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Zilzmaer
2019-08-14, 11:30 AM
Background: I am soon going to be starting a new game of Princess: the Hopeful, and am mostly agender.

That said, I am interested in exploring this territory. My GM and the other players believe I can do it respectfully and maturely, but I'm not confident, and am likely to not do so if I don't gain confidence. So I turn to you, Playgrounders, for advice.

For those who don't know, Princess is a WoD fan game set in the Magical Girl genre. The character I'm considering is a biological male who's always felt uncomfortable in her body, but never connected the dots and realized she's trans until she becomes a magical girl and transforms for the first time. The transformation, being a personification of your soul and inner self, is what makes her realize she's actually female, and why she's never felt comfortable. I would then like to explore her journey of transitioning, with all of the hardships that may entail.

I'm not looking for people to tell me whether I should or shouldn't play this idea; I am looking for advice on how to do it respectfully. If you feel the entire idea is disrespectful, telling me that isn't very constructive; but giving me advice on how to change it to be respectful would be.

If I don't feel confident that I can play this character well after reading your advice, I'm going to come up with a different concept, but I'd really like too explore a character with a strong gender identity, as the very concept is so alien to me.

Please and thank you.

Anymage
2019-08-14, 11:52 AM
Two big questions.

First, how much of the process do you expect to be "complete" by the time you start to see play? Someone who's just starting the process - in legal and medical as well as social aspects of transition - is very different from someone who has already leapt those hurdles. How much do you want the process to be something that you play out in game, vs. how much do you just want transness to be another established fact of your character?

Second, how much do you trust the rest of your group to play along with it? This is less about them being tasteless towards you, and more about them deciding that transness is just a minor character trait like eye color and glossing it over in favor of team antics. Having "trans" written on your character sheet means nothing if you don't have to mind passing, legal hassles, or people who decide to get up in your face about your bathroom choices (while not letting any of those things turn into petty mean-spiritedness or derailing the whole plot into your character's personal transition story). In a D&D example, if my fighter dons That Infamous Belt but everybody still treats me as the party tank and nothing more, that isn't a trans story.

King of Nowhere
2019-08-14, 12:08 PM
I say go ahead and try it. as you said, everyone is mature and trust each other, which is the important part.

do you have trans players in the group? if so, when you do something wrong they can help you improve.
if not, then nobody will realize you are doing it wrong. :smallbiggrin:

Zilzmaer
2019-08-14, 01:12 PM
I trust the group to play along with it. Most of them have expressed excitement about it, both because they like the idea and to see me stepping out of my comfort zone like this.

I also expect very little of the process to be done by game start; probably about two to four weeks after she realizes. The whole point is to force me into a mindset where her gender matters; if the transition happened years ago, it would be all too likely to never come up in a meaningful way.

Edit: There aren't any properly transgender people in the group. But, to include LGBT+, I do expect a genderfluid friend to take part, as well as an asexual friend and a gay one. We're actually pretty diverse for being a bunch of nonreligious white guys.

Anymage
2019-08-14, 01:23 PM
If everybody's on board, the only question is one of research. Unfortunately I don't spend much time with people early in the transition process, so I wouldn't know specifics. I do think there's at least one thread devoted to the ever-lengthening acronym in Friendly Banter that you can poke your head into if you want more specifics.

Celestia
2019-08-14, 01:34 PM
I'm not sure there's really anything to do about this in an RPG setting. Being trans is an intensely personal journey that is undertaken by oneself. It affects only the individual and their mental state and self image. This makes it a great topic for a book that focus on one character to the exclusion of all others, but an RPG is a necessarily group activity. The story needs to be written so that multiple characters can participate.

Of course, some personal quests can be adapted to fit the group. For instance, Shady Steve can only murder one of the character's fathers, but the entire party can still have fun tracking him down and fighting him. And only one of the characters needs to be from a disgraced noble family trying to reclaim the glories of the past for the group to have fun clearing the old family estate of monsters. Being trans, however, can't really do this. The only story concept I can come up with is questing for a magical artifact that can change someone's body, but you already have access to a magic sex change, so that's off the table.

In the end, there's no real gameplay effect to being trans. Now, that's not to say that you can't or shouldn't play one, far from it. I'm saying it has no bearing on your roleplaying, like having blue eyes or dark skin. It's a trait your character has, but it's not a big deal. Don't worry so much about whether or not you can do it "right." That doesn't mean anything, anyways. I can tell you, personally, that everyone has a different experience with being trans. There is no correct or true version of it. Just don't be disrespectful, and you'll do fine.

Zilzmaer
2019-08-14, 01:51 PM
All right, thanks.

Segev
2019-08-14, 02:29 PM
I don't think you're likely to play it "disrespectfully," given your motivations behind the character. I would suggest that, if she's truly only comfortable as a girl, she would avoid detransforming and would try to instead maintain a "mundane identity" in her girl-form by less magical disguise means.

I actually played a mirrored concept at one point. In a magical girl game, I played one of the rare magical boys. He was quite pretty, and was a walking attitude problem despite his rather heroic tendencies. This was because he absolutely did NOT like his transformation...into a boy. See, untransformed, she was a girl, and was very much a classic Japanese Lady in chosen personality (though she was hardly passive, which may have informed the magic's choice to make her a boy to push her to ACT on the heroic tendencies more directly). In-game, he stayed transformed all the time he was dealing with the PCs, because she was ashamed of the transformation and didn't want them to know. It was not comfortable for him, but it was better than the other PCs knowing the reason for his discomfort.

I don't know if your character has any shame about either form, though obviously he's uncomfortable when detransformed because he feels he's a girl. Her transformed state gives her that. So I think she'd do all she could to stay in it, assuming non-magical male form only when he has to for dealing with his daily life. If anything, I would play off the angst of wishing she could stay transformed, but how that would divorce her from her mundane life, where she can't say, "Yeah, I had a sex change," and have people buy it too well, given that very few sex changes are a) that fast and b) that ... thorough and accurate.

So I think the majority of character drama over it would be less about BEING trans, and more about the fact that she HAS a solution that has serious costs to her existing life and connections. Though treating his untransformed state as a "disguise" might help; women crossdressing as men for disguise purposes is a thing, after all.

Zilzmaer
2019-08-15, 12:16 AM
Thanks for the suggestions, and that sounds like an interesting concept.

Re: the magic solution to dysphoria, it would only be for limited periods at a time, and there's a chance of failure to transform unless you spend the Princess equivalent of Vampire's blood pool. So it's not a good long term solution.

Alhallor
2019-08-15, 02:55 AM
First I don't know any trans individuals in my friend circle so my advise may be totally screwed but I think that is a great idea so I had to say something about that.

How much is the character aware that she actually wants the transformation?

Identity can be a very cruel thing, I could imagine that whatever triggered the transformation has to be resolved first and then the character realizes she is a girl and is (at first) appalled by this, perhaps even angry (I'm a MAN Queens! There are Princes out there, why are you doing this to me?) But over time actually enjoys that (Imagine you having built this manly man persona out of yourself only using the transformation powers only if absolutely necessary and then another character bursts in on you, transformed in front of a mirror enjoying his new form.) You have to rely a bit on the DM on situations like that, but it sounds like he could help you in that regard.

How do you want your character after she has come to terms with her situation make the transition? Magical artifacts where mentioned here, if she goes through medical procedures I would advise reading through some transition journals to see if you can use any of their experiences for your character, when you have a medical procedure could you have to spontanously fight against the darkness on the same day and your character is hard-pressed to come to her appointment?

May the forces of hopelessness even use the moment when she is under the knife to possess her body? (Great if you may have one day where you can't Play, just make it in time in the last session for your appointment when the other characters realize that your helpless body is being attacked and they have to protect you.)

I hope you can use some of my ideas.

Psyren
2019-08-15, 02:55 PM
I'm not sure there's really anything to do about this in an RPG setting. Being trans is an intensely personal journey that is undertaken by oneself. It affects only the individual and their mental state and self image. This makes it a great topic for a book that focus on one character to the exclusion of all others, but an RPG is a necessarily group activity. The story needs to be written so that multiple characters can participate.

Of course, some personal quests can be adapted to fit the group. For instance, Shady Steve can only murder one of the character's fathers, but the entire party can still have fun tracking him down and fighting him. And only one of the characters needs to be from a disgraced noble family trying to reclaim the glories of the past for the group to have fun clearing the old family estate of monsters. Being trans, however, can't really do this. The only story concept I can come up with is questing for a magical artifact that can change someone's body, but you already have access to a magic sex change, so that's off the table.

In the end, there's no real gameplay effect to being trans. Now, that's not to say that you can't or shouldn't play one, far from it. I'm saying it has no bearing on your roleplaying, like having blue eyes or dark skin. It's a trait your character has, but it's not a big deal. Don't worry so much about whether or not you can do it "right." That doesn't mean anything, anyways. I can tell you, personally, that everyone has a different experience with being trans. There is no correct or true version of it. Just don't be disrespectful, and you'll do fine.

I'll add to this excellent post the issue that a lot of fantasy settings make gender and sexuality into small potatoes by necessity. World of Darkness is a perfect example of this; after all, if OUR world had magic and monsters and vampires and folks transforming into literal wolves and birds and whatnot, it doesn't seem likely that gay or trans people would be all that out of the ordinary by comparison. Now, you could certainly argue that whatever "masquerade" in the world might keep the fantastical elements perfectly under wraps to the muggle population, but at a minimum those folks who are "in the know" won't be particularly put out by the notion that someone's gender may not match their outward presentation of it. The likely result of that would be that trans people would have a level of understanding, or at least indifference, that they don't get to enjoy in our world.

MarkVIIIMarc
2019-08-17, 10:26 AM
Background: I am soon going to be starting a new game of Princess: the Hopeful, and am mostly agender.

That said, I am interested in exploring this territory. My GM and the other players believe I can do it respectfully and maturely, but I'm not confident, and am likely to not do so if I don't gain confidence. So I turn to you, Playgrounders, for advice.

For those who don't know, Princess is a WoD fan game set in the Magical Girl genre. The character I'm considering is a biological male who's always felt uncomfortable in her body, but never connected the dots and realized she's trans until she becomes a magical girl and transforms for the first time. The transformation, being a personification of your soul and inner self, is what makes her realize she's actually female, and why she's never felt comfortable. I would then like to explore her journey of transitioning, with all of the hardships that may entail.

I'm not looking for people to tell me whether I should or shouldn't play this idea; I am looking for advice on how to do it respectfully. If you feel the entire idea is disrespectful, telling me that isn't very constructive; but giving me advice on how to change it to be respectful would be.

If I don't feel confident that I can play this character well after reading your advice, I'm going to come up with a different concept, but I'd really like too explore a character with a strong gender identity, as the very concept is so alien to me.

Please and thank you.

Role play in a lot of games is made up of a few sentences a night on any topic. In my D&D game I think ALL the PC' could be trans and it would have only come up when we're captured and searched if the PC's are quiet about it.

So I think much like real life, you will decide how often it is a thing. Outside of a "save the prince and he falls in love with you' campaign I just dunno if it ill come up much w/o DM help with a sub plot.

Mark Hall
2019-08-17, 11:20 AM
There was a bit of advice about writing marginalized characters that I think applies very well here...

"By all means, include X in your story; but don't make the story about being X unless you have experienced it."

Jay R
2019-08-17, 11:36 AM
"All it takes to be respected is to be respectful and respectable."

It's not as hard as you think. Play her as a girl, and respect her character and the characters around her.

Mark Hall is correct -- "By all means, include X in your story; but don't make the story about being X unless you have experienced it."

But I would go further. Don't make the story about her being trans. Make it about her enjoying her new life. The more you focus on who she used to be, and why she didn't like it, the less fun you will have (and the less fun she will be having).

Play her as enjoying being a girl -- the same way you would play somebody who enjoyed being a wizard or an elf.

Enjoy playing her, and she will enjoying being her.

Djiini
2019-08-18, 12:46 AM
My GM and the other players believe I can do it respectfully and maturely, but I'm not confident

Then you probably shouldn't, honestly.

Esprit15
2019-08-18, 03:06 AM
"All it takes to be respected is to be respectful and respectable."

It's not as hard as you think. Play her as a girl, and respect her character and the characters around her.

Mark Hall is correct -- "By all means, include X in your story; but don't make the story about being X unless you have experienced it."

But I would go further. Don't make the story about her being trans. Make it about her enjoying her new life. The more you focus on who she used to be, and why she didn't like it, the less fun you will have (and the less fun she will be having).

Play her as enjoying being a girl -- the same way you would play somebody who enjoyed being a wizard or an elf.

Enjoy playing her, and she will enjoying being her.

Iím not trans, but I have a few trans friends, and can confirm that this is probably the best way to go about it.

JNAProductions
2019-08-18, 10:35 AM
So, general advice on playing a character:

Person first, other stuff second. Whether your character is gay, straight, bi, pan, or white, black, blue, purple, or cis, trans, agendered... So on and so forth, play them as a person first, and sweat the little stuff later.

Now, more specific advice!

Is there anyone who's trans at your gaming group? Ask them how they feel-are they cool with you playing a trans character, or would they rather you not? As a cisgendered person myself, I obviously don't have a massive amount of clout here, and more than that, I'm not gaming with you. The most important thing when playing a game like this to have fun-but you also shouldn't impede someone else's fun, or make them upset or sad or anything.

Segev
2019-08-18, 02:18 PM
There was a bit of advice about writing marginalized characters that I think applies very well here...

"By all means, include X in your story; but don't make the story about being X unless you have experienced it."I...disagree with this. Not entirely, but about 3/4 of the way through I diverge sharply.

To me, it's this: "By all means, include X in your story; but don't make the story about being X unless that is the primary purpose of the story." Telling people not to include things just because they haven't experienced them is a great way to promote divisiveness and bigotry. It tells people that they're not allowed to explore experiences other than their own. Certainly, do your research if you're making your story about "being X," but don't feel you aren't allowed to.

Conversely, and more importantly for the OP, remember that the story of your character can and should be more than this one aspect, and that this one aspect is almost certainly not what this Princess: the Hopeful game is about. Because the game isn't about it, don't try to make it about it. Include it, let it come up when it naturally does, but focus on the story and the character as she is now, not on this one aspect of the character.

She's a woman (or girl; don't know her age) who's finally happy and free to use superpowers to solve evil in the world; she almost certainly is more reveling in this than anything else.



But I would go further. Don't make the story about her being trans. Make it about her enjoying her new life. The more you focus on who she used to be, and why she didn't like it, the less fun you will have (and the less fun she will be having).

Play her as enjoying being a girl -- the same way you would play somebody who enjoyed being a wizard or an elf.

Enjoy playing her, and she will enjoying being her.This is probably better advice than Mark's. No offense to Mark, because the first part of his advice jives here, and is the important part to the OP.

Zilzmaer
2019-08-18, 02:39 PM
Thanks for all of the replies and advice; you all have given me food for thought.

Vknight
2019-08-18, 02:56 PM
Thanks for all of the replies and advice; you all have given me food for thought.

Good luck with the game it honestly depends on the setting/system after all

Heliomance
2019-08-21, 07:10 AM
If I'd had this power at the point I realised I was trans, you'd better believe I would spend as much time as possible transformed. Princess is, as I recall, a game about trying to stand firm against despair, about keeping up morale against the knowledge that no matter what you do, the darkness always comes back. Well, your character has her own personal despair point baked right in - "no matter what I do, I will never be as beautiful in my mundane life as I am as a Princess". The fact that she can wholly and completely transform into a biological woman is going to be paradoxically dispiriting, IMO. Because even if she goes through full transition, gets on hormones, has surgery, everything - it will never be as good as when she transforms. She has the ability to taste unattainable perfection, and has to live with the knowledge that her mundane life can never ever live up to that.

Analytica
2019-08-25, 04:07 PM
Back when I thought I was agender (as opposed to a trans woman - and note that as agender, you are "trans enough" if you choose to claim the label), I would have craved to play this and indeed the horror of having to go back would be a major factor. It sounds like a possibility of exploring a dysphoria-euphoria continuum.

EDIT: If she is indeed (realizes she is) a a trans girl, that things feel right when transformed they never could otherwise, and she starts taking transition steps in the mundane world, do read up on what those actually are - obstacles, challenges, how long everything actually takes; work out how she would learn about it (not like it is advertised well...)... don't trivialize by mistake. Same goes for how her mundane life people would react to different stages of coming out, which the storyteller must manage.

CombatBunny
2019-08-26, 08:38 AM
This is a character concept that can be explored very deeply but as others said, donít try to make this trait the center of the universe or you could turn into a nuisance for other players, not for the trans thing itself, but because itís what happens when any character tries to be always in the spotlight and use all and every opportunity to remind other players about this or that trait.

Ej. ďYeah, we already now you are a lord of the shadows, you tell it to us all the time, let the adventure go aheadĒ.

Aside from that, I think it would be interesting if you start by playing your character as a normal boy and try to play out how his life change as he transforms for the first time. Maybe the firsts times he could enter in conflict, even trying to convince himself that he hates to transform into a girl and trying to act exaggeratedly manly when not in transformation, then let the character develop slowly and walk naturally to his own acceptance. Just my point of view.

Heliomance
2019-09-05, 03:05 AM
Any updates on how this is going? I'm interested!