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[PTU Blog] GM Advice: Keeping Starter Mons Special
Topic Started: Jan 1 2015, 03:32 PM (5,600 Views)
castfromhp
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Mawile Ace
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Read the post here: http://pokemontabletop.com/gm-advice-keeping-starter-mons-special/

First post of the new year! It's sort of a basic one, partially covered by existing advice in the core book, but it's something I've seen as an issue often enough to feel it's worth going over in a blog post. Someone out there will find it useful, I'm sure, and I've grown to suspect from some of the questions and feedback we've gotten that fewer people read the GM chapter before starting a game than I think anyway. :P

On another note, I've got the next couple posts thought out, and I think I should be able to get the second post on Gym challenges done in the next few days.

Happy 2015 everyone, and may you enjoy another fun year of Pokémon tabletop!
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DNA
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King of Thought
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And this is why I don't like GMs rolling stats for starters.

Quote:
 
Don’t start players with Shiny Pokémon.

This is implying that shinies have an innate edge over non-shinies. They honestly don't; I think I might have read somewhere in core that shinies have something like +2 to contest rolls, but if the only change for a shiny in this case is a cosmetic one, I don't see a problem with it.
(Like Shiny Beldum. They look cool. I wouldn't ask for it to have special stats; I just like the color. ...On the reverse, I probably wouldn't ask for a Beldum starter, but that is another story.)


Quote:
 
don’t have players make rolls to see if they can start with a Shiny.

Agree. Heck, I disagree with a roll of any kind used for a starter Pokemon.

Don't really have much else to say on the rest, because it's mostly stuff I will nod my head to and say 'yeah, that sounds about right'. Not that that is a bad thing - it simply means I don't see any real glaring problems with those views.
Edited by DNA, Jan 1 2015, 03:56 PM.
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castfromhp
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Mawile Ace
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Coloration is one thing and largely irrelevant, but when I say Shiny I mean "has special qualities".
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DNA
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King of Thought
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Ah, okay. Statement withdrawn, then.
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rlrichey
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Rival
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This is just an anecdote, but I'd like to take this moment to point out that I gave one player a Flying/Normal Bulbasaur/Ledyba fusion (for those of you familiar with Catbug). I allowed it to take moves from both lists, and that was enough to keep it special (although it ended up getting a mega evolution as part of a story arc). The trainer definitely still loves his Starmie, Ivysaur, and Trapinch, and I can honestly say that I regret nothing (except maybe the typing).

My 2 cents out of the way, I'll say that this is a great post and I'll be using it to help the one starter on the team who isn't shining quite at full effect.

On that note, I should also point out that sometimes players might get so disappointed with their starters getting outshined that they simply never send them out, and you therefore never give them a change to rectify that problem. How would you go about solving this?
(In my case, I would try to draw them out with type advantage. For example, if my party's Tangela needed a nudge, its plot hook would involve lots of Omanytes and Geodudes)
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Grand Silver
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2 kewl 4 u!
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In one of my games I know I'll be keeping him close for as long as the games runs. Nearly lost him to a bad roll in the first real fight, now he has some sort of strange dark magic thing going on that has yet to be fully explained.
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castfromhp
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Mawile Ace
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rlrichey
Jan 1 2015, 04:18 PM
On that note, I should also point out that sometimes players might get so disappointed with their starters getting outshined that they simply never send them out, and you therefore never give them a change to rectify that problem. How would you go about solving this?
Talk to the player and figure out exactly what it is that's disappointing them. Did they find another Pokémon that does their starter's niche better and makes them redundant? Did a change in their intended Trainer build cause them to devalue what their starter does? Is their starter simply not very good at what they wanted to do with them? Is there a lack of interesting fluff and out-of-battle utility with their starter? Once you know the root of the problem, you can figure out what direction to go to start fixing it.

If your player knows you've got something in mind for fixing up their starter, they're going to be more inclined to use it, especially if you drop a small boost in their laps to keep them going for a bit, like a minor custom Held Item. If the starter's been out of use long enough to be underleveled, then create non-combat scenarios to start off their personal arc. Unless the player's totally thrown the starter in the box and left it to rot, then they're going to let them out at some point, such as when resting in a Pokémon center between adventures, and that's a good time to initiate some RP between them and their starter and kick things off.
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Yenek
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castfromhp
Jan 1 2015, 03:48 PM
Coloration is one thing and largely irrelevant, but when I say Shiny I mean "has special qualities".
Could you then actually say that if the player wants a blue hellhound spewing blue hellfire or something like that, it's not a problem?
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Doxy
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The PTU Guy
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Yenek
Jan 2 2015, 03:17 AM
castfromhp
Jan 1 2015, 03:48 PM
Coloration is one thing and largely irrelevant, but when I say Shiny I mean "has special qualities".
Could you then actually say that if the player wants a blue hellhound spewing blue hellfire or something like that, it's not a problem?
That's a really loaded statement and kind of depends on the context.

I'll just quote this from the blog and note that some of the same principles may apply depending on the situation.

Quote:
 
even if you manage to balance a Shiny perfectly with a normal Pokémon, even if you make the Shiny worse than the normal starters, you’re still personalizing a Pokémon for a player more than the others and giving them something that will feel more unique.
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Jarv
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Also, make sure the inheritance moves being chosen aren't crazy, even if they are on the egg move list. I'd just been letting players choose them without taking much of a look, and then one players Aron started smashing kneecaps with Rock Head + Head Smash at level 20.
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