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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    I've been helping a friend build a VoP monk. How would people EXPECT it to perform?
    Homebrew: Ghost Rider, a 3.5e Base Class inspired by Marvel's Comics.


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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    The benefits of VoP are weaker than what you could buy with your WBL, and you have to give up two feats to get it. Monks are one of the weakest classes in the game. That should answer your question.


    What does your friend want from this character? Because "dependence on items" is a flavour thing. If he wants to punch people in the face, any class can do that.

    If you must do this, at least give the monk the white dragonspawn template for free.
    Last edited by Prime32; 2010-06-11 at 07:23 AM.

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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    VoP:
    Performs Well In: Low or no-magic item campaign where most of the enemies are not monsters and are classed as weaker casters or melee, also with few magic items. Also on Incarnum.
    Performs Poorly In: Everything else.

    Monk:
    Performs Well In: Low or no-magic item campaign where most of the enemies are not monsters and are classed as weaker casters or melee, also with few magic items, and just about no serious optimization.
    Performs Poorly In: Everything else.

    Overpowered in an extremely rare case if the stars align and the monk player is considerably better at optimization than his fellows. On par more often, but still rarely. Underpowered in overwhelming majority of circumstances.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    Quote Originally Posted by Cogidubnus View Post
    I've been helping a friend build a VoP monk. How would people EXPECT it to perform?
    For a straight out monk using no items it's pretty much rigged, the debate is that at high levels the lack of magic item utilities due to the christmastree effect diminishes the overall usefulness of the build, to the point that as soon as a CR15+ flying caster comes around it pretty much counters you unless you are built to defend against it with certain ranged unarmed attacks in certain sourcebooks.

    Personally I don't see any problem with it in theory, but I think that anyone playing a VoP monk should just give the list to the DM and the DM decides what bonuses you are granted and when as the biggest problem with VoP is that it takes the entire concept of how you obtain gear out of the control of the DM which in that respect is what it "can" be considered munchkining.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    I do not consider the VoP weak, but neither overpowered.
    The Monk is a pretty weak class.

    Depending on the optimization of your group he will most likely end up underpowered.

  6. - Top - End - #6
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    That said the VoP on a druid is fairly strong, and reasonably fits the flavor if done right. Still not as good as actual WBL, but druid casting and wild shape makes up for what VoP doesn't provide (the biggest being a way to fly)
    Quote Originally Posted by Alabenson
    Evil Intelligence is knowing the precise ritual that will allow you to destroy the peaceful kingdom that banished you.

    Evil Wisdom is understanding that you probably shouldn’t perform said ritual while you’re standing in the estimated blast radius.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    What you say is true, I've just heard conflicting views of it. We know monks are weak, but thought it'd be a fun challenge. As it stands, if you fight this guy and have a poor Fort save, you're doomed. And if your attacks have less than a +15, you're not likely to hit him.
    And we thought about VoP druids, but when he suggested it the idea got put down hard XD.
    Last edited by Cogidubnus; 2010-06-11 at 07:26 AM.
    Homebrew: Ghost Rider, a 3.5e Base Class inspired by Marvel's Comics.


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  8. - Top - End - #8
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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    The only DMs I've seen who consider VoP overpowered are the ones who keep having the PCs' equipment stolen even if it should not be possible, or the ones who ignore Wealth-by-Level and force fighters to use non-magical swords at level 10 (this doesn't work, since the rules are balanced as if magical swords are a class feature for fighters).

    Quote Originally Posted by Cogidubnus View Post
    What you say is true, I've just heard conflicting views of it. We know monks are weak, but thought it'd be a fun challenge. As it stands, if you fight this guy and have a poor Fort save, you're doomed. And if your attacks have less than a +15, you're not likely to hit him.
    What level is he? And what about his touch AC?
    Last edited by Prime32; 2010-06-11 at 07:30 AM.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    +15 to hit at what level? Thats not a hard target number at level 8+
    Quote Originally Posted by Alabenson
    Evil Intelligence is knowing the precise ritual that will allow you to destroy the peaceful kingdom that banished you.

    Evil Wisdom is understanding that you probably shouldn’t perform said ritual while you’re standing in the estimated blast radius.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    This is a situation where it would be appropriate to quote the famous rebel leader Ackbar's most famous treatise on the nature of Imperial plots, "It is a trap."

    Example:
    "Muhahaha! I am a fifteenth level VoP monk. Nothing can stop me!"

    Enemy drinks potion of fly, potion of invisibility.
    Lulz.


    Tell your friend to take unarmed swordsage instead.

    Edit: Gaaag, I've been multi-swordsaged!
    Last edited by Smiling Knight; 2010-06-11 at 07:27 AM.
    What I learned from Bioshock:
    1. Unregulated freemarket capitalism leads, inevitably, to zombies. Genetically modified, super-zombies. This is an incontrovertible law of nature and should be taken into account whenever economic planning is done at a national level. The next time you meet a hardcore capitalist, just ask them if they are pro-zombie and see what they have to say for them self.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    How about a VoP Unarmed Swordsage? Or a VoP Fist of the Forest / Sacred Fist? Would either of those work better?

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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    Quote Originally Posted by Cogidubnus View Post
    What you say is true, I've just heard conflicting views of it. We know monks are weak, but thought it'd be a fun challenge. As it stands, if you fight this guy and have a poor Fort save, you're doomed. And if your attacks have less than a +15, you're not likely to hit him.
    First:
    • What level is he?


    Second: You mean if you fight this guy and
    • have a poor fort save
    • don't have a great AC
    • are not flying
    • are not a tripping reach monster
    • are one of the creature types that stunning fist works on
    • don't have any source of critical hit immunity

    you're doomed.

    (For a quick fix, make Stunning Fist always work if they fail their save DC, against anything. That alone helps the monk tremendously, though not enough.)
    Last edited by AstralFire; 2010-06-11 at 07:28 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    He's level 6 and most of his opponents are going to be stealth PCs. It's for the Assassins vs Bodyguards campaign that's going on, so I won't post his sheet up.

    Ed: Also, Stunning Fist is his last resort for special attacks. So you can be immune to it all you want XD
    Last edited by Cogidubnus; 2010-06-11 at 07:31 AM.
    Homebrew: Ghost Rider, a 3.5e Base Class inspired by Marvel's Comics.


    So guys, the new Iron Man trailer, huh?

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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    Sometimes I feel out of place on these forums, like I'm an outcast for never gaining more than 10 levels in any campaign ever.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    Quote Originally Posted by Cogidubnus View Post
    What you say is true, I've just heard conflicting views of it. We know monks are weak, but thought it'd be a fun challenge. As it stands, if you fight this guy and have a poor Fort save, you're doomed. And if your attacks have less than a +15, you're not likely to hit him.
    And we thought about VoP druids, but when he suggested it the idea got put down hard XD.
    Using the word "Doomed" and "Monk" is correct in most cases, not this time.

    By the way, would a normal Druid be allowed?

  16. - Top - End - #16
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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    Quote Originally Posted by Lev View Post
    Sometimes I feel out of place on these forums, like I'm an outcast for never gaining more than 10 levels in any campaign ever.
    You don't have to start at lv1...

    Quote Originally Posted by AstralFire View Post
    (For a quick fix, make Stunning Fist always work if they fail their save DC, against anything. That alone helps the monk tremendously, though not enough.)
    Also, let a monk apply Flurry to standard attacks as well as full attacks so that he can actually use his speed.
    Last edited by Prime32; 2010-06-11 at 07:38 AM.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnaritas View Post
    Using the word "Doomed" and "Monk" is correct in most cases, not this time.

    By the way, would a normal Druid be allowed?
    Thought about it, still are thinking about it, just thought we'd build this for fun first. Reckon it is workable, particularly as he'll be teaming up with my Warblade and our other ally, who I think is some type of artificer.
    Homebrew: Ghost Rider, a 3.5e Base Class inspired by Marvel's Comics.


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  18. - Top - End - #18
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    Quote Originally Posted by Prime32 View Post
    You don't have to start at lv1...
    Most of the time I start at level 5-7. Level 1 is BAD.
    Homebrew: Ghost Rider, a 3.5e Base Class inspired by Marvel's Comics.


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  19. - Top - End - #19
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    If you follow recommended wealth-by-level, VoP is underpowered. Also, if you can't fly, VoP is underpowered (as it's something you need at higher levels and difficult to get without magic or items).

    If you under notably under wealth-by-level, VoP can be overpowered. There are still notable holes in what it provides, so being a druid is recommended.

    However, before you even start to consider VoP, read and re-read the feat 'sacred vow' and the description of 'Exalted Good'. I've never played/played with/GMed a character who could sustain that alignment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur View Post
    No one will ever be able to question your sense of style when you explain that you cut your own hair with your boot knife. Mainly because if they do, you have a knife in your boot.
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveD
    "A gygaxian dungeon is like the world's most ****ed up game show. Behind door number one: INSTANT DEATH! Behind door number 2: A magic crown! Behind door number 3: ten pounds of sugar being guarded by six giant KILLER BEES!"
    noface

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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    If DM short charges you in wealth by level: VoP is useful.

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    Quote Originally Posted by Starbuck_II View Post
    If DM short charges you in wealth by level: VoP is useful.
    Even that depends on your class, since a cleric/wizard with low WBL is still more useful than a cleric/wizard with VoP.

  22. - Top - End - #22
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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    There is one situation where VoP is unarguably useful.

    If you have your heart dead set on a character who forsakes all worldly goods, and you're not already getting some sort of inherent bonuses to compensate for that. In that case VoP is much better than nothing.

    Beyond that it's sorta hard to judge without knowing the campaign details. The balance shifts between 'it's OK' at low levels to 'Wait, you expected to do something? Hahahahaha!" at higher levels. As mentioned above, flight is a key example of something VoP simply does not give, and is a game changer when it becomes available.

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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    Vow of Poverty is more useful when you take a decidedly liberal reading of the text and use it to "trump" the table, giving you a bonus generic feat instead of a bonus exalted feat. Let's face it, there's only three or four exalted feats that actually do anything, and not all of them go with the same character concept. You'll generally only want one of them, and that's what the 1st level "bonus exalted feat" (which unlike the even-level ones is clear that it has to be exalted) is for. Touch of Golden Ice, for example, is hilarious on a Totemist.

    Combined with a little a heaping mound of optimization on race/class builds (usually involving a caster-type class of some sort) you can circumvent most of the VoP's glaring problems and have an actual playable character.

    However, note that if you combined the optimization with actual WBL, you'd be far better, and probably would break some campaigns. Consider the VoP a restraining bolt.

    Money is options. Options are power. Forcing yourself to give up an entire world of options in return for some flat bonuses is always a bad idea.

    Unless you're constantly thrown naked into jail-cells, but I think you have another problem then.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put tomato in fruit salad. Charisma is convincing someone it's a good idea anyways.

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  24. - Top - End - #24
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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    Quote Originally Posted by balistafreak View Post
    Unless you're constantly thrown naked into jail-cells, but I think you have another problem then.
    Since my characters are generally psionicists - no, I have no problem with being naked in jail.

    (or dropping the soap...)

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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    Since my characters are generally psionicists - no, I have no problem with being naked in jail.

    (or dropping the soap...)
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    I played a mid-level Paladin/Monk with the Vow of Poverty and I even went down the path of the Vow of Non-violence.

    My DM could not hurt me because my AC was so high and I could make any save he threw my way. The problem was that I could do very little to the bad guys. I could hit, but not as much as the fighter. I could do damage, but not as much as the caster. It just seemed like I would charge to the front of the battle and then spend the entire fight doing enough damage to eventually wear the bad guy down, but in the meantime the rest of the party got pulverized.

    I would sometimes have to go around and start rescuing the various party members as I found myself more effective at that.

    So, I do not think I was over-powered, my DM does. I think that I just traded off a strength for a weakness. Almost invulnerability versus lack of combat effectiveness.

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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: Vow of Poverty is not about making a super-powerful character. It's about turning a concept that otherwise would be unplayable, into something at least approaching playable. If you're approaching it as a means to power, you're approaching it in exactly the wrong way - both mechanically and in terms of character development.

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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    Vow of Poverty is only broken when applied to animal companions, special mounts and the like.

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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    Quote Originally Posted by true_shinken View Post
    Vow of Poverty is only broken when applied to animal companions, special mounts and the like.
    I fully expect a (semi) derail about whether or not you can give up something you've never had, and a thousand different ways you can "realize" it only to lose it in the next five seconds.

    Does intelligence imply property rights?

    This is a rhetorical question.

    More game related, something for (usually) free isn't always broken. See ACFs, for example. Most of the good ones involve throwing away something useless for something good. VoP on normally non-possesive creatures is kind of like that.
    Last edited by balistafreak; 2010-06-11 at 11:09 AM.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put tomato in fruit salad. Charisma is convincing someone it's a good idea anyways.

    I am a 12/13/13/17/15/17 True Neutral Sorcerer2.

    Tainted Bonds, a newly-created Touhou x D&D 3.5 CYOA. Just read these before posting anywhere. Talk about it here.

    Awesome remastered ballista avatar by Savannah!

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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Vow of Poverty - overpowered or underpowered

    I played a VoP cleric of Fharlangn (I can never spell that) with the Travel domain.

    I had a lot of fun with the game, but the DM and I talked about what was expected. I relied on my party members to cast spells on me (as one should), and I cast spells as appropriate. There are a number of exalted feats that work well for clerics (especailly some of the other vows, if you want to play that kind of character). He also had a house rule at later levels that I could take divine feats from Complete Divine as bonus feats. It was a good house rule, and fell within the idea of VoP.

    I wouldn't say I was overpowered, but I tend to be a bad judge of such things. It was a small group, which means we all had to be a little more optimized.

    I wrote up a few various levels of VoP monk, just to see what he could do, and without party support, it was ok. As was said before, if you want to play that kind of character, do it, but if you are looking for optimization, try something else.

    I can see the benefits of a VoP Druid, but it seems that they are just riding the CoDzilla train. With WBL or even a mid to low-magic game, a Druid can probably do better with items.
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