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The Transformers RPG review – Chapter 2: Character Creation

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series The Transformers RPG review

(Translated with (free version))

This chapter is nine pages long and is mostly an overview of the process of creating a role model.

Once you’ve figured out your basic concept, you start to lay out some basic attributes (“Essences”) and skills. There are four asstributes, all named S-something: Strength, Speed, Smarts, and Social. You get a basic pot of 12 points now, and then you get another 4 from various sources for the rest of the process. 1 point gives +1 in an attribute, no wonder.

…except that, if I understand correctly, you never actually use your attributes for anything. Except to figure out your defenses. But ok, we’ll come back to that when we talk game mechanics.

Every point you spend on an attribute also gives you a point to spend on the associated skills. Does that mean you could basically spend points directly on skills and just use your total skills in a given category to figure out your defenses? Yes, I think so. Or, no. Because when you spend 1 point on a skill, you don’t get +1 in the skill; you upgrade a dice level. But we’ll come back to that too, because it’s not mentioned in this chapter. For now, we’re just talking about spending points on skills, not what those points actually do.

After the initial plotting of attributes and skills, you choose Influences. These are by far the best part of role character creation, so it’s a shame they’re barely described here. But at least they describe what the character thinks is important, what they are driven by and so on. You get a “Perk” from each influence, and if you choose more than one influence you “have” to choose a hangup for all of them after the first one. I put “must” in quotes because hangups are fun.

After your influences, you choose Race… or I mean “Origin”. Origin determines what kind of chassis you are – what you’re made for, what your alt mode is. Here you get new basic skill points and associated skill points. You also get basic health.

Already here we get a bit of foreshadowing about the system, because one of the things mentioned as a reasonable skill to have in a game about Transformers is what languages they know.

After choosing the ra… Origin, you choose the Class… um, “Role”. Your role determines what benefits you get when you level up, and now we also see that in addition to race and class, and basic abilities that are only used for defenses, we also have levels. This is starting to feel familiar.

But OK, every level you get a Perk from your Role, and sometimes you get other bonuses too. More on that when we read the Role chapter.

Once you’ve chosen your Origin and your Role, you can complete your plotting of basic abilities and skills, and figure out your defenses. Defenses are generally equal to 10 + the relevant basic skill. So if you have Strength 5, you have Toughness 15. Defenses are Toughness, Evasion, Willpower and Cleverness.

Finally, you choose equipment. I don’t recall equipment playing a particularly big role in Transformers – a lot of characters have some signature weapon or so, but like “gear” isn’t a particularly central part.

So… My impression after this chapter is that this is D&D with Transformers. Didn’t Fantasy Flight do just that a bunch of years ago? Mechamorphosis, like basically what d20 plus rules to transform?

(Here’s a spoiler: it’s not actually D&D straight up. It’s dumber, and worse. But more on that when I write about chapter 6).

Series Navigation<< The Transformers RPG review – Chapter 1: IntroductionThe Transformers RPG review – Chapter 3: Influences >>

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