Heart Gold Kingslocke: Episode 2

Introduction/rules here.

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.

On route 31, off the path and near some grass and trees, talking to a kid in a straw hat.  Kid: You can catch Pokémon even if you have six with you.

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.

On route 31, standing outside a cave mouth in a cliff face, reading a sign: Dark Cave.

Route 30 is also the location of Dark Cave.  It’s a cave and it’s dark.

Inside Dark Cave.  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.

A tarot card, the Hierophant.

Oh, not this guy again… and with a Nine in play, too…

The HierophantOngoingWhenever 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.

In a Pokémon Centre, talking to an older man: It was about three years ago.  This group of thugs called Team Rocket was involved in wrongdoing.  They were abusing Pokémon.  But!  Bad things never last!  A boy did a wonderful job and Team Rocket was disbanded!

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.

A tarot card, the Page of Cups.

Hmm.  Bit of a waste, really.

Page – Never Have I EverImmediate: 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.

Talking to a bald man in a robe: The flexible pillar protects the tower, even from earthquakes.

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.

The top floor of the Sprout Tower.  Wooden floor, many Bellsprout statues, the central pillar visible.  The rival character is talking to the Elder.  The image is crudely edited to replace the Elder with the image of a Cromulon head from Rick & Morty.  Elder: You showed us what you've got, and it is indeed good...
Same scene as before, but with the Elder's true appearance, a bald man with a long white beard.  Elder: However, you should care more about your Pokémon.  The way you treat your Pokémon can be too harsh... Remember, Pokémon are not tools of war...
Rival character, now facing the player: Sure enough, those who lecture how you should be "nice" to Pokémon... They cannot defeat me.  All I care about are strong Pokémon that win every 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…

Party list: Breeze, Pidgey, female, level 9; Charlotte, Sentret, female, level 9; Hopewell, Butterfree, male, level 10; Vasya, Chikorita, female, level 10.  All are at full HP.

…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.

A tarot card, the Chariot.

Always a bit alarming for the long term, but in the here and now, this is no problem.

The ChariotOngoing: 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.

Party list: Vasya, Chikorita, female, level 11; Breeze, Pidgey, female, level 11; Hopewell, Butterfree, male, level 11; Charlotte, Sentret, female, level 11.  All are at full HP.

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.

Battle screen: Charlotte's Keen Eye prevents accuracy loss!  The Pidgey is now injured; Charlotte remains healthy.

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.

Battle screen: Breeze has 1 HP remaining, and the enemy Pidgeotto is also critically injured.

Agh, didn’t quite get him.  I have to heal, and he probably will too.

…or not?

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!

A badge case with portraits of the eight gym leaders.  The Zephyr Badge, a silvery hexagon cut with a stylised wing design, sits next to Falkner's face.

…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.

Bloodsucker.

Outside the PokéMart.  A woman in colourful robes speaks to the player: Me oh my... That Egg must be...!  That Egg is truly an important Egg.  Please do take good care of it for me.

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…

A crossroads in a dense forest is blocked by a suspicious, fake-looking tree.

…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.

In an office with tables, computers and bookshelves, speaking to a scientist: The ruins are about 1,500 years old.  That's all we know about them.

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.

A chamber in the ruins.  Stone floors littered with rubble.  A mysterious altar in the middle of the room.  A tour guide in a burgundy uniform stands to the side.

Anyway, let’s do some looting.

An inscription reads ESCAPE in the Unown script.

“Escape,” you say?  I have an Escape Rope right here.

Treasure!  And a bottomless pit!

Chris found a Pecha Berry!

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.”

Back in the chamber with the guide.  Now standing at the altar.

Down the bottomless pit once more!

In the subterranean hall, speaking to a scientist: Did you just come down from above...?  So!  You must have solved the stone-panel puzzle!

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.

Scientist: You seem to have some talent with archaeology.

Half a doctorate’s worth of study, but… nah, no talent, unfortunately…

Game text: There is a strange presence here...

Anyway, we’re back in the subterranean hall… but this time there’s a mysterious presence.  Better draw a card.

A tarot card, the Devil.

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!

A tarot card, the High Priestess.

Ugh, just what I need.  Both of these god-bothering busybodies in play, and with a Nine out.

The High PriestessOngoing: 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.

Outside in the ruins, near a natural pool of water.  Breakable rocks block the way to a dropped item.  Game text: It's a rugged rock, but a Pokémon may be able to smash it.

You’re free to use HMs at any time in a Kingslocke, but as it happens…

Party screen: all Pokémon listed as unable to learn the move.

…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.

A tarot card, the Nine of Pentacles.

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.

Battle screen: Vasya reaches level 12 and learns Synthesis.

Naturally, Vasya is free to heal herself.

On route 32.  A dirt path, cliffs on either side.  Talking to a young girl: Pardon?  Pokémon battle?  I'm on the phone.

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.

Phone call from Prof. Elm: Hey, Chris, this is great news!  A Pokémon hatched from that Egg!

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.

Elm's lab.  Elm: What?  That Pokémon!?  As far as I know, there is not a Pokémon like this in Johto... The legendary Pokémon could be... Oh, never mind.

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.

On a bridge on route 32, talking to a fisherman: Fishing is a lifelong passion.  Pokémon are lifelong friends!

This is Fisherman Ralph.

Phone call from Ralph: I've been spending more time with my GOLDEEN than I have with my kids.

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)

Call from Wade: I found all kinds of Berries.  If you want, I'll share some with you.

Wade’s a good kid.  Be like Wade.

Speaking to a man on route 32: How would you like to have this tasty, nutritioous SlowpokeTail?  For you right now, just ₽1,000,000!

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).

Standing outside a Pokémon Centre on route 32.  Trees all around, a dirt path, cliffs to the southwest.

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.

Party list: Lil' Toby, a level 12 male Togepi; Hopewell, a level 12 male Butterfree; Charlotte, a level 12 female Sentret; Vasya, a level 12 female Chikorita; Breeze, a level 12 female Pidgey.

And that was just enough to get Toby up to the same level as everyone else!  Things are looking good!

In a Pokémon Centre, talking to a fisherman.  Game text: Chris obtained the Old Rod!

Yay, I can catch a Magikarp now… maybe… if I draw the right card…

On a ledge near a cave mouth in a cliff face.  Sandy ground, boulders nearby.

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.

A tarot card, the Three of Pentacles.

Poor in money but rich in Pokémon…

Three – MeImmediate: 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!

8 thoughts on “Heart Gold Kingslocke: Episode 2

  1. Oh, another 10 rule idea;

    Whoever is in the first spot of the party is the captain; all members of the team must listen to the captain’s whims, meaning they can’t have moves that are super effective against the captain. Cards that force you to learn moves take priority over keeping a consistent party. If either you or the rules change who’s in the first spot, the position of captain is also changed over.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I was thinking can’t have so it would make you need to juggle your team around, as is often the theme of Kingslocke, but making you use weird movesets is also in the spirit, so I’ll say leave it up to Jim which version is most appropriate; if it’s early and you don’t have many mon, go for “Can’t Use” but if it’s later on and you’ve got options in your box go for “Can’t Have”

        Liked by 1 person

  2. that thing is friggin hard-coded to always have hustle I swear, I have *never* seen one hatch with serene grace

    Anyway, 10 idea:

    Immediate: return to the Ruins of Alph. Once there, catch the first pokémon you encounter that is not an evolutionary relative of one you have already caught (continue to encounter new pokémon until a suitable one appears, this is *not* optional). Ongoing: that pokémon becomes compulsory for as long as this card remains in play. In addition to normal methods of revoking a minor arcanum, you may also choose to revoke this card if you sweep a gym leader or elite 4 member’s entire team using only the compulsory pokémon, or beat a pokémon champion with them in your party.

    There’s plenty of encounter options in the ruins besides the actual underground ruins, I’m sure you’ll have access to them by the time you draw this! You’ll be fine :V

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m catching up with this (life’s been busy) but I appreciate the shoutout as well as the vengeance! The two major arcana you’re juggling are sorta cruel together but you’re otherwise in a decent place (at least compared to where I was).

    Also, completely being honest, hope the above 10 rule that basically forces an Unown onto you again is not put into play, you already went through that nightmare once (and I have reformed my ways so I have no interest in seeing that happen). Though it *is* written in a way that you can get something else cool out of it, so presuming it’s after you get Surf, it might actually be a boon (but I can only assume Jim wouldn’t pick it at that point).

    Liked by 1 person

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