Monk and Vow of Poverty Feat...



Feb 19, 2004 1:05:34
Question :
I have a new player in my game, he wanted to make a monk.
I said that wasnt a problem if he was devoting himself to Majere. After reading Majere's description, he asked me if he could take the Vow of Poverty Feat. After reading the feat i am still not sure what to do. Oh and he also want to take improved natural attack feat...

Any idea what i should do? Never had someone who wanted to play a monk before!


Feb 19, 2004 1:43:13
go for it =)
there's no reason a monk couldnt do that. Vow of poverty is totally in character. Improved natural attack only works if he is a monster with a natural attack, so that's out.

i've had a monk in my game for three years now, so the strongest recommendation i can offer is that you learn the rules for grappling really well =)


Feb 19, 2004 1:57:51
under Chapter Six : Monsters skills & feats it says :

Typically only by monster...

Then : Prerequisite for Improved natural attack is :
Natural weapon : monk fist?
Babs of +4

players said he already had a monk with this feat. But it does looks devastating...


Feb 19, 2004 2:14:59
final decision is always up to you, of course. Personally, i would never allow a human character to take that feat. A monk fist does not count as a natural weapon, as per the description on page 312 of the monster manual. Besides, monks already get improved unarmed attack. improved natural attack becomes excessive, and unbalanced.

besides, why would you allow him to even look in the monsters feats? Is he playing a monster?


Feb 19, 2004 2:21:26
He ain't playing a monster, but i thought since it says typically... that it could be possible. Glad to hear otherwise tho!

I have been DMing in 3.5 for about 8 sessions max. So there are MANY things unclear to me so far.

Thanks a lot!


Feb 19, 2004 3:32:35
The only problem I really have with the Vow of Poverty feat is that it's stupid. Of all the things in the Book of Exalted Deeds, this is the one that makes me dislike the book the most. I don't even mind the good undead, that much.

The Vow of Poverty effectively replaces having anything the owner might be carrying, plus some, as well as giving them a bonus 10 feats over the 20 levels. They get huge armour bonuses, resistance to everything, and can bash anything quite well with anything they pick up. It is absurdly powerful. It's like taking a feat which means you're gaining two levels every level.

Now, when you combine it with being a monk, who never really needs anything anyway, and you end up with an incredibly overpowered character. By the end of the feat, they have, for nothing, effectively got +2 full plate, a ring of sustenance, an iridescent spindle ioun stone, 5-7 rings of minor energy resistance, belts, gloves or whatever for stat increases, damage reduction, which you get from nowhere else, generally, a ring of protection +3, infinite continuous true sight, and considering the price of things like a gem of true sight, that's got to be worth a fair bit, a ring of regeneration, an amulet of natural armour +2, ring of freedom of movement, cloak of resistance +2, which according to my calculations... comes out at 315,150gp (or stl, since DL), with an additional 10 feats, and not taking into account the things I didn't work out the price for (true seeing being worth a lot on it's own).

I would say this feat is overpowered. Especially as all the AC things stack with the monk's AC bonuses for dex and wis and level anyway. It is this feat alone that made me hate that book.


Feb 19, 2004 6:13:52
Unarmed attacks are not natural weapons. A natural weapon covers things such as bites, claws, stings, tentacles, and so forth. A minotaur's gore attack is a natural weapon, but its fists aren't.

Tell your player that he can't take the feat because his character doesn't have natural weapons. That should do it.



Feb 19, 2004 10:01:10
The only natural attack that comes from a humaniod hand (and not a claw, horn, teeth etc.) is a slam attack.

(and possible some special touch attacks).


Feb 19, 2004 11:16:17
so i actually went and looked at vow of poverty. dude, you've got a hardcore powergamer on your hands.

You know, an easy way to fix this is to be strong and limit him to using feats in the phb. Why are you allowing him to use all these feats anyway? They're hideously overpowered.


Feb 19, 2004 11:47:18
If you are in a low magic game it is really powerful, but in high-magic it basically evens out all the equipment that an intelligent player would buy. Its no biggie, and if the character rps it well, it can be a fun feat and PC.


Feb 19, 2004 18:52:00
Originally posted by Agent_Malucci
If you are in a low magic game it is really powerful, but in high-magic it basically evens out all the equipment that an intelligent player would buy. Its no biggie, and if the character rps it well, it can be a fun feat and PC.

He's right. and, I think it might be overpowered for a monk anyway. But, for something like a fighter or a wizard, it is just fine.


Feb 20, 2004 8:22:32
Going strictly by the rules, a Wizard wouldn't take Vow of Poverty, at least not if they wanted to cast a spell. Their spellbook costs more than a VoP character is allowed to have. Sorcs work well with it though.

I like the feat, if you force the character to role-play the consequences of it, it's balanced. They can't carry/hold any of the party's treasure, which can be a problem with weight. Not to mention they can never use any neat stuff they find either. I think it balances itself out if you play it right. Besides, it's fun to tempt the character with something that *seems* really good for the character, and is a great item. :D


Feb 20, 2004 9:27:25
If you are unsure, then my suggestion is not to do it, the vow looks like it can cause additional headaches beyond just the powers, because unlike normal items (which you can have stolen and stuff) you need to change the vow rather more overtly if you do find it overpowered.
Taking away treasure you can find easy in-game reason’s for, this is far less the case with modifying a feat. It is more likely to upset the player (because he got given the treasure, however he chose the feat)

As pddisc pointed out characters with the VoP get the equivalent of a lot of treasure. And if you let a player have it and don’t modify it then you will "need" to stick to the DMG’s suggested treasure/level system to stop that character becoming much more powerful than the other characters in the game. This seriously affects your flexibility with rewarding players and the flavour of your game. All the DMs I play under think the standard DMG treasure/level is way to high for the type of games they run, and I agree with them, it seems difficult to justify receiving hardly any treasure in many of our games. (Yet they are all still very fun, I find reciving lots of treasure breaks down my suspension of disbelief, I actually don't like being overpowered). Dragonlance also struck me as being a relatively low magic campaign as well, so magic items should be rarer (esp in 5th age as no one was making them)
Also it seems to give monks way more than it penalises them.

It does sound a fun idea, however if you have doubts with a game breaking issue then either disallow it, or make very clear to the player that you may modify it at a later date and to think if he still wants to take it.


Feb 20, 2004 15:47:26
You in trouble if you allow him to take those feats


Feb 20, 2004 21:59:31
So far, i have decided to not let him have the Improved natural attack feat. After rereading it, reading this thread and talking to him.

But the Vow of poverty... still aint sure, rerereaded it and still aint sure. I'd say GO! because its said in Majere description that the followers of Majere often take a vow of poverty, but its also a strong feat. Thinking about nerfing it.

Ill post it here if i change it. Unless someone want to try himself at it.


Feb 21, 2004 8:09:25
There's an entire thread on the Mature Board for the Book of Exalted Deeds about complaining about the Vow of Poverty feat. Kind of ironic, really.

Still, there are various posts that comment on how much it's worth, and suggestions for altering it, so if you're old enough (maturity *cannot* be measured by age, but nevermind) go there.

If you can't, just take out things like the natural armour progression, the elemental resistances, the deflection, the exalted feats, the mind shielding, the freedom of movement, the regeneration, and the true seeing. If he doesn't want it then, I'd suspect powergaming.