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The Transformers RPG is an extremely compact RPG system based around the core concepts of the G1 Transformers franchise. It is not in any way intended as a challenge of copyright to Hasbro, Takara, or anyone else who has a vested interest in the success and profitability of the Transformers franchise. It exists because I had a thought about it and couldn’t stop thinking about it. It isn’t terribly original or special.
Transformers: The RPG (TFRPG from here on out) is a game about the struggles of the heroic Autobots to stave off the ruthless Decepticons. Players take on the roles of classic Generation 1 Autobots or create their own heroic transforming robots from Cybertron.
Characters in the game are represented by a series of statistics and descriptors that collectively form the Bio for the character. Characters will, over time, evolve and grow, becoming more capable and more powerful through prolonged play.
The core mechanics of the game are quite simple and require a variety of polyhedral dice. At this stage of development, TFRPG employs the four, six, eight, ten, twelve, and twenty sided dice. Challenges in the game are overcome by rolling a single die and adding its result to an attribute from the character’s Bio. More powerful robots use larger dice types, including four-sided dice for Deployers, six-sided dice for Micromasters, eight-sided dice for standard Transformers, ten-sided dice for massive Transformers, twelve-sided dice for Gestalt Entities, and twenty-sided dice for the three City-class Transformers. Theoretically, Unicron would employ 100-sided or percentile dice.
Transformers Bios consist of many pieces of information, but the most important attributes are listed below.
- Name. Every Transformer has a name, and usually, but not always, these names are in some way related to their Alternate Form.
- Alternate Form. Every Transformer has at least one Alternate Form, and the majority have only one. These forms are traditionally vehicles in the Generation 1 timeline, but these vehicles can be Earth-based (for those Transformers active on Earth) or Cybertron-based (for those Transformers active on their home planet of Cybertron).
- Class. Every Transformer belongs to a Class, this being a descriptor of their ability to take on Alternate Forms. The vast majority of Transformers belong to the Default Class, meaning they have two modes– a primary bipedal robot mode and a secondary vehicular or mechanical animal mode. Default Transformers have Dice Type: d8. Other Classes currently cataloged include: Combiner (a Default Transformer who is also able to merge with other members of its team to form a Gestalt Entity), Triplechanger (a Transformer with a bipedal robot mode and two distinct vehicular modes), Horrorcon (a Triplechanger variation with three forms: robot/vehicle/mechanical animal) , Anachronist (a Transformer without an alternate mode–generally a Cybertronian who pre-dates transformation technology), Microcombiner (a Transformer of the Micromaster Sub-Class with a robot mode and the ability to merge with one other Micromaster to form a single vehicle mode), Deployer (a miniature Transformer with a robot or mechanical beast Mode and an alternate Stationary Mode, Dice Type: d4), City Master (a massive Triple-Changer variant with either a robot or mechanical beast Mode and two Stationary Modes, Dice Type: d20) and Duocon (a single robot form that separates and takes the form of two vehicle modes at the same time).
- Sub-Class. Not every Transformer is a member of a Sub-Class. Those who do belong to a Sub-Class have undergone some specialized process which alters their capabilities, but does not alter their ability to take on Alternate Forms. The Sub-Classes currently catalogued include: Micromaster (a Transformer designed to run on a greatly reduced Energon supply, Dice Type: d6), Headmaster (a Transformer binary-bonded to a humanoid partner that transforms into the Transformer’s head when in robot mode–thus gaining increased processing abilities), Action Master (a Transformer specially equipped with enhanced physical abilities, often an Anachronist, that is partnered with a sub-intelligent Default Transformer partner), Triggerbot (a Transformer able to deploy its full array of weaponry in both robot and Alternate Modes), Deployer Master (a Transformer equipped with a storage bay from which one or more miniature Transformers of the Deployer Class can be deployed), Pretender (a Transformer equipped with a biomechanical shell that provides it additional combat or camouflage capabilities), Omnibot (a Transformer able to personally convert Energon from non-standard sources, such as friction), Throttlebot (a Transformer able to convert between modes instantaneously), Firecon/Monsterbot (a Transformer specially equipped to both resist and generate heat and fire), Clone (a Transformer created through Spark-Duplication from another Transformer, possessing an identical Robot Mode but often a different Alternate Mode), Targetmaster (a Transformer binary-bonded to a humanoid partner that transforms into the Transformer’s primary weapon when in robot mode–thus gaining increased targeting abilities), Macromaster (a Transformer specially designed to assume a large and extremely powerful Robot Mode, but prone to dormancy when its Energon supply is reduced to 50%, Dice Type: d10), and Powermaster (a Transformer binary-bonded to a humanoid partner that transforms into the Transformer’s engine system when in vehicle mode–thus gaining increased Energon-handling capabilities).
- Specifications. Each Transformer has a set of 4 Specifications corresponding to each of its Modes. Robot and Mechanical Animal Modes have the following Specifications: Strength (a measure of a robot’s lifting capacity), Agility (a measure of a robot’s fluidity of movement), Armor (a measure of a robot’s damage resistance), and Firepower (a measure of a robot’s long-range damage output). Vehicle Modes have the following Specifications: Speed (a measure of the acceleration and top speed of a vehicle), Manueverability (a measure of a vehicle’s handling capabilities), Armor (a measure of a vehicle’s damage resistance), and Firepower (a measure of a vehicle’s long-range damage output). Stationary Modes have the following Specifications: Utility (a measure of how proficient a Stationary Mode is at its designated purpose), Adaptability (a measure of how efficiently a Stationary Mode can work outside of its designed function), Armor (a measure of damage resistance) and Firepower (a measure of long-range damage output). All Transformers, regardless of Mode, also posses a set of Core Specifications that apply to all Modes. Core Specifications include: Sensors (a measure of a Transformer’s perceptive abilities), Processors (a measure of a Transformer’s intellectual abilities), Targeting (a measure of a Transformer’s aiming abilities), and Response (a measure of the speed of a Transformer’s mental and physical reactions). Specifications are rated from 0-10.
- Skill Drivers. Most Transformers have specialized skills or areas of expertise either in knowledge or general abilities. These areas of specialty are called Skill Drivers, and they are installed at character creation or, more rarely, during the course of play. Skill Drivers are often related to a Transformer’s Role. Skill Drivers are rated from 1-3.
- Spark Traits. There are four advanced scientific principals which a Transformer’s Spark can manipulate to achieve necessary changes to a Transformer’s physical structure. All Transformers have these four Spark Traits, although some have them rated at 0 to indicate they have not developed any function in this area: Unique Ability (a power or ability that is unique to the particular Transformer–often a side-effect of a successful ranged attack), Mass-Shifting (the ability to assume an Alternate Mode that does not correspond to the mass of the Robot Mode), Space-Folding (the ability to carry Transformers within the Transformer’s Alternate Mode–a specific application of Mass-Shifting), and Gravity-Shunting (the ability to fly in a non-flying Mode–common to all Decepticons). Spark Traits are rated from 0-3
- Energon Statistics. Each Transformer has two Energon Statistics: Energon Capacity and Dormancy Threshold. Energon Capacity is equal to 5 times the Dice Type that the Transformer has been assigned (usually as a function of Class or Sub-Class). Transformers also have a Dormancy Threshold equal to 2 times their Dice Type; if a Transformer’s Energon is reduced below this Threshold, the Transformer is rendered unconscious (a condition commonly referred to as Stasis Lock). The Sub-Class Micromaster has a Dormancy Threshold equal to 1 times the Dice Type, while the Sub-Class Macromaster has a Dormancy Threshold equal to 3 times the Dice Type.
Click for TFRPG Notions Part 2A: Action Mechanics Supplement!