View Full Version : Belt of Elective Gender-Changing

2006-06-03, 09:39 PM
I recently used one of these in my current campaign (to be concluded next session... DUN-DUN-DUNNNNN!) to provide a plausible method of disguise for a particular antagonist. Yes, it was inspired greatly by Roy's crossdressing antics in the amusing OotS story arc, but who said I was original?

The poor old antagonist who first used this item is dead now (killed by the Big Bad Evil Guy in the penultimate session for betraying her), but here's the item she used to sneak about a rather anarchic city, completely undetected despite her renowned status:

Belt of Elective Gender-Changing

Elstrom, the well-travelled cleric of Corellon, gaped in uncharacteristic surprise as Joseph, their burly informant, reached to his belt buckle, tapping it with a grunt of discomfort. "Josephine," his voice spoke, with a certain amount of apprehension. Joseph's skin glowed slightly as his form from head to toe changed slightly... revealing someone the group had encountered before. A powerful priestess of Hextor, no less.


Her green eyes, watering with pain, narrowed at Elstrom's exclamation.

"That's Archbishop Claudia to you, half-breed."

This belt appears, at first sight, to be a normal leather belt with a faded brass buckle. Closer inspection will reveal some curious symbols on the buckle, with two simple arrows in a circular layout pointing to the ancient symbols for male and female.

When worn normally, the item has no effect on its user other than holding up the user's trousers. However, when the user touches the belt buckle and speaks a given name - determined at the item's creation with particular conditions - their physical form changes to that of a creature with their opposite gender, with roughly the same height and build and physical features as that of their original form.

Upon touching the buckle and speaking a second, predefined name, the user's original form is restored. While under the effects of the belt's magic, the wearer cannot remove the belt without the use of a remove curse spell - it is a technically cursed, though harmless item (other than the obvious changes it makes).

If the belt is destroyed while the effects of the item are active (such as a successful sunder attempt), the items effects on its user are permanent, barring the use of a wish or miracle spell. Rather than being a simple curse, the item permanently changes the user's form, for better or for worse.

The names used to activate and deactivate the item are determined at the point of completion. Most often, the two names will be male and female forms of a similar name, such as Joseph/Josephine, Michael/Michelle or Nicholas/Nicola.

Activating and deactivating the item is a full-round action. The process of activating and deactivating the item takes a few seconds, and can often be a bit painful for those unused to the effects of transmutation magic.

When active, the item grants an inherent +10 bonus as any part of an attempt at creating a disguise. After all, who would suspect such a "man"...?

Transmutation; CL 3rd; Craft Wondrous Item, alter self; Price 3,600gp.

EDIT PART DEUX: Thanks for the critique! (Disguise bonus reduced to +10, damage penalty removed, familiarity penalty removed)

2006-06-03, 09:55 PM
This certainly would get you odd looks when you ask the party artificer/wizard to make this.

2006-06-04, 12:00 PM
Bah! Have you no respect for the traditions of our culture? One merely dresses as a member of the opposite sex (either a fresh-faced squire if a girl, or a washerwoman if a man) and everyone is fooled as a function of the natural order of things.

Viva Mr Toad! *;D

2006-06-04, 12:22 PM
Hell, I'd use it.

Saithis Bladewing
2006-06-04, 12:44 PM
I'd use it, you never know when a belt of gender-changing would be useful.

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2006-06-04, 12:46 PM
It's darn useful for us thievin' types.
"He went that way, officers! Oh, heavens, do catch him, he's such a big, scary man! Unlike me."

2006-06-04, 12:50 PM
I don't know that being the opposite gender with 'the same features as that of their original form' would be that good of a disguise...

Saithis Bladewing
2006-06-04, 12:52 PM
I don't know that being the opposite gender with 'the same features as that of their original form' would be that good of a disguise...

I think he meant similar facial features.

2006-06-04, 12:53 PM
Well yes, but even so: same outfit, same gear, same haircut, similar build, similar face... they're at least going to spot the similarities....

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2006-06-04, 02:27 PM
The item description says 'roughly'.
I interpret that to mean 'within the range appropriate for the race and creature type'.
And he outright says it gives you a +20 bonus to disguise.

Saithis Bladewing
2006-06-04, 02:29 PM
That's kind of how I interpreted it. By similarities, I envisioned the new form being similar in that, if you put the new form next to the old form, they would look like brother and sister (or vice versa). Slightly different, but still similar.

2006-06-04, 02:36 PM
Have you ever watched Ranma 1/2?
Think along those lines if you're opposed to it. Basically you get turned in to a female counterpart of your current form.

2006-06-04, 03:02 PM
I would remove the damage upon transformation. If a druid can turn into an eagle or a bear as a standard action without taking damage, and actually gaining hit points in the process certainly the magic of alter self is safe enough.

Also, disguise self does not preclude changing one's gender as far as I know (the spell description is mute when it comes to gender) so a hat of disguise could do the trick for half the price. Since it is an illusion and allows a will save, and provides only a +10 to disguise checks, it's not too much of an overlap.

2006-06-04, 03:18 PM
Polymorph only grants a +10 to Disguise. I'd say this would only be worth a +5... and disregards the normal -2 penalty for being disguised as a member of the opposite gender (so effectively a +7). The Disguise skill already incorporates opposed-roll modifiers for familiarity, so I'd drop that too.

2006-06-04, 07:21 PM
Hmm, some good points made, and some bad ones:

+10 to Disguise (instead of +20) - sounds good, might have to alter that. Also removing the familiarity modifiers, natch.

Removal of the damage effect - seems sensible, when you think about it. The point of the item is that it's technically cursed, but bloody useful (unless you get caught on the hop while using it, and the belt gets sundered... then you're in trouble). Maybe make using the item a full-round action, which makes sense because the change takes a few seconds.

"Roy has boobies!" *snicker*

Hat of disguise > belt of elective gender-changing - not in my opinion.

Hat of disguise = illusion, allowing Will save if physically interacted with (probable... there was a complicated corollary to this plot twist, in that the crime lord of said anarchic city had a gangster moll... who was actually a slightly perverted female lich armed with a similar, though less gender-bending item of headgear modelled on the hat of disguise).

Belt of elective gender-changing = transmutation. No Will save or anything when interacted with. For NPC roleplaying purposes, a new user of the item might be unaccustomed to his/her new form (imagine having one's hips suddenly widened, and how it would affect your walking ability).

I would say that this item, even with its reduced abilities, far outstrips the (still nifty) benefits of the hat of disguise.

Thanks for your critique, guys :)

EDIT: Oh, and Nethelyrie Ebonheart hit it right on the button. The item would basically make you look like your gender-opposite clone, perhaps like a sister or a brother of yours - but that in itself would be quite a radical and unique change to any human's physical appearance (unless, of course, you knew them well... hence the valid points about familiarity modifiers)

2006-08-27, 11:33 AM
I'm pretty surprised I have never seen something like this before. Seems like all of the kinks have been worked out. Nice.