Every time the players enter a new grid square they can roll on the encounter table. The idea is that the players can wander freely and always find something interesting, taking a lot of the prep work off of you as a GM and allowing for freeform exploration. These tables are useful tools, but you can't run a game entirely using them. Instead, make sure you have interesting story elements in place, such as important people, overarching plotlines, interesting locations, and intriguing items. Use the tables to fill in the gaps and give players a breather, as well as when they go off the rails and you need to generate some content quick.
And above all, recognize that this is not the time to play "fair" with the dice. Say the players have just done 3 Pokemon encounters in a row and are sick of Pokemon encounters, and you roll the d20 and it comes up a Pokemon encounter. Reroll that die or pick something interesting. There's no need to waste game time doing something no one wants because the die roll told you to stop having fun. If you have something interesting you want to happen in that area, it happens. Don't even bother rolling. If the die roll result gives you something you don't think the players will be interested in right now, ignore the result. It's one thing to play fair in a fight or tense situation, to keep the stakes high by letting the dice fall where they may. But it's another thing entirely to go with a boring result from a random table.
Encounter Table Edit
1: Survival Challenge: In this instance, something bad happens, a dangerous or difficult circumstance that forces the players to use their skills or wits to adapt or lose something they value. Every region has its own survival challenge table.
2: Opportunity Challenge: This is the converse of a survival challenge. The players spot an opportunity to do something cool. If they pull it off, they get some sort of reward. Every region has its own opportunity challenge table.
3-6: Nothing: Sometimes nothing happens.
7-9: Pokemon Encounter: A group of Pokemon pops up, tables by region.
10: Social Encounter: The players meet one or more people along their journeys. This always introduces some new story element.
11: Safe Haven: The group finds a place willing to host them. Come up with a station willing to host the group for a night. If they rest there, their Pokemon are fully healed. The players and their Pokemon are also fed. You can roll on the random table of havens if you're looking for inspiration.
12: Gym: A local gym. 50/50 odds it's unclaimed and the players can battle to control it. If claimed, roll a d6 for the challenge rating of the gym. The gym pays out (figure something out but always cash).
Random Havens Edit
The following are some random havens. Pick a result off this table you like, or roll at random.
- The home of a rugged survivalist, stocked with doomsday prep food, water, and weapons. The survivalist also has some powerful Pokemon and is extremely paranoid, but initially assumes the PC's are survivalist nuts like him.
Random Social Encounters Edit
Here is a list of 100 random social encounters to have your players come across. You can roll random results from it, or just pick your favorites. Also, note any characters the players enjoyed meeting and make sure they "randomly" run into those people again.
- A group of trainers looking to trade Pokemon. Assume they have one of every local Pokemon to trade, plus some others chosen and random. Choose Pokemon at random that they're looking for.
- A trainer whose Pokemon just laid an egg. He doesn't want it and will give it away. The mother of the egg, and thus what the egg will hatch into, is known.
- A trainer who wants you to take their Pokemon and turn it into a badass, then give it back to them later. Some sort of reward is promised.
- Two male Cooltrainers and a female Cooltrainer. She's hot, and they're both trying to win her heart.
- A group of trainers acting really suspicious for some reason.
- A group of poachers killing Pokemon to sell their body parts. They may send their Pokemon to attack the PC's in an illegal act of violence.
- A group of trainers openly associated with Team Rocket or whatever criminal organization is in the area.
- A group of trainers secretly associated with Team Rocket or whatever criminal organization is in the area.
- A drug cartel growing illegal drugs.
- A commune, eager to recruit the players.
- A Pokemon ranger, enjoying nature and on patrol, with helpful tips about the area. (Roll several times on the table. These are all options he'll give the players as to where they can go next to get whatever the result you rolled was. All of these options are within the same square and take minimal time to get to).
- A Pokemon ranger, dedicated to stopping reckless trainers from destroying the environment. The trainers in front of her seem suspicious.
- A Pokemon ranger who thinks that the players are responsible for some local crime. For example, if the players were eating candy bars, she'll be investigating the theft of some candy bars from some local kids.
- A group of scientists out studying local Pokemon. Perhaps they could use some help.
- A group of scientists who are doing unethical experiments on the local Pokemon.
- A group of scientists who are researching a strange phenomenon in the area.
- A fisherman, eager to share fishing tips and tell tall tales about his catches and misses. Under no circumstances should you reroll this if it leads to him fishing in a ridiculous location.
- A traveler who is lost and disoriented. Very confused. Hard to get out of them what happened.
- A lost traveler, lost for weeks, in dire straits and need of immediate help.
- A trainer looking for their lost Pokemon.
- Same as above, but the Pokemon ran away due to abuse. The trainer is looking to restore the relationship.
- A parent looking for a lost child.
- A traveler who can only repeat what was just said. "Who are you?" "Who are you?" "All right. I'm Tiana." "Ana" "Nice to meet you Ana." "Nice to meet you." The traveler is actually a Ditto who transformed into a human it saw, but being a wild Pokemon it can't fully understand human language.
- An ultimate Pokemon. Roll from the encounter table to see which one.