited Cunning Action, and TWF]
Face/Skill Monkey: Skill proficiencies, Persuasion + Deception, charm person, disguise self (at will?), grow in power with more vestiges
Sword and Board: shield prof + versatile weapons
Spellcasting 101: Ritual spells + 1st level spells

1st level was really important to get right and, quite by accident, we've decided that the initial vestiges should be representative of the Rogue, Bard, Fighter, and Wizard. These general themes should be available early and fairly cheap to invest in to ensure that the binder is as flexible as possible, while also being playable at a low level.

2nd Level

Healer: Healing point pool or a few castings of cure wounds, ally buffs
Heavy Weapon Fighter | Tilo, the Colossus
Archer: Bow and arrow proficiency, special arrows, charge shot

We tried to use 2nd level to round out the options that we're offering, coving important categories that couldn't fit in 1st level. We're actually doing a healing vestige, but it's not going to single-handedly turn the binder into a healer.

3rd Level

Corsair: Dueling weapons + Extra Attack + mobility + parry?
Evoker: Fireball, scorching ray, and firebolt (definitely a fire theme here)
AC Tank: Heavy armor prof + Protection fighting style

Big power increases at 3rd level. This will have the only vestige that gets heavy armor and one of the few vestiges that gets Extra Attack. Also, we've got our first 'blow things to pieces' caster.

4th Level

Witch: darkness (at will?), passive debuffs and CC, Lovecraft themes?
Thorns: Thorns damage, higher max HP, and HP-sacrifice mechanics
Summoner: conjure beasts, conjure minor elementals, familiar?

We've decided to make 4th level a lateral move in power from 3rd level. There's no huge mechanics here, like Extra Attack or fireball, but more mechanics which subtly turn the tide of combat in your favor: summoning, debuffing, and HP manipulation shenanigans.

5th Level

Teleporter: Teleportation-based mobility through short range teleport at will (maybe misty step at will), abundant misty steps, teleport-strike, dimension door
Evoker: cone of cold, sleet storm, and more evocation
Sentinel: Reach with all weapons, focus on opportunity attacks

6th Level

Necromancer: animate dead, create undead
Manipulation: Illusions, dominate person, etc.
Barbarian: Extra Attack + retaliation + cleave (attack more if you kill) + limited damage resistance

7th Level

Antimage: Cheap counterspell and dispel magic, limited truesight, and bonus damage on spellcasters
Flyer: Grow literal wings, gain flyby attacks

8th Level

Magic Items: Pick four magic items from a list
Walls: Minotaur character that gets a charge, can solve mazes ribbon, and wall spells

9th Level

Wish: 1/day wish and is then replaced by a 1st level vestige
Chronomancer: time stop, haste, and moment to think
[Instead of chronomancer: Perhaps Erebus vestige]

In Summary

This was a really hard list to make. All of the vestiges are subject to change, but a lot of the earlier ones are set in stone. We have room for one more 1st level vestige, but I'm saving it for later in development (we could obviously do an unarmed fighting vestige or a master thrower at this level, but we should wait and figure out what feels right.)

So, my two biggest questions are: does this seem versatile enough and are you happy with the lineup? Let me know in the comments and next week I'll start writing vestiges.


  1. All in all I think it looks great, but I'd still like for the retaliate when your allies get hurt thing to show up somewhere. I'm thinking either as a big whopper active on the AC Tank or as a more accessible thing on Sentinel would be the places where it makes the most sense. Additionally, I would love to see a leadership subtheme being fit into one of them somewhere, in part because it can be neat and in part because binder being cha based but an odd duck, it fits excellently in my mind as a Leader of the Outcasts kind of character and having a vestige that plays to that would be delicious AF. Though that may possibly be better suited for a subclass

  2. I personally very much enjoyed the idea of the vestige sign fighter, using the various augments to your body to fight your enemies. Slashing with the claws, batter with the metal plates on the arms, then finishing them off by skewering them with the horns.

    1. I second this, With the absence of the totemist in 5e the binder was pretty much the only option for natural attacks with less bookeeping than a druid.
      Man Do I miss the old PH2 Shapeshifter druid.

    2. I do have one place left at 1st level -- it's entirely possible that's what I should put there. Good suggestion.

    3. I also like idea of a sign fighter, the only problem I see is that different people will want different signs for that, such as I would prefer claws of some sort but someone else might prefer horns or metal fists

  3. So, of these, the main concern that jumps out is the "Magic Items" option. The game obviously has them, but this is going to be hell to balance, because 5e doesn't assume your characters will necessarily get magic items. At 15th level (I think I'm doing that math correctly), those are going to have to be some heavy hitting magic items, so useful-but-not-really-combat-oriented mainstays like the Decanter of Endless Water are presumably not in the mix. I guess I'm just having trouble thinking of what could possibly be selected here -- I'm not opposed to the idea, but the options (including, naturally, MFOV's own custom items) are vast, and the Binder already has a whooole lot of options.

    1. You've a good point there. A vestige is one of 20 options, it shouldn't offer 20 more options for what it does.

    2. The intent with that one is to provide a fairly limited number of magic items to choose from. Perhaps three short lists of items: one list of fairly weak items, one list of medium items, and a list of magic weapons. I fully understand that balance on this one is going to have to be very conservative.

  4. This seems pretty versatile for combat, but I'm a bit dissappointed not seeing many that really utilize the binder's ability to change focus- as in, vestiges that are meant for very specific situations (combat or non-combat).
    Among the ones presented here, only the face/skillmonkey, magic items, walls and antimage really do that.
    Sure, you can change whatever evoker you choose for damage types, and choose witch and manipulation only against enemies that will be affected, but that's no more versatility than a wizard choosing spells.

    That being said, I haven't seen the actual abilities (of the vestiges and of the class itself) and I might be wrong about this.

    1. I mean, you're absolutely right. It's entirely possible that I'm going to have to scrap some of the more basic vestiges for more off-the-wall exotic ones, just to make sure that we can make this /appealing/. It's also possible the specific vestiges will become more interesting as we imbue them with personality.

  5. I like these a lot, I would like to see something druidy maybe a more themed or limited wildshape based on the specific vestige, regardless though I'm super excited to see how this progresses and can't wait to play a binder again

    1. Either the Summoner at 4th or the Healer at 2nd is probably going to have a druid theme, but I don't think limited Wildshape is going to make the cut (it's really strong and really complicated for a vestige feature.)

    2. Maybe 4th level vestige with polymorph 1/long rest?

    3. I'm glad to hear their will be a nature option, and, though I agree with the justification from a balance perspective, I am somewhat sad to see that no wildshape parody will make it into the druidy bit. I am interested however, to see where you will take a druidic healer or summoner as a vestige. A healer focused on healing spirit would be interesting, but it is rather strong out of combat, so perhaps only with alterations.

  6. I personally don’t really like the walls 8th level, I would rather see something that would enchance any melee more like a once per test tensers transformation or something similar, or maybe adittional damage to every attacks, I just see walls being overshadowed by the magic items that could increase attack tremendously. Also speaking of the magic items, in a previous post you mentioned a few lists, one being magic weapons, I think it would be cool to see some spellcasting focuses on that list as well so non melee could go that path also, and it would make it more difficult but having themed custom items that all fit a specific aesthetic would be kinda cool and make it seem less random. Just my thought, all and all though it looks really good and I can’t wait to play it.

    1. Also you mentioned a fire theme for the evoker, I don’t know if this will fit at all with the theme your going for but the dragon claws cantrip but limiting it to fire might be a good cantrip fit, although I am a bit biased because I just think that cantrip is super cool and straight up turns you into Natsu from Fairy Tail

    2. There's a pretty good chance I'll replace the Walls guy with something else in the grand scheme of things.

      There's a chance I'll bring in the Dragon Claws cantrip, but I'm just as likely to build it in as a vestige Trait feature than include it as a spell.

    3. I was wondering if maybe one of the evoker vestiges could just be replaced with a dragon vestige. Pick up a breath weapon and... stuff.

  7. Y'all could extrapolate the fire evoker theme into a more general elemental theme and take advantage of those lovely spells y'all wrote for the Shugenja.

    Also, I do like the idea of some very limited shapeshifting. Thanks for looping us in on this process.

    1. They could combine a few of the pre-existing vestiges into one fire manipulating being. that might work.

  8. I'd be sad to see some of the cooler and more unique vestiges get tossed by the wayside(poor lost little void dwellers) in order to create balance. I get that some were almost useless while others were OP, but the flavor was awesome.

    1. It's not really for balance so much as it is to improve coverage and keep the list contained. I hope as we expand this list into full-on vestiges, you'll see a lot of that uniqueness come back.

  9. How are subclasses going to affect vestige choice in this remake?

    I'm probably jumping ahead here, but some of those vestige ideas duplicate current subclass features

    1. That's a good question. We're still hammering out our ideas on subclasses and how they fit into the main class, but rest assured, there won't be any duplications in the final class.