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Old 10-11-2014, 01:22 PM   #1
Astromancer
 
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Default Unearthly Beauty: as a bad thing.

The White Wolf game Aberrant had a disadvantage called Unearthly Beauty. Your character was truely beautiful but in a creepy "Uncanny Valley" sort of way.

In their game it would cover something like the superguy who is so perfect that he seems totally unreal. I could see the same thing in a horror or Unban fantasy game. Picture a little girl who has a doll-like beauty. A beauty so flawless you wonder if a real living child could be so flawless. In fantasy the cold beauty of the varrious "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" types stands out as an example. In science fiction the android or transhuman who is so perfect in the beauty they unnerve people around them. The idea of a kind of beauty, compelling and unnerving is common in a lot of fantastic literature. So...how would this work mechanically?

Thank you for your help.
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Old 10-11-2014, 01:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: Unearthly Beauty: as a bad thing.

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Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post
The White Wolf game Aberrant had a disadvantage called Unearthly Beauty. Your character was truely beautiful but in a creepy "Uncanny Valley" sort of way.

More later, but how would this work mechanically?
If it's the same as the pre nerfed d20 nymph, it's a gaze based affliction of a Mortal Condition of your choice.
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Old 10-11-2014, 01:52 PM   #3
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Default Re: Unearthly Beauty: as a bad thing.

I think I would go for a combination of Off-The-Shelf Looks, possibly with Impressive as well, and then add traits like Unnatural Features/Supernatural Features that negate the reaction bonuses (and probably result in a net minus). For instance, Beautiful (Off the Shelf) & Pallor gives a net -1.

Another possibility is to apply Off-The-Shelf Looks to a negative Appearance, to reflect a character who is not officially bad-looking in theory but still has the overall effect of being unpleasant to look at.
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Old 10-11-2014, 01:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Unearthly Beauty: as a bad thing.

Terror (Always On -20%) could be an alternate way of doing it. Possibly either the Awe or Confusion (see Powers) variant.
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Old 10-11-2014, 01:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: Unearthly Beauty: as a bad thing.

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Originally Posted by Dwarf99 View Post
If it's the same as the pre nerfed d20 nymph, it's a gaze based affliction of a Mortal Condition of your choice.
Is that what it does in Aberrant? That doesn't seem to be what Astromancer is describing at all.
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:03 PM   #6
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Default Re: Unearthly Beauty: as a bad thing.

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Originally Posted by WingedKagouti View Post
Terror (Always On -20%) could be an alternate way of doing it. Possibly either the Awe or Confusion (see Powers) variant.
I'd go with that too. Also, these characters often do not have an Appearance (dis)advantage either; being "beautiful" in a disturbing way is not at all the same thing. They may not qualify even in the normal sense of the word - they tend to be described in a way I'd label finely crafted or fascinatingly intricate more than beautiful.
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: Unearthly Beauty: as a bad thing.

Maybe I am oversimplifying things, but what about some of the options listed in the main Physical Appearance write up under the Basic Set (p.21)?

If it is almost universally unappealing, just give the character the appropriate reaction penalty as per a lower level of Appearance; the fact that he/she/it has features that might technically be "attractive" (or better) but exist in such a manner that they are actually disturbing would be a special effect, as only those with relevant traits to override such a thing would not be "creeped out" by the character.

If it is more a matter of "less impressive due to being artificial", sounds like the Off the Shelf Looks Limitation is either the starting point, or just needs a new name to fit... though given what Astromancer stated in the opening post, it doesn't really sound right and I included it just in case. >.> Still if it only bothers certain people, it might work; half the usual reaction bonus and anyone that has an issue with "impossibly perfect" looks might read the usual bonuses as penalties.

If it is supposed to be really creepy, take the appropriate (positive) Appearance Level plus Terror, as per the suggestion under Transcendent. People will have to make a Fright Check when seeing you, which probably will sour the usual reaction bonuses from appearance (possibly justifying the treatment of said bonuses as a penalty).

Last option is the hardest; I don't remember the exact breakdown, but aren't Appearance levels built as if they were a Reputation? This means one could break them down and tailor them for "divisive" looks that aren't supposed to rely on personal Disadvantages to justify why people love/hate them. This could even allow for opposite, extreme reactions to co-exist; layering the most common responses to the character's appearance like one would overlapping-but-conflicting Reputations.

...or what everyone else suggested while I took far too long to type up this response. ^^'
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:44 PM   #8
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Default Re: Unearthly Beauty: as a bad thing.

Excuse me while I climb up on my soap box here...

You're kind of going about the process of building this thing backwards. In GURPS every trait can be broken down into three parts: Fluff, Framework, and Effect. The first thing to decide on is the desired Effect of the trait; that is, what does it do? In this case, if I'm reading things correctly, the ability causes a negative reaction in others (let's say a -2). So we know that we want to start out with an effect that causes negative reactions; however, there are a multitude of such traits available: Negative Appearance, Odious Personal Habits, Supernatural Features, Delusions, the list goes on. So, how do we choose? Well, since we have the Effect determined we can move on to refining the trait by looking at the Framework, which is how the trait presents itself in the game world.

You've spelled out that the negative reaction is based on the subject's unearthly appearance. As it just so happens GURPS already has a trait that causes people to have a negative reaction based on the subject's appearance (5 levels of it in fact). Consulting Basic, page 21 and using the assumed -2 to reactions this would mean that the subject has "Ugly" for -8 points.

At this point one might be tempted to object in pointing out that the subject is in fact "Unearthly Beautiful," but that's where the Fluff comes in. Providing the description of the trait matches the Effect (-2 to reactions) and the Framework (caused by the character's appearance) it doesn't matter how the trait is described. So in this case we can rename Ugly to Unearthly Beautiful and describe it as: "A person with this trait possesses a beauty that is so un-flawed it puts the people who see it at unease." And bang, Bob's your uncle.
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:45 PM   #9
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Unearthly Beauty: as a bad thing.

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Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post
So...how would this work mechanically?
Well, one option is some sort of Reaction Roll penalty. Similar to OPH except it's not actually a habit.

Another is to say that the Appearance bonus doesn't in fact apply to Reaction Rolls, for characters with that trait, but still does apply to Sex Appeal rolls.

Upon encountering someone like that, the beatiful or handsome appearance is immediately off-putting, thus offsetting the normal RR bonus, but if such a character attempts to actively seduce then the natural instincts, to evaulate the desirability of potential partners, take over, and the bonus applies to the Sex Appeal skill rolls.

And of course, the above goes for sexually mature characters vs other sexually mature characters. A Very Beautiful girl child would obviously not be able to seduce an adult non-pedophilic man, any more than a very attractive but obviously robotic robot would be able to seduce an adult non-robophilic person, or a Very Beautiful Felinoid would be able to seduce a non-ailurophilic princess. As far as I know, GURPS doesn't have Appearance trump a character's defined or implicit sexual orientation, and that is as it should be.

In those cases, you'd simply not get the RR bonus, and that would be that.

One argument for using the OPH mechanic, even though it is an imperfect fit, is that characters with OPHs can try to suppress them temporarily (or at least ought to be able to try). Similarly a character with an unatural appearance, e.g. pseudo-OPH (Uncanny Valley) could try to cover up the unnaturalness with makeup and the like.
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: Unearthly Beauty: as a bad thing.

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Is that what it does in Aberrant? That doesn't seem to be what Astromancer is describing at all.
Did you miss where I said if?
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