I think you need to define SAP. I can get general meaning from the body of the sub, but using an acronym right in the title that not everyone is familiar with, is not a good thing.
For example, I did not know what SAP stood for in the RPG domain and had to read into the article to get the 'gist' of it. It was distracting and I was doing more scanning of the article for a denition rather then actually *reading* the artical.
This is a very interesting post. I've never recognized this genre before, but I can certainly see the common elements you describe in those films that I am familiar with. Even with my introductory understanding of the genre, I think that the obstacles to implementation of this genre in a game that you've listed above can be easily overcome. Where characters are concerned it is easy to imagine diminishing the impact of character advancement, removing it as much as possible from character control, and at the same time emphasizing the character's personal development through roleplay. Where the storyline is concerned, advancement can come from characters learning more about the supernatural nature of their situation. The climax of this advancement being when each characters learns enough to realize that they must give up the their personal development or face disaster. Whether RPGs are serial and how many storylines are involved is a choice made by the GM. My suggestions only apply to a game where SAP, as you've described it, is the main genre and I can certainly see how it would be difficult to blend with a traditional/stereotypical RPG.
Honestly I'm not a big fan of the old cartoon Transformers, mostly becuse the concept of shape shifting robts that mimic everyday vehicles never really stuck me as "fun" or engaging/realistic on a "mature intellectual level." (The movies were good however, but nothing like the old school cartoon.)
With that said, the way you lay this concept out makes it sound really fun, and makes me want to roll up a bot and give it a go, not something I was expecting when I began to read the sub!. 8)
I guess perhaps its the way the Artifical intelligence programming is laid out in the rules that make it sound more appealing, and gives some structure to the concept making ti less of a "make stuff up" feeling and grounds them a bit more firmly in pusedo science.
Regardless, I'm looking forward to seeing more of this, great work so far!
Each transformer needs a size.
Size does not mean more power or more gadgets. It usually means that the bot is stronger, tougher, and more intimidating though.
Each transformer should have a motivation in addition to a purpose. This will help explain why they make each decision. Optimus leads the autobots, but he is willing to die to save one transformer. Starscream wants to please or overthrow Megatron, but he usually just obeys his orders.
Each transformer should have a power rating for the power of their Spark. The Spark rating is the will power of the transformer to overcome any obstacle. Transformers with the strongest sparks often have "aberrant" powers. The more common aberrant sparks allow communication between sparks as if by telepathy. The duocons are able to split their "mitotic sparks" between multiple bodies. More powerful aberrations allow feats of power that seem almost magical in nature: Starscream has an indestructible spark, Rampage's spark was also indestructible and it granted him rapid repair powers, Megatron's spark somehow mutated with the whole Noble/Savage thing and later gained the abilities to float around, speak disembodied, and eventually "consume" other sparks.
Some transformers can also have multiple alternate forms. One alternate form option is the ability to combine with other transformers. These combiners, like Devastator, have a new arsenal and abilities when combined.
I would also say that players could choose options other than Autobot or Decepticon. Dinobots, Insecticons, Vehicons, Mini-cons, Maximals, and Predicons are all valid options. Each would have a different type of purpose and existence. A particularly evil character might be allowed to play a Blendtron, Herald of Unicron, but I would be cautious about overdoing it at that point.
I love the post though. It makes me happy. 5/5
I like the character creation that you did, however, anything that I got from the random charts was both dull and strange (I got an autobot SUV with raming armor or a Decepticon futuristic space vehicle with a multi-tool). It seems like the system could benefit from a few more tables for each of the 5 features.
For example, the Weapon feature should instead be the Armament feature. No matter what rank you select, you get some level of tool (most tools like a hammer or wrecking ball could double as a weapon, but it's not as effective).With a rank of D or better, you get to roll on the random weapon table. With a rank or B or better, you also get to roll on the defensive equipment table (including armor and other defensive measures). So with rank B, you would roll three times for armament: once for column B on the Tools table, once for column B on the weapon table, and once for column B on the defensive equipment table.
The Vehicle feature could instead be the Protoform feature. This is a measure of your size (A being Mega, E being tiny). Each size category has random transformations suitable to that size with 2 entries: one for autobots and one for decepticons (and maybe a third for beast form). With a rank of D or better, you get to roll on another table for additional transforming features like hybrid, multiple forms, additional environment capabilities (underwater, space, etc.), silent transformation, etc.. With a rank of B or better, you get to roll on another table for awesome transforming features like extra weapons, drones, burrowing, flight (or space flight), etc.
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Skills, Power, and Advantages all could have additional tables and benefits. While this does mean a lot more work coming up with features, it would impart much more meaning to assigning the power levels.