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So, here's my idea. I would like to make a d&d character that would basically be a pokemon trainer. He would catch monsters instead of killing them and use them to fight for him. Has this ever been done before? What is the best way to try and do it?
Ideally the character could be able to catch monsters and store them away, but could also summon them when needed. Bonus points if he can include some kind of spherical magic items in the mix.
By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.
The easiest way is going to be with charm or dominate style tricks. Handle Animal's ability to rear a wild animal would work if you caught it in its infancy (and you could use the epic usages to use Handle Animal on non-animals).
But let's see. You normally attack a wild pokemon until it is weak, then throw something at it to catch it. Then you store it and release it later.
Weakening the enemy can easily become debuffing the enemy and keeping it in place, so I can charm it. If you want to keep the pokeball, maybe Alchemist Savant to add a charm effect to a splash weapon? Then you can throw a spellvial at your target, and when it hits, they will be targeted with Charm Person/Animal/Monster.
For shrinking it down, maybe Statue + Shrink Item?
Alternatively, your pokeball could be Bands of Steel or Ectoplasmic Cocoon, and then you could debuff the enemy heavily and charm them. A sublime chord could do this particularly well, especially because you could use your bardic music to fuel Doomspeak, which is a pretty nice way to soften up an enemy for a charm effect.
roll malconvoker from complete scoundrel. it's all about summoning monsters and making your summons stronger, bigger, meaner, auto-extending them, and giving you more of them. take "spell thematics" too. the example is literally "when summoning a monster, you may have it appear out of a sphere when conjured"
You didn't say PF, but there is the Preservationist archetype for the Alchemist class.
Here the synop :
Some alchemists are obsessed with collecting and preserving exotic creatures. These preservationists may use bottled animals and monsters as teaching tools, but some learn how to reanimate them for short periods to battle on the alchemist’s behalf.
No prob, but the only drawback I see from what you wanted is that the creatures are destroyed after the end of the "summoning". And you can only summon via Nature ally, but there is a discovery adding Ooze to the list. I'm pretty sure that there could be a house ruling over monster summoning via the preservationist.
Good thing is that Augment Summoning feat (+4 con / +4 str) is applicable and the best part is that you only lose the poison part of the Alchemist.
The face of magic has changed. New times bring new methods, and the children of this new age have begun to challenge even the mightiest archmagi with their new-found powers. These magics involve strange new foci, each with their own specific tricks and powers.
The ball master is a very specialized summoner, able to bring forth the same creature again repeatedly, using a foci dedicated to that creature. In time these creatures rise in power as the summoner does, becoming larger and more potent with each level.
Some ball masters take up the summoning spheres for their deity, or out of faith, while others seek only power and fame. Some do it primarily not to fight with their summoned creatures, but to collect as many different varieties of summoned creature as possible and to train them and advance them into much more powerful creations.
While SoPH is a humor book, there are a lot that can be actually used. On the Ball Master from the "Seriously?" sidebar:
The Ball Master, while obviously based on a stereotyped anime television series / toys / video games and so forth, is playable exactly as written as an alternate conjurer prestige class that is reliant upon magical foci and trinkets for its most powerful magics. If being used as such, change the name to something less silly, and add Craft Wondrous Item to the requirements to join the class (so they can make their own foci instead of relying on other casters).
__________________ No fair! They're using brains against us.