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Cthulhu-mon; Ideas about adding Lovecraftian horror to Pokémon
Topic Started: Mar 13 2018, 10:47 PM (363 Views)
Pokémon Trainer
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Playing Sun and Moon I thought that the Ultra Beasts has a very Lovecraftian feel to them. Uncaring alien monsters from another world. When I started running my PTU game I decided to explore this a bit along with the darker side of the Pokémon entries.

To facilitate this I added two linked mental skills Mythos and Sanity. Once players unlock these skills, usually by seeing there first otherworldly horror, Mythos will start at Pathetic and Sanity at Expert. These two skills are inversely related, I.e. when they raise Mythos they lower Sanity.

Mythos is knowledge related to otherworldly monsters like Ultra Beasts and can apply to things like the Dream world or Distortion world and Glitches. This separates it from occult knowledge which will be about ghosts magic and natural phenomenon.

Sanity is used to resist the mental strain caused by those otherworldly horrors and the realizations of how little each human matters in the cosmos.

Have players roll Sanity when they witness something horrific usually with DC’s of 15-20. Failing by a little might give a minor or temporary insanity (they freeze up or gain Agrophobia). While failing by more should lead to more serious insanities.

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Pokémon Trainer
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I think that kind of stuff is best introduced as either purely roleplay, or if you use mechanics for it, keep them entirely out of the player's view. When dealing with RP-heavy concepts like horror, mechanics remove the players from the moment, in my opinion.
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Pokémon Trainer
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Okay so, I recently ran a PTU campaign for my group of misfits that I decided on a preliminary idea for the game to be a conspiracy for world control run by Silph Co.

Now, after characters were built and backstories created the entire team had occult knowledge and some sort of mental scarring. Thus I decided to go a bit weird, and Cthulumon was born.

Not Basic Premise: Borrowing from certain legendaries having their own realities and the idea of a "negative" world from Legend of Zelda. Game is set during X and Y for pokemon accessability. Xerneas governs the "living world" we all reside inside of and Yveltal runs the "Land of the Dead." These two worlds are kept separate by keystones crafted by ancient civilizations who understood and worshiped the legendaries as deities (which they kinda are?) Anyhow, Far removed from the Players, Hilda attempts to capture Xerneas and fails, Zygarde finds Xerneas while recouperating and consumes it thus weakening the fabric separating the two worlds(My players never actually got far enough to discover this however.) This leads to awkward and strange things happening across the world, Silph Co. who is already researching dastardly things to conquer the world notices corruption happening in its cells of imprisoned pokemon. These pokemon are ones who had "died" but are not able to pass on and start to distort reality around them, attempting to connect to the world of the dead, allowing "unlife" to seep into the real world. Players are in succession:
A) Given a "dead" pokemon captured in a ball that attracts others to it. (They of course didn't know of this, was just a simple escort!)
a) Attacked on the road by freakishly strong pokemon and one "boss" that is a freak of nature, case is damaged and starts to leak a spiritual gas that starts to infect the local land.
B) They "accidentally" break one of the keystones
b) consequently one of the team is partially corrupted and is now a miniature link to the land of the dead.
C) Accused of terrorism after being pointed at Silph Co. by a gym leader and they go to inspect the situation. The upper floors of the mega mart is busy but the lower floors are right out of a horror film. Blood and damage across the board topped with what used to be a scientist who willingly exposed himself to the corruption and left him as a sort of "deadite"(unable to die, even after they behead him)
c) Arrested by what appears to be the government they are stationed at a facility where the corrupted player unknowingly turns the entire place into a sight out of resident evil.
D) Team shows up at another keystone just as people tainted by the corruption are working to collapse it and throw themselves into it.
d) It, of course, is a trap and they all "die" as their spirits are ejected from their now corpses. They meet Darkrai who visits their dream-state and informs them of the unbalance in the world and the terrible slope it is on. He points them toward the regi's who are able to repair what was going on and then forces them back into their old bodies... in a morgue.

This was going to eventually lead to a confrontation with Zygarde. Sadly, due to schedules we couldn't continue playing with the group missing two.

Seeing as I had the corruption and taint theme going on I experimented with and had fun with "Boss" monsters that like some game bosses had multiple parts that acted independantly of each other. Kinda like Lavos from Crono Trigger. For instance a four armed trevenant that had 5 different parts and actions. There were also "beefed" up normal mon as my group are rather 'POWER' players and build for specific and dangerous directions. In order to keep the challenge without just raw numbers or ridiculously overleveled mons to throw at them.

Alchoholic Nurse
Homeschooled sword master with no social ability but has a spiritual connection
Pretend Orphan who copes by acting like a super hero
best friend of the orphan who has to deal with their delusions of grandeur

All from Lavender Town.
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Pokémon Trainer
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Ossuary: Okay so, infodump about one of Generic_NPC's favorite campaigns to date.

You forgot to mention that the whole "link to the land of the dead" thing happened because Alcoholic Nurse's player is a spaz and did a blood ritual while we were in a Silent Hill-esque hellscape as a goof and that we 'died' when we kinda sorta blew up Pallete Town. You know, by accident when we tried to save it. Whoops.

I'm still proud to have conned everyone into playing a cute girl knowing we'd go into a Lovecraftian horror. They didn't, but I was clued in. Heh.

As someone who has yet to dabble with homebrewing something, I like to feel of your Mythos and Sanity there. My first instinct would be to look at other games that use something like it - Call of Cthulhu, Heroes of Horror from D&D 3.5, Eternal Darkness - and playtest a bit to see what I could adapt. This is something I'm interested in and I'd love to see where you go with it. Lemme know how this turns out!
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