System Mastery 207 – Pokemon Jr.

pokemon s

Desperately trying to hit a book deadline, we found ourselves in need of something fairly small, so we finally broke the tiny sheet of glass in front of the smaller RPG we have, the Pokemon Jr. Adventure Game: Pokemon Emergency.  60 pages long and smaller than a checkbook, this is a tiny little thing.  But it has a rich history, and there’s a lot to talk about, so as always, we found a way.

 

4 responses to “System Mastery 207 – Pokemon Jr.

  1. Have you seen or checked out “monsters and other childish things” by Benjamin Baugh / cubicle 7? It’s a kids with pet monsters that are cthonic entities game using the Ore.. There’s also a game called pokethulhu, a John kovalic illustrated game.

    • There’s also MajiMonsters, which I think they done a Patreon promotion for in an older video.

      It basically puts a high fantasy spin on Pokemon, with monsters being magical creatures. The way this whole magic works can feel a bit odd at times though, since the writters apparently used it to reinforce tropes from the Pokemon games.

      For example, human-vs-monster fights aren’t really a thing in the games, so the monsters basically auto-win against anything that’s not a monster.

      And to avoid having the trainers accidentally get gibbed during a fight, they’ve made it so that monsters effectively draw super aggro. A monster will straight-up ignore non-monsters as long as there’s even a single hostile monster around. There’s probably also some kind of dimensional shifting going on, as the attacks thrown around during monster fights just can’t hurt the player characters.

      Can overall come across as a bit weird if you want more verisimilitude. Can almost feel like the monsters are holograms or something.

  2. Yesssss. I genuinely loved this as a kid and wished it had a follow up. Definitely easier for my 8 year old self to grasp than West End Star Wars.

  3. I’m not too familiar with RPG threads where people ponder about how to translate Pokemon to the tabletop format, but I am familiar with homebrew stuff where the translation actually happened:

    Pokemon Tabletop Adventures is the oldest one I can think of. It was a d20 derivative with a bit of a Frankensteinian vibe to it, since the trainers hat d20 Attributes while the Pokemon used the video game stats. Whenever you wanted to interact with Pokemon (because you were a Martial Artist or a Psychic) you basically had to convert you d20 numbers to video game numbers.

    Pokemon Tabletop United is a fork of Adventures. It ditched the d20 stuff for a system with as mall d6 pool. It’s a lot more cleaner, but the customization bloat for Pokemon got a little bit excessive. Managing the growth of your trainer and his Pokemon is kinda like having to manage a 7+-person D&D party.
    There’s an attempt of streamlining these rules into “Pokemon Odyssey”, but so far there’s only been a playtest document.

    More recently there’s been Pokemon Tabletop Adventures 3 (not sure if that’s the edition number or a sign that this is now the 3rd iteration of this homebrew franchise). This one goes back to a d20 and streamlines A LOT. It also ditches that silly thing where your Pokemon can level up to 100 (because they can in the game). In fact they don’t have levels at all and only get stronger through their trainer.

    For a different take on the concept, there also Pokerole, which is based more on the anime than the games and uses a variation of the Storyteller System. Certainly a good alternative if you want a more narrative experience with a more abstracted combat system (the ones above all go full-on tactical with maps and stuff).
    The weirdest thing about this system is that a Pokemon’s base HP is based on their weight (probably not a smart idea since Pokemon weight is not a particularly consistent metric), and that the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon sourcebook is written a little bit too much like a World of Darkness title (at least it came across to me as oddly grimdark).

    There was also a short-lived version based on D&D 5e, which got shut down after attracting too much attention from both Nintendo and WotC, if I’m not mistaken.

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