Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pokedex Entry: The System behind the Pokemon RPG

So, as there is curiosity, it shall be satisfied.  The system I am using in the game I described on Monday was developed by John, a friend of mine as I said for a game I joined over the summer – the only campaign I have ever finished.  He even made an end credits video!  Awesome.

That campaign was based on Final Fantasy, hence most of the references in the system.  In his you could choose your race and your class (the idea of a Moogle Warrior became something of an obsession).  In mine, because everyone was human, the classes remained, but I replaced races with gyms.  Basically, your character starts with stats obtained by choosing a class and a gym, which each come with a set of stats pre-set, and then add the two together.  Simple.  Makes character genning pretty fast.  Levelling up, you gain points, you spend them on either stat boosts or skills.  Cross-classing is totally fine, but those skills are more expensive.  You can get really good combos that way though.  Taking Quick Hit from the Warrior class and Quick Pockets from the Thief class and you have yourself one VERY fast character, for example.

Skill checks go off of a d10, where you want to roll below your relevant statistic (your strength to pick up a boulder, etc.).  Anything that doesn’t appear obvious or looks too difficult to be so easy relies on DM discretion.  Because Strength-10 isn’t hard to achieve in this game, skill checks are an issue in the system, and one I’ve been working on by asking for a d100 roll and setting a DC that is relevant, but not directly tied to their statistics.  I’ve tried a few other things too.  We’ll see.  Bluffing is particularly awkward to handle, but we’ve worked through it so far. Jonara Planarwaste, I’m looking at you here...

Combat, as I said before, works on a counter-based ATB system.  You have a cooldown between 1 and 10, and everyone puts their counters in a pot simultaneously and acts when they have no counters left.  Agility is a VITAL stat in this game, as we’ve seen people unable to act before the combat is already resolved.  Hilarious though.

With my game specifically, one of the biggest problems is simply because it is homebrewed, and therefore I have to write the Monster Manual myself.  I’ve got a notebook where I’m getting through them all, but there are 150 of them!  And I’m leaving some out! (Porygon, Voltorb, and Electrode obviously don’t exist.  Pokemon trading doesn’t exist, so Gengar, Golem, etc are also at least rare) It’s a slightly exhaustive process, but I’m getting there.  Almost at 100 I think...

Oh yes, probably one of the more interesting features of this system is the simplicity of its equipment.  Weapons have levels of quality, corresponding to the dice you get to roll – d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and the elusive d20 weapons.  Armour gives a multiplier to your defence – x2, x3, x4, or x5.  Beyond that, you can have whatever weapon or armour you like.  A d6 dagger has the same effect as a d6 greataxe.  A x5 Leather Armour has the same effect as a x5 Plate Mail.  It can lead to some jarring experiences, but it basically means that your characters can be more stylised.  In other systems, if you want to be the best warrior you have to use certain armour, certain weapons.  Here it doesn’t matter.  You can use tonfas, daggers, warhammers, scythes, or your fists without needing a whole separate set of statistics just for your weapon.  Of course, there are upgrades, special weapons, and other interesting things.  But generally, you can have fun with how your character fights.

It’s a simple system, and that can lead to problems when you try and do something complex, but in general it’s easy to learn and fun to play.  At least I think so anyway.  Well done to John for creating it!

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