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We're playing Pokemon Sorcerer

Started by lumpley, February 01, 2010, 10:13:59 PM

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We made characters last night and I've got a pageful of 1st-session prep here in my notebook. We're all more-or-less experts on the source material - some of us unwillingly - and we're playing pretty straight with it. No canon characters or events, but close adherence to the tone, matter and visuals.

Humanity is straightforward: compassion and generosity. I'm calling it "wisdom," not humanity, because the PCs are kids.

Elliot's 9. His sorcerer is named Lanny, he's: quick & nimble (stamina), visionary (will), a walking pokedex (lore). His price is ... uh oh, I forget. His pokemon is a dirt-type shrew pokemon called Shroil, independent (like Pikachu or Meowth - no pokeball), whose need is to dig and whose desire is competition; his binding score with Shroil is -1. His kicker is: he heard a story about a powerful pokemon he'd never heard of before, and now he's setting off to find it. I have here in my notebook a handful of possibilities for this awesome unknown pokemon, and I'm going to ask him to choose which one.

Sebastian's 13. His sorcerer is named Ike, he's: a scrapper (stamina), cool & patient (will), a natural talent (lore). His price is arrogance. His pokemon is a shadow-type cat pokemon called Darkit, also independent, whose need is to hunt and whose desire is mischief; his binding score with Darkit is a sweet, sweet -3. His kicker is: a stranger with a long red coat and dark glasses challenged him to a duel, and beat him handily. Now he's setting off to learn and to improve himself, so that next time they meet, he'll win.

Tovey's 4, and Meg's a grown-up. They made characters too, but Tovey obviously won't be really playing with us, and Meg will be mostly making sure he's having fun anyway.

So far: I knew it would be fun, but I didn't know it would be this fun! I knew it was supposed to be a good match, but I didn't know it would be seriously THIS good a match.

I emphasized throughout that they're going to have to really train their pokemon, and make real decisions about what to do. Yes, your pokemon can die. Everything bad that happens or might happen in the show? It might happen in the game too, and it really might. Sebastian and Elliot are right there with it.


Ben Lehman

Cool! I remember talking about doing this ages ago, after a particularly long exposure to the cartoons. I don't think there's much value in that thread, though -- mostly arguments between me and Mike about things that are clearly non problematic for you.

Out of curiosity, where do the Pokemon fall on the language scale? Are they like most pokemon only able to say their own name, or can they talk, like Meowth and (I think) Mewtwo?

Are the characters a team? Are you going to have bad guy teams?



I remember Lanny's price! It's impatience. Elliot's chosen the mythic pokemon Lanny's setting out to find: a moonlight-and-wind pokemon who watches from the peaks of Lucene Island.

So far, all the pokemon can say only their own names (I've decided that speaking human is a form of the ability link). One of the things I'm enjoying is making the pokemons' voices, I auditioned them to Sebastian and Elliot to get them right. Shroil's voice is a little bit cartoony-happy and nasal, Darkit's is soft, not really purring, with sometimes a nice catlike menace in the "kit."

The characters are a team, yeah. And of course bad guy teams! I've already written the introductory rhyme for one. It ends with "fighting for the glory of our home town | say your prayers, you're going down!"

I wanted to say about the rituals.

Binding = catching, of course. Doing battle first gives you carryover bonus dice for the binding roll.

Punishing = punishing, containing = containing, banishing = setting free.

Contacting = hunting. Everywhere they go, they'll encounter pokemon, of course, but they'll be my creation. They can bind them if they want. But if somebody wants a particular pokemon - if the player wants to create it - they'll have to hunt for it.

Summoning = breeding. It includes cloning and evolving, it's how you get pokemon you can't just go find in the wild. In one of the movies, there's this guy who catches pokemon in evil pokeballs, which evolves them to full power and turns them evil. I was like, "you know that guy? Your character could figure out how to do that, if you wanted." They were like, "I don't want to be that guy, but ... that's interesting," just like they should be.


Ron Edwards

Were you working from fixed lists of score descriptors (like you're sposed to)? If so, what were they?

I have always thought Sorcerer Pokemon was a great match, without being particularly knowledgeable about the show. I remember when my nephew was really into it, ten or more years ago (he's in late high school now), and he had this action figure - a sinister, sexy woman. Total sorceress.

Way back maybe eight or nine years ago, there was a good thread about this ... couldn't find it with a quick search though.

Best, Ron


Oh, lists. They're based closely on the ones in the book, maybe trimmed a bit and slightly rewritten.

Stamina: big, scrapper, energetic, athletic, quick & nimble, training.

Will: confidence, passionate, cool, visionary, driven, patient.

Lore: apprentice, natural talent, walking pokedex, self-taught, team member.

I called price "foolishness," and I listed: arrogant, girl-crazy, boy-crazy, cowardice, suspicious, impatience, temper, eg. Elliot thought about inventing one, but circled himself back around to impatience.



We played last night. Our friends Ike (Sebastian's), Lanny (Elliot's), Ash (Tovey's) and Penny (Meg's) depart Ebony Cliffs on a paddle-wheel steamship bound for Kelly Island. In Kellyton, Ike tries to let his pokemon Darkit hunt some Seagales, but Darkit's in a snit and refuses, because it'd mean getting wet paws. Lanny's pokemon Shroil gets to dig, though, to its little heart's content. Finally Ike lets Darkit spend the night out of doors, instead of in their room in the hostel.

They wake to a terrible screeching in their room: "SWEETYBIRD! SWEETYBIRD!" Darkit has a smirk and some tail feathers. I'm about to tell Elliot to roll Lanny's "walking pokedex" Lore when Tovey - Tovey's 4 - shouts out in his best Ash Ketchum voice: "HANDS OFF! That Sweetybird's MINE!"

Tovey was supposed to just kind of parallel-play with us with Meg's help, not really get involved. Wasn't that a cute plan?

We flub through a pokebattle. I've never GMed multi-participant Sorcerer combats before, it's going to take a few before I have my feet under me. Anyway, Sweetybird is a little 2-power not-much, no match for Ash's Zapadactyl. One round, one "Zapadactyl! Do ZAP ATTACK!" and Ash is the proud catcher of a little Sweetybird. Tovey's like dusting his hands. He's like, yeah, I've got this game. Bring it on.

It turns out that all the Sweetybirds in the forest are freaking out, and our friends soon learn why. They're hiking up the mountaint trail and they round a corner and they find Team Amberlea doing battle with a shrine-type pokemon called Scaribou! The girl in Team Amberlea shouts at them: "stay out of this, weaklings!" and you know its on.

The first time, we rolled dice for the pokemon trainers and their pokemon. This time, though, 5 pokemon plus 4 trainers - no way! We roll dice for only the 5 pokemon. Sebastian and Elliot declare their pokemon's actions in their PCs' voices: "Darkit, do Nightmare, now!" "Shroil, Earthquake Attack!" It works great.

Team Amberlea, though, have a couple of serious pokemon on their side. A fungus-type named Smashroom and a vine-type named Burrcub. Burrcub immobilizes Scaribou with 2 consecutive Holds. Shroil gets sidelined by Smashroom's special-damage Clobber attack; Darkit stays ahead of Smashroom with Fast but can't quite manage to land an attack, one round, two, but then Smashroom gets lucky and good-and-Clobbers him.

We end the session with Team Amberlea crowing (in rhyme), Scaribou tangled up in Burrcub's Hold, Smashroom victorious, Shroil shaking it off and Darkit in full retreat, but with Ash and Penny coming up with their pokemon to join the fight.




And we've played a couple more sessions since. Tovey's character Ash captured Scaribou, but stepped all over Elliot's character Lanny to do it and lost some humanity thereby. Lanny is now hunting for a particular pokemon, a pretty serious business 8-power meteor-type of Elliot's creation, called Crocistal. Elliot missed Lanny's lore roll to identify (contact) the thing, so I've changed two things on its writeup - Ron, that's a fun little rule. I weakened one of its attacks and I gave it warp, described as "malicious clumsiness." Its desire is destruction. In the next session they'll encounter it and Lanny will have to decide whether to bind it after all.

Our friends met Team Amberley again, and had a pokebattle with them on a fishing boat in a stormy sea, which was exciting. The hero of that fight was Sebastian's character Ike's shadow-type pokemon Darkit. It went like this, and recall that Ike's binding strength with Darkit is -3, Darkit's desire is mischief, and Darkit is in every way a vicious little cat:

Vincent: Okay now remember how Smashroom totally clobbered Darkit last time? Going toe to toe is not going to work out. Fight smart.

Sebastian: Yes!

Sebastian, as Ike: Darkit, go! Do claw attack!

Vincent, as Darkit: [Looks at Ike like he's stupid]

Sebastian, as Ike: Uh, Darkit, go! Do whatever you want!

Darkit does whatever she wants and seizes an early advantage. Ike gets knocked out of the boat by the fisherman, so Darkit gets to keep doing whatever she wants. In round 3, Sebastian rolls Darkit's dice and gets five 10s plus some other stuff; Darkit ends the battle by dominating Team Amberley's pokemon.

Vincent, as Darkit: [Looks extremely pleased with herself] Dar. Kit.

Vincent: Darkit is never again going to listen to anything you say.

Sebastian: [sinks head in hands]

How long until Ike busts out a punish? We'll find out!


Ron Edwards

Hi Vincent,

QuoteElliot missed Lanny's lore roll to identify (contact) the thing, so I've changed two things on its writeup - Ron, that's a fun little rule.

I don't get to use it enough when I play!

Has dice-wrangling during complicated combat become clearer and/or easier?

Best, Ron


Oh, much.

It's like learning to drive, kind of. I haven't, like, let it out to see what this baby can do, but I'm not grinding gears when I shift anymore.



First off, this is awesome.

Second, which of the Sorcerer books are you using to play this?  I've got a 4 year old Pokemanic and I'd better get started now if I am going to be up on these rules in time to play with him one day.


Just the core book. When I was first prepping, I had Sorcerer & Sword on hand, but I found everything I needed without going to it.