X Nuzlocke, episode 5: Bone Wars

Route 8

Spruce: …but we should still make sure we didn’t get turned around in those caves!  I hate not being able to see the sky!
Ruby: Argh.  Fine.  If it will shut you up, I’ll ask for directions.  You there!  Meditite, Inkay!  This is the Muraille Cliff Road, is it not?  We are heading in the direction of the Glittering Caves?
Inkay: Yes on both counts, traveller, but if the caves are your destination I must advise you to rethink your plans.
Meditite: Aye, there’s a right lot o’ Barney brewin’ down there.  ‘tid be Mae if you’d just turn round and ‘ead for Pope, mate.
Ruby: I have no idea what you just said and I think I’ve somehow become stupider by hearing it.
Meditite: Wot, don’t understand me chitty?  It’s well Glenn if you keep yer Donalds open.
Inkay: [sigh] He says the Glittering Caves are dangerous and you’d be better off returning home.
Spruce: …are you sure?
Inkay: Members of Sid’s… erm… ‘order’… speak a sort of patois based on rhyme.  They claim the constant wordplay keeps their minds sharp.  We’ve known each other a few months now and I’ve… gotten used to it.
Meditite: An’ yer a right fruit for it, Rommy, even if you do waste all yer grease ‘n’ grime on starin’ at the lah-dis ‘stead o’ thinkin’ ‘bout wot’s Isle and Pete.
Spruce: Order?  Just who are you, anyway?
Inkay: Oh.  Yes, of course; where are my manners?  My name is Andromeda, and my… friend, here, is Sid Arthur.
Sid Arthur: Wotcher, mates.
Ruby: And I am Ruby the Braixen, fiery jewel among Pokémon, sorceress supreme.  Perhaps you’ve heard of me.
Sid Arthur: Aw, we don’t really ‘ear of much at all up my way, not for donkey’s.
Andromeda: Both of us are too immersed in our respective studies to keep up with current events.  I am an astronomer, and Sid is part of a monastic order of sorts, making their home in these mountains.
Sid Arthur: Aye, we be seekin’ to rid ourselves o’ corruptin’ worldly things like bees an’ ‘oney, an’ give up our Jekyll ‘n’ ‘yde to reach an ‘igher two-an’-eight.
Ruby: Yes, yes, and I’m sure you do that very well, whatever it is, but what’s this about the caves?  If you mean to stand in my way, I promise you won’t be standing for long.
Sid Arthur: ‘ere now, there ain’t no need to be so Jodie; it’s just a bit o’ friendly advice is all.  You lot’ll be son-an’-daughtered if’n you take to read-an’-writin’ wit’ those ‘eapies wot’re takin’ over down there.
Andromeda: What Sid means is… human scientists have worked in the caves for some time without troubling the inhabitants.  I have ‘spoken’ with them a few times in the course of my studies, as far as one can speak with humans, and they have always been cordial, but recently they’ve started moving in heavy machines that have been threatening the caves’ integrity and frightening the local Pokémon.
Spruce: Ruby, are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Ruby: I try not to.
Spruce: We’ve got ourselves a new quest!
Ruby: [sigh] Well, if nothing else, I can’t allow the humans to get their sweaty pink hands on my Mega Stone first… since we’re going there anyway, we may as well incinerate those responsible for this nonsense.
Sid Arthur: Oh, we don’t want no-one Simon!  The locals need ‘elp, and that’s eyes o’ blue all right, but a mince for a mince leaves the ‘ole world bacon; that’s wot I say.
Ruby: …yes.  Quite.  Come, minions.  There’s work to be done.
Andromeda: Good luck!  And be careful!
Sid Arthur: Aye, Friar Tuck to ye!
Spruce: Um… lamb shanks!
Sid Arthur: …you wot, mate?

Continue reading “X Nuzlocke, episode 5: Bone Wars”

X Nuzlocke extra dialogue: Fisher and Luna

Regular operations (or at least, as regular as things ever are around here) will resume shortly.  In the mean time, this is just some stuff that I wrote for the Nuzlocke story that, upon reflection, doesn’t actually fit anywhere into the next proper episode – Luna the psychopathic Skitty and Fisher the Psyduck priest talking about Fisher’s devout Helicism.  There may or may not be more of these in future – it really depends entirely on whether I feel ‘inspired.’

Fisher: Lady Luna, I must say your commitment to the path of Holy Anarchy has been an inspiration to me these past days.
Luna: If you mean my facility for murder, I can only assure you it is intended purely to serve my own amusement.  Any religious epiphanies it might cause you to experience are quite incidental.
Fisher: Oh, but how could it be otherwise, my lady?  Anarchy serves no cause but its own – just as you do.  It is not through conscious effort but by following our whims, as they occur to us, that we draw closer to the will of the Blessed Helix.
Luna: So your faith, in fact, encourages wanton slaughter?
Fisher: Er… not exactly.  Not all of us experience murderous impulses quite so… prolific as yours.  But such things are a part of the Helix’s divine will, it is true.  After all, was not the Archangel born into this world in a torrent of sacrificial blood?
Luna: I can only assume that the answer to your question is ‘yes.’  Well, I suppose if nothing else your theology is… refreshing.  Although I can’t say I think much of your chances in your quest for new converts.  Kalosians are a dull bunch, for the most part.
Fisher: My lady, I hope this is not an impertinent question, but… in my faith, priests such as myself spend years, sometimes decades, meditating in the hopes that we will hear what we call… the Voices.  The manifestations of a divine will that exists beyond even the Helix.  Even the greatest masters consider themselves blessed to be able to listen to them for a minute or two at a time… I myself have only ever heard one word, the word that sent me here, to Kalos.  “Start.”
Luna: Get to the point, Fisher; it would be so dreary to have to explain to the Pidgeotto why I had sewn your beak shut with a length of your aorta.
Fisher: Er… of course, my lady.  You see, Scripture tells us too of heroes, like the legendary Red, to whom the Voices spoke clearly every minute of every day – paragons of Holy Anarchy.  I wonder… my lady, have you ever heard such things?  Have you ever felt a compulsion to… turn this world Up-Start-Down?
Luna: The only ‘voices’ I have any interest in are my own greed, cruelty and darkly whimsical sense of humour.  Begone, duck.  I am in no mood for your evangelism today.

X Nuzlocke, episode 4: A Lot to Swallow

Route 5

Ruby: I’m telling you, I was fine.  There was just… a little more magical energy in the Charizardite than I anticipated.  I would have brought the explosions under control sooner or later.
Spruce: And when you say “under control”…
Ruby: I mean they would have been happening in a direction of my choosing.  Broadly speaking.
Fisher: I really must advise more caution, my lady.  A stone of fiery power, leading a young fox Pokémon down the path of temptation… that is a pattern the followers of the Blessed Helix know all too well.  I fear the hand of the Dome is at work in this matter.
Melissa: But we all need to get stronger and learn new ways to use our powers for the greater good!  The risks don’t matter!
Ruby: Please don’t tell me my only sensible minion is the over-excitable insect in fanatical service to an all-devouring hive mind.
Luna: Not at all.  I think you were doing a splendid job just as you were.  The smell of the humans’ flesh as it was atomised in your cerulean holocaust was nothing short of exhilarating.
Ruby: …somehow your approval is not as reassuring as I had hoped it would be, cat.
Spruce: Um… not that I don’t love hearing about Luna’s favourite smells or anything, but there’s a human just… standing in the road up there…
Boy: You there… stop…
Ruby: Who commands us so, insolent child?  Do you know to whom you speak?
Boy: No life… no voice… not without… the master…
Ruby: Hmm.  Vacant expression.  Limited vocabulary and poor sentence structure.  Glassy eyes.  Slow, laboured speech.  It’s remarkable; he’s almost exactly like ours.
Boy: Lie down… lie down and die…
Ruby: You know, in some respects this might even be an improvement.
Melissa: His thoughts smell… weird.  I can’t quite put my needle on it… It’s sort of like the parasites I stole from that wicked Vivillon we fought, how they don’t have any minds of their own.
Ruby: Mmm.  Probably because he’s being psychically dominated by the Kadabra that Lavoisier asked us to despatch.
Spruce: What?  He’s here!?
Ruby: Almost certainly. [Shouting] Come out of hiding, coward!  You are challenged to a duel of sorcery!
Kadabra: [Teleports into view] Ha-HA!  Sorcery-games, I’ve gotten so bored of, little-foxy!  Don’t we rather fancy instead a trifling little game of riddles?  Riddle me this, foxy: what walks on three legs in the evening, has a bed but never sleeps, makes some men blind but helps others to see, and is like a raven and a writing-desk?
Ruby: …you- I don’t- what?
Kadabra: You!  CONFUSION!
Ruby: That doesn’t even make s-aaaaaaaauuuughh!  Ooof!
Fisher: Treachery!  Villain, I shall smite you as the Voices will it!  FOR THE HELIX!
Kadabra: Your ancient fossil god has no power over me, little-shouty-duck-thing – for watch, and be amazed, as I bend the very nature of reality itself, and… THIS SPOON!
Fisher: …I beg your pardon?  The spoon bends, but- is it a metaphor for something?  Do you imply that I too, a faithful servant of the one true god, am like putty in your telekinetic ‘hands’?
Kadabra: CONFUSION!
Fisher: Aaaaaarrrrghh- oof!  Oh, alas, I am undone!  Bird Jesus, I implore you, send your divine wind to uplift the wings of your blessed child!
Ruby: …he means you, Spruce.
Spruce: I know, I know!  Face me, villain!
Kadabra: You have no hope!  BEHOLD, THE SPOON!
Spruce: Um… there… there is no spoon; you’re not actually holding anything.
Kadabra: CONFUSION!
Spruce: I don’t- you’re not even using an attack; you’re just yelling “Confusion!”
Ruby: It’s your Keen Eyes, you idiot; you can see through the illusions he’s creating with his Kinesis technique!  Hurry up and get him before he uses a real Psychic attack!
Spruce: Wow; neat!  Uh… hey, you!  It’s time you paid for your, uh-
Ruby: Oh, for- work on your combat banter later!  Just hit him!
Spruce: Oh!  Right!  QUICK ATTACK!
Kadabra: [thud]
Spruce: …did… did I… is he dead?
Luna: Hmm… let me see… [CRACK] He is now.
Spruce: …
Luna: What?

Continue reading “X Nuzlocke, episode 4: A Lot to Swallow”

X Nuzlocke, episode 3: Cat’s Paw

Route 4

???: [calling] Oh, help me!  Please, won’t someone help me?
Spruce: Do you hear that?
Ruby: No.
Spruce: It sounds like someone’s in trouble!
Ruby: Oh, the tragedy of this cruel world.  If only someone could help them.  Alas.
Spruce: Ruby, we can help them.  We’re powerful adventurers; this is what we do!
Fisher: Surely this is divine providence, my friends!  The Helix leads us ever onward to new challenges, and we must not shirk them!
Melissa: Yeah!  The hive sent me out here to fight and get strong, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do!
Spruce: Well, that’s settled, then.
Ruby: [sigh] I repeat: alas.

Continue reading “X Nuzlocke, episode 3: Cat’s Paw”

The Top Ten Worst Pokémon Ever, #5: Delcatty

We’re really getting into the dregs now, folks.  See… most Pokémon are good at something.  It’s often something bizarrely specific that would barely make sense to most people, like how Linoone is the only Belly Drummer who’ll eat a Salac berry at 50% HP instead of 25%, or the way Smeargle can pull off really weird sets with stuff like Endeavour and Dragon Rage or Spore and Transform thanks to his ability to learn every move in the game.  It’s very rare that you get a Pokémon who isn’t good at anything at all… but it does happen.  One of them is Delcatty.
 
Delcatty and her juvenile form Skitty are cats.  If you’ve ever owned a cat (which I have) then you pretty much know everything about them already.  They’re cute, they like to chase things and make themselves pretty, they’re popular with female trainers, and they are completely indifferent to everything beyond their own whims.  They’re different from Persian in that Persian embraces the cruel side that cats have; if you screw with Persian, the claws are coming out and your face is going to start looking a lot less pretty a few seconds from now.  If you screw with Delcatty, she’s much more likely to say “eh, whatever,” and wander off.  Delcatty doesn’t have a nest like most Pokémon do because she would never feel invested enough to bother defending it, doesn’t eat or sleep according to any schedule because she would never pay enough attention to bother keeping track of one (this comes from Ruby version but, incidentally, Emerald contradicts this, saying that Delcatty are nocturnal), and never fights if she can avoid it because that’s clearly too much effort.  She reminds me of nothing so much as The Cat Who Walked By Himself, from Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories (you can find the story here http://boop.org/jan/justso/cat.htm, among other places), a fable that tells how the Cat, rather than being tamed like all the other wild creatures, instead tricked the Woman into a bargain with him so that he could do as he pleased for all time.  The Cat’s catchphrase is “I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me,” which pretty much sums him up.  I doubt Delcatty was directly inspired by this particular story but she’s a product of the same age-old stereotype that cats are aloof, and only ever do exactly what suits them (including being ‘tamed’ by humans).  Pokémon doesn’t really do anything with the idea other than say that this is what Delcatty is like, and it only makes things worse that someone seems to have at least had this perception of cats in the back of his mind when Persian was created, even though it’s not the focus for Persian.  There’s only so much variation you can squeeze out of a lithe, elegant domestic cat when you’re committed to making it a Normal-type; Delcatty’s clearly not the same as Persian since she looks more overtly pampered, even dressed-up, but I find myself asking what this design achieved that Meowth and Persian didn’t.
                                                                                                                                                                            
Although it has nothing to do with my analysis here, I would be remiss if I did not mention the internet phenomenon that is Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action, since it is easily the most interesting thing about these Pokémon, as well as one of the most egregious examples of Pokémon’s propensity to rape the science of biology on every level imaginable simultaneously.  Due to the somewhat simplistic way in which Pokémon games determine reproductive compatibility, a Skitty – a two foot tall kitten – and a Wailord – a fifteen metre long whale – are capable of having children together, and presumably… y’know… doing all of the things one needs to do in order to have children.  This being the internet, hilarity ensues.  Perhaps fortunately, this is one mystery of the Pokémon world that Professor Oak is unlikely ever to solve… after all, the sheer logistics alone are beyond comprehension.
 
Like Spinda, Delcatty is afflicted with uniformly dreadful stats and, as a Normal-type, has few weaknesses but no clear strengths.  Again like Spinda, she also enjoys the traditional great blessing of the Normal type: a vast movepool.  Theoretically, Baton Pass allows her to bestow the benefits of Calm Mind, Work Up or Charge Beam upon her allies, Wish and Heal Bell provide her with means of keeping her team healthy, and Thunder Wave, Charm and Fake Tears offer a variety of ways to incapacitate her enemies.  Of course, since Delcatty is neither fast nor tough, it’s likely she’ll have no more than one turn to do any of this.  She has access to the famously effective combination of Thunderbolt and Ice Beam, and could use Calm Mind alongside those to buff herself into some kind of special tank.  This won’t work either because special attack and special defence are among the weakest of her many weak points.  Double-Edge, Zen Headbutt, Wild Charge and Sucker Punch present a reasonable spread of physical attacks, and with Sucker Punch she doesn’t even have to worry about her lacklustre speed so much, but at this point you’re bailing out the Titanic with a thimble.  Delcatty’s signature move, Assist, is fascinating but ultimately unhelpful; it allows her to use any move known by any Pokémon on her team, chosen at random, which is a little like asking your four-year-old sister to run through the Battle Tower a couple of times for you.  The crowning insult is Delcatty’s unique ability, Normalise.  As far as I know, Normalise is the only ability in the game which is so poorly thought-out as to be actively detrimental to a Pokémon that possesses it (discounting those specifically designed to be, like Truant).  It’s an interesting idea: all of Delcatty’s moves are treated as Normal-typed, and therefore get a damage bonus for being used by a Pokémon of the same element (the ‘same-type attack bonus,’ or STAB).  The trouble is that Normalise makes it impossible for Delcatty to hit anything super-effective, since Normal isn’t strong against anything, and that’s just about the only way she can possibly hurt anything.  Normalise does allow Delcatty to hit Ground-types with Thunder Wave and pick up STAB on a couple of moves with useful side-effects (Sucker Punch is the only one that jumps out at me, though).  I would say that it’s unlikely to be worth it but, let’s face it, Delcatty’s offensive effectiveness is not a huge sacrifice to make.  If you don’t like Normalise, her Dream World ability, Wonder Skin, is quite neat – it gives her a 50% chance to ignore most attacks that don’t cause direct damage – but the thing about Delcatty is that most Pokémon won’t need techniques like that to beat her anyway; it’s much easier just to squash her and move on.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find interesting fan art of Delcatty?  I put it down to the fact that Delcatty herself just isn't a very interesting Pokémon at all. LucLightning (http://luclightning.deviantart.com/) has done a pretty good job, though.

Skitty’s evolution to Delcatty is triggered by a Moon Stone, which makes it unlikely that Game Freak will ever evolve Delcatty further – so, if possible, I need to think of a way to make Delcatty useful without evolving her.  I would love to work with Assist, but Assist is problematic because a number of Pokémon besides Delcatty can get it as a hereditary move (including Weavile and Infernape, who would gleefully take anything powerful enough to make Delcatty effective and use it to break the game forever).  Instead I’m going to start by making Normalise more effective.  Normalise, if you ask me, does exactly what it should, but is the wrong way around: instead of making Delcatty treat all her own attacks as Normal, it should make her treat all attacks that hit her as Normal.  This will cause the vast majority of Pokémon to lose their STAB against Delcatty, making it much less easy to steamroll her with one solid attack.  That’s extremely useful, but it’s not enough, so I’m going to turn to Delcatty’s flavour and hope that what I come up with there will inform me further.  Delcatty doesn’t fight for anything; she’ll abandon resources and territory without a second thought.  A Pokémon like this would never survive unless it could afford to abandon these things so lightly, which implies that Delcatty is resilient, adaptable and capable of surviving pretty much anywhere (which, incidentally, fits quite nicely with my version of Normalise) – she is the Cat who walks by herself, and all places are alike to her.  She can tolerate thirst, hunger and extremes of temperature, identify nutritious plants by instinct having never seen them before, and move unseen and unheard by predators.  All cat Pokémon are said to have nine lives, but the superstition is thought to have begun with Delcatty’s proverbial ability to miraculously come out of anything smelling of roses.  In fact-
 
Wait.
 
Nine lives.
 
That’s it!  Nine is clearly too many, but that could actually work.
 
Okay, bear with me here.  What I have in mind would probably make more sense as an ability, but it synergises well with either Wonder Skin or Normalise and I don’t want to lose that, so it’ll have to be a custom item that only works for Skitty and Delcatty instead: a silver collar called a Life Band.  When Skitty and Delcatty are in a very relaxed state, especially while they are grooming, they give off excess life energy, which is stored in their collars until they need it.  In a battle, a Life Band will release its energy to cure any status ailment (poison, sleep, and so on) that affects Delcatty, heal her by 25% of her health if she ever drops below 50%, restore the PP of any of her attacks if she runs out so she can keep using them, or negate any stat penalties she takes from moves like Growl.  The collar can only produce one effect per turn and will only work a certain number of times (like I said, nine is probably too many… then again, this is Delcatty we’re dealing with; the ability to deny STAB will do a lot for her, but her defences are still awful).  It recharges whenever the Pokémon wearing it rests at a Pokémon Centre, or whenever she gets time to chill, if she’s wild – so it’s in Delcatty’s best interests to spend as much time relaxing and preening as possible!
 
I’d like to do more with Delcatty.  I’m acutely conscious that I’ve made a wild Pokémon rather reliant on an item which sounds like it should be man-made, and that the item itself is rather more fiddly than any effect that currently exists, as well as extremely powerful.  Assuming evolution is off the table, though, providing Delcatty with the support she needs necessitates… a fair bit of creativity, to say the least, because few Pokémon indeed are as impossibly bad as Delcatty.