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[PTU Blog] Over There! A World War One Pokémon Campaign: A Retrospective
Topic Started: Jan 10 2015, 12:06 AM (2,137 Views)
castfromhp
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Mawile Ace
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Read the post here: http://pokemontabletop.com/over-there-a-world-war-one-pokemon-campaign-a-retrospective/

Thanks to Kamen for writing this guest article! Over There! was one of (maybe the first?) PTU campaign to run to completion in our IRC community, by a GM who's been around since just about the beginning of Pokémon Tabletop Adventures. It's a rather big departure from the usual League-based Pokémon campaign, and I hope you enjoy reading about it.
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Grand Silver
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That sounds like it was an awesome game. Lots of neat ideas that might influence me later down the road.
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Gear_Skitty
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Fantastic read, and some major props to the GM and players. I think my favorite part though was explaining the Shared Universe premise, as I've recently (and inadvertently) started collaborating with someone else on these boards to combine our two campaign ideas into a pair of sister games. Same Universe and time frame, many shared characters and connections, but far enough apart they're their own works. Different themes and protagonists, different goals and allies, but close enough that the story of one can affect the other.


It's ambitious, and maybe a little over our heads (or just mine), but it feels great to work with someone again on worldbuilding. A problem I'm finding though is the tribulations of getting each other on the same page with the shared characters and organizations WITHOUT spoiling too much of our plans in case we do play in the other's campaign.

But that's enough of me.



Reading over the blog post, could someone explain just how the Time Segments were handled (instead of me/anyone having to archive dive the logs)? Morning/Noon/Evening gives a general idea, but just what was possible in a single portion, and what kind of actions took more than one? Were meals and personal hygiene taken into account in the time allotment?
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KingMarth
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All that in two months? Impressive, and somewhat confusing as the second session mentions a two-week gap. That would need a session every three days or so by how there are 17 sessions listed. Dedication.

My problem so far with PTU games is that I keep thinking of it in terms of super-long-term games, eight badges and then some across 60ish pokémon levels, with some pretty time-intensive combat. It's good to see examples like this that take big strides. I do prefer shorter games as they're much likelier to actually end and give closure, I just need to remember to push for them rather than wasting game time focusing on the myriad little bookkeeping things that appear.
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Lamas
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As well as it turned out I don't think the bait and switch at the start was really needed for the campaign to work out. Just telling the players to build for a war setting but letting them know they would end up elsewhere wouldn't have changed much other than not pissing anyone off.
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TheKamenWriter
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Quote:
 
As well as it turned out I don't think the bait and switch at the start was really needed for the campaign to work out. Just telling the players to build for a war setting but letting them know they would end up elsewhere wouldn't have changed much other than not pissing anyone off.


Yeah. I'll cop to that. If anyone takes anything away from this post, try NOT to do that part. My players were cool with it (For the most part, I know not everyone was happy about it) but with the wrong player mix it would have been a disaster.

So yeah. Let your players know what game it's going to be beforehand. I'm going to be paying for that one for a while when I'm known as the GM who lies. :D

Quote:
 
Reading over the blog post, could someone explain just how the Time Segments were handled (instead of me/anyone having to archive dive the logs)? Morning/Noon/Evening gives a general idea, but just what was possible in a single portion, and what kind of actions took more than one? Were meals and personal hygiene taken into account in the time allotment?


There's the explanation I gave my players here: http://paradoxhaze.wikidot.com/italian-village
And the Google Spreadsheet gives a day-by-day breakdown of what my players actually did, which is probably the best thing I could point you towards.

Generally, the Morning, Noon, and Evening slots were meant to represent units of serious activity. You would take all morning to, say, train one of your pokemon, or go help rebuild the bridge, or go scout the area. Stuff that didn't take much time or that didn't require direct player input (Like, say, feeding a pokemon a TM or leaving a couple pokemon together to lay an egg, watering and picking berries) I considered more-or-less free, while actions that I wanted to encourage players to take (Like Roleplaying together or with NPCs, buying stuff from Giratina) I chose to keep free as well, even if they would take time.

Your Night-time slot was always taken up by the PCs taking turns protecting the barricade from the nightly attacks, which were random strengths every night. However, players could decide not to sleep and double-up on Night-slots if they took a hit to fatigue the next day (Usually a penalty to your Mind stats, I think.), and could spend a slot during the day to rest and take a nap. This almost guaranteed that the barricade wouldn't take as much damage, but risked the chance that they would go into an event the next day with penalized stats.

Possible pitfalls, though, be sure to keep the game moving. Don't let the players bog the game down too much with minor daily actions that don't matter. As nice as it would be to give everyone a half hour to role-play training and bonding with each and every pokemon, That takes playtime away from everyone else. One or two lines will probably do it, especially if it's a common thing everyone's been doing the whole time. Major events, like scoping out enemy strongholds or scouting the surrounding areas, were worth big long events. Generally, you want to make sure the day feels like it's moving. If a player is wishy-washy about what they want to do for their day, skip them and go to someone who knows what they want, then come back to your wishy-washy player when they've decided.

Hopefully that makes sense.

Also just for this thread, here's a couple bonus pictures I drew for my players for funsies. Can you tell which online comics I was reading at the time?

Posted Image
(The military dudes are the human-locked versions of Virizion and Terrakion)

Posted Image

Keep in mind, the tone of the campaign was pretty serious. These were mostly jokey things I drew for the Exp Bank.

ALSO FUTURE GMS: For a short-subject campaign like this, keeping an Exp Bank like this was REALLY USEFUL. Players lose their stupid character sheets and pokemon sheets all the time, and forget to apply exp. This is a convenient way to give the players the info they need AND To give yourself a reminder of where your players should generally be without needing to cross-reference all of their character sheets.
I highly reccomend it: http://paradoxhaze.wikidot.com/exp-bank
Edited by TheKamenWriter, Jan 10 2015, 11:31 PM.
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Gear_Skitty
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On topic but not on THE topic.... those Virizion/Terrakion gijinka are probably the best I've ever seen.


Ever.

Spoiler: click to toggle



Now that I had a bit of time to look over the game rules/set-up, I have but three words to say.

Spoiler: click to toggle



Also I like how two of the five final personal actions were "Gloat" and "Prepare for the end".
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Doresh
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This is such a rad idea for a PKM campaign. You must be proud :3
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Domo
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Gear_Skitty
Jan 11 2015, 12:39 AM
Also I like how two of the five final personal actions were "Gloat" and "Prepare for the end".
Gloat was pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. Most of the generals didn't care much for the party even by the end of the game, though they improved their opinions to a kind of ambivalence after being bested and the party's numerous promises that things would change in the real world. That is, except for Ivan and Virizion, who were the same kind of intellectual borderline ego-maniac on opposite sides of a philosophical and strategical battle - compared to Elsa slowly wooing Terrakion, Ivan went out of his way several times to make his relationship with Virizion more venomous, and that's what he decided to do just before The End.

On the other hand, he maintained a (weirdly, considering his overall reticence to interact with anyone) friendly relationship with Groudon and may or may not have fled the Soviet Revolution to find him in Central America post-game.
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