Saturday, August 11, 2007

Transformers: RP Session 5

Decepticon Base
In this session, we played from the Autobots' perspective; we generally switch each session.

When we started out, sessions one, two and three had already taken place, plus a fourth which wasn't written up: essentially Starfire (aka Jetfire) and Jazz came from outer space (ordered online from Hasbro) to reinforce their old friend, Optimus Prime.

The Players: Maria, my 10yo daughter, played her Optimus Prime and Jazz figures, as well as Harrier, a small knock-off.

Dulce played her favorites, Brute and Recon, as well as Rescue, all of whom were small knock-offs.

Dad played his Starfire (Jetfire / Skyfire) and Mirage, as well as Firefox, a small jet knock-off.

Autobot (left) and Decepticon Bases
Here is the setup of the Decepticon and Autobot bases. Note that in the game world, they aren't that close together.

Extra Notes: We used stryofoam to make a better flooring than the carpet. The bases are doll houses bought from thrift stores; we took the 2nd largest and repainted it.

Autobot Base
The Autobots are hiding in factory owned by a human family they knew before the Great Cataclysmic War of 1989, in which the Autobots and Decepticons threw themselves at each other in a great battle, and the United States, USSR, UK, France, and other countries around the world suddenly attacked any Transformers they could find with their militaries. Already weakened, both sides were annihilated within the year.

Maria & Dulce setting up the Autobots
By 1988, the human governments had grown tired of the Transformer war spreading on Earth, had realized the only reason it was here was because the two factions had "set up camp."

After Autobot High Command, in space, ordered that all Transformer technology that the humans had be destroyed, a surprise orbital strike, in conjunction from Autobots that arrived from space (most of those loyal to Optimus Prime refused the order), and digital warfare, accomplished this objective. Military personnel and some civilians were killed, but Autobot High Command felt this action was "for the greater good."

After this, human governments colluded with each other and built a plan, which became the reason behind the Transformers' ultimate destruction on Earth in 1989.

Though Transformers can back up their memories and be rebuilt from scratch, the Autobot starship, the Ark, had left; orders from High Command, which was disinterested in spending resources on Earth. Optimus Prime had kept parts of Teletraan 1, the mother computer.

However, Teletraan 1, in its diminished capacity, was unable to back-up all the Autobots who were destroyed when the humans betrayed them (as, indeed, the Autobots had in 1988). Prime, being deemed valuable by Teletraan 1, was one of the Autobots it backed up.

Now, Optimus Prime has returned in a new body, to a place forbidden by both Autobot and Decepticon High Command, because a few renegade Decepticons have arrived. Their purpose isn't clear, but the Decepticons are lead by a battle-clone of Megatron, a Transformer who turns into a tank. Already ravaged by war (thrift store rescue case), this Megatron is dangerous, if overly combative.

Dulce and Maria man (girl?) the Autobot base
In RP Session 4, Starfire (Jetfire) and Jazz came to earth. Jazz was towed by the, now smaller, transforming spaceship.

The Autobots had struck luck early and learned where the Decepticon base was; in the last RP session, the Autobots learned that the Decepticons were attacking Atlanta, Georgia (at least, some of their jets were). Prime (controlled by Maria) felt this was a ruse, and rather than rescue Atlanta, he planned on leading his forces to the Decepticon Base while it didn't have its full compliment guarding it.

Starfire (as named in our fiction) is known as Jetfire or Skyfire in Transformer lore
Starfire served with Optimus Prime "back in the day," and while he was destroyed in the Great Cataclysmic war, Starfire was wise enough to have an exact replica body made (I bought two Jetfires as a boy and kept one it its box); however, upon returning to Autobot space, he was arrested for treason, and destroyed. (My mom gave both of them away when she promised not to *cries*)

Fortunately, Optimus Prime, his friend, kept another backup of Starfire, and revived him. Prime was stripped of his command for refusing to obey orders in 1988, but remains an Autobot (some Transformers have no allegiance to either side).

Optimus Prime assembles his Autobots
Optimus Prime assembled the Autobots, made up more by newly created mini Transformers than by Autobots made in factories on their homeworlds.

Starfire asked if the Autobots knew whether or not the Decepticons still had a spaceship in orbit (he is the only Transformer we have capable of intersteller space travel, so he knew they had to arrive by ship) or if, like the Autobots, they had dismantled it upon arriving for parts. Optimus Prime wasn't sure, so he called the officers to meet upstairs...

Recon, Starfire, Jazz, Optimus Prime & Mirage; Prime holds a private meeting with the officers; Jose Francisco has Recon join anyway
Starfire, Jazz, Optimus Prime & Mirage discussed the possibility of whether or not the Decepticons had a starship in orbit, which "would affect our strategy," as Starfire put it.

Optimus Prime concluded that he doubted the renegade Decepticons had a starship at their disposal, and probably arrived in reusable space craft as the Autobots had: craft designed for dismantling for parts, a typical strategy both sides employ when coming to new worlds.

Mirage, who is a bit shy for a sports car, spent the meeting behind Prime. He's never been an officer before and fell into the role when he and Prime arrived alone on earth and constructed the younglings to help them.

Extra Note: In my fiction as a child, the only Transformer who matched Starfire's intellect was Soundwave; their processing cores were actually the same; however, one was instilled with an Autobot's will to do good, and the other... what no one knows is I have ordered a reissue of the first generation mold of Soundwave... oooh the fun when he arrives.

Prime relays final orders
Prime relays final orders to the autobots.

Extra Notes: That is Jazz, Prime & Mirage facing left, and Chip, a youngling Autobot who transforms into a police motorcycle. All of the newly created Autobots and Decepticons are knock-offs bought from Big Lots.

Starfire (Jetfire) and the other Autobots listen
Rescue, Starfire, Chaser (background) and Harrier & Firefox (blurred foreground).

Prime tells Starfire to leave his booster pack (his warp engines) behind because they don't have the parts necessary to fix it if it gets damaged in battle (you can barely see it between Starfire and Rescue).

Prime has such a great voice, we just can't get enough of him speaking
A decent shot is made so much better by a shift in angles... (see next)

Heroic pose
I love how this picture turned out. The elevator in this doll-house catches the light well in the background.

That's Emergency up front.

Mirage and Emergency stay at the base and stay in communication through Teletraan 1 (tin foil viewscreen)
Mirage, Emergency (pictured) and Chip stay behnd to monitor the Autobots from Teletraan 1 (tin foil viewscreen).

The other Autobots take to the road and sky.

The Autobots take the Interstate towards the Decepticon base
Optimus Prime, Jazz, Brute (a small tank), Recon (a military jeep) and Chaser (a patrol car) take to the interstate.

Prime decided to avoid having the humans find them, since the Decepticon base was in a remote location, they would drive there rather than fly as robots.

Game Mechanics Note: In this alternate earth, humans use double-lane vehicles, which naturally can't drive on anything less than a four-lane road. Modern human semi trucks are typically this big, now.

It sucks when you need to pass one of these things.

They met some crazy human drivers along the way; and yes, Prime and Jazz take up two lanes of traffic
For a while we role-played the two hour drive (fortunately not in real time).

Dulce makes the game's first dice roll (2d6)
As the participatory game master, I made a few rolls and found that the mercenaries were patrolling routes leading to the Decepticon base.

Scalper, the double-lane red car, came up behind the Autobot convoy. Dulce made the game's first roll to determine whether Brute and Recon (the Autobots she was playing, who happened to be in the rear) noticed. They did.

Prime's stats were so high Maria didn't have to make a die roll for him to notice from the front of the convoy. Damn.

Starfire (Jetfire), Harrier (white), Firefox (red) and Rescue (chopper) follow their ground based comrades in the air
Starfire, Harrier, Firefox and Rescue made official flight-plans with human Air Traffic Control, which took them to an indirect route to fly-over the Decepticon base and arrive when the wheel-bound Autobots would.

Starfire stymied Prime on the question of "Should I file an official flight plan, and risk the Decepticons being smart enough to have hacked local Air Traffic Control centers, and thereby realize our flight plan might be suspicious, or fly beneath human radar at 500 feet, at which point humans on the ground will see and hear our loud jets, but our surprise against the Decepticons, unless they have a starship, is guaranteed?"

Prime told him to file a flight plan, so he did. Once they spotted Scalper, an unidentified Transformer with no Decepticon or Autobot markings, he took his flight group off course and came towards the Autobot convoy.

Attacked! Highway pileup almost ensued, but Prime did some fast footwork (good dice rolls; Prime is slow) and avoided it.
Recon impulsively transformed and attempted to land his feet on Scalper, who was tailing him, and shoot him point blank. It would have been a cool move, but Dulce's dice rolls were against her, so Scalper managed to hit the breaks and Recon's feet hit the pavement while still moving 70MPH; he tumbled to a stop and took some damage.

The rest of the Autobots transformed; human vehicles in front of them were fine, but Prime had to pull off some fancy footwork to avoid the ones directly behind him from smashing into his legs; he's a bit slow, but Maria's dice rolls were good.

Dulce, playing Recon (jeep) and Brute (tank) faces Scalper (the red & black figure with a sword)
Brute, angry for his friend, Recon, attacked Scalper ineffectually.

Scalper, a Decepticon, thought he would pick on the little guys...
Scalper was amused at Brute's bravado; unfortunately he underestimated how long it would take the flying Decepticons to intercept his position.

Optimus Prime and Jazz fed Scalper hot plasma
Jazz and Optimus Prime made short work of Scalper; Starfire's strafing run was the finishing move.

Extra Note: Prime has his shield generator (wind plane in truck mode) transformed into a sniper cannon; he wasn't worried about Scalper's firepower.

...that didn't end well for Scalper after a few turns
Scalper, ultimately, fell victim to Recon's impulsive attack, because there was no one to back him up once the Autobots transformed and had only one thing to shoot at.

Picture Notes: That's Recon on the left and Brute on the right of Scalper, who is on his back.

Jose Francisco with SkyShadow (left) and Megatron (right) before they entered the stage
I made some Game Master dice rolls earlier and determined that Megatron was too impatient to wait at his base (which has its own weaponry) for the Autobots, and instead ordered the Decepticons to fly (in robot mode for the majority who weren't jets) to intercept them.

Jose Francisco poses with the Decepticons before they've entered the game field (the interstate).

Maria as Optimus Prime: "Autobots, get ready, here they come!"
Maria had Prime prep the Autobots for the coming Decepticons. She also had Prime lift Scalper's sword.

Picture Notes: That's Jazz, Optimus Prime, and Chaser.

Both of these are Maria's toy figures; She had Prime lift Scalper's sword after he was downed
Yeah, they look fairly cool.

Optimus Prime wanted a chance to parlay with the Decepticons, which was at first thwarted when Recon jumped Scalper, but I rolled the dice and found Megatron couldn't resist gloating...

Starfire (Jetfire) lands to help his friends face the Decepticons on the ground
Starfire had his band land to assist the other Autobots; his logic being that while doing strafing runs would mean his squad would receive less damage, it would also mean the Autobots on the interstate, who had no cover, would be juicier targets.

BATTLE RULES: As you can see, we use 2d6 for most rolls; you take a Transformer's base stats from the back of their box and roll 2d6 with it. To do a ranged attack, roll 2d6 and add it to your Transformer's Skill. To dodge (once per turn) an incoming shot, roll 2d6 and add it to your Speed. Every shot after that will hit you if the attacker's roll is greater than your speed.

Then you roll 2d6+Fireblast (attacker) versus 2d6+Endurance (victim) to see if the hit is moderate or severe.

Smaller Transformers do no damage to large ones on a moderate hit, and one point on a severe. Equal sized Transformers do either one or two points of damage per hit. A larger Transformer will do two to three points of damage to a smaller one. A Transformer is down once it has taken as many points of damage as it has Endurance, and completely destroyed beyond repair once it has taken twice as much damage as its Endurance. Nanobots in all Transformers continually attempt to repair them.

The Decepticons, of course, wanted to talk before the fight began; Megatron loves to gloat
Megatron couldn't resist giving a monologue.

"Optimus Prime, we meet in person at last." (I never owned Megatron as a child, he was always on Cyberton, and though this is a battle-clone of Megatron, he shares the memories of the real ones)

Prime was smart under Maria's command, she said "Megatron has a big ego so..." then she spoke in her Prime voice "Megatron, why are you here?"

I asked her why she thought he'd answer and she said "He can't resist." I smiled.

"Why Optimus Prime, you mean you don't already know? I'm so surprised." Megatron, sure enough, couldn't resist feeling superior to Prime. "Do you think we came all the way to this infested, treacherous planet just so you would show up? You're not that important!"

Prime pressed "Than why are you here?"

Megatron laughed "That's for you to find out, Prime." and he fired at Optimus Prime. (He dodged.)

Same as above, no flash
The larger Autobots fired at Megatron, and the smaller ones fired at various Constructicons (the yellow guys); Herc, Drilldozer and Crane.

The Decepticons, under Megatron's orders, all shot at Optimus Prime; however, Prime had his shield generator up which, albeit temporarily, made him tougher than Megatron.

That was all the advantage the Autobots needed...
Optimus Prime, as seen through Megatron's legs; "Autobots: Attack!"
While those weren't Maria's words with Prime, that was her meaning. Because she knew the smaller Autobots could score a hit and still do no damage, she wanted them to fight the small Decepticons.

To illustrate Maria's plan, and because it was in keeping with Megatron's character, I had all Decepticons attack Optimus Prime, even the small ones; that didn't work very well.

Both sides focused their firepower, but Megatron got the short end of the stick
Optimus Prime's shield generator held up, while Megatron took real damage. Despite not having his booster pack weaponry, Starfire was able to lay into Megatron as well as Jazz and Mirage.

Maria had Prime stand his ground and didn't seem peturbed by the amount of fire directed at him; she saw where the damage was going (to his shields).

Megatron cries "Retreat! Decepticons! Retreat!"
Once Megatron had taken 6 damage points (his Endurance is 10), and three small Decepticons were already down, he signaled the retreat.

Angered, Maria had Prime order to concentrate fire on Megatron, which everyone did. The larger Autobots got him down to 1 hitpoint (which starts out equal to the Transformer's Endurance), and then four smaller Autobots hit him, but did no damage (moderate, not severe hits).

As Game Master, I decided four ineffectual hits did, indeed, stack up, and Megatron went down. Much to Maria's chagrin, however, SkyShadow picked up his fallen leader and continued flying off.

All cheer
The Autobots had won the day.

Of course, they're still standing on an interstate, but I assume Maria and Dulce will either have them disperse and transform into vehicles and head back home in disguise, or press onwards towards the Decepticon base in the next session.

Dulce gushes over the game
I love her expressions in these next few shots, in which she was answering my questions "How did you like the game?" and "What did you like about it?" and "Why?"

Maria loved the game to, but not the camera.

She really liked it
"What did you like about it?" *snap*

I always ask why; here she is answering my favorite question, which took her a good four minutes
"Why?" *snap*

I doubt I will take the incredible amount of time it took to write up another session like this one; however, I still wanted to do this because I like to finish what I start and I realized that, if it's the only one I do in this detail, it's a great example of our play.