Last time we were off to a very strong start, with four team members and only one nasty card in play (although it is the pseudo-Nuzlocke card, which can be fairly vicious). Let’s see if my luck holds.
This helpful little dude is Bug Catcher Wade, and he’s the second trainer you can exchange phone numbers with. He’s not really all that important (I don’t even think his Weedle is in the top percentage of Weedle), but I think we should ship him with Youngster Joey. It’ll be good for morale.
Route 30 is also the location of Dark Cave. It’s a cave and it’s dark.
fµ¢£, the sign was right, it’s dark in here
Even if we could light the cave up, we can’t get through it right now. It’s a place, though, and you know what we do with places in the Kingslocke.
Oh, not this guy again… and with a Nine in play, too…
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.
Fortunately, the Hierophant doesn’t have a minimum tithe, and right now we have no badges. 0 times 1000 is still zero. Chances are he’ll stick around at least long enough to start raking in the cash after I win my Zephyr Badge, though.
Anyway, I was rather hoping we could pick up another Pokémon (I am nothing if not a Dunsparce enjoyer) but it looks like I’ll just have to grab what dropped items I can find and move on.
And here we are in Violet City, the stately old crown of eastern Johto. If you line up Johto with a real map of the Kansai region, Violet City roughly corresponds to Nara, which was the capital of Japan for most of the 8th century. Like the other major cities of Kansai, it’s famous today for its historical sites, particularly its many ancient Buddhist temples. There are no trainers to fight in Violet City itself, so we won’t draw a card here.
Gold and Silver (and their remakes) are set three years after the events of Red and Blue (and Fire Red and Leaf Green), following the timeline of the original games’ real-world release in 1996 and 1999. Team Rocket was beaten then, but unbeknownst to the people of Johto, they’re not out for the count…
There’s nothing stopping us from heading straight for the Violet Gym to challenge Falkner, but it’s probably better to get some more experience first by visiting the Sprout Tower, where an order of sages meditate on the great philosophical question of the age: how can one be more like a Bellsprout?
The tower has three floors, and you could probably argue it deserves more than one card, but this is one place where I think that should be left as a matter of personal interpretation. I’m just going to draw once for the whole tower.
Hmm. Bit of a waste, really.
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.
Page of Cups: As many as possible of the new moves you teach while resolving this card’s effect must be special attacks.
We don’t have any TMs yet! The Pages are definitely much stronger cards to draw early in games with reusable TMs, but I think that’s balanced by how much more potential chaos they can cause later on.
The central wooden pillar of Sprout Tower continuously sways gently back and forth, like a Bellsprout. The central pillar of Japanese cypress wood is a real feature of Japanese pagoda architecture, and the swaying motion really is thought to have some kind of earthquake-proofing effect, just as Sage Nico here claims – although I don’t think the pillar is normally supposed to sway all the time.
This douchebag got here first and challenged the Elder, but it seems like his experience hasn’t brought him any closer to enlightenment.
In the original games, Elder Li didn’t have his own title or sprite; he was just “Sage Li” and had the same sprite as all the other sages. It’s a small change I’m a fan of.
I seem to have quite a lot of potions that I’ve just found lying around since the start of the game. I’m making pretty liberal use of them in the battle with the Elder, because I’m acutely aware of the looming threat from the Nine of Cups.
And for a perfect finish…
Here’s Hopewell’s final form!
The Elder hands over some enlightenment in the form of a TM for Flash, as well as giving us his assurance that we should be strong enough to take on Falkner. I’m a tiny bit uncertain of that, because, well…
…we’re not doing badly by any stretch of the imagination, but Falkner in this version of the game has a level 13 Pidgeotto that could easily take out multiple low-level Pokémon, especially with two of my party members being weak to Flying attacks. I think some more level-grinding is in order.
But I’d rather know exactly what I’m up against first, so before doing that, I’m going to poke my nose into Violet Gym and draw a card.
Always a bit alarming for the long term, but in the here and now, this is no problem.
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.
In the Kingslocke, cards from the Minor Arcana (the “[Number/Face] of [Suit]” cards) have their ending conditions built into their rules, while cards from the Major Arcana (everything else) work using a limited number of slots and a first-in/first-out system. You start with three, but the Chariot gives you one more, every time you draw it. What it doesn’t do is make my situation any worse. With the Hierophant “dormant,” I’m free to train up a little bit as long as I take care not to fall afoul of Snake Eyes. Defeating Falkner will allow me to free one petrified Pokémon if I have any, but obviously I’d prefer to have that “in the bank” so I can afford to lose someone while fighting him.
I mean, this feels better; I guess we’ll just have to find out whether it actually is. Levelling Vasya feels a bit silly, but I think we’ll need her Poisonpowder to win a war of attrition against Falkner’s Pidgeotto (who knows Roost).
This is the easy bit.
lol nice try n00b
Now for the tricky part…
Vasya can’t stand another Gust, but she’s done what I needed her to do. Time for a tactical withdrawal.
Well, we’re hardly in a strong position… I can’t try Sand Attack; he’ll have Keen Eye too. But we can hope he doesn’t crit, then heal next turn.
Two Gusts are a bit more damage than I can heal with one potion, so the arithmetic is a bit off here. But I think we can handle one more, and he might Roost this turn, and we can lose one; losing one is okay.
Agh, didn’t quite get him. I have to heal, and he probably will too.
Well, teamwork – as the saying goes – makes the dream work! Vasya’s poison did its job, Falkner is defeated without losses, and we have our Zephyr Badge!
…which, of course, means I have to start paying the Hierophant a tithe of 1000 ₽ for every Pokémon visit, including the one I’m about to make. What fun.
And there is a special reward waiting for us at the PokéMart: Professor Elm has sent one of his minions to get us to carry that Mystery Egg from before, in hopes that it will hatch if kept with other active Pokémon. Pokémon you receive as gifts are fair game in the Kingslocke, so when our joy is bundled, we’ll have a new team member.
…and I may as well pay my tithe as long as I’m at the shop.
Another change from the original Gold, Silver and Crystal is that the Kimono Girls (who originally appeared only once, in their dance theatre) have a larger role in the story and seem to be doing a lot behind the scenes. Johto is a region that cares a lot about old ways of doing things and traditional Japanese culture, because it’s based on the area around Kyōto and Ōsaka, the stereotypically “old-fashioned” cultural centres of Japan, where Kanto is based on ultra-modern Tōkyō. The Kimono Girls and their mysterious agenda are an important part of that theme.
Route 36 is a new area, but there’s nothing to do here at the moment, on account of…
…this bull$#!t. Crystal actually had a little extra patch of grass here that you could reach from Violet City, but that change didn’t make it into the remakes, so for now there are no wild Pokémon and no trainers here, which means no card.
Turning back towards the south, we find the mysterious Ruins of Alph. There are wild Pokémon in the outside areas of the ruins, but we won’t be able to fight them for some time, so again we won’t draw a card here… yet.
Figuring out how old the ruins are without knowing anything else about them is really quite impressive. You could only do stylistic dating if you had some prior information about the culture, or a clear link with a different culture. Radiocarbon would require preserved organic remains, which are bound to tell you something interesting besides the age of the site. Maybe they got an OSL date or something.
Anyway, let’s do some looting.
“Escape,” you say? I have an Escape Rope right here.
Treasure! And a bottomless pit!
Hmm; quite a lot of preserved organic remains. Offerings to the dead? Or was this chamber a granary or something? Maybe they did find something that gave them a good radiocarbon date. Anyway, into the bottomless pit we go…
“Our clan engraved words in this place” – an entire room dedicated to an inscription that tells the reader it’s an inscription. Well, I suppose they weren’t a terribly imaginative people. Oh well; next bottomless pit.
Well, I’d hardly say there’s nothing here; there are rather a lot of these Rhydon statues. Can they be purely ornamental, or might they serve some commemorative purpose…? Anyway, I think we can do something about there being “nothing here.”
Down the bottomless pit once more!
Based on this guy’s dialogue, it seems like they must have at least some idea how the puzzles work (the clues are written in our language, after all, so they must be modern additions). Hell, maybe this guy left the “treasures” as prizes for children who could figure out the puzzles, like a little game to get kids into archaeology. It also appears they’ve encountered the Unown before, but that evidently hasn’t told them anything about the purpose or history of the ruins.
Half a doctorate’s worth of study, but… nah, no talent, unfortunately…
Anyway, we’re back in the subterranean hall… but this time there’s a mysterious presence. Better draw a card.
The Devil’s an interesting card later on, but he basically does nothing if you still have a small roster, so I added a special exception in the Third Revised Edition that says you put him back in the deck and draw again if you own fewer than nine Pokémon in total. Next card!
Ugh, just what I need. Both of these god-bothering busybodies in play, and with a Nine out.
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.
Well, I suppose it could be worse… like the last time I ventured into an Unown hall during a Kingslocke. Let’s just get out of here before something curses me.
You’re free to use HMs at any time in a Kingslocke, but as it happens…
…no one can actually learn Rock Smash. We’ll just come back later.
We’re now on route 32, which connects back up to Violet City in the north and will allow us to continue on towards Azalea Town if we head south. Time for another card, I think.
Well, that’s a spot of good luck. Even in the Advanced Rules, one Nine still cancels out another, so that gets rid of Snake Eyes. It’s a shame I won’t get a chance to catch a Mareep, and the Hierophant and the High Priestess are still a nasty duo – I have to pay for Pokémon Centres and I can’t use potions – but at least we’re not at risk of getting anyone petrified. We can march onward… cautiously, but without fear.
Naturally, Vasya is free to heal herself.
This is Picnicker Liz, the third minor character who offers her phone number. Liz enjoys gossiping and will sometimes call you by mistake and get halfway through a conversation before realising she’s dialled the wrong number. Her partner is a female Nidoran; another trainer her age who hangs out just down the road, Camper Roland, uses a male Nidoran, so obviously we should ship them.
Lil’ Toby must be protected at all costs.
how the fµ¢£ do you know that
are you spying on me, Elm
Lil’ Toby has an Adamant nature and the Hustle ability, which… is a little unorthodox for a Togepi, but not unworkable. If we can get him Aerial Ace after he evolves, that should be good. The Togepi you get in this game also starts with Extrasensory, which is an indicator that Toby’s dad was a Noctowl.
If you return to Professor Elm at this point, he’s very happy to see Toby and rewards you for your efforts with an Everstone. His dialogue here includes some hints (which I don’t think were in the original games) at more behind-the-scenes plot stuff. He seems to think that a Togepi appearing in Johto might have something to do with the region’s legendary Pokémon, which would explain why the Kimono Girls are involved and want to make sure Toby is being taken care of. I don’t think the details of Toby’s significance are ever explicitly filled in, though. Anyway, let’s get back on the road.
This is Fisherman Ralph.
Ralph is a bad father.
Don’t be like Ralph.
This is the moment things went from bad to worse in the ongoing Kingslocke run of long-time reader and Friend of the Blog Jeffthelinguist (a.k.a. ShadJV), when this Wooper defeated and disgraced his Cyndaquil, who was taking the Knight’s Challenge and would have become a powerful Champion if he’d succeeded.
Vasya strikes this blow to avenge the honour of Totodile the Cyndaquil!
(yes, that is his name)
Wade’s a good kid. Be like Wade.
This guy hawking Slowpoke tails for a million Poké-Yen is actually pretty neat foreshadowing for our first encounter with Team Rocket. I believe he disappears when they’re beaten, so he’s probably working for them as a fence (not unlike the people supplying the Celadon Game Corner with Pokémon in Red and Blue).
There’s a Pokémon Centre out here that we can use to heal up before heading through Union Cave. No PokéMart, but fortunately I paid the Hierophant an extra tithe in advance the last time I was in Violet City. The plan is to train out here as long as I can before I need to heal, visit the Pokémon Centre once, then hopefully get through Union Cave in one shot. The Hierophant does accept IOUs if you’re outside his usual service area, but it’s nicer if you don’t have to keep track.
And that was just enough to get Toby up to the same level as everyone else! Things are looking good!
Yay, I can catch a Magikarp now… maybe… if I draw the right card…
Well, I think we’ve come far enough for today. Let’s finish up by taking a peek inside Union Cave to see what the deck gives us.
Poor in money but rich in Pokémon…
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.
Three of Pentacles: You may forfeit your chance to catch a Pokémon in order to free a petrified Pokémon OR revoke the effect of one card in play. This option is not available if you draw this card in an area with no wild Pokémon.
I suppose I could use the forfeit option here to rid myself of one of those turbulent priests, but I think in the long run the capture opportunity is more valuable. Next time we’ll find out what I get!