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Boy/Girl Gun -- Cosmetic or Major transform


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Given the "heals back" mandate of Transform, I don't see it becoming a years-long problem.  Socially, I don't see it-- _as suggested in the first post_ being too much of a serious problem, either:


OP Didn't say "turns them into someone else," but "swaps their genders."  Immediately springing to mind is the fact that I don't think anyone has failed to recognize Eric Idle as being Eric Idle even when in drag.  Yes; playing a woman, not being a woman, but still: as suggested, that's about the level of effect I understand:  Johnny!  You've gone and grown bewbies!  What happened, Mate?"


Going to something more close to the source of the inspiration:


The cast of Ranma 1/2 was freakin' _huge_!  Even for a cartoon, there was a shocking number of characters over the years.


Only _one_ of them failed to recognize Ranma as Ranma when he swapped genders.


In a world with super powers, green-and-purple skinned monsters, aliens, mole people, and lost lands of dinosaurs, the "well, my fingerprints are still mine; my DNA is still mine save that extra leg on the Y chromosome..."   In a world of stuff like this?   This is a straight-up joke power.


I have no idea what the nature of OP's campaign is, though, and that's the heart of the problem:  only OP does know.



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2 hours ago, Grailknight said:

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.



Then I think you are changing the default rules.  By the same logic, turning the character's skin purple has no impact in combat, humor potential and nothing else if reversed quickly, and huge impact if maintained long term.


Dr. Who has been around since the 1960s and recently changed genders with no real long-term impact.


My bigger question would be whether a gun that changes peoples' genders, or any long-term gender swap power, really fits the tone of the campaign.  If a PC could do this, would it be a game-ender against powerful campaign adversaries?

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There could also be exceptions.  For a species in which, for instance, the males are cute, fuzzy, mindless teddy bears, and the females are half mama grizzly, half Alien xenomorph, a gender change would easily be Major or Severe.  I can see that being an argument for calling it Major in a TFOS setting, in fact, but so far no one has made that argument.

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As one of the folks involved in the creation of Teenagers From Outer Space, back in the day, it was a humor based cosmetic transform, much like the Ranma Saotome effect, where there was no possibility of any hanky panky and played strictly for humor.  So it was a Minor transform as it changed no stats or powers.

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I'm heavily on the "It depends on the campaign" side of things.


It also depends on the likely duration based on the the reversal condition. Which makes me consider that reversal conditions should probably be figured somehow into the cost of transformation, but that's a different discussion.


If it's going to be reversed by the end of the session, I'd call it cosmetic in any except a very heavy role-playing campaign, and maybe only more then, if the characters have reason to believe it's long-term or permanent. 


So, let's assume it's long-term or effectively permanent.


For a game where where non-combat time and role-playing are important, and this is take seriously at all, then this is at minimum a minor, and more realistically a major transformation. IndianaJoe3 mentions social limitations, but the biggest imposed limitation here is going to be gender dysphoria. That could be written up as a psychological limitation, a social limitation, or a combination. It could also be argued as a physical limitation, but that might be a stretch.


And gender dysphoria is very real, and, depending on the person can be crippling. I, luckily, never had a severe dose of it, but I have friends who have. Bought realistically, the lims involved could easily top 20 or thirty points. 


And of course, it wouldn't aways be lims added. For a transgender person who hasn't started transitioning yet, it could easily remove a slough of lims. If they have started transitioning, it would depend on what exactly the transform did to them. If it just goes off your genes, swaps some chromosomes, and rebuilds you, I personally would be fine with it. If it's some metaphysical reversal, where I end up physically a trans guy at the equivalent stage of physical transition, I burn down the world to get the reversal or take pretty savage revenge if it's not possible. 


I'm pretty confident for most non-transgender people,  a permanent change would not be a small thing. It would upend their lives and sense of self. Played realistically the affected person would be more like my second reaction above. They would need to find the reversal. It would consume much of their life until they did. So, in a serious, RP heavy campaign, I really see it as a major transform.


To the recognizability issue, that is variable, but generally the change would probably make pretty big differences. For the closest real-world equivalent of a boy-girl gun, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), results vary from, "yeah, she's looks a little more feminine now" to "There's no way that's the same person." Especially with trans women, because a lot of the changes testosterone makes to the body (height, build, facial features), are at to the bone, and thus not as subject to the kind of changes that HRT can make. An actual boy-girl gun wouldn't be subject to those limitations, so, big, big, changes (on average). Anecdotally, recently while grocery shopping, I ran across some people I gamed with for  8-10 hours every week for years, and they didn't recognize me, even when looking straight at me. And I started HRT really late in life and didn't get the full benefits a younger person would have gotten. 




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12 minutes ago, Dr.Device said:


But, like I said, a lot of powers have similar issues.


I don't want to derail this too far, but that's actually one of the reasons supers isn't really my bag.


The guy with electrical powers could make an absolute killing as a remote location welder.  The guy with Telekinesis can launch satellites-- the list goes on and on.  Why they would prefer to put on masks and slug the crap out of other people who put on masks is a bit baffling to me, so much so that my supers-universe (I run supers; my players like them more than I do) is filled with "minor powers" who do precisely that:  monetize their amazing abilities as opposed to getting hospitalized with them.  ;)



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On 10/11/2020 at 2:32 PM, Scott Ruggels said:

As one of the folks involved in the creation of Teenagers From Outer Space, back in the day, it was a humor based cosmetic transform, much like the Ranma Saotome effect, where there was no possibility of any hanky panky and played strictly for humor.  So it was a Minor transform as it changed no stats or powers.



I do want to thank you, Scott for helping make it. TFOS is by far my favorite RPG system.


As the OP, my goal is to try to translate TFOS stuff into something useable in a standard Champions game.


this question though is very much a Doylist vs Watsonian argument:


Watsonian: Its a major change in my life, Major Transform

Doylist: The only thing it actually changes is the 'sex' / 'gender' line on my character sheet, Cosmetic



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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/11/2020 at 11:32 AM, Scott Ruggels said:

As one of the folks involved in the creation of Teenagers From Outer Space, back in the day, it was a humor based cosmetic transform, much like the Ranma Saotome effect, where there was no possibility of any hanky panky and played strictly for humor.  So it was a Minor transform as it changed no stats or powers.

Let me add my appreciation for TFOS, Scott.


Using Ranma 1/2 as an example, there actually were some minor differences in ability between the two forms that took place in the manga. The female form seemed to be slightly weaker (-1 or 2 points of STR) but faster (+1 or 2 points of DEX or Lightning Reflexes). And in one of the early fights with Mousse, Ranma was at a disadvantage in female form because of having a shorter reach (-1 OCV?) but later got more used to the reach change in later stories and didn’t seem to suffer from it anymore. The female form also seemed to be somewhat more attractive than his male form (increased COM or a level of Striking Appearance and maybe also adding Distinctive Features).


i would rate the change as Minor though, since it was mostly done for humor and the stat changes were fairly small and offset by other changes.


An argument could be made for a minor STR change in such a transformation as the OP described. An adult Power Girl or Supergirl does not seem to be quite as strong as Superman, or She-Hulk compared to the Hulk, for a couple of examples. But the differences probably would not be more than maybe 1-5 points of STR in such cases.

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