Discussion:What happens when a wizard takes VoP?

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What happens when a wizard takes VoP?[edit]

Pwsnafu 22:26, 30 April 2007 (MDT)[edit]

If you are the DM, and a wizard decides to take the Vow of Poverty, would you allow them to keep their spellbook?

Alabastor 07:37, 1 May 2007 (MDT)[edit]

Seeing as a wizard cant cast without his spellbook, and i believe vow of poverty allows you to hold the bare nesessities, either yes, they can have their spellbook, or no, they cant take vow of povery. (though i wouldnt imagine why youd take it as a wizard)

Blue Dragon 07:43, 1 May 2007 (MDT)[edit]

I would say that the wizard would still keep his spellbook, but it is possible that he could be required to lose parts of it.

Dmilewski 10:27, 1 May 2007 (MDT)[edit]

VoP is fairly strict. I would rule that the spellbook counts as a prohibited magic item.

Taking a step back, the VoP itself has a few counter-intuitive impacts. For instance, good clerics can't own holy symbols, as they are magic items!!! I believe that that was an oversight. Clerics should be able to carry holy symbols. This opens the door to other "reasonable" exceptions. Should a spellbook be exempt? I would say "no", as the spellbooks consumes the caster's wealth, and that is at odds with the VoP's vow to eschew all wealth. A wooden holy symbol has a nominal value. A spellbook has a considerable value.

The spellbook opens a nasty issue. How much gold can a caster put into it? If he places all his wealth into it (because he can do that), then he can put all his gold into the spellbook and still have the benefits of VoP. If you were to permit a Wizard with VoP, you must also work out how many spells he can scribe into it per level.

To get new spells, he must take possession of treasure (such as scrolls), or buy a spell (which is magical by definition).

What about spells that take material components, such as identify? Does taking possession of wealth to cast the spell violate the VoP?

This all leads to too much finessing of the VoP. The VoP exemplifies a voluntary sacrifice made by the character that he seeks to follow willingly. Once you are finessing the rules to account for wealth, you are outside the bounds of VoP.


Sledged (talk)
2007 May 1 12:23 (MDT)

Actually, holy symbols are not magical items. They're just focuses. If you cast detect magic or arcane sight you won't read any magic from it. The same is true for the most basic spellbooks. However having either would be a violation of VoP because they're costly. In both cases I'd allow an alternative. I'd allow a crude inexpensive holy symbol but require that she make it herself, and I'd allow spells to be scribed on simple objects. The clothes the wizard wears could have some spells on it (simple clothes eventually wear out so he'd eventually lose his "spellbook"). He could have some spells temporarily inked or permanently tattooed on his body. He could have the spells carved in trees, or the walls of a cave (making it a stationary "spellbook").

As far as costly materials, VoP addresses that issue. They are allowed to borrow focuses from other characters, and/or they can burn XP instead using costly material components.

Dmilewski 14:36, 1 May 2007 (MDT)[edit]

FYI, per the FAQ: A holy symbol does not appear on the list of eligible items, and thus a strict reading of the feat would disallow the item.

I think that the more relevant part of the FAQ is the next line: Remember that the Vow of Poverty feat, like most of the material found in Book of Exalted Deeds, is intended for mature campaigns that are capable of handling difficult role-playing issues—it’s not intended for most hack-and-slash games.

I don't think that there's a neat answer to this. I still hold to my opinion above, but I think that the best thing is for the DM and the player to be mindful of their own character concepts and playgroups. As long as there is an honest attempt to implement the VoP, and to suffer its consequences, then the DM and the player have considerable leeway.

Skwyd 16:39, 4 May 2007 (MDT)[edit]

This is a very tricky situation and Dmilewski I think did a great thing in pointing out the recommendation right from the BoED.

In my opinion (and it is only an opinion on how I would play), I wouldn't see why a Wizard would take this Vow in the first place. A Wizard is an individual that studies ancient tomes, researches secret rituals, delves into the "secrets of the universe" in an effort to command the power of arcane magic. To me, that inherently involves the accumulation and use of "things." You can't study an ancient book if you don't have it. And unless you are a Wizard that never leaves "the tower" you'd have to take this ancient book with you to study it and that seems to me to count as a possession.

I guess my point is that a Wizard with deeply held convictions on life (such as a VoP) isn't a common character concept. That is more in line with Clerics, Monks, Paladins, and Druids (to name a few). So if a player in my game came to me with this "character concept" of the Wizard of Poverty I would probably accuse him of trying to min-max his character and get all of the bonuses of the VoP feat and few of the penalties. Maybe, and just maybe, if someone else funded all of the research for the Wizard, paid for the spell book, paid for the ink and new spells, and this was out of their own money, then maybe, just maybe, I could buy into the concept.

Then again, I'm a bit "old-fashioned" in how I view the classes. That's what happens when you play a game for 26 years...

Squirrellyone 4:19, 11 July 2007 (MDT)[edit]

I think that the VoP would also work by having the wizard take the feat Eidetic Memory. 08:51, 20 July 2007[edit]

why not just use a sorcerer and avoid the spellbook issue?

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