Planar Ally and Planar Binding: Summon Hate


General Discussion (Prerelease)

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RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

There was something that I remembered in reading the other thread that mentions planar binding. That I dislike both planar binding and planar ally.

I never could come to terms with what would should be even called intended when PCs start using these spells. I mean, it the intended power to be able to something as strong as an earth elemental?

A 8 hit die earth elemental with a CR of 5?

Or is it fair game if a PC can also summon a ghaele (10 HD, CR 13!) that matches the earth elemental's hp and saves, then has better skills, speed, saves, attack, abilities, and is possibly capable of being just as good of a spell caster as the summoner, if not better (They can cast spells as a 14th level cleric, to summon them you need caster level 11 at least). And why not, she comes with a +4 holy greatsword.

Should I start looking to crush PCs who try to use these spells? Should I just arbitrarily punish a player who crosses where I think the line is?

I have similar feeling about these spells and polymorph. I don't want to play baby sitter for every use of these spells. I want to feel like, that they can cast them and it will be unlikely that the game will all of a sudden become enormously easier for them. I don't want to wonder, "I wonder if they will just blow through this adventure now," every time I hear, "I cast planar binding."

---

Before I end this, a quick comment to the differences between planar ally and planar binding. They are pretty similar in function (and the same level) but there are a few differences in what they need. Planar ally has a expensive material component, your diety in general chooses who answers your call, and requires prices so high that I imagine many PCs wish they could be summoned by planar ally* (it should be noted that they can reduce or eliminate the price if they really want to accomplish this task). The additional cost for planar binding is that you tick off yet another extraplanar being.

While there are costs for both, I think that the prices for outside help for both spells to be more in line with each other.

* A small earth elemental if all I wanted was something that could earth glide. However it still would want 200 gp for less than half an hour or 1000 gp for less than a day's work.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think it's a shame to just disallow the spells or punish the players for trying it. I'm playing a Malconvoker (summoner/binder), Valgrim the Dwarf, in my group's current Rise of the Runelords campaign.

I wanted to see if you could make a good summoner character. Hunter and warlock are two fun WoW classes based on having substantially powerful "pets" - more powerful than the other D&D options (animal companions and familiars FTL). And my six year old loves her some Pokemon :-)

I haven't done it before because it takes a lot of preparation (worrying about your stats and spells is usually enough complexity, worrying about a bunch of monsters' too is worse). And also, frankly, I wanted a DM I trusted, because binds are potentially powerful and require adjudication and I've have previous DMs either disallow them or turn them into hose-traps.

The summoning spells are pretty weak straight up, but if you specialize in them they become viable. I have min-maxed my ass off (most of the players in our group do that, if only because we're all very familiar with the rules) and I did a lot of work to come up with lists and pros and cons of all legal summons and all legal binds. The Malconvoker prestige class, for those not familiar with it, allows you to summon and bind evil creatures while being good, and has a lot of buffs to your summon/bind abilities. My character's 14th level now and does lesser binds and normal binds, and Paizo put in a circle that let me do a greater bind in the AP.

So what you're hearing now is real play experience, with all levels of bind, with strong optimization (go go Wizards CharOp board). Binds have the opportunity for a lot of stuff but they aren't unbalancing in our experience. (At least not in a party where our Varisian scarf-fighting swordsage frequently deals out damage that requires massive damage saves from his opponents).

Here's the problem with binds. They take time. The creature gets a Will save to just ignore the bind in the first place, and Will saves are high among extraplanar critters. Unless you feel like taking a huge risk, you have to do your bind at some kind of home base where you can inscribe a circle and debuff your binds for a couple days using geas etc. to have a chance at making the opposed CHA check. And dear lord you don't want to get interrupted and have your circle broken. They're also hard to buff (summons tend to be much stronger, what with Augment Summoning and all kinds of other abilities). At the level you get something as a bind, you're fighting stuff tougher than it is.

Example - we fought a bad guy with two glabrezus when I was level 11. Now I can bind a glabrezu, a CR 13 monster, at level 14. We're fighting creatures with CRs in the 17 range. Frankly, it has trouble affecting our enemies!

My best LPB was a bar-lgura, mainly using it for its teleport-you-around powers. My one GPB, a nalfeshnee, was actually not as great as I'd hoped. Anyway, my super-optimized summoner/binder has certainly been cool and had his moments, but hasn't caused any issues that a quick spot ruling from the DM hasn't fixed. And hasn't outshone all the other characters, which is the most important part.

Now the one thing I've self-censored on is the Wish abilities. (Although if things get bad in Xin-Shalast I may try to get a wish out of a glabrezu and know it'll come back to haunt me). But besides that one exception, I've been pulling out the stops and it hasn't been unbalanced.


So you get Greater Planar Binding at 15th level. It can call a creature up to 18HD, ie, a Pit Fiend, which is CR20. Assuming a little preparation (and some Assary Resistance magic), punching through its SR and keeping it bound aren't actually that much of a problem, and Mind Fog can deal with the saving throw. A cleverly worded contingent spell or crafted contingency can help insure these things go off exactly at the right time if necessary. (Well, assay resistance is a swift action iirc).

Now, you get to bargain with the Pit Fiend. I recommend Charm Monster (while its Mind Fogged anyway) to help out. I also recommend suggesting some reasonable recompensation for its services.

You've successfully bound and bargained with a Pit Fiend. Now you have his services. That's right, a 15th level character with a CR20 18HD pet. If that doesn't scream broken, I don't know what does. Basically, whatever is reasonable in-game, there is no way mechanically that this is a 'reasonable' situation. (But that doesn't effect what the Pit Fiend thinks its time is worth at all).

Bonus: If you treat the Pit Fiend fairly, you may even make an ally... ok, not so much as a Malconvoker. Neutral wizards don't have to worry about dealing with outsiders of any alignment. (Good mostly gets the shaft because there are fewer core Good outsiders. Sufficiently many MMs can generally solve this problem). Having a Pit Fiend on speed dial? Priceless.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

I'm sure this has been suggested before, but the other thread about the planar ally and planar binding spells simply grows too fast for me to keep up. What if the spells were changed to work off of CR instead of HD?

Sure, CR isn't perfect, and there are monsters that simply have the wrong CR. However, it is a measurement that's at least in theory designed to measure the power of a creature, while HD is not. I'm not saying that this alone will fix the spells (since you can still bind creatures that have SLAs that are out of whack with their CR, or that cause trouble if the PCs can use at will), but I think this is a step in the right direction to better balance the spells.


Anyone want to consider Magic Jar in the context of Planar Binding?

You call a creature and then Magic Jar to take over its body. We're good so far.

(1) Can you agree to the service you request on the creature's behalf? (ie, the body is bound and the body must agree)

(2) Can you just go walking around in its body, not subject to the binding, because you are not mentally the creature? (the mind is bound, and the mind must agree.)

Clearly one of these sets of statements is true. I don't know which one. Either one is exceedingly problematic (although 2 seems less bad overall... but we're talking differences of inches on a scale of miles).

Is it evil? Sure. You're using *magic jar*, of course its evil. But a neutral mage can do it more or less without consequences, especially if he uses the acquired body to go do good for the day.

2 of course raises the issue: when the caster relinquishes the body, is it still bound as per Planar Binding? (Lets assume the caster returns it to a suitably prepared location to actually fulfill the necessary requirements before getting out). I mean, if its the creatures mind that is bound, well, it should still be subject to the spell, right?

Dark Archive

Squirrelloid wrote:

Anyone want to consider Magic Jar in the context of Planar Binding?

You call a creature and then Magic Jar to take over its body. We're good so far.

(1) Can you agree to the service you request on the creature's behalf? (ie, the body is bound and the body must agree)

(2) Can you just go walking around in its body, not subject to the binding, because you are not mentally the creature? (the mind is bound, and the mind must agree.)

Clearly one of these sets of statements is true. I don't know which one. Either one is exceedingly problematic (although 2 seems less bad overall... but we're talking differences of inches on a scale of miles).

Is it evil? Sure. You're using *magic jar*, of course its evil. But a neutral mage can do it more or less without consequences, especially if he uses the acquired body to go do good for the day.

2 of course raises the issue: when the caster relinquishes the body, is it still bound as per Planar Binding? (Lets assume the caster returns it to a suitably prepared location to actually fulfill the necessary requirements before getting out). I mean, if its the creatures mind that is bound, well, it should still be subject to the spell, right?

Planar Binding+Magic Jar wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) work.

Planar Binding summons either a elemental, or outsider (I'm assuming outsider means outsider type) which per their types description, body and soul are one in the same. And I'm not stating some fluff, but rather the rule under the types traits here. So in theory, when you use magic jar on an outsider or elemental, it tries to force a outsider's soul from its body but can't because its body and soul are one in the same. I don't see how it could work.

Of course, I will (and there was a reason for the shouldn't) give you that it doesn't say explicitly that it won't work. However, as it is the basis of several spells not working on outsiders and elementals, I suggest that we change Magic Jar to not work on outsiders and elementals.


BM wrote:
Squirrelloid wrote:

Anyone want to consider Magic Jar in the context of Planar Binding?

You call a creature and then Magic Jar to take over its body. We're good so far.

(1) Can you agree to the service you request on the creature's behalf? (ie, the body is bound and the body must agree)

(2) Can you just go walking around in its body, not subject to the binding, because you are not mentally the creature? (the mind is bound, and the mind must agree.)

Clearly one of these sets of statements is true. I don't know which one. Either one is exceedingly problematic (although 2 seems less bad overall... but we're talking differences of inches on a scale of miles).

Is it evil? Sure. You're using *magic jar*, of course its evil. But a neutral mage can do it more or less without consequences, especially if he uses the acquired body to go do good for the day.

2 of course raises the issue: when the caster relinquishes the body, is it still bound as per Planar Binding? (Lets assume the caster returns it to a suitably prepared location to actually fulfill the necessary requirements before getting out). I mean, if its the creatures mind that is bound, well, it should still be subject to the spell, right?

Planar Binding+Magic Jar wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) work.

Planar Binding summons either a elemental, or outsider (I'm assuming outsider means outsider type) which per their types description, body and soul are one in the same. And I'm not stating some fluff, but rather the rule under the types traits here. So in theory, when you use magic jar on an outsider or elemental, it tries to force a outsider's soul from its body but can't because its body and soul are one in the same. I don't see how it could work.

Of course, I will (and there was a reason for the shouldn't) give you that it doesn't say explicitly that it won't work. However, as it is the basis of several spells not working on outsiders and...

If we want to be quite technical about it, when you call or summon an outsider from an outerplane to the prime, you create a physical body for it. Similarly, when you go to an outerplane you don't take your physical body at all. So magic jar works against an outsider on the Prime, but fails against anything if you try to use it on an outerplane.

All of these nuances that were logically derived from the explicit metaphysics of the situation have been slowly eroded from the game from 1st edition till now so that the rules could be more general and you didn't need to remember a million corner cases. As it is now, magic jar works on anything with a body and a soul, which includes (most) outsiders (obviously not outsider constructs). I think you can probably find an exact reference to magic jar in the 1st edition manual of the planes to the effect of what you're talking about.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Squirrelloid wrote:

Anyone want to consider Magic Jar in the context of Planar Binding?

You call a creature and then Magic Jar to take over its body. We're good so far.

(1) Can you agree to the service you request on the creature's behalf? (ie, the body is bound and the body must agree)

(2) Can you just go walking around in its body, not subject to the binding, because you are not mentally the creature? (the mind is bound, and the mind must agree.)

Clearly one of these sets of statements is true. I don't know which one. Either one is exceedingly problematic (although 2 seems less bad overall... but we're talking differences of inches on a scale of miles).

Is it evil? Sure. You're using *magic jar*, of course its evil. But a neutral mage can do it more or less without consequences, especially if he uses the acquired body to go do good for the day.

2 of course raises the issue: when the caster relinquishes the body, is it still bound as per Planar Binding? (Lets assume the caster returns it to a suitably prepared location to actually fulfill the necessary requirements before getting out). I mean, if its the creatures mind that is bound, well, it should still be subject to the spell, right?

OK, on a slightly tangential note:

The normal method of binding involves a magic circle against evil to imprison the creature "To create the trap, you must use a magic circle spell". Magic circle against evil is a spell that specifically blocks the magic jar spell as in "Second, the barrier blocks any attempt to possess the warded creature (by a magic jar attack, for example)".

As far as I can see, the summoning circle itself protects the creature from magic jar (also dominate monster, but not charm). After it has agreed to the bargaining and it has left the circle, I suppose you could ambush it with magic jar.

Another possibility by an interpretation of the "inward facing" magic circle rules would be that you and the recepticle of the magic jar could be inside the magic circle at the time of calling/binding. Which may or may not be a dangerous proposition depending on what you are calling.

Or if the "inward facing" magic circle does nothing to protect the creature at all, does it stop the creature's soul "escaping" the magic circle into a jar outside the circle?

Certainly, if you tried to cross the magic circle (in your new spiffy body) with the magic jar effect in place, it would be suppressed for the duration of the magic circle and (then what?? - your soul is shunted back to the jar?). The only way to be sure would be to break the magic circle, which you can't do by yourself because you are the imprisoned creature - or at least it's body. I suppose that's what apprentices are for.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I've lost my post twice so I won't go into it in depth, except to say

1. It's a lot tougher to bind a pit fiend than that, requires a lot of risk, full spell loadout, secure location, time, etc.

2. Opinions are good, but we've been using binding a lot in a real long term campaign and it hasn't been an issue. If you don't like it don't use it. Everyone has a pet thing (orb spells are totally unbalanced because they bypass SR!) but it seems to have been coming out in the end fine for everyone (in the other thread, the repeated calls for anyone who has actually had problems with binding in their campaigns has come up empty).


Ernest Mueller wrote:

Everyone has a pet thing (orb spells are totally unbalanced because they bypass SR!) but it seems to have been coming out in the end fine for everyone (in the other thread, the repeated calls for anyone who has actually had problems with binding in their campaigns has come up empty).

I can't speak for anyone else, but in my case it's an issue of (a) I can use Planar Binding to get something lame like a Water Elemental and my DM will O.K. it, or (b) I can use Planar Binding to get something less lame like a Ghaele Eladrin and my DM will ban it. So I avoid the spell completely.

So in one sense there's no problem with abusing it, but it's effectively ruling out a potentially useful spell.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber
hogarth wrote:
Ernest Mueller wrote:

Everyone has a pet thing (orb spells are totally unbalanced because they bypass SR!) but it seems to have been coming out in the end fine for everyone (in the other thread, the repeated calls for anyone who has actually had problems with binding in their campaigns has come up empty).

I can't speak for anyone else, but in my case it's an issue of (a) I can use Planar Binding to get something lame like a Water Elemental and my DM will O.K. it, or (b) I can use Planar Binding to get something less lame like a Ghaele Eladrin and my DM will ban it. So I avoid the spell completely.

Is that a problem with the spell or a problem with the DM?

And what do you percieve to be an optimal solution to this situation?

Scarab Sages

Squirrelloid wrote:

So you get Greater Planar Binding at 15th level. It can call a creature up to 18HD, ie, a Pit Fiend, which is CR20. Assuming a little preparation (and some Assary Resistance magic), punching through its SR and keeping it bound aren't actually that much of a problem, and Mind Fog can deal with the saving throw. A cleverly worded contingent spell or crafted contingency can help insure these things go off exactly at the right time if necessary. (Well, assay resistance is a swift action iirc).

Now, you get to bargain with the Pit Fiend. I recommend Charm Monster (while its Mind Fogged anyway) to help out. I also recommend suggesting some reasonable recompensation for its services.

You've successfully bound and bargained with a Pit Fiend. Now you have his services. That's right, a 15th level character with a CR20 18HD pet. If that doesn't scream broken, I don't know what does. Basically, whatever is reasonable in-game, there is no way mechanically that this is a 'reasonable' situation. (But that doesn't effect what the Pit Fiend thinks its time is worth at all).

Bonus: If you treat the Pit Fiend fairly, you may even make an ally... ok, not so much as a Malconvoker. Neutral wizards don't have to worry about dealing with outsiders of any alignment. (Good mostly gets the shaft because there are fewer core Good outsiders. Sufficiently many MMs can generally solve this problem). Having a Pit Fiend on speed dial? Priceless.

You do realize that the Pit Fiend must first fail its Will save against mind fog for your plan to work? At most, your 15th level caster will have a DC of about 25 for this spell. You are also arguing for using a non-core spell (assay resistance) to "break" the core rules, which isn't fair.

A Pit Fiend as an ally? Sure, if you are aware that at the next available opportunity, that Pit Fiend is going to use all of the resources at its disposal to make you its slave (including using your own methods against you, just to be ironic - a pit fiend can use wish, or hire a caster, to perform a binding and call you by name).

Just to summarize, this is the process to bind a Pit Fiend:

Will Save (DC 25): Pit Fiend at +21
IF failed, then immediately, and once per day afterwards:
Spell Resistance (d20+19): Pit Fiend at 32
Charisma Check (DC 22+Cha mod): Pit Fiend at +8
Dimensional Travel - and this is the big part, so I put it in bold:

Pit Fiends can cast wish once per year. This allows them to duplicate the effects of any 8th level or lower wizard spell. This allows them to use dimensional travel to escape the trap, or simply undo the effects of the binding. You are then fighting an angry CR 20 monster at 15th level.

I will also point out that Ghaele's can cast 7th level spells, which would allow them to prepare ethereal jaunt and just leave the trap the next day.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Wicht wrote:
hogarth wrote:
Ernest Mueller wrote:

Everyone has a pet thing (orb spells are totally unbalanced because they bypass SR!) but it seems to have been coming out in the end fine for everyone (in the other thread, the repeated calls for anyone who has actually had problems with binding in their campaigns has come up empty).

I can't speak for anyone else, but in my case it's an issue of (a) I can use Planar Binding to get something lame like a Water Elemental and my DM will O.K. it, or (b) I can use Planar Binding to get something less lame like a Ghaele Eladrin and my DM will ban it. So I avoid the spell completely.

Is that a problem with the spell or a problem with the DM?

And what do you percieve to be an optimal solution to this situation?

That's been my problem in the past too, which is why I waited for a "DM I can trust" to try a binder.

I think the solution is to have some adjudication guidance in the book. There's a whole section on adjudicating illusions. If you just say "It's up to DM's discretion! Tra la!" then you are causing strife long term. Players get the real sense it's "not fair" - the DM is the arbiter, but it's a game with rules, and you're used to saying "I cast fireball, here's what it does" without being overruled at every turn. For effects that are by their nature more complicated - illusions, dealing with outsiders, wishes - need some verbiage on what's OK use, what's abusive use.

Obviously some of the posters here consider "binding a creature of Hit Dice allowed by the spell!" to be unbalanced. If you want to houserule it's one thing, but it would be nice to have a clearer statement from real game developers on "this is OK - this is not." That way everyone goes in with aligned expectations.


Wicht wrote:
hogarth wrote:

I can't speak for anyone else, but in my case it's an issue of (a) I can use Planar Binding to get something lame like a Water Elemental and my DM will O.K. it, or (b) I can use Planar Binding to get something less lame like a Ghaele Eladrin and my DM will ban it. So I avoid the spell completely.

Is that a problem with the spell or a problem with the DM?

And what do you percieve to be an optimal solution to this situation?

If every DM I play with bans or nerfs a particular spell and I also personally agree that a spell should should be banned/nerfed, then I'm forced to conclude that it is a problem with the spell, in my experience.

There are a variety of solutions. My suggestion would be to have an xp/gp cost, just like Planar Ally does, and to replace the hit dice limit with something else, like a CR limit.

My guiding principles are:

  • It should be very tough to get service without payment (especially for powerful creatures).
  • Hit Dice are a particularly poor way of measuring the power of a creature (see 3.5 Polymorph for details).


Ernest Mueller wrote:

I've lost my post twice so I won't go into it in depth, except to say

1. It's a lot tougher to bind a pit fiend than that, requires a lot of risk, full spell loadout, secure location, time, etc.

2. Opinions are good, but we've been using binding a lot in a real long term campaign and it hasn't been an issue. If you don't like it don't use it. Everyone has a pet thing (orb spells are totally unbalanced because they bypass SR!) but it seems to have been coming out in the end fine for everyone (in the other thread, the repeated calls for anyone who has actually had problems with binding in their campaigns has come up empty).

As a player I try to avoid using broken material. I wouldn't want to DM players doing that most of the time, and as I DM a lot that when I do play I extend the same courtesy to my DM.

(I also generally end up as a cleric because no one else wants to play one. And trying to play a cleric and not make the fighters cry about it is hard, let me tell you).

That said, we recently ran a rotating-DM Races of War campaign (google it if you don't know what I'm talking about) where everything was allowed as written. We entered the Wish economy at level ... 7? it may have been as late as 9. DMs also felt free to hit us with ELs >> party level. But Races of War makes the non-casters as awesome as the casters, so all the players were equally awesome - it just meant the DMs had to compensate. Fortunately, we have a number (4) of DMs with 10+ years of experience.


Jal Dorak wrote:


You do realize that the Pit Fiend must first fail its Will save against mind fog for your plan to work? At most, your 15th level caster will have a DC of about 25 for this spell. You are also arguing for using a non-core spell (assay resistance) to "break" the core rules, which isn't fair.

The whole point of backwards-compatibility is so you can use those non-core splatbooks. Its one spell. It appeared in at least three splats (OA, CA, SC) going back to 3.0. Its going to appear in games. Pretending it doesn't exist helps no one.

On the matter at hand, your save DC is plausibly 30 at this point, possibly as high as 32 or as low as 28. (If we want to talk about level 16 its going to go up another 1). Its Will save is +21. Lets say it needs a 9. Not that bad, right? Well, the chances of it making two such saves is .36. So 64% of the time it either fails the first save (meaning it needs a 19 on the second one, ie, changing the odds), or it makes the first but fails the second (which is what you really care about).

The actual chance P of this making the save vs. charm monster is .6*.6 + .4*.1 = .4. Now, we can find other ways to make this better, and get party help. This is one wizard, alone, and he has a 60% chance of charming a bound Pit Fiend (a CR20 monster) without fully optimizing for it. (if the pit fiend needs an 11 he only avoids being bound 27.5% of the time).

Jal Dorak wrote:


A Pit Fiend as an ally? Sure, if you are aware that at the next available opportunity, that Pit Fiend is going to use all of the resources at its disposal to make you its slave (including using your own methods against you, just to be ironic -...

Why? Its impossible to actually mutually aid one another and establish a longterm relationship? So, basically, your response to Planar Binding is the wizard should always be utterly screwed after using it? Last I checked that wasn't in the spell description. Yes, wizards who mistreat creatures they bind probably get creatures upset at them (so you only mistreat creatures you can wipe out with a thought). But bartering for mutual profit should create lasting relationships. (And last I checked, Demons liked being brought to the Prime material plane - I could see a Pit Fiend exchanging his services for a short time in return for being allowed to stay on the Prime for extra time afterwards. Now, many PCs wouldn't agree to that... but that doesn't mean some wouldn't. Its not like we're lacking fantasy anti-hero literary figures - a certain Dragonlance mage comes to mind.)

The PC is a powerful wizard, even in FR (which is overloaded with powerful characters) 15th level wizard still means a lot. By assumption he's willing to do things for the Pit Fiend in return for help from said Pit Fiend. The Pit Fiend *isn't stupid*. Why kill someone who can be useful to you? Does this mean plothooks? Sure. But there were *going to be plothooks anyway*, so the PC not only gets a power boost whenever he speed dials his buddy, he also has set the campaign down a particular road (unless the DM just ignores the plothook potential, in which case there was no cost). That's a lot of power for one spell.

Finally, re: the Pit Fiend binds you. No, you are not an Outsider. Thus, Planar Binding does not work on you. Ever.

Now, if he can get someone to cast Gate he might be able to Gate you in. Except if he names you specifically then he's calling a unique creature and you don't have to respond. If he just wants a human, well... there are lots of humans...

Scarab Sages

Squirrelloid wrote:


The whole point of backwards-compatibility is so you can use those non-core splatbooks. Its one spell. It appeared in at least three splats (OA, CA, SC) going back to 3.0. Its going to appear in games. Pretending it doesn't exist helps no one.

I'm not pretending anything. You are claiming that a core spell is broken because of a non-core spell. If anything, Jason should make a new version of assay resistance before he changes planar binding.

Squirrelloid wrote:

On the matter at hand, your save DC is plausibly 30 at this point, possibly as high as 32 or as low as 28. (If we want to talk about level 16 its going to go up another 1). Its Will save is +21. Lets say it needs a 9. Not that bad, right? Well, the chances of it making two such saves is .36. So 64% of the time it either fails the first save (meaning it needs a 19 on the second one, ie, changing the odds), or it makes the first but fails the second (which is what you really care about).

The actual chance P of this making the save vs. charm monster is .6*.6 + .4*.1 = .4. Now, we can find other ways to make this better, and get party help. This is one wizard, alone, and he has a 60% chance of charming a bound Pit Fiend (a CR20 monster) without fully optimizing for it. (if the pit fiend needs an 11 he only avoids being bound 27.5% of the time).

Where are you getting a 32 save for this spell? Let's assume your character started with an 18 Int, which is max unless you are a Grey Elf. Then you raised it by +1 every four levels, which gives you a 21 by 15th level. Let's assume you have an item that grants a +6 enhancement bonus to Int (the maximum). Finally, a tome of clear thought for +3. That gives you a 30. Let's assume you also took Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus for both Enchantment and Conjuration schools. All told, that gives you a DC 24 for mind fog and a DC 27 for greater planar binding. So now the Pit Fiend needs a 3 against mind fog, and needs a 6 against the Binding. If the Pit Fiend throws up unholy aura first, it now needs to roll a 2 each day against the Binding.

Squirrelloid wrote:


Why? Its impossible to actually mutually aid one another and establish a longterm relationship? So, basically, your response to Planar Binding is the wizard should always be utterly screwed after using it? Last I checked that wasn't in the spell description. Yes, wizards who mistreat creatures they bind probably get creatures upset at them (so you only mistreat creatures you can wipe out with a thought). But bartering for mutual profit should create lasting relationships. (And last I checked, Demons liked being brought to the Prime material plane - I could see a Pit Fiend exchanging his services for a short time in return for being allowed to stay on the Prime for extra time afterwards. Now, many PCs wouldn't agree to that... but that doesn't mean some wouldn't. Its not like we're lacking fantasy anti-hero literary figures - a certain Dragonlance mage comes to mind.)

I don't know what you think Devils do all day, but "last time I checked" their main purpose in life was to tempt and corrupt mortals and claim their souls, and then to fight the Blood War. Yes, the Devil is going to help you. No, he is not going to only help you. He will help you with what you want, but make some obscure condition or plan that in the end is to his advantage and with no concern for you the caster. To be honest, if you have your Devil's play along with bargains, then quite frankly you aren't playing your Devil's well - they are supposed to be the fear and bane of mortals, not playthings.

I'm not advocating for "screwing the binder". No, it isn't in the spell description that creatures will take revenge for being imprisoned. But it also doesn't say that they don't take revenge. If a caster wants to be foolish enough to summon a Lord of the Nine Hells, then they deserve what's coming to them.

Squirrelloid wrote:
The PC is a powerful wizard, even in FR (which is overloaded with powerful characters) 15th level wizard still means a lot. By assumption he's willing to do things for the Pit Fiend in return for help from said Pit Fiend. The Pit Fiend *isn't stupid*. Why kill someone who can be useful to you? Does this mean plothooks? Sure. But there were *going to be plothooks anyway*, so the PC not only gets a power boost whenever he speed dials his buddy, he also has set the campaign down a particular road (unless the DM just ignores the plothook potential, in which case there was no cost). That's a lot of power for one spell.

I never said the Pit Fiend would kill the caster. More likely it will enslave him, or his friends and family, take his soul back to a layer of Hell, conscript him into service in the Blood War, and spend his leisure time torturing your new Lemure form.

Squirrelloid wrote:
Finally, re: the Pit Fiend binds you. No, you are not an Outsider. Thus, Planar Binding does not work on you. Ever.

You are correct. But there is nothing stopping the Pit Fiend from researching a spell that works like Binding except summons Primes.

Squirrelloid wrote:

Now, if he can get someone to cast Gate he might be able to Gate you in. Except if he names you specifically then he's calling a unique creature and you don't have to respond. If he just wants a human, well... there are lots of humans...

But you were arguing that you were "friends" with the Devil. You don't want to visit your "friend"?

I notice that you completely disregard the Pit Fiends ability to wish itself out of the binding. Did you not read that part?

I also want to add, for those of you that have complained about Efreeti getting trapped by Bindings. They can cast plane shift at will, which allows them to dimensional travel. So you also need dimensional anchor readied for when they show up, and cast it every 15 minutes so the Efreeti does not escape.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

A suggestion for these spells might be to not rely on HD or CR to determine how hard it is to summon/bind a creature.

My feelings on why certain methods for tracking power as a summon don't work, spoilered just so I don't take up a large space for my post.

Spoiler:
HD does not accurately show how powerful a creature is, many creatures have tons of HD but are relatively weak while some exceptional monsters that are strong for their number of HD.

CR is better, but it is intended to represent how difficult it is for the party to overcome it, not how useful it is to the party. A creature may have the ability to cast cure light wounds at will, it might not even effect the CR and make it much more useful for the party.

HD + LA (ECL): This combination is supposed to represent how useful a creature is as a character rather than it's difficulty as an encounter, so it might make a better value to use than either HD or CR. However I think there are a couple problems with this as well, many creatures don't come with a LA because they are not ever intended for PCs (and/or the ECL would be above 20) and the creature is not actually being used as a PC while many of the abilities that increase LA help the party, some help the creature or at the very least help the party less than if the creature were a PC.

My suggestion would be to have a listing of every Monster Manual creature that could be summoned and list by them their summoning/binding difficulty (either a minimum caster level to summon/bind them, the DC for a caster level check to summon/bind them, or treat them like HD for determining what level of spell you need and how many you can summon). Then you can use this value to determine how much a creature called by planar ally will ask for.

This way creatures can be rated on how good they are as summons rather than anything else. A less useful creature will not take large amounts of power to summon and a more useful creature will not be easier to get access to than it should be. (In addition there would be notes for advancing a creature like "+1 Summoning Difficulty per character level added")

A problem with this is that this takes up a significant amount of space in the book ( not a massive amount, but it should be taken into account ). Also, more significantly, there will be outsiders and elementals from other books that will not make it onto this listing. If a player wants to summon one the DM would have to assign it a difficulty of some sort. I would note however, that the DM could just make it's difficulty equal to the creature's HD or CR, making it at least the same as before. But now there is clearer control by the DM to determine how a creature can be summoned and when.


Jal Dorak wrote:
Squirrelloid wrote:

On the matter at hand, your save DC is plausibly 30 at this point, possibly as high as 32 or as low as 28. (If we want to talk about level 16 its going to go up another 1). Its Will save is +21. Lets say it needs a 9. Not that bad, right? Well, the chances of it making two such saves is .36. So 64% of the time it either fails the first save (meaning it needs a 19 on the second one, ie, changing the odds), or it makes the first but fails the second (which is what you really care about).

The actual chance P of this making the save vs. charm monster is .6*.6 + .4*.1 = .4. Now, we can find other ways to make this better, and get party help. This is one wizard, alone, and he has a 60% chance of charming a bound Pit Fiend (a CR20 monster) without fully optimizing for it. (if the pit fiend needs an 11 he only avoids being bound 27.5% of the time).

Where are you getting a 32 save for this spell? Let's assume your character started with an 18 Int, which is max unless you are a Grey Elf. Then you raised it by +1 every four levels, which gives you a 21 by 15th level. Let's assume you have an item that grants a +6 enhancement bonus to Int (the maximum). Finally, a tome of clear thought for +3. That gives you a 30. Let's assume you also took Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus for both Enchantment and Conjuration schools. All told, that gives you a DC 24 for mind fog and a DC 27 for greater planar binding. So now the Pit Fiend needs a 3 against mind fog, and needs a 6 against the Binding. If the Pit Fiend throws up unholy aura first, it now needs to roll a 2 each day against the Binding.

First of all, you're an elf or a human, so you've got 20 starting intelligence. (See pathfinder races section). Probably an elf because you also get +2 vs. SR.

You've got 3 level pumps (23), +6 enhancement (29), and some of the following: +1-5 inherent to int (30-34), +2 DCs from feats (SF and GSF Enchantment). That puts your DC in the range of 28-32. My bet is the two feats and +3 inherent if you're actually going to try this. While we're at it, you can also be an Enchantment specialist and emit your Aura of Despair, which will give it a -2 to all saves, checks, etc..., which is effectively another +2 for the save DCs *and* a +2 on the charisma check for the bargaining.

You can use Heighten Spell on Mind Fog and Charm Monster. This is not an issue. You have at least 2 8th level spells per day, and can use your Arcane Bonded item for a 3rd (such as the GPB spell, since you aren't applying metamagic to that).

If it makes the Will Save vs. GPB, oh well, you try again tomorrow. No skin off your nose. Not even an issue. The Pit Fiend only arrives if it fails this save.

Keeping it there:
(1) Dimensional Lock lasts 1 day/CL (15 days), and could well have been cast the day before. So plane shifting is not an issue.
(2) Charisma Check DC: 22 + Cha Mod. Presumably your cha mod when you cast the spell (since its trying against the spell), which could have been boosted with Eagles Splendor, or you could just have an item of +cha. Don't mistake me, you don't have a great charisma modifier, but I bet its at least positive by 15th level if you're doing this. Pit Fiends get a +8 on this check. So if we assume your charisma is +3 (+6 enhancement item), it needs a 17 to beat you. Doable, but not reliably.
(3) SR vs. CL. Well, if you're trying this trick, you've got the two feats for SR as well. (Pathfinders increase in the number of feats makes this trivial, btw). So, assuming elf, we've got +6 to CL checks against SR, or +21 at 15th level at least. (Assuming we have no CL pumps). So this is at least a 50-50 shot. Of course, you also don't try this trick without Assay Resistance, so...

I'll note unholy aura helps with none of those. It doesn't help initially either because you use contingency or craft contingency to have everything go off as soon as it arrives - surely we aren't assuming that creatures walk around with 1 round/level duration spells all day, are we?

The whole point is to come to an amicable agreement quickly anyway, so you shouldn't have to worry about holding it for days to begin with.

Jal Dorak wrote:

I don't know what you think Devils do all day, but "last time I checked" their main purpose in life was to tempt and corrupt mortals and claim their souls, and then to fight the Blood War. Yes, the Devil is going to help you. No, he is not going to only help you. He will help you with what you want, but make some obscure condition or plan that in the end is to his advantage and with no concern for you the caster. To be honest, if you have your Devil's play along with bargains, then quite frankly you aren't playing your Devil's well - they are supposed to be the fear and bane of mortals, not playthings.

I'm not advocating for "screwing the binder". No, it isn't in the spell description that creatures will take revenge for being imprisoned. But it also doesn't say that they don't take revenge. If a caster wants to be foolish enough to summon a Lord of the Nine Hells, then they deserve what's coming to them.

You're coming to an amicable agreement with a Pit Fiend - tempting you is clearly a wasted effort. You are also smarter than said Pit Fiend (by somewhere between 4 and 8 points), so its not going to pull a fast one on you very easily. You can out-legaleeze it if you need to. In fact, it can probably guess this - its in its interest to keep the actual contract short and obvious so *it* doesn't get screwed. What you might do is offer it time/opportunity to tempt *other* mortals who aren't clearly already corrupted.

And when I think of Lords of the Nine, I think of Dispater. You summoned joe random Pit Fiend. He's powerful, but he also knows who really runs the show (and they're all powerful spellcasters). He also knows you don't have a stake in infernal politics, and could possibly do some rather handy things for him in return for whatever help he provides you. Eliminate rivals, that sort of thing (eg, plothook).

Plothooks are good you say. Free power for something you were going to get anyway (ie, plothooks) is not I say. And a player getting to dictate direction of the campaign story by himself seems remarkably powerful for *one spell*, even outside of the direct material benefit of having powerful outsiders help you.

Jal Dorak wrote:
You are correct. But there is nothing stopping the Pit Fiend from researching a spell that works like Binding except summons Primes.

You mean aside from the fact that a Pit Fiend does not have class levels, does not cast spells, and therefore cannot research new spells?

Jal Dorak wrote:
I notice that you completely disregard the Pit Fiends ability to wish itself out of the binding. Did you not read that part?

The only wish that does that without consequences is 'I wish this day had never happened' - which mostly means that the PC ends up binding a different Pit Fiend. So either we get a temporal paradox, or some Pit Fiend is willing to listen and deal.

There are only four ways out of a Planar Binding without rewriting time. None of them can be achieved by wishing for it without possible consequences.

Jal Dorak wrote:
I also want to add, for those of you that have complained about Efreeti getting trapped by Bindings. They can cast plane shift at will, which allows them to dimensional travel. So you also need dimensional anchor readied for when they show up, and cast it every 15 minutes so the Efreeti does not escape.

Or you can, you know, buy a scroll of Dimensional Lock, which lasts 15 days.

Quite honestly, any self-interested efreeti is going to agree in 5 minutes and get on with its life. Why spend days needlessly bound in some mage's cellar when you could just grant the stupid wishes, get one in return, and get on with your life. "Let me use an ability *you can't even use on your own* and I'll spend one of the uses for you." (both sides subject to some contractual stipulations regarding not wishing harm on the other)


Ok, this is a list of every bindable creature in the SRD I can find. I've also included Gateable outsiders and elementals. I'm ignoring half-celestial, half-fiend, celestial creature, and fiendish creature templates (which means anything is available as an outsider...).

Further, I've bolded the creatures that you're likely to see people actually call (because they're at the edge of the available power curve). Creatures are sorted first by HD and then by CR within HD.

Now, what I'm curious about is: at what point do the creatures become too powerful? Where do non-broken uses stop and broken uses begin?

I've separated basic elementals for two reasons. One, its easier than cluttering up the rest of the list. Two, you're never going to planar bind one anyway, you'll just use Summon Monster spells because you get a much better return on HD/CR than PB would give you for them. Some of the others are also Summon Monsterable, so you'd never actually use a PB spell to call one, but they tend to be low-powered for what's available from PB anyway.

Elemental: 2HD CR 1, 4HD CR 3, 8HD CR 5, 16HD CR 7, 21HD CR 9, 24HD CR 11

LPB - level 7 wizard
Formian Worker (1HD, CR 1/2)
Lantern Archon (1HD, CR 2)
Lemure (2HD, CR 1)
Azer (2HD, CR 2)
Dretch (2HD, CR 2)
Magmin (2HD, CR 3)
Imp (3HD, CR 2)
Quasit (3HD, CR 2)
Juvenile Arrowhawk (3HD, CR 3)
Mephit (Any) (3HD, CR 3)
Yeth Hound (3HD, CR 3)
Ravid (3HD, CR 5)
Formian Warrior (4HD, CR 3)
Hellhound (4HD, CR 3)
Flamebrother Salamander (4HD, CR 3)
Rast (4HD, CR 5)
Shadow Mastiff (4HD, CR 5)

Barghest (6HD, CR 4)
Hound Archon (6HD, CR 4)
Jann (6HD, CR 4)
Achaierai (6HD, CR 5)
Barbazu (Bearded Devil: 6HD, CR 5)
Nightmare (6HD, CR 5)
Bralani (6HD, CR 6)
Formian Taskmaster (6HD, CR 7)
Succubus (6HD, CR 7)

PB - level 11 wizard
Adult Arrowhawk (7HD, CR 5)
Djinni (7HD, CR 5)
Babau (7HD, CR 6)
Belker (7HD, CR 6)
Rakshasa (7HD, CR 10) (call from alternate Prime)
Kyton (Chain Devil: 8HD, CR 6)
Bezekira (Hellcat: 8HD, CR 7)
Invisible Stalker (8HD, CR 7)
Night Hag (8HD, CR 9)
Greater Barghest (9HD, CR 5)
Salamander (9HD, CR 6)
Erinyes (9HD, CR 8)
Couatl (9HD, CR 10) (call from alternate Prime)
Efreeti (10HD, CR 8)

Osyluth (Bone Devil: 10HD, CR 9)
Vrock (10HD, CR 9)
Hezrou (10HD, CR 11)
Ghaele (10HD, CR 13)

Nessian Warhound (12 HD, CR 9)
Bebilith (12HD, CR 10)
Formian Myrmarch (12HD, CR 10)
Hamatula (Barbed Devil: 12HD, CR 11)
Leonal (12HD, CR 12)
Glabrezu (12HD, CR 13)
Astral Deva (12HD, CR 14)
Trumpet Archon (12HD, CR 14)

GPB - level 15 wizard
Gelugon (Ice Devil: 14HD, CR 13)
Nalfeshnee (14HD, CR 14)
Planetar (14HD, CR 16)

Elder Arrowhawk (15HD, CR 8)
Noble Salamander (15HD, CR 10)
Nightmare, Cauchemar (15HD, CR 11)
Cornugon (Horned Devil: 15HD, CR 16)
Marilith (16HD, CR 17)

Hound Archon Hero (17HD, CR 16)
Abyssal Greater Basilisk (18HD, CR 12)
Pit Fiend (18HD, CR 20)

Gate - level 17 wizard (2xCL HD controlled)
Formian Queen (20HD, CR 17)
Balor (20HD, CR 20)
Titan (20HD, CR 21)
Solar (22HD, CR 23)
Chichimec (27HD, CR 21)
Phane (36HD, CR 25)
Anaxim (38HD, CR 22)
Uvuudaum (38HD, CR 27)
Infernal (40HD, CR 26)
Dream Larva (40HD, CR 31)

Yes, the end of Gate does include epic monsters found in the SRD. Its kind of scary what you can *control* as a 17-20th level wizard...

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Squirrelloid wrote:

Quite honestly, any self-interested efreeti is going to agree in 5 minutes and get on with its life. Why spend days needlessly bound in some mage's cellar when you could just grant the stupid wishes, get one in return, and get on with your life. "Let me use an ability *you can't even use on your own* and I'll spend one of the uses for you." (both sides subject to some contractual stipulations regarding not wishing harm on the other)

You keep using the Efreeti example and disregard that they are evil and vengeful creatures who expressly loathe servitude, are already loyal (in a lawful evil sort of way) to a sultan who has pashas that might get ticked about this. I would say that your example is broken not the rule.

Some mechanical problems have nonmechanical solutions. Perhaps, the MM needs a little more flavour text explaining why efreet loathe servitude.

Otherwise, what is left to be explained, is why efreet don't set themselves up with this wonderful arrangement, taking over the material plane by making deals with helpless mortals who are willing to give 2 wishes to the efreeti's benefit and only 1 to their own.

Scarab Sages

Squirrelloid wrote:

First of all, you're an elf or a human, so you've got 20 starting intelligence. (See pathfinder races section). Probably an elf because you also get +2 vs. SR.

You've got 3 level pumps (23), +6 enhancement (29), and some of the following: +1-5 inherent to int (30-34), +2 DCs from feats (SF and GSF Enchantment). That puts your DC in the range of 28-32. My bet is the two feats and +3 inherent if you're actually going to try this. While we're at it, you can also be an Enchantment specialist and emit your Aura of Despair, which will give it a -2 to all saves, checks, etc..., which is effectively another +2 for the save DCs *and* a +2 on the charisma check for the bargaining.

I was using 3.5 rules. I have adjusted here. Okay, so you have put your intelligence at 32 for your caster (since anything more than +3 inherent bonus is out of bounds of wealth per level). That means the DC is 28 for both spells if you heighten mind fog, 30 if you happen to have aura of despair (and that is an awful lot of building for this purpose). The Pit Fiend still only needs a 9 to save, or a 5 if it has unholy aura active.

Squirrelloid wrote:

Keeping it there:

(1) Dimensional Lock lasts 1 day/CL (15 days), and could well have been cast the day before. So plane shifting is not an issue.

Except for the first round the creature is called, because if you have dimensional lock active you cannot call it. So the Pit Fiend arrives and then just wishes itself away. As a correction to my previous post, dimensional anchor will last as long as your magic circle, nor can a creature attempt Spell Resistance against a diagram circle, and Charisma checks to escape are at -5.

Squirrelloid wrote:
(2) Charisma Check DC: 22 + Cha Mod. Presumably your cha mod when you cast the spell (since its trying against the spell), which could have been boosted with Eagles Splendor, or you could just have an item of +cha. Don't mistake me, you don't have a great charisma modifier, but I bet its at least positive by 15th level if you're doing this. Pit Fiends get a +8 on this check. So if we assume your charisma is +3 (+6 enhancement item), it needs a 17 to beat you. Doable, but not reliably.

Reliability isn't a problem when the Pit Fiend only needs one success over the course of 15 days (if it is "locked").

Squirrelloid wrote:
(3) SR vs. CL. Well, if you're trying this trick, you've got the two feats for SR as well. (Pathfinders increase in the number of feats makes this trivial, btw). So, assuming elf, we've got +6 to CL checks against SR, or +21 at 15th level at least. (Assuming we have no CL pumps). So this is at least a 50-50 shot. Of course, you also don't try this trick without Assay Resistance, so...

Alright, so you need to fumble using non-core spells to stop the spell resistance method.

Squirrelloid wrote:
I'll note unholy aura helps with none of those. It doesn't help initially either because you use contingency or craft contingency to have everything go off as soon as it arrives - surely we aren't assuming that creatures walk around with 1 round/level duration spells all day, are we?

No, but there is nothing stopping the Pit Fiend from using the ability after it arrives, every day, when it attempts to escape.

Squirrelloid wrote:
You're coming to an amicable agreement with a Pit Fiend - tempting you is clearly a wasted effort. You are also smarter than said Pit Fiend (by somewhere between 4 and 8 points), so its not going to pull a fast one on you very easily. You can out-legaleeze it if you need to. In fact, it can probably guess this - its in its interest to keep the actual contract short and obvious so *it* doesn't get screwed. What you might do is offer it time/opportunity to tempt *other* mortals who aren't clearly already corrupted.

Just because you are smarter than a Pit Fiend doesn't mean your character knows anything about Devilish contracts. (Knowledge [planes]is another matter).

Squirrelloid wrote:
And when I think of Lords of the Nine, I think of Dispater. You summoned joe random Pit Fiend. He's powerful, but he also knows who really runs the show (and they're all powerful spellcasters). He also knows you don't have a stake in infernal politics, and could possibly do some rather handy things for him in return for whatever help he provides you. Eliminate rivals, that sort of thing (eg, plothook).

Pit Fiends are lords of the Hells, just not The Lords of the Nine.

Squirrelloid wrote:
Plothooks are good you say. Free power for something you were going to get anyway (ie, plothooks) is not I say. And a player getting to dictate direction of the campaign story by himself seems remarkably powerful for *one spell*, even outside of the direct material benefit of having powerful outsiders help you.

But in the course of this argument you have indirectly proved that ONE SPELL ISN'T BROKEN. You need:

  • A particular race.
  • A particular class specialist.
  • 6 particular feats.
  • 2 other 8th level spells, and assay resistance.
  • Some unlucky dice rolls from the trapped creature.

    Squirrelloid wrote:
    You mean aside from the fact that a Pit Fiend does not have class levels, does not cast spells, and therefore cannot research new spells?

    Pit Fiend: "Hey, evil devil-worshipper, research a spell for me."

    Pit Fiend: "I wish I had a new spell-like ability to summon humans."

    Squirrelloid wrote:
    The only wish that does that without consequences is 'I wish this day had never happened' - which mostly means that the PC ends up binding a different Pit Fiend. So either we get a temporal paradox, or some Pit Fiend is willing to listen and deal.

    Except for the wish that allows you to duplicate any wizard spell of 8th level or lower. Which, if you do not have dimensional lock active as a contingency, allows the pit fiend to travel away. That would allow them to wish for numerous escape routes by eliminating your magical preparations. Finally, since nothing prevents the Pit Fiend from using spell-like abilities: greater dispel magic, +18 on the check versus your caster level of 15. Nothing prevents the Pit Fiend from trying this every round, even a diagramed circle. Oh, and if you don't diagram the circle, be prepared to be attacked by all the special abilities.

    Squirrelloid wrote:
    Or you can, you know, buy a scroll of Dimensional Lock, which lasts 15 days.

    Except then you can't actually call the Efreet in the first place.

    Squirrelloid wrote:
    Quite honestly, any self-interested efreeti is going to agree in 5 minutes and get on with its life. Why spend days needlessly bound in some mage's cellar when you could just grant the stupid wishes, get one in return, and get on with your life. "Let me use an ability *you can't even use on your own* and I'll spend one of the uses for you." (both sides subject to some contractual stipulations regarding not wishing harm on the other)

    Because Efreeti know they are immortal. It can sit in your trap and wait for you to die of old age. Boring, sure, but pretty funny as it mocks you from the circle every day of your mortal life.

  • Scarab Sages

    Squirrelloid wrote:

    Ok, this is a list of every bindable creature in the SRD I can find. I've also included Gateable outsiders and elementals. I'm ignoring half-celestial, half-fiend, celestial creature, and fiendish creature templates (which means anything is available as an outsider...).

    Further, I've bolded the creatures that you're likely to see people actually call (because they're at the edge of the available power curve). Creatures are sorted first by HD and then by CR within HD.

    Now, what I'm curious about is: at what point do the creatures become too powerful? Where do non-broken uses start and broken uses begin?

    Now this is indeed helpful. It gives a good spread by HD and should allow anyone interested to find the "breaking point" of calling spells.

    Thank you.

    Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

    Squirrelloid wrote:

    Ok, this is a list of every bindable creature in the SRD I can find. I've also included Gateable outsiders and elementals. I'm ignoring half-celestial, half-fiend, celestial creature, and fiendish creature templates (which means anything is available as an outsider...).

    Further, I've bolded the creatures that you're likely to see people actually call (because they're at the edge of the available power curve). Creatures are sorted first by HD and then by CR within HD.

    Now, what I'm curious about is: at what point do the creatures become too powerful? Where do non-broken uses start and broken uses begin?

    Squirrelloid,

    This is a great resource for the discussion. It shows that while in some cases, using CR instead of HD would push certain creatures out of range of the various PB/PA spells, it wouldn't really fix the problem overall. No matter what anyone's opinion on the fix is, this will make the discussion easier.

    After scanning this list, the idea that I had was that maybe what is needed is a modifier that would bump the effective HD or effective CR for some of these monsters in regards to summoning, similar to how turn resistance bumped the effective HD of hard to turn undead under 3.0 or 3.5.

    Scarab Sages

    JoelF847 wrote:


    Squirrelloid,

    This is a great resource for the discussion. It shows that while in some cases, using CR instead of HD would push certain creatures out of range of the various PB/PA spells, it wouldn't really fix the problem overall. No matter what anyone's opinion on the fix is, this will make the discussion easier.

    After scanning this list, the idea that I had was that maybe what is needed is a modifier that would bump the effective HD or effective CR for some of these monsters in regards to summoning, similar to how turn resistance bumped the effective HD of hard to turn undead under 3.0 or 3.5.

    I would like to see, similar to the new Knowledge skills, that calling spells would be limited by CR and not HD. And even then, not 2 x caster level.


    Jal Dorak:
    Re: not just spell but spell + specific feats etc...
    There will always be spells, abilities, or items which improve save DCs/CL/etc... You can't just assume such things won't exist. No caster is totally naked and abilities can't be considered in a vacuum divorced from all other possibilities. That a couple of abilities can combine to do something truly disgusting will be noticed and those exploits will be made publicly available on the internet.

    Paizo is committed to backward compatibility, which means it has to accept those books which do exist. Paizo will likely also print splatbooks of its own, which will come with their own problems. The real question is 'how bad can it get under the worst possible case'. The answer in this case is really bad just with mostly core material available right now. I'm sure I could go dumpster diving through splatbooks and do even better. Its only going to get worse, not better, as Paizo publishes more books. And *that* is a problem.

    -----------

    Proposal:
    Planar Binding becomes a 3rd level spell. There are no lesser or greater versions. it works basically as now (although some clarification on what fair bargains are would be nice), but its limited to an outsider of CR <= CL - 4 (ie, theoretically as powerful as a cohort's cohort) *and* you may only have one such obligation to you at any one time (or possibly limit the total EL of creatures in obligation to you).

    (This doesn't solve all of the problems, like Planar Binding a Nightmare to get access to Astral Projection far earlier than sanity prescribes, but it does delay many of them).

    Scarab Sages

    Squirrelloid wrote:

    Jal Dorak:

    Re: not just spell but spell + specific feats etc...
    There will always be spells, abilities, or items which improve save DCs/CL/etc... You can't just assume such things won't exist. No caster is totally naked and abilities can't be considered in a vacuum divorced from all other possibilities. That a couple of abilities can combine to do something truly disgusting will be noticed and those exploits will be made publicly available on the internet.

    Paizo is committed to backward compatibility, which means it has to accept those books which do exist. Paizo will likely also print splatbooks of its own, which will come with their own problems. The real question is 'how bad can it get under the worst possible case'. The answer in this case is really bad just with mostly core material available right now. I'm sure I could go dumpster diving through splatbooks and do even better. Its only going to get worse, not better, as Paizo publishes more books. And *that* is a problem.

    But it's not just a "couple" of abilities - it is an entire character concept built around having a 5-30% chance of binding a Pit Fiend. It took quite a bit of wrangling on your part to justify a situation in which you MIGHT be able to bind it successfully for little while.

    I'm sorry, I just don't think you have successfully made the case that race + specialist + 3 spells + 6 feats + 15th level + luck = broken.

    EDIT: I don't agree with the level change, but I do like your analogy to Leadership and cohorts. That would be an elegant mechanical solution - you make the bound creature a cohort for the "duration" of the spell. Depending on the lesser/greater variations, you get a different penalty on your effective Leadership score.


    Jal Dorak wrote:
    Squirrelloid wrote:

    Jal Dorak:

    Re: not just spell but spell + specific feats etc...
    There will always be spells, abilities, or items which improve save DCs/CL/etc... You can't just assume such things won't exist. No caster is totally naked and abilities can't be considered in a vacuum divorced from all other possibilities. That a couple of abilities can combine to do something truly disgusting will be noticed and those exploits will be made publicly available on the internet.

    Paizo is committed to backward compatibility, which means it has to accept those books which do exist. Paizo will likely also print splatbooks of its own, which will come with their own problems. The real question is 'how bad can it get under the worst possible case'. The answer in this case is really bad just with mostly core material available right now. I'm sure I could go dumpster diving through splatbooks and do even better. Its only going to get worse, not better, as Paizo publishes more books. And *that* is a problem.

    But it's not just a "couple" of abilities - it is an entire character concept built around having a 5-30% chance of binding a Pit Fiend. It took quite a bit of wrangling on your part to justify a situation in which you MIGHT be able to bind it successfully for little while.

    Um, by my calculation that's more like a 65% chance of binding it. Which is pretty spectacular for a level 15 mage. But I really don't want to debate the exact numbers now. I could do better. I don't think specifying a few feats (which are good for a general enchanter/binder concept anyway) and a few spells (also good for such a concept) is out of line. And you're an elf because its strictly better than the alternatives. A lot of those choices are non-choices. They're what every sane person is going to choose even if they aren't trying to exploit the game.

    I mean, if you assume players are stupid, of course they build crappy characters. They're stupid. I tend to assume players are smart. Because thats when they start testing the limits of the system.

    Scarab Sages

    Squirrelloid wrote:


    Um, by my calculation that's more like a 65% chance of binding it.

    How is a Pit Fiend rolling a 9 (as I demonstrated above) equal to 65% chance of success? That would be 45%, or 25% on subsequent days.

    I will say this one last point, then I am done with this debate.

    If the Pit Fiend makes its escape (even 35% by your numbers), your 15th level caster is DEAD MEAT. That is a huge gamble of your real-life time on your part invested in making and playing that character.

    If fear of death doesn't prevent broken combinations, nothing will.


    Jal Dorak wrote:
    Squirrelloid wrote:


    Um, by my calculation that's more like a 65% chance of binding it.

    How is a Pit Fiend rolling a 9 (as I demonstrated above) equal to 65% chance of success? That would be 45%, or 25% on subsequent days.

    I will say this one last point, then I am done with this debate.

    If the Pit Fiend makes its escape (even 35% by your numbers), your 15th level caster is DEAD MEAT. That is a huge gamble of your real-life time on your part invested in making and playing that character.

    If fear of death doesn't prevent broken combinations, nothing will.

    I am willing to stop this discussion as well. But I'm not convinced 'broken or dead' is exactly a great balance point.

    Scarab Sages

    Squirrelloid wrote:


    I am willing to stop this discussion as well. But I'm not convinced 'broken or dead' is exactly a great balance point.

    Agreed, we just obviously disagree on what is broken. I have enjoyed the debate for the most part.

    Now, let's get back to your awesome list of monsters and using Leadership to create cohorent rules.


    Jal Dorak wrote:
    Now, let's get back to your awesome list of monsters and using Leadership to create cohorent rules.

    Resaying this, in case it got lost:

    Proposal:
    Planar Binding becomes a 3rd level spell. There are no lesser or greater versions. it works basically as now (although some clarification on what fair bargains are would be nice), but its limited to an outsider of CR <= CL - 4 (ie, theoretically as powerful as a cohort's cohort) *and* you may only have one such obligation to you at any one time (or possibly limit the total EL of creatures in obligation to you).

    (This doesn't solve all of the problems, like Planar Binding a Nightmare to get access to Astral Projection far earlier than sanity prescribes, but it does delay many of them).

    Now, what problems this doesn't solve may well be problems with monsters. I mean, seriously, a Nightmare is a 6HD CR 5 monster with astral projection, a seriously awesome 9th level spell that lets you adventure as an astral copy of yourself and thus never risk really dying. That's not a problem with Planar Binding, that's a problem with the Nightmare.

    Scarab Sages

    Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

    Heh, Squirreloid. You have basically convinced me the spell does not really appear that broken. The PC has to jump through so many hoops game wise... by the time they have lived long enough to summon that Pit Fiend if they can manage to pull it off, they deserve it.

    The only way its ever going to be as easy as you make it out to be is if you create your character at just that level for a one shot. And if you waste your one shots on this sort of gaming then have at it. Why ruin your fun. :)


    Wicht wrote:

    Heh, Squirreloid. You have basically convinced me the spell does not really appear that broken. The PC has to jump through so many hoops game wise... by the time they have lived long enough to summon that Pit Fiend if they can manage to pull it off, they deserve it.

    The only way its ever going to be as easy as you make it out to be is if you create your character at just that level for a one shot. And if you waste your one shots on this sort of gaming then have at it. Why ruin your fun. :)

    You want to hear what that same build can do before 15th level? Or would you like me to splat dumpster dive some to come up with a truly optimized build first? I mean, I'm pretty sure I can get a CL in the low 30s by 15th level if I try.

    Anyway, consider the list of monsters and tell me which you think are ok to planar bind at the level the spells become available and which aren't. It'll be more productive, and I'll waste less time making theory builds that I'd never play because a DM would kill me.

    Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

    Wicht wrote:

    Heh, Squirreloid. You have basically convinced me the spell does not really appear that broken. The PC has to jump through so many hoops game wise... by the time they have lived long enough to summon that Pit Fiend if they can manage to pull it off, they deserve it.

    The only way its ever going to be as easy as you make it out to be is if you create your character at just that level for a one shot. And if you waste your one shots on this sort of gaming then have at it. Why ruin your fun. :)

    The pit fiend example isn't needed to show it's broken. Binding a lowly lantern archon is broken. The Lantern Archon (as well as many other celestial outsiders) has the at will spell like ability of continual flame. As has been mentioned in the efreeti/wish usage of binding, SLAs don't require material components, so the archon (CR 2, HD 1) can cast this every round all day long. Each casting of the spell can be used to create an everburning torch, which sells for 110 gp. Even using the 50% sale rule, that's 55 gp. You could easily bind the poor little glowing ball of light to cast it non-stop for days and churn out 14,400 everburning torches per day, which would then sell at 792,000 gp per day. Since you could bind one of these at 9th level, or make an ally of one at 7th level, that would be slightly out of balance with the suggested character wealth.

    Unfortunately, none of the proposals yet would put a lantern archon out of reach. Somehow the binding spells or changes to monsters, or changes to SLAs in general need to adress the issue of material components.

    Scarab Sages

    Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber
    JoelF847 wrote:
    Wicht wrote:

    Heh, Squirreloid. You have basically convinced me the spell does not really appear that broken. The PC has to jump through so many hoops game wise... by the time they have lived long enough to summon that Pit Fiend if they can manage to pull it off, they deserve it.

    The only way its ever going to be as easy as you make it out to be is if you create your character at just that level for a one shot. And if you waste your one shots on this sort of gaming then have at it. Why ruin your fun. :)

    The pit fiend example isn't needed to show it's broken. Binding a lowly lantern archon is broken. The Lantern Archon (as well as many other celestial outsiders) has the at will spell like ability of continual flame. As has been mentioned in the efreeti/wish usage of binding, SLAs don't require material components, so the archon (CR 2, HD 1) can cast this every round all day long. Each casting of the spell can be used to create an everburning torch, which sells for 110 gp. Even using the 50% sale rule, that's 55 gp. You could easily bind the poor little glowing ball of light to cast it non-stop for days and churn out 14,400 everburning torches per day, which would then sell at 792,000 gp per day. Since you could bind one of these at 9th level, or make an ally of one at 7th level, that would be slightly out of balance with the suggested character wealth.

    Unfortunately, none of the proposals yet would put a lantern archon out of reach. Somehow the binding spells or changes to monsters, or changes to SLAs in general need to adress the issue of material components.

    Beyond the fact that what you suggest is inherently evil and I don't allow evil PCs, I would have no problem with it in my game. It would not make the characters rich. It would make them slavers, hated by liberty loving churches of good everywhere. They would become hunted individuals, perhaps even the catalyst for a crusade. It would also inundate the market with magical lights, thereby driving down the price of the torches. No doubt the candle-makers would be willing to hire some ninjas to help deal with the players when what they were doing became obvious. :)


    Not acceptable at 11th level:

    Planar Binding a Ghaele Eladrin and bargaining for its services. No, I don't care what you pay or agree to. Nothing, not even your character being erased from existence for the duration of the agreement, can possibly justify such an occurrence. I don't care if you literally set your character sheet on fire. This is too good:

    10HD, CR 13
    65hp (15 less than a fighter with the same constitution on average at level 11, but it doesn't care because it has DR 10/the monster doesn't have it)

    Mv 50', fly 150' perfect (!)
    +4 Holy Greatsword as gear
    BAB +10 (1 less than a fighter)
    SA: Spell-likes, Spells, Gaze
    SQ: Darkvision 60', DR 10/evil and cold iron, IMM: Elec + Petrification, LLV, Res Cold/Fire 10, SR28, Tongues, Protective Aura (+4 Res to Saves and Defl to AC vs. evil creatures, + magic circle and lesser globe of invulnerability)

    Spell-likes: Includes colorspray, charm monster, greater invisibility, greater teleport (self only), hold monster, and see invisible. At Will.

    1/day Prismatic Spray and *Wall of Force*!!!

    Spells: As a 14th (!!!) level cleric

    Seriously, its better than the party *cleric*, much less any 3 fighters of level 11 combined. And then you get to cast buff spells on it. The game cries.

    Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

    Squirrelloid wrote:
    (1) Dimensional Lock lasts 1 day/CL (15 days), and could well have been cast the day before. So plane shifting is not an issue.

    While dimensional lock does not prevent summoned creatures from disappearing at the end of their summons, it does prevent planar travel into or out of the area. Since the PB spells specifically state that they bring a creature from another plane into the prepared trap, and since DL explicitly states that it blocks extradimensional or planar travel into the affected area, you cannot call a creature into a dimensional lock cast ahead of time.

    You could, of course, cast it afterwards, though the creature gets SR to resist.

    Squirrelloid wrote:
    I'll note unholy aura helps with none of those. It doesn't help initially either because you use contingency or craft contingency to have everything go off as soon as it arrives - surely we aren't assuming that creatures walk around with 1 round/level duration spells all day, are we?

    Actually, if it can cast it at will, why not? If you were a pit fiend with your soopa-genius intellect, knowing you could get bound by some cranky wizard at any point or that some wretched paladin crew might teleport in to crash your evil party, why not just keep it on all the time?

    As you say, it's no skin off the devil's nose to keep that stuff up all day long.


    JoelF847 wrote:
    Unfortunately, none of the proposals yet would put a lantern archon out of reach. Somehow the binding spells or changes to monsters, or changes to SLAs in general need to adress the issue of material components.

    That is a problem with either lantern archon or SLAs not requiring components. I mean, can't you use Summon Monster to get a lantern archon for 1rnd/level?

    Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

    Squirrelloid wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    Unfortunately, none of the proposals yet would put a lantern archon out of reach. Somehow the binding spells or changes to monsters, or changes to SLAs in general need to adress the issue of material components.
    That is a problem with either lantern archon or SLAs not requiring components. I mean, can't you use Summon Monster to get a lantern archon for 1rnd/level?

    Yes, and while I agree it's more an issue of SLAs in general, summon monster doesn't work because magical effects of summoned creatures end when they're done being summoned, despite the counter intuitiveness of this for permanent effects like continual flame. I was merely showing that it wasn't only the high end of the spectrum that had problems.

    Pathfinder Beta wrote:

    When the spell that summoned a creature ends and the creature disappears, all the spells it has cast expire. A summoned creature cannot use any innate summoning abilities

    it may have.

    p.158


    Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    Squirrelloid wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    Unfortunately, none of the proposals yet would put a lantern archon out of reach. Somehow the binding spells or changes to monsters, or changes to SLAs in general need to adress the issue of material components.
    That is a problem with either lantern archon or SLAs not requiring components. I mean, can't you use Summon Monster to get a lantern archon for 1rnd/level?

    Yep.

    There's a number of summons with powers that will leave something around... Why I recently did a summon where after the fight was over I had it Wall of Stone to make a nice 3' high safety rail around a particularly dangerous mountain ledge. Will the brokenness never cease.

    The continuous flame example is just silly however. Yes, you can sell *a* continuous flame for some gold but who exactly is it that needs thousands of them and is willing to pay for it? And let's say you do charge for material components, well it's still a profit, right, so if you follow the reductio ad absurdum you can still make "infinite" money off it. Or, bind a succubus to give infinite lap dances! MAKE IT RAIN!!!

    Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

    Wicht wrote:
    JoelF847 wrote:
    Wicht wrote:

    Heh, Squirreloid. You have basically convinced me the spell does not really appear that broken. The PC has to jump through so many hoops game wise... by the time they have lived long enough to summon that Pit Fiend if they can manage to pull it off, they deserve it.

    The only way its ever going to be as easy as you make it out to be is if you create your character at just that level for a one shot. And if you waste your one shots on this sort of gaming then have at it. Why ruin your fun. :)

    The pit fiend example isn't needed to show it's broken. Binding a lowly lantern archon is broken. The Lantern Archon (as well as many other celestial outsiders) has the at will spell like ability of continual flame. As has been mentioned in the efreeti/wish usage of binding, SLAs don't require material components, so the archon (CR 2, HD 1) can cast this every round all day long. Each casting of the spell can be used to create an everburning torch, which sells for 110 gp. Even using the 50% sale rule, that's 55 gp. You could easily bind the poor little glowing ball of light to cast it non-stop for days and churn out 14,400 everburning torches per day, which would then sell at 792,000 gp per day. Since you could bind one of these at 9th level, or make an ally of one at 7th level, that would be slightly out of balance with the suggested character wealth.

    Unfortunately, none of the proposals yet would put a lantern archon out of reach. Somehow the binding spells or changes to monsters, or changes to SLAs in general need to adress the issue of material components.

    Beyond the fact that what you suggest is inherently evil and I don't allow evil PCs, I would have no problem with it in my game. It would not make the characters rich. It would make them slavers, hated by liberty loving churches of good everywhere. They would become hunted individuals, perhaps even the catalyst for a crusade. It would also inundate the market with magical lights, thereby...

    It's not evil if you use planar ally. And why would a good outsider that's a ball of light not be okay with making lots of light that could light up mortal cities and enhance the quality of life, not to mention reduce crime by having well lit neighborhoods?


    Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    JoelF847 wrote:


    Yes, and while I agree it's more an issue of SLAs in general, summon monster doesn't work because magical effects of summoned creatures end when they're done being summoned, despite the counter intuitiveness of this for permanent effects like continual flame. I was merely showing that it wasn't only the high end of the spectrum that had problems.

    Pathfinder Beta wrote:

    When the spell that summoned a creature ends and the creature disappears, all the spells it has cast expire. A summoned creature cannot use any innate summoning abilities

    it may have.
    p.158

    Ah yes, but "instantaneous" spells stay around fine! Move to Athas and make a rich living off of Walls of Iron from summons! I had a guardinal equinal make me a wall of stone just last game session.

    Scarab Sages

    Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

    Joel, if thats the way the forces of good feel about it in your cosmology then you have to ask yourself why doesn't everyone already have such a thing. Generally the world has been around awhile ingame before your PCs arrive on the scene.


    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

    Would the issue of Lantern Archon Everburning Torch factories (and similar get rich quick schemes) be helped if there was a rule that said, "The requirements for creating a magical item cannot be met by a spell-like-ability."?


    Drakli wrote:
    Would the issue of Lantern Archon Everburning Torch factories (and similar get rich quick schemes) be helped if there was a rule that said, "The requirements for creating a magical item cannot be met by a spell-like-ability."?

    It would help some. But Everburning Torch the spell creates the magical item. He's not *crafting* them.

    Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

    Wicht wrote:
    Joel, if thats the way the forces of good feel about it in your cosmology then you have to ask yourself why doesn't everyone already have such a thing. Generally the world has been around awhile ingame before your PCs arrive on the scene.

    I'm not saying I'd allow it. I was using it as an example on how the overall issue of planar binding/planar ally interacting with spell like abilities needs some fixing, even with one of the lowest powered creatures you can affect with the spells.


    Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    JoelF847 wrote:


    Beyond the fact that what you suggest is inherently evil and I don't allow evil PCs, I would have no problem with it in my game. It would not make the characters rich. It would make them slavers, hated by liberty loving churches of good everywhere. They would become hunted individuals, perhaps even the catalyst for a crusade. It would also inundate the market with magical...

    Though I am wearying of the neverending binding discussions, I thought I'd point this out as another place that adjudication advice would be good. People have wildly varying opinions on alignment implications of binding. Is binding an evil creature evil? How about binding a good one?

    SRD: "When you use a calling spell to call an air, chaotic, earth, evil, fire, good, lawful, or water creature, it is a spell of that type."

    So binding an evil creature is an evil spell and thus an evil act. RAW, binding a good creature is a GOOD spell and thus a GOOD act. But people say "but but enslaving an angel" and that's a good point.

    Here's how we handle it in our summon and bind intensive game. Binding a good creature is good, and the opposed CHA check and all is less "breaking them to your will" as it is "convincing them to help." Yeah, it's kinda kidnapping while you have them in the circle, but in the same sense so's when I'm accosted by a homeless guy looking for change. Long as he doesn't knife me, no harm no foul. But if you torture/debuff them, that's over the line.

    Binding an evil creature is evil, but I get around that via the Malconvoker p-class ability.

    (other RP notes, though, the rest of the party and usually the locals really don't like the whole binding thing, so unless you're full bore evil despot material you keep that pit fiend business on the down-low)

    Scarab Sages

    Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

    Genuine question: Why would a good party use planar bind on a theoritical friend instead of Planar Ally?


    Wicht wrote:
    Genuine question: Why would a good party use planar bind on a theoritical friend instead of Planar Ally?

    Because the Wizard wants to play a character who conjures and deals with outerplanar beings. And Planar Ally isn't on his spell list? Its a common fantasy archetype after all.

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