Pokemon-Style RPG (the tabletop, dice-rolling kind)

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  1. #1
    70% Critical Hit Rate Stratago's Avatar
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    Default Pokemon-Style RPG (the tabletop, dice-rolling kind)

    I've been DMing (or 'Hosting', which is what I've come to call it) for a very long time (15+ yrs), but I've never tried anything like a Pokemon / Monster Trainer game because, frankly, the logistics of keeping track of 150+ NPCs is terrifying. However, I've still always wanted to do one, and after ending my latest Sci-Fantasy game, everyone in my core group (including my wife) is once again begging me to do one.
    So you know, I use a system that I invented back in high school, and have been tweaking and fine-tuning it for a very long time. I'd liken it to... a cross between 2nd ed. D&D and Silhouette (D-20 based stats, including attacking and dodging), with a magic system that's sorta like Channeling (a'la WoT) or Bending (from Avatar). I have rules for Summoned creatures, but 'Pet Monsters' seem like they'd function differently, especially the ones the party will be using the most. I've run Familiars before, too, but at no time has a mage-type in one of my games ever had more than one; in a situation like this, the party could have multiple 'Pets', and have more stocked (like in PCs) that they could switch with; technology-wise the world is limited, but Gnomes make steam-powered and magi-tek stuff all the time, so a capsule-system is not remotely impossible. (Many of my game worlds are kinda like 'Ella Enchanted' in that regard, with medieval escalators and whatnot.)
    I want to have a 'regional Pokedex' containing around 150 'new' Pokemon (which seems to be appropriate) and I draw that kind of stuff so often that coming up with the monsters itself won't be hard (plus there's always Fakemon to fill in any gaps). Balance is what I'm concerned about - the balance of monster types. My magic system (which is pivotal in a lot of ways to the worlds I make) is divided into six 'elemental spheres' (Light/Dark/Earth/Air/Fire/Water), each with 5 'stages' (which represent various states of the sphere they're part of). All characters (player and NPC) have 'innate spheres', essentially making them a certain type, and I have a 'Type Matchup Chart' based on that, but it's only based on the main six spheres, and only having six Types in a Pokemon-style game seems kinda lame. I would just expand my own type chart, but it'd be really strange to have Monsters that are (for example) Sonic- or Void-Type. I want to use Pokemon's type chart (especially since my group is familiar with it), but then the issue becomes balance. How many fire types are there in a given generation? how many ice types? In Gen V, there seem to be between 10-15 of each type (except Dragon and Ice) if you include dual-type Pokemon, but I actually can't find a chart for the other generations online, and I did the numbers for Gen V by hand.
    Has anyone ever ran a game like this? Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated. The only resource I know of for games like this is BESM's 'Seizure Monsters', which, after reading it, didn't tell me anything I hadn't already thought of. (It was funny, though, and I'lll probably end up using P.O.E.M. in this game if I ever get it going.)
    Thanx in advance to anyone who helps out, or even comments that it sounds interesting.

    Mods: If I've posted this in the wrong area, please move it; I couldn't figure out where to put it. Thanx.

    Smogon: 'Nuff said.

  2. #2
    He Bled into the Throne Sovereign's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pokemon-Style RPG (the tabletop, dice-rolling kind)

    I've run games like this, before, and also have experience in D&D. The RP I ran, however, was a more in-depth look at Warcraft lore, and it wasn't placed in a forum or tabletop environment. It was in an MMO, which obviously is a much different setting. But, we used the forums for a general basis of rules, and what we called a codex, or a few threads dedicated entirely to explaining the lore and describing things to interested players.

    It focused around a guild delving into the forbidden magic arts, Necromancy, Sanguimancy (Blood Magic), Soul Magic, Demonology, etc., as well as breaking down religious power sources into a form of magic, so an inherent set of rules and new descriptions of the possibilities of each school was required.

    One thing I can suggest would be to make sure that you set clear-cut rules, and try to make the world easy to understand and define. Getting everyone on even footing will do wonders for making things easier for you to handle. And, as for the creation of new Pokemon, don't worry about tackling it all at once. It's much easier to develop things as you go along with the players.

    Say, you're beginning, and have a distinct goal. You want to get to so and so location, and you want so and so things to happen on the way. If you have a general idea to cohere to, don't worry about expanding the world beyond that until there's a need. You don't need 150 Pokemon right off the bat. One of your players like fire types? Great, that serves as an awesome baseline to work with. You feel like there are too many fire types at this stage? Keep that in mind, and start focusing on other types. The setting and feel of the adventure will also develop, so you can use that to your advantage. Your players like the steam-punk setting? Great, you'll know to make more Steel-types or clockwork-y Pokemon as you progress. Once your players have a firm idea of what they're adventuring for, you can incorporate that into forming a perfect legendary Pokemon for the setting.

    Like I said, I've run things similar to this, but not quite the same, so I hope my advice can help, even if only slightly.

    The game is called Bridges...

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    70% Critical Hit Rate Stratago's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pokemon-Style RPG (the tabletop, dice-rolling kind)

    Sovereign - That's good advice, thanks. You're right about not needing all of them at once, but my group rebels hard whenever there's a 'point A to point B' scenario and always tries to go to point R first, so I'm a bit anxious about it.
    I think what I may end up doing is taking a sample generation/pokedex and using the types already there (editing certain dual-types, of course), then 'overwrite' the Poke in that position (instead of Axew, there'd be a different Dragon type, etc). The thing I'm wondering about at the moment is where meat will come from in this world. (Mmm, Tauros burgers...)
    Thanks also for being the only person to respond after 80+ people didn't

    Smogon: 'Nuff said.

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    Rawr! I iz da Kwaken! Polkadot Jolteon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pokemon-Style RPG (the tabletop, dice-rolling kind)

    I do RPGs like that. I'd recommend making each Pokémon have a fixed amount of stats and not include levels to start with. Also, make Pokémon do the tasks instead of the Trainers. That way it's easier to manage and if you think you can handle a certain mechanic, try it. If it doesn't work out, so what. If it does, good on you.

    To deal with your rebellious gang, get a plot, but don't make it too obvious and make it look like you've given them loads of freedom. Works every time.

  5. #5
    70% Critical Hit Rate Stratago's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pokemon-Style RPG (the tabletop, dice-rolling kind)

    Quote Originally Posted by Polkadot Jolteon View Post
    I do RPGs like that. I'd recommend making each Pokémon have a fixed amount of stats and not include levels to start with. Also, make Pokémon do the tasks instead of the Trainers. That way it's easier to manage and if you think you can handle a certain mechanic, try it. If it doesn't work out, so what. If it does, good on you.

    To deal with your rebellious gang, get a plot, but don't make it too obvious and make it look like you've given them loads of freedom. Works every time.
    Yeah, that's pretty much what I do, by necessity; most 'events' I design don't have a specific location, because the party would deliberately go the other way. I'm thinking about having a 'gym' for each type, spread across the map, so that will at least encourage travel.
    I plan on doing the 'fixed stat' thing, and also having a 'moveset' for each monster (kinda like the anime), but also giving out HP and SP (Skill Points) so they can learn new skills/abilities/moves they can learn as they level up.
    The only complicated part will be combat, I think, because my players will want to be more involved. Essentially the monsters will be NPCs, and my players HATE when an NPC gets a 'killing blow', even if it's part of said NPC's plot thread.

    Smogon: 'Nuff said.

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    Wahaha~ Heroic Sociopath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pokemon-Style RPG (the tabletop, dice-rolling kind)

    If you need something to randomize rolls, I use this site: Roll Dice
    It has a thing where you can look up rolls for specific characters, so people can't cheat.
    Yun likes this.
    Not changing my signature 'till TWEWY 2 comes out.

    Also this RP is really cool. It's like Percy Jackson. You can be a god's reincarnation and have powers and you're at a school and it's totally radical!
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    70% Critical Hit Rate Stratago's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pokemon-Style RPG (the tabletop, dice-rolling kind)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastian Michealis View Post
    If you need something to randomize rolls, I use this site: Roll Dice
    It has a thing where you can look up rolls for specific characters, so people can't cheat.
    Ooh, it's kinda like Thingy and DiceMage. Thanx.

    Smogon: 'Nuff said.

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