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Richardbuxton

Pokémon, a simple version?

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Sometimes you have moments of inspiration, sometimes they suck, sometimes they don’t,  I had one such  moment today but I’m yet to decide if it sucks. So here it is in its most raw form, copied almost directly from Farcebook where I accidentally started the idea. It definitely needs development, refinement, and testing.

 

Pokémon Genesys 

 

The basic premise:

I would use a modified version of the Rune Magic system from Realms of Terrinoth, each Pokémon is represented in the same way as a Rune Shard. They would each have access to a unique list of spells (called “Moves”) though and require a specific characteristic to use those Moves with. They each add a specific set of additional effects if used as the Magic Implement, and they all also have a unique ability which can be activated.

 

All the characteristics and skills come in the normal way, from the human character, but the description of how they got those skills and characteristics is different. Perhaps a character has 3 ranks in a skill called Grass (aka Primal), well that’s because they have a strong connection with their grass Pokémon.

Edit: I think I would avoid calling the skills by their element, instead something that represents a general combat and trainer style is probably better: Calculated (Intellect), Creative (Cunning), Determined (Willpower), Friendship (Presence). Bond (Presence) or Teamwork (Presence) may be better.

Perhaps that 4 in Presence represents the humans strong bond with their Pokémon. A 1 in Willpower represents their inability to see their opponents weaknesses

 

I don’t think you would need too many skills, some elements can share the same skill, just so long as there’s a skill linked to each of Intellect, Cunning, Willpower and Presence. I probably wouldn’t even bother defining each element since there’s so many, just figure it out with the individual Pokémon as it comes up. Actual combat skills would be completely removed, Knowledge skills would cover Regions, Pokémon, Trainers, History(perhaps)

 

 

 

Example Pokémon:

 

Pokémon: Pikachu

Type: Electric 

Skill: Friendship(Presence)

Spells: Attack, Barrier, Utility.

Strength: Water 2. Flying 1.

Weakness: Ground 2.

Abilities:

Keep Going: Gain 1 rank of Durable whilst this is your active Pokémon.

Not like that: Once per encounter suffer 2 Strain to add an automatic Success to your next skill check, Pikachu is fond of electrocuting you when your about to do the wrong thing!

Implement: When Pikachu is your active Pokémon you may add the Lightning Upgrade without increasing the difficulty. You may never add the Poisonous effect. Also Increase the Damage of any Attack moves by 2.

 

 

Pokémon: Charmander

Element: Fire

Skill: Determination(Willpower)

Spells: Attack, Augment, Utility

Strengths: Grass 1, Ice 1, Bug 1, Steel 1

Weaknesses: Fire 1, Water 1.

Abilities:

Hard to stop: Increase Soak by 1 when this is your active Pokémon.

I’m not weak: Once per encounter, when this is your active Pokémon, suffer 2 Wounds to add 2 boost dice to your next Discipline check as your Pokémon guides you into doing the right thing (by blasting you with fire!)

Implement: Always add the Fire effect to Moves without upgrading the difficulty, you may add the Primal Fury effect (even if this would not normally be allowed). You may never add the Ice effect. Increase the base damage of all Attack Moves by 4.

 

 

 

 

Additional Changes:

1: Codify the action economy, what should a battle look like, how is a Pokémon chosen and brought into the battle? What happens when Strain and Wound Threshold are exceeded? How do the non magic skills get used in a battle? 

2: Define some Archetypes

3: Define some careers, including the specific skills of Pokémon “magic”

New Skills:

Knowledge (Regions): The Knowledge of all the Regions, their cities and their tournaments

Knowledge (Pokémon): Knowing about Pokémon, their moves, abilities and types etc

Knowledge (Trainers): recognising trainers and their strengths and weaknesses. This could include professors too. 

Knowledge (History): remembering events in the past.

Calculated (Intellect): Your knowledge and understanding of your Pokémon guides your strategies, planning moves that are logical.

Creative (Cunning): You use Pokémon in unorthodox ways, often gaining the upper hand through surprising and unexpected moves.

Determined (Willpower): You never give up, you battle to the very end, always looking for that one opening to turn the fight against your opponent

Connected (Presence): Your Pokémon trust you, and your ability to encourage them often gets the most out of their powers, you guide them to work together to achieve your goals.

 

4: Create a list of Pokémon, probably 15 or so to start with, all as Basic Pokémon 

5: Rewrite the Crit injuries table to be relevant to the Pokémon themselves:

70-90ish : your current Pokémon is defeated 

151+ all your Pokémon are defeated 

 

6: define a simple weakness system:

Strength: When targeting an active  Pokémon of this type, or their Trainer, you add a number of Boost dice equal to the rating

Weakness: When targeting an active Pokémon of this type, or their Trainer, you add a number of Setback dice equal to the rating.

 

 

Obviosly this is a WiP, any input or help would be appreciated, 

Edited by Richardbuxton
The title is a question!

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I don't know, I'm not particularly keen on turning the 'mons into the equivalent of items. I suppose that sounds kind of hypocritical, considering what you can do in the games, but a tabletop RPG should be able to expand on what you can do with a setting.

There are a lot more things that in the world of Pokemon that can be done aside from the standard battling that builds the core of the series. Breeding, research, medicine, Pokemon Rangers, exploration, Contests and musicals, the Pokethlon, even criminal activities; all things appear in the game and can be explored more thoroughly through an RPG. A lot of these things require the 'mons to be more than a magic item.

There is a fan-made Pokemon RPG that really delves into it, and expands it beyond that, branching into blending Pokemon with fantasy and science fiction. Ideas could probably be gleamed from that.

I think Pokemon is an all-or-nothing setting. You either go full on and design profiles for all 700+ species (a total britch of a project), or not at all. I don't think there is a simple method to do it. It is definitely an interesting challenge though.

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@Swordbreaker I hear you, and I definitely think there’s a place for a very in depth and complex Pokémon rpg. But I was hoping to make a simpler version as an alternative, something for the regular Pokémon fan, not the Super Fan who knows every single Pokémon and all their evolutions and abilities etc.

 The idea that a Pokémon helps with spells doesn’t need to be limited to battles, there’s plenty of narrative ways magic can be used. Sometimes people just want to play a one shot, or use rules they are already familiar with, this could be a possibility for that option. 

The game would play very similar to any other Genesys game, you describe a generic action with the narrative flair that suits your character. Adventuring would be a significant part of the game, helping people and wild Pokémon, solving mysteries, and even entering occasional tournaments.

The idea of death would be essentially removed, weapons and armour would be basically redundant, but items and talents would take centre stage. Heroic Abilities would also fit really well to give each human character a unique flavour; Ash could absolutely be a Paragon, with the Talent: Signature Pokémon Pikachu

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I think this is actually a really good start. I think the more you can simplify the process of managing pokemon the better. 

 

My friends and i have done multiple games of Pokemon Tabletop United which i believe is the fan made system @Swordbreaker references above. The biggest problem with that game is how much micro management and math it is. It's an absolute nightmare to GM a PTU game because of the sheer amount of prep work needed. They do too good a job of simulating all of the stats and levels of the regular pokemon game. I feel it heavily detracts from the role play aspects of tabletop. 

 

With that said i think suggestions like this one are exactly how a Genesys Pokemon game should be handled. Maybe just use the pokemon as Rune Shards that level up. Give them a little bit more customization and i think you'd be really on to something. 

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9 minutes ago, Noahjam325 said:

With that said i think suggestions like this one are exactly how a Genesys Pokemon game should be handled. Maybe just use the pokemon as Rune Shards that level up. Give them a little bit more customization and i think you'd be really on to something

I was thinking over that today, wondering what  the evolution of a Pokémon would involve mechanically, a simple list of modifications to the abilities etc would be fine. I’m not really sure how to measure when a Pokémon should evolve, perhaps xp counts towards evolution in the same way it counts towards Heroic Abilities. Every 50xp you get an evolution point, it takes one or two points to Evolve, another one or two for the Final Evolution.

Otherwise just leave it as a narrative thing; “when you achieve some significant milestone in the game, or overcome a suitably difficult challenge, one of your Pokémon evolves. You and your gm should work together to make it a memorable moment”

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I was thinking more or less the exact same thing. An alternate progression path similar to heroic abilities. Then you remove the idea of "grinding exp" to level pokemon and just tie it to the base character. I think using the base character sheet as the foundation for everything is the way to make a streamlined Genesys version without a ton of micro management. 

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On 5/13/2018 at 9:26 AM, Richardbuxton said:

I was thinking over that today, wondering what  the evolution of a Pokémon would involve mechanically, a simple list of modifications to the abilities etc would be fine. I’m not really sure how to measure when a Pokémon should evolve, perhaps xp counts towards evolution in the same way it counts towards Heroic Abilities. Every 50xp you get an evolution point, it takes one or two points to Evolve, another one or two for the Final Evolution.

Otherwise just leave it as a narrative thing; “when you achieve some significant milestone in the game, or overcome a suitably difficult challenge, one of your Pokémon evolves. You and your gm should work together to make it a memorable moment”

I think the idea of evolution points akin to the heroic abilities is a good one. I think you could take it a step further though by letting these points allow you to improve your pokemon in some other ways like heroic abilities let you do other than just getting the improved or supreme versions. So an example pokemon improvement could be something like it gives a boost to a certain skill check or some extra flat damage on attack actions. This would allow trainers that don't want to evolve their pokemon to have some other alternative ways to spend their "Pokemon Points" (or whatever else they could be called).

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Working on something similar with a few friends. Ideas we've hammered out so far:

  • Pokémon have Characteristics and Thresholds, but no skills. When a trainer gives the Pokémon a command, combine the Pokémon's Characteristic with the appropriate social skill from the trainer. Wild Pokémon have a Talent similar to Adversary, but upgrading their own pools when performing moves (instead of trainer's social skill).
  • Capturing a wild Pokémon is some kind of check for throwing the Pokéball and requires a number of Successes equal to the wild Pokémon's remaining wounds. This preserves the mechanic of getting HP down low before throwing a Pokéball. We haven't completely hammered out where the difficulty comes from, though.
  • Moves are like Force Powers from SWRPG, in that they have Control, Duration, Magnitude, Range, and Strength upgrades along connected graphs (e.g. "Vine Whip" might have a base effect of dealing damage but then a Control: Prehensile upgrade with an mostly-to-entirely narrative use), though the Move-graphs themselves will be smaller and simpler than Force Powers in most cases.

We're building our project among some big fans of the games as players, so training/growing/evolving Pokémon will be much more involved, but feel free to use any of the ideas above that suit you.

Edited by sfRattan

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On 6/28/2018 at 6:35 AM, sfRattan said:

We haven't completely hammered out where the difficulty comes from, though.

Base it on the Pokeball being used? Maybe like, base difficulty of 3P for a normal Pokeball, 2P for a Great Ball, 1P for an Ultra Ball? The various type specific balls could have their difficulty change depending on the kind of target, or maybe just add boost/setback.

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1 hour ago, Tom Cruise said:

Base it on the Pokeball being used? Maybe like, base difficulty of 3P for a normal Pokeball, 2P for a Great Ball, 1P for an Ultra Ball? The various type specific balls could have their difficulty change depending on the kind of target, or maybe just add boost/setback.

I think this is a great idea. I like the idea of the custom poke balls like say... Net Balls adding boost die when used on water type pokemon, and maybe setback when used on other kinds.

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I've been chewing on how I would write a pokemon RP for many years now, and everytime I come up with one conclusion. The statistical weight should be entirely on the pokemon. As a trainer, you shouldn't need much crunch. Perhaps some skills around handling and taming pokemon, but most everything else is fluffy RP whip.

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Yeah, in a system where Pokémon are more than just a piece of equipment the Human is responsible for the Characteristic linked to Knowledge and Social Skills.

The Pokémon are responsible for the Characteristic linked to Combat/Magic Skills.

General Skills are used by both though, I’m assuming this would be a setting where investigating and problem solving are common, with all fighting being between, so either could be contributing the Characteristic depending on the particular situation.

 

Skill ranks are something else entirely though. To me the skill system can represent a trainers knowledge of their Pokémon, and understanding of how to get the best out of them, it represents the trainers ability to choose the right moves for the Pokémon to make.

The Trainer will have a Wound and Strain Threshold. Wounds represent their ability to keep fighting, Strain is their willingness to keep fighting, they never get Critical Injuries. Pokémon only get Wounds and Critical Injuries.

 

So a PC would have all the normal Characteristics of a character, with skill ranks in everything. The Pokémon would just need Wounds, Characteristics and unique abilities.

When you build a dice pool you select the characteristic of either the Trainer or the Pokémon, then use the skill of the Trainer and any bonuses from the Pokémon.

Edited by Richardbuxton

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1 hour ago, Richardbuxton said:

Yeah, in a system where Pokémon are more than just a piece of equipment the Human is responsible for the Characteristic linked to Knowledge and Social Skills.

The Pokémon are responsible for the Characteristic linked to Combat/Magic Skills.

General Skills are used by both though, I’m assuming this would be a setting where investigating and problem solving are common, with all fighting being between, so either could be contributing the Characteristic depending on the particular situation.

 

Skill ranks are something else entirely though. To me the skill system can represent a trainers knowledge of their Pokémon, and understanding of how to get the best out of them, it represents the trainers ability to choose the right moves for the Pokémon to make.

The Trainer will have a Wound and Strain Threshold. Wounds represent their ability to keep fighting, Strain is their willingness to keep fighting, they never get Critical Injuries. Pokémon only get Wounds and Critical Injuries.

 

So a PC would have all the normal Characteristics of a character, with skill ranks in everything. The Pokémon would just need Wounds, Characteristics and unique abilities.

When you build a dice pool you select the characteristic of either the Trainer or the Pokémon, then use the skill of the Trainer and any bonuses from the Pokémon.

I would personally only play a Pokemon game that was this complicated or less.

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Reading the thread I had a crazy idea. Not sure how or if it will work. Why not let PC's be Pokemon. The party could be 1-3 and their "buddy" Pokemon.

In a semi-related combat idea would have the trainer would roll a leadership or "trainer" roll at the beginning of combat. A success creates a bond where the Pokemon will earn a boost for following their trainer or two setback for doing their own thing. From there opposed rolls for each round of combat. A failed bond roll just means no extra rewards for following their trainer. I would think 1 set back would be needed if the Pokemon is doing their own thing.

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That's not a bad idea. However, the appeal to me would be capturing and collecting.

It's a shame I need to spend today prepping for my Dungeons and Dragons game tomorrow, else I would be sorely tempted to start working on a gen 1 source book.

But then again, I also need to work on my Naruto port and my Venture Brothers game I want to run for GNCon next year. Oy.

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So I gave this some thought during my lunch break today, and if I were to sit down and draw up a Pokemon source for GeneSys I would make some changes.

  • Pokemon and Trainers each get their own profile
    • Pokemon skill list is much shorter
  • Moves are essentially Talents that only a pokemon can learn. With more powerful moves and abilities having a higher tier/XP cost
  • Each pokemon has a "tag" or "category" (trying to avoid the word 'type') such as Basic, Starter, Legendary etc... that dictates about how strong it is (perhaps the base profile), and how difficult it is to catch.
  • Drop Melee/Range defense from Pokemon and replace it with "Physical Defense" and "Special Defense" which will correspond to each attack's type.
  • Possible: Each Pokemon has a list of moves it can learn. and XP cost to evolve. Certain pokemon can evolve on the cheap, or may have to bank XP to evolve.
  • STAB grants +1 boost. The reasoning here is perhaps certain effects can trigger easier when types match.
  • Attacking a weakness: +2 dmg on success (or perhaps +2 pierce might be easier to word)
  • Resistance to attack: -2 dmg on success
Edited by kaosoe

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After discussing it with a friend of mine we came to the idea that for things like type advantage/disadvantage, it might work out well to upgrade the skill/difficulty of the check.

An example would be a charmander uses ember against a bulbasaur. Because bulbasaur is weak to fire, the charmander upgrades its ability dice by 1 for the check. If the charmander used the same attack against a squirtle the difficulty dice would be upgraded by 1 for the check.

This, I feel shows the benefit of using type advantage without making things too inherently boring with flat damage or adding too many extra dice to the check.

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On the one hand, I sort of like the idea of each Pokémon just being an Adversary/Minion and you use your character's stats in place of the Pokémon's for some stuff.  But then, I call the Force and Destiny RPG Career Seeker, the Pokémon Master career.

On the other hand, I also enjoy the idea of each Pokémon having their own career to learn moves and upgrade some of their stuff and whatnot.

I actually enjoy the idea of using both of these together, so your different Pokémon can sort of get upgrades without having to do the normal level-up grind.  Unfortunately, this means putting in crazy work in writing up everything.

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i do believe pokémon stats don't fit that well into genesys' six stats (Brawn becomes way too strong)
static bonuses seems fitting per species
the six stats may serve as the representation on individual values or effort
i wouldn't use a skill tree but allow to swap old moves to pay for the new ones

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Posted (edited)

TheLonelySandPerson used a Revive.

The thread recovered from fainting!

 

I've been pondering this today and I have some ideas.

First, the drone control rules from Beanstalk will work great here -- like an animal companion, you spend your action to determine the Pokemon's action and maneuver. If you don't, it acts on instinct. In addition, all captured pokemon have an ability similar to the drones' Telepresence, which lets you use your skill ranks when you directly command it. You can use your maneuver to assist its action or apply a setback to an incoming attack.

On that note, all owned pokemon are minions. Wild ones might be rivals or even nemeses (usually just legendaries, there) but they convert to minions when captured. That helps keep each pokemon in the field for just a few turns so fights don't bog down. I suspect most trainer battles should make the trainer select just 2 or 3 pokemon from their team to keep from having to burn through 6 opponents in sequence.

The trainer can level up their pokemon by spending XP on them. They should probably be required to have used that pokemon during the session, but an Exp Share allows them to spend up to half the XP on unused pokemon.

I like the pokeball ideas. Great thinking there!

The moves should be fairly loosey-goosey in keeping with the narrative system, but the magic system is a good place to start. I'm thinking maybe define 4 "spells" that the pokemon knows and then charge strain for using the same narrative abilities for different mechanical effects.

I feel like there should also be some kind of friendship/trust mechanic, but I'm not sure how to apply it yet.

Edit: Oh, and since there's no way in **** I'm statting out even 151 pokemon, they'd be kinda roll-your-own based on a few menu selections, like item creation. I'd be comfortable enough defining something like

Charmander: Fire, Kinda Tough, Pretty Fast, Strong Attacks, Evolution 2.

Edited by TheLonelySandPerson

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Sadly the only way to do this. Regardless which way you go is to make AT LEAST 150 unique stats.

 

Pokemon would be great Genesys, and a ton of fun. But the work is... just herculean.

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