Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

PaizoCon 2014!

Monks with Vow of Poverty in PFS play


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

Andoran ****

3 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Answered in the FAQ.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I have a player locally who is playing a monk and has taken the Vow of Poverty. My question is, how does this work in PFS play?

He is trying to say that he puts the money into a bank and just lets it stockpile (this never "carrying" more than he needs), but that seems to me to fly in the face of the vow. Obviously in an AP or other campaign, the character would just not take a share of the treasure, but that's not an option in PFS.

So, how do we handle this in PFS play?

-Michael

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

I was considering doing a VOP monk who spends all of his gold from the previous scenario at the beginning of every session and gives the items away to other players. The banking thing is borderline, I'd probably never do it myself. It's certainly not going to break the game. Prestige spending limits prevent him from ever buying a killer item.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

It's an assumption of the campaign that all PCs have a place to store their crap that they don't take with them (including most of their cash, typically).

Since he can't give things to other PCs (at least, not to keep) in PFS, then letting the cash sit untouched in the bank seems more in line with the vow than, say, spending it all in between sessions.


Huh. I never noticed that it specifically says "wealth on his person" and "carry wealth" under Vow of Poverty. Since it says that, I think he can probably put it somewhere as long as it isn't on his person.

I also thought about a Vow of Poverty monk who would spend all of his money each session on a single (expensive) spell scroll.

Andoran ****

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Why do I now see such a character opening the First Bank of Irori?

"We strive to give you the perfect rate."

** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

I'm sure you could simply get a GM to sign off that you donated your money to charity, and just deduct it from your total.

Taldor *** Venture-Captain, Oklahoma—Tulsa aka Rob Duncan

First the rule:

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/ultimateMagic/spellcastingClassOptions/m onk.html

Restriction: The monk taking a vow of poverty must never own more than six possessions—a simple set of clothing, a pair of sandals or shoes, a bowl, a sack, a blanket, and any one other item. Five of these items must be of plain and simple make, though one can be of some value (often an heirloom of great personal significance to the monk). 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. He cannot borrow or carry wealth or items worth more than 50 gp that belong to others. He is allowed to accept and use curative potions (or similar magical items where the item is consumed and is valueless thereafter) from other creatures.

Benefit: A monk with this vow increases his ki pool by 1 ki point for every monk level he possesses.

Three issues: "own", "keep more money or wealth [except 1 week upkeep costs]", "borrow or carry wealth or items [belonging to others]"

First issue, what does own mean?

Black's Law Dictionary (9th ed. 2009), defines "own" as to rightfully have or possess as property; to have legal title to.

If your character can exercise dominion or control over it, it's ownership. Money in the bank is "owned".

Second issue, how much /can/ he keep?

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/gamemastering.html#cost-of-living

On the low side:

Average (10 gp/month): The PC lives in his own apartment, small house, or similar location—this is the lifestyle of most trained or skilled experts or warriors. He can secure any nonmagical item worth 1 gp or less from his home in 1d10 minutes, and need not track purchases of common meals or taxes that cost 1 gp or less.

So 5gp/week seems reasonable.

On the high side:

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/equipment.html

Inn stay (per day) = 5sp/day
Meals (per day) Common = 3 sp/day
Wine Common (pitcher) = 2 sp/day

10 sp/day * 7 days = 70 sp / 10 = 7 gold

May I suggest that the character retain 10 gold pieces to meet the requirement of his vow of poverty and at the end of the adventure, spend the remainder on services/healing as needed and then have whatever wasn't spent on healing himself or others (following guidelines in PFS Guide to Organized Play) spent on a line item for "Charitable Gifts"?

Osirion ****

In PFS play there wouldn't really be a way for the monk to ever get ahold of his one item of note since you can't pick up things along the way and everything must be purchased with money. The monk would probably just hold a few gold on him, such as the 10gp that Robert suggests. The rest is "given" to the monastery and when such time that he receives his ancient Amulet of Punching Hard from Sun Chi of the 3rd Tien Dynasty as a sign of his extreme piety he basically cashes out. In terms of gameplay he simply can't access that money (like a 401k) and if did he'd be breaking his Vow.


Greg Hurst wrote:
In PFS play there wouldn't really be a way for the monk to ever get ahold of his one item of note since you can't pick up things along the way and everything must be purchased with money.

That's another question I had. If I buy something off a chronicle (say a +1 undead bane sword), is it implied that during the adventure the group found a +1 undead bane sword, then sold it, distributed the cash, and then my PC bought a (completely different?) +1 undead bane sword? Or can I just assume that I kept the original sword without having my reward become coinage in between?

Grand Lodge *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber
Greg Hurst wrote:
In PFS play there wouldn't really be a way for the monk to ever get ahold of his one item of note since you can't pick up things along the way and everything must be purchased with money. The monk would probably just hold a few gold on him, such as the 10gp that Robert suggests. The rest is "given" to the monastery and when such time that he receives his ancient Amulet of Punching Hard from Sun Chi of the 3rd Tien Dynasty as a sign of his extreme piety he basically cashes out. In terms of gameplay he simply can't access that money (like a 401k) and if did he'd be breaking his Vow.

This !!

Why do we have to make it so complicated.

He leaves his money with the Society and similar to buying for prestige at some point he gets his single item.

This is either restricted heavily by the fame he has - or needs to come from a chronicle.

Hey society - for five years I have left all my money with you. We just found this nice item and I would like to keep it.

The gold is just abstraction to make running smooth.

I see this in the spirit of the vow.

Grand Lodge *

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

If he has access to the money any time he wants to purchase an item, then the vow isn't an inconvenience and he shouldn't benefit. Otherwise, you have the Bill Clinton vow of chastity.

Cheliax ****

sieylianna wrote:
If he has access to the money any time he wants to purchase an item, then the vow isn't an inconvenience and he shouldn't benefit. Otherwise, you have the Bill Clinton vow of chastity.

Are you trying to say only having one valuable item ever isn't an inconvenience enough?

** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Maybe his one item of value is a cashier's check?

Grand Lodge ****

2 people marked this as a favorite.

It's a vow of poverty, not a vow of keeping your bank card in an inconvenient place. You don't get to bank money, give it away to charity or buy your 6 items and be done.

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

But you can only have six items at a time, which means you are limited to items worth 6gp or less. That is of course assuming you are in an area where public nudity is ok. In many cases there is a hard cap of 5gp.

Taldor **

Dennis Baker wrote:
But you can only have six items at a time, which means you are limited to items worth 6gp or less. That is of course assuming you are in an area where public nudity is ok. In many cases there is a hard cap of 5gp.

These monks shouldn't be mistaken for Druids.

Whomever wrote PF's Vow of Poverty wrote:
The monk taking a vow of poverty must never own more than six possessions—a simple set of clothing, a pair of sandals or shoes, a bowl, a sack, a blanket, and any one other item. Five of these items must be of plain and simple make, though one can be of some value (often an heirloom of great personal significance to the monk).

Needless to say, can my 6th item be one giant gold bar, melted down again and again by the Society? Use of the Fabrication spell, maybe? Plus, lugging that thing around as an improvised weapon would be GREAT.

Taldor *** Venture-Captain, Oklahoma—Tulsa aka Rob Duncan

Baron hits on the key distinction as having "some" value.

Not an object as having obscene amounts of intrinsic value (like a huge lump of gold), but one of "some" value of a type that would also have great personal significance.

My watch, for example, has "some" value. It's not only intrinsically valuable but it also has some sentimental and personal significance... Certainly not something I would hawk for lunch money.

It would seem to me as defeating the vow by taking that kind of exemption that says "It's okay for me to have a nice, useful watch that I got as a present and means something to me" and saying "I'll carry around an obscenely expensive diamond-encrusted, platinum watch that clashes with my single monkly robe and sandals, doesn't mean anything, and will be sold the second I need some quick cash".

Something like "decent magical item my mentor gave me to make my way in the world"? Sure. How about "the wand of cure light wounds that my village healer gave me to ease the suffering of others"? I can buy that. "Giant lump of gold that obviates the rule and will be sold the moment I need something?". No.

I'd even go so far as to say "Letter from abbot of mysterious sect promising payment for resurrection/healing made for __________" and leaving exactly enough money that would cover expenses in clearly defined (and not discretionary) events, as if you had a real-world trust and the GM was the personal representative.

You died. You have a note that says you pay for ressurection. Automatic payment of benefits. Note is destroyed. You get new item. Write a new note.

Shadow Lodge **

I suppose you could cheese it and have your 1 item be a solid gold mace sized for a storm giant...

ow.. ow.. ow... kidding.

** Venture-Lieutenant, Croatia—Zagreb

The Vows shouldn't have any place in PFS.

Osirion *** Venture-Captain, Oregon—Eugene aka Relixander

Not using your money, is not the same as not having money.

At best the Monk would be a hypocrite, at worst an outright liar.

He is not impoverished if he has access to money, he is faking poverty to gain the benefits. Even if the money is considered "untouchable" until some event, it is still money owned by the monk.

I do not know of any requirement that forces a character to take rewards, i.e. You simply 0 out (or simply refuse the money) anything over and above what the vow allows via donation or destruction. This can easily be done with line items on the chronicle, as mentioned through this thread.

Keeping the money (in the bank or as an item) imho goes against the spirit of the vow, regardless of interpretation of RAW.

Personally I think its great flavor for a character, but due to the way PFS is setup, it will make some aspects of play even more difficult when impoverished.


Malag wrote:
The Vows shouldn't have any place in PFS.

I would find it ultra-creepy if someone told me that vows of celibacy were inappropriate for PFS!

Andoran ****

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Your PFS character is welcome to his vow of celibacy. He is not welcome to the Vow of Celibacy.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Your PFS character is welcome to his vow of celibacy. He is not welcome to the Vow of Celibacy.

I'm not sure what you're saying -- is your PC going to sex up my PC, whether I like it or not? I think there's a word for that...

Taldor **

hogarth wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Your PFS character is welcome to his vow of celibacy. He is not welcome to the Vow of Celibacy.
I'm not sure what you're saying -- is your PC going to sex up my PC, whether I like it or not? I think there's a word for that...

Roll Sense Motive.

In seriousness, I feel that VoP shouldn't even be Society-legal. I love the fluff, but there's too much variation needed for that sixth item. Plus, "table variance" could lead to throwing thousands upon thousands of gold into a very specific gargoyle's mouth. Being a poor Monk can be done without the Vow, PLUS you could still attain just enough items to keep you relevant in combat.

Yeah, you're not full-on LAWFUL MURDER HOBO, MONKY "EMPTY POCKETS" McPUNCHY, but dress plainly, be humble, preach individual abilities and not relying solely on a lot of equipment, give charity often, and don't buy anything horribly flashy. Attains what I feel is the fluff of VoP, without the hyper-relevant table variance that could undo a whole character.


Didn't read the whole thread.

but how i remember Vow of poverty works... The character doesn't have to forsake his share of the treasure but is encouraged to gives it to charity or something along those lines. A bank counts as him possessing the money.

Taldor *** Venture-Captain, Oklahoma—Tulsa aka Rob Duncan

Malag wrote:
The Vows shouldn't have any place in PFS.

When people are making characters, imagine that little GM voice:

"Are you sure you want to do that...?"

I don't recall VoP being /required/ in any way, so I'm assuming that whoever puts it on the sheet /wants/ to do so.

They get a benefit (increased ki) in exchange for a detriment (losing ungodly amounts of shiny gold pieces).

Arbitrators of rules look only to see if a bargain is struck, not if it's a sound or well-reasoned one. ^_^


I don't se how vop is even balanced. I mean you give up everything for a little extra ki that doesn't do all that much. It just seems to me keeping your magic items and money and being humble would be better. And no I'm not a monk fan just someone who is confused by this feat. I mean its great flavor but it really weakens your character.

Andoran ****

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Varin Artusk Darkthane wrote:
I don't se how vop is even balanced.

It's not meant to be. The designers specifically said 'being poor sucks' and that the vow is fine the way it is. It's just not meant for every player.

Shadow Lodge **

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Varin Artusk Darkthane wrote:
I don't se how vop is even balanced.
It's not meant to be. The designers specifically said 'being poor sucks' and that the vow is fine the way it is. It's just not meant for every player.

If you have under geared campaigns its not that bad but with PFS magic item availability its absolutely crippling.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Varin Artusk Darkthane wrote:
I don't se how vop is even balanced.
It's not meant to be. The designers specifically said 'being poor sucks' and that the vow is fine the way it is. It's just not meant for every player.

Works for me lol. I have players in my group taking it then whining now I have an answer for them lol.

** Venture-Lieutenant, Croatia—Zagreb

Robert Duncan wrote:
Malag wrote:
The Vows shouldn't have any place in PFS.

When people are making characters, imagine that little GM voice:

"Are you sure you want to do that...?"

I don't recall VoP being /required/ in any way, so I'm assuming that whoever puts it on the sheet /wants/ to do so.

They get a benefit (increased ki) in exchange for a detriment (losing ungodly amounts of shiny gold pieces).

Arbitrators of rules look only to see if a bargain is struck, not if it's a sound or well-reasoned one. ^_^

Which is fine, but I had the feeling that making your character crippled or disabled in any way is frowned within the Society because "you are crippling your party".

Vow's are just too open minded interpretation of rules. Player's will only abuse them because none can comprehend the idea that you can't buy items for yourself. Forget the mathematics, forget the rules, the Vow is obvious in what it says, you can't buy items.

I am sure someone will find a way in wording which will be hard to dispute and stretch GMs helping hand so he can buy something tho.

Taldor *** Venture-Captain, Oklahoma—Tulsa aka Rob Duncan

Varin Artusk Darkthane wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Varin Artusk Darkthane wrote:
I don't se how vop is even balanced.
It's not meant to be. The designers specifically said 'being poor sucks' and that the vow is fine the way it is. It's just not meant for every player.
Works for me lol. I have players in my group taking it then whining now I have an answer for them lol.

Nobody made them take the vow; they decided the benefit (ki) was worth the detriment (no items, no money). It remains legal for PFS play (despite it being a terrible idea to use it).

Taldor *** Venture-Captain, Oklahoma—Tulsa aka Rob Duncan

Malag wrote:
Robert Duncan wrote:
Malag wrote:
The Vows shouldn't have any place in PFS.

When people are making characters, imagine that little GM voice:

"Are you sure you want to do that...?"

I don't recall VoP being /required/ in any way, so I'm assuming that whoever puts it on the sheet /wants/ to do so.

They get a benefit (increased ki) in exchange for a detriment (losing ungodly amounts of shiny gold pieces).

Arbitrators of rules look only to see if a bargain is struck, not if it's a sound or well-reasoned one. ^_^

Which is fine, but I had the feeling that making your character crippled or disabled in any way is frowned within the Society because "you are crippling your party".

Vow's are just too open minded interpretation of rules. Player's will only abuse them because none can comprehend the idea that you can't buy items for yourself. Forget the mathematics, forget the rules, the Vow is obvious in what it says, you can't buy items.

I am sure someone will find a way in wording which will be hard to dispute and stretch GMs helping hand so he can buy something tho.

As long as GMs enforce the rules and /don't/ give players a "helping hand", I believe that players will realize what a terrible idea taking VoP is and it will be a self-correcting problem.

When GMs want to "help" the players by taking away the detriment (no money, no items) that they accepted in exchange for a trivial benefit (ki) it does not correct the balancing issue. (Benefit with no detriment.)

Likewise, if players decide "I am not helping you. You're poor and it's your fault", it's a self correcting problem.

If players "help" by chipping in to pay for things for the monk to use, it doesn't correct the balancing issue. (Benefit with no detriment.)

You and I are in near agreement here:

Quote:
Forget the mathematics, forget the rules, the Vow is obvious in what it says, you can't buy items.

I definitely agree here:

Quote:
I had the feeling that making your character crippled or disabled in any way is frowned within the Society because "you are crippling your party".

Nobody would want to play at a table where somebody has a crazy CN half-orc wizard who refuses to use any magic except mage armor and tries to melee combat all the time...

Likewise, while you /can/ make a monk with VoP, enforcing the rules will help deter that type of character from being made both from a GM and peer player standpoint.

"Uh.. sorry guys, I can't bribe this guard. No money. Help?"
"Hey, can you spot me some gold for passage on boat/caravan?"
"Um... I have no cold weather gear. Can we snuggle?"

No. Not as a GM, not as a player.

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

FWIW, scanning the Additional Resources pages I noticed that broken vows only requires casting atonement in PFS.

Start game, buy scrolls wands/ expendables, distribute to party mates. Get atonement cast on you. Occasionally spend a few sessions saving up for a big item. Adventure... repeat.

It's a 500gp/ session tax.

Andoran ***

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Huh. I think a lot of the GMs posting in this thread are forgetting that they shouldn't be adversarial. Some of them I wouldn't want to go near with the perfect Superman, really. Any imperfection, and they slam you. Not fun, guys.

Now, as a suggestion, to allow the VoP to work properly in PFS, yet allow the PC with it to actually get that 6th item, and have a chance to keep it more-or-less relevant, which is something that is a given in a home game, consider that the VoP Monk is doing a layaway to purchase that 6th item.

"Okay, given my current Fame, 9, I am going to add this 250 gp to a partial purchase/hold on item Y. That brings my total on the item up to the 1,500 gp cap I am currently under. And the rest of my money, other than about 20 gp for expenses, I am giving to the Temple of the Ultimate Beggar."

So, 20 gp or so for expenses.
Y gp in limbo, partial and accumulating payment for item Y', slowly accumulated over multiple scenarios, as Fame and gp rewards allow.
X gp given to the "real" poor.

That would mean the VoP is fulfilled, but that the Monk could have one Fame & level appropriate item, at times.

And how would you handle upgrading an item like an Amulet of Mighty Fists?

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

Here is the problem how some interpret that 'you can never have money' - so you can never buy something.

If you never have money than you can never give it away either - so a monk with VoP could never tithe if he 'can't touch' money even for an intermittent time. That stance would just be crazy.

The way I interpret it is - when you get into procession of wealth - which will happen as you adventure - you try to give it away, let's others use it, etc.

So in regard of 'paying' - I can't see that a VoP would prevent a monk to say - look at this poor man. We just took the jewelled dagger from the rich and evil merchant yesterday - would you agree to give it to this poor farmer as he could buy a cow for it.
.

So in my view 'payments' and bribes would be much more situational - and in some cases would end up costing more as if you would use money instead. But actually - the monk could be the one 'paying' for the group as he tries to get rid of his share of wealth - provided it is a good cause.

Edit: and there might be times, situations he can't pay and relies on others as in game he didn't got anything to give away yet

The real issue is - this becomes interpretation and there is table variance which will be the true problem as there are no simple to follow mechanics.

It is like the paladin code - we will never get to a consensus what is / isn't in the spirit or not. Still - I've seen a lot of paladins being played in PFS.

A monk with VoP trying to misuse it is similar to a paladin who tries to do questionable acts. And YMMW what these are.


Thod wrote:
Here is the problem how some interpret that 'you can never have money' - so you can never buy something.

Another thing is that it doesn't say "you can never have money" at all. It says you can't "carry wealth" or have "wealth on [your] person". You could certainly argue that means that you can't have any at all, but the specific way it was phrased makes it sound like having a bank account (or however you want to phrase it) is not expressly forbidden.

*

Dennis Baker wrote:

FWIW, scanning the Additional Resources pages I noticed that broken vows only requires casting atonement in PFS.

Start game, buy scrolls wands/ expendables, distribute to party mates. Get atonement cast on you. Occasionally spend a few sessions saving up for a big item. Adventure... repeat.

It's a 500gp/ session tax.

Atonement would not work for you.

"The creature seeking atonement must be truly repentant and desirous of setting right its misdeeds."

If you are gaming the system like that then you are probably not "Truly repentant."

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Lab_Rat wrote:
Dennis Baker wrote:

FWIW, scanning the Additional Resources pages I noticed that broken vows only requires casting atonement in PFS.

Start game, buy scrolls wands/ expendables, distribute to party mates. Get atonement cast on you. Occasionally spend a few sessions saving up for a big item. Adventure... repeat.

It's a 500gp/ session tax.

Atonement would not work for you.

"The creature seeking atonement must be truly repentant and desirous of setting right its misdeeds."

If you are gaming the system like that then you are probably not "Truly repentant."

You know... as far as I'm concerned the rule is weird enough that it's not even clear if the oath IS being violated. Particularly not in light of the "There is no time set amount of time between sessions" in PFS thing.

The character is not retaining any wealth which is equivalent to what a character in a home game would have to deal with. It is also definitely within the spirit of the vow. If you call that 'gaming the system'... whatever, I see it as a reasonable workaround for a rule that is difficult to deal with in the constraints of the system. I stay pretty clear of gray areas of the rules, but I'd have no problems with doing this.

**

Part of the problem here is that you can't just claim an item you obtain during play; you have it till the end of the session and then you have to buy it from the chronicle sheet with cash. For example, if a group in a home game completed

Spoiler:
Quest for Perfection and obtained the braid
the party would just let the monk have the item, since it makes perfect sense as the VoP monk's one special item.

It's a good rule in the context of organized play, but it happens to work oddly in this particular case.

Cheliax ****

Any chance they could just ban this particular vow? It seems like that would solve a lot of problems.

**

This vow is unplayable. Its not fair to subject your party to this.

It reminds me of playing with such cowardly characters that I wish they weren't there. The society wouldn't allow this

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder Society® / Pathfinder Society GM Discussion / Monks with Vow of Poverty in PFS play All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.