General Prestige Class : Fiend Binder

by Eric Cagle, Dragon #292

Survivors of attacks by orc hordes sometimes tell stories of the country-side being plagued by evil, vile creatures days or weeks before the assault. Livestock goes missing and is found later, wandering on roads and fields, attacking anything that moves. Wolves, bears, and other creatures of the wilds, which normally shun contact with humans, become bold and attack with an unholy desire for mayhem. When the orc warband finally descends on the hapless village, packs of fiendish dogs, wolves, and boars with glowing red eyes and frothing mouths are in the vanguard. The source behind these tales is the fiend binder.

The fiend binder is a terrifying figure who learns a secret, perverse ritual that merges the spirit of an evil entity onto the soul of a normal creature. Through this ritual, the fiend binder creates terrifying animals that lead the charge of any assault. Predators are the preferred animals for this process, including dogs, bears, wolves, and big cats, like cheetahs. However, fiend binders have been known to use the process on domesticated animals - fiendish cattle that cause herds to stampede or murderous pigs that attack and devour their owners.

Some fiend binders are so enamored with the chaos caused by their creations that they release the maddened beast back into the wild, allowing it to terrorize the countryside. This sometimes backfires, as when the bound creature goes on a rampage inside the orc camp. Some tribes see this as a form of entertainment, honing their battle skills as they try of kill the beast. Other tribes take a dim view to the fiend binder's careless actions and banish him into the wilderness. Because of this, most fiend binders are loners.

Druids who turn away from nature are the most likely candidates to become fiend binders. Rangers with particularly vicious and twisted attitudes toward animals also become fiend binders. Clerics, particularly those who worship Gruumsh, become fiend binders to create packs of fiendish warhounds. Orc wizards and sorcerers are already rare, but have been known to be drawn to this class.


To qualify to become a Fiend Binder, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

Class Skills

The fiend binder's class skills are Concentration, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Knowledge (nature), Ride, and Spellcraft.

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the fiend binder prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Characters taking a level of fiend binder gain no new proficiency with any weapons, armor, or shields.

Spells Per Day: At 2nd and 4th level, the fiend binder gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in a spellcasting class he belonged to before he added the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of controlling or rebuking undead, metamagic or item creation feats, and so on). This essentially means that he adds the level of fiend binder to the level of some other spellcasting class the character has, then determines spells per day and caster level accordingly.

Domination of the Master (Sp): The fiend binder gains the ability to impose his will on certain creatures. Once a day the fiend binder can cast dominate animal as a 10th-level druid. The target creature must succeed at a Will saving throw (DC 13 + the fiend binder's Charisma modifier) to resist the effect.

Fiend Binding (Su): Beginning at 1st level, the fiend binder can perform a perverse ritual that binds a fiendish spirit onto an animal. To do this, the fiend binder must have used the domination of the master ability (see above) on the creature within the last 24 hours, and the creature must be confined somehow. (Typically, the fiend binder uses domination of the master to force the creature into a suitable cage.) He then summons an evil and tainted entity, which merges with the creature over eight painful and terrifying hours. During this time, the fiend binder can take short breaks from working and engage in light activity, such as walking, talking, or complete rest, but cannot run, fight, cast spells, use magic items, or perform any other physically or mentally demanding task. If the fiend binder is disturbed during the ritual or allows more than 12 hours to pass since the beginning of the ritual, the ritual is ruined. Once the ritual is complete, the creature permanently gains the fiendish template (see Appendix ~: Templates in the Monster Manual). The fiend binder can only imprint a fiend onto an animal; other creature types are immune to this effect.

Fiend binding I allows the ritual to be performed on an animal with no more than 3 Hit Dice. Fiend binding II works on an animal up to 6 Hit Dice, and fiend binding Ill works on an animal up to 9 Hit Dice.

The process also allows the fiend binder to treat creatures affected by this ability as animal companions. A fiend binder can treat more than one creature affected by this ability as an animal companion as long as the creatures' total Hit Dice don't exceed the fiend binder's character level. However, a fiend binder can perform the ritual any number of times, releasing the uncontrolled creatures back into the wild.

This ability functions independently of a druid's or ranger's ability to have an animal companion. An adventuring character with seven druid levels and five fiend binder levels could have seven hit dice worth of normal animal companions and five hit dice worth of fiendish animal companions.

Empathic Link (Su): At 2nd level, the fiend binder gains an empathic link that allows him to communicate telepathically with his bound companions to a maximum distance of one mile. The fiend binder and the companion can understand one another as if a speak with animals effect were in force. Of course, intelligence is still a factor in the content of such conversations and misunderstandings on that basis are still possible.

Animal Senses (Su): At 4th level, the fiend binder can sense things through an animal bound and controlled by the fiend binding ability. The character can hear through the animal companion's ears or smell through its nose (this means that the character can use the animal's scent ability if the bound animal has that ability). The fiend binder can activate his animal senses as a standard action, and he does not lose the ability to sense events around him by doing so. A fiend binder can use this ability a number of times per day equal to one plus his Charisma bonus. This effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to the character's fiend binder class level.

Speak with Master (Ex): Also at 4th level, the fiend binder gains the ability to communicate verbally with his bound and controlled companions in a language of his own. Creatures other than his animal companions cannot understand this communication without magical aid.

Fiend BinderHit Die: d8
CLBABFortRefWillSpecialSpells per Day
1st+0+2+0+2Domination of the master, fiend binding I-
2nd+1+3+0+3Empathic link+1 level of existing class
3rd+2+3+1+3Fiend binding II-
4th+3+4+1+4Animal senses (hearing, smell), speak with master+1 level of existing class
5th+3+4+1+4Fiend binding III

Half-orc Druids And Rangers

To most orcs and half-orcs, nature is something to be conquered - the idea that it can be worshiped, much less respected, is abhorrent to them. Rare individuals, however, hear voices in the winds, whispers in the rocks, and secrets in a crackling fire. They are drawn to nature in a way that none of their tribe would ever understand. These individuals are usually the target of scorn, fear, and ridicule by the rest of the clan, who cast them out or make life miserable enough that they leave on their own.

A half-orc who becomes a druid has a particularly rough time. Often lacking the physical prowess of his kin, he must make up for it with his spells and choice of animal companions. Half-orc druids or rangers prefer animal companions that are tough, aggressive, and not very subtle - bears, wolves, boars, and badgers, for example. Half-orcs rarely choose avians, like hawks and eagles, mainly because of their close association with elves.

Half-orc druids are even more likely to be loners than other races. Despised, hated, or at the very least, misunderstood, half-orc druids can bond with nature in a remarkable way. They find companionship among animals - who don't care about race - and they are drawn to extreme climates where they will not be disturbed. A good half-orc druid protects the animals and plants in his realm with a single-minded determination. While he understands that nature is cruel and uncaring, he usually shows a deep compassion for the plants and animals around him. An evil half-orc druid exemplifies an extreme version of the idea of survival of the fittest. He stakes out his territory and defends it from anything that tries to take it away, including the previous owners. He is the bane of elves and other good forest-dwelling races, because he is able to twist and pervert nature into a weapon to be used against them.

Good half-orc rangers become fierce protectors of the wilderness, often using their skills against the very orcs who exiled them. Evil half-orc rangers are the stuff of nightmares - stealthy murderers that lurk in the woods, waiting to ambush their prey. Worse, they might still maintain close ties with their orc kin, making advance strikes against difficult targets in anticipation of an attack by the rest of the horde. Evil half-orc rangers prefer using melee weapons and ranged weapons that take advantage of their high Strength, like javelins and mighty bows.

Some half-orc druids or rangers learn terrible magical secrets that merge evil spirits with natural creatures. These are the fiend binders.

Source: Dragon #292

Older Prestige class adapted to 3.5

General Prestige Classes