I wanted to have a lot of familiar faces and interesting fights in the Nexus Tournament, and starting it off with a fight against Ash and his Pokémon in a construction site seemed like a good way to set the tone. In addition to that fight, I also wanted to help showcase the League’s meteoric rise through the tournament (assuming they beat Ash, of course), as well as give them some action outside the tournament in the form of their encounter at their penthouse. One of the tricky things about running a tournament arc is making sure that you’re not just running a bunch of fights, so I made a concerted effort to try to mix up the nature of the action as much as I could.
As you stand facing the young Ash, Cambot buzzes excitedly around, trying to remove himself from the inevitable direct line of fire between you and your opponent while still trying to get the best and most intense angle possible. “Remember, you’ve got a lot of viewers right now, and they’re dying to see your stuff!”
At this point, explain that the players can, once per session each, ask for a reaction/confessional take, in which they get to make a comment about something happening or something that will happen. This can change the scene in some way or, at the very least, give them a +1 CS bonus on their next relevant roll.
Ash produces two handfuls of white and red balls and hurls them all in your direction, yelling, “Pokemon, GO!” When the balls hit the ground, they pop open and let loose a flood of red light, which coalesces into several strange-looking animals. One is a squat lizard the size of a large dog with a large leafy pink bulb emerging from its back. One is a blue turtle with a yellow shell standing on its hind legs, maybe a little over a foot and a half tall. The next is about the size of an adult human female and looks like an upright orange dragon. One is about three feet long and looks like a large purple butterfly with delicate white wings. The last one is about the same size as the butterfly but is very clearly a bird of some kind, with brown feathers and dramatic swooping red plumage on its head. Finally, with an enthusiastic “Pi-KA-chu!,” the small yellow creature from Ash’s shoulder leaps down and joins the other five creatures as they tense, preparing to attack.
Ash wasn’t intended to take any direct action in this fight aside from directing his Pokémon—his stats below were given only in case the League decided to involve him in the fight somehow. Which, of course, they did immediately.
Thunder Wave: Target must make Endurance check or be stunned
Thunder: Am damage
Swift: Ex damage, always hits
Quick Attack: Ex damage, can be used before your rolled initiative but takes your turn
Leer: Target must make Psyche check or lose 1 rank of Body Armor
Slash: In damage
Flamethrower: In damage
Rage: In damage first round, Am damage second round, Mn damage third round
Razor Leaf: In damage
Leech Seed: Target must make an Endurance check or lose 10 Health every round, which Ivysaur gains
Sleep Powder: Targets in one area must make Endurance checks or fall asleep for 1d10 rounds
Solar Beam: Mn damage; requires Ivysaur to charge for 1 round beforehand
Water Gun: Rm damage
Bite: Gd damage
Withdraw: Gain Gd Body Armor
Skull Bash: Gd damage, target must check for Stun
String Shot: Target must make Agility check or be immobilized
Supersonic: Target must make Psyche check or be confused
Poison Powder: Target must make Endurance check or be poisoned
Psybeam: In damage, ignores Body Armor
Sand-Attack: Target must make Endurance check or be at -2 CS to hit with all attacks
Wing Attack: Rm damage
Quick Attack: Ex damage, always acts first in a round
Mirror Move: Imitate the last technique used
When Ash was knocked out during the actual session, I decided in the moment that the remaining Pokémon would be angry enough to evolve (if they were able to do so). As it turns out, Ivysaur and Squirtle were the only ones left who were able to evolve, so they became Venusaur and Wartortle. I simply increased all of their attributes and powers by +1 CS to reflect their heightened power levels.
Assuming the team wins:
You are given a few seconds to mug at the cameras or otherwise stand in victory before you are once more surrounded by light and teleported back to the backstage area of the Balboa Arena, where you can hear the crowds cheering and chanting your name through the concrete ceiling. Several of the other fighters down here smile and congratulate you, though many scowl or refuse to make eye contact, but you can tell that all of them are marking you as potential rivals and future opponents down the line.
The remainder of this first round of Tournament matches lasts for a few hours more, as team after team are teleported to various exotic locations in Nexus City and beat the tar out of each other until one of them finally drops, and the crowd eats up every second of the carnage. Even though you’re not in the same room as the audience, you can just about feel the electricity of their excitement in the air.
Eventually, however, the final match is decided and host Troy McClure steps out into the spotlight one last time. “Wow! There’s no other way to respond to such an amazing display, truly amazing. Let’s hear it one more time for all of our breathtaking fighters tonight!” The audience responds ecstatically. “Thank you for being here with us tonight. We hope to see you again for round two of the Nexus Tournament!” With that, the TV shows a dramatic swooping pan over the cheering crowd as the credits start to roll.
So the Nexus Tournament rolls on for several more days as you continue to make your way up the ladder. We have a little montage here of Team Ohana defeating team after team, and I’d like to have each of you narrate a key moment from these fights, maybe (but not necessarily) the final, decisive blow.
Liz, tell me how Team Ohana defeated Team Pentakill (consisting of Mordekaiser, Karthus, Yorick, Sona, and Olaf).
Colin, tell me how Team Ohana defeated Team Biker Mice from Mars (consisting of Throttle, Modo, and Vinnie).
Meganbob, tell me how Team Ohana defeated Team Bond (consisting of James Bond, James Bond, James Bond, James Bond, James Bond, and James Bond).
Miles, tell me how Team Ohana defeated Team AAA (consisting of Drago, Aerostar, and Fénix).
Kit, tell me how Team Ohana defeated Team Cage (consisting of Benjamin Gates, Edward Malus, Castor Troy, and Cameron Poe).
I wanted to make sure to populate the tournament with tons of characters that the PCs could draw upon for the last episode of the Nexus City arc. Also, handing off the narration to a player and asking them to describe their character doing something cool is often a good move.
After days and days of fighting, eventually you are one of four teams left in the Tournament—we are down to the semi-finals, and the buzz and excitement that Nexus City has expressed so far has absolutely snowballed into something incredible. The city itself seems to be waiting in breathless anticipation to see how this will all turn out.
So obviously you’ve been busy with the Tournament itself, but even when you’re not fighting, you’re still being hounded by fans and the media for interviews, endorsements, appearances at events, all of the usual burdens of celebrity. How have you been dealing with the increasing attention, and how have you been spending your time outside the Tournament?
This was as much as I’d prepared for the “down time” section of the game. The whole thing with Hannah Montana falling through their roof was something I came up with on the spot—I wanted the other shoe to drop with Stitch’s exploration of the upstairs apartment, and bringing up Hannah Montana is always a good move when Liz Logan is involved.
At a dramatically appropriate moment, the front door to the apartment flies open as three figures stride in. The one on the left is built like a football player, with a smashed-looking face, a red buzz cut, and small blue eyes. He’s wearing a suit and carrying several different firearms. On the right is a six-foot tall woman with long blonde hair, icy blue eyes, and a very athletic build. She’s carrying a battle axe and shield, has a sword sheathed at her side, and an assault rifle on her back. In the center is a middle-aged man with short salt-and-pepper hair, eyes the color of dollar bills, wearing a very nice-looking suit.
These, of course, are Johnny Marcone (and his bodyguards, Hendricks and Miss Gard). This is Marcone’s apartment, and he is very upset at the people who have apparently decided to invade his apartment. He can be talked down, but he starts very hostile.
Before things can progress too far with him, the window overlooking the city suddenly shatters and another group comes flying in, consisting of: One—a tall, muscular black man wearing blue boxing trunks, an open and hooded blue robe with ripped sleeves, and boxing gloves and lace-up boots; Two—a tall, muscular bald man of Thai descent, naked except for his blue trunks, wrappings on his hands and feet, and eyepatch, his bare chest marked by a huge diagonal scar; Three—a lithe figure wearing what looks like blue bullfighter’s pants and a red sash, an open white shirt, and a glove on his right hand with three wicked-looking claws extending out, his face covered by a blank white mask, framed by his long blonde hair; Four—a gigantic man, built like a bear, tall and all muscle, wearing red trunks, red boots, and golden bracelets, his body covered in nasty-looking scars, and his head features a short brown mohawk and beard; and Five—a towering figure wearing a red military uniform and peaked cap, eyes glowing with purple light.
“Team Ohana! You have taken our chance at the Nexus Tournament, and now Team Shadaloo has come to take your lives!”
Rut-roh! Prepare for a wall of statistics next time!