Friday, September 2, 2016

Poké-finder: Part 2

As previously mentioned, I started a Pokémon-based campaign for my kids this past week. Given their youth and enthusiasm our sessions are short and frequent (one hour, right before dinner every night). We're six sessions in and their loving it. I'll try to present these "session logs" weekly, as a digest of their adventures. Given the shortness of the sessions, not a lot happens each time we play, but the frequency keeps the progress moving.

First though, lets talk about mechanics. While the Pathfinder class I alluded to in the first post forms the core of the idea for this campaign, it was built with the intent of plugging it into existing Pathfinder games, and thus not quite as Pokémon-y as I'm trying to capture with this one. Also the short amount of time I gave myself for kicking this game off did not allow a lot of refinement. To the end of giving the game a stronger Pokémon feel, here are some quick ground rules I've laid. Most of this is reskinning, but some are new rules that I'll need to better document and clarify in the future.
  • Pokémon gain experience separately from their trainers. The PCs gain experience from encounters, gaining abilities as per the Eldritch Tamer class, but this has no real effect on their Pokémon (mostly relevant for increasing their hit points, skill points, and attack rolls for throwing poké-balls). Each Pokémon has its own separate experience total, and, because the PCs are likely to have large numbers of them in rotation, and combat in the game is almost exclusively focused on the Pokémon, they need considerably less experience than their trainers to gain levels.
  • Since Pokémon level is not tied to PC level, the "spells" known by the Pokémon are not dependent on the PC. The more Pathfinder-focused version of the Eldritch Tamer has a finite number of spells per day which are drawn from a list of abilities known by the beast they have deployed. For Poké-finder, each spell ("move") known by the Pokémon is usable once per encounter (to help encourage rotation and discourage over-reliance on a single uber-Pokémon), excluding basic attacks like claws and bites. All moves known by the Pokémon are based on Pathfinder spells but re-skinned to Pokémon moves (i.e. the Rain Dance move is the Cloud Burst Pathfinder spell).
  • All Pokémon have defenses and weaknesses as per their Type, with Double, Half, or No damage as appropriate. Moves/Spells with obvious types (such as spells that deal Fire or Lightning damage) match up in the obvious way. Types that are less obvious have some guidelines (i.e. spells with the Evil descriptor are "Dark" type, all other spells from the Necromancy school are "Ghost" type, moves based on Psionic Powers are "Psychic" type, etc.), but no hard, documented rule yet. [working on this one]
    • All standard attacks (Claw, Bite, Slam, etc.) possessed by the Pokémon are of the same type as the Pokémon (choose one for multi-type Pokémon). For example a Steel-type with a claw attack would count as using a Steel-type attack when using its claws ("Metal Claw" if you will) or an Electric-type using a bite attack would count as using an Electric move ("Thunder Fang").
    • Standard Pathfinder resistances such as Fire Resistance or Damage Reduction are removed or ignored in favor of Pokémon type-based defenses.
  • Eldritch Tamers do not have a Charisma-based limit on the number of creatures they can catch. Instead they use Poké Balls, and may have no more than six with them at any given time, and manage them through use of a Pokédex.
  • All combat encounters in the adventures are replaced with either wild Pokémon (to be fought and caught) or enemy Trainers with their own Pokémon to fight.
  • All treasure dropped is converted to Pokémon-themed items. Weapons are Poké Balls, Wands and Scrolls of spells are TMs that can be used to teach different spells to the PC's Pokémon, Potions are Potions (hey that's easy), etc.

Whew, that was longer than I thought...I had planned on including session logs with this, but we'll start those next post...