Modifications to the rules for Trap Attacks
Trap : The target thulhu cannot attack on its next turn. It must try to beat the result die (exceed it) with a 3d test against either Power or Speed (whichever is better). If this is successful, the thulhu is free but it takes up its entire turn, and the thulhu who Trapped him immediately goes again. If the thulhu fails to break free, it remains trapped, and will have to try again on its next turn. A trapped thulhu cannot make any attacks, including Dodges, which makes them easy prey! A trapped thulhu which is "double trapped" by a second successful Trap attack is immobilized and immediately loses the fight.
Pokéthulhu 3rd Edition, Page 11
As the current Trap rules stand (see boxed text for an excerpt from the rules) any Thulhu who is trapped twice is automatically defeated. While this works fine in one on one thulhu battles, it also means that any thulhu attacked by two other thulhu at the same time, no matter how weak they are, will be immediatly defeated. Where a number of thulhu gang up on a single target it is very easy to prevent the target from ever getting an action at all!
If you need any more convincing that this is a bad thing you only have to look at Episode #305 : Shaggai and Skoobai where Randy and Shaggai have to team up to defeat the wild Hounder. It would hardly have been such an exciting episode if the Houndar had been defeated before it even had a chance to act!
Making it fair
To make it all more fair, and we all know how important being fair is to a cultist, I would suggest the following changes to the rules.
- A trapped thulhu may be trapped again, either by the same thulhu that trapped it before or by another thulhu. However the second trap has no effect on the trapped thulhu unless its result die is as good as or better than the first trap. If a thulhu is being sucked in by Shub-Poliwrath's chest swirl then a Sy'Thuradyos slurping away in the background won't make much difference!
- When a thulhu has been trapped by more than one trap it must role against Power or Speed as normal to try and break free. To break free it must beat the best result die of all the traps holding it. No matter how many traps are holding it at the same time it will break free of all of them if it beats the best trap when trying to escape.
- When a thulhu has been trapped by more than one trap (double trapped) it is imobilised, and loses the fight, the next time it tries to break free and fails. No matter how many times it is trapped in succession it does not lose until it tries, and fails, to escape.
Dealing with the Really Awful!
Sometimes it may not make much sense to you that a thulhu gets trapped at all. Some thulhu, like Pokéthaqua seem just a little too big to be pinned down by a Jigglypolyp. Most importantly by repeatedly trapping such a thulhu a team of attackers can prevent it from ever actually taking an action at all, even with the new rules above in force! What you really want is for a really nasty thulhu to be able to do unspeakably awful things to you even while trapped.
There is probably no single rule for dealing with this problem, and the Owner should be encouraged to bend the rules when needed to make sure that the spirit of the series is really captured properly, but I do have some guidelines that might help when dealing with the truly terrible.
'thulhu of unusual strength
Sometimes you will feel that you really need to have thulhu that go well beyond the levels of strength seen in the main rules. They limit a thulhu to 9 dice of attacks and 20 points of abilities. As other fans of the show have already decided this sometimes just doesn't seem enough to capture the evil of a Black Drek Maki, or similar. If you use such thulhu in your adventures then you might want to decide that they can simply shrug off a trap attack if their power is more than three times the strength of the trap. Of course you could decide the same thing about normal thulhu, but this helps to give a little extra edge to the really awful.
heart of the action
Another possibility is to rule that some thulhu get more actions per round than others. This is to properly capture the ability of a dread extradimensional evil to comprehend reality in ways we cannot understand, and also to be in many places at once. Sure you may wrap Kabutho-Sathla up in your tentacles, but is that really going to stop it inexorably rending your friends? I don't think so! If you feel the same way about one of the thulhu in your scenarios then you might let it have more than one action per turn, each usuable for a trap, dodge, escape, frighten or Injure. Not only does this allow them a much better chance against the teams of thulhu that your cultists will likely unleash on them, but it allows them to be trapped and still pose a danger.
- To successfully trap a thulhu with multiple actions it must fall prey to a trap for each of its actions. Each attacking thulhu may decide whether a successful trap attack improves a previous trap (as above) or counts as a new trap. If the thulhu is already suffering from as many traps as it has actions then further traps can only improve existing traps as normal.
- Only when a thulhu is suffering from as many traps as it has actions is it totally trapped. However for each trap attack it suffers it must use one action to try and break free. For example a thulhu with two actions is trapped once. It must use one of its two actions to break free on its turn, however it may use the other action however it wishes.
- A thulhu with multiple actions is only "double trapped" if it suffers at least one more trap attack than it has actions. For example to double trap a thulhu with two actions it must be successfully trapped at least three times. If, after its next attempt to escape, it is still under the effects of more traps than its total actions then it loses the fight.
The Pokéthulhu Adventure Game is Copyright © 200, 2001 and 2002 by John Kovalic (thulhu art) and S. John Ross (all game rules). "Pokéthulhu Adventure Game" and "Pokéthulhu" are Trademarks of Squishy Brain Games. All material is used with permission, and no ownership is implied.