Monday, August 8, 2022

Who Would be at the Expense of Two? (GLoG Class: Binder) (😈)

Having cut my teeth on D&D 3.5, I always wanted to reproduce the binder class, which had a great feel to it, if flawed in execution. Fifth edition's warlock class seemed like a nice step in that direction, but I don't especially care for that ruleset, so I've tried my hand at a class in the GLoG style. I think this could be adapted to B/X pretty easily, giving it the dwarf XP advancement, +1 spirit every other level, saves as a magic-user, and proficiencies of a thief.

Harry Clarke, Faust. In accordance with Matthew 16:23, he has Satan behind him.


(Start with Petite bourgeoisie apartment (with sideboard), pen and ink, chalk, candles, wavy knife)
1 (Student): Decency, Patron, Pitch, +1 Spirit
2 (Master): Ventriloquy, +1 Spirit
3 (Doctor): Officiously To Keep Alive, +1 Spirit
4 (Necromancer): Chorus, +1 Spirit

Decency: You start with an extra primary attribute, Decency. It's generated like your other attributes, but you get a -1 upon taking your first Binder level. Binders can sell (or, rarely, wager) slivers of Decency to their patron in exchange for favors. In order to level up, a Binder with enough XP must complete a gross or violent ritual set by their patron, which also subtracts 1 from their decency score. If a Binder is dying or if they attempt to give up binding, they must roll under their Decency on a d20 or get torn apart by invisible demons.

Patron: A demon with a strange form that teaches the Binder its knowledge. This immortal creature can be summoned by inscribing its sigil, typically in a chalk and candle circle. As a complimentary service, the patron can teach the liberal arts and astronomy, as well as Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. It will fight for the Binder only if paid in acts degrading Decency.

Pitch: Upon encountering a ghost or similar creature, you can add them to your Acquaintance of Spirits if you can get their agreement. If you encounter a demon, you can switch to have them as your Patron. They may offer incentives to do so, depending on their reaction roll with your current patron. Switching Patrons always involves a ritual costing 1 Decency.

Spirits: Each day, you may wheedle and finagle with your patron to get the services of a number of Spirits in your Acquaintance equal to your binder level. Your Acquaintance of Spirits includes three of the famous ones (see Example Spirits below) and any you acquire in play. When using a spirit for a task that's within their specialty, they will almost alway succeed. For each major favor the spirit does, your patron has a 50% chance of deciding that they've helped you enough, and you can't call that spirit back up that day. Only one Spirit may be in active service at a given time. Spirits cannot be called up on hallowed ground and they cannot penetrate iron, holy symbols, or asbestos. The definition of "each day" is interpreted in the least-convenient way unless agreed upon between the patron and the binder. 

Ventriloquy: Your spirits can enter your body, and make you seem to be the source of whatever they are doing.

Officiously to Keep Alive: When in close contact with a dying creature, you can set a Memorandum on their spirit. When they die, their Spirit is added to your Acquiantance, with no consent required.

Chorus: You can have any number of Spirits in service at a given time, up to your per-day limit.

Example Spirits
These should be given names and deeds specific to your game-world. Examples from Earth history and myth are included.

  1. Great Beauty (Helen, Casanova, Cleopatra) for sex, appeal and command.
  2. Tactician (Napoleon, Attila the Hun, Alexander) for winning battles, scattering resistance, and organizing supplies.
  3. Lush (Rasputin, the Oracle of Delphi, Alcibiades) to drug, entertain, and placate.
  4. Millionaire (Solomon, Mansa Musa, Crassus) for money and influence.
  5. Great Hunter (Nimrod, Enkidu) for strength and ability.
  6. Raider (Caligula, Bjorn Ironsides, Dong Zhou) for ruining in business and shattering institution
  7. Scholar (Sappho, Aristotle, Arius) for finding books and pieces of lore.
  8. Wizard (Simon Magus, Morgan LeFey, Merlin) for summoning fire and changing seeming.
  9. Traitor (Judas, Marc Antony, Brutus) for backstabbing, brooding, and conspiring.
Harry Clarke
Some Artifacts used by Secret Societies
  • Mentioner: signet ring inscribed with a Patron's sign. Dab it in chalk or blood or something and stamp the symbol on a surface to commune with them. 
  • Daemon Manual: catalogue of Patrons, typically rotting and with excerpts cut out. Has a 50% chance of predicting a pair of Patrons' reaction to each other. I hear the best one around needs to be unlocked with 72 keys.
  • Sayings of the Sojourner: a mass-market book whose production run was cursed with typos and mechanical issues, for which several printers' devils were blamed. Reading it gives a chance to perform a ritual to increase one's Decency by 1, though it is repugnant to a binder.
  • Odeur de Misère: a sour-smelling brimstone-based perfume. Spritzing someone reveals their Decency score, as binders and others who consort with demons are covered in a residue to which the perfume does not stick.
  • Honied Ossuary: a cushioned coffin with such furnishings as kaleidoscopes, incense burners, or lazy susans built into it. Aids in enticing spirits into one's Acquaintance.


  1. A delectable class, this is interesting. I'm quite fond of any mechanic or class that enables players to act like Pokemon trainers, and the idea of the Binder literally binding dying spirits to them is juicy and much more warlock than many warlocks I've seen.
    I'm curious about he Decency mechanic, would you use that in interactions with hallowed ground or other sanctified relics or creatures?

    1. You well could. It's the sort of mechanic that gives you a knob to interact with in whatever way makes sense. In a game with normal alignment, I wouldn't make it replace things which may interact with alignment. It's interesting to consider the comparison between a lawful good character with low decency and a lawful evil character with high decency.