A quick overview:
Nature's Kiss Section of Makelit Land, most of which consists of the Kissed Nature Reserve
Pokemon Research Outpost 1 shown.
The three Player Characters - Curt - a Pokemon Reporter, Rina - a Pokemon Pilot, and Suzy - a Pokemon Arranger - all arrive at Pokemon Research Outpost 1 in the Nature's Kiss Section of Makelit Land to begin their Pokemon Journeys.
While Suzy got there on her own, Curt and Rina arrived via Rina's seaplane after flying through a harrowing blizzard! Upon arrival, it wasn't hard to determine that something serious was going on. There were emergency vehicles and both law enforcement and rescue personnel all about the place! There were even a handful of Pokemon Rangers!
It turns out a Hiker was moving through the area and stepped on what he thought was solid ground or ice only to have it collapse into a sinkhole beneath him! The overflowing brooks around the area turned the spot into a pit of freezing mud and icy water. Our party of adventuring youths volunteered to help out. Suzy is a good samaritan. Curt likes to get involved and thought it would make a great story for his magazine. Rina found out there was a cash reward for helping and operating a seaplane on your own is expensive!
Word came that the time to act was now and so the kids piled into a Police Car with Officer Jenny, her Bolthund* 'Taser', and the lead Pokemon Ranger, Sten and headed to the site.
Here's part two...
The drive to the Sinkhole was pretty rough; the roads were covered in frost and the blustering wind made controlling their vehicles really difficult. The drive took some time, enabling the PCs to properly introduce themselves to each other. After that, Officer Jenny filled everyone in on a few remaining details (some of which I mentioned above) and how there were already Police, Rescue, and Ranger personnel at the location.
Once the team arrived, Officer Jenny got an update on what was happening at the moment. The Hiker was still in the Sinkhole, likely close to drowning and/or freezing! The obstacles to the rescue were many. In addition to the biting cold, still falling snow, high winds, and slippery ground, the mud/water combination in the hole was thick and chunky, like a Slushy. This made it even harder for the Rescue workers to see the Hiker, the Hiker to see a thrown rope, and the Hiker to swim to the top.
Officer Jenny immediately asked Suzy if she could use her Arranger skills to summon a Pokemon that might be able to help them retrieve the Hiker. As Suzy went to it, a Police Officer noticed Rina's flight jacket was adorned with Gym Badges. This indicated that she must be a pretty impressive Pokemon Trainer and was therefore needed at the forefront of the effort to save the Hiker. Well OK! We have a real ace here!
Unfortunately, the Gym Badges on her jacket, like the jacket itself, belonged to Rina's father. Rina herself had never directed a Pokemon on her own. As a matter of fact, she hadn't even discovered which Starter Pokemon she'd chosen. Now, she found herself in the perfect spot to save the day and expected to do so...somehow. She figured it was time to see what, or who, she was working with. A dumb luck release, a bolt of blue energy, and 'POP/BANG!', Rina comes face to beak with...Ugling! The Ugly Duckling Pokemon. A Flying Type!
It appeared, looked at her, and begun grumpily berating her for her lack of technique and poor execution.
Curtis had begun walking around the site with Pyrrel to see where they could be most useful. At one point, Pyrrel noticed a seriously large chuck of ice toppling into the hole. If it fell in and hit the Hiker he could be knocked unconscious. If it didn't hit him it would still make rescuing him even harder. Initially planning to use Pyrrel's Ember fire power to melt the ice, he wisely changed his mind last second and had his Pokemon use Tackle! Tackle was a physical attack that benefitted from Pyrrel's speed and agility. Pyrrel dashed across the Sinkhole/pond, leaping from rock to rock, ice patch to floating branch, and shoulder checked the threat harmlessly off to the side. The nearby cops and Rangers were noticeably impressed.
Suzy meanwhile had formed a ring of plants, flowers, berries, and other materials from her immediate surroundings. Under the [mistaken] impression that the Hiker might not be completely submerged and the Sinkhole not totally filled with water, Suzy hoped to summon a strong Pokemon that could physically reach in and pull the victim out. She tried for a Sawsbuck that she spied watching the situation from the woods but instead got one of its offspring, a bigger than usual Deerling**. After connecting with it and offering it food, Suzy explained what was going on, asked for help, and explained her plan.
The Deerling agreed to assist, jumping into the Sinkhole hoping to reach the submerged Hiker with its hooves. Unfortunately, the Deerling was still too small, the water too deep, and now it looked as if the Pokemon itself might be in trouble! Oh no!
Not sure what else to do, Suzy finally released her own Starter Pokemon, Trolip! Knowing he was a Grass Type she asked him if there was anything he could do using the available plants and trees. Normally a mischievous sort, Trolip was nonetheless taken aback by the pleading in the little blonde girl's eyes. Using Grassy Terrain, Trolip increased the length and breadth of the vegetation in the pit, raising the struggling Hiker and the Deerling up more towards the surface.
That was when Rina, who'd been arguing with her stubborn and grouchy Ugling, decided on a bold plan of action! Seeing where the Rescue Workers had thrown ropes into the water, where Trolip raised the plants, and how the Deerling was positioned, she said to Ugling, "Hold on! I recall hearing that Ugling's have great eyesight. Is that true?" The Ugly begrudgingly confirmed this to be so. "Ugling, use Keen Eye to spot the Hiker or at least where he's thrashing around!"
She then took a length of rope, lifted Ugling and plopped him on top of her pilot's cap, and tied him on. Once Ugling found evidence of the victim moving about, she jumped into the water herself, pushed along the bed of plant life Trolip had made, grabbed the ends of the ropes in the water, and helped get them around the Hiker and Deerling. The Rescue Workers, Police, Ranger Sten, and Curt then pulled both the large man and the Deer Pokemon out of the hole.
They Did It!
Ugling, Ugly Duckling Pokemon - Flying Type / Trolip, Troll Pokemon - Grass Type / Pyrrel, Red Squirrel Pokemon - Fire Type
Emergency personnel ran up to the Hiker and Rina alike, treating them both for hyperthermia. After some much needed medical attention, a silvery blanket, and a cup of hot cocoa, the PC group huddled around each other, congratulating their friends, the Rescue workers, the Police, the Rangers, and receiving the same right back at them.
The three Starter Pokemon had their first meeting at this time, with chirper and optimistic Pyrrel, curmudgeon-y and bossy Ugling, and jovial, sly Trolip shaking hands/paws and patting each other on the back. Well, except for Ugling. The most he would give was a terse, acknowledging nod.
Suddenly, something in the snow caught Curt's investigative eye. He walked to the Sinkhole's edge and discovered a small piece of dark metal and a massive footprint. The print was massive, deep, and the center resembled a military boot. Hmmm. Curt wondered...a robot? This was definitely peculiar...
Next, Session Two - Part 1.
Our heroes' Pokemon Journey is just only just beginning...
[If the retelling of this session seems a bit chaotic toward the end of the rescue, that's because it kind of was. Perhaps chaotic isn't quite the right word but I am really proud that I was able convey to the players a sense of tenseness, urgency, and the threat of failure. The PCs were harried, a lot of was expected from them, conditions were poor, and the characters were new to this dealing with kind of situation.
Mixed into the actions and events were some wonderful character moments. Curt's efforts to calmly analyze the situation and figure out how best to act. Suzy misjudging the nature of the Sinkhole and nearly getting the Deerling as trapped as the Hiker. Suzy also clapped and made a big to-do about whatever Trolip did in order to connect with him. She reasoned, correctly, that he is more than a bit of a ham, endeared to anyone who praises his theatrics. As far Rina, it became obvious her bravado and self-confidence masked the fact that she was well aware that she was in waaay in over her head. Add that to her having difficulty connecting with her Pokemon and you got a great picture of young woman running on pure willpower less she breakdown and give up. Great stuff!]
I am so happy with how Session 1 turned out. Absolutely fantastic.
More to come...
A Few Notes:
*The proper name for Pokemon #0836 of the Official National Pokedex is Boltund. I keep remembering it and saying it as Bolthund, mainly because of the Swedish Vallhund, a real life breed of domestic canine sometimes called the 'Swedish Cow Dog' and 'Viking Ratting Dog'. I've decided that Bolthund is in fact the Alfmork regional pronunciation. Everybody wins.
**I've always had the head canon that as a Pokemon gets closer to its evolved form, it gets a bit larger (depending on the Pokemon - many do this but by no means all). A Deerling evolves into a Sawsbuck at Level 34. Suzy was trying for a Sawsbuck but didn't get enough Successes, therefore the Deerling she calls over with her Arranger Skill is likely Level 18 or so.
I commissioned a design and illustration of Pyrrel from Pravin Rao Santheran, an incredible artist from Malaysia you should definitely check out. The image came a little late for the first session of the campaign and additionally fits a different Pokemon even better on further consideration. You will definitely be seeing it in the future.