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!
“It was only after several hours of wandering the underground tunnels that I saw it,” Taraka said. “The narrow passage I was walking through suddenly opened up to a large open cavern full of ancient ruined buildings. It was clear that nobody had been there in centuries.”
“Incredible,” Gaster said when the monk paused to take a breath. As the Maverick flew through warp space to its next destination, Gaster sat with Taraka at the table in the living quarters as the monk shared the tale of how he learned to do whatever it was that he had done to the Milotic on Rixius.
“As I stepped out into the cavern, I began to notice an unsettling atmosphere about the place,” Taraka continued. “I am not quite sure how to explain it. I shrugged it off and continued onwards. Most of the buildings, it seemed, had long since fallen to rubble, but one structure remained intact. Once I found my way inside, I discovered that it was a library.”
“And that’s where you found the book, I’m guessing,” Gaster said.
“Indeed,” Taraka said, nodding. “After reaching out with my senses, I was saddened to learn that this library was not the location I had seen in my vision, but I decided to make use of my time there and explore. I could not read the few books there that were not completely decayed with time, but I felt drawn to one in particular. It was in that book that I learned that … I suppose ‘spell’ is the best word for it.”
“Do you still have it?” Gaster asked. “The book, I mean.”
“I do,” Taraka said. “But I must admit that I have not spent much time studying it, and I cannot say for sure how the spell works. I simply do not know.”
“I see,” Gaster said, stroking his facial scruff. “We’ll in that case, I’d be careful about using it in the future.”
Taraka nodded. “I agree. I only used it because I felt we were in danger.”
“Hey you two, we’ll be arriving soon,” Cyrus said as he walked into the room.
“Where are we headed this time, Captain?” Gaster asked, looking over at his employer.
“Well, we’re still waiting to hear from Jun, so we’re just hopping around to nearby planets to pass the time. Next stop is Zintau. It’s a jungle world and a lot more populated than Rixius, so we can probably find some good employment opportunities there.”
“Sounds good,” Gaster said. “Thanks for the heads up.”
“You got it,” Cyrus replied. “We should be arriving in a few minutes, so I’m gonna go let the others know.”
With that, the Maverick’s captain departed, leaving Gaster and Taraka to their conversation.
“What are the odds we’d land at a spaceport without a job board twice in a row?” Taraka asked.
“Like I told you, they really aren’t that common,” Gaster replied. “Even in a busy place like this.”
For her part, Kasey just listened to the banter of her new crewmates with mild amusement as the three of them made their way through the busy spaceport on Zintau the Maverick had landed at. She hadn’t spent much time with the members of the ship’s crew outside of dangerous missions since joining up with, and in the short time she had been wandering around this spaceport with Gaster and Taraka, she felt like she had got to know them so much better. So far, that had been the only thing accomplished on this little excursion.
“How are we supposed to find a job here without one?” Taraka asked.
“The old fashioned way,” Gaster said. “Let’s head into town and find the local bar. That’s the best place to learn about where to make money in a place like this, and besides … I could use a drink.”
“Getting a drink sounds good to me,” Kasey said, nodding in agreement.
“Let’s get moving, then,” Gaster said, turning to the spaceport’s exit. Kasey and Taraka followed as the former smuggler led the way.
After a surprisingly short walk, the trio found their way to the nearest bar. Looking around as they entered, Kasey noted that the place was quite packed with all kinds of characters that one might expect to find in a bar in the Outer Rim. With Gaster leading the way, the three of them approached the bar.
“Hi there,” the bartender said as they approached. “What can I get for ya?”
“My friends and I are looking for a bit of adventure,” Gaster told the mustached man behind the bar. “Do you know of anywhere we could go?”
“Maybe,” the man replied, folding his arms.
“In particular, somewhere we could make some money or find something we could possibly sell to someone,” Gaster continued.
“I might be willing to give you some information ... if you buy something to drink.”
Gaster nodded. “Sure, no problem,” he said, pulling out his Pokedex to pay. “What do you guys want?” he then asked, turning to look at Kasey and Taraka.
“Nothing for me, thanks,” Taraka said.
Kasey simply shrugged. “Whatever’s fine,” she said. “I still have no money, though.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Gaster said. “It’s really not that much.”
Kasey smiled. “Thanks. I promise I’ll pay you back once I have the means to do so.”
“Well, that’s what we’re here to work on, isn’t it?” Gaster replied. He then turned back to the bartender and ordered their drinks.
“I heard a few people in the bar talking about exploring some ruins out in the jungle,” the bartender said as he poured their drinks.
“Did you happen to hear where these ruins are located?” Gaster asked.
“Sure did, pal,” the bartender said. “There’re all kinds of ruins in the jungle out past the Great Rift. Word is an earthquake recently uncovered some new sites ripe for treasure hunting. Maybe you’ll find something out there.”
“The Great Rift?” Kasey asked, unfamiliar with what was presumably some sort of landmark. She had never been to Zintau before, after all.
“It’s a huge fault line some thirty kilometers west of here,” the man explained. “Can’t miss it.”
“I see …” Gaster said. “Well, thanks for the info.”
“Sure thing, pal,” the bartender said before moving on to his next customers.
“So what do you think?” Kasey asked her two crewmates as they walked over to an unoccupied table. “Wanna check those ruins out?”
“Well, it’s the only lead we’ve got at the moment,” Gaster said before taking a sip of his drink. “I’m okay with checking them out.”
“What about you, Taraka?” Kassey asked, turning to the monk.
Taraka didn’t answer, He seemed distracted, antsy even.
“Taraka?” Kasey asked again.
“Huh? What was that?” the monk asked, seeming to only just realize that he was being asked a question.
“What do you think about checking out those ruins?” Kasey repeated her question.
“Ruins? Yeah, that sounds good,” Taraka said.
“You okay, mate?” Gaster asked.
“Yeah,” the monk replied. “Just ... just practicing. Practicing everything, all at once.”
“You know, a drink could calm you down,” Gaster said.
Taraka shook his head. “Nope. Gotta stay focused.”
Gaster let out a slight chuckle. “I think that’s exactly the problem with you,” he said.
“You see, I’m just trying not to freak out because I don’t have a finished scroll yet and I haven’t had a vision in a while,” Taraka attempted to explain. “So everything’s a-okay right now. A-okay.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Gaster asked.
Kasey could tell that Gaster wasn’t particularly familiar with Sinai culture. In her research into ancient technology, Kasey had often consulted with Sinai monks to help her understand some of her findings and had come to know a decent amount about the practices of the order. Taraka did seem to be a bit different than most monks, but Kasey thought she had a good idea of what he was talking about, unlike Gaster.
“You’re on your pilgrimage, aren’t you?” Kasey asked the monk.
“Sure am,” Taraka answered.
“If I may ask, how’d you get involved with this crew?” Kasey asked. She had been curious about this since first meeting Taraka, but hadn’t yet got the chance to ask about it until now.
“Oh, the captain was kind enough to offer help me on my pilgrimage in exchange for helping out on the ship,” Taraka explained. “He’s been a great help, although I’m still not quite sure exactly what I’m looking for.”
“Have you had any luck yet?” Kasey asked, taking another sip of her drink.
Taraka nodded. “Before we picked you guys up, I filled part of my scroll,” he said, glancing at Gaster and then back at Kasey. “I had one vision in some ruins on this swamp planet, and then I had another in some similar ruins on a different planet. In those ruins, we found this crystal that triggered the vision. I’m still trying to make sense of what my scroll recorded and figure out where to go next.”
“Fascinating,” Kasey said. She had spoken with monks before, but she had never really discussed the intricacies of a pilgrimage with one, let alone one currently on a pilgrimage. “Do you think if we keep visiting ruins we might find a clue of some kind?”
“Well, it’s brought me this far,” Taraka replied. “I see no reason why it won’t continue to work for me.”
“Maybe we should check out the ruins the bartender mentioned,” Kasey suggested.
“It’s worth a look,” Gaster said. “We might as well check it out since we’re here. At the very least, we might find something there that we can sell.”
“I agree,” Taraka said. “We might find some neat Pokemon as well.”
“I guess that settles it, then,” Gaster said before taking a large swig of his drink. “When we’re done here, I’ll call up the captain and let him know where we’re going.”
“We should find a store and stock up on supplies too,” Kasey said. “We’re gonna need the right gear to get through the jungle.”
Gaster nodded. “Good idea. I could use some new gear for when we hit Maelstrom’s base anyway.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Kasey said. She then raised her glass to her mouth and polished off the rest of her drink.
Gaster could feel himself sweating as he and his two crewmates cut their way through the jungle. For several hours now, the trio had been making steady progress on their journey to Zintau’s Great Rift, but it was hard work. Gaster was no stranger to traversing the wilderness — nor was Kasey, it seemed — but the dense vegetation of the jungle made things quite difficult, not to mention the heat and humidity.
Pausing for a moment to catch his breath and wipe the sweat from his brow, Gaster took a look around at his surroundings. By his judgement, they were about halfway to their destination, but the jungle looked a bit more dense here and would probably slow them down as they pressed on.
“Looks like it’ll be slow going from here on,” Kasey said, walking up beside the former smuggler.
“Unfortunately,” Gaster replied, nodding in agreement.
“No need to be so glum about it,” Kasey said, flashing a smirk.
“If you say so,” Gaster grumbled. Kasey had so far proven herself to be a helpful addition to the crew, but Gaster found her to be a bit too optimistic.
“Don’t worry about him,” Taraka said to Kasey. “He’s always grumpy about something.”
“Not always,” Gaster said. “Just most of the time.”
“Close enough,” Taraka replied, letting out a laugh.
“Alright, enough chatting,” Gaster said. “Let’s get moving.”
“Hold on,” Taraka said, motioning for him to stay still. “I think I see some Pokemon over there.” The monk pointed off to the right, and Gaster followed with his eyes. Sure enough, a short ways a way, he spotted a pair of Nidorans and a Venonat.
“You want ‘em?” Gaster asked his crewmates, reaching for his Typhlosion’s Pokeball. He wasn’t particularly interested in the Pokemon, but if his companions wanted to capture them, he would help them out.
“I could go for one of those Nidorans,” Kasey said.
Gaster nodded. “Alright then,” he said before sending Rusty out.
The former smuggler then took a step forward, but a sudden rustling sound to his left made him stop in his tracks. He looked over to see a large creature emerging from the brush. As it stepped out from between the trees, Gaster got a good look at the Pokemon; it was a Scolipede. The huge bug Pokemon reared up in a threatening pose, like it was going to attack.
Not taking any chances, Gaster ordered his Typhlosion to attack. “Rusty, fire off a warning shot at that thing! Use Ember!” Rusty spat out a jet of flame at the Scolipede, causing it to scitter away. It moved back a good distance, but it continued to eye them cautiously.
While he succeeded in driving off the Scolipede, Gaster accidentally woke something else up. Hearing a hissing sound above him, Gaster glanced up and saw a Seviper wrapped around a large tree branch. However, the fire had perturbed it and it was now beginning to uncoil itself.
“Nope! Nope! Nope!” Kasey suddenly shouted before running in the opposite direction until she was several meters away.
“It’s just a Seviper,” Gaster said, aiming his newly purchased Tesla coil rifle at the venomous serpent as he cautiously backed away.
“I don’t do snakes!” Kasey shouted back at him. She was clearly quite distressed by the Seviper’s presence.
Seeing as the Seviper was bothering Kasey, Gaster decided to prioritize it as a target. “Then let’s take care of it,” he said as he lined up his shot. He squeezed the trigger, sending an arc of electricity flying out at the Seviper. Unfortunately, the shot went wide and instead struck the branch the snake Pokemon was wrapped around, causing it to drop to the ground.
Letting out a hiss, the Seviper reared up. The hiss soon became an ear-splitting screech, and Gaster did his best to fight through the pain. Rifle still trained on the snake, he cautiously backed up, then fired off another shot, this time hitting his mark.
Meanwhile, Taraka threw up a psionic barrier to keep them all safe. He then sent out his Ponyta to help out. This seemed to snap Kasey out of her fearful state. While she maintained her distance, she sent out her Tyrunt to deal with the Seviper.
“Baroness, use Dragon Tail!” Kasey commanded her newly sent out Pokemon. Her Tyrunt let out a roar, then rushed forward. Once in range, she slammed the Seviper with her tail, knocking her back into the trunk of the tree behind it.
“Do you guys have this, or should I help you out?” Taraka asked now that they had some room to breathe. “I want to make sure those Pokemon don’t escape,” he added, pointing over to the Venonat and the two Nidorans.
“I think we’ve got things under control,” Gaster replied, nodding.
“Alright,” Taraka said. “Let’s go, Blaze.” With his Ponyta in tow, the monk moved to cut off the other Pokemon’s potential escape.
Turning back to the Seviper, Gaster saw it slithering towards Kasey’s Pokemon, brandishing the blade at the end of its tail. As the serpent swiped its tail at Baroness, the Tyrunt lunged out of the way just in time.
“Hit it with Dragon Tail again!” Kasey then ordered her Pokemon from a safe distance. With another powerful strike of her tail, the Tyrunt launched the Seviper backwards into the tree again. This time it did not get back up.
“That wasn’t so bad,” Gaster said, glancing over at Kasey.
“A snake is a snake,” Kasey replied, cautiously approaching. “You can never be too careful.”
“You have a bad experience with a snake or something?” Gaster asked.
He didn’t get an answer. Kasey simply began walking over to Taraka to help him out. Gaster shrugged, then followed her.
Arriving on the scene, Gaster witnessed Taraka’s Ponyta finish off the Venonat with a jet of flame. He then watched as the monk struck one of the Nidorans with his staff. Instead of fleeing from this unprovoked attack, the Nidoran chose to fight, jabbing Taraka’s leg with its horn.
Thinking the monk could use a hand, Gaster aimed his rifle and lined up a shot. He squeezed the trigger, and the Nidoran seized up as volts of electricity coursed through it. Before the Pokemon could even react, Kasey chucked a Pokeball at it, capturing it instantly.
Now only one Nidoran remained. Alarmed by the sudden disappearance of its friend, the Pokemon attacked, lunging at Taraka, who quickly maneuvered out of the way.
“Rusty, use Ember!” Gaster then commanded his Typhlosion.
“You too, Blaze!” Taraka issued a command of his own.
The two Pokemon launched their attacks, and their dual jets of flame converged on the Nidoran, doing a real number on it. One swift strike from Taraka’s staff later, the Pokemon lay unconscious on the jungle floor.
Now only the Scolipede remained. Scanning the surround brush, Gaster could still see the large bug Pokemon lurking, watching them from the shadows. It was likely waiting for an opportune moment to strike. Gaster, however, was not going to wait around for that to happen. He lined up a shot and pulled the trigger, shocking the Scolipede with volts of electricity.
“Rusty, use Flame Wheel!” Gaster then commanded his Pokemon. Charging his target, the Typhlosion rolled into a ball and set himself aflame. Rusty collided with the Scolipede in a fiery explosion, setting the it alight.
The Scolipede let out a horrific sound of pain as the flames burned through its exoskeleton. Lashing out with its horns, the Pokemon delivered a nasty blow to Rusty, drawing blood and launching him backwards into a tree.
“We need that!” Gaster heard Taraka shout. The monk suddenly ran in front of Gaster and threw a Pokeball at it. Unfortunately, the Scolipede ducked out of the way and the ball flew into the bushes.
Deciding to help out even though he didn’t particularly have a need for the Scolipede, Gaster pulled out a Pokeball of his own and threw it at the Pokemon. His ball struck true and pulled the Scolipede inside. It fell to the ground and shook several times before falling still.
With all the wild Pokemon now dispatched or captured, Gaster wasted no time in walking over to claim his prize. He picked the ball off the ground, then tossed it to Taraka. “Here you go, mate,” he told the monk.
“What do you want for it?” Taraka asked. “I have plenty of Pokemon that I am more than willing to trade.”
“Just compensate me for the Pokeball and we’re good,” Gaster replied.
“That I can do,” Taraka replied before reaching into his bag. “I have more than enough. My apricorn plants keep me stocked and then some.” After fishing around for a few moments, the monk procured one of his homemade Pokeballs. “Here you are,” he said, handing it to Gaster.
“Thanks,” Gaster said, nodding at the monk. “Now let’s get moving again. The Rift shouldn’t be much further.”
“I agree,” Kasey said, walking up to the pair. “Hopefully we don’t run into any more snakes on the way.”
Notes: Oh boy, this was a difficult chapter to write, despite it being kind of a fillerish session. Axel had to miss again, so we couldn’t hit the Maelstrom base yet, but Alec was in attendance for this session. I actually ended splitting the session into two chapters because it was getting kind of long, so we only have the first half of the session here.
The first scene is one I added to transition from last chapter to this one. The previous chapter ended with Taraka stating that he would tell Gaster about how he learned Curse once they were back on the ship. It didn’t happen this session, but a few sessions after this one, I pressed Novi on coming up with a narrative reason of how he learned Curse since it has certain narrative implications in this setting. That’s when he said he read it in a book. When he said that, I came up with the idea of a ruined library, an idea I expanded on here in his explanation.
Then it was on to the planet. The three players in attendance decided to look for a means to make some money since Alec hadn’t made any since joining the campaign. In true RPG troupe fashion, they went to the bar to get information. They came up with the idea to ask about ruins and such, so that’s what I gave them some leads on. I did add some narrative details in the writing, such as the Great Rift, just to make things more interesting.
Once they headed into the jungle I wrote up some jungle dwelling poison Pokemon for them to fight since the planet generator spat out poison as the common type. Alec has a fear of snakes and he brought that into the game as one of his character’s traits when the Seviper showed up. It made for some fun RP. I decided to cut it after the battle and save the exploration of the ruins for the next one, but I hope you enjoyed this part of the session.
Post-Chapter Challenge: So in the last two chapters, we’ve seen Taraka use a rare ability most people don’t have and explain how he learned how to do it. With that in mind, I’m challenging you to come up with a Spacemon character with a rare bullshit ability. Who are they, what is their ability, and how did they learn how to do it? Feel free to go as wild as you want!
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!