Harpsichord Automatons

In PTA, Combat happens in 10 second rounds. Each round, a Trainer has the ability to perform one Command Action, one Shift Action, and one Trainer Action. Pokemon gets one Shift Action and one Move Action.


The Initiative of Pokemon and Trainers are determined by their DEX stats and Speed Stats respectively.

During each round, Trainers will go first, in order of highest DEX to lowest DEX. Following Trainers, Pokemon then have their initatives, going from highest Speed to lowest Speed.


During a Trainer’s turn there are many different things they can do; they may use one of their Trainer Features, use their Pokedex, use an Item, switch their active pokemon, or attack another trainer or pokemon. The majority of actions a trainer can take a Trainer Action, though many are Free Actions, and some are even Shift Actions.

Trainer Actions

Many feats require a Trainer Action during your turn to activate and use. Arms Attacks are an example of a common Trainer Action. Other actions that require a Trainer Action include

  • Using an item on a Pokemon or a Trainer, unless specified otherwise by the item or one of your features.
  • Throwing a Pokeball to Capture a wild Pokemon
  • Switching from one Weapon to another.
  • In place of a Trainer Action, a Trainer may send out two pokemon, return two pokemon, send out one pokemon and return one pokemon, send out one pokemon or return one pokemon.

Shift Actions

The Shift Action is the most straightforward action during your trainer turn; it's simply moving. How far your Trainer moves may depend on your Trainer stats.

  • Trainers have an Overland Capability of 5, or 3 plus half of the highest of your STR, DEX, or CON modifier, whichever is higher.
  • Trainers have an Surface Capability of 4, or 2 plus half of the highest of your STR, DEX, or CON modifier, whichever is higher.
  • Trainers have an Underwater Capability of 4, or 2 plus half of the highest of your STR, DEX, or CON modifier, whichever is higher.
  • Additionally, returning or sending out only one pokemon is also a Shift Action.

Free Actions

Many features can be activated as Free Actions, but one Free Action available to most trainers is particularly notable: using the Pokedex

Using the Pokedex is an important part of any trainer’s life. In Pokemon: Tabletop Adventures, when a trainer uses a Pokedex on a pokemon they have never identified with their Pokedex before, they gain “DexExp.” As a reminder, for every twenty-five different pokemon that are identified with a trainer’s Pokedex, that Trainer gains one level.

When someone uses their Pokedex on a pokemon, they gain access to the
pokemon’s entry in the Bestiary/Pokedex. However, when a Trainer uses their Pokedex, they are not immediatley informed of what pokemon their Pokedex just identified. It takes thirty seconds, or three Rounds, for the Pokedex to load all relevant information. Until then, you’re still in the dark about what Pokemon you’ve just identified, unless you have a trusty Researcher on your team who can recognize the pokemon by appearance without the help of their Pokedex. Using your Pokedex is a Free Action.

Command Action

When you Issue a Command, you are telling one of your active pokemon how to Shift and which of their Moves, Abilities or Capabilities to use during that round of the Encounter. If you have any additional instructions to give to your pokemon, you would do so during your Issue a Command part of your turn during that round.

You do not need to announce the Move of your Pokemon during your Trainer Turn - rather the ‘Command’ action should just be announced during the Pokemon’s turn, but you must have a Command action available to have a Pokemon act.

Pokemon Actions

Pokemon generally have two actions each turn; a Move Action, and a Shift Action.

Move Actions

  • The most basic use of a Move Action is performing a Pokemon Move. Unless otherwise noted, every move, from Leer to Hyper Beam, requires a Move Action.
  • If a Pokemon has had a healing item such as potion applied to them, this forfeits that Pokemon's Move Action for that round. Pokemon will generally allow only allies to approach them this way; in short, you may not use a Potion on an enemy Pokemon to cause them to forfeit their turn.
  • Activating

Shift Actions

Shifting is much the same for Pokemon as it is for Trainers; they may take their Shift Action to move, depending on their Movement Capabilities. However, Pokemon have one special ability that trainers do not - Covering.

If a Trainer is being targetted by an attack, one of that Trainer’s Pokemon may may a check on a 1d20 to try and Shift into the line of sight in order to Cover the attack. If the pokemon’s Speed stat is 20 or below they must roll 11 or better on the d20 check to be allowed to Shift into the way of the attack. If their Speed stat exceeds 20, they need only to roll 6 or better on the d20 Check. If a pokemon’s Speed stat exceeds 35, they do not need to make a check. Covering an Attack for their trainer forfeit's a Pokemon's next Shift action.

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