There are some who lack the intelligence to take up the path of wizardry and who definitely lack the wisdom of the clerics who gather their magic from faith and gods. There are some who are so desperate for these powers that they would trade away their souls to get it. These magic-users are united by a common background – they have found a malignant force of great magical power (typically a demon or devil, or some mind-twisting extradimensional evil) and then they have made a deal with said power to be the conduit of it’s power into this world.
Unlike most other spellcasters, the prime requisite of the pact-bound is charisma, because they had to hammer out a deal for their powers from some extradimensional evil. While any being can be pact-bound, regardless of their charisma score, those who have greater presence and personal magnetism can usually negotiate themselves a better deal. Thus, pact-bound with a charisma of 13 or better receive a 5% bonus to earned experience, and those with 16 or greater get a 10% bonus.
The lack of martial training for the pact-bound restricts their choices in battle. They can only use small weapons such as a dagger, and cannot use shields or any kind of armour.
Like wizards, pact-bound carry spellbooks of their kind, although the formats of said are often quite different than their wizardly kin. Some do indeed use massive tomes, but others scratch the formulae of their spells into their skin as tattoos, others record them in knot-codes or carved into pieces of their equipment. Particularly among the more illiterate pact-bound (such as those of more bestial, humanoid persuasions), symbols, runic devices and tattoos become more common than a codex of arcane spells. Pact-bound can have any number of spells in their repertoire, but can only memorize a certain number of spells that he can cast at any time. This number increases as the pact-bound increases in class level.
A starting pact-bound begins with 2 level 1 spells in his collection, gaining one more each at Charisma totals of 13, 16 and 18 (so a starting pact-bound with charisma 18 would have 5 spells known). He also learns one additional spell of a level he can cast (granted by his patron) at every character level.
Mark of Evil: Pact-bound are marked by their masters when their pacts are sworn – in the form of a small arcane brand or a third nipple. This mark isn’t usually somewhere immediately obvious, but when searched for it is hard to miss.
Twisted Gift: As the pact-bound advance in power, their dark lords bestow additional “gifts” upon them to remind them of the source of their power. Others claim that these changes are merely the side-effects of channeling such dark energies from other worlds and that none should expect their bodies to survive such treatment once their souls are forfeit. Every four levels, the pact-bound receives on gift from the following table, rolling 1d12 and adding half their level to the roll.
For every two twisted gifts the pact-bound has, they suffer a -1 penalty on reaction checks (above and beyond any penalty accrued from the twisted gifts themselves). Thus even the most golden-tongued pact-bound discovers that their charm may have helped to seal a pact with their dark lord, but few remain willing to talk to him.
Pact-bound are bound for their entire existence, and if somehow they find a loophole and get out of the service of their dark patron, they lose all abilities granted by the class, and become a normal human once again. While they tend towards chaotic in alignment, some are even lawful, but no pact-bound can be good.
Pact-bound attack and save as magic-users, and share the magic-user spell list.
The Pact-Bound, along with 9 other variant spellcasting classes, is available in Magical Theorems & Dark Pacts – a full book dedicated to Labyrinth Lord spellcasters and magic.