Welcome to another exciting installment of Spacemon, the tale of a Pokemon TRPG campaign! This is a spinoff of the sci-fi space epic played using the Pokemon Tabletop United (PTU) system, this time GMed by yours truly. You can get caught up the entire Spacemon saga here!
“Good work today, boys,” Captain Cyrus Drake said as he stepped aboard the UAS Maverick with Taraka and Gaster. “The reward for that bounty should keep us fueled up for the next week or so.”
“Let us hope we find another job before then,” Taraka said.
Cyrus let out a chuckle. “I wouldn’t worry about that,” the captain said. “I’m sure something will turn up. It always does.”
As the trio walked into the living quarters, Cyrus spotted Axel and Erik sitting at the table, chatting. “Hey, Captain,” Axel greeted him as he approached.
“You’re awake,” Cyrus said. “How’re ya feeling?”
“Like I got hit by a ton of bricks,” the mercenary replied, grinning. “But I’ll live.” He then turned to look at Gaster. “Who’s your friend?” he asked.
“Your new crewmate,” Cyrus said. “We picked him up on Venbaxxen.”
“Gaster Jameson,” the former smuggler introduced himself, stepping forward and holding out his hand.
Axel reached out and gave his hand a firm shake. “Axel Zuikaku,” he said. “Tell me you’re good in a fight. We need someone else who’s good at that around here.”
Gaster nodded and cracked a sly smirk. “I can do that and more.”
“Good,” Axel replied. “It’s nice to have someone like you in our crew because I’m used to having to carry everyone.”
“You won’t have to worry about that while I’m here,” Gaster said. “As long as you keep things away from me, I’ll keep things away from you.”
“Well it sounds like you two are going to get along nicely,” Cyrus said, chuckling.
“Anyway, I was thinking we could challenge another gym and make some money,” Axel said. “Erik and I were just talking about that before you walked in.”
“A gym, huh?” Cyrus said, a smirk appearing on his face. “I was beginning to think Darlene scared you off from challenging another.”
“Well, we’re much stronger now,” the mercenary replied. “We’ll be more than a match for any gym leader now.”
Cyrus laughed. “I wouldn’t be so sure. They can be pretty tough.”
“Way to have confidence in your crew, boss,” Axel replied.
“Hey, I never said you couldn’t win,” the captain said. “I’m just saying that it won’t be easy.”
“It will be if we go in prepared,” Axel said. “What do you know about the Sector 33 gym leader?”
“Not much really,” Cyrus told the mercenary. “Only that he uses ghost Pokemon and hasn’t had the job that long.”
“Then we just need to catch some dark types first and we’ll be fine,” Axel said.
“Well, we’re not wasting fuel hopping around from system to system,” Cyrus stated. “If you want to catch more dark type Pokemon, you’ll have to look in this system or the one the gym is in.”
“That’s fine by me.”
The Maverick’s crew reconvened at the front of the ship when it arrived in the Fura system, the location of the Sector 33 gym. Taraka looked over the captain’s shoulder as he brought up the details of the system on the navchart.
“These are your choices,” Cyrus said to his crew. “We’re not going to waste fuel flying around aimlessly, so pick one of these planets to visit before the gym.”
Aside from a few mining operations on the rocky moons of the gas giant on the edge of the system and the station containing the gym, there was no Human activity in the Fura system. The gas giant didn’t support any Pokemon life, so the crew quickly ruled out visiting it. That just left the three other planets in the system. One was a small planet covered in deserts and a few dry forests, the second was an ocean world with many volcanic islands, and the last was a mountainous planet with sub-zero temperatures.
“I say we go to the volcanic planet,” Axel said.
Taraka chuckled. “You just want to catch more fire Pokemon,” he said.
“Actually, he might be onto something,” Gaster said, bringing the planet back up on the navchart. “Look at this. The volcanic ash clouds in some areas make it very dark. Perfect for dark type Pokemon.”
Taraka nodded. Gaster had a point. Of the three planets that could sustain life in the system, this one was the most suitable habitat for dark type Pokemon. “Then this is the world we shall visit.”
A short while later, the Maverick touched down on the planet’s surface. The crew had elected to land on an island with a volcano that was still active and spewing volcanic ash into the air. There were far more pleasant locales on the world, but they thought they’d have the best chance of finding dark type Pokemon there. Soon, Axel, Gaster, and Taraka set out on their Pokemon search. Everyone else on the ship opted not to join them as none of them were particularly interested in challenging the gym.
As he stepped off the cargo ramp onto the blackened volcanic rock of the island, Taraka took a look around. Even though the light was dim due to the dark cloud of ash overhead, the monk could still see for a good distance. To his left was the sea, it’s waves crashing upon the shore of volcanic rock. Straight ahead, he could see a stream of lava flowing down the sloping land into the water where it created massive columns of steam.
Taraka then turned back to his crewmates. “So, where shall we begin our search?” he asked them.
“I think I’m going to try my luck near the volcano,” Axel said.
“All the way up there?” Gaster asked, pointing to the volcano way off in the distance.
“Yeah,” Axel said. “Ritsu will fly me up there.” The mercenary then released his Charizard and began to mount up. “You’re welcome to join me.”
“I don’t have any Pokemon that can fly,” Gaster said. “I think I’ll search around here.”
“I will stay as well,” Taraka said.
“Alright, suit yourselves,” Axel replied. “C’mon, Ritsu. Let’s get moving.” With that, the mercenary gave his Charizard a nudge and she took to the skies.
After watching Axel and Ritsu fly off into the distance, Taraka turned back to Gaster. “Shall we get on our way?”
As Taraka walked along the coastline with Gaster, he kept his senses on alert for any sign of Pokemon activity. It had been some time since the two had parted ways with Axel, and so far all the monk had been able to perceive was the sound of the waves crashing upon the volcanic rocks. Despite this, Taraka had a good feeling about this island.
As they ascended a small ridge, Taraka began to hear a low growling sound. He and Gaster quickly ran up the rest of the way to the top, where they were able to see a Houndoom staring down a Crawdaunt. Its teeth bared, the Houndoom was growling at the Crawdaunt, which snapped its claws menacingly back at it.
“Looks like a territory dispute,” Gaster observed.
“Or an opportunity to catch some Pokemon,” Taraka said, flashing the former smuggler a grin.
Gaster nodded. “Sounds good to me. I’d like to catch that Houndoom, if you don’t mind.”
“Go for it,” Taraka said. “I’ll take the Crawdaunt.”
“Gotcha,” Gaster said, pulling out a Pokeball. “You go right. I’ll go left. We’ll come up behind them on either side.” He took a step forward, and sent out a Krokorok as he began descending the ridge.
“A sound plan,” Taraka agreed as he followed his crewmate and sent out his Tangrowth.
Once they reached the bottom of the ridge, the two trainers and their Pokemon split up to close in on either side of their targets. As he crept up on the Crawdaunt with his Tangrowth, Taraka watched Gaster’s Krokorok get the Houndoom’s attention. In response, the Houndoom turned and ran at the new threat, coating itself over in flames. Whatever move had been used seemed to have really angered it.
The Houndoom was then met with a volley of shots from Gaster’s laser rifle. The sound of the weapon firing spooked the Crawdaunt, causing it to burrow underground. Sensing the Pokemon tunneling below him, Taraka threw up a psionic barrier then issued a command to his own Pokemon. “Roma, use Growth.”
As his Tangrowth began storing up energy, Taraka allowed himself to glance over in Gaster’s direction. “Jimothy, use Sand Tomb!” the monk heard him command his Pokemon. The Krokorok unleashed a tornado of sand upon the Houndoom, which engulfed it and swept it in Taraka’s direction. Gaster followed after it, gazing down the sights of his rifle. He fired several shots off, but couldn’t line up a shot through the sandy vortex swirling around his target. As laser bolts flew past, the Houndoom began spraying out flames in all directions, singeing Gaster’s Pokemon.
Just then, while Taraka was distracted, the Crawdaunt shot up through the ground between the monk and his Tangrowth, spraying them with chunks of volcanic rock. Roma seemed fine, but Taraka felt stinging pains as he was scraped and cut by the jagged chunks. It wasn’t anything he couldn’t handle, however.
“Roma, hit that thing with Vine Whip,” Taraka commanded his Pokemon. With her mighty vine arms, the Tangrowth swatted at the Crawdaunt, forcefully slamming it into a nearby rock. Then, as the Pokemon struggled to pick itself back up, Taraka focused his power into a ball of psionic energy that he sent toward it, burning through its hard exoskeleton.
Getting back on its feet, the Crawdaunt charged at Roma, eager for payback. Acting quickly, Taraka stepped in front of his Pokemon and focused his barrier in front of him to absorb the impact as the Crawdaunt swiped at him with its claws. “Now, Roma! Stun Spore!” the monk then commanded his Pokemon. He stepped to the side as the Tangrowth let out a spray of powder at the Crawdaunt, causing it to seize up.
With the Crawdaunt stunned, Taraka allowed himself to see how Gaster was doing. The monk looked over to see the Houndoom sinking its teeth into his crewmate’s Pokemon. The Krokorok soon broke free, however, and backed away before unleashing another sand vortex to trap the Houndoom. Seeing an opportunity, Taraka let loose a burst of psionic energy that left the Houndoom dazed.
As the confused Houndoom struggled to break from from the swirling tornado of sand, Gaster was able to safely recall his Krokorok and send out his Cinccino. “Lulabelle, use Sing!” the former smuggler ordered his newly released Pokemon. Heeding her trainer’s command, the Cinccino let out a high-pitched screeching sound that caused both the Houndoom and the Crawdaunt to fall to the ground, completely stunned. Without missing a beat, Gaster pulled out a Pokeball and threw it at the dazed canine Pokemon. The ball pulled it inside then fell to the ground. It shook once, then twice … then fell still.
With one Pokemon out of the picture, Taraka turned back to the Crawdaunt. “Alright, Roma, hit it with Struggle,” the monk commanded his Pokemon, not wishing to do too much more damage to the Crawdaunt. His Tangrowth gave the crustacean a light slap with one of her vine arms snapping it back to alertness. The Crawdaunt rushed at Roma, trying to get in another hit, but it stumbled past her and collapsed into a heap, succumbing to its injuries.
“This is unfortunate,” Taraka said. “I was hoping to capture it.”
“At least we have dinner for later,” the monk heard Axel’s voice say. He turned to see the mercenary walking up to them.
“What are you doing down here?” Gaster asked.
“I didn’t find anything interesting up by the volcano,” Axel explained. “So I decided to see how you two were faring. Any luck?”
“Gaster captured a Houndoom, but I was not as fortunate, as you can see,” Taraka said, motioning at the unconscious Crawdaunt.
“A Houndoom, huh?” Axel asked. “I could make use of one of those.”
Gaster let out a slight chuckle. “Maybe you should have come with us,” he said.
“Maybe I should have,” Axel agreed. “But I’m here now, and you guys seem to have had some luck finding Pokemon on the coast, so maybe we can find some more.”
“I think we just did,” Gaster said, point toward the shore.
Looking to where his crewmate was pointing, Taraka saw a Carvanha swimming near the water’s surface. “How about we go fishing, Roma?” the monk said, turning to his Tangrowth. With his Pokemon beside him, he approached the water’s edge.
“Allow me to help with that,” Axel said, sending out his Charizard. “Get that Carvanha, Ritsu! Use Dragon Rage!” Flying out over the water, Ritsu spit a ball of draconic fire at the unsuspecting fish.
“Do it to it, Roma,” Taraka said. “Use Stun Spore.” The monk’s Tangrowth spewed out some powder on the surface of the water, which caused the Carvanha to begin swimming erratically. The carnivorous fish Pokemon suddenly leapt out of the water, sinking its teeth into one of her vine arms. The attack didn’t seem to do much other than annoy the Tangrowth, who began flailing her arm around, trying to shake it off.
“Just hold it there,” Taraka said, approaching the two Pokemon. He pulled out a Pokeball, then pressed it against the Carvanha, capturing it instantly.
As he put his newly filled Pokeball away, Taraka heard a snarling sound beside him. He turned to see Axel’s Charizard giving him the stink-eye. “What?” the monk asked the Pokemon.
“She thought that Carvanha was dinner,” Axel said.
“You eat enough as it is,” Taraka said, looking Ritsu right in the eye.
The Charizard let out a low growl, then took to the skies. She dove down, flying low over the water, then dipped her head in. A moment later, Ritsu pulled out another Carvanha, which she then tossed up into the air. The Charizard proceeded to roast it with flames, then gulp it down in one bite before it hit the water.
“That’s my girl!” Axel laughed gleefully.
Taraka couldn’t help but chuckle. “Come,” he said. “Let us return to the ship.”
Notes: Alternate Title: The Pokemon Hunting Adventures of Gaster and Taraka, Part 1. This was the first of several sessions throughout this campaign where only Novi and unknown attended the session and they decided just to look for Pokemon. For this particular chapter, however, I messed around with the order things happened in. The bulk of this chapter is the entirety of Session 19, but the beginning and end bits are from the beginning and end of session 20. Axel had to miss yet another session, but it didn’t make sense to wait for Gaster and Axel to meet until after this chapter, so I opened up with the dialogue from the start of the following following session when Axel was there because it flowed better. The players had also planned to go to the next gym, which I had determined to be a ghost gym, several sessions prior, but we hadn’t got around to it with the roster changes, so I included it in this scene as well. That was the reason they went looking for dark types anyway. They got lucky as one of the limited number of planets I generated for them had dark as its common Pokemon type. As for the ending, they ended up returning to the planet again after the gym fight in the next session since there was extra time left over. For narrative reasons, it made more sense to me for them to have only visited it once, so I wrote it as if Axel had gone off on his own and then joined up with them later. There were a few fun fights here, and some good RP. The whole thing with Charizard wanting to eat the Carvanha was Axel’s doing, so after Novi caught it, I had Axel roll to find another one for his Pokemon to eat for shits and giggles. And he went and rolled a 1 on the d100 roll. So I had his Charizard do a badass thing. It was a fun and hilarious way to end that session.
Post-Chapter Challenge: A couple chapters ago Axel mentioned eating a Kingler and this chapter he mentioned eating a Crawdaunt. His Charizard also ate a Carvanha. So obviously Pokemon are a thing that get eaten seeing as there are no animals. Today’s challenge is to come up with a tasty dish made from Pokemon!
That does it for this chapter. As always the Spacemon gang and I will be monitoring the comments to foster discussion and answer any questions. Feel free to give feedback and critiques of the writing so I can improve it for the future, or just leave a comment with what you think about what went down in this chapter or what you think might happen next! You can also revisit past chapters, check out the rest of the Spacemon saga, join the Spacemon Discord server, or like our Facebook page to stay updated on all things Spacemon! Click here for the next exciting installment of Spacemon: Frontier!