(Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version))
The Origin of the character is thus mostly its chassis – the body, including the alt-mode. Eight are detailed in the base book, and they’re all fairly broad categories like “Champion” (racing-fast types), Seeker (aircraft), and Monolith (big types). Still, this is a breakdown that is reasonable and makes sense given what a franchise it is; I totally buy it.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of rules involved. I know there are probably many who would find this to be rules-light, but it’s my review so you’ll have to bear with me. Each Origin carries with it a basic attribute (Essence) increase, and there are limits to which one you can spend it on. You also get starter health, language (!) and some sort of unique “Origin benefit”.
Your bot mode and alt mode (the latter being the Transformers language for the thing you transform into) also get separate stats. Both get size and movement, and alt mode also gets max crew, firepoints (how many of the crew can sit and fire weapons) and any special attacks.
You are, however, completely free to decide exactly what you turn into. I find that very sympathetic and sensible – it could have been much worse. For example, each Origin could have had a list of, say, five vehicles: ‘choose one of these’ and then each of those choices could have given specific rule benefits… But no, your Origin tells you how big your alt mode is and how fast it moves and stuff, but the shape? It’s purely aesthetic. I like that.
Then, unfortunately, the descriptions of each origin are very colorless and uninspiring. You get a list of boring examples of chassit among established characters, what basic skill you can get better at, health, language… etc.
Well, I can’t really let go of this language thing. Of all the things to pick out to have your own stat for, and put a lot of text on, they pick… languages? When exactly was it important in Transformers whether a particular character speaks French?
Languages: Cybertronian, Adopted Earth language, plus one additional language for every 3 points of Smarts you possess.
That’s what it looks like, although which attribute provides the extra languages seems to differ.
In addition to those stats, they print under each origins bot mode that it has “fine motor”, which means it has fingers, and under each alt mode it says it has “limited articulation”. Fine motor takes three lines to describe, and limited articulation takes four. That’s seven extra lines for each origin. It may not be much, but it bothers me.
That “origin benefit” you get? It varies quite a bit in how much fun it is. Lookouts get the boring “+2 bonus to Evasion and can defend with Evasion even if you’re unaware of an attack” for example. Outriders get rid of negative modifications to rough terrain (yawn).
But Champion origins have “I know a bot”, which lets them spend an Energon Point to declare that they have a pre-existing positive relationship with an SLP. Including an enemy. It may not make them change their own goals, but they’ll probably go easy on you and maybe help you achieve one of your goals. That’s really fun!
(Have they explained what Energon Points are yet? Nah.)
But yeah, Origins is… fine. It could have been worse. And at least one of them has some quirky benefits.
(Then I have to ask: was it really justified to specifically include an origin for boat transformers? In the base book? How many are there even? Were any of the writers just really, really into Seaspray?)