Awesome 80s: Deceptive Transforming Robots (for Starfinder)

Today we’re continuing our look at some of the weird, awesome scif-fi and science-fantasy stuff came out in the 1980s, that impacted my geek trajectory significantly. The Awesome 80s line of blog posts is about sharing some of the things I have been inspired to create by movies, shows, games, and literature of that decade. In this case, it’s robots that can disguise themselves as (and operate in the form of) vehicles.

If this kind of content interests you, you might enjoy my Polymechs entry in the CODEWORLD micro-campaign setting from my blog entries in April 2018. If you want quick, simple rules to allow robots that transform into vehicles as a player character species in Starfinder, check out my MechaMorphs blog entry from December 2019.

Art by klyaksun


Sometimes, robots are built (or otherwise come into existence) with the ability to switch between robot and vehicle forms, and disguise themselves as typical vehicles when in that form. In some regions of space, transforming sentient robots are the predominant form of spacefaring intelligence and culture, and some fight vast civil wars among differing factions over centuries. The Deceptive Transforming Robot (DTR) graft can be used to turn any robot NPC into a DTR.

Required Creature Type: Construct.
Traits: Vehicle form (see below).
Skills: A DTR gains Disguise and Pilot as master skills if it did not already have them.

Vehicle Form
A DTR can change into a the form of a Small, Medium, Large, or Huge size vehicle (but not starship) as a swift action. Its vehicle form must be within one size category of the DTR’s base form, and have an item level no greater than the DTR’s CR -2 (minimum item level 1). and once selected cannot be changed. While in a vehicle form, the DTR gains a +20 bonus to Disguise checks to appear to be that vehicle (including appearing to have an appropriate driver or pilot, even if it actually doesn’t). Changing back from vehicle form to robot form is also a swift action.

In vehicle form, a DTR can pilot itself (gaining a +8 bonus to all Pilot checks to do so), or allow someone else to pilot it. Anything it carried in its robot form is stowed within it in its vehicle form, and the DTR may opt to allow it to be accessed by riders/passengers. When assuming its vehicle form, the DTR can select equipment or weapons it has in robot form that could be wielded in 2 hands or less, and have them become integrated equipment in its vehicle form. Its vehicle form has the same number of Hit Points as its robot form, and damage taken in one form carries over to the other. It’s EAC, KAC, and speed in vehicle form is determined by the type of vehicle it is.

If you are reading this, maybe you’d like to consider supporting more blog posts like this (and then asking for more Awesome 80s!) by pledging a small amount to my Patreon?


About Owen K.C. Stephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at

Posted on November 29, 2022, in Game Design, Starfinder Development and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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