Saturday, September 08, 2007

Transformers RP Backstory & Setting

In our fiction, Transformers don't understand gender very well. Most default to male personas, but there are notable exceptions. Since they don't reproduce sexually, relationships are based on a need for community rather than procreation.

Campaign Setting Goal:
Even in a Transformers RP game, you have to know your setting and what you are setting out to do.

In Dungeons & Dragons, my goal was always simple: Create a consistent, believable world and let the players interact with it and change it. At the end of the campaign, redraw the map of the land to show how things had changed. "Draco" saw 7 campaigns, 5 of which had proper endings. It accumulated enough back-history over the course of ten years to fill a small wiki.

Here, however, I found I have a different goal: Make my children grow and learn by putting carefully constructed problems in front of them; more specifically, encourage my firstborn's (Maria de Guadalupe) natural aggressiveness, nurturing and bossyness and hon it into learning to be a leader, of which she has all the natural traits needed; in constrast to Dulce Maria, whom is a follower and I want her to learn more decision making and discovering her identity outside of what her older sister does, and making her own decisions while keeping to the Golden Rule of Sisterhood: Always sticking by each other. This is something I have drilled into my girls since birth; no girls were ever on Papa's team, it was, and is, always them against Monster Zombie Tickle Papa, or whatever incarnation I take.

Campaign Setting Basics:
AHC = Autobot High Command
DHC = Decepticon High Command

Why is travel to Earth forbidden?

  • Because Transformers have a real problem with being inventors, but humans don't, AHC and DHC were scared at how quickly the humans adapted what technology of theirs that they came into contact with, as well as human history of invention (ever watch "CONNECTIONS"?). This is the real reason AHC orbitally smart-bombed and used digital warfare against all human records of Transformer technology, and why AHC and DHC made travel to Earth or the Sol solar system forbidden.
Why are Decepticons Here?
  • (Armada) Battle clone Megatron had an idea to gain immense personal power - since Decepticons had already broken an ancient Cybertonian law and melded flesh creatures into cyborgs (the Dreadlords, or "Meatformers" as true Decepticons call them), why not use humans to invent new weapons and technology? He came to abduct scientists and attempt to have a controlled population. Human history shows that no one can retain control of a vast breadth of humanity for very long, but a smaller group seemed more manageable to him.
How did DHC know about Megatron's plan, or that he came to Earth?
  • Astrotrain betrayed him.
Why did Optimus Prime return? How did he know? Why not just alert AHC?
  • The real answer to this might blow your mind. Optimus Prime got an anonymous tip (who it was may blow your mind); he knew that AHC's response could be a full-scale war, which would decimate human cities and possibly destabilize Earth's fragile ecosystem, or it could be more purposeful and better handled.

    The reason Prime chose not to tell AHC is because he has a different reason for returning: he believes that human beings, with their short lives and uniqueness with each individual, stand to teach the Autobots a lot about individuality, the value of freedom and life, which is something Autobots in general have handled largely by themselves and observing lesser lifeforms.
Who tipped off Optimus Prime?
  • **SPOILER ALERT** If you really want to know - Astrotrain betrayed Megatron just after he left; he told Soundwave, a Lieutenant Commander, because he was a survivor of the Earth wars and worked in DHC. Prior to forming his group that would usurp command from the battle clone of Megatron, Soundwave sent a coded message to Optimus Prime and warned him. He then deliberately didn't bring enough forces with him to destroy the Autobots he calculated Prime would be able to bring. Optimus Prime doesn't know who sent him the message, only that someone from Decepticon space sent it.
What are the Dreadlords / Dreadbots / Meatformers?
  • Ancient Cybertronian Law forbids any and all cyborgs and augmenting either alien races with Transformer technology, or grafting Transformers with living tissue. Decepticon High Command has, within the last 18 years (after the Earth wars closed and Earth was evacuated, only Starfire (G1 Skyfire) and Soundwave escaped), overturned this.

    Decepticons came across a planet long since torn apart by war; the surviving intelligent species had so drastically genetically altered itself that they have incredible powers of regeneration; however, they'd also nuked themselves into the stone age.

    Because Transformer brains are so difficult to make (the core of them are comprised of materials that are of extremely limited supply), DHC decided to create the "Meatformers", as true Decepticon soldiers call them, in order to augment their ranks and push back the Autobots.

    This campaign has been effective in areas that the Autobots do not have a substantial defense network set up, enough success for AHC to view these creations with a certain form of... dread. Autobot brains are still hard to come by, just like Decepticons, yet Decepticons are throwing creatures intelligent enough to handle their bodies (dumb computers can just be outwitted or hacked, these can't), but more replaceable than Decepticon brains.
What's with Windrazor? Why does he idolize Optimus Prime? What is AHC doing wrong?
  • AHC has started to warp the phrase "For the Greater Good." Individuality, indeed the rights of expression and, of course, objection, are considered contrary to the greater good of the war with the Decepticons. This movement within AHC gained ground when, completely unrelated to the Earth-bound Transformers I grew up with, a treaty with the Decepticons fell through with drastic consequences that the current power-holders in AHC managed to stop (hence, their new found respect within AHC, and the willingness to accept a harsher way of doing things from other Autobots in general).

    Optimus Prime, like a Bishop in Africa, was completely apart from all of these changes, and when he returned from Earth with his memories and adventures, was aghast at what he found. AHC tried, convicted and destroyed Starfire (Skyfire/Jetfire) for being the Autobot who fired upon Autobots from AHC who attacked the humans; Optimus Prime never got a chance to himself, but Starfire could fly fast and get into space. It was just their way of making an example of him. They stripped Prime of his command and made him a citizen, which Prime found out is now considered a "lower class" from soldier Autobots.

    Optimus Prime dispersed his entire memory set, abridging only what he wouldn't want in Decepticon heads, as a way of making the Autobots remember what they stood for. AHC declared his actions against the war effort, and notified him that if he was ever destroyed, he was not to be rebuilt.

    Around this time, as Prime was continuing to be engaged in this new underground movement, he got the anonymous tip that Megatron was heading to Earth.
Why did Starfire show up?
  • Ratchet remade Starfire with the memories Optimus Prime secreted within his own brain's memory banks. Starfire himself backed himself up before his trial (this one became Nightfire, and since it came from the source is, by Autobot law, the new original, not a clone). Both of them came for the same reason: their best friend called them. Starfire brought Jazz with him, an Autobot who has grown to know Prime over the last 18 years (I never had Jazz as a boy).
Why did Autobots Ratchet, Skyblast & Downshift come?
  • Ratchet needed a ride, so he found a willing taker in SkyBlast. He left after Starfire because he wasn't anywhere near Starfire at the time, and received a separate message from Prime. Downshift was recreated from the G1 Omnibot on Earth. Nobody knows it, but Grimlock and the G1 Omnibots are all still alive, just in hiding, possibly deactive in hybernation. Camshaft and Overdrive didn't want to revisit Earth and all the painful memories there. These guys don't know they are clones, they think the originals died on Earth.
Why did the Decepticons call in the Dreadlords?
  • DHC asked Soundwave what he needed to handle the Autobots on Earth without drawing attention from AHC, since DHC isn't dumb and figures that, if Prime's best friend was waxed by AHC, and Prime was stripped of his command, then Prime isn't there in an official capacity. Soundwave lied and told them he needed less forces than he actually did.
Clarification on Optimus Prime's Goal:
  • He's there to counter the Decepticons, for sure, but he's also there to continue learning from humanity. He was confident that, even if peace couldn't be reached with human governments, individuals would help change things. Daniel's betrayal has confounded the Autobot leader for the moment; he has realized that he is still a machine, and reading humans is difficult for him.
What does the "new" Megatron want?
  • To follow through with the old one's plan of using humans to invent new technology, only with the official sanction of DHC, and to crush the Autobots, especially Optimus Prime, since he's an Autobot folk-hero.
What does Soundwave want?
  • Good question. He's currently relaying orders from DHC to Megatron and keeping tabs on everything that happens.