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Spell Options: Planar Binding for the Beginner

Planar Binding OptionsThe young man appeared calm, his lank blond hair falling over his eyes as he gesticulated and spoke the words of power. His trembling hands gave him away, however.

A ruddy light glowed within the circle of power, and then a bang reverberated around the room. The young jumped involuntarily, but his invocation never faltered. Smoke poured and roiled in the circle, and a clawed hand reached out, testing the barrier. It was thrown back by a blast of silver sparks.

“The blood, boy! Give it the blood!” Another voice, old and tremulous, shook the youth from his daze. The young man waved his hand, and a small bowl brimming with thick, crimson liquid moved rapidly through the air and into the circle. They heard a hungry lapping sound within the circle.

The smoke cleared to reveal a tiny gremlin tipping the bowl back, drinking heartily of the vital fluid. The master wizard clapped his apprentice on the back.

“A little small, but not bad for your first try.”

Books such as the Bartimaeus series by Jonathan Stroud create a powerful image of summoning and binding extraplanar servants: a nervous young wizard standing before the circle, tripping over his command words as he summons an ancient, malevolent creature from the outer planes. Although summon monster spells in Pathfinder and Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 allow for quick combat allies, the roleplaying opportunities and strategic options of a more long-term servant are lost until level 10.

The two spells below allow lower-level wizards and sorcerers to summon lesser outsiders at their own peril. At 3rd level, a summoner can call forth simple outsider vermin, along with gremlins of various types. At 4th level, a wizard can summon and bind a mephit or imp, not without danger to themselves in the process, for a number of days.

Least Planar Binding
School conjuration (calling)
Level sorcerer/wizard 3
Casting Time 10 min.
Components V, S
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels); see text
Target one elemental or outsider with 1 HD or fewer
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance no and yes; see text

This spell functions like lesser planar binding, except that you call a single creature of 1 HD or fewer. Each creature gets a saving throw, makes an independent attempt to escape, and must be individually persuaded to aid you.

This spell is often taught to apprentice conjurers specializing in planar binding. Along with the ability to prepare a magic circle, they begin to learn their craft by summoning gremlins and planar vermin.

Minor Planar Binding
School conjuration (calling)
Level sorcerer/wizard 4
Casting Time 10 min.
Components V, S
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels); see text
Target one elemental or outsider with 3 HD or fewer
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance no and yes; see text

This spell functions like lesser planar binding, except that you call a single creature of 3 HD or fewer, or up to three creatures of the same kind whose Hit Dice total no more than 1. Each creature gets a saving throw, makes an independent attempt to escape, and must be individually persuaded to aid you.

This spell is often used to summon mephits, lemurs, or very weak elementals. Conjurers specializing in planar binding often make great use of this spell.

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4 Replies to "Spell Options: Planar Binding for the Beginner"

Alex Putnam

December 13, 2011 at 10:39am

Wonderful! I have a player who asked about the possibility of lower-level planar binding/conjuration for his character, so this will certainly fit the bill. :)

Darkjoy

December 13, 2011 at 11:47am

Yup, pretty cool and useful

Daniel Taylor

December 13, 2011 at 6:00pm

So, for summoners, I would assume these spells would fall one level under the sorcerer/wizard level (so spell level 2 and 3 respectively) just like their big brother counterparts? These seem like good spell for the “fledgling” summoner.

Hecknoshow

December 14, 2011 at 2:54am

I always like to see more options for lower level play, especially well written ones. The intro was also a fun read.