Ahem. Magical sex changes? Magical reproduction?

Hey, I've got some funky questions.

I've got a misogynistic maga. (Like so many women I know, she hates women.) And it's occurred to me that she might prefer to be a man, or at least give it a try.

MuCo allows her to completely alter the shape of her body very easily. But MuCo doesn't allow for increases to physical characteristics, so I imagine the shape-changing spell to be superficial and not adequate to changing sex. It could change sexual appearance, but not generate even remotely functional reproductive organs.

To increase a physical characteristic, one must use CrCo. Would a woman need CrCo to become a man? Could PrCo make a man into a woman? I'll give my theory for comment. (All misogyny here is Aristotle's, and none of it is mine.)

Someone might say that one's sex is part of one's essential nature. That seems wrong to me; essence is genetic nature and men and women have the same one. Both men and women grow from sperm, it's just that some of them grow better than others. The cause of sex is the mother's body: sperm are perfectly human, but some live in ill-formed wombs that deform them, and they become women. Sex is an accidental, not an essential, trait.

However, I could definitely see a functional sex change from woman to man violating the Limit of the Divine. Semen carries the human form, which is the soul. Only the Divine can create souls. To make a functional male, then, would be to make something that the Divine uses to make souls, and that's the prerogative of the Divine. So, no making functional men. Likewise, no making functional semen. (Every sperm is sacred!)

But there's functional and there's functional. I can imagine using MuCo to change the appearance of the body from female to make, and CrCo to make the body sexually functional, though sterile.

Making functional women would be much easier: a woman is a place in which a very tiny human being, a sperm, matures. Likewise, one could use PrCo to turn a man into a woman, by destroying the reproductive capacity. (Base of level 20: destroy or sever a limb, would be the starting point for the Emasculation spell.)

While you could just have a long-duration spell to affect the change from man to woman, you would probably need vis to make a woman who could produce breast milk. (Speaking of which, what is the form of breast milk? Corpus? Animal? Aquam?)

Anyway, my somewhat sex-obsessed character eagerly awaits reports on her prospects.

Immediate thought , Warping.
Spell would be made for the specific individual though.
Still get long term warping for continuous effect.
Her Talisman could be enchanted to provide the MuCo effect.
Any device really , Talisman just seems thematic.
CrCo spell to increase stats are very Vis intensive.
The character generation system is remarkably non-sexist however.

Temptations of the Infernal or possibly Faerie.
As i understand it , Incubi and Succubi are the same thing.
The Spirit as Succubus would seduce men and take their semen.
Then the Spirit as Incubus would impregnate a woman.
Some sort of Pact to provide hell-spawn or changeling children.

She could live as a man , but could steal semen to impregnate women.
Not sure how the rest of the Covenant would react to these practices though.
No sex need be involved.
Rego Corpus could simply move the semen from any male to any female of her choice.
Sight range might be best for this sort of thing.
A Maga chanting and pointing at women who get pregnant not long after would be remembered.

I can't believe I didn't think about that.

The reproduction question was sort of academic. Artificial insemination doesn't seem to raise any interesting questions about the theory of magic.

I'll stop now, because at least one other member of my troupe is reading this and I just had a crazy story idea. I'll want for him to have at least fifteen seconds of suspense....

Your idea that each sperm is a male person deformed by poor wombs into a female person is not held much in period. I believe the period belief is that women, too, generate sperm, and the stronger of the two armies of sperm determines the sex.

Can you give me a source on that? And what are men for?

As to what men are for, you didn't quite follow me. Both men and women produce sperm. The sperm of the two sides fight a battle, and the stronger side determines the gender of the child. Men are for making male sperm, because lacking the male sperm, the female sperm cannot generate a child. Similiarly, if a woman does not produce her sperm, then there can be no child. This is...um...actually this is classical Greek, so I shouldn't have mentioned it. Sorry about that.

I do agree that your form of things has some precendent, now that I think on it. Saint Hildegard sees things as you do, but the diustortion is not due, in her writing, to the womb, but due to the strength or weakness of the man's seed. She believes temprament is due to how much the parents love each other at the moment of conception, so if you don't love your wife and have stale seed, you get bitter daughters from it.

Why is that supposed to be?

Where I come from, Aristotle is definitely "some precedent." :slight_smile:

A person's gender is part of his/her essential nature, so no hermetic spell could change this permanently - MuCo could do so short term, but no you will revert...

As for a sex-changed person producing children - we're moving into creating life, are we not? Another thing Hermetic magic cannot do.

Why do you say that?

I agree with what Ulf says.

MuCo could do it for a while but it will revert if not sustained. As for reproducing while in the form of the other sex, it could definetively be done with the help of the infernal.

I would allow it following a CrCo ritual designed to render the person fertile. It could be intergrated into the MuCo effect.

I would see it as:

MuCo(Cr), Ritual : A night on the other side of the mirror.
(Base ??, +0 Per, +2 Sun, +0 Ind, +1Rq)

I don't have the book in front of me but I'm sure you can work out the level. This would be fine for a Woman to Men transformation. If you go the other way around, I would use this version:

MuCo(Cr,Re), Ritual : Changing skin for but a full moon cycle.
(Base ??, +0 Per, +3 Moon, +0 Ind, +1Rq Cr, +1 Rq Re)

The baby will grow and mature within one moon cycle. Concepted under the moon, the baby will be born under the next one, ending the spell.


Level 3 is "Utterly change the appearance or size of a person (though they must remain human in form".

add +1 magnitude for range : Touch, and +2 more for duration Sun, and that brings us to L10.

This would give you the appearance of the other sex.

A reading of the Muto Corpus guidelines, however, states that "Transformations do not usually completely eradicate the original form; Something of the original remains. If you change a fat, one armed man into a wolf, the wolf will be fat, 3 legged, and male."

You could draw 2 conclusions from this:

  1. That Sex is part of your essential nature, and hermetic magic can't do a thing about it, or...
  2. It is a more difficult transformation to accomplish.

Essential nature is something that has always given me fits; What is the essential nature of Man? I had thought it was 1) We have souls. 2) We're mortal. 3)We can seek redemption, or not, at our choice. What Man's essential nature is a question for the Philosophers (I have a friend going for his PhD, I'll ask him. :slight_smile: ). But is gender a part of it?

Anyway, I think sex is accidental, not essential. I'd quote the Old testament, but I don't think it'd be appreciated here. However, the divine is the authority on the subject, and God created Woman from Man. Man and Woman are essentialy the same, coming from the same source. Gender is, for want of a better term, accidental (and boy, what a wreck that turned out to be...)

So, I would put our gender flipping spell in at around L30, adding a +4 magnitudes for 'really complicated and intricate effect', especially if you wanted 'functionality'. And make it a ritual.

That's what I'd do for my Saga, but YMMV.


If CrCo was all that was needed, I don't think longevity potions would have sterility as a side effect.

My view is that the desired effect is simply impossible to achieve by Hermetic means. Muto can violate one's essential nature but not actually alter it. I believe the Creo effect could only work towards restoring the target according to his or her essential nature, not causing a further violation.

Faerie magic would probably be up to the task, though.

Faerie magic could produce children - but ones without souls... (not a good thing?) Only the divine can produce true life, so that is what you need to make children with souls...

As for gender being essensial nature, I'm having problems understanding why you even doubt this. A man is a man, and a woman is a woman. Only modern day science has started generating confusion about this, but then again that same science generates confusion about the essensial nature of a mouse not being a human, and that really has little impact on the world of medival myth.

I don't understand why the essential nature subject keeps coming up.

If you are born a man, your essential nature is being a man.
If you are born a woman, your essential nature is being a woman.

Changing from one to the other violates the essential nature which means that the effect will need to be sustained by magic to keep on going. Now Hermetic magic is very good at altering the essential nature of something. It is what it does in most Mu effects (If not all :stuck_out_tongue: )

Let us see what can be done.

Man to beast a Bijornaer can probably reproduce while in his beast form right ? This means that you can reproduce in another form.

Beast to Man: This is the stuff that makes deamon babies in our mythology for sure :stuck_out_tongue:

Man to Woman: Despite all the fuss, I see no problem with is. It is magic afterall... As for fertility, the longivity potion issue that prevents reproduction is simply due to the effect of the longivity potion. Not because it is Creo magic. After reflection, I don't event believe it would be nessesary to have a Cr rq in the MuCo ritual. Adding a few levels to the base 3 is to your discretion for game balance but I don`t believe that this effect should be of too high level.

I would agree with you and say no. We've got two basic choices for the essential nature of man (according to medievals). We can go with pagan Aristotle and say that man is the rational animal. In that case, since men and women are both rational animals, they're essentially the same. Women might be deformed, not capable of the highest reaches of reason, but you've got to have a given form (essence) before you can count as deformed relative to that form. (I am not, for instance, a horribly deformed tiger, because I don't have the tiger form at all.)

Or we can take a more religious approach and say that man is the animal with an immortal soul. (By identifying the soul with reason or the rational faculty, they can have both the best pagan and the essential religious idea.) In that case, since women have immortal souls, they share essence with men.

(And, by the way, I'm qualified by your criteria to wonder what man's essential nature is. :smiley:)

Seems reasonable.

But consider the following arguments, identical in form to those above:

A baby is a baby, and an adult is an adult. Therefore, being a baby is a baby's essential nature. (Thus, only the employment of vis could sustain a change from baby to adult.)

If you are born a baby, your essential nature is being a baby. If you are born an adult, your essential nature is being an adult. (Thus, only the employment of vis could sustain a change from baby to adult.)

When I ask why it is that y'all believe that sex is part of something's essential nature, it's because I expect that our essential nature is species membership (i.e., rational animality), which men and women share, and/or the possession of an immortal soul, which men and women share. Your arguments seem to consist in pointing out that it's a fact about, e.g., men that they are men, and inferring from the fact that men have the property of being male that they have that property essentially. But with that sort of reasoning, you'll find that skin color, height, weight, and every other property is essential. The whole point of distinguishing between essential and accidental properties is so that we don't think that any two randomly chosen properties of a thing are equally important to the identity of the thing.

If we assume that Aristotle's theory is the medieval paradigm, then the man to woman transition is the easier; it might even be done by perdo magic! The woman to man transition, I hypothesized, might violate the limit of the divine, if the man were reproductively functional.

A baby is a baby. Natural states can be affected by Rego magic. To grow a baby, use ReCo guidelines.

Color, height,weight & everything else is part of the essential nature of a thing. I think you should re-read the essential nature part of the core book. i know that essential nature by ilself can take many forms by in Arsmagica, it is well defined already.

Ah yes, pp. 79:

"The basic shape of the human body is also part of the essential nature, althouggh bits can be cut off. Men are essentially male, and women essentially female..."

Now, what my esteemed troupe member (Hi Bryan!) is saying regarding Aristotelian paradim makes sense to me, but the fact is that there is a canonical statement contradicting him. Which, if I may digress for a moment, brings to mind something that I've been considering for a
while, and something of a radical departure from the generally accepted paradigm: Mythic Europe does NOT operate wholly within an Aristotelean framework, it just happens to operate within it quite a bit more than our own universe. Remember, the explanations for how things work in this universe come to us through the theories of Hermetic Magi who are bound to be wrong about many things. Undoubtedly, many MANY things, from the true limit of essential nature to the delineation of the Four Realms. Although we should use their points of reference as OUR points of reference (Aristotle and what have you), we must bear in mind that an essential aspect of the Medieval Paradigm is "The Unknown" and that no matter how self assured our magi are that something SHOULD work doesn't mean it's going to. The fact is that their world, like ours, is dark in the center and blurry around the edges.

Okay, now that Bohemian notes the page, I concede defeat on the issue of sex, when it comes to the canon. Too bad for the canon, from my point of view, since Aristotle is supposed to be the authority on natural philosophy, which studies the natures of things, but also has (apparently) been ignored when it came to specifying natures.

I get the argument about how Aristotle isn't everything, and that's okay, but it seems that if the canon were that Aristotle's natural philosophy was wrong on a very, very fundamental issue (and this is one), then that might have come up in the mention of the authorities for Philosophiae. Of course Aristotle is wrong about plenty of things: Aristotle didn't believe in magic, and he was wrong about that. But the denial of magic isn't at the core of his natural philosophy, either.

But, okay, like I say, all grumbling aside, I concede defeat. Especially since my GM gets to win any fight he bleedin' well pleases.

But this is going too far. (Not the part about how I should read the book. That's a pretty modest demand! Obviously I should have checked the book on this issue, and sorry for the confusion I've caused by not doing so.)

If every property of a thing is part of its essence, then any change to anything will require vis.

The base 3 MuCo spell that lets you change your shape, for instance, would require vis. But I don't see that every muto spell is a ritual (though every such spell does require "maintaining," a word for which I cannot find a definition — I certainly hope that vis isn't required for every muto spell).

Further, such rego spells that move something in a way that is "unnatural" to it would be rituals, since they violate an essential nature of a thing: the way it moves.

Creo spells that create permanent effects like healing have to take vis for game balance reasons, and I guess that the excuse is that you're violating the essential nature of healing. But obviously your actual soak is a property that you naturally have, so the creo corpus spells that just increase soak would change your essential nature and so would require vis.

All perdo changes a thing from its nature to an unnatural deformity, so all perdo would require vis.

Intellego, though, might not require vis.

Where do you get that changing essential nature requires vis? That contradicts nearly half the spells in the book. Essential nature can't be permanently changed by magic, vis or no.

All things decay, so degredation and destruction of any one thing is not against essential nature.

Ah... a point of confusion surfaces.

ONLY ritual changes and permanent creations require vis. Temporary ones, up to the year duration, do not.

So, if I understand correctly, no change to form can be rendered permanent at all, whether hair color, foot size or body fat index (except through the use of continual effect magic items, which is something of a cheat).

Now, that doesn't stop the maga from changing her sex for a moment, a diamater, a sun or a moon, any of which will not require the use of vis. For a year's worth of manliness she'll have to use a ritual (which requires vis) and for longer than that she'll have to rig up some sort of continual effect cod-piece or whatever.