March 22, 2019

Döpple and Qadir | 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.

We're closing in on the final few vestiges, so here's an 8th-level and a 9th-level vestige, each with a unique twist: Döpple offers magic items, and Qadir burns himself out after one (very big) spell.

Starting with Döpple:

Döpple, the Archivist
8th-level vestigeAn archivist of countless treasures from the Vaults of Venagoth, Döpple shares history's greatest artifacts with his binders.
     Legend. When the Arcane Archive burned, many of its surviving treasures, including tomes of ancient lore and magic items of boundless power, were transported thousands of miles away to the Vaults of Venagoth, where they rested in safety for centuries. In its prime, the Venagoth family was immensely rich and influential, and chose to amass their wealth in their ancestral Vaults, which were practically impregnable, built deep into a mountain, and secured with excessively potent wards. No thief ever successfully infiltrated the Vaults of Venagoth and made it out alive. But one archivist, Döpple, was freely permitted into the Vaults to organize and curate their vast collection.
     Alas, the record of history is long and unforgiving. With the Venagoth’s waning influence came the ire of a barbarian warlord from the north, who campaigned south to burn cities, dethrone kings, and eventually sack the Venagoth estates. Knowing their treasure to be too momentous to lose, the Venagoth patron commanded Döpple to seal himself within the Vaults until the military could drive back the savage horde.
     But rescue never came. The Archivist lived out his final days, perhaps his final decades, surrounded by the amassed artifacts of millennia. The Vaults of Venagoth were lost to history, but the search for their location always lingers on the entombed Archivist, organizing the collection until his death. Ironically, Döpple's vestige is exceedingly generous where history is not: he is represented by a learned, bespectacled man, standing at the Vaults' door, offering his treasures to those who understand their significance.
     Personality Trait. While bound to this vestige, you gain the following personality trait: “I look after the fine details of all my possessions, keeping them organized and in excellent repair.” 
Archivist's Eye
You can cast the spell identify at will, without expending spell slots or spell components. 
Minor Relic
When you bind Döpple, a magic item appears in your possession. The item vanishes when you are no longer bound to Döpple.
     The item is your choice of the following: 2 beads of force, a necklace of fireballs (2 beads), oil of etherealness, potion of gaseous form, or a potion of invisibility
Major Relic
When you bind Döpple, a magic item appears in your possession. You are automatically attuned to it, if it requires attunement, and it does not count against the number of items you can have attuned. Moreover, no other creature can attune to the item or, if the item is a weapon, use it make an attack. The item vanishes when you are no longer bound to Döpple.
     The item is your choice of the following: a carpet of flying, a cloak of the bat, a flame tongue, gauntlets of ogre power, an instant fortress, a ring of regeneration, a ring of telekinesis, a sun blade, or a wand of wonder
Trait: Spectacles
As a final parting gift, Döpple offers his binders his very spectacles. While bound to Döpple, you can put on or take off these spectacles as an interaction on your turn. While wearing the spectacles, if you make an Intelligence (Arcana), Intelligence (History), Intelligence (Nature), or Intelligence (Religion) check, you can treat the result as a 10, or your binder level plus your Charisma modifier, whichever is higher.

Notes
I didn't conceive of Döpple until someone (forgive me, I'm not sure who) mentioned this very concept in a comment, and I knew it had to become a vestige. Obviously, the balance here is tricky, but I felt the sheer damage increase from a flame tongue demanded a 7th or 8th-level vestige. But that's the big point of contention: should this be 7th or 8th?

Next up, a familiar story for anyone who watched Aladdin growing up:

Qadir, the Damned Djinn
9th-level vestige
An ill-fated genie who abandoned the one who summoned him, Qadir offers his binders a lone wish before abandoning them as well.
     Legend. For centuries, an unremarkable lamp sat untouched, nestled amongst piles of gold in an long-forgotten treasure hoard, until one day, War’Red, the twin brother of legendary thief K’Sir, happened upon the lamp and rubbed its side. Emerging in a swirling cloud of lightning and wind, the noble genie Qadir offered his rescuer three wishes in exchange for his freedom from the lamp.
     Little did Qadir know, War’Red was a cutthroat and a thief, with no love of his fellow man. First, War’Red wished to become a tyrant, who enslaved his enemies and domineered his allies. Reluctantly, Qadir agreed, and in a flash, War’Red became the brutal despot of his land. Then War’Red wished for an army, a million men strong, to spread bloodshed and conquest wherever he turned his gaze. Again, Qadir acquiesced, and legions of foot soldiers sprang into existence around them. Lastly, War’Red wished for immortality, that his reign might be unending. At this, finally, Qadir could comply no longer: he reversed the wishes, banished War’Red to a forsaken desert, and returned to his lamp.
     When K’Sir learned of this, he sought out the lamp and summoned Qadir himself. Again, bound by the magic of the lamp, Qadir offered three wishes to his discoverer, which K’Sir happily accepted: his first wish would be to destroy the genie’s mind, his second to destroy his body, and his final wish to destroy his soul. In a whirlwind of deadly magic, Qadir was obliterated. He lives on only as a vestige, a cautionary tale that you should always honor your promises, no matter the cost.
     Flaw. While bound to this vestige, you gain the following “I must honor my promises, no matter what consequences they might bring.” 
Fatal Wish
While bound to Qadir, you can cast the spell wish, without expending spell slots or spell components, to duplicate the effects of any other spell of 8th level or lower. Once you cast this spell, Qadir is expelled and is replaced by a 1st-level vestige of your choice. You can’t rebind Qadir until you take a long rest. 
Trait: Djinn Aspect
When you bind to Qadir, your skin tints to a blueish hue, and you constantly float a few inches off the ground on a layer of smoke. You ignore the effects of difficult terrain, your speed increases by 10 feet, and you can walk across fluid surfaces, such as water and quicksand.

Notes
The Damned Djinn was on my list from the moment I decided to remake the binder. The story of doing a dark retelling of Aladdin felt perfect for vestiges, but demanded a 9th-level vestige for the use of wish. I'm open to changing the trait entirely, if it doesn't fit the big goal:

- - -

Changelog: 3/22/19: Qadir: Trait added
3/24/19: Dopple: Minor Relic: All options replaced with consumables

13 comments:

  1. Dopple is really cool, but I think the minor relix list could use some expansion; I don't think you'd care about any of those items at 15th lvl (or 13th for that matter). Unless you wanna throw the portable hole in a bag of holding (https://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/comments/1c6fgq/arrow_of_mass_destruction_wish_i_had_thought_of/)

    Qadir is also cool. I have no real idea for a second feature (maybe resist thunder/lightning? Flight? Have an air elemental serve you?), but I do think it should get a personality trait.

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    1. Now that I'm looking at it in context, yeah those magic items are fairly weak. I was trying to avoid consumables of the same power (using the DMG magic item tables to assess power) because they have a lot more oomph than their passive counterparts, but maybe I should make the minor relics consumable? Or, like, a +1 weapon or armor of your choice?

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    2. Some consumables could easily work as minor relics- some of the uncommon potions, bead of force, stuff like that. +1s aren't very interesting at this level, though.

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  2. For Qadir I think you should do fire resistance maybe, Djinns are fire genies, some illusion or trap based magic, and a Trait that makes it so you have a genie whisp instead of legs and you can levitate. I'm not the greatest at homebrew but this should be a basic design of what can be improved upon

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    1. Djinni are wind genies in D&D. Efreeti are the fiery ones.

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  3. For Qadir, didn't you guys make a Genie bloodline sorcerer subclass? How about taking some abilities from there? Like what if he had the minor wish ability you could use twice, and then that fatal wish once, adding up to three wishes?

    In my campaign I made an NPC sorcerer with that subclass but since i didn't want an NPC to overpower the PCs i made it so he could only grant the wish if someone else made the wish. You could do something similar here. After all, Qadir is pretty much gone except his vestige so it's the Binder granting the wish, not the vestige, right?

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    1. The genie subclass had some neat features, but I'd really want the additional ability on Qadir to be passive, or at least at will. A passive should give people a reason not to burn Qadir as soon as possible to rebind him, since they'll also lose a useful feature they could keep using.

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    2. Well the story of Qadir is about him breaking the contract he had with War'red by refusing to give him his last wish. What about something along those lines? Like while you're bound to him, you're immune to being controlled, charmed, bound to magical contacts, etc. It's very niche, good against devils and the Orzhov, but all I got right now.

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    3. It's not bad; I'll keep it in my back pocket. Someone on the Discord mentioned that we could give levitation ala smoke legs. You levitate at a height of 5 feet, take half falling damage, and ignore difficult terrain. Maybe increased movement speed. As far as passives go, that's a lot more substantial

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  4. Looking forward to seeing the final couple of vestiges, and these guys look awesome, though I will say that it does feel weird to put the limit on what can be done with Qadir and wish as besides his passive trait, is the only activated ability he has, and so I think it wouldn't necessarily be entirely out of the question to allow for, nevermind I just realized why giving the unrestricted wish would be bad, since you could then rebind to the other 9th level vestige, which I am guessing is going to be really quite powerful as well

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  5. I know this doesn't apply to either of these, but I noticed while rereading Bluetongue that the bag doesn't have a time limit for how long someone can survive in it. I recommend you list a time limit like the bag of holding or else people, like me, will troll their DM's and sneak an entire party into a castle by holding the party in the bag

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    1. First you have to be able to fit into the bag. Second theres no air in the bag of holding so that's you're time limit.

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  6. Two things. I think it would be cool (tho maybe not in flavor) if you can hand out the major magic item for döpple. Maybe flavor it if you lose sight of the person borrowing it, it returns to you? Also what size is the carpet you summon?

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