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At 2nd level, the Chameleon prestige class gets a bonus feat. The description of the chameleon's Bonus Feat ability states (Races of Destiny, p. 113):

Bonus Feat (Ex): At 2nd level, you gain a bonus feat. [...] At the start of each day, you can choose to change your bonus feat to any other feat for which you meet the prerequisites.

Assuming I have taken the Sacred Vow feat (Book of Exalted Deeds, p. 45) earlier in my career from another feat source, my character would then meet the prerequisites for other feats such as the "Vow of Poverty" or "Vow of Chastity" using this rotating feat slot.

These "Exalted" feats all have this nice little blurb on it (BoED, p. 47-48):

If you break your vow, you immediately and irrevocably lose the benefit of this feat. You may not take another feat to replace it.

Mechanically, if I were to swap out my exalted vows using the Bonus Feat ability from the Chameleon prestige class, I lost the vow without breaking the criteria of the oath. Or have I broken the vow by removing the feat voluntarily?

Is there an appropriate or articulate RAW interpretation of this ability interaction?
Or is this a "DM's prerogative" type ruling?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is an amazing idea. You can go to bed with a Vow of Poverty and wake up a rich man or go to bed in a brothel and wake up with a Vow of Chastity. However, I'd be surprised if you get an answer. It's extremely rare that the game's mechanics consider the idea of losing a feat. \$\endgroup\$ – J. Mini Apr 3 at 23:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Thanks as always for fixing my horrendous formatting, grammar and spelling. Much love. \$\endgroup\$ – Play Patrice Apr 5 at 22:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PlayPatrice: Your spelling/grammar/formatting was mostly fine - I just wanted to clarify the phrasing a bit and add in the relevant source links/page numbers for the material :) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 6 at 2:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PlayPatrice Vow's all have more requisites. Did you take the Vow? The vows also have long requirements to even get the feats you meantioned. Vow of Poverty requires you have no items of value, no armor, basic clothing, and simple weapons. Vow of Silence is another one. And violations of the vows also have dire consequences. I'd say if you take the vow, break it, you'd lose the ability to swap, as the consequence states. I'd interpret it as, you can swap as long as you never violate the terms of the current vow you've taken. \$\endgroup\$ – NationWidePants Apr 9 at 15:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nationwidePants If you feel so strongly about it, take the time to do up a proper answer. Comments are best for minor critiques or criticisms, Id be interested in hearing what you have to say in detail. \$\endgroup\$ – Play Patrice Apr 10 at 15:21
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The actual vowing is written in the description of the feat, before the prerequisites or benefit of the feat. Effectively, then, you make the vow “as” you get the feat.

Vows don’t necessarily have to be attached to feats—you don’t need Sacred Vow to make one and you don’t have to take another feat to vow specific things. For that matter, it’s not as though you’re restricted to only vowing the specific things they provide feats for. This isn’t spelled out but I think we’re on reasonably safe ground with this.

What I’m getting at here is, just because you swap out the feat doesn’t get you out of the vow. And if you break it once you’ve made it by taking the feat once—whether you have the feat at the time or not—then you trigger the special clause—which means if you swap it back it in, you get no benefit from it.

As for “You may not take another feat to replace it,” that falls into the large category of Wizards of the Coast making categorical statements when they mean something much more limited. That should be understood as “this special rule doesn’t give you that ability.” It would not override how the chameleon’s bonus feats work, so you wouldn’t get “locked” on a dead Vow feat that way.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I do like this answer, it's viable and makes sense. I am however, going to throw out a pretty hefty bounty to see if there are any others that can come up with other clear, rules biased interpretations of this interaction for sake of completeness. \$\endgroup\$ – Play Patrice Apr 5 at 22:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Doesn't this suggest that breaking the vow before you've taken the vow breaks the vow? \$\endgroup\$ – J. Mini Apr 5 at 22:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ It does, I am reading this as "The vow is an independent criteria necessary for the feat." Meaning, I can't break the vow, but swap the feat around if necessary. For example, I can move poverty to non violence, but I can't retake poverty if I start using magic item again, since I broke my vow, even if I were to dump all my items at the nearest beggar. \$\endgroup\$ – Play Patrice Apr 5 at 22:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @J.Mini If you vowed yourself to X prior to taking the feat, then yes, I think the special clause would still apply once you later took the feat. But the special clause is very much about breaking the vow you have made; if you haven’t made a vow, you can’t “break” it, and you are still eligible to take the vow later (after which you can’t engage in that behavior any longer). The vows in Book of Exalted Deeds aren’t posited as “sinful” activities—the vow is just denying yourself something, not really about being “extra good” for the most part. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 6 at 0:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan the reason vows work is because of a diety (as suggested by the fact they all grant a Supernatural ability), not merely because you violated a vow; you lose the abilities because you've lost favor with your diety. If you're making the vow to a diety of chaos or randomness, like dices, I'd say you could swap vows each day in safety without violating the rules because it matches the diety's element. But, then again, that treads on DM ground. \$\endgroup\$ – NationWidePants Apr 9 at 15:34
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In addition to what KRyan points out in his fine answer, Exalted Feats have certain restrictions that should bar you from swapping out vows using the Chameleon’s Bonus Feat ability.

Only intelligent characters of good alignment and the highest moral standards can acquire exalted feats, and only as a gift from powerful agents of good—deities, celestials, or similar creatures.

(Book of Exalted Deeds, 39; emphasis mine)

This means that apart from meeting the prerequisites for an Exalted Feat you also have to have the go-ahead from the appropriate spiritual authority. A character who intends to change their vows just as they please is very unlikely to get such an authority’s approval – and in any case, they would not get it for a second time. In other words, you cannot take an Exalted Feat if you lack the integrity. Trying to change, interrupt or replace a vow can hardly be brought in line with the "highest moral standards" which are expected from Exalted Characters.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer makes an important point (gift from higher being), but then follows with speculation which I find detrimental. I see no reason that "swapping feats" would be amoral or show a lack of integrity. For example, imagine a Favored Soul/Chameleon; they are blessed, and can be played as being closer to their gods than most. I see no reason such a character could not daily ask for intercession to be "gifted" an Exalted Feat in their swapping feat slot. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthieu M. Apr 11 at 10:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MatthieuM. I’m not saying that swapping Exalted Feats would show a lack of integrity in any case. For example, it would probably be no problem to change Exalted Smite to Exalted Spell Resistance. But it’s a different thing with vows. The general concept of a vow (of abstinence, chastity, nonviolence etc...) is to stick to it, otherwise a vow makes no sense. It’s a sign of faith and determination. You have take it seriously - at least if you want to meet "highest moral standards"... \$\endgroup\$ – Peregrin Took Apr 11 at 18:02

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