Planar binding seems kind of shady...


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


So we all know that summoning and binding a demon and commanding it to eat a village is evil. In fact, there's probably a trope for that.

But even for nonevil creatures, it seems like there's an ethical issue here.

For summoning and binding nonevil creatures, the most expedient means is magic circle against good, which has the evil descriptor (though of course you could use the chaos or law circles as required, though this makes the process much more complicated an even more inconvenient for the Charisma-based classes that should theoretically excel at planar binding negotiations).

But all that aside, I have a hard time seeing a good creature ever using planar binding, especially to conjure good outsiders. Because conjuring an unwilling creature, and confining it until it accepts a bribe, is essentially incompatible with "concern for the dignity of sentient beings."

Now, if you summon an astral deva and tell it "this city is dying of plague. Please turn invisible and use your at-will remove disease ability to cure it without causing a panic, and if you identify any evil creatures, tell me their identities or give a description before you depart," he might do it for only a nominal fee, or even for free. But in that case, the only reason not to use planar ally instead is because of the wonky rules regarding the arcane/divine split.

While letting the party wizard use planar binding shouldn't make the paladin fall, it's easy to see a chaotic good player becoming a little bit squeamish. Especially if instead the situation is:

"Huge earth elemental, clear the trees and boulders from this radius and dig me a moat of yea size."
<rumble, rumble>
"No, I'm not paying you."
<RUMBLE RUMBLE RUMBLE>
"Because you have the Charisma of a rock. Literally."


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In those situations, it basically falls on the good wizard, or good players around the wizard to make sure that the negotiations are done on relatively even terms, and that the summoned being at least gets a fair deal.

Also, though the spell does lay out that you are specifically calling them into a trap, as a DM, I would allow the players to simply call a creature to a spot, and then simply request their service for a payment. That way the negotiations are on even terms. The called creature could just leave if it did not like the proposed payment.

I've always figured that the trap outlines were more for the, shall we say, less agreeable denizens of the planes and the caster with more caustic personalities.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Binding a creature can have issues. Binding an astral deva to do what you want may be a fine thing, but may have unintended consequences unrelated to the summoning itself. Do it too often, and some other power may take notice of your actions.

I don't find the arcane/divine split wonky, it makes sense for the character types involved. A good cleric who's in good graces with his patron SHOULD find it easier to get the service of like-aligned outsiders than a wizard whose training makes him approach things from more of an arrogant will to power frame of mind, irregardless of his intentions.

On the other hand, a wizard has less restrictions on who he can dragoon into service.


You dont have to cast dimensional anchor and magic circle of x.... Which is really the "trapped" and "forced" parts......

I often don't with good creature or neutral ones I wish to strike up dialog with (janni)..... evil ones on the other hand.

but yeah, 'kind of shady' is an understatement for this spell ......


yeah the circle isn't required...but i'd have a really good reason for calling them. i'd be prepared to kiss up to them and have payment ready too. You're probably interfering with something important.


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Thelemic_Noun wrote:

So we all know that summoning and binding a demon and commanding it to eat a village is evil. In fact, there's probably a trope for that.

But even for nonevil creatures, it seems like there's an ethical issue here.

For summoning and binding nonevil creatures, the most expedient means is magic circle against good, which has the evil descriptor (though of course you could use the chaos or law circles as required, though this makes the process much more complicated an even more inconvenient for the Charisma-based classes that should theoretically excel at planar binding negotiations).

But all that aside, I have a hard time seeing a good creature ever using planar binding, especially to conjure good outsiders. Because conjuring an unwilling creature, and confining it until it accepts a bribe, is essentially incompatible with "concern for the dignity of sentient beings."

Now, if you summon an astral deva and tell it "this city is dying of plague. Please turn invisible and use your at-will remove disease ability to cure it without causing a panic, and if you identify any evil creatures, tell me their identities or give a description before you depart," he might do it for only a nominal fee, or even for free. But in that case, the only reason not to use planar ally instead is because of the wonky rules regarding the arcane/divine split.

While letting the party wizard use planar binding shouldn't make the paladin fall, it's easy to see a chaotic good player becoming a little bit squeamish. Especially if instead the situation is:

"Huge earth elemental, clear the trees and boulders from this radius and dig me a moat of yea size."
<rumble, rumble>
"No, I'm not paying you."
<RUMBLE RUMBLE RUMBLE>
"Because you have the Charisma of a rock. Literally."

Well, there's a lot of options you have with planar binding to make it more effective. Sometimes being the good guy means not taking advantage of those options. For example, you don't actually have to use a magic circle spell as part of a binding, nor a dimensional anchor, or anything of the sort. You don't actually have to trap the outsider, you could just bring them to you for a moment to talk.

You could even forgo the Charisma check to impose your will over them, and just default to plain ol' Diplomacy (which is always a good skill for a binder anyway). For example, while a neutral or evil wizard might happily force or coerce an outsider into their bidding, the exceptionally good (as in the perfectly good that doesn't stumble a bit by using planar binding in the traditional fashion) might simply call up a Ghale Azata without any traps at all.

Wizard: "Oh fair Azata, I have called you here because we need your help. Could you please heal my friend?" *Diplomacy*
Azata: "Sure, why not. It costs me nothing to do so, and this whole thing has taken up no more of my time than if someone asked directions to the nearest bakery," *heal*
Wizard: "Thank you, friend!"
Azata: "No problem," *poofs back to the outer planes*


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Thelemic_Noun wrote:

So we all know that summoning and binding a demon and commanding it to eat a village is evil. In fact, there's probably a trope for that.

But even for nonevil creatures, it seems like there's an ethical issue here.

Well, yea. Planar BINDING is binding a sentient being into your service, forcing them to do things for you. It's slavery, pure and simple. Of course it seems shady :)


Cheapy wrote:
Thelemic_Noun wrote:

So we all know that summoning and binding a demon and commanding it to eat a village is evil. In fact, there's probably a trope for that.

But even for nonevil creatures, it seems like there's an ethical issue here.

Well, yea. Planar BINDING is binding a sentient being into your service, forcing them to do things for you. It's slavery, pure and simple. Of course it seems shady :)

It may seem shady but is it... The Real Shady?

(•_•) / ( •_•)>⌐■-■ / (⌐■_■),YYEEAAHH!

*Grin*:
Sorry could not resist

Scarab Sages

Covent wrote:
(•_•) / ( •_•)>⌐■-■ / (⌐■_■),YYEEAAHH!

Not only that but is your cleric the Real Church Lady?

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