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Old 2008-08-16, 08:34 AM   #1
Hound
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This will be reminiscent of a thread I did quite a while back but with other stuff thrown in and hopefully it will work out nicely.

How would you do Pretenders or Headmasters or Powermasters or Gestalts or Triplechangers or any aspect of Transformers if you were basically starting the mythos from scratch? Kind of like IDW and DW got to when they got the license to make TF comics.

Now I'm kind of thinking mostly G1 stuff but go where you like with this.

Say Headmasters for instance, would you go the western route where they're living Transformers with humanoids that can transform into the heads and share use of the body or would you go with the Japanese version where there's a mindless "transtector" that a human sized robot controls by turning into the head or do you have a different idea for how it should be.

What about the way Transformers can change what they turn into? Do you like the idea that they have some way of scanning a form and restructuring their body whenever they need to or would you rather it were some outside process that makes the restructuring more permanent?

What about Pretenders? Is it just an extra bit of armor a TF can be made to have or does it serve an additional purpose?

What about Powermasters? There's got to be a better explanation than what Budiansky came up with in the original comic. Sorry to any fans of that story.

So go wild, let's hear what you've got...

To start I'll give some of my thoughts on a few things and probably post more as the thread progresses. Unless it doesn't progress, in which case all of you suck.

To start, Headmasters. I prefer the western approach but tweaked a bit. Instead of the Nebulons being basically humans I'd have them be cybernetic or techno-organic, something like that. Seems to me that the whole having your insides changed so that you can transform into a giant head would probably kill a regular humanoid. I'm not saying it's a huge suspension of disbelief but it makes more sense that the Nebulons would already be mostly robots themselves so it's not a big stretch that they can become a Transformer in essence. That means no Spike being the head of Fort Max. Oh well, always thought Galen was cooler anyway...

I'd have it where the two consciousness' are contained in the head though. So no headless Transformers who can only operate in vehicle mode because their head decided he wanted to go off and do something foolish. That's just stupid. It would mean the two minds having to cooperate in order to accomplish things which would bring conflict for some of them. Which would be good for the story imo.

That only leaves a reason for why they would become Headmasters in the first place. This is where I think the comic failed big time. It doesn't make any sense to me that when the Autobots arrive on Nebulos, in search of a place they can live peacefully, that they would take their heads off and surrender because the natives are hostile towards them. Seems they'd just go, "Oh, well we'll just go somewhere else then, sorry to bother you." I'm just saying...

The cartoon probably gives a bit better of an explanation, I guess. Seems obvious to me that the main reason for wanting to be bonded to a second consiousness is because of the tactical advantage it would give you in a fight. Two heads being better than one and all that.

I'm kind of partial to the approach where a group of Autobots decide to go in search of a place to live peacefully, away from the war. I'm thinking that Nebulos wouldn't exactly be that peaceful place though. They'd probably get attacked by the Decepticons and end up stranded on Nebulos, where there happens to be a civil war going on. The Decepticons see an oppurtunity to take over the planet and ally themselves with Zarak's side of the war and so the Autobots decide they should ally themselves with Galen's forces and stop the Decepticons. In an effort to find an advantage the brainy ones among them hit upon the whole becoming Headmasters thing and so the one's that are willing to go through with it become the Headmasters. The Decepticons get their asses handed to them and become Headmasters too and take the process a bit further and invent the Targetmasters for the ones who weren't willing to give up their heads. The Autobots follow suit. Sort of borrow what works best from the comic and the cartoon. There'd need to be a reason why the Autobots would leave Nebulos and rejoin the Transformer's war that would also involve the Decepticons being lured away from Nebulos and not just taking over the planet. Maybe the Autobots defeat the Decepticons and liberate the planet and the Decepticons and their allys decide to flee and go back to the war on Cybertron. At which point the Autobots, having decided that running from the war isn't the best solution and not wanting the Decepticons to only have the advantage of Headmasters and Targetmasters leave Nebulos and return to Cybertron too.

So that's my idea for why there would be Headmasters and Targetmasters, I know, not completely original but it's not like the cartoons or the comics got it completely wrong. Some of it works, at least I think so. Feel free to critique or add to or whatever. I'm interested to see what everyone else has to say...
 
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Old 2008-08-16, 09:51 AM   #2
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I'd probably just have the one Headmaster. Crazy crippled/dying human mad scientist who appropriates Transformer tech to build himself a new body, type thing.

Have the Transformer's mind gutted and the dude takes control, but the robot's dormant memories slowly seep back in, as per the Marvel comic, creating a gradual crisis of identity.

Yeah, it's a mish-mash of the existing approaches, but that just helps as audience connection points. And obviously keep the other characters as normal robots.

Pretenders... I'd ignore the humanoid and vehicle variants and just go straight to the beasts. A protective synth-organic shell to protect them in hostile environments, plus serve as disguise on planets that are less technologically advanced. As per Beast Wars, really... which is basically what they were. But with the obvious distinction that the shell is a separate entity... a bit like putting on your coat before nipping outside.

Gestalts... I'd just do the one. Likely Devastator... the Constructicons, obsessed with building and creating and experimenting, decide to experiment on themselves to pool their resources in the ultimate style - melding of mind and body. Wackiness obviously ensues and it all goes horribly wrong, leading to both factions being forced to team up in an attempt to put the unnamed giant psychopath down.

Big multi issue/episode arc (probably called Devastation and likely to include some). Have them secretly teasing some new idea for a few stories prior, slowly building upto it. Then actually kill them off in the climax, with all involved deciding the tech is far too unstable and agreeing not to use it. Which of course then allows for a sequel at some undetermined later point, when some Decepticon decides they can do it right and goes off to track down the parts. Which may or may not lead to Bruticus, with Computron being created to counter. Depending on whether the story can work or not - it'd be there as an option, but likely left alone.
 
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Old 2008-08-16, 11:45 AM   #3
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For Headmasters I'd go down the Japanese route. The merged minds thing is actually a fascinating concept full of potential, but one that's almost impossible to explore properly as a sub plot. You build a show/comic around a idea like that rather than just having them as one of many sub sets. Even IDW, who've probably come closest to pulling the idea off, haven't really had chance to explore the implications in any depth.
 
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Old 2008-08-16, 11:48 AM   #4
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Wackiness obviously ensues and it all goes horribly wrong, leading to both factions being forced to team up in an attempt to put the unnamed giant psychopath down.
You mean like The Beast Within, yeh?


Hate to be boring, but my answers would be much the same - as few *Masters as humanly possible, as few of them are particularly practical. If I had to include them, I'd probably go down the "bigger bodies for tiny Transformers" route, but I'd be hard pressed to come up with any practical reason why dinky Transformers didn't build themselves bigger bodies and just stay in them like everyone else (and why they'd place the important, sentient part is such a vulnerable position, rather than being Spleenmasters or Arsemasters). If I /had/ to include Targetmasters, they'd simply be Micromasters with gun alt modes. For Powermasters, again if I had to use them, it'd be as a Mini-Con esque third species - rather than having a single defined role and only being able to connect with the binary-bonded TFs.

Micromasters I'd follow established ground - energy-saving downsizing, but with big emphasis on them being a work in progress, still far too weak to supplant full-size TFs.

Combiners I'd try and emphasise the uselessness of for anything but menial demolition work.
 
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Old 2008-08-16, 12:11 PM   #5
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I'd be hard pressed to come up with any practical reason why dinky Transformers didn't build themselves bigger bodies and just stay in them like everyone else (and why they'd place the important, sentient part is such a vulnerable position, rather than being Spleenmasters or Arsemasters).
If their entire society was geared towards the smaller size I can see why they wouldn't want to be permanently that big even if it is useful in battle against larger Transformers. As for the second point...errrr pass.
 
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Old 2008-08-16, 12:43 PM   #6
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But in any sensible mythos (other than, say, the Japanese cartoon, where the explanation is "there are these small Transformers from another planet who don't transform, and we just took this long to mention them"), their society is Transformers society - as in big robots. Large numbers managed to potter on down to Earth without feeling the need to decapitate themselves and convert their heads into little people, after all.

The placement would be the killer, though - a big thing for the idea would be that if big body was destroyed, little robot could run away and get another one, preserving the actual Transformer brain/spark/flashing LED heart. However, the baddies would be aiming for the head. There's no need for the operator of a larger suit to actually look through the thing's head. There'd actually be no need for the operator to even be onboard the body, it could all be done by remote control from the safety of a bunker on the other side of the planet.


On Pretender shells, I like the idea of them being used for specific missions - Masterforce actually got the basic idea right here (though I personally would have the inner robots as Micromasters - for some reason I have no problem with Soundwave shrinking down to the size of a tape recorder, but TFs shrinking down to human size seems silly...). In an ideal world, they'd be devised for a team on a particular mission, rather than permanently stuck on a few no-marks like Cloudburst or that submarine dickhead.

For alt modes, it makes a lot of sense that they can be flexible - for disguise and that. However, I'd probably portray this as a mechanical procedure evuivalent to a major operation, and not something to be undertaken lightly - not a magic scanning ray or something, just because then there's no conceivable reason they wouldn't change mode every five seconds (e.g. to match their opponent in a fight - Starscream dives down in F15 mode on Jazz, who scans him, turns into an F-15 and shoots at him).

Also, if I was going to have a human identification character (and incidentally, I think after 25 years of transforming robots, it's only necessary for something firmly mainsteam and/or aimed at kids, and not for a comic that's only really going to be selling to people who have stacks of comics that don't have identification figures - or am I forgetting a bunch of 12-year old normal humans hanging around with Batman all the time? You make someone in the cast an identification character, rather than making an identification character and then trying to graft them onto the cast), I probably wouldn't base the lead one on a twenty-year old X-Men character who was pretty outdated when she first showed up. I'd probably try to avoid making them a bunch of irritating twats with comedy names as well. I mean, would the story had lost anything if he'd been called Hunter O'Neill? Aside from the feeling you're reading a comic by a man who can't quite leave the kiddy stuff behind, that is?

I'd also endeavour not to make up any comedy countries for stories to take place in, either. If I wanted to set something in a former Soviet state, I'd pick a former Soviet state instead of making one up and blowing a hole in credibility. It's not like the people of Moldova are likely to sue me, is it?

And yes, if I gave the arcs a portentous, one-word title that sounds AWESOME and WICKED COOL on solicits, I'd do my best to ensure the story lived up to it. Jazz losing an arm DNE devastating, he didn't seem all that bothered...
 
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Old 2008-08-16, 12:50 PM   #7
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You mean like The Beast Within, yeh?
Yeah why not.

For Actionmasters, a group of TFs colonise/settle-on/whatever some planet or moon or something, mining for a new power source (Nucleon, just to keep things thematic). Core cast receive a distress call from said settlement, discover most of it in ruins with the survivors infected by a translock virus and being hunted for sport by an intergalactic peacekeeping agent, yes? Maybe Axer.

After the inevitable victory, the affected TFs are rendered permanantly incapable of transforming and the details of the virus locked away forevermore. Until maybe one day centuries after the war is over, when somebody stumbles across the files.
 
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Old 2008-08-16, 12:57 PM   #8
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I mean, would the story had lost anything if he'd been called Hunter O'Neill? Aside from the feeling you're reading a comic by a man who can't quite leave the kiddy stuff behind, that is?
I remember one argument with an aggressive "OMG this suxx" cartoon fanboy who was absolutely adamant that simply changing Hunter's name to Spike Witwicky would have automatically made it all awesome and brilliant and completely redeemed the suck factor.

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And yes, if I gave the arcs a portentous, one-word title that sounds AWESOME and WICKED COOL on solicits, I'd do my best to ensure the story lived up to it. Jazz losing an arm DNE devastating, he didn't seem all that bothered...
I still remember the feeling of "this is going to be utter carnage" that I had after reading #1 of Devastation. Then the Sixshot/Ratchet chase with the sense of impending doom. And the slow realisation that the entire arc was going to be a sequence of skits where the threat gets contained at the very last moment with no dramatic consequences whatsoever. Boo!

No, the Battlechargers don't count.

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Old 2008-08-16, 01:59 PM   #9
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Y'know, I totally forgot they died... Partly because the story had no memorable moments whatsoever and is just a kind-of grey mess in my mind, but partly because I don't count them as even remotely dead. Sooner or later, in Spotlight: Megatron, Spotlight: Starscream or Spotlight: Someone else you've had more than enough of the past 25 years, they'll turn up, having been placed in a CR chamber. They will, of course, do absolutely nothing beyond undermine the idea of dramatic consequences in the IDWverse.

Fully agree on Devastation, just in case no-one guessed - given that Escalation sees the Autobots fluke their way out of a total kicking, the addition of further bastards should have meant a serious pasting, rather than what actually happened (Prime just gets bored and decides the Autobots have better things to do with their time).

O' course, IDW is protected by a legion of straw men, and if you suggest that the action quotient perhaps wasn't adequate, you get told to **** off and read Dreamwave if you want robots thumping each other, because there's no possible middle ground here, and besides it's not like any other popular Transformers epics have had robots thumping each other in them...

TBH, Hunter being called Spike wouldn't have bothered me, and would have been a slight improvement (though obviously not enough to improve the story - they'd have to give him a character beyond 'nerd guy' for a start). The name's less ridiculous, and sounds more natural due to existing for a couple of decades - despite being a real surname, O'Nion sounds made up, due to being the word "onion" with a "'" stuffed into it.
 
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Old 2008-08-16, 03:52 PM   #10
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How is this for a take on Headmasters. The bots and cons crashed on a planet, and the natives find the bodies and turn them into a workable mech. Over time, the people find out that the things are sentient beings. Through trial and error, they eventually they get the tech that we are familiar with.

Cliffjumper beat me with my idea for the Pretenders. Have the human shelled ones really be mircomasters. They could be used as undercover agents for looking into anti-Transformers cells and other threats to human and transformer kinda.
 
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Old 2008-08-16, 04:35 PM   #11
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Y'know, I totally forgot they died...
I think the fact that they were always going to be the expendable ones doesn't help matters. Okay, so they play a fairly central role in Infiltration, but once the "A List" started turning up, any threat of "Decepticons will die!" was only really going to contain those candidates.

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Fully agree on Devastation, just in case no-one guessed - given that Escalation sees the Autobots fluke their way out of a total kicking, the addition of further bastards should have meant a serious pasting, rather than what actually happened (Prime just gets bored and decides the Autobots have better things to do with their time).
My main problem is that there's loads in there that should be utterly massive drama, but just gets switched off cheaply at the last moment. (The "oh, we've got time to steer it to that lake", "look, the rest of the Autobots just in time", "Starscream appears and utters a magic word", "Galvatron gives one of them a virus"). "Nearly Devastation" would have been a more accurate title.

Quote:
if you suggest that the action quotient perhaps wasn't adequate, you get told to **** off and read Dreamwave if you want robots thumping each other, because there's no possible middle ground here, and besides it's not like any other popular Transformers epics have had robots thumping each other in them...
The fact that the much-hyped and anticipated Machination climax battle consisted of a wall getting knocked down then Huntstreaker running away didn't really help the lack of visceral action.

:-/

So, uhm... Laser Rods. I'd have them... er... with energy weapons?
 
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Old 2008-08-16, 04:44 PM   #12
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On Pretender shells, I like the idea of them being used for specific missions - Masterforce actually got the basic idea right here (though I personally would have the inner robots as Micromasters - for some reason I have no problem with Soundwave shrinking down to the size of a tape recorder, but TFs shrinking down to human size seems silly...). In an ideal world, they'd be devised for a team on a particular mission, rather than permanently stuck on a few no-marks like Cloudburst or that submarine dickhead.
I can't believe you don't see the awesomeness that is Waverider! Umm, that was his name right? :\

As far as Pretenders go I'd want the sole purpose of them to be disguise. So being in the shell would mean the TF shrinking down to, at least roughly, human size. Then being able to walk around without all the armor on.

I'm actually kind of stuck on the whole Powermaster thing. I can't actually think of a reason for TFs to think having a sentient engine is a good idea. It doesn't make a bit of sense to me. There'd have to be some reason why the Nebulon becoming the engine means a substantial increase in power for the TF. Though I can't think of a reason for them to need to discover that.

I think the original comic pretty much nailed the whole Actionmaster thing. An alternate energy source ends up taking away their ability to transform. Makes perfect sense to me.

As for gestalts I like the idea of them being the work of some kind of rogue "mad scientist" TF that is either creating new TFs that combine or is kidnapping and experimenting on TFs. Each subsequent Gestalt team would be a further progression in the perfecting of the technique.

To me the whole reconfiguring of their body shouldn't be something they can do just whenever the mood strikes them. It should be a major process that they only do when they absolutely need to.

Did they ever give a reason for why "Brainmasters" and "Breastmasters" in the Japanese cartoons?
 
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Old 2008-08-16, 04:49 PM   #13
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I'm actually kind of stuck on the whole Powermaster thing. I can't actually think of a reason for TFs to think having a sentient engine is a good idea. It doesn't make a bit of sense to me. There'd have to be some reason why the Nebulon becoming the engine means a substantial increase in power for the TF. Though I can't think of a reason for them to need to discover that.
Race of aliens that have pure energon for blood? Some Decepticons kidnap them and hardwire the squishy into their own circuitry as a power source?

[/wacky]

Quote:
Did they ever give a reason for why "Brainmasters" and "Breastmasters" in the Japanese cartoons?
I don't see a massive amount of difference between BrestForce and Soundwave's army of minions, tbh. Unless I'm radically misunderstanding the concept.
 
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Old 2008-08-16, 05:22 PM   #14
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Yeh, Breastforce seem to be (from what I can remember seeing on the show) simply sophisticated weapons systems, with no actual sentience for the weapon. The partners just seem to have two modes so a clever Destron can throw his weapon away in the middle of a battle and hope the little bird takes down Star Saber. This probably didn't work so well.

The Brainmasters I don't think were ever properly explained on the show, just shown, but I think the inference was little robots in big mech suits, a la the Japanese Headmasters.

And I thought all the 'humanoid' Pretenders turned into submarines. What the Hell else are the rest of them, then?

I think the closest thing to a good Powermasters explanation is the Nebulan-death-air-filter, and even that was a bit hazy. It's like the Headmasters removed from that, though - why make such a vital component into something that can be separated and easily killed by enemies? The Duocons are the same sort of area as well - too easy to seperate and destroy the weaker unit, unless the airborne section just flies above the land-based one at all times, thus rendering it a bit pointless (though the UK comic used cheeky sub-space - the inference I take from that is that if one unit activates a transformation, the other is sucked through subspace or similar to complete the process).

Subspace/mass-shifting I'd be prepared to keep just because you lose a load of interesting gubbins otherwise - I'd probably try to set some sort of rules, though (maybe a limited time for someone like Laserbeak to stay in cassette mode?), and also fiddle with it a little bit (if Blaster can transform into a human-sized tapedeck, surely he can also transform into a TF-size one? Megatron obviously had different sizes he could pick as he's fired by humans and TFs at various points, while - for what it's worth - Soundwave is giant-sized in Carnage in C-Minor).

Action Masters, Micromasters and Rotor Force I'm with the comic on. Combiners I'm with TF: War Within - highly experimental things from an arms race, bit dangerous to everyone when let loose. I like the idea, but a lot of those involved would need lobotomies - no real experimental project which had the meshing of personalities at the centre of it would select the usual sitcom concept of five robots with complete personality clashes (the Constructicons seem to be about the only team who are on the same wavelength; maybe the Protectobots and Combaticons as well - the rest are a mess).

Now... what about the Throttlebots? I'd make them all have working motors. How does that sound? The Monsterbots, I'd have them transform into monsters. The Firecons can breath fire.
 
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Old 2008-08-16, 07:37 PM   #15
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The one gimmick that I think needs to be played up more is triplechangers. Since transforming basically defines Cybertronians as a species, the rare few who can adopt more than one alternate mode...they should be something special, shouldn't they? And someone like Sixshot should be frightningly effective, not because he's stronger or faster or has more guns than anyone else, but because he's got alternate modes equipped to deal with anything that anyone could possibly throw his way (and if they could make his alt-modes actually look like something, that would help too...). Some of the triplechangers' profiles and tech spec bios talk about how confusing and challenging it is to fight them, and it would be nice to actually see that.

Beyond that...none of the other gimmicks really grab me in the same way, but some of them are at least workable.

When you get right down to it, the Japanese Targetmasters were basically Micromaster versions of Megatron and Shockwave. I would think that a mobile weapon (a mini-tank or something) would be more useful than a gun that Hot Rod or Sureshot or someone has to point and shoot, but the basic idea is sound. Nothing particularly special about the arrangement, but from a tactical perspective I could see some advantages. If the full-sized partner had other weapons to fall back on or the gun had a Galvatron-esque third mode where it could fire itself, a Targetmaster duo could be very effective.

Speaking realistically, I can't see anyone ever willingly becoming a Western-style Headmaster, on either side of the equation. I mean, who in their right mind would be willing to merge their mind and share their every thought with a stranger for a fleeting tactical advantage? The Japanese version -- basically Micromasters who occasionally use full-sized bodies for the heavy lifting -- makes more sense, but frankly a normal partnership between a full-sized 'Bot and a Micromaster would be a lot more efficient. I really like the idea (like we've seen in the recent IDW books or like Brend outlined above) of a Headmaster relationship being forced on one or both of the participants and seeing how they cope, though.

Powermasters just flat-out don't make any sense no matter how you slice it. I mean, really...on any planet where you'd find organic life, the TFs would surely be able to set up some sort of makeshift electrical generator to fuel themselves. Tying themselves irrevocably to lower life forms with comparatively microscopic life spans is a terrible idea.

Pretenders work very well as armour, but I'd like to see them as something more robotic, canning the organic side of things completely and integrating the shells more closely with their owners. I'm thinking of something sort of like Classics Jetfire's armour, but far more extensive. I suppose that idea is closer to the way that some Prime toys have combined with their trailers to make a super-mode ('apex armour', I guess it's called sometimes...) than they are to the traditional Pretender concept, but from an engineering perspective I'd find that idea a lot more interesting.

I would divorce the disguise aspect of Pretenders from the armour completely. If someone needed to look like a tiger or wolf a human or whatever, then they could get re-engineered to transform into that and get a coating of synthetic flesh, like the characters did in Beast Wars. There's really no need for them to have a shell to do that, IMO.
 

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Old 2008-08-16, 09:30 PM   #16
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The one gimmick that I think needs to be played up more is triplechangers.
It is one of the few gimmicks that actually has a clear, practical advantage, isn't it? It's a shame most are played as Doublechangers for much of the time... when they actually used it it was quite effective (Sandstorm escaping in Fight or Flee, and in the weird corner Broadside in Carnage - you can tell Devastator wasn't expecting that). Only thing you'd need is a good explanation for why everyone else doesn't undergo the same procedure....
 
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Old 2008-08-16, 10:11 PM   #17
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Broadside in Carnage - you can tell Devastator wasn't expecting that
I had to look up what you were talking about... You, sir, have just made my day.


 


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Old 2008-08-16, 10:58 PM   #18
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Only thing you'd need is a good explanation for why everyone else doesn't undergo the same procedure....
Yeah that's where I get stuck with Triplechangers too. Didn't Dreamwave try to explain it that it was extremely stressful on the TF and might drive them mad or something? I don't remember...
 
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Old 2008-08-16, 11:19 PM   #19
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It is one of the few gimmicks that actually has a clear, practical advantage, isn't it? It's a shame most are played as Doublechangers for much of the time...
In most cases that's their own fault for choosing such poor third modes, isn't it? The only one who's a threat in every mode is Blitzwing -- his attack on Hot Rod and Daniel in the movie really illustrates what a triplechanger can do (assuming they're less of an idiot that he was, anyway). But aside from comedy gestalt crushing, Broadside's carrier mode is cumbersome and infinitely more vulnerable than his jet mode. Astrotrain's train mode fits in nicely with his role as a transport, but doesn't really do him much good in a fight. Springer and Sandstorm don't seem to have any offensive capabilities as cars, and Octane...well, Octane just sucks regardless.

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Only thing you'd need is a good explanation for why everyone else doesn't undergo the same procedure....
Since we don't really know how transforming works internally, I'm sure some excuse could be made up. Since it's so rare I would hazard a guess that Transformers need to be built (or rebuilt) specifically with triplechanging abilities in mind, possibly from the brain module on out.

Also, it probably requires highly-specialized equipment that makes it impossible to install other special upgrades, like teleporters/cloaking devices/gestalt connectors/whatnot.

I think Dreamwave's explanation was basically "it's genetic".
 
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Old 2008-08-17, 08:38 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Halfshell View Post
Race of aliens that have pure energon for blood? Some Decepticons kidnap them and hardwire the squishy into their own circuitry as a power source?

[/wacky]
Well that might give the Decepticons reason to massacre the race of an entire planet and harvest them for energy but wouldn't really be a good reason for them making their engines sentient beings that can disengage from the TF and walk around making a target of themselves and certainly wouldn't have the Autobots following suit.

There isn't any real tactical advantage any way you look at it so it would need to be something they had to do in order to survive. I don't like the "death air-filter" idea though. A group of Autobots landing on a planet where something in the atmosphere kills TFs isn't going to let a group of natives become a vital part of them just to save their own lives. They'd let themselves die before they needlessly involved these beings in the war.

There would need to be some device or plague, something, that completely destroys a TFs ability hold energy or whatever, though not on just one planet but something whose effect is permanent. There would also need to be something about the beings who become the powermaster partner that makes them the only solution to the problem. These beings would also need to be already involved in the war, already at risk and stuff.

That's the best I can come up with, as vague as it is...
 
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