To handle random encounters and wild Pokémon fairly, players are asked to rely on one another to gamemaster one another's sessions. From the rules channel:
- Sometimes, you might not want to play out a situation involving your player character, but you might want to play the part of a random Pokémon spawn or a one-off non-player character such as a lost trainer who needs to get back home. Alternately, you might feel like you want random challenges thrown at your character that you have to react to. This is called serving as the gamemaster ("GM") for a session. Not every session needs GMs, but you can GM for someone else's session should everyone involved agree to the presence of a GM. A GM might involve players in a long journey that ends in a reward, or they might simply have a quirky random encounter and end it there. GMs other than myself cannot utilize major plot characters or plot events, which includes all Legendary Pokémon and official NPCs such as Gym Leaders, but you are free to have your own subplots that can be as elaborate as you want.
Essentially, the other person serves as the "computer" that, in a Pokémon video game, would take care of wild Pokémon, opposing trainer battles, and so on. Because of the nature of the roleplay, you're even able to create more involved and open-ended adventures involving the player and NPCs you create.
Tips for GMing EffectivelyEdit
- Your goal is to entertain, not to "win". Again, you're the background of a video game; your challenges exist to be defeated if the player does things correctly. You can always ask what type of encounter a player specifically wants to make sure you start with something that will be engaging for them.
- Keep spawns "beatable" by the player. If you want to use Prometheus or another random number generator to determine a random spawn, still use your best judgment. Don't spawn Pokémon dramatically over the player's level and shrug and say that the random number generator gave you that Pokémon, so you have to use it. Spawning a super high level Pokémon sometimes or for a sub-plot's story is okay, but handing someone an extremely high level Pokémon and expecting them to beat it conventionally is just mean.
- Similarly to the above, don't only spawn "bad" things for a player or things you know they don't like, or things that are so easy that the encounter is practically over before it begins. Seek a happy medium. Don't be afraid to look directly at a player's team (or ask for their levels) to know how to tailor an encounter to be sufficiently challenging.
- Spawn reasonable events or Pokémon based on what the player is clearly there to do. If a player is hunting for Pokémon specifically, don't dangle possible Pokémon spawns in front of them and taunt them by never giving them what they want.
- If you know a player is looking for something specifically and is in the correct area for it, you may give them the Pokémon they're looking for specifically after one or two truly "random" encounters or at the end of a particularly involved encounter. Try to avoid automatically handing out things that the player wants.
- Stay reasonable to the lore and tone of the site and area the player is in, and justify the spawn in some way. An Ice-type Pokémon might suddenly appear from a time portal, for example, but it doesn't make much sense for there to be a Magikarp in the middle of the desert unless you somehow explain why.
- You can make your little "sub-plots" as involved and intricate as you'd like -- so long as they don't trespass on official lore or plot gameplay, it doesn't matter if, say, you decide you want to involve the player in a long story about a missing trainer and the truth of their disappearance.
- Include all involved players in the sub-plot; don't ignore anyone!