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Tabletop Game / Pokéthulhu

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Somewhere between "D'aww" and "DEAR GOD"

Ever wonder what happense when Jigglypolyp goes head to 'pod with Dagong? Want to solve the mystery of why cute girls named Librarian Lumli work in every Cult Library—and why they always look the same? How does stomping to the piping music of the Blind Idiot Monster Pokethoth sound?

A tabletop RPG Affectionate Parody of both Pokémon and the Cthulhu Mythos. Created in 2000 by S. John Ross and John Kovalic. Pokethulhu consists of a 30-page sourcebook which contains brief instructions for creating player characters (known as Cultists) and Pokethulhu (also known simply as "thulhu"), as well as a simple battle system, a few campaign ideas and a sample adventure.

Pokethulhu takes as its central conceit the existence of a fictional television show by the same name (as seen on the Lovecraft Network). Players step into the role of Cultists, venturing out into the world with a Pokenomicon and a handful of Shining Dodecahedrons in order to tame and train the mysterious and powerful creatures that give the game its name. Along the way, they might foil the plots of Team Eibon, or discover the secrets of the Nameless City, or even meet Pokethulhu of legendary and unimaginable power (although this is considerably more dangerous than in the more kid-friendly original).

It is mostly a Deconstructive Parody, using its two subject as an enlightening answer to each other: eldritch knowledge is mostly going to interest kids with too much time on their hands, while from the point of view of adults youngsters traveling around to fight with monsters form a hostile and sinister counterculture.

The third edition can be downloaded for free from drivethrurpg. A version's also on

Ia, Pikathulhu fhtagn!

This work contains examples of:

  • Action Initiative: Wild thulhu always attack first. When two trainers face off, they engage in a trash-talking contest to see who goes first.
  • Elemental Powers: Carried over from Pokemon, but with a Lovecraftian flavor. They are:
    • Decomposing (undead or just smelly)
    • Fishy (unnatural beings of the water)
    • Fungous (soft and squshy)
    • Icy (obvious)
    • Luminescent (energy-based powers)
    • Non-Euclidian (capable of bending time and space)
    • Squamous (scaly and slithery)
    • Sticky (gooey, slimey, or "tentacular")
  • Expy: For all the major characters and aspects of either parent universe.
  • Free-Range Children: The bulk of Cultists are children, and they travel wherever they want. Justified in that everybody over high school age is either utterly terrified of the thulhu or have gone completely insane from prolonged exposure to them.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: If you are an adult and you still use thulhu, you are insane. No exceptions.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Right there on the cover: "Gotta catch you all." (Wait, what?)
  • Glass Cannon: The result when you create a thulhu with low HP and high Power.
  • An Ice Person: Any Cultist who takes Icy as their Aspect.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Like the Nurse Joys and Officer Jennies of the Pokémon anime, identical girls named Librarian Lumli work in every Cult Library.
  • Insanity Immunity: A few adults manage to overcome their crippling fear of thulhu... by going completely insane. (They're implied to be Cloud Cuckoolanders at best, Ax-Crazy at worst.)
  • Level Grinding: More like level rolling; after a certain amount of training, a cultist can make a Pokethulhu Lore check to increase their thulhu's abilities.
  • Light Is Not Good: Luminescent aspect thulhu are described with the ominous phrase "strange energies."
  • Lightning Bruiser: Any thulhu with both high Power and Speed (although the lack of points left over for HP would probably leave it as a Glass Cannon).
  • Mighty Glacier: Any thulhu with high Power and low Speed.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Pokémon + Cthulhu Mythos entity = Pokethulhu. Some examples include Pikathulhu (Pikachu + Cthulhu), Hastursaur (Bulbasaur + Hastur), and Dagong (Dewgong + Dagon).
  • The Movie: In-universe example, in which the main characters of the TV show battle the threat of K'thu-too.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: If you break the rules, the GM is explicitly permitted to kill you. It does caution that you check the local laws before incorporating murder, though.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Even for humans, running out of HP merely causes the character to faint. However, this leaves them defenseless, so they "may be eaten by wild thulhu or ill-mannered friends".
  • Party in My Pocket: When not being called upon, the players' thulhu are stored in "Shining Dodecahedrons" (both a Expy for the Pokeball and the Shining Trapezohedron from The Haunter In The Dark and a tongue-in-cheek reference to the d12 dice that the system uses).
  • Plant Aliens: Fungous aspect thulhu.
  • Replacement Goldfish: At one point, the sample scenario instructs you to auto-kill one of your players' thulhu, then recommends giving them the opportunity to catch a replacement in the aftermath.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: The sample adventure involves the players "choosing between four houses for shelter". The book explicitly says that no matter which house the party chooses, it will be the one which contains the plot devices.
  • Sealed Evil In A Dodecahedron: Once captured, thulhu become are sealed away in your Shining Dodecahedrons until you summon them again.
  • Shout-Out: Multiple, to both parent sources. And Scooby-Doo.
  • Sliding Scale of Turn Realism: Turn by Turn. However, some mechanics (specifically Dodge) can Retcon your opponent's last turn instead of having something happen on your own turn.
  • Stone Wall: Any thulhu with high HP and low Power and/or Speed.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Necronomicon Pokenomicon.
  • The Undead: One of the varieties of Decomposing aspect Pokethulhu.