We’ve drawn several cards now – a 5, a 2, a Page and a 6 – but the 2 and the Page both tell you to do things immediately, so we don’t have to keep thinking about them after drawing them. The 5 applies an ongoing restriction, but it’s the opposite of the restriction applied by the 6, which overwrites it. That means the 6 is the only card we have to keep track of at the moment.
I think Tippi’s ready for her big solo debut.
The nice thing about being alone is you don’t have to share any experience. By the time we reach the end of route 203, Tippi is almost level 12 and has picked up Wing Attack. Of course, she’ll still be in trouble if she has to go up against a Rock-type gym leader without help… but Oreburgh Gate is a new area, which means new possibilities. Our next card is…
King – Vessel: Box one member of your current team and replace it with a new Pokémon of your choice from this area. The boxed team member is placed in the Vessel and cannot be returned to your active party, not even by drawing a Ten/Rule Card. If there are ever four Pokémon in the Vessel, those Pokémon immediately become your new party. They must be used at least until you earn your next badge or defeat the Elite Four; until that happens, no other card can stop you from using them.
So, y’know everything I just said about experience and Tippi’s journey and prospects? None of that matters, because Tippi has received a higher calling and must now ascend. She’s going in the Vessel, and she’s not coming back unless we draw the other three Kings. Luckily I get to replace her with another Pokémon from the Oreburgh Gate – any Pokémon I like. Technically I could catch a male Pokémon now, then plead inability to keep following the “no male Pokémon” rule and get the rest of my team back. I think I should follow the spirit of the rule, though, and catch a female Pokémon to take up Tippi’s torch. There are only two wild species on the first floor of Oreburgh Gate: Zubat and Geodude (on Platinum you can also find Psyduck here, but on Diamond/Pearl they only appear in deeper parts of the cave that I can’t access yet). Zubat is absolutely brutal to train because of its slow experience curve and garbage starting moves, and I can’t see a Zubat beating Roark unless it’s absurdly overlevelled. Geodude, on the other hand…
We’d better make a quick jaunt back to Jubilife City so Tippi can go to meet her destiny.
Andi Site is already level 8 and doesn’t need much training; I’ll just take her to 10 before moving on. Unlike Tippi, she’ll be able to fight Roark’s Rock Pokémon on their own terms; if she gets to level 15, she’ll learn Magnitude and be able to inflict some serious damage, while her own heavy physical defences will protect her from the worst of what they can do. Assuming, of course, that we make it to Roark without everything changing again.
There are, of course, some disadvantages to having a Geodude as your only Pokémon – potato-tier special defence and double-weaknesses to Grass and Water. Diana here has a dinky little Budew that might have actually beaten Andi if she hadn’t opened with the useless Water Sport – when she used Absorb on her second turn, it knocked off half of Andi’s HP.
When you first reach Oreburgh City, Roark is away from his gym, so we have to go and find him in the coal mine he runs.
Believe me, kid, I’m trying.
I have to say, I really do appreciate places like the Oceanic Museum in Slateport City or the Coal Museum here in Oreburgh City where Pokémon games try to teach players something about the natural world. It’s not much and it’s far from the most elegant way I’ve seen of getting educational content into games, but I respect the effort.
You can’t travel north of Oreburgh City until you have a bicycle, but we do have access to this little section of route 207, including the area’s only long grass with wild Pokémon, so before we hit the mines we may as well see what we get here…
…hmmm. This is going to be tricky to adjudicate.
Knight – Challenge: Choose one of your current party Pokémon to fight every trainer battle in this area solo. If it ever loses, it must be boxed and cannot be used again until another card revokes this rule. If it wins, it becomes your champion and ignores all other rules and restrictions. Either way, drawing another Knight ends all effects of this card and issues a new challenge.
This is maybe the weirdest possible situation to draw a Knight in. There are trainers on route 207 – but we can’t reach any of them yet. I suppose the only thing to do is to keep this card on the board until we can approach route 207 again from the north. If Andi is still in my party when that happens, she can take the challenge then; if not, I’ll choose someone else.
Time to go find Roark.
Oreburgh Mine technically has two levels, but I think the wild Pokémon are the same in both, and there are only trainers in the second area, so I’ll only draw one card. And that card is…
Judgement: When you draw this card, choose one: you must use Pokémon that are all from the same generation, OR you must use Pokémon that are all from different generations. If you are playing a game that only has Pokémon from one generation (Red/Blue/Yellow, Black/White), ignore this card and draw another.
Well, I still only have one usable Pokémon anyway, so Judgement makes no difference right now… But I still have to make the choice now, and it’ll be binding for as long as the card is on the board. At the moment I own four Pokémon, not counting Tippi (who is going to stay beyond my reach for a very long time). King Louie, Jerry and Brighteyes are all from generation IV, while Andi Site is from generation I. From memory, I also don’t think Diamond and Pearl have a lot of gen II or III Pokémon to choose from (and obviously there’s nothing here past gen IV), so picking the “all different generations” option might well limit me to a team of only two or three. Picking “all from the same generation” will give me the option of switching back to my guys’ team later if that becomes possible (or necessary), while still letting me pick up more Kanto Pokémon to use with Andi.
There are wild Onix in Oreburgh Mine that will provide a lot of the experience I need to train Andi up to level 15 and learn Magnitude, but her attacks are painfully weak against them. They can’t do much damage to her either, but the battles are still a drag. I’m considering teaching her Rock Smash, since I’m allowed to use HMs any time I want, but I think I’ll find Roark and see what card I draw for the Oreburgh Gym before I make that commitment.
oh, fµ¢£, can Andi actually beat this?
yeahhhhhh, she’s fiiiiiine. Had to use a potion, but she’s fine.
okay so it turns out wild Onix are actually kind of a problem when you have one slow Pokémon and no special attacks. Onix is deceptively fast – faster than most unevolved early-game Pokémon – so it’s possible to fail an escape attempt, and it can hit you with Bind to stop you from even trying to run. Bind’s damage-over-time is also percentage-based, so it bypasses Andi’s own sky-high defence. I’m out of Rock Throw PP, but I still have one potion and one super potion here, so I think Andi’s probably fine, but I’m definitely going to have to be more careful in here.
I actually did have to use that super potion in the end. Maybe I should teach Andi Rock Smash just for safety… it’d mean I can fight the trainers in the Oreburgh Gym for experience too.
Okay; I found Roark, the gym is back open and Andi is now level 15 and excels at murdering other Rock-types. Time to draw another card and see what happens…
Queen – A Ship Came Into The Harbour: …carrying a boatload of Pokémon! Keep catching the first Pokémon you see in this area until your party is full (or until you have caught three, if you have fewer than three empty slots in your party).
Ah, that’s a shame. A Queen would have been a really good draw in an area that actually had any wild Pokémon, but right now it doesn’t do me any good. Oh well. I guess I’m taking on this gym the old-fashioned way… next time!