And now for something I've been wanting to do for a very long time!
Pokemon Mage: The Game
The region of Hoenn is home to many ancient traditions and mysteries, the most prominent being related to the land's three major deities: the land-raiser Groudon, the sea-master Kyogre, and the mysterious sky dragon Rayquaza. The actions and conflicts between these three legendary Pokemon feature strongly in the story of the area's creation; the balance of power between them is widely believed to be linked to the prosperity and peace of everyone that lives in Hoenn. While the traditions of the three deities affect everyone, there are other traditions that impact individuals more. For instance, the bond of a guardian that allows otherwise weaker humans to wield the magic of the Pokemon.
Not everyone is capable of bonding with a guardian. Those who want to try are given tests early in their adolescence; one test is never enough to find a child's true potential for magic, as there are many different factors involved. Hereditary powers have sometimes been identified, as some families seem to always summon the same kind of guardians. And yet there are cases where heredity has no influence, such as the Stone family which hadn't produced a wizard for ten generations. Some have identified traits that 'must' be strong in the potential mage, and yet sometimes a guardian will appear to one who needs to develop such a trait to be a good magic user.
As it is late March, the time has come to initiate a new group of Pokemon mages. You are one of these young students of magic who has passed all the initial tests to be invited to the summoning ceremony. This year, it's being conducted by Professor Birch of Littleroot Town, a wizard who is well known for his studies into magic, technology, and Pokemon. From there, you can seek out an apprenticeship to one of the great wizards of the region (many in the Pokemon League) or strike out and learn on your own by following the League's mage challenge. You might even become the next Magic Champion of Hoenn if you do well enough.
This is an exciting time for you... and yet, there are strange omens going on all throughout Hoenn. In the past year, strange black flames can be seen on top of Sky Tower. While those flames burn, the spirits of Mount Pyre are restless, even dangerous. In the past few months, the waters of the eastern island chain have been rough with storms, while the rains have slowed around Route 119 and Fortree. Perhaps more worrisome, the shrine of Groudon near Lavaridge has seen unusually heavy rains while the shrine of Kyogre near Dewford has been experiencing a drought. No one is certain what is going on.
Are you going to try helping the lands by investigating these omens? Or will you seek out your own glory, perhaps even through forbidden means? It is all up to you.
Common Knowledge and News
These are some general things that most everyone in Hoenn will know. If a question gets asked or an idea posted that I think qualifies, I'll add a copy of it and the answer to this list.
The current Magic Champion of Hoenn is Steven Stone with his Metagross guardian. The current Trainer Champion of Hoenn is May Birch, the daughter of Professor Birch; she's not a mage or wizard, but is respected for her skills all the same.
A couple of days after the guardian summoning ceremony, a new Gym Leader named Norman will be inducted into the League at his Gym in Petalburg. Part of this includes a battle between the current Magic Champion and the new Leader (so it will be partly a battle demo). However, it's rumored that the new Leader won't be accepting low-level challengers for some time.
There is a group in Hoenn that claims that the current hierarchy of wizards and the Pokemon Leagues is a conspiracy to keep power within a chosen few, but many believe them to be grasping at straws. It is unknown where the group operates out of; in fact, much about them is uncertain.
There's a local legend about the lake on Route 120, that if you go to the island cave on a new or full moon, you might end up in a nightmarish dungeon run by a cruel ghost and will die if you don't escape by dawn. The truth of this is uncertain, as contradictory reports exist about what's really there.
To a question about technology and clothing: The technology level is modern-day. Well, modern for the Pokemon world, since they have stuff we don't. Some technologies do work with magic; the explanation for the generation of electrical power has a magical source, but that's a little too specific to put into the sign-up thread. So you could go jeans and t-shirt for your character. There are occasions that use robes, but they're primarily for formal and religious ceremonies. Like, you'd see Birch in robes for the summoning ceremony, but other than that he'd dress normally.
To a question about non-evolving guardians: Guardians that don't evolve might stall in growth until its partner develops. Like stopping around level 20 or something. There are also cases of guardians not evolving if their partner refuses to change too.
To a question about wands: As for wands and staves, they can be used if the person wants, but most of the mages and wizards I use don't. There's a lot of flexibility for personal style.
Some of the finer details of Pokemon magic will come out through gameplay itself as your characters learn, but here's a quick tutorial about it.
Guardian: A special Pokemon that partners with a human in order to enable better use of magic. Guardians cannot be kept in Pokeballs, but they can turn into a fairy-like ball of light if they need to follow their partner somewhere unusual (such as a Fire guardian when its partner uses Dive). Guardians cannot survive without their partner. Sometimes believed to be angels, their true origins are unknown.
Mage: A student of magic. Typically, a mage starts between the ages of 10 and 15, but there are cases of younger and older people acquiring a guardian. Not everyone has the potential to become a mage.
Wizard: A user of magic who has graduated from being a mage. There are several ways to do this. A mage that has apprenticed will be tested by his or her master after several years, while a traveling mage can ask for testing from several wizards. Also, if a mage manages to become Magic Champion, they are immediately recognized as a wizard.
Master: A magic user recognized as highly knowledgeable and skilled in magic, usually within a particular type. All members of the Pokemon League (save for the Champion) are required to be masters so they can tailor their challenges to the challenger's skill level and defend their hometown.
Champion: A Pokemon Trainer that has passed the entire Pokemon League challenge (defeat eight Gyms, then defeat the Elite 4 and current Champion in five consecutive battles). There are two, the Magic Champion who fights alongside his/her Pokemon and the Trainer Champion who guides his/her Pokemon in battle. Both are recognized as skilled Trainers with excellent Pokemon, but the Magic Champion is required to have a guardian.
Magician: A person who uses magic without the aide of a guardian Pokemon. It is possible, but very limited. Crafting potions and charms are common trades of a magician, although technology in the past century has allowed many people to live well without using magic.
Aura: The energy for magic, it is produced by emotions, formed by intelligence, and controlled by willpower. Pokemon can manipulate aura naturally, but humans require a guardian Pokemon to truly use it. However, humans have the advantage of not being constrained by type and natural limitations.
Types: There are the 17 traditional types of Pokemon that affect auras and therefore magic. There is also a demonic type, which is not taught and often forbidden. The only 'normal' way to access a demon-type spell is through the randomizing spells, such as Arcane Power if the Devil card is selected.
Rune: A system of symbols which describe spells and magic use. Unown text is considered a runic alphabet, but it is not the only one.
Deity/god: This is in the sense of nature spirits, such as is common in older cultures of Japan, China, and Greece. There are a certain number of immortal Pokemon gods, such as Rayquaza and other legendary Pokemon, which have their own roles and duties in the world. They are immensely powerful, but not omniscient or omnipotent. Since this takes place in Hoenn, Hoenn legendaries are most prominent.
Patron Deity: Many people choose a particular legendary Pokemon to pray to. There are often philosophies and religious sects connected to these legends. While this isn't necessary for the game, it can be used to help develop your character.
Elf: Elves are a mysterious sentient race that are naturally magical. They run the Pokecenters and hospitals, as they are known as exceptional healers. Their private lives and homes are virtually unknown, but any that is on duty will respond to the name 'Joy' and be kind and polite. If a mage or wizard earns the favor of the elves, they might be taught a healing spell as a reward.
In order to cast magic, the user must focus their mind so they can sense aura. This may take a little time for a new mage, but skilled users can do this as a seemingly natural reflex. Once the caster is focused, s/he forms aura into the spell in his/her mind, most often in the form of runes. Then the spell is activated, through the method the caster feels more comfortable with. This could be hand motions or a spoken phrase.
For gameplay purposes, you may simply use the activation motion/word to use a spell. An example would be Cut: it could be done by snipping a pair of fingers like scissors or a phrase like 'slice that (object)'. Just keep in mind the need for focus; a distraction can (and will) be an obstacle for your character to pass.
A mage character will most easily learn spells that his/her guardian learns naturally or are of the guardian's type. For instance, if the guardian is a Torchic, the Scratch and Ember spells will be really easy while Psywave and Sludge would require some effort. The toughest spells to learn would be those the guardian is weak to or cannot do much damage to. The mage with a Torchic would have difficulty learning Water Gun and Rock Tomb, but could conceivably do so.
Guardians are capable of evolving like their normal kin, but their requirements are different. Because they are so deeply connected to their partner, a guardian can only evolve if their partner has grown in some manner, such as conquering a fear, overcoming a personal flaw, or experiencing a personal change. This is why mages are normally found in that particular age range, since their developing maturity is mirrored by their developing guardian.
Guardians and their partners share a deep bond of empathy. What affects one will affect the other, such as mood and illness. This includes injury and is often a big challenge to young mages and guardians. If one of the pair is knocked out, the other will be unable to concentrate and may be disoriented. The guardian of the pair is known to get defensive and even hostile if their partner is badly hurt. Death is devastating and in most cases, death of one will be soon followed by death of the other.
Special skills are easily translated into spells, so what about physical moves? That can be up to your interpretation, but one way to do it is to have an image to a Pokemon that can use that move appear briefly to use it.
For this game, we will conduct an abridged battle style.
When your character enters a battle, you will write a section of the battle. I will assess the quality and fairness of the section, then calculate the challenge level behind the scenes (practical things like type match-ups and experience of the opponent, as well as the written section) and decide the winner from that. If the calculations are close, I may do dice rolls.
You may simply say, “we spent time training and I focused on the Bide spell' to avoid writing boring grinding scenes. And if you want to write out a full battle scene, I'm fine with that too; let me know and I'll judge the battle after two or three posts.
Boss battles, such as Gym Leaders, major antagonists, and a rival PC if both of you so choose, will require multiple written sections to decide. Most likely one per opponent Pokemon, but we'll see on a case by case basis.
Some things that would detract from a win: not treating an opponent well by writing out-of-character, writing a certain win in a battle section, writing something that wouldn't work mechanically (like a Ghost move hitting a Normal typed Pokemon, or striking a Rhyhorn's horn with electricity).
Some things that would put my numbers in your favor: the battle seems of an appropriate challenge level based on writing quality, good in-character personality from your character, Pokemon, and opponent, or good description.
Magic battles with Pokemon have two normal win conditions. One is the usual way of defeating all the Pokemon that the Trainer has in their active battle team (inactive Pokemon cannot participate). The other is to use a battle field spell (not normally taught to mages until they've had some experience), which summons a concentration orb for each of the human participants. With that in place, a win can also be obtained by breaking the opponent's orb by attacking them, then defeating the Pokemon they have out. The human opponent will not be able to attack, call orders, or switch Pokemon if the orb is broken. This method will anger the opponent's guardian, so to keep in good relations with the opponent, an apology to the guardian should be made after the opponent recovers.
There are a few other battle styles available to magic users, including guardian duels, but these are less common.
1. You will need a human mage and a Pokemon guardian to sign-up in most cases. If you sign up without a guardian, you won't be able to acquire one through normal means in the game.
2. When you want to capture a Pokemon, tell me what your character is looking for and I'll decide how difficult it is to find and acquire. You'll need to add the new Pokemon to your team by editing it into your character sheet.
3. You may have up to six Pokemon on your active team. Except for the guardian; the guardian must be with your character at all times, making it possible to have seven Pokemon if the guardian is not actively battling.
4. We'll be sticking to Hoenn for this game, so please no travels out of the region!
5. PG-13 is the rating. Stick to it.
Some of you who have been around for a while may recognize this plot and set-up. This is based on the plot of an older fanfic of mine. More importantly, this is a magic system that I have used in different fandoms as well as original works, if altered a bit to fit each world. I've been working with it loosely up to this point, but I want to do some play-testing and tightening up of the system. So please do ask questions and make comments on the magic system, as I'd like it to be well formed in my original works.
If you want to see the original fanfic and other sources of this magic system, I can send you a PM with links. Be warned that the stories that use it are really long. It's not necessary to read them and this game won't play out in the same fashion as the fanfic (as there will be more heroes).