Vow of Poverty: Pretty Please, Devs?

desertI’m enjoying Syncletica in her hermit style as she moves to Level 5.

Teacher Saekee noted that the concept I’m doing is nothing new, and has a PnP concept.

It’s Vow of Poverty, based on D&D 3.5e rules. A number of sites discuss it: here is one that’s most detailed.

Given that Monks are likely to take this, there is much gnashing of teeth and wailing and lamentations of overpoweredness of this ability, even in the tabletop world. Boy, that sounds familiar.

I think Vow of Poverty would make for a great enhancement tree. The challenge would be how to implement it.

I see it this way. To even activate this proposed class tree, you cannot have any non-Monk levels, period.

Once you choose it, if you have spent any AP elsewhere (except in racial trees) the game forces you to reset that tree(s). You may only have the Poverty tree active and no other, including other Monk trees.

Once the tree is active, any weapon other than a quarterstaff or unarmed fighting uncenters you. So you don’t even get to use kamas. Or, you may choose a preferred weapon and use only that weapon (as well as unarmed fighting) without losing your center.

But how would we limit what is carried, or if clickies can be used? What about guild ship buffs or special House buffs?

The bonuses would be rich and stack with the normal Monk class leveled abilities, based on this version. They should also gain Deathblock as a granted feat and an SLA of Death Ward by level 16, or some greater ability to resist death spells better than almost any other class. Granted fortification bonuses as one levels. With optional training, more DR bypassing, too, as Shintaos gain.

Attempting to take any other class would cause the tree to disable and all AP removed, as well as the bonuses.

Would this be a harder class tree? It should. It would require a keen mind and advanced Monk skills, I think, to make this work. No multiclassing to twink your build. Higher weapon limits.

But I love this concept. I’d love to see this in Update 24 or 25. I will download the Lam client to lead the tests!

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Saekee
    Nov 11, 2014 @ 15:06:49

    hi Spencerian, glad you liked the idea and thanks for the mention in your post!

    There are a lot of possibilities in implementing this tree–really similar to the Harper tree but would need to be declared at character creation.

    I would not restrict it to the monk class, or even restrict the enhancement tree; it could be a nice way in which a person striving for completionist uses a few lives of VoP instead of the usual uber grind with greensteel and named items.

    Undoubtedly, monk splashes would be essential for melees, but casters and rogues could work with this setup as well. They would need something in the tree to free them of their materials, like auto feat: eschew materials for wizards (maybe just let the rogues carry a set of non-magical thieve’s tools on them). Artificers simply cannot qualify as everything about the class is pro-material/gadget…

    The best part is that we have a gear-obsessed community. VoP would be the opposite. Also, players doing a VoP would be encouraged to group with others as they will probably need their support. No doubt if it were implemented, some would dual-box or use Otto’s boxes to bypass the toughest elements, but that would be their choice. This is why I feel the meta-benefit should only be, ultimately, cosmetic, e.g. a halo or something after succeeding enough!

    Also, they should be a free heart of wood at level 20.

    • teachersyn
      Nov 11, 2014 @ 16:07:22

      Good points. A single class should be the thing. While the PnP rules show it to be a melee line that’s more in line to the Monk class, variations could make it useful for others. I could see fighters get it, and casters, if Melee/Magic/Ranged Power were used throughout.

      But VoP does seem to be less is more. So purposefully throttling the options in favor of VoP itself should be the ultimate test of character, literally. Any powers outside of VoP sorta defeat the purpose in my understanding of it.

  2. DDOCentral
    Nov 12, 2014 @ 02:02:55

    Reblogged this on DDOCentral.

  3. erdrique
    Nov 12, 2014 @ 17:21:26

    A very interesting concept. I can paladin’s also being subject to something like this as they are technically not supposed to be out questing to gather wealth are supposed “tief” a quantity of whatever they accumulate to their respective deity. I would give it a shot :).

  4. Zweisteine
    Jan 07, 2015 @ 20:53:46

    The link you gave to the Vow from PnP is no longer available. The website has been taken down. This link is the first hit at this time:

    In pen and paper D&D, Vow of Poverty is generally considered to be, well, completely and utterly worthless* in optimization. This goes doubly so for monks. If you want more details, look at any of the many forum threads about it, which you can find by googling it.

    That said, this might not be as unbalanced in DDO, because items serve a different purpose – namely, they essentially provide direct numerical bonuses. So all the Vow would have to do is provide an even balance of bonus, essentially taking the character through the level of power provided by the veteran and iconic gear sets as the character reaches the appropriate levels.

    But no matter how interesting a concept this is, there are two main reason I think it will never come to be:

    1. Players like choosing gear. If they didn’t get to, they wouldn’t have as much fun, with some exceptions.

    2. Because of that (both the lack of focus on gear and the having less fun), people playing Vow monks might pay less.

    If it were done, though, here’s my biggest thoughts on it.

    Certain basic item effects (armor bonus to AC, enhancement bonus to attacks, etc) would be automatically granted wight he first core enhancement, and either scale automatically, or as you take the later core enhancements (which would also grant other, minor effects).

    At least one column, maybe two, of the enhancement tree (depending on how many effects the cores grant) should be multiple selectors with incredibly varied choices and 1 AP costs (at least for most options), allowing the player to permanently gain some standard gear effect that they don’t get from the core enhancements. These might include seeker, elemental and aligned damage, and impact.

    With the advent of the Harper Agent tree, the Vow could be implemented in the same way. This would require a much larger variety of enhancement options (spell power enhancements, for example), but could create interesting options.

    Most importantly, the Vow could not be as restrictive as the PnP version, which does not allow the user to possess any gear of any sort, including money.


    * Unless your concept for a character was already an ascetic. Then, while not optimized, it allows you to be ascetic without being completely gimped.

    • teachersyn
      Jan 08, 2015 @ 10:50:18

      Thanks.Since DDO doesn’t provide a true VoP tree or build, my concept is, as described in the original post, more of an experiment to show the class’s resilience to the extreme limits, relying on core feats and racial bonuses only with some gear. Because of DDO’s nature, not using gear is impossible. But limiting the terms of obtaining gear and funds is something in the player’s control for purposes of this experiment.

      I guess the key element of this experiment is not to show a conquer-all character, but one that survives despite the limits. Thanks for your input.

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