One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
When we last left off, the cards had dealt me a new team of two Pokémon – Breeze the Pidgey and Trixie the Gastly. Trixie is only level 4, so we’re just going to time-lapse over some grinding in Ilex Forest and skip to the good stuff.
I neglected to screenshot the first line of this call from Picnicker Liz (which was something like “the Kimono Girls aren’t just good dancers, you know!”), but it seems like she’s plugged into some surprisingly deep gossip! The Kimono Girls and Professor Elm don’t even tell the player about this stuff until the end of the game, and you’re supposed to be helping them somehow!
Where we left off, I had just drawn the Three of Pentacles on my way into Union Cave, which will allow me to catch the first Pokémon I see. I’m hoping for a Geodude or Onix; either one would be a pretty significant asset going into the next two gyms.
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.
Hello, Johto, my old friend; I’ve come to play through you again.
There is some deep part of my nostalgia that Heart Gold and Soul Silver touch in a way that Fire Red and Leaf Green somehow don’t. Maybe it’s just that they’re better put-together than their predecessors, or that the original Gold and Silver were better put-together than their predecessors. Maybe we’ll figure out what it is. There’ve been longer shots, after all.
Of course, I’ll have enough on my mind just keeping my insane tarot-based challenge rules straight.
So here’s the deal: this is gonna be a test of the Kingslocke Advanced Rules. The second test, in fact (I’ve already run the Advanced Rules once on X and made a couple of changes based on that experience, although I didn’t fully document that run). The Kingslocke, for anyone just joining us now, is the dumbest and most convoluted Pokémon challenge run ever devised by a mortal fake gamer guy (I am the guy; it me). Its basic mechanic is just that, whenever you visit a new location, you have to draw a card from a tarot deck and follow a unique rule based on the card you draw. And that is the only simple thing about the Kingslocke.
So I finished work a little while ago on the Third Revised Edition of the Kingslocke rules, the latest refinement of the diabolical instrument I have created to bring elemental Chaos screaming into the world at the behest of the Dark Forces from Parts Unknown whose will I ultimately serve. And I am a little bit wary of doing more Kingslocke stuff, because it has been a fairly significant chunk of my output lately and I can imagine it might be getting boring, but I’d like to solicit some feedback on that (besides, I also want to finish the prophesied Advanced Rules, the version that will give different rules to the four suits of the Minor Arcana). I have ideas in my head for other things I want to write, but the trouble is, one of those things is my PhD thesis, which I need to have more or less complete by the end of this year, and right now I don’t want to commit to anything big or interesting that I know I’ll probably just have to abandon in a month or two because I need to crunch out a chapter. Writing up playthroughs at a leisurely pace is at least relatively low-effort.
I’ve had some support expressed on Patreon for doing a run of Heart Gold/Soul Silver, which would be fun; I have a lot of nostalgia investment in those particular games. I’d also like to see how the Kingslocke plays in gen VIII, which I still haven’t tried, or even go back further and test it in gen I or II; really there’s a lot of options here. The other thing on my mind is how I want to handle publishing the Advanced Rules. I actually have a complete draft of them already, and I’ve been doing an undocumented run of X to test them, but I definitely think they still need some balance patches, and even on a conceptual level I’m not 100% committed to whether the Advanced Rules should be harder or just more complicated. What had occurred to me as something that might be fun was to start a run without actually publishing the new ruleset and then reveal what all the cards do as they appear. All the new card effects in the Advanced Rules are variations on the standard effects of the Minor Arcana in the Third Revised Edition, so stuff wouldn’t come completely out of nowhere, but there’d be some interesting surprises, I hope.
To recap: are people feeling bored of this Kingslocke nonsense? If not, which game would be fun for me to play next? And how does that plan for the Advanced Rules sound?
I’ve bested my own creation and conquered the Black 2 Kingslocke run, but what of our heroes? There are a lot of them, after all; the point of the Kingslocke is very much that you never know who you’re going to end up relying on. Even those Pokémon who never actually saw battle or got to contribute anything are part of this story; let’s hear from them first.
Okay! Final hurdle! Can we beat the postgame Unova Elite Four with… uh… female Pokémon from different generations whose nicknames contain the letter A, with only physical attacks, and also we have to use Pokémon from the Vessel or the Twist Mountain Justice League if we can, but also Pokémon who are exactly level 69 (nice) can ignore all of that and do whatever they want, and also Gliscor is here.
…I truly cannot express how proud I am of how fµ¢£ing stupid this challenge run is. It is everything I ever dreamed it would be.
Rules are here, and if you’re interested in hearing about the tribulations of other trainers suffering through this ridiculous challenge run I’ve created, check out the just-completed season of the EXP. Share podcast!
Iris is beaten, but there’s still more of Unova to explore. I think the first order of business is to cut through Twist Mountain to reach Icirrus City in the northwest. Icirrus is a gym site in Black and White, but in the sequels you can’t even visit until… well, now.