Otaku USA Magazine
These YouTubers Have Put Pokémon into Dungeons & Dragons. It’s Super Effective!

Dungeons and Dragons... but make it Pokémon!

Dungeons & Dragons has become more popular than ever over the last few years, with many settings and systems rushing to be 5e-compatible. So, why not Pokémon? We’ve heard tell of many gaming groups trying to mash the collectible cryptids into the Wizards of the Coast setting in the past—because why wouldn’t you? And recently, the Oxventure YouTube channel had a crack at it themselves. Their two-hour one-shot includes multiple Pokémon battles, a few evolutions, and the total breakdown of the trainer/creature symbiosis that has guided the series for nearly 30 years. Most importantly, though, it balances. And you can try these homebrew mechanics in your own games!


Everyone Should Have Thought of Everything

The Oxventure YouTube channel is home to several tabletop actual play series, including a recently-concluded D&D campaign, Blades in the Dark and Deadlands campaigns, and more experimental one-offs. With their next big campaign coming in September, the players are spending the summer on some shorter subjects. And since Oxventure is an offshoot of UK video game channels Outside Xbox and Outside Xtra, it’s no surprise that they’d turn their attention to a beloved video game franchise for one of these outings.

Regular player and Blades in the Dark DM Luke Westaway leads this journey, in which a new crop of Team Rocket recruits sets out to make Giovanni proud. Our new duo consists of Andy Farrant’s Skull (an enthusiastic rule-breaker whose Pokémon also all have “Skull” names) and Ellen Rose’s Backpacker Pearl (who’s only here because Team Rocket won’t give her back her backpack). Overseeing them is Meowth (but not that Meowth), a jaded divorcee and former long-haul trucker played by regular DM Johnny Chiodini.

That’s all great, but how exactly does this work? Watch the session above to find out, or read on for a quick summary.


To Be the Very Best

Ellen Rose, Andy Farrant, and Johnny Chiodini

First things first: in Pokémon,  the trainers are (at least in combat) secondary. Thus, our players don’t have fully personalized character sheets. Each trainer is based on the Commoner stat block, which gives you four hit points, +0 on every stat down the line, and a movement speed of 30. (Except for Skull, who got a kidney infection and has a movement speed of 5.) Specific Pokémon are statted out as monsters, with their iconic moves treated as either weapon attacks or spell attacks.

Lots of questions are answered (sometimes on the fly) in the campaign, but here are a few of the important ones. Switching your ‘mon takes one action in combat, and you can only have one out at a time (of course). Death saves are eschewed in favor of fainting.  Strengths and weaknesses against certain types works the same way as Resistances and Vulnerabilities in 5e. Oh, and… apparently a trainer can join the initiative? But remember they’ve got four hit points.


Your Turn!

Pikachu fights like you've never seen before.

In this session, we see a lot of familiar Pokémon faces. A gang of Clefairy turn terrifying when their moonstone is stolen. A loyal Growlithe keeps fighting when its trainer collapses. And our heroes (or rather, villains) meet a certain familiar young trainer and his super-strong Pikachu. Naturally, we all want to join in the fun. And, as you can see in the video, each Pokémon used has its own stat block. Good news: you won’t have to engineer them yourself if you want to use them!

Subscribers to the OX Supporters’ Club Patreon can download ten stat blocks for favorites including Pikachu, Spearow, Geodude, and Gyarados. (There’s also a Magikarp stat block, if you really want it.) That’s enough to kick off a Pokémon campaign of your own, or surprise your D&D players with a Zubat encounter. They’re also a great jumping-off point for statting out more ‘mons on your own!

Meet more strange creatures in Tonari no Yokai-san.

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. Beyond the world of anime, she's a writer for Doctor Who expanded universe series including Iris Wildthyme and the City of the Saved, as well as an editor for the critically-acclaimed Black Archive series.