I need some help!

I need some help!

I need some help! I’m trying to create a new class for my son, who I’m trying to break into tabletop RPGs and away from the console games, and thought he might like it more if he could play a pokémon master in a fantasy world. Plus, it just seemed like an awesome thing to make.

I can’t figure out how to make the ‘Monster Catcher’s monsters to act properly. They’re not a ranger’s animal companion – the monster catcher doesn’t do anything but suggest actions while the monsters go out and do them, they don’t ‘work together’ at all, for the most part. I don’t want to make the mechanics with this too difficult but I do want it to reflect the fact that the monster catcher isn’t doing anything but telling the monster what to do.

The current plan is to give each monster a set of stats like a ranger’s animal companion – maybe rename them to be more thematic for the class – and a loyalty score as well. When you try to get your monster to perform an action for you, roll + loyalty. But then you’re ignoring the monster’s stats completely.

I could have the roll be cha + associated stat, but anyone looking at the class will give their monster catcher a high charisma, and almost never fail rolls – at least, have a much better chance not to.

Loyalty + monster stat? Then I’m not bringing in the monster catcher’s skill at all, and it’s all on the monster. 

Anyone have any advice?

23 thoughts on “I need some help!”

  1. Why not stat out monsters as extra characters? In a pokemon battle it’s mostly the pokemon that does something. The trainer-stats aren’t that important…

  2. Just off the top of my head: stat each ‘mon up like a normal monster, with one damaging move and two or three backup moves. From there, you can set something up like the Hirelings move, where the Trainer has a Bond with the ‘mon.

    When you give your pokemon a command, roll +Bond. On a 10+, the ‘mon performs the move you tell them to use. On a 7-9, they use a different move or ignore you completely.

  3. To add what Tim Franzke has to say, why  not take the Ranger as a guide and just flip it? What I mean by that is to make the Monster Catcher the equivalent of the Ranger’s animal companion. In the Pokemon games, aside from travelling in the overworld, the trainer itself was largely irrelevant, it was the monsters that shined. 

    To abstract it further, you could have an out of combat move that allows the Trainer to switch Pokemon for a different type for any sensed upcoming danger. “Oh, we’ve got a swath of undead coming up next, maybe having your Charmander out to burn those guys might be a good idea.”

  4. Couldn’t you simply use the Druid’s Shapeshifter move? Instead of shapeshifting, he’s summoning creatures, he uses the same hold to give commands to his monster, which you could call “Loyalty”.

    Downside : kind of OP since the monster takes the hits instead of the character himself. Upside : simplicity.

  5. David Lacerte Great point, man. I’m all about simplicity myself; if it is at all possible to reuse an existing structure, or re-fluff it, I’m all for it. It’s easier for everyone involved.

    If you use the Shapeshifter move, with a specific number of monsters/Pokemon to choose from, you can abstract the trainer being out of combat, commanding the creature. I like it. 

  6. Sorcerer Blob Sure! I’m a software developr, so not reinventing the wheel is a big part of my job. 😉

    I agree about limiting the amount of creatures able to be summoned but add a move or some other means of acquiring new ones.

  7. When you release a monster, roll +Cha. On a 10+, take 2 hold. On a 7-9, take 1 hold. You may spend holds, 1 for 1, to command the monster to make one of their monster moves.

    Have another (catch’em all) move for capturing monsters and another for befriending them. Befriending them is how you make one a henchman, capturing them its how you obtain a variety to unleash at opportune times.

  8. Maybe look at the Dungeon Planet Mutant to work from? It is meant to replace the Druid and works with a fixed number of mutation moves but those can be changed when exposed to a mutagen (gamma rays, chemicals, etc)

    You could easily use that as an idea for 3-4 monster balls that you can capture additional creatures, but you have to empty one. 

  9. so you would maybe need a “cheer monster up” move.

    But then it would be. Unleash Monster Move Monster Move, Cheer, Monster Move Monster Move…

    Treat the monsters like they are a character with a few basic moves and special things they can unlock.

  10. Tim Franzke Released monsters are freaked out, cowed. They do what they’re commanded to and then flee or cower. Like coming out of stasis. On a miss, well, they could have just about any kind of disposition… :-)

  11. take a look at the Dungeon Planet “Mutant” playbook. It is a Sci-Fi take on the Druid and uses a set of 3 mutations that a character can use the moves associated with them. There is also a move that changes these if the character is exposed to a mutagen (eg – Gamma Rays). 

    This could operate as having 3 captured monsters and when given the opportunity you can trap another monster at the loss of another creature. Then you can have an advanced move to construct a new capturing device (increasing your creature capacity) and so on.

  12. I think the big question is how you want to model the trainer/monster relationship, and who you ultimately want in charge. If you want the Trainer to be the “leader” of the relationship, then you can just treat the ‘mon as a hireling or a piece of equipment. If it’s the monster, then that raises the question of what the Trainer’s there for. If it’s an equal partnership then you would probably need new rules.

    The thing is, what works in the video game/cartoon (the Trainer tells the ‘mon what to do, then the ‘mon does it without question) doesn’t directly translate well to a tabletop game.

  13. I haven’t read any of the other comments, so apologies if this has already been suggested…but why don’t you just have your son play as the pokemon, instead of the catcher?

    Start with your son’s favorite pokemon. Make each of the pokemon’s abilities or attacks or whatever a move. Then, once your son knows the system, you two can work together to convert the entire Pokedex into playbooks!

    You can still collaborate with your son on making a monster catcher, but the catcher is basically a quest machine; he tells the pokemon what to do, the pokemon (as played by your son) does it and earns XP or whatever for it. You can deal with the rancher completely in the fiction, and let your son do the fun stuff with the pokemon themselves.

  14. Thank you for all the responses! I posted this right before going to work and didn’t expect to see this kind of action on my post this soon. Thank you all. 

    Following that, lemme clarify a bit: I want to make a class that’s more like the tv show, not as much like the console game. I want the trainer to be as important as the monsters that they’re using to fight – the monsters are for utility, but they don’t have hands, or opposable thumbs, or the ability to speak.  Plus, the interaction between the monsters and the human is important to me, including the monsters specifically trying to protect the trainer when the trainer gets his or herself into trouble. 

    I love the suggestions you guys have here. I don’t want to make the monsters their own playbooks, that seems like too much work and effort for either one of us to be able to play the class. 

    I like the idea of just stealing from druid and using that with a different flavor. That gives me a whole new spendable resource to play with and make other moves based around. When throwing out a monster, make a cha check to gain loyalty, spend that loyalty to get the monster to do what you ask. Another move to allow you to gain more loyalty. When the monster is out of loyalty, it’s ‘defeated’ – it runs from battle, goes back to it’s master, etc.  Moves that let you spend your monster’s loyalty in a larger scale to gain more stuff – more powerful abilities.

    The monster doesn’t need stats, just moves like you’d give to a monster. Then spend loyalty to make those moves like a druid would in shapechange form. 

    Here’s a point of confusion for me: Does the druid have to make rolls for the moves it makes while in shapechanged form?  It seems like they’d have to, but the rules don’t say so. 

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