The Degradation of Deepingdale
Vow of Poverty
Benefit: You gain bonuses to your Armor Class, ability scores, and saving throws, as well as bonus exalted feats, all depending on your character level. See chart and description below for details.
Special: To fulfill your vow, you must not own or use any material possessions, with the following exceptions: you may carry and use ordinary (neither magic nor masterwork) simple weapons, usually just a quarterstaff that serves as a walking stick. You may wear simple clothes (usually just a homespun robe, possibly also including a hat and sandals) with no magical properties. You may carry enough food to sustain you for one day in a simple (nonmagic) sack or bag. You may carry and use a spell component pouch. You may not use any magic item of any sort, though you can benefit from magic items used on your behalf — you can drink a potion of cure serious wounds a friend gives you, receive a spell cast from a wand, scroll, or staff, or ride on your companion’s ebony fly. You may not, however, “borrow” a cloak of resistance or any other magic item from a companion for even a single round, nor may you yourself cast a spell from a scroll, wand, or staff.
If you break your vow, you immediately and irrevocably lose the benefit of this feat. You may not take another feat to replace it.
In many cultures and belief systems, the height of purity is embodied in an ascetic lifestyle that involves forswearing all material possessions. Such a life is hard for most D&D characters even to imagine, since their possessions — particularly their magic items — are such an important part of their capabilities. A character who swears a vow of poverty and takes the appropriate feats, Sacred Vow and Vow of Poverty, cannot own magic items, but he gains certain spiritual benefits that can help outweigh the lack of those items. These depend on his character level. The level at which the character swears the vow (and takes the appropriate feats) is irrelevant; if he gives up his possessions at 10th level he gains all the benefits of a 10th-level ascetic character, with the exception of bonus exalted feats.
Other Ramifications of Poverty
A character who has forsaken material possessions may find himself at a marked disadvantage when it comes to certain necessary expenses, such as expensive material components. One option is for ascetic characters to beg components from other party members, who are probably gaining as much benefit from having the spell cast as the caster is. Alternatively, an ascetic spellcaster can sacrifice experience points in place of expensive components, with 1 XP equivalent to 5 gp value of components.
Having a character in the party who has taken a vow of poverty should not necessarily mean that the other party members get bigger shares of treasure! An ascetic character must be as extreme in works of charity as she is in self-denial. The majority of her share of party treasure (or the profits from the sale thereof) should be donated to the needy, either directly (equipping rescued captives with gear taken from their fallen captors) or indirectly (making a large donation to a temple noted for its work among the poor). While taking upon herself the burden of poverty voluntarily, an ascetic recognizes that many people do not have the freedom to choose poverty, but instead have it forced upon them, and seeks to better those unfortunates as much as possible.
1st: AC bonus 2
12th: AC bonus 4/6/2, damage reduction 10/evil
20th: Exalted strike +5, energy resistance 15, bonus exalted feat