05 Nov

A Fresh Start! And PTU 1.05 News

Hi everyone! This is castfromhp, and you’re reading the first post of the official Pokémon Tabletop United blog. Here, we’ll offer you a glimpse into the development of the system, ideas and content for your campaigns, and much more.

Let’s start by talking about PTU 1.05. Several months have passed since our last release – longer than the gap between any other PTU releases. Why, you might ask? After 1.04 was done, we all took a much-needed break from actively working on the system and thought we could wait a while as the typo reports and other feedback rolled in before getting back into the swing of things.

Once we did, we realized 1.05 wouldn’t be as simple an update as just fixing some typos and copy-paste mistakes. Several of the Trainer Classes introduced in 1.04 needed revision, some core subsystems are seeing tweaks, and we had assembled a small backlog of new Classes we wanted to finish and implement. And that’s just the start of it! Naturally, this means the release has taken a lot more time than we anticipated, and we’re sorry to anyone who thought they’d be getting a quick turnaround on a new version of PTU.

That said, here’s at three things to look forward to in the next version of PTU.

1. Visual Redesigns

Both The Blessed and the Damned and the Game of Throhs supplement will be getting visual redesigns to bring them up to par with the core book and Do Porygon Dream of Mareep supplement. Take a look at the new The Blessed and the Damned cover as well as the WIP internal layout of the book!

Blessed and Damned Cover
Blessed and Damned Layout

2. An Overhaul of Game of Throhs

While we’re pretty happy with the way the new Elementalists panned out, we found some pretty glaring issues as we reviewed the rest of the supplement with fresh eyes. The example settings and material describing how to adapt elements of Pokémon to a fantasy world are sparse at best, so you’ll see the following additions or changes to the book:

  • Expanded descriptions of fantasy subgenres.
  • Detailed treatment of supernatural power sources, giving multiple approaches for how to explain the origin of powers like the ones the Elementalists or Psychics wield.
  • More variant Pokémon and tips on how to adapt staple Pokémon technologies and machine-like Pokémon to historical campaigns.
  • A ready-to-use example of a system of metaphysics for a fantasy world that explains the nature of Types, the difference between Pokémon and humans, and supernatural powers and other elements of the Pokémon world.
  • Three example campaign settings written by me, zoofman, and Counterbeard, a fantastic GM in our IRC community. You can expect them to be similar in length and detail to the settings in Do Porygon Dream of Mareep?.

The Weapon Specialist Class will also be redone, as right now we feel like it’s a Class that ultimately ends up paying AP to be on par with what other combat Classes are able to do with their Moves alone.

3. Better Boss Enemy Mechanics

Nearly all of the games based in the Pokémon Tabletop IRC channel have used some variation of the boss template rules (pg 455 of the core book), which does a decent job of solving some of the issues with battles against singular powerful foes in the system. However, there are still some bugbears, such as how Status Effects interact with multiple turns a round, or the complete lack of built-in ways for players to mechanically interact with the differences between bosses and normal enemies.

We’re planning to fix all of that by elevating the boss template from a suggestion that only exists in the GM chapter to a codified set of mechanics which will be reflected in special rules for how Status Effects mesh with the template and in Features that have extra effects against designated Boss Enemies or otherwise interact with their special rules. For those of you worried that such Features may be too situational, don’t fret! These changes will also make it easier to create enemy commanders and to differentiate them from the rest of their underlings by simply giving them one or two health bars and extra actions a turn while applying the Boss Enemy rules – our change should make the template usable in even relatively mundane wild Pokémon encounters. In addition, the majority of Features in this vein will be upgraded versions of existing Features with extra effects that interact with Bosses.

And that’s all the new stuff for this post. Don’t worry, there’s much more coming in future updates. After all, I haven’t even touched upon any of the new Classes written for 1.05 yet.

However, not all previously planned updates will quite make it into 1.05. Contests remain a difficult subsystem for us to rework, and I’ve personally gone through many drafts and ideas without settling on anything that seems amazing, just passable ideas that still need more work and development. I’m still keeping a close watch on the thread I made to solicit Contest feedback, and I’m sure ORAS will give plenty of inspiration too. As a consequence, the Fashionista Class, which definitely needs a rework, won’t actually be updated until we can figure out how to properly fix Contests and give them a role in that subsystem.

Discuss this post on our forums at this thread.