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> RP advice requested, for a rather... odd... turn of events
Jason Farlander
post Sep 24 2004, 05:49 AM
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Ok.

So a rather strange circumstance has befallen my character in a SR game in which I am currently playing. Long story short: he is going to transform into a woman. I dont really want to go into the events/mechanisms through which this will happen, suffice to say that it will happen rather unexpectedly and that I, as a player, accept that it will happen and am willing to move on.

However

I am at a loss as to how to approach this occuring from an in-character perspective. This game is rather heavy on the roleplaying aspects, and this is a sufficiently important change that I dont think it would be appropriate to just gloss it over. At the same time, I have no fraggin clue how to realistically portray the character's reaction to the change. I simply can not imagine myself in his position.

A little background on the character's personality: He is a rather straightlaced, uptight, and arrogant Hermetic full mage who until somewhat recently worked as a company man for Renraku, and still retains a lot of his corporate tendancies (he likes wearing expensive suits, etc.) After losing his job as a side effect of the Arc Shutdown, he turned to the shadows both to shake off any enemies he might have acquired (and now doesnt have corporate protection against) and because, well, thats what he knows how to do. Since then he has loosened up - a little - but is still generally convinced of his personal superiority to other runners (though he has gained respect for his current teammates, despite their faults).

If any more (specific) info would help you in providing advice to me, I can provide it, but I dont want this post to be so very long that noone reads it. Please, dont bother expressing your incredulity about the change itself, as such comments are in no way helpful to me. But any advice about how to RP this effectively would be very much appreciated.
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RedmondLarry
post Sep 24 2004, 06:22 AM
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Check out the movie "Switch" with Ellen Barkin and Jimmy Smits.
Disbelief.
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Kremlin KOA
post Sep 24 2004, 06:27 AM
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details on how the change is going to happen would be good.
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Jason Farlander
post Sep 24 2004, 06:30 AM
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QUOTE (Kremlin KOA)
details on how the change is going to happen would be good.

He will start feeling very ill and weak, and over the course of the next two weeks he will gradually change. He will probably think he is hallucinating at first due to the sickness, but then when he starts feeling better towards the end of those two weeks he will begin to realize that he isnt.
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Da9iel
post Sep 24 2004, 06:35 AM
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Lots of shock and denial. Try to astrally project and then hunt down your body. When your trial leads right back to the female body, try again, and again, and again. As you start to resume daily life be sure to roleplay all sorts of inappropriate behavior: Going into the mens room, commenting on scantily clad women, etc. Depending on your group and your personal feelings you could skip the whole, uh, self exploration . . . thing. :lick: The "self exploration thing" could mesh nicely with the inappropriate behavior. What guy would think twice about scratching his chest?

I'm not sure exactly what would happen over time, but eventually (depending on the mechanics) you may begin to have feminine thoughts like "He's hot." This could lead to all sorts of interesting self dialog. In either case, you'll have to work out your sexual preference. Your mind may think one thing and your biology another.

Be sure to hunt down a woman and find out what you need to do to take care of your monthly cycle. That would be one physical thing you would have to take care of soon. You could muddle through by yourself, but I think having a man-woman to woman talk would be . . . interesting. That could lead to the most popular form of feminine bonding: shopping. You will need new underwear at the very least.

Have fun. Wish I could help more.
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grendel
post Sep 24 2004, 06:49 AM
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Has SURGE happened yet? Your character might believe that it is some kind of SURGE phenomenon, and thus try and locate a magical "cure" for it. In general, I think the denial stage is going to last a while, and should probably focus on him doing his best to conceal the fact that he is now a she and to somehow find a way to revert to his previous state of being. Perhaps an astral quest?
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Zenmaxer
post Sep 24 2004, 10:41 AM
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take advantage of your newly regrown flesh and cyber away! ;)
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Thistledown
post Sep 24 2004, 02:26 PM
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In real life, go to a hypnotist show. I did some work as a spotter at 4 shows last week, (making sure people don't fall out of their chairs), and you can learn a lot about peoples reactions to things. Don't go on stage, (things don't make logical sence much when you come down, so it wouldn't help you with your char), but stay in the audiance.

At one point in the shows I worked, all the guys were told they had Dolly Parton sized breasts. Their reactions ranged from shock and trying to cover up, to openly groaping, to comparing with other people. After a minute or so, they were told that things were back to normal.

If there is a hypnotist show in your area, it might do a similar gag, although not all of them do the same tricks. It might not give you any long term ideas, but could help with your character's short term reaction.
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nezumi
post Sep 24 2004, 02:37 PM
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Kill the character in question and all his friends.

No wait! You are the character. Sorry, too used to GMing...

I agree with everyone above, disbelief will be a major step. I think the big question is what do you do as a STRAIGHT LACED, ARROGANT man. A big question is how accepting you are of other things. Right now I'm imagining this as being similar to a straight-laced Catholic realizing he's as gay as can be (no offense meant to either group, simply meant as an example of conflicting beliefs).

Begin looking into unusual diseases, SURGE, magical phenomenon, checking your coffee for drugs, cancer, high tension power lines, so on and so forth. This really doesn't happen to people, so there must be something odd causing it, and odds are you're not turning into a woman, you're just manifesting traits which would appear feminine to the uneducated layman.

Once the changes become obvious, I expect you'd work hard to hide them, at least until you figure things out. Cosmetic spells or even cosmetic bioware are serious things to consider, and missing out on runs (especially during 'monthly cycles') could become a problem.

How old is the character in question? The younger he is, the more sexual tension to put in there. A college student aged person would... Alright, never mind what he'd do. Whereas someone who's really defined his identity as a working person and who's hormones have settled would focus more on the social impacts of this.

The disbelief and acceptance stage will be the hardest to roleplay. You need to decide how hard it is for you to accept this, and how you regard these changes (a blessing, a disease, strange drek) and act accordingly. It's quite likely your view on this will shift, perhaps multiple times, and your view of the world will change as well, sometimes drastically, as the hormones in your body go absolutely BONKERS. You aren't just going to be having all the problems of a female thought process or a male thought process, you're going to have to deal with the full dementia of sharp starts and stops of behavior modifying hormones you're not accustomed to. Frustration, curiosity, disbelief, anger, confusion and depression are all likely.

Tell us how it goes : ) I really would like more info on this, it sounds like a great story.
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Backgammon
post Sep 24 2004, 02:52 PM
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QUOTE (OurTeam)
Check out the movie "Switch" with Ellen Barkin and Jimmy Smits.
Disbelief.
Exploration.
One night stand with your best buddy...

Seriously, rent that movie. All your questions will be answered. Plus you'll be suitably entertained for 2 hours.
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Black Isis
post Sep 24 2004, 02:55 PM
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Sounds like an interesting turn of events....honestly though, by the time 2060 rolls around, I have a hard time thinking that sex reassignment surgeries will not have advanced to the point of this problem really being pretty moot if your character can't deal with it.

Speaking as someone who has dealt with a similar situation in real life herself, if you want to play it out, the reaction really can vary wildly; from denial, to self-blame, to....well, pretty much anything else you can think of. If your character is religious, I have a feeling something like this would really bring on a crisis of faith.

It's really hard for me to explain how it feels, but feeling like you are trapped in a body that isn't "right" is not a fun time, by any stretch of the imagination....
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Jason Farlander
post Sep 24 2004, 04:05 PM
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Thanks for all the advice. There is some really good stuff in here. I will now attempt to address your points individually, though there is a common portion of many posts that can be addressed once

Once the change occurs and (s)he recovers from the initial shock, the reason for the transformation won't be a huge mystery... it's just something he wouldnt expect to happen until it does.

-OurTeam & Backgammon:
I'll probably go ahead and do this, though I admit that the user rating of 5.3/10 over at IMDb has me a little worried about the actual entertainment value...

-Da9iel:
I like that astral projection idea. I think I'll use it (though I think twice would be enough to convince him... i mean herself that its not going to work.) Some great rp advice overall, thanks.

-grendel:
While the change would not be confused with a SURGE event, trying to find a magical cure would certainly be something she would look into, and, since she recently initiated, an astral quest would be a good thing to try. Thanks.

-Zenmaxer:
:cyber:

-Thistledown
Thats a good idea, but unfortunately not one that is really an option for me. Thanks for the amusing story though. :D

-nezumi
The first time I read that, I thought you were saying that (s)he should be checking his/her coffee for drugs, cancer, and high-tension power lines.
...that aside, the character is 28. So he's kinda in between the college age and the settled age, though he will be getting into (as per my understanding) the peak of female hormone activity (yay!) Oh, and yeah, I can post updates concerning her progression if that would be interesting.

-Black Isis
I thought about that, but the character is SINless and for some reason I have my doubts that there exists a thriving market for gender reassignment in the shadows. Also, there is the complication that he is awakened, which makes any surgery more difficult and riskier. I am thinking that she will probably persue magical cures first and at length, and, if all of those fail, just accept it and move on.

Again: thanks for all the comments and advice. I really appreciate the help.

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mfb
post Sep 24 2004, 04:10 PM
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y'know, i've always said that if i had a pair of my own, i'd never leave my room.
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Black Isis
post Sep 24 2004, 04:30 PM
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QUOTE (Jason Farlander @ Sep 24 2004, 11:05 AM)
-Black Isis
I thought about that, but the character is SINless and for some reason I have my doubts that there exists a thriving market for gender reassignment in the shadows.  Also, there is the complication that he is awakened, which makes any surgery more difficult and riskier.  I am thinking that she will probably persue magical cures first and at length, and, if all of those fail, just accept it and move on.

I dunno. Frankly, I don't think it would be hard to believe that you could find a doctor who would accept a large extra payment to keep such an operation off the books. Plus, I can see it being somewhat attractive if you're really on the run -- after all, if your enemies are looking for a man, becoming a woman will probably throw them off for a while. :) Plus, these days, there's a lot of shadowy places that will do SRS for people who don't really fulfill the usual requirements. For instance, if I want to see a reputable surgeon here in the US, I'll have to get a letter from two different psychologists saying I'm not crazy and that I really should have the surgery. I've heard there's a lot of doctors who really don't check these very well (I don't think Sigmund Freud is still practicing....) and in some places they don't even require the letters at all. I don't think that's very smart myself, but I'm just pointing out it's probably not as hard as you think. I think SSG states that SRS is pretty easy for people in 2063, if I remember the section on physical and sexual mores correctly.

Now, he's an interesting question I didn't think of until now. Since your astral form is your idealized self, will his astral form be male? That would be....interesting, to say the least. Will he want to spend dangerous amounts of time in the astral to live with his "real" body? I can see some real dysphoria happening there....
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GunnerJ
post Sep 24 2004, 04:36 PM
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Wasn't there an excerpt in SOTA:2063 about a guy quickening a Shapechange:Female Body spell to himself for a year?
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Jason Farlander
post Sep 24 2004, 04:43 PM
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QUOTE (Black Isis)
I think SSG states that SRS is pretty easy for people in 2063, if I remember the section on physical and sexual mores correctly.


It does, but this is still dealing with mainstream society. I dunno, if it comes to that, she would probably be more likely to, as is advised in the shadowtalk, get a quickened shapechange spell rather than deal with surgery.

QUOTE
Now, he's an interesting question I didn't think of until now.  Since your astral form is your idealized self, will his astral form be male?  That would be....interesting, to say the least.  Will he want to spend dangerous amounts of time in the astral to live with his "real" body?  I can see some real dysphoria happening there....


Indeed. Going a bit further, if his astral form does remain male at first (and im not sure about that, but its possible), perhaps, as she comes to accept her situation, the astral form would also begin its own gradual change... which could start up a whole new cycle of shock and denial... afterall, a purely physical change, however major, can be rationalized away as being merely physical - you can tell yourself that youre the same person in a different body. But when your astral form starts changing, you're forced to deal with the fact that you really are becomming a different person.
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hyzmarca
post Sep 24 2004, 04:56 PM
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There's also the matter of how he is going to explain the situation to his friends and teammates or if he will ever explain it to his friends and teammates.
He will almost certainly have soem fear of public riddicule and loss of reputation.
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k1tsune
post Sep 24 2004, 08:16 PM
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Look at some websites and things discussing transsexualism. MtF for the physical aspects of the change, FtM for the emotional and mental.
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BitBasher
post Sep 24 2004, 08:32 PM
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Also, if the PC is not aware this will happen be prepared for some potentially serious anger directed towards you. Arbitrarily doing somehting like that can cause a player to become detached from the character and not want to play it anymore. Be aware of that possibility, I've seen it happen.

A lot of times a PC is attached to a character because of who the character is, and you are fundamentally changing that.
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Kagetenshi
post Sep 24 2004, 08:41 PM
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I'm really not sure he'll ever come to accept his new gender. I know several transgendered individuals who haven't come to terms with their non-mental gender (not that they should or should not, just that they haven't), and I have a hard time believing that having actually been the same gender both mentally and physically will make it more likely. I'd think less.

~J
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Black Isis
post Sep 24 2004, 09:02 PM
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Yeah, I can't see him ever accepting the fact that's he's just a woman now, especially since there's no real reason for him to accept it -- the change was completely involuntary and it's not hard for him to reverse it.

Trust me, this isn't just something you can shrug off. I spent a lot of time trying to convince myself it just wasn't worth it to go through with transition before I just couldn't take it anymore. It's going to be even harder for him to accept because he "knows" he was supposed to be a man, whereas I had to go through a ton of internal struggle to realize I wasn't "supposed" to be male.

To be brutally honest, I think it's a bit of a silly plot twist, especially with as easy as SRS seems to be and trans* stuff seems to be accepted in 2060. It's like the guy having an arm chopped off and having to have a cloned limb regrown. It's frustrating, but it doesn't cause the kind of angst it would these days, where you have literally lost that arm forever.
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Jason Farlander
post Sep 24 2004, 10:00 PM
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QUOTE (BitBasher)
Also, if the PC is not aware this will happen be prepared for some potentially serious anger directed towards you. Arbitrarily doing somehting like that can cause a player to become detached from the character and not want to play it anymore. Be aware of that possibility, I've seen it happen.

A lot of times a PC is attached to a character because of who the character is, and you are fundamentally changing that.

Since you seem to have missed this...

*I* am the player in question. Ihave already discussed this with the GM, and I am cool with it.

@Kagetenshi and Black Isis
Here is the difference I see - in normal gender alteration procedures, the person undergoes psychological conditioning for a long time (unless they shadily bypass this), recieves regular hormone treatments which will continue well past the actual surgery, and then have their reproductive organs surgically altered to match their new gender. The changes are far from perfect, and the trouble accepting the new gender comes as much from conditioning as from weird hormonal interactions

In this case, on an intrinsic, genetic level, the character is becomming female. He will not suffer from any conflicting hormones, because the hormones being naturally produced will change to match the new gender. The body is redesigning itself to match the new gender. Since the brain chemistry would likewise be changing to match with the physical changes, I imagine that he will come to naturally, instinctively *feel* female, even though on a higher, more cerebral level he would not - and the development of this instinctive feel wouldnt take that long, as hormonal influences are very powerful. I further think that, eventually, the instinctive sense of self would work to override the cerebral sense.

Now, if you want to say that transgender operations in the 2060's involve a good deal of gene therapy thats fine - but, as an awakened character, given how very little is known about the magus factors, he would be very, very reluctant to have any gene-altering techniques done (she will, in fact, be very happy that what has transpired did not destroy her magical ability). If it doesn't involve gene therapy, it carries with it all the same problems that modern SRS does - and consider that the character would then be a man who biologically and genetically has become a woman and then has cosmetically been changed back into a man. I cant imagine that being good for his mental stability.

Yes this is a little silly, and yes is is very, very firmly in the fiction end of science fiction. But there exist no real world examples of this specific sort of thing happening, and I doubt there ever will, so the details of how it plays out are kinda up in the air.
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k1tsune
post Sep 24 2004, 10:07 PM
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QUOTE (Jason Farlander)
@Kagetenshi and Black Isis
Here is the difference I see - in normal gender alteration procedures, the person undergoes psychological conditioning for a long time (unless they shadily bypass this), recieves regular hormone treatments which will continue well past the actual surgery, and then have their reproductive organs surgically altered to match their new gender. The changes are far from perfect, and the trouble accepting the new gender comes as much from conditioning as from weird hormonal interactions

In this case, on an intrinsic, genetic level, the character is becomming female. He will not suffer from any conflicting hormones, because the hormones being naturally produced will change to match the new gender. The body is redesigning itself to match the new gender. Since the brain chemistry would likewise be changing to match with the physical changes, I imagine that he will come to naturally, instinctively *feel* female, even though on a higher, more cerebral level he would not - and the development of this instinctive feel wouldnt take that long, as hormonal influences are very powerful. I further think that, eventually, the instinctive sense of self would work to override the cerebral sense.

Now, if you want to say that transgender operations in the 2060's involve a good deal of gene therapy thats fine - but, as an awakened character, given how very little is known about the magus factors, he would be very, very reluctant to have any gene-altering techniques done (she will, in fact, be very happy that what has transpired did not destroy her magical ability). If it doesn't involve gene therapy, it carries with it all the same problems that modern SRS does - and consider that the character would then be a man who biologically and genetically has become a woman and then has cosmetically been changed back into a man. I cant imagine that being good for his mental stability.

Yes this is a little silly, and yes is is very, very firmly in the fiction end of science fiction. But there exist no real world examples of this specific sort of thing happening, and I doubt there ever will, so the details of how it plays out are kinda up in the air.

*blink blink* Psychological conditioning?

Damn! That's my problem! I forgot to register for brainwashing!
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Kagetenshi
post Sep 24 2004, 10:09 PM
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People generally feel transgendered before they go in for any sort of treatment. At least I think so… <insert tinfoil hat smiley here; we really need one>

~J
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Jason Farlander
post Sep 24 2004, 10:23 PM
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-sigh-

you know, sometimes i feel like its not even worth trying to avoid offending people... its just going to happen anyway, despite my efforts...

to clarify: i did not mean to imply that people were brainwashed into undergoing the operation, just that it is a rather major life-changing decision and part of that process is mentally preparing oneself for those changes, which means therapy, and my understanding was that there was quite a bit of therapy involved in the process.

yaknow... you are conditioning yourself... psychologically... to be better able to accept the change...

...i'll just stop now
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