Talk:Pokemon Trainer, Variant (5e Class)
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Designer's Commentary and Design
In this space, I will be explaining all my design ideas. I will be explaining every decision in detail relatively soon. Basically, make it fit into dnd5e as well as possible but still keeping the feel of pokemon.
Immediate fixes: Get the Starter Companion d6 traits table working properly and get the Caster table up for the Hex maniac subclass (its just directly the profane soul table from the bloodhunter).
Even from the start with the proficiencies, we see the pull between the feel of the source material and the balance of the game. The trainer has light armor and simple weapons, which is very disconnected from most of the source material (but not all variations). This is because only the most dedicated casters that can rely entirely on their caster prowess don’t know how to swing a club or wear gambison. The trainer just isn’t that competent to completely go without. Also, with a change from the happy go lucky setting to one that involves the monsters you catch literally trying to kill you, a trainer swinging a stick or carrying a hunting knife makes sense. And while their animal companions should be the ones doing the fighting, everyone knows that the squishy guy commanding the beast is eventually going to get targeted.
The first feature a trainer gets is their starter Pokémon. Instead of having to make a whole bunch of stat blocks to make the correctly elementally themed choices, I decided that giving modification options to the already large list of low level beasts would be not only much simpler, but allow players to more creative and make their own Pokémon replicas. Yes, indeed I would like a giant fire breathing wasp, thank you. The damage vulnerability and resistance are based more off what makes them feel more elemental than to represent Pokémon’s type system. Note, in this first revision, the grass starter would actually be weak to the water starter. I did that because I felt that a plant creature should be weak to acid, not cause of the normal type match ups. But I very well might change it to cold later. The cantrips were given both to be a thematic part and to give them some damage that scales, to keep them relevant throughout the game. And wisdom is the only mental stat every beast isn’t abysmal in.
Companions bond is the main focus of the class, the slow improvement of the creatures you catch. It is in fact a rip-off of the ranger’s feature, but as a mixture of the original and the revised. From the revised it takes the slow increase in proficiency. And somewhat controversially, I kept the action economy of the phb version. This was to make it feel more like Pokémon. You are using your turns to control a magical creature in combat, not getting into it yourself. Also, it really saves the action economy from getting bogged down, which can be a real problem with “summoner” type builds. Another benefit of restricting your creatures to your turn is that it makes a logical break for why you would only control one creature at a time. Cause otherwise, everyone would be asking why they can’t send out their whole team, and REALLY Bog down the game. Now one of the things with this is that it might be a problem is that your creatures don’t benefit quite enough and start to get outshown at higher levels. I’ve considered what to do about that, but for now the problem of power progression will have to be taken by...
This Feature is really the main progression feature of the class. As you go through the game, you will naturally face more powerful creatures, hopefully some of them you will be able to tame. For the matter of how it works, it gives the creature has to fail 3 saves for the permanent effects to come into play. This is both to recreate the "3 shakes" of the pokeball from the original's capture mechanic, but also to fit in line with 5e's best decision: to make permanent effects require multiple saves. The reason why the mechanic of capturing was separated out from the idea of pokeballs was 1) to make it less complex, simply applying a status to a creature and 2) to avoid weird temporary banishment that could mess things up. The slow increase in creature types you can capture should help with variety, but still keep the possible options within the powercurve of the rest of the classes for the most part. Also, this should keep the available creatures balance without putting in "seemingly meaningless" CR restrictions. The main limitation on what wasn't available was sentience. I felt with this set up, it would be best to give the player access to everything for 20th level, seemed like a cool idea that you could capture the big bad no matter what thing it was. The other way to get a different creature type is through the Trainer types; each subclass has an ability that extends the types of creatures you can capture. And for the record, I know that there is only like 1 ooze that isn't immune to charm. It fits thematically and powerlevel wise to have there, and there are plenty of non-official slimes that might come up.
Also of important note to DMs: be careful of how you handle sentient creatures with this, because this feature could really easily feel like forced slavery if you don't take that into account. That is why most of the creature types available are generally non-intelligent, except for the subclass specific ones, which obviously imply a deeper connection. Also the reason for the second saving throw at the next long rest: even though its charmed, it might not necessarily want to be there. It is for this reason that the obedience and Companion's Bond is locked behind friendship: to make it feel more like the anime with the power of friendship and remove possibilities of more darker implications. If however you like the idea of taking it to the darkside, feel free to make the "three save and your out" end with total domination of the creature. Just don't let that type go PVP or your gonna be in for some unhappy players.
This feature replicates the utility features of the pokeball, giving your critter companions a pocket dimension to live in so you can walk through the tunnel without you ent blocking you way. If your poke is defeated it goes back to the ball, making adventuring a lot less lethal for them than most, helping to keep the positive world view pokemon comes from in this world of dragon laced dungeons. Also, you can fit your bike into your backpack!
While not a part of the most recent games, HMs had been a major component of Pokemon's exploration since the beginning, so I thought it would be best to include them to be the trainer's exploration pillar. Although most of the abilities are based around removing obstacles that were specifically put there, these adapatations on the ideas should help at least somewhat in the exploration area. Might add a few more based on feedback, see what people would like to have from pokemon utility powers. Also, use your pidgeon as a flying mount, just as the games showed you you could!
This change to your action economy should really help your power going into the 2 digits. This give you the options of commanding two pokes at a time, giving one multiple attacks, or let you and your poke both do something. Whether 10th level is the best place for it, further playtests shall reveal.
No to the really mechanically interesting one. You get to make the unique, one-time only master ball. High risk - High reward. It gets one save, then into the ball it goes. And since everyone uses it for legendaries, it even uses up multiple legendary resistances just for good measure. I still included the need to befriend it, just to avoid the total mind control thing. That might make it feel not exactly what your want from it, we'll see how many people would prefer the control idea to the friendship idea. For now, think of it as an easy nonlethal way to take out the BBEG. (Note to self; make it so the BBEG can't just walk out of ball whenever it wants to...)
And for the capstone, you can let your pokemon use an ability it has already used as reaction! Yay for resource based capstones! Thanks 5e!
But seriously, you can let your dragon breath fire again as reaction. Thats powerful.
And YOU can use that fire too! This part is very simply for the cool factor. It makes no sense, and it doesn't have to.