View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Pokémon-Themed Creature Capture System

2016-03-07, 03:19 AM
First attempt at homebrewing (unless you count the other things I've posted in the 5e forum), so please be gentle.

1) Long ago, a powerful Wizard discovered a means to trap the essence of non-humanoid creatures into mystical balls known as “Monster Orbs”. Over time, the magic to create these “Monster Orbs” became easier and easier to do, with much of the world changed forever with the reduced price of this magic. It has come to a point that “Monster Orbs” can now be purchased for 30 GP at any major city, leading for many adventurers to buy them for their awesome ability to bind monsters to their will.

2) Like any other magical item, the “Monster Orb” needs to be attuned to a humanoid creature in order to be used by that creature. Thus, only three “Monster Orbs” can be attuned to a creature at a time (assuming that creature is not attuned to any other magical items).

3) At the end of any combat encounter with a non-Humanoid creature, if that non-Humanoid creature is the last creature to be defeated, each PC (that is not incapacitated, unconscious, or dead) attuned to a “Monster Orb” (that hasn't been used to capture a creature yet) can “throw” a “Monster Orb” (if they are attuned to one) at the body of the creature (in Initiative turn order). The creature must then make a Dexterity Saving Throw (DC 18). If the creature succeeds the Saving Throw, the “Monster Orb” is destroyed. If the creature fails the Saving Throw, the creature becomes “captured” and its body and soul are absorbed into the “Monster Orb”. Once a player succeeds in capturing the creature, no player may throw their “Monster Orbs”. If one turn passes and no one is able to capture the monster, the monster becomes “uncapturable”, and dies. Only one creature may be captured in one “Monster Orb” at a time. If the “Monster Orb” takes 100 damage, it is irreparably destroyed, and the monster captured by it are released, and become hostile to every other character except the character it was attuned to. If a player attuned to a “Monster Orb” is killed, his or her “Monster Orb” can be stolen from him and attuned to, and the creature in the “Monster Orb” will regard this new character as its master.

4) A player attuned to a “Monster Orb” with a monster captured inside it (now known as a “Trainer”) may summon the creature from the “Monster Orb” as a cantrip. When summoned for the first time, the creature will be at full Hit Points (the DM will have to reveal to the player the statistics of the creature he or she “caught”). Once summoned, the creature will obey the commands of its “Trainer” without question, and may be commanded to take actions in combat instead of its “Trainer”. Creatures taking damage may recover Hit Points using Hit Dice during rests in the same way that Player Characters do. When a creature is dismissed, it’s body and soul returns to the “Monster Orb” with the Hit Points it had while it was summoned. Creatures can neither gain nor lose Hit Points within the “Monster Orb”. If the creature dies while summoned, the “Monster Orb” that “captured” it also becomes irreparably destroyed.

Optional plot hooks and ideas for worldbuilding:

1) The relatively cheap price of the magic used for capturing non-humanoid creatures with “Monster Orbs” has caused the fantasy world it was invented in to become largely dependent on it. “Trainers” can engage in battles to the death in order to become a “Champion”, and even poorer humanoids can use the magic to capture creatures and bind them to their will. Adventurers still exist and many of them continue to go out and challenge monsters with the hope of capturing them.

2) There exist secret organizations dedicated to stealing “Monster Orbs” from other humanoids by killing them and attuning their orbs to their members.

3) Legendary creatures with lairs exist, and these are the finest and most difficult creatures to capture, a true prize for any “Trainer”. The secret organizations mentioned in the previous point will stop at nothing to use these creatures to their own end for world domination.

4) The more intelligent non-humanoids decide to rebel against this form of magical slavery, and do their best to move away from humanoid cities and become hostile to them on sight. Humanoids must be cautious when walking in tall grass; they can be attacked at any time.

Any thoughts?

2016-03-08, 04:07 AM
I think it can be funny and interesting for people who want to explore a game with pokemon fluff and play through references of their young years of gaming on gameboy.

But I believe that it needs a world very carefully written. Pokemon is based on a world with a lot of flaws that are keep quiet because it isn't necessary in the videogame to dig this deep.

I may certainly forgot a lot of things, but there's a few points you might want to develop a bit for your universe :

- At some point, people able to use creatures to act for them can bring some chaos. Ambitious people will catch a lot of monsters to increase their power and try to reign. Either them or the existing power in place will win, but the final ruler will want to assure no one can use this against them. So Monsters Orbs will be soon illegal or strictly controlled, with a monopoly about that for the current ruler. It could impact deeply the way the realm work. There can be some police with monsters to watch the street, delation could be encouraged, and there will be some ideologies supporting the regulation of monsters orb by the king or sects claiming guided by a god to control monstrers.

- Monsters orbs would become more of a tool of power than a magic item for player. For example, The milice might want to give the party a monster orb to capture a black dragon in the mountain, causing trouble to a village nearby. But they're asked to give back the black dragon orb after that (because autorities need that much power to be in their hands, not hands of some adventurers...)

- About chaos, life can be really threatening when it's easy for anyone with a monster orb (found, stolen, ...) could make appeared some hydra or green hag in the middle of the sunday market in a big city. This would lead to a lot of possibilities to terrorists/revolutionners/anarchists to cause trouble and to justification to have the ruler of the realm to be very restrictive about it.

- The distinction between monsters (non-humanoid creatures, able to be capture by the monster orb) and humanoids (unable to be capture) might change a bit tha way this setting deals with creatures : goblins, orcs, kobbolds are NOT monsters. They can be evil, or aggressives, but things are different. Some philosphies may believe that monster orbs cant touch humanoid because they have souls or something like that. IMO, orcs and goblins have souls (and by the way, dragon not...).

It may be rough and not well dug, but it can give you some ideas of what can happen here.
I may have gone to far too and it's possible to play it more like in the videogame.

About gameplay and rules :
About capture, I'm not sure about the Dex save. The creature isn't moving anymore, it cannot tumble to avoid the orb. Maybe a Con save (for his body being forced to enter the orb) or a Cha/Wis save (for his will might fight the magical capture). But with any save, the problem will be that some monsters are really easier to capture and other harder. For example, the dex save make oozes and big block monsters really easy targets, but agile creatures far more difficult.
Maybe a save not linked to an ability but to number of HDs, so it will be more linked to the "level" or the power of the monster than one ability.

Other thing on capture, I don't think it's necessary to be the last creature to be defeated to try a capture. Why on earth the fact that there is another giant spider in 50feet round unable the possibility to capture the one that is almost dying right in front of me. Of course, if you use your action to throw an orb when another spider can try to eat you, it's pretty reckless and dangerous for your life, but it's up to you to choose if you're afraid to die or not.

Third thing about capture is to give a range. Maybe you want to put some distance attack to hit the inanimated creature (I don't think that is necessary), but anyway, we need in the rule to clear if we can throw it to the monster 50feet away, 10feet away or if we need to be close (contact) to do it.

About summoning:
- No need to talk about cantrip. You can say it's a magical object you can use at will. Precise it cost an action to summon the monster, and an action to dismiss it. You need to have the orb in the end in both cases.
You need to determine what happen when the orb is stolen. If the creature is not summoned, it's easy. The new owner need to attune, then can summon it. But in a fight, what happen ? The thief control the monster now ? The previous owner ? Noone ? Is the previous owner still the master of the monster, but the thief can attempt to dismiss it with a Charisma throw ?
When you say "when the monster summoned dies", do you mean "when it comes to 0HP" or "when it miss 3 death saving throws" ?

You say the monster can regain HP through rest, but you say elsewhere that it can't gain or lose HP in the orb. Does that mean that he need to rest outside the orb to regain his HPs ? It may be useful to precise it.

Anyway, I think it can be fun to play something like that, but it will be a very specific setting and I think it is for a group who want to play some sort of pokemon game.

2016-03-31, 04:11 AM
I like the idea, but I have a few small questions.

4) A player attuned to a “Monster Orb” with a monster captured inside it

By, 'attune' do you mean like attuning to a magical item? I think that would be a very good idea, since that would limit each person's Monster Orb to three, if you are keeping to the rules in the DMG. (But this may go against the whole 'pokemon' themed world).

My other question is, if someone was to play in this world, would they still have classes? In a world where capturing high Challenge monsters is possible, wouldn't most people start off as monster trainers like they do in pokemon games? I was just wondering if classes would become obsolete.

Other than those two points, I found this to be an interesting and unique idea.

2016-04-01, 04:58 AM
Classes would need to be reoriented around the monsters. Everyone would be some form of hybrid beastmaster-type class. Buffing their creatures and debuffing enemy creatures, healing their pets, fighting alongside their pets, casting spells that make capture easier, etc.

2016-04-02, 01:16 PM
Maybe there could be different orbs for different saving throws? Dex, Con, and Wis orbs (the others are optional, but these 3 would be central), each designed for different circumstances?

Not to mention orbs which are better at catching in certain environments, certain types of creature (plant, undead, etc), perhaps a legendary one that captures anything, no questions asked...

For a game not focused on monster-catching, as is it's fine. For more catch-em-all-focused games, you might not want to use DnD.

2016-04-02, 07:57 PM
Maybe there could be different orbs for different saving throws? Dex, Con, and Wis orbs (the others are optional, but these 3 would be central), each designed for different circumstances?
Or, in keeping with the drama of the game's capturing mechanic, have there be 3 stages to capture. The first they save with Dex not to be captured by the ball. The second they save with Con not to be physically subdued by its magics and lastly save with Will not to have their spirit bent to the ball and its bearer.

2016-04-04, 06:49 PM
Personally, I think this sounds like a fun idea. The attunment system works well to keep things in check. Three saving throws is a bit extreme, though. I would say instead have different Pokéballs that target different stats. I also think in should be limited to creatures under a certain intelligence. I don't know that you should necessarily be able to capture a dragon, for example.

I will say that if you want this to be a huge part of your world, you may have to do some rebalancing, and I don't know that it will really feel completely like Pokémon. But that's at least as much about the fluff as it is about the crunch, so I think you can make it work.

Also, for the common man, 30 gp is hella expensive.

2016-04-05, 03:31 AM
On this general topic though, I did have an alchemist in one of my campaigns who had created "Specimen jars" that shrunk down, put to sleep and stored creatures he wanted to bring back to his lab for study. Of course his lab and the mountaintop magic/science academy in which he resided were overwhelmed when some students stole some of the jars to use for exhibition fights in the dorms, not realizing that they would grow to their full size after being released. Our heroes were given the task of trying to capture as many as they could with some of the jars and rewarded for each they managed not to kill in the process. Was a fun little adventure and the rogue of course stole a few of them on his way out the door for later use.

2016-04-05, 06:00 AM
That sounds like a great side quest. I'm totally going to use that idea.