Gotta Catch 'Em All... but first, how do I fit you into this damn ball?


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So I was talking with the gamers in my group that I'm running for, and was surprised that pretty much all of them were Pokemon fans. (What surprise, adults who are into pokemon, right?)

So since I'm running what equates to a homebrew Magic High School campaign, I was thinking that it would be fun to implement elements from that game as a sort of 'mini-game' within the game that the players could take part in. This is at least on some level a fun idea because the character's progression in the campaign will be le-uber slow, so having something that can advance as they progress on their adventures would be neat. This would also be cool because weapons and casting spells against other students is strictly prohibited, and having a way the players could expend their desire for combat without risking them dying would be beneficial.

So basically my idea is thus:

The artificer that runs the bookstore at magic high has a custom designed magic item that’s a little spherical ball he calls a “Pocket Familiar” ball. It’s kind of like the fish tank out of the Familiar Folio, but was made to be smaller and lighter but provide a similar sustaining effect as the greater one within the ball. (Refreshes the familiar’s atmosphere and food.) They’re not cheap, but are considerably cheaper than they could be because the designer made them only able to operate on one creature. If the creature resists entry, or is incapable of entering the pocket dimension then the device burns out and can at best be sold back to the bookstore for a tenth of the price.
The familiar ball could be used on an unwilling creature, but it would require a will save (DC 12) to resist being captured. Rendering the creature helpless via status conditions (like sleep or paralyzed) doesn’t affect their ability to make a will save, only reducing them to unconsciousness allows a familiar to be captured without resistance. (Unconscious, as per the rules, meaning between -1 hp and dead. I’m not sure if this range even exists for familiars, but I’m operating under the presumption that the rules apply to everyone) If they successfully resist the effect, the ball fails to capture the familiar and burns out.
Any creature resting within the Pocket Familiar Ball would find its basic needs provided for, such as air, water, food and comfortable temperature (Granted that is within the normal environmental range for a species native to Golarion. Creatures with special environmental requirements (such as being on fire constantly or coming from the astral plane) would need a specially designed, several times more expensive device.

Once the device has captured the creature, it acts as if that creature is a familiar of yours, but only if it has reached at least indifferent attitude towards you. Creatures captured via aggressive means will start off Hostile and need several Diplomacy or Handle Animal checks over the course of several days to improve its attitude. Once they have become indifferent, they operate just like a willingly captured familiar.

A familiar can always be returned to its ball as a move action if the user has the ball already in hand and the familiar is within 30 feet of their owner. It is a full round action if the familiar’s ball is stowed in a pack or pocket. (There are rumors the creator is making a belt that can make returning a familiar a swift action, but he’s not revealed anything yet.) A familiar can similarly be deployed to a spot within 30 feet as a standard action.

Combat, Leveling up, Badges, and players.
Another difference between normally acquired familiars and the familiars kept by this ball is that familiars captured with this ball act like animal companions in that they do not usually share a link with their master (see later) and therefore have to be given commands to act. They can be taught ‘tricks’ just like an animal companion or other trained animal, though unlike a normal animal they can be taught to use their special, spell-like, or supernatural abilities on command as a trick. The only general purpose training they can receive is combat. Familiars, unlike animal companions, cannot be ‘pushed’ to perform tricks it doesn’t know.

Attempting to command a familiar to perform a trick in combat requires a handle animal or diplomacy check (depending again on the creature’s ability to communicate).

Familiars gained through this device do not base their hit points on their owner’s, but instead on their own hit dice. They gain maximum HP on their first HD, and roll for each hit dice beyond it as they advance. All other abilities that a familiar had that relied upon their master’s abilities or attributes, BAB or saves, instead rely on the base creature’s.

These familiars can level up independently from their owners. This is done via earning experience performing tasks for their master, or most commonly battling other familiars.

If the familiar is reduced to 0 or less HP and is within 30 ft of their ball, their master can retrieve them as normal. The ball automatically casts stabilize on any unconscious or dying familiars and will keep them stable until they can be healed or recover naturally. There is no exterior indicator for the master to know the status of their familiar, so attentiveness and care is recommended. A familiar that dies breaks the link on the ball, rendering it useless unless the familiar is later resurrected.

Attempting to command a familiar with a higher effective level than the master imposes a +1 circumstance bonus to the DC of the check to make the familiar perform tricks for every level the familiar is over its master.

The creator has made badges that can be earned as an accomplishment for exceptional care and training of such a familiar. Each badge earned is awarded the master in a special ceremony that binds the magic of the badge, reducing the DC of checks to command their familiars by 3. There are 6 badges total, plus one championship badge that can be earned. No benefit is gained by wearing more than one of the same badge.
As of right now only the standard list of creatures is acceptable for training. The familiar folio has rules for adding or improvising familiars out of other animals and creatures, so it is possible to have more than just the basic list of creatures to train. There is also the creatures from the improved familiar list, but at the moment I’m considering implementing a rule that you need to have at least 2 badges earned to even be capable of training one off that list, not to mention a specially tuned ball for that creature.

Also, animal companions are not compatible with this system… yet. Maybe if the artificer gets around to making one with enough space to hold medium-large creatures will he start selling those too. :D

All right, that's what I've brewed up so far. Feedback would be greatly appreciated. Also, I'm sure other people have attempted something like this before so if there's anything pretty amazing or relevant you can link me, I'm okay with that too.

I'm looking for suggestions to fine tune what I've designed, make it more streamlined, etc. Heck, if you know a better way to word something I said so it would be easier to read or less likely to be exploited I'd be grateful.

Oh, I want to clarify that I'm not going to convert over the pokemon from the games (God that would take forever) but I just want to get the mechanics in so it can be done using the existant familiar tables.

there is a book for this called Mystical: Kingdom of monsters, there is a pathfinder version and 4e version. I haven't picked it up yet. But it looks neat.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Rungok, you may want to take a look at the Preservationist alchemist archetype in Ultimate Magic. (And the associated Planar Preservationist feat.)

BESM D20 has the Cute Monster Tamer base class, but I'm not sure if it handles the issue of having a place to store them. I'd have to look again.

Thanks for the suggestions guys.
I'm not looking to make a full extra class or something, which is what Mystical: Kingdom of monsters seems to be doing, but I am looking at adding elements of pokemon into my magic academy game.

I am thinking instead of familiars making like four or five predetermined unfettered eidolon builds at 1 HD and letting it go from there. Maybe I can include a rule that way that their attacks only work on each other or something so that I don't have to worry about some student flash baking the rest of his class because he had the equivalent of Magcargo.

The Exchange

You could add the Eidolon evolutions to help.. grow... your familiars/pokemon as well. It would be a bit more interesting than just adding hit die alone. Say.. give them 1 or 2 Evolution points every 2 levels perhaps?

I built them as regular eidolons, and will be increasing their 'effective summoner level' as their creatures level up. The summoner I'm using as the 'template' from which all their EP comes from will be taking the extra evolution feat whenever applicable and also using the half-elven favored class bonus. Each of the eidolons are obviously not dependant on the trainer for their EP.

I've currently built 8 of them as the basic types:
1 Red Salamander type
>Fire aligned
2 Yellow Serpent type
>Electicity aligned
3 Blue Frog type
>Water aligned
4 Brown Monkey type
>Earth aligned
5 White lantern type
>Positive energy aligned
6 Black mummy type
>Negative energy aligned
7 Gray Mouth type
>Sonic aligned
8 Green Eyeball type
>Arcane aligned

I'm going to make maybe 2 more and then leave them at that. Right now they have very little mechanical differences. (level 1 eidolons only have so many points to work with, so they don't have many unique abilities.) But the last 2 I'm thinking would be a bird type and a normal type of creature.

Then I'll focus on then designing their 'level ups' in advance so there's no downtime for the players if they level up during a game.

No force?

Distant Scholar wrote:
No force?

Good question! I think I may need to make another one.

Actually, let's open the floor for suggestions!
Suggest a Pocket Guardian, make sure to have a theme/element and a quirky design! It's like playing "Who's that pokemon!" except you decide! :P

I am going to expand the set out to 12! That means there's room for four more. I'll look over the suggestions and pick four of them to add to my menagerie!

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