TG in RPGs (Adventures)

Tales of the Arabian Nights

Contributed by Christopher Leeson

Although technically not a role-playing game in the standard sense of the term, the classic "Tales of the Arabian Nights" game by West End Games is definitely an interesting hybrid of board game, role-playing game and storytelling device all rolled into one. The game allows one or more players to adventure in the classic style of Aladdin, the 1001 tales, the forty thieves and Sinbad's voyages. Along the way, the player can develop skills, wealth or a famous reputation, fall in love, or fall victim to various curses. In this last category, there are two major outcomes the game supports�getting transformed into an ape-like creature or (you guessed it) becoming a member of the opposite sex.

The game has a very high replayability factor since the encounters and characters you meet along the way will vary depending on your skills and standing, the way you react, and random chance. Not surprisingly, your character's gender can also change the outcome of an encounter. Although the game is relatively well-balanced for characters of either gender, there are certain encounters that turn out differently different for a female, and given the culture and time period in which the game is set, a woman's lot can sometimes be more difficult. A woman (or a man who finds himself transformed into one) could conceivably find herself as the victim of unwanted advances, captured by slavers, getting married, being accused of witchcraft, forced to seduce a man, or facing a variety of other situations.

Here is the description given for the sex-change transformation:

146: Sex-Changed - A great magic has been worked upon you�you are now a member of the opposite sex. (Although in many ways this may not seem like a particularly terrible disaster, no right-thinking character in the Arabian Nights would stand for such an outrage.)

EFFECT: You cannot win while sex-changed. Flip your counter over. There are no other special effects. (Don't forget to take your new sex into account when having encounters.)

TO LOSE: If you get a Q:S result in an encounter with a being from Reaction Matrix B, you lose this status. [In English, this means you need a quest success with a magical creature or being.]

If you give a Wealth level to a player in your space who has Major Magic, you lose this status.

Don't forget to flip your counter back over when you lose the status.

Because the game has such a rich variety of outcomes, it also means there are a number of ways a character can find him or herself getting an unexpected change of sex, which are described below.

Sex-Change SpringSex-Change Spring

When encountering this magical spring, the player has the option to Avoid, Examine or Enter the area. Depending on what they choose, what skills they possess, and a random element a few outcomes can take place:


Action Outcome

1245: You stand before a crystal pool. Although quite thirsty, you are wary of strange water:

NO SKILL: You watch the pool for a while. You see an animal drink from it, so you drink too. S1/Sex-Changed.

WILDERNESS LORE: You wait and see if animals drink from it; they do. However, the male fox has become a female fox! You avoid drinking. D1/Wisdom


1246: A woman runs screaming into your camp. She explains: she used to be a man until she drank from the spring over the next dune. Indeed, you find a crystal pool which looks quite inviting.

NO SKILL: You want to find out what it's like to be a member of the opposite sex, so you drink. Unfortunately, the spring only works one way. S1/Sex-Changed

WISDOM: You take no precipitous action, and can discover no solution. S1


1247: In a narrow ravine is a spring which may be the fabled sex-change spring. You wish to collect a sample for magical use.

NO SKILL, FATED: You make your way carefully down the ravine, then suddenly slip and fall directly into the spring. S1/Sex-Changed.

STEALTH & STEALING: You avoid falling in the water and collect a whole bottle for future use. D1/Major Magic (1 use)


1248: As you drink from the beautiful crystal-clear spring, you feel yourself...changing! From behind you hear a chuckle. An old wizard holds a bottle and says, "So, trapped by the spring, eh? I have the antidote here..."

NO SKILL: You pay and drink the liquid down. Nothing happens! S1/Sex-Changed

BEGUILING: You read the falsehood in his eyes, so you grab him and force him to drink. "Fool!" she cries. "There is no antidote�drat!" Caught in the lie, she apologizes and gives you a gift. D1/Sex-Changed/Trea*


1249: You drink from a clear pool in the desert, and feel a strange change come over you. You have changed sex! Frantically you drink again, but this does not reverse the effects.

NO SKILL: You howl and cry and tear your hair. D-1/S1/Sex-Changed

ENDURING HARDSHIP, PIETY: You calmly accept what Allah has decreed for you. Others are impressed by your fortitude. D1/S1/Sex-Changed/Enduring Hardship or Piety


A similar encounter may also occur if your character encounters a Mysterious Spring and decides to Drink:

Action Outcome
Drink from a Mysterious Spring

647: As you lean closer to the water, you see a distorted reflection of a face of a member of the opposite sex. You look behind you, but no one is there.

NO SKILL: You shrug, turn back, and drink your fill. Suddenly a strange sensation comes over you, you bring your hands to your chest. You notice that something is...different. D1/S1/Sex-Changed.

Encounters with Magic Users

During the game, characters will encounter a variety of magic users of varying temperaments. These could take the form of 'Efreet, 'Efreeteh, Enchantress, or Wizard. Depending on the how the player reacts, the temperament of the individual being encountered, the player's skills and some element of chance, several interesting results are possible:


Action Outcome
  1. Grovel to a Bumbling...
  2. Grovel to Practical Joker...
  3. Grovel to a Mad...
  4. Court a Bumbling...

337: The one you have addressed laughs and agrees to aid you. "Here is a little spell I picked up somewhere..." He mutters a charm.

NO SKILL: There is a loud *poof* and you feel...different. S2/D1/Sex-Changed

MAJOR MAGIC: You dispell the sex-change charm, and the other is abashed. "I didn't mean to use that spell." You are not so sure. Fearing your power, the other is effusive in his apologies. S1/D2/W+1 (Max: Respectable)/Trea*/Q:S

  1. Aid a Practical Joker...
  2. Aid a Bumbling...
  3. Aid a Crafty...

357: The other gestures you to silence and swiftly brings you to an abandoned site before a large cave. "Listen carefully," he says. "While I stand here and provide the protective spells, you must enter this cave. Turn left at the first junction, then two rights, then up a ladder..." His instructions continue for ten minutes.

NO SKILL: You may refuse to cooperate, or try to follow the directions:
If you refuse:
Gain Wisdom
If you try:
roll two dice and add 1 each for Wisdom and Scholarship:

  • 2-7 You bumble the procedure and fall afoul of a protective enchantment. S1/D1/Sex-Changed
  • 8+ You successfully retrieve an item from the caves, and your companion rewards you well. S2/D1/W+1

QUICK THINKING: You retrieve a treasure and manage to find a different exit; you keep the item you found. D2/S2/Trea*/Pursued

  1. Rob a Mad...
  2. Rob a Doomed...
  3. Trick a Mad...

368: The other, lured away by a false seducer (hired by you), comes back just as you enter his treasure chamber.

NO SKILL: He cries out, "Must you add to my misery? Your baseness is best rewarded with suffering like mine!" There is a loud *poof* and you feel...strange. D1/Sex-Changed

STEALTH & STEALING: Your alert ears hear his approaching footsteps, and you have ample time to flee with bags full of loot. D1/S1/W+1 (Max: Rich)

  1. Hire a Practical Joker...
  2. Hire a Disguised...
  3. Hire a Bumbling...

450: The other boasts, "I am far too powerful and learned to be the hireling such as you! Begone!"

NO SKILL: He makes a casual gesture, and you hear a loud *poof*. He disappears and is replaced by a small frog, which croaks mournfully. S2

SEDUCTION (If opposite sex), APPEARANCE, BEGUILING (All Mandatory): Your charm convinces him to aid you with an enchantment. He begins to chant, and you hear a loud *poof*. You feel...changed. D1/S2/Sex-changed

Other Magical Encounters

When encountering various magical beings, some transformations may occur. Here are the event charts for some of them:

1308 Wizard
+1 to the die roll for each additional Quest card in the current quest

SPECIAL: Minor Magic: +1; Major Magic: +2
FOUND IN: Lhasa/Mountain (black number) in Africa

1-3  You are under a spell. Ensorcelled/Q:X
4-5  You are under a spell. Sex-changed/Q:X
6  You serve as his familiar. Beast-form/Q:S
7  You give him magic. Lose 1 treasure/Q:S
8+  He teaches you. Minor Magic/Q:S

1315 'Efreet
+1 to the die roll for each additional Quest card in the current quest.

SPECIAL: Minor Magic: +1; Major Magic +2

FOUND IN: Tana/island adjacent to Stonehenge

1-3  You are put under a spell. Sex-Changed/Q:X
4-5  You are put under a spell. Ensorcelled/Q:X
6  You are put under a spell. Beast-form/Q:S
7  You act in a cowardly manner. D-2/Q:S
8+  You learn. Minor Magic/Q:S

Bulgars the Wizard
Although the player may encounter a variety of different spell-casters, there are a few that are mentioned by name. The wizard Bulgars has the following encounter chart:

Encounter: Merry Brigands (H)
Gain 1 Wealth (max: respectable)
Gain 3 S pts. if STORYTELLING otherwise gain 1 pt.
Gain 1 Treasure for 1 D pt.


Encounters with Magical Events/Locations

The lands themselves can often be a source of danger, and can take many forms (Storm, River, Whirlpool, Fire, etc.). Sometimes when a player encounters a magical version of these perils, the results can be unexpected:

  1. Hide from a Magical...
  2. Avoid a Magical...

709: You take shelter against the rain and wind, but it cannot protect you from the magical nature of the storm.

NO SKILL: Great glowing forms wreathed in flame appear in the air before you, and you whimper in terror. "What?" a powerful voice booms. "Another ugly mortal?" "Here," rumbles another voice, "I can fix that." There is a loud *poof* and you feel...changed. S1/Sex-changed/Appearance

MINOR or MAJOR MAGIC: You quickly murmur the words of an ancient counter-charm, and hope for the best. Fortunately, the storm passes. D1/Minor Magic

The fun thing about this particular encounter is that in addition to the sex change, it also gives the player the Appearance talent, which imparts great beauty upon them and can itself change the nature of encounters. With this ability, the player can sometimes favorably change the disposition of the people he/she meets, and can even do so to the point of having them fall in love, possibly even marrying the player's character. Although these are generally meant to be favorable outcomes, the fact that the player has been transformed into a member of the opposite sex can often put an interesting spin on the events.

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