Eclipse, Exalted Feats, and the Vow Of Poverty

Loh, in the fathomless depths of d20 lurk the books of Exalted Deeds and Vile Darkness. And in them was… a lot of stuff. Quite a lot of it was either silly or honestly didn’t work that well. Still, there’s a question that comes up every so often, and it’s been asked again recently – so here it is:

How would you build the Vow Of Poverty in Eclipse?

In this case… it’s more “How would I build a notably-improved Vow Of Poverty in Eclipse”, because – except for a few special situations and builds – the Vow Of Poverty was a pretty poor option. Just to start with, it made many characters unplayable. You could have mundane simple weapons, basic clothing, a days food, and a spell component pouch – and nothing else. The only other items you could use were potions and spell components, and then only if a friend gave it to you and you used it right away. So no Spellbook, or Holy Symbol, or Thieves Tools, or Alchemy Kit, or Healers Kit. That left a lot of characters pretty much out of luck. Yes, Vow Of Poverty provided some decent bonuses – but a lot of characters need some equipment just to function and most of them use magic items to cover gaps in their abilities and compensate for weakness, not just to get bonuses.

On the other hand, if you happened to be playing a shapeshifter, or were in a low-treasure or low-magic setting, or were using a few specific builds, or no one ever used any tactics… Vow Of Poverty could be quite overpowering. After all, if no one could get much of any items, or you were using a class designed to function without them, then the benefits were pure gravy.

I’m also not going to worry about the level-structure the Vow had. Sure, it sucked in a few people with early bonuses, but trapping players isn’t really what the game is all about and you could take it at any time anyway.

Classically, taking Vow Of Poverty required the expenditure of two Feats / 12 CP – one on Sacred Vow and one on Vow Of Poverty.

Taking the Eclipse version also requires 12 CP:

  • Siddhisyoga: Specialized for Increased Effect (Value of Powers = Value of Treasure Given Up) / The user cannot interface with external magical items, and so cannot use Magic Items other than Potions (taken internally) or Oils (applied to something else) and may use neither Artifacts nor Relics. He or she is also barred from the use of technological equipment that interfaces with the nervous system and cannot use cyberware, treasure given up must be donated to charity or other good works and – when items that must be resold are donated – only counts as the (50%) resale price. The return rate may not be upgraded further: 100% is the maximum (6 CP).

This is “poverty” in d20 adventurer terms; no magic items beyond potions. Baseline d20 worlds are worlds of Wealth By Level, were even first level commoners are doing very very well by real-world medieval standards. Past a certain point in d20… mundane gear means very little.

  • Immunity to Dispelling (Common, Minor, Grand, Specialized / only to protect Siddhisyoga powers, not external spells, potions, or other items (6 CP). The user’s abilities are not affected by Dispel Magic, Greater Dispel Magic, or similar powers, but will not function in an Antimagic Sphere, Dead Magic Zone, or similar.

The upside? Your items cannot be taken away and are immune to targeted dispelling (not that that is a very common tactic since it mostly briefly inconveniences a single character, which is a bad use of an action). The downside? You can upgrade things, but can’t really trade them out and cannot take advantage of party item crafters to double up the value of your gear.

So what will you be buying?

Armor Class Bonuses:

  • Force Armor or Shield +2/4/6/7, Spell Level 0/1/2/3, CL 1/1/3/5, Personal-Only, costs 700/1400/8400/21,000 GP.
  • Barkskin: +2/3/4/5 Natural Armor, Spell Level 2, CL 3/6/9/12, Personal-Only, costs 8400/16,800/25,200/33,600 GP.
  • Shield Of Faith: +2/3/4/5 Deflection, Spell Level 1, CL 1/6/12/18, Personal-Only, costs 1400/8400/16,800/25,200 GP.
    • Base: +10 total Armor/Shield +2 Natural +3 Deflection = 26,200 GP.

Survival Effects:

  • Crystal Of Adaption: Endure Elements 500 GP, add Immunity to Planar Alignment Traits +1000 GP, add Immunity to Positive and Negative Energy Planar Traits +1500 GP.
  • Ring of Sustanence: 2500 GP. Need not eat or drink, needs little sleep.
  • Necklace Of Adaption: 9000 GP, protects against all gases, the user may breathe anywhere.
    • Base: Endure Elements + Sustanence + Necklace of Adaption = 12,000 GP

Attribute Boosts:

  • Individual Attribute Option: +1/2/4/6/7/8 to an Attribute, SL 0/1/2/3/4/5, CL 1/1/3/5/7/9, x 2000 GP (Unlimited Use Use Activated) x.7 (Personal Only) = 700/1400/8400/21,000/39,200/63,ooo GP.
  • Universal Option: +1/2/4/6/7/8 to All Attributes, SL 3/4/5/6/7/8, CL 5/7/9/11/13/15, x 2000 GP (Unlimited Use Use Activated) x.7 (Personal Only) = 21,000/39,200/63.000/92,400/127,400/168,000 GP.
  • Base: +2/4/6/8 = 93,800 GP

Resistance Bonus:

  • Warding Rune: +1/2/3/4 Resistance Bonus to Saves, SL1, CL 1/3/6/9, x 2000 GP (Unlimited Use Use Activated) x.7 (Personal Only) = 700/1400/8400/12,600 GP
    • Base: +3 = 8400 GP.

Damage Reduction:

  • Flesh Ward (Conjuration Variant), DR 1/2/5/7/10 versus choice of Good/Evil/Adamantine/Etc, SL0/1/2/3/4, CL 1/1/3/5/7, x 2000 GP (Unlimited Use Use Activated) x.7 (Personal Only) = 700/1400/8400/21.000/39,200 GP.
  • Base: 10/Evil = 39,200 GP.

Attack Enhancement:

  • Bless Weapon or Magic Weapon: L1 x CL1 x 2000 GP = 2000 GP.
  • Magic Ghost Touch Weapon or Magic Weapon +2: L2 x CL3 x 2000 GP = 12,000 GP.
  • Magic Holy Weapon or Magic Weapon +3: L3 x CL5 x 2000 GP = 30,000 GP
  • Holy “Sword” (or whatever weapon you happen to lie, including unarmed): L4 x CL7 x x 2000 GP (Unlimited Use Use Activated) = 56,000 GP.
    • Base: Holy “Sword”, 56,000 GP. (Actually an upgrade, but close enough).

Special Functions:

  • Phylactery of Faithfulness: 1000 GP.
  • Ring Of Freedom Of Movement: 40,000 GP.
  • True Seeing: L5 x CL9 x 2000 GP (Unlimited Use Use Activated) x.7 (Personal Only) = 63,000 GP.
  • Regeneration: Pearly White Spindle Ioun Stone: Cracked (1/Hour, 3400 GP), Flawed (4/Hour, 18.000 GP), Whole (6/Hour, 20,000 GP)
  • Universal Energy Resistance: L4 x CL7 (For Resistance-10) or CL11 (For Resistance 15) x 2000 GP (Unlimited Use Use Activated) x.7 (Personal Only) x.25 (Quarter Effect) or x.5 (Half Effect) = 9800 GP for Resistance-5, 19,600 GP for Resistance 10, and 30,800 for Resistance 15.
    • Base: Ring Of Freedom Of Movement, True Seeing, Regeneration (Cracked), Resistance 15 = 137,200 GP.

That’s a total of 372,800 GP. Admittedly, that’s a lot – about what you could expect to have at around level sixteen or seventeen – but it lags well behind the 800,000 or so you could expect to have around level twenty and offers no information about epic level stuff.

Of course, Vow Of Poverty also provided up to ten Exalted Feats – although not, of course, the ones that Vow Of Poverty rendered useless.. Now Feats in items are usually valued at about 10,000 GP each – but the problem with Exalted Feats is that most of them were pretty useless and some – for example, improved Familiars, Mounts, or Companions – basically don’t do anything at all in Eclipse.

There were even a bunch of mutually exclusive ones that provided a +1 Luck Bonus once per day. Now that’s not only lazy writing, but it’s hardly worth a Feat. Others provided some minor skill bonuses.

  • Improvisation: SL1 x CL10 x 2000 GP (Unlimited-Use Use-Activated) x.2 (The Pool of Luck Points is limited per day, not per casting) = 4000 GP. The user gets 20 “Luck Points” per day and may spend up to 5 of them to improve any given attack check, skill check, or ability check, declaring the use before the roll. You may take this more than once; that expands the pool size, but not the spending limit.
  • There are a number of Exalted Feats which give +4 to a particular set of saves (usually at a high price, which we won’t be paying attention to) – for example, Poisons and Drugs, Charms and Phantasms, Compulsions, and Disease and Death. These can be duplicated with a special-purpose, personal-only, first level spell effect for (1400 GP).
  • Skill and Check Bonuses are not uncommon: Skill Mastery, SL 0/1/2/3 at CL 1/1/3/5 (for +1/2/4/5 Competence Bonus to All Skills and Checks) x 2000 GP (Unlimited-Use Use-Activated) x.7 Personal Only = 700/1400/8400/21,000 GP.
  • For general-purpose survival consider Ruin Delver’s Fortune: L4 x CL7 x 1800 GP (Unlimited-Use Command Word Activated) x .8 (Four uses / Day) x.5 (each effect may only be used once per day) = 20,160 GP.
  • One provides access to some arcane spell formula. That’s meaningless for a Sorcerer in Eclipse and the total value is only 5100 GP for a Wizard. In this case, what you want is a Runestaff, which can provide some very helpful flexibility.

A few – like the Vow Of Nonviolence or Vow Of Peace – are gamebreaking, not because of their power, but because “I will not harm or kill anyone” puts you pretty out of step with almost any d20 game.

Others provide…

  • +1 Sacred Bonus to AC (Ward Of Light, L1, 1400 GP)
  • Immunity to Fear (A L1 Minor spell or – if you wish to protect the party against Fear, Stunning, and Confusion, Banner Of The Storm’s Eye, 15,000 GP)
  • +4 Spell Resistance Versus Evil Spells (Another L1 effect, falling under Attribute Enhancement, 1400 GP).
  • Minor Healing (Healing Belt x 10, 7500 GP, 30 charges/Day, spend 1/2/3 to heal 2/3/4d8 damage, +2 to Heal Checks).
  • Light Of Purity (L2, Shed bright light in a 10′ radius, shadowy out to 20, 1d4 damage/round to undead).
  • Small Morale bonuses to the user (L1 Inspiring Word, Personal Only, 1400 GP).
  • Add uses of stuff that’s based on Attributes (The attribute boosts cover that. No cost).
  • Let you detect particular types of enemies within 60 Feet (L1, like Detect Undead, or L2 to make it automatic).
  • Provide small boosts to weapon damage (L1 or L2 again, there are many such spells).
  • Inflict a Ravage (an evil/undead only poison) on those you strike. Probably L2 or L3.
  • Adding 3d6 Damage to your Turning attempts (Probably L2, as this is nowhere near as good as Holy Storm).
  • Iron Fist (L1, +2 to the Save DC for your Stunning Fist, one round of being Staggered follows the round of Stunning, 2000 GP).
  • Gentle Wrath (L2, turns your melee damage into nonlethal damage, Personal Only, 8400 GP).
  • Let you use your (Wis Mod) instead of (Str Mod) with a weapon. (L2, Personal Only, 8400 GP).

And that’s about it. There are a few other Exalted Feats that might be worthwhile in some builds, but most of them are pretty much incompatible with Vow Of Poverty. Since a character using this version of Vow Of Poverty will have extra money to buy them – or other useful powers – with, this should work just fine.

Overall, this version still has it’s limitations, but it’s now a viable tool for creating a wide variety of builds. If it’s a general rule in a game, it means that money can be spent on charity, building up kingdoms, caring for orphaned children, and similar projects, rather than just buying more equipment with it.

2 Responses

  1. […] If it’s magical – or “alien technology” or any other form of narrative magic dressed up as technology – then you can simply use “Grafts”, Implanted Ioun Stones, Magical Tattoos, Talents (from The Practical Enchanter) and – in Eclipse – Innate Enchantment and Siddhisyoga. All you’re really changing is the special effects. You don’t really need any special rules for this, although you may want to apply the equivalent of the “Psionics Are Different” optional rule (In Eclipse the free “Eldritch” modifier). Your ultra-“technology” is indistinguishable from magic because it basically IS magic. For an example of this sort of effect, look at Vow Of Poverty. […]

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