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Old 12-16-2009, 07:40 AM   #31
Phil Masters
 
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Default Re: Is Transcendent the limit?

I'd point out that Transcendent is more or less explicitly supernatural, at least in a nicely literal sense - whatever attractiveness is, whatever it does to people, the Transcendent version is/does to an extreme, beyond anything that one might consider "natural" and probably beyond anything that could actually be considered realistic. I'd expect it to be excluded from strictly realistic games; it may not ping any wizard's Detect Magic, but it should trigger sensible people's detect frikkin' uncanny, if they can concentrate enough to think about it.

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Note also that one of the points of the Paris myth wasn't that he thought one of the goddesses to be more beautiful than the others - or even that he actually had difficulty determining this - but rather that he had difficulty deciding amongst what each had offered him (power from Hera, military prowess from Athena, Helen from Aphrodite).
True. But note that the three of them ended up there after arguing with straight faces about which of them was the Fairest, in front of all the other gods. Now, said other gods may have decided that it wasn't divinely wise to offer an opinion on the subject, but presumably if any of those goddesses had been less than darned good looking, they would have known it was a bit silly to put themselves forward. After all, there must have been other goddesses at the party who didn't.

Over-literalizing an allegorical myth like crazy here, obviously. But one assumes from the structure of the story that an Ancient Greek would take it as read that, yeah, all those three were fairly hot babes.
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:31 AM   #32
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Default Re: Is Transcendent the limit?

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True. But note that the three of them ended up there after arguing with straight faces about which of them was the Fairest, in front of all the other gods. Now, said other gods may have decided that it wasn't divinely wise to offer an opinion on the subject, but presumably if any of those goddesses had been less than darned good looking, they would have known it was a bit silly to put themselves forward. After all, there must have been other goddesses at the party who didn't.

Over-literalizing an allegorical myth like crazy here, obviously. But one assumes from the structure of the story that an Ancient Greek would take it as read that, yeah, all those three were fairly hot babes.
See, that's my take. I don't really believe Hera was devastatingly beautiful. If she was supposed to be gorgeous, I don't think the Greek people would have been laughing into their sleeves about the matriarch goddess being cheated on all the time. It wouldn't make sense. Nobody cheats on Aphrodite because she is the incarnation of what men want. Hera, on the other hand, is the incarnation of the house wife, thus all the stories about Zeus cheating on her.

She's a very jealous, very powerful goddess, and if she said she was as beautiful as Aphrodite, nobody was going to contradict her, not to her face. Every time Zeus slept with another woman, a human woman no less, it was a slap in her face and a confirmation of her imperfection as a woman, or such seemed to be the implication to me. Afterall, Zeus wasn't the patron god of philandering husbands, and his stories weren't about how it's wrong to cheat on your beautiful, loving wife. Quite the opposite: they seem written with a sympathetic eye towards Zeus, with Hera portrayed as the villainous, unsympathetic harpy who chases after her husband with a rolling pin while he laughs and goes racing after beautiful (which Hera is not) maids.

EDIT: The difference between Aphrodite and Hera was very much the difference between a gorgeous young princess that everyone wanted, and the queen. Even if nobody was interested in the queen, and she held a contest between herself and the princess, few will have the courage to choose the obviously beautiful princess over the queen who can order them executed. EDIT 2: In this case, however, Paris seems chosen as an impartial judge, as though promised "Ok, I really won't kill you, am I as pretty as she is or not?" and the fact that he cannot choose certainly lends some credence to the notion that Hera is ZOMG hawt

I can't think of any stories of men lusting after Hera. I can think of plenty of stories of men (and gods) lusting after Aphrodite and Artemis. I'm not sure about Athena, though. I believe people often said she was beautiful, but she doesn't seem to have any sexual conquests under her name.
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:35 AM   #33
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Default Re: Is Transcendent the limit?

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Over-literalizing an allegorical myth like crazy here, obviously. But one assumes from the structure of the story that an Ancient Greek would take it as read that, yeah, all those three were fairly hot babes.
We have the additional problem that the entire body of myths are not self-consistent. Mind you, the story you're focusing on is the very story that spawned this thread, so it's hardly unfair to point to as evidence, but while this story is going to imply she's drop-dead hawt, another story is going to imply that lots of human maids are hotter, and we're left with a conundrum in a game that we expect to be self-consistent, when using source material that is not.
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:38 AM   #34
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I can't think of any stories of men lusting after Hera. I can think of plenty of stories of men (and gods) lusting after Aphrodite and Artemis. I'm not sure about Athena, though. I believe people often said she was beautiful, but she doesn't seem to have any sexual conquests under her name.
Nobody lusted after Hera, methinks, because a) she didn't spend much time down amongst the masses and b) she's the frickin' wife of Zeus. If someone goes after her, he's dead. Men lust after Aphrodite because she is both ZOMG hawt and known to be a loose woman (thus there's always the possibility she'll deign to be with a mortal). Men lust after Artemis because she, too, is ZOMG hawt, is a virgin, and has a bad habit of bathing in pools that men happen to come across with alarming frequency (maybe she's a closet exhibitionist). As for Athena, she's a virgin goddess, and I suspect the reasons nobody lusts after her are a) she never takes off that armor, b) she's Zeus' favorite child, and c) she can outfight the god of war, do you think a human's going to stand a chance?

As for the Paris thing, the way I've always heard it the goddesses come down (after Zeus wisely decides not to tick two of them off) and pretty much immediately start trying to bribe Paris to win. Does the original legend have a point at which the goddesses try to get Paris to answer honestly, then stoop to bribes after he is unable to answer?

A final note on Zeus. I suspect the reason for his promiscuity (ignoring the people making the myths) isn't so much that women on earth are hotter than Hera, but rather that the women on earth are virgins (to the best of my knowledge, all of Zeus' conquests were such). Of course, the hotter possibility is still there - as I noted before, humans in Greek myth are apparently capable of Transcendent Appearance (Alcmene, Heracles' mother, is described as being directly comparable to Aphrodite).
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:40 AM   #35
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Default Re: Is Transcendent the limit?

SuedodeuS has some good points.

Also, those stories were also told by men who apparently thought it was just fine to cheat on their wives like there was no tomorrow, but that other no circumstances could a respectable woman cheat even once. And other male gods slept with multiple goddesses and human women, though none as often as Zeus. Partly, it was because every great hero and many great noble families needed Zeus or another god to be their ancestor or they were somehow not as great.

Plus, he's the god of rain and fertility (among other things). If he didn't fertilize the whole world, he wouldn't be the Father of Gods and Men.


There are stories of mortals coveting goddesses, but often as cautionary tales about not coveting the gods' property, or insulting the goddesses. Ixion wanted to rape Hera, and he was punished with eternal torture in Tartaros, after being tricked into fathering the centaurs. Aktaion peeked at Artemis, and she killed him. In one story, Teiresias accidentally peeked at Athena, and she blinded him.

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Old 12-16-2009, 10:16 AM   #36
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Default Re: Is Transcendent the limit?

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One suggestion is to limit the Transcendent level of the Appearance Advantages to deities/gods.

If this is the case, will every god that isn't ugly by nature of their aspect/character be Transcendent? Otherwise, is Artemis *just* Very Beautiful while Aphrodite is Transcendent? That seems a little off.
Nice recapitulation of some of the original pt discussion here. As I recall, Transcendent appearance is intended to be just that, a level of beauty that places the owner outside human limits, but without entering them in the realm of zappy abilities. Of course, a human woman with Transcendant Beauty may secretly be of divine parentage, an android, a Homo superior, etc.

Settings matter here: Men may report seeing a goddess so beautiful they could not help themselves, but men also report seeing breasts on buck-toothed farmers' daughters that have the same effect on them. Or you can take the approach from Heinlein's JOB, where shape-changing demonesses have special tricks that appeal to a few pervs but the really successful seductresses are human women who can empathize and defer gratification.

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Old 12-16-2009, 10:43 AM   #37
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Default Re: Is Transcendent the limit?

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Ixion wanted to rape Hera,
Hey, there's a story of someone wanting Hera.
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:23 AM   #38
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Default Re: Is Transcendent the limit?

Oh yeah, there was a giant, Tityus, who tried to rape the goddess Leto. And there were two giants, Otus and Ephialtes, who wanted to conquer Olympus and marry Hera and Artemis -- this without ever having seen them. All three of these also ended up eternally punished in Tartarus.

But I'd think that no matter how attractive Hera was, only a complete blithering moron would want to anger Zeus by trying to go after her. And in fact, the problem with raping Leto was not that she was a goddess, or that nobody deserves to be raped, because the Greeks told stories of gods raping unmarried goddesses and didn't see any problem with it. No, in keeping with the ancient Greeks' legal attitude towards rape in general, the real crime was coveting Zeus' property because she was his former lover.

In short, there's nothing from the myths that suggest to me that Hera was less devastating than most other goddesses, although they do tend to suggest to me that Aphrodite was in a class of her own, because even the other gods thought her nearly irresistible.

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Old 12-16-2009, 12:08 PM   #39
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Default Re: Is Transcendent the limit?

Even though Aphrodite is very hot in her natural form, remember that part of her beauty comes from her belt (which she lent to Hera on one occasion).
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Old 12-16-2009, 12:43 PM   #40
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As for the Paris thing, the way I've always heard it the goddesses come down (after Zeus wisely decides not to tick two of them off) and pretty much immediately start trying to bribe Paris to win. Does the original legend have a point at which the goddesses try to get Paris to answer honestly, then stoop to bribes after he is unable to answer?
And I have heard it where Paris realizes he's in deep doo-doo just like Zeus did, and dithered about because he was trying to avoid ******* off two goddesses. Considering how he ended, this was probably wise, but IIUC he was fudged the moment he was chosen as a judge.

I've always seen the story as a "don't arbitrate between people more powerful than you" fable, with fancy trimmings.
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