Serum of Sex Shift Possibilities?


Rules Questions


So it's reads as such:

Starfinder SRD wrote:

Mass production has rendered this once-rare serum easy and inexpensive to obtain. Upon drinking this elixir, your biology instantly transforms to take on a set of sexual characteristics of your choice, changing both your appearance and physiology accordingly. You have some mild control over the details of this change, but you retain a strong “family resemblance” to your former appearance.

The elixir’s magic functions instantaneously and cannot be dispelled. Your new anatomy is as healthy and functional as your previous body’s, potentially allowing you to conceive, carry, or bear children (depending on your species’ biology). Drinking a second elixir of sex shift either reverts you back to a former form or allows you to adopt other sexual characteristics, as you choose. The elixir has no effect if you are unwilling, and the presence of certain sex-specific biological processes, such as gestation, may prevent this serum from taking effect.

So I have a couple of questions about this item, because the wording of it could result in some rather... interesting implications if one thinks about it too hard.

1) Since you adopt the set sexual characteristics of your choice, and does not specify the set having to be male OR female, does that mean a user could become a biological hermaphrodite?

2) Is it limited to the species genders limitations, or is there no restriction. Such as a vesk wanting to become a shirren host? Or a Ysoki wanting to have a marsupial anatomy so they have an extra pouch to use?

3) An... "Enhancement" bonus to charisma or profession courtesan if you catch my drift. (I'm sorry, but with at least two other "romantic" types in our playgroup, myself excluded, this would be a legitimate inquiry should they find out about this item.)


Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The best answer is that how this works is up to what your GM and group is comfortable with. The words “depending on your species’ biology” leads me to believe that you are restricted to characteristics already present in your species, however. It does not grant any bonuses to stats or skills. It’d be a heck of a lot more expensive if it did.


I'm inclined to agree and think that you're likely restricted to what your own species can do.
Grabbing organs entirely alien to your own biology, like crossing the mammalian/reptilian/insectile lines, or becoming a host shirren or even compatible with the seven sexed race (whose name eludes me right now) seems beyond such a cheap item - without even going into the "how would that even work".
Then again, multiracial families have to exist in sf, so who knows, maybe it's advanced enough to handle everything. Still not my first instinct, though.

In doubt, see with your GMs, indeed - and if that serum can't do it, something out there, more expensive, harder to get, probably can.

3) seems to be what the serum of appearance change is for. Want bigger ears, paler skin, longer legs, a daintier nose, a "broader frame" or whatever ? You can get that and more for a mere 75 creds.


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So the Sex Shift elixir does the 'grunt work' and moves the plumbing around, and the Appearance Change elixir does the finishing 'fine work'.

I can get behind that idea.


Alright, so #2 and #3 are out, but what about #1? So far I have persuaded my GM that the wording is loose enough to allow hermaphrodites, but it does seem like a bit of a grey area.


If just using the Serum of Sex Shift gave you a constant bonus to Profession (Courtesan), that would not only be overpowered, but also seriously messed up. It would heavily imply that people wanting a different set of characteristics just do so for sexual or at least romantic reasons.
And as for #1, I don't see any reason to disallow that. If that wasn't meant to be possible, then the description would clearly state that your body shifts to another sex. It doesn't, though, it says "a set of sexual characteristics of your choice". I'm pretty sure that allowing characters that don't fit neatly into any sex is part of the reason for this item's existence.


How would this work on an android? They may have external frames that are more "male" or "female" shaped, but I'm under the impression that they're all Barbies and Kens in their pants. Would it just not work at all? Or would they actually be able to "grow" functional sex parts, as given their synthetic nature they can modify themselves into anything?

Liberty's Edge

Lady Funnyhat wrote:
How would this work on an android? They may have external frames that are more "male" or "female" shaped, but I'm under the impression that they're all Barbies and Kens in their pants. Would it just not work at all? Or would they actually be able to "grow" functional sex parts, as given their synthetic nature they can modify themselves into anything?

This is incorrect. Androids are infertile, but otherwise have all the external and internal sexual characteristics that come standard for humans.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

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It lets them switch to lightning from micro usb.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Or from micro usb to 8-track.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Lady Funnyhat wrote:
How would this work on an android? They may have external frames that are more "male" or "female" shaped, but I'm under the impression that they're all Barbies and Kens in their pants. Would it just not work at all? Or would they actually be able to "grow" functional sex parts, as given their synthetic nature they can modify themselves into anything?
This is incorrect. Androids are infertile, but otherwise have all the external and internal sexual characteristics that come standard for humans.

..This makes me wonder; What would happen if an Android wore a Demon Mother's Mask. But, that is a pathfinder item and is irrelevant to the discussion. Though.. Now I am tempted to make an Android who reveres Lamashtu..

On topic: Could someone use the serum to have no gender at all?


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


So the Sex Shift elixir does the 'grunt work' and moves the plumbing around, and the Appearance Change elixir does the finishing 'fine work'.

I can get behind that idea.

i like it!


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Xuldarinar wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Lady Funnyhat wrote:
How would this work on an android? They may have external frames that are more "male" or "female" shaped, but I'm under the impression that they're all Barbies and Kens in their pants. Would it just not work at all? Or would they actually be able to "grow" functional sex parts, as given their synthetic nature they can modify themselves into anything?
This is incorrect. Androids are infertile, but otherwise have all the external and internal sexual characteristics that come standard for humans.

..This makes me wonder; What would happen if an Android wore a Demon Mother's Mask. But, that is a pathfinder item and is irrelevant to the discussion. Though.. Now I am tempted to make an Android who reveres Lamashtu..

On topic: Could someone use the serum to have no gender at all?

1. Not really irrelevant, because there's no reason to think the Masks don't still exist, or might turn up in some ancient cache or vault. I would tend to assume that Androids are treated as having their identified gender, where self-identity matters, and treated as sexless where reproductive capacity matters.

2. I wouldn't allow it, unless the species actually has "non-gender" as an option. Which, for all the core species besides Android, would be a definite "no".


well that was a strang read .... but think im going to have my players find one now!


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Lady Funnyhat wrote:
How would this work on an android? They may have external frames that are more "male" or "female" shaped, but I'm under the impression that they're all Barbies and Kens in their pants. Would it just not work at all? Or would they actually be able to "grow" functional sex parts, as given their synthetic nature they can modify themselves into anything?
This is incorrect. Androids are infertile, but otherwise have all the external and internal sexual characteristics that come standard for humans.

Where is it actually written? The implications of this are pretty... unfortunately.


Strangely enough, the rules are silent on all the races' genitals...

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Andy Brown wrote:
Strangely enough, the rules are silent on all the races' genitals...

Valar Project will cover that, I imagine.

Liberty's Edge

Lady Funnyhat wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Lady Funnyhat wrote:
How would this work on an android? They may have external frames that are more "male" or "female" shaped, but I'm under the impression that they're all Barbies and Kens in their pants. Would it just not work at all? Or would they actually be able to "grow" functional sex parts, as given their synthetic nature they can modify themselves into anything?
This is incorrect. Androids are infertile, but otherwise have all the external and internal sexual characteristics that come standard for humans.
Where is it actually written? The implications of this are pretty... unfortunately.

How are the implications unfortunate?

As for where it's from it's stated explicitly in Pathfinder that androids in that era are externally only distinguishable from humans by specific things...a lack of genitalia is not one of those things.

Looking at it, it's actually quite possible that some do lack genitalia and other external sex characteristics in Starfinder given the explicit statement that some androids have much less resemblance to humans than was once the case, but that just means some of them lack such characteristics, not all by any means.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

How are the implications unfortunate?

As for where it's from it's stated explicitly in Pathfinder that androids in that era are externally only distinguishable from humans by specific things...a lack of genitalia is not one of those things.

Looking at it, it's actually quite possible that some do lack genitalia and other external sex characteristics in Starfinder given the explicit statement that some androids have much less resemblance to humans than was once the case, but that just means some of them lack such characteristics, not all by any means.

Pathfinder androids all came from the planet Androffa, whereas the Starfinder ones are often made in the Pact Worlds. We can't assume they have the same biology due to the different origin. For one, Androffan androids also have a limited lifespan and can't voluntarily leave their bodies for a new soul to inhabit, as Starfinder androids can.

As for unfortunate implications? Many androids are slaves. They also can't get pregnant or impregnate. If they have fully functional sex organs there's definitely something going on that most gaming tables don't want to think about.

Liberty's Edge

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Lady Funnyhat wrote:
Pathfinder androids all came from the planet Androffa, whereas the Starfinder ones are often made in the Pact Worlds. We can't assume they have the same biology due to the different origin. For one, Androffan androids also have a limited lifespan and can't voluntarily leave their bodies for a new soul to inhabit, as Starfinder androids can.

They're explicitly created by reverse engineering the Androffan androids and mostly made with the same methodologies, though.

Lady Funnyhat wrote:
As for unfortunate implications? Many androids are slaves. They also can't get pregnant or impregnate. If they have fully functional sex organs there's definitely something going on that most gaming tables don't want to think about.

I honestly don't think that's any more unfortunate than the implications of a race where many members may want to engage in sexual activities (since many androids do, indeed, have gender identities and sexuality) and be utterly incapable of doing so because their creators thought it 'wasn't necessary'.

Actually, that strikes me as quite a bit more horrific given it's a permanent removal of their ability to participate in a particular sort of activity as a species. Rape and sexual slavery are horrific, but rendering a servitor race incapable of doing any enjoyable activity forever is quite a bit worse, looked at long term.

Also, and somewhat unfortunately, the exact unfortunate implications you refer to make it almost certain, from a realistic perspective, that if you can create a slave race with the ability to have sex, that's how they'll be created.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Lady Funnyhat wrote:
Pathfinder androids all came from the planet Androffa, whereas the Starfinder ones are often made in the Pact Worlds. We can't assume they have the same biology due to the different origin. For one, Androffan androids also have a limited lifespan and can't voluntarily leave their bodies for a new soul to inhabit, as Starfinder androids can.

They're explicitly created by reverse engineering the Androffan androids and mostly made with the same methodologies, though.

Lady Funnyhat wrote:
As for unfortunate implications? Many androids are slaves. They also can't get pregnant or impregnate. If they have fully functional sex organs there's definitely something going on that most gaming tables don't want to think about.

I honestly don't think that's any more unfortunate than the implications of a race where many members may want to engage in sexual activities (since many androids do, indeed, have gender identities and sexuality) and be utterly incapable of doing so because their creators thought it 'wasn't necessary'.

Actually, that strikes me as quite a bit more horrific given it's a permanent removal of their ability to participate in a particular sort of activity as a species. Rape and sexual slavery are horrific, but rendering a servitor race incapable of doing any enjoyable activity forever is quite a bit worse, looked at long term.

Also, and somewhat unfortunately, the exact unfortunate implications you refer to make it almost certain, from a realistic perspective, that if you can create a slave race with the ability to have sex, that's how they'll be created.

This makes me think there could easily be groups of androids who turn to gods and demigods of lust and fertility in hopes of being granted the ability. Ardad Lili, Belial, Lamashtu, Nocticula, and Socothbenoth, Just to name a minority of the options that just the lower planes offer.

..Now, one must wonder how many incubi, succubi, and other such finds rise from the souls of androids. Just because it can't be sated doesn't mean the desire is utterly absent in all of them.

Liberty's Edge

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Xuldarinar wrote:
This makes me think there could easily be groups of androids who turn to gods and demigods of lust and fertility in hopes of being granted the ability. Ardad Lili, Belial, Lamashtu, Nocticula, and Socothbenoth, Just to name a minority of the options that just the lower planes offer.

Well, if any Androids have sexes and thus genitalia and other primary and secondary sexual characteristics (and I think I've made a pretty good case that at least some do), then all they need is the Serum of Sex Shift to handle the lust part, since that's then a normal configuration for the sex of that species.

Fertility is another matter entirely and might easily lead to exactly this sort of thing.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Xuldarinar wrote:
This makes me think there could easily be groups of androids who turn to gods and demigods of lust and fertility in hopes of being granted the ability. Ardad Lili, Belial, Lamashtu, Nocticula, and Socothbenoth, Just to name a minority of the options that just the lower planes offer.

Well, if any Androids have sexes and thus genitalia and other primary and secondary sexual characteristics (and I think I've made a pretty good case that at least some do), then all they need is the Serum of Sex Shift to handle the lust part, since that's then a normal configuration for the sex of that species.

Fertility is another matter entirely and might easily lead to exactly this sort of thing.

An android high priest of Lamashtu that "births" to bio-mechanical abominations sounds like a fantastic and terrifying villain. Some Geigeresque horror imagery right there.


Lady Funnyhat wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Xuldarinar wrote:
This makes me think there could easily be groups of androids who turn to gods and demigods of lust and fertility in hopes of being granted the ability. Ardad Lili, Belial, Lamashtu, Nocticula, and Socothbenoth, Just to name a minority of the options that just the lower planes offer.

Well, if any Androids have sexes and thus genitalia and other primary and secondary sexual characteristics (and I think I've made a pretty good case that at least some do), then all they need is the Serum of Sex Shift to handle the lust part, since that's then a normal configuration for the sex of that species.

Fertility is another matter entirely and might easily lead to exactly this sort of thing.

An android high priest of Lamashtu that "births" to bio-mechanical abominations sounds like a fantastic and terrifying villain. Some Geigeresque horror imagery right there.

You know you can do that anyway right? You don't need the rules to support it. That's a GM call for a game.


WhiteWeasel wrote:

So it's reads as such:

Starfinder SRD wrote:

Mass production has rendered this once-rare serum easy and inexpensive to obtain. Upon drinking this elixir, your biology instantly transforms to take on a set of sexual characteristics of your choice, changing both your appearance and physiology accordingly. You have some mild control over the details of this change, but you retain a strong “family resemblance” to your former appearance.

The elixir’s magic functions instantaneously and cannot be dispelled. Your new anatomy is as healthy and functional as your previous body’s, potentially allowing you to conceive, carry, or bear children (depending on your species’ biology). Drinking a second elixir of sex shift either reverts you back to a former form or allows you to adopt other sexual characteristics, as you choose. The elixir has no effect if you are unwilling, and the presence of certain sex-specific biological processes, such as gestation, may prevent this serum from taking effect.

So I have a couple of questions about this item, because the wording of it could result in some rather... interesting implications if one thinks about it too hard.

1) Since you adopt the set sexual characteristics of your choice, and does not specify the set having to be male OR female, does that mean a user could become a biological hermaphrodite?

2) Is it limited to the species genders limitations, or is there no restriction. Such as a vesk wanting to become a shirren host? Or a Ysoki wanting to have a marsupial anatomy so they have an extra pouch to use?

3) An... "Enhancement" bonus to charisma or profession courtesan if you catch my drift. (I'm sorry, but with at least two other "romantic" types in our playgroup, myself excluded, this would be a legitimate inquiry should they find out about this item.)

for number 1 the quote for a second serum states, "Drinking a second elixir of sex shift either reverts you back to a former form or allows you to adopt other sexual characteristics, as you choose. " so it sounds like, yes, you can choose any combination of characteristics as you choose.

regarding number 2, there is no mention of changing species and since we are dealing with magic it is best to just use the known functions rather than try to extrapolate the how and why and where the weird boundries to that logic are; its magic.

As for 3 i would go back to the these portions of the write up, "You have some mild control over the details of this change, but you retain a strong “family resemblance” to your former appearance." and again, this one, " Drinking a second elixir of sex shift... allows you to adopt other sexual characteristics, as you choose." So the GM is fair to rule any number of serums they decide but assuming you have a decent number to work with, you could end up with what ever the ideal body form desired. you could argue that the family resemblance is only to the previous body which could be very far removed from the original after a few doses. i could see an argument about changing skin tone and hair color by a step each time, growing an inch or so every dose. After 5, 6... 12 serums, what you end up like could be virtually unrecognizable from the starting form.


Lady Funnyhat wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Lady Funnyhat wrote:
How would this work on an android? They may have external frames that are more "male" or "female" shaped, but I'm under the impression that they're all Barbies and Kens in their pants. Would it just not work at all? Or would they actually be able to "grow" functional sex parts, as given their synthetic nature they can modify themselves into anything?
This is incorrect. Androids are infertile, but otherwise have all the external and internal sexual characteristics that come standard for humans.
Where is it actually written? The implications of this are pretty... unfortunately.

Somewhere between people of the stars, people of the river and the Iron Gods products it was mentioned that Androffan pattern (the only type that existed when those were produced) Androids externally appear completely organic except for the circuitry like patterns on their skin, it is also said that their sentience and souls were a complete fluke and never intended, that the original goals for making them basically were for "personal interaction" machines, not always the worst you could imagine but in general a machine that could interact with people in an extremely natural way without the uncanny valley thing or visible plastic shells. Starfinder or, Core worlds Pattern, are very different and can appear as seamlessly organic or overtly artificial with very different anatomy, the write up seems to allow much more player control over things like visible cyberware and lack of genitals.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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Removed a couple posts. How an item can be used to trick/punish people by switching up genders is not something that we need to have discussions about on paizo.com.


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Things have changed since Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.


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ThomasBowman wrote:
Things have changed since Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

And thank frick for that, we live in (mostly) better times for it. No-one needs Thac0, floral shirts, satanic scares, disco or, you know, crippling social inequality. (granted, don't think we truely got rid of even one of those, but at least there's markedly less of them).

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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Removed a post. Our goal for the forums is to foster a friendly and welcoming place for our diverse gaming community. Reminiscing about the good ol' days having "less political correctness" is not a conversation that helps with that goal.

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