So, a while ago I talked about running a Pokemon Pathfinder game for my kids, but never got around to following up. Short answer: that game lasted about 4 sessions before they died horribly while trying to catch a Spiritomb. So, over the July 4th extended weekend, we rebooted the game, with a slightly more light-hearted tone and mechanics tweaked to more closely map to the underlying math of the core gameboy games.
I'll dive into the new math in a later post (because it's vaguely interesting from a game-dev standpoint), but start with the stories, since that is where I fell off last time.
Note: The first couple paragraphs of fan-fic backstory are entirely a creation of the kids...
Redux Session 1:
Nearly twenty years after his adventures with Ash Ketchem, Brock, Pokemon Doctor, Pokemon Breeder, and former Gym leader has settled down in Sandpoint Town, having finally convinced one of the many Jennys to become his wife. Now 35 years old, Brock has a thriving Pokemon Nursery, where he is aided by his twins Silas and Petra, while his wife is out fighting crime.
This is not Brock’s story however. Rather, it is the story of his offspring.
It was the day of the twins, Silas and Petra’s tenth birthday. A large party had been thrown for them by Brock and Jenny, culminating in the gift of their very first pokemon. Being the offspring of a famed Pokemon Breeder has its advantages — in this case the gift of a pair of highly unique Eevees housed in ornate black-and-gold luxury balls. Silas received Tamao, a shiny eevee who had learned some powerful psychic attacks from its Munna father, while Petra received Sally, an adorable and sassy eevee who had learned healing powers from her Komala father. Ecstatic at the gift, the kids played with their new eevees long into the night before passing out.
The next morning, they were awakened by Jenny who presented them with the other half of their birthday gifts, their official Pokemon Handler’s Licenses, which would allow them to legally purchase pokeballs, challenge Pokemon Gyms, and to participate in Pokemon League sanctioned events. Jenny had to quickly scarf down her breakfast and run off to work, leaving Brock to pack Silas’ and Petra’s backpacks — a packed lunch box, a change of clothes, five pokeballs, and a potion for each of them.
With pokemon and licenses in hand, the kids ran out to start their very first pokemon adventure. The two debated for some time on where to go hunting first — Silas wanted to check out the Joltick Wood, or possibly head strait to challenge the gym in the nearby town of Cougar Creek, while Petra said they should go down to the beach to look for water pokemon.
Petra’s arguments won out, so they headed north out of town down to the public beach. This early on an autumn morning, the gym was not very crowded. A couple of tubers played down by the water, while one fisherman stood a ways off with a line in the water.
Petra made a bee-line for the fisherman to ask if she could try her hand. As she approached, the man gave a mighty pull on the line and reeled in a very large magikarp. With a gleam in his eye, he turned to Petra and shouted “Magikarp Go!” Of course, the ridiculous fish only knew Splash, so Petra’s first trainer battle was over quite quickly. Laughing, the man released the fish back into the water and handed Petra his rod.
Silas, meanwhile, had wandered down to the water, rolled up his pants-legs, and was wading and splashing with Tamao. Suddenly, he cried out in pain and kicked his foot in the air, launching the krabby that had pinched him out onto the sand. With an angry clacking of pincers, it scuttled towards him, blowing bubbles.
“Tamao, use Yawn!”
Well, that didn’t take long. The krabby was soon sleeping peacefully in a pokeball.
Petra, running over to watch, stubbed her toe on something just beneath the sand and tripped. Scrambling to her feet, she spun around to see a wild shellder (these pokemon are hazardous). Sally was soon dripping from multiple water-gun attacks, but the shellder was caught.
Excited by their new pokemon, S & P moved further up the beach to eat their lunches, then decided to head to the Joltik Woods to see what they could catch there. As they turned to leave, they were confronted by a young boy wearing an innertube. The boy, Jude, lived near them and was clearly too young to be a licensed pokemon handler, but, had an oddly determined look on his face.
“You’ve got pokeballs! That means you can’t refuse a challenge,” he told Silas. “Tentacool go!”
While it was not absolutely true that a licensed handler could not refuse a challenge, Silas was eager to try out a trainer battle, even if only against a kid with a family pet cum secondary flotation device. A single critical hit with Tamao’s covet attack dropped the poor jellyfish in one blow. Jude did not seem at all bothered by his quick defeat however.
“Thanks!” he said excitedly, then tossing a small silver bell to Silas, “here, I found this down by the water this morning.”
Petra gave Silas a spare ribbon from Sally and he tied the soothing bell around Tamao’s neck. The two then waved goodbye to the boy and ran through town, eager to check out the woods.
A couple hours later, they were wandering through the Joltick Woods in the shadow of Murkrow Roost Mountain, their eevees out and walking beside them, when a massive murmuration of starly swooped and danced across the sky before alighting on every possible tree-branch.
Sally shuddered in anticipation at the massive flock, but Petra’s eyes lit up. “Let’s catch some! Sally, Growl attack!” Silas was clearly on the same wavelength as he almost simultaneously shouted “Tamao, use Synchronoise!”
The pair of eevees set off a near-deafening cacophony, which definitely caught the bird pokemons’ attention. Ten starlies broke off from the group and dive-bombed them.
Sally was badly injured and Tamao was nearly overwhelmed. The two children recalled their eevees into their pokeballs and ran, hard. Covering their heads with the arms and dodging between trees to avoid the vicious pecking of the birds.
They ran, and ran, and ran, without thought of distance or direction. Anything to get away from the enraged flock. Finally they burst into a clearing and fell down on the grass, gasping for air. The birds having left off the pursuit some time ago.
After catching their breath, S & P stood up and looked around. It was getting late already, and they realized that they had no idea where they were. “Maybe we should just stay here,” Petra suggested.
In the middle of the clearing was a large moss-covered stone. Petra released Sally from her ball and the eevee immediately began sniffing around the rock excitedly, then climbed up on top and lay down to rest on the soft moss. Silas followed suit, and soon they released all four pokemon to rest and play around the rock. The children ate what was left of their lunches and looked up at the evening sky, trying to get their bearings from the angle of the setting sun.
As they rested and recovered, Silas thought he spotted a pokeball lying in the grass. Moving to pick it up, he found, instead a strange mushroom-like pokemon. “Eevee go!” he called, pulling out a pokeball to catch this new creature. The tired eevee let out a Yawn, which was plenty to catch the foongus.
Then Tamao started glowing a strange green color. The mossy rock began glowing as well. Everyone scattered, afraid of what might be happening. Then, before their very eyes, Tamao evolved into a Leafeon!
“That rocks an evolution stone!” Petra said. Then, quickly recalled Sally into her pokeball in case she might start to change as well.
Moments later, the metamorphosis was complete. Silas was thoroughly excited at this sudden turn of events with his Tamao. “Come on,” he said pointing at the setting sun, “we should try to get home before its completely dark. We just have to head towards the sun.” They jogged through the woods until it was quite dark before finally exiting on the western end. With the old lighthouse now in sight, they were easily able to make it to the road and follow it back to Sandpoint.
As they walked, they passed a large pine tree, unusually laden with pinecones for the season. “Not pine cones,” Silas said, “those are Pineco!” And indeed they were. S & P both managed to catch one before heading home to sleep.