Appearance Knacks

Center of Attention

Whether he’s Hugh Jackman on the set of The View or the Phantom of the Opera going unmasked at the masquerade ball, the Scion commands the attention of everyone in the room. This Knack is best used when making an important entrance, but it can also serve as a wonderful broad-spectrum distraction. The character walks into a room, the player spends a point of Legend, and all eyes in the room (as well as the eyes of people watching remotely via live security camera broadcast) turn the character’s way. For every Legend point spent, the character can hold everyone’s attention for a number of minutes equal to his Epic Appearance dots. The onlookers can carry on with what they’re doing and keep talking among themselves, but their attention remains fixed on the Scion. Titanspawn and Scions can resist this Knack. They may spend a point of Willpower to direct their attention elsewhere. Should the Scion with Epic Appearance spend another point of Legend to continue the effect over subsequent sets of minutes, the resisting party must spend matching amounts of Willpower to keep from being distracted.

Come Hither

Some Scions are so beautiful you can’t help but be drawn to them, and a Scion with this Knack makes that compelling attraction inescapable. Whether she beckons across a crowded room, emails a picture of herself along with an invitation or sends a picture message from her phone with the text caption “GYAOH,” the object of her desire makes all due haste to reach her. The Scion’s player spends a Legend point, and she must single out one recipient at a time. The intended target must be able to see an image of the Scion, he must understand that the message is intended for him, and he must have a reasonable idea of how to find her. Scions whose Epic Appearance represents divine ugliness cannot use this Knack. Also, it doesn’t work on beautiful Scions with more dots of Epic Appearance than the one using the Knack.

Meet Me Backstage

Prerequisite Knack: Come Hither (Scion: Hero, p. 133) Better than simply drawing someone to his side, a Scion with this Knack can give a meaningful glance, a casual wave or a whispered hint and cause a subject to go somewhere at the Scion’s discretion. The star-struck victim tries to move to a nearby room, balcony, Jacuzzi or other spot as instructed, in hopes that the Scion will soon arrive. The power of the Knack does all of the convincing. The Scion’s player simply spends one Legend point and picks a single recipient, as with the Come Hither Knack. As usual, the intended recipient must be able to see an image of the Scion, must understand that the message is for her and must have a reasonable idea of how to find him. Meet Me Backstage doesn’t interrupt a subject’s self-preservation any more than Come Hither does: While the subject makes all due haste to reach the appointed meeting place, “due haste” doesn’t mean “die along the way.” Nevertheless, this Knack is excellent for discreet rendezvous as well as setting up a poor sap for a beat-down party. Scions whose Epic Appearance represents divine ugliness cannot use this Knack. Also, it doesn’t work on beautiful Scions with more dots of Epic Appearance than the one using the Knack.

Dreadful Mien

Some Scions are so hideous that seeing them spurs the primitive centers of the human brain toward reckless flight. Most humans can clamp down on this instinctive response and remain in such Scions’ presence, but this Knack overrides that social nicety. When the Scion’s player spends a Legend point, the character directs his unholy monstrousness at a single unlucky victim in his presence. Overwhelmed, the victim runs for his life and hides somewhere until the next sunrise. People affected by this Knack run away with self-preservation in mind, though, so they won’t sprint blindly into traffic or try to swim across a shark tank to safety. Scions whose Epic Appearance represents divine beauty cannot use this Knack. Also, it doesn’t work on hideous Scions with more dots of Epic Appearance than the one using the Knack.

Do not want

Prerequisite Knack: Dreadful Mien (Scion: Hero, p. 133) The rotting flesh, slimy tentacles, flayed skin and protruding bones of various Gods are the divine way of saying “Don’t touch.” Scions who truly exercise their creepiness become so repulsive that their enemies don’t want to touch them or even look at them, even in battle. (People this ugly rarely have friends, anyway). To activate Do Not Want, the Scion’s player expends three Legend points, then rolls (Appearance + Presence + Legend). Whenever someone first tries to attack or lay hands on the Scion, the aggressor’s player must roll (Willpower + Integrity + Legend). If the attacker scores more successes than the Scion’s player, his character’s actions proceed as normal. If he scores fewer successes than the Scion, then the difference becomes a bonus to the Scion’s DV against the attacker. This bonus persists for the rest of the scene. For example, if the Scion’s player scores 6 successes on the (Appearance + Presence + Legend) roll and an attacker only manages to eke out 3 successes on his (Willpower + Integrity + Legend) roll, then the Scion gains a +3 bonus to DV against that attacker for the rest of the scene. This benefit applies against everyone who tries to take action against the Scion for the rest of the scene, though each attacker makes a separate resistance roll. (For the sake of sanity, the Storyteller might wish to roll once and apply a blanket penalty for large groups of extras.) Scions whose Epic Appearance represents divine beauty cannot use this Knack. Also, it doesn’t work on ugly Scions with more dots of Epic Appearance than the one using the Knack.

Lasting Impression

The Scion has an effect on a subject that’s slow to fade away. Thoughts of the Scion creep into the victim’s mind unbidden either to undermine his concentration or to uplift his spirit. A beautiful Scion can use her Epic Appearance to make a character feel good about himself, granting him an extra Willpower point (which may exceed the character’s maximum) and an extra die on any Art, Athletics, Command, Craft or Integrity dice pools. A hideous Scion inflicts quite the opposite effect. The fear she instills robs her victim of a Willpower point that he cannot regain until the effect wears off. The Scion also unsettles him so deeply that he loses one die from all Academics, Awareness, Control, Politics or Presence dice pools. Using this Knack costs the Scion a single point of Legend, and its effects last for 24 hours. The Scion can use the Knack on only one person at a time, and the target must be able to see her in person.

Inescapable Vision

Prerequisite Knack: Lasting Impression (Scion: Hero, p. 133) This Knack torments a victim with an endless parade of the Scion’s face, passing the victim by on all sides and driving him ever deeper into frustrated despair. Spending a point of Legend and a point of Willpower, the Scion burns a mental vision of himself so deeply into the victim’s mind that everyone the victim sees thereafter who’s of the same sex as the Scion seems to be wearing the Scion’s face. This effect is especially jarring because other features such as height, weight, hairstyle, skin tone and whatnot don’t change from what’s natural for the person the victim is actually seeing. Only the Scion’s face stands out, sized and colored as appropriate for the person on hand, yet still undeniably the Scion’s own. Shaking off this disorienting hallucination costs the victim a point of Willpower, but that doesn’t end the effect. An hour later, the effect creeps back up on the victim until every person of the appropriate gender has the Scion’s face again. Even worse, a character cannot regain spent Willpower points while he’s languishing under this effect. The only hope for a mortal victim is that the Scion will track him down and decide to end the effect. The demigod can do the same for Scion victims as well, but in the children of the Gods, the effect will wear off on its own after the victim has spent 24 hours with no points of Willpower.

Serpent’s Gaze

When the Scion spends a point of Legend, the person whom she’s trying to affect locks eyes with her and is unable to look away. For combat purposes, the victim is rendered Inactive until the Scion breaks eye contact. The Scion can still act, but she must take a second action in order to do so, maintaining eye contact as a diceless action. (As a result, she suffers a -2 penalty for any other action she takes.) This Knack works equally well whether the Scion’s Epic Appearance involves beauty or its opposite. Characters of lesser Legend are unable to break the Scion’s gaze on their own, but those with an equal or greater Legend are not so vulnerable. After the Scion using the Knack takes one full action, the equal- or higher-Legend victim may spend a point of Willpower to negate the effect. In so doing, he remains immune to the effect from the same Scion for the rest of the scene.

Compelling Presence

Prerequisite Knack: Serpent’s Gaze (Scion: Hero, p. 133) As with the prerequisite Knack, Compelling Performance draws a victim’s attention to the Scion and renders him unable to look away. The victim remains Inactive for combat purposes, staring helplessly at the hideous monster or unearthly beauty before him. Unlike Serpent’s Gaze, though, the Scion need not consciously maintain eye contact with her victim for the effect to endure. Once the victim has been transfixed by the Scion’s Epic Appearance, he remains thus until either the end of the scene or until the Scion leaves his line of sight. The victim will follow the Scion with his eyes, even turn in place if she wanders around the immediate area, but he can’t do anything other than look at her. What’s more, the Scion can capture a number of victims with her appearance equal to her (Epic Appearance + Legend) total. Her player only spends one point of Legend per person up to the maximum, and they all stop what they’re doing to stare at her in rapt fascination. When the effect ends, they remember nothing that happened after the first moment they saw the Scion. Mortals and Scions of lesser or equal Legend are unable to look away on their own, but Scions with a greater Legend are not so vulnerable. After the Scion using the Knack takes one full action, the higher-Legend victim may spend a point of Willpower to negate the effect. In so doing, he remains immune to the effect from the same Scion for the rest of the scene.

Blinding Visage

Mortal beauty or ugliness can take one’s breath away, but divine beauty or ugliness can do so much more. When a Scion grows angry at a mortal — such as a tabloid photographer who just won’t leave him alone — his player can spend a point of Legend and sear his visage into the mortal’s retinas. Doing so blinds and disorients the mortal for the remainder of the scene. If the Scion’s Epic Appearance represents beauty, the victim meanders aimlessly, dazzled by the character’s divine radiance. If the Epic Appearance represents ugliness, the victim staggers around in a blind panic unable to get the awful visage out of his head. Rules for dealing with blindness appear on page 186 of Scion: Hero.

My Eyes Are Up Here

As Scions build up ever more dots of Epic Appearance, they grow ever more unearthly. As such, whether they’re beautiful or quite the opposite, it becomes increasingly difficult to deal with mortal humans on their level. The Scion’s Epic Appearance can’t help but get in the way. This Knack, however, mitigates that factor. When the Scion’s player spends a point of Willpower to activate it for the scene, any mortals who see the character completely ignore his Appearance score (both Epic and mundane). Witnesses might vaguely remember that a beautiful Scion was kind of pretty or that a disgustingly ugly Scion was dirty and a little scary, but that’s it. They won’t recognize the Scion again later unless the Scion uses this Knack in their presence again, and they won’t be able to describe the Scion in great detail to anyone else. They might get height, hair color, skin tone, build and style of dress right, but details beyond those generalities prove elusive. Scions themselves are immune to this effect, as they are more than capable of dealing with the extremes that Epic Appearance represents. This Knack lasts for the scene, though the Scion can choose to turn off the effect before then. Also, while he’s using this Knack to deal with a mortal, he cannot use any other Epic Appearance Knacks against him. Nor can he apply his Epic Appearance to rolls pertaining to dealing with that mortal at all until he lifts the effect.

Detail Variation

Prerequisite Knack: My Eyes Are Up Here (Scion: Demigod, p. 63) A character with positive Epic Appearance is flawless and without blemish, but sometimes, it can get boring to look perfect the same way all the time. A character with this Knack doesn’t have that problem. For the cost of one Legend point, the character can change some minor physical detail such as eye color, hair length, hair color, hairstyle or skin tone. She can change her height by three inches in either direction of the standard and change her apparent weight and muscle tone by 10 percent of the standard. The character can also use this Knack to go from filthy to perfectly clean in an instant, as well as to remove any minor scars from past injuries. Doing the latter doesn’t heal damage or restore lost body parts, but it makes what’s left over look less ugly.

Tailor Made

Prerequisite Knack: Detail Variation Building on the principles of ichor malleability that allow her to change her physical form, the character exudes a sheen of ichor that shapes itself into any style and cut of clothing she can imagine. Creating clothing thus (from underpants to shoes and hat, if the character is so inclined) costs one Legend point for one whole suit, and it’s instantaneous. Once the clothing exists, it takes on the texture and solidity of whatever fabric the character prefers. The character can even create clothing that looks and feels like any sort of armor, but armor created thus offers no soak benefits. No Mobility Penalty or Fatigue value either, though, so that’s nice. A character can take off an article of clothing she has created with this Knack, and pieces can be torn in combat, but once a piece leaves contact with either the character’s body or the rest of the outfit, it disintegrates.

Undeniable Resemblance

Prerequisite Knack: Detail Variation Combining elements of the two Knacks it takes to get to this one, the character can make more radical alterations to the way he looks. He can change racial characteristics or make dramatic changes in his weight or height. He can even change genders (and be completely fertile in the new form) or exhibit characteristics of both (and be fertile in both). Any morphology and physiognomy that exists on the spectrum of human variety is a valid change. When the character is finished, his new Appearance can be from one dot to as many dots as he actually has. His Epic Appearance dots are automatically included at their full value, but they can be suppressed normally with My Eyes Are Up Here. The character can also use this Knack to perfectly mimic the appearance of anyone he has seen. Doing so requires a (Dexterity + Empathy) roll with a difficulty equal to (1 + that person’s Legend). More generic alteration requires no roll, but any use of this Knack costs five Legend points to realize the finish product.

Unusual Alteration

Prerequisite Knack: Undeniable Resemblance This Knack allows a character to change her physical form beyond the limits of the normal spectrum of human variation. She could turn her skin any color of the rainbow or turn her eyes into bulging, unblinking orbs. She could fill her mouth with wide rows of shark teeth or make her joints all bend the opposite way. She could add extra limbs or dispense with her skin entirely. She could even change monstrous ugliness into sublime beauty and vice versa — allowing her to purchase and use previously unavailable Knacks. Any appearance-based change is acceptable, though no change can add any bonus dots or capabilities. Subjecting a feature to an unusual alteration costs a single Legend point. Changing it back to normal costs another Legend point.

Perfect Actor

The Scion can put on an emotional display so convincing that anyone who can see him clearly enough, and in person, to read his emotion feels that same emotion just as strongly as the Scion seems to. That emotional state lasts for the rest of the scene. When the effect wears off, the affected victims are unable to explain what came over them, and are likely embarrassed by letting their feelings run away with them like that. Activating this Knack costs one Willpower, and it works whether the Scion is beautiful or awful.

Doin’ Fine

No matter what happens to hurt a character with this Knack, he always looks like he’s in the prime of health. Bullets disappear into his body; cleaving through his flesh with a blade or claw has as much outward effect as attacking a pool of water. Even the hardest blunt impacts can do nothing more than temporarily dimple his skin. Regardless of what happens, the character always walks away without a scratch or a mark. Even if someone lops off one of his limbs, the stump left over looks like it grew that way naturally. This is not to say the character suffers no damage. It’s just that his body offers no sign of injury, even in the thick of combat. If he should die from his wounds, he leaves a flawless corpse.

Game Face

This Knack functions identically to Dreadful Mien (see Scion: Hero, p. 133), but functions for characters with positive Epic Appearance. Just because they’re handsome or beautiful doesn’t mean they can’t be scary as hell when they snarl at their foes or flash a razor-edged, you-know-I’m-going-to-kill-you smile.

Visage Great And Terrible

Scions of Hel are almost always awesomely hideous, while Scions of Aphrodite are generally phenomenally attractive. With this Knack, though, a Scion can have the best of both worlds. Once a Scion chooses this Knack, she can shift her Epic Appearance from hideous to beautiful at will. The player simply expends the requisite Legend cost and the Scion’s mien transforms. In either form, she is still recognizable as herself; she cannot use this Knack to change her appearance, unless she also has a Knack like Detail Variation from p. 71 of Scion: God. However, she can change from an elegant, refined woman to a vengeful, nerve-wracking hag in the blink of an eye. Once she transforms thus, her range of available Epic Appearance Knacks shifts as appropriate. While beautiful, then, the Scion can invoke all of her known Epic Appearance Knacks that rely on great beauty; while hideous, she can invoke any of her Epic Appearance Knacks that require a monstrous countenance. Once a Scion learns this Knack, she can freely purchase any Epic Appearance Knack that would normally require incredible beauty or incredible monstrosity. She can only use the Knacks appropriate to the form that she currently bears, though. Activating this Knack costs three points of Legend. The Scion remains in her switched state until she decides to activate the Knack again. (Indeed, both of them are her “natural” state; she simply has the ability to swap between them as desired.)

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