Kingslocke Rules: Third Revised Edition

Welcome once again, trainers, to what I think I can confidently say is the dumbest and most convoluted Pokémon challenge run on the internet.  And that’s a Pokémaniacal guarantee: if you think you can find one that’s worse, show it to me and I’ll think of a way to make this one even stupider.  This thing is already based on a tarot deck and the rules to a complicated drinking game; do you think I’m afraid to somehow blend it with strip poker, Japanese chess and Mornington Crescent?  Try me, I fµ¢£ing dare you.

Welcome… to the Kingslocke.

This is the Third Revised Edition of the rules, which incorporates changes inspired by my recent run of Black 2 and the simultaneous runs of Black 2 and White 2 by Josh and Tanner of the EXP. Share podcast.  The changes in this edition are mostly aimed at making the rules smoother, more consistent and easier to understand: I’ve tried to present the most important information first, use more keywords with consistent meanings, and make the whole package less intimidating and easier to navigate using collapsible sections and clickable links.  However, there are also some “balance” changes and several new rulings for corner cases.  Design notes and commentary on the changes will be available soon; if you’re interested in the Kingslocke’s history and design, you can also look at the First and Second Revised Editions, the Ur-Rules and my fully documented runs of Pearl and Black 2.  If you just want to play this ridiculous thing… read on.

You will need:

  • A Pokémon game (any from the “main series” excluding Legends: Arceus)
  • A deck of tarot cards (or a simulation thereof)
  • One or more observers to the game, willing to occasionally invent custom rules and make other decisions (anyone who knows you are playing a Kingslocke can be asked to step into this role at any time, and observers have no obligation to be either cruel or kind in any decision they are asked to make; if you don’t have any observers, or don’t want one, consult the variant rules at the end of this page)
  • Sanity and a willingness to sacrifice it

The fundamental rule is this:

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Whenever you first enter a new area with either wild Pokémon or a significant number of trainers, as well as every time you lose a battle, draw a card from your tarot deck and do what it tells you to do.

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What does this mean?  When should you draw?  To some extent, it’s up to you; I don’t want to lay down hard rules for which areas count and which ones don’t in every Pokémon game. Drawing a card can be good or bad, and the more cards you have in play, the more likely it is (in theory, anyway) that drawing another will actually offset some of the bull$#!t you’re dealing with already, so you’re not necessarily getting off easy if you skip a draw by accident.  It’s also perfectly fine, if you’re playing a game blind and don’t want to consult a walkthrough, for this decision to be largely vibes-based.  But I can give you some guidelines, if you want them, for when I usually think you should draw:

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  • I recommend that you only start drawing cards once you have Pokéballs, because some cards’ rules are very difficult to adjudicate when you can’t catch Pokémon yet.
  • If an area has random encounters with wild Pokémon, whether there are any trainers or not, you should draw a card.
  • When you reach a Pokémon Gym (or a Trial site in Alola, even one with no trainers), you should draw a card.
  • When you reach the base or hideout of a Villainous Team, you should draw a card.  A particularly large and complex base may be worth a second or even a third card if it is divided up by clear “stopping points” or story beats, or if you cross over into a zone with a different tileset or terrain type.
  • If a long route or a multi-level cave has sub-areas with different encounter tables, I usually draw extra cards for these, especially if they are divided by story progression (again, places where the tileset changes are usually good break points).
  • On the other hand, I don’t usually draw twice for routes with both land and water areas, but you might find some places where it feels appropriate.
  • When you reach a new town or city, you should usually not draw a card, or at least not right away.
  • Many urban areas have trainers in places other than Pokémon Gyms; I tend to think that anywhere with three or more trainers is worth a card.
  • I usually don’t draw for water within a town or city (but usually do for long grass within a town or city).
  • Above all, you can always draw a card if you think drama calls for it, even if there isn’t particularly any other reason.

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There are seven other basic rules that you will need for every Kingslocke run:

  1. You may only catch Pokémon when a card tells you to.  If a card tells you to catch a Pokémon, but there are no wild Pokémon in the current area, too bad: you miss out this time.  If the card has any other effects, those still happen.
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    • Pokémon you receive from NPCs (your starter, reanimated fossil Pokémon, game corner prizes, etc.) are always fair game.
    • Static encounter” Pokémon (e.g. the Sudowoodo from Gold and Silver) are always catchable.
    • Shiny” Pokémon are always catchable.
    • Legendary Pokémon are always catchable.  However, when they are first caught or received, legendary Pokémon are sealed and cannot be used until they are unsealed (several cards can do this).  In addition, legendary Pokémon may not be caught using a Master Ball.
  2. If a card tells you to catch “the first Pokémon you see,” you may choose to skip Pokémon of species you already own, or from the same evolutionary line (although there are several reasons you might want duplicates in this challenge).
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    • In a “Safari Zone”-type area, where wild Pokémon of any species will sometimes run away, you may keep trying to catch a Pokémon of the first species you saw until you succeed.
  4. You may only use TMs/TRs when a card tells you to.
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    • In games that have HMs, you are always free to use HMs at any time (this includes Flash and Rock Smash in games where those moves are not HMs but still have field effects), and you can never be forced to use an HM.
      • If you cannot progress further in the story without an HM move and have no usable Pokémon that can learn it, you may temporarily withdraw an “illegal” Pokémon from your PC to navigate the obstacle.  You must avoid using this Pokémon in battle at all costs.
      • You may also temporarily withdraw an “illegal” Pokémon to Fly between cities.
      • As a last resort, if you do not own any Pokémon at all that can learn a required HM move, you may catch one to learn it.  Again, you must always avoid using this Pokémon in battle.
    • In games that have move tutors or move reminders, you may use them at any time (as long as you can pay for them), except for the free unlimited move reminders in generation VIII+, which are treated as TMs.
  5. You are free to trade for the purposes of evolving Pokémon, but must find any required items on your own game.  You are also free to make in-game trades with NPCs, if you happen to have the Pokémon they want.
  6. Cards that describe ongoing rules stay “in play” until something happens to get rid of them, and are then shuffled back into the deck (there is no “discard pile”).  Cards with no ongoing effects are shuffled back into the deck as soon as their effects are resolved.  In addition, only three cards from the Major Arcana (the cards that don’t have equivalents in a normal deck of playing cards) can be in play at once, on a first-in, first-out basis: if you ever have four in play, the oldest one returns to the deck.
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    • There are two exceptions: the four Kings are removed from the game after being drawn, and the Chariot returns to the deck immediately, but both have effects that persist after they leave play.
  7. If you ever have no usable Pokémon left, you may catch the first wild Pokémon you see in your current location that is usable under your current restrictions.  If there are none, you may retrace your steps back through other areas until you find one.
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    • However, read the rules for each card carefully before doing this.  Some are explicitly written to let you off the hook if following them is impossible (e.g. if you have a Six in play, but you don’t own any female or genderless Pokémon, the card allows you to use male ones).
  8. If two different cards give you conflicting instructions, obey as many as you can, for as long as you can.
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    • Major Arcana cards are more important than Minor Arcana, and Tens are more important than the rest of the Minor Arcana, but Kings always trump everything else.
    • Cards with ongoing rules remain in play even if it’s impossible for you to follow their rules right now!
    • If you are playing with an audience (e.g. for a live stream), feel free to take any particularly difficult conflicts to a poll.

It’s also important to say what this is NOT:

This is not a Nuzlocke.  There is no perma-death (even if it sometimes feels like there is) and no “game over” state (at least, in theory).  If you keep going, you will make it to the end.  Eventually.  Nuzlockes punish you for playing poorly or being careless; the Kingslocke punishes you completely at fµ¢£ing random.

Finally, there is a “zeroth rule”:

The Kingslocke is really complicated, so don’t sweat it too much if you get some of the rules wrong from time to time.  Whatever the hell you think these rules mean, I am prepared to endorse that as your version of the Kingslocke.

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The Cards

Everything else on this page explains what all the different cards do and how to resolve conflicts between different cards and rules.  You do not have to know what every card does before you start playing: if you want, you can look them up as you draw them and learn as you go.  If you’d rather know what’s in store for you, keep reading.

For each card, information in the main text block is essential to understanding the rule, while information in the collapsible sections deals with clarifications, conflicts, exceptions and special cases.

Minor Arcana

AceTwoThreeFour

FiveSixSevenEight

NineTenPageKnight

QueenKing

Major Arcana

The FoolThe MagicianThe High PriestessThe Empress

The EmperorThe HierophantThe LoversThe Chariot

StrengthThe HermitThe Wheel of FortuneJustice

The Hanged ManDeathTemperanceThe Devil

The TowerThe StarThe MoonThe Sun

JudgementThe World

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The Minor Arcana

Most of the cards in a tarot deck belong to the Minor Arcana.  The cards of the Minor Arcana correspond to a normal deck of playing cards: four suits (Cups, Wands, Swords and Pentacles), each with values from Ace through to King (except that tarot has four face cards, with Pages and Knights of each suit instead of Jacks).  Most of the Minor Arcana cards with ongoing effects have built-in ending conditions.  Usually, if you draw another card of the same value, they cancel out, and several of them belong to mutually exclusive pairs that can revoke each other’s rules. In a standard Kingslocke, the four suits – Cups, Wands, Swords and Pentacles – have no significance; cards of the same value do the same thing, regardless of suit.  However, if – like me – you think that just isn’t ridiculous enough, there’s always the Advanced Rules (coming soon).

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Ace – Waterfall: Ongoing: You cannot switch Pokémon in battle unless one faints or is forced out of play.  When your Pokémon do faint, you must use them in party order (you may still change your party order outside of battle).  This rule is revoked if you draw a Nine/Snake Eyes and cancels out if you draw another Ace.

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  • If a Pokémon is forced out of play by a move like Roar, the new Pokémon still may not switch.  If it faints, you must return to using Pokémon in party order.
  • Pokémon with moves that switch the user out, such as Baton Pass or U-Turn, are free to use them. However, you must switch to the next Pokémon in party order.
  • Champions, or other Pokémon that are able to ignore this rule for whatever reason, are always free to switch out to either another Champion or the next Pokémon in party order.

Two – You: Immediate: You may catch one Pokémon of your choice in this area, and may teach one of your party Pokémon (or the new Pokémon) a TM/TR move of your choice.

Three – Me: Immediate: You may catch the first wild Pokémon you see in this area, and may teach that Pokémon a TM/TR move of your choice.

Four – Elements: Ongoing: Your Pokémon’s moves that get a Same-Type Attack Bonus (STAB) are locked.  This rule cancels out if you draw another Four.
Immediate: You may catch the first Pokémon you see in this area that does not share a type with any of your current party Pokémon.

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  • Moves that deal fixed damage (such as Dragon Rage and Nightshade) do not have STAB.
  • Moves whose type is variable (such as Hidden Power, Weather Ball and Aura Wheel) and moves which “call” other moves (such as Metronome, Assist and Nature Power) are exempt from this rule, even when they would get STAB or could call attacks that get STAB.

Five – Guys: Ongoing: Your female Pokémon are banned (unless you have no male or genderless Pokémon).  This rule is revoked if you draw a Six/Chicks and cancels out if you draw another Five.
Immediate: You may catch the first male wild Pokémon you see in this area.

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  • If you are playing a game that does not have gender (Red/Blue/Yellow), ignore this card and draw another.

Six – Chicks: Ongoing: Your male Pokémon are banned (unless you have no female or genderless Pokémon).  This rule is revoked if you draw a Five/Guys and cancels out if you draw another Six.
Immediate: You may catch the first female wild Pokémon you see in this area.

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  • If you are playing a game that does not have gender (Red/Blue/Yellow), ignore this card and draw another.

Seven – Lucky Sevens: Immediate: Draw two more cards and follow the rules for both.

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  • Resolve the effects of the cards in the order that you drew them (e.g. if you draw a Five/Guys and then an Eight/Mate, the Eight applies to your longest-serving female or genderless party member; if you draw the Eight first and then the Five, the Eight applies to your longest-serving party member regardless of gender).

Eight – Mate: Ongoing: The Pokémon in your current party that has spent the most time in your active party over the course of the game is banned.

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  • Which Pokémon gets banned may be a judgement call.  If two or more Pokémon have spent roughly equal time in your active party, you may choose one of them.
  • If your longest-serving Pokémon is currently a Champion, or is able to ignore this rule for some other reason, the runner-up is banned instead.
  • Optionally, if “time spent in your active party” is too difficult to track, you may use “levels gained since a Pokémon was met/caught” as a proxy to determine who should be boxed, or ask an observer to choose one of your Pokémon.

Nine – Snake Eyes: Ongoing: Any of your Pokémon that are defeated in battle are petrified.  This rule is revoked if you draw an Ace/Waterfall and cancels out if you draw another Nine.

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  • If this rule is in effect during an Elite Four challenge or a Galarian championship tournament, you may “bank” victories over earlier opponents in order to have an observer free Pokémon petrified later on (e.g. if you defeat Lorelei and Bruno without losses, but then Agatha petrifies your whole team, an observer can free two of them before your next challenge; if you beat Agatha but lose four Pokémon in the process, an observer can free three of them (allowing them to be revived) before you battle Lance).

Ten – Rule Card: Immediate: An observer to the game may revoke any or all (or none) of the cards you have in play, AND free any or all (or none) of your petrified Pokémon.
Ongoing: Your observer may either make up a new rule, which becomes the ongoing component of this card, OR change the rules for one other card in play or in the deck (except the Kings).

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  • If the observer makes up a new rule with an ongoing effect, the Ten remains in play and acts as a normal Minor Arcana card.  It can be removed by anything that can revoke other rules, and observers cannot add clauses like “this cannot be revoked” to their rules.
  • If the observer modifies the rules for another card, creates a rule whose only effects are immediate, or declines to create a rule, the Ten returns to the deck immediately.  A modified card retains its new rules for the rest of the game, even if it is repeatedly drawn or revoked.  Only one card is modified, not all cards of the same value (e.g. you change “the Five of Swords,” not “the Fives”).
  • No custom rule can force a player to release a Pokémon.
  • Rules that have effects outside the game (e.g. “take a drink every time a Pokémon faints”) are only allowed if the player has agreed to this in advance and set explicit boundaries about what kinds of rules are okay.

Page – Never Have I Ever: Immediate: Teach all of your current party Pokémon a new move from a TM or TR (if possible, this must be a move that Pokémon has never known in the past). If some of your Pokémon can’t learn any new moves from the TMs you have, do as many as you can.

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  • You may use an HM to satisfy this card’s requirement that each party member learn a new move, if you want to.  However, if an HM move is the only new move available to a Pokémon in your party, this card cannot force you to use it.
  • If you are far enough in your game to have access to shops that sell TMs, you may backtrack to visit them before resolving the effects of this card.

Knight – Challenge: Ongoing: Choose one of your current party Pokémon to fight your next five trainer battles solo.  If it ever loses, it becomes disgraced and is banned.  If it wins every battle, it becomes your Champion.  Either way, drawing another Knight revokes all effects of this card and issues a new challenge.

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  • Compulsory Pokémon cannot be selected for the Knight’s Challenge, unless you have a full team of compulsory Pokémon.
  • Battles for the Knight’s Challenge must be at least approximately level-appropriate to your current progress in the game’s story.  Using Fire Red/Leaf Green’s Vs. Seeker or other similar mechanics to get rematches with lower-level trainers does not count towards the required five battles; nor can you leave five low-level trainers in an early area of the game unbattled and return to them later to complete a challenge.
  • While a Pokémon is taking the Knight’s Challenge, its moves that cause the user to switch (e.g. Baton Pass) are locked.  If you are forced to switch (e.g. by Roar or Whirlwind), you must switch back to the Pokémon taking the challenge as soon as possible.  A Pokémon taking the Knight’s Challenge cannot be forced to switch by other cards.
  • A Pokémon that has accepted the Knight’s Challenge may fight alongside partners in a double, triple or rotation battle without failing the challenge.
  • If a Pokémon taking the Knight’s Challenge becomes unusable due to the effects of a different card before the challenge ends, you must choose a new candidate for the challenge and start again.

Queen – A Ship Came Into The Harbour: …carrying a boatload of Pokémon!
Immediate: You may keep catching the first wild Pokémon you see in this area, until you encounter one you have already seen in this area (do not catch the repeated one).

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  • As with other cards that let you catch wild Pokémon, you may skip catching Pokémon of species you already own.  However, they will still break your “chain” if you encounter the same species twice.
  • In a “Safari Zone”-type area, where Pokémon of all species may run away, you may keep track of all the species you encounter before meeting a duplicate, then catch one of each.
  • If you draw this card in an area that has no wild Pokémon, you may free one petrified Pokémon of your choice OR teach one of your party Pokémon a TM/TR move of your choice.

King – Vessel: Immediate: Choose and box one member of your current team; you may catch a Pokémon of your choice from the current area to replace it OR free a petrified Pokémon of your choice.  The boxed team member is placed in the Vessel and cannot be returned to your active party.  The Kings are removed from the game after they are drawn; they do not remain in play or return to the deck, and their effects cannot be revoked by other cards.  If there are ever four Pokémon in the Vessel, those Pokémon are freed.  All four of them become Champions and are compulsory until you either earn your next badge (or complete your next Trial, in Alola) or defeat the Elite Four.  All other Pokémon are banned during that time, even other ChampionsAfterwards, your Vessel Pokémon remain compulsory, but they are no longer Champions, you may use other Pokémon as well, and these effects can now be removed by anything that can revoke a card effect.

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  • The Vessel is sacred.  No card other than the Kings may interfere with Pokémon in the Vessel, nor may any card other than the Kings add Pokémon to the Vessel.
  • When choosing a Pokémon for the Vessel, you can choose a Champion or a compulsory Pokémon.  Either one will immediately lose their special status, and the card granting that status is revoked and returns to the deck if no other Pokémon were affected by it.  Again, the Vessel is sacred and the Kings trump everything.

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The Major Arcana

The Major Arcana (sometimes called the “trumps”) are 22 cards with unique names and meanings, like the Magician, the Tower and the Star.  Except for the Fool (who corresponds to the Joker), cards in the Major Arcana have no equivalent in a standard deck of playing cards.  Unlike the Minor Arcana, these cards normally don’t have built-in ending conditions.  However, only three of them can be in play at the same time, on a first-in-first-out basis – if you draw a fourth Major Arcana card with an ongoing effect, the oldest one is revoked.  Major Arcana cards that do not stay in play (the Empress, the Star, the Sun, the Chariot and the World) do not count towards this limit.

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The Fool: Ongoing: Whenever you catch or receive a new non-legendary Pokémon, that Pokémon becomes compulsory.  The Fool can make up to three Pokémon at a time compulsory; if you obtain a fourth new Pokémon while the Fool is still in play, the first one stops being compulsory. In addition, as long as the Fool is in play, whenever another card tells you that you “may” catch a new Pokémon, you must catch one (or at least attempt to, if you are told to catch the first one you see).

The Magician: Ongoing: Your Pokémon’s physical attacks are locked.  This rule is revoked if you draw Strength.

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  • Moves that deal fixed damage (such as Seismic Toss and Super Fang) are exempt from this rule, even if the game classifies them as physical.
  • Moves which “call” other moves (such as Metronome, Assist and Nature Power) are exempt from this rule, even if they could call physical attacks.
  • This card can be in play in generations I-III, but follows those games’ rules for physical and special attacks (i.e. “physical” attacks are all those from the following types: Normal, Fighting, Flying, Bug, Poison, Ground, Rock, Ghost, Steel).

The High Priestess: Ongoing: You may not use healing items either in or out of battle.  This includes status healing, revival and PP restoring items.

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  • Pokémon may hold items that can heal them, such as berries or Leftovers.  However, you may not directly use berries on Pokémon from your inventory; Pokémon may only hold the berries and use them on their own.

The Empress: Immediate: You may immediately revoke the effect of one card in play, and EITHER catch the first Pokémon you see in this area OR free one petrified Pokémon of your choice.

The Emperor: Immediate: Catch the first Pokémon you see in this area.
Ongoing: That Pokémon becomes a Champion.

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  • If you draw this card in an area with no wild Pokémon, it does not remain in play, does not count towards your three Major Arcana “slots” and returns to the deck immediately.

The Hierophant: Ongoing: Whenever you heal at a Pokémon Centre or other healing location (including after losing a battle), you must pay a tithe by buying and immediately throwing away items totalling a certain amount of money.  The tithe is equal to the number of badges you have earned (or Alolan trials you have completed) times 1000.  If you do not have enough money to pay a tithe, you must sell items in order to pay for it.  If you are completely unable to pay a tithe, even by selling items, the Hierophant excommunicates you; this rule is revoked and you must draw three more cards.

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  • The Hierophant can only force you to sell items that are purchasable with money at a standard PokéMart (such as medicine and Pokéballs) or items that have no purpose aside from being sold (such as nuggets).
  • If you receive healing at a remote location and do not have access to a shop, keep track of the number of times you use it and pay all your tithes at the next shop (even if the Hierophant is no longer in play by the time you get there).
  • Tithes are only owed for healing locations that you can visit repeatedly.  Characters who heal your party once, as part of a story event, do not require a tithe.
  • If you are accompanied by another character who heals your party automatically after every battle (e.g. Cheryl in Eterna Forest), you only owe a tithe if they revive at least one fainted Pokémon.

The Lovers: Ongoing: Your party must consist of opposite-gender pairs of Pokémon that share an egg group.  Genderless Pokémon may be paired with a Pokémon of any gender that shares an egg group.  If you only own Pokémon of one gender, or if all your Pokémon of one gender are banned or petrified, you may form same-gender pairs, but must still pair Pokémon that share an egg group.
Immediate: You may catch one Pokémon of your choice in this area that would form a valid pair with any Pokémon that was in your party when you drew this card.

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  • If you are playing a game that does not have gender (Red/Blue/Yellow), treat all Pokémon as genderless (even species that are exclusively male or female in later games) and as belonging to the same egg groups their species have in later generations.
  • If you cannot make more than one valid pair with the Pokémon you own, or cannot make any at all, you may include unpaired Pokémon to bring your party up to 3 total members.
  • Legendary Pokémon from the “Undiscovered” egg group (as well as Unown) can all be paired with each other.  However, “baby” Pokémon in the Undiscovered group cannot be paired with anything, because Pokémaniacal and the Kingslocke do not endorse that $#!t.
  • The following Pokémon are technically in the Undiscovered group, but should be treated as belonging to the following groups instead:
    • Nidorina and Nidoqueen: Field and Monster
    • Dracozolt: Monster and Flying
    • Arctozolt: Water 1 and Flying
    • Dracovish: Monster and Water 2
    • Arctovish: Water 1 and Water 2
  • Any same-gender pairs you create are always valid for the rest of the game, even if your other rules change, and even if the Lovers leaves play and you draw it again later.  Those Pokémon are gay now; I don’t make the rules (this was a lie; I literally do make the rules).

The Chariot: Ongoing: You permanently gain one additional “slot” for ongoing rules from Major Arcana cards.  The Chariot returns to the deck after being drawn, and drawing it multiple times continues to give you more slots.

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  • These extra card slots are not lost when your ongoing card effects are wiped by the Tower or the World, and you cannot remove them using the Empress, but an observer can choose to remove them along with other card effects if you draw a Ten/Rule Card.
  • Unlike other cards with ongoing effects, the Chariot does not remain “in play,” so it does not count towards your Major Arcana card limit and cannot be “forced out” by other Major Arcana cards.

Strength: Ongoing: Your Pokémon’s special attacks are locked.  This rule is revoked if you draw the Magician.

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  • Moves that deal fixed damage (such as Dragon Rage and Night Shade) are exempt from this rule, even if the game classifies them as special.
  • Moves which “call” other moves (such as Metronome, Assist and Nature Power) are exempt from this rule, even if they could call special attacks.
  • This card can be in play in generations I-III, but follows those games’ rules for physical and special attacks (i.e. “special” attacks are all those from the following types: Fire, Water, Grass, Electric, Ice, Psychic, Dragon, Dark).

The Hermit: Ongoing: When you draw this card, choose one: your party must not have two Pokémon whose natures increase the same stat, OR your party must not have two Pokémon whose natures decrease the same stat.

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  • You may always have one, and only one, Pokémon with a “neutral” nature (bashful, serious, quirky, hardy or docile).
  • If you are playing a game that does not use natures (Red/Blue/Yellow or Gold/Silver/Crystal), ignore this card and draw another.

The Wheel of Fortune: Spin the wheel!
Ongoing: Choose one of the following restrictions by rolling a six-sided die.  Whichever result you get, you cannot change a Pokémon’s nickname while the Wheel of Fortune is in play.

  1. You cannot use two Pokémon whose nicknames start with the same letter or character.
  2. Choose one letter.  Your Pokémon whose nicknames do not contain that letter are banned.
  3. Ask an observer to choose two letters or characters.  Your Pokémon whose nicknames contain either of those letters are banned.
  4. You cannot use two Pokémon whose nicknames contain the same number of characters (including spaces and special characters).
  5. You may only use Pokémon whose nicknames all have the same number of syllables (as you pronounce them).
  6. For EACH non-compulsory Pokémon on your team when you draw this card, search your PC for a Pokémon whose nickname starts with the same letter and who is not currently banned, petrified, sealed or in the VesselIf you find one, that Pokémon becomes compulsory and a Champion (if you find two or more matches for a single party Pokémon, choose one), and the original Pokémon is banned.

Justice: Immediate: Catch one wild Pokémon of each species in this area up to six (if there are seven or more species that you do not already own, you may choose which six to catch).  Count evolutions as a single species.
Ongoing: All of those Pokémon are compulsory.

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  • You only need to catch Pokémon that are practically available to you in the area when you draw Justice.  For instance, if an area has water and you do not yet have a fishing rod or the ability to cross water, you do not need to catch water-dwelling Pokémon to satisfy this card.  The same goes for Pokémon that only appear in certain seasons in Black/White or Black 2/White 2, Pokémon that appear in different weather conditions in Sword/Shield’s Wild Area, and Feebas in Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald or Diamond/Pearl/Platinum (…if you know, you know).  The only exception is Pokémon that are limited to certain phases of the day/night cycle.  You may skip these if you are attempting this challenge live for an audience, or for a speedrun; otherwise, you should wait for them.
  • If you run out of Pokéballs before catching every Pokémon in the area, you can and should backtrack to buy more.
  • As usual, you may skip Pokémon of species you already own.  However, if you already own every species in this area, you must choose at least one of them to catch anyway.
  • If you are playing a game blind and do not want to “spoil” which Pokémon are available in an area, take a decent stab at it: don’t move on until you can get through ten random encounters without seeing a new Pokémon.

The Hanged Man: Ongoing: Whenever one of your Pokémon evolves, petrify it.
Immediate: You may catch the first unevolved Pokémon you see in this area.

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  • “Unevolved Pokémon” are Pokémon that are in their lowest possible evolutionary stage as of the current generation (so, e.g., Pikachu is “unevolved” if you are playing Red/Blue/Yellow, but not if you are playing Fire Red/Leaf Green, where it can evolve from Pichu).  This includes Pokémon that do not evolve at all, such as Tauros.

Death: Ongoing: Any of your Pokémon that are defeated in battle are petrifiedNo petrified Pokémon may be freed (including ones that were petrified by other cards), except by the effect of the Sun.

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  • Once the effect of Death is revoked, Pokémon that were petrified by Death may be freed in the same way as Pokémon petrified by any other card.

Temperance: Ongoing: Your attacks with a base power higher than 80 are locked.

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  • Moves with variable base power (such as Return, Magnitude and Low Kick) are exempt from this rule, even in situations where their effective power would be higher than 80.
  • Moves which “call” other moves (such as Metronome, Assist and Nature Power) are exempt from this rule, even if they could call attacks with more than 80 base power.
  • Moves that hit multiple times (such as Fury Attack, Bullet Seed and Bonemerang) are only considered to have their listed base power.
  • Z-Moves and Max Moves ignore this rule.

The Devil: If you own eight Pokémon or fewer (not counting Pokémon in the Vessel) when you draw this card, or if you are using a party given to you by the Vessel, ignore it and draw another. Otherwise…
Immediate: Catch the first wild Pokémon you see in this area, then have an observer choose a new party of six Pokémon from all the Pokémon you own, except for Pokémon in the Vessel.  Revoke any ongoing rules that would make this team illegal.
Ongoing: All of the chosen Pokémon are compulsory.

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  • The Devil can select and free petrified Pokémon, unless Death is in play.
  • The Devil can select and unseal a sealed legendary Pokémon.

The Tower: Ongoing: Every Pokémon that was in your active party when you drew this card is banned.
Immediate: Revoke the effects of all other cards currently in play.  Only petrified Pokémon and Pokémon in the Vessel remain unusable.

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  • If you have no other usable Pokémon when you draw this card, you may catch one of your choice in this area (or the most recent area with wild Pokémon that you visited), OR free a petrified Pokémon of your choice.

The Star: Immediate: You may acquire one new Pokémon of your choice from any area you have already visited using any mechanic available to you.

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  • Methods allowed by the Star include, but are not limited to, normal captures, breeding (generation II+), the Bug-Catching Contest (generation II), Honey Trees (generation IV), the Poké-Walker (generation IV, if you somehow still have a working one), Hidden Grottoes (generation V), Island Scan (generation VII), Max Raids (generation VIII) and Wonder Trade/Surprise Trade (generation VI+).
  • If any observer owns a game that can trade with yours, you may ask them for a Pokémon; they may give you one of their choice.
  • You can breed Pokémon that are currently banned, petrified or in the Vessel.
  • If you wish to trade for a Pokémon, you may catch any wild Pokémon to exchange, or pick one you already own. If you trade with an observer who is also running a Kingslocke, they are free to keep and use the Pokémon you give them.
  • If you receive a Pokémon by Wonder Trade that is at least 5 levels higher than every Pokémon you already own, it cannot be used until one of your other Pokémon is within 5 levels of it. If that Pokémon is also higher than level 60, you may Wonder Trade it for something else if you wish.
  • If you receive a legendary Pokémon in any kind of trade, it is sealed, as normal.

The Moon: Ongoing: You may not check information from any reference resources outside the game (e.g. for encounter rates, Pokémon base stats, move lists, area maps or trainer data). If you are already playing a game blind anyway, ignore this card and draw another.

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  • You may look up information that is strictly necessary in order to comply with other rules (e.g. what the different natures do, if the Hermit is in play, or which Pokémon belong to which egg groups, if the Lovers is in play).
  • If you are playing with an audience (e.g. on a live stream), you may ask your audience questions, however they are encouraged to lie to you.

The Sun: Immediate: All ongoing card effects that can ban a specific Pokémon (Eight/Mate, Knight after a failed Challenge, the Tower, version 6 of the Wheel of Fortune, any Ten/Rule Card that makes a specific Pokémon unusable, or any card modified by a Ten/Rule Card to make a specific Pokémon unusable) are revoked, allowing you to use those Pokémon again.  Nine/Snake Eyes, Death and the Hanged Man are not revoked and can petrify more Pokémon in the future; however, all of your currently petrified Pokémon are freed (overriding the effect of Death).

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  • Any legendary Pokémon you have captured or received are unsealed by the Sun and can now be used.
  • Custom rules created by a Ten/Rule Card are affected by the Sun if they target one or more particular Pokémon, rather than all Pokémon with a certain trait or of a certain species.

Judgement: Ongoing: 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.

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  • Your choice of “same generation” or “different generations” is permanent for as long as this card stays in play, but if you choose “same generation” you can later change which generation you want.
  • If you are playing a game that only has Pokémon from one generation (Red/Blue/Yellow, pre-Elite Four Fire Red/Leaf Green, or Black/White), ignore this card and draw another.
  • Pokémon with cross-generation evolutions (e.g. Smoochum/Jynx, Murkrow/Honchkrow) can count as belonging to any of them.
  • Pokémon with branched cross-generation evolutions only count as belonging to the generations in their own branch (e.g. Eevee can count as generation I, II, IV or VI, but Jolteon can only count as I and Glaceon can only count as I or IV).
  • Pokémon with regional variant forms can count as belonging to either the generation that first introduced their species or the generation that introduced their own form (e.g. Kantonian Meowth only counts as generation I; Alolan Meowth can count as generation I or VII; Galarian Meowth can count as generation I or VIII).

The World: Immediate: Revoke the effects of all other cards currently in play.  Only petrified Pokémon and Pokémon in the Vessel remain unusable.  Catch the first Pokémon you see in this area, OR free one petrified Pokémon, OR teach one of your party Pokémon a TM/TR move of your choice.

Terms and Definitions

Card effect types

Card effects are either immediate or ongoing (many cards have both).  A card whose only effects are immediate does its thing and is then shuffled back into the deck.  A card with an ongoing effect stays in play on the table (if you aren’t using a physical deck, make sure you keep track of which cards are in play) and is only shuffled back into the deck after its effect is revoked or by another card or its own ending conditions are met.  There is no “discard pile.” There are two exceptions: the Kings and the Chariot both have ongoing effects, but do not stay in play; the Kings are removed from the game after being drawn, while the Chariot returns to the deck immediately.

Banned

Pokémon that are banned cannot be used.  They must be boxed at the first opportunity and cannot be returned to your active party as long as the card banning them stays in play.

Petrified

Pokémon that are petrified cannot be used.  They cannot be revived, must be boxed at the first opportunity and cannot be returned to your active party.  Unlike banned Pokémon, petrified Pokémon are not freed by revoking the card effect that petrified them.  Instead, an observer must select and free one petrified Pokémon each time you win a “milestone” battle (Gym Leaders and Elite Four members, or Totem Pokémon and Kahunas in Alola).  Some cards can also free a petrified Pokémon of your choice. In the standard rules, Pokémon are petrified if they faint while a Nine or Death is in play, or if they evolve while the Hanged Man is in play.

Sealed

Pokémon that are sealed cannot be used.  Legendary Pokémon are automatically sealed when they are first caught or received (except for Phione, who deserves a break).  Anything that revokes a card effect can be used to unseal a single legendary Pokémon, and the effects of the Tower, the Sun and the World unseal all of them.

Compulsory

Pokémon that are compulsory must be kept in your active party.  ​​Other card effects take precedence over keeping compulsory Pokémon with you – e.g., if a male Pokémon is compulsory and you have a Six/Chicks in play, you cannot use it (but must return it to your party immediately if the Six is later revoked).  If you have seven or more compulsory Pokémon, you are free to choose between them.  If you have a full party of compulsory Pokémon and also have at least one Champion, your Champion(s) may take the place of compulsory Pokémon.

Champion

A Pokémon that becomes a Champion may ignore the effects of all cards, other than the Kings and the card that made it a Champion.  Cards that restrict which combinations of Pokémon you are allowed to use (Judgement, the Hermit, the Wheel) ignore your Champions altogether (e.g. with the Hermit in play, you are free to use another Pokémon that has the same nature as your Champion).  Once the card that made a Pokémon a Champion has been revoked, it loses its special status.

Locked

Moves that are locked cannot be used.  If a Pokémon has no unlocked direct-damage moves (or if it is out of PP for all its unlocked moves), it may temporarily ignore one of the cards locking its moves, but must learn an unlocked move if it gets the opportunity.  In this situation, you must use a TM/TR if you have (or can easily buy) a compatible one, but are not required to use move tutors or move reminders (including the free move reminders of generation VIII+).

Revoked

When a card’s rule is revoked, that rule is no longer in effect and the card returns to the deckMinor Arcana cards with ongoing rules usually have built-in ending conditions, except for the Eights and Tens.  Most Major Arcana cards do not.  However, if you have three ongoing Major Arcana cards in play and draw a fourth one, the oldest one is revoked (Major Arcana cards that do not remain in play after being drawn – the Empress, the Chariot, the Star, the Sun and the World – do not count towards this limit). In addition, the Tens (if your observer is feeling generous), the Empress, the Devil, the Tower, the Sun and the World all have the power to revoke other cards.

Cancelled Out

Several Minor Arcana cards with ongoing rules (the Aces, Fours, Fives, Sixes and Nines) can cancel themselves out if you draw another card of the same value. When that happens, the old one is revoked and the new one does not replace it; they both return to the deck.  However, if the new card also has an immediate effect (such as catching a new Pokémon), that still happens.  Eights and Tens do not cancel out; multiple Eights and multiple Tens can be in play at the same time.

Variant Rules

The following are variations on the Kingslocke rules that you can use to alter or fine-tune the experience.

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  • If you don’t have an observer, make the following changes to the rules:
    • A Ten allows you to revoke one ongoing rule of your choice, and has no other effects.
    • You choose which of your petrified Pokémon are freed after milestone battles.
    • When you draw the Devil, count up all the Pokémon you own, then pick six with an online random number generator (set “min” to 1 and “max” to the number of eligible Pokémon you have, then click “generate” six times, repeating if you get the same number twice).
  • If petrification effects are getting you down, you can count more things as “milestone battles”: include battles with rival characters, major antagonists and/or legendary Pokémon, as well as gym leaders.
  • If you want to try a “Hard Mode” Kingslocke, as accidentally invented by the EXP. Share podcast boys, draw again every time you return to any area where you previously drew a card.
  • If you just don’t want to think about which areas count and which ones don’t, try a Speed Kingslocke: instead of drawing for new areas, pick a time interval (e.g. 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour) and set a timer when you start playing.  Whenever time runs out, draw a card and reset your timer.  If time runs out during a battle, draw and reset only once the battle is over.  Pause your timer while away from the game.  Beware of setting very short draw intervals (e.g. under 10 minutes); once you have many cards in play, it may take you several minutes after some draws to figure out which Pokémon you’re even allowed to use.  In this case, it may make sense to start your timer only after you have finished resolving the effects of your last draw.
  • The Waterfall and Snake Eyes effects from the Minor Arcana are normally mutually exclusive: each card overwrites the other when you draw it.  This is because the combination of the two rules – a pseudo-Nuzlocke with no switching allowed – seems absurdly punishing and unfair (but beware: the more powerful Major Arcana version of the “Nuzlocke” rule, from the Death card, can stack with an Ace).  But hey, maybe punishing and unfair is what you’re signing up for.  If you want to play a pointlessly unfair hard-core Kingslocke, the Ace and Nine do not overwrite each other (but they still cancel out if you draw two of the same card).
  • The Kingslocke is only designed to be played as far as the standard “end” of a Pokémon game’s storyline (usually, earning 8 badges, defeating the Champion and entering the Hall of Fame).  However, some games (most notably Gold/Silver/Crystal and Heart Gold/Soul Silver, but also Fire Red/Leaf Green, Black 2/White 2 and Alpha Sapphire/Omega Ruby) do have quite a lot of “post-game” story.  There’s no reason you can’t keep playing a Kingslocke through these chapters; I’ve done it for Black 2.  However, you may need to take a much more vibes-based approach to when you draw cards, since you’ll often be returning to places you’ve been already.  You should also probably treat any optional end-game “boss fights” or battles with rival characters as “milestone” battles that can allow you to free petrified Pokémon.  Finally, if you want to play all the way to the end of Fire Red/Leaf Green in a Kingslocke, you will probably need to break the “only catch Pokémon when a card tells you to” core rule after defeating the Elite Four for the first time in order to get your Pokédex up to 60 completed entries. You can always quarantine any “extra” Pokémon you end up catching in a separate PC box, or just release them.

13 thoughts on “Kingslocke Rules: Third Revised Edition

  1. The timing on this is funny cuz I just wrote some code to keep track of my active cards for an ephemerald kingslocke. Luckily it looks like all the overrides and cancellations between cards has stayed the same so I don’t need to worry too much

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, very few of the cards have fundamentally changed what they do (I think just the Queens, the Fool and the Hanged Man); most of the changes are about making the rules more consistent and… *hopefully* easier to understand?

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  2. I have a question about the Sun card: Its effect is to revoke all ongoing card effects that can ban a specific Pokémon. The Tower is mentioned as an example of a card that would be revoked. However the Tower does not ban a specific Pokémon but rather every Pokémon in the active party.

    Does the Sun card still revoke the effect of the Tower?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the point is that the Tower bans multiple specific Pokémon. It’s not naming a category like “all male Pokémon” or “all Fire-type Pokémon,” it’s saying “these ones in particular that are currently in your party.” If you happened to have another Pokémon that was identical to one in your party (same species, level, nature, gender, etc), the Tower wouldn’t ban it. Same goes for any custom rules attached to a Ten: the Sun gets rid of it if it names *specific individual* Pokémon rather than a *category* of Pokémon, even if more than one Pokémon is affected.

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  3. Here’s my Ten rule:

    Zarbiro World

    Ongoing:
    Whenever a Pokemon is about to get petrified, you might instead [zarbiroll] it.

    To [zarbiroll] a Pokemon, follow these steps:
    – Take the letters in the Pokemon species name, and rearrange them to make the name of another Pokemon species with it. You don’t have to use every letter, and a letter can be used multiple times. The new name must be different from the original name.

    – Remove the item held by the original Pokemon and release it.

    – Spawn a wild Pokemon of the rearranged species, with the same level as the original Pokemon.

    – Catch it, and give it the original Pokemon’s item.

    I’d let Jim tweak this rule and decide if some characteristics like a Pokemon being a Champion could be passed over from the original to the rearranged. If you’re playing on an emulator, spawning a Pokemon of the desired species and the desired level shouldn’t be too too hard, hopefully. You could probably use this code: https://www.supercheats.com/nintendods/pokemon-heart-gold/1959/ar-codes/a-better-pokemon-modifier/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I would like to share my thoughts about pulling your fourth king after gym 8.

    I feel like this would be disproportionately more devastating than pulling it anywhere before the eighth gym, and also just plain anticlimactic. What it would mean is that the player would be limited to a team of only four Pokémon to beat the entire Elite Four and the Champion (?), and possibly all of Victory Road. What’s more, every time the player loses and has to pull a card, no card but a Two or a Page would be any help, as those cards can teach TM’s for a better moveset.

    It may invite frustrating loops of grinding. Lastly it just seems like a bit of a downer for the player to enter the Hall of Fame with a team that (I assume) they haven’t had time to bond with, and that mostly is based on each member hopefully covering the others’ weaknesses, if the player is not limited in their choices every time a King is pulled.

    As a disclaimer, this is mostly a thought experiment: I have just beaten gym 5 in my White 2 Kingslocke and have only pulled two Kings so far. Lastly, an interesting observation: The first pokemon I’ve sent to the Vessel is a Sewaddle (part of a line that has a myriad of weaknesses) and the second a Trapinch (a pokemon that gains the dragon type upon evolution.) I assume my thought process for both these choices is clear 😛

    Curious to hear your thoughts! I’m loving your challenge, it is indeed way more fun than a Nuzlocke.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I see your point, and that is something I’m hoping to improve on with the Advanced Rules (currently in testing https://pokemaniacal.com/category/playthroughs/heart-gold-kingslocke/). Do remember, though, that all four of them are Champions, so they get to ignore a lot of the nastier things the Kingslocke can throw at you (not being allowed to use STAB moves, for instance); the fact that you only get four of them is supposed to balance that. I’m pretty confident anyone who can beat the Elite Four with six Pokémon under a typical late-game Kingslocke ruleset should have no problem doing the same with four more-or-less-well-chosen Pokémon who can just ignore all the bull$#!t. As for the story-ish elements… well, it does depend a bit on when you draw your Kings and which ones you pick, but since the Kings always take Pokémon from your party, not from your PC, in my runs they’ve usually been Pokémon I *had* bonded with and was glad to see return (the fourth and final one, in fact, will always be a Pokémon that was with you when you drew the last King and only theoretically leaves your party for an instant).

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      1. Yes, I’ve been curious about the Advanced Rules! I saw that you plan to reveal those as you play. If it’s not too much trouble, could you maybe make a page separate from your playthrough with the rules revealed thus far? I plan to Kingslocke Heartgold myself sometime and want to avoid spoilers and such.

        In particular, have any of the Tens been pulled so far? I just pulled one myself and because I don’t have an observer that card feels like a bit of a freebie. I don’t mind freebies but would have liked the possibility for negative consequences, as there can be when there is an observer.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I can actually do better than that.

          Protected: Kingslocke Advanced Rules


          That’s all provisional, all subject to change, there are several cards I’m planning to revise later, which is why I’ve buried the post in 2016 and password-protected it. The password is “kings” but – shhh! – don’t tell anyone!

          The system I’m using for the Tens in this one is that anyone can suggest a rule at any time, and when I pull a Ten, Jim the Editor picks the one he likes best. So far I’ve only drawn one, which demanded that I catch a Pokémon of my choice and only use Pokémon that shared a type with it.

          I’m thinking of maybe creating some kind of something to give you custom rules if you don’t have anyone to do that for you. Maybe a flowchart system with some randomness built in. Not sure.

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          1. Oh wow, thanks for sharing! I really like how the effects are based on what the different suits represent.

            …I’m actually a bit stuck right now, but not because of the rules. You see, I’m trying to form my party based on the cards I *might pull next.* For example, should I fill my party with mon that I want to teach a TM, in case I pull a Page? I could teach the TM’s and then swap my party for the one I want to go through the area with. But I could also pull a King. Should I replace one “TM mon” with a mon that I’d like to add to my Vessel team?

            I could implement a rule that states I’m not allowed to swap my party after entering a new area, but since a 9 is currently active this just raises the question of “how much mon do I need to get through this area and how much space do I have left for profiting the most of the cards I could pull next?”

            One solution I came up with is to introduce randomness. For example I could say a Page allows me to teach a TM to six random mon. What are your thoughts and do you have some other suggestions?

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  5. So… If a Four & the Magician are both in play, and your Pokémon’s currently available moves are either physical non-STAB moves or special STAB moves, which card takes precedence? (Obvs the same question can be reversed for Strength+Four.)

    (Until the Word of God lets the truth be known I’m personally going with: the Major Arcana should take precedence, although that might be because I’d really like for my Cyndaquil to use Ember on a certain Scyther.)

    Liked by 1 person

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