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    Default Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Ok, title pretty much says it all but to make it worded out.

    One of my players is currently wanting to play a VoP / Barbarian in my Low-Magic campaign.

    Thoughts? Should I allow this? Will it be game breaking? etc.
    What are some possible exploits he could use? What are some counter measures I could use?

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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    I don't really see VoP breaking any games tbh.

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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kylarra View Post
    I don't really see VoP breaking any games tbh.
    It breaks low magic campaigns. It's a lame way to get around most of the negatives that come from not having many items available.

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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kylarra View Post
    I don't really see VoP breaking any games tbh.
    VoP breaks any game that does not keep up with the recommended WBL...when everyone else is marvelling at masterwork gear and you're toting magical fists of doom, it's not exactly well balanced...
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Well I'm waiting for him to define "Low-Magic" in this particular case, since everyone has a different idea of what constitutes low magic, and I'd like to point out that given a few feat investments on the part of the caster, even in a "low-magic" setting, you can still get the gear that you want, given enough time.

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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    You have to define what you mean by Low Magic. Are we talking +1 swords at level 7? 10? 15? When you go significantly below WBL with a tightly restricted itemset, VoP pulls ahead. The more freedom in your item choices you're allowed, the less raw wealth is an obstacle, and vice-versa.
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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Depends on a few things: When you say a low magic campaign, how low is low? How does this affect items? What is the make up of the group? What will the barbarians race be? What books are available in your campaign?

    I don't feel a vop barbarian is game breaking without a two-hander to power attack with. Granted they could do that with a quarter staff... but a well placed sunder easily stops the barbarian from being a threat real quick.

    Also consider that they are spending 2 feats, most likely 3 for improved unarmed strike. If you would think the ancestral relic feat in BoED is game breaking in your game, then this will be too. Otherwise there is very little harm imo.

    Edit: gettin' a little slow on my trigger finger.
    Last edited by Animefunkmaster; 2009-07-23 at 04:50 PM.

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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kylarra View Post
    Well I'm waiting for him to define "Low-Magic" in this particular case, since everyone has a different idea of what constitutes low magic, and I'd like to point out that given a few feat investments on the part of the caster, even in a "low-magic" setting, you can still get the gear that you want, given enough time.
    When I say Low-Magic..From a RP aspect: No wizards exists, they were wiped out in a crusade by a faction of Drow / Demons..yada yada yada.

    Sorcerers are the only real casters, because they are harder to detect since their powers are innate. Wujen are around, but they are basically considered outsiders, Druids are of a Divine variant. Clerics are some-what abundant being as you will pretty much ALWAYS have a religion.

    As far as "Magic-Gear" goes. Id say +1 - +3 is rare. +4-+6 is Mythic, and anything higher is either owned by someone much more important thna you or doesnt exsist.

    Dwarfs are the only race that can successfully work the "Old-Magic" into gear.

    The campaign is Steam-Punk ish. So most things covered by magic are covered by some form of technology (Due inpart thanks to the golbins, or COG faction)

    Anything else Im missing?

    *EDIT* : The party is made up of a WoW-RPG Paladin (Human), a Ghost-Elf rouge, and the Barbarian wants to take Shifter from Ebberon. (So he can get some feat that disallows fatigue at the end of rage.)

    I restricted WBL to Half of what is normal, and tjey are starting at lv 4.

    Also, on an Important note. Does the barbarian taking VoP make him not eligible for a weapon? even a club? on that note, He is going Bear Totem! So I believe he is going grapple of some kind.

    I also forgot to mention, all sources open.
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    Last edited by WeeFreeMen; 2009-07-23 at 05:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    The only thing I've ever balked at that a player wanted to run in one of my campaigns was a vow of poverty gestalt monk/cleric. Without needing armor, weapons, buffing or healing, you give up almost NOTHING for vow of poverty.

    Vow of poverty (though I haven't see it in play) as I understand it, is supposed to put a character with no gear on par with a character that has magical gear appropriate for his level. So if, by low-magic, you mean, few magic items, then I'd say yes, this will probably be over-powered, compared to the rest of the group.

    I probably would have let the guy play his monk/cleric - except that I spent a LOT of time making up my homebrew setting - and nobody else in the world was gestalt. I felt like I should go back and make all the NPCs gestalt before runing a gestalt campaign.

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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Quote Originally Posted by WeeFreeMen View Post
    Sorcerers are the only real casters, because they are harder to detect since their powers are innate. Wujen are around, but they are basically considered outsiders, Druids are of a Divine variant. Clerics are some-what abundant being as you will pretty much ALWAYS have a religion.

    As far as "Magic-Gear" goes. Id say +1 - +3 is rare. +4-+6 is Mythic, and anything higher is either owned by someone much more important thna you or doesnt exsist.

    Dwarfs are the only race that can successfully work the "Old-Magic" into gear.

    The campaign is Steam-Punk ish. So most things covered by magic are covered by some form of technology (Due inpart thanks to the golbins, or COG faction)

    Anything else Im missing?

    *EDIT* : The party is made up of a WoW-RPG Paladin (Human), a Ghost-Elf rouge, and the Barbarian wants to take Shifter from Ebberon. (So he can get some feat that disallows fatigue at the end of rage.)
    The vop barb might outshine the paladin and rogue if you keep the keep the paladin and rogue low on magical or steampunk gear. But you can always adjust that by given the non-vop PCs more/better magical or steampunk gear. After all the PCs are special. So a "rare" +1 to +3 blade might be found by a non-vop character about the same time the vop brb gets a +1 to +3 bonus. Similarly the non-vop PCs could get steampunk gear that matches the vop brb's progression, for ex "mechanized" armor that grants a strength bonus.
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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    If he only announced his decision to use VoP after finding out it was a low-magic/wealth game, then he did it only for a mechanical benefit and should not be allowed to use it as he will likely try to ignore the RP implications. Try telling him that he'll count as half his level for the VoP benefits, since wealth/gear is halved, and see if he still wants to use it. (i.e., at level 4 he'll use the level 2 line of the VoP benefits chart, he won't gain additional benefits until level 6, at which time he'll use the level 3 line of the VoP chart, he won't get Exalted Strike +1 until he hits 8th level, etc.) The most likely outcome of that will be him dropping VoP like a bad habit, thus proving that he only wanted it due to a statistical advantage rather than for RP reasons. If he still wants to use VoP despite this significant setback, all the way up until it's time for the game to actually start, then he actually wants it for RP (or he's reading this) and you should give him the full benefits of it.

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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Although strictly speaking, it wouldn't be hard to stagger the benefits to approximate whatever power level you want from the campaign, magic-item wise. Just be sure to tell him ahead of times what changes you're making.

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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    vow of poverty lets him use any items a peasant could be expected to have a dagger, quarter staff, club, (maybe a great club i'm not sure) If every one is getting half normal wealth hes basically getting twice the wealth by level they are.

    I think as was sorta suggested if you gave him half progression in the vow of poverty that would equal out IF you plan on keeping the party at half wealth by level as the game progress.

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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Quote Originally Posted by awa View Post
    vow of poverty lets him use any items a peasant could be expected to have a dagger, quarter staff, club, (maybe a great club i'm not sure) If every one is getting half normal wealth hes basically getting twice the wealth by level they are.

    I think as was sorta suggested if you gave him half progression in the vow of poverty that would equal out IF you plan on keeping the party at half wealth by level as the game progress.
    I've never run the numbers, but I've heard it mentioned that VoP works out to about 50% of proper WBL actually, and there's no room for versatility there (for example, a Barbarian not investing in any tricks doesn't need a stat besides Str, making the stat boosts to other stats eh).

    Quote Originally Posted by Biffoniacus_Furiou View Post
    If he only announced his decision to use VoP after finding out it was a low-magic/wealth game, then he did it only for a mechanical benefit and should not be allowed to use it as he will likely try to ignore the RP implications. Try telling him that he'll count as half his level for the VoP benefits, since wealth/gear is halved, and see if he still wants to use it. (i.e., at level 4 he'll use the level 2 line of the VoP benefits chart, he won't gain additional benefits until level 6, at which time he'll use the level 3 line of the VoP chart, he won't get Exalted Strike +1 until he hits 8th level, etc.) The most likely outcome of that will be him dropping VoP like a bad habit, thus proving that he only wanted it due to a statistical advantage rather than for RP reasons. If he still wants to use VoP despite this significant setback, all the way up until it's time for the game to actually start, then he actually wants it for RP (or he's reading this) and you should give him the full benefits of it.
    That's mean and I don't understand it at all. I frequently pick mechanics based on what's optimal for the campaign, but then I RP my heart out on it, even if it later proves sour based on the way the campaign turns.
    Last edited by AstralFire; 2009-07-24 at 10:17 AM.
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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Biffoniacus_Furiou View Post
    If he only announced his decision to use VoP after finding out it was a low-magic/wealth game, then he did it only for a mechanical benefit and should not be allowed to use it as he will likely try to ignore the RP implications. Try telling him that he'll count as half his level for the VoP benefits, since wealth/gear is halved, and see if he still wants to use it. (i.e., at level 4 he'll use the level 2 line of the VoP benefits chart, he won't gain additional benefits until level 6, at which time he'll use the level 3 line of the VoP chart, he won't get Exalted Strike +1 until he hits 8th level, etc.) The most likely outcome of that will be him dropping VoP like a bad habit, thus proving that he only wanted it due to a statistical advantage rather than for RP reasons. If he still wants to use VoP despite this significant setback, all the way up until it's time for the game to actually start, then he actually wants it for RP (or he's reading this) and you should give him the full benefits of it.
    That sounds almost as stupid as:
    - "If someone picks a fighter then halve the BAB, Saves and HP to see if he just wants the mechanical benefits"
    - "If someone picks a wizard halve the spell progression just to see if he wants the mechanical benefits"
    etc.

    It's a stupid, stupid stupid idea. The only thing you'll prove is whether the player is remotely interested in optimizing.

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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    barbarian with out armor would like dex and every one likes con so theirs at least three stats he can get a solid benefit out of.
    Plus all those free feats are useful particularly if hes human and take the vow at first level

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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Quote Originally Posted by awa View Post
    barbarian with out armor would like dex and every one likes con so theirs at least three stats he can get a solid benefit out of.
    Plus all those free feats are useful particularly if hes human and take the vow at first level
    Most of the exalted feats suck. You run out of the good ones (both the mechanically useful ones and the ones that are cool, like Stigmata) early.

    Compare how much benefit he gets from Dex now to improve his armor compared to what he'd need if he didn't have VoP. He's never going to come out ahead here.
    Last edited by AstralFire; 2009-07-24 at 11:19 AM.
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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Grautry, I disagree on this specific case

    VoP isn't a standard option, so the players should not expect it to be approved- so no, it's not like the examples you gave (totally strawmen, by the way, I think you could come up with better ones).

    This is a case where a serious examination of why the player wants a barbarian, which is a very non-standard option for any sacred vows, should be performed.

    If the Vow of Poverty is thematically appropriate and would be used anyway, adjusting it downwards is not unreasonable. It's not as though it's without benefits, and the other players are being forced to make a sacrifice for the sake of the setting.

    Player objects to any nerfing *despite everybody getting nerfed*?

    That's an issue. The DM is not Santa Claus.
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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Vow of poverty is a feat best left for mature players and it should either be left as is or not touched at all. In a low-magic setting it gives great benefits but the drawbacks far outweigh them. The player is expected to roleplay an exalted character, which isn't easy unless the DM is a complete bonehead, and you should hold him as such. You should expect the character to spend the entirety of his down time begging, giving, and being a stand up guy for the rest of the community.

    The challenge with exalted feats should come through being exalted.

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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    VoP is already taking a nerf compared to a normal person, both mechanically and in terms of severe roleplay restrictions; throwing such a ridiculous nerf to it on top of that (half rate) is just mean-spirited. I can understand forewarning the player that the exact abilities would be subject to change based on how well he was performing relative to the others, but not that.

    That means that at 6th level, he'd be walking around with the equivalent of breastplate, and has spent two feats in order to gain 1 bonus exalted feat (and a +2 to diplomacy!) back.

    A 6th level non-magical Barbarian has two -good- feats slots back, a masterwork weapon for a +1 to his attack rolls, Breastplate, and isn't using a simple weapon.

    A full strength 6th level VoP Barb has +2 AC over his counterpart, three of the 'not very good but passable' VoP feats (net feat gain of 1 at best), and a +1 quarterstaff. That comes out to pretty even, IMO - and again, before RP restrictions.
    Last edited by AstralFire; 2009-07-24 at 11:32 AM.
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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Biffoniacus_Furiou View Post
    If he only announced his decision to use VoP after finding out it was a low-magic/wealth game, then he did it only for a mechanical benefit and should not be allowed to use it as he will likely try to ignore the RP implications.
    So I shouldn't allow ToB stuff in my game since people only want to play it for the mechanical benefits? I mean, monk & fighter are fine, right?

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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    @Astralfire-

    It has indeed been a while since I read vow of poverty. It isn't totally overpowered if allowed in full, but that's not really the point. *Is it part of the character*? If it's not something the player is going to roleplay, then is has no reason to be allowed in the game, since, as you pointed out, the barbarian will be doing alright with nonmagical to lightly magical gear.

    To the OP:
    Problems with allowing it as stated: the character cannot lose gear, rewarding the character requires more work (only justified if it makes the game better), and there are myriad special abilities that just plain *might not be available* to the other characters.

    If these aren't an issue, and you feel comfortable either with the character playing it correctly or playing it correctly isn't something you'll require, and the other players won't call foul on you (disrupting the game)...

    Sure.

    Edit:

    Quote Originally Posted by Myrmex View Post
    So I shouldn't allow ToB stuff in my game since people only want to play it for the mechanical benefits? I mean, monk & fighter are fine, right?
    If you actually thought so, as opposed to attempting to sarcastically denounce another post, you'd be completely justified as DM. But I'd personally disagree with the decision to do so, citing the more interesting combat that the book of nine swords presents rather than it's mechanical rebalancing.
    Last edited by Zincorium; 2009-07-24 at 02:46 PM.
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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zincorium View Post
    @Astralfire-

    It has indeed been a while since I read vow of poverty. It isn't totally overpowered if allowed in full, but that's not really the point. *Is it part of the character*? If it's not something the player is going to roleplay, then is has no reason to be allowed in the game, since, as you pointed out, the barbarian will be doing alright with nonmagical to lightly magical gear.
    Yes, but you're conflating things here. Someone choosing a class or feat path because they think it will be mechanically optimal is NOT equivalent to them not planning on roleplaying it. The correlation between the two is weak at best and a lot of people use a mechanical choice as part of how they build a concept they'd like to roleplay.
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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Quote Originally Posted by AstralFire View Post
    Yes, but you're conflating things here. Someone choosing a class or feat path because they think it will be mechanically optimal is NOT equivalent to them not planning on roleplaying it. The correlation between the two is weak at best and a lot of people use a mechanical choice as part of how they build a concept they'd like to roleplay.
    I conflate nothing.

    Look at what I said *in your quotation of me*. Nowhere was it mentioned that it should be banned despite the person fully intending on playing it. How you got that will have to be explained to me before I'll retract/edit my statements.
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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Quote Originally Posted by AstralFire View Post
    Yes, but you're conflating things here. Someone choosing a class or feat path because they think it will be mechanically optimal is NOT equivalent to them not planning on roleplaying it. The correlation between the two is weak at best and a lot of people use a mechanical choice as part of how they build a concept they'd like to roleplay.
    That. I never want to play a Bard if my stats rolled only allow for a fighter.
    Now, at one point, I wanted to play a Bard, but needed to be an effective spell caster so I took Wizard. You know what I did? I put ranks in perform and role played the hell out of it.
    You can't role play a Wizard if you're only option is a monk. Thus, you should never keep mechanics based on role playing unless you are flexible. The VoP will help the Barbarian out a lot. but you have to remember, he can't keep squat. Give him gold, he has to dump it into the nearest tin cup. Give him a magical weapon that will deal double the damage he could do, he has to give it to a friend, give him a Berzerker Great Sword, he can neither use it, nor sell it, he has to toss it out.
    VoP will keep the player on par with the group, it may even put him ahead, but he is being punished by being denied all the amazing things he may want.
    If he doesn't care about that, than he and his character have somethign in common.
    You can't tell him there would be no reason for him to normally have it. 1: He's a barbarian, they're not exactly known for mingling with high society, 2: it'd be natural to assume they don't own master work items or anything better for that matter. A barbarian will have two options if he's good, fend for himself, or rely on the kindness of strangers when neccesarry. Congratulations, your low magic setting just gave him all the reasons as to why he'd have it. All he has to do is be a stand up citizen working for the poor, and he gets it. No problems.

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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zincorium View Post
    I conflate nothing.

    Look at what I said *in your quotation of me*. Nowhere was it mentioned that it should be banned despite the person fully intending on playing it. How you got that will have to be explained to me before I'll retract/edit my statements.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zincorium View Post
    This is a case where a serious examination of why the player wants a barbarian, which is a very non-standard option for any sacred vows, should be performed.

    If the Vow of Poverty is thematically appropriate and would be used anyway, adjusting it downwards is not unreasonable. It's not as though it's without benefits, and the other players are being forced to make a sacrifice for the sake of the setting.
    Your statements appear to be in support of the suggestion to make it a Vow of Suckstobeyouverty just to test the player's 'real reason' to be doing VoP.
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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zincorium View Post
    Grautry, I disagree on this specific case

    VoP isn't a standard option, so the players should not expect it to be approved- so no, it's not like the examples you gave (totally strawmen, by the way, I think you could come up with better ones).
    Strawman?

    The proposition is this: Halve the mechanical benefit of X to prove whether a player is taking that option just to optimise and not for the roleplaying reasons.

    So I took Fighters and Wizards as X to prove why this is a seriously flawed proposition. I see nothing wrong with my argument.

    If you don't want a player having an option because you think that he's just doing it for power(or if you think it's thematically inappropriate or for whatever other reason) then at least have the courage to say it to his face instead of resorting to sneaky shenanigans like those.
    Last edited by grautry; 2009-07-24 at 05:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Quote Originally Posted by grautry View Post
    Strawman?

    The proposition is this: Halve the mechanical benefit of X to prove whether a player is taking that option just to optimise and not for the roleplaying reasons.

    So I took Fighters and Wizards as X to prove why this is a seriously flawed proposition. I see nothing wrong with my argument.

    If you don't want a player having an option because you think that he's just doing it for power(or if you think it's thematically inappropriate or for whatever other reason) then at least have the courage to say it to his face instead of resorting to sneaky shenanigans like those.
    That^2

    The problem with halving the benefit of VoP is that you make it no longer a viable option. Why the heck would I want VoP now? In a normal game such a move would be the equivalent of having all 4's for stats and sticking with it. At this point the player would then opt not to take VoP as it would purposely make his character completely useless as he now gets less than the worst class. Sure, he has, a stick, and rage, but for too long that will be it.
    In this case it is the same as cutting a wizards progression, as VoP benefits come from leveling.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    The OP said he was starting everyone at half normal wealth. VoP was designed to give bonuses comparable to what a character of that level would gain from magic items. If a character of a given level has only half as much value in gear, then VoP should also be halved.

    There is no non-exalted version of VoP, so any attempt to compare this to picking one class over another is completely irrelevant.

    As an example of how this would be compared to class progressions, assume a DM wants to run a game with significantly weaker/fewer spellcasters. Rather than halving every class's spellcasting progression, it would make sense to limit characters to no more than half of their class levels progressing a single spellcasting class, with possible exceptions for weaker classes. No character would depend entirely on spellcasting, because every spellcaster would be a hybrid character. Spellcasting would still be useful, even certain character concepts such as Gish builds would still be viable, but magic would not be as unbalancingly powerful as it is in a normal game.

    Say a character decides to play in the above game, but creates a character that gets a racial spellcasting ability that progresses significantly quicker than any character would or should be capable of. Maybe the race he chooses gains spellcasting ability at every level regardless of what class he takes. In that case, the race should be modified to match the level-based progression that any other character could gain given the circumstances. Similarly, in the OP's game, gear-based benefits are halved. Therefore, the level-based gear-equivalent benefits of VoP should likewise be halved or appropriately reduced in order to maintain balance. If a DM changes the game in order for it to play the way he wants it to, then the players should not be allowed to supersede that. Just like the player choosing a nonstandard race just to overcome the spellcasting limitation, the player in the OP's game has decided to use VoP just to overcome the gear-based benefits limitation he's put in place. It should not be permitted, but rather than outright banning the loophole it could instead be fixed to be comparable with what other characters would gain.

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    Default Re: Barbarian / VoP [3.5] Low-Magic Camp.

    Where I took issue is that I believe the math on VoP comes out to effectively about half of WBL to begin with, then throw in that even in a low-magic game it's not your most optimal choice simply because you can't place your magic 'items' to shore up holes for anything other that slots. Halving VoP is just -brutal-.

    To use your own wording - you make exception for 'weaker classes'. Why should VoP be any different here? It is not a pinnacle of strength. Unless you're going flat-out no magic, VoP's not going to be outpacing anyone's power from WBL.

    Your version hurts especially because of the math - half of WBL for 20 is not the WBL for 10, for example - it's closer to level 17. Now, a low magic game probably won't get that high so let's look down - WBL for 10 when halved is around that of level 8. Meanwhile, the already shafted VoP dude is stuck at what is purportedly a level 5 equivalent, except VoP sucks so it's more like level 3. I've played Experts, core-only Monks and core-only Fighters before. You would have to bribe me to get me to play a half-rate VoP anything instead of a low-magic anything, especially since the difference isn't going to be very much in roleplay if an impoverished ascetic is what I want to RP - one gives up everything, the other keeps only what he needs to continue to be effective.
    Last edited by AstralFire; 2009-07-25 at 08:15 AM.
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