Older D&D/AD&D and Other SystemsThe forum for discussions specifically related to the rules and procedures of either any of the older editions of Dungeons & Dragons (1e, 2e, BECMI, OD&D) or any other non-D&D roleplaying rules (Vampire: The Requiem, Dread), including non-fantasy d20 systems (such as Mutants & Masterminds).
I'm gonna be running a Pokemon Tabletop Adventures game starting a couple weeks and I thought I'd ask if anyone could share their experiences with the system? Any glaring imbalances that will break the game? Any one class or feature drastically overpowered/underpowered? Recommended changes? General advice? I'm only using the first 151 pokemon, if that makes any difference at all.
Having read through the PDFs already, I've found them to be somewhat poorly laid out, but I guess that's to be expected for a free beta. The actual rules seem okay, but I don't have a very good eye for balance before I actually sit down and run a game.
Having set up a few test fights I agree with you. I'm going for a darker, grittier motif (because nobody's ever done THAT before) than the rules imply, themselves being grittier than the actual pokemon games, but I still don't want to play rocket tag. I think Statx5 should do the trick, thanks
As tempting as it is, don't give the players TM/Egg moves in character creation. Yes, yes, I know the early moves are boring, but so is wiping out a swarm of wild pokemon with your level 5.
The turn orders can be a bit confusing, at least over PbP. An irl game ought to be fine though. In my groups, there was confusion over distinguishing between the Trainer Turns and Pokemon Turns, to the point where I seriously considered merging the two (afterall, most of my players had already done that).
Make sure your players start out with enough money to qualify for whatever base class they might want to enter. Particularly the Capture Specialist... But if you don't want to do that, suggest the feature that lets you take "Feature Points." That way you don't need to waste your levelup feats on Trainer Features, instead spending your points when you finally qualify for your base class.
Last edited by HappyBlanket : 06-05-2011 at 09:30 AM.
Although you shouldn't hand out TM/Egg moves, you'll find a lot of pokes that are 'suitable starters' lack access to an at-will at five. Be prepared for that. I suggest either giving them an at will (Since you know, tackle is so broken you can't hand it out) or making their poke's damage move at-will.
This may not be an issue for you, I don't know what pokes interest your players. But it may be useful nonetheless.
Ah, only the first 151 pokes. Then I won't hand you the Unovadex made by the folks and their fans. It's not condensed into a pdf yet, but seems pretty legit for the most part.
Asok: Shouldn't we actually be working?
And then Asok was thrown out of the car.
The more I look over the rules the more I begin to think balance isn't really something to worry about too much in this system. Especially since I'm changing a lot of the aspects of the pokemon mythos which seem to be considered a given by the rules. Like that trainers will fight one on one and not carry guns. Learn by doing, I guess.
Also, Tackle IS broken!
Oh well. Despite that, it still looks like fun and my players are psyched for it. First session's in a week. I'll post a summary afterwards as thanks to everyone who had advice to give.
Pokemon is a game of rocket tag. It is what it is.
Now, my pokemath is not up to date but this is how I remember it:
Its supposed to be possible to have types on your rooster that can take like maybe three STABs. HP is supposed to be scares, not a lot of back and forth between individual pokemon, rather between roosters.
Guns don't seem to really exist in pokeverse, but change what you want.
1 on 1 is already changed. A lot. Putting aside the formalized duels, PTA is based on Pokemon Special. Special is the manga where half the gym leaders are evil, and is actually kind of brutal. Red's Charmeleon bisects an Arbok after it poisons Red, for instance.
BTW, that occurs in a gym leader battle.
There's a reason Trainers are valid targets and have hit point counts. They're not just there to fuel Trainer combat abilities; they're there because Trainers get hit. A lot. Wilds are trying to eat you or protect themselves, so they don't care about the formalized pokemon duel rules. Villains may or may not care. Other trainers may or may not care (But if they're not villains will generally not try to kill you).
Basically, the things in games that people have grown used to, in PTA (and in Special which it draws from) work that way because of ritual. Pokemon don't (generally) refuse to attack humans; trainers agree not to do that (generally). It's more than possible to eat Flamethrower though, if circumstances may demand it.
Asok: Shouldn't we actually be working?
And then Asok was thrown out of the car.
Well, here's the summary, if anyone's interested. I think the first session was pretty awesome, even though we spent a lot of time with explanation of the rules. Wall of text follows.
The characters (Dale, Violet, Frank, Katherine, and Jack) are all high school students, ages 15-16, attending a boarding school in Viridian City. The campaign begins on P-Day, which is the 50th anniversary of the arrival of pokemon on earth. Every year the schools show the same old film strip, which follows in the spoiler.
(The Indigo League logo is displayed prominently, then fades away revealing grainy footage of a ruined city. Most of the buildings have collapsed, and piles of ash and rubble can be seen through many broken windows. The earth itself appears to have split open in several places. A caption appears: Brooklyn, 1965. Suddenly, a massive shape lurches out from behind one of the collapsed structures and starts running towards the camera. The cameraman turns and starts to run, but drops the camera. After it lands, the man can be seen fleeing as the monstrous grey creature follows, gaining on him. They disappear off the edge of the screen.)
OAK: Hello there. Welcome to the world of pokemon.
(The scene changes to a laboratory, where a middle-aged man in a lab-coat leans against a table.)
OAK: My name is Samuel Oak, leading authority on pokemon. People call me the Pokemon Professor.
(The man stands and walks across the room. The camera pans to follow and reveals a purple quadruped with a large horn on its head and long ears. It glares aggressively through the plated glass of its enclosure.)
OAK: Our world is inhabited by creatures called pokemon. For some people, pokemon are pests. Others must fight against them for survival. Myself… I study pokemon as a profession, so that we may better understand the nature of our enemy.
(Some historical footage is shown, mostly of research and occasionally of prominent pokemon attacks throughout history. Prof. Oak continues to narrate.)
OAK: On September 20th, 1952, the Earth was struck by what may be a record number of meteors. They varied greatly in size, but some were large enough to permanently change the geography of our planet. Many perished during the initial meteor storms, and many more in the resulting earthquakes, floods, and fires. Global radio communications were disrupted, and remain so to this day. But the greatest threat to humanity was still unknown to us.
These meteors brought with them extraterrestrial life forms. The first reports describe them as small, mobile clusters of slime. How they came to be lodged inside the meteors, we still don’t know. They quickly spread across the face of our planet, but they were not at first believed to be harmful. However, they quickly displayed not only a startling degree of intelligence for such primitive creatures, but also the ability to alter their own DNA and mimic local flora and fauna.
By doing so, the creatures we now refer to as pokemon gained the ability to reproduce. The offspring were unable to alter their shapes at will, but maintained the ability to change forms one or more times over the course of their lives. By storing energy over long periods of time, they could trigger severe genetic mutations which would change them into larger, more aggressive, more dangerous individuals.
This, combined with their ability to release stored energy in the forms of heat, electricity, or even solid matter, allowed them to quickly drive many of the animals they had first mimicked to extinction. Though the pokemon had assumed many different forms, their genetic similarities force us to classify them as a single species. Today, they are the most successful species on the planet.
(The scene settles on Prof. Oak walking past a line of individuals wearing military-like uniforms. Each one stands behind or in front of a different pokemon.)
OAK: We’ve come a long way since those first days of terror and confusion. The Indigo League was formed as a branch of the military dedicated to capturing, studying, and fighting pokemon. In time we learned to train pokemon so that we could use them as a weapon against their wild brethren. The League’s goals gradually expanded to include exploration and mapping, resettlement of wild areas, the defense of these resettled areas, and finally, governance of all known survivors of the pokemon cataclysm.
Today, we can live without fear of starvation, extinction, communism, or pokemon, and can enjoy all the modern conveniences we humans once took for granted, all because of the efforts of these brave men.
Thank you, Indigo League!
(Prof. Oak turns and salutes the pokemon trainers, who salute him in turn.)
OAK: Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed our time together, and maybe learned a little something too. If you keep on learning, maybe you too can one day become a member of the Indigo League, and help us protect your friends and family. Have a safe and happy P-Day, everyone.
VOICE: This message has been approved and produced by the Indigo League. The Indigo League wishes to remind you that although you are safe within the walls of the resettled zones, the outside world is still dangerous. Always travel in groups. Always report any unusual pokemon or communist activity to your local Indigo League authorities.
After school, the characters started hearing rumours spreading among the other students that Prof. Oak himself had finally retired (after a falling out with the League, even) and moved to Pallet Town, no more than an hour's bike ride away. They decided to check it out, since it was Friday and they had the whole weekend ahead of them. On the way, they accidentally disturbed a wild pidgeot, which was apparently hungry. Violet and Katherine managed to bike away but the boys got their bikes tangled up and ended up having to flee on foot, with the pidgeot gaining on them.
They were saved at the last moment by a patrolling pokemon trainer, none other than the legendary Gary Oak himself, also on his way to Pallet Town. He gave them an escort the rest of the way.
Once at Pallet, they started looking for any clue of where Prof. Oak may have set up shop. They looked for most of the afternoon, then stopped for dinner, where a waitress was able to point them towards an old, ramshackle warehouse on the outskirts of town that a strange old man had recently moved into with his pet growlithe (lobotomized for reasons of safety, of course).
Heading through the farm lands to the old house, they saw two figures moving inside and heard the muffled sounds of an argument. They snuck up under a window and heard the end of it: "...I'm not going to be held responsible for what happens if you keep doing what you're doing. I did my part and warned you; we're done now." Someone then stormed out the door and back up the road. Dale peeked and saw that it was Gary Oak again.
They knocked on the door and, through a barrage of questions and a lie about a school project, managed to talk their way inside and get Oak talking about his firsthand experiences with pokemon, ranging back to first contact and spanning to the present day. They gathered that Oak wasn't actually very confident that the Indigo League was keeping people safe.
Oak let them stay over for the weekend while he continued to give a bunch of lessons about pokemon behaviour and biology. On Sunday they planned to head back to Viridian so as not to miss school, but first they went to pick up some groceries since they'd eaten most of Oak's food. By the time they returned, Oak's house was a blazing inferno.
Frank ran off to alert the fire department while the others got closer to try and help. They found the door ripped off its hinges and a magmar inside burning everything in sight. Oak and his pet growlithe were trapped on the other side of a burning barricade of furniture. Oak was clutching a duffel bag protectively.
Dale and Violet threw some of the groceries at the magmar to distract it while Jack ran inside and tried to help Oak, despite it being more than hot enough inside to deal damage. Oak grabbed something out of the bag, then threw it to Jack. "Take what's in this bag and get it to my old student, Bill! He works at the Sea Cottage Research Center to the northeast! You can use what's inside, but for God's sake, don't get caught!"
Oak then used the fire stone he'd grabbed on his growlithe, undoing its lobotomization and turning it back into a killing machine. It attacked the magmar as the house began to collapse. The players fled, picking up Frank on the way (he's a slow, dumpy kid) and running off into the fields to avoid the firefighters and military personnel on their way. As they went, Frank noticed Gary Oak standing on a nearby hill, calmly watching the blaze...
Huddling in a ditch, they found that the bag contained twelve pokeballs (five occupied) and five strange devices which seemed able to scan pokemon, hack the Indigo League's computer network, and retrieve all available data on that pokemon species. Realizing that they could be arrested or shot just for possessing pokeballs without a license, nevermind stealing Indigo League secrets, they agreed to keep the stuff and deliver it as asked, but also that they had to keep it secret at all costs.
The military tried to stop them from returning to Viridian given the "wild pokemon attack", but Gary showed up and offered to escort them again, and the military stepped aside. Gary seemed a little suspicious of them, but got them back to Viridian and then went about his business.
After that they spent some time checking out their pokemon in Frank's basement (bulbasaur, charmander, squirtle, pikachu, and eevee, of course) and trying to think of a way not to get shot while carrying dangerous contraband across the known world to some guy they don't even know.
So, that was the first session, and they are already properly terrified of my setting and everything in it, but also pretty excited about it. I think it's gonna turn out to be pretty entertaining
Thanks again to everyone for offering up their advice. If anyone else wants to post some Pokemon Tabletop Adventures stories, that'd be cool.
The Atlas is also goofy but it has that whole "Stay Puft Marshmallow Man" menacing smile thing going for it. The guy who drew that one up was obviously taken to the Nutcracker when he was a child... and he was screaming in terror the entire time.
Originally Posted by Enterti, Cogidubnus
Glyphstone, out of all the playground I think you scare me the most...
Well, I guess I can keep posting 'em if folks are interested. It's gonna be awhile before the next one though, as this campaign had the unfortunate timing of starting the week before I head out of town. We're still on the first page so I'll just reappropriate this thread rather than start a new one I guess.
This is going to be a pretty dull log if we don't start playing more often.
The second session started where the first one left off, in Frank's basement with everyone meeting their pokemon for the first time, and discussing what to do with them. An old man who was nice to them for three days asked them to deliver them (and the pokedexes... pokedices?) to a guy halfway across the known world. Given that they were likely seen at Oak's house leading up to and probably during his assassination, they reasoned that the all-powerful Indigo League would soon be dropping by and asking some difficult questions. Owning non-lobotomized, non-domesticated pokemon without a license can get a person shot dead even when that person isn't also a witness to the League's more shadowy operations. Ditching the stuff would be far from reliable, so they can't just walk away from the whole business. They decide they have to go through with it, as once they get the stuff to Bill they can just return and claim they never even saw it.
They decided to leave the next morning. If they take a ferry from Pallet to Vermilion, they think they'll only be missing for four days or so, which they can hopefully explain away as generic childhood mischief. They got on their bikes and stealthily headed south at dawn. They were lucky enough to spot some patrolling trainers before getting within their line of sight (because once they see you, you have to battle them, right?) and took a brief detour off the route and through the woods. They were attacked by some venonats, and Jack's charmander was knocked out before they could scare them off. This served as a grim lesson that they would have no choice but to make use of their pokemon, and that this sole defense was far from infallible, as only the charmander and eevee were willing to fight without serious coercion, and the squirtle never fought at all.*
They spotted some other wild pokemon but avoided them. Arriving in Pallet, they found the ferry docked and ready to depart, but swarming with Indigo League officials. They were loading a number of large, unlabeled crates onto the boat, yet the general public still seemed to be allowed aboard. It must have been a serious operaton nonetheless, as the legendary S.S. Annihilator, the world's last and greatest battleship, was acting as an escort. The party debated whether to wait for the next boat, but eventually decided it was worth the risk. They bought their tickets and laid low for the entire 3-hour trip. Fortunately, the League officials kept to themselves and they all made it to Vermilion without incident.
They continued on to Saffron and rented a couple of rooms at a hotel. Jack spent the whole night nursing his charmander back to health, while the rest of them huddled around the radio listening to the news, hoping their names didn't come up. They did not. They left early the next morning, turning northeast towards where their map indicated the Sea Cottage Research Center should be located. On the bright side, there was no official route leading towards it, so they were less likely to run into trainers. But this also meant a higher probability of wild pokemon attacks.
Sure enough, it wasn't long before they noticed some movement among the trees. It turned out to only be some pikachus, a relatively docile pokemon, as they'd learned. Violet sent her own out to attempt to draw them out into the open where they might be able to catch them, which worked. Unfortunately, leaving the cover of the bush attracted a decidedly less docile pokemon, a scyther. Luck of the draw dictated that Violet's pikachu was the one to get attacked, and it was very nearly knocked out in one shot. A pitched battle ensued, but all of the pokemon were eventually convinced to join in, including one of the wild pikachus which stayed behind to help its domesticated cousin. Violet's pikachu was soon knocked out however, and the wild fled after being badly injured.
The battle went on and the scyther started taking some serious damage. Once the pokeballs started to fly, however, it turned its attention to the trainers. Jack ended up getting knocked down to 3 hp in a single hit, but his charmander had grown attached enough to come to his defense with a lucky crit. After another round, the scyther was crushed and turned into pokemon food.
Though they failed to capture the scyther (repeatedly), the injured wild pikachu wandered back after a few minutes. Unfortunately, they'd used up all their pokeballs already. Still, they managed to entice it to follow them temporarily with the pet food they'd brought along and they're hoping one of their two capture specialists will be able to do some repairs, at which point they can cruelly betray the wild pikachu's trust and add it to their slave pen. Yay, pokemon!
Given that the way ahead was too rough for their bikes, they were feeling pretty grim about their chances. It's going to be a long walk.
And that is what this campaign is going to be. I hope you all still enjoy hearing about it.
*Their pokemon are young, which makes them easier to manage in general but less likely to obey in dangerous situations.
Last edited by LoneStarNorth : 07-13-2011 at 01:56 PM.
Every town is surrounded by watchtowers manned 24/7 by the military, ready to snipe any particularly daring pokemon that that tries to wander in. The routes are patrolled by trainers and their pokemon in order to keep them relatively safe to travel by. The S. S. Annihilator (get it?) is a modified anti-sub ship which patrols the coast and blows up any large water pokemon that are prowling too close to shore. Despite these measures, the civilized world is still only about a hundred kilometres wide and everything else is uncharted wilderness, blasted by meteors and bombs and controlled by wild pokemon.
The players are definitely aware of what this campaign setting is
After running this for six months, I had to put an end to the campaign I loved as of today because the system filled me with hatred. You won't understand for a little while - I know I did, with nothing but good things to say at first - but it becomes restrictive, unbalanced, and scared to let players build the characters they want.
Well, here's the next one while it's still fresh in my mind.
The party, though badly wounded, decided to press on. After a few more hours walking (and two more encounters which they avoided), they came across an old abandoned town. They spent the night in one of the less collapsed buildings. Come morning, they spotted flashlight beams outside. They recalled their pokemon and hoped they would pass by, but they just barely heard someone whisper "you kick down the door, I'll train the gun on them." This was enough to prompt them to dive out the back window and flee into the woods. They managed to evade their pursuers, two men that they didn't get a very good look at.
Some time later they came across the major obstacle on their route: a river. While Jack and Frank set about making a simple raft, Dale, Violet, and Katherine had their pokemon attack a school of magikarp. Not to catch them (they had two pokeballs repaired by now, but honestly, what good is a fish going to be ), but to cook them. Their pikachu, squirtle, and eevee were easily able to knock out three of the fish pokemon before they could flee downstream. These were dragged out of the river and a cooking pit was dug, but Jack demanded one be left alone to recover so he could try to catch it.
In my setting, pokemon who have been beaten unconscious die from the shock when you use a pokeball on them. Part of the goal of this campaign is to take as many dumb or weird little nuances of the pokemon canon and figure out why they would possibly be that way, after all.
Anyway, after a few hours of raft-building and fish-cookin' Jack (barely) managed to catch the badly injured magikarp once it woke up. Their first capture ever! Though they did still have that one wild pikachu following them around because she had the hots for Violet's tame one. The raft was finished, and it was determined that they could cross safely one at a time with the squirtle pulling them. The magikarp was allowed to rest.
However, spending all this time at the river gave their pursuers time to track them down. Two men in jeans and sweatshirts burst out of the trees, their faces covered by bandanas. They also had a zubat and ekans with them. And a rifle. They demanded the party stand down, but as three of them were already on the far shore and one was halfway, that didn't happen.
Rather than stand and fight they tried to flee, but they (the trainers) started getting attacked and shot at. The wild pikachu fled (again) and the tame one got knocked out, and the eevee paralyzed. However, with the help of their new magikarp (well aware of being saved from the lunch menu and grateful for it) they got across the river and managed to knock out the zubat without much trouble. The ekans, however, knocked Violet out and started crushing her dead. The two thugs, for they were clearly not Indigo League personnel, ordered them to return and surrender or their friend would die. It was close, but a last minute crit from Frank's bulbasaur knocked the ekans out cold. They fled into the cover of the trees so they wouldn't be shot and dragged Violet to safety.
By the time the sun was going down again, they reached the Sea Cottage Research Facility. It was surrounded by a 15-foot wire mesh fence and peppered with watch towers full of armed soldiers. The place was set up like a military base rather than the quaint little cottage they'd been hoping for. They debated for a long time on how to get in, but finally settled on the idea of luring a dangerous pokemon towards the facility and hoping that they would be admitted without questioning during the chaos. Well, okay, they didn't settle on it so much as have a wild onix settle on them after many hours of debate, but they quickly turned the situation to their advantage.
Once the watchtowers started shooting at the onix it ignored the party and broke through the perimeter easily, its high defense eating up machine gun bullets like they were marshmallows. It's things like this that really made it sink in for the players just WHY, in 50 years of warfare, the unorganized wild pokemon were winning against humanity.
Before too long, the Indigo League trainer on duty arrived and had her machoke kick the onix in half (it was only level 14). She had a soldier escort the party to the infirmary until the perimiter could be secured and they could be questioned. They were treated for pokemon AND bullet wounds, and they managed to keep their pokeballs out of sight. Eventually the head of the facility greeted them; none other than the man the late Prof. Oak sent them to find, his old student, Bill.
They told him that they'd been sent by Oak, whom Bill thought had been "imprisoned on suspicion of communist sympathies". They convinced him to talk to them in private later, somewhere without surveillance. They met him in his room where he used a white noise generator of some sort to make sure they couldn't be heard. They explained the entire sequence of events and handed over their pokedexes and pokeballs (most of them reluctantly).
Bill fiddled around with the pokedexes for awhile and concluded that they were pocket computers (very advanced for this setting) which could nigh-instantly and nigh-effortlessly hack into the Indigo League networks and retrieve all collected data on any pokemon scanned. They would then store the information indefinitely, and appeared able to save new data entered into them as well. He said that such devices would be a huge boon to trainers if made standard issue, but that he believed Oak intended for them to be available to the public instead, so the common man would be better armed against the pokemon menace. However, he still couldn't figure out why there was so much secrecy involved, and why he'd apparently been assassinated over them, nor why they'd been brought to him specifically. He apologized but said that he couldn't help the party. He recommended that they flee the facility and go into hiding, as their names had apparently been flagged. If they were identified, they'd be taken into custody.
The only help he could offer was to repair their broken pokeballs and heal their pokemon instantly using the latest Indigo League technology. However, when he put their pokeballs in the restoration machine, his computer identified strange code embedded in them. After some fiddling around he determined that the code was an addition for the pokedexes. He installed it, and it proved to be a tracking device, which pointed out... something between Pewter and Viridian. He had no idea what it was, but he recommended the party check it out if they really wanted to get to the bottom of the whole business. He also warned them not to use any more ATMs or make any phone calls, as the Indigo League had manufactured pokemon which could live in energy form within computer systems and be trained to emerge and attack when certain phrases or pieces of code were transfered. These pokemon were what his white noise machine was protecting them from.
Come morning, Violet had awakened, and they were batting ideas around on how to sneak out, when suddenly the facility was thrown into an uproar. Word had arrived the repurposed power plant to the south, where several kinds of artificially created pokemon were mass-produced, had been attacked and overrun. But by whom?
Yes it really took this long between sessions. And everyone's going back to school soon so it's only gonna get worse.
The session began with the party debating what, if anything, to do during the confusion caused by the attack on the power plant to the south. Most of the military personnel stationed at the research lab were being sent across the river to the south to try and take back the plant, as it was a valuable strategic position. This, several of the players pointed out, would be the perfect time to sneak away before somebody figured out that not only had these five kids gotten into the base without proper screening, but that they were in fact wanted by the Indigo League for questioning.
However, Violet demanded that the party stay at the lab for as long as possible to make use of the infirmary, as she'd been shot a few times and wanted to heal up (humans heal a lot slower than pokemon in my campaign). Jack was also badly wounded and not averse to this idea, but Katherine and Frank were worried that the longer they stayed the harder it would be to escape, and the more danger they were in. (Dale's player was absent and so did not express a strong opinion one way or the other). Eventually Violet broke the tie by saying she wasn't going to leave the hospital bed until something bad actually happened, or until she was at full health. Since the rest of the group wasn't willing to leave her behind, that settled the matter.
Since they were staying anyway, most of the group spent the first day resting. Frank wandered about the facility a bit to get the lay of the land. Enclosed within the mesh fence, which was still destroyed in one area from the onix attack, were the lab itself, living quarters for the research staff, a military bunker, a few storage sheds, a hydro generator, and a boathouse. The river was blocked by chain mesh nets to keep wild pokemon out, but the nets could be lowered to allow boats to move up- or downstream. Frank also overheard on the radio that the power plant had been "shut down indefinitely" since all cities had long ago started supplying their own power. This meant the attack on the plant was not to be public knowledge.
Towards evening, wounded and dead soldiers started returning to the base, and the guard had been doubled in case the fighting should spread north. The party was still unable to get any solid details on what was actually going on at the plant.
The next day, with Violet nearly healed and Jack at least no longer on the brink of unconsciousness, things took a turn for the worse, as had been feared. The Indigo League trainer stationed at the facility appeared at the guest quarters and informed the party that they were under arrest for suspicion of terrorist activities, and advised to come along quietly. The trainer (Elizabeth) had six pokeballs on her person, plus a gun, so the party decided not to comply. They were then led down the hall to retrieve Violet from the infirmary.
As it happened, there was an exit right next to the infirmary, so the party unanimously decided that being arrested would be a game over and that they had to try and escape while they had the chance. Frank made a move for Elizabeth's gun, but she turned out to be a lot faster than a dumpy nerdy kid. Their lives no in serious, immediate jeopardy, they decided to throw all their chips down and turn it into a pokemon battle.
Elizabeth sent out a sandslash. As it turned out, it was able to one-shot the party's pokemon with relative ease. Jack's charmander and Dale's squirtle went down in seconds, but provided enough of a distraction for Jack, Dale, Katherine, and Frank to escape. Violet was trapped in the infirmary, as Elizabeth was blocking the door, but she cleverly realized that while the sandslash was out in the hall trying to catch the escapees, Elizabeth was unprotected. The party's pikachu and squirtle were able to knock her unconscious. Just as Violet was about to flee, the sandslash blocked the door. However, as soon as it noticed its trainer unconscious*, it attacked her instead, and literally ripped her to pieces. The party recalled all of their pokemon and fled.
*In my setting, pokeballs have two functions. One is to capture pokemon and store them in energy form, which puts them in statis and could render them immortal unless the pokeball was damaged. The second is to encourage obedience. By placing their thumb over a small scanning device on the pokeball's surface, the trainer broadcasts a signal to the pokeball's occupant which causes them identify the trainer as a maternal figure. It doesn't necessarily force them to obey, but it does prevent them from causing harm to the trainer. However, very powerful pokemon have been known to focus their energy and destroy their pokeballs even after having been captured, so the devices are still not perfect.
When Elizabeth fell unconscious her thumb slid off of the DNA scanner, which left the sandslash under no compulsion to behave but its own judgement. Either Elizabeth wasn't a very friendly trainer, or the sandslash wasn't a very friendly pokemon.
The party attempted to approach the breach in the gate casually and try to talk their way out. Several soldiers were repairing the breach, and two were standing guard. The party was told that the facility was still on lockdown and that they may not leave. At this point, Violet informed them that Elizabeth had been killed by her own pokemon, which was now presumably running rampant inside the living quarters (this was news to the rest of the party). The soldiers then noticed that there were indeed screams coming from the infirmary and blood splashed on the windows, so most of them ran off, leaving only a few at the breach.
The party made a break for it and ran for all they were worth to the tree line. They were spotted by one of the towers and Katherine was shot, but they managed to escape. They were not pursued, as only Elizabeth was aware of their wanted status, apparently.
They decided to follow the river west towards Cerulean City, then try to cross over the Mt. Moon range. There used to be a patrolled route through the mountains, but it was obliterated some years ago by a meteor, and has yet to be rescouted. On the way they encountered some more wild pokemon, but were only attacked once, by a group of rattata. They proved very weak however, and soon fled, but not before Jack and Katherine each caught one.
At that point there was a lot of leveling up to do. I gave them a level for reaching the Sea Cottage and most of them earned another from pokedex use soon after, plus they had new pokemon to stat up. Given that, we decided to end the session.
On a hilarious note: although only Violet was aware of the rampaging sandslash in-character, all of the players knew about it OOC. Despite that, they failed to think of it while brainstorming for a distraction to present the guards with so they could sneak out. A bit of a headdesk moment for me, but eventually Violet's player figured out that they had a REAL distraction and didn't need to make one up.
The Atlas is also goofy but it has that whole "Stay Puft Marshmallow Man" menacing smile thing going for it. The guy who drew that one up was obviously taken to the Nutcracker when he was a child... and he was screaming in terror the entire time.
Originally Posted by Enterti, Cogidubnus
Glyphstone, out of all the playground I think you scare me the most...
New installment, in which the party's luck is only ever very good or very bad.
The group arrived on the outskirts of Cerulean City, but decided it was too risky to pass through it so soon after their escapades at the research center. They instead decided to skirt around to the north, through the mountains, and then over Mt. Moon. But first they had to round up some more food, so they went down to the river looking for pokemon.
After a few encounters with things that could kill them (which they wisely avoided) they got really lucky and found a lone, low-level slowpoke guarding an egg. They made some half-hearted attempts to catch it, but when they knocked it out they settled on butchering it for rations. Katherine kept the egg, however. Now resupplied, they began their ill-fated journey through the mountains.
Their luck turned sour when they were ambushed by a machop and machoke duo, which flanked them in a gorge. After the machoke proved powerful enough to take out most of their pokemon in one solid hit, they instead focused all their power on the machop, knocking it out, and then fleeing. Fortunately, the machoke then proved more concerned with nursing its child/brother/friend/whatever back to health than pursuing.
They rested awhile, and then their luck turned back to good. Their next encounter was with two groups of pokemon, a charizard and a tribe of mankeys. The lucky part was that both groups had already killed each other, AND that they found another nest with three more eggs ripe for the taking. Katherine added them to her growing collection and they moved on. All were in high spirits, as once these eggs hatched they would have all the pokemon they could handle with their current (small) collection of pokeballs.
And then their luck did another 180 and turned very, very, VERY bad.
They failed to notice a group of resting geodudes before tripping over them, which caused the territorial creatures to defend themselves. It was a group of six, with two clearly being infants. At first the battle seemed to be going well, as the party laid down a number of debuffs in support of Deuce the squirtle, who was the powerhouse of this encounter. His bubble attack was almost good enough to knock out one of the adults in a single hit. If only it had been... if only it had been.
The wounded geodude, clearly recognizing its time was up, gestured to its family to flee. Once the others were a safe distance away, it flew directly towards the party, glowing bright white, and made a kamikaze strike.
Jack recognized the danger, and was well aware that the chances of surviving a self-destructing pokemon were not good. So, in a selfless act, he threw himself over the geodude while grimly shouting his final words;
"Hey guys, watch this!"
Mechanically speaking, Jack used the Hey Guys, Watch This feature to take Let Me Help You With That+, which allows him to give an ally a +7 bonus on any check a certain number of times per day. Since selfdestruct is a nasty player-killing attack, I decided to be generous and ruled that this bonus could apply to a death saving throw as a "penalty". Thus we decided that, fluffwise, Jack nobly sacrified himself to save the others.
When the dust settled, only three of the ten people and pokemon in the party were left standing. Frodo the bulbasaur had been just barely out of range. Dale and Katherine had been shielded from the attack by their pokemon, Deuce and Evan. The latter had given his life in doing so. Everyone else was gravely or even mortally injured, but through sheer strength of will managed to live long enough to be tended to. All except for Jack, who had taken the full force of the blast and was beyond helping (which is to say, in two pieces).
They party spent the rest of the day and all of the next resting the crater and tending their wounded. Jack and Evan were buried with as much dignity as the party could give them. Jack's useful possessions were divided up among the party while Chaos, his first pokemon, stood grimly over his master's grave. It was decided that Katherine would take custody of Jack's magikarp to compensate for the loss of Evan, while Frank would take his rattata. As for Chaos...
The charmander decided that, although he owed some loyalty to Jack's companions, he would not accept any of them as master. Focusing his energy, he overloaded and permanently destroyed his pokeball, making him a wild pokemon who just happened to be traveling with humans.
Jack's player will be playing as Chaos until such a time as we can gracefully work a new trainer into the story. I already have some ideas on that, but Jack's player says that being a wild, revenge-seeking charmander is fine (and awesome) for now.
With heavy hearts the party carried on. Jack's death was tragic, but only served to underscore just how much danger the rest of the group was still in. After a few more hours of walking, they reached the slope of Mt. Moon and started climbing.
They had another brief flirtation with good luck when Frank noticed a strange pokemon hiding nearby. It proved to be a dratini, a very rare and powerful specimen. The party gave chase and tried to catch it, but knocked it out instead. Not to be detered, they carried the unconscious pokemon with them until it woke up, then started pummeling it with pokeballs. Dale had the best reflexes and, after failing to catch over a dozen different pokemon despite having the most pokeballs and the most favourable modifiers to capture rolls, finally got himself a second pokemon.
Katherine briefly noticed a shadow pass over the party as Dale rejoiced over his capture, but as it had no apparent source, she dismissed it.
Continuing along, the party also noticed a lone nidorino, but avoided it as it was high level. Despite this, they noticed that it was heading in the same direction as they were, though it wasn't actually following them. They changed course rather than force a confrontation.
After some time they crested the slope and could see both Cerulean laid out behind them and Pewter up ahead. The continued west down the slope, making much better time now. However, before long they became aware that the earth beneath their feet was shaking. A bestial roar drifted to their ears from the other side of the mountain.
Naturally, the party started running as fast as their legs could carry them.
As they went, the general quaking resolved into a steady staccato thumping; heavy footfalls. Looking back, they saw a massive nidoking with glowing red eyes hot on their trail. Their pokedex rated its power at level 60. For reference, their highest level pokemon was a level 23 magikarp. Everything else was less than half that, and one of the rattatas was still only level 3.
Turning and fighting was out of the question, and escape seemed impossible as the creature was slowly gaining on them. Fortunately, they soon came across a cave entrance leading down into the heart of the mountain which was not quite wide enough for the nidoking to follow them down, despite its apparently ability to reshape the ground just by pushing it. They fled down into the darkness, following Chaos' glowing tail, as the fearsome roars of the monster nidoking faded into echoes behind them...