View Full Version : Four Attack Limit and Beyond

11th December 2005, 3:51 PM
I was wondering….

In your fanfiction do you go by the laws of the game and stick to the four-attack law? See, I understand why and how it works in the game, but in fanfiction? How weird would it be to hear some disembodied voice saying, “Which attack would you like ______ to forget?” I just think that’s weird.

In a lot of RPGs (not sure about Fuzzy Bubbles), but board dedicated to a region RPG… the pokémon you get automatically know every move. It’s like instinct. Only they can’t use the powerful attacks. Say you just got a level five Squirtle; don’t expect it to jump into a hydro pump. But once in awhile, a battle is so intense the adrenaline’s pumping and BAM! Your small little pokémon is able to produce a powerful attack.

But I also agree with over time the pokémon gaining the new abilities. And still keeping attacks such as growl, tackle attack, and so on. But I still feel like attacks to pokémon are all instincts. I just haven’t figured out how to explain that.

What are your opinions on the matter?

11th December 2005, 4:30 PM
Yep, don't let the games hinder you too much, let the pokemon learn as many moves as possible! But as they learn more powerful moves, others will become obsolete. For example, is there any point in a Charizard knowing Growl and learning Swords Dance? Or a Golbat knowing Supersonic after learning Confuse Ray? Or a Raichu knowing thundershock after learning Thunder? Its just natural that pokemon will stop using weaker attacks after learning stronger ones. But it is VERY possible for them to learn more than five in the fic realm, they just might shove some aside.

Heres another question, what about TMs?

+Chaos Blade+
11th December 2005, 4:38 PM
I say, like IceKing, never let the games hinder your fic too much. As for what your Pokémon can learn, make them unique. Make them learn all the moves they possibly can, like Ash's Pikachu. He doesn't restrain it to Thunder, Agility, Quick Attack, and Thunderbolt [although it may seem so]. He uses Iron Tail, Tackle [which is odd, being that Pikachu can't learn it. =/], Volt Tackle [he combined the electrical current of Pikachu's Thunderbolt with Quick Attack, making it look cool.].

As for fics, it doesn't necessarily matter.

11th December 2005, 4:39 PM
TMs… for some reason I always I have dream when I think of TMs. Nurse Joy walks over to a computer and hooks a cable into a syringe. She puts some clear liquid in it and suddenly all this blue symbols pour into it. They swirl around and she puts a needle on it and then... y'know, implants it into the Pokémon.

I don't see why you would buy a CD and only place it on the Pokémon’s head, watch it glow and bam, new attack. Not that my idea is any more logical.

+Chaos Blade+
11th December 2005, 4:56 PM
I believe teaching Pokémon TM moves should be taught naturally, through tutoring and practice. Even moves that it can't possibly learn. Eventually, the Pokémon should test that move and see if it works on a dummy, cup, rock, etc.

Then, it will evolve into test battling and testing its power on other Pokémon. Lastly, a battle with another trainer, or one of your Pokémon, dodging the attack, and thinking of strategies to connect blows. That's how, in my own opinion, TMs should work.

12th December 2005, 3:35 AM
I let pokémon retain any number of moves, but they still have to level up in order to learn them--in my fanfics, levels do exist and are quantifiable, but pokémon don't "forget" down to four attacks. Most of the older attacks become obsolete, however.

I don't know about TM's... I tend to stick to game canon, but I've never had call to use them yet. I'm not quite sure how I'll work them out, if I ever need to.

Joshua - Shadow Brigadier
12th December 2005, 3:41 AM
Fizzy Bubbles lets Pokemon keeps all the moves they learn.

Anyway, the game canon of only four moves is something I've always despised, so I completely ignore it in my writing.


12th December 2005, 4:17 AM
Attacks in my fics are usually handled like this:

Pokemon learn moves and never forget how to use them... although they might get a bit rusty if they don't get to pratice once in a while.

Also, attacks aren't learned instantly, like that... it is progressive and goes through a lot of trial and error... and as such, it is why in my fics, trainers might use TMs even on Pokemon who naturally learn the moves.

The moves also vary on the experience of the Pokemon... and as such, some moves are truly only elaborate forms of a lower one. As such, Thunderbolt is the first level, Thunder the second, Zap Canon the third and final level. As the Pokemon increase his/her/it's skills, the many thunderbolts (Thunderbolt) can be concentrated and directed toward the foe under the form of a single beam (Thunder) and eventually, upon complete mastery, concentrated into a compact sphere of electricity (Zap Canon).

Some attacks can also be found into several versions. As such, Thunder Wave is actually a special kind of Thunder that is shot at a certain strenght to paralyse the foe rather than inflict raw damage.

In short, the different "attacks" really are just names to call what the Pokemon use and make Pokemon training so much easier.

As for the moves in the games... well, let's just take this exemple: Mew knowing ALL of the moves in the game (since she can learn them all). Not only would finding what move you want her to use would take ages... but it would also make some Pokemon STRONGLY cheap... and that isn't limited only to the Legendary Pokemon! Imagine if you were not forced to dump those uber sweeping moves in order to make place for your characters' defensive and support moves... that would make many Pokemon into one-man armies and make the game severely broken.

Now, TMs, in my fics, are essentially that:

The common, portable one is under the form of a CD, like in the games... but it is not inserted in the Pokemon's heads... nope. Unstead, the CD is inserted in a special machine that is attached to the Pokemon's head and then writtes inside of the Pokemon's memory. While for the human, it is a very short moment, for Pokemon, it is weeks, months, sometimes years of cyber training that goes off in the space of a few seconds... and as such, using TMs drain a lot of energy out of Pokemon and might even kill them or outright fail if they're too weak to endure the virtual training.

The reason why TMs can used only once is simple: there is a special "copy" protection in them that causes the CD to self-destruct once used. This "protection" is missing in the HMs, hence why they can be used many times.

TMs in Pokemon Centers are mostly the same... but before starting up the TM program, Pokemon are chained to tables to prevent self-harm and harming of other creatures. Then, various drugs are injected to help in the learning process and decrease stress from using the TMs. Apart from the chains and drugs part, TMs and HMs in Pokemon Centers are similar to those used on the field... although they are, of course, safer for both the trainer and the Pokemon.

Well, that's all. I hope that this interested you.

Thank you for your time.

12th December 2005, 4:27 AM
The common, portable one is under the form of a CD, like in the games... but it is not inserted in the Pokemon's heads... nope. Unstead, the CD is inserted in a special machine that is attached to the Pokemon's head and then writtes inside of the Pokemon's memory. While for the human, it is a very short moment, for Pokemon, it is weeks, months, sometimes years of cyber training that goes off in the space of a few seconds... and as such, using TMs drain a lot of energy out of Pokemon and might even kill them or outright fail if they're too weak to endure the virtual training.

That's kind of cruel, isn't it? I never really thought of using TMs in my fic, I'm more than happy with the attacks my pokemon are already given. But if I do plan on using it, I'm probably going to have their be a CD which gives the pokemon the capability of learning the attack, but the pokemon and trainer must practice and work hard for weeks to learn it completely. Hmm, no wonder I'm not using them, my fic is not the kind of fic where there is training for weeks

12th December 2005, 4:49 AM
Though I'm not a Fic writer, I happened to stumble across this topic, and had to put in my 2 cents...

Not sure if this topic was done before or anything tho >>;

Let's not forget how Ash taught his Treecko to use Bullet Seed. He first saw a Grovyle that used it, and worked with Treecko to develop the move. That is one way to teach a Pokemon a TM move.

Another way, at least in my opinion would be that the trainer and Pokemon see another Pokemon use the move, and start practicing from there. Essentially a 'monkey see, monkey do'. This can also get Pokemon to learn moves that they might not even know in-game and make them unique.

Basic moves like Tackle and such should be known by almost any Pokemon, however the effectiveness should be seen by the speed and size of the Pokemon. Pikachu is fast, so its tackles can do some good damage, where if say, a Magcargo tried...

Finally, one thing I might note is that a Pokemon may have a limit to the number of powerful moves it can use. Take Pikachu in the anime for example. It can use a lot of Thundershocks if it wanted, and at this point, Thunderbolt for that matter. However, Thunder can wear it down pretty quickly along with other high voltage moves. This can bring the balance of "PP"s into the fic writing scene I suppose, by having a limit on the strength of a Pokemon. Afterall, it'd be kind of unrealistic to see a Pikachu use Thunder constantly during the same battle. It seems more realistic to have it use Thunder AT MOST 3 times before its out of power.

12th December 2005, 10:53 AM
Well, I myself like to keep pretty true to the games when I write, and therefore the way I have done it is simply to make the Pokémon not forget the moves, but not be allowed to use them in Gym matches or the Pokémon League - four moves per official match, no more, and in fact, when registering for the League you need to give four attacks at the most for each of your Pokémon and the judges will disqualify you if you attempt to use another move. (The moves are hidden to other trainers competing - of course they can watch your matches, but you may change your four moves between battles so if you keep it to an irregular pattern, you will be unpredictable.)

The Big Al
12th December 2005, 11:18 AM
I like the four attack limit because it keeps the Pokemon from being insanely powerful. I justufy it as Pokemon can only keep track of four moves because everything related to using move takes a lot to remember. However, I tend to think of the HM moves as a fifth move that's not used in battle.

I also thought that as a Pokemon matures, they become able to keep track of more moves (possibly six). The simple fact is, there is such a thing as too many moves that could confuse both Pokemon and trainer at a critical situation.

12th December 2005, 12:13 PM
Whenever I try to write a TM being used, I tend to keep it like a Move Tutor, "monkey-see, monkey-do" as Fox said. However, does anyone remember the Teachy TV? Well, I would assume that the CD's that a trainer can have would be inserted into that and therefore the Pokémon could see it happening without being in battle, or practice.

On the subject of moves, I always let the Pokémon in my fics learn and remember them all, but like Negrek, I use levels. However, I have the levels seperately so I can remember themand see when they should be evolving and when they should be learning attacks. I also like Dragonfree's idea, however, if I could adapt it to my fics, it'd be that a Pokémon can only use four moves in official battles, but they wouldn't have to be predetermined. Using the animé as an example, Ash could use Pikachu and order a Thunder, Volt Tackle, Iron Tail, Thunderbolt, and then that would be all he could command. Pikachu could not use any different attacks in that battle, so Quick Attack, Thundershock and the few other attacks (I think there are only a couple more, if that).

To strong move being hard to learn and beign instinct. I've always wanted to write a battle like this:

The Pokémon is something basic and a low level, such as a Bulbasaur. The Bulbasaur at a crucial point in the battle, manages to pull off a pretty good Solar Beam and in another battle, the confident trainer tries to order it again. However, because the Bulbasaur only used it because it was imprinted in its brain in the first place, it couldn't use it again until it learned how to use it on command.


Espeon Of The Mist
12th December 2005, 2:31 PM
Here's the way I explained this in a fic I wrote. Pokemon can learn any ammount of moves, but sometimes forget the older ones. In practice battles, they can use five or more, if they want to, but in official gym battles, it's only four. Example: first battle in a gym, Bayleef uses Poisonpowder, tackle, cut, and... razor leaf. Second battle, Bayleef doesn't use tackle, but uses solarbeam instead.

I hope that made sense.

13th December 2005, 3:47 AM
I tear the friggin attack limit in half and throw it in the trash!
I give my characters unlimited abilities and I describe them more naturally.

I write something of an attack like this.
The Blaziken leaps from the land, doing a backflip over the Dustox.
As he falls back down, he spits a fireball from his mouth, setting the Dustox on fire.
Then, the Blaziken grasped him with this clawed foot and slamed him to the ground.

13th December 2005, 4:01 AM
I agree with Butch for the tearing up the four-move rule.

however, I don't give 'em unlimited. anything that would make sense for their physiology/type(s), yes, and any moves they can learn naturally....they can use any of those at any time. if they had time, they could perform ever single one if they wanted to.


but other than that, they have to learn from T(H)Ms.

16th December 2005, 6:20 PM
I personally think the limit is silly.

Think about it in relation to humans. How much information can the average human store in their brain? Think about it for a moment. Now, think about some of the math equations you learned last year. The proper way to serve a volleyball. What your best friend’s house looks like. That song you learned in kindergarten.
If humans can remember so many things like that, why can’t a Pokémon be able to remember how to perform more than four moves? Pokémon are physically more evolved than humans (in some ways, at least), so wouldn’t their brains be more developed as well?
If they are, they should have a knack for learning and remembering attacks.

I think that if a Pokémon stops using a move for a long time, they get rusty and have some trouble using it, though. Pokémon should be constantly practicing using moves, because if they don’t and they stop using a move, they’ll need to practice it a bunch of times before they get it again.
So I think a Pokémon could learn as many attacks as possible, and as long as it uses them on a regular basis, it won’t forget them.

I think that if say a Poliwag knows Bubble, if it uses the attack enough and gains enough experience then it will be able to use Bubblebeam. If/when it does, it will still be able to use the lighter version of Bubblebeam, aka Bubble. That’s how I think it pretty much works.
If it doesn’t use Bubble after learning Bubblebeam, then when Poliwag tries to use Bubble, it will end up coming out as a weaker version of Bubblebeam, but more powerful than Bubble, just because it will have trouble using the attack so lightly. True, at this point Bubble becomes obsolete, but it’s always good to have all possible attacks handy.

But I don’t that that a Pokémon can completely forget an attack to the point where it is unable to use it ever, even with practice. I just think their brains are more developed than that.

I can’t say I agree that tapping a CD on a Pokémon’s head will automatically mean it’s learned a TM move. I just don’t think you can imprint something into their brains by tapping their skull. They would have to be hooked up to some kind of machine available only at Pokémon Centers. Basically, they’re attached to a wire from a computer in which the disc is inserted into, then the device engraves the move into their memory. The Pokémon still needs to practice using this TM before it can use it properly.

I think with Pokémon, learning a move is like learning to ride a bike. You practice until you can do it right, and then you just don’t forget. Of course, if you haven’t been on your bike in a year, you’ll need to get the hang of it again until you’re good to go once again.


16th December 2005, 6:29 PM
Four move limits are strange. Suffice to say, a Pokemon shouldn't always know every move it can learn. The more advanced and more Powerful moves should be reserved for later, while easier to learn moves are probably no big deal if done right from the start.

Another aspect I find important is breeding. You can't naturally expect a Rattata to learn flamewheel, for instance, but if it's father was a Growlithe or a Cyndaquil, then fire away!

16th December 2005, 9:36 PM
In the anime, Pokemon learn more than four moves and they dodge attacks when their trainers tell them to.
The four-attack limit existed in Pokemon games maybe because the game's KB limits were reached.

For these reasons, again, rejecting the limit.

16th December 2005, 10:32 PM
The move limit exists in the games because it restricts your options, leaving greater room for strategic planning. I don't follow that limit in my 'fics because it's silly that a pokémon would only be able to 'remember' four moves. Attacks take energy to perform, however, and so a battle can't last indefinitely--a pokémon using strong attacks against a 'wall' opponent could lose the battle from fatigue, even if its opponent doesn't even touch it.

As for the process of learning moves, levels and stats exist in my 'fics, but in a more abstract, guidelines-rather-than-rules sort of way. They're used to give an idea of when evolution normally occurs and attacks are learned/developed, but 'geniuses' and late bloomers exist, as in humans. For some attacks, the process of learning them is fairly straightforward; ember turns into flame wheel, which may branch out into flamethrower or heat wave. Others are less straightforward, but I usually precede them by slightly confused attempts at some semblance of an attack, before the process just somehow clicking and they are able to pull it off successfully. Of course, further practice would be required before they could perform the attack perfectly.

Move tutors are pretty straightforward, but TMs have always been tricky. For me, they're a cube-shaped device that unfolds to encircle a pokéball, and takes advantage of the dreamlike state of pokéball confinement to make the pokémon learn the move. When they come out, the pokémon can perform the move as if it's something they've known how to do all along. I'm still debating on whether or not a more exotic TM (teaching flamethrower to a ponyta = not very exotic, teaching surf to a linoone = exotic) would have some sort of visible or detrimental effect on a pokémon. I'm also not completely sure about TMs that teach moves that are not learned naturally by any pokémon--it sort of makes you wonder where they came from in the first place. I have an explanation or two in mind, but they need work.

16th December 2005, 10:39 PM
The limit isn't in my work per se, it's just that the moves I have a Pokemon use would be the four most likely moves I would teach that Pokemon if I use it. Granted, they know all moves they are capable of learning, even TMs/HMs (save for breeding moves) automatically

17th December 2005, 11:46 PM
In a fic, I think a Pokemon should be able to use any move it would learn naturally. Of course, a Charmander's Fire Blast and a Charizard's will be vastly different in terms of power, but they should still be able to use them.

HM's are pretty basic. If a Pokemon can use an HM in the game...why should it have to learn it in a fic? A Flying Pokemon obviously knows how to fly. And a burly Fighting type won't need much instruction on how to push a rock. If anything, some might require practice. Many Pokemon wouldn't know how to climb a waterfall right off the bat, but they could learn how to after trying.

TM's, however, are tricky. There are some specific Pokemon who might be able to use TM attacks without ever using a device to learn them. Some attacks are like HM's in that they're logical abilities for that Pokemon to have. A Machamp should be able to use Brick Break, no problem. Other attacks pretty much require special training or machine usage, like a Nidoking using Flamethrower. That would never happen on it's own. If the move seems like it could be 'taught' without a machine, then that seems like a reasonable course of action as well. Anyway, TM moves could basically be broken down like this:

1) Moves the Pokemon should be able to use without learning (i.e. Brick Break, Bulk Up, Calm Mind)

2) Moves the Pokemon should be able to learn via other Pokemon or training (i.e. Double Team, Return, Taunt)

3) Moves the Pokemon would NEVER be able to use without special assisstance (i.e. Elemental attacks with Pokemon not of the that element)

Well, that's my two cents. Kinda long for two cents, though. :P

19th December 2005, 11:17 PM
I'm sort of the same way. For instance, in my first fic, I had a Typhlosion use Thunderpunch on an unsuspecting Pokémon.

Don't let the games limit you too much. Just stay within the field of reason.

Infinite Master Sceptile
20th December 2005, 11:46 PM
I hate the four move limit. I think it's arbitrary and absurd. In my upcoming fic, the Pokemon League enforces the rule only in high-level tourneys. TMs are only rarely used, as only rich trainers can buy them. Though they can be obtained from some people free of charge.