Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity

As far as I was concerned, this item was one of the highlights of the old Dungeon Master's Guide. Alas, none of my characters ever encountered it, but here are some highlights from various articles featuring the item, including a couple of questions from players who were luckier than I was (although I'm not sure if they would see it that way <grin>).

Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity
Dungeon Master's Guide
Encyclopedia Magica Vol. 2

XP Value: -
GP Value: 1,000 (Changing); 1,500 (Neutering)

This broad leather band seems to be a normal belt, but when worn, it immediately changes the sex of the wearer to the opposite gender. It then loses all power. There is no sure way to restore the character's original sex, though there is a 50% chance that a wish might, and a powerful being could alter the situation. Of these girdles, 10% actually neuter the wearer.

Computer graphic of a woman in armor

Baldur's Gate
Baldur's Gate computer game

This adventure game for the computer uses the Dungeons and Dragons rules, and the girdle makes an appearance.

Sage Advice
Dragon Magazine #104, November 1990

"Sage Advice" is a regular column where readers can write in with questions about the rules. This particular question was related to the girdle. (The response is more detailed than I would have expected, but certainly doesn't offer the player much hope of finding a cure. Needless to say, I like the author already. <grin>)

One of my characters was recently tricked into donning a girdle of femininity/masculinity. What options do I have for getting the character back to normal? If the character finds another such girdle and puts it on, will this change him back? My DM says this won't work because the item's description says a wish has only a 50% chance of restoring the character's original sex. Obviously, a polymorph other spell could restore the character, but I'm leery of dispel magic and anti-magic spell shells.

It isn't often that I get a question with so many...possibilities.

What a wish will do is irrelevant in this case; the girdle's absolute power to change the character's gender is stronger than the wish's general power to remove misfortune. (Several powerful miscellaneous magical items are more potent within their limited portfolios than wishes are.) If the character dons a second girdle, he might have his gender restored, or he might lose all gender�and your DM might rule that this is more likely than the standard 10% chance (DMG, page 170), since the character is fiddling around with things best left alone. But your characters gender will be altered if he puts on a second girdle, as these items are quite potent.

There is nothing in the polymorph other spell listing to suggest that secondary characteristics like age or gender can be altered by the spell. Individual DMs are free to include the ability to change gender along with form, but players shouldn't count on it without consulting the DM. Furthermore, assuming that your DM does allow polymorph other to change gender, there would be at least at 50% chance that the attempt would fail. A wish certainly is more powerful than the 4th-level polymorph other. If the character was polymorphed back to his original gender, a system-shock roll would be required. A successful dispel magic would change the character back to the "wrong" gender and would require another system-shock roll.

You are quite right to be worried about anti-magic shells, but note tha an anti-magic shell cannot permanently dispel a long-term effect such as polymorph other. The effect temporarily dampens magic, it does not dispel it. If the polymorphed character entered an anti-magic shell, he would be forced back into the "wrong" form, and this would require a system-shock roll. Upon leaving anti-magic shell, the character immediately would resume the "correct" form, and another system-shock roll would be in order.

Sage Advice
Dragon Magazine #172

How does the gender change caused by a girdle of femininity/masculinity change the victim's ability scores? What if the victim changes to neuter gender?

There's nothing in the girdle's item description to suggest that the victim's ability scores change at all. Only the victim's gender changes. Note that the AD&D 2nd Edition game assumes gender has no measurable affect on a character's ability scores.

"Putting Evil to Good Use"
Dragon Magazine #215

An article from Dragon magazine describing how certain cursed magic items might be used to a character's advantage. The girdle is mentioned in the passage below (which also has a cute comment about how difficult it is to get changed back):

Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity�Likewise, a quick sex change isn't something most characters will be looking for, but it might be a good last-ditch method of escaping from your enemies, if they know what you look like. Of course, this shouldn't be done lightly, since undoing the magic is rather difficult. (Oddly enough, in the AD&D game it's easier to be brought back to life than to be restored to your original gender�go figure.)

"Creative Treasures"
Dragon Magazine #19

A brief article which descibes creative treasure planning for DMs. The girdle is mentioned here in the context of one particular treasure trove:

An assassin's "disguise kit" could contain a few polymorph potions, a +2 dagger, assorted poisons, wigs, makeup, a Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity, a Scareb [sic] of Death, and other assorted goodies.

"How to Tell if You're In or Out of Love"
Dragon Magazine #37

A humorous article, pointing out that all may not be equal if a GM's significant other is playing. There are several short phrases following "Love is�" (e.g. "when she always makes her saving throws"). One of the phrases is, "when she never blunders across a Girdle of Sex Change."

Main Page | Comic Books | Comic Strips | RPGs | Books/Mags
Fiction | Other | Modified | Links | Updates