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Appearance and Comeliness

by Scott Moore

In my own OD&D-based Mystara campaign, we employ a slightly modified version of the Comeliness ability score from Gary Gygax's first edition AD&D Unearthed Arcana to represent a character's beauty and physical attractiveness. This ability is used to give characters a "first impression" of other PCs and NPC they encounter based on their initial sighting.

Like other ability scores, a character's Comeliness is initially determined by rolling 3d6. To this number, add the character's Charisma modifier (as one's appearance does at least partially contribute to their "presence"), as well as one of the following modifiers, based on the character's race:

Dwarf, Gnome

Halfling, Human +0
Elf +1

Based on these modifiers, a character's final Comeliness score will fall within the range of -1 to 22, with the following relative breakdown:

Below 3 Hideous
3-5 Ugly
6-8 Unattractive
9-12 Average appearance
13-15 Good looking
16-18 Very attractive
Over 18 Beautiful

If for any reason a character's Charisma modifier was permanently altered (due to a significant change in their Charisma score), their Comeliness would also reflect an adjustment based on the new Charisma modifier.

The racial modifiers result in Comeliness being slightly based towards the general Elven, Halfling, and Human point of view of Elves being the "fairest" race. Regardless, the values of a party's Comeliness scores give a general idea of the relative attractiveness of its individual members.

Optional Variants

Certain Charisma-based General Skills, particularly Acting, Bargaining, and Deception, may use Comeliness as the base ability instead, depending on the individual campaign or situation.

Characters with Comeliness scores below 3 may be given the extraordinary ability to cause fear, as per the spell, a number of times per day equal to their Wisdom modifier. Those with a Comeliness score of -1 have this ability once per day, even if their Wisdom modifier would not normally allow it.

Characters with Comeliness scores above 18 may be given the extraordinary ability to charm person, as per the spell, a number of times per day equal to their Wisdom modifier.