The Binder Player Class (from Tome of Magic) specializes in summoning and ‘binding’ with remnants of powerful beings that lie outside of normal existence. These beings, or ‘vestiges’ as they are known, range from dead or forgotten gods, to alien beings from pre-creation, to powerful mortals that never quite died or properly passed on.
Ysgard, its people, their beliefs, and their gods have similarly generated such beings. Two new Binder Vestiges are detailed here, and they follow the rules as described in the Tome of Magic.
Balder, the Favoured Son
Level 1 Vestige, Binding DC 16
Balder is better known as the Norse god of beauty. Having been slain as a result of a cruel plot by Loki, he has more recently appeared as a vestige. In this new role, Balder grants his summoners the ability to see through deception, and literally-stunning beauty.
Legend: Balder was the son of Odin, and the most-beautiful and most-loved of all of the gods of the pantheon. As a result, the rest of the gods took sacred oaths from all creatures, materials, and objects in the world, that nothing should ever cause harm to him. Only one thing was not asked to join in the oath: the mistletoe plant. After the oaths were made, the gods took great delight in pelting Balder with rocks, weapons, and the like, just to watch everything harmlessly bounce off his perfect body. But the jealous Loki fashioned a spear made of mistletoe, and tricked another god into throwing it at Balder, killing him.
Balder’s spirit went to Hel’s domain with the other dishonored dead, and Loki was exiled from Asgard. Eventually, Balder is destined to return after all of creation is burned and destroyed during Ragnarok. However, being much more than just a deceased mortal soul but no longer a true deity, Balder has taken on a new role as a vestige.
[As Balder is still a worshipped deity (and a popular one, at that), the summoning of his vestige tends to be very frowned upon among those faithful to the Norse pantheon. Fortunately, few people can recognize binders, and fewer still know that Balder even is a vestige.]
Manifestation: Mistletoe leaves and smoldering ashes swirl in the air over the sigil; after a moment, they coalesce into an upright, bound humanoid form. Balder’s chest and shoulders are bare, but from the chest down, his form is tightly bound in mistletoe vines. The vines continually wither, die, burn away and regrow, as Balder shifts painfully beneath. Balder’s face is featureless and smooth, without eyes, nostrils, or a mouth. He always appears with his back to the summoner, and will continually turn his blank face away from those who look at him. Balder does not speak, but will only shake his head or nod in response to pact-making.
Sign: Your eyes (iris, whites and pupils) turn the same color as your skin; this does not affect your vision. The rest of your facial features appear generally cleaner and more-attractive.
Influence: Balder’s influence causes you to act resigned and depressed. In addition, you automatically fail any checks made to influence the attitude of NPCs.
Granted Abilities: Balder grants improved ability to see through magical and mundane deceptions, a bit of his past invulnerability, and the power of blinding beauty.
Clarity of the Betrayed: You gain a +2 bonus on Spot checks to see through a disguise and a +2 bonus on Will saves to disbelieve illusions.
Balder’s Invulnerability: You gain DR 1/Piercing. Every six effective binder levels, this damage reduction improves by 1, to a maximum of DR 4/Piercing at level 18.
Flash of Beauty: As a standard action, you generate a blast of divine beauty in a cone-shaped burst of white and golden light. This ability functions identically to the color spray spell. After using this ability, you must wait five rounds before using Flash of Beauty again.
Ginnung, the Drowned Abyss
Level 3 Vestige; Binding DC 18
Ginnung is an amalgam of pre-creation beings from Norse beliefs. As a vestige, Ginnung gives its/their summoner a companion creature, and some elements of giantish strength.
Legend: Before the giants, before the gods, and before the very world, there was Ginnung, the great void. On one side of the void was ice, and on the other was fire. Great glaciers formed from the icy side of the void; as they drifted across Ginnung towards the fire, the glaciers melted into the first beings: Ymir the giant, and Audhulma the primordial cow. Ymir sustained itself on Audhulma’s milk, and spawned a male giant and a female giant (who then begat at least two generations of giants), and an additional six-headed giant. Audhulma licked the first god from a block of salt, who then gave birth to Odin and his two brothers. This trio decided that the world should be created to fill the void of existence, so they killed Ymir.
Ymir’s blood gushed forth in great quantities, and became a great sea that filled the void of Ginnung. Odin and his brothers made the world from Ymir’s flesh and bones, and set it in the center of this new sea.
Ymir’s offspring drowned in the grisly flood, as did the giantish generations that they spawned (only two giants survived, who became the ancestors of all modern day giants); the great cow Audhulma was also lost in the chaos. Since these primordial beings perished before planes of afterlife existed, their near-divine souls had nowhere to go. Now these lost beings manifest together as a vestige, a strange amalgam of gods, giants, and the void Ginnung itself.
Special Requirement: Ginnung is an entity of nothingness combined with an amalgam of creatures that lived before existence, as such they/it dislike much of the natural world. Ginnung does not answer your call if you possess an animal companion.
Manifestation: After you invoke Ginnung, dark blood-colored liquid begins to well up from the seal until it becomes a steady geyser. Arms, legs, hooves, and heads (humanoid, giantish, and bovine) emerge from the geyser, bobbing up and down in the upsurge of gore. Ginnung speaks with a chorus of different voices that gurgle from within the column of dark blood. The appendages and heads gesticulate with each of Ginnung’s words; Ginnung is strangely gleeful in its interactions with its summoners.
Sign: You leave wet hand-prints, footprints, fingerprints, etc., on everything you come in contact with. The moisture has no appreciable affect on anything, and evaporates normally.
Influence: Existing as the void before creation, Ginnung dislikes anything but emptiness and darkness. As such, while under Ginnung’s influence, you are sullen and generally unhappy when outdoors during the day. Furthermore, as the progenitor of a race of giants, Ginnung requires you to refrain from engaging in combat with any creature of the giant type, unless said creature strikes you first.
Granted Abilities: Ginnung gives its/their summoner daily sustenance, a bovine mount, and and the oversized build of a giant.
Bovine Companion: Upon completion of the binding, a shaggy-haired, horned cow materializes from your surroundings. The cow stays with you for the duration of the binding, after which point it vanishes (re-binding Ginnung a day later will bring a new cow, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the prior cow’s departure). The cow can function like a druid’s animal companion, be used as a mount (the cow comes equipped with a saddle, and does not incur the -5 penalty to ride checks for untrained mounts), or both. In every other sense, the cow is a normal cow. It is not dispel-able or banish-able like a summoned creature, and if slain, dies as would a normal creature of the animal type. (Use the statistics for a Bison, per the Monster Manual; the cow cannot fight while carrying a rider.) In addition, you gain a +5 bonus to ride checks while riding your Bovine Companion.
Powerful Build: Ginnung’s binding lets you function in many ways as if you were one size category larger. Whenever you are subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as during grapple checks, bull rush attempts, and trip attempts), you are treated as one size larger if doing so is advantageous to you. You are also considered to be one size larger when determining whether a creature’s special attacks based on size (such as improved grab or swallow whole) can affect you. You can use weapons designed for a creature one size larger without penalty. However, your space and reach remain the same. The benefits of this trait stack with the effects of powers, abilities, and spells that change the subject’s size category.
Audhulma’s Sustenance: While you are bound to Ginnung, you do not need to eat or drink.