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Tabletop Game / Pokémon Tabletop Adventures

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Pokémon Tabletop Adventures, or PTA for short, is a fan-made Pokémon-themed Tabletop RPG currently under development. In it, players take the role of Pokemon Trainers battling for gym badges, doing contests, thwarting criminal organizations... that sort of thing.

Has its own wiki, where updates are posted quite often. It's a little rough around the edges, but that's excusable due to still being in development.

A sister system to the original Pokémon Tabletop Adventures system was created in response to perceived balance issues and inconsistencies in the aforementioned. Called Pokémon Tabletop United (or PTU), the new system consolidates the combat stats of both Trainers and Pokémon, simplifies the class system (and, by extension, Cross Classing), and adds in a skill system similar to those seen in Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder.

The latest version includes the splatbooks The Blessed and the Damned (Blessed from now on), which provides fluff and crunch to make Legendary Pokémon more powerful and/or interesting, and provide extra incentives and plot hooks for players to interact with them; Do Porygon Dream of Mareep?, (Mareep), a sci-fi book that explores a myriad of options the genre has to offer Pokémon; and Game of Throhs, a fantasy-oriented book with content otherwise in a similar vein to Mareep.

See also Pokéthulhu, which is... um... kinda different.

In addition to the Tropes that apply to the Pokémon series in general, PTA include the following:

  • Adaptational Badass: Trainers are considerably more involved in battles than in the core series; even if they aren't the sort of class that attacks, it's quite possible they'll be on the receiving end at some point.
    • Special mention to those trainers focusing on a single type. Easy to exploit in the official games; they Took a Level in Badass here because they have their own character class that amps up their type's power. Especially when an extension of Ace Trainers, they can do a lot of damage.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The advanced forms of Martial Artists players can become are Athletes, Aura Users, Black Belts, Dirty Fighters, Ninjas, Weapons Masters... and Massage Therapists. These are a potential Lethal Joke Character, being able to paralyze opponents in one touch.
  • Character Level: In addition to the 1 to 100 levels that Pokemon advance through, Trainers also have levels from 0 to 50.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Lots of Trainer Features work like this, primarily ones that allow PCs to use Pokemon moves. One Advanced Class even lets you cast abilites from a legendary Pokemon's hit points.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Unlike the video game, Pokemon and Trainers can actually die in battles, from taking twice their max HP in damage. Which needless to say discourages taking on Legendary Pokemon with hatchlings for experience.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Godspeakers, an advanced class for the Mystic which channel the hit points of legendary Pokemon into some hella powerful moves, can easily be interpreted - and played - as this. Hell, it's even possible to channel Kyurem and become a literal Crystal Dragon Jesus. One of their Features is even called "Praise Me."
  • Damage Reduction: There are a small number of Trainer Features which grant DR.
  • Damage Typing: Uses the same type rules as the original games, though Typeless is an addition.
  • Duels Decide Everything: Averted. Fights with wild Pokemon are not League Legal, and neither are most fights on the road. Outside of official fights, not only are battles not usually one-on-one duels, but trainers also get involved in the fighting.
  • Psychic Static: The Voltorb Flip feature allows characters to block mind-reading attempts by imagining playing an elaborate game of Voltorb Flip, which prevents the mind-reader from accessing anything else.
  • Splat: There are 9 Base Classes, each of which has multiple Advanced Classes:
    • Ace Trainer: They want to be the very best, like no one ever was! Focuses on Strength and Constitution and tends to be a Determinator no matter what Advanced Class you pick. The Ace Trainer's well, ace is that their Pokemon automatically receive more experience than others and deal a few more points of damage.
    • Breeder: Good at breeding Pokemon, focusing on Wisdom and Charisma. Might sound kind of lame, but this is a Role-Playing Game, not a "Kill Everything" game. Can become a Support Party Member in time through Advanced Classes, and their Pokemon are usually born quite strong due to the Natural Edge ability.
    • Capture Specialist: Really, really good at capturing Pokemon, whether it be through making your own Pokeballs, having a poke-ball shooting arm cannon, or just being incredibly single-minded. Tends to be The Smart Guy. Focuses on Dexterity and Intelligence.
    • Coordinator: Specializes in winning Contests instead of battles, focusing on Charisma and Constitution. Which isn't to say they're worthless in battle, as they can grant their Pokemon some pretty badass capabilities.
    • Martial Artist: A Badass Normal (or Empowered Badass Normal should you take the Aura User Advanced Class) that focuses on Strength and Dexterity. Most of the advance classes allow the trainer to fight alongside their Pokemon, either with a weapon, or just good old fisticuffs. Can sometimes use Pokemon moves, but only a certain number of times per day.
    • Mystic: Either through eldrich rituals or having a true understanding of nature, Mystics can channel Pokemon, and "Borrow" their powers. The class focuses on Strength and Wisdom, and Advanced classes also let the Mystic mimic Humans, control the true power of the Unown, or go all A God Am I.
    • Psychic: self -explanitory. Focusing on Intelligence and Constitution, psychics can fight alongside their Pokemon, and can use Pokemon moves like the Martial Artist, but can use them at will for a small HP cost.
    • Ranger: Like in the Pokémon Ranger games, Rangers can use Stylers instead of Pokeballs to temporarily (or permanently) befriend Pokemon. Focusing on Dexterity and Charisma, a ranger can either be a law enforcement official, or harness the power of their allied Pokemon (or even the power of Legendaries.
    • Researcher: If the party's Capture Specialist isn't The Smart Guy, then the researcher definitely is. Focusing on Intelligence and Wisdom, researchers fight by knowing more than the opponent, ranging from giving empowering advice to calling in favors from Legendary Pokemon.
  • Shout-Out: Many feats available to the Athlete class reference Slam Remixes.
  • Training from Hell: It is possible to give Pokemon this if you choose. Particularly the Ace Trainer class has a lot of Feats that harm the Pokemon for long-term gain.
  • Upgrade Artifact: TMs and HMs are present, however the "M" stands for "Medicine" instead of machine and looks more like a syringe than a CD.
  • What the Hell, Player?: The attacks "Explosion" and "Selfdestruct" have this built into them as a mechanic: their use makes a Pokémon dislike its trainer significantly if they don't already.

Tropes applicable to PTU include the following:

  • Action Bomb: Electrode and Voltorb, of course. They were given a capability, or special trait, to encourage this, rendering them immune to loyalty loss from the use of Self Destruct or Explosion.
  • Adaptation Expansion: To further diversify Pokemon and improve weaker species, there are many more abilities and special traits than in the handhelds.
  • Adaptational Abomination: One of the variant Pokémon introduced in Game of Throhs is an extraplanar version of Kabutops with the power to phase in and out of reality at will, changing its typing from Rock/Dark to Rock/Ghost and back in the process. The brief fluff describes it as an otherworldly monster which constantly fluctuates between different states of matter while in this plane and which kills mages who carelessly dabble with the study of other dimensions.
  • Advert-Overloaded Future: The city of Heizhou in Mareep's Babel setting is full of this, befitting a Cyberpunk dystopia. Augmented Reality ads are everywhere and AR technology is ubiquitous, and professional Pokémon Trainers are expected to wear the brands and advertise the products of the megacorps which sponsor them.
  • Animal Eye Spy: Channelers can achieve this eventually.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The Taskmaster class revolves around giving your Pokémon Injuries, which normally inflict stacking Maximum Hp Reduction (which can result in the Pokémon's death) and constant health loss for any action taken while a Pokémon has five or more injuries. Both properties are mitigated for the Taskmaster's Pokémon; their maximum HP can't be reduced below 50%, and they don't suffer the health loss.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: The Hobbyist can learn from a select list of Features several other classes use simply by watching their use as their capstone Feature. Chroniclers maintain albums with which they can also live up to this trope, in which they study recorded moves to better evade them, or even teach said moves to their Pokemon.
  • Badass Normal: Very possible — a lot of the core, non-supernatural combat classes use mostly mundane Moves.
  • The Berserker: The Berserker class from Game of Throhs, naturally. It's a combat-focused class which lets you learn moves like Thrash, Rage and Double Edge, and it includes features which let the Berserker deal extra damage the more Injured they are or take their turn outside the normal order by entering a state of Frenzy.
  • Bond Creatures: Channelers effectively make Pokemon they use routinely this, though, through force of will, it can apply temporarily to any Pokemon they encounter.
  • Capoeira: The Technician branch of the Martial Artist class is explicitly stated to be inspired by both Hitmontop and Capoeira.
  • Character Customization: A staggering amount. Focusing on Pokemon alone, almost every other class can add new abilities, moves, alter base stat distribution, or even shift or add to a mon's type.
  • Chef of Iron: Mildly, and potentially played straight if you take additional combat classes, but the Chef class does provide two abilities that're useful in combat in addition to all of its mundane cooking.
  • The Chess Master: The Mastermind class, which focuses on manipulating the battlefield and one's allies to win.
  • Combat Clairvoyance: Oracles have a feature called Prescience, which lets them turn an attack that hit them into a miss.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The Cruelty ability lets you inflict an Injury to your opponent when you hit them with a damaging attack once per scene. It also lets you apply special debuffs to that opponent based on the number of Injuries they're currently suffering, such as giving them further Maximum Hp Reduction or preventing them from healing for the rest of the encounter. Taskmasters can teach this ability to their Pokémon and can enhance it in various ways.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The game is designed to avert the "crippling" portion by providing options (such as Type Ace classes and the Species Savant edge) that allow for trainers to specialize in particular types of Pokemon and get bonuses for it, helping them compensate for the weakness of being limited to one type. These talents are highly recommended for Gym trainers.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted. An injury system was added both to prevent this trope and discourage turtling - every time a target passes their 50% mark for Hit Points, or suffers grievous damage in some other way, they receive a Hit Point max draining Injury. 1 results in a cumulative 10% Hit Point reduction, and 5 or more both increases damage taken and harms the victim whensoever they do much of anything but move. Ten or more and that's all she wrote. Injuries are not readily healed by potions and Moves alone, though some Features can mitigate them.
  • Critical Status Buff:
    • The Taskmaster's Hardened mechanic grants their Pokémon various buffs as they sustain more and more Injuries. They can also gain a feature which doubles the effectiveness of these buffs while the Pokémon is at 0 hit points or less.
    • The Berserker class from Game of Throhs can get a feature which makes their attacks do more damage based on how many Injuries they've sustained.
  • Cyborg: The Mareep book includes rules for adding cybernetic augmentations to Trainers and Pokémon alike.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: An optional penalty one can apply to cybernetics in Mareep. Even a handful are enough to prohibit the use of Aura or Ghost moves.
  • Dance Battler: The Dancer class learns most Moves with "Dance" in their names from the handhelds, and can teach several in turn to a player's Pokemon.
  • Darker and Edgier: The core book neither suggests nor discourages this, although with so many options for trainers to actively fight, and classes like the Taskmaster and Hunter, the capacity for it is there. The overwhelming majority of settings in Mareep qualify, mostly by virtue of Pokemon being so light hearted and kid friendly to begin with.
  • Death or Glory Attack: The Taskmaster's Deadly Gambit feature lets their Pokémon make an immediate counterattack against an attacking foe. This counterattack is an automatic critical hit which cannot miss. Unfortunately, the triggering attack becomes one too. And while both attacks are resolved at the same time, the enemy's attack ignores whether your Pokémon is immune to critical hits, while the counterattack doesn't. Better hope that your Pokémon hits harder than its opponent.
  • Elemental Powers: The Type Ace classes in the core rulebook and the Elementalist classes in Game of Throhs handle this in different ways:
    • Type Aces specialize in training Pokemon of one particular type, to the point of being able to change move's type to match their specialty.
    • Elementalists on the other hand gain special powers based on their chosen element.
  • Equippable Ally: In stark defiance of canon, Honedge's line can become these. There's nothing stopping you from taking an edge that makes them your weapon(s) of choice, even.
  • The Fashionista: A class, focused on using accessories (for the player) and held items (For their Pokemon) to great effect. Fittingly, Serena is the class image model.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Some legendaries in Blessed are described as taking these, sometimes to hide among humans. Others could care less, or choose less mundane "disguises."
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Genetic engineering and gene therapy are big parts of the Mareep book's Babel setting. Eevee is reimagined as an artificial Pokémon created through genetic experimentation, and evolutionary stones are machines invented specifically to modify its malleable DNA by gradually exposing it to radiation. Other Pokémon that normally evolve through evolutionary stones can only do so because gene therapy has been used to infuse these Pokémon with Eevee's genes, and if they haven't received this gene therapy, they can't evolve. Technical Machines are likewise reimagined as trips to a gene therapy clinic to teach Pokémon moves that they couldn't learn naturally.
  • Genre Shift: The Game of Throhs and Do Porygon Dream of Mareep sourcebooks provide guidelines for playing fantasy and science-fiction themed games, respectively.
  • Ghost Memory: Channelers can, with the right Feature, access the memories of a Pokemon's past hour automatically upon channeling them.
  • Jack of All Trades: Several. The most traditional use of this is the Hobbyist, which can learn other Features by seeing them, though the Rogue and even the Dancer are very versatile classes that synergize well with others.
  • Kill the God: Usurpers from Blessed are this - at the cost of losing all other features or edges in the Blessed splatbook, they can transform into an (initially low level) legendary themselves as a result.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: The Taskmaster can force their Pokémon to remain conscious at 0 hp, preventing the Pokémon from fainting until it drops to -30% of its total hit points.
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: In the Babel setting, the mega-corporations own private security forces which handle law enforcement in the city of Heizhou. Even the Pokémon Rangers are on their payroll, being treated as something like Corporate Sponsored Superheroes.
  • Layered Metropolis: The Babel campaign setting from the Mareep splatbook centers around Heizhou, a cyberpunk metropolis consisting primarily of skyscraper arcologies which reach high into the clouds and are connected to one another by skybridges. Naturally, where you live is tied to your status: the richest and most affluent live in penthouse apartments that literally let them look down on the clouds, while the poorest live at or below ground level.
  • Le Parkour: An Edge, or lightweight Feature, trainers can take lets them run on walls for a short period of time. The Tumbler class lets you do similar things on a greater (but still mostly reasonable) scale.
  • Living Shadow: The Shade Caller can take a feature which lets them bring their shadow to life to attack in their stead. Mechanically this lets their Dark-type attacks originate from an adjacent space in normal lighting conditions, or from any space within a certain radius in complete darkness.
  • Magical Girl: The Glamour Weaver class lets you become one of these by using the "Enchanting Transformation" ability. The rulebook even uses a picture of Madoka Kaname to represent the class.
  • Magikarp Power: Trope Namer aside, a handful of otherwise unremarkable Pokemon have very powerful High abilities, or abilities restricted to level 40 and higher. Bellsprout's (and only Bellsprout, possibly as a shout out to the famously skilled anime one) Sway, which effectively allows it to throw any move sent its way back at the enemy at no harm to it, is one stand out example.
  • Master of the Levitating Blades: The Telekinetic class has a feature which lets you wield melee weapons with your mind instead of your hands.
  • Maximum Hp Reduction: When a Pokémon hits certain health thresholds or takes too much damage in one go, it sustains an Injury. Injuries reduce the Pokémon's maximum hit points by one-tenth each, and having ten injuries at once will kill them.
  • Mind over Matter: The Telekinetic class is all about this, giving you the ability to move things with your mind and granting access to a small pool of Psychic-type moves with telekinetic effects.
  • Musical Assassin: Musicians can be this, and just about every other conceivable Musicians trope you could imagine.
  • Ninja: The Ninja class, appropriately enough. They're stealthy, evasive characters that specialize in poisoning their opponents through various means, and they can learn to craft items useful to their trade like antidotes, smoke bombs and caltrops.
  • Olympus Mons: A book has been written to enhance these for campaigns in which they need to be particularly impressive.
  • One Curse Limit: Averted. Pokemon can easily be affected with multiple status ailments at the same time. Houndoom even gets a unique Ability that allows it to automatically poison anyone it inflicts a Burn on.
  • Poor, Predictable Rock: Subverted with the Type Ace classes; while it's abilities let you use your chosen type better, you're not automatically restricted to using only that type.
  • Pint Sized Power House: The usual suspects aside, you can make any Pokemon this with a few Pokemon specific feats that boost the capabilities of unevolved or low-stat Pokemon.
  • Psychic Strangle: Implied with one application of the Telekinetic's Psionic Overload feature, which makes any foe Lifted by the Telekinesis move take Damage Over Time so long as they remain Lifted.
  • Random Effect Spell: Glitch Benders can get a feature which lets them spend some AP to instantly change a status affliction affecting them into a random different one. They can also learn Metronome.
  • Reality Show: In the Babel setting, Guardian Signs is a live series which follows the exploits of the Pokémon Rangers as they go about their business. The more crimes a Ranger stops and the more lives they save, the more popularity points they score with the audience, and the better their rank in the organization becomes.
  • Reality Warper:
    • The Warper class's Reality Bender feature lets them manipulate probability in small ways and create inexpensive consumables that wink out of existence if not used quickly. The class also gets an Ability which lets them reroll dice rolls.
    • The Glitch Bender class from the Mareep book can manipulate reality in various ways, such as forcing an enemy to reroll a dice roll or changing a status affliction which affects the Glitch Bender into a random different one.
  • Sand Worm: Onix and Steelix are already fine examples of this trope, but the Mareep book takes things further by introducing a variant Steelix which is a blatant Expy of the sandworms from Dune, evolving from Stunfisk instead of Onix and producing a spice-like substance which gives those who consume it temporary psychic powers.
  • Shout-Out: The designers liberally borrow Feature and Edge names from wherever suits their fancy.
  • Space Master: The Warper class can manipulate space and time, letting you learn moves like Teleport and Gravity.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Channelers, once again. Telepaths and Aura Guardians can as well through their respective supernatural means.
  • Start My Own: The Babel setting from the Mareep book has two prominent examples:
    • The Battle Company is reimagined as a fourth MegaCorp founded by disgruntled former employees of Silph Co., Devon, and Galactic Enterprises. While it has far less power and influence than the big three corporations, they've nevertheless carved out a niche for themselves in Heizhou's economy, most notably by inventing the Mega Stones which allow for Mega Evolution.
    • One campaign hook for the setting sees Devon and Galactic Enterprises trying to impose sanctions which would heavily restrict if not outright ban the use of TMs—Silph Co.'s signature product—in the Heizhou Pokémon League. In response, Silph Co. pulls out of the Pokémon League to found one of its own where TM use is legal.
  • Status Effects: The Hex Maniac class specializes in these. They start out with one of two Abilities that can be used to debuff their opponents, they can learn multiple status-inflicting moves like Hypnosis and Confuse Ray, and they can get features which let them use these moves more frequently or have them affect extra targets.
  • Stone Wall: Enduring Souls focus on making their Pokemon these, as do Defense, Hit Point, or Special Defense Stat Aces.
  • Taking the Bullet: A Feature for players, and an inherent capability for Pokemon loyal enough to care.
  • Telepathy: The Telepath class, as you might expect, is all about reading minds.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Very common across the board. Many mediocre Pokemon in the handhelds are incredible in PTU thanks to a different method of distributing and leveling stats, a change in the way abilities are limited (Pokemon will gain 3 that are all simultaneously active over 40 levels, but may gain more through features their Trainers use), and new abilities and capabilities. Furfrou, as an example, goes from a mediocre tank-esque Pokemon whose fantastic ability still couldn't quite save it, to an incredibly versatile beast that can swap between nine different abilities as its fur style dictates, including sweeper favorites Moxie and Defiant, on top of the aforementioned ability, which cuts all physical damage in half.
    • Furthermore, most negative Abilities were altered to give some sort of benefit. Truant, for example, now has the Pokemon fail to act on a roll of 1-7 on d20 instead of every other turn, and the Pokemon also heals 1/10th of its maximum HP and gets a +3 on rolls to cure itself of any status effects.
  • Touched by Vorlons: The Glitch Bender class gets its reality-warping powers from contact with MissingNo. or a similar glitch entity.
  • Training from Hell: The Taskmaster class employs brutal training methods to bring out their Pokémon's potential. Their central mechanic lets them "harden" their Pokémon by deliberately injuring them, with the Pokémon gaining buffs for every odd-numbered injury it sustains.
  • True Sight: Oracles can unlock a feature which lets them see through illusions and ignore the effects of Double Team and Substitute.
  • Underground Monkey:
    • The Mareep book has rules for Pokémon that evolved in alien environments and thus have different types, moves, or abilities from the norm. Examples include a Flying/Poison Living Gasbag version of Tentacruel that lives in the atmospheres of gas giants, a pure-Ground Steelix that evolves from Stunfisk instead of Onix and lives on desert planets, and a Bug/Rock version of Parasect whose parasitic mushroom is replaced with a symbiotic living crystal.
    • Game of Throhs likewise has fantasy-flavored variants of existing Pokémon, including a Clockwork Creature version of Porygon, a Ghost/Steel Golurk that's a suit of Animated Armor rather than a golem, and a Fire/Flying Pegasus version of Rapidash.
  • Weaponized Teleportation: The Warper's Warped Transmission feature is a downplayed example, briefly debuffing all enemies adjacent to your destination when you teleport.
  • You Lose at Zero Trust: Encouraged, but not enforced. Mistreatment of Pokemon in this system (which is far more possible than it is in the handhelds) may lead to their disobeying or abandoning you altogether. At the very least, they require difficult command checks when ordered to attack, and they won't intercept attacks for you or your allies.