"The Pokémon League wishes to congratulate you, after much deliberation it has been decided to accept your application to participate in the League Challenge..."
You continue, slowly coming to terms with the fact that the words you're reading are really there.
"...Meet your assigned proctor at the time and location below..."
You skip down to the bottom of the page, noting first the unassuming address, and then the listed date and time.
One week away.
One week and you begin your very own Pokémon Journey.
The Mad Scientist, Richter
and their Alolan Geodude, 'North'
The Ace Trainer, Aleksandr
and their Buizel, 'Volnoy'
The Sociable Scion, Jim
and their Litwick, 'Eli'
The Breeder, Alex
and their Ditto, 'Pidgey'
The Junior Detective, Beatrix
and their Murkrow, 'Moriarty'
~ What Is This? ~
A play-by-post roleplaying tabletop game set in the Pokémon universe, and focusing on the Pokémon League Challenge. Travel the region, meet new friends, battle challenging opponents, earn eight badges by defeating Gym Leaders, and ultimately take on the Elite Four for a chance at greatness.
It will use a homebrew system called PKMN, sometimes referred to as Voltage. It is a diceless system, without a huge amount of bookkeeping (helpful for when you have four or more Pokémon to keep track of) and quick battles (helpful when you have a wilderness encounter with a dozen or two Pokémon mixing it up with a handful of Trainers on deck). I think it does a good job of capturing the feel of Pokémon battles, but I'm biased.
We can have a vote, or discuss which region to set the game in, whether a canon one like Kanto or Sinnoh, or an entirely new one.
You do not have to be good at math, know everything there is to know about tabletop gaming, or be up-to-date on the Pokémon franchise to participate (though some basic familiarity and interest in mechanics/the setting would likely serve you well).
~ What Isn't This? ~
This probably won't be a grim or realistic interpretation of Pokémon. There likely won't be a lot of ethical dilemmas about capturing, training, and battling, or much explanation about how tiny critters can spit flame or turn into red light and get stuff in a ball. Just roll with it.
The world of Pokémon is a brighter, kinder universe than the one we call home. Pokémon battle fiercely, but don't get wounded or maimed. Rivals might plague your every step, but they don't want to see you badly hurt. Even your enemies are more likely to be misunderstood or misguided than actually evil (most of the time, anyway). You can safely ask a police officer for help, confide in a Gym Leader for training tips, and generally trust authority figures to do their job. This may take a great deal of imagination but that's why this is a roleplaying game.
You also will never accidentally kill anything, Pokémon or Trainer (this happened a lot with the first system I used for Pokémon purposes back in the day). Death is a thing that can happen, but only intentionally, and never lightly.
On that note, if anything in the game makes you uncomfortable or gets in the way of you enjoying yourself, inform me immediately by PM and I will do what I can to remedy the situation. If you are not having fun, I am not doing my job.
Finally, it is neither suggested nor recommended that you attempt to catch 'em all. If you wish to acquire all known Pokémon in a tabletop game, please provide me with a source of immortality and I'll see what I can do.
~ I Like This. How Do I Make A Thing Happen? ~
Post your interest, create a Trainer and their starting Pokémon, ask for advice/assistance if needed. Don't forget to mention which region you would like to play in (or what you'd like to see in a custom region) so we can get that ball rolling.
I'm looking for 3-5 players, though I'm flexible on that. It would be nice to have posts every one or two days, but faster or slower works so long as everyone is happy with the progress being made. I plan to recruit for one week (fancy that) but may begin a bit earlier or later depending on interest/eagerness.
~ Creating a Trainer ~
Think about who your Trainer is and why they applied to participate in the Pokémon League Challenge. Your trainer doesn't have to have their heart set on being a Champion! The League Challenge might be used to broaden one's horizons, travel to new and exciting places, and meet interesting and powerful new friends. Future Breeders, Researchers, and Rangers alike can benefit from the perspective and experience of earning badges.
First impressions are important! Describe what your Trainer looks like, and the impression they might give to someone meeting them for the first time. Are they approachable? Scary? Well-dressed? Long-winded? This will help acquaint other players with your character, and inform how NPCs will initially react to you.
You can't judge a book by its cover. Maybe your Trainer has a few quirks that don't line up with how they look - A tough Black Belt who adores cute Pokémon, a no-nonsense Student who can't stand Grass Types. Feel free to write these down, or keep them secret, as you prefer.
Now fill out this:
You probably should put something in the Name
field. Whatever comes to mind.
For your Class
, try to think of something that accurately describes how your character gets things done, since it will affect how your actions can (and should!) be performed. A Martial Artist who uses their Physique to bruise someone is probably using some sweet kung-fu moves, a Super Nerd doing the same thing is probably glad that her parents made her take those self-defense classes as she stamps on someone's instep. A ninja sneaking into a lab makes healthy use of the ductwork, walls, and ceiling, whereas the Harmless Tourist grabs a clipboard and strolls past the guard with confidence. The outcome is the same either way, but style counts for a lot.
There are four Traits
, and Voltage
, and you have 6 ranks to distribute among them. I recommend putting 3 into Voltage, 2 into your 'main' Trait, and 1 into a backup. Having some Traits at 0 is fine, as you can still use them in a pinch with the Voltage Trait (having Voltage at 0 is a bad idea).
is your character's strength and toughness. You use it to attack other Trainers (or Pokémon in a pinch), break things with brute force, or endure something that could hurt you.
is your character's memory and perception. You use it to remember or confirm useful details, figure out what makes another character tick, and accurately size up a situation or area.
is your Character's agility and ability to get where they want to be. You use it to move around quickly, or unnoticed, to reach difficult places, and to evade pursuit or pursue someone attempting to escape.
is your Character's affability and the quality of their acquaintances. You use it to give the things you say some extra oomph, to get an NPC's attention and interest, or to call in a favor from a prior associate.
is your Character's mental and physical resources. You use it to buy or trade for useful items or reveal a cheap item you fortuitously brought with you. You may also use it to mimic the effect of one of the other four traits, at an increased cost.
If you'd like to see how Traits are used in detail, look here
is where you will put things you buy to help you on your journey. Generally if it costs less than 500 Pokedollars you may assume you have one handy (potions, antidotes), if it costs up to 5,000, you may reveal it with Voltage (a revive, a non-basic Pokeball), and if it costs more than that you have to find somewhere selling it first (TMs, Bicycles)
is 0 for now. As you explore, learn, and battle you will earn some to use on your Pokémon (Trainers don't use Exp).
~ Creating a Pokémon ~
Your Trainer's first ally on their journey! Are they a pet, a friend, or a guardian? Were they gifted to your Trainer from a family member or Professor, or did they go out and catch it themselves? Do they get along splendidly or are they still working things out?
Fill this out:
HP - # At - # Df - #
Sp - # SA - # SD - #
Assists: [ ], [ ]
Your Pokémon has a Nickname
! Or maybe it doesn't and you just call it by its species (weird).
Your Pokémon has a Species
! There are over 800 of these so I may not immediately notice if you just roll your face on the keyboard for this. You don't have to pick a typical starter Pokémon, but you may want to avoid something that would look silly if it lost to a Route 1 Pidgey.
Choose two Types
for your Pokémon from the usual list of 18 Elemental Pokémon Types. These are less of an overall elemental description (as they are in the games) and more of an indicator of what Types of attacks your Pokémon is really good at using (they get a small damage bonus). If you want to use a Type combo that differs from the official one for your Pokémon's species, feel free (or even encouraged) to do so.
A beginning Pokémon's Loyalty
is usually "Friendly"! Captured Pokémon may have other loyalties like "Hostile", "Unfriendly", and "Neutral", depending on their nature and the circumstances of their capture. Particularly dedicated Trainers may even have their Pokémon eventually become "Devoted"!
Hostile: Will go out of its way to harm you, or cause problems. Ignores all authority.
Unfriendly: Will be distant and uncooperative, and cause problems if a good opportunity presents itself.
Neutral: Will disobey orders that it doesn't agree with, but otherwise pretty obedient.
Friendly: Will follow all but the most offensive orders, and offers its aid freely.
Devoted: Follows orders without question, attempts to anticipate the Trainer's wishes and act accordingly.
is the initial impression your Pokémon gives to those who interact with it, or how it behaves when left to its own devices. Choose something you think is both fitting, and fun to work with.
is something your Pokémon desires that your Trainer can provide in order to persuade it to follow orders or to improve the quality of their friendship. Neglecting a Pokémon's Need is a sure way to damage their Loyalty.
is something odd, funny, or unique about your Pokémon that separates them from other Pokémon of the same Species or Demeanor. Choose something you think will be interesting, and provide you with entertaining diversions while acting out their antics.
Your Pokémon's Weaknesses
are elemental attacks that it finds difficult to defend against, or from which it takes massive damage! You may choose any number of these from the traditional 18 Pokémon Elemental Types, but between three and six is probably a good number.
A Pokémon's Resistances
, on the other hand, are elemental attacks that they are really good at protecting themselves from, or that they take negligible damage from even if hit head on! You choose a number of these equal to however many Weaknesses the Pokémon has, and add two more for good measure.
A Pokémon begins with two Moves
, and will quickly gain access to many more.
A Move looks something like this - Tackle [Physical/Powerful/Normal]
- having a name and three terms that describe how it functions: Category, Type, and Style.
A Move's Category
determines which attacking and defending stats they use to calculate damage. Physical Moves deal damage equal to their Attack Stat plus half their Special Attack minus the target's Defense, Special Moves deal damage equal to their Attack Stat plus half their Special Attack minus the target's Special Defense.
A Move's Type
determines what elemental damage it deals. When one of a Pokémon's Types matches the Type of a Move it uses, it increases the damage dealt by 1. This is also how it's determined if the Target is Weak to, Resists, or is neutral toward, the Move.
A Move's Style
determines how its Damage is calculated, and any extra bonuses it may have.
Shifts the Target into a new Arena within the same Field.
The User, and Target, both Shift to a new Arena within the same Field.
This attack may be used against any Target within the same Field, but not in the same Arena.
The User must shift to a new Arena, within the same Field, before or after attacking.
The User automatically attacks before non-Priority Users. Multiple Priority Users consult Speed as usual.
User increases the listed stat by +1. If the stat is damaged, increase it an additional +1 (+2 total).
Deals 1 Damage to Target's listed Stat.
There are other Moves that have different Styles, ones that deal no damage but have increased side effects, and even particularly powerful Signature Moves, but you'll to find a TM or a tutor to teach them to your Pokémon. Good luck!
A Pokémon's Stamina
is equal to its HP Stat multiplied by two, plus its Speed Stat.
A Pokémon has six Stats
: HP, Attack, Defense, Speed, Special Attack, and Special Defense. All stats begin at 1, and a starting Pokémon get 15 exp to improve them.
To increase a stat, pay an amount of Exp equal to the stat's current rank plus one. So if you want to increase your Pokémon's HP from 1 to 2, you pay two Exp, and if you want to increase it again to 3, you pay three Exp.
You may also spend 1 Exp to learn an extra Move as many times as you like (please do not teach your Pokémon 15 moves).
Your Pokémon begins with two Assists
, which are like the Pokémon version of a Trainer Trait, allowing them to perform useful actions outside of battle. Good choices of Assist include new modes of movement like flying or swimming (all Pokémon can walk, or in some cases shuffle) and new capabilities (like creating and controlling elements like fire or electricity outside of their Moves). Pick ones that make sense for your Pokémon, a Charmander that can't set things on fire outside of battle is weird (though maybe that's just it's Quirk: "Only Gets Fired Up In Battle").
Burrow - Fill or dig out usable tunnels through the ground.
Burn - Unleash fire to set objects alight or destroy flammables.
Chill - Create icy surfaces and freeze water.
Corrode - Melt away obstacles with powerful acid.
Cut - Slash through ropes or plant matter or clear paths through choppable terrain.
Electrify - Charge things with electricity, destroy some objects and make certain areas very dangerous.
Flash - Reveal hidden things, control light, and drive away darkness.
Fly - Perform aerial maneuvers and carry cargo or passengers in the air.
Gust - Blow away light objects or obscuring smoke or mist, clear the air.
Intuit - Accurately understands human language. In conjuction with psychic ability, it may speak as well.
Soak - Create pools of water or widen fissures, put out fires and ruin stuff that water would ruin.
Runner - Move incredibly fast for short distances, or jog all day long.
Psy Power - Draw on background emotions to cause strange effects and reveal secrets.
Sneak - Take advantage of bad visibility to move unseen.
Swim - Perform aquatic maneuvers and carry cargo or passengers in the water.
You may purchase additional Assists the same way you upgrade a stat - spend an amount of Exp equal to the Pokémon's current number of Assists, plus one. It's not recommended to increase this now, but if you do you may have a third Assist for 3 Exp (DO NOT GIVE YOUR POKéMON FIVE ASSISTS. Yet).
And that's that. There's much more to learn, but your Trainer and their Pokémon will have to show up at that special date and time next week first. Hope to see you there.