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Uses of Appearance

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  • #31
    Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
    - Yes, many killers are attractive.
    If we expand from "serial killers," to any killers, sure, that's just statistics. Homicide isn't linked to attractiveness, so as so many humans kill so many other humans, the distribution of attractiveness among killers is going to be similar to the distribution among the general populace.

    But you mentioned serial killers, where there is a much smaller portion of humanity, and much stronger trends about them. Attractive serial killers are an outlier, and female serial killers are an outlier... so both combined is a fairly large outlier in an already fairly small group of people.

    Ted Bundy got away with inviting women into dangerous situations because he was very attractive and didn't strike them as "creepy".
    Bundy only killed as many people as he did because he actually had a variety of methods (making him hard to track), even if that was his preferred one. He was also described as extremely charismatic, and used a number of techniques to manipulate his targets (he would frequently feign physical disability to get pity and avoid seeming to be physically threatening). His looks helped, but it clearly was not enough by itself to get to his victims.

    It's also what ended his spree. A cop seeing him cruising around in his car found it incongruous (good looking guy being creepy), which lead to a car chase, and his car being searched... and while that was not what got him off the streets for good, it is what put him on the books and helped later investigators connect the dots.

    That's part of something I've been saying about appearances. They're double-edged. Being memorable is not always a good thing. It gets you more attention, which is rarely a good thing for criminals or supernaturals trying to hide their existence.

    Appearance 5 is unforgettable, but no one WANTS the most beautiful woman they've ever seen to be evil.
    Um... no... exactly the opposite. People love to see powerful people getting taken down, and beauty is just a form of social power. This is what fuels tabloids, gossip media, the majority of high-school focused fiction, etc.

    Fiction portraying the beautiful people as "bad" is something the general public eats up, because it helps them feel better about their lack of social advantage.

    People don't want to believe this about people that they're emotionally attached to, but that clearly transcends attractiveness. Lots of people suffer severe psychological pain leaving toxic relationships with no way to correlation amount of pain towards the attractiveness of someone. The neurochemistry of romantic bonding backs this up. The start of pair bonding is mostly influenced by physical attraction and emotional compatibility, but once the bond sets in the difficulty of exiting the relationship is a combination of neurotransmitter withdraw and social conditioning.

    People show fear, deference, amazement. They laugh, they get flustered, they assume they're meatheads, they assume they have certain career paths (all of your first guesses would be wrong for both of them).
    This is... actually something I was saying. Reactions are contextual and situational. It's not as simple as "big muscles = specific reaction."

    I struggle to see what is so confusing here. It's first impressions and rolls where how you come across are very important.
    Never said it was confusing. I have said it's dumb, especially the first impression dice-pool cap of your Appearance.

    And on top of that, you read these descriptions and you RP them, like with every trait.
    The disconnect here is that the descriptive paragraph doesn't say that Appearance should just be attractiveness, but then the examples for 3+ are all rooted in being attractive. These examples are effectively useless for many characters (only encouraging people to just avoid the stat) that could justify investing in it. It's also an issue that Appearance 1 and Appearance 5 basically have the same thing: people will remember you.

    I'm genuinely annoyed that "reading V20 and applying the rules to a storytelling game where fluff and crunch feed into eachother" is read as house-ruling or golden ruling or whatever.

    And I'm genuinely annoy that you keep adding things to the RAW in your posts, and then saying you're not adding things.. and frankly I don't even get why. Are you actually trying to defending the RAW for this as good?

    So, some examples of following this RAW:
    This is an example, and it doesn't seem to illustrate anything. I mean, it's not how nightclubs like to work (you don't want App 5 people working there, because you don't want to drive away customers that feel like they have to compete with the staff for their date's attention), but lots of nightclub owners do less than intelligent business things. She'll get more tips from some people, and less from others for the same reason. And she has more dice because of an artificial cap in the RAW, not because of anything in the example specifically or even because of role-playing.

    When he ran a bar in "minimal" clothing, he would get tips that would completely eclipse whatever he was getting paid.
    This is true of almost any job that relies on tips and is not strictly about appearance. Lots of jobs are all about the tips, which is all about customer service. Unless you're running a strip club, or something like Hooters, good customer service skills get more tips than good looks (not that looks hurt, but there's a limit as noted above, looks aren't universal in reaction).

    Fact is that people love looking at attractive people, talking to them, finding stuff out about them, and I think V20 actually captures that quite well if the ST pays attention and reads the rules.
    Lets see:

    1) There's nothing in the rules that actually reinforces the idea that people in general love socializing with attractive people - and Appearance is not simply being attractive in the RAW - just some vague comments that high Appearance gets you specific kinds of social attention. In a bar with 20 patrons, how many phone numbers do you get with Appearance 3 in the RAW?

    2) The rules actually punish Appearance as a passive influence on social interactions with the idiotic first impression dice-cap. Nothing about this captures what you're claiming.

    3) General socialization without a specific seductive purpose is, RAW, not Appearance based.


    • #32
      1) Whether someone is attractive to you or not would be based on the roll on their dice.
      An "Attractive" (By system) person is going to appeal to the most targets, but someone with Appearance one could still get more successes than them on a particular individual, so what'a attractive to some and not others is covered.

      2) ​
      A positive trait such as Appearance Should affect everything else, even perception of skill in a job (But so should gender.... and I don't want a system with difficulty penalties/benefits because of gender and gender expression in a RP game)
      Something I liked about the Exalted 2e system, is that all social events were modified by appearance (Same with Deadlands, but that's a significantly different system for comparison)
      It's also why people like it when they fall, because the expectations are higher for Attractive people as well


      • #33
        Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
        11twiggins So what you are saying is that you want to play GURPS.
        Funny, given that it happens to be a system that happens to at least half-decently handle the fact that Appearance can be (a) subtle and (b) influence most face-to-face interactions to a varying extent.


        • #34
          I was thinking, what if the Appearance Attribute changed places with either Ettiquette or Empathy Abilities?


          • #35
            Originally posted by Aahz View Post
            You could to some degree use Merits and Flaws for stuff like that. Or in case of Wits it might actually be better to split what it does between Int and Perception (it might for example make more sense to have Perception as part of the Initiative than Intelligence).

            But at the moment, Appearence and Wits not really used for much at all and Dex is imo way more usefull than Str or Sta.

            Btw. Stamina isn't really connected to feeling pain, it just prevents you from getting hurt.

            Well if you are gonna represent this with merits and flaw why not jsut keeping them like they are now ?
            The ST system allow any st to mix one attribute and one baility to fit the situation as best as they think. I do not see anything positiv to get rid of option for a ST.
            If your ST doesn't use Wits, that's on him. I myself use it far more frequently than intelligence. I think all my pc do at least 4 Wits roll per session. Minimal.
            Strange how you explain that the very reason wits is there should not be htere .. . Wits litterally mean ability to quick think and you sya it should be put under perception ? i don't get that way of thinking.

            Stamina is your damage threshhold. It contain resisting pain as it is the stat used to roll when you need to amke a physical effort in a bad shape and withstand pain usually : running while having a Pipes through your thigh will always be a Stamina roll in my book. And in many other RPG books tbh.
            And no Strenght and stamina are not supposed to be the same for cheer balance reason : having someone improving in the same time Damage output and damage resilience is rarely a good thing in RPG.

            Appearance tho, is a real problem in this book. Personally i make appearaance looks everytime my st want to convince someone or appear trusty, opr seduct and when theyr Roleplayed speech was not convincing at all.I actually use it quite often, but i think it's more related to the way my PC are acting.


            • #36
              Originally posted by Beckett View Post
              I was thinking, what if the Appearance Attribute changed places with either Ettiquette or Empathy Abilities?
              Etiquette would not be good for me, as Attribute are "innate" skill, while etiquette is just pure learning in a way. And for empathy, actually that would be sound imo. only problem is that would lead to the same issue as hard to separate use with the 2 others social attribute : trying ot convince someone, would it be Empathy or Charisma ?
              The line would still be a bit blurry imo.


              • #37
                Appearance doesn't need to be replaced. It needs to be rephrased in description and needs good mechanics behind it. I mean, you can replace it pretty easily (CofD dumped it, and shoved the functions it has to Merits/Conditions to make it more flexible to tune to the intent of the character), but you can also fix it pretty easily.

                1) Rephrasing the trait is fairly simple. Your character looks how they look, the trait doesn't measure anything like beauty, attractiveness, or memorable features. Get away from the focus on the passivity of the current first impression focus and attitudes of other people. Make Appearance directly about the active use of body language. App 1 people are off putting not because of any subjective thing about looks, but because they suck at adapting to social norms, reading other people's body language, and controlling their own communications. App 5 characters are masters at putting what they have to work for them.

                App 5 is what a nightclub owner wants not for being eye-candy, but because she knows exactly how to be flirty and pretty enough to get more tips, while being disarming and non-threatening enough to avoid angering dates. She's an on-call wingman to break the ice, but make sure all the guests are focused on having a good time with the music and each other, not her.

                App 5 can be a guy that's ugly as sin, but knows how to play it perfectly for pity, sympathy, or even as a threat as the situation calls. He knows exactly how to slide up to a pretty girl at the bar and not put her off with his looks long enough to get her to talk (though he still needs the social talents to capitalize on it).

                Since Appearance is now explicitly active, STs and players know when to roll it, or at least when it would be rolled if they choose to freeform based on the rating unrolled.

                Are looks in the real world a constant passive part of the human interaction? Yes. Is it inherently important to the abstraction of the game? No without a more detailed social system. If you want to add in a social system like CofD or Exalted, you can put the passive side of Appearance there (like Exalted does already).

                2) Mechanics depend on where you want to go. As noted, there's plenty of options for more detailed social mechanics, which makes it easier to define Appearance in a useful way rather than the smattering of sample rolls and mechanics. It's also important to go through the powers and make sure Appearance is being used when it makes sense (for example, Animalism and really Animal Ken, should have more Appearance since presenting yourself matters more than 'words' to things that don't have full language). Things like the Nosferatu Clan Weakness (and similar ones) need revision since App 0 doesn't make sense in this. You can do things like increase difficulties for specific Abilities or groups of actions (Nosferatu can't use mundane techniques like clothing, makeup, and so on for an Appearance + Subterfuge/Style roll to make a statement in a fashion conscious crowd). Etc.


                • #38
                  Ever heard people say "appearances are everything"? Well it's duly true in this context. Anyone who made the transition from ugly duckling to physically desirable at some point in their lives will tell you how important it is to look good. It isn't just about first impressions, in my experience appearance amounts to everything. During my awkward teenage period I was practicallyy a social outcast, putting little care in my appearance or how I dress, I had no friends, no social life, I didn't even bother to get myself a phone or social media. After puberty did its magic and I found myself with a nice pair of cheekbones and started working out, things started to become a bit different; random strangers start conversations with me at the bus, I started making friends faster and easier, girls approach me and not vice versa (despite being gay) and generally people pay attention to you when you look "good".

                  Your Ventrue needs appearance if he wants others to pay attention to him, you can crank up Charisma and Manipulation all you want but if you don't want to be invisible to the world get yourself some Appearance dots.


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Shawarbaaz View Post
                    Ever heard people say "appearances are everything"?
                    Yes, but that isn't want this phrase means. "Appearances are everything" is about acknowledging that human interactions as subjective experiences largely dictated by individual perceptions, rather than rational thought or fact based discourse.

                    A common example of this is how people judge if someone else is telling the truth or not without access to facts to weigh against statements. Most people view clear and confident statements as signs of being truthful (the person knows what the truth is, so they just say it), while having to think about what you're going to say is a sign of being less truthful (the person is taking time to come up with what to say rather than just speaking the truth).

                    Factually though, we know that it's basically the opposite. The liar is more likely to have a confident statement (either prepared ahead of time or thrown out with certainty in hopes of not being questioned), while people trying to tell the truth are more likely to hem and haw a bit to make sure they're getting details right.

                    If you want a reputation for being honest, you don't have to be honest. You have to appear honest. Plenty of perfectly honest people get in trouble because they suck at looking honest. Lots of dishonest people get away with it because they're good at appearing honest.

                    The Appearance trait, especially with the focus on the passive side of human interactions, doesn't really focus on that meaning of the word of appearance.


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                      App 5 is what a nightclub owner wants not for being eye-candy, but because she knows exactly how to be flirty and pretty enough to get more tips, while being disarming and non-threatening enough to avoid angering dates. She's an on-call wingman to break the ice, but make sure all the guests are focused on having a good time with the music and each other, not her.

                      App 5 can be a guy that's ugly as sin, but knows how to play it perfectly for pity, sympathy, or even as a threat as the situation calls. He knows exactly how to slide up to a pretty girl at the bar and not put her off with his looks long enough to get her to talk (though he still needs the social talents to capitalize on it).
                      Both of those sound like Charisma rather than Appearance.


                      • #41
                        RAW? Sure. The idea of that post is redefining things so they're Appearance instead.


                        • #42
                          RAW? I get the feeling it's Appearance.

                          The Appearance Attribute is a measure of howwell a character makes a first impression. This may be
                          conventional “attractiveness,” but it can also be the effect of distinctive features, an exotic mien, an air
                          of confidence, distinctive posture
                          , a flair for dressing well — anything remarkable upon initial observation
                          can contribute to a character’s Appearance
                          . Indeed , Apearance is the amalgamation of many descriptive personal characteristics. Appearance is subconsciousand instinctual — it appeals to the lower levels of the
                          psyche, so it shapes first impressions and the nature of memories thereafter.
                          This Trait is useful for getting potential vessels to heed your beckoning across a crowded dance floor. In situations in which first impressions are paramount, or that involve people who view Appearance as very important,a character may have no more dice in a Social dice pool than her Appearance rating. Thus, it is critically important to either look your best or get to know people before you start trying to convince them to firebombthe Justicar’s haven.
                          • Poor: Your clothes stink, you turn people off right away, or you’re just damned ugly.
                          •• Average: You don’t stand out in a crowd, for better or for worse.
                          ••• Good: “Let me buy you a drink.”
                          •••• Exceptional: People go ou t of their way to make your acquaintance.
                          ••••• Outstanding: People never forget you.
                          So yes you could definitly roll Heavy Arms ideas as charisma, but I believe appearance also fits in these cases.


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            The Appearance trait, especially with the focus on the passive side of human interactions, doesn't really focus on that meaning of the word of appearance.
                            Thats a really good idea, making the Appearance Attribute more like an aptitude for being percieved in different ways. So it could be utilized to try to have everyone's eyes drawn to you, or to not be noticed or remembered. It could be used to create disguises, or to play up or down your level of innocence, threat, trustworthiness, or other feelings you wish others to see or feel about you through looks and body language.


                            • #44

                              Maybe it's a personal feeling on game design, but core traits like Attributes should be described/defined in as active a way as possible. Regardless of playstyle focusing on using the traits as guidelines, or using them for rolling a lot, you get more mileage out of telling the players what their characters can do with a trait, than what other characters do in response to your trait.

                              The more a version of Appearance focused on what the character does with it, then how other people look at them, the better it is as a tool in the gaming kit.


                              • #45
                                Science and the Greeks would argue that there is an absolute objective truth and aesthetic beauty that exists. It's seen in things like the golden rule and how things a proportioned. There's a reason that the one trait that all the people largely considered to be the most attractive in the world have in common is how symmetrical they are. I'd say that lends truth to the idea that beauty isn't entirely subjective.