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Comeliness (Revised)

Some DMs leave the attractiveness of the player's characters up to the players, others assign the attractiveness of the characters, and even others base the character's physical beauty off charisma alone; this article attempts another avenue.

In 1st edition AD&D the Unearthed Arcana presented the idea of Comeliness as, "physical attractiveness, social grace, and personal beauty," and treated Comeliness as a 7th attribute. This essay leaves "social grace" to charisma and defines "personal beauty" as physical-personal beauty leaving qualities such as couth and uncouth, again, to charisma. Here Comeliness is changed by demoting it from attribute status to quasi-attribute where rarely will its' modifier be added to any rolls. By use of this form of Comeliness we are simply setting a gauge by which players and DMs alike can judge the physical attractiveness of other characters. In essence this is just a modified 1-10 scale that characters in the D&D game can be held against. In nearly all social situations charisma should be used to influence others with only a mild influence by Comeliness.

This form of Comeliness is heavily formulaic and therefore gamers who do not like extra math (or extra rules) will probably not care for this version.

Comeliness is based on the following concepts: First, charisma is Comeliness' foundation. The PHB (p9) states "Charisma measures a character's force of personality, persuasiveness, personally magnetism, ability to lead, and physical attractiveness," the last being the most important consideration for Comeliness. Second it is assumed that people, across all species and racial types, will find the healthy and strong the most attractive, a matrix implanted through evolutionary flow. This being the case the physical attributes, Strength and Constitution both play a part in determining how attractive someone in the D&D game is. Third is luck of the draw. Fate can be fickle and as such a random factor is thrown into the equation.

The basic formula for Comeliness is as follows:

[ ( Str + Con ) / 8 ] + ( Cha / 2 ) + ( 3d6 / 4 )

Numbers are not rounded down until the final sum of the equation is found. So a low-end average human commoner (attributes of 10) would have the following for Comeliness:

[ ( Str + Con ) / 8 ] + ( Cha / 2 ) + ( 3d6 / 4 ) =
[ ( 10 + 10 ) / 8 ] + ( 10 / 2 ) + ( 10 / 4 ) =
( 20 / 8 ) + 5 + 2.5 =
2.5 + 5 + 2.5 =
10

While a high-end average commoner (attributes of 11) would have a similar Comeliness score:

[ ( Str + Con ) / 8 ] + ( Cha / 2 ) + ( 3d6 / 4 ) =
[ ( 11 +11 ) / 8 ] + ( 11 / 2 ) + ( 11 / 4 ) =
( 22 / 8 ) + 5.5 + 2.75 =
2.75 + 5.5 +2.75 =
11

Yet due to the random factor in the equation, it is possible to get a range of attractiveness in commoners. Below is a table of the range, due to the random modifier, of attractiveness for commoners of the standard races (racial adjustment for Comeliness has been add -see below):
RacesLow-end CommonersHigh-end Commoners
LowAverageHighLowAverageHigh
Dwarf68107911
Elf141517141618
Gnome8101291112
Half-elf111315121415
Half-orc468579
Halfling101113101214
Human8101291112

The following is a table of racial modifiers that are added or subtracted to the base Comeliness score (after the equation above has been rounded down) for the final result. It should be noted here that beauty is often in the eye of the beholder and that many will argue that physical attractiveness is subjective. Comeliness, therefore, is taken as the physical attractiveness that an average human would perceive in another human. The racial modifiers listed below are based on the idea that a human is the standard. Due to the nature of most fantasy worlds it would be natural to assume that one species finds others of the same species more attractive than other species on average. But these distinctions are blurred by the human-centric viewpoint of the D&D game such as the idea that "many humans and members of other races find (elves) hauntingly beautiful" (PHB p 15). The racial modifiers are to be adjusted by the DM to reflect the different social stances on the idea and concept of beauty within each individual campaign.

Suggested racial Comeliness modifiers, with low-end commoner average and overall low-high range scores (standard PC races are in italic type), are as follows:


SpeciesMod.Range
Aasimar:+491523
Archon, Hound:+151220
Archon, Trumpet:+4121927
Bugbear:-71210
Centaur:+261321
Dryad:+4121927
Dwarves:
Deep:-41513
Derro:-71311
Duergar:-21414
Hill:-12816
Mountain:-12816
Elves:
Drow, Female:+7111826
Drow, Male:+6101725
Gray:+7101624
High:+691523
Wild:+471422
Wood:+581523
Erinyes:+2121927
Gnoll:-8119
Gnomes:
Forest:+031018
Rock:+031018
Svirfneblin:-31612
SpeciesMod.Range
Goblin:-51311
Half-Elves:+3161321
Half-Orcs:-31614
Halflings:
Deep:-12816
Lightfoot:+251119
Tallfellow:+251119
Hobgoblin:-51513
Human:+031018
Kobold:-7119
Lizardfolk:-81210
Minotaur:-9119
Nixie:+3101924
Nymph:+12192834
Ogres:-41513
Orcs:-51412
Pixie:+4101624
Satyr:+6101725
Succubus:+4152230
Tiefling:+361220
Troglodyte:-9119

1: A half elf has 1/2 (round up) of the racial modifier as his or her elven parent..



Using the base Comeliness score the DM can allow situational modifiers to be added into charisma related tests. For example a male human with a Comeliness score of 14, charisma of 12 and a bluff skill of 4 that is trying to bluff his way past another human (female or homosexual male) would gain a +2 bonus to his bluff skill from Comeliness for a total modified bluff skill of 7. While another human with a Comeliness score of 6, charisma 12 and a bluff skill of 4 would have a total modified bluff skill of 3 in the same situation. In situations like this, use the Comeliness Score as an attribute and base the modifiers off of Table 1-1: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells on pg 8 of the PHB.

Careful consideration should be taken when deciding whether or not to add Comeliness into one's campaign. Doing so can add depth into the amount of role-playing but can also add extra work for the DM and players alike.