Pockets & Monsters

Chapter 4: Epilogue

DM Note: Due to conflicting schedules and other commitments, some of the players weren’t able to continue this campaign any further. As unfortunate as this was, I still consider this a successful campaign while it was running, because it was clear the players were really enjoying it! I had fun developing my homebrew world further from my previous steampunk campaign, and I hope to continue this development in future games.

Besides, I didn’t intend for this Pokemon campaign to last for very long. That’s why I’ve decided to offer this epilogue in order to wrap up this story and reveal the final events that I was planning for the players. Because the players weren’t really involved in the events I will describe in this epilogue, I won’t go into detail about what our heroes do. I will assume that they go straight for the quests, fight the monsters, and beat the bad guys (even though every seasoned DM knows the players always do the unexpected). Enjoy this final installment of Pockets & Monsters!

The next day began with a bright, sunny morning, the perfect conditions for our heroes to win a national tournament. the players were able to find a few sponsors (perhaps Pith, or any of the taverns). Then, they entered a large stadium, packed with a full house of excited spectators. It was the 5th Annual Wozington Pocket Monster Tournament! Jawbreaker provided some entertainment with his futuristic rap-style music (turns out he’s a star throughout the country), and then the battles began.

The players fought several battles, some more challenging than others. The participants of this tournament have been around the block a few times, releasing more powerful monsters (for examples of Tier 2 monsters, check out the Monster Evolutions page). If the players win the tournament, they win tons of gold, as well as the Wozington badge (a traditional crest that features a lion’s face, a metal axe, bales of straw, and an emerald “W”).

Soon after the tournament (and the subsequent revelries that honor the victors), there is a commotion near the center Wozington, in the older part of the city. A large anklyosaurus erupted from the cobblestone ground, crashing into buildings and spitting acid everywhere!

The players, with the help of their monsters, defeat the anklyosaurus. The citizens are very grateful, and several of them mutter something about informing the Lion Elder about these events. If the players don’t seek out the Lion Elder right away, someone approaches them with a message that their presence is requested in his office.

At the home and office of the Lion Elder, a butler answers the door and lets the players in. Behind a desk, the party meets an old man in his 80s. the more astute adventurers recognize this man as Leo, whose younger likeness was seen in the statue near the Judiciary. Leo thanks the party for saving his city, and asks them to investigate the cause of the attack. He fears this may be a repeat of a similar incident fifty years ago, especially since that previous episode occurred in the same area. Evidently, the acid-breathing anklyosaurus emerged from a small cave, known years ago as Reptilla Cave. The cave had since been emptied and cemented over with a cobblestone road as the city expanded. The players agree to investigate the cave.

They walk in and find it dark, but empty. A short way into the cave, the ground is littered with jagged rocks and stalagmites—difficult terrain, there is dead grass and charred earth everywhere, and the right-side wall is covered in black marks. All of this is evidence of powerful spells cast decades ago. Perhaps the old giant-sized footsteps had something to do with that.

Soon, they come upon a two-way fork. The right fork leads to a dead end with large, moldy animal bones and the remnants of a large rusty cage. The left fork leads to another supposed dead end with piles of decomposed wood mixed with shards of glass. However, in this room a recently-carved opening to a tunnel was found. It may have been carved or blasted by magic, or acid, it was hard to tell. Strange magic could be detected through that opening, which was large enough for an anklyosaurus to walk through.

Once the players step through the opening, a strange magical effect takes hold of each of them. The feel compelled to run deeper into the cave, and a magical force pushes them onward, causing them to run much faster than is physically possible. It seems to be a similar effect to seven league boots.

On and on they go, until the party reaches the other end of the tunnel. Once there, the magical effect stops, and they crash into an opposite cave wall. The players have no idea how far they traveled, but they find an ascending stone walkway nearby, so they would soon find out.

The adventurers find themselves at the western mountains, near the entrance to a fortress carved into the rock. Only the front facade is visible. Who knows what could be inside? Clearly, this was where our heroes were meant to go.

The fortress has very fine craftsmanship and architecture inside, but it is filled with traps. Most of the obstacles involve stone or metal constructs (the owner of this fortress is clearly fond of clay and stone golems, but seems to have a particular liking for iron golems). Some rooms have puzzles or riddles (one room would feature a large chess board for an original game called “Crosses and Straights.” Three iron golems would move around the board in straight lines, while three of the players would move around in diagonal lines. The aim is to capture the opposing pieces).

At the end of it all (assuming the players survive), is a large chamber with a huge iron golem sitting on a throne. The golem doesn’t move, but the humanoid figure in front of it does. It is a black dragonborn wearing fancy purple robes befitting a wealthy magic user. The dragonborn calls himself Aryan. It was he who set the anklyosaurus on Wozington, and he was preparing to send several more formidable creatures into the city. He does all of this in the name of Asmodeus, God of Tyranny, former ruler of the Nine Hells. It was clear that Aryan, under Asmodeus’s direction, was working to weaken all civilization.

Aryan is a powerful sorcerer, and he activates the giant iron golem at times to try to crush the heroes. If Aryan is killed, the party can claim the fortress as their own and find a mountain of treasure there, as well as a few unique monsters (many of them powerful constructs) to catch.

If Aryan were to prevail, he would continue his city assaults as planned. But of course the players would never allow such a conclusion. they would likely pull out all the stops for this guy. If Aryan at least escapes with his life, he teleports himself to a different plane of existance, the Infernal Battlefield of Archeron, where Asmodeus resides and bides his time.

There are other cities and strongholds out there that the players could explore to find or battle new monsters. It’s hard to say whether this pocket mon “fad” would last much longer, but it is clearly a great source of entertainment for the masses and a lucrative endeavor for those who are, truly, the very best…like no one ever was. The way things are going, these adventurers are clearly well on their way.

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Chapter 3: Winners in Wozington

At last, the 2nd Annual Horrington Pocket Monster Tournament was set to begin. The players were thrilled to finally participate in their first “pocket mon” battles. All four of them entered the Horrington Academy building (Bardied was no where to be found, having run off pursuing other interests, so the group remained as The Elite Four). There was a large assembly hall in which the battles would take place. Pith the Glossy, the cyborg halfling the party met the day before, was the commentator of the tournament. The players were checked in (after they bought a few healing potions), and they were told to wait in a side room, as their battle was second in the order. Because there were only three teams entered in this tournament, if they won their battle, they would win the tournament.

Despite the small size of participants, the whole town was in attendance. It was a large, exciting spectacle for those native to Horrington. The players decided to relax in the room until they were called to come out for their battle.

“Ladies and gentlemen! On this the deciding battle, we have on the challenger side The Elite Four!”

Cheers from the crowd.

“Aaaand on the defending side, please welcome back our very own Team We Teffin’ Rock It!”

The crowd goes wild.

Team We Teffin’ Rock It was a team of halflings, with Jawbreaker the Glossy as its leader. It’s clear that Jawbreaker is a real star in this area. He still sports his glitzy outfit, with the addition of pink-tinted spectacles. He steps forward from the other three members of his team to shout cheerleading instructions to the crowd with great speed and confidence:

“You say ‘Team,’ I say ‘We Teffin’,’ you say ‘Rock It!’ Ready”

Team!

“We Teffin’!”

Rock It! Team!

“We Teffin’!”

Rock It!

Kelsier uses his Riot ability to “riot” Jawbreaker’s self-doubt in an effort to break the confidence of the other team (plus, he was a bit annoyed with the halfling’s whole act). The subtle spell was enough to make Jawbreaker stop shouting as his confident expression gave way to confusion. However, the crowd didn’t seem to notice as they were too busy continuing Jawbreaker’s chant:

Team! Rock It! Team! Rock It!

Eventually, the cheering died down and the match could finally begin. There was a flat 40′ × 40′ area for the monsters to battle, and all of the trainers were to stay out of it and command their monsters from the edge of the fight zone.

The players brought out their monsters: a giant owl (Kelsier), a duodrone (Benaiah), a giant spider (Papercut), and a winged kobold (Duthrash). Jawbreaker’s team released four mephits: magma, smoke, ice, and dust (note: although the black mephit in the first image is actually made of mud, it has the same color and general appearance as a smoke mephit).

The mephits were tiny, but they put up a fight. The players weren’t too worried about the little elemental sprites until they defeated one of them. Once the magma mephit was knocked out, it exploded, causing fire damage to all the monsters nearby. This caused the players to be more cautious about how they directed the attacks and movement of their monsters.

A few explosions of ice, dust, and smoke later, the players were victorious against Jawbreaker’s Team We Teffin’ Rock It. The crowd went nuts throughout the fight, with offered advantages towards those creatures that attacked with style and drama. Pith awarded the players with a modest sum of money, as well as the Horrington tournament badge (an “H” in front of an alchemy beaker filled with bubbly green liquid), and encouraged them to travel farther north to the capital city of Wozington and register for the next tournament at the Judiciary.

Before the players left Horrington, they looked for a place to heal their monsters. They found a center dedicated to that purpose. Inside, they met a female drow (dark-skinned elf with white hair). She had pink highlights in her hair and introduced herself as Joyn’ill. She took the players’ monsters (each inside their monster balls), rested them on round notches in a machine behind the front desk, and started to operate the machine by turning a crank. As Joyn’ill cranked the healing mechanism, colorful lights and pleasant notes of bings and dings started to emit from the machine. Once the monsters had been magically healed, Joyn’ill returned the monsters to the players. “Come again soon!” she chirped. Duthrash, taken aback by her pleasing voice and exotic beauty, started to play a little beat on his tribal drum, swinging his hips a little as he walked out of the center.

Wozington wasn’t too far away from Horrington, and it wasn’t hard to miss, although its imposing walls and regal rooftops were dwarfed by the shadow of Capitol Mountain just north of it. There was a lot more steam and smoke coming from the buildings here than in the town of Horrington, and the largest smokestacks came from the west side of Wozington, in the Sweetmeats Factory.

The players were welcomed in by the city guards, found out very quickly how easy it was for visitors to get lost. They wandered in the streets for a little while until they came into a city square. There were plenty of people going about their business, and at the center of the square was a fine copper statue on a stone pedestal. The statue was in the likeness of a young hunchbacked man wearing a top hat and large spectacles. Despite his deformities, his strict posture and wide, charming smile commanded respect for what must be a likeable and intelligent fellow. The plaque on the pedestal read:

BetterBorn Square
Dedicated to a man who gave his fortune and his life for the defense and prosperity of Wozington
BetterBorn; Born 20 BVP, Died 1 VP

Duthrash, ever thoughtful and curious, regarded the deformed figure and remarked, “Strangely beautiful.”

The players wandered some more and found what must be the Judiciary. It was a large, regal building with several dozen steps leading up to a row of stone pillars that nearly concealed the large brass double doors that led inside. Through those doors, the adventurers find an older female dwarf sitting behind a large desk. She regarded the group through her half-moon spectacles.

Upon learning of the players’ intent (to register for the Wozington poket monster tournament), the dwarf (who called herself Ilde) routinely pulled up a few paper forms for the team. She explained that this tournament allowed Tier 2 monsters, and that the team would have to pay an exorbiant fee or find a few sponsors to support their entry. Once again, Duthrash was charmed and wanted to impress the dwarfish woman with his drum beat and subtle dance moves. Kelsier decided, for fun, to “riot” the dwarf’s appreciation for Duthrash’s entertaining antics. Ilde seemed quite impressed, but managed to remain business-like as she asked if the group had any more questions. They had none, so they left, with Duthrash trailing behind them to the beat of his own drum.

The party walked out of the Judiciary into another city square. In the center of this area was a stone statue of a human male paladin, garbed in stately armor with lion symbols. The plaque revealed the man’s name to be Leo, the Lion Paladin. As the players wondered where they were going to find Tier 2 monsters, a crowd started to gather near Leo’s statue. The players approached to see what the trouble was.

At the center were two bickering boys, one in the green and red robes of Horrington Academy of Alchemy, and the other in the black and silver robes of the rival school, Battlement Academy, which specialized in combat alchemy (also known as “war alchemy”). The players learned that this verbal battle was typical between students of the rival schools, but this one was getting particularly intense, beginning to rise above a shouting match. The threats became more serious, and the Battlement boy started to take out a monster ball.

Just then, two police tiktoks (metal automatons with blue police hats, armed with powerful punches and a few concealed firearms) entered the scene. They recognized what was happening and remembered that settling an argument with a pocket monster battle in the square was not illegal as long as the public was safe and there were more than two people involved. Duthrash and Kelsier volunteered to help the Horrington boy, while Benaiah and Papercut stepped forward to the Battlement boy. None of the players had much of a bias, except perhaps a small one towards Horrington only because they’ve been there.

The skirmish commenced: a winged kobold and a giant owl for Horrington, and a duodrone and a giant spider for Battlement. The Horrington boy brought out a fire snake, while the Battlement boy released animated armor. The fight was on.

The fire snake against the animated armor alone proved to be an even match, although the flying monsters started to bring things in favor for Horrington. The armor took many hits without a problem, but it eventually fell apart, defeated. A sore loser, the Battlement boy reached to his belt for a second monster ball. He released it to reveal a ghast.

The players started to fight the newcomer, but the ghast quickly beat down the fire snake. Soon after that, the players began to overtake the ghast, and that is where the police tiktoks interfered. They considered the battle over, since the Battlement boy’s animated armor was clearly defeated first. Disappointed, the Battlement boy stormed off peacefully with his defeated monsters in tow. The Horrington boy thanked the players and soon walked away down a main street. The adventurers hoped that their monsters gained valuable experience from that fight.

When they were at a quieter part of the city, the players decided to take a look at their monsters to make sure they were alright. They got a very pleasant surprise!

Kelsier’s giant owl had evolved into a fearsome owlbear.

Benaiah’s duodrone became a mimic, gaining the ability to shapeshift and disguise itself.

Papercut’s giant spider became a phase spider and could now use a minor teleportation ability.

Duthrash’s winged kobold lost its wings, but more than made up for that with greatly increased strength and superior weapons in its new lizard king form.

Each of these pocket mons were now clearly Tier 2 monsters. The players were thrilled with this new development. They retired for the night in one of the many inns and taverns in the city (they could have been at the Warring Waffle, the Pitiful Pancake, or even the Emerald Ape, to name a few) to take their next steps at being the very best.

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Chapter 2: Halflings in Horrington

Our heroes leave Frenick with their new pocket monster licenses and monster balls, walking north toward Horrington. Magus is with them, hoping to find the farm boy responsible for the creation of the Flarecrow. Horrington can be classified as a town; it’s more than a village, but less than a city. The most prominent feature of the town is Horrington Academy, which specializes in the study and advancement of alchemy for scientific and peaceful purposes. it is also in this town that a pocket monster tournament will soon be held.

The party, along with Magus, finds the farm boy first, and Magus is able to quickly wrap up the case. It turns out that the boy was experimenting with magic in his spare time. He went so far as to try to animate a scarecrow and thought it would be a fun challenge to get it to throw fire on its own. Clearly, the boy didn’t think things through. The Flarecrow is still in the custody of the players, and Magus allows them to keep it for use in the tournaments.

With that out of the way, the next thing to do is figure out how to register for the tournament. They find a tavern, the Chemical Reaction, and look around for interesting characters. They see mostly humans and halflings hanging around, with the occasional dwarf or elf. The most interesting characters turn out to be a pair of oddly-dressed halflings at a table together, as well as a lone goliath at his own table, downing half a keg’s worth of ale and beating out a few rhythms on his tribal drum.

The players approach the goliath first. He is Duthrash, a teenage goliath druid from the Elkwyn clan, which resides in the very far north. Though young, he already stands at 6 feet tall, and his bright eyes (one a pearly white, the other colored like a ruby) augment his intimidating (or perhaps comedic) stature. Duthrash welcomes the group eagerly and is thrilled to discover that they, like him, are looking to get into the pocket monster tournaments. Back at home, Duthrash heard his tribal leader and the shaman tell of visions of strange things in the far south, visions of capturing monsters and battling them for sport. Young, rebellious, and insanely curious, Duthrash left the tribe without permission, in the cover of night, hoping to make a name for himself in the exotic southern lands. He decides to join the party.

Of the two halflings, one is wearing glitzy, shiny, colorful clothing that catches the eye immediately. The bright, clashing colors are reflected on the shiny cybernetic arm fitted on the other halfling. When the party approaches, the colorful halfling, calling himself Jawbreaker with equally colorful language (“Hey, what are you teffers doin’ here? You here to try your skill at the teffin’ pocket mon tourney?”), welcomes them enthusiastically. He introduces the group to his cousin, Pith. It turns out that these two halflings are in charge of the 2nd Annual Horrington Pocket Monster Tournament.

The halflings explain that the tournament has no entry fee, and only Tier 1 monsters are allowed into the battles. All this is meant to allow beginners to break into the pocket monster scene. Also, there are no individual battles. Participants are to enter as teams. There is a small cash reward and a badge of honor offered for the team that wins. The tournament is to begin the next morning. The players are excited to get out and catch some “pocket mons.” Jawbreaker even offers two additional monster balls to each of them (hinting that he was the one who invented them). This is especially useful as the players discover that the Flarecrow is considered a Tier 2 monster, which is too strong for this tournament.

So each of the players decide to break off from the group, venturing into the tall grass outside of town to try their luck and skill.

Kelsier consumes some metal when he sees a giant owl perched atop a boulder. Though the owl got a bit out of reach at times, Kelsier was able to fight the fowl to the ground and capture it as his own.

Benaiah, bow and blade at the ready, runs into a small, squarish, metal creature. It speaks back to him in some sort of robotic language. They fire arrows at each other, but the creature, a duodrone, was no match for the elf’s superior abilities.

Papercut the Kneestabber had a harder time of it, running into a giant spider that knocked him out easily. Kelsier was nearby and helped the poor halfing with his catch. Evidently, there were too many knees for papercut to stab. The spider’s poison didn’t help either. But eventually, with some assistance, Papercut managed to claim the spider for himself.

Bardied, free-spirited bard as he was, started his search for a monster, finding and capturing a warhorse. However, there were many other sights and sounds in and around the town that caught his attention, so the rest of the party didn’t see much of him the entire day.

Duthrash found a winged kobold. Due to his superior strength and height, it was an easy battle for the goliath.

At the end of the day, the group came together and met with the halflings once again, this time to officially register for the tournament. Jawbreader and Pith were impressed and signed them on (with the exception of Bardied, who was distracted with other interests). The four players in the team decided to call themselves something epic, something that would last them through their ascent up the pocket mon battle circuit, a name to intimidate and inspire: The Elite Four.

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Chapter 1: Flames in Frenick

It is the year 50 VP (Vernal Portal), and a newly-developed technology is taking the nation by storm. An enterprising halfling known mostly for his leadership of the Sweetmeat Factory and his Sweet Beats music business, invented a way to capture and store candy and toys in metal spheres the size of grapefruits. They were called Jawbreaker Balls, after their inventor as well as their cream-colored and speckled appearance.

Once the balls were made available, people used them for more than their intended use, most notably to capture and tame monsters. It wasn’t long before “pocket monster” battles became incredibly popular. Soon, all the adventurous youngsters, and a few older folks, were interested in buying a few balls to participate in this new craze. Tournaments were soon organized, and the country had the makings of a major league within a year of the release of Jawbreaker’s renamed invention: monster balls.

This new sensation inspired others to “travel across the land, searching far and wide” for the center of pocket monster action. We begin the adventure with four young travelers from southern realms:

Kelsier, a human trained in the metallic arts of the Mistborn, travels with a sense of justice. Having survived a near-death experience, he decided that a pocket monster quest in the tournament circuit up north would be the perfect way to begin to develop his abilities. Rather cocky, arrogant, and chaotic, Kelsier nevertheless cares deeply about his friends and seeks to further the cause of good with his special abilities.

Benaiah is a wood elf ranger from the forests in the far south. More than anything, he is very fascinated by this new “pocket monster” craze that he’s heard so much about. He has a simple mission, to “be the very best” in all that he does.

Papercut the Kneestabber is a halfling rogue with a personal vendetta against monsters. His village was raided, his parents were killed, and his life was ruined at an early age. At the center of this destruction: the halfling-run Mob Fia. As an orphan on the streets, Papercut got in trouble with the Mob Fia and decided to go up north to hunt for monsters, fight the Mob, and get his life back.

Bardied is a fun-loving human bard with very simple desires: to explore the world and every new thing he finds. Right now, we wants in on the “pocket monster” action. With a lute in hand and a song in his throat, he ran into the other young adventurers and joined them to the northern nation.

This party of four were aware that the first real sign of civilization they would find would be a village known as Frenick. It was here that they hoped to secure licenses that would allow them to capture wild monsters. As they approached the village, they noticed towers of black smoke. Upon closer inspection, the party found the entire village burned to the ground. Well, everything except for a few modest houses at the far north side. Out on the streets was a cloaked man bending over something on the ground. The players approached the man, who introduced himself as Magus the Inspector Detective.

According to Magus, the fire started at around midnight. Everyone in the village was able to escape safely to the nearby town of Horrington, but the cause of the fire is a mystery. All Magus could find so far were a dozen or more dead crows and small piles of straw that didn’t burn. The party decided to help Magus by exploring the houses that were intact.

In the first house they tried, a scared, squeaky voice shouted at them to leave them alone. The players entered the house to find a cowering halfling. Once the halfling realized he was among friendly folk, he introduced himself as Lolly. Magus asked Lolly what he knew about the fire. the halfling’s trembling reply revealed that he saw what looked like a cackling scarecrow that escaped to a small grove of trees just west of the village. When the adventurers said they were looking for pocket monster licenses, Lolly revealed that he was the one in Frenick to give out those documents. He agreed to give each player a license if they could capture or destroy the scarecrow. He gave them one monster ball to help them. Magus decided he would stay behind to investigate the other houses (which were all found to be empty. Lolly was so scared, he never noticed anyone else had left.).

Our four would-be heroes venture to the nearby grove and soon hear a strange voice. It was coming from the scarecrow. It was sitting on a stump, muttering to itself. “Paradox. In my gourd. I have flame. I am Flarecrow.” The party approached the Flarecrow and tried to talk with it. The creature seemed to have a childish understanding of the world, except this child could throw fire. What was more, it didn’t burn, not even the bits of straw that gave it form. The strange creature did mention that it was created by a farmboy who knew a little bit of magic. However, the Flarecrow, with a wicked grin on its pumpkin face, seemed intent on wandering the world to “have some fun.” With a little luck, Kelsier threw the monster ball from behind the Flarecrow and took it by surprise. The Flarecrow was captured inside the monster ball.

The party returned to the remains of Frenick to find Magus exploring the streets some more, with Lolly close by. When they noticed the adventurers approaching, Lolly leaped for joy, and Magus was curious about the scarecrow creature. He asked to see it. Though the party was hesitant, they decided to ready their weapons and surround the ball before they opened it. Once the Flarecrow was released, it flung fireballs with a fiery fury.

The Flarecrow turned out to be a formidable foe. It took Papercut the Kneestabber out of commission. Benaiah was getting unlucky with his bow and arrow, and Bardied was struggling to some real damage. Every move that Kelsier made, he tried to make as epic as possible (high jumps, throwing metal furniture, etc.), with varied success. At long last, the Flarecrow was taken down and recaptured, and all was silent and smoldering again.

Magus and Lolly were shocked but very grateful. Lolly followed through on his promise and gave a license to each of the heroes, as well as one monster ball each (not including the one he had given them for the Flarecrow). Everyone decided to travel to Horrington, so Lolly could join the rest of his village, so Magus could interrogate the farmboy he suspected, and so the party could officially start their journey as pocket monster trainers.

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