El Sijo's Blog

all Science and Fantasy topics


Leave a comment

The Best of 2016

rs_600x600-161202140354-600-best-of-2016-mhTo many people -including myself- 2016 was a bad year. But nothing is absolute; there were good things as well. And since this is a science fiction/fantasy blog (and I don’t care to remember the bad things) I present you now my favorite series of 2016:

This was a surprisingly good year in animation. In addition to expected hits like Zootopia and Moana, we had films like Kubo and the Two Strings (stop-motion, but it counts) and even Storks and Sing were much better than I expected! On television, Steven Universe continues to reign with shocking revelations both personal and cosmic; and the return of DC’s heroes in Justice League Action was long awaited. And as a Latino, I appreciated Disney finally giving us our own Princess with Elena of Avalor.

As for Japanese animation, my favorite of the year was My Hero Academia– best American-style superhero show ever done in Japan ever (I also liked One Punch Man, which was also about superheroes, but was more of a deconstruction.) Funniest Anime of the year goes to Konosuba (God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World) which deconstructed fantasy role-playing games. On the other hand, I had a love/hate relationship with Re:Zero. For one thing, it was a show for sadists, as the main characters were killed or made to suffer over and over again- but at the same time, it had an intriguing premise that begged you to keep watching to see if the heroes would ever win. (I guess I understand why people watch The Walking Dead now.) Funny how deconstruction seems to be a theme these days eh?

In live action, I didn’t see that many movies. Deadpool was another surprise in that I hate the character but I enjoyed most the film well enough. Captain America: Civil War was thankfully excellent despite being based on a terribly comics storyline. Doctor Strange was OK but I wasn’t too happy with the changes they made (I  refer more to the SFX than the ethnicity of some characters). Arrival was probably the smartest film of the year (probably too smart for its own good.) Before you ask, no I didn’t see Rogue One yet (I’m not that big of a Star Wars fan, especially when I knew the ending ahead.) I’ll catch it in DVD and tell you my opinion then.

I don’t watch much television these days -most comedies and dramas don’t do much for me- but I was hooked by two in particular: The Good Place and Designated Survivor. Both have surprisingly clever writing. And I’m quite amazed in how Good Place is effectively mocking the conventions of religion yet hasn’t gotten called in for it. As for survivor, you might wonder why its listed here. Well, since it obviously takes place in a different version of the present, I count it as Science Fiction. In any case, its a clever use of the designated survivor protocol as well as a great drama with lots of intrigue. And do I really need to say that Stranger Things is also on my list?

Finally, we had some great video games as well. Pokemon celebrated its 20th anniversary successfully with Pokemon Sun and Moon, which not only had a neat Polynesian setting (which in turn had great synergy with Moana’s) but also modernized the franchise in many ways. Final Fantasy also had a great year with both the fun World of Final Fantasy and the more traditional Final Fantasy XV. Note I don’t play shooters, so I can’t talk about Overwatch.

That’s all I can think of now, but there were plenty of other things both I (and I’m sure, you) enjoyed as well last year.


Leave a comment

Pokemon in Basic Action Super Heroes?!

BASH Pokemon

Sure, why not? Pokemon is still very popular, and BASH is both easy to learn yet complex enough to cover the details of the Pokemon games. A campaign set in the Pokemon World would be a nice change of pace, or a good introduction to BASH for fans of Pokemon.

Obviously, Pokemon should be bought using the Sidekick/Pet Advantage (unless you’re playing *as* Pokemon, as in the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games.) Those owned by NPCs should be treated as minions. Wild Pokemon are also minions unless they are very high level or (most) Legendary Pokemon; treat them as Villains in that case.

Whether Pokemon have the Non-Sentient Disadvantage is a Narrator choice, but I would advice its use. First because this seems to be the case in most of the games (if not in the cartoons) and second because of the controversial implications that capturing sentient beings and forcing them to fight would bring. Legendary Pokemon might be the exception, but then each is unique already. In a Campaign where Pokemon are sentient, just assume they speak Pokemonese, a language humans haven’t deciphered yet.

To convert a Pokemon, start by finding the closest creature description in BASH. Make the following adjustments:

Powers: Build appropriate Powers based on the Pokemon’s Special Ability and Moves (the latter must *always* have the Energy Cost Limitation). In addition:

-Most Pokemon have Resistance to one or more of the following “types” of attack: Bug, Dark, Dragon, Grass, Electric, Fairy, Fighting, Fire, Flying, Ghost, Ground, Ice, Poison, Psychic, Rock, Normal, Steel, Water.

-A few also have Immunity to one or two of those types.

-All Pokemon also have the following Power:

Struggle- Special Attack 1 (+1 DM with Brawn, no Range or Area) <Only usable when Energy Points run out, -1, power must be Pushed> 1 pt. (Normal type)

Weaknesses: Most Pokemon also have a Damaging Weakness to one or more of the Attack Types listed above.

Pokeballs are represented by the following Power:

Immobilization (level varies by type of Pokeball, no Area) <Gadget (Ammunition- uses depend on number of balls carried)>. Other Enhancements and Limitations depend on the type of Pokeball eg. a Net Ball has Extra Effect on Bug and Water-type Pokemon. Note that capturing a Pokemon doesn’t automatically gain it as a Pet; the character must buy each as a separate Advantage first.

The rest is pretty much as in the games/anime.

As an example, here’s the most famous Pokemon of all:

PIKACHU
Brawn 0 Agility 3 Mind 1 (8 pts)
100 Hits

Powers:

Resistance 2 (Flying, Steel, Electric, paralysis) 2 pts

Static- Weaken Agility 4 (no Range or Area) (paralysis) 4 pts

Thunderbolt- Special Attack 4 (+4 to Mind DM, no Range, Burst Area, +1 pt) [Doubles (paralysis), +1)] <Energy Cost, -1> (Electric type) 5 pts

Quick Attack- Swift Strike <Energy Cost, -1> (Normal type) 1 pt

Iron Tail- Special Attack 5 (+5 to DM with Brawn, no Range, Burst Area +1 pt) [Doubles (lowers Soak by 10 points, +1 pt) ] <Energy Cost, -1> (Steel type) 6 pts

Electro Ball- Special Attack 5 (+5 DM with Mind, no Range, Burst Area +1) < -1 DM for every level that the target’s Agility is higher; Energy Cost, -1> 5 pts

Struggle- Special Attack 1 (+1 DM with Brawn, no Range or Area) <Only usable when Energy Points run out, -1, power must be Pushed> (Normal type) 1 pt.

Weaknesses:

Damaging Weakness to Ground Attacks (-2 pts)
Skills:

Athlete x4/Running

Stealth/Prowling

Outdoor/Tracking

Total: Stats 8 pts + Powers 24 -Weakness 2 = 30 points


I hope you find these suggestions useful or interesting.


Leave a comment

Designing your own Pokémon Card

lfhdpC30Erd

Note: this is a reposting of an old article of mine from a previous Blog. Some of the rules below might be outdated.

(For details on the Pokemon Card Game’s rules, see their booklet or go to their website.)

Your Pokemon starts with the Default Stats. To customize it, choose any number of Improvements listed below. However, every Improvement requires that you also pick a Limitation from the list below as well. You can also do it the other way around eg. choose the Limitations first and then use them to “buy” the Improvements. You MUST use up all your limits before you are finished, though.

Note: there are too many possible effects for Attacks and Powers for me to list them all here. I’ll give some examples but you should check an online list for more.

DEFAULT STATS:

Stage: Basic

Hit Points: 50

Type: choose one type: Colorless, Fighting, Fire, Grass, Lightning, Psychic, Water, Darkness, or Metal. This determines which type of element your Pokemon’s attacks are (not the Energy Cards they have attached.)

Attacks: 2 Attacks. You make up their names. Each requires one Energy Card (of any type) to be equipped on the Pokemon before they can be used, and each does 10 HP (hit points) of damage. Note: No matter how many attacks a Pokemon has, it can only attack once each turn (though you can use a Poke-Power AND an attack on the same turn.)

Retreat Cost: one Energy Card.

IMPROVEMENTS: For each Improvement you choose, you must also select a Limitation (or more, see their descriptions.)

Stage: Baby– The special rules for Baby Pokemon apply to this card. You must indicate which Basic Pokemon it evolves into (can be one made up by you.) (You cannot have more than one Stage.)

Special Name: Choose one. Cards and effects that apply to that kind of Pokemon now apply to this card. Examples include: “Dark (name of the Pokemon)”, “Light (name of the Pokemon)”, and “(name of a trainer)’s (name of the Pokemon)”.

Higher Hit Points: Every 10 HP more that you give the Pokemon will require one limitation. Maximum 200 HP.

Second Type: Your Pokemon is two rather than one type. This means every Attack the Pokemon has counts as being of both types. Requires two limits. Can only be applied once.

Poke-Power: This replaces one of your attacks. This can be anything you choose. You must declare when it is in effect (or not) during your own turn. This power stops working if the Pokemon is affected by a Special Condition. For every effect the Power has, you must choose one limit. Examples include: causing any of the Special Conditions (see under Special Effects.)

If you are not sure you can come up with a power that’s not unfair to play, copy an existing one from an actual card. You can rename it, however. You can have only one Poke-power or Poke-Body.

Poke-Body: this is the same as a Poke-Power, except it is in effect at all times, you cannot choose to turn it off, nor does it stop under Special Conditions. For every effect it has, you must choose one limit.

If you are not sure you can come up with a poke-body that’s not unfair to play, copy an existing one from an actual card. You can rename it, however. You can have only one Poke-Body or Poke-Power. Examples include: being immune to a Special Condition.

Extra Attack: For one limitation, you can add another basic attack (10 Damage, costs one card.)

Lesser Energy Cost: One of your attacks requires one less Energy Card (of any type) to be equipped before it can be used. Can be assigned any number of times (for one limit each.) The cost CAN be zero.

Higher Damage: The attack does 10 more damage for every limit given. You can also assign this to a Poke-Power to have it do damage.

Special Effects: There are several, but the most typical are:

-The Special Conditions:

*Sleep-

*Poison

*Paralysis

*Burn

*Confusion

Another example is “the opponent’s Pokemon cannot attack next turn” and “damage is multiplied by (something, such as the number of cards attached to the Pokemon.)”

You may copy an effect from an existing card. Each effect costs one Limit.

Resistance: The Pokemon takes 30 less damage from one type of element, of your choice.

Reduced Retreat Cost: One less card for every limitation. Minimum zero.

LIMITATIONS:

Pokemon EX: When this Pokemon is knocked out, the opponent claims two prizes instead of one. This pays for five improvements rather than one (four for Stage 1 or Stage 2 Pokemon).

Stage 1: This card can only be played on top of a Basic Pokemon card (chosen now) that’s already in play. All damage markers the other card had are retained. Counts as two limits.

Stage 2: Same as as above, but the card must be placed on a Stage 1 Pokemon. Counts as five limits.

Less HP: For every 10 HP less your Pokemon has than it should, you gain one Improvement. Minimum HP must be 10.

One Less Attack: Your card has only one Attack. I you take it twice (for two limits) your Pokemon cannot attack, only use a Poke-Power or retreat.

Higher Energy Cost: One of your attacks requires one more Energy Card (of any type) to be equipped before it can be used. Can be assigned any number of times (for one Improvement each.) Can also be assigned to Poke-Powers or Poke-Bodies (which normally do not need energy cards to be used.)

Specific Energy Card: One of the Energy Cards required by an Attack must be of an specific element. Can be taken once for every energy card required, giving one Improvement for each. Can also be assigned to Poke-Powers (if they have an Energy Cost.)

Special Requirement: You must fulfill a specific requirement during the game before an attack’s damage (or effect) or a poke-power can be used. A typical example is “Flip A Coin: If tails, nothing happens.”

Less Damage: The attack does 10 less points of damage for every Improvement. Minimum zero.

Weakness: The Pokemon takes twice the damage from attacks of a specific element (choose which now.)

Increased Retreat Cost: One more Energy card. Can be taken multiple times.

EXAMPLE: BICEPHADRAKE

Bicephadrake is a dragon Pokemon with two heads that I invented. The right side of its body (including its right head) is red, and is fire-type; while the left side (Including its left head) is white and Water-type (well, Ice type actually, but since that does not exist in the card game, let’s make it Water instead.) The red head can breathe fire, and the white one can spit freezing-cold water.

I start with the default stats: Basic Stage, 50 HP, two attacks, retreats for one card. I decide that its type is Fire and that its attacks are named Fiery Breath and Freezing Breath.

Now I choose the Improvements: I want the first attack to cause Burns, and the second to cause Paralysis (it freezes the opponent.) I also give it Resistance to Fire. So far, I need three Limitations.

I also invent the Poke-Power: Turning Sideways. Once per turn, Bicephadrake can (by turning its other side to its opponents) effectively change its Type to Water, and its Resistance from Fire to Water. These are two separate effects, so the power requires three limits.

I need to choose six limits now. I begin by giving the Poke-Power Special Requirements: if Bicephadrake is a Fire type, then it gains a weakness to water, and if it’s a Water type, a weakness to Fire. That’s two Limits down.

I still need four more. I decide that the Fiery Breath requires a Fire Energy Card, and Freezing Breath a Water Card. We’re down to two.

Finally, I decide to give the attacks Special Conditions: Fiery Breath can only be used when Bicephadrake is a Fire Type, and Freezing Breath when it is a Water type.

The final Card would look like this:

Bicephadrake

Basic Pokemon

HP 50

Type: Fire

[Picture of Bicephadrake]

Poke-Power: Turning Sideways– Once per turn, Bicephadrake can become a Water-Type Pokemon. When it does, its Resistance changes from Fire to Water, and its Weakness from Water to Fire. This lasts until the Power is used again.

Fiery Breath: One Fire Card. Causes a Burn. Can only be used when Bicephadrake is a Fire Type. 10 Damage.

Freezing Breath: One Water Card. Causes Paralysis. Can only be used when Bicephadrake is a Water type. 10 Damage.

Resistance: Fire

Weakness: Water

Retreat Cost: One