Ultimate Magic: Monk's Vow of Poverty


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ShadowcatX wrote:
I want to point out something about choices. Any time there are 2 choices, one will be worse than the other. Its unavoidable.

That is actually false for a gaming system. Ideally, two choices should be equal in validity, or at the very least roughly equal. Pathfinder achieves that quite well in most cases.

The PF VoP, however, is terribad and therefore should not have been published in that way, IMO. Especially since it corresponds to a pretty popular archetype of a playing style and therefore closes that one off for every player and group which cares somewhat for balanced roles in a party.


idilippy wrote:
It's not the kind of group that makes this Vow of Poverty a problem, it's the type of game. Your group can be incredibly accommodating, but unless the DM rewrites the game rules so as to make items not necessary, or only runs adventures in the first 4 or 5 levels of the game, eventually the game will leave your character behind.

That depends on what role the PC is trying to play in the game. If we're playing an AP and I think that my VoP monk is going to be a front-line fighter, then you're right. If the monk and the remainder of the party is going to be aware of his limitations and accepting of them, then it doesn't have to be that way.

One of the common complaints I've seen in this thread and others is that a less than optimally designed character isn't just a problem for the PC in question but for the group as a whole because he/she cannot contribute effectively. That's not necessarily true. If the player is mindful of his limitations and the remainder of the party is willing to compensate for those limitations then the game will still work just fine. But this is an area that definitely depends on the group -- DM included -- not the game itself. Ultimately, any given player in any given group needs to be mindful not only of the game they're playing but the group they're playing with when designing their character. Which simply gives greater meaning to a wider variety of options for play.

I think it's a good thing that there are options for every kind of player in these books, rather than just one default type.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

There's a lot of comments along this line, here and elsewhere:

Quote:
Any time there are 2 choices, one will be worse than the other. Its unavoidable.
Quote:
Not every game option has to be the best option. Not every game rule option has to be a good option.

There's no reason to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Of course it's not possible to make every option equally powerful in the abstract, let alone equally desirable to every single possible character. That doesn't mean you should give up making a reasonable effort to bring all options up to a certain standard, even if that standard is a largely abstract and subjective one.


Wander Weir wrote:
idilippy wrote:
It's not the kind of group that makes this Vow of Poverty a problem, it's the type of game. Your group can be incredibly accommodating, but unless the DM rewrites the game rules so as to make items not necessary, or only runs adventures in the first 4 or 5 levels of the game, eventually the game will leave your character behind.

That depends on what role the PC is trying to play in the game. If we're playing an AP and I think that my VoP monk is going to be a front-line fighter, then you're right. If the monk and the remainder of the party is going to be aware of his limitations and accepting of them, then it doesn't have to be that way.

One of the common complaints I've seen in this thread and others is that a less than optimally designed character isn't just a problem for the PC in question but for the group as a whole because he/she cannot contribute effectively. That's not necessarily true. If the player is mindful of his limitations and the remainder of the party is willing to compensate for those limitations then the game will still work just fine. But this is an area that definitely depends on the group -- DM included -- not the game itself. Ultimately, any given player in any given group needs to be mindful not only of the game they're playing but the group they're playing with when designing their character. Which simply gives greater meaning to a wider variety of options for play.

I think it's a good thing that there are options for every kind of player in these books, rather than just one default type.

How would you play a VoP monk? What would you focus on if not front line fighting?

I don't mind sub-optimal choices. For instance I think there are clear winners and losers in the sorcerer bloodlines but I think they are generally close enough that choosing based on character flavor is perfectly valid. I just don't get that with VoP, I don't think it really adds anything to the character that they couldn't do anyway.


Wander Weir wrote:

That depends on what role the PC is trying to play in the game. If we're playing an AP and I think that my VoP monk is going to be a front-line fighter, then you're right. If the monk and the remainder of the party is going to be aware of his limitations and accepting of them, then it doesn't have to be that way.

One of the common complaints I've seen in this thread and others is that a less than optimally designed character isn't just a problem for the PC in question but for the group as a whole because he/she cannot contribute effectively. That's not necessarily true. If the player is mindful of his limitations and the remainder of the party is willing to compensate for those limitations then the game will still work just fine. But this is an area that definitely depends on the group -- DM included -- not the game itself. Ultimately, any given player in any given group needs to be mindful not only of the game they're playing but the group they're playing with when designing their character. Which simply gives greater meaning to a wider variety of options for play.

I think it's a good thing that there are options for every kind of player in these books, rather than just one default type.

To be fair, less than optimized is a massive understatement for the Vow of Poverty monk in an AP or any game where the players will hit mid to high levels and need to engage in combat.

And for your first point, I guess I don't really understand it. You say that if the party is aware of your limitations then they won't limit you, but I don't see how you're backing that up. If, in Kingmaker for example, a player plays a monk with the vow of poverty in the middle books there is going to be very little he can do. A monk isn't blessed with an abundance of skills and abilities like trapfinding that make him more useful out of combat, or spells and abilities like bard song that help his allies do better in combat, or the ability to heal damage his allies take or shield them from harm. Instead, a monk's abilities are mostly suited to combat encounters.

Even if the party, and the monk's player, accept that the monk can't contribute in combat after a certain point what does that leave for him to do? Role playing and character development don't count, any character can be just as much involved in role playing and have interesting character development regardless of their class or mechanics. Right now there are two possible places I could see myself as a DM allowing a vow of poverty monk, if I were running an E6 or low magic game or if I were running a solo game specifically for that character so I could tailor the challenges to his abilities.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Wander Weir wrote:
One of the common complaints I've seen in this thread and others is that a less than optimally designed character isn't just a problem for the PC in question but for the group as a whole because he/she cannot contribute effectively. That's not necessarily true. If the player is mindful of his limitations and the remainder of the party is willing to compensate for those limitations then the game will still work just fine.

No, not really. Starting around level 6-8, the monk's ability to hit level-appropriate foes at all is going to fall off pretty quickly; basically a -2 to hit and AC to start, increasing as levels increase. VOP isn't giving the monk any new combat modes other than hitting dudes, so he's basically got a scaling penalty to everything starting early and going all the way up.

The monk can't effectively deal with things which fly or are invisible, except in very short bursts. His only tool is a few-use-a-day Dimension Door or short-duration potions which he can't carry for himself. Hell, he has great difficulty dealing with the simple task of dealing with adverse conditions; he can't prepare for any journey that will take longer than a week or which will span two vastly different climes, let alone any journey which might require lasting magical protection (e.g. no Fire Resistance ring to survive the Plane of Fire).

How restrictive is "he cannot borrow or carry wealth or items worth more than 50 gp that belong to others" meant to be? Taken literally, the VOP monk can't pull a loaded handcart for someone or take a weapon from a foe and strike the foe with it. I don't think "vow of inability to rearrange furniture" was really the intent, but it's written pretty ambiguously.


I guess in a low magic scenario he would be alright but in a mid or high magic yeah pass.... or maybe in a short term game where your not gonna hit those high levels. would be better if he could keep just a few basic items for necesitys sake.

Sovereign Court

Wander Weir wrote:


I think it's a good thing that there are options for every kind of player in these books, rather than just one default type.

I don't think anyone is arguing that there shouldn't be options, but instead that the options should, by default, be able to get handled by the system.

Because the system makes no effort to highlight how challenging various options are within the game it ought to default to a certain level of functionality.

The other big thing is how many people end up stumbling into these issues. You might be able to say that under certain circumstances, with certain players and certain GMs, the VoP would work out just fine. But if that is only 5% of the overall player base then it isn't really a well worked out set of rules. It ought to be usable by... I don't... 60% or more of the player base without any fuss or complications.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I haven't remotely examined the specific bits prompting this thread but I wanted to share a real-world situation.

The group I play in has 2-3 serious optimizers, a couple middle-of-the-road sorts (they are aware of and recognize bad choices but sometimes choose them anyway in favor of flavor) and 1 seriously poor optimizer.

The optimizers and the middle-of-the-road players have no issues with optimal and suboptimal choices. They either know to avoid them or knowingly accept the consequences of choosing them. The other guy though, he is a seriously strong roleplayer who has absolutely no grasp of optimization concepts. He just wants to make a cool and fun PC. This system consistently punishes him. He see's something that on the surface sounds cool. He chooses it, then finds in practice that his PC, as usual, sucks beyond all comparison. He routinely sits on the sidelines reading or watching quietly as his PC is either unconscious or dead, yet again, while the optimizers and the others play on. I give the guy a lot of credit. All he wants to do is play and he never seems to get too discouraged. I just wish the system didn't knowingly lay traps for these sorts of players.

That's my contribution to this thread!


jreyst wrote:

I haven't remotely examined the specific bits prompting this thread but I wanted to share a real-world situation.

The group I play in has 2-3 serious optimizers, a couple middle-of-the-road sorts (they are aware of and recognize bad choices but sometimes choose them anyway in favor of flavor) and 1 seriously poor optimizer.

The optimizers and the middle-of-the-road players have no issues with optimal and suboptimal choices. They either know to avoid them or knowingly accept the consequences of choosing them. The other guy though, he is a seriously strong roleplayer who has absolutely no grasp of optimization concepts. He just wants to make a cool and fun PC. This system consistently punishes him. He see's something that on the surface sounds cool. He chooses it, then finds in practice that his PC, as usual, sucks beyond all comparison. He routinely sits on the sidelines reading or watching quietly as his PC is either unconscious or dead, yet again, while the optimizers and the others play on. I give the guy a lot of credit. All he wants to do is play and he never seems to get too discouraged. I just wish the system didn't knowingly lay traps for these sorts of players.

That's my contribution to this thread!

+1

you know thats a good point i think as a dm i would keep it in mind when i ran and focused attacks on the optimized peeps more. This has been my anti palyer killer plan for awhile focus attacks on the pc that has the most hp or is most deadly.

Liberty's Edge

magnuskn wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:
I want to point out something about choices. Any time there are 2 choices, one will be worse than the other. Its unavoidable.
That is actually false for a gaming system. Ideally, two choices should be equal in validity, or at the very least roughly equal. Pathfinder achieves that quite well in most cases.

I didn't talk about should. I was talking in absolutes, one choice is going to be better than the other, there's just no way around it. That's not how it "should" be, its simply how it is.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
vidmaster wrote:
...i think as a dm i would keep it in mind when i ran and focused attacks on the optimized peeps more. This has been my anti palyer killer plan for awhile focus attacks on the pc that has the most hp or is most deadly.

I do that as well. For the optimizers, I pull no punches. They better be able to take it. For him, I go a little lighter. Still doesn't always help though because in addition to not being very optimization-savvy, he just plain does some less than wise things in combat. My mercy can only go so far... lol

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

vidmaster wrote:
I guess in a low magic scenario he would be alright but in a mid or high magic yeah pass.... or maybe in a short term game where your not gonna hit those high levels. would be better if he could keep just a few basic items for necesitys sake.

Like my campaign, which is why the VoP character was so powerful.

I ignore character wealth by level - one of the best ways to control power levels is to control magic. The side effect of this is that something like a VoP can actually be an advantage, since you get more than you give up. If all you're giving up is a +4 belt to get +1 ki/2 levels, that's not bad at all, especially once you hit high levels.

vidmaster wrote:
jreyst wrote:

The group I play in has 2-3 serious optimizers, a couple middle-of-the-road sorts (they are aware of and recognize bad choices but sometimes choose them anyway in favor of flavor) and 1 seriously poor optimizer.

(the roleplaying poor optimizer) routinely sits on the sidelines reading or watching quietly as his PC is either unconscious or dead, yet again, while the optimizers and the others play on. I give the guy a lot of credit. All he wants to do is play and he never seems to get too discouraged. I just wish the system didn't knowingly lay traps for these sorts of players.

+1

you know thats a good point i think as a dm i would keep it in mind when i ran and focused attacks on the optimized peeps more. This has been my anti palyer killer plan for awhile focus attacks on the pc that has the most hp or is most deadly.

Not only that, it makes sense. Why would a foe attack the weak character leaving the powerful ones to beat it to a pulp? I regularly pound the living daylights out of the two highly optimized characters in my group, which means that their bacon is quite often saved by the less-optimized characters who have not been concentrated on quite as much. It works from both a meta- and in-game standpoint.

Edit: Ninja'ed by jreyst :)


Gorbacz wrote:

Before we blow things out of proportions, that's one page in a class that never was great to begin with. And funnily enough, the Qinggong Monk archetype that sits right next to it in the book is actually really neat.

I like UM so far. There's some 'meh' with vows and bardic masterpieces, one silly loophole, and that's about it with things that irk me.

However, I really don't want to see more craptastic design like VoP. I want to see solid, balanced design like the core Paladin or APG Alchemist. I want the people who did those on the ball in Ultimate Combat and any further crunch sources.

I'll support that, TBH I have certain expectations now about Paizo's work and would like to see them held to those standarsds they have already presented.

Much like any other artfrom your are only as good as your last work.


jreyst wrote:

I haven't remotely examined the specific bits prompting this thread but I wanted to share a real-world situation.

The group I play in has 2-3 serious optimizers, a couple middle-of-the-road sorts (they are aware of and recognize bad choices but sometimes choose them anyway in favor of flavor) and 1 seriously poor optimizer.

The optimizers and the middle-of-the-road players have no issues with optimal and suboptimal choices. They either know to avoid them or knowingly accept the consequences of choosing them. The other guy though, he is a seriously strong roleplayer who has absolutely no grasp of optimization concepts. He just wants to make a cool and fun PC. This system consistently punishes him. He see's something that on the surface sounds cool. He chooses it, then finds in practice that his PC, as usual, sucks beyond all comparison. He routinely sits on the sidelines reading or watching quietly as his PC is either unconscious or dead, yet again, while the optimizers and the others play on. I give the guy a lot of credit. All he wants to do is play and he never seems to get too discouraged. I just wish the system didn't knowingly lay traps for these sorts of players.

That's my contribution to this thread!

My group has similar dynamics and something like this would be something he would take from a roleplay perspective. Problem is, this limits the fun for other players because (especially since we run a 4 PC party) having 1 dead-weight PC has almost TPK'd us.

CotCT Spoiler:
We were going through the underground temple of Urgathoa and his character, a monk no less, got owned by the mooks in a few rounds (CR 2 creatures VS. a 6th level character) while my bard, the party witch (debuff master) and rogue (TWF sneak attack killing machine) pulled out every trick we could to grind through to the end. The DM decided not to make the priestess hit her Second Form of Power to prevent a total TPK thanks to a monk who had low AC and couldn't hit anything despite the efforts of my 3.5/Pathfinder hybrid inspire courage optimized bard (as in feats and spells). He subbed the character out for a dwarven fighter that we helped him build and our effectiveness has increased 10 fold. In just the last adventure we destroyed Bahor (the CR 14 or so rakshasa rogue) with barely a scratch. The difference between an optimized party with 1 dead-weight PC and one that is a well oiled machine is insane.


Couple of caveats across the board: I'm relatively new to Pathfinder and I've not yet played a monk in the system. So I'm not a master monk builder or anything.

Secondly, I'm not particularly fond of getting bonus ki points for VoP either. My argument isn't that VoP is the best thing ever (because it's obviously not) but that I support SKR's argument that it can be a good option for roleplaying a challenging character.

Braden:
I never considered the monk to be a front-line fighter regardless of how you play him. He's a mobile fighter. He ought to be backup to the front-liners. That's the way he was in 3.5 and that's how he's described in Core but maybe I'm wrong.

Anyway, I'd play him as a combat maneuver specialist. I'd target non-fighters and attempt to disarm, trip, or grapple them. I'd provide backup for others in fights by aiding, flanking or whatever else is necessary. I'd primarily be a support person and keep on the move.

idilippy:
I'm playing in Kingmaker right now but I'm still in the first book so I can't really use the AP as an example. But as I stated above, I think a monk can be useful as a support person, going where needed, focusing on enemies that he can be more effective against. I also happen to think you can still play an effective PC without dealing a lot of damage in combat. I think with the right group (always that caveat) that you can be very useful in combat in other ways.

MiB:
I'm not arguing that the monk with VoP is going to be the best character ever in every situation. I'm not even arguing that there's ever a situation in which he'd be the best character. I'm just saying that he can still be playable and contribute to a campaign. Obviously (in my mind, at least) you have to pick and choose what sort of game or campaign would be best for playing him. I certainly wouldn't choose to design a monk with VoP for Legacy of Fire. However he might work pretty good in Serpent's Skull where there's plenty of water and food available and not carrying a lot of stuff can actually work in your favor.

Mok:
And who really knows what the percentages are? On Paizo.com the vast majority does seem to be people who like to play characters who are the best they can be, who are highly effective in as many situations as possible and so on. Does that mean that there's a clear minority of roleplayers who play the game differently? Not necessarily. There are thousands of gamers who don't spend any time on the forums, and many others who don't bother to post.

Maybe you're right and only a small percentage of Paizo's gamers are going to be interested in VoP or other options. But how is Paizo to know unless they experiement from time to time? All I can say is that I know a lot of gamers like myself who would pick less than ideal options for the sheer fun of it and in that case there's nothing particularly wrong with VoP being especially challenging. Some people crave that kind of challenge and there's nothing wrong with that.


A Man In Black wrote:
It tempts players who aren't good at identifying trap options into either wrecking their fun by making incompetent characters or bothering their GM/group with requests to make incompetent characters. So, on top of being a waste of space and indicative of a pernicious and obnoxious mindset in RPGs (characters have to be crippled to be interesting), it also serves to annoy the people who have to veto it.

1) Remind me not to suggest that a newbie plays in your group...or people who are not as smart or system savy as you...as it would be like throwing somebody to the wolves it seems...which is fine. But understand this not all groups(heck in my experience only one group) actualy helps out people in the group...it is not considering bothering...or anything etc.

2) While yes non-'crippled' characters can be intersting...but it is also true 'crippled' characters can be interesting. Though i personaly find most opyimizer characters to be as boring as math equation...even if wrapped in good RPGing.

A Man In Black wrote:
"Paizo used to make stuff that fits my style of play, but now they stopped, what's up with that?" is a fair complaint.

Sure...I guess...so when I say the same if they did not published some suboptimal choices that "Paizo used to make stuff that fits my style of play, but now they stopped, what's up with that?" is also just a fair compliant.

Personaly I would not make that complaint...my complaint would be...

"Pazio used to support various play styles...now they are just choosing one."

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

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

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
John Kretzer wrote:
A Man In Black wrote:
It tempts players who aren't good at identifying trap options into either wrecking their fun by making incompetent characters or bothering their GM/group with requests to make incompetent characters. So, on top of being a waste of space and indicative of a pernicious and obnoxious mindset in RPGs (characters have to be crippled to be interesting), it also serves to annoy the people who have to veto it.

1) Remind me not to suggest that a newbie plays in your group...or people who are not as smart or system savy as you...as it would be like throwing somebody to the wolves it seems...which is fine. But understand this not all groups(heck in my experience only one group) actualy helps out people in the group...it is not considering bothering...or anything etc.

2) While yes non-'crippled' characters can be intersting...but it is also true 'crippled' characters can be interesting. Though i personaly find most opyimizer characters to be as boring as math equation...even if wrapped in good RPGing.

A Man In Black wrote:
"Paizo used to make stuff that fits my style of play, but now they stopped, what's up with that?" is a fair complaint.

Sure...I guess...so when I say the same if they did not published some suboptimal choices that "Paizo used to make stuff that fits my style of play, but now they stopped, what's up with that?" is also just a fair compliant.

Personaly I would not make that complaint...my complaint would be...

"Pazio used to support various play styles...now they are just choosing one."

Sorry John, but if somebody with VoP would turn up at my PFS table I would groan.

Because our chances of completing that scenario just got that much smaller.


idilippy wrote:
No, I don't, at least not to this extent. You literally have to rewrite later chapters AP to accommodate a player who wants to use this vow or watch that character either do nothing or die. Only the most highly optimized party requires anything approaching that level of modification.

The GM always has to cater to his group. Mixed groups of sub-optimizer...optimizers...and the people middle of the road are harder to do but possible. I have done it. But in my experience a group of optimizers are harder to cater to to than a group of sub-optimizers. As you don't have the arm race issues.

Don't really care about the APs...or modules at all really...don't fit my play style...it is nice that they support my non AP using/ module using play style.

But when I used use modules...I always modified it to deal with a group...never liked playing at the 'baseline'. Always find the high end or the low end more interesting.

But I get this point...

idilippy wrote:
Also, for your other post, no Paizo isn't sending goons out but by putting in this rule they eliminate other mechanical ways of modeling a character with a vow of poverty. I could always play a character who keeps no items and be worthless at mid to high levels, adding this vow to a book of player mechanical options does nothing to help me actually play that character, a character concept I really would like to play, in anything but a game specifically designed from the ground up to take that character into account.

Design your own. I can understand your annoyance. I can aympathize. But in the time you spend sufering the boards could you not come up something for a VoP?

Contributor

Removed a post. Let's not be insulting.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

PFS is an entirely different issue - but is it really all that big of an issue? How many of the people griping about this have run lots of convention games?

You get things like tables with 3 wizards and a rogue or 4 clerics and no arcane caster. As a GM it is your job to make it work.

This is entirely different than a home campaign. These are paying customers, and its your job to make it work for them. Most often you as a GM are getting some level of preferential treatment, even if it's only free entrance.

I am not saying this in some vague intellectual way; I've run many convention games in the past decade, and that's how I run them: I see who I've got at the table, I look at what I've got to get them through, and I find a way to make it work. I don't gripe at the players for their character choices - that's foolish - whatever their choice is, they likely made that choice because that's what they wanted to play.

It's not up to the other players, and it's not up to you. Your only job is to make it work.

Now, table disruption is another matter - I'm simply talking about the selection of character mechanics. If a player chooses to intentionally disrupt the table and justify it based on character - well - in that case I have no sympathy :)


Did a basic glance over the numbers to get an idea of how much this weakened characters, starting from the idea of the iconic monk as equipped in the 5th Kingmaker book being redesigned as a vow of poverty monk.

Sajan gives up a +4 temple sword, bracers of armor +5, cloak of resistance +4, pearly white spindle ioun stone, monk’s belt(which isn't factored in to his stat block in any way), a ring of protection +3, and a +1 shock amulet of mighty fists.

This results in a net loss of +8 AC, +4 saves, +1 to attack and +1d6 shock damage with unarmed strike, as well as the uncounted monk's belt and the 1hp/10 minute regeneration of the ioun stone, leaving his numbers as a 13th level monk at AC 17, F/R/W +10/+11/+9 with +2 vs enchantment, an attack bonus of +12/+7, or +14/+14/+9/+9/+4 with flurry, and a CMB of +14, +18 with grapple. With his highest flurry attack he hits level appropriate enemies on around a 14, cannot grapple most creatures as they are too large for him and will fail the grapple CMB check unless he gets above a 13 even for medium creatures like a ghaele, and will be hit on everything but a natural 1 from most beings. He also saves just at or below half the time against DC 21 abilities, though he does have spell resistance which is helpful.

Edit: didn't see your reply John but as for designing my own mechanics, it's hard enough getting DMs to accept 3rd party products or material from books they don't have, let alone homebrew stuff. Also, it's been said but if I wanted to design my own rules I wouldn't've bought a book of them from Paizo.

Finally, at this point the vows themselves are set in stone and can't be changed, but I'm hoping that by raising concerns about the problems with this option the fine folks at Paizo won't follow the erroneous belief that a flavorful role playing option has to be terribly underpowered when they create future mechanics and rules options.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
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?

Never having played the game before over level four.

---

The only way this version of the VoP would not be so bad, is if Paizo would publish an alternative, optional system in one of their next books, which removes four of the "big six" magic items, into which goes most of the money a character has. Those four items which have to go are Cloaks of Resistance, Rings of Protection, Amulets of Natural Armor and all stat boosters. Arms and armor need to stay, of course, because contrary to the former four, those two are iconic to the fantasy genre.

Instead of those four deleted money-sinks, every character then would need to get fixed stat boosts at certain levels. Deflection and natural armor bonuses would need to be replaced by dodge bonuses, spells granting natural armor and deflection bonuses would need to be disallowed.

Then put out an adjusted WBL table, which takes into account how much less PC's now need to spend to get to the power level they need to have and then this version of the VoP would be more or less balanced.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
idilippy wrote:

Did a basic glance over the numbers to get an idea of how much this weakened characters, starting from the idea of the iconic monk as equipped in the 5th Kingmaker book being redesigned as a vow of poverty monk.

Sajan gives up a +4 temple sword, bracers of armor +5, cloak of resistance +4, pearly white spindle ioun stone, monk’s belt(which isn't factored in to his stat block in any way), a ring of protection +3, and a +1 shock amulet of mighty fists.

Um, he does get to keep at least *one* of those things.

magnuskn 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?
Never having played the game before over level four.

So does it really qualify as a "trap?" I'll give you "spectacularly bad idea," but "trap" seems to imply that in some way it's being concealed from you, and this particular option has its suckiness just hanging out there for all to see...


Gorbacz wrote:

Sorry John, but if somebody with VoP would turn up at my PFS table I would groan.

Because our chances of completing that scenario just got that much smaller.

You don't have to apologize(unless you are being sarcastic...)...I have never said people have to like this...heck I suggest people don't allowed it the don't like it. Heck I can really see how this does not mesh well with people play styles. All I am saying is that if Pathfinder is to be successful it has to be accomndating to a verious level of power and play styles.

As to your PFS scenario. I would personaly wait to see how the person plays it. Also PFS is restricted to low enough levels (I believe it is 12th) That it should not be that big of a drop off.

Also just because right now you don't see how to make it effective does not mean there is no way it can be. I really don't judge something till I see it in play.

Now I don't play in the PFs...but I tend to groan with a player who if even given the Pun-Pun would mess it up. And I have seen player take what is considered really bad builds and play it really well.

Add some other points...

1)I actualy like play non-optimize characters...because it is a challenge...I have played really poerful character build before...those are boring now most of the time.

2)Now...just reading I agree it look week. And if there is no way to play it better...I would let the player access to the ultimate optimizing trick...I would let him stack as much magical properties as he wants on that one item.

3) I don't have the book yet...are there alternative ki-powers? How would(or can it even) it look combined with the new monk achetype...how would having moe ki points help that class?

4) Also...a sacrifice should be a sacrifice. Sorry I have seen too many people take 'sacrfices' for the mechanical advantages...which sorta to me atleast negates the purpose of sacrfice.


idilippy wrote:

Did a basic glance over the numbers to get an idea of how much this weakened characters, starting from the idea of the iconic monk as equipped in the 5th Kingmaker book being redesigned as a vow of poverty monk.

Sajan gives up a +4 temple sword, bracers of armor +5, cloak of resistance +4, pearly white spindle ioun stone, monk’s belt(which isn't factored in to his stat block in any way), a ring of protection +3, and a +1 shock amulet of mighty fists.

This results in a net loss of +8 AC, +4 saves, +1 to attack and +1d6 shock damage with unarmed strike, as well as the uncounted monk's belt and the 1hp/10 minute regeneration of the ioun stone, leaving his numbers as a 13th level monk at AC 17, F/R/W +10/+11/+9 with +2 vs enchantment, an attack bonus of +12/+7, or +14/+14/+9/+9/+4 with flurry, and a CMB of +14, +18 with grapple. With his highest flurry attack he hits level appropriate enemies on around a 14, cannot grapple most creatures as they are too large for him and will fail the grapple CMB check unless he gets above a 13 even for medium creatures like a ghaele, and will be hit on everything but a natural 1 from most beings. He also saves just at or below half the time against DC 21 abilities, though he does have spell resistance which is helpful.

Edit: didn't see your reply John but as for designing my own mechanics, it's hard enough getting DMs to accept 3rd party products or material from books they don't have, let alone homebrew stuff. Also, it's been said but if I wanted to design my own rules I wouldn't've bought a book of them from Paizo.

Finally, at this point the vows themselves are set in stone and can't be changed, but I'm hoping that by raising concerns about the problems with this option the fine folks at Paizo won't follow the erroneous belief that a flavorful role playing option has to be terribly underpowered when they create future mechanics and rules options.

I don't have Kingmaker...what did you leave him? As wriiten he is allowed one magic item. Also now work the numbers up with a couple of stacking those items...see how it looks than.

Lets atleast be fair in this.


Wander Weir wrote:

Braden:

I never considered the monk to be a front-line fighter regardless of how you play him. He's a mobile fighter. He ought to be backup to the front-liners. That's the way he was in 3.5 and that's how he's described in Core but maybe I'm wrong.

Anyway, I'd play him as a combat maneuver specialist. I'd target non-fighters and attempt to disarm, trip, or grapple them. I'd provide backup for others in fights by aiding, flanking or whatever else is necessary. I'd primarily be a support person and keep on the move.

I guess this is my main problem with the monk. Being mobile means taking less full attacks, which is the only time a monk can hit someone and do any damage. Trip and disarm are fine but require some feats to be useful, which mean you are even worse in combat. Yes, you can get in and out fast but you either are taking a few hits or never doing a full round attack.

I am all for playing sub-optimal characters, and I agree that rollplaying is better than roleplaying. But I would rather this vow add some out of combat abilities, skill points or something that made it worth giving up combat effectiveness. As of now, I would never consider it and I like the poverty monk idea.

Notice I am not complaining about the cloistered cleric, I don't think it is as strong as a cleric but it is a neat idea, that is still playable and adds some rollplaying elements.


Shisumo wrote:
idilippy wrote:

Did a basic glance over the numbers to get an idea of how much this weakened characters, starting from the idea of the iconic monk as equipped in the 5th Kingmaker book being redesigned as a vow of poverty monk.

Sajan gives up a +4 temple sword, bracers of armor +5, cloak of resistance +4, pearly white spindle ioun stone, monk’s belt(which isn't factored in to his stat block in any way), a ring of protection +3, and a +1 shock amulet of mighty fists.

Um, he does get to keep at least *one* of those things.

Considering he starts at 1st level with an "item of value" I didn't think that factored in. Unless your DM lets you start with a magical item off the bat or lets your special item gain in power over the levels as if you were pumping gold into upgrading it. Flavor-wise I think Sajan would take the Temple sword but even if he had the +5 bracers of armor he is still in a world of hurt during level appropriate encounters as his 22 AC is still low enough to be hit by the 3rd iterative attack of a CR 13 storm giant on a 5 or up(still anything but a 1 for the first 2 attacks, and he's similarly easy to hit by other monsters of about that CR.

Also, the claim that the monk with a vow of poverty would instead get to stack one item with all sorts of powers goes completely against the idea of 'sacrifice' that is apparently important to the class. If I get an item of value at 1st level then get to spend gold to upgrade it over the levels(gold that I'm not allowed to carry, own, or touch) the vow might as well just have innate bonuses, it's way less clunky and doesn't go against the vow's purpose.


I can see how some may see it as cheesy,
but it seems fiarly reasonable to me that you will in fact be ´stacking lots of effects into one item´,
e.g. an Amulet of Mighty Fists w/ extra cost Natural Armor, off-slot Saving Throw Bonus, etc, etc.
So your Wealth by Level is watered down in effectiveness thru the off-slot/multi-effect Cost Multiplier,
but you will still have access to the ´basic 6´ or whatever affects.

The Monk doesn´t have to be ´upgrading this at the Magic Wal-Mart´,
it can be a matter of his monastery {blessing{ his holy amulet of a sacred monk-saint, or whatever.
Or the other PCs ´babysitting´ him by upgrading stuff for him... etc.
From what I´ve seen of it, I can´t see how Paizo is expecting you NOT to do that.

So.. LESS effective gear for WBL, but extra Ki, letting you do alot of Wu-Xia stuff more regularly.
Doesn´t seem like the end of the world to me...
I agree it would have been better to bite the bullet, and just integrate this into a ´virtual enhancement gear pool´ that applies bonuses EQUIVALENT to most gear, without being tied to an item, or whatever.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Quandary wrote:

I can see how some may see it as cheesy,

but it seems fiarly reasonable to me that you will in fact be ´stacking lots of effects into one item´,
e.g. an Amulet of Mighty Fists w/ extra cost Natural Armor, off-slot Saving Throw Bonus, etc, etc.
So your Wealth by Level is watered down in effectiveness thru the off-slot/multi-effect Cost Multiplier,
but you will still have access to the ´basic 6´ or whatever affects.

The Monk doesn´t have to be ´upgrading this at the Magic Wal-Mart´,
it can be a matter of his monastery {blessing{ his holy amulet of a sacred monk-saint, or whatever.
Or the other PCs ´babysitting´ him by upgrading stuff for him... etc.
From what I´ve seen of it, I can´t see how Paizo is expecting you NOT to do that.

So.. LESS effective gear for WBL, but extra Ki, letting you do alot of Wu-Xia stuff more regularly.
Doesn´t seem like the end of the world to me...
I agree it would have been better to bite the bullet, and just integrate this into a ´virtual enhancement gear pool´ that applies bonuses EQUIVALENT to most gear, without being tied to an item, or whatever.

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"?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I can see a lot of VoP monks crying when someone sunders their +4 AC, +4 Natural Armor, +4 Deflection, +2 Flaming Mighty Fist, +3 Resistance amulets with one sunder roll.


jreyst wrote:

The group I play in has 2-3 serious optimizers, a couple middle-of-the-road sorts (they are aware of and recognize bad choices but sometimes choose them anyway in favor of flavor) and 1 seriously poor optimizer.

The optimizers and the middle-of-the-road players have no issues with optimal and suboptimal choices. They either know to avoid them or knowingly accept the consequences of choosing them. The other guy though, he is a seriously strong roleplayer who has absolutely no grasp of optimization concepts. He just wants to make a cool and fun PC. This system consistently punishes him. He see's something that on the surface sounds cool. He chooses it, then finds in practice that his PC, as usual, sucks beyond all comparison.

I thought it was worthwhile to quote JReyst´s take on this.

By all means, it´s reasonable to restrict Feats/Options from being TOO good for Optimizers, but having too many ´dead end´ / ´trap´ options that require system mastery to avoid isn´t good for NON-Optimizer players.

Not that this class balance concern is the most important thing here for me with this Ultimate Magic release.
I´m probably more concerned about the rampant errors that were obvious even in the Blog Previews.


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"?

Nope just costs extra its not forbidden. Woo hoo for wisdom/ cha boots!


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"?

That was the off-slot cost penalty I referenced. Technically, it counts as a custom magic item, and is thus more prone to GM banning, but it´s 100% by the rules as the rules directly tell you how to do this.


idilippy wrote:
Considering he starts at 1st level with an "item of value" I didn't think that factored in. Unless your DM lets you start with a magical item off the bat or lets your special item gain in power over the levels as if you were pumping gold into upgrading it. Flavor-wise I think Sajan would take the Temple sword but even if he had the +5 bracers of armor he is still in a world of hurt during level appropriate encounters as his 22 AC is still low enough to be hit by the 3rd iterative attack of a CR 13 storm giant on a 5 or up(still anything but a 1 for the first 2 attacks, and he's similarly easy to hit by other monsters of about that CR.

A item of value would indicate to me atleast a item that is enchantable. Also nothing in the Vow say the monk can't accept charity...or rewards for work. That is actualy how actualy people inthe Real world actualy survive with a vow of poverty. So the group pays to enhance one of his item...in game. Out of game the monks gets his WBL.

idilippy wrote:
Also, the claim that the monk with a vow of poverty would instead get to stack one item with all sorts of powers goes completely against the idea of 'sacrifice' that is apparently important to the class. If I get an item of value at 1st level then get to spend gold to upgrade it over the levels(gold that I'm not allowed to carry, own, or touch) the vow might as well just have innate bonuses, it's way less clunky and doesn't go against the vow's purpose.

See above on how the monk would het his wbl...also sorry but I thought the problem people were having with the sacirfice was that it was a actualy sacrifice. Just trying to think of ways to change it minimaly to compromise. Stacking effects would be a way to do that( as it would allow the monk access to the magic item he needs to survive and be a smaller sacirfice as every magical property beyond the first would be at 1.5 cost). Considering a monk can increase his Ac by +4...or gain a extra attack(and that is what is just in core)...with ki points I don't even think being behind the curve would be that hurtful as he gets more ki-points to feed these.

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


mdt wrote:
I can see a lot of VoP monks crying when someone sunders their +4 AC, +4 Natural Armor, +4 Deflection, +2 Flaming Mighty Fist, +3 Resistance amulets with one sunder roll.

Well, that get´s rid of the uncomfortable situation of upgrading the item. Monk´s amulet saves the day by wasting enemy´s turn, next time they meet the Head Monk, he´s gifted with another item of value, coincidentally now appropriate to their new leveled-up status and WBL. 8-/


Seriously, griping about the UM Vow of Poverty ?

Pff.

I see this as pretty awesome. The PF Monk is the King of Tag-Team. Especially with the Qingjong archetype! true strike every other round as a spell-like ability ? Rock it baby. 3/day quickened true strike via Quicken Spell-like Ability at 11th level ? If the bad guys can get it, so can the good guys (if they qualify). Rock 'em sock 'em beat down action. Throw in some Vital Strike/Improved Vital Strike action for the initial slam-dance - or worse, Power Attack - and the monk is going to deal some hurt.

The monk suffers in the ki pool department compared to the other classes with "pools" of various sorts - barbarian and bard, I'm looking at you.

As has been pointed out I-lost-count-of-how-many-times, the entire book is optional. The vows, among other things, are specifically pointed out as optional. Don't like it, don't use it. Houserule away, yadda yadda yakkity shmakkity.

Although ... that nice shiny super-bling-bling is mighty purty ... cheese is most definitely available. I hear the monks' vineyards produce especially fine wine.


+1 @ John Kretzer


mdt wrote:
I can see a lot of VoP monks crying when someone sunders their +4 AC, +4 Natural Armor, +4 Deflection, +2 Flaming Mighty Fist, +3 Resistance amulets with one sunder roll.

Non-VoP monks will cry when you sunder their Amulet of Mighty Fist +5...your point. Heck most PCs will cry when you sunder a magic item.

Also with the new rules...it is just broken but repairable so it is not that bad.


John Kretzer wrote:
mdt wrote:
I can see a lot of VoP monks crying when someone sunders their +4 AC, +4 Natural Armor, +4 Deflection, +2 Flaming Mighty Fist, +3 Resistance amulets with one sunder roll.

Non-VoP monks will cry when you sunder their Amulet of Mighty Fist +5...your point. Heck most PCs will cry when you sunder a magic item.

Also with the new rules...it is just broken but repairable so it is not that bad.

Having everything in a single item also assumes that a) You have access to increasingly higher level casters willing to enchant items and b) you have increasingly higher amounts of downtime while you wait for your item to be enchanted.

Oh, and to repair a sundered magic item requires another expenditure of 50% of the gold and 50% of the time (for the ENTIRE item, not just the last thing you had added). Make Whole is only good enough for items with a caster level of 10 or less, and that's assuming you happen to know a friendly level 20 caster who doesn't have better things to do.

I don't know about your campaigns, but in the ones I play... yeah it pretty much still is that bad.


ZappoHisbane wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:
mdt wrote:
I can see a lot of VoP monks crying when someone sunders their +4 AC, +4 Natural Armor, +4 Deflection, +2 Flaming Mighty Fist, +3 Resistance amulets with one sunder roll.

Non-VoP monks will cry when you sunder their Amulet of Mighty Fist +5...your point. Heck most PCs will cry when you sunder a magic item.

Also with the new rules...it is just broken but repairable so it is not that bad.

Having everything in a single item also assumes that a) You have access to increasingly higher level casters willing to enchant items and b) you have increasingly higher amounts of downtime while you wait for your item to be enchanted.

Oh, and to repair a sundered magic item requires another expenditure of 50% of the gold and 50% of the time (for the ENTIRE item, not just the last thing you had added). Make Whole is only good enough for items with a caster level of 10 or less, and that's assuming you happen to know a friendly level 20 caster who doesn't have better things to do.

I don't know about your campaigns, but in the ones I play... yeah it pretty much still is that bad.

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.

Also if there are no high level item crafters who made that the items that fighter just picked up...or the Rod of uber metamagic that party just found.

And in my campaign there is always a high level caster around the party can go to for there items.

Really does anybody here know how actualy a Vow of poverty actualy works?


I think people are looking at vow of poverty wrong. the new qigong monk introduced something new which is monk as spell caster.

high wisdom vow of poverty vow of fasting vow of truth. your now rocking out the ki points supported by liberal uses of extra ki.

as Turin the mad suggested there is true strike, there is also monk dropping pit scorching rays and several Luther nifty new spells.

I'm sure someone with better game mechanics understanding than I could work out a character.

In fact my o my only issue with vop at at all is it removes something players often use as a sense of progress and personal advancement.

I haven't looked at it but how would monk of the empty hand or ki mystic stack with the qigong archetype.


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.

"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.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

"Why not just make a superduper all in one item?"

Two reasons I can see. One, the cost (not that it means much if you have a crafter) and Two, custom items have to be DM/GM approved and won't be seen in PFS (The later isn't that big of a deal to me, PSF was created to support Pathfinder, not vice versa)

"Non-VoP monks will cry when you sunder their Amulet of Mighty Fist +5...your point. Heck most PCs will cry when you sunder a magic item."

Yes but sundering 'stock Sajan's' +4 temple sword inconviences him. Sundering 'VoP Sajan's' Super Amulet hoses him.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Mojorat wrote:

I think people are looking at vow of poverty wrong. the new qigong monk introduced something new which is monk as spell caster.

high wisdom vow of poverty vow of fasting vow of truth. your now rocking out the ki points supported by liberal uses of extra ki.

as Turin the mad suggested there is true strike, there is also monk dropping pit scorching rays and several Luther nifty new spells.

I'm sure someone with better game mechanics understanding than I could work out a character.

In fact my o my only issue with vop at at all is it removes something players often use as a sense of progress and personal advancement.

I haven't looked at it but how would monk of the empty hand or ki mystic stack with the qigong archetype.

I think people are saying that mechanically, you'd be insane to take vow of poverty. You could instead take Vow of Truth, Vow of Cleanliness, and Vow of Fasting, still be rocking the ki pool, and still have all his equipment. He's not getting the 1 ki per level of the VoP, but he's still getting a good bonus.

Actually, you can really game the system if you want. Take every vow and start first level with 7 or 8 additional ki pool, use them until level 3 or so, when people start getting equipment, then abandon the vow of poverty. You lose 3 ki, but you're getting magic items to make up for it. And in the meantime, you've cleaned the clock of enemies for 3 levels using your super mondo ki pool.


Should I quote vow of poverty here? I don't think so since the book hasn't hit shelves yet but if it's needed for the discussion I could. The vow says nothing about being allowed to accept donations or services, but specifically states that the monk can accept curative potions or other items only if, after using the item, the item is consumed and gone forever. To me, specifically calling out that the monk can accept potions but not permanent items removes the idea that a monk can let someone else craft permanent additions to one of his items.


Hey, that would even match the career path of meditants, gurus, etc, who start out all holy and pure and then manage to collect hordes of riches thru donors and groupies, etc... :-)

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

I wonder if you could take this with a Zen Archer monk... it wouldn't be too bad to have a Zen Archer monk with all his WBL tied up in an amazing bow. The stipulation on vows is: "A monk who takes a vow never gains the still mind class feature, even if he abandons all his vows." A Zen archer never gains the still mind class feature to begin with, since it is replaced by Point Blank Master, so I don't see why it wouldn't work. It doesn't say "Vows replace the still mind class feature". Sort of odd wording.

Anyway, if you're not a Zen Archer, this is certainly a non-optimal choice. People are, of course, completely missing the point that this is one option in a book full of options, some of which are good optimization choices, some of which are terrible, and some of which are middle-of-the-road. AKA: Some folks seem to be overreacting.


Quandary wrote:
Hey, that would even match the career path of meditants, gurus, etc, who start out all holy and pure and then manage to collect hordes of riches thru donors and groupies, etc... :-)

Haha, there's a character concept! A monk of Abadar who suffers through years of wowing the world with his unbelievable dedication, then drops the vow against wealth when he's raking in the cash.

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