A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mechamorphosis, the Transformers RPG?

Yeah. See Fantasy Flight Games made this little D20 line called Horizons, roughly 64 page rules/campaign settings that were not fully fleshed out, yet were pretty inventive frameworks that probably deserved more.

One of them was called Mechamorphosis, and is obviously based on the Transformers, a setting/license that tons of people want to play, but has never officially been done. (Its been various poor fanmade renditions though.)

Mechamorphosis in 64 pages covers ALMOST every possible type of sentient transforming robot you would want to play in a Transformers game without getting too crunchy. I am still reading it, but I am liking what I am reading.

Which leads me to want to run a game of it. Here is a rough transcription of my thoughts on how a playgroup would get set up to play and campaign in this setting:

1: Campaign itself: It would be a classic Generation 1 Transformers story, based in the early 80s, pre cartoon series, but linking to it. It will be more based on the Marvel comic with some additions and such from other sources. (Which I cannot mention since it would spoil the surprise of stuff at least half our probable playgroup has no idea of being slightly too old to care about.) It will be a secret war on Earth to find the original Transformers who have gone missing but their location was pinpointed to our lovable blue mudball. The PCs and various NPC factions will all be searching for the objective, yet stealth will be required as to not attract too much attention.

(The person who introduced me to Mechamorphosis says my campaign idea is rather close to Beast Wars at least at first glance, though with rad 70s and early 80s vehicles.)

Even if you are a 20' tall giant robot who can turn into a tank you get enough early 80s military gear shooting at you and you will die. Good robot? Bad robot? Reagan still has his finger on the button, as do a bunch of filthy commies who haven't quite realized their system sucks butt.

2: Combat will involve miniatures. Which is where the fine players come in. I am gonna require players to buy their mini, and to make it as accurate to their designed character as possible. (If you are a sportscar robot you should have a sportscar model. Obviously being early 80s means lots of rad cars and such, but there are not so many proper 70s and 80s car toys out there.)

This means a group would need to answer the following questions and lines of thought:

A: Scale. How big do we want to go? From Micromachine sized Transformers which go for 3-8 bucks all the way to massive to scale city ones. Smaller means I have less bad guy choices to be fought, but less cost to players. Going for the "Deluxe" class means on average the player will spend 8-15 dollars on a normal sized miniature. Insane people who want to play giant-er Transformers will then of course have to spend more if they want to play a Metroplex or Devastator type robot.

B: Some restrictions/ proxying. If someone would rather buy a roughly to scale model car and then a model robot of roughly the same scale because their desired design doesn't exist in an easy to buy price range or at all that's cool. But if one player wants to be a C130 Transport plane and another wants to be a Corvette Stingray, there should be some obvious size differences! Plus, no playing a G1 Season 1-3 character. Or using a toy of that character. (Unless you repaint the thing to be your character.)

C: Bonuses for effort. There will be player benefits to not only having a nice miniature representation, but extra benefits depending on how close your model is to your PC. Kitbashing a model car with say a Gundam model kit will get even more benefits since you are putting some SERIOUS work into your dude.

I would say for scale, Deluxe class as baseline scale is the best. These go for around 12 bucks these days and there is the widest selection overall. Its close enough for the "Basic" and "Voyager" (Roughly 8 and 20 dollar pricepoints) lines to fit in well enough, plus if anyone is psycho enough to go for a really big robot it won't cost them too much.

(But even if I were a player in this game as opposed to GMing it I probably wouldn't buy a really big robot.)

Deluxe class also allows model cars and model robot toys to be used without much difficulty as well. Zoids, Gundam, GNU DOU, Revoltech, ect.

(I also have some models and toys at this scale I would be willing to sell at a reasonable price, though I would prefer people buy their own and not scavenge mine. Other people's gamegroups might need everyone to buy their own.)

There are even bootlegs or castoffs folks could get online or at Dollar/Big Lots type stores for even cheaper prices.

If people can pay 15-20 bucks for a movie or a meal out, I think we could afford a decent miniature for our PCs! (Plus as it wouldn't begin till July at the earliest its plenty of time to save a couple bucks a week. Giving players heads up time to scrounge some cash instead of BUY NOW is a nice gesture. For those groups that bring snacks and drinks, just skip on the 6 pack of beer for 2-4 weeks and you have the money for a nice model.)

For my crowd I can provide links to lots of sites that sell appropriate minis and models. A gamegroup playing this could even have a model building/painting day for those peeps who want to make their miniature special. Which again, should get PCs some bonuses, ala extra XP or whatnot.

This to me sounds like a great idea for a game, plus the toy and model building aspect gives players immense freedom and ownership of their character. If you can't just make a powerbuild character because you aren't willing to buy or customize your model, why should you be allowed to play a Battleship? You like the idea of playing a robot dinosaur? Go buy one, or bash together a toy dinosaur with a cheap toy robot. You EARNED your right to play the giant robot Tyrannosaurus and munch on the Decepticons.

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