raising presence

traditionally Ars Magica has broken down attributes into 4 physical and 4 mental, but amongst the mental is presence, which would seem to me could be raised with a ritual by corpus magic as easily as mentem magic (creo rituals), but at the same time allowing this would imbalance the attributes to favor corpus. Should Corpus based raising of presence be allowed?

No, because Presence is mechanically a mental stat. You can have Presence without physical appearance, but physical appearance without the mental aspects to back it up does not make for a Presence stat.

And yes, it would break the symmetry of the whole thing.

The thing is that "closer to a physical ideal" is presence- better posture, clearer skin. Yes it is defined as mental, but that honestly feels like a kludge to balance mental and physical rather than being about how presence works- after all there are imagenem spells which conditionally raise effective presence, and those will definitely be a reflection of physical rather than mental attributes.

Presence =/= Appearance. Appearance can factor into Presence, though.

I'm not saying presence should be all physical, just whether it can be raised with corpus- if you improve appearance you would improve presence wouldn't you?

Yes, but you can counter balance by making one of the physical ones also partly mental.

Com, Int, Pre, Per - Mental
Dex, Str, Sta, Quik - Physical

Pre - Also affected by corpus
Quik - Also affected by mentem (Your reflexes are also based on your mental reaction time. How fast you can start casting a spell or block a blade is based on how fast you recognise a change in situation)

I'd (somewhat) agree with this, and make raising Presence CrMe(Co), with reaising Quickness CrCo(Me).

I would personally say no.

There's a correlation between having a high presence and being attractive; people who are self-confident, well spoken, have good posture and are gregarious are typically seen as being more attractive than people who aren't. People who know to put more effort into their beauty routine are typically seen as being more attractive than people who aren't. However, all of this is based on force of personality and confidence in self - which is far more what presence measures.

Someone with amazingly good bone structure, healthy skin, good teeth and well proportioned features can still be shy, withdrawn, disheveled, insecure or any other combination of traits that tend to indicate a low presence. Someone with a crooked teeth, a lazy eye and wild hair can still have an incredibly strong presence of self and present themselves incredibly well (Austin Powers!) which would indicate a positive presence.

We've all seen enough reality-show 'transformations' to show that matching your physical appearance to cultural definitions of beauty is far more about having the right skill-set and the right attitude than it is about genetics.

On the other hand make-over shows can't do what magic can do. Bust enlargement (for women), added height, healing facial marks, sculpting the body with no flabby skin or scars...

I should think not good sir! Insult me in theis way at your own peril!

That said, the actual point is valid and I certainly agree.
CrMe of possibly CrMe(Co).

Considering that Presence can be used in presence (!) of animal, fae, demons, dragons... all species which likely have limited interest in human physical beauty (I know there are exceptions), I will tend to conclude that Presence goes beyond pure attractiveness, thus beyond physical perfection and Corpus manipulation.
So based on that, Mentem is more suitable than Corpus (and yes, it preserves the balance between both Forms). But I agree as well that Mentem Art does not encompass all the attributes that Presence, Aura or Charisma cover.

As a houserule, I might be open to consider Imaginem as a plausible alternative or possibly even Vim - after all, if Blatant Gift, a purely mystic flaw affect people perception of oneself, why Vim-based spell could not alter or even reverse that ?
I do not want to reopen the discussion on how to mitigate the Gift side effect as there is lenghty debate on this topic. I am just using the gift effect on mundane and animals as a possible indication that if magic has such a negative effect, why is it not possible to consider the reverse: with the right spell, pure magic (aka Vim) instead of revulsing people would attract them...

Mainly because such effects, to the extent that they exist in Hermetic magic (Aura of Rightful Authority), fall under the Mentem Form. "x effect should be do-able through y Form" generally doesn't apply to Hermetic magic unless you have a guideline to work from.

That said a MuIm to increase one's physical beauty is perfectly possible and might easily give the equivalent of Venus' Blessing (Aura of Ennobled Presence already turns a slight variation on that trick), but I'd say that doing that with permanent CrIm violates Essential Nature (because it is the nature of something to give off an image of itself).

Essential nature isn't an issue when you are using vis for an instant ritual. That's why stats can be raised with the appropriate CrCo or CrMe ritual. I'm just trying to see if it is possible (not necessarily standard) to improve presence with CrCo by improving physical beauty.
The primary reason this even came to mind is that the character who is considering doing this is female, and while she is pretty decent and both CrCo and CrMe she would like to be more physically beautiful as well... especially in certain features

Then I'd say definitely no. You're ascribing a fairly modern view of beauty there, and furthermore possibly applying a certain amount of comic-book physics to the equation as well. It's ultimately up to you, but given that it's very easy to find images of beautiful women (and men) in every human-normal physical shape imaginable I'd say you're ascribing a strong relationship between two variables when the reality is a weak relationship at best.

Anyway, this is skirting the boundaries of being a political discussion that probably doesn't want to happen on these forums.

I wasn't talking to you there, I was specifically referring to an attempt to do it with CrIm. Also, permanent Creo allows one to bend Essential Nature in limited ways, not ignore the limit entirely.

I would say that no, improving Presence by improving sexual attractiveness alone doesn't work. A vain maga might be able to do CrMe(Co) and attempt to enhance both the physical and mental aspects of Presence, possibly with a bit of experimentation. (Granting Venus' Blessing through CrCo is presently impossible; there's no Hermetic guidelines for permanently giving someone a Virtue, and it may be a violation of Essential Nature, depending on your SG.)

I would say MuCo(Me) to do it (base 2 or base 3 from Muto Corpus +1 to mentem requisite) to grant Venus Blessing.

Anyway the Imaginem to increase some Presence checks is like Muto Animal or Creo Terram covering armour to increase the Soak.

To grant Venus' Blessing?!

Granting a minor virtue is (and should be) something pretty special. You can certainly use magics to grant yourself a +3 bonus for the duration of the spell - and this can be done with many different arts in many different ways. However to grant an actual virtue is outside the scope of Hermetic magic, and even if Hermetic magic could do it, I'd expect the magnitude would be significant.

I always considered Venus' Blessing and Curse of Venus to be far less about physical appearance and far more about the overall personality of the person; so Corpus still strikes me as an odd fit.

Yes, but I think than like many times, there are many ways to do it.

The issue I see isn't "that's the wrong way to go about it", so "there are many ways" isn't directly relevant.

The issue is "is it appropriate for 'Grant a Minor Virtue' to be a base level 3 effect?" My answer, at least, is "absolutely not". At an absolute minimum, I would say that it would be base level 50[1], if it's possible at all, and I tend to agree with Kid Gloves that it shouldn't be possible at all as a spell effect. Initiations, sure, but not spells.

[1] Why 50? Because the CrCo/CrMe guidelines for "increase a Characteristic by 1, to a maximum of +4" are level 50. Normally, increasing a Characteristic by 1, from +3 to +4, requires the Great (Characteristic) Minor Virtue. Thus, this level 50 guideline is equivalent to enabling use of a Minor Virtue.

I would say something different too, after all, my exampel are limited on their duration and in their scipe of effectiveness. I am talking about the equivalent bonus to one Virtue, but anyone under my idea is warded by Magic Resistance contact, your idea not. Again, the Essential Nature limit is the reason to me to make the difference; I think.

I was talking about virtues, but Characteristics are not only granted by Virtues. In fact, to Pressence +4 or +5 do you need 2 or more Minor Virtues; but Venus Blessing is less effective than Aura of Ennobled Pressence, one low spell.

I think that you got a very important point of course.