I love the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, and it works fine all of my players except one.

That player only really becomes invested when a campaign involves Pokémon. During the planning stages of another campaign I recommended to him a beast master ranger with a Pokémon companion—which worked out fine—, and for another I homebrewed a Pokémon trainer class and that worked out okay, but not entirely to my satisfaction.

I'd like to homebrew a Pokémon trainer class that fills a traditional role in an adventuring party (like healer or tank), satisfies the player's desire for pocket monsters, and is flexible enough to be incorporated into the Forgotten Realms campaign setting while maintaining the setting's integrity.

I'd like to avoid accidentally creating an overpowered class.

How can I do this?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take the tour. The site can critique your work—presenting your homebrew and asking Is this balanced? is totally legit—, but the site can't offer general advice on a topic this broad. However, a question like How can I incorporate Pokémon-like classes and creatures into the Forgotten Realms campaign setting while maintaining that setting's integrity? may attract experienced folks who've tried the same. No matter what, though, thank you for participating and have fun. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Oct 24 '17 at 23:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I took a pretty big scalpel to your question, cutting out a lot of what I thought was unnecessary and trying to narrow it to just the primary question. I hope that's okay. I think it should be clearer now, but I still don't think the question's ready for reopening: it's asking for ideas without any real information to work from. Seriously, were you to provide in another question your homebrew Pokémon trainer class for critique—which I know is risky!—the site can do that. (Asking Is this class balanced? is totally okay). \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Oct 25 '17 at 16:55

Pokémon are magical

Personally, I would go with a Warlock (Pact of the Chain) as my base for the template, but instead of the Warlock spell list, I would have him "summon" Pokémon. Doing it this way would allow him to bring extra-planar monsters (Pokémon in this case) into the world of Forgotten Realms. As he got higher levels, he would get access to more powerful Pokémon he could summon. You could even make a Poke Ball be his arcane focus.

I would let him have his Pact of the Chain familiar be a Pokémon of some sort (not too powerful) that would be the one that always stays out and make Cantrips be cast through that Pokémon.

Many of the spells in D&D could easily be ported to being produced by a summoned Pokémon that shows up, does their effect, and then goes away (like in Smash Bros.), that way you could even ease this player into being able to be more comfortable playing a standard character in the future maybe.

The party role they would most easily fulfil would be Arcane Blaster, but could also be a Utility Caster. Most of what Pokémon can do most closely resembles magic in my mind.

Are there rules for this?

Yes, there are. There is a section in the DMG that begins on p. 287 about Modifying a Class. The section even suggests modifying a class's spell list as one of the easier ways to alter the class. It does caution about modifying the Warlock's spell list in this section, but it doesn't mean that you shouldn't do it, just that you need to pay attention to what you would be allowing them to do and how often.

This section of the DMG also covers Substituting Class Features and Creating New Class Options.

Why Warlock?

I personally feel like Pact Magic's ability to regain spell slots with a short rest transitions well to Pokémon (they need to rest before they can be summoned again). I also feel that since a Pokémon Trainer relies almost exclusively on their Pokémon's abilities rather than their own, modeling them after a casting class is more appropriate than modeling them after, say, a Ranger. Finally, I feel like letting them have a Pokémon familiar (their Pikachu that won't go in the ball) matches both genres rather well and treating all other Pokémon they have as temporary summons works well too, like "Charmander, go" = Burning Hands and then Charmander has to go back into the ball unless used again.

If you want to go with the idea that your player's Pokémon Trainer if from another world, you could explain that Poké Balls don't work the same way in the world of Forgotten realms. They can't be used to catch monsters, and any Pokémon summoned from them can't stay out very long. You could even explain concentration spells as if keeping certain Pokémon out of their balls is difficult for the trainer.

You could make custom Invocations that allow a Pokémon to "evolve" or something if you want to keep that more thematic.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If you vote me down, please tell me why so that I can improve my answer. Voting me down without saying why is not helpful. \$\endgroup\$ – user39671 Oct 25 '17 at 16:54

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