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.
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.
Contest Battles Edit
Contest battles are a variant of battling that weigh style over slashing, and can give your players a different pace of battle where knocking out all the enemy Pokemon is not the primary goal. Most contests will have victory decided by the crowd, and this means earning appeal points.
Before a contest your players can get their Pokemon ready for battles. The preparations determine how many appeal points they earn the moment they walk out. Preparations are things like choosing cool outfits, applying makeup, getting special effects ready, introducing their Pokemon in a dramatic fashion, prepping the crowd, etcetera. Each trainer gets a single roll and compares it to this chart:
However, the GM can add 1-3 extra appeal points based on how clever and well-described the trainer's actions are, or even take away an appeal point or two if the player is doing things in clearly the wrong way. For example, if a contest is at a renaissance fair and the trainer makes their Pokemon look like a futuristic robot, that might be worth deducting a couple appeal points.
Before the battle begins, the players are given a list of the crowd's likes, with 3-5 entries. Easy things to accomplish are worth 1 appeal while harder tasks are worth more. Every time the player accomplishes one of the tasks they earn an appeal point for their team. However, common sense comes into play and trainers can earn appeal for things the audience would like that aren't necessarily on their likes list just as they can fail to earn appeal for things they should if common sense dictates the crowd wouldn't enjoy it. For example, repetition bores the crowd. Using the same move twice in a row normally does not gain any appeal on the second use. Players can also earn extra appeal for particularly showy moves and displays of skill, especially those that are done for the purpose of pleasing the crowd as opposed to things done for tactical advantage.
♥: Using moves of the crowd's favorite type or that fit a certain theme, sending out a shiny Pokemon (once per Pokemon), fainting an enemy Pokemon, sending out a fossil Pokemon (once per Pokemon),
♥♥: Sending out a baby Pokemon (once per Pokemon), sending out a legendary Pokemon (once per Pokemon),
♥♥♥+: Defeating all the Pokemon on the enemy team before the time runs out, actions that take multiple Pokemon working together to pull off.
Note that moves like flourish and fireworks always earn an appeal point on top of whatever other effects they have.
Instead of going until all Pokemon on one side are fainted, battles typically run for a set number of rounds. Among other reasons, this prevents trainers from dragging out a battle until they can win, boring the crowd.
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.