Vow of Poverty (Pathfinder Feat)
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Vow of Poverty [General]
Vow of Poverty was a feat in D&D 3.5 from the Book of Exalted Deeds, which was widely considered to be broken and overpowered. This is my attempt at bringing it into Pathfinder and making it more balanced by tying several of the bonuses to having classes that actually suffer for giving up items.
To fulfill her vow, an ascetic must not own or use any material possessions, with the following exceptions: She may carry and use simple weapons that have no material cost (such as a club or a sling; usually just a quarterstaff that serves as a walking stick) that are not masterwork or magical. She may wear simple clothes (usually just a homespun robe, possibly also including a simple hat and sandals) with no magical properties. She may keep an animal companion or familiar, otherwise she may keep a single pet whose value does not exceed 25gp. Her animal may not own anything, and may not use or carry anything the ascetic may not use or carry. She may carry enough food and water to sustain her and her animal for one day in a simple (nonmagic nonmasterwork) sack or bag and waterskin. She may carry a simple wooden holy symbol, and if her class makes use of it she may carry and use a spellbook and/or spell component pouch. With the exception of weapons and food, she may only own one of any given thing.
She may not use any magic item of any sort, though she can benefit from magic items used on her behalf -- she can drink a potion of cure serious wounds a friend gives her, receive a spell cast from a wand, scroll, or staff, or ride on her companion's ebony fly. She may not, however, "borrow" a cloak of resistance or any other magic item from a companion for even a single round, nor may she herself cast a spell from a scroll, wand, or staff.
If she ever breaks her vow, she immediately and irrevocably loses all benefits of this feat, and may not take another feat to replace it. If she ever loses the Lawful alignment she also immediately loses all benefits of this feat, but they can be regained by becoming Lawful again and atoning, so long as she does not break the vow in the meantime. Also, if her vow is broken involuntarily (e.g. due to a compulsion effect), so long as she was sincerely doing her best to resist, she can still regain the benefits by atoning, so long as she does not voluntarily break the vow in the meantime.
Ascetics still receive a full share of party loot, but they may not keep it. A Lawful Good ascetic may wish to donate her share to the needy, either directly (e.g. equipping rescued captives with gear taken from their fallen captors) or indirectly (e.g. making a large donation to a temple noted for its work among the poor). A Lawful Neutral ascetic may wish to see her share put towards some useful purpose (e.g. donating it to the city guard). A Lawful Evil ascetic is likely to use her share to gain power or position (e.g. making large donations to the wealthy and powerful), or as a bargaining chip (e.g. keeping her companions in her debt). She is permitted to carry items and money while on her way to donate them, so long as she does not make other use of them in any way.
Several benefits of this feat require that the ascetic's classes have or not have certain features. Any time she gains or loses requisite features she immediately and retroactively gains or loses the relevant benefits of this feat, with the exception that she does not gain retroactive bonus feats.
You do not roll for starting wealth, nor do you gain additional wealth for starting at a high level. Instead, you begin play with any number of possessions you are permitted to own (as detailed above).
If you somehow acquire this feat after play has begun, you must immediately get rid of all forbidden possessions. You may sell items to the party at a fair price, but you may not give them money or items for nothing in return. Follow the guidelines above in regards to her share of the party loot to determine what she should do with her previous wealth.
Automatic Bonus Progression
So long as she fulfils her vow, an ascetic gains bonuses as she levels up according to this system at her character level -2 (if the party is already using this system, she gains bonuses at whatever level the rest of the party does). If all of her classes grant proficiency with all martial weapons, she increases her effective level for the chart by one. If all of her classes grant proficiency with either medium or heavy armor, she increases her effective level for the chart by one. These increases stack.
At 2nd level and every 6 levels thereafter, an ascetic gains a bonus feat. At 4th level and every 6 levels thereafter, she gains a bonus feat if all of her classes grant proficiency with all martial weapons. At 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter, she gains a bonus feat if all of her classes grant proficiency with medium or heavy armor. Unlike the other benefits of a vow of poverty, an ascetic does not gain these bonus feats retroactively if her qualifications change; she only gains those bonus feats that apply for the levels she gains while she is eligible for them. These bonus feats must be chosen from the following list: Acrobatic, Alertness, Ammo Drop, Animal Affinity, Animal Ally, Athletic, Boon Companion, Catch Off-Guard, Combat Reflexes, Deceitful, Deflect Arrows, Deft Hands, Deific Obedience, Dodge, Educated, Familiar Bond, Gorgon’s Fist, Greater Fortitude, Greater Grapple, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Critical (Club, Improvised, Quarterstaff, Sling, or Unarmed Strike), Improved Disarm, Improved Familiar, Improved Familiar Bond, Improved Feint, Improved Grapple, Improved Initiative, Improved Trip, Improved Unarmed Strike, Iron Will, Juggle Load, Leadership, Lightning Reflexes, Magical Aptitude, Medusa’s Wrath, Mobility, Nature Soul, Persuasive, Prodigy, Prone Slinger, Quarterstaff Master, Quick Draw, Quick Sheath, Rapid Grappler, Scorpion Style, Scholar, Self-Sufficient, Skill Focus, Sleeper Hold, Snatch Arrows, Spring Attack, Stealthy, Strangler, Superior Unarmed Strike, Throw Anything, Toughness, Tripping Staff, Tripping Twirl, Vow of Peace, Weapon Focus (Club, Improvised, Quarterstaff, Sling, or Unarmed Strike), Weapon Finesse, Weapon Proficiency (Club, Improvised, Quarterstaff, or Sling), Whip Slinger. She must meet all prerequisites to take these feats.
Endure Elements (Ex)
At 3rd level an ascetic becomes immune to the effects of being in a hot or cold environment. She can exist comfortably in conditions between -50 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit without having to make Fortitude saves, as if under the constant effects of an Endure Elements spell.
At 5th level, an ascetic no longer needs to eat. At 10th level, she no longer needs to drink. At 15th level, she no longer needs to breathe.
Mind Shielding (Ex)
At 7th level, an ascetic becomes immune to detect thoughts and discern lies. At 9th level she becomes immune to any attempt to discern her alignment.
Damage Reduction (Su)
At 11th level an ascetic gains DR 1/evil (/good if she is Lawful Evil) if all of her classes grant proficiency with all martial weapons or with medium or heavy armor. At 13th level and every two levels thereafter, increase this DR by 1, to a maximum of 5 at level 19. If all of her classes grant proficiency with all martial weapons and with medium or heavy armor, multiply this DR by 2 (to a maximum of 10 at level 19).
Energy Resistance (Su)
At 13th level, an ascetic gains resistance 5 to acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic energy if all her classes grant proficiency with all martial weapons or with medium or heavy armor. At 17th level this resistance increases to 10 if all her classes grant proficiency with all martial weapons and with medium or heavy armor.
Fast Healing (Ex)
At 20th level, an ascetic gains Fast Healing equal to her Wisdom modifier (minimum 1).
Table: Vow of Poverty
Bonuses marked W are only gained if all of the ascetic's classes grant proficiency with all martial weapons. Bonuses marked A are only gained if all of her classes grant proficiency with medium or heavy armor. Bonuses marked E require either, and bonuses marked B require both.
|1st||Automatic Bonus Progression|
|4th||Bonus Feat W|
|6th||Bonus Feat A|
|7th||Mind Shielding 1|
|9th||Mind Shielding 2|
|10th||Bonus Feat W, Sustenance (Drink)|
|11th||DR 1 E/DR 2 B|
|12th||Bonus Feat A|
|13th||DR 2 E/DR 4 B, Energy Resistance 5 E|
|15th||Sustenance (Breathe), DR 3 E/DR 6 B|
|16th||Bonus Feat W|
|17th||DR 4 E/DR 8 B, Energy Resistance 10 B|
|18th||Bonus Feat A|
|19th||DR 5 E/DR 10 B|
|20th||Bonus Feat, Fast Healing|