Hey, you! This section is only for GM's wanting to run this game.If you're not a GM, this will only take away from the fun you'd otherwise be having.
The dice-rolling involved in evolution adds an element of chance and surprise when evolving. But as a GM you should overrule it and have the Pokemon evolve in times of narrative importance if that fits the style of evolution. Some examples:
- If a Pokemon is still standing at the end of a particularly trying fight and it evolves by battle, then have it evolve.
- If a Pokemon evolves by assisting, and it fails an important roll, you can have it to be so motivated to succeed that it immediately evolves.
- If a trainer does some incredible act of love for its Pokemon and said Pokemon evolves by friendship points, then immediately evolve it and fill its FP.
As the GM, kudos are your tool to reward players for doing things that make the game better. Award them for good roleplaying or doing funny things while remaining in character. Bribe them with a kudo to do something you want. When they help an NPC with no expectation of reward, that NPC can be incredibly grateful and express that gratitude in mechanical terms by handing out a kudo to each player.
Tricky Natures Edit
Some Pokémon have natures that have interesting tricks for the players who have that Pokemon. The GM should read these to the player who is roleplaying the Pokemon and let that Pokemon's trainer find out the hard way.
Every time the Pokémon wanders off it causes trouble. The FP restored correlate to how much trouble it causes. You may think up interesting incidents and then determine how many FP they’re worth, or roll randomly and then come up with trouble equal to the FP granted.
Really Helping Edit
Every time the Pokémon assists, it messes everything up, probably accidentally. Just make it go horribly while also going on and on about how thrilled the Pokémon is to help and how energetically it goes about it, and then give a description of its actions and the resulting mess that leads to much facepalming.
If the Pokémon is out of its ball you should, from time to time, announce that the player doesn’t see where it went. Soon it’ll return with an item in its mouth and it’ll have gained 1 FP. This will occasionally cause the player trouble.
Going Potty Edit
The Pokémon will try to find something to pee on or leave droppings on that it shouldn’t, earning more FP at the cause of hilarity at the player’s expense.
The Pokemon with this nature should also tease allies in or out of combat, gaining an FP while the ally loses one.
The key idea behind arenas was to make fighting more meaningful. When making an arena as a GM, there are a few things to keep in mind:
The Terrain Edit
Think about how to make the terrain interesting. You players are surfing on the water so the terrain should be all water squares, right? WRONG! Add some jagged rocks or coral reefs or lily pads or a bridge or something to grant a variety of types.
Even terrain which is all water could be polluted water (poison terrain) or a whirlpool (harsh water terrain) or shallows (accessible by all) or current (moves Pokemon in a certain direction).
The Rules Edit
The default rules are the default for a reason, but every third fight or so could incorporate variant rules. Maybe the Pokemon have to destroy an object on the other team's side, or capture the flag, or eliminate a specific opponent. There's all kinds of challenges that could be done. Just make sure to check for exploits.
The Prize Edit
Victory in the arena should get the players something. They should be fighting for something besides money or experience. If you do it well, there's a plot-point that the players are deeply interested in that requires them to claim the arena. In this way, fights aren't chores to be done for money but a battle for what you need. Look at the Pensino campaign for examples of interesting fights.
Another thing that arenas can do is to make certain areas unexplorable until the players are strong enough to venture into the next area. This can give players a reason to revisit areas to explore new parts, and it's a better answer than simply putting an obstacle in their way they don't have high enough stats to get past, because they'll either find a brilliant workaround or spend two hours failing to get where you don't want them going.
Battle Tips Edit
Here are some ways to handle the complexity of battle.
Classes & Badge Bonuses Edit
In general, you can simply forget any trainer classes and badge bonuses for NPC Pokemon. It's a hassle that just isn't worth it. PC's have trainer classes, but NPC's may not have a class, or they may not have one that immediately applies to battling. In general, for simplicity sake, we assume that trainers don't use class abilities or badge abilities even if they clearly would, such as in the case of a gym leader who would have her own badge and would obviously have the specialist cast. That said, if you want to put in the effort, it can be a great way to add realism.
Also, if a battle is going too easily, NPC's could suddenly start using class abilities that require kudos to use.
Held Items Edit
Held items can be a pain to keep track of for every new Pokemon, but if your players are using moves that focus around stealing enemies' held items, it may be worth it.
Friendship Points Edit
Enemy Pokemon should have about half their friendship points filled, or 1d6. That doesn't mean they'll use each and every one in the course of battle. In fact, they often won't use any. Firstly, the NPC's will presumably have other things to focus on besides winning this battle, even if it's never actually shown in game. Also, it's the Pokemon's call on using FP, not the trainer's, even though you're playing both.
Schrodinger's Meowth Edit
The instructions give a recommended difficulty level for all battles, and you'll probably generate all the Pokemon at the same difficulty level. But the players don't see your sheets. Feel free generate new sheets for the opposing team's Pokemon at a higher or lower challenge rating to keep the difficulty right.
Let Them Fight Edit
One of the weaknesses of most RPG's is that the GM spends as much time in battle as all the players combined. In this game, you can let the players just battle each other in a vs. match, adding an NPC if balanced teams are needed. Since this is friendly sports, it can be fun to let the players see who's the best, and without all the NPC's the fighting runs quicker with each player getting a larger percentage of the time. An it's less work for you. We're guessing you can pull this off every fifth session or so, giving the players enough time to adjust their teams and improve their Pokemon so that this PVP battle doesn't go exactly the same as the last.
Side Journeys Edit
Players may miss sessions from time to time, but we believe that the nature of Pokemon adventures makes this sort of thing not only easy to explain, but a natural part of adventuring. We recommend that when the player gets back they recount what goals took them away from the party for a time. Some examples:
"I got a hot tip there were some Swinub up in the northern mountains, and I always wanted one, so I traveled up there in search of them."
"There was a job opening as a lifeguard for a couple weeks, quick money for easy work. Plus girls in bikinis. I needed some cash so I took it."
"I wanted to strengthen my Ivysaur so we spent the week going down to the grass type gym and training our hardest."
The key is to have players list what they were trying to do and what kind of results they were looking for, and then you call for a roll to see how well they did. Perhaps a nature roll for finding the Swinub, a Swimming roll for lifeguard duty, or perhaps a Muscle roll for working out with an Ivysaur. Pokemon can help with the roll. Depending on how well they did you can reward them with up to half the session's benefits, and focus most especially on what they were looking for. So maybe they get one or more new Pokemon including that Swinub, or some money, or a stronger Ivysaur. While they may not advance quite as fast, they at least get some rewards of their choosing.
All in all, we're not going to give more concrete rules here, because how you do this will depend highly on your GMing style and how you want to reward players.