|Douglas Muir 406|
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As part of DMDM's Guide to Planar Binding, I want to include an appendix on creatures that you can call and bind. Since there are a lot of outsiders, it's a big chunk of work. So I'm looking to crowdsource it.
Let's start with Lesser Planar Binding, which lets you summon and control outsiders of 6 HD or less. Here follows a partial list of targets. It's heavily weighted towards evil outsiders, because it grew out of my Guide to the Diabolist. You'll notice it's in order from lowest CR to highest; within a CR, it's alphabetical. Please feel free to either amend or expand existing entries, or create new entries (but in the same format, please, for consistency). If this works out, I'll post the other two spells later.
Many thanks in advance,
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So, you have your circle drawn, your sacrifice ready, your nervous apprentice close at hand... it's time to start conjuring and binding! Here I list some of the outsiders you're most likely to conjure up. This is by no means a complete list; consult the pfsrd for more. An asterisk (*) means a creature that's a devil – a Diabolist can use Infernal Charisma against it.
There are three statistics you have to think about here: Spell Resistance, the creature's Charisma, and it's Will save. Its Will save is what it uses to resist being called in the first place, its SR will resist your spells, and its Cha can both get it out of the circle and be used to defy you. Remember, the more times it can defy you, the more rolls it gets to escape! So you want to win those Cha checks.
Lesser Planar Binding: Who You Gonna Call?
Lemure* [CR 1, SR 0, Will +0, Cha 5] -- The lemure is feeble, stupid, and has no useful skills or SLAs. If you’re playing a Diabolist, summon one of these at your initiation to start your career and then never bother again. Everyone else, don’t bother ever.
Imp* [CR 2, SR 0, Will+4, Cha 14] -- These little guys have their uses, but for a creature of their CR they're actually pretty hard to call and bind. Go with a zebub devil instead – they’re dumber and creepier, but are easier to conjure and make better scouts.
Gaav* (Host Devil) [Cr 3, SR 0, Will +0, Cha 8] -- These guys are pretty easy to call and bind, but for combat purposes the bearded devil is just going to give you much more bang for your buck.
Zebub* (Accuser Devil) [CR 3, SR 0, Will +1, Cha 12] -- The zebub isn't terribly bright, but it has at-will invisibility, at-will teleport, +15 stealth (the imp, for all its other fine qualities, has no stealth), whispering wind for reporting back, and a variety of useful SLAs including that weird Infernal Eye thing. Summon these guys regularly for use as spies and scouts -- in particular, if your party doesn't have a rogue, you want one of these flybabies bobbing invisibly down the dungeon corridor in front of you. Despite their low CR, they'll stay at least occasionally handy well into higher levels.
Hell Hound [CR 3, SR 0, Will +1, Cha 6] -- Fairly easy to summon, and their low Int means they're not too hard to please -- if you regularly give them meat and stuff to burn, they should be happy. If you're just getting started with planar binding, or you need to call up a lot of monsters fast with a high chance of success, go with these guys. A pack of them can be fun, but their low CR and lack of useful skills or SLAs means that before long you'll be moving on to bigger and better monsters.
Hound Archon [CR 4, SR 15, Will +5, Cha 12] – The hound archon is a respectable melee combatant, but his Aura of Menace makes him particularly attractive… it’s always a good debuff, but at this level it’s particularly nice, since a lot of low level foes will fail the save and then have trouble hitting him. If you're facing a bunch of mooks, consider turning him invisible: his Aura still works, and it will be very difficult for them to hit him and shake the debuff. He’s also one of the lowest CR creatures that can teleport, giving him wonderful tactical flexibility. And he’s got constant detect evil and magic circle against evil, and can throw aid spells all day long, meaning you and your allies should always be walking around with +1 to hit and an extra 8 or 10 hp.
Ukobach* [Cr 4, SR 15, Will +7, Cha 13] -- These little pyromaniacs are Paizo, but 3.5, not PFRPG -- they showed up in Pathfinder #25 (Bastards of Erebus) and have never been converted. Check whether your DM will allow them. A specialized tool, call these if you want to burn stuff down. Note that they're unusually "friendly" for devils, and may show up with gifts or information.
Barghest [CR 4, SR 0, Will +7, Cha 14] -- Call one of these when you need to get rid of a body.
Shae [CR 4, SR 0, Will +7, Cha 17] -- A decent bodyguard and scout for a creature of its CR. The Barbazu is much more powerful, but the shae is not inherently malicious, and has great stealth and some decent SLAs.
Barbazu* (Bearded Devil) [CR 5, SR 16, Will +3, Cha 10] -- These guys are your go-to, meat and potatoes devils for your first few levels of conjuring. They're relatively easy to conjure and bind: once you overcome their SR, their lowish Will save and weak Cha are unlikely to present problems, and you can raise the odds still higher by giving them something to kill (+2 on the Cha check). A single bearded devil is only CR 5, but four of them are CR 9 and a group of six is CR 10, so you can have squads of them running around into the low teen levels. They have respectable hp, AC 19, and the ability to dish out large amounts of damage quite fast. They're the lowest CR devils with at-will teleportation, which means that for their CR they're incredibly flexible tactically; they can pop up next to enemy casters, swarm opponents who think they're safely distant across a chasm, your party rogue will always have a flank buddy, you name it. Once you're able to cast LPB regularly, you should always have a few of these guys hanging around. Print out a copy of their stat block... you're going to be using it a lot.
Catrina [CR 5, SR 16, Will +9, Cha 19] -- The catrina is a tough creature to call for its CR, so you'll really only call it for one reason: to kill some particular target. It's about the best assassin you can find at this CR. It has invisibility and greater teleport at will, so it can teleport to its target invisibly, gain surprise, and then use its Compel Condemned power to command a deadly kiss. That's basically a save-or-die, and you can boost the DC 17 save by buffing the catrina before sending it on its way.
Cayhound [CR 5, SR 0, Will +6, Cha 13] -- If the barbazu is just not a fit for you alignment-wise, consider a pack of these guys. They're not quite as tough, but they're respectable in combat. The cayhound has the Dimensional Assault feat, which means it can charge up to 80 feet by means of Dimension Door, ignoring everything in between. That's very nice for getting at enemy bosses and casters who are hiding behind a screen of mooks, or enemies who are on the other side of a pit or a wall. Also, as a Medium creature, the hound can be ridden by a Small rider -- and it's been ruled that if your mount uses Dimension Door, you still retain all your actions. So if you're a small sized caster, you can drop a rank or two in Ride, call up a cayhound, and have unparallelled tactical mobility. The hound bamfs you wherever you need to go, you rain death upon your enemies, and next round the hound takes you somewhere else. The hound can't be grappled or Dimension Anchored (although you can -- take care) and its Dimensional Agility feat means that it can Dimension Door and still take a move or swift action.
Lar [CR 5, SR 0, Will +5, Cha 13] -- There aren't a lot of LG outsiders accessible with this spell. Fortunately the Lar is a good one. It is naturally invisible and is able to possess and animate objects of up to Large size. If its host is destroyed, it takes a bit of damage but can promptly possess another object next round. Since large inanimate objects are CR 5, this makes the Lar sort of like a continuous Summon Monster V spell as long as there's a steady supply of stuff for it to inhabit. Oh, and it can also throw DC 17 suggestions all day long -- pretty sweet. (Note that this can combine with its possession power in interesting ways. Put a lar in your desk, and everyone who sits down across from you gets hit with a suggestion every round.) Oh, and when you're not out adventuring, it has a bunch of SLAs it can cast to make your home more comfortable. If you're LG or close to it, put one of these guys in a suit of armor or something and keep it close at hand.
Nightmare [CR 5, SR 0, Will +3, Cha 12] -- There are two reasons to call up a nightmare. One is if you want to travel to the Outer Planes, as the nightmare can Plane Shift itself and one rider once/day. This is quite risky, since you have to travel alone and you can't come back home for a full day. But if for some reason you really need to go, this is the fastest way to get there. The other reason is, of course, to lend it to the party antipaladin, cavalier, or other steed-crazy fighter type. It's a great way to thank the party tank for standing next to you all those times. A few levels later you can offer him the chance to trade up to a cauchemar -- see below.
Umbral Shepherd [CR 5, SR 0, Will +8, Cha 15] – These guys are creepy but full of interesting possibilities. They can possess bodies as if by magic jar… in fact, they have to do so, because once conjured they quickly wither and die (d6 damage/round) without a body. Note that this means that, once called, you can kill an umbral shepherd simply by keeping it in its circle for a few minutes. In theory, this could make it easier to bind. In practice, your DM might rule that a creature of pure evil that serves the god of suffering isn’t going to just roll over for some schmuck mortal caster. In any event, if you’re going to call one, make sure you have a suitable host body ready for it. Once in the body, the shepherd is an excellent servant; not only can it hop from body to body, but it has a nasty Con-damaging touch attack.
Shadow Mastiff [CR 5, SR 0, Will +5, Cha 13] -- Give it a dog collar and cast Darkness on the collar. Voila: the mastiff now has 50% concealment, turning it from a mediocre melee combatant into a very good one. The mastiff's other useful trait is its bay, which can panic everything within 300 feet, but does not affect evil outsiders -- or you, if you make sure to expose yourself to it every morning before breakfast. The evil outsiders exception means the mastiff makes a nice mascot for you and a band of devils.
Venedaemon [CR 5, SR 16, Will +8, Cha 21] – For a CR 5 creature, the venedaemon is remarkably difficult to deal with: good will save, spell resistance, and a really high Cha. And after all that, you get a creature that’s basically a 6th level sorcerer with better hit dice and some immunities. It’s almost useless in melee and it doesn’t have particularly useful SLAs. Unless you have some really specific need for a daemon – someone has to swim through an acid-flooded underground tunnel, or some such – it’s probably not worth it.
Yamah [CR 5, SR 0, Will +7, Cha 20] -- Also hard to call, but at least you get a decent combat creature with an interesting debuff ability: the yamah can cast dispel magic as a touch attack, all day long. This ability would be awesome if it didn't require the relatively fragile yamah to wade into combat. It's still pretty good. If you know you're going to be fighting something with buffs, call up two or more of these butterfly-winged outsiders and have them dispel, dispel, dispel.