A Pokémon Trainer is You! XXIX: Leader’s Duty

[Catch up on the story so far here!]

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

What should Scallion do?
– Evolve

The light is swelling.  You’re not afraid of it.  Why would you be?  You’ve studied with Professor Oak, so you know how evolution works – or at least, as much as anyone does – but you also know there’s a spiritual aspect to it.  Evolution is the path to fulfilling a Pokémon’s potential, to realising their full powers and finding their place in the world.  You’d never make Scallion evolve if he didn’t want to – but reassuring him that nothing bad will happen if he chooses this?  That’s kind of your job.  You tell him, in a few soft words, that it’s okay to let go; you’ll still be here on the other side.  And he changes.

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A Pokémon Trainer is You! XXVI: Björk

[Catch up on the story so far here!]

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

Which of the debaters at the museum do you agree with?
– Hammond-Spruce: There’s so much science can learn from ancient Pokémon, and it isn’t fair to write them off as savage monsters that are too dangerous to bring back.

There’s obviously a lot of reason to be cautious about the technology they’re discussing – in fact, didn’t you see a disaster movie with this exact premise once? – but you think the bottom line on this one is pretty clear.  The technology to return extinct species to the world is within humanity’s grasp; how can you not reach out and take it?  Yeah, you’re pretty committed; research to resurrect extinct Pokémon is a good thing, full stop.  I don’t know why that matters, of course; it’s not like you’re ever going to be in a position to make major world-changing decisions directly related to this topic.  Why the hell would you be?

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A Pokémon Trainer is You! XX: What a Tangled Web We Weave

[Catch up on the story so far here!]

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

Surrounded by six huge spider Pokémon, what do you do?

  • Negotiate?

Well, I’ve heard worse ideas.  True, most of them were Larry’s, but under the circumstances I guess talking is relatively unlikely to get you all killed.

Abner, Stacey and Dane are standing back-to-back and glaring defiantly at the spider Pokémon surrounding them, with all their own Pokémon at the ready.  Dane’s Weedle and Stacey’s Caterpie are clinging to their trainers’ arms, but are poised to fire String Shots; Abner’s Metapod and Kakuna are both on the ground, already using Harden; and Stacey’s Ledyba is zipping around their heads, glaring at each of the fierce-looking Bug Pokémon in turn.  Ellis and his Beedrill move to join them, but you catch him by the elbow and hiss a warning.  Between the five of you, with all your Pokémon, you have your attackers well and truly outnumbered, but frankly they’re bigger.

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Larry asks:

How much of the way our experience with “a pokémon trainer is you!” was based on the background we picked for our character? Obviously, there were the story beats with us doing ranger/biologist work besides training.

But I’m assuming that our capacity to find Pokémon that you usually only see in Kanto under special conditions (The Hoenn Radio In Soulsilver) is because our scientist background lets us examine the environment better? And our compassion is the reason we’ve had your first non-misanthrope character. I assume even if we weren’t a big battling fan we’d still know most, if not all, type matchups though? (The games and the anime pretending 10-year olds wouldn’t know that ground is immune to electric is just… the worst worldbuilding I’ve seen.. ever? )

Uh, but tangent aside- I meant to ask you about what you would do with each specialty! “Swords” seemed weird as fuck and I’m confused, but I’m pretty interested in Athlete- would that let us basically be our own HM pokémon?

[Before saying anything else: I do want to bring this back, but things are… well, crazy right now, as I think most people have probably noticed.  When I do, it will probably be a two-week schedule rather than every week, because that was taking too much time away from articles.]

[…what is my life]

But yeah, the point of that “choose your background” question was basically to decide what kind of story this was going to be, what aspects of the Pokémon world we were going to focus on.  Part of that is just dictating the kinds of details I emphasise and explore in the narration, but the character’s skills also determine some of the options I offer when we have a choice to make.  I didn’t have everything planned out, but for every “special skill” I had some idea of a few things that it would let us do to take the story of Pokémon: Red and Blue off the rails, and a few ways that our character would react differently to the events of the story.  The point is that the things we do to influence the world in significant ways should mainly come from those “special skills.”

Continue reading “Larry asks:”

A Pokémon Trainer is You! XIX: The Larry Scenario

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

What do you want to do tomorrow?
– Explore the deep forest.

Part of you wants to focus on getting to Pewter City so you can get that whole gym challenge thing back on track after your frustrating false start in Viridian City.  On the other hand, though… this forest is fascinating to you.  People in Viridian City called it a “natural maze” because of the way the vegetation swallows any artificial path that isn’t constantly maintained, leaving a tangled mess of Pokémon migration paths, treefall clearings and hill crests as the only real landmarks.  No one alive really knows Viridian Forest, and even your new friends who’ve spent time here before are only truly familiar with a small part of the southern reaches.  Still, with your scientific knowledge, their wilderness skills and a bit of luck, you’re confident you can map out a sector of the forest and gain some valuable data about the ecosystem – maybe even find a cool new Pokémon or some kind of, like, lost treasure or whatever.  You all pack up your gear and set off northward, most of your Pokémon out of their balls and playing together as you move.

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A Pokémon Trainer is You! XVIII: Scallion of the Apes?

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

Which Pokémon will battle Ellis’ Beedrill, and how?
– Use Scallion the Bulbasaur, and try to think of an unconventional strategy.

A Beedrill is a tough opponent, especially for a Grass Pokémon like Scallion, and unlike the other bug catchers, Ellis seems to have experience to balance your knowledge of Pokémon and battle tactics.  You’re going to need to pull some kind of bull$#!t to win this one.  You glance around the clearing – tents, leaf litter, a couple of hillocks, tall trees all around…

You glance down at Scallion, catching his eye, and jerk your head at the tree branches.  He follows your gaze and looks back at you in confusion.  You jerk your head again and make a motion with your hands as if pulling on a rope.  Scallion stares, baffled, then something clicks and his eyes widen.  He looks at you nervously and tilts his head.  You nod vigorously and give him a manic grin.

I gotta tell you, kid, I do not like where this is going.

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A Pokémon Trainer is You! XVII: Battle of the Bugs

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

What do you say to Stacey about her love triangle situation?
– Commiserate but don’t interfere; it’s none of your gosh-damn business.

You only just met these people yesterday.  It may not be the most interesting way to approach this situation, but you decide it’s best to stay out of it.  You listen sympathetically to Stacey as she tells you about her crush on Abner and possible rivalry with Ellis, nodding along and making thoughtful “hmmm” noises at the right moments, and doing your best not to sway her towards any particular course of action.  Before too long, the two of you are close to base camp, and Stacey changes the subject before you get into earshot of the others.

Would you like to battle in the bug catchers’ tournament?
– Battle with Aura, the Silcoon.

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A Pokémon Trainer is You! XVI: Ladybirds and Gentlemen

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

Who would you like to go with?
– Help Stacey find a Bug Pokémon that’s rare in Kanto.

Once everything is settled, Ellis has elected to follow Dane and look for battles with wild Pokémon while doing general exploration, and you have volunteered to search out some unusual Bug Pokémon with Stacey. Rather than join either pair, Abner decides to stay at the group’s base camp so he can try his experimental evolution ideas on his own.  Sticking to the ground, you can see tell-tale signs that the vegetation has been invigorated by the presence of wild Grass Pokémon, and occasionally you spot intriguing blackened marks near the base of tree trunks that look to you like electrical burns.  If you want to find different Bug-types, though, you suspect you’ll need to get off the ground and into the treetops.  You’re not much of a climber, and Stacey is only a little better, but using Scallion’s Vine Whips and Aura’s String Shot, you’re able to create makeshift ropes and nets that help you up into the highest trees without breaking your fragile child necks.  Of course, you make an awful racket in the process, and you can tell there are Pokémon fleeing just out of your sight, but once you get used to what you’re doing, you can move from one treetop to the next with surprising ease, thanks to the interlaced branches of Viridian Forest’s dense canopy.  You suggest focusing on trees with sweet berries and listening carefully for the low-pitched hum of Bug Pokémon wings; Stacey catches on pretty quickly and leads the way.  After half an hour picking your way through the upper levels of the forest, you stumble into a tree filled with red, black-spotted beetle Pokémon, which you vaguely recognise as Ledyba.

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State of the Blog: 2019

sweet bird jesus christ, now what

oh, yeah, um… happy… new thing or whatever to all my readers who use the Gregorian calendar

So, we made it through 2019… seems like the world might end soon, so I’m looking forward to finding a new planet to terrorise and conquer… although frankly when I sold my soul to Dark Forces from Parts Unknown I was promised a much better return on investment than this. Still, I think it was a pretty good blog year, all things considered. We finished generation VII (…mostly… I think I actually will try to get some short pieces done on some of the major human characters I missed out – Hau, Lillie, Gladion – and I want to come back to Alolan forms when I do the Galarian ones), we saw and discussed Detective Pikachu, we started a new interactive/collaborative(?)/choose-your-own-adventure-ish story, A Pokémon Trainer Is You!, I started writing for fansite PokéJungle (and, by the way, if you don’t pay attention to my Twitter – well, first of-ly, good for you, Twitter is the path to hell, but secondwise, my latest piece there is up, looking at my favourite new Pokédex entries for pre-gen VIII Pokémon in Sword and Shield), I made this extremely ridiculous cake, we endured the hype period of the new games and even survived the games themselves, and I wrote my first big article on them – a character study of Marnie, Piers and Team Yell. The next one, on Chairman Rose, is finished and awaiting editorial approval, so it should be up later this week.

I also started a Patreon page! And people actually gave me money, which is bonkers; I mean, I’m not exactly going to become a full-time Internet Pokémon Personality any time soon, but I now get more than enough donations to cover the cost of hosting this thing on WordPress, so I’m not actively losing money out of it. Thank you, as always, to my mysterious benefactors, the patrons: Don’t Call Me Bradley, Leo M.R., James Crooks, hugh_donnetono, Esserise and Hamish Fyfe. If you want to support what I do (…whatever you think that is, exactly), consider joining their ranks for as little as a dollar per month. And even if you don’t, thank you for reading, commenting and submitting questions – this blog is an objectively terrible use of my time in several ways, but I kind of love that there seem to be hundreds of people all over the world who seem to enjoy it, which is honestly a bigger audience than I’m ever likely to get for anything I publish in my real-life academic career.

As for upcoming Things, let’s see… I think my next article is going to cover Hop, and hopefully be a bit shorter and less complex than what I’ve written for Team Yell and Chairman Rose (we’ll see how that turns out…). I probably need to skip this week’s episode of A Pokémon Trainer Is You, because I’m flying back to the US this weekend and… well, things are a bit hectic. It’ll be back next week, though (with the polls running on US Eastern time again). Topics of upcoming reader questions include rebalancing types to work more like the TCG, a new take on the Grass-Water-Fire starter triangle, how I would design a Pokémon gym, and how on earth Ghost Pokémon are supposed to work. For the whole year… well, I want to try to review all the Pokémon of generation VIII this year, but given how long and detailed my reviews are these days, I’d be satisfied with getting through, like, half of them; that should leave me with plenty of time to finish the lot before those BASTARDS who CONTROL MY LIFE announce generation IX.

well… here goes nothing

happy 2020, b!tches

A Pokémon Trainer is You! XV: A Bug Catcher Is You!

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

What will you do tomorrow?
– Join up with some other trainers to explore.

You’re not the only trainer about to attempt a Viridian Forest expedition; a group of trainers from Viridian City, all friends, are also spending the night at the rest stop.  You decide to sidle over and introduce yourself while they’re all chatting before lights-out.  After all, Viridian Forest has kind of a dark reputation, and although you’ve already proven to yourself and your Pokémon that you can manage a couple of days in the wilderness on your own, it’d still be dumb to pass up company when it’s on offer.

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