A full guide to playing Pokemon D&D

Pokemon in D&D

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on playing Pokemon D&D. Pokemon is a media franchise that has captured the hearts of millions worldwide, with fans creating lots of homebrew content to help facilitate your own Pokemon adventure.

In this guide, we’ll explain how it is possible to play Pokemon in a tabletop roleplaying setting. We’ll delve into the three most popular systems, exploring the merits of each, and providing some additional resources to help you craft your new adventure.

Special thanks to VanHarmontt for the fantastic artwork throughout our guide.

Is it possible to play Pokemon D&D?

Yes! While there isn't an official Pokemon tabletop system, the creativity of the tabletop RPG community has led to numerous fan-made adaptations. These adaptations, along with fan-created content like custom Pokemon, regions, and items, allow players to immerse themselves in the Pokemon universe through tabletop roleplaying.

Can I play Pokemon D&D using homebrew?

Playing Pokémon D&D using homebrew is not only possible but can be a fantastic way to tailor the experience to your preferences. Some people such as Black Citadel RPG suggest adapting D&D rules for Pokemon campaigns, but our experience in running Pokemon tabletop adventures for over two years has shown that dedicated fan-made systems and homebrew content offer a more seamless and enjoyable experience.

Whether you're looking for specific Pokemon mechanics, capturing and training rules, or a comprehensive system designed for Pokemon adventures, we've got you covered with guidance on the best homebrew options.

The three main systems for playing Pokemon D&D

In the realm of Pokemon D&D, three primary systems stand out: Pokemon Tabletop United, Pokemon Tabletop Reunited, and Pokemon Tabletop Adventures. These systems have gained popularity for being the most accessible, well-supported by their fan communities, and offering some degree of compatibility with Virtual Tabletops like Roll20 and Foundry.

While there are other systems like PokeRole, PokeThulhu, and Pokeymanz, they are more niche and less widely known. For those seeking a well-established foundation to embark on Pokemon adventures, these three systems are the main ones you should consider.

What is Pokemon Tabletop United?

Pokemon Tabletop United (PTU) is a popular system for playing Pokemon D&D that offers a rich and immersive experience for players. Best enjoyed with a group of 2-4 players, PTU allows each player to take on the role of a trainer who commands a team of Pokemon.

Pikachu evolution line in D&D

The system is versatile, catering to those interested in classic Pokemon gym crawls or explorations of the Pokemon world, akin to adventures in the anime. Trainers can choose from various classes, such as Ace Trainers and Commanders, who inspire their Pokemon in combat, or Oracles and Sages, who delve into the occult.

Pokemon in PTU mirror the beloved video games, with unique typings, a move pool that offers new opportunities as they level up, and distinct stats, skills, and abilities. Players use d6s for skill checks, distinguishing it from D&D with its d20-based system. However, d20s are still employed for accuracy rolls, creating a dynamic mix of dice mechanics.

PTU boasts accessibility, with support for its character and trainer sheets on Roll20, making it the go-to system for many diving into Pokemon D&D. Despite this, it can be initially challenging to grasp, involving substantial bookkeeping.

Another notable drawback is the system's abandonment, with no official development for several years. While their Discord server provides a space for those seeking help, its environment can be toxic. Thus, while PTU offers a robust Pokemon tabletop experience, you should consider the learning curve and the community dynamics when deciding which system to use.

What is Pokemon Tabletop Reunited?

Pokemon Tabletop Reunited (PTR) is a community initiative, recognising the aging state of PTU and its lack of official updates, with the aim to infuse new life into the system. The primary objectives include consolidating and updating information, offering a more balanced version of PTU, and ensuring long-term support for the tabletop community.

Bulbasaur evolution line in D&D

PTR represents a fresh perspective and a commitment to maintaining and enhancing the Pokemon tabletop experience. Players interested in exploring the PTR experience will find it well-suited for online play, offering a refreshed take on Pokemon tabletop adventures within the digital realm.

Despite its revitalising goals, PTR comes with a limitation. Designed specifically for use on Foundry, this system caters to a virtual tabletop setting. Unfortunately, this restricts its usability for those seeking a Pokemon tabletop system for in-person gameplay.

If you’re looking into the best Pokemon TTRPG system and not sure if you want to play online-only, find our guide that explains the differences between D&D in-person and online. This should help you make a decision as to whether you’d like a more accommodating system, or are happy to play online with PTR.

What is Pokemon Tabletop Adventures?

Pokemon Tabletop Adventures (PTA) offers a dynamic gaming experience, utilising a variety of dice, with a notable reliance on the d20. The use of the d20 for various actions, including skill checks and combat, creates a cohesive and approachable gameplay experience.

Axew evolution line in D&D

Like PTU, it allows players to take on the roles of trainers, commanding their team of Pokemon. The system encompasses diverse classes like Coordinator, Ace Trainer, and Ranger, providing players with distinct paths for character progression.

In terms of mechanics, PTA incorporates familiar stats and levelling systems. This system is tailored to accommodate various campaign styles, offering flexibility for game masters and players alike. With active development, PTA continues to evolve, enhancing its features and addressing community feedback to refine the Pokemon tabletop experience.

Which system is best for playing Pokemon D&D?

Choosing the best system largely depends on personal preferences. There are several systems available, each with its own unique features and mechanics. Pokemon Tabletop United is a popular starting point due to its accessibility and support for Pokemon and trainer character sheets on platforms like Roll20.

How can I play Pokemon Mystery Dungeon as a TTRPG?

Playing Pokemon Mystery Dungeon as a tabletop game is quite challenging. There isn't a dedicated system for PMD, so many fans attempt to adapt Pokemon Tabletop United (PTU) for this purpose. This often doesn’t work and makes for an ambitious project that requires extensive knowledge and homebrewing to achieve the desired outcome.

PTU's design (where you play as a trainer with a full team of Pokemon) doesn't align with the solo Pokemon experience of PMD. Creating a satisfying TTRPG experience for PMD would require significant adjustments to existing systems, such as using D&D with Pokemon-flavoured elements or opting for a rules-light system that you can adjust to capture the essence of PMD.

What happened to Pokemon 5e?

Pokemon 5e, a once thriving system blending the worlds of Pokemon and D&D, gained widespread attention after an IGN promotional article in 2021. However, its popularity caught the eye of Wizards of the Coast, owners of D&D, leading to a cease-and-desist letter to the creator.

Contrary to popular belief, it wasn't Nintendo but Wizards of the Coast who took action due to their policies against creating homebrew content for intellectual properties one doesn't own. This incident emphasizes the challenges of merging beloved franchises within the realm of homebrew tabletop RPGs.

Additional resources to help get you started

We've curated a collection of resources to support those embarking on the journey of running Pokemon campaigns in a D&D-style setting. Check out the following:

  • Pokemon Inspired Weapons & Items: this provides a fantastic array of D&D-style items and weapons, each infused with a unique Pokemon twist.
  • Reddit community r/Fakemon: artists and Pokemon enthusiasts collaborate to create and share their own custom Pokemon designs.
  • Reddit community r/PokemonTabletop: join this community of tabletop gamers dedicated to discussing all things Pokemon tabletop.
  • The Guild of the Undaunted Pokedex: explore this spin-off of PTU. Its Pokedex offers significant inspiration for Game Masters looking to add something unique to their games.
  • Magik_jack_art: one fantastic artist who brings Pokemon-themed D&D characters to life. A visual feast for those looking for further creative inspiration.

Dice to spark your tabletop adventures

Congratulations, you're now equipped with the knowledge to embark on your own Pokemon D&D adventures! Best of luck in your journeys, and if you're hungry for more tabletop wisdom, explore our guides on improvisation in roleplaying games and becoming a better Game Master.

Now, gear up for your adventures with our enchanting collection of dice and accessories. Unleash the power of our hefty metal dice sets. May your rolls be ever in your favour!

RuffRuff App RuffRuff App by Tsun
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