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Playtest materials for PTU 2.0!; Run a session or play and give us feedback~
Topic Started: Dec 7 2017, 05:52 PM (27,211 Views)
castfromhp
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Mawile Ace
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I made a blog post here, but you probably just want to look at the folder here. The best way to give us feedback is on Discord via this invite link, but of course we'll read posts here too. :P

This is very incomplete at the moment, but you can technically run sessions. And at least get a good sense of what we're going for. The compiled doc of course has the vast majority of rules you want. The converted mons doc contains all the Pokemon we've converted to the 2.0 way of things. There's enough for quite a bit of variety in sessions already, and we'll be constantly adding more.

The GM folder only has one document as of time of writing, but it should contain enough material for you to run a one-to-a-few session long short adventure in a forest. If you do, please let us know how it went!

The experimental folder is where we often first brainstorm new stuff. Some of it has been incorporated into the main doc, but some of the rest is more like an alternative ruleset at the moment. You don't need to peek in it, tbh~

Quick rundown of some of our goals for PTU 2.0:

  • Streamline the game system and remove bloat. Hence slimming down levels, more directed Pokemon build options, smaller numbers overall, a simpler skill system, etc
  • Provide greater structure to the game and campaigns. Hence rules for travel and downtime, building in Mentor-ish services into the structure of the game (and ensuring PCs have the funds to afford them), Supply Points vs an accumulated inventory, etc.
  • Improve balance of the game. We're making pretty radical changes to try to balance combat and pokesupport trainers, curating move lists for pokemon to equalize their toolkits more, creating custom moves to cover holes some types have in their kits, etc. Picking your kits should be about the right choices for a particular strategy, not how to get the largest numbers ever.
There's a certain script of conversation we've had literally 12+ times on Discord already as people have trickled in, discovered our 2.0 docs, then voiced their opinions, so I'm gonna put this here real quick: Yes, this takes PTU even further away from the video games. Yes, it is very different from 1.05. Both are intentional. Luckily, 1.05 will still exist after we release 2.0, so if you prefer the older system you can still play that! Please don't give us feedback that essentially boils down to "this is too different from the vidya/1.05 so I don't like it"...

Here's a small list of things which are pretty set in stone (some of which we've been repeatedly harangued about regardless...), just FYI:

  • Status Ailments are NOT going back to the pre-playtest model where they provided stronger forms of action denial.
  • We are NOT bringing back Elementalists for each Type. In fact, core won't ship with Psion or Aura Guardian either. (the broader discussion of what to do with supernatural classes is still up for debate)
  • We won't move back to a more traditional model of inventory and money, at least for consumables.
  • We won't allow restorative items to be used in combat.
  • Captures will not go back to something you do in combat.
  • Individual Pokemon EXP ain't coming back.
Some examples of feedback we've already been given that have been useful:

  • Combat Trainers suffer a problem right now where KOing or changing targets "break their combo" so to speak. We're still figuring out how to deal with that but it is a thing!
  • Nighttime Recon used to be the only Camp Action option that automatically triggered a small roleplay encounter for the character using it...which made other Camp Actions less fun, even if they were balanced. We made it an automatic part of the Camp Phase.
  • Making a lot of debuff moves into Minor Actions risks complicating combat by introducing a lot more to track per round. We'll have to keep an eye on this as we convert moves and may simplify some of the Minor Action Moves we've already made.
I might update that as we go, but I just wanna start pointing people in the right directions for feedback from the outset. Happy Pokemoning!
Edited by castfromhp, Dec 7 2017, 05:53 PM.
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Kairos
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Just a quick thing,
"Captures will not go back to something you do in combat."
I don't see anything that says you can't do it in combat? someone wanna point me towards that if I missed it.

In general, I feel like things are being a little too simplified, It seems (at least as much as possible without actually doing a playthrough of it) that alot of pcs and pokemon will end up becoming carbon copies. One of my favorite things about PTU was the customization and making each trainer and pokemon 'yours"

I like the idea of the Supply Points and Travel phases, but I'm not exactly thrilled with their current state.
Edited by Kairos, Dec 7 2017, 07:54 PM.
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castfromhp
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The note on Poke Balls got left out somehow. You use them out of combat to capture Fainted Pokemon.

There is still quite a bit of customization in the system. Maybe it seems like less right now for Trainers because not all the Specializations are ported over. 1 trainer class + 1 background + 2 specializations is a lot of permutations. For Pokemon, my informal survey + years of campaigns to look at showed that most Pokemon really did fall into one of a few stat spreads, with the main outliers being extremely gimmicky builds like all attack stat on a priority attack user with endure, which we don't really want to encourage. That plus the addition of roles means I think Pokemon will remain pretty distinct.

Are there specific problems you have with supply points and travel?
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GrayGriffin
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I feel that using 1d20 with the provided Approach arrays does not give that much variance. Also, while I understand that Pokemon and Trainers using the same set of Approaches makes things easier, it still makes me disappointed that Pokemon are less customizable. I would suggest allowing Pokemon to swap one pair of Approaches that their Trainer has if they're not allowed to have their own custom sets of Approaches at all.
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castfromhp
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An easy adjustment one could make re: Approaches is to have Pokemon keep the Approach values from their home habitat - which would make even members of the same species likely vary quite a bit if they came from different areas. That's something simple enough we may include it as an optional rule.

That said, Approaches aren't necessarily how we'll handle the basic skill system. Doxy has drafted more traditional Attribute rules that he's tested (and that Starman will continue to test in a playtest on Saturday too), so it's definitely still up in the air.

The problem we ran into is the same one that inspired the Approaches idea in the first place, which is that it's difficult to remember a set of skill/attribute/whatever values for each of your Pokemon in addition to your Trainer's. And at least in PTU 1.05 and before, what that translated to in terms of player behavior was it was uncommon to see Pokemon proactively used for skill checks (players would remember their Trainer's skill values better and naturally gravitate towards using them).

But we'll see how it goes! With a smaller set of Attributes compared to the skill lists of yore, it may not be as big an issue...

Approach arrays may be a bit small now. With the addition of Traits, we think there'll still be a good amount of differentiation, but yes it's possible we maaaay be overcompensating for one of 1.05's big problems with the skill system, which was having the range of possible rolls from the bottom to the top of the skill rank ladder be way too large. Again, we'll see how it turns out.
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Kairos
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I was in the middle of a fairly long post when the page refreshed and deleted my work (My own fault for not saving drafts) so I'll keep this one short and sweet.

Problems
Mishaps - Maybe include a "lookout" and "rear guard" role with associated mishaps so it's not all on the trainer who "took point"

Supply points - Actually my own usual group convinced me that this was a good thing, so I'll be happy with it for now. Though I do wonder if there will be ways to increase an individual trainer's supply points. (or perhaps an entire parties as a quest reward)

Most other things - Will probably be solved as more things get converted/polished

Actual Questions:
1."Only a Pokemon OR their Trainer can take a Standard Action each round, not both." Could we get some insight to the thought process behind this? With "Combat trainers" being a thing, that kinda hurts. I assume most orders are not going to be standards as they used to be.

2. "Individual Pokemon EXP ain't coming back." At least in the public version, this isn't actually mentioned anywhere, Neither Trainer nor Pokemon progression have any mention of the requirements to level up.

3. Is there any plans to add natural weather to Travel Rolls? (My own group uses a homemade table for different biomes, but it would neat to have something official)

Final Note : I don't mean to come off picky or ungrateful. I am truly thankful for the work you guys put in, and sincerely appreciate the effort that goes into something like this.

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GrayGriffin
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Yeah, I feel Attributes would be easy to keep on one reference sheet so a player can get a quick look at the different spreads between Trainers/Pokemon. Although I guess that might require potentially adding rules about how Pokemon helping works if their value in the Attribute being used is significantly positive/negative.

@Kairos: I assume the reason for one Standard Action per Pokemon/Trainer team is precisely so that the GM can be more aware about what a single Trainer is bringing to the field. Honestly combat trainers are pretty good at doubling the output of damage when fighting alongside their Pokemon. Although this does make me curious about how many Free/Minor Actions that let you attack will be kept.
Edited by GrayGriffin, Dec 7 2017, 09:19 PM.
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Kairos
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@GrayGriffin I think I understand the desire to keep it one or the other, balancing encounters for a group consisting of multiple combat trainers isn't exactly fun. 4 combat trainers + 4 pokemon +reserve pokemon =5-8 wild pokemon = gm headache. for 1 encounter. It does drag the speed of things down by a good bit.
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castfromhp
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1."Only a Pokemon OR their Trainer can take a Standard Action each round, not both." Could we get some insight to the thought process behind this? With "Combat trainers" being a thing, that kinda hurts. I assume most orders are not going to be standards as they used to be.
Whoops, another omission which I've fixed is that Orders are essentially their own action type now and you get one a round. Or you can think of them as a type of Free Action which you can only make one of per round. Whichever way makes it easier to remember.

And oh boy, guess I'm tackling the big one first. *deep breath*

The one Standard for your mon OR Trainer is because the imbalance between Combat Trainers and Pokesupport Trainers was truly egregious. An additional damaging attack is going to be better than 99% of what a Pokesupport Trainer can muster as a Standard Action. Even counting the passive and Swift or Free Action effects a Pokesupport Trainer can bring to bear, the Pokesupport Trainer will not be able to double the effective output of their Pokemon consistently from round to round (which is what would be necessary to match a Combat Trainer).

There are a couple ways we could have handled that while keeping separate actions.

If we buffed Pokesupport standard actions through the roof (making them all the output equivalent of Strike Again or better, for example), that would also require encounters to be on the whole a lot bigger. Idk if you've seen late game PTU with a party of combat Trainers, but typically the GM needs to field quite a few extra bodies simply to soak first round focus fire and nova to make a threatening encounter. It's not a healthy dynamic for the length of battles or for the amount of prep a GM needs to put into the game.

If we nerfed the shit out of Combat Trainer output, say, making them equal to about 25% of what their Pokemon would do damage-wise each turn, then we could keep Trainers as having separate Standard Actions from their mons...but honestly, it feels bad to hit like that much of a wet noodle compared to even your Rattata or whatever other Pokemon. It would be balanced, but not fun. I guess that's one way to summarize a lot of the difficulties with Combat Trainers in general - with separate actions, what's balanced for them isn't fun or compelling to play; what's fun and compelling to play isn't balanced or healthy for the game dynamic.

As it is, what we settled on for now is a shared Standard Action and designing Combat Trainers to fit a rhythm where they attack, then their pokemon attacks the next turn, then they attack again, and so on. The Features and effects we wrote for that are kinda rough right now admittedly, but if you read the MA and Rogue drafts, you can see what we're aiming for. I think the dynamic behind it of having you and your Pokemon work as a synergistic unit can be pretty compelling, and while we've gotten some constructive criticism on problems with the current implementation, playtesters of Combat Trainers so far have liked the dynamic. It's made for some pretty cool moments with the crit fishing MA enables, for example.

Quote:
 
2. "Individual Pokemon EXP ain't coming back." At least in the public version, this isn't actually mentioned anywhere, Neither Trainer nor Pokemon progression have any mention of the requirements to level up.
This is in the downtime phase writeup: "If you feel the party has reached a milestone, then all characters gain +1 Level."

That's pretty much it. In the end, we found even Trainer EXP was kind of just unnecessary bookkeeping, and we're adopting the model a lot of modern games have taken where the GM just hands out levels when appropriate. The fact we have a structure for an adventure ending in a downtime phase makes this even easier to do.

Quote:
 
3. Is there any plans to add natural weather to Travel Rolls? (My own group uses a homemade table for different biomes, but it would neat to have something official)
Tbh we don't really know what to do with weather in general. But I definitely have brought up on multiple times the idea of having weather be something that plays a role in travel for the day. We just haven't decided what to do with that idea yet.
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faolan_hedgehog
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Yeah.... gonna be honest, this is more a review and opinion than feedback. I'd rather have nothing than this. :X Gonna do what you suggested and stick with 1.05, homebrewing where necessary. 2.0 basically takes everything I loved about PTU and made it not that. Showed this to a friend and they completely agreed with me. Everything that was listed was a giant negative point. Good luck attracting fans of the franchise by deviating so far from it that it's only recognizable by the name. The dumbing down (or as you call it, streamlining) to the point of overkill and captures outside of combat were the biggest nails in the coffin for me. Dx
Edited by faolan_hedgehog, Dec 7 2017, 10:39 PM.
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