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Psychic
14th December 2005, 10:00 PM
Everyone wants to be creative when it comes to writing Trainer Fics, don't they?

One way fic writers try to be creative when it comes to journey fics is by giving the characters a different starter, not one of the standard nine that the professors give out in the show/games. I mean, how many fics have you seen where a trainer starts out with Charmander (one of the most common starters)? Don’t a lot of trainers seem to end up with Mudkip? (Don't get me wrong-there are amazing fics where trainers start off with the standard nine.)


So my question to you is this:
What Pokémon should be given out for starting trainers, if not the current nine?
What Pokémon do you think are too strong or rare to be given out? What Pokémon are too weak and too common?
Do their evolutions have any impact on your choices? Does the way they evolve matter to you? What about Pokémon that have no evolutions?




I just want to hear what some people have to say on the matter. Maybe aspiring fic writers can get a better idea of what are good choices for starters so they don’t have professors giving out Beldum and Dratini.

~Psychic

Tale
14th December 2005, 10:14 PM
Seedots all the way!!

...

*ahem* Yeah, well in my opinion, if others were to be given out, they'd have to be common yet strong. Really, its tough deciding what other Pokemon to use, considering the starters are kinda designed to be the starters in the first place.

I'd say evolution doesn't matter. If you're deciding on a new starter Pokemon set, it wouldn't really matter if the Pokemon evolve twice, once or not at all. It would be interesting to see un-evolve-able Pokemon as a starter though.

Like I said, its a tough decision. You don't want ones that are too strong or rare, not only because they'd be tough to handle, but they'd be tough to get a hold of. But you don't want anything too common like a Rattata, as they're just everywhere. But having said that, it would be very interesting to see a Rattata as a starter.

Anyways, I think it all boils down to a matter of originality, something you wouldn't expect yet something thats legitimate to be a starter. I have a funny feeling I rambled -.-.

Jetx
14th December 2005, 10:21 PM
I don't think the starter should be evolved and if it is they should explain how it evolved. Larvitar is a stupid starter, and legendaries make me fume. I like to see unexpecting starters when I read a fic... Like... Spheal?

Psychic
14th December 2005, 10:30 PM
-_- Obviously you wouldn't be giving out evolved pokémon, Jetx. I'm talking about their evolutions.

Explain WHY Larvitar is a stupid starter. And don't even bother talking about Legendaries; we all know better than to give them out for starters.

Please back up whatever you say with reasons, next time.

~Psychic

Dilasc
14th December 2005, 10:40 PM
For any trainer to get a legendary is lame, no matter how weak said legendary is. Let's face it, we've seen stories where a trainer catches a Mew, or a Ho-oh, and I'm not the first to want to gouge my eyes out at the sight, or at least gouge that n00b's eyes out for sick, well deserved pleasure.

Also, seeing a trainer get any form of Chu sewer rat screams Cliche-ers Guide to the Pokeverse. A real kicker, of course, is when a trainer arrives LATE, so late that his only option is a discharged sewer rat.

As for Pokemon other than starters that make sense, I'd say Mareep. It's not leet (though it is cool), and is typing is electric. Still, it has three stages which it goes through t a similar rate to that of an average starter, and its fun to write. There aren't too many Pokemon otherwise that I can think of that have this paced of an evolution, except for Pidgey (but really, if you want a Pidgey, just throw a Pokeball at the telephone poles, but watch out for wet bombs when they scatter), Hoppip (which could make sense, I suppose), and Slakoth (but who wants something so sluggish and lazy.)

Other three stagers such as Dratini, Bagon, or Beldum simply get too strong as hey evolve. Sure, your trainer can catch one later, bu at that point, they're going to likely face a more challenging road to reach their perfection.

So... this leaves things rather close minded, don't they? I suppose in truth, there really IS no true limit, but there needs to be a bit of realism involved.

Well, unless it's a parody fic, in which case anything is fair game, and legendaries work wonderfully.

Angeling
14th December 2005, 10:41 PM
Hmm.. well, I suppose it shouldn't be exactly like the anime -- Ash getting Pikachu because he was late, etc. Or something like Yellow version, which is supposedly to be based off the anime (that's what I think anyway ;p) where Shigeru/Gary gets Eevee.. and you get Pikachu..

I suppose it could be varied.. just as long as it's not going to defeat every trainer on the way.. like a Charmander killing a Ground type like Geodude or something with just Ember..

I don't think I've read much Pokémon fanfiction, but I would try to give a balance.. like, not too Mary-Sue hopefully..

Actually, is Chikorita considered as .. um.. common, etc.? Hah, just needing to know. ;x And the thing about Eevee's and Pikachu's in fanfiction that I don't get is.. would it still be Mary-Sue-ish to people if Eevee was given off later in the fanfiction?

Keleri
14th December 2005, 10:42 PM
The problem with different-than-normal starters is that people try to make their character OMGSPESHUL with a rare pokémon, like dratini or eevee or something. Either they get a different pokémon from the professor for no reason, or they find a rare pokémon in the woods that, inexplicably, no one wants after it's taken to a pokémon center to be healed.

Personally, I'm willing to give 'fics a chance if they have their trainer start with a pokémon that you don't often see as a starter... although, of course, people starting off with evolved, rare or specially colored pokémon tends to throw up big warning signs for me. I'd also be a little leery of someone getting a strong, no-evolution pokémon like Absol or something, whereas if they got a Dunsparce or Murkrow I'd be less worried.

I think the point of having the three-form starters is that their strength scales as your opponents get stronger. It would kind of suck for your average newb trainer to start off really strong with a no-evolution pokémon, only to be left in the dust later on.

I wouldn't mind seeing a 'fic or two where the OC starts out with a 'weak', common pokémon, though.

So, what pokémon *should* be given out, if not the nine? Well, if it's not the nine, I would infer that they're not getting their pokémon from a professor. Hence, they'd be buying (or having someone else buy) a pokémon from a breeder, being given a pokemon, or finding a hurt one in the woods somewhere, or maybe getting a wild one from the pokémon center that someone caught and decided they didn't want, or had been injured or something and someone brought it in.

In the first case (buying from a breeder) you can get away with a little bit of fanciness, but it depends on the trainer, and what they and their family would be able to afford. In most cases, the OC seems to come from a turbulent familial background in some way or another, and thus it is doubtful that they'd be getting something rare or otherwise in high demand *cough*vulpixeevee*cough*. If they're rich, then you can get away with a lot more, but writers like to make characters that more people can relate to--I don't think I've ever seen a 'rich' trainer, now that I think about it.

If they're being given a pokémon, presumably by a relative who is/was a trainer, then you can also get away with a lot, but it's a little boring to just dump a bunch of rare/evolved pokémon into the OC's lap.

If they're getting a wild-caught, *unwanted* pokémon from the pokémon center, then, almost certainly, it's going to be something common like Pidgey or whatever.

And... wow, that went a little long, and I bet I strayed into Missingthepoint Land once or twice... Eh. Whatever.

The Big Al
14th December 2005, 11:32 PM
Pokemon like Beldum could actually work as starters because despite having an extremely strong final evolution, they to reach it so even that would work with realism. Don't forget, the point of starters is to give a beginner an easy to train Pokemon that get's fairly strong with time.

Three stage Pokemon usually make excellent starters because of this. They start out fairly weak because end up being quite strong.

Pinecone Tortoise
15th December 2005, 12:03 AM
I'd have said a starter with evolutions. Not a hard and fast thing, but it means that the author sort of has to let it start out weaker then get more powerful. And apart from that, anything that's justified. Eh, I'd be willing to see someone start with a Pikachu if it came with an explanation like:

'after seeing Ash's success with a Pikachu starter, the whole -chu line became suddenly popular and the pressure was put on breeders and churn out a large, rapid crop of chus. But the clamour for the bred chus had faded with time to the point that supply had surpassed the damand. Thus, the bumper harvest of chus mostly ended up at half price in pet stores or breeding corrals - sitting ducks for an eager trainer who couldn't lay their hands on a different starter or money to buy one. Chus had become cheap and common - yet their potential to become powerful meant that young trainers were still willing to keep taking them.'

If I got an explanation like that, I would be fine to see a trainer take a Pichu/Pikachu. Essentially, it depends on the creativity of the author to make the justification believable and imaginative - not the choice of starter. ^^

Piney.
;204;;324;

Dragonfree
15th December 2005, 12:47 AM
Hmm, I wrote a list of the starters that Ash was giving out at the Starter Pokémon Giveaway in the old version of The Quest for the Legends. *gets it*

Basically, it was all first-stage Pokémon that evolve at least once except Larvitar/Dratini/Bagon/Beldum and fish that wouldn't be able to battle on land. In my opinion, it's a pretty good list, really... Oh, and Ditto was on. No particular reason.

Of course, ideal starters are ones that evolve to their second stage at level 10-20 or so and third stage at level 30-40 or so.

RaZoR LeAf
15th December 2005, 12:54 AM
If you're sticking to the traditional style of 3 starters of a circling type (1 beats 2, 2 beats 3, 3 beats 1) then you can choose beyond fire, grass and water. Steel/Rock/Fire would work and has two chances of less common pokemon. You could always use 2 stage pokemon instead of three stages to make a change in the style. Starters are usually consdiered an average to Good tier in battling so if you can match up other pokemon that are of similar stature then you're on the right track for getting some starters.

Of course you can always change the entire system of receiving starters. Myself, since Omega is based on an RPG, starting trainers begins wih two unevolved pokemon of their own choice, simply because pokemon are much harder to train in the 'verse. You can do something similar by saying that trainers should get a wider choice of pokemon since it's not just about how well you can raise a pokemon but how much you care for it too. A trainer starting out with a pokemon they don't like can't really bode well.

Shadowcat
15th December 2005, 1:15 AM
Maybe Poliwag, Oddish or Bellsprout? Poliwag could be used to replace the Squirtle line, and Oddish or Bellsprout for the Bulbasaur line. But the Charmander line is tough, because fire Pokemon mainly evolve once.

intergalactic platypus
15th December 2005, 1:56 AM
i personally like the idea of sticking a character with a growlithe for a starter. its not mary sue like, and its not used often in competitve battling, plus its cute at first then powerful (albeit the small movepool, but fics can work around that)

Negrek
15th December 2005, 2:26 AM
Well, three-stage starters obviously allow for the best power scaling. And, really, I don't see why people are so turned off when trainers start with them. As I've said before, they're the starters, so of course people are expected to start with them. I'm more interested in the overall quality of the 'fic than with what pokémon the trainer gets at the beginning--there are some very nice 'fics that have the trainer beginning with your standard starter.

In the end, I think that any starter could work (yes, even a legendary) if you could find the author talented enough to do it right.

For the rest of us, I think that sticking to a pokémon that evolves at least once is the best bet, as it allows the pokémon to at least physically grow with the trainer, even if you have trouble with more psychological growth and development. I'd shy away from the very rare/popular starters (and most all overly powerful types fall under one of those categories) as, economically speaking, your trainer is going to have much more trouble getting their hands on one, whether they cost so much money due to demand or because they simply are so scarce. This is where you'd need some serious finesse to pull it off--so to make it a little easier on yourself, don't.

Iveechan
15th December 2005, 3:28 AM
I agree with using any Pokemon who evolves at least once, but there are two limits: size and method of evolution. I think it'd be unfair if a start Pokemon evolved by a strange means like evolution stone or trading. Unless all the starters followed the same formula. But still, it would seem weird you need to buy or receive an item in order to evolve your starter instead of good old-fashioned training.

And then there's size. Most unevolved Pokemon are relatively small, but ones like Rhydon seem like an awkward starter. I would even go as far to say Ponyta and Doduo seem fairly large also. Under the kneecap is a nice starter size. I'm not sure what to make of fish Pokemon though...

PDL
15th December 2005, 3:53 AM
I'm not sure what to make of fish Pokemon though...

I say the best idea is not to use a fish for a starter pokemon. unless the setting and story takes place with alot of water or water is essential to the storyline. Otherwise all it will be doing is flopping around and gasping for air.

Yamato-san
15th December 2005, 8:23 AM
actually, if the writers so wish, they can make water Pokemon capable on land. I keep saying this, but fish Pokemon could conceivably hop around on their bellies (not flail on their sides, Koiking being an exception, but it's weak anyway) or other appendages (Tattsuu and its evolutions could hop on their tails, and though they're not liable choices for a starter, Laplace or Whaleou can crawl around with their fins like a sea turtle, etc.). Also, if some writers like Dragonfree aren't afraid to use game stats, then it wouldn't be too hard to imagine others giving Pokemon the ability to hover like they do in the 3D games (hell, I think a Parushen actually did hover in the anime at one point).


And then there's size. Most unevolved Pokemon are relatively small, but ones like Rhydon seem like an awkward starter. I would even go as far to say Ponyta and Doduo seem fairly large also. Under the kneecap is a nice starter size.

yeah, but sometimes, it is possible to be token for a loop when it comes to starter sizes.... I bet several people were surprised when Digimon Tamers was being announced, seeing how large Guilmon and Renamon were when seen standing next to their Tamers. Such a size was virtually inconceivable for other Digimon of that level at the time (well.... besides that Agumon in the first movie). So, I don't see what the problem would be if someone started with a Dodo or Ponyta (especially considering that they don't evolve for a very long time when going by the games.... you'd get a starter to fully evolve in less time than that).

Caithyra
15th December 2005, 10:24 AM
A character in my fic (whenever it gets written, as I am currently doing a Winx Club comic. >_<) got a Pidgey as a starter, but at the moment of the fic it is a Pidgeot and we mostly see his small Fearow instead. (He's been training for three years.)

You could always make different towns give away different pokémon. Violet City could give away Pidgey, Spearow, Hoot-Hoot, etc. Blackthorn could give away Horsea and Swablu. (One of my first trainers, based on myself, started with a Horsea.) Rustboro or Pewter could give you a Geodude... Or you could make up a starter set yourself. (Mine is Phoenix, Dolphin and Snake based, their final forms being Fire/Flying, Water/Psychic and Grass/Poison.) I really don't care much if the starter starts with a Dratini or Magikarp, but both of those pokémon look like they need to fight in water in order to move around (my dolphin is the same, but the region is full of lakes and is an island, so it isn't much of problem, if the trainer doesn't decide to go to Kanto, of course. ^_^; I know, it has the levitate ability! Okay, shutting up about that one.)

Also, a beginner trainer might not have the skill and knowledge to handle Castform, Kecleon and Smeargle. Here's a list of questions that I ask myself when chosing a starter:

Is the starter a legendary? (If yes, choose another.)
Is it a Dratini/Larvitar/Bagon or some other unusual and strong pokémon? (If yes: Do they have a reason for getting just that pokémon, such as being one of Blackthorn's dragon clan? If no, choose another.)
Is it one of the usual line? (If yes, I try to find out what kind of stereotype personality they usually have in order to break it.)
Is it a Magikarp or Feebas? (If yes, I choose another, because even though their evolutions are strong, the evos aren't good for a trainer that's just starting out, plus the fact that the trainer will need something to battle with.)
Is it a baby (Elekid, Pichu, Cleffa...) pokémon? (If yes, is it old enough to battle? Does it screw up much? Does other trainers frown upon using a baby pokémon in battle? Does the general population?)
Is it insanely common like Ratatta and Zigzagoon? (If yes, does the trainer ever have problems seeing the differences between their pokémon and other pokémon of the same species.)
How does the trainer get the pokémon? (Pokémon lab, pokémon shelter, found in the wild, household pet, brought by parents/relatives/friends as a gift? This can decide what type of pokémon it is. For example: My main character's grandmother trains ghosts, so my main character got a vain Misdreavous as a birthday present.)

I can go on and on. The important with starters is not to make them stereotyped or too strong. Even the strongest type of pokémon can be used as a starter, but with certain reasons. (Pokémon school graduates for example, or a pokémon nurse educated trainer with a one-armed Scyther.) The key is to show that both pokémon and trainer are inexperienced in the field of real battles. Even if your trainer starts out with Bulbasaur and goes against Brock, Brock will probably have some tricks up his sleeve because he has experienced battling grass types before. Not even showing up in Wattson's gym with a Larvitar would save you, he'd probably just use Lanturn and Surf you out of his gym together with a suggestion of getting more experience.

Hopefully this was to some type of help when chosing a starter.

Ash_Junior
15th December 2005, 3:52 PM
personally, I find this whole topic laughable.

not your arguments, most of which are very good, but I personally don't see why a person shouldn't be able to start with whatever Poke they want. within reason.

obvously not an uber rare like Drat or Snorlax or a legendary, but almost everything else is within the realm of possibliity.

at least for me.

*shrugs*

and that makes Starters a LOT Rarer...

:D

Nylf
15th December 2005, 10:39 PM
Me? I always give one character a Shiny Trapinch. What can I say? I need to put one in as a mc and starters are usually that. Otherwise, i pick Pokemon that suit the character, such as:-

Underestmated, looks like but is internally strong: Stuff that have surprising power, like Feebas, Magikarp etc.

Loner, tough guy, mysterious: Usually the Shiny Trapinch, but otherwise dragon pokemon like Bagon, or Dark types.

That sorta thing. Usually I give characters their starter based on who or what they are/are going to do. Drake's starter's a Trapinch as his grandpa's Drake of the Elite Four, and Drake Sr. would naturally want his grandson to follow in his footsteps. Suila is like her dad, obsessed with water pokemon. Sieg, well his Trapinch was left with him when Ho-oh found him, and his Bagon and three Flameevee's found him. Tila, well she's kinda girly, so girly Pokemon that reflect her. She's not great to start with, but in time she becomes great, like her Feebas and Wurmple. Cane just loves dogs, so his starters were naturally Houndour, Growlithe and Cyndaquil. And Derek has a dark past, and his starters were also of the dark type, namely Purrn, Carvahna and Cacnea, a fire-water-grass trio with a dark twist.

And on that legendary thing I think I may have discovered a loophole. No spoilers though.

Iveechan
15th December 2005, 11:02 PM
yeah, but sometimes, it is possible to be token for a loop when it comes to starter sizes.... I bet several people were surprised when Digimon Tamers was being announced, seeing how large Guilmon and Renamon were when seen standing next to their Tamers. Such a size was virtually inconceivable for other Digimon of that level at the time (well.... besides that Agumon in the first movie). So, I don't see what the problem would be if someone started with a Dodo or Ponyta (especially considering that they don't evolve for a very long time when going by the games.... you'd get a starter to fully evolve in less time than that).

I know nothing of Digimon. That's another issue with Pokemon size, they are expected to ber stronger overall. It just feels awkward to have a newly aquired Ponyta bashing up Ratatas. Yes, bigger Pokemon are possible, I'm just not fond of starter Pokemon being that big.

Silawen
15th December 2005, 11:14 PM
I've always seen the starter rule as rather...non-existant. I always imagined that trainers going to people like Prof. Oak had no way of obtaining a suitable pok&#233;mon otherwise.
To me it doesn't seem odd that a starting trainer whose parents have an Oddish breeding farm, for instance, would give their son/daughter an Oddish to start out with. As long as it isn't a legendary, fully evolved pok&#233;mon, or something ridiculous, then I'm pretty much okay with it.

Elemental Charizam
15th December 2005, 11:29 PM
Well I can see why the fanatic sticklers to non-existent rules might want to lynch me for having a character start with a Dratini and another with a differently coloured (not shiny) pokémon. But I have explanations...

Teh Black 'Mander: Bound to be a differently coloured starter coming up at some point, right? The whole point of the fic is his story, basically...

Drat!-ini: Her trainer comes from Blackthorn city, originally. Dragons are quite common there, and made available to everybody in her position (I won't tell you what that position is though ;P).

There are on rules, only conventions and guidelines, IMO.

Orion-Sama
15th December 2005, 11:29 PM
For me, all first stage Pokémon that evolve at a considerably mid-to-late Level is a candidate for a Starter.

Still, I'm not much troubled with this point. What troubles me is the way the Trainer gets his/her Starter. I try to stay away of the cliché "Professor Tree gives you a choice at Lab". Instead, I make it so they meet their Pokémon in one way or another, and then the Pokémon acceeds to go with the Trainer... it allows a bit more variety.

I also try to stay away from rare Pokémon or Pokémon that are mostly indigenous from the area the Trainer lives at. For example, it's OK for the Trainer to start with a Dratini if he/she lives in Blackthorn City, because he/she will end up finding quite tough Pokémon as he/she goes into the wild. Dratini, being somewhat strong and living around the area, is a good candidate. Stuff like someone living at Mossdeep and meeting a Bagon in the vicinity is not possible.

I also lean toward the regular Starters or the average Pokémon... but met in a different way.

Psychic
15th December 2005, 11:44 PM
Still, I'm not much troubled with this point. What troubles me is the way the Trainer gets his/her Starter. I try to stay away of the cliché "Professor Tree gives you a choice at Lab". Instead, I make it so they meet their Pokémon in one way or another, and then the Pokémon acceeds to go with the Trainer... it allows a bit more variety.
Yea, but this thraed is supposed to be for trainer fics, and usually a trainer recieves their first Pokémon from a professor. That way they could register as an official trainer and all that right away. *eyes shift to a particular fic Mod*




Actually, is Chikorita considered as .. um.. common, etc.?
No, being one of the nine starters, Chikorita is considered to be rare. In my opinion, Ash finding so many starter Pokémon was just stupid and by chance. It was really a way to just advertise them. So you usually won't find Chikorita in the wild.




Me? I always give one character a Shiny Trapinch. What can I say?
I'm not asking what Pokémon you give your characters for PLOT reasons. You only do that whole Shiny Trapinch thing necause you're obsessed with Shiny Flygon and you have this weird plot-thing going on with Groudon, Kyogre and Rayquaza. And yes, I know all about it. You seemed to take no shame in announcing it in the RPG.



Usually I give characters their starter based on who or what they are/are going to do.
I'm just argueing for the sake of it here, but I'm talking about which Pokémon that professors give out. If professors gave out starters to all your main characters, then how are they supposed to know anything about their histories and personalities? Usually, trainers just go to the lab and pick out whatever the Hell the want. In the case of RaZoR's RP (Generation Omega-yes, the fic as well) trainers took a test which determined their starters. Unless you did something similar, I consider the fact that characters recieved Pokémon similar to them was based completely on chace (if one was to pretend the fic was 'real') or author's preferences/ideas for match-ups (if one was to take the approach more realistically).


Nylf, you totally missed the point of the topic. I'm not asking which starters you gave your characters, I'm asking what are the restrictions for starters. That's why is says 'What's the Limit?' in the title. I suggest reading more carefully next time.




I'd also like to throw a new idea into the fray:
Can baby Pokémon (Togepi, Pichu, Wynaut, Igglybuff, Cleffa, Magby, Elekid, Smoochum, Tyrogue) be given out as starters, or are they too weak/the way they evolve takes too much time?

I personally think Togepi, Igglybuff and Cleffa are too weak to be given out, and Wynaut's a rather useless Pokémon (I suppose that makes me a hiprocryte, XD). The others aren't so unreasonable, even if Magby, Smoochum and Elekid evolve at level 30.

Discuss.

~Psychic

Silawen
15th December 2005, 11:53 PM
Yea, but this thraed is supposed to be for trainer fics, and usually a trainer recieves their first Pokémon from a professor. That way they could register as an official trainer and all that right away. *eyes shift to a particular fic Mod*

Hmm, but that wouldn't explain why so many young trainers run around who don't own one of the starters. I mean, a lot of those trainers would want to achieve the same as Ash, and thus take the gym challenger. This means that you have several options;

1) Every town has its own starters, but Pallet Town and co are basically towns with a handy supply of strong and good starter pokémon. Add to this professors who can give a good explanation and you have a reason for them being starting points.

2) They receive pokémon through another way, for instance the Oddish mentioned above, and can sign up with the pokémon leauge eventhough they do not have an official starter.

3) They dump their original starter the moment they catch another pokémon.

Zerodius
16th December 2005, 12:43 AM
Everybody... you want the REAL answer?

The answer is: you will never find a good starter for your character, whatever you do.

It will always either be overused, not interesting, too weird, too powerful, too weak, or something.

So my opinion is... give your trainer WHATEVER Pokemon you want... and this include rare Pokemon or even, at the limit, Legendary Pokemon (although I tend to frown on this... but well, if it's done well, whatever?).

Remember that the name and specie are only a name and a default physical appearance. It's the character's backstory and how it acts in the story itself that is important.

As such, you could make the coolest Magikarp in the whole world... just like you could make even Mewtwo himself sound like a retarded 5 years-old.

It's all up to your writting skills, your imagination, and your patience.

Well, that was my opinion.

Have a nice day, everyone... and thank you for your time.