July 11, 2016

Vow of Poverty

Monastic Tradition
Comments from the Finger: You 3.5 people are probably familiar with the Vow of Poverty, the feat that almost makes monk on par with some other martial classes (if, of course, the other martials leave their magic weapons and armor at home.) Regardless of how effective it actually was, it really made me want to play a monk, so I've brought it to the current edition, and tried to make it worthwhile.

Way of Poverty

Monks who follow the Way of Poverty take a vow foreswearing material possessions. Above all other monks, these individuals are considered among the most virtuous, and their divorce from earthly goods is compensated by considerable might, both due to their own discipline and through the favor of the gods. However, breaking this vow carries grave consequences: a complete separation from the divine and completely unbalanced ki.

Vow of Poverty
When you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you take a solemn vow to abandon all property and treasure. To honor this vow, you can own nothing; you must donate everything you own to the poor, and, when you acquire new wealth or property, you must donate it as well. You can keep a set of clothing and one trinket as your own and you can carry items to be sold and donated, but willingly using a weapon or shield, wearing armor, or spending money constitutes breaking your vow.
     When your vow is broken, you can no longer spend ki points, nor access any ability offered by this monastic tradition. You can reaffirm your vows by discarding all property and wealth you own and meditating for 24 hours.

Saint's Fist 
At 3rd level, the gods have rewarded your temperance. When you use the Attack action to make an unarmed strike, you can roll twice the number of damage dice on a hit. This extra damage does not apply to additional attacks, such as from your Flurry of Blows.

Saint's Spear 
At 6th level, when you take the Attack action on your turn, you can lunge up to 10 feet directly towards your target, without provoking Opportunity Attacks, even if this movement causes you to travel through the air. If your target is in the air, you can complete your Attack action before falling.

Saint's Shield
Starting at 11th level, when you are targeted by an attack, you can use your reaction and spend 1 ki point to gain a +4 bonus to AC against that attack.

Perfect Strike
At 17th level, as a bonus action when you attack a creature, you can expend 4 ki points to make this attack a critical hit without rolling.



Changelog: 7/11/16: Perfect Strike: Typo

22 comments:

  1. I like it. I fondly remember the vow of poverty from 3.5.

    There appears to be a typo in Perfect Strike: "..you can expend 4 ki points >TO< make this attack a critical hit without rolling"

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    1. Sure enough. I'll fix that typo right away

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  2. I think this could make a really good Chaotic BBEG

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  3. Hm. Does this really make up for magical gear??? An i just missing how good this is our something? In the early levels it feels like it does... but idk. The late levels don't feel like it to me.

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    1. I agree, there should be something more distinct and powerful than simply more damage, especially for the capstone...
      Also maybe some out-of-combat feature to give something in exchange for all the funky magic trinkets one usually accumulates during his adventures.

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    2. See, this is a tough area to venture in to. Because magic items are optional, and therefore won't be represented in similar quantities, if I base one of the features on trading in magic items, it'll be super tough to balance. Plus, your party will also probably want a stake in the treasure that you would otherwise throw away.

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    3. Maybe keep the item restriction but at 11th level allow the Saint's Fist feature to affect Flurry of blows

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    4. So could they maybe get more ki points???

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    5. As I see it, you could add a rider effect to your critical hits from perfect strike that disables magic items temporarily, that way it only works if the DM allows magic items while still giving a unique feature. You could also make the rider be avaiable at every critical hit for 1 ki point per round disabled, paid in advance of course.

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    6. Eh, disabling magic items isn't really this class's thing thematically. As Carlos Rueda commented below, the original 3.5 Vow of Poverty feat took a lot of inspiration from real life Jain monks, who believe that the path to enlightenment and the afterlife comes from asceticism and non-violence.

      Ki point recovery might work in this context, for the same reasons. I'll have to think about it

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    7. A good replacement for magic items in this class would be Blessings (DMG 227). A 'Blessing of Understanding' alone would be a powerful buff for a monk (+2 Wis, max of 22).

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  4. Saint's Spear typo: when your target IS in the air.
    I find myself agreeing with the thought that you lose a lot by not having access to magic items. Maybe allow them to wear magic robes and wield magic monk weapons?

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I deleted my previous comment. I like the item restriction as is. After thinking about it, this vow would essentially turn you into a Svetambara Jain monk. I love it

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    3. I'm glad you like it! I learned about the Jain monks a few years ago in a religions course, and I absolutely had them in mind when I was converting this class from 3.5.

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  5. Saint's Fist: Why not just "once per turn you can roll twice the damage die on a successful attack made with an unarmed strike" or something like that, neater than saying "ignores flurry", which it does anyway since flurry is a bonus action

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    1. Well, for balance purposes, I'd like the extra damage to apply when you get Extra Attack. I know it's redundant to state that it doesn't apply to Flurry, but it seemed like a clear communication thing when this was implemented.

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  6. This is really cool but i see one major issue, what about food? Without money you can't buy any and your character would starve to death.

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    1. I was also thinking about this. Also, you can only have one trinket on top of your clothes. So I guess that's gotta be a waterskin, right? Also, if your clothes get damage, how could you repair/replace them? Same with your waterskin. I guess I've got to pick up Magic Initiate for Mending and Goodberry...although Sage Advice said Goodberry only works for food...

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    2. I think this ties into a greater roleplay thing of begging for food, having your party provide it for you, or finding it in nature. Obviously, this particular element means you're not really a lone wolf character, you'll have to rely on the party for things like that, but that's what the party is there for.

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  7. This looks really good, especially early game. Losing a weapon is at most dropping your damage dice at lvl 3 from 1d8 to 1d4, then your Saint's Strike boosts it to 2d4, which is the same damage spread (except you can't role a 1). This goes all the way up to 2d10 on your main action attacks, which outpaces even +3 equipment. Since you need to strike unarmed for BNS action attacks from Martial Arts and FoB anyway, there is 0 damage loss.

    Saint's spear is also really nice. Monks get truck loads of mobility anyway, but this lets you more without OA, or Ki points/BNS action for Step the wind, so you lose no DPS closing that last bit of distance.

    Saint's Shield is a tiny bit expensive (especially considering what you can do with 4 Ki at lvl 17), but the other features are so good, I don't mind. +4 AC on demand is really good, sicne you can always make sure that you avoid an attack with this feature. Still, 3 Ki would be nice...

    Or 3 Ki for the capstone. I'll compare it do OH, which arguably has the best captsone of all the monk paths, but still. This costs 1 extra Ki point that Quivering palm, but takes a BNS action instead of a full action. However, it deals much less damage that quivering palm, since it's at most adding 2d10 to an attack. It does let you auto-succeed, which could be nice. Still, i think I would either remove the need for a BNS action (and limit it to one attack per turn/round or something), and/or decrease the cost down to 3 Ki. For 4 Ki, any monk can turn invisible and gain resistance to all non-force damage for 1 minute. Or a monk could Flurry 4 times. Or attempt to stun 4 times. A single crit doesn't seem worth those types of points.

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    1. for that parenthetical in the third section, I mean lvl 18. I was referring to Empty Body. I actually think that Saint's Shield is better than this Path's capstone for it's Ki cost, since individual crits don't to much for a Monk who relies on making lots of attacks.

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