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Digital to Tabletop – Pokémon

Written by Michael Perry - Published on December 9, 2014

Pokemon MemeFor anyone who knows me – you know that one of my favorite things to do in my spare time is to convert a video game to a tabletop game.  Despite what you may think, this can be done.  In fact, in some cases, the conversion is rather simple.  In other cases, the conversion can be a little more challenging.

I like to choose games that are kind of in between – a game that only presents some mild difficulty in this process and one that allows me to, “bend the rules”, if you will, letting me alter some mechanics in order to fit it in with the d20 system or any variant that I might want to conjure up.  One of these games, as you probably guessed from the title, is Pokémon.

Without diving into detail too much, Pokémon is a relatively simple RPG with two, ultimate goals – becoming the Pokémon League Champion and “Catching ’em All”.  In order to become Pokémon League Champion, the player must visit the 8 Pokémon gyms scattered across the continent and defeat the gym leaders to earn badges.  Once all 8 badges have been procured, the player must then travel to the Pokémon League, take on four, elite trainers (known as the Elite Four), then defeat the champion.  “Catching ’em All” is a catch phrase often used within the Pokémon world that simply means that you have to capture and trade for every Pokémon (different monsters that you battle with) that is available throughout the game.

I know that you want to get into the nitty-gritty by starting out with battling, but right before we dig into that, we have to fill out our character sheets.


The Character Sheet

Your character sheet is going to be slightly different, obviously, than in a normal, d20 game.  For starters, your character doesn’t actually have any stats (unless you want to include a catching level, which I did).  Remember – you fight with Pokémon, not with your fists, so it’s going to be your Pokémon that need stats filled in.

But what should their stats look like?  A good question.  The formula involved isn’t the simplest in the world, but, fortunately for us, we have this here handy, dandy calcumathingajig to help us out:

Psypoke’s Stat Calculator

FYI – It’s typical for your first Pokémon to start at level 5.

FYI 2 – Typically speaking, each player will have a choice between three Pokémon at the start of the game – Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle.  Of course, this can be modified.



Encounters I kept simple, personally.  In Pokémon, when a player steps into an area where wild Pokémon may appear, the player has a chance of randomly encountering specific Pokémon designated for that area – each having its own percentage of chance of appearing.  For instance, a wild Pidgey may have a 90% chance of encounter, whereas a Jigglypuff may only have a 20% chance.

I hate math, personally, so I convert this process to the d20 system.  I’ll have any, given route contain five different Pokémon, at least.  Four of these will be common (encountered by rolls 1-4, 5-9, 10-14, 15-19) and one will be rare (encountered by rolling a 20).  It’s a simple process for me and my players to remember and it works.


Stay tuned for next time where we’ll tackle capturing and battling!

Thank you all for reading!

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Written by Michael Perry

Michael Perry

My hobbies include: writing, music composition, singing, and, of course, playing games. I also enjoy reading quite a bit and am very interested in theoretical physics and astronomy.

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