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Ultimate Magic: Monk's Vow of Poverty


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John Kretzer wrote:
Ok and? Not a problem if there is a item crafter in the group. Also at higher levels the monk is working for powerful casters...or powerful people w/ access to casters.

Of course it's still a problem, because there's still an issue of time. In my experience, it can be 2-3 levels of play between downtimes. Sometimes those downtimes do not occur in civilized areas. Gold pieces and/or the value of loot don't magically transmute themselves into components required for crafting or repairing after all, even if you are lucky enough to have a PC with the appropriate Item Crafting feat in the party.

Normally this isn't a big problem because losing a single item is an inconvieience. It sucks to be sure, but it's just one item. Often the DM can throw a bone to the character, and they happen to find a similar or better item in the next set of loot. With a VoP Monk it's the whole enchilada.

John Kretzer wrote:
Really does anybody here know how actualy a Vow of poverty actualy works?

I think we're painfully aware, and also quite aware that WBL is kinda, y'know, important. The VoP as presented is disengenous. It's a roleplaying option to be sure. Any Monk, any character even, could take a Vow of Poverty for roleplaying reasons, even before the option existed in Ultimate Magic. It's like a self-imposed challege. If the rest of your playing group, and your DM, is fine with that then go for it! Good for you, having an interesting concept and sticking with it.

The problem with the Ultimate Magic version is that it presents the VoP as a valid character option and provides a mechanical benefit for taking that option. However the cost of that option FAR outwieghs the benefit. For novice players, this is the very definition of a trap. It's unfair, and just a terrible idea. It should never have been included in this book alongside other viable options. It belongs in a Unearthed Arcana type book of purely optional systems and ideas, or at least in a separate section.


novice players probably shoudn´t be using ultimate magic in the first place. come on.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

The bit I'm missing here for an AP is:

The monk gets less items that make him weaker

The monk gets some extra Ki that make him compensate a little

Other members of the group get more items as they do t mind to share in the wealth the monk doesn't want.

This makes everyone else stronger - albeit not as much as it probably would make the monk stronger

All in all - power shifts but the net effect of a group should more or less balance out.

The key is teamwork and that the whole group works together - then the whole group should be viable before or after a VoP.

Just my 2p

Thod


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
idilippy wrote:
Well, if the rules for the vow allow the monk to have an item worth his entire wealth by level then that's not horrible for the monk, though it kinda ruins the feel of a vow of poverty when the monk has 200k in gold around his neck or on a ring. I believe it'd be so much more streamlined to have a series of innate boosts instead but if the rules allow the monk to have hundreds of thousands of gp in crafting donated to him than the idea that this vow makes a monk unplayable is much less applicable.

Shrug...just trying to see things though and how it could be played. Also sigh...lets take real world Vow of poverty...they usualy work for food and shelter...and they also will accept tools so they can work. It is not a donation. The monk of VoP is helping the PCs out...the group is helping him out.

As to having a bling worth x amount...that is tough to say as it is a tool...that helps the monk earn his keep. As everybody has pointed out ad nasum he needs it to be useful so it is really a treasure or just a tool?

idilippy wrote:

"I guess people rather curse the darkness though than light a candle...or put directly rather complain on message boards than fix it."

Or, y'know, maybe we don't want the design philosophy of purposely putting in ridiculously underpowered options in to continue with future books and are highlighting this example so the good designers at Paizo know what we have an issue with. Also, if your idea of a fix for the vow of poverty is for the monk's one item to be worth everything he would be holding onto already that goes completely against the original post I wanted to reply to, Sean K Reynold's post on the vow needing to be a sacrifice and purposely being less powerful for people who want that.

Well it is still a sacfice...as point out...it is vulnerable to sunder...it takes time...it is harder to find people to fix it...etc. It might not be as big as a sacrifice as I would want...or SKR wants...but since neither are us in your game(and if I was I would not care as I am not the GM) what does it matter what we want?

I mean after anything like a RPG leaves hand it up to us tweak it to our needs and desires. That to me was always the point of a RPG...

Anyway so you don't like the design of this...other do. Don't use it. I mean this is not the first 'faulty' design Pazio has done is it? Heck it is obvious what you would define as faulty...I don't. Neither of us is wrong...as it is opinion.

Also the fact is Vow of poverty being a bad design is a matter of opinion as none of us have seen it in play. Till we do...we don't know.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Quandary wrote:
novice players probably shoudn´t be using ultimate magic in the first place. come on.

Either that or you a novice player in a group of veterans who will tell the novice player about this 'trap'.

Or you have a group of Novices...and everybody is on a equal footing.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
ZappoHisbane wrote:

Of course it's still a problem, because there's still an issue of time. In my experience, it can be 2-3 levels of play between downtimes. Sometimes those downtimes do not occur in civilized areas. Gold pieces and/or the value of loot don't magically transmute themselves into components required for crafting or repairing after all, even if you are lucky enough to have a PC with the appropriate Item Crafting feat in the party.

Normally this isn't a big problem because losing a single item is an inconvieience. It sucks to be sure, but it's just one item. Often the DM can throw a bone to the character, and they happen to find a similar or better item in the next set of loot. With a VoP Monk it's the whole enchilada.

You do know you can craft...and or repair on the road right? It increases the DC...but at the levels we are talking about...it can be done.

And again not everyone play the game like you...I'll admitt it is useless to you...but that does not mean it is useless for everyone.

ZappoHisbane wrote:
I think we're painfully aware, and also quite aware that WBL is kinda, y'know, important. The VoP as presented is disengenous.

I am sorry to cut this quote off but you miss what I was understanding. You do knbow the RPing aspects of a vow poverty right?

Also the Wbl can be gained in a number of ways besides killing things and taking their stuff.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Umbral Reaver wrote:

I agree with KaeYoss there.

Roleplay and flavour is something players create themselves. It doesn't need to be dictated by ridiculous mechanical options.

Add me as another one annoyed by this. I expect a rules book to present valid and meaningful rules choices. The vow of poverty is not for the vast majority of campaigns.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's so hilariously awful. I had to re-read it a few times when I saw that last night.

Paizo always uses caution on these things, and then they screw up royally and allows an infinite spell loop.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ditto.


John Kretzer wrote:
You do knbow the RPing aspects of a vow poverty right?

I don't need rules to roleplay.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Alceste008 wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:

I agree with KaeYoss there.

Roleplay and flavour is something players create themselves. It doesn't need to be dictated by ridiculous mechanical options.

Add me as another one annoyed by this. I expect a rules book to present valid and meaningful rules choices. The vow of poverty is not for the vast majority of campaigns.

+1

Mechanical benefits should be weighed with other mechanics; not with theoretical roleplaying scenarios.

When you start trying to balance rp benefits/flaws with mechanical ones it gets messy. Rulebooks should present well thought out rules and mechanics. Groups will bring their own roleplaying along just fine.

If you want to allow mechanical crud at your table then more power to you. But to present a class option that sucks dirt (mechanically) and say its balanced because of rolepaying is nonsensical.

SJ


Gorbacz wrote:

I disagree with both Cirno and SKR. Well, that's me, the man in the middle.

Sub-optimal choices will exist no matter how you design, because there always will be a Wizard with Power Attack who wants to go EK but changes his mind 2 sessions later.

If the Vows were a "free" tack-on, I wouldn't mind. But they replace Still Mind, and the old rule says that you don't trade an axe for a stick. Of all the Vows, I can see Vow of Truth and MAYBE Vow of Chastity as solid trades. Vow of Poverty, oh no.

Agree here. One should not look for complete balance, mainly because kills diversity. I prefer diverse options, maybe better or worse for different characters, or different moment of the adventure, of the campaing, or for different campaings.

there is a limit to it, 'tough. the above does not justify stuff just too good or too bad, and always good/always bad as far as the game is conceived.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Thod wrote:

Other members of the group get more items as they do t mind to share in the wealth the monk doesn't want.

This makes everyone else stronger - albeit not as much as it probably would make the monk stronger

All in all - power shifts but the net effect of a group should more or less balance out.

The key is teamwork and that the whole group works together - then the whole group should be viable before or after a VoP.

Just my 2p

Thod

That's not how it works. Other players don't get to exceed their wealth level cap just because the monk isn't taking his share. Thus, no power shift at all (except downward) and thus no balancing out.

SJ


I love different, but weaker options.

Different but weak is a little different...


Sir Jolt wrote:
That's not how it works. Other players don't get to exceed their wealth level cap just because the monk isn't taking his share. Thus, no power shift at all (except downward) and thus no balancing out.

Wealth level cap?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If your one item is an amulet of mighty fists +5, you have used all of your resources getting and using expendable manuals/tomes to boost your stats, and you use appropriate boosting potions (like enlarge person, barkskin, etc.) from your allies, then I don't see how this isn't a valid option at all.

It won't be a great and powerful character, but it would still be able to carry its weight.

Still, it does kind of suck that you would HAVE to do all that just to keep up.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:

If your one item is an amulet of mighty fists +5, you have used all of your resources getting and using expendable manuals/tomes to boost your stats, and you use appropriate boosting potions (like enlarge person, barkskin, etc.) from your allies, then I don't see how this isn't a valid option at all.

It won't be a great and powerful character, but it would still be able to carry its weight.

Still, it does kind of suck that you would HAVE to do all that just to keep up.

Damn the mechanics, you're role-playing! That's all you need!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Really, Ettin asked the important question earlier in the thread - why should you punish someone for roleplaying?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jonathon Vining wrote:


Wealth level cap?

I'm sorry, for the sake of brevity I used a rather idiotic term. That's my bad.

What I meant was: if all the party members already have treasure appropriate to their level then they aren't going to go beyond that just because the monk has given up his share (for whatever reason).

Also, on another issue, allowing the monk to dump all of his treasure value into one item seems to defeat the meaning of taking a Vow of Poverty. Having 200k is 200k, whether it's in one item or many.

SJ


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
ProfessorCirno wrote:
Really, Ettin asked the important question earlier in the thread - why should you punish someone for roleplaying?

Obviously because having a horrible disadvantage and being a drain on your party automatically transforms into a better roleplaying experience for everyone involved.


magnuskn wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:
Really, Ettin asked the important question earlier in the thread - why should you punish someone for roleplaying?
Obviously because having a horrible disadvantage and being a drain on your party automatically transforms into a better roleplaying experience for everyone involved.

Coming soon spellcasters with a vow of silence. They get an extra skill point every other level.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Mechanical Impact

Just because you're only allowed one item, doesn't mean that the item needs to be a "mundane" wondrous item. You can have it enchanted multiple times. Additional enchantments typically have a 100% mark-up (50% for being out-of-slot, and 50% for being multiple enchantments). How does that influence the character?

    Normal level 11 monk (WBL 82000)
  • amulet of mighty fist +2 (20000)
  • bracers of armor +5 (25000)
  • cloak of resistance +3 (9000)
  • headband of wisdom +2 (4000)
  • belt of physical perfection (str, dex, con) (16000)
  • ring of protection +2 (8000)
    Total: 82000

    Vow of Poverty level 11 monk (WBL 82000)

  • amulet of mighty fist +2 (20000)
  • armor bonus +3 (18000)
  • resistance bonus +2 (8000)
  • wisdom +2 (8000)
  • strength +2 (8000)
  • dexterity +2 (8000)
  • constitution +2 (8000)
  • deflection +1 (4000)
    Total: 82000

Net difference:
+2 armor bonus to AC
+1 resistance bonus to saves
+1 deflection bonus to AC

Now it is arguable whether a GM will allow this kind of enchantment process, but given the alternative I think it is fair. The monk is behind on the curve - but not nearly as bad as it would be without any magical items.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
LoreKeeper wrote:

Mechanical Impact

Just because you're only allowed one item, doesn't mean that the item needs to be a "mundane" wondrous item. You can have it enchanted multiple times. Additional enchantments typically have a 100% mark-up (50% for being out-of-slot, and 50% for being multiple enchantments). How does that influence the character?

<snip>

Now it is arguable whether a GM will allow this kind of enchantment process, but given the alternative I think it is fair. The monk is behind on the curve - but not nearly as bad as it would be without any magical items.

It's not much of a vow of "poverty", then. ^^

Shadow Lodge

The only thing that makes Vow of Poverty stand out is the fact that it doesn't stand up well to the expectations that people set based on a seriously broken 3.5 feat. If it didn't share the name with that feat this discussion wouldn't be taking place

I classify this along the same lines as Improvised Weapon Mastery, not a great PC choice but something fun I can use with an NPC.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:
LoreKeeper wrote:

Mechanical Impact

Just because you're only allowed one item, doesn't mean that the item needs to be a "mundane" wondrous item. You can have it enchanted multiple times. Additional enchantments typically have a 100% mark-up (50% for being out-of-slot, and 50% for being multiple enchantments). How does that influence the character?

<snip>

Now it is arguable whether a GM will allow this kind of enchantment process, but given the alternative I think it is fair. The monk is behind on the curve - but not nearly as bad as it would be without any magical items.

It's not much of a vow of "poverty", then. ^^

This undead and dragon bane spiritual enhancer wisdom-of-the-ages amulet was a gift from my master ^_^


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
LoreKeeper wrote:

This undead and dragon bane spiritual enhancer wisdom-of-the-ages amulet was a gift from my master ^_^

And the essence of chaos is trapped inside and I'm the only one capable of containing it - by spurning all other worldly possessions


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
0gre wrote:

The only thing that makes Vow of Poverty stand out is the fact that it doesn't stand up well to the expectations that people set based on a seriously broken 3.5 feat. If it didn't share the name with that feat this discussion wouldn't be taking place

I classify this along the same lines as Improvised Weapon Mastery, not a great PC choice but something fun I can use with an NPC.

The problem is not that it isn't the same as the 3.5 version, but that it is a mechanic which horrible underpowers a character but at the same time represents an character archetype which is very appealing to many players. Its roleplaying aspect is also very compatible with the mechanically weakest class of the game.


LoreKeeper wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
LoreKeeper wrote:

Mechanical Impact

Just because you're only allowed one item, doesn't mean that the item needs to be a "mundane" wondrous item. You can have it enchanted multiple times. Additional enchantments typically have a 100% mark-up (50% for being out-of-slot, and 50% for being multiple enchantments). How does that influence the character?

<snip>

Now it is arguable whether a GM will allow this kind of enchantment process, but given the alternative I think it is fair. The monk is behind on the curve - but not nearly as bad as it would be without any magical items.

It's not much of a vow of "poverty", then. ^^
This undead and dragon bane spiritual enhancer wisdom-of-the-ages amulet was a gift from my master ^_^

That's very nice, mind if I sunder it?


FYI, repeating previous posters´ EXACT points doesn´t come off as witty, constructive, or informative.
LoreKeeper quantified what had already been brought up, but the Sunder issue has already been stated.
Obviously, if you no longer meet WBL, a GM will be motivated to find ways to bring you to WBL again,
unless he plans on having sub-WBL PC´s for whom CR-appropriate encounters are very different than the rules say.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Braden wrote:
That's very nice, mind if I sunder it?

Not at all. Monk CMD is of the toughest around. And it's hard to sunder an item you don't see under the simple monk robes.


LoreKeeper wrote:
Braden wrote:
That's very nice, mind if I sunder it?

Not at all. Monk CMD is of the toughest around. And it's hard to sunder an item you don't see under the simple monk robes.

Not to mention the size bonus of +2 for the Tiny item, which adds to the difficulty of the Sunder attempt. If you can even see it. If you're burning actions to hack the monk's wardrobe, that's damage he's not taking. :)

Shadow Lodge

magnuskn wrote:
0gre wrote:

The only thing that makes Vow of Poverty stand out is the fact that it doesn't stand up well to the expectations that people set based on a seriously broken 3.5 feat. If it didn't share the name with that feat this discussion wouldn't be taking place

I classify this along the same lines as Improvised Weapon Mastery, not a great PC choice but something fun I can use with an NPC.

The problem is not that it isn't the same as the 3.5 version, but that it is a mechanic which horrible underpowers a character but at the same time represents an character archetype which is very appealing to many players. Its roleplaying aspect is also very compatible with the mechanically weakest class of the game.

Why aren't you complaining about the Shark Shamen?

Quote:

Shark Shaman (Archetype)

Some druids emulate the deadly shark, a remorseless
hunter that marine dwellers dread. Like a true shark, a
shark shaman leaves blood and fear in her wake.

Nature Bond: A shark shaman who chooses an animal companion must select a shark. If choosing a domain, a shark shaman may choose the Animal, Death, War, or Water domain.

...

Wild Shape (Su): At 6th level, a shark shaman’s wild
shape ability functions at her druid level –2. If she takes on
the form of a shark, she instead uses her druid level +2.

It's clearly horribly under-powers a character and sharks are cool so it's appealing.

The game has lots of seriously underwhelming options, most of them get ignored, or grabbed by GMs as NPC options. The only reason this particular one is being discussed (and for that matter Cloistered Cleric) is because people have expectations based on 3.5 content.


LoreKeeper wrote:
Braden wrote:
That's very nice, mind if I sunder it?

Not at all. Monk CMD is of the toughest around. And it's hard to sunder an item you don't see under the simple monk robes.

One hit is pretty much all it will take to ruin the monk's day(and the rest of the parties if they pool resources to repair the item).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
0gre wrote:

Why aren't you complaining about the Shark Shamen?

Quote:

Shark Shaman (Archetype)

Some druids emulate the deadly shark, a remorseless
hunter that marine dwellers dread. Like a true shark, a
shark shaman leaves blood and fear in her wake.

Nature Bond: A shark shaman who chooses an animal companion must select a shark. If choosing a domain, a shark shaman may choose the Animal, Death, War, or Water domain.

...

Wild Shape (Su): At 6th level, a shark shaman’s wild
shape ability functions at her druid level –2. If she takes on
the form of a shark, she instead uses her druid level +2.

It's clearly horribly under-powers a character and sharks are cool so it's appealing.

The game has lots of seriously underwhelming options, most of them get ignored, or grabbed by GMs as NPC options. The only reason this particular one is being discussed (and for that matter Cloistered Cleric) is because people have expectations based on 3.5 content.

Agreed on the Cloistered Cleric, but that archetype ( Divine Scribe ) isn't exactly super iconic for roleplaying. Nor is the Shark Shaman.

Having a Kwai Chang Caine - like Monk is an iconic archetype.


John Kretzer wrote:

Did I miss something?

Has Pazio sent out goon squads armed with guns making people take this vow?

Yes. Yes, they did. I would show them to you as proof, but I ate them.

They were made of gelatine.

They were stern. Stern but delicious.

John Kretzer wrote:


And I am happy I have that choice

You had that choice before.

I don't think anyone needs a book to know that he can just refuse to use any equipment for his character without getting anything (much) in return.

I don't say that it's wrong to do something like this (suicidal in Pathfinder unless you deviate considerably from the game's assumptions, yes, but not wrong). I say I don't want to pay for a book to state the obvious to me. Especially not when it's a crunch book.

It's like that Nintendo Insider Tips tape where you paid to have some nerds in jump suits tell you that in order to get to level 10 in some game, you have to go through levels 1 - 9.

When I get a book from the PFRPG line, I want PFRPG material. Not generic obviousness.


Gorbacz wrote:
Dude, if Kaeyoss critiques PF rules, something went horribly wrong.

I'd say "bite me", but I don't dare. Not with that toothy avatar of yours! ;-P


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
LoreKeeper wrote:

Mechanical Impact

Just because you're only allowed one item, doesn't mean that the item needs to be a "mundane" wondrous item. You can have it enchanted multiple times. Additional enchantments typically have a 100% mark-up (50% for being out-of-slot, and 50% for being multiple enchantments). How does that influence the character?

Now it is arguable whether a GM will allow this kind of enchantment process, but given the alternative I think it is fair. The monk is behind on the curve - but not nearly as bad as it would be without any magical items.

That's a very good point. Why didn't I think of that?


Given how the UM Cloistered Cleric keeps 3/4 BAB, both good base saves, d8 HD and spells per day on par with a Wizard, where's the problem?

"Healbot" clerics tend towards light armor or mithral medium armor / Celestial armor to retain maximum mobility, so the "loss" of medium armor and one specific weapon (if any, not all favored weapons are martial) proficiency is insignificant. Cloistered clerics in either version aren't "battle clerics", they are eggheads. The UA version is a significant net gain over the vanilla PF cleric. 3 sets of domain abilities - done! I have a UA cloistered cleric at the table, and frankly it is too good. Fortunately for that player, I won't be requiring the re-specc'ing. (Too much hassle at this point of the campaign.)


Braden wrote:
That's very nice, mind if I sunder it?
LoreKeeper wrote:

Not at all. Monk CMD is of the toughest around. And it's hard to sunder an item you don't see under the simple monk robes.

Braden wrote:


One hit is pretty much all it will take to ruin the monk's day(and the rest of the parties if they pool resources to repair the item).

Same thing could be said of any super powerful item that any PC carries. And you totally ignored Lorekeeper's points about just how hard that one hit will be to make.

Granted, such an item does sort of side step some of the point of a vow of poverty, but Lorekeeper answered that as well.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Turin the Mad wrote:

Given how the UM Cloistered Cleric keeps 3/4 BAB, both good base saves, d8 HD and spells per day on par with a Wizard, where's the problem?

"Healbot" clerics tend towards light armor or mithral medium armor / Celestial armor to retain maximum mobility, so the "loss" of medium armor and one specific weapon (if any, not all favored weapons are martial) proficiency is insignificant. Cloistered clerics in either version aren't "battle clerics", they are eggheads. The UA version is a significant net gain over the vanilla PF cleric. 3 sets of domain abilities - done! I have a UA cloistered cleric at the table, and frankly it is too good. Fortunately for that player, I won't be requiring the re-specc'ing. (Too much hassle at this point of the campaign.)

Conversely, I got a Tome of Secrets Priest at the table and so far he has been quite manageable and the ToS Priest is actually a bit better than the UA Cloistered Cleric. Especially at low levels those characters are much easier to put out of combat than medium armor wearing ones.

Of course it helps that the player tried to twink out his character and ended up with a DEX of 8 and a CON of 10. Heh.


Shisumo wrote:
Out of curiosity, what level of system non-mastery is required to fail to identify Vow of Poverty as a serious mechanical weakening?

That's a simple question: Someone who's new to the game and assumes that magic items are just gimmicks, not something the game assumes you have a certain amount of, will not see anything wrong with that. Especially if he comes from one of those RPGs where items are significantly less important.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Why should a vow of poverty make your ability scores, AC, and or saves get better?

So you don't die horribly.

If it's an option only meant to be playable in extremely low magic item campaigns that's fine too, but that kind of stuff needs sidebar addendums ... same as say hero points.

Anything without sidebars is presumed to be usable in a standard campaign ... this isn't.


magnuskn wrote:


Not to be a spoilsport, but isn't there some sort of restricted "slot affinity" for magic items, i.e. "you cannot put stat enhancers into amulets"?

Actually, it's not even relevant, as in all likelihood, you would have to commission such an item, i.e. pay someone to do it. Which the monk can't. The monk can never keep more money or wealth on his person than he needs to feed, bathe and shelter himself for 1 week in modest accommodations.

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

Hey there folks,

Considering the traffic on this thread in such a short time, I figured I should come in a set a few things straight.

1. Not every option will be the best option ever. If it was, we'd have power bloat with every book.

2. Some options, by default will be not as good. Some might even be best if only left for NPCs or to fill out a very specific conceptual niche.

3. In the case of Vow of Poverty (VoP), we were left with a real quandary. Refusing to take magic items does not mean that your group (and you by default) would not still gain a benefit from that portion of the reward for an encounter. This means that either the GM has to reduce the treasure for everyone to balance out with whatever cool ability we give you (which screws with NPC loot values, published adventures, and a number of other variables, like bad guy challenge ratings), or we could not give you a very good ability in return.

Since VoP is something that has a real world analog, we wanted to include it, but did not (in the case of previous incarnations of this particular concept) want to really make something unbalanced. We went with the weaker option, full well understanding this would make it unattractive to many players.

You may not like that we included content in the book that is not something you find suitable, but it is only one small option in a huge book full of fun, and in some cases quite powerful, rules.

That is all for now folks, keep it civil.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


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You called?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
1. Not every option will be the best option ever. If it was, we'd have power bloat with every book.

That's a straw man if I've ever seen one. I don't believe ANYONE has said every option HAS to be the best ever, only balanced enough so as to be usable in the standard games and adventure paths you yourself just described.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thanks Jason

KaeYoss wrote:
magnuskn wrote:


Not to be a spoilsport, but isn't there some sort of restricted "slot affinity" for magic items, i.e. "you cannot put stat enhancers into amulets"?

Actually, it's not even relevant, as in all likelihood, you would have to commission such an item, i.e. pay someone to do it. Which the monk can't. The monk can never keep more money or wealth on his person than he needs to feed, bathe and shelter himself for 1 week in modest accommodations.

The VoP would most certainly be able to donate all (or the vast majority) of his loot share to his monastry or faith. In return, periodically, they'd grant him a boon item. This is how stories work. The GM's job is there to arbitrate and fulfill the story.


I'd like to summarise my argument:

Why I don't like the UMVOP:
UM is mainly about archetypes and other options for characters to just plug into any standard campaign. VoP doesn't work that way, since it gives you a really hard time in a standard campaign (loss of wealth is brutal.). SKR has already said that it's a roleplay thing, but as such it doesn't really have a place in the player's options part of a rulebook, not the way it was presented.

The part about "one valuable item" is quite cheesy. Either it means you can have one heirloom with some value (which is okay, fits the flavour, but leaves you crippled.), or it's a carte blanche for one super-item they happen to give you (which is, IMO, not okay at all. It doesn't fit the flavour, since that one item is supposed to be something of great personal value, not one of great monetary value. Plus, a 10th-level monk with an item worth over 60000 gil isn't really living in poverty.)

So here is what I'd have wanted for this:
In Ultimate Magic: Either vows that give you a decent compensation (a bit like that Book of Exalted Deeds vow of poverty), or no mention of these vows at all.

In some later book that deals with flavour issues and is about monks, and maybe how to change some of the basic assumptions the game makes:

Have a list of common vows holy men and women often take. Poverty, peace, silence, abstinence, the works.

Then explain the impact these vows will have on the character and the game.

Finally, have a number of suggestions for compensations for each vow, depening on several things:

  • Are you sticking to the base assumptions (in the case of VoP, the wealth by level guidelines are quite important)? Obviously, a character in a wealthy party (who has the recommended amount of wealth - or maybe even more than that - and a relatively easy time of getting the magic they want) will be hit a lot harder by this than a party who has almost no magic (and has to get what they find, since there are no shops and no time or opportunity for creating your own stuff).

  • How much of an actual sacrifice do you want those vows to represent? If you want this to be little more than flavour, you can probably just tell him to "buy items", but instead of money, he uses spirit points to buy things (and you gain spirit points by donating your share of the loot to a church or charity), and instead of items, you get spiritual boons (which work just like items, but aren't items. You might have something that costs the same as an amulet of natural armour, and "occupies" your "neck slot", and gives you a natural armour bonus, but you get that because your ascetic lifestyle has made you tough.

    If you want it to be a significant sacrifice, you might just grant the character a faster feat and ability score progression, something that will make him better than if he had nothing, but still not as good as a fully equipped character.

    If you want it to really hurt, you give him nothing, or some consolation price like a few extra key points.

    It is vital that all the choices and suggestions will point out how this will affect the game and what the GM will have to consider (for example, if you go for the crippling option in a game with normal wealth, you must know that the character will be significantly weaker and thus in greater danger than the rest, meaning you'll have to pull your punches against him, and be aware that he just can't contribute in many situations!)

    So what I'm saying is that the concept of spiritual vows of deprivation are a great thing, but the way UM presented them was too little and in the wrong place. Better to properly discuss the matter in the right place.


  • Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
    KaeYoss wrote:
    Shisumo wrote:
    Out of curiosity, what level of system non-mastery is required to fail to identify Vow of Poverty as a serious mechanical weakening?
    That's a simple question: Someone who's new to the game and assumes that magic items are just gimmicks, not something the game assumes you have a certain amount of, will not see anything wrong with that. Especially if he comes from one of those RPGs where items are significantly less important.

    You mean, like ll those Pathfinder and 3.5e games I run?

    If I recall properly, the characters in my campaign have somewhere between 100,000gp and 200,000gp apiece; maybe not even that. Which all sounds like a lot until you hear that they're all above level 40. According to what I read here, there appears to be some universal law that by level 20 all characters are walking Christmas trees with 880,000gp of gear. Nuh unh.

    The point is that in a low magic game like that, you become a monk with an extra 20 points of ki, essentially for free. So I'll repeat what I said earlier - while it may be underpowered in some games, it will fit right in in others and in others it may actually be a positive thing.

    Especially given that it is very different than the 3.5e version and does allow the one valuable item.


    My feeling to summarize is thus, and goes a bit beyond just VoP:

    If you should not receive a benefit for the sacrifice - as SKR said - then you should not create a mechanical ability that provides an incredibly small mechanical benefit with an incredibly large sacrifice. This especially goes for a popular and well liked archtype. This is setting up a player trap.

    If you want to handicap your character for roleplaying reasons, you shouldn't need a rule for that. And if your DM wants to throw you a slight bone, and neither of you care if it's balanced, I feel that's far more the realm of houserules then official rules.

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