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Aberrant RPG - Appearance Alteration


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I was recently looking over the Mega-Appearance enhancements, and I'm confused about something.

Appearance Alteration, page 171. I have three (!) problems with it. Read over the description of the enhancement then try to help me out here.

1 - The most obvious problem: the enhancement gives no dice bonuses at all. It says that a nova can "...change appearance to match what a particular person or group of people find desirable" but yet gives no description of what any dice pool bonuses would be. It doesn't even mention if it would negate any penalties from not originally looking attractive to a certain person or culture. It just goes into great detail about how it changes your character's appearance to suit the desires of a person or culture. I'm not the kind of player/ST that needs dice pool bonuses with everything he gets, but this enhancement's text makes it sound like there sould be some sort of tangible bonus, yet there is nothing.

2 - The most confusing problem: the enhancement contradicts itself. It states that it "...depends upon the perceptions and tastes of those observing the character..." and it says something like that several times. Basically, the enancement is supposed to help you blend in, or be seen as attractive to a certain culture or person. But then it also says "To change his appearance consciously, the nova need only pay one quantum point and will the changes into effect" and "This can be done simply on a whim, or for fun." It makes statements like that as well, statements that contradict what it had stated before. It says more than once that the nova needs observers, and then it says more than once that the nova can will the changes himself "for fun." The enhancement sounds like it was typed by two different people with different ideas of what it should do: one person thinks the nova should be able to control it, the other thinks it depends on his social surroundings.

3 - The most aggravating problem: the enhancement is basically the same thing as Seductive Looks, but weaker. Read Appearance Alteration and then Seductive Looks. They're essentially the same enhancement; both match your appearance to the desires of the person observing you. Except Seductive Looks gives an actual dice pool bonus and can lead to the hanky-panky, if you get me.

I'm lost. Especially in regards to problem #2. Maybe I'm overlooking something obvious. Please point out if I am. Until then, I'm thinking of altering the enhancement as follows:

It costs normal (one quantum point) to use the enhancement "passively"; that is, using it to alter your appearance to match the tastes of those around you. If you want to "actively" make the changes yourself, it costs double (two quantum points), and you can make whatever alterations you want according to limits proposed in the book (change hair color, gain or lose 50 pounds, gain or lose 4 inches of height, etc.).

If you use it to match the tastes of those observing you, you can negate any penalties you may have otherwise incurred from looking the way you normally look, according to the certain tastes of the person(s) observing you. They'll also be more pleasantly disposed towards you, since you look like what that society or person considers "attractive" but not so much that they'll be seduced like with Seductive Looks.

If you use it to consciously make changes, you may alter your appearance to help you avoid notice from people looking for you based on visual means: a two dice bonus is given to Disguise, unless someone gets a close look at you, in which case the bonus is gone since they can recognize you. And of course, you can change your hair, eye, and skin tone at will just for the hell of it. A Style bonus may apply at Storyteller descretion.

That's a bit lengthy, and probably broken somewhere since it sounds like two different enhancements in one. But it still seems better than the original version.

Opinions?

Edit - Typo!

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I suggest a dice bonus on Style rolls related to disguise himself (or Disguise skill if you use this ability in your game, see PG). Something like 3 dices, ONLY when you just try to look different, not to look like someone (Appearance Alteration obviously can't do what Copycat can).

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Also please keep in mind that enhancements such as this and powers like shapeshift are virtually useless if you have any form of visible aberration at least if you are going to use them on RPG-Post. These powers cannot temporarily hide an aberration according to the directors hence diminishing their effectiveness greatly.

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Wakinyan's commentary on the fairness of past decisions aside, I agree that #2 does seem to be quite the problem and that #1 seems rather odd since it does not provide a mechanic for the power (although it can be explained away as a "flavor" power or something that doesn't have hard line mechanics, much like Adaptability).

As for #3, I think there's a relatively simple way to distinguish between Appearance Alteration and Seductive Looks while gaining some general guidance in using this enhancement. The basic idea behind Seductive Looks is for the nova to gain the most sexually appealing form as applied to the target. Whereas the basic idea behind Appearance Alteration is for either the nova to gain the appearance that matches the general tastes of a target group or for the nova to make general alterations to their very appearance. Seductive Looks is focused on producing an individualized and sexy result; Appearance Alteration covers general tastes (IE - not limited to sexual attraction) for a relatively broad target group or it just allows the nova to make changes to their appearance.

Granted, I could be oversimplifying.

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Quote:
Originally posted by Rorschach:
Yep, "desirable" didn't necessarily meant "sexually desirable". Could also mean something like "convenient" (like NOT being afroamerican when you're investigating a nazi group, you know).
This is true, and the way it should work (that and becoming a generic "other person who has Mega-App" but there is (oddly) a phrase in the description which says everyone can still ID you as you (I tend to ignore that part).
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I see what you're all saying (that's how I see it), but the thing is, for Appearance Alteration it says something along the line of "if someone likes leggy women, the nova appeares leggier" And then it says the exact same thing in the Seductive Looks description.

But really, the biggst problem is #2. The whole thing contradicts itself. My real question is this: Can a nova use Appearance Alteration to change her appearance on her own? For example: changing your hair blue and losing 30 pounds before you go ou to the Amp Room. Or does it actually require the presense of someone else, and the nova can't control the exact change?

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At this point IMHO we should just concede defeat on making sense of what is there, and focus on what should be there. Mostly what is there is an effort to address the issue of Mega-App not being effect in a cross-culture setting. For example would a thin white blond really have full effect in a country where the perfect ideal of beauty is much less thin and black?

The problem is we don't have game mechanics that give that disadvantage, so this is a solution in search of a problem.

We already have an enhancement that allows someone to look like someone else. We already have an enhancement that makes someone look sexier.

IMHO what Appearence Alteration should do is let the nova alter her appearence, not to copy someone but into a generic "other person". None of the other Appearence enhancements allow this and it seems like an odd ommision. Further parts of the AA text imply or state you could do this (even if other parts say you couldn't).

So you can change your looks. Unlike Mr Nobody you get to keep your good looks. Unlike Copycat you can become one person after another without needing photos and study.

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