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Boy/Girl Gun -- Cosmetic or Major transform


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A 'weapon' from the anime RPG Teenagers From Outer Space, the Boy/Girl Gun  is exactly what it says, a point-n-shoot device that when you are hit by the beam, changes your gender from M to F or F to M, and a second blast puts you back where you started from. (for the moment, I'll avoid cases from the Trans part of LGBTQ, because I want to keep it simple for now. individual GMs choice on that!)  to make it in HERO, its pretty obviously a fairly high level Transform -- it has to exceed your BODY to succeed. with an OAF limitation

 

The question is: is it a Major transform -- it's completely rewriting your DNA to swap your gender, after all!

 

or is it Cosmetic, since the only game effect is changing the (Fe)Male line on your character sheet

 

thoughts?

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My read would be:

Teenagers From Outer Space: Cosmetic, you know it is only a fast simple change with no lasting impact.  Even if the gun is lost it will be fix by end of arc (or dance, day or whatever).  No need for a big point cost

Non-toon setting: Major transform, big impact

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1 hour ago, Tom Cowan said:

My read would be:

Teenagers From Outer Space: Cosmetic, you know it is only a fast simple change with no lasting impact.  Even if the gun is lost it will be fix by end of arc (or dance, day or whatever).  No need for a big point cost

Non-toon setting: Major transform, big impact

 

Yeah, that's my read on it too. In-universe, it doesn't sound like a big deal other than creating some laughs.

 

If my character in Dark Champions got hit by it, the effect would be a profound change in his life in both civilian and hero ID. Most Fantasy Hero settings I've played in or GM'ed would be a huge effect as well.

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A Major Transform can do things like grant or remove Powers, create objects out of thin air, or add or subtract up to 20 points worth of Complications. 

 

It would largely depend on the setting.  As mentioned above, in the TFOS setting it would be cosmetic.  I would say even in a Dark Champions setting, changing a character's gender -- and nothing else -- would likely be a Minor Transform.  

 

If the target was of a species with radical sexual dimorphism (such that, for instance, females had wings and males did not) then switching the target's gender might be Major, or for more extreme cases Severe.  

 

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Cosmetic.  While it might have a major impact on someone's personal life, so would turning their skin neon green and giving them purple hair.  In terms of the fight that is taking place when the power is used, there's virtually no effect.  The target's stats haven't changed a bit.

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Its a Minor transform per the rules: its making physical changes to the character beyond simple color changes etc.

 

Cosmetic turns blonde hair into red, or a velvet cloth to a linen one.  Function is utterly unchanged, only sensory input is affected.

 

Minor would make blonde hair into bald or velvet cloth into a pile of leaves.  The function changes but the game effect is minor.

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In the light-hearted scenarios, yes, cosmetic, especially if it doesn't last.

 

In any kind of serious context, it's Major.  A specific instance of a Major transform (p. 304)...re-arranging form (switching left and right arms).  Same level of effect here;  the organ differences are fairly extensive.

 

And I have a bad habit of considering a worst-case scenario.  Here?  Zap a woman, turn into a man.  What happens if said woman was pregnant????

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2 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Its a Minor transform per the rules: its making physical changes to the character beyond simple color changes etc.

 

Cosmetic turns blonde hair into red, or a velvet cloth to a linen one.  Function is utterly unchanged, only sensory input is affected.

 

Minor would make blonde hair into bald or velvet cloth into a pile of leaves.  The function changes but the game effect is minor.

 

In game terms, the function doesn't change at all.  There is no difference in game terms between male and female.

 

1 hour ago, unclevlad said:

In the light-hearted scenarios, yes, cosmetic, especially if it doesn't last.

 

In any kind of serious context, it's Major.  A specific instance of a Major transform (p. 304)...re-arranging form (switching left and right arms).  Same level of effect here;  the organ differences are fairly extensive.

 

And I have a bad habit of considering a worst-case scenario.  Here?  Zap a woman, turn into a man.  What happens if said woman was pregnant????

 

 

I find no rules for being pregnant in the book. :)

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This is purely dependent on how serious you want it to be. 

 

That’s it. That’s my whole answer. Comedy is minor, if we start getting into the hormones and how men and women are actually quite different, moderate. I don’t see it as major as it’s not adding or removing powers.

 

Wow. I just realized @dmjalund avatar changes colors all by itself. I feel lame now.

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On 10/7/2020 at 11:50 PM, Thia Halmades said:

That’s it. That’s my whole answer. Comedy is minor, if we start getting into the hormones and how men and women are actually quite different, moderate. I don’t see it as major as it’s not adding or removing powers.

Well, one quibble here. You are either adding or removing a power to summon an infant human, at least in many cases.

 

Nit picking aside, I would say it is Major in serious settings, simply because of the logical final form. A ray that turns all women into men or vice versa could effectively end up being genocide for that race.

 

- E

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20 minutes ago, eepjr24 said:

Well, one quibble here. You are either adding or removing a power to summon an infant human, at least in many cases.

 

Nit picking aside, I would say it is Major in serious settings, simply because of the logical final form. A ray that turns all women into men or vice versa could effectively end up being genocide for that race.

 

- E

 

Major Transform can change people into microwave ovens.  Boy to girl is not a Major Transform.

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2 minutes ago, massey said:

 

Major Transform can change people into microwave ovens.  Boy to girl is not a Major Transform.

You are certainly entitled to that opinion.  But turning people into microwaves seem to clearly be a Severe Transform to me (just to level set, I am using 6E rules).

 

Under Major Transforms:

"granting him abilities he doesn’t have (such as giving a normal human wings)"

 

I'd certainly argue that men are just as likely to grow wings as they are to have a baby without major surgery to accomplish either one. YMMV.

 

- E

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3 hours ago, Thia Halmades said:

Here’s the thing, though; all Transforms have a heal back, whether you heal back the Body sufficiently or you activate the reversal, they, by nature, are not permanent. That’s a whole separate build.

 

But in the cases where a reversal is required, how difficult is it to accomplish? If you don't know the reversal condition, then the Transform is permanent. And cases where you have to heal back over time are worse in some ways. A normal hit by this takes 2 months to change back and it will take most supers more than a month.

 

In any serious campaign(meaning not played for laughs), I would make it a Major Transform and closer to Severe than to Minor. I'm sure whoever invented it in the campaign world did not do so to create a practical joke item even if it can be used that way.

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With the boy/girl gun we're talking about turning a target into a gender-swapped version of their self.  

 

A Severe Transform can turn a human being into a frog, a stone statue, a shrubbery, or thin air.  Severe is overkill.  

 

A Major Transform can grant a human the ability to shoot fire blasts from their hands or fly with wings.  

 

A Cosmetic Transform can turn a human into a different human.  I'll stipulate that a Cosmetic Transform can turn a human into a human of the opposite gender in appearance only...

 

Is turning a human into the same human of a different gender, qualitatively the same as granting them the ability to fly or shoot fire?

 

(Have any of you seriously played in or run games where the ability to become pregnant and give birth amounts to a Power for which the character should pay points?)

 

Minor Transform is enough to "work minor changes on the target's functions".  How is changing someone's gender not this?  Especially compared to the ability to fly or throw energy blasts?

 

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As Chris and others have alluded, the value of a transform is tied directly to its in-game effects. 

 

Frankly, with the heal-back mandate of Transform in the first place, and given that gender has no in-game mechanic, if it wasn't for the potential of game-derailing abuse-for-humour, I'd feel bad about charging for it, period. 

 

For me, this falls under the "because it _can_ be built,, it _must_ be built" fallacy. 

 

But as you can see above, everyone's mileage _will_ vary. 

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Yeah, the TL;DR for this thread is...how do YOU look at it, how does it fit into your campaign?  I'd also add, how do you rule, what are your bases for your rulings?  Because I don't always buy Chris' and Duke's point that "no game impact, ergo easy to do."  

Then again, I also don't buy massey's "human --> microwave" is Major.

 

It's Hero.  There's a fair bit that's pretty straightforward, but there's a whole lot that's highly discretionalry.

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2 hours ago, unclevlad said:

Yeah, the TL;DR for this thread is...how do YOU look at it, how does it fit into your campaign? 

 

That right there.

 

That's really what the whole thing boils down to, really.

 

However, I assume (and could be completely wrong, but it bears up to study) that OP's purpose in asking was to solicit various viewpoints and their justifications / rationales to assist him in making his own judgement; i.e: give me some input into how I might look at this.

 

 

But yes:  what effect does temporary gender wobble have on your campaign?  (other than the obvious humor potential, I mean)

 

 

 

34 minutes ago, IndianaJoe3 said:

One question we haven't asked yet is, "Is being one gender a Social Complication?" A Minor Transform can only add 10 points of Complications, but an Major Transform can add 20.

 

 

I am more interested in how many people suggesting adding the power "summon infant human" actually require-- or have even built-- female characters with such a power.

 

 

 

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56 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

I am more interested in how many people suggesting adding the power "summon infant human" actually require-- or have even built-- female characters with such a power.

 

I know Lucius Alexander did a build and posted it to the board, but I don't think it was ever used in a game.

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A Cosmetic transform can add or subtract up to 2 levels of Striking Appearance.  It can adjust Distinctive Features or other appearance-related complications by up to 5 points.  It can change hair, eye or skin colour.  All of these seem likely to have in-game effects similar to a switch in gender.  A major change to one's DNA?  Sure - but that is a special effect, not a game effect.  Serious impact on social situations?  Sure - but try maintaining your secret ID as an American Indian when, suddenly, you are Asian instead.  That's without the possibility that your skin instead is turned flourescent orange.

 

We're not changing SFX, adding CVs, defenses, skills, DCs, advantages or complications, which covers most examples of Minor transforms.  Major?  Blindness, Fire Blast is now a heatstroke Drain, swapping limbs, creating objects out of thin air or bigger changes to CVs, defenses, skills, DCs, advantages or complications.

 

Unless there is some reason that the in-game impact will be markedly greater than purple skin (not "changes in biology which are more substantial", "game effects that are more significant"), it seems like a Cosmetic transform to me. 

 

"But what if the character was female and pregnant?"  Well, as a Cosmetic Transform, I will suggest that the pregnancy is on hiatus while the character is male, and on returning to female form, is still pregnant with no ill effects. 

 

"But she was VERY pregnant - and 'he' can't be!"  True - looks like we got rid of 5 points' worth of Distinctive Features in the course of the Transform.  Not that I think the GM gave the expectant mother 5 extra CP to spend in the obvious part of her pregnancy anyway.

 

As to "summon infant", which member of the couple has the Power, and which one is a Focus/Special effect?  That seems like dangerous territory.  I don't feel the need to stat up the power of transforming blood sugar and oxygen into energy, so I'll pass on statting up natural reproductive processes, no more necessary and potentially a lot more inflammatory, as well.

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I think I see the dividing lines here.

 

In terms of Combat, it's a Cosmetic Transform. Hero makes no distinctions.

 

Short term, out of Combat, it's a Minor Transform. There is humor potential and as long as it is reversed quickly, there are no repercussions.

 

Long term, it's a Major to Severe Transform. If it's not easily or quickly reversed, there is a huge impact on all the role playing aspects of the campaign.

Strained relationships, loss employment, compromised Secret and Social IDs, legal hang ups and just general emotional distress will all come down on the poor victim.

 

I place more emphasis on the third scenario, because I'm usually trying to establish a long campaign story but I can see where YMMV.

 

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