Ultimate Magic: Monk's Vow of Poverty


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Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Okay, I know this thread is coming. So I might as well start it.

The Monk Vows in Ultimate Magic allow a monk to get extra ki points for holding themselves to certain vows. One of these is the Vow of Poverty.

The monk gets to add 1/2 his level to his ki pool by owning nothing but a few common effects.

This seems like a good thing for some campaigns, not so good for others.


This reminds me of the old limits on wealth for paladins from 1st/2nd edition, but even more limiting.

Silver Crusade

Don't have the book yet, but this really doesn't seem like it balances the cost and benefit in a standard campaign. As much as I wish they didn't, monks need gear. Giving that up just for extra ki points just doesn't sound like a good tradeoff.

Unless that issue has been confronted in UM of course...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

They are allowed to own one expensive item, and to use consumables given to him by others. As I read it, that would include Manuals and Tomes to enhance attributes.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In before 3.5 Loyalist (or someone else) with "Pathfinder monks were overpowered, and now they are just plain broken.". ;)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Zen79 wrote:

They are allowed to own one expensive item, and to use consumables given to him by others. As I read it, that would include Manuals and Tomes to enhance attributes.

"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)."

I wouldn't say 'some value' means 'expensive'. However, the Manuals and Tomes sound workable.


They're still going to need some way to boost their AC and attack bonus, else their flurry of blows sees them futilely slapping at a monster's hide like Mandark pitching a fit.


I don't have the book so I have to ask, is this a Vow of Poverty that actually works. I saw the other one in practice and it was lacking.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Campaign dependent. In a low-magic game with very limited magic items, it would be a strong, flavorful option. In a high-magic game, no no no no no no no no no no no no NO. The character effectively gives up the majority of his WBL for 1 ki point/2 levels. He can only use consumable items given to him by other characters, as long as the item is gone after use, plus whatever your GM considers 'some value' to mean for your allowed heirloom item.


I hope none of my players tries to take this version. I always seem to have one though. <smh>

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Campaign dependent. In a low-magic game with very limited magic items, it would be a strong, flavorful option. In a high-magic game, no no no no no no no no no no no no NO. The character effectively gives up the majority of his WBL for 1 ki point/2 levels. He can only use consumable items given to him by other characters, as long as the item is gone after use, plus whatever your GM considers 'some value' to mean for your allowed heirloom item.

Maybe this is some inside joke - if the 3.5 VoP was so widely regarded to be b0rked, let's make a VoP that will make people chuckle? ;)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I think it had more to do with flavor than mechanical concerns.

Liberty's Edge

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

Yeah, none of the monk vows seem to be worth it from a purely mechanical standpoint. From a roleplaying standpoint, they're pretty awesome, but man - you can't touch me to cast a cure spell? I can't drink potions? I'm either useless against undead or I have to carry a weapon specifically for dealing with them? Rough stuff.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hahahaha oh my god they made it weaker then the 3.x Vow of Poverty. How do you do that?


Would you say that it's weaker than...

Cockatrice Strike?

:P

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Umbral Reaver wrote:

Would you say that it's weaker than...

Cockatrice Strike?

:P

CS is a feat, VoP isn't - a bit of apple/orange here.


Ah, whoops. I thought it was a feat.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

It's not even a class feature. I'm not sure what to call it. Character option?

You can take it at anytime you want, but if you break it, your ki pool is immediately reduced to 0 and remains that way until you atone for it.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

On the bright side: Qinggong Monk rocks. Finally an option swap out all those silly monk abilities (slow fall? tongue of sun and moon? diamond g@*@+~ soul?) for something useful. Effectively, it allows for a fully customized monk build.


You give up still mind when you take a vow, so i guess it's an achetype or ability replacement.

I can't see any reason (mechanically) for taking any of them other than vow of truth (it's basically being Lawful Good) which is easy to live by.

For roleplaying reasons, these vows are pretty cool though. It would be pretty cool roleplaying a vow of silence/truth monk and not having any "in character speaking", only doing charades. At least until you develop a proper sign language, and you and your companions gets 1 rank in linguistics (sign language), then the party communication is solved.

But for mechanical reasons I can't see any of them really worth it (except truth). Certainly not Vow of Poverty.


I have been wondering what the reasoning is behind putting a monk's options into the magic book.


wraithstrike wrote:

I have been wondering what the reasoning is behind putting a monk's options into the magic book.

I was just thinking the exact same thing. I was sure the monk stuff would be in ultimate combat.

Dark Archive

Montana77 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

I have been wondering what the reasoning is behind putting a monk's options into the magic book.

I was just thinking the exact same thing. I was sure the monk stuff would be in ultimate combat.

While I haven't received my copies of Ultimate Magic yet, I'm pretty sure that Ultimate Combat will contain monk stuff, too. So, while UM is about making the monk more magical, UC contains stuff to make the monk more mundane, since it contains

Ultimate Combat blurb wrote:
monk archetypes based on mastery of martial arts


ProfessorCirno wrote:
Hahahaha oh my god they made it weaker then the 3.x Vow of Poverty. How do you do that?

The 3.5 VoP was awesome for Monks.


Braden wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:
Hahahaha oh my god they made it weaker then the 3.x Vow of Poverty. How do you do that?
The 3.5 VoP was awesome for Monks.

I made my will save.

Dark Archive

Braden wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:
Hahahaha oh my god they made it weaker then the 3.x Vow of Poverty. How do you do that?
The 3.5 VoP was awesome for Monks.

No. It was awesome for some monsters. 'Vow of Poverty is awesome for monks' is a pretty common 3.5 misconception, similar to 'Psionics are overpowered' or 'Core only is balanced'.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Still, VoP was anal for all the "can I do that/use this and still benefit from VoP" discussion it generated.

It was just way too easy to bog down a gaming session into an elaborate discourse on one feat.


Jadeite wrote:
Braden wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:
Hahahaha oh my god they made it weaker then the 3.x Vow of Poverty. How do you do that?
The 3.5 VoP was awesome for Monks.
No. It was awesome for some monsters. 'Vow of Poverty is awesome for monks' is a pretty common 3.5 misconception, similar to 'Psionics are overpowered' or 'Core only is balanced'.

Awesome probably overstates it. Perhaps it should be 3.5 VoP was an ok choice.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Braden wrote:
Jadeite wrote:
Braden wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:
Hahahaha oh my god they made it weaker then the 3.x Vow of Poverty. How do you do that?
The 3.5 VoP was awesome for Monks.
No. It was awesome for some monsters. 'Vow of Poverty is awesome for monks' is a pretty common 3.5 misconception, similar to 'Psionics are overpowered' or 'Core only is balanced'.
Awesome probably overstates it. Perhaps it should be 3.5 VoP was an ok choice.

Depends on character level. In my campaign, one character took Vow of Peace and Vow of Poverty and ended up pretty darn untouchable in combat - at 20th-level that's a +9 exalted bonus to AC, a +5 deflection bonus to AC, a +4 natural armor bonus to AC, a +4 untyped bonus to AC, and his Wis bonus to AC as an untyped bonus. That's an AC of 32 + Wis; oh, and any manufactured weapon must save or shatter if it hits him (DC 20+Con). He's immune to poison and disease, doesn't age, doesn't need to eat, drink or breathe, has Improved Evasion, tongues, true seeing and freedom of movement, permanently radiates calm emotions (DC 20+Cha), gets 11 bonus feats, a +3 resistance bonus on all saves (and he's already a monk), has SR 30, DR 10/evil and DR 10/magic, resistance 15 to all energy types, and can improve four ability scores by +8, +6, +4 and +2.

He certainly wasn't invulnerable, but he was tough. However, everyone at the table wanted to kill him, and eventually when the character did get taken out, the player let the death stick and made a new character.


3.5 VoP was pretty good for Druids, though :)

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jadeite wrote:
Braden wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:
Hahahaha oh my god they made it weaker then the 3.x Vow of Poverty. How do you do that?
The 3.5 VoP was awesome for Monks.
No. It was awesome for some monsters.

Such as the two-headed Ettin Monk with a vow of poverty that was part of the last Living City module? Fortunately we avoided fighting with it entirely thanks to the simultaneous cast of two well-timed walls of force from stealth. Resuced who we needed to rescue and ran as if the two heads of hell were going to chase us.


LazarX wrote:
Jadeite wrote:
Braden wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:
Hahahaha oh my god they made it weaker then the 3.x Vow of Poverty. How do you do that?
The 3.5 VoP was awesome for Monks.
No. It was awesome for some monsters.

Such as the two-headed Ettin Monk with a vow of poverty that was part of the last Living City module? Fortunately we avoided fighting with it entirely thanks to the simultaneous cast of two well-timed walls of force from stealth. Resuced who we needed to rescue and ran as if the two heads of hell were going to chase us.

Why didn't he just use a rod of ohhhhhhhhh. Right.


gbonehead wrote:
Braden wrote:
Jadeite wrote:
Braden wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:
Hahahaha oh my god they made it weaker then the 3.x Vow of Poverty. How do you do that?
The 3.5 VoP was awesome for Monks.
No. It was awesome for some monsters. 'Vow of Poverty is awesome for monks' is a pretty common 3.5 misconception, similar to 'Psionics are overpowered' or 'Core only is balanced'.
Awesome probably overstates it. Perhaps it should be 3.5 VoP was an ok choice.

Depends on character level. In my campaign, one character took Vow of Peace and Vow of Poverty and ended up pretty darn untouchable in combat - at 20th-level that's a +9 exalted bonus to AC, a +5 deflection bonus to AC, a +4 natural armor bonus to AC, a +4 untyped bonus to AC, and his Wis bonus to AC as an untyped bonus. That's an AC of 32 + Wis; oh, and any manufactured weapon must save or shatter if it hits him (DC 20+Con). He's immune to poison and disease, doesn't age, doesn't need to eat, drink or breathe, has Improved Evasion, tongues, true seeing and freedom of movement, permanently radiates calm emotions (DC 20+Cha), gets 11 bonus feats, a +3 resistance bonus on all saves (and he's already a monk), has SR 30, DR 10/evil and DR 10/magic, resistance 15 to all energy types, and can improve four ability scores by +8, +6, +4 and +2.

He certainly wasn't invulnerable, but he was tough. However, everyone at the table wanted to kill him, and eventually when the character did get taken out, the player let the death stick and made a new character.

And yet all it takes is a single monster that flies...


Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
This reminds me of the old limits on wealth for paladins from 1st/2nd edition, but even more limiting.

The 1e limits on what gear monks could have was pretty abysmal too, about on par with the paladin's restrictions. Everything beyond those limits had to be donated to NPCs. Let's not even discuss the other limitations/restrictions of the 1e monk ... :)

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

ProfessorCirno wrote:
gbonehead wrote:
Braden wrote:
Jadeite wrote:
Braden wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:
Hahahaha oh my god they made it weaker then the 3.x Vow of Poverty. How do you do that?
The 3.5 VoP was awesome for Monks.
No. It was awesome for some monsters. 'Vow of Poverty is awesome for monks' is a pretty common 3.5 misconception, similar to 'Psionics are overpowered' or 'Core only is balanced'.
Awesome probably overstates it. Perhaps it should be 3.5 VoP was an ok choice.

Depends on character level. In my campaign, one character took Vow of Peace and Vow of Poverty and ended up pretty darn untouchable in combat - at 20th-level that's a +9 exalted bonus to AC, a +5 deflection bonus to AC, a +4 natural armor bonus to AC, a +4 untyped bonus to AC, and his Wis bonus to AC as an untyped bonus. That's an AC of 32 + Wis; oh, and any manufactured weapon must save or shatter if it hits him (DC 20+Con). He's immune to poison and disease, doesn't age, doesn't need to eat, drink or breathe, has Improved Evasion, tongues, true seeing and freedom of movement, permanently radiates calm emotions (DC 20+Cha), gets 11 bonus feats, a +3 resistance bonus on all saves (and he's already a monk), has SR 30, DR 10/evil and DR 10/magic, resistance 15 to all energy types, and can improve four ability scores by +8, +6, +4 and +2.

He certainly wasn't invulnerable, but he was tough. However, everyone at the table wanted to kill him, and eventually when the character did get taken out, the player let the death stick and made a new character.

And yet all it takes is a single monster that flies...

Well, in this case it was a dwarven swarm-shifter mummy crusader with a good Will save (which kept his human bane sword from being sundered :) )

Contributor

Why should a vow of poverty make your ability scores, AC, and or saves get better?

Silver Crusade

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

Conversely, one could ask why a vow of poverty nets extra ki.

But in the context in the original Vow of Poverty's source, and this is just my take: One who takes this vow forsakes the material for the spiritual, and forsakes want when there are so many who need. In return the monk is granted what he truly needs(in theory) to do his exalted work.

This is either(or both) a purifying state the monk is taking on, akin to diamond soul and other such higher states of being that monks take on as they level or a reward from the universe, pure good, karma, cosmic enlightenment or such. He attains greater awareness and spiritual balance/oneness/etc by moving past material desire.

Another bonus is it helped out those players that like the idea of monks being mystical fighters who kick ass without weapons or gear actually make such a character.

While I don't share some of the vitriol upthread, I do share some frustrations over the state of the monk over the course of 3.x/PF. Like really frustrated. That's why some things like the new VoP and the capstone ability for Healing Hand monks sting a bit.

Qinggong Monks have me hopeful though. :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Why should a vow of poverty make your ability scores, AC, and or saves get better?

It shouldn't. Did someone say it should?


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

Let me return with another question:

Given how much you lose from this, mechanically speaking, why should someone take the Vow of Poverty ability?


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

Well, I'm for there being an alternate set of rules innate bonuses for all PCs replacing magic items for low magic campaigns, but one answer to this specific question is because there's no other way yet to raise those abilities outside of the items a monk will have to give up to take this feat. Further, as I'm finding when looking for a way to run a lower magic item game, the system really starts to be tough to manage as levels go up without magic items.

If you want an in-universe explanation it could be that the monk's disdain for material goods allows him to fully focus on his spiritual well-being and further increase his body and ki, or that he is protected by his god, or that some universal karma or fate shapes events to help the monk with this vow fulfill it.

For a homebrew game where combat isn't an issue and/or the characters are at very low levels this vow isn't so bad. If I had a player interested in taking this in a low level or low combat game I'd work out ways to compensate the character so that they remain able to stay up with the party. Maybe they have a special social standing or religious significance that causes those who would mess with them trouble, or gives them bonuses for a more role play or diplomacy based game.

However, when running an AP the monk who takes this is going to die by mid levels unless the party specifically makes sure they buff him up enough each fight that he can hang with them or I institute an innate set of save, AC, attack, or stat bonuses to put him roughly on par with the party, at which point I am rewriting the entire ability.

Contributor

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 11 people marked this as a favorite.
ProfessorCirno wrote:
Given how much you lose from this, mechanically speaking, why should someone take the Vow of Poverty ability?

Roleplaying?

Not every game option has to be the best option. Not every game rule option has to be a good option. In fact, some game choices are guaranteed to be BAD in terms of rules consequences, and people do them anyway because they want to play interesting characters. You can play a wizard with a 12 Int (I've done it, in the very first 3E playtest campaign, in fact). You can play a fighter who maximizes Con instead of Str. You can put ranks in Profession. You can take Skill Focus (Appraise). You can play a child, or a blind character, or a pacifist.

There are huge numbers of players who make and play characters that they think would be a fun or interesting concept. Players who don't worry about "optimal builds" to maximize AC or damage, because the game is designed for PCs to win and they can play characters that aren't minmaxed and not have them die all the time (I'll point out that the default encounter is CR = APL, which is an easy encounter that only uses 20% of the party's disposable resources... that's stacking the deck in the favor of the PCs).

The game expects you to have X gp worth of gear at every level. Deliberately choosing to play a character that ignores that and has essentially nothing at high levels is a very suboptimal design choice. You're allowed to do that. I think it's admirable for the people who want to play that sort of character. But it is unrealistic to say "because you've given up all these goodies, you gain other goodies that exactly make up for that choice which deliberately makes you a fragile character." And if you did build such a thing into the rules, it's basically saying, "you, the character that's made a sacrifice? It's not really a sacrifice at all, you're just as good as someone who didn't make that sacrifice. In other words, your sacrifice is meaningless because you're not really giving up anything."

If you want a game where all builds are equally viable, you should play a different game. Pathfinder lets you make suboptimal choices, or even poor choices, and it doesn't reward you for making those poor choices. Because rewarding poor choices is dumb. I don't see anyone clamoring that there should be a feat or vow or ritual for Int 8 wizards to get access to different powers to make up for his lack of spells, whether or not you call it the "Vow of Rincewind." I don't see anyone clamoring that the low-Dex fighter should get something that makes him awesome at dodging out of trouble and accidentally killing his enemies in comedic ways, whether or not you call it the "Vow of Jar-Jar."

I like the concept of the vow of poverty. It's a noble thing. And I understand that it sucks to be the impoverished character in a game where you're supposed to have 20,000 gp worth of goodies. So the VOP in UM gives you a bone in the form of extra ki. And another bone in the form of "you can have one item of value," which lets you put all your gp cheese in one item instead of ten. But I'm not going to let the rules make your impoverished monk as good as a regular monk. If you want to play a character that's making a sacrifice, make a sacrifice--don't pretend it's a sacrifice and expect a handout for pretending.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Cirno vs. SKR

This is gonna be fun, I'm off for the popcorn. TOZ, want some?


Quote:
Roleplaying

I find it hard to do the playing part if your dead.

Seriously though this game punishes you for not hoarding thousands of gold in priceless artifacts. People always ask what the point is of taking things like this because the game wont let mundane beat magic, for martial types that requires items to not be laughed at and then killed (we are talking like 6 rounds of laughing while you pretend your character background is flavorful enough to win)

Same reason you have to houserule to make a blind character. :P food for thought.

Edit: am I too far in to get some of that popcorn?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Shadow_of_death wrote:
Quote:
Roleplaying

I find it hard to do the playing part if your dead.

Seriously though this game punishes you for not hoarding thousands of gold in priceless artifacts. People always ask what the point is of taking things like this because the game wont let mundane beat magic, for martial types that requires items to not be laughed at and then killed (we are talking like 6 rounds of laughing while you pretend your character background is flavorful enough to win)

Same reason you have to houserule to make a blind character. :P food for thought.

Edit: am I too far in to get some of that popcorn?

Nah, I'll grab one bag extra. Anybody else wants some?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

It's a lousy option, and an insult to boot. It's funny how the company is so careful about "balance." They don't wish to make any option too powerful, which is great, but they have no problem making something so weak as to make it laughable. And Mr. Reynolds argument that it's "roleplaying" is faulty as well. It harkens back to the common misconception that only by making a flawed, "weak" character can you "roleplay."

If they feel the need to create such a vow, it should provide a fair trade, not weaken a character and disguise it as "roleplaying."

Dark Archive

Actually I agree with Sean, most of the people I play with. Make characters by concept and sometimes know they are suboptimal because of it. A good GM tweaks the adventure to be a challenge and fun for the party regardless of their strength.


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SKR, I am all aboard the role playing before mechanics issue, and agree that not every option can or should be the best one. My problem, however, is that the vow of X monk is a pretty well known character concept that is going to be completely worthless in any of the adventures or adventure paths that Paizo itself is publishing and pushing as their main "bread and butter" line of products.

To me it is wrong to say, "hey, here's this really awesome, flavorful option that will let you play that ascetic monk who travels the world with only the clothes on his back and does good works based on his faith. Oh, wait, you're going to play him in one of the Paizo adventure paths that our line of rulebooks support? Sorry, guess you should've picked a character concept that will survive instead of the one you thought had roleplaying potential."

Also, claiming that a monk with a vow of poverty is like playing a wizard with 8 intelligence or a dex-based fighter with 8 dex is frankly not a good comparison. A monk with a vow of poverty or who just happens to live with nothing but plain clothes and his fists is a fairly common theme and has been supported in the past, while the other two are not(a person who casts spells without knowledge or study is a sorcerer in Pathfinder rules, while a fighter with no coordination who tries to fight in a coordinated way is an oxymoron).

Finally, your belief that because the character is making a sacrifice the player should make a sacrifice is incomprehensible to me. If I make a monk with a vow of poverty I can't have any interesting items, I can't pick up or even hold treasures for other people, and I can't carry consumables, but I get to play the wandering man in a rough-spun coarse tunic, sandals, a walking staff, and a wide-brimmed hat that interests me. I shouldn't as a player also be forced to ditch that concept once we hit mid-levels and the rest of the party get tired of supporting my wandering monk with the vow of poverty who can't contribute to the Adventure Path anymore because I have no way of raising my ability to hit the enemy, avoid being smashed into a pulp, or resist an enemy's spells.

Anyways, I respect you as a designer and love your Forgotten Realms work and what I've seen of your Pathfinder work, but I have to disagree with you here. Something can be awesome, flavorful, and even sub-par without being impossible to play in the main product line of the rules it is designed for.

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