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February 16, 2015, 11:08 pm

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Goal: The goal of this write up is to generate a brief system with which to role play characters and situations based on the original transformers G1 cartoon series, comic book series and toy line. I hope that the system will be simple, yet reflect the basic traits of the G1 characters and story lines. I want to keep the game mechanics relatively simple, so that a group of experinced gamers could grasp them immediately and in game problems could be effectively resolved without turning to a lot of scenario specific rules (i.e. not like 4E shadowrun). I will use a dice based system regarding combat and skill checks which will allow a limited degree of variablely in outcomes. The goal here is that with regard to combat the very skilled or the very powerful should be confident in their ability to succeed, but that success is not 100% guaranteed. Smaller or weaker characters will in most cases have some chance of succeeding against very long odds. There will also be a degree of balance between the magnitude of damage done and the chance of success. In the case of noncombat skill checks the ability to succeed will be based primarly on the character’s familiarity with the specific skill set. Not all characters will be able manipulate the same material using noncombat skill checks. For example not all characters will be able to attempt the repair of a damaged computer, they simply won’t have that ability. I believe this specialization will make player co-operation an essential part of the game mechanics.

The part I am most enthusiastic about developing and experimenting with is the nature of role-playing an artificial intelligence. Many systems have constrained or focused role-playing by using things such as alignment, personality keys, sanity checks or “cool checks” but herein I wanted to explore the idea that these are programmed personalities not organic personalities. Thus another aspect of the characters in this game will be their “ Programmed Directives”. The parts I am less enthusiastic about is debating if a Mig-25 could make a sharper turn than an A-10. These differences are going to be glossed over, the combat and dice system will deal with broad strokes of vehicle combat and physics. (Although I would like to avoid the more painful elements of “mass shifting”)

INTRODUCTION: Transformers G1 was a cartoon show, a toy line, a number of movie based on those items, and a comic book series. This game is based primarly on the content of the Transformers TV show between 1984 and 1987. This is an expansion on that material however, and I don’t think it should be limited to that material.

What is a transformer? The transformers are race of long-lived intelligent machinces. They are primarly anthropromorphic robots which communicate via a spoken language. All transformers are capable of rearranging their components in order to become another item or vehicle specific to them. For example one robot may turn into a car and another turn into a helicopter: thus the term transformer. The origin story of the transformers outlined in the originial series explains that this race of robots was originally designed and constructed by another race. This creator race developed two general product lines; military robots and service robots. Thus there are essentially two races of transformers, military robots called Decepticons and service robots called Autobots. The Autobots and Decepticons have been in an on going war since before the dawn of humanity. This long war and even longer existence has exhausted the resources of their home planet cybertron. The vast majority of transformers lay dormant on cybertron without the energy to operate their system. A small group of both factions are still functioning, and our scouring the galaxy for resources. Elements of both factions begin moving about Earth in 1980s (starting an alternate time line) in an effort to acquire more energy.

In this game the players will be Autobots or Decepticons and will work towards the overall goal of defeating the other faction.


Character Generation is broken down into six ordered steps. Subsequent choices can change the results of previous decession points, so some the results eariliar choices may have be to revisited.

Step A: Choose Autobot or Decepticon:

Choosing an Autobot or Decepticon will greatly effected how you roleplay your character, because Autobots and Decepticons are programmed differently

The autobots were designed to service or labor robots and the Decepticons military robots. Lets assume that their resulting central programming and function are designed with this in mind.

Decepticons have three prime directives designed to help them function as military robots.

1) Subjugation to Authority: Obedience to lawful authority is the foundation of manly character.-Robert E. Lee.

All other Decepticons are 100% behind the leader and they always seek to recognize a single leader. (Star Scream’s constant attempts to over throw Megatron were tempered with an on-going desire to please Megatron and we will deal with that later.) Each Decepticon has to have a rank and all other Decepticons of a lower rank will follow suit. If there is not a Decepticon of a superior rank around the Decepticons will either not take action or fight amongst themselves to till a clear winner is established. Why did Rumble and Ramjet listen to Star Scream when they went back in time anyway? Answer, he was a higher rank.

2) Logistics: “armchair generals study strategy, and professionals study logistics”- Omar Bradley.

If you watch the G1 TV show you will find this was certainly true for the Decepticons. The Decepticons wanted energon first and foremost and they came up with dumbest strategies to get it. Why not just file a bunch patents for their superior technology and buy a controlling interest in Halliburton? Nope, attacking oil rigs in broad day light seemed like a more reasonable plan. Every action a Decepticon character takes has to have a prevision or consideration of how it will obtain energy or resources.

3) Self Preservation: No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.-George Patton.

The Decepticons are cowards. As soon as things went just a little south in a battle they were fleeing back to their home base. A Decepticon character will not face superior odds unless ordered to by a superior rank. Of course there is a catch-22 there in that superior rank would not face superior odds.

Now the Autobots: The Laborers, they were programmed to be trust worthly, and efficient. Autobots also have simpler programs with only two prime directives, this also makes them more adaptable.

1) Love thy task: The flesh. It should make the computer, uh crazy. Like those old ladies pinching babies. But it doesn't; not yet because I haven't taught the computer to be made crazy by the...flesh. The poetry of the steak. So, I'm gonna start teaching it now.” -Seth Brundle.

Autobots don’t have kids, they don’t fall in love (Unless you count RC and Daniel or Tracks and Raul) so what is their motivation if they are not scared self-absorbed energy magnets like the Decepticons? Their primary joy in life is their primary programming. Take Beachcomber for example, the geologist/enviornmentalist/dunebuggy, he lies to the Autobots and never reveals the truth about the Electrium pool he found even though it puts the autobots in danger once the Decepticons have it. His prime directive is his first love. Why did Wheeljack build the Dinobots? Why does Grapple get so upset when he ruins that ridiculus doorless box their were building at the airport? Answer, because they love their jobs more than anything.

2) Compassion:I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble. -Rudyard Kipling

As service robots the autobots were designed to put their clients before themselves. The autobots are kind and they are self sacrificing. Most importantly they see value in all life, mechanical or organic.

Step B: Assign Priorities to your transformer.

This is the real gear box of character generation. During this step you will determine what size your transformer will be, what his alternate form will be and what special abilities he will have. The only reason this comes second is because Autobots and Decepticons will assign their priorities differently. This is because Decepticons have the trait of Rank, Autobots do not have formal ranks which are linked to their primary programming. Autobots and Decepticons also have different options with regard to their alternate forms. By assigning priorties you have to choose whether you want a transformer that turns into a powerful alternate such a fighter jet or a transformer that a more restricted alternate such as a radio tower. I suggest reading through each priorty and then filling out the following table.


Priotry A-E



Alternate Form



1: Assign a power rating to your transformer. Transformers vary in size and power. Some transformers turn into cities, and others into microscopes. Even among transformers that turn into comparble alternates there is a ranking i.e. some transformers came in boxes some in blister packs. Your power will effect your base damage, your base speed, and you base ability to absorb damage. We all know that the members of Prime’s starting line up like Ironhide and Jazz were in a different league than BumbleBee and Windcharger. Maybe it was because Ironhide and Jazz came in a box and BumbleBee and Windcharger came in blister packs, but it was a truth that carried through to the narratives of the cartoon.

There are five power rankings

A) Mega: These are exceptionally large robots, they can not enter buildings for the most part and can not manipulte or operate most material in the game because of the size difference. Pretty self explanatory, if you turn into something that holds multiple other transformers. Omega Supreme, Metroplex, Scorponok

B) Max: The difference in size and Mega and Max in susbstainatle, and Max units can still manipulate and operate most materials in the game. Thus Max unit is the most efficient use of the power ranking. These units tend to be the leaders, slightly more robust than the Front Line Units, but for some reason in the toys and the in the narrative of the show they were just a little more robust and powerful. This includes the leaders, Galvatron, Megatron, Optimus Prime, and Grim Lock

C) Front Line Units: These would be units such as Hound, Wheeljack, Hoist, Soundwave,

D) Secondary Units: Smaller but still effective transformers: Bumblebee, Cosmos,Powerglide, and the Insecticons

E) Tertiary Units/Extension Units: A tertiary unit is an even smaller transform, but and extension unit is a different class of transformer. These are transformers that don’t exist without another transformer. For example a motor cycle transformer may have a side car, and this side car maybe an independent unit. All the transforming cassette tapes would fall into this category and maybe Reflector.

2: Assign a weapon: Every transformer has an energy weapon, and it is effectiveness is linked to the transformers power rating. Certain alternate forms will provide transformers with weapons. The weapon priorty provides the player with a third method for arming and equipping their character. The weapon priority manifests its self in two ways, it can be a modification of an exisisting weapon or it can be an additional weapon or tool independent of the power rating and independent of the alternate form. A weapon priority of B or C modifies exisisting weapons or provides another tool. A rating of A always provides the transformer with an additional tool or weapon that is entirely indepent of the power rating and the alternate form. Mirage could disappear, Hound had holograms, Jazz had his light sound thing, and the Rainmaker Seekers could make that acid rain that almost killed Bluestreak. The Decepticon Rumble by this system would be described as an extension unit with a class D alternate (he turned into a cassette tape) but he had class A weapon.

3: Assign a skill points: Not all transformers will have the ability to make the same skill checks. If you don’t have the programming to pilot a space craft then you won’t be able to do even try. Every transformers will get skills based on basic operating system, and every transformer will get skill based on their primary function. In addition to that every player will get a set number of points based on the prioty they assigned to Skills. With these points they can buy new skills or improve the ratings of exisisting skills. The Autobot Preceptor by this system would be a class C power rating, a class D alternate form, a class B weapon, and Class A skill set.

4: Choose your alternate form. (This is the big show with regard to this system, and as much I would like to focus on the thought process of AI we need to explore this in detail.) A conceit of the transformer storyline is that this ability to take another form allows the transformers to adapt effectively to their surroundings and to hide or disguise themselves among their surroundings. Thus transforming represents a specialization that increases the effectiveness of the robot’s actions. This will be represented in game terms by an increased value being assigned to all power checks made by transformers in alternate form.

Vehicles function in five different mediums: The primary mediums are 1) Terrestrial, moving across solid matter as cars do, and 2) Air/space, flying around. We may wish to separate air and space in separate medium or make space travel an addendum to air travel function. There are also three other mediums of transit considered here: 3) Intra-Matter, burrowing through the earth of solid rock as a mole or gopher might 4) Submerged, a submarine or shark 5) Nautical, your alternate form moves only across the surface of liquids like a sail boat or a raft.

Based the priority given to alternate form the your transformers turns into one five different type of alternate: A) Animal B) Utility Vehicle C) Standard Vehicle D) Tool E) Object/Building. Decepticons and Autobots will have different choices with regard to what types of alternates they turn into in rankings B-E. For the sake of discussing what these ranks mean and the rationale is for these rankings, lets start with a discussion of the rank C alternate form from their move up to A.

An unmodified rank C alternate form is a vehicle that functions in one travel medium, and does not grant the character an extra weapon, power increase or utility item. B alternate form grants the transformer a weapon or utility item which can be employed in both robot and alternate form. For example an autobot with a class C alternate form might turn into a pick up truck. An autobot with a class B alternate form turns into a pick up truck with snow plow on the front. This plow can be used as ram while in vehicle form or a shield while in robot form. Decepticon have superior alternate forms when it comes to combat and they also have a bias towards flight based alternate forms. Thus a class C alternate form for Decepticon could turn into a commercial jet and a class B alternate form for a Decepticon would be a fighter jet which has the ability to launch missles.

Rank A is something special, like the Mega ranking with regard to power or the A ranking in weapons, characters that take an A ranking for alternate form steps away form the set conventions of transformers. Animal forms are more versatile than vehicle forms, although they lose the ability to disguise or blend in with your surroundings. Animal forms should also be less common. This investment in class A in alternate form is rewarded in two novel weapons and/or abilities being part of that alternate form. For example a robot that turns into an Ape would be able to climb any surface (robot Apes are an improvement on real apes with regard to climbing) and would also be able to manipulate all the tools that they could in robot form. Thus this robot Ape could fly space craft, repair fallen comrades, or use weapons. Every other type of transfomer would have to turn back into robot form to have that full range of function and would lose the power rating bonus while doing so. A transformer that turns scorpion would have weapon for the stinger and weapons with partial manipulaion for the claws. Thus animal forms are more versatile than vehicle forms.

At the other end of the spectrum you have the D and E rankings. A D rank turns into a tool which other transformers can use or the player can use to depending on the tool. Megatron, Sound Wave, Shockwave and Blaster were all examples of transformers with a D rating. An E alternate form rating means you turn into some inantimate object, that do almost nothing. Metroplex, who turned into a city, was absolutely helpless when he couldn’t transform.

5) Assign a rank/Chose an advantage: Based on the priority you assigned this trait you will get a number of points. (A=5 points, B=4 points etc.) With those points you will purchase advantages and a Rank if you are a Decepticon.

Rank: Rank is a Decepticon only trait, Autobots may have ranks but it is not an essential part of their programming. Ranks vary from 5-1, a group of Decepticons must a have clear leader.

Advantages: I have mentioned several times that there might be modifications to the results of your prioties and most of those modifications will be made here. There will be listing of advantages and the cost of those advantage below. An examples of advantages, would be part of a connector-the ability to combine with other robots to form a mega robot or special alternate form (Cost 2). Other advantages might be cybertronian ally (Cost 1), or non cybertronian construction, which means you do not have the primary programming of other Autobots or Decepticons (cost 3 for decepticons, 2 for autobots). These advantages will include stuff like triple changers (Astrotrain), multi-medium vehicles (Seaspray) or if you are an autobot you can chose an against type alternate (cost=alternate form ranking minus 1). Decepticons which choose against type alternates will be covered in disadvantages.

STEP C: Choose a PRIMARY FUNCTION for your Transformer.

These are machines that were designed for a reason. It said so on the box when you bought the toy. This step will be more important for Autobots because it will influence their primary programming and the benefit they receive from it is greater than the Decepticons. Character’s will get skills based on their primary functions. Autobots will get three skill ranks as dictated by their primary function, and Decepticons will get one skill rank based on their primary function. Soundwave was electronic warfare, Gears was reconnaissance and cargo hauling, and several of the Autobots were just listed as Warriors. (See Part 2: Skill for details)

Step D:Assign a programming quirk to you personality

Transformers are long lived learning robots, Bumblebee brags that they over 100 million years old. I figure that is why they are so different from on another, even though they were once mass produced. Over time Quirks or bugs develop in the programing, this led to the transformers to first develop emotions and then rebel. These are quirks are not always positive and sometimes these quirks will be in direct conflict with the character’s primary programing. These character would at times appear unstable or insane. What if you are Decepticon that has a real problem with authority or Autobot with a sadistic streak? When you code lines get up 20 th or 21st log base 10 stuff happens that makes it hard to be a good Autobot or Decepticon.

STEP E: Choose THE MOTTO for your character: Round out the character based on personal preference

Worst Enemy:

Favorite Ally:


On the back of each transformer toy box was an information card that included worst enemy, favorite ally and the transformers Motto. The most important thing here is your motto. This is the peice of personal programing that you write and it will alter how you deal with situations. The motto can also be rewritten at any time, but this will be your fifth or sixth motivation. It will also be your primary motivator. I am asserting that this ability to write the prime directive, termed the motto here, is what made the transformers rise up from slave to self directed creatures. If you want to make a decesion tree for your character, like a good AI, then you have to consider all your programing directive in order of importance.

STEP F (Optional): Take Disadvantages.

Aside from nonhelpful quirks, your transformer may also have other problems or disadvantages. Taking these disadvantages will add points to advantages. For example the Dinobots had simple brains, that is a clear disadvantage. Of the Stunticons against type alternates, those were clear disadvantages.

Table A: Quirks

Autobot Autobot Either Decepticon Decepticon
2d12 1-4 4-8 9-12 5-8 1-4
1 Non-Violent Thrill Seeker Cynical Kiss-Ass Sense of Entitlement
2 Speak in rhyme Competitive Technophile God Complex Malcontent
3 Cybertron Enthusiast Grief Stricken Dandy Impatient Emotionally Volatile
4 Earth Enthusiast Sarcastic Stubborn Pyromaniac Human Hater
5 Verbose Russian Speaks of Self in third person Machiavelli


6 Laconic Prankster Lazy Jealous Existential crisis
7 Prefers Vehicle form Sadistic Streak Warrior’s Honor Code Emotionless Masochistic
8 Physical Vanity Social Peacock Humorless Ambitious Trustworthy
9 Cassandra Complex Messiah Complex Strong Sense of Entitlement Faithless Hesitant
10 Female Surrealist Trash talker Art enthusiast Animal Lover
11 Old Pop Culture Enthusiast Makes Puns Braggart No attention span
12 Young Easily Angered Unshakeable calm Kleptomania Intellectual Vanity

Table B: Alternate Forms

A: (extra weapons)

B: (example)








Ape (Full Manipulations/climb)

Tow truck/ Vintage Heavy Tank (M60 Patton)

Hatchback/commercial prop engine plane


Carwash/ Air traffic Control Tower


Crane/Stealth bomber (B-2)

Pickup truck/Armored Car


Garage/Aircraft Hanger


Fire truck (Pump Truck)/combat helicopter (Mi-24)

Luxury Sedan/ Commercial Jet


Train Station (including some tracks)


18-wheeler-car carrier/Fighter Jet (MIG-29)

Commercial sports car/Two man commercial Helicopter


Office Building/Prison


Bulldozer/Heavy Bomber (B-52)

Full size van/ Glider

Fire Extinguisher/CHAIN SAW

Drilling Rig


Fire truck, ladder /Spy plane (E-2D Hawkeye)

Classic Muscle Car/Small Fuel Truck


Oil Pump


Forklift/Wheeled artillery piece

Tractor Trailer Tanker / Tractor


Water Tower


Wrecking Ball Crane/Fighter Jet (Harrier)


Metal Detector/SPOT LIGHT

Radio Tower


Mobile Drilling rig/Anti-Tank plane (A10)



Guard Tower


Mobile Bridge Layer/ Modern Tank (M1 Abram)

SUV/Rocket (scaled down Long March-7)



Tiger (WEAPON)

News Van/Futuristic Space Combat Vehicle

Delivery Van/Stunt Plane




Formula 1 race car/ Mobile Rocket Launcher (M270)

Police Car/Futuristic Space Vehicle


Ferris Wheel/Tilt-a-whirl

Table C: Weapons

Priority: A Priority: B Priority: C

Can not be detected by EM radiation. All hide and sneak checks are made with power rank 5 automatic hits

RAMMING ARMOR* (Increased resistance to physical damage) SMOKE SCREEN
Mind Probe Micro-resolution vision; matter analyzer LONG RANGE COMMUNICATIONS
Density Shifting field X-Ray Vision Hydraulic Hammer
1 in 1,000 Processer: Chose Computing or Interface (Increase all computing or interface skill checks by 1 die, also can make untrained computing or interface checks with 2 die at rank 1) FLAME THROWER Multi Tool

Proposed Dice System:

I want a dice system with degrees of success and comparable value of success. I want an opposed dice roll system in which every one has same lowest roll possible. This will be a skill-based system as opposed to a level based system, but I hope it will be simple one.

The basic skill or power check will be a 5d12 roll. Based on your skill level certain numbers will be considered hits and certain numbers misses. The total number of hits rolled is the value of your action. An opposing roll will determine the success of the skill check, and if the number of hits on the opposing roll is less than the number of hits you rolled you succeed. Every thing in the game will have ranking from 1-5 or A to E with 1 and E being the lowest, and 5 and A being the highest. These ranks will determine what is considered a hit and what is considered a miss.














Actions in Combat: A combat round is between 4-6 seconds. Each character involved in combat gets a turn during that round All actions will be declared and resolved individually but they assumed to happen at roughly the same time. A transformer can transform at the begining of a turn before taking an action and after taking an action. Transformers can make only one attack per round per weapon and the move or not move while attacking. Movement does not effect attack dice. What they can not do is transform, move, transform, and then attack. A transformer must resolve all their actions in either their primary or alternate form.

Initiative: The team that declares their action first as determined by the GM obtains Initiative. With surprise attacks and such this normally shouldn’t be a problem. But occasionally uncertainty will enter the picture and in this case the Leadership skill of the respective leaders will be compared. The winner will obtain initiative.

Using Initiative: The leader of the team with initiative acts himself or orders one member of their team to go first, and the acting units actions are resolved. Then a member of the opposing team goes and his actions are resolved and this continues until all characters have gone.

Interrupting an Action: Character can interrupt the actions of another character causing that character to lose all actions that round. They do this by either attacking the character prior to the characters action if the attack either eliminates all the character remaining damage units or the attack is of such a nature that it stuns the target then the target character does not get to attack. Star Scream’s Null Ray was example of attack that stunned an opponent.

Third party Initiatives: If a third party or new members of existing team can enter the fray at the end of combat round after all the character have gone then they can take initiative next round. This negated in the team with initiative has a character “Covering the Rear”. If there are three parties at the start of combat no clear order is discernable to the GM then all the party leaders roll Leadership. The highest score goes first, the next highest second and so on until parties have a position initiative progression.

Holding Initiative and “Covering the Rear”: Alternatively the leader with initiative may declare one member of their team to respond to another specific member of the opposing team. If this is the case the monitoring character does not act until the monitored character declares and action. Once the monitored character declares and action the monitoring character can attempt to interrupt that action. If a character is "Covering the Rear" it makes no attacks during the round unless a new threat appears. This characters primary activity is to maintain initiative for his team. For example, Wheeljack, Bumblebee and Huffer have cornered Bonecrusher and Blitzwing in a ravine. Wheeljack is the leader of the autobot team and they have won with initiative. Wheeljack orders Huffer to fire first on Bonecrusher, Huffer and Bonecrusher fire on each other and resolve combat. Wheeljack then orders himself to fire on Blitzwing next, and Biltzwing attempts to feel, and finally Wheeljack orders Bumblebee to "Cover the Rear".

Leaderless groups: Autobots with out a clear leader at the beginning of combat can select one from among their ranks to “lead the charge”. Decepticons without a clear leader, a situation in which the highest rank among their group is shared be several characters and no leader has been established, cannot claim initiative. Also the order of action is determined by the proximity to threat. The Deceptiocn nearest the opponents go first. In the event of a tie the one most recently attacked goes first, and if that is tied then the GM must declare one to go first.

Attacking and Evading:

The success of attacks is decide by opposed roll between an offensive and defensive skill

For example let assume Decepticons Soundwave in robot form and Laser Beak in bird are fighting the autobot Warpath. The battle starts with the Decepticons having initiative and Soundwave is the leader. He orders Laser Beak to attack. Laser beak has an Energy Weapon skill rank of 4 and Power Rating of 1 and he shoots at Warpath in robot form who has power rating of 2 and an evade skill rating of 2. LETS ROLL OUT

Laser Beak and Sound Wave versus Warpath round 1:

Laser Beak Fires (skill rank 4): 6,9,10,9,11 = 4 hits.

Warpath Evades (skill rank 2): 12,6,10,2,7=1 hit

Laser Beak hits Warpath and now damage and damage resistance are compared. (If you really want to stream line the game you can make 1 roll per player for all checks in given round and they can roll extra dice as needed.) But for this example we will roll for damage.

Laser Beak Damage (power rank 1): 12, 12, 8, 1, 7 = 2 hits

Warpath Damage Resist (power rank 2): 10, 11, 1, 7, 1=1 hit


Result Warpath takes Damage: Thus until repaired Warpath rolls one fewer die. If he gets damaged five times he is in the hands of the GM. Each time damage is taken this is referred to as a damage unit. Depending on how hardcore you want to be, you can say a damage unit is taken hit for every hit a character doesn't negate or damage is damage: even if you take 8 hits and negate none you will only take 1 unit of damage.

Crossing Mediums: As states above there are different mediums of travel and they effects combat differently a shown in the chart below

Target Medium Air Land Underland Water Surface Submerged
Attacker Medium Air No Bonus No Bonus Not Allowed No Bonus -2 die
Land -1 die No Bonus Not allowed No Bonus Not allowed
Underland Not allowed NA Physical attacks only Not allowed Not allowed
Water Surface -1 die No Bonus Not Allowed No Bonus -2 die
Submerged -2 dice Not allowed Not allowed +1 die -1 die

Alternate Form Dice Checks: When in your alternate form add two extra dice for non technical skill checks, damage checks, speed checks and power checks.

Example, Warpath was just damaged by Laserbeak. But it is now his turn to go and he transforms to his tank form. Tanks have a primary weapons, and Warpath fires his primary weapon at laser beak.

Warpath has an Operator Skill 3 (the skill for used for alternate form checks):

Warpath rolls 5 dice, (5 base roll+2 alternate form-1 damage-1 crossing mediums) 1,6,11,3,1=1 hit

Laser beak Evades (evade skill 3): 4, 1, 5, 5, 11= 1hit


The defender wins ties.

Warpath misses Laser Beak.

Special Weapons Example: Weapons obtained from the weapon priority sometime have abilities independent of the power rating, but some have special abilities that are still based around the Transformers power rating but have effects different that standard damage.

Laserbeak has taken his actions for this round; Warpath has taken his actions for this round, it is now Soundwave's turn to go

Soundwave has a sonic weapon: The sonic weapon (described in detail below) produces disruptive vibrations that either stuns a robot or destabilize their alternate form so they return to robot form. It causes no real damage but is an area of effect weapon cannot be evaded. Because Warpath is stronger in tank form Soundwave decides to use his sonic weapon to force him to go back into robot form. Because the Decepticons have initiative they will be able to attack Warpath before he has the chance to transform again. The sonic weapon's efficacy is linked to the power rating.

Soundwave Transforms (to increase the dice rolled) and attacks (Gunnery (op) Skill Rank 2: >/= 11): 1, 1, 4, 3, 12, 8, 3= 1 hit.

Because the sonic weapon is an area of effect weapon there is no evasion role and all Soundwave needed was 1 hit.

Soundwave now determines the effect by rolling the 5 dice base plus 2 dice because he is alternate form (Power Rating 3): 5,6,5,8,9,7,6= 1 hit

Warpath resists minus 1 because of damage plus 2 because of vehicle form (Power rating 2: >/=11): 11, 5, 9, 7, 12, 5 =2 hits

Result Warpath stays in tank form.

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Comments ( 20 )
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February 15, 2012, 9:57


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


February 15, 2012, 12:39
"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. "
Size is included in the power rating, i understand what you mean about power not being size and i think the difference here is just word choice. As I have it here (or will have it here, every time I edit this something else is lost, its F**KING wit me ed.) Power is related to size, base damage done and base damage absorbed. Here is the listing of the size/power choices. That I can't to go into the main post.
A: Mega: Pretty self explanatory, if you turn into something that holds multiple other transformers. Omega Supreme, Metroplex, Scorponok
B: Max: These are like front lines units but for some reason in the toys and the in the narrative of the show they were just a little more robust and powerful. This includes the leaders, Galvatron, Megatron, Optimus Prime, Grim Lock
C: Front Line: These would be units such as Hound, Wheeljack, Hoist, Soundwave,
D: Secondary Unit: Smaller but still effective transformers: Bumblebee, Cosmos, Powerglide, and the Insecticons
E: Extension Units: These are transformers that don’t exist without another transformer. All the transforming cassette tapes would fall into this category and maybe Reflector.

February 15, 2012, 12:43
"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."

I have a step D to character creation, I called it the character's Quirk or Bugs/disadvantages. Every transformer has one. Maybe the character has to speak in rhyme, maybe the character has constant ruthless ambition or maybe the character has a "simple brain".
February 15, 2012, 12:52
"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 tried to deal with this also is character creation. So the player rate the relative importance of the various character aspects 1-5 or A-E. If you put a rank of A in power, then get to play a mega transformer-like a transforming aircraft carrier. If you put a rank E in power, then you play a transforming side car to somebody else's motorcycle.
ADVANTAGEs would deal with the issues you bring up.
I have yet to assign value to the different advantages but I brainstormed some above. One of those would be noncybertron construction, no prime directives, Examples of this would be the Combaticons and the Dinobots. Another advantage would be part of connector unit. So if you wanted to play a Combaticon type unit you would have to spend a enough focus you priorities on advantages.
February 15, 2012, 12:54
"Each transformer should have a power rating for the power of their Spark"

Yes they should! could this be like experince, could extra spark be an advantage you buy? When you have a spark of five do get to the hold matrix? This particular point needs work.
February 15, 2012, 12:30



Once you're done with the foundation, brainstorming, format and logistics, I'd like to PLAY this game! :)


And once youre done with this, please consider...Thundercats, He-Man, Space Ghost, etc

February 16, 2012, 16:41

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.

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. 

February 16, 2012, 17:35
What do you mean dull, an SUV with ramming armor and Futuristic Space vehicle with a multitool sound awesome!! They are way cooler than say a mini-van with a glue gun.

"I am looking at you G1 one Ironhide....there was reason you got it worst of all in the movie."

What were your character's personality like? If I am going to make tables that for people to roll up G1 characters, then they have to except that Bumblebees will happen. More than that if you are going to play with tables based character generation, then you have to commit to playing a random character.
Of course you can always leave the table behind. Just say I am putting A in alternate form and playing a robot that turns into shark.

My goal here is to get simple system that 5 people could make 5 characters in under half an hour and which uses intuitive rules. So I was toying with a different alternate form table for each power rating. So if you were a power A, you would roll on a different alternate form table for each rank you put into alternate form. But that would be too many tables. But unless we choose to just ignore mass as an issue like they did in the G1 cartoons, then we can't have a Mega transformer playing turning into a chainsaw. I think if we only gave A/5 power and an E/1 power have different table.

But as hybrid and multiple forms, burrowing, that is why a put mole in there, that is why I put advantages in there. You will get advantage points to spend on stuff, and then you can take disadvantages like "simple minds" to get more advantages.

How about this? If you are rank A or B alternate form you vehicle or animal has some sort of device or weapon it. So if you transform from those forms you get to keep the vehicle weapon, like the wrecking ball?

February 17, 2012, 10:28
I like the high rank bonus idea. Ranks A and B from the vehicle table can give an extra rank D or E bonus (respectively) from a different table. I really like that you get a bonus weapon (stinger) if you are a scorpion, but I don't really like that an ape is a rank higher than a vintage heavy tank. What is your rationale for putting animals higher than big vehicles?

For the Weapons part, is it assumed that every transformer has a basic weapon such as a pistol/blaster of some sort, or do you only get a weapon when you roll on this chart? All decepticons had weapons, and only the "civilian" autobots were unarmed. Suppose we add a column D to your existing weapons chart. This column will allow for basic fist-fighting, small pistols/machine guns, and basically anything that would only annoy Grimlock. Column C could keep the bigger guns, the swords and axes, the rockets, and drones. Column B would contain utility upgrades like you've currently got. X-ray vision, radar, shielding, etc.. Column A would contain weapon upgrades like energon weapons (Optimus' energon swords and ax come to mind), seismic shock, long-range weapon, EMP charged weapon. etc.. Now the fun part, if you select a high weapon rank, you get an bonus roll on the weapon chart at two ranks lower. So if you are rank B, you get a utility upgrade and a basic weapon. If you are rank A, you get a weapon upgrade and an advanced weapon. If you are rank C, you only get an advance weapon. Rank E means no weapon (decepticons can not have weapons rank E).

For the other three features, let's try to work in additional bonuses for having a rank of A or B.
February 17, 2012, 12:26
The assumption was every transformer has an energy weapon, and can brawl "in all that". I think I say that in the write up but that needs to be more clear. But if you think we should take that out, I could see that, just give a weapon chart D-E and as you say allow players with weapon rating of C or higher to get two rolls. That could be fun, you'd get some more personalized weapons then the basic blaster for everyone. If we go with basic blaster idea, the power of that energy weapon is linked to your primary power rating. The Weapon chart is only for bonus weapons and doesn't necessarily mean offensive weapons. Then if chose alternate form RANK A or B. You also get a "primary" weapon or utility. Why don't you write up the weapon chart you think best fits.

As for the rationale why the "cost" for playing an animal. Well that is based on what I envisioning for the alternative form in game mechanics. In the robot form you have based power rating, this effects your speed, your resistance to damage and all types of attacks and your ability to dish out damage. Then in your alternate form your base rating is increased. For example in the system I am going to post, Grimlock in robot form would roll 4d10 for everything (except Skills). The strength of his actions would be based on the final number rolled, then in T-rex form he would either roll 6d10 is one thing I am considering but I inclinded to having it be 4d10+16 for Level 4 Transformer in alternate form. It is my belief that the animal forms are less specialized then the vehicle forms and are more versitile. An Ape may not have as big a gun as tank, but can it carry out a wider range of actions and it will be just as strong.

What we really need to work are the skills. How important do we want them to be? How specific do we want them to be? How much variation in skill levels do we want to have?
February 17, 2012, 5:32

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!

February 19, 2012, 1:15
I have differ with you in opinion. I grew up with the Transformers and while I agree that the animation, plot, and production value were terrible, the show brimmed with potential. The factions can be endlessly rewritten and revamped, and terms like mature and intellectual have no place in the original show. It was made and marketed to boys 5-10 years old. The new Michael Bay movies are little more than mindless explodium and slow motion boob running intended to play off of a generation that grew up with the old cartoon, slathered with cgi and equally bad plots. I have no desire to do anything with the new transformers movies.
February 22, 2012, 8:20
I didn't mind the first M. Bay transformers movie with its "A Boy and his robot" plot. The two stories of the militaries exploration of the robots and the boys exploration. But you are right though they did not have the depth of the original G1 story line, which is saying a lot. Why did the writers have the Transformers come here looking for an artifact? I could get that they are looking for megatron, I could swalllow that Megatron is in some X-file/National Treasure like military facility, I could accept the kid and bumblebee form an ET-ELIOT bond, and that the "The Jesus" (his character was so over the top he might as well have been wearing that purple jump suit under clothes) was working for a secret government agency. could be made to accept that the boy might have some clue or item that would help the transformers. But it was amazing that after all that stuff they put in the film that there was no depth to the film at all. All of that and what story was left for us fanboys to expand on?
There were some very odd choices made in that movie, for example why the scene with Jon Voight and John Turturo trapped in the room with the little transformer? Did we need to redeem their characters?
Magus of the Citadel
February 22, 2012, 13:59
All flash and CG dazzle, who needs plot or dialog when you have Optimus Prime rendered with 10,000 moving pieces (nicked from the special features, not an exaggeration)

February 23, 2012, 8:09
All that movement and the movies still didn't go anywhere.
Voted Aramax
February 19, 2015, 7:58
Nice, like the combat system, not sure if it's a good idea to allow them to be cities thou, but it is helpless in city form. although I don't think its 'cartoon accurate" but a hit location rule would be nice(part2 ?). Some sort of morale rule for the Deceptacons seems to be in order for them to get all cowardly and run away. Nice one 4/5
February 19, 2015, 12:18
One of the constant concerns when writing anything, is whether or not ideas are presented clearly. Did you understand the Rank system for Decepticons?
February 19, 2015, 12:52
It was clear and made sense
February 19, 2015, 15:21

Well I was thinking the rank concept would cover the morale check thing, decepticons without a clear leader fall apart

February 19, 2015, 18:31
yea that works, I wasnt thinking about it that way

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       By: CaptainPenguin

A culture believes that souls are recycled. One child gets half of a soul, another child gets the other half. However, this means that with each passing generation, the amount of soul in the child will become less and less (Through division)until their culture will die in the future because of their soulless offspring.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | January 26, 2003 | View | UpVote 1xp

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