Hey, man, what’s up?

Well, you certainly could use Pokémon in a Allies as Loot context! (I did it myself in a non-ICRPG Pokémon game)

I picture it as using a weedle to shoot web strings to carry you around as a grappling hook, make a golbat hold you and carry you around like a short-term flight, or hop up on a blastoise and shoot its water cannon at grunts. However, Allies as Loot assume the allies/creatures/etc are components of the main hero, bonuses and extras without stats. I think a Pokémon campaign, traditionally, should take the opposite route and have the Pokémon as fully fledged characters, as important as the Trainer.

But for this conversion, I though about writing a Pokémon Trainer class and stating Pokémon for use in individual battles. But your idea is great and now I’m thinking there’s nothing stopping us from having both - when the Trainer is the focus of the scene, Pokémon functioning as support, but when Pokémon are the focus the Trainer takes a back seat.

Thanks for the comment and ideas!

EDIT. Btw, I will be expanding and updating the drivethrurpg version of Allies as Loot this week. As always it’s free/pwyw, so be sure to check it out by this time next week for expanded rules and effects.


My thought with pokemon being Allies as Loot is they maybe have a “power” or move they can use, akin to a spell or feat. That coupled with tags, like in Blood and Snow. Narrative tags that allow for RP opportunities and justifications within the story e.g.:

Move: Thunderbolt - Electric elemental attack made up to FAR that does MAGIC EFFORT
Tags: small, Electric type, nimble, cute, Sassy nature

The specific move and/or certain tags can be gained or removed through training (up to the DM to decide how that operates).

It might be too bloaty to have each pokemon fully stated out. That’s what I was looking at originally too. But, as this is a fast, furious, and rules light system, a streamlined mechanical structure might be best.

RE: Also, the trainer class you put together looks pretty good. Personally, I would ditch the control upgrades. But that’s just me. Otherwise I dig it!


That’s a great idea you had there, it certainly works! I see that as true to the spirit of ICRPG. Now, for some groups, fully stated Pokés is a must, for others, your idea works best. I say we support both let each group decide what’s best for them. Right now, personally, I’d go with your idea.

What we need is to explain that each move comes from the Pokémon, but if it uses the Trainer stats, it’s just a reflection of the Trainer’s skill. But we need to define how Pokémon battles work, and that’s why I’d use fully stated monsters - the Pokémon is being attacked, not the Trainer (while in Allies as Loot it’s the hero fighting with allies granting support). So, we need Hearts for them. In this case, Control Upgrade can be changed to represent extra Hearts for Pokémon battles (but not REAL Hearts for the Trainer… Trainers really shouldn’t have more than one Heart anyway).

BTW, we can make a case that we can mix both since, in the games, when all the Pokémon faint, the Trainer faints too…

For the Pokémon, our best source for rules are the games themselves, I think. Each Poké can have 4 moves, these moves can be changed through training or items (TMs, which are great Loot). And we have all the work done for us on which Pokémon can learn which moves and TMs from the sources I mentioned before (seriously, they did a great work).



So, what is a pokemon battle?

Two or more entities (trainers, or pokemon if you want to have a tone more similar to the shows) pitting theirs and their pokemon’s skill against each other. Here’s some thoughts and ideas, in no particular order, and not 100% coherent either.

  • Hearts aren’t just the trainer’s “life”, maybe hearts could be seen as the trainer and pokemon’s will to fight?
  • Instead of fully stated mons with separate hearts, what if there was a timer or something akin to spell burn?
  • Perhaps, pokemon “moves” have a damage value if hitting something with a heart, but the pokemon themselves have 4 states: “Ready to go”, “Bruised/Messed up”, “Last Leg”, and K.O.
  • When a pokemon gets hit with an attack it rolls a CON check. Pass and they are fine. Fail and they drop to a lower state. That way type advantage could play in without a ton of crunchy numbers. Wrong type match and “not very effective”? Well, they get an EASY check. Super effective? HARD check.
  • Healing moves and items could then either just straight up shift the condition one higher, or allow a roll to recover.
    *Healing moves then would also need to be a “defining move” (see below) and probably a timer to be able to be used again. And since there would be a roll to use and a timer for the next one, they should auto heal at least one stage.
  • If doing a more “like the anime” game or AU style game in a different time/setting theme (akin to something like PTU or a historical pokemon 5e game), the trainer would be in more danger and more hearts works as a milestone upgrade. But then it’s more like a typical fantasy game with the trainer being an active participant in combat and in more physical danger.
  • Multiple moves could be a thing. But the way I was looking at it was to try and keep things to a minimum. Sure, pikachu knows thunderbolt, swift, and iron tail. But the theme and feel of Ash’s pikachu is thunderbolt. The others are flavor. So maybe a pokemon has a defining move with a mechanical “rule” and the others could come from it’s tags and types. As with the pikachu example previously, It’s primary, defining move, is thunderbolt. But maybe it could ALSO use Tackle (Normal type melee range physical attack) or Swift (Normal type ranged special attack). So the “list of moves” could feel more akin to the anime and less strictly “4 moves and only 4 moves” from the cartridge games.

EDIT: I’ll add more as I think of other things. But I’m trying to convert Gloomhaven and write plot points and characters for my Vampire the Masquerade V5 game too. XD


Personally I am on the Pokemon as loot camp and the following is why.

In the anime the feel I got, back when the original were running and now as my kids watch the new ones, is that although the trained may get zapped or hit or whatever it is never really that bad, the focus is on the Pokemon so much so that it is rare to see a human hospital mentioned in the series. And as seen from Pikachus example it often matters less which two Pokemon are fighting than who their trainers are.

In such a game I would use the Hearts as a measure of both the trainers, and the Pokémons, will and ability to fight than actual damage to the Trainer. So basically as the trainers often matter more than which Pokémons are fighting the Pokémon should be loot that gives the trainers options for attack and Tags that define them. And like above I like the idea of condensing Pokémons to their signature attacks and a bunch of Tags rather that 4 specific attacks.

Of course this means that when fighting wild Pokémons they would be given trainer stats according to the encounters difficulty even though they actually have no trainer.

Also at points in the show Pokémon are treated pretty much like loot or property, it at times feels like trainers such as the protagonists are more of a rarity and there are a lot of people that treat them as ”special attacks” or collectibles than actual living beings. In the original series it was a clear oddity that Pikachu wasn’t in it’s pokeball all the time, even though later in the series it has become more common to see people having Pokémons out in the open even when not specifically needing them for something.

But these are just my personal thoughts on the matter YMMV. This is just for me the simplest way of going about this.


This. All of this. Wild pokemon could easily be designed/set up like any other challenge in ICRPG. Hearts, moves, traits, etc. When caught, the player can decided which move to take as a signature. Or the GM could curate it. Up to the GM and their groups play-style.

That’s what I was saying in one of my points above. Thought, I’m thinking I like my option above. With the four conditions for the mons.


Still need to look more into the existing mechanics above, by my first thoughts in spirit of ICRPG is abstraction. What experience is wanted?

Some unsorted keywords from me:

  • Trainer charisma/leader skill
  • pokemon moves = magic, but limited number
  • element weaknesses upgrade/downgrade damage dice for not/super effective.

Will come back with more sorted out stuff later!


Okay I’ve been thinking a bit and here is a synthesis of some of the ideas above in combination with my own ideas - hope some of it can help inspire more ideas!

Edit: On another note, this concept would be super epic in a high fantasy setting as well, when playing as a druid or a ranger, for instance…