From Exalted - Unofficial Wiki
Something Exalted seems to have done is rendered the Appearance Attribute probably the most useless thing in the entirety of the RPG. While in the Aeon Continuim and the World of Darkness, it is actually a rolled stat, Exalted gives a very minimal benefit for having the Ability, to the point that one Caste, the Changing Moon Lunar Exalted, don't gain any benefits from it at all. I am also worried that two Alchemical Castes - Jade and Soulsteel - will also suffer this fate.
As such, I have tweaked Appearance and will also change soem Charms for Lunars so that it is a more suitable choice for character Creation. The first change is to change the definition of what Appearance means. As it is written now, its how pretty you look. However, a concept I frist read in Adventure! (Not sure if shows up elsewhere in the Aeon games) is the idea that Appearance is how striking you look, instead. This means that at high Appearance, you might be utterly ugly or totally pretty. Its all a PC's choice.
It also doesn't screw over Boar Totem Lunars. Which is nice.
Anyways, here is the new Attribute, based on the Adventure! wording, and with new rules for the use of the stat.
New Appearance Description
Appearance is a measure of how memorable you look. This rating doesn't always reflect exceptunal beauty -- a high Appearance could also represent someone of striking ugliness! Since people often stick by a first impression, Appearance can be very impoortant when it comes to social interaction.
Your alias is "whatsisname"
•• Average: Just that -- another face in the crowd.
••• Good: If you are pretty, you can turn heads. If you are ugly, you can turn stomachs.
•••• Exceptional: Either a celebrated beauty, even in the Imperial court, or a famed horror known across the land.
••••• Superb: Rural folks may mistake you for a deity - or demon - incarnte.
Altered Appearance Mechanics
One thing which annoys me about the current ruleset is that you simply don't roll Appearance, ever. Even in things like Intimidation or Seduction, where you would expect Appearance to play a major role, they rarely do more then effect the difficulty. As such, these new mechanics takes into account Appearance's broader description.
Seduction - If a character is attractive, they may opt to use Appearance rather then Charisma or Manipulation in order to seduce someone. The roll is otherwised modified as normal. Very attractive characters are simply more physically able to generate more primal emotional responses. Ugly characters can not use this potion.
Intimidation - Characters who have choosen to have their Appearance represent ugliness may use the Attribute instead of Manipulation or Strength when dealing with people on a one-on-one basis. Simply put, ugly people do have the capability to strike fear into people's hearts if need be. Characters with attractive Appearance scores can not use the Attribute in this fashion.
Altered Lunar Charms
While I understand Geoff's take on Appearance and Lunars, I feel that this change to the basic definition of the Attribute allows for more accessable Appearance Charms for all totems. As such the following Charms I would change, so that they would be Appearance, rather then Charisma or Manipulation, Charms:
Looking through the Lunar book, many of the Charms, however, are rather set on Manipulation or Charisma as is. So for now, these are really the only ones I can think of changing. Suggestions from folks about are welcome though.
- Hide of the Cunning Hunter
- Masking the Brilliant Form
- Shaping the Ideal Form
- Many-Faced Moon Transformation
- Prey's Skin Disguise
- Chameleon Skin Disguise
As Abyssal Exalted gain Permanant Essence, their bodies transform to be more like that of the dead. With the new mechanics in mind, this means that as an Abyssal gets higher Essence, even if he decides to be ugly, he has to buy dots of additional Appearance like his more attractive brethren. AKA, you aren't going to get out of spending that xp on Appearance to look ugly. Besides, that's extra intimidation dice!
And well, stuff.
I like the change to Appearance. I always thought it was how good you were with your appearance, which for most people means how pretty you can be.
I will never forget the one time in a Vampire game I had to roll Appearance+Stealth. It was gorgeous.
Also, to be productive now, it seems to me that the Lunar charms based on Manipulation are such because they're a matter of willfully changing, of manipulating, your shape in ways that go outside of just altering your appearance. The only Charms I see up there that I could see changing to being Appearance-based are Chameleon Skin Disguise and Shaping the Ideal Form because they're a direct alteration of your natural appearance. Arguably Hide the Cunning Hunter and Masking the Brilliant Form, but the point is to actively trick so I still don't QUITE see them as Appearance. Same reason I don't see Prey's Skin Disguise being Appearance, only more so.
That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
I generally thought Prey-Skin's Disguise was Appearance-like because of how it affected your actual physical form in the way it did. You are human, after all, and it seems to me to be an extension of Shaping the Ideal Form more then much else.
I also picked Many-Faced Moon Transformation due to its mostly asthetic applications. It really is just changing your appearance IMHO.
As for Hide the Cunning Hunter and Masking the Brilliant Form, I would atleast maket he first one Appearance. I see it as actually causing the tattoos to fade from the eye to be hoenst. Not everyone playing a Lunar wants there to be tattoos that would show up if they were drawn or something. I also like drawing a couple Lunars using that Charm being shown as lacking tattoos.
And stuff. Thanks folks. -- Blaque
On intimidation -- Couldn't someone with Appearance 5 who's incredibly, absurdly beautiful be intimidating too, though? I mean, 5 Appearance ... that's so unthinkable. The limit of human capacity in beauty. Hell, I'd be intimidated. Not to mention that in Exalted, a lot of the most dangerous creatures are beautiful (e.g. the Fair Folk are the most obvious example), so being beautiful isn't necessarily a "harmless" thing.
I guess the point is: Imagine you're a peasant in the Age of Sorrows. Suddenly, a woman so beautiful you could mistake her for an incarnate deity walks up to you. Unimaginably beautiful. Heart-stoppingly beautiful. Aren't you intimidated?
~ Shataina (just sniffing around)
- While I see what you mean here, part of why I'm doing it like this is because I want it so that either version of the Attribute has its edge. Making it so that pretty folks can get the bonus too makes it so that ugly folks only get one of the two main options for the Attribute, until I start figuring out way sot incorperate things from Adventure! like the rolls for disguise and whatnot being based on this. This works for now I think, and those nobles and whatnot still have Manipulation up the wazzoo to fall back on. Stuff. Blaque
'Taina: Maybe, depends on how used you are to that sort of thing.
However you'd definitely be intimidated if they were trying to intimidate you, which I think is the real point.
And to Blaque:
Many-Faced Moon Transformation doesn't just change your aesthetics though, it changes your ACTUAL sex. You look like you did before, you've just got different anatomy now. Ok not exactly like you did, but you're really just the other-sexed version of yourself.
I get the Hide the Cunning Hunter argument though. And you're right about Prey's Skin Disguise, but I wonder if Shaping the Ideal Form should even be appearance.
Again though, this's just me.
On the pretty-intimidator subject, yes, if they were -trying-. However, if they're trying, I see them using charisma or manipulation, something the fair folk and others who are beautiful and intimidating tend to have lots of. However... if said incarnate deity walked up and then tried very badly to intimidate you, the beauty would probably only colour the peasant's reactions before they spoke up (and maybe afterwards for social reasons), whereas even if an amazingly ugly character was pitiful at intimidation, people are still more likely to be scared of them, in my opinion. Look at zombies, for example. They're not charismatic, they're not all -that- dangerous (compared to all of the really nasty things wondering around the Second Age) but they're sure as hell ugly and disgusting, and people tend to be afraid of them. Just my opinion on the matter. Nice way of making appearance more useful though, I'll be using part or all of this!
On Manupulation vs Appearance for Lunars: If anything, I think more of the Lunar Charms ought to be Appearance-based than Blaque does. Manipulation is one's ability to manipulate the perception of others into believing something that contradicts what they would normally believe; so it's appropriate for, say, Running Through the Herd but not really for Shaping the Ideal Form (for that matter, it's pretty inappropriate for Hyena Jaw Technique). I have no qualms with requiring Boar Totems to have 5 (positive) App; they would be 'Stalwart and rugged, scarred with years of service to the Fickle Lady, the pride of a true paragon of the Way emanates from his powerful form.'
I am interested by, but disagree with, the way Abyssals use Appearance in this system- if only because I can easily envision an Innocuous Abyssal character. There might be a better way to handle this.
Lastly... I think the Pretty/ Ugly system is probably more complex than it needs to be (or at least, would uncessecarily complicate how I use Appearance). At least in my game, I'd probably just modify the Disturbing and Disfigured flaws into a means of controlling what dice the Appearance modifies. I agree that beautiful people can be extremely intimidating as a function of their beauty rather than their charisma.
I like this idea, but as it's written, being hideously, demonically ugly is no more of a barrier to seduction rolls than being just plain and un-remarkable. I've never done a controlled experiment but I suspect that's not true in real life ^_^ What you could do is say that if you're ugly your Appearance is subtracted from the Charisma or Manipulation dice pool of any roll to make people "like you". Problem is, that makes being ugly much less useful than being beautiful. Which is realistic, but not very fun. You could make Apperance cheaper if you're ugly but that's getting overly complex...
What I'd suggest is that rather than representing "Pretty" and "Ugly," make it stand for either "Cute" or "Imposing". "Cute" is useful for making people warm to you, be attracted to you, and pretend to respect you. "Imposing" is good for intimidation, bullying, leadership, or making people actually respect you ( at least at first ). Having a high score in either doesn't make you worse at doing the other things, but it doesn't help. A cute person can be intimidating if they try, but an imposing person is a natural.
Mechanically, Appearance (Cute) can be used with Socialize rolls, while Appearance (Imposing) can be used with Presence rolls, in place of CharismBlaque/Manipulation. Either might be useful with Performance, depending upon the situation.
So basically, I'm suggesting you re-name Pretty and Ugly to Cute and Imposing, so you don't have monstrously ugly characters going around playing casanova, um, willy-nilly. -- Xarak