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My Pokémon Tabletop group is thinking of switching to Fate. We're going to be using these Companion rules to allow characters to spend a Stunt slot to stat up a Pokémon as a Fair NPC.

Typing is really important to Pokémon as a genre, so every Pokémon's type is going to be present in its high concept. For example, a wild Pidgey's High Concept might be Level 3 Normal/Flying Tiny Bird Pokémon, with Normal/Flying being its typing.

In Pokémon, Electric-Type attacks always deal super-effective damage to Flying-Types. So if an enemy Pikachu used, say, Thunderbolt, it would be expected to hit a lot harder than a non-electric attack.

I've considered saying "you have to spend a Fate Point to get the bonus because that's how aspects work," but that just felt icky to us. The strategic appeal of Pokémon is typing, and if you have to work hard just to deal devastating damage to a Fire-Type with a Water-Type move, we feel like something's wrong.

The alternative is the "portable situation aspect" idea, where everybody who has type advantage declares it at the beginning of a scene, makes a situation aspect out of it, and gets a free invoke. But since type advantage is the core of Pokémon, it's statistically likely that every Pokémon in a given encounter is going to have a super-effective attack against at least one enemy. And since these guys only get one stress box, that's almost a guaranteed KO every single time... In other words, the game quickly devolves into a petty competition of "whoever rolls the highest initiative wins."

And that's not fun either. I wish there was a halfway point that made sense.

My Questions

Does Fate have a mechanism for handling the midpoint between "always true" and "+2" on advantage aspects? Am I missing the point? At the risk of sounding subjective, does anyone have a better idea?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Wow, I'm floored. I honestly never thought anyone would use my stuff! Thank you! \$\endgroup\$ – Christopher Jun 6 '15 at 1:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ My pleasure. It's been the most inspiring resource I've found for "minions" so far. It will have to see some changes before it meshes with my Pokémon game, but the concept is solid. A Zora Princess in my Zelda game is using one as a bodyguard. What a happy coincidence actually because I was thinking as I wrote this that I wish I could get in touch with the writer to seek clarification on a couple of stunts from that page. \$\endgroup\$ – Robert Jun 6 '15 at 2:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the blog comments or email me: EldritchFire[at]me[dot]com! \$\endgroup\$ – Christopher Jun 6 '15 at 22:31
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No, there really aren't any existing rules that do what you're asking.

My suggestion would be to simply state that a particular Pokemon type always has that +2 bonus in effect against another Pokemon it's strong/weak against. Types resistant to particular attacks get a +2 to defense and types whose attacks are particularly effective get +2 to attack.

Alternately, use the existing Weapon/Armor rules spelled out in the core SRD: types resistant to a particular attack get Armor: 2 against that attack. Et cetera. I think the latter would work better as armor is guaranteed to reduce shifts, whereas simply adding it to the roll still allows luck to play a factor.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I like the idea of Weapon/Armor values for super-effective attacks, because they don't apply to noncombat rolls and attacks don't get bonuses if they miss. That's narrow enough to be fair if it's only a +1. \$\endgroup\$ – Robert Jun 5 '15 at 19:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ That is called a stunt in Fate terms :) \$\endgroup\$ – edgerunner Jun 6 '15 at 23:58
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"I'm more effective, always, when the following is true" is the definition of a stunt.

So a simple stunt like "Water Type: +2 when attacking fire types" or the equivalent is a pretty good starting point.

Other options might be "Weapon: 2 against fire types" which would only give you the bonus once you've already hit, or increasing consequence severity against opposing types (if they have consequence slots).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This would have interesting repercussions, because some types have "super effective" or "not very effective" effects against a large number of types; Each character's going to end up with a large number of stunts. Maybe some kind of campaign stunt system could work? Or... Hmm, but then you'd have to worry about characters having stunts without paying for them. This is hard. +1 anyway. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Jun 9 '15 at 1:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Or "+2 against x, y, z types". Or, as you said, a "campaign stunt" if you want. \$\endgroup\$ – kyoryu Jun 9 '15 at 1:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I'm really not sure how to tackle this. All Pokemon (or all moves) need these stunts depending on their type, so it feels a bit weird to make them pay for stunts on a case-by-case basis; but on the other hand, making them universal seems to invalidate the normal refresh/stunt tradeoff by allowing access to stunts without having to pay for them. Plus, having to pay per-mon makes it hard to play a Hex Maniac. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Jun 9 '15 at 2:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Modeling and costing are kinda two separate questions, though, I think. If I were running a Pokemon game, I'd probably start each player with one of a few choices of Pokemon (like the games), and then let them acquire them through play, without necessarily worrying about the costing of them. \$\endgroup\$ – kyoryu Jun 9 '15 at 2:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ The costing would depend on the model you used; And, as costs may affect the viability of some options a model makes available, the costing also affects the relative desirability of models. I don't think the questions can be easily separated. Especially if you want to support tricky stuff like swapping Pokemon into and out of an existing team, or breeding. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Jun 9 '15 at 3:34
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Remember that since anything can be treated as a character, give the campaign a stunt: Super Effective. whenever I attack or create an advantage against a target weak against my type, I get a +1 bonus.

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One alternative might be to model "super-effective" attacks as a Stunt instead of an Aspect. Stunts are meant to be persistent advantages that apply to specific situations, such as "because I know Flamethrower, I get +2 to Attack against Grass-type opponents."

However, modeling types as Aspects might still be good because Aspects are meant to be sometimes beneficial, sometimes detrimental. "I'm a Fire-type" is something you can invoke for a bonus against Grass or Ice types, while someone who uses Water or Ground types can compel the Aspect to launch a more effective attack against you.

Another thing to keep in mind is that "accuracy" and "damage" are basically intertwined in Fate (the difference between the Attack and Defend rolls is the amount of stress that the defender has to absorb to avoid being taken out). So that +2 to Attack might be accounting for factors like accuracy and evasion, not just your Pokemon's type or attack stats.

One final note: the reason I put "accuracy" and "damage" in quotes is because the stress and consequences that Attack rolls in Fate inflict don't always equate to a HP bar (or even to physical damage). So don't think of the need to invoke Aspects as meaning that super-effective damage isn't always in play. It represents a combination of factors and stats: running out of PP for your buffs/debuffs, trainers using up their potions, landing critical hits, and so on.

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