I have a confession to make, before I begin… I’ve been in a strange position where I’ve been bitten by the tabletop bug, but for a while I haven’t had the opportunity to act on it, aside from one session every several years. The real world seems to do everything it can to prevent a simple meeting to play a game these days.
Over the past month, it’s finally happened; I’ve begun a game called Pokemon Tabletop United. I’ll elaborate on the game itself in a later post, along with my personal impressions. I’m excellent with creating ideas for stories and whatnot, in my opinion, so I’ve been working on the setting for a player.
To most people, I’d imagine that it’s more practical to play as a player, then run a game. The way I see it, though, someone has to learn how to run the game, and it’s necessary to read the rules and start a game yourself, so that others will play (and hopefully run games of their own eventually.)
It was enlightening, to say the least. I quickly hit all the major surprises that happen during a game, such as when the player decides to deviate from the original idea. In the canon series, the player acquires their first Pokemon immediately, more or less. In my setting, the player has to explore a miniature Safari Zone of sorts in order to track and capture their starter Pokemon. She managed to capture all three, which is where the fun began. I needed to improvise here and there, so I made a preplanned event into something more memorable with a bit of quick thinking.
I may have underestimated the value of a map. I noticed during the session that I would lose composure if I delved into content which wasn’t created yet… then again, I suppose that’s natural that I didn’t know the length of the first session, and how many scenes I would need completed. For combat purposes, I prefer abstracted distances over a grid, but a map helps me to relay the surroundings to my player more effectively than thinking of an entire route or town on the spot.
The fact that some of the events were unplanned added a natural feeling to the campaign, which will make it more memorable in the long run. Honestly, it’s easier than I thought it would be, but then again, I’ve spent the past month or two scouring the rule-book in my spare time to get an understanding of the system. Scheduling is my biggest nightmare at the moment, but that could be solved with some decent communication from all parties.