Pokémon Stories is an attempt to capture the spirit of Pokémon within a roleplaying game, to let players experience the joy of exploring, battling, forming a bond of friendship with their Pokemon, and everything else that you would expect to do in the world of Pokemon.
What Is a Roleplaying Game? Edit
Roleplaying games are a type of storytelling experience where you and your friends work together to weave a story. It is a game where you play a role. Like all games, it has rules. There is a person called a GM, or game master, whose job it is to interpret those rules. In that way, he or she acts like a referee. But the GM is also like the narrator of a story. As a player, you’ll be playing the part of one of the characters in this story, saying what you want your character to try to do. When necessary, you’ll roll dice for random chance, and base success or failure on how well you rolled and how good your character and your Pokémon are at the task at hand. The narrator tells the rest of the story based on your actions, and also takes on the roles of the people and Pokémon you meet along your way, describing the places you go and the things you see.
What Do You Need? Edit
You need a copy of this manual, and should make a least a half-hearted attempt to get people to read it. You also need some regular dice with 6 sides and a few others with 20 sides. The game refers to d6’s, d20's, d60's, and d200'ss. If you’re told to roll a d6, that’s just asking you to roll a 6-sided die. If you’re told to roll a d60, in this context, that simply means to roll a d6 and then multiply the result by 10. Similarly, when the game calls for a d200 you’ll take a 20-sided die and multiply the result by 10.
The game is designed to function best with one game master and 3-5 players. You can pick these up at your friendly local game store if you lack them.
What Inspired This Game? Edit
It won't surprise you to know that this game was built from a love for the Pokemon franchise. It obviously draws heavily from the console games and anime. However, there were some other inspirations.
On the Game Boy games, almost everything was solved with a battle. You battled to make money, to advance your Pokemon, to earn badges, to catch wild Pokemon, etcetera, etcetera. Obviously, we wanted to make battling a significant part of this game, and we took inspiration from Pokemon Conquest in that regard, where groups of trainers use interesting tactics and terrain and moves to have a much more strategic play. We also took a bit of inspiration from the trading card game in that we included Pokemon on the bench.
A major bit of inspiration from the way Pokemon Go makes sure that gameplay is more than one fight after another. In this game, you don't have to battle Pokemon to catch them and battles happen in arenas where there's more on the line than just money.
We also tried to make the world come more alive by giving each Pokemon a personality that's tied to how strong a bond of friendship it shares with its trainer. And forget a small sampling of field moves like Surf, Headbutt, and Cut: you can use each and every move in the game out of combat to help you with any task you come across, meaning that the next time a small bush blocks your path you can fireblast that sucker out of the way.
How To Roleplay Edit
As you might expect, in roleplaying games people play roles. Each player will design a trainer and come up with that trainer's personality, motivations, goals, and dreams. But there are also Pokemon to be roleplayed.
We recommend a system where every player also roleplays the Pokemon of the trainer sitting on their left. In general, Pokemon trust their trainers and assist in tasks or use the moves their trainers want them to. So when you're roleplaying someone else's Pokemon, don't be a jerk and have the Pokemon they've worked hard to train and befriend just disobey or mope around. Pokemon obey. They might obey happily, or grumpily, or with hesitation, or with a lack of caution, but they obey. Of course, if the dice come up a failure, you could roleplay that as a lack of trying instead of a lack of ability.
Of course, there are times when a Pokemon won't listen to its trainer. Gargantuan Pokemon, Pokemon with the conflict nature, and any Pokemon with negative friendship points get to disobey. Every time their trainer tells them to do something, they roll a d6. If the total is equal to or higher than the number of badges the trainer has, the Pokemon disobeys and does whatever it wants, determined by the player roleplaying it. Additionally, Pokemon with negative friendship points may run away.
There are also compulsions in this game. A Pokemon under a compulsion acts on that compulsion, rather than the trainer's instructions. For example a Pokemon with a compulsion to act friendly to the user will ally with it and protect it from other Pokemon. A Pokemon with a compulsion to confusion will act crazily and randomly.
This also provides another challenge in the game: players relaying instructions to their Pokemon in battle. We recommend trainers not use metagame terms, saying things like "Move two spaces up and one space to the right." Instead, they should say something like "Move up between those two Pokemon over there and use Surf!" or "Hang back and hit them from a distance using Snipe."
The person roleplaying a Pokemon decides if and when it eats a berry as well as if it spends friendship points to help its trainer.