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When 6th edition was published, the stat "Comeliness" from previous editions was removed.  I don't want to hash out all the arguments over that, I just want to make a case for how its useful in some games and should be considered as an optional stat.

 

Now, there is a substantive difference between presence and comeliness and I don't think this discussion can be done without discussing the distinctions. 

 

Presence is force of personality, charm.  Someone who is quite hideous can have high presence.  Someone who is very beautiful can be charmless and dull.  Comeliness is physical appearance, and it affects people without the character doing or saying anything: a photo of a supermodel is enough to gain a positive reaction.  Presence is active, it requires the character to do something in order to influence others.  A pretty girl can get away with and do things that an ugly guy cannot. 

 

Now, some will say "but some people have such force of personality that everyone just notices them without their doing anything, just walking into a room" which is true -- but how many of them aren't also attractive?  Any?  And they have done something, by showing up: their personality shows through their behavior, movements, clothing, expressions, etc.

 

The big complication with comeliness isn't that it overlaps presence or has no game use, its that the stat is subjective.  Beauty is not entirely in the eye of the beholder, there is such a thing as objective beauty.  But what you find beautiful, a fruit fly or an alien from Planet G'Throznx* will not.

 

Which means that comeliness isn't necessarily useful in every campaign or setting.  If you're playing cops and robbers or Danger, International: yeah its going to be a very useful part of the campaign.  If you're playing Star Hero or Fantasy Hero, probably no use at all.  Which again says to me that it should be considered optional: you'll find this helpful in some campaigns and useless in others.

 

So how would Comeliness be used?  Well, despite how much of the rules are written to be combat focused (how does this ability work in a fight?), Comeliness is a role playing stat.  It affects how NPCs and fellow characters will interact with a character in role playing rather than hard rules or combat.  Although, some characters may find it very hard to punch that 25 COM seductress, no matter how awful she is.  Comeliness should be considered to be in the same category as psychological complications and social complications: almost never actually codified or involved in a conflict, but affecting how your character is played.  Not every interaction has to (or should) be determined with dice.  But even if they are, a COM roll could handle that.

 

So I'd like to encourage GMs to consider the stat for certain kinds of games instead of throwing it out entirely.

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Firstly, I'll say that I like having COM as a stat.  I enjoyed using it in the "good old days".  It was cheap and was a nice way to separate the beauty of your character from their personality.

 

Secondly,  I'm leery of adding any more mechanics to a game that has as a primary player deterrent - Too many rules and mechanics.

 

I poach most of my players from D&D tables so it's easier not having that stat in play since they are used to CHA which functions identically to PRE in most regards.

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For Sixth Edition, Striking Appearance is defined as doing the sorts of things you describe, under the circumstances you specify, but also has a game-mechanic benefit, which Comeliness hasn't officially had since The Golden Age of Champions for Second Edition Champions/Hero System. As SA is a Talent rather than a standard Characteristic, it's optional as to whether GMs wish to use it or players want to spend points on it.

 

I understand that many long-time Hero players feel an attachment to COM, and can and should add it back to 6E character sheets if that would enhance their enjoyment of the game. For my part, I don't see it contributing anything more substantively or subjectively than Striking Appearance does now.

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As a thought experiment, I tried recreating the pre-6th edition stat block in 6th edition, assuming that the point was to charge fair price for everything.  I decided to threat the Comeliness Roll (9 + COM/5) as a sort of everyman Power Skill: Appearance.  Assuming everyone has such a roll at 11- to start with (based on a stat value of 10), with a cost of 2 points per +1 to the roll, Comeliness should have a cost of 0.4 per point, or 2 points per +5 COM.  

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37 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

I understand that many long-time Hero players feel an attachment to COM, and can and should add it back to 6E character sheets if that would enhance their enjoyment of the game. For my part, I don't see it contributing anything more substantively or subjectively than Striking Appearance does now.

 

Logically speaking, I agree with this. In fact, had COM been a source of problems in any of the pre-6e games I played, I might have turned to a solution like Striking Appearance myself.

 

But since I really only ever played Champions, COM was never an issue (it was rarely ever used for anything). It was cheap enough that people could throw a few points into it "just for character concept sake" without feeling like they were entirely wasted points. But for the most part, COM was never a problem in need of a solution for me. The 6e change, while perfectly logical, fell into that category of "needless change for change's sake" for me, and I think I've objected to it strictly on that basis. However, I do acknowledge that the switch from COM to Striking Appearance probably does solve problems for others.

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Sure you can use Striking Appearance if you want to; its a decent replacement for comeliness for folks who want to have mechanical rules for interaction.  But for those who want a role playing device for interaction and character behavior, and you want an aesthetic device rather than a mechanical one, Comeliness is a good alternative.  What Comeliness does is gives the game a role playing subjective game device for games where peoples' behavior and responses matter more than combat, for example.

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6 minutes ago, Tjack said:

    What does the group think of the idea of buying Comeliness as a physical skill like acrobatics or as a perk like ambidextrous?

 

Seems almost as good as buying it as a Talent or Stat. ;)

 

I think the big question would be what you want to use it for (in your\a\the game).

 

If it's just a roleplaying thing, "My character is pretty\hot\handsome!", then it should be very cheap and provide minimal game effects. Basically like it was in 5th and prior, or like Chris Goodwin priced it.

If you can be a Cop or an FBI agent or a Doctor for 1-3pts as Perks which generally don't have an effect on play then surely, "I'm really, really, ridiculously good looking.", shouldn't cost a lot more.

 

If it's going to provide a game effect then buying it as Striking Appearance (Talent) or a Perk or Skill makes more sense.

And the cost\price should be standard Hero style stuff where the cost is proportional to the benefit.

 

Is it just a potential complimentary stat roll to supplement (compliment?) Seduction or Persuasion? Probably shouldn't cost any more than a skill with the Limitation "Only for making complimentary skill rolls where appearance is a factor" and then...it's back to the same costs at 5e, or like Chris Goodwin priced it above.

 

If it's going to provide bigger and most consistent benefits (or drawbacks) then it should cost more. Like, oh, say, Striking Appearance or something.

 

Of course I play 5th so Comeliness works just the way I want it to and costs what I think it should cost and if a player really wanted to be really, really, ridiculously good looking, to the point it was providing consistent mechanically relevant benefits\detriments then they could buy Striking Appearance.

 

 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Tjack said:

    What does the group think of the idea of buying Comliness as a physical skill like acrobatics or as a perk like ambidextrous?

 

I think we already have Striking Appearance.

 

I also think it's easy to write up something like this:

Striking Appearance - On Strike:  (Total: 3 Active Cost, 1 Real Cost) +1/+1d6 Striking Appearance (vs. all characters) (3 Active Points); Limited Power No bonus to Skills (-1) (Real Cost: 1)

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Oh Wow, where'd it go? That beast just used a striking DISappearance to make an ABSENCE attack!

 

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23 minutes ago, Tjack said:

    What does the group think of the idea of buying Comliness as a physical skill like acrobatics or as a perk like ambidextrous?

 

 

Not into it.  That's pretty much what "Striking Appearance" is as I understand it.  I prefer a gauge to a mechanic for social interaction.  What I liked about COM, and apparently I was (again) the odd man out, was that it was a _gauge_ to where your appearance fits into your society's scale.  And I preferred that because it allowed the modeling of something that doesn't work when you have a mechanic telling you "this means this, period:"

 

There are people who will react negatively to very attractive people.  There are people who will react _differently_ from the expected norm, and there is a tendency for people to naturally feel more comfortable around people they perceive to be "on their level."   Sounds weird?  Maybe, but it's true.  If you tend to think of yourself as medium ugly, you tend to gravitate toward other people you perceive as medium ugly.  Some people prefer "cute" to "beautiful."  For what it's worth, cute tends to last longer as we age, too.  Shame I missed out on that. :lol:    I'd go on, but my "RETURN" button on my keyboard has gone out again.  Gah!   At any rate, I find that many things role-playing wise are better-served by _roleplaying_, and thus a gauge is far, far more useful than a mechanic.  As noted by someone else above, HERO has _plenty_ of mechanics.  However, it is _not_ a computer program; it's a game for sharing stories _that we make up_.  Unless the APG 4 includes new mechanics for generating campaigns, too, of course.

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14 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

Some people prefer "cute" to "beautiful."

 

Yeah, that's me.

 

However, I'm not a huge fan of "perky". Go figure...

 

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     Wow, that got a lot of response, real quick.  

     As a player I always provided and as a GM requested a played by person from my players.   I always found it much more useful than height and weight or a Com number to describe the appearance of a character.  

    As an example the younger versions of John Wayne, Jim Carrey and Vincent Price are within only a few pounds or inches of each other.  Now is somebody really going to tell me they should play the same role in a film.  All have portrayed heroes and possess the real world equivalent of a high presence and are quite attractive but they come off differently.   

    Unless you’re making a roll against some stat number based on how good or bad looking your character is I think this is a much more helpful descriptor.

     

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3 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Sure you can use Striking Appearance if you want to; its a decent replacement for comeliness for folks who want to have mechanical rules for interaction.  But for those who want a role playing device for interaction and character behavior, and you want an aesthetic device rather than a mechanical one, Comeliness is a good alternative.  What Comeliness does is gives the game a role playing subjective game device for games where peoples' behavior and responses matter more than combat, for example.

How (precisely) is a numerical value for COM any more of an aesthetic device than the mechanism entailed by the Striking Appearance talent? And as a follow-up, how (precisely) does the COM stat enable improved interaction and character behavior role-playing when compared with the interaction and character behavior role-playing achievable using the Striking Appearance talent? Moreover, how, exactly, is Striking Appearance deficient compared to COM?

I look forward to your responses on all three questions. (This should be good...)

Surreal

The sort of one-upmanship massey mentioned is, by the way, achievable with … (wait for it) … Striking Appearance. :)

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If you keep in mind that Striking Appearance can be costed out in small increments--+1, very limited group, 1 point; +1, limited group, 2 points; +1, wide group, 3 points.  This means you could have +3 SA, very limited group, or +1 SA, wide group, or +1 very limited and +1 limited group SA, all for 3 points each.  You can even mix and match higher and lower cost versions of SA--certain features might be widely attractive, others might be strongly attractive only to a smaller group of people--being a "leg" person, having a thing for redheads, etc.  You couldn't really do that with COM, except by applying limitations to some of the COM points--and at that point, you might as well just go with SA, imo.  

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You couldn't really do that with COM, except by applying limitations to some of the COM points

 

Again, Comeliness is a role playing stat, not a mechanical one.  If you need the mechanics to do the job, by all means go with Striking Appearance.  But look at what Tjack or Massey posted about how Comeliness is, or was, used in their games.  Its descriptive, not prescriptive.  Think of it like a psychological complication that comes up when the player believes that it should for their character or the GM rules is a situation where it arises rather than a task resolution system.

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3 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

Again, Comeliness is a role playing stat, not a mechanical one.  If you need the mechanics to do the job, by all means go with Striking Appearance.  But look at what Tjack or Massey posted about how Comeliness is, or was, used in their games.  Its descriptive, not prescriptive.  Think of it like a psychological complication that comes up when the player believes that it should for their character or the GM rules is a situation where it arises rather than a task resolution system.

 

Psychological Complication:  I feel pretty, oh so pretty..... (Common; Strong) 15 pts

 

Lucius Alexander

 

And a pretty palindromedary

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

Again, Comeliness is a role playing stat, not a mechanical one.

Did you mean to imply mutual exclusivity?   I'm asking because The Hulk's STR (which is mechanical) makes for excellent role-play, ergo, I don't personally see any distinction between role-playing stats and mechanical ones.  In fact, I see every stat as a role-playing stat, and to support that angle, I cite that we have an archetype (speedster) named after the mechanical stat (SPD), and having lots of SPD, while mechanical, also makes for good role-play (example: The Flash tidying up a room in an instant).

 

4 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

If you need the mechanics to do the job, by all means go with Striking Appearance.

What job, exactly?  Support good role-play, perhaps?  If that's the so-called 'job', then I think you need to speak to how COM is supposedly better at it than Striking Appearance.  So, I'll ask a second time:

  1. How (precisely) is a numerical value for COM any more of an aesthetic device than the mechanism entailed by the Striking Appearance talent?
  2. How (precisely) does the COM stat enable improved interaction and character behavior role-playing when compared with the interaction and character behavior role-playing achievable using the Striking Appearance talent?
  3. How, exactly, is Striking Appearance deficient compared to COM?

I'm asking (again) because you seem to have ignored the first inquiries ... while suggesting via your word choices and sentence structure that just because there's a well-defined mechanical apparatus ... Striking Appearance is somehow not as good as COM. If that is, indeed, what you intended, to convey, then surely you can explain the how and why of it, right?  So ... I continue to await your answers.

 

4 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

But look at what Tjack or Massey posted about how Comeliness is, or was, used in their games.  Its descriptive, not prescriptive.  Think of it like a psychological complication that comes up when the player believes that it should for their character or the GM rules is a situation where it arises rather than a task resolution system.

Striking Appearance can be used those ways, too, but instead of comparing a 24 COM to an 18 COM, you're comparing 2 levels of Striking Appearance to 1 level of Striking Appearance.  Tjack could do the same comparison, as well, and achieve the same result.

 

4 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Think of it like a psychological complication that comes up when the player believes that it should for their character or the GM rules is a situation where it arises rather than a task resolution system.

What, exactly, does an 18 COM describe that 1 level of Striking Appearance fails to describe equally as well?

 

4 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Think of it like a psychological complication that comes up when the player believes that it should for their character or the GM rules is a situation where it arises rather than a task resolution system.

This sentence seems to suggest that an 18 COM entitles a character to feel entitled to be treated as good looking just because s/he believes it should come up for his/her character … or when the GM rules there is a situation where that 18 COM arises rather than a task resolution system.  Tell me, again, why how many levels (not 1d6 effect, but actual levels of Striking Appearance) cannot be used the same way?

 

As a parting gift, I'll leave you with this thought:
Since COM has no in-game effect in 6e and, thus, is mechanically irrelevant, it should cost 0 CP regardless of how much of it one has … since it offers no advantage … or limitation.  Moreover, if this is to be thought of as a psychological complication that impacts behavior (see the palindromedary 's build, above) for the purpose of role play (per your own suggestion), then it should actually be a Complication for which one receives points … rather than a stat that one must pay points for … right?

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59 minutes ago, Surrealone said:

This sentence seems to suggest that an 18 COM entitles a character to feel entitled to be treated as good looking just because s/he believes it should come up for his/her character … or when the GM rules there is a situation where that 18 COM arises rather than a task resolution system.  Tell me, again, why how many levels (not 1d6 effect, but actual levels of Striking Appearance) cannot be used the same way?

 

 

I'm not the original poster, but I suspect you are seriously misreading that.

 

I take it as the character reacting:  how does Character X react to a particular COM score?

 

Sure, you could use a mechanic to tell you how you react rather than deciding for yourself.  But then, you could pop a disk in the X-box and run _everything_ on rails, too.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Surrealone said:

As a parting gift, I'll leave you with this thought:

Since COM has no in-game effect in 6e and, thus, is mechanically irrelevant, it should cost 0 CP regardless of how much of it one has … since it offers no advantage … or limitation.  Moreover, if this is to be thought of as a psychological complication that impacts behavior (see the palindromedary 's build, above) for the purpose of role play (per your own suggestion), then it should actually be a Complication for which one receives points … rather than a stat that one must pay points for … right?

 

I think I come down more toward this side, as well. A fundamental design feature of Hero System is, "you get what you pay for." If there's no quantifiable benefit to COM, there should be no quantifiable cost to it, either. Why should there be a different cost for 18 and 24 COM, if everything to do with the difference is completely subjective per a given player and GM? At most you might treat it like Extra Limbs, where the same flat cost gives you as many limbs as you want.

 

I see the distinctions being drawn on this thread between how Comeliness and Striking Appearance might be used in a game; but AFAICT those distinctions are all in interpretation, and not inherent to COM or SA themselves. Nothing being discussed for COM can't be translated to SA. Now, I fully appreciate if someone likes COM more than SA. There are several elements and ways of doing things from older editions of Hero that I just plain like more than their 6E analogues.

 

As I've said my piece and have no desire to change anyone's mind, I will now leave this thread to any other parties interested in continuing the debate. :)

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If there's no quantifiable benefit to COM, there should be no quantifiable cost to it, either. Why should there be a different cost for 18 and 24 COM, if everything to do with the difference is completely subjective per a given player and GM? 

 

Sure, like I said, the only real strike against Comeliness is that its subjective.  For some GMs, that is just too nebulous and uncomfortable, for others, its a valuable tool.  Its not entirely subjective, obviously 24 is better than 18 (and the benchmarks thread could address that at some point to make the degrees of change more tangible).  And it gives you a hard stat to recognize that someone is better than someone else.  Just as 11 strength is stronger than 10, 11 comeliness is better looking than 10.  What that means in the game is where it becomes role playing rather than a mechanic.

 

But the fact that some find that unlikable means not that it should be completely deleted or ignored (or angrily attacked with bitter hostility toward anyone who talks about it), but to make it optional: we use in this game you don't in that one.

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For the record: I like SA over comeliness but I will try to answer Surreal's questions.

 

How (precisely) is a numerical value for COM any more of an aesthetic device than the mechanism entailed by the Striking Appearance talent?

People like to rank characters.  Who is stronger, who is faster, who is etc.  I found this out when playing the Amber Role Playing Game that people would bid their stats higher and higher just to be number 1.

 

How (precisely) does the COM stat enable improved interaction and character behavior role-playing when compared with the interaction and character behavior role-playing achievable using the Striking Appearance talent?

To be honest, the most I seen was cat-tiness.  Basically calling other characters and NPCs dogs because that 30 comeliness didn't stack up to their comeliness of 40.  Even the comeliness 32 would look down on the comeliness 30 NPC.  BTW: None of them had the psych lim "B!T@#" or anything similar.

 

How, exactly, is Striking Appearance deficient compared to COM?

Its not on the characteristic section as far as I can tell.  The major argument seems to be that because its not on the characteristic section but can conceivably be called a statistic of the character is what is causing the problem.

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I'll give you my benchmarks that I have in my head for Comeliness.  I like this better than Striking Appearance because there's more granularity, and it's still pretty cheap overall.  Basically you take the "1-10" scale that people use in normal conversation ("she's at least an 8...") and double it.  But, for a visual aid...

 

0-2:  So ugly that he is almost inhuman or frightening.  Horrible deformities, burns, or scars.  Children run away and women gasp.

The Elephant Man, Freddy Krueger, Deadpool, Two-Face (bad half)

 

4:  Freakish looking. May have deformities or scarring.  Children point and laugh.

Rocky Dennis, the cast of the movie Freaks, masked killers under the mask

 

6:  Butt ugly.  Nothing looks right, lots of negative features (bad acne, crooked nose, missing teeth) and no good ones.

Clint Howard, Michael Berryman, Anne Ramsey

 

8:  Homely.  Below average.  Either very plain, or something is a little off.

Steve Buscemi, Bill Murray, Roseanne

 

10:  Average.  Most everybody you see around you.

The good looking person in your gaming group

 

12:  Cute.  A little better than average.  Girl or boy next door.  A pretty actress dressed down with ugly glasses and out of style clothes.

Pam from The Office, Janice from Friends, young Tom Hanks

 

14:  Nice looking.  Some good features and nothing too negative to take away from it.

Matt Damon, Molly Ringwald, Reese Witherspoon

 

16:  Sexy, hot.  Some great features put together in an appealing way, but not perfect.  Stereotypical head cheerleader or handsome athlete.

Ben Affleck, Chris Evans, Penny from Big Bang Theory

 

18:  Extremely good looking.  Could be a model or actor famous for their looks.  A definite head-turner.

Scarlett Johansson, Kate Upton, Matthew Mcconaughey

 

20:  Timeless movie stars, heart throbs and bombshells.

Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Marylin Monroe, Brad Pitt

 

 

Now obviously some of these examples are personal preference, but I think you get the idea.  It offers a lot of levels of gradation without costing much at all.  There doesn't have to be a game mechanic, it just lets you know who is better looking than who.

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The first two (2 - 4) sound more like Distinctive Features than COM.  Perhaps the 6 COM as well. 

 

10 - so you describe "average" as "good looking person"?  Seems like 8 - 12 has neither a complication nor a perk.

 

After that, it feels like we are only arguing cost.  The differences from "nice looking" upwards could be applied to 1, 2,3,4 levels of "striking appearance"

 

Now, use COM to simulate other uses of Striking Appearance.  "He's horrifying" that enhances fear-based interactions, instead of being a disadvantage to the character, for example.

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