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GM Papa

Pokemon...Looking for Feedback

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Hey guys, long-time lurker.  I play a lot with my son, and we've talked about Pokemon with the system.  I noticed some other ideas pitched around here, but I wanted to put my thoughts out there and see what kind of feedback you could offer.  This is a lengthy post, so feel free to cherry-pick rather than reading it all if you're so inclined.  Just looking for thoughts on balance issues and such.  I did pilfer ideas from the other thread, so I'd like to give credit to those who posted there, too.  
Potential Stats:
Pokémon:            Species:              Type: (Strength/Weakness)
Held Item:      Gender:                    Loyalty: (0-6)…0 upgrades difficulty of checks 3 times; 1 upgrades difficulty of check 2 times; 2 upgrades difficulty 1 time (most wild Pokémon start at this level of loyalty); 3 doesn't upgrade difficulty; 4 (Fondness and Respect, remove setback die due to nature), 5 (True Friends, choose a skill check, gain a boost die every time you use that check), 6 (Hard to Attain; True Bond)     
Nature: ________ (boost to ____; setback to _____)
    Boost to Charm checks, setback to others: Modest, Mild, Quiet, Rash
    Boost to Skullduggery checks, setback to others: Timid, Hasty, Jolly, Naive
    Boost to Discipline checks, setback to others: Bold, Relaxed, Impish, Lax
    Boost to leadership checks, setback to others: Calm, Gentle, Sassy, Careful
    Boost to Coercion checks, setback to others: Lonely, Brave, Adamant, Naughty
    No boosts or setbacks: Hardy, Docile, Serious, Bashful
Characteristics (same six)...(3 2's and 3 3's (or less for weaker Pokémon) until evolution)  After one stage of evolution, Trainer can increase one characteristic to 4 and one to 3.  If the Pokémon has a third stage evolution, Trainer can increase another characteristic to 4 and another to 3.  Only Legendary Pokémon can have characteristics at 5 (or at GM discretion). 
Every 50 XP (after character creation and bonus XP), Trainer receives 1 Evolution Point.  Each evolution requires a different number of evolution points:
        For three stage Pokémon:
        X points to reach stage 2 (OR Y for 'difficult' to raise Pokémon)
        X points to reach stage 3 (OR Y for 'difficult' to raise Pokémon)
        For two stage Pokémon:
        X points for stage 2 (OR Y for 'difficult' to raise Pokémon)
Skill Checks for Combat: Pokémon checks use Pokémon's characteristics with Trainer's skill ranks. 
Charm: trust and encouragement
Skullduggery: using terrain, unexpected combos, etc. to gain the upper hand
Discipline: fighting to the end, no matter what
Leadership: Careful planning in attacks, logical
Coercion (mostly your evil-types): Forcing your will upon Pokémon

Types of Attacks and their associated characteristics:

Normal

Brawn

Fighting

Agility

Flying

Agility

Poison

Cunning

Ground

Brawn

Rock

Brawn

Bug

Agility

Ghost

Cunning

Steel

Brawn

Fire

Willpower

Water

Presence

Grass

Willpower

Electric

Willpower

Psychic

Intellect

Ice

Presence

Dragon

Intellect

Dark

Cunning

Fairy

Presence

New Qualities (all require 3 advantages to active unless otherwise noted):
Frozen: Spend 4 advantage to freeze target.  Lasts until healed.
Sleep: Puts target to sleep for a number of rounds equal to sleep rating.
Poisoned: Target takes 1 wound per round (this bypasses soak).  Applies at the beginning of the player's turn.  Lasts until healed.
Burned: Target takes 1 wound per round (this bypasses soak).  Lasts until healed.
Confused: Lasts 3 rounds, until healed, or until switched out.  Each time the Pokémon makes an attack, can spend 3 threat to cancel attack and make the Pokémon deal 1 wound to itself (this bypasses soak).
Paralyzed: lasts until healed.  Can spend 3 threat to cancel attack.
Infatuated: lasts until healed or switched out.  Can spend 3 threat to cancel attack.
Ensnared: Prevents Pokémon from fleeing or switching out
 

Recommended that starting characters receive extra XP (50-100) at creation for buying moves.  GMs can set limits (no buying beyond Level 1 moves or beyond Improved attacks).
Attack Moves (can choose to add any number of effects to attack moves) by type.  Can take multiple times.  Each time you take it, select a move type (e.g., Fire, Ice, Electric, Psychic).  Any Pokémon that is able to make that type of attack now has access to it.  Thinking that physical attack damage will be modified with Brawn, special attack with the linked characteristic.

Weak (Characteristic +0; Range [(physical = engaged), (special = short)]; Crit 4; Linked 2; Strain Cost 0)
[Think Double-Slap, Double-Kick]

0 XP

Normal (Characteristic +1; Range [(physical = engaged), (special = short)]; Crit 2; Strain Cost; Strain Cost 1)
[Think Tackle, Karate Chop]

5 XP

Improved (Characteristic +2; Range [(physical = engaged), (special = medium)]; Crit 3, Accurate 1; Strain Cost 2)
[Think Swift, Aerial Ace]

10 XP

Powerful (Characteristic +3; Range [(physical = engaged), (special = medium)]; Crit 4; Strain Cost 3)
[Think Thunderbolt, Ice Beam]

15 XP

Overpowered (Characteristic +4; Range [(physical = engaged), (special = long)]; Crit 4; Inaccurate 1; Strain Cost 4)
[Think Fire Blast, Blizzard]

20 XP

Superpowered (Characteristic +5; Range [(physical = engaged), (special = long)]; Crit 5; Prepare 1, Inaccurate 1, Strain Cost 5)
[Think Solar Beam, Hyper Beam]

25 XP

Self-Destructive (Characteristic +12  Range [(physical = engaged), (special = short)]; Crit 2; Vicious 3; KO's user)

15 XP

Rating in Additional Moves (Augment, Barrier, Curse, Dispel, Heal).  Must take a rating for each move type.  Each level increases the number of additional effects you can apply to your move check.  Can take each level multiple times, each time, choose a move (Augment, Barrier, Curse, Dispel, Heal)

Level 0 (can make basic check without any effects)

5 XP

Level 1 (can add 1 effect)

10 XP

Level 2 (can add 2 effects)

15 XP

Level 3 (can add 3 effects)

20 XP

Level 4 (can add 4 effects)

25 XP

Super-effective grants Pierce and Vicious at 2/3.  Double super-effective grants Pierce and Vicious 4/6.
Resistance grants 1 setback.  Double resistance grants 2 setback.

Then flesh out each attack type based on Magic Rules (move names for flair):
Normal Attack Moves (all physical unless otherwise indicated):
No added Difficulty Dice:
Smelling Salts: If opponent is paralyzed, double characteristic damage to next attack and cure opponents paralyze status
Superpowered can be designated as either Physical or Special (Hyper Beam)
+ 1 Difficulty Die
Take Down: Add Knockdown quality.  Gain Disorient quality equal to Trainer's ranks in Knowledge (Pokémon)
Body Slam: Add paralyze quality to attack
Boomburst (special): Add Blast quality to attack
Copycat: On a successful hit, change attack type to opponent's last attack type
Dizzy Punch: Add Confuse quality
Façade: If suffering from status effect (burned, poisoned, paralyzed), double characteristic damage
False Swipe: Always leave opponent with 1 HP (only available to specific Pokemon?)
Headbutt: Add Stunned quality to attack
Quick Attack: Pokemon acts first in current round, regardless of initiative order
Manipulative: If the attack hits, may spend an advantage to move one range band in any direction
Hyper Fang: Reduce crit rating by 1 and gain Vicious quality equal to Trainer's ranks in Knowledge (Pokémon)
Relic Song: Add Sleep Quality
Snore (special): Can use attack if asleep
Uproar: Until start of next turn, cannot be put to sleep.
+2 Difficulty Dice
Slash: Gain Pierce quality equal to Trainer's ranks in Knowledge (Pokémon)

New Talents:
Elemental Fighting Moves: Tier 2 - Can use Fighting Attack Move to use Fire, Ice, or Electric attack moves
Pokémon Trainer Type ([insert type]): Tier 3 -  When you take this talent, select a type (Poison, Ghost, etc.).  Every time that a Pokémon uses that type of move (whether Attack, Augment, etc.), you may add one effect without increasing the difficulty of the check.  This still cannot exceed your Rating in Additional Moves.
Will to Press On: Tier 4 - Pokémon can spend 4 advantages on a check to recover from any status effect.

Edited by GM Papa

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every attack should have it own characteristic not based on type
probably with agility only for electro ball
and a single special attack stat
loyalty seems like it should be used for return and frustration but not much else

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Depending upon the scope of the campaign, and how many of the video game tropes you wish to adopt... the pokemon themselves can be little more than an advesary profile (simple enough to fit onto a trading card).

If the campaign focuses on adventuring, making friends, and defeating rivals on your quest to become a pokemon master... the Trainer will generally be limited to whichever pokemon you cause them to encounter, or be given by NPCs. So there isn't much reason to make your system for generating new pokemon very complicated, as you'll be the main one interacting with it, and can adjust any unreasonable results you obtain. I would just try to ensure they're all fairly equivalent. Your main considerations thereafter should be Pokemon & Trainer Advancement. For example, how quickly should a pokemon's combat skills improve (if at all), and what is the opportunity cost for learning new techniques.

Most of the Techniques can either be weapon profiles or specific spells; with each type (such as Dragon, Fighting, and Psychic) being a seperate combat skill pokemon can have varying ranks in. "Fighting Techniques" would replace Brawl for Trainers as well (who could thus also use Fighting Techniques as in the shows), and some rare Trainers might even have ranks in Psychic Techniques.

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