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Author Topic: Transsexed plot twist: freeware idea  (Read 1936 times)
Thuringwaethiel
Member

Posts: 17


« on: May 13, 2004, 06:07:59 AM »

Though I checked only briefly, I believe this hasn't been brought up yet..

The idea spawned from several topic about cross-gender playing. Some influence came from the Depression RPG, too.

The idea is to play transsexed characters. But not the way most people think first. This isn't your typical cross-gender thing. The boys play male characters and girls play female. The twist is that the male characters have vulva and breasts, and females grow beard and have more balls than is healthy. That is, the character's basic psychology is the same as the player's, but the body is wrong. The guys will have PMS and the gals poorly controlled aggression. Angst and other mental problems come with the bargain. Player has an extremely strong motivation with both short and long term goals; to survive and fix the body. Also if GM manages to talk several players to try this, they have the common nominator that keeps them together (but doesn't make them symbiotic friends-forever).

Note about game:

Stats: if you follow the "reality rules", the characters will have the mental abilitie of their true gender and physical ones according to their body. This is difficult in most systems, and impossible in others. Tailored approach is in order. I suggest a following concept where stats range from 1 to 10, 5 being average. This is only a rough example, different systems ought to make their own math.

Male: strength 3 to 6, size 3 to 6, agility 5 to 10, appearance 1 to 4
Female: strength 5 to 10, size 4 to 9, agility 3 to 6, appearance 1 to 4
Both will have high empathy (or similar stat)

When male character gets hormone therapy, he gets +2 strength, +1 to size, -2 to agility and +d6 to appearance. Female character will get -2 to strength, +3 to agility and +d6 to appearance. Both will have some bonus to their presence/cool/charisma/whatever. The appearance here is more like a "self-image", others might see thing differently, but that's their problem.

Both character types start with severe mental problems, which can be suffocated by drug use (and/or abuse) and/or whatever (self)destructive behaviour you come up with (violence, traffic speeding, sex addiction, kleptomania). These problems diminish when hormone therapy is started, and all but disappear during other treatments.

Transsexed person can be of any sexual orientation. However, average people usually don't get it. And if characters are straight, the girls will be mistaken as gay men, and boys as lesbians. However, they are not, and it will surface sooner or later, wanted or not. And (too) many gay people are surprisingly transphobic.

The obstacles of sex reassignment varie between genres, but it will never be easy. Some difficulties to pick:

- SR operation is illegal or heavily burdened with bureaucracy
- drugs, surgery and other treatments are horribly expensive
- church or similar societial moral institute plays their Sin card
- average people are uninformed, ignorant, misinformed or plain hostile (all the way to seek-and-destroy if GM wants, it's just realistic)
- technology just isn't there (pre-modern settings) or exists on the other side of the world
- low-class drugs, incompetent doctors and variable con people
- whatever shit GM can make up; this kind of life is often described as the Hell on Earth

Theoretically this plot goes with any genre, but it fits best in modern or near future settings. However, pre-modern and fantasy could provide extremely interesting variations of the theme. All in all, being transsexed provides plenty of excuses to gather resources and survive random violence, no matter what the setting is.

If one wants to play this kind of game properly, it should not be diminished to slapstick comedy. A laugh every now and then is ok, but remember that being transsexed is certain type of handicap, not a joke. It would be very handy to have a TS person as a GM, or at least a consultant. Of course there is literature and fairly good websites, too. And don't forget movies: "Boy's don't cry" and "Different for Girls" tell good, realistic stories.

This is mostly an "educative" plot device, but it could provide entertainment, too. Hope someone takes the bait..
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AnyaTheBlue
Member

Posts: 187


« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2004, 07:53:14 AM »

Well, this is not a game I would have fun playing, but I think I understand where you are coming from.  I think it would make me cry more than anything, though.

Another good source of inspiration might be "La Vie En Rose" (My Life in Pink), a french-language film about a boy who wants to be a girl, and what effect it has on his family.

Interesting approach, all the same!
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Dana Johnson
Note that I'm heavily medicated and something of a flake.  Please take anything I say with a grain of salt.
ethan_greer
Member

Posts: 869


WWW
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2004, 08:41:43 AM »

Cool. Seems like it'd be pretty darned intense.

One thing I'm unclear on: Are you picturing a regular old role-playing game, but one in which the character, in addition to whatever is happening in the game, also happens to be a transsexual?

Or, are you talking about a game specific to the subject matter, similar to the clinical depression game, in which play becomes more of a thought exercise and/or teaching tool?
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taalyn
Member

Posts: 370

Aidan Grey


« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2004, 01:41:06 PM »

It's not what you're offering, but there is a game coming out this fall which will do something like this. The game is Wraeththu, based on Storm Constantine's trilogy. The Wraeththu are the race that supplants humanity, and are hermaphroditic. Humans can be "incepted" into the Wraeththu through transfusion.

I don't know a lot of details about the game, but I do know that just by dint of the setting, issues of gender will be easy to highlight.
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Aidan Grey

Crux Live the Abnatural
DannyK
Guest
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2004, 02:43:41 PM »

I think there's a whole continuum of gender dysphoria; in my work in mental health, I've met postop transexuals who were extremely unhappy (despite a good "technical" result) and others who decided to stop with some hormones.  It's going to be a very tricky subject to model, if you want to do it justice.
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Andrew Martin
Member

Posts: 785


« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2004, 03:41:47 PM »

Quote from: AnyaTheBlue
Well, this is not a game I would have fun playing, but I think I understand where you are coming from. I think it would make me cry more than anything, though.


I agree with Dana.

Thuringwaethiel, you can freely use the rules I wrote up for Ben on this closed thread here:
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=11196
I think they will help make the game design more beautiful.
Perhaps they could be extended into a counselling tool for helping counsellors and T* people with increasing medical technology?
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Andrew Martin
AnyaTheBlue
Member

Posts: 187


« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2004, 04:50:52 PM »

Quote from: DannyK
I think there's a whole continuum of gender dysphoria...


Yup.

Since I'm being the token (only?) TG this week here at the Forge, some links I think are worthwhile on the subject, in case anybody is feeling industrious and wants to do research.  YMMV:

True Selves -- probably the best book for a non-TG person to read first about the topic.

My Husband Betty -- One of the better books (for everybody) on what it's like to go through this, but not a good place to start, I don't think.  It is fantastic, though.

Gender Shock -- A generally good book about gender roles and stereotypes without a focus on TG issues at all.

A Glossary of TG-related terms.

A Description of the Problem -- An unfortunate font choice, but readable and useful.

This American Life episode 220: Testosterone -- The second act, an interview with a female-to-male transsexual about the effects he experienced starting testosterone are an interesting mirror-image of what I've gone through going the other way.  I have a different perspective, but I found this to be a fascinating look at someone whose experience is similar yet different.

The Harry Benjamin Institute's Standards of Care -- This is the general medical approach to treating people who are diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder.  Or, as some of us view it (not myself), the hoops we have to jump through to get treatment.

DSM-IV GID entry and analysis -- Yes, just like gay people in the 70s, we're technically considered mentally ill.  And the only recognized treatment, Gender Reassignment Surgery, is 'experimental' and 'cosmetic' and pretty much not covered by anybody's insurance.  Who, me?  Bitter?  :/

HBIGDA Amicus Brief on Virginia TG prisoner case -- Starting with paragraph 4, an excellent summary/review of the current state of the art as to cause.

Lynn Conway -- One of the inventors of the Microchip (I'm simplifying).

The Man Who Would be Queen review/investigation -- Just some of the... ahem... crap we have to put up with.

Okay, enough Transgender Do-Gooding for the day...  :/
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Dana Johnson
Note that I'm heavily medicated and something of a flake.  Please take anything I say with a grain of salt.
AnyaTheBlue
Member

Posts: 187


« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2004, 05:04:00 PM »

Quote from: Andrew Martin
Perhaps they could be extended into a counselling tool for helping counsellors and T* people with increasing medical technology?


I'm not sure any of this would really help T* people directly.

I see them as more useful for explicating our issues to non-T* people.

Guys frequently (but not always) react in one of two characteristic ways (I'll paraphrase):

1) Dude, why would you want to cut it off?

2) You aren't going to be pretty, you know

RPGs (or perhaps Role Playing Excercise would be a better term?) like this one would allow me to make my point about what I feel, and why my ultimate level of attractiveness, while a general concern, has little or nothing to do with motivating me to fix my (to me) deformed body.

Speaking only for myself, the biggest issue I have had to deal with is simple self acceptance.  Getting to a point where I wasn't ashamed to be myself and wasn't thinking I had less intrinsic value than other people has made a huge difference in my quality of life.  Once I had that, I was able to embrace my gender issues constructively, which in turn has increased my quality of life by another few orders of magnitude.

I'm not sure this kind of excercise would really help me accept myself better.  But everybody's different, and that doesn't mean such a thing wouldn't be useful in some way.

Just my opinion, though.
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Dana Johnson
Note that I'm heavily medicated and something of a flake.  Please take anything I say with a grain of salt.
Thuringwaethiel
Member

Posts: 17


« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2004, 02:55:17 AM »

Quote from: ethan_greer
One thing I'm unclear on: Are you picturing a regular old role-playing game, but one in which the character, in addition to whatever is happening in the game, also happens to be a transsexual?

Or, are you talking about a game specific to the subject matter, similar to the clinical depression game, in which play becomes more of a thought exercise and/or teaching tool?


Yup, forgot to address that.. I started thinking this as a plot device that could be inserted in a given genre and system. Cyberpunk was sort of a starting point, for various reasons. (I've seldom seen properly done character background or motivation in CP genre, and being T* provides those, I hope. Also the desperate situation helps build the desperate feeling CP is about. T* people are living on the edge by default.)

Of course this could be developed into an independent game, but then it would be quite purely an educative excersice, and propably not that appealing. And there's a risk of isolating the T* phenomena from the other parts of life. Though labeled one, it is not a mental disease like depression, but a physical condition. It would be much smaller problem without the sociological, legal and other "human" aspects. If "only" a plot device, the T* factor would be part of game-life, as it is a part of real life, too.

Quote from: Anya
Well, this is not a game I would have fun playing, but I think I understand where you are coming from. I think it would make me cry more than anything, though.


I think you hit the nail on the head, sis. =) And yes, this isn't meant to play by those who live it (though they of course can), but to offer "normal" people a way to a bit better understanding. That's why I considered integration rather than independent game; basically I just offer motivation and background to let's say a Cyberpunk character, but during the char generation and play, there's an opportunity to educate the players. In the name of fun, but with more serious (and sad) undercurrents. Infotainment if you wish..

Quote from: DannyK
I think there's a whole continuum of gender dysphoria; in my work in mental health, I've met postop transexuals who were extremely unhappy (despite a good "technical" result) and others who decided to stop with some hormones. It's going to be a very tricky subject to model, if you want to do it justice.


Believe me, I know.. I just started with the form I know best ("simple" transsexuality). Plus it's pretty "easy" to model. Androgynes, neutres and other TG people are harder to model game-wise; I'd rather leave it to someone who really knows it. But the basic difference is less or easier treatments, and more problems with law, bureaucracy and simpletons. Psychosocial issues are more complicated, sometimes easier, sometimes harder.
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