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Scarab of Katuup

by Alex Benson

Stats: Gender Change; +2 benefit to Saves and Armour Class (Amulet of Protection +2)

Katuup crafted this amulet for his daughter. He was not a man to allow her safety reside squarely on her skill with her weaponry. Besides the gender change, it also grants the wearer the same bonuses as an Amulet of Protection +2.

Most notably, the Scarab of Katuup bestows upon its wear a change in gender; male becomes female and vice versa. The change is completely physical and not an illusion. It is not detectable via True Sight or other similar spells or devices. Though the Scarab shows as being magic if a Detect Magic Spell is used. The change takes 1 round to happen and visually is similar to a morphing. It is a bit unsettling for witnesses as features enlarge or shrink. It is painless, though a bit unnerving.

Race, hair length, hair colourisation, eye colourisation, height, and skills/abilities are retained. Clothing and carried gear are not altered. Appearance is based upon Charisma; a handsome man become a pretty woman (and vice versa). Affected individuals do not merely look like the opposite sex. They walk, talk, and carry themselves like the opposite gender.

For those temporarily changed, the change is merely a fully physical disguise. Their mental sexual identity is retained. Those permanently changed begin to think like the opposite gender. Within 24 hours, they lose their natural sexual identity in favour of their new gender's preferences. Within 7 days, they forget completely what it was like to be their natural gender. The mindset, is the initial sign as to whether the Scarab's powers are permanent or temporary.

Only the user can place the Scarab on themselves. Only the user can remove the Scarab. Trying to place the device on someone results in the chain clasp coming undone and the Scarab falling from the person's neck with no change. For a temporarily changed person, anyone else trying to remove the Scarab will find the clasp unyielding. On someone permanently changed, the Scarab can be removed by anyone.

Being change permanently depends on several things. Since the Scarab was designed for Katuup's daughter, the chances of a woman being permanently changed is smaller; 5%. Males using the Scarab have a greater chance; 10%. The roll is made when the change occurs. Every 24 hours the person must roll again. A failed roll means it is permanent. An option is to increase the percentage every 24 hours of continuous wearing of the Scarab.

Those Temporarily Changed are also subject to being permanently changed. For every hit point of damage taken, the person has a 1% chance of the spell not reversing when the Scarab is removed. If the person dies and is Raised or Resurrected, the gender change is permanent.

Once permanently changed, a Wish can reverse the change. This must be cast before the 7 day mindset period expires and a successful System Shock check must be made. As an option, after this period, additional Wish attempts can be made but the success rate is reduced to 50% and decreases 10% every additional 24 hours day (after 12 days no return). A Remove Curse Spell has no affect.

Someone permanently changed cannot reverse their gender back permanently by using the Scarab again. They may use it to temporarily revert to their original gender, however the permanency attribute is no longer a factor.

Description: The Scarab of Katuup is an amulet. Its chain is thick and made of a strange gold and iron alloy. The chain has a simple yet heavyset clasp. Attached to the chain is a two inch oval disk. On it, is a Nithian/Thothian style scarab (beetle) carved in relief. The Scarab's appearance is androgynous, being acceptably worn on either male or female individuals.

Historical Lore: The Scarab of Katuup stems from way back in Nithian times. The Nithians were a very male dominated society. However, there were plenty of women that wanted more and had the abilities to exceed what their society allowed them. Though nothing prevented them from pursuing their goals, their actions drew upon them a degree of social stigma.

The Magus Katuup was somewhat sympathetic to these women. A lot of that had to do with his own wife, Nynarra. They had met while both adventuring in their youth. The pair became inseparable, adventuring together loyally. They fell in love and later married.

Settling down, his wife's "unlady-like behaviour" made life difficult for her. Katuup found it odd that he was cheered for doing the same thing that his wife was scorned for. When their sole daughter began citing her desire to adventure, Katuup was heart broken. He wanted his daughter to excel however he wanted to spare her the same stigma that her mother had drawn.

Katuup decided to try an experiment. He crafted the Scarab of Katuup to allow his daughter to adventure under the guise of a man. There were already items that changed the wearer's gender, however these were mostly cursed items only reversible by clerical magic. Katuup's item would not be a curse, being in affect only while the belt was worn. The Scarab could be worn and removed without difficulty.

Katuup's daughter took the Scarab and began adventuring. Her career was short-lived as she became bored and disillusioned at the whole adventuring lifestyle. She came home and returned the Belt to her father. Katuup placed the Scarab in storage, where it remained for years, untouched and mostly forgotten.

Years went by before the Scarab was used again. Katuup was approached by an old adventuring friend in need of his help. His friend, Chetobia, had been hired to provide security to the pharaoh's sons. Chetobia was given access to Katuup's magical arsenal, including the Scarab.

Katuup perished a few months later in a magical experiment. His wife told Chetobia to keep the items. The Scarab remained in Chetobia's care for the rest of his career. He used it primarily to disguise his agents. It was here that its detrimental powers came into play; several agents not shifting back to their normal genders. Chetobia began using the Scarab sparingly.

Chetobia too passed away. Most of his magical tools were divided among his agents and scattered throughout the Nithian Empire. The Scarab became the property of an officer sent to the new Thothia colony. He kept it as a curio to entertain his friends. However, one such demonstration of its powers left an individual stuck in the opposite gender. The offended party quickly gutted the officer like a pig. With this incident, the Scarab was locked away to not cause anymore harm.

The Scarab gathered dust amid a secure vault. The Nithians vanished. Thothia survived and was conquered and adopted into the Alphatian Empire. An Alphatian named Kryssis rediscovered the stored Scarab and kept it for his own studies. He unlocked its secrets, benefits, and potential for calamity.

Kryssis was quite visual with his new toy, the Scarab often being called his. For all his arrogance, Kryssis never took tried to take credit for creating the device, giving the now mysterious Katuup full credit. Since most knowledge of Nithia had been lost with its demise, the Scarab was quite exotic and prestigious as a Nithian item.

Kryssis lost the Scarab in a bet. Afterwards, it changed hands several times. Kryssis even regained it right before his own death. Most owners tend to study the Scarab than actually use it. However, there are several known incidents where the Scarab has left its lasting impression on users.

The Scarab has been blamed (truthfully and falsely) in several events. It is believed that the assassin Mogryen used the Scarab to infiltrate the stronghold of the Mage Zhepta. It is believed that Emperor Kerothar II use to use the Scarab to sneak in his mistresses past the watchful eyes of his jealous Empress. Several malicious Alphatian nobles have been reported to use the Scarab as a practical joke on unsuspecting guests.

The Scarab was acquired by Emperor Tylion IV, supposedly confiscated from Prince Zandor after some tomfoolery. Keenly interested in disguises and false identities, Tyluion studied the Scarab with interest. The Scarab was later seen in the possession of Master Terari in Karameikos. However, the Scarab went missing soon after the Karameikan School opened.

The Scarab was stolen by a mage sympathetic to the Traldaran Mage Guild. Not understanding its powers, "she" is now living in Mirros and recently had her first child. The Guild had been studying the Scarab to try to reverse the change. The Scarab was stolen from the Guild by the infamous Flameflicker, who had the item assessed. Aware of its recent history and powers, the infamous thief keeps it as a trophy.

DM Notes: The Scarab of Katuup is an item that is present for novelty. Though it can be used for covert or deceptive tasks, it does have a potential cost. It may seem a bit harsh that the permanently changed individuals are limited in their ability to regain their natural genders. However, the chances of being changed are slight. And those permanently affected are essentially turned into opposite genders of their original characters. So there should not be any awkward attributes, such as sexual identity crisis. The DM should not try to force a permanent gender change. However, role-playing potential abounds, either as a temporary change or permanent change.