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Episode 106: Adventures in Middle-Earth Part 6 The Meddling of Wizards

I love our Adventures in Middle-Earth campaign. If I had my way we’d record a new episode every week, but our current schedules just don’t allow us to do that. However while we’re working on the next episode I had the bright idea to record some solo episodes to keep the plot moving by showing little bits of what’s going on in the wider world during the campaign.

I’ve been doing the podcast for years so sitting down solo to record isn’t that unusual, I always do that for reviews and GM tips. However doing a story recording is different. I like them and I may do more of them from time to time, but I apologize if they’re odd.

http://outofcharacter.buzzsprout.com/13127/592676-episode-106-adventures-in-middle-earth-part-6-the-meddling-of-wizards

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Pokemon #74 Geodue

I’ve always thought Geodude was one of the coolest rock-type Pokemon out there, and despite being around for so much of the series it rarely got a chance to shine. So for our first ever rock-type Pokemon we’ll be tackling the mountaineers biggest threat, Geodude!

Geodude

Small beast, neutral

Armor Class 16

Hit Points 62

Speed 25 ft

Str 16 (+3) Dex 12 (+1) Con 16 (+3)  Int 10 (+0) Wis 10 (+0)  Cha 10 (+0)

Damage Resistance piercing, and slashing damage from non-magical weapons, fire, electric, thunder

Damage Vulnerabilities ice

Skills Athletics +5, Intimidate +2

Senses Passive Perception 10

Languages Pokemon, understands Common but can’t speak

Challenge  5 (1,800 XP)

Evolution. After gaining 4,000 XP Geodude evolves into Graveler.

Levitate. Geodude levitates up to 5 ft. off of the ground and is able to move through the air at will. Geodude ignores the effects of hindering terrain and cannot be knocked down. If rendered unconscious or restrained Geodude falls to the ground.

Pokemon. Geodude can be captured in a Pokeball, from that point on it will act as a companion to its new trainer.

Rock-type. Geodude is vulnerable to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from attacks made by Water and Grass type Pokemon. Geodude cannot swim and will sink immediately upon being submerged in water.

Actions

Slam: Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d6+3) bludgeoning damage.

Harden. Geodude reduces bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage taken until its next turn.

Rock Throw. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 25/40 ft., one target. Hit: 25 (4d8+5) bludgeoning damage.

Pokemon #4 Charmander

The third and final starter Pokemon is of course Charmander, which is regarded as being the most difficult for new trainers as they tend to evolve into more powerful Pokemon that can be difficult to control. Ash’s Charmander was abandoned by its trainer and waited in the wilderness for it to return before Ash and his friends rescued it.

Charmander

Small beast, neutral

Armor Class 14

Hit Points 48

Speed 30 ft.

Str 14 (+2) Dex 14 (+2) Con 12 (+2)  Int 10 (+0) Wis 10 (+0)  Cha 12 (+1)

Damage Resistance ice, fire

Skills Athletics +4

Senses Passive Perception 10

Languages Pokemon, understands Common but can’t speak

Challenge  5 (1,800 XP)

Evolution. After gaining 4,000 XP Charmander evolves into Charmeleon.

Fire-type. Charmander can produce a flame at will capable of lighting a bonfire. Charmander has resistance to the effects of cold, and gains advantage of saving throws from ice-type attacks. Charmander has disadvantage on attack rolls made in the rain, and its flamethrower only deals half damage.

Pokemon. Squirtle can be captured in a Pokeball, from that point on it will act as a companion to its new trainer.

Tail Flame. The flame on the end of Charmander’s tail is a sign of how healthy it is. A strong flame suggests it is physically well, while a dim flame usually indicates injury or sickness. If the flame on Charmander’s tail is extinguished it is reduce to 0 HP and must being making death saving throws. The flame is magical in nature and is difficult to extinguish. Simply trying to douse the flame or extinguish it by hand will not be effective. However, if exposed directly to water for more than 3 turns the flame is extinguished.

Actions

Slam: Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+2) bludgeoning damage.

 

Flamethrower: Charmander expels a line of fire extending 40/60 ft any creatures caught in the line must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save they take 30 (6d6+2) fire damage, and 2 ongoing fire damage at the start of their next turn. On a failed save the target takes half damage on no ongoing damage.

Rage: As an action Charmander enters a rage. While raging it has advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throw. Charmander adds its level to damage rolls. Charmander gains resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage. While raging Charmander cannot use flamethrower.

Pokemon #7 Squirtle

The water-type starter Pokemon that is probably the middle of the road choice for new Pokemon trainers. Ash’s Squirtle was abandoned by its trainer and took up with other abandoned Pokemon to commit acts of mischief and vandalism.

Squirtle

Small beast, neutral

Armor Class 16

Hit Points 51

Speed 20 ft, swim 50 ft

Str 12 (+1) Dex 12 (+1) Con 14 (+2)  Int 10 (+0) Wis 12 (+1)  Cha 14 (+2)

Damage Resistance ice, fire

Damage Vulnerabilities electric, thunder

Skills Athletics +2

Senses Passive Perception 11

Languages Pokemon, understands Common but can’t speak

Challenge  5 (1,800 XP)

Evolution. After gaining 4,000 XP Squirtle evolves into Wartortle.

Pokemon. Squirtle can be captured in a Pokeball, from that point on it will act as a companion to its new trainer.

Water-type. Squirtle has a swim and has advantage on Athletics checks related to swimming. Squirtle also has advantage on attack rolls made in or around an abundant source of water such as a river, lake, or the ocean. Squirtle is able to breathe underwater and will not suffer the effects of drowning.

Actions

Slam: Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6+1) bludgeoning damage.

Water Gun: Squirtle expels a line of water  60/80 ft. in a line any creatures in this line must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save the target takes 24 (4d6+2) bludgeoning damage and is knocked back 15 ft. On a successful save the target takes half damage and is not knocked back. Water Gun extinguishes any non-magical flames in its path automatically.

Withdraw: Squirtle withdraws into its shell granting it a +4 bonus to its armor class. It also gains resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage as long it is withdrawn. Squirtle can be commanded to remain in its shell as a bonus action, but it cannot take any other actions while using withdraw.

 

Pokemon Trainer Class: Evolution

Last time we tackled leveling up Pokemon when you’re using the Pokemon Trainer Class, and I promised to follow up with an explanation of the evolution mechanic as it pertains to this class.

Most of the Pokemon that evolve will have a certain amount of XP needed to achieve a stage of evolution. The following occur each and every time one of your Pokemon evolve:

  1. Double your Pokemon’s current HP value. This reflects the surge of power and the drastic physical changes that often accompany evolution.
  2. Increase 2 of your Pokemon’s abilities by +3.
  3. Consult the entry of the evolved form of your Pokemon and note any additional traits or powers that have been gained.

The obvious exceptions here are Pokemon that evolved using stones such as Eevee. Those types of Pokemon don’t evolve based on experience gained, they require the use of stones. Depending on your GM these could be available for purchase at stores/shops or they might be rare items found only in certain locations.

Stones have also varied greatly in their appearance from various adaptations, so you can describe them as you’d like.

Evolutionary_stones_EToP

Artwork from The Electric Tale of Pikachu

Fire Stone
Wondrous Item
Exposing certain Pokemon to one of these stones will cause them to evolve into a more powerful form.

Moon Stone
Wondrous Item
Exposing certain Pokemon to one of these stones will cause them to evolve into a more powerful form.

Thunder Stone
Wondrous Item
Exposing certain Pokemon to one of these stones will cause them to evolve into a more powerful form.

Water Stone
Wondrous Item
Exposing certain Pokemon to one of these stones will cause them to evolve into a more powerful form.

For the time being I’m sticking with the first generation of Pokemon so there aren’t any considerations for additional requirements of evolution such as Pokemon that only evolve at night or during the day. Most of those requirements are largely situational and can easily be met by waiting.

If a Pokemon requires a certain amount of affection to evolve then it will be up to the GM to determine if your trainer and their Pokemon have bonded enough to trigger an evolution.

Pokemon that only evolved as the result of trading them, or having them hold items and trading them will just evolve normally. I don’t know about you but I always hated that mechanic, and now that it is within my power to do I am doing away with it.

Now that the secrets of evolution have been revealed the next big hurdle will creating the first 150 or so Pokemon which I’ve already started.

 

 

Pokemon Trainer Class: Leveling Up Your Pokemon

As readers continue to show an interest I am blowing the dust off of my old notes for the Pokemon Trainer Class for Dungeons & Dragons 5e. So thanks for voicing your interest!

Keep two things in mind with leveling up Pokemon before you begin. First, all Pokemon have a starting level, so that Pidgeotto you caught is almost always going to be level 3 unless the GM did some tinkering to make it a bit tougher. Second, if a Pokemon’s level is higher than yours you have to make a Persuasion check to convince it to follow your orders.

Leveling up your Pokemon works in a manner very similar to leveling up a player character, but Pokemon don’t gain new powers until they evolve. This is mostly to avoid overloading players with too many options all at once.

In general Pokemon are really going to really only going to undergo large changes if or when they gain enough experience points to level up. That’s where you’ll see them gaining new features. Standard level ups usually just give them a slight increase in their health and a bump to their proficiency bonus.

You’ll notice that their proficiency bonuses are usually pretty low, there are two reasons for this. Wild Pokemon generally speaking, are believed to be weaker than Pokemon belonging to a Pokemon Trainer, which makes sense as they’re going to be in more battles. Mechanically speaking you’re also going to be pushing your Pokemons’ proficiency bonuses depending on your chooses as a trainer.

HP increase relies on the Pokemon’s type, and the chart below details how individual Pokemon’s HP will increase each level. This doesn’t take into account bonuses that can be gained such as the Breeder’s HP bonus. If a Pokemon is a dual-type you can choose any type for the HP gain.

Pokemon HP Gain Chart

Bug-type 1d4+ Constitution modifier gained per level.

Dragon-type 1d12+ Constitution modifier gained per level.

Electric-type 1d6 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Fighting-type 1d10+ Constitution modifier gained per level.

Fire-type 1d8 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Flying-type 1d4 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Ghost-type 1d4 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Grass-type 1d8 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

 

Ground-type 1d8 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Ice-type 1d8 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Normal-type 1d10 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Poison-type 1d6 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Psychic-type 1d6 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Rock-type 1d10 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Water-type 1d8 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Level     Proficiency Bonus           Features

1st           +0                                          ———————————————-

2nd          +0                                         ———————————————-

3rd           +0                                         ————————————————

4th           +0                                           Ability Score Improvement

5th           +1                                         ————————————————-

6th           +1                                        ————————————————–

7th           +1                                          ————————————————-

8th           +1                                           Ability Score Improvement

9th           +2                                          ——————————————-

10th         +2                                           —————————————–

11th         +2                                          ——————————————

12th         +2                                           Ability Score Improvement

13th         +2                                          ——————————————–

14th         +2                                          ——————————————-

15th         +3                                         ———————————————

16th         +3                                           Ability Score Improvement

17th         +3                                          ———————————————

18th         +3                                           ——————————————–

19th         +3                                           Ability Score Improvement

20th         +3                                           ——————————————–

 

If you’re looking at this and feel a bit disappointed don’t worry, the Evolution mechanic is much more exciting than the level up mechanic, and it is also where’ you’ll see exciting new options for your Pokemon begin to appear.

With that in mind keep checking for the Evolution update coming soon!

#1 Bulbasaur

The grass-type starter Pokemon that is considered by many to be the easiest of the starters for new trainers to raise. Ash’s Bulbasaur chose not to evolve, but it helped carry him to to some of his greatest victories as a trainer. Way back when I got my copy of Pokeon Blue Bulbasaur was the first starter I ever chose my very first Pokemon, so it has always had a special place in my pokedex. This is the first of the starters that I’ve created so lets jump in!

Bulbasaur

Medium beast, neutral

Armor Class 14

Hit Points 60

Speed 20 ft

Str 14 (+2) Dex 14 (+2) Con 14(+2)  Int 12 (+1) Wis 14 (+2)  Cha 14 (+2)

Damage Resistance lightning thunder

Damage Vulnerabilities fire

Skills Athletics +4, Intimidation +4, Perception +4

Senses Passive Perception 14

Languages Pokemon, understands Common but can’t speak

Challenge  5 (1,800 XP)

Evolution. After gaining 4,000 XP Bulbasaur evolves into Ivysaur.

Grass-Type: Bulbasaur has advantage on Stealth checks in areas with tall grass or other abundant plant life.

Pokemon. Bulbasaur can be captured in a Pokeball, from that point on it will act as a companion to its new trainer.

Actions

Slam: Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6+2) bludgeoning damage.

Vine-Whip. Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, range 40/100 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (4d6 +4) slashing damage. On a Critical Hit the target is also grappled.

Razor Leaf: Bulbasaur expels a shower of razor sharp leaves in a 20-foot foot cone. Each creature in that are must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw, taking 24 (6d4+4) slashing an piercing damage on a failed save or half as much damage on a successful one. As a bonus action Bulbasaur may maintain its Razor Leaf for one additional turn. Doing so causes Bulbasaur to gain one level of exhaustion.

Pokeballs

Some time ago I put together a Pokemon trainer class for D&D 5e, I also put together stats for a few Pokemon to make them compatible with 5e. it was one of those things i set aside because there wasn’t really much interest in the idea. Since someone asked me to follow-up on it a bit here we are!

The question I’m addressing today is how do pokeballs work? As catching new or more powerful Pokemon is a staple of the class I should have explained this sooner. Sorry.

To use most pokeballs you’ll be following a few steps. Your trainer will have to make a an attack roll as per normal using Dexterity. You cannot use Strength to make this attack under any circumstances. Since all Pokemon Trainers are proficient with Pokeballs you will get to add your proficiency bonus to the attack roll. Assuming you hit the target’s AC now it has an opportunity to escape. We’ve all spent hours searching for that elusive Pokemon in the tall grass, thrown a ball, and prayed it wouldn’t break out. This saving throws represent the Pokemon’s will to resist capture. More powerful Pokemon will be able to break free more easily.

Pokeball: The Pokemon will get the opportunity to make a Charisma Saving throw on its turn during the following 3 turns. The DC is set at 10 + your Charisma modifier.

Great Ball: The Pokemon will have the opportunity to make a saving on its turn during the following 2 turns. The DC is set at 10 + 1 + your Charisma modifier.

Ultra Ball: The Pokemon will have the opportunity to make a saving throw on its turn during the follow turn. The DC is set at 10 + 2 + your Charisma modifier.

As in the video games a healthy Pokemon is much harder to capture than one that has been tired out in battle. If the you’re attempting to capture Pokemon isn’t bloodied it adds +5 to this roll.

Now while the Pokemon you’re trying to capture is trying to break loose there may be other Pokemon in the area for your trainer to cope with. Maybe a handful of Mankeys didn’t take kindly to you capturing their friend.

Of course there are special pokeballs that work differently but for now I’ll just be explaining the mechanics of the basic 3 types.

Star Trek Top 10

While neither of us consider ourselves to be Trekkies Tina and I ARE both big Star Trek fans. While we were looking over the Star Trek Adventures RPG we started talking about our favorite characters and episodes. We challenged one another to write out a list of our ten favorite characters and we wended up with some interesting results I felt like sharing.

Because there are so many great characters in Star Trek and it could be hard to crowd someone out of the list we both got an honorable mention.

Honorable Mentions

7 of 9 and Odo

Tina picked the changeling constable Odo from Deep Space 9 played by René Auberjonois. She says she picked him because he had great development during the show, and I have to agree with that. I picked 7 of 9 the former Borg played by Jeri Ryan from Voyager. I know people are going to say nasty things about my choice, and generally people are dismissive of 7, but I think she had some amazing episodes and stories during the series.

#10

Tina chose Commander William T. Riker First Officer of the Enterprise played by Jonathan Frakes. If I had to a hazard a guess as to why it probably has something to do with the less than serious attitude the commander often displayed. He wasn’t afraid to have fun or laugh when the moment allowed it. I also chose a first officer also Saru of the Discovery played by Doug Jones. Two ore different individuals there have never been, but I like them both. Saru is a Kelpian and the first of his species to join Starfleet. He isn’t afraid to admit to his own misgivings, and he’s willing to admit when he is wrong. Saru is also kind enough to forgive and acknowledge the abilities of others.

#9

Looks like we have a bit of a Voyager reunion. B’elanna Torres the half-Klingon half-human Chief Engineer played by Roxann Dawson was another matter entirely. She was angry, stubborn, and ready to fight with anyone about anything which may have been how she ended up with the Maquis. She was also one of the best engineers Starfleet ever had and she cared about people more than she was willing to admit. Her time of Voyager afforded her opportunities to grow, confront the things that had tormented her for most of her life, and grow into an even more amazing person.

#8

Tina’s pick for #8 Tina and I are both big fans of Voyager’s Tactical Officer the Vulcan Tuvok played by Tim Russ. He stands out among all Vulcans in my mind as one who never allowed his logical nature to overrule him. During the long journey home from the Delta Quadrant he was a teacher, a mentor, a confidant, a soldier, an explorer, and someone the crew could always count on. My choice was Lt. Commander Data of the Enterprise played by Brent Spiner. Data is such a fan favorite I have always found him fascinating. In this ongoing mission to explore the stars Data is undergoing his own mission to explore his own identity. He’s asking Who am i? Why am I here? He asks these questions with an open mind and explores all of the possibilities. Plus, let’s face it, Data is a nerd. He has a cat, he LARPS, and he can perform trillions of equations in seconds.

#7

Tina picked Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Enterprise played by Patrick Stewart. You can’t not have THE captain on this list at some point unless you hate everything about Next Generation. My choice was Jadzia Dax Science Officer of Deep Space 9 played by Terry Farrell. Jadzia wasn’t the first Trill to appear on Star Trek, but she was the first to flesh out the species and make it her own. I picked Jadzai in part because like any of the characters from Star Trek she’s brilliant, but there was a bigger reason. I look at Jadzia and see someone who lived. She learned Klingon martial arts, played tongo, saw spatial phenomenon no one else had ever even dared to dream of, and she was ever ready to offer wisdom or a joke when the situation called for it.

#6

miles

I shit you not we both picked Chief Miles O’Brien played by Colm Meaney for #6. We weren’t even in the same room when we did these lists and somehow this happened. So why the O’Brien? On Enterprise he was a secondary character who didn’t get to do much, but he still managed to meet and marry the love of his life, and saw her give birth to their first child Molly.  Not bad. In reality I chose him because people who have technical skill are amazing. The rest of us just kind of stumble through the world, but they see all the wires and know just where they go. O’Brien also explores some less pleasant aspects of the future. He’s got prejudices against Cardassians, he’s got a temper like a Klingon, and he’s struggling to keep his family happy while he keeps up with a difficult job. Chief, somehow you did it all. I also think that his friendship with Julian Bashir was something we need to see more of in fiction.

#5

Now we have a Deep Space 9 theme? Fine. Tina chose Captain Benjamin Sisko of Deep Space 9 played by Avery Brooks. If you need an explanation as to why he belongs on this list crack out Netlfix and go watch In The Pale Moonlight. I’ll wait. Understand now? Good. Quark, played by Armin Shimerman, was a Ferengi owned a bar on Deep Space 9. Quark was sexist, greedy, conniving, and in the first few episodes he seemed like he’d sell his own mother for a few slips of latinum. He did manage to keep things interesting with all his schemes and intrigues. His feud with constable Odo made them both more enjoyable, it also seems like it made them rub off on one another. Quark probably grew more than almost any character in any Star Trek show ever. He never quite became one of the good guys, but in the end he wasn’t a bad guy either.

#4

We’re creeping towards the top spots now and competition is getting tighter. For her #4 Tina chose Kira Nerys the Bajoran First Officer of Deep Space 9 played by Nan Visitor. Kira is plain a simple a badass. She can kick the butt of a Jem’Hadar warrior twice her size without spilling her raktajino. She also happens to have some of the most compelling episodes in Star Trek. My choice was Voyager’s Captain Kathryn Janeway played by Kate Mulgrew. I could say a lot of things about why I picked Janeway, but in the end it comes down to one thing. She got her ship home. She didn’t do it alone, and luck helped more than once, but it she saw it as her duty to get Voyager home and she damned well did it.

#3

In part one of the top three we have a repeat performer with Jadzia Dax. I chose the Voyager’s EMH or as he came to be called The Doctor played by Robert Picardo. Who needs a sonic screwdriver when you have a mobile emitter am I right? The Doctor carried on the tradition of Starfleet’s medical officers grappling with ethical conundrums. He also grappled with his own personality and how it clashed with the crew. All of the other EMH programs with his personality were demoted, but Voyager needed him so he got the chance to learn and grow. The Doctor was curious and eager to prove he could be more than just what he was. There’s an episode called Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy that to this day makes me tear up every time I see it. The Doctor has installed a daydream progrma to allow him to live out fantasies, and one of those fantasies is taking command of Voyager as the Emergency Command Hologram during a crisis. When his daydreams go haywire the crew end up getting a peak into his deepest fantasies and seeing one of these scenarios play out.

He says “Thank you for this opportunity Captain. All I’ve ever wanted was the opportunity to live up to my full potential. To hone all my skills, expand my abilities, to help the people I love.”

Robert Picardo brings so much humanity to the role, I don’t think anyone else could have done it quite so well.

#2

Another Voyager reunion? Fine! I’ve already talked about why these characters are so great, but I will also say Tuvok is my favorite Vulcan. Yes over Spock. I said it and I won’t take it back.

#1

Well here we are, the top spot. We end with two Starfleet Captains no less. Captain Philippa Georgiou played by Michelle Yeoh commands the USS Shenzhou on Star Trek Discovery. She’s a great character we only get to see a little bit of, but she makes us wonder what happened in her career to bring her to this point. You can tell she has the admiration and respect of her entire crew. She also seems to be a bit of a pack rat. Captain Picard delivers some of the best dialogue in all of Star Trek. Patrick Stewart makes you care about the ship, the events, and the characters even when you don’t want to. When I think of a Starfleet Captain he’s the first to leap to mind.

Well there you have, those are our Top Tens. I expect there to plenty or rage over these lists. To be honest there are very few characters on Star Trek I don’t like. Less than 3 in fact. I’d like to finish by thanking the actors from the series for all of their hard work over the years.

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