Shapechanging and having children...

Hi all

I have a male magus, a young Jerbiton from Theban tribunal, born in purple with a faeric supranatural power from his special birth : shapechanging man/woman... meaning he can change sex at will (with Shapechanging ability for man/woman only).
He is married (true love) with one of the Jerbiton Prima Domus'filia who just got a baby... but that's not the problem

I was wondering, if my character is getting pregnant while being a woman, what would happen if during her pregnancy she turns back to manly form?

Loosing the baby?
A baby with the same power?

First of all, it shouldn't happen has he has true love... but just thinking to much

I had the same trouble with a Bjoarnaër NPC between horse (heartbeast) and maga...

Any idea?

This is the Essential Nature of your magus.
Unless the character is not human in some way , say having a Might Score ,
then he cannot get pregnant , regardless of shapechanging ability.

Two problems with this argument.

First, if we're going to rely on the Limit of Essential Nature we need a better definition of what's essential and what isn't. Do you know of any published AM products that address this in any detail?

Edit: I realize the Limit of Essential Nature text in AM5 says that sex is essential but it also says that having one arm is essential, which doesn't match Aristotle as far as I can tell so I take it with a grain of salt.

Second, as the Limit of Essential nature on page 79 of AM5 reads:

This indicates that magic can temporarily make essential changes. So it's not at all clear to me that you can't really and truly change sex with magic, even assuming that maleness/femaleness is essential and not accidental, and then reproduce. I would suspect quite the opposite.

HoH:MC deals with shapeshifting and pregnancy, I believe.

I would say that a male human transformed into female form can produce children, but must remain in female form for the length of the pregnancy.

I base that on a semi-appliciable mythic precident in the story of Gwydion and Gilfaethwy - two brothers who are punished by being transformed into male and female animals for a year, breeding and returned to be transformed, along with their offspring, back into human form (before the brothers are punished again, repeating the cycle three times). Of course, technically Gwydion et al are children of Don, making them faerie beings (at least they would have been under the old conception of faeries, not sure under the new) but I think the precident still applies.

I would sooner refer to Loki, a male god, which shapechanged and thus produced offspring.

It would not be common, even for shapechangers, but the myth is already there...

Well, there's a virtually identical Virtue in Realms of Power: the Infernal, p. It's called Gender Shift, and allows one to "change genders" each midnight, without any need to roll. It's a Minor Supernatural Virtue, associated with the Infernal (though I could see a character associated with Faerie having something similar). With quite a bit of foresight, the authors end its description writing "Pregnant characters may not use this Power".

I think that options are pretty much that when the "mother" changes sex:

  • this is an immediate miscarriage (which will be very messy, as the male character doesn't have the correct physiology for that either)
  • or pregnancy continues (if the "mother" is still male at birth time surgical or magical intervention will be required).

If (like in the typical Bjornaer example) the mother changes species, then you also need to describe what happens to the baby, while it is in the shapeshifting womb:

  • either the baby shapeshifts too
  • or the baby is the same species as it was at conception --- which will possibly cause problems for the mother, especially if the alternative species are of vastly different size
  • or the baby is some sort of hybrid
  • or the shapeshifting causes immediate miscarriage.

If the baby survives and is born it seems entirely sensible that it would have some sort of supernatural virtues/flaws from this experience in the womb, either immediately from birth or that it develops later in life.

As to the answer to these questions, I think it is clearly just a matter for your troupe to decide. There is no reason for it to always be the same in your saga either.

Thanks for your answers :slight_smile:

I would also think that he would have to stay as a woman if he was pregnant...

Right now he will be a father... with his true love... so it is unlikely that he would become pregnant, specially that power is quite secret amongst the Order...
I hope the child will be gifted... (It will depends on my DM's and husband's will... and dice roll)

No real conflict, as long as you accept that it is in the Essential Nature of a Form to change. A baby's Form is different from the youth and the adult he will become, but growing up is part of one's Essential Nature. So is healing. So if you lose your arm, it can be grown back or reattached with magic -- no conflict with Essential Nature. But if your body heals the wound resulting from the loss of your arm, it is then too late to use magic to restore the lost limb, since Essential Nature has changed. All of the situations with blind or limbless magi (for example) are those where the wound has healed before magic could be used to restore the injury.

What this means to the shapechanged man who becomes pregnant is debatable. You have to discount supernatural creatures (like Loki) who did this - they don't follow the same rules as humans. If the change is total rather than just cosmetic (which is a decision for the troupe), then the shapechanged man is physically female, and has all the properties of a woman - including the capacity to bring a baby to term. If she changes sex while pregnant in my opinion the baby is lost - a man cannot sustain the life of a foetus.



So , man into woman , pregnancy and then child.
The essential nature of the man is changed only while the spell is in effect.
Said child is part of the mother and affected by the spell until it is born.

What is the Essential Nature of the child?
Is it a Man of Woman Born?
Not without a constant Muto spell in effect it isnt.

As it does not have a basic essential nature that makes it human ,
you have something without a might score that looks human , but isnt.

If you use Creo as a guideline , as soon as the duration of the spell ends ,
you end up with a mundane corpse. (page 77 , ArM 05)

For your troupe to decide, but I'd say:

  • Either he can't change until he's had the baby
  • Or he can, and loses the baby. Depending on time, he'll probably take a wound, severity increasing with pregnancy.

If the baby is Part of the mother*, then the spell will affect it same as an arm, a leg, or the genital organs**. Therefore it will shift into nothing as it is not part of the Essential Nature of a man. When shifting back, well it got lost on the way.

*I do not know when (medievally) the baby will not be Part anymore, but when is an apple not part of the tree? My guess is "when it matters for the story."

** Or, if shapeshifting into animal, are tails and other animal-only Parts created upon shapeshifting? And will they be destroyed when returning to human. Do they do so vanishing, or falling to the ground? I believe all attributes part of the Essential Nature appear and vanish, taken from the Ideal creature, be it color, fur, tail.

Another interesting question: when is your beard part of your essential nature? Would you lose it when returning to normal form?

Now an argument could be made that your Essential Nature is woman and that the pregnant attributes is not lost but hidden in the cloak of the transformation.

In fertility magic, unborn child is "part" in the mother's womb

The essential nature of my Jerbiton is to be man and woman interchangeably, because he got a faeric power (when you are born "in the purple" that is in the purple room of the Constantinople's Royal Palace, you got a supranatural power, faeric, divine, magic or infernal).
So being born as a male, but with that power, his nature is to be both (but not at the same time).
So he has the minor vertue : shapechanging man/woman only. It is not a spell, so it gives no warping effect.
(his master is hermaphrodite, Syagricus, Moeros garden, Theban Tribunal)

When a woman, she is always virgin, when just shapechanged, but no reason not to be able to bear children... As said earlier, I guess she should stay as a woman for the nine months...

It seems your character's ability is close to the Personna supernatural ability, described in HoH: S p89.

It may interest you to know that, with this:

You are right, the virtue should be better "personna" than "shapechanger"... I changed it