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Thread: Portraying Pokemon teams

  1. #1
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    Default Portraying Pokemon teams

    I tend to see Pokemon being raised by a Trainer having a good sense of camaraderie amongst themselves and in a story where one of them has an problem to deal with, the others will offer their help. The Trainer is the Mama Bear (or Papa Bear if you must) who keeps things in check and even has fun with them outside Training (I mean, from a storytelling standpoint, it'd make sense to make the Trainer "flawed" but realistically thinking, why would you entrust powerful creatures to someone who's clearly not mature enough? *eyes a Mr. Ketchum*).

    Still I'd like to know what others think of portraying a team of six Pokemon and their Trainer. How would you write it?

  2. #2
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    Good topic! I haven't seen a lot of exploration or even talk of the dynamic between a Pokemon team, so this is pretty interesting. The more I think about it, the more I want to write about it, actually.

    To start off, you'd have to consider, well, starting off. You talk about entrusting a powerful team to a kid, but what we should keep in mind is that trainers start off with a single Pokemon (who should be reasonably manageable for a newbie). From there, they learn how to be responsible by training and caring for a creature, how to communicate, battle, and tolerate one another. You really could call them a family.

    As trainer and Pokemon learn how to interact and communicate effectively, they travel further, and another Pokemon joins the "family." Both trainer and starter learn about adding another personality to the mix, another family member to take care of. The starter also learns how to share the attention, much like a child who just got another sibling, I suppose. Maybe there will be some degree of resentment and jealousy, and the starter can either continue to feel that way or learn to accept that they're not an old child anymore, and they'll have to learn to get along.

    From there, another team member is added, and another, and another. it's a gradual process were both trainer and Pokemon get to know the newcomer, see if they're compatible and learn to live with one another. Again, you might still get spats over who the favourite is, or who the strongest or most valuable team member is. Some Pokemon may form friendships or rivalries, maybe even romances. Through it all, the Pokemon will hopefully learn how to resolve issues amongst themselves without their trainer, and the trainer may not always be aware of the dynamics, relationships or issues within the pack. Everyone grows up in the process.

    I also like to think Pokemon themselves become quite different. I've been thinking more about the effects of human society on wild Pokemon, and how they might be affected by human values and ideals and whatnot. Pokemon who tend to be in human company would start to get a decent idea of what they are, and to adapt to trained life may even adopt some of those ideas. This would also affect how they identify with newly-caught Pokemon from the wild. How would one deal with gaining a new teammate to whom you are prey in the wild, anyway? That alone would certainly take some degree of getting used to and trust, haha.

    That said, you also have to take into account how much the Pokemon actually get to interact. Are they all released from their Pokeballs at once very often? Can they perceive much of the outside world or interact from inside their Pokeballs?

    Another thought is that teams aren't always just six Pokemon - realistically, there will often be Pokemon who invariably get sent to the PC, and get shuffled around to create a good party. How does that affect their self-esteem and thus their relationship with other Pokemon and their trainer? As we all know, you often catch that Caterpie or Lillipup early on, train them just enough, then store them away never to be used again. That can definitely have an affect on a team, knowing that someone you once called friend is sitting on some computer system, never to be...holy cow I need to write some fic now.


    *coughs* Anyway, I think there are lots of interesting things to take into account with this particular dynamic, which is what makes it so fascinating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
    To start off, you'd have to consider, well, starting off. You talk about entrusting a powerful team to a kid, but what we should keep in mind is that trainers start off with a single Pokemon (who should be reasonably manageable for a newbie). From there, they learn how to be responsible by training and caring for a creature, how to communicate, battle, and tolerate one another. You really could call them a family.
    Well, the way I see it the newbie should be emotionally mature enough to manage a team from the get-go. Like he's starts off good but not great and gets better. Plus, in my fic, I sorta extend the six Pokemon limit to Trainers only being able to catch six Pokemon (mostly for storytelling purposes so I can limit the Pokemon characters to focus on). There is a loophole that it's only six Pokemon per region.

    Oh, and great first post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt0044 View Post
    Well, the way I see it the newbie should be emotionally mature enough to manage a team from the get-go. Like he's starts off good but not great and gets better. Plus, in my fic, I sorta extend the six Pokemon limit to Trainers only being able to catch six Pokemon (mostly for storytelling purposes so I can limit the Pokemon characters to focus on). There is a loophole that it's only six Pokemon per region.

    Oh, and great first post.
    Depends on the universe you want to write in, really. The more I think about it, the less qualms I have with the idea of kids in the Pokeverse maturing faster than in the real world (which would explain the, ahem, appearances of some of Ash's female companions despite their ages) as well as the idea of journeys being a sort of rite of passage (like a Bar Mitzvah!) where kids learn and grow independently. It also helps that a newbie trainer isn't given overwhelmingly powerful Pokemon they can't control and that can kill them as starters. Your average level 5 Pokemon doesn't even know any elemental attacks, for instance. Their abilities are pretty limited to biting and scratching, just like young animals who serve as pets in the real world. We still trust untrained kids with those, so why not Pokemon?

    My point is really that I don't see the point in making sure a newbie trainer can handle a full team of Pokemon if they're just starting out with a Bulbasaur. Part of training involves learning and growing alongside your Pokemon. Both trainers and Pokemon screw up at the beginning, but that's how they learn, and it's a perfectly normal part of growing up. Removing that element removes the awesome character development that could be there instead. (That's also why I personally don't really get the Pokemon training academy fics - lots of kids best learn through hands-on experience, and spoon-feeding them is both unnecessary and a little condescending. A school might benefit some kids, but I just don't see it being necessary. But that's a topic for another thread.)

    As for the six Pokemon limit, I'm personally against altering the laws of a universe merely for the sake of convenience, but again, a topic for another thread. Mainly, I just don't quite see why it would make sense from a trainer's standpoint. Most trainers don't start forming coherent teams that covers its type weaknesses and has specific roles for each member (wall, tank, sweeper, whatever) until quite a ways into their journey, simply because the Pokemon you may need aren't all accessible in the "early" parts of the region. So you either hold off on catching a water type until you find a Lapras you so badly want, thus eliminating your potential advantage over the fire gym you have to face next week and also giving you a disadvantage over other trainers with full parties, or you catch a Goldeen who you only want as a temporary member. But if you're limited to six, how are you ever going to get that Lapras?


    But anyway, I'm getting off-topic again. What I'm mainly trying to get at is that changing the source material and adjusting the universe too much can rob you of some pretty significant stuff, and can create some pretty big gaps in logic if you're not careful about it

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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
    Depends on the universe you want to write in, really. The more I think about it, the less qualms I have with the idea of kids in the Pokeverse maturing faster than in the real world (which would explain the, ahem, appearances of some of Ash's female companions despite their ages) as well as the idea of journeys being a sort of rite of passage (like a Bar Mitzvah!) where kids learn and grow independently. It also helps that a newbie trainer isn't given overwhelmingly powerful Pokemon they can't control and that can kill them as starters. Your average level 5 Pokemon doesn't even know any elemental attacks, for instance. Their abilities are pretty limited to biting and scratching, just like young animals who serve as pets in the real world. We still trust untrained kids with those, so why not Pokemon?

    My point is really that I don't see the point in making sure a newbie trainer can handle a full team of Pokemon if they're just starting out with a Bulbasaur. Part of training involves learning and growing alongside your Pokemon. Both trainers and Pokemon screw up at the beginning, but that's how they learn, and it's a perfectly normal part of growing up. Removing that element removes the awesome character development that could be there instead. (That's also why I personally don't really get the Pokemon training academy fics - lots of kids best learn through hands-on experience, and spoon-feeding them is both unnecessary and a little condescending. A school might benefit some kids, but I just don't see it being necessary. But that's a topic for another thread.)
    Well, of course, I don't mean they shouldn't not screw up like anyone would. That's only natural. While from a story telling perspective, it makes for good development but what if the requirements were strict enough to warrant at least a year of Pokemon Trainer School? Or is it just me? A beginner wouldn't have to know everything but the basics to start off just fine and get better and better since it's a long road ahead.

    BTW, the "ten year old" thing is primarily from the Anime and in the games, you could interpret the player character as maybe thirteen/fourteen if you wanted, aside from eleven year old Red. Just thought I'd say that.

    As for the six Pokemon limit, I'm personally against altering the laws of a universe merely for the sake of convenience, but again, a topic for another thread. Mainly, I just don't quite see why it would make sense from a trainer's standpoint. Most trainers don't start forming coherent teams that covers its type weaknesses and has specific roles for each member (wall, tank, sweeper, whatever) until quite a ways into their journey, simply because the Pokemon you may need aren't all accessible in the "early" parts of the region. So you either hold off on catching a water type until you find a Lapras you so badly want, thus eliminating your potential advantage over the fire gym you have to face next week and also giving you a disadvantage over other trainers with full parties, or you catch a Goldeen who you only want as a temporary member. But if you're limited to six, how are you ever going to get that Lapras?
    Well, I haven't really settled on it but I've been considering it. I'm still mixed. Plus, who says I need a Lapras badly? (yeah, I know what you mean.)
    Last edited by matt0044; 14th December 2012 at 1:20 AM.

  6. #6
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    Psychic, you're giving some great thoughts, as always.

    I think that a group of Pokemon under the care of a trainer could act much like a small community in and of itself. The Pokemon may not receive backstory and development to the same degree as their human trainer, but that's not always the case (see: Survival Project and other fics in which the Pokemon are more actively starring.) Discounting the trainer, each Pokemon should at least have rudimentary building blocks of personality, so having them play off each other shouldn't be all that different from doing the same thing with humans.

    One example I'm going to use is a more recently-caught Pokemon not getting along well with the Pokemon that was used to capture it.

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