Okay, as everyone knows a good roleplaying campaign is made up of many factors. The overreaching storyline, the choices, divided paths, etc. But one of the most enjoyable parts is the encounters (or battles, skirmishes, fights, whatever you want to call them). As Pokemon is largely a battle-based game the way Encounters play is a very important subject, and I've been brainstorming ideas. I will now present (a part) of my favourite one. I think that the encounter system we should use should be a little bit more strict that the somewhat loose system that is implemented in the National Park.
The system that I propose we use (with edits, additions, etc) is kind of a fusion between the system seen in some tabletop RPGs and some tactics-based video games. The Encounter field would be a grid of squares that can be arranged in any particular sequence. For example, a basic grid would look somewhat like this (except probably much larger):
Whether it's tilted or not is a minor point, it's just easier in my experience. Anyway, random squares can be removed or added to vary up the environment and change the way the fights happen, like so:
You can also raise or lower tiles to create slopes and raised squares. How this affects gameplay I'm not sure yet, but it could be something as easy as Pokemon on the higher ground get a slight attack multiplier or something. Anyway, a grid with slopes might look something like this:
There could also be multilayer battlefields, like say underground tunnels that Digging Pokemon could access, or up in the sky where Pokemon could use Fly, Bounce, etc to dogfight. But I'll expand on that later - the ideas I want to share in this post are going to make it big enough.
Let's say the encounter is taking place on the most recent grid. A Pokemon (or a Trainer) would move around on the grid, repositioning themselves to try and gain a tactical advantage over their opponents. My next point is this movement. We can either allow diagonal travel or disallow it. For example, if a Pokemon had the ability to move two squares, then the left example is with diagonal travel, and the right example is without. Red squares are the squares the Ralts could move to.
Again, this is largely a minor choice. Experience tells me that disallowing diagonals would be a better choice, but that's open for discussion.
Now as for attacks, each attack could have its own length/range/whatever, and I'll be talking about how moves and stats affect encounters later on. For now, you can imagine how attacks work. Depending on whether or not we allow diagonals, the attack aiming system could be very different. But here are a few examples assuming we don't allow diagonals (and the actual specifics can be hammered out later):
Thunderbolt (Attack in a line, hit everyone)
Hypnosis (Attack a single square nearby)
Thunder Wave (Area of effect attack, green squares are range of centre of attack)
Psychic (Attack a single square at range)
There may be other possibilities, I'm working on a comprehensive list of moves and their effects. Anyway, there are other things related to this grid that I want to talk about (like an action order, deciding who moves at what time, etc) but there's just one last choice that I want to lay out on the table for now. In these campaigns, I think there has been an underlying assumption that Trainers will be able to bring in more than one Pokemon. If they can't, then this doesn't need to be discussed. If they can, then I would suggest each Trainer is only allowed one Pokemon on the field at a time, and here are the two ways we could implement Trainer involvement:
The Trainer is also a character on the grid like the Pokemon, able to move around and distribute healing items to the Pokemon. The Trainer wouldn't be able to fight, however, so this adds tactical complexity in form of bringing the Trainers with the Pokemon (allowing for healing but open to risk) or having them stay back (battle won't fail because a Trainer has been too badly wounded but Pokemon may faint). Using items would work like a Pokemon attacking, most likely a single square nearby (items cannot be thrown at Pokemon).
The other option is we implement a home base kind of area to where Pokemon can retreat to receive healing or to be swapped in-out. For example, on our grid:
So Pokemon could only be swapped or healed in the area. At the start of the battle, Pokemon could be placed anywhere in the home area, allowing for strategic planning (for example a Gardevoir carrying Wish and Heal Bell could stay backwards somewhat, acting as a support, while the Infernape can get in close and dirty and a Jolteon could fire Thunderbolts from afar).
Anyway, that's probably enough for one post. I'll talk later on about my ideas regarding how the battle itself actually works, and later on a part-by-part move list, explaining how some moves may be radically different under this system as opposed to normal battling (for example Teleport could move the Pokemon instead of attacking). I'll also talk about the mechanics and advantages of moving (for example, if we implement a facing direction, striking from behind has increased critical ratio).
If you've managed to get through this massive post, I salute you xD. Please discuss, point out errors, add improvements, etc. I'll edit them in / make new posts as we go. Try not to move too far ahead, let's hammer this out part by part. Jumping forwards past the bare roots is how projects like this fail.
Anyway, thanks again. Discuss! :D