Thursday, November 5, 2009

Good Ugly

Some may argue that Unearth Arcana was the bane of AD&D. I liked having something new introduced into the game, especially the weapon specialization. The classes were nice, but we'd always played with the new classes introduced in Dragon Magazine. But what I liked a lot and thought was necessary for the game was the Comeliness attribute. I don't like the name. It should have just been named Attractiveness.

In AD&D and most fantasy games, Charisma tries to cover that area, but it does a poor job. It's a simple addition and only costs the time of an extra roll. Can Charisma influence appearance...absolutely. It can assist in reaction modifiers when dealing with similar races, henchmen and trying to convince the town guards it wasn't you who burned down the tavern. And now DMs could answer the age old good looking is the barmaid? I know some old schoolers out there are shuttering at the thought of another attribute, but I never saw how it detracted from the game, but added an interesting aspect to it.

I'm curious as what other think about adding Attractiveness as a seventh attribute and of they have used it in their game.


  1. Generally speaking, I thought that it's the player's choice to be attractive or not. Besides, beauty is in the eye of the beholder no? So what's pretty for orc isn't going to be pretty to human. What's pretty to dwarf may not be pretty to an elf. But I digress.

    I understand what you mean by the game trying to equate it to Charisma thought. It is a poor fit.

    I guess the question is if the Comeliness(or attactiveness) really has any major benefit as an attribute score. If you think it does, then by all means add it. If you don't then don't have it. I'm in the latter group, I don't see the point all that much of having it.

  2. I've never been a fan of Charisma as attractiveness. I always saw Charisma as whether the person was a "powerful personality" or a wallflower.

    Did we not at one point have 12 characteristics? I thought Dexterity had been split into Speed and Agility, Constitution into Health and Endurance, and so on.

    Or did I dream that?

  3. @ Pal: Only if you were playing D&D 2.5 (2nd edition with the Character Options book). Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

    @ Tim: With the advent of the Unearthed Arcana, my long running gaming group ALWAYS included Comeliness, and the higher the better! It pretty much exterminated dwarves and half-orcs from our party line-up.

    With high level characters, strict combat abilities start to come 2ndary to role-playing and political maneuvering. Characters with high comeliness were eagerly sought after as "trophy spouses" leading to many interesting (and occasionally deadly) scenarios, as well as love triangles and revenge plots.

    But that may not be everyone's experience with AD&D.

    Password Verification: Unten. Your average half-orc Comeliness score. : )

  4. @ JB: Yeah, I think it added another element to the game to play with especially the RP side. Being attractive can be a huge advantage in game.

    @ Bonemaster, Sure I can understand the stance of is beauty in the eye of the beholder but so are all of the other attributes in way. It's all relative. A strong human is not a strong giant. A mighty halfling might make an average dwarf chuckle. I guess I see it as intrigal to the game especially if you RP a lot.

    @ Paladin no clue. pretty much after the wilderness and dungeoneering guide came out I was playing other games. I wouldn't doubt it, but I still liked some of the books at the time.