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DragoonWraith · talk · 22:34, 8 October 2010 (UTC)


"The weight of the world seems but a feather compared to the regrets I bear." --Alika, one of the Bound

Chance is uncaring and ruthless, capricious, chaotic, dangerous. A cruel twist of fate can rob a girl of her family or a man at his chance for vengeance. Law and order are bastions of hope against such unsympathetic dangers, but even the law can be twisted against its defenders. Such is the misfortune that leads a man or woman to become one of the Bound.

The Bound are the most stalwart defenders of law, bringing order to the most chaotic of foes. They wear their chains as a symbol of their own failures, but also as a badge of service, as a public promise that the law will be upheld.

Becoming one of the Bound

To become one of the bound, the primary requirement is to have been forced to do what you personally want least. The king required by law to execute his best friend, the knight who must leave his love to die in order to protect the many, the guard who must let the murderer go because of loopholes in the law, all might qualify for becoming one of the Bound.

However, one's reaction to these unhappy circumstances is also key. The king might pardon his friend, whatever the law says; such would not be one of the Bound. The guard might let the murderer go, but take no responsibility, blaming the law and those who wrote it, absolving himself of any part in the injustice. Such would not make one of the Bound.

The one who becomes one of the Bound might be the knight, who following his love's death, punishes himself for allowing this to pass, binding himself in chains and bearing the weight of his regret wherever he goes, a constant reminder of his failure. This is one of the Bound.

Entry Requirements

  • Alignment
    • Any lawful.
  • Martial Maneuvers
    • Any two Martial maneuvers, including at least one Stance.
  • Base Attack Bonus
    • +3.
  • Feats
    • Law Devotion(CChamp)
  • Skills
    • Escape Artist 4 ranks.
    • Martial Lore 8 ranks.
    • Use Rope 4 ranks.
  • Special
    • Must have been forced by duty, honor, or obedience to law, to actively engage in activities that caused deep personal anguish and regret, or prevented by the same from doing what one had sworn to do.

Class Features of the Bound

Class Skills

The Bound's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Autohypnosis (Wis), Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Martial Lore (Int), Open Lock (Dex), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Use Rope (Dex).

Skills Points at Each Level

4 + Int

Hit Dice


Table 1: The Bound
Level Base Attack
Special Martial Maneuvers
Known Readied Stances
1st +1 +2 +0 +2 Chains That Bind +1 +1 +0
2nd +2 +3 +0 +3 Bound in Iron +1 +0 +0
3rd +3 +3 +1 +3 Chains of Regret +1 +0 +1
4th +4 +4 +1 +4 Bound by Sorrow +1 +0 +0
5th +5 +4 +1 +4 Chains of Honor +1 +1 +0
6th +6 +5 +2 +5 Bound by Oath +1 +0 +0
7th +7 +5 +2 +5 Unbreakable Chains +1 +0 +1
8th +8 +6 +2 +6 Bound in Blood +1 +0 +0
9th +9 +6 +3 +6 Chains of Destiny +1 +1 +0
10th +10 +7 +3 +7 Bound by Fate +1 +0 +0
Armor and Weapon Proficiencies

The Bound does not gain any proficiencies with any armors. The Bound may select any one weapon associated with the Chthonic Serpent discipline that he is not proficient in, and gain proficiency in that weapon.


One of the Bound adds his full class level to his Initiator Level.

At 1st level, and every level thereafter, one of the Bound may learn any maneuver of a level he may learn from the Army of One, Chthonic Serpent, Quicksilver Aegis and Stone Dragon disciplines.

At 1st, 5th, and 9th level, a Bound gains the ability to ready one extra maneuver.

Stances Known

At 3rd and 7th level, he may learn any Stance of a level he may learn from the Army of One, Chthonic Serpent, Quicksilver Aegis or Stone Dragon disciplines.

Chains That Bind (Ex)

The Bound wears a chain wrapped around his body, as a symbol of both his own failures and the failures of the laws that he upholds. It is a simple, mundane chain; it must be at least as long as the Bound is tall (chain weighs 1 lb. per 5 ft.), though several smaller chains which add up in length to his height are acceptable. There is nothing in particular special about the chains, and they may be replaced by any other chains if necessary. Any chains worn by the Bound will maintain the same properties, even the supernatural ones he receives at higher level, as the magic comes from the Bound and his sacrifice, not the chains themselves.

This chain gives a -1 armor check penalty, a +6 maximum Dexterity bonus to AC, and an arcane spell failure chance of 5%, though none of these penalties stack with any actual armor the Bound may be wearing (if the Bound is wearing armor, use whichever penalty is worst). Even if the Bound is not proficient in any armor, he is never considered to be lacking proficiency in the chain, and if unarmored, the chain actually provides a +2 Armor bonus to AC (the Bound is still treated as unarmored for the sake of features that depend on unarmored status, however). Further, the Bound takes no armor check penalty of any kind on Escape Artist checks.

One of the Bound wearing his chains gains a bonus on grapple checks equal to his class level. He may replace his Strength modifier with his Dexterity modifier on grapple checks, and further add his Constitution modifier to grapple checks.

In addition, all maneuvers learned by the Bound from his class levels, including the stances, may only be used while wearing this chain. Many of the Bound's class features similarly require that the chain be worn. In addition, being without the chain gives the Bound a -2 penalty on all saving throws, attack rolls, and damage rolls.

Bound in Iron (Ex)

At 2nd level, the chains worn by the Bound begin to offer some protection: as long as he wears them, he gains SR 10 + his class level. He also gains a +2 bonus against all fear, charm, and compulsion effects.

Also, any damage that a Bound of this level deals during a grapple may, at his choice, be non-lethal. He takes no penalty for doing so.

Chains of Regret (Su)

The Bound has sworn himself to the law despite its failures, and he is painfully aware of its limitations and its susceptibility to unforeseen chance. He stands as a defender of order and a foe of chaos, and so is equally capable of imbuing his attacks with law and cutting through the protections of chaos.

By 3rd level, his attacks with any weapon associated with the Chthonic Serpent discipline may count as Law aligned or Chaos aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction, at the Bound's choice, so long as he is wearing his chain.

However, any damage reduction he has becomes vulnerable to lawfully aligned attacks. This penalty remains in force even if he removes the chain he bears.

Bound by Sorrow (Ex)

Whenever a 4th level Bound is wearing his chain and in a Chthonic Serpent stance, any enemy he grapples cannot use Freedom of Movement to escape.

The Bound is also considered one size larger than his current size for the sake of grapple checks.

Chains of Honor (Su)

The Bound's honor has become so strong that he can bind others by their words. At 5th level, one of the Bound wearing his chain may, once per day, use a Swift action to cause all speaking such that the Bound may hear them to be incapable of deceit. This effect is obvious to all under its influence, and they automatically know that not only can they not lie, neither can anyone else under its effect, including the Bound. This lasts for a number of minutes equal to the Bound's class level.

Further, the Bound is so used to wearing his chain that it no longer encumbers him, and the chain's check penalty, maximum Dexterity, and arcane spell failure are waived. Further, any armor that the Bound has worn alongside his chain for at least a week has its check penalty reduced by 1, its maximum Dexterity bonus to AC raised by 1, and its arcane spell failure reduced by 5%.

However, intentionally breaking his word or breaking or even bending the laws of any authority the Bound considers valid (typically one of the same morality as he), causes the Bound's chains to fall from his shoulders, bringing with it all the penalties that entails. The Bound may spend a full-round action rebinding himself with the chains, but they have a 5% chance of falling off each minute while the Bound continues to engage in any such unlawful activity.

Bound by Oath (Su)

The Bound of 6th level may choose, as a Standard Action while grappling using a weapon associated with the Chthonic Serpent discipline, to attempt a grapple check opposed by the opponent's Will save. If successful, the Bound's enemy is subjected to the effects of a Hold Monster spell, with a DC equal to 10 + his class level + his Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution modifier, whichever is highest. Unlike the spell, however, this effect is not a Compulsion and is not Mind-Affecting, as the creature is bound by Law, not by Enchantment, and it remains in effect for as long as the Bound retains the grapple. The Bound can only use this ability if wearing his chain.

Unbreakable Chains (Ex)

When grappling with a weapon associated with the Chthonic Serpent discipline, a 7th level Bound deals Constriction damage equal to his class level plus the difference between his grapple check and his opponent's. This damage stacks with any other Constriction damage that the Bound may deal, but if not wearing his chain he does not receive this feature.

At this point, however, the Bound's chains simply will not stay on during unlawful activity. They may be carried, but not worn, and the Bound takes all of the usual penalties for not wearing them. Once he has ceased unlawful activities, he may rebind himself, but the process takes a full minute.

Bound in Blood (Ex)

An 8th level Bound may, while wearing his chain, be simultaneously in one stance from the Chthonic Serpent discipline, and in one stance from any other discipline. He may enter any such pair of stances as a swift action, and may change or end one or both as a swift action as well.

Chains of Destiny (Ex)

At 9th level, a Bound wearing his chain is considered two sizes larger than his current size for the sake of grapple checks. His Constriction damage from the Unbreakable Chains ability is also doubled.

On the other hand, the Bound's chains are so violently opposed to chaos that unlawful activity will make it impossible for the Bound to wear them. Rather than fall off, they bind him, automatically pinning him. The Bound himself will be unable to remove them, though others can with ease. Once removed, the chains cannot be replaced until the day after such unlawful activity has ceased, after the Bound has gotten eight hours of rest, and rebinding them takes a full hour to complete.

Bound by Fate (Su)

By 10th level, a Bound is capable of rendering the harshest judgment upon his foes. When grappling any Chaotic or Chaotic-aligned creature with one of the weapons associated with the Chthonic Serpent discipline, he may attempt, as a Standard action, to make a Grapple check at a -10 penalty. If successful, the target of his grapple is subject to the effects of an Imprisonment spell. This ability functions only if the Bound is wearing his chain.

Playing one of the Bound

One of the Bound has already chosen the law over personal desires, at great cost. Every Bound has lost or failed someone grievously on a personal level because of their commitment to society, and the chains they wear are symbolic of their regret for this. For the most part, the Bound do not dwell on this failure too heavily; they tend to be more pro-active, seeking to spread and strengthen law and order. The Bound typically hope that by doing so, the loss of those they have failed will not be in vain.


The Bound also do the binding. They are exceptional at grappling, and the Chthonic Serpent discipline can allow them to do a great many things with the chains that are their weapons as well as their armor. The Bound are also symbols of justice, and are so capable of using nonlethal force when appropriate.


Typically, one of the Bound would seek to continue to improve their ability in grappling, and to expand their knowledge of the Chthonic Serpent discipline. Though this discipline is their specialty, however, they certainly do not eschew others, as many disciplines have abilities that are useful to them.


The Bound are typically loners, though the ritual of binding oneself in chains is one they share. For the most part, Bound ones would be friendly with each other, helping where possible, but most consider their tasks - their penance - to be a solitary endeavor. Two Bound would likely not travel together more than temporarily.

Bound in the World

"Don't know the full story, but it seems he did what had to be done, when no one wanted to be the one to do it, and it seems that he'll spend the rest of his life hating himself for doing it. But he'd go right ahead and do it again if it had to be done."
-- Captain Serrenten of the Guard, explaining who the stranger in town with the chains was.

The Bound are the most tragic, but most devoted, defenders of law and order. Their use of the Chthonic Serpent discipline is to bind chaos as they have bound themselves - to strangle the corruption so that the light of order might shine through. They are extremely no-nonsense about the task, however, and grimly determined to do whatever is necessary.

A special note on the evil lawful Bound: they do exist. It may seem odd to imagine an evil character feeling the kind of remorse that the Bound center around, but it is not unheard of for devils to bind themselves in chains after a notable failure, to remind themselves of what they must never do again. The chains serve much the same purpose as they do with other Bound: as a reminder and as an atonement. The chains are their vow that they will never again let anyone else take control of any situation. On the other hand, Kytons wear chains because that's what they are. A Kyton would likely not use chains as a symbol of regret, and therefore is not really like one of the Bound.

Daily Life

In daily life, the Bound simply wander, looking for places and people to protect from the cruelty of chaos. Many border on the ascetic, and while few go all the way to poverty, their lifestyle is notably spartan.


No one knows who the first to bind themselves in chains was. The practice, as a form of atonement, can be dated back longer than anyone can remember, even among the longer lived races. Many have done so since, but most of the myths and legends about them are so forgotten as to be almost worthless.


No particular organization of the Bound exists, but many of the Bound are also Paladins, Knights, or Crusaders, and are generally held in high esteem by any martial order that values law and order. Nevertheless, they are standoffish and even among the most stalwart defenders of order, their dark demeanor can be offputting, and the Bound are often uninterested in remaining with their former comrades.

NPC Reaction

Those who do not know what the Bound's chains symbolize see them as very odd, potentially dangerous. The Bound are grim, aloof, and can be difficult to deal with; there is nothing light-hearted about them. Those who do know why one would bind himself in chains, however, are hard-pressed to have anything but respect for them. Even the chaotically inclined are often impressed by the Bound's dedication to law, even if they disagree with it.

Bound in the Game

The Bound are, at their core, a Prestige Class devoted to the Chthonic Serpent. Like the Bloodclaw Masters for the Tiger Claw discipline, the class will appeal to specialists rather than generalists. However, they do have access to some other disciplines, which can augment their Chthonic Serpent abilities. They also receive more maneuvers than any ten-level Prestige Class in the Tome of Battle, but are built with drawbacks that can make taking the class a very difficult choice.

From a roleplaying perspective, the Bound are tough, jaded, and determined. This is not a class for a light-hearted character, but one plagued with a very troubled past. The requirements for the class are designed to require either an extensive backstory, or some extremely dramatic campaign moments.


The campaign setting doesn't really influence the Bound very much. Any setting in which, say, a Paladin or Knight might be found, one of the Bound could fit nicely. They're meant to be rare and unusual, and no organization of them exists to adapt.


The Bound are typically wanderers who try to fight chaos at all fronts. While a lawful good Bound would likely gruffly accept a chaotic good character, provided they were more good than chaotic. However, any 'agent of chaos' who flaunts the laws just because, rather than to achieve a moral goal that the Bound himself agreed with, would probably find himself wrapped in the Bound's chain and awaiting justice. A neutral or evil lawful Bound most likely would not tolerate any sort of chaotic behavior.

Sample Encounter

The Bound rarely serve as simple magistrates or guards, as other guardians of law and order do. The Bound typically take the fight to the forces of Chaos, and so it is most common to see the Bound in wild places, seeking to tame them.

EL 11

Alika is a quiet, mild-mannered Elf. Contemplative and reserved, he nevertheless is quick to prevent unlawful behavior. Mostly, he seeks to atone for what he has done: though the banishment of his brother Orin was necessary, for the safety of the world itself, his own banishment for this betrayal was similarly necessary, and Alika does not hide from the responsibility for what he has done.

Alika CR 11
Male Elf Swordsage 5/Bound 6
LG Humanoid (Elf)
Init +8, Senses: Listen +5, Spot +5
Languages Common, Elven

AC 27, touch 21, flat-footed 21 (+6 Dex, +3 Wis, +6 armor, +2 deflection)
hp 111 (11 HD)
Fort +12, Ref +14, Will +14

Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee +1 Axiomatic Spiked Chain +16/+11/+6 melee (2d4+1, +2d6 against [Chaotic] enemies, +4 with Chthonic Serpent maneuvers)
Base Atk +15, Grp +29
Atk Options Discipline Focus (Weapon Focus), Discipline Focus (Insightful Strikes), Chains that Bind, Bound in Iron, Chains of Regret
Special Actions Bound by Oath
Combat Gear Potion of Enlarge Person
Extraordinary Abilities Discipline Focus (Weapon Focus), Discipline Focus (Insightful Strikes), Quick to Act +2, Chains that Bind, Bound in Iron, Bound by Sorrow
Supernatural Abilities Chains of Regret, Chains of Honor, Bound by Oath

Maneuvers and Stances Known (IL 11th):
Stances--Careful Chains (3rd), Coils of Rapture (1st), Crushing Weight of the Mountain (3rd), Transcend the Flesh (1st)
Strikes--Boa Strike† (3rd), Binding Constrictor (1st), Choking Python† (5th), Emerald Razor (1st), Insightful Strike (2nd), Merciful Blow (1st), Stone Vise (2nd), Strike at the Heart† (4th)
Boosts--Blurred Bonds† (4th), Legion of One† (6th), Surging Law† (5th), Vanguard of One (3rd) Counters--Dance of Chains (2nd), Imperator's Rebuke† (5th), Moment of Perfect Mind (1st), Reap What Has Been Sown† (4th)
Disciplines: Army of One, Chthonic Serpent, Diamond Mind, Golden Saint, Quicksilver Aegis, Stone Dragon
† Readied Maneuver

Abilities Str 12, Dex 22, Con 18, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 8
SQ Immunity to Sleep, Low-Light Vision, Elven Weapon Proficiency (Longsword, Rapier, Longbow, Composite Longbow, Shortbow, and Composite Shortbow), +2 to Listen, Search, and Spot checks, free Search checks for secret doors within 5 ft.
Feats Weapon Finesse, Adaptive Style, Law Devotion, Blade Meditation (Chthonic Serpent)
Skills Balance +11, Concentration +16, Diplomacy +4, Escape Artist +4, Listen +5, Martial Lore +8, Search +2, Spot +5, Tumble +20, Use Rope +22
Possessions Combat Gear plus +1 Axiomatic Spiked Chain, +1 Light Fortification Mithral Breastplate, Amulet of Health +2, Chains (5 ft.), Circlet of Wisdom +2, Cloak of Resistance +2, Gloves of Dexterity +4, Ring of Protection +2


Image adapted from The Father's Son by SwitchValentine. Used with permission. All credit to him for the image, and many thanks for permission to use it. The Sample Bound is very vaguely based on a character of the same name by Maurexen. All credit to her for the simple backstory I've based on the original character.

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