Spirits range from 1st level to 9th level and all offer power. One of the most fatal mistakes a novice binder may make is to assume that low level spirits are not powerful. The truth is more complex. It is up to each binder to figure out how to unlock a spirit’s power through experience and sheer force of will. A spirit’s level merely reflects how readily available the knowledge is of that spirit, how complicated its seal and ceremonial rituals are, and similar factors. In the hands of a skilled binder, a 1st-level spirit like Aza’zati can be just as destructively potent as a 9th-level spirit like the Malebolge Moors. This book is organized by spirit level, with spirits of a given level organized alphabetically. Table: Index of Spirits summarizes key spirit details.
Unlike many other magical arts, pact magic has no tables or charts that indicate how many spirits a binder has at his or her disposal. The number of spirits known depends solely on the GM’s campaign in regards to how available pact magic is. Refer to the options below to adjudicate how many spirits a binder knows.
Pact Magic is Scarce: In settings where pact magic is scarce, almost all traces of this art are lost to time. Common mages, let alone ordinary people, are unfamiliar with the spirits. Among the world’s clergies, those who know of the art regard it as heretical worship. In such a world, a binder starts play knowing a single 1st-level spirit of the player’s choice and gains no additional spirits knowledge when leveling up. Such binders must scour the globe in search of forgotten ruins and occult shrines in order to learn the spirits’ seals and ceremonies. These binders are, however, not limited in total number of spirits known.
Pact Magic is Rare: In settings where pact magic is rare but not alien, binders exist and lack prominence. Most people are likely to mistake a binder for a monster or wizard instead of trying to understand what pact magic is. These binders learn spirit lore as they grow in power. They start play knowing four 1st-level spirits and add one spirit per binder level beyond 1st to their list of known spirits. As in scarce settings, the knowledge of additional spirits can be gained through study and adventure, and binders are not restricted in the total number of spirits they may learn.
Pact Magic is Prominent: The existence of pact magic is common knowledge in a setting where pact magic is prominent. Even in such a setting, though, “normal” folk fear its use. Churches actively preach the horrors of spirits. Those who dabble in its use are often shunned by society. Regular witch hunts are set against those who are accused of being binders. In many cases, occultists band together to form secret societies and villages dedicated to their way of life. In such a setting, a binder has easy access to spirit lore and automatically knows the seal and ceremony of every spirit up to his or her maximum spirit level.
Pact Magic Unbound, Vol. 1. Copyright, 2012, Radiance House. Author(s): Alexander Augunas, Dario Nardi