View Full Version : This campaign setting is more than meets the eye....

2008-05-22, 10:37 PM
There's a book that I've had for awhile called "Mechamorphosis". It's a third-party sourcebook that all about running Transformers-type robots under the d20 rules. It's not the most perfect or complete game system and I'm not sure that I would want to run a game where the players were playing "Mechamorphs", but an idea I've been thinking of is whether it'd be interesting to use them as the bad guys in a D&D campaign. That way, I can control the use of these new game design elements a little bit more than if the players had access to them. I'm not sure if this would be a play-by-post or a real-life game, right now I'm just in the brainstorming stages.

Basically, start with your stereotypical swords-and-sorcery, D&D world. It could be Greyhawk or Faerun or whatever. Then have a race of giant alien robots invade it. Depending on which variant of the Transformers mythos we're ripping off, they could have crash-landed on the planet centuries go and only now be waking up or they could have just arrived. Either way, at least some of them would be hostile and wanting to conquer the planet and although the more highly magical things like dragons and high-level wizards would be able to pose threats to them, they would probably succeed through stealth and sheer force of technology. You don't expect your horse-drawn carriage and its horse to turn into giant alien robots and attack the king, after all.

This is a rough outline of how I would have the campaign play out: The characters would probably be somewhere in the level five to seven range or higher in order to give them a decent level of power. You don't want them to be in the "killing rats for pennies" levels, since then it'd be hard to justify having even the smallest of alien robots being a fair fight. Anyway, they would be contacted by the leaders in charge of a small mining operation to help retake their mine from "strange little metal men" who had invaded it. They would fight their way through many smaller, possibly non-sentient robots who would turn into bits of construction or mining equipment until they found the 'bot in charge of the mining effort, who would probably turn into something threatening and appropriate to D&D, like an owlbear or something. From examing the remains of the defeated robots and from bits of dialogue I would have the leader throw in, I would give the PCs enough information to deduce the alien origin (strange starmetal-like materials, markings that resemble no language ever seen on this planet, references by the big 'bot to an invasion and/or coming conquest, etc..). From there, I'm not quite sure where to go. Should I have the robots take over a kingdom and start attacking others with an army? Should I have them be constructing a base out in the desert somewhere that would be used to contact their home world for reinforcements? I'd be open to any suggestions or ideas that anyone might have.

2008-05-22, 10:54 PM
I think a Transformers game itself would be more interesting. There was some weird stuff in that show.

2008-05-22, 11:33 PM
I agree that that could be interesting. I am a fairly big fan of Transformers, so the appeal is there. However, there's nothing stopping both from being done. Although, for a more Transformer-focused campaign, using the Star Wars or Modern d20 systems might be better than D&D. For what I'm planning here, D&D makes sense because I'm planning a "Transformers invade D&D" scenario. For a more modern take, you'd probably be better off with more scifi or action oriented rules.

2008-05-23, 04:36 AM
Although not quite a perfect fit with the standard D&D fantasy kinda setting, I recommend checking out the comic miniseries Transformers Evolutions: Hearts of Steel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Transformers:_Evolutions).
Basically, in the comic Bumblebee wakes up a tiny bit earlier than 1984, instead waking up during the industrial revolution. Way cool.

I'd recommend it for inspiration. That is, a race of highly advanced sentient robots (or Warforged, whatever) waged a war millions of years in the past, and awake to find that the primitive, poo-throwing apes who inhabited the planet have developed into slightly less primitive poo-throwing apes with swords.
Let each player take an alternate form (say, if someone wants to go Megatron and be a gun, how about an intelligent item/symbiont crossbow?) at the start, and go from there. Not sure how vehicle modes would work, but beast modes would be doable.

Seriously, in a Transformers campaign, nobody would want to be the humans. Treat everyone like Bumblebee or Cheetor- the rookies.
Start it on Cybertron (Mechanus?), and have them go to the campaign world later. That way if you wanted to, you could do rat killing and justify it easily enough- they're training at the military academy, perhaps? It would also justify being able to take on more advanced beast modes later in the game, without having to worry about throwing it out of balance.

2008-05-23, 01:01 PM
Hmmm.... interesting ideas. I'm going to have to really think about this, since there are a LOT of different ways that this could go. One idea would be to have the players be your typical D&D fantasy types, fighting the invaders like I was saying earlier, but to have them early on find and rescue some small, Good-aligned Transformers from the bad guy. Each character could wind up with a small, familiar-like ally that could turn into say, a sword or a crossbow. Basically, it'd be minicons for wizards. I'm definitely going to have to think about this more; any of these ideas could be a fun campaign but I'd need to settle on one and work on the "crunch" mechanics for it for awhile before it'd be playable....

2008-05-23, 01:31 PM
There is a template out of a Green Ronin book called Advanced Beastiery. The template is a transforming construct I believe it is a +2 LA, but it allows the transformation into I believe 3 or 4 different in addition to the base form. I can't see why you can't limit it to one additional form, and reduce the LA approprietly. Plus it can be used with warforged as well.