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One of my player characters disguised themselves as a prince to marry a princess in order to steal something. Along the way, the PC and the NPC fell in love for real. The problem is that they are both women, so having children is kind of impossible. Unfortunately, in order to continue the royal line, they need to have a biological child, making things like donors or adoption problematic. Is there a way in 5th edition that enables two same sex characters to have a child?

I've found this Ring of Gender Swapping on Dandwiki but its kind of cursed and homebrew. Besides, neither of the characters really want to change gender to be a man.

Is there an existing way in 5e for two people of the same sex to produce biological offspring?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you the player or the DM here? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 5, 2022 at 18:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not sure about the downvotes, I think this is a fine question. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 5, 2022 at 21:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I suggest the sexuality tag \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Apr 6, 2022 at 18:48

4 Answers 4

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Starting a family is an issue of world building and character development that is left up to the players and the DM.

There aren't any rules for procreation. Starting a family is generally not something I would expect a D&D 5e game to focus on,1 and this is reflected in the lack of any rules or mechanics about it. That is, it is an issue of world building and character development that is left up to the players and the DM. This question is concerned with changing a character's sex for the purpose of having a child, and while true polymorph is offered as a viable mechanical solution, the rest of the offered solutions rely heavily on working with the DM. The case is the same here.

As a DM, the general solution I use for things like this, that is, major things the players want to do that there are no rules for, is to make it into a quest. For example, I once had a player who wanted to change races in character. Typically, if a player says to me "hey I think I'd be more happy with this character if I were X race", I have no problem just handwaving the race change and moving on, but this player's character wanted to change their race, and the player wanted that change to be a part of the story we were telling. There is a mechanic for this, the reincarnate spell, but the outcome of that spell is random, and the space of outcomes is limited. They wanted to change into a specific race with certainty, one that was not on the reincarnate list. So I made it into a quest. The short version is that they recovered an artifact on behalf of the church of the race's primary religion, in exchange for the high priest performing a rite of transition to change the character into that race.

The idea here is to use the things the party wants to do to make content for them. This is exactly the sort of collaborative storytelling outlined in the introduction to the Dungeon Master's Guide (emphases mine):

That said, your goal isn’t to slaughter the adventurers but to create a campaign world that revolves around their actions and decisions, and to keep your players coming back for more! If you’re lucky, the events of your campaign will echo in the memories of your players long after the final game session is concluded.

Know Your Players

The success of a D&D game hinges on your ability to entertain the other players at the game table. Whereas their role is to create characters (the protagonists of the campaign), breathe life into them, and help steer the campaign through their characters’ actions, your role is to keep the players (and yourself) interested and immersed in the world you’ve created, and to let their characters do awesome things.

Knowing what your players enjoy most about the D&D game helps you create and run adventures that they will enjoy and remember. Once you know which of the following activities each player in your group enjoys the most, you can tailor adventures that satisfy your players’ preferences as much as possible, thus keeping them engaged.

Frequent communication with the players about their own ideas for the story and the character developments they want to work toward is great way to both keep the players engaged and to plan your campaign.

Now, that is my "DM's perspective", but if you are a player - what do? Talk with your DM. Tell them what you want to do, that is, find a way for the two characters to produce a child together, and ask them if you can work out a way for that to happen within the world. Explain that this is something you (and ideally the rest of the party) want to do, and would be a good idea for a quest arc. Hopefully, they will be receptive to the free campaign idea and put a quest together.


1 Though there is nothing wrong with this, if that is something you and your table mates want to explore in your game.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Since the question states, "...the pc and the npc...", not, "...my character and the npc...", I would read this as coming from a DM. Very few people would refer to their own character as "the pc". \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Apr 5, 2022 at 18:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Great answer about incorporating player desires with the greater campaign arcs. "Starting a family is generally not something one would expect a D&D game to focus on". And yet: Birthright \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Apr 5, 2022 at 19:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kirt That's pretty neat. I added a "5e" to that sentence. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 5, 2022 at 19:12
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Alter self, if one of you doesn't mind briefly being a man

Thomas Markov's answer is excellent, and I agree that tying your desire to find a way for the couple to have a child to the greater plot arc of the campaign will lead to a richer experience for the player involved.

However, it may be that the player or DM doesn't want to make that big a deal out of it, or it could be that the other players don't want their group goals derailed by a story arc that services only one player. In that case, you might be looking for a simple mechanical solution. Thomas also links to a similar question in the comments on the original question.

An important difference, however, is that in that question both the NPC and PC are male, whereas in this question both the NPC and PC are female.

This matters because that question assumes that the sex-change has to be continuously maintained for at least nine months in order to carry the baby to term, and RAW magical solutions are largely confined to true polymorph and wish, which are of exceptional power level.

In this question, however, one of the potential parents would need to assume the male sex for a few minutes only, which drastically reduces the power level required. This could be accomplished with alter self (available at 3rd level to main casters).

While alter self does not explicitly permit the user to change sex, it does permit you to change "distinguishing characteristics" and the other changes it does list (race, growing functional gills, natural weaponry that functions as magic) certainly seem of comparable power. Jeremy Crawford agrees (probably - his unfortunate repeat of 'gender' from the original question makes it unclear whether he is actually referring to gender or sex).

You do say that "Besides, neither of the characters really want to change gender to be a man," but you do so to explain your reaction to the homebrew Ring of Gender-swapping whose effects are permanent. So perhaps one of the women involved wouldn't mind taking on the male sex for the duration of the copulation as long as they didn't have to 'be a man' for any longer than was necessary.

Or, if the couple is not comfortable with an intimate interaction in which one of them is male, you might consider using alter self on one of them for just long enough to collect enough genetic material from the temporary male to later use artificial insemination on the other one when both of you are female again. IRL, this was first documented in 1780. Your campaign world might allow Druids to have an understanding of biotechnology beyond that of 18th Century Europe.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ As a point of order, polymorph doesn't actually cut it here - it can only turn you into a beast-type creature, not another humanoid. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Apr 6, 2022 at 17:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer Good point; removed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Apr 6, 2022 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ True polymorph works however. \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Apr 6, 2022 at 19:59
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There aren't rules for procreation in D&D 5E, which is a good thing. Historically, various attempts to write rules for anything in this area have been mishandled and caused all kinds of furore and derp. How to handle pretty much anything in this kind of sphere will depend heavily on table and local cultural mores.

However - there is an incredibly simple maxim for this kind of situation that applies perfectly.

Make it a quest.

D&D is a game about heroic journeys, derring-do, and action-adventure within a fantastical setting (usually, at least). That is the base form of the game, although people can and do do it differently. If you're in a typical fantasy setting, and you want to achieve [pretty much anything, but especially anything large-scale, long-timeline, or magical] then that's a quest. Whether you're fighting through the Labyrinth of the Lost to contact a cocooned elder druid who might have an answer to your plight, or you're looking for the lost Mask of Tzarra to claim the wish from the genie imprisoned within, while it might be less ethically important than saving the world, it's definitely the kind of thing fantasy characters would go and brave dangers for.

Which is great! You've got some extra plot stuff, with a premade reason to adventure that is player generated and thus they will likely not abandon it midstream to start a goblin bakery or something.

Depending on genre, the quest could also be to subdue the rebellious nobles that demand biological primacy of succession and create a kingdom where adoption won't lead to civil war, to track down the clues to find the lost prince who turns out to be dead but who has a child - who, as a biological successor of the family, can inherit, or even win back the love of the princess after years of stress over the issue of succession drives fractures through the relationship. It's not purely fantastical swashbuckling that can work on this system.

One of the major features of this approach, in addition to creating content for you to use, is that it avoids messy biological details of.. anything. Putting those into a game is often a bad move and one that in general it's a good idea to avoid even implying.

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True Polymorph

True polymorph is a spell that lets you change people in a broad way permanently. A pregnant woman is probably something that you could turn yourself into, since it gives you a broad ability to shift form.

Per the PHB (p.283)

You transform the creature into a different creature... If you concentrate on this spell for the full duration, the transformation becomes permanent.

According to the SRD (5.1, p. 188)

The transformation lasts for the duration, or until the target drops to 0 hit points or dies. If you concentrate on this spell for the full duration, the transformation lasts until it is dispelled.

Alter self, polymorph, or a Circlet of Human Perfection.

While this is less of an optimal option since it requires you to be male for a short period, these may let you change sex for a short period, and require notably less investment. The circlet explicitly allows sex changes, while it is an implied reading of the other two that they may allow sex changes.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ True polymorph is pretty powerful, but I'm not sure 'a pregnant woman' is something it would allow you to become, mostly because that would imply the spontaneous creation of a new creature that did not exist before. Where did this creature come from, biologically and metaphysically? Admittedly, my objection is more about how this 'feels' rather than RAW. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Apr 6, 2022 at 14:43

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