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I was looking for a challenge I could start on vacation, and ran across the Scramble Challenge. This challenge differs slightly from that -- maybe it's a modified Scramble? Anywho, here's how it works:
I use an RNG to pick 12 unique random Pokemon. These are the only Pokemon who can make up my team. Exceptions: necessary HM-only Pokemon (who cannot fight at all), temporary team members if I need to wait a bit until I can get the first Pokemon from the list, any forced captures or forced team members, etc.
I cannot have duplicates of any Pokemon on the list, and I must use the first one of those Pokemon I catch. So I can't catch two Geodudes and use the second one if I like it better -- I need to use the first Geodude (unless the second is shiny - then I get to choose). Exceptions: Pokemon who will be at different evolutionary stages in the list. For example, I can have two Eevee if one will evolve and the other won't, or if they each evolve into different Pokemon.
A shiny Pokemon on the list can replace its non-shiny counterpart on the team, but only one of those Pokemon may be used after that point. The other must be permanently boxed.
Other Pokemon may be caught, bought, gifted, etc. (including shinies), but they must be permanently boxed. They cannot be included in the storyline.
Trading is allowed if it's necessary in order to get a particular Pokemon.
That's about it! I'll be posting the prologue tomorrow.
First update! This is just the prologue, though. :p
"Psst. Hey, Max. Max!"
Max opened his eyes to his best friend shining a flashlight in his face. Blinking against the light, he groaned. "What do you want? I'm tired."
"But it's Tourney Day!" The light bounced as if to emphasize this point.
Max rolled over and looked at the alarm clock. "It's four in the morning, Blue. Nothing starts until after ten."
Blue rolled his eyes. "The competitions start at ten. But the lottery starts at six."
Max's eyes widened at the reminder. That was right. The lottery. Every kid from ten to eighteen between here and Viridian would enter, hoping for a chance at official registry as a trainer. The winning kids would be given a set of pokeballs, a license, and fifty dollars to help pay for care costs before they started making money of their own.
A Pokemon trainer could make a lot of money.
And unlike adults, who needed to pay for their licenses and renew them every three years, a kid who won the lottery didn't have to pay for any of that. Ever. Once they had a license, it didn't expire -- they just needed to go in for a new picture every year until they turned eighteen, and every three years after that.
This year, Max and Blue were finally old enough to enter.
"Seriously? Six in the morning?" At his friend's nod, Max fell back on the bed and groaned. "You're sure it's not PM?"
"Yep. Six AM. And they only take names for an hour at most. Last year they ran out of registration numbers in the first twenty minutes. So we've gotta be early. I checked and there's already like ten people in front of the office. So come on! Get up!
Max sighed and got up.
Blue had been right about the crowd. By the time they got to the town hall, there were about fifty kids waiting in line by the door. A lot of them were older, kids getting close to eighteen, hoping against hope that they'd get their license. For some of them, this was it. Licenses were expensive, and not everyone could afford it.
Max didn't think about the fact that he could never afford it. Blue probably could, but that was because his parents worked at the lab. The government paid for everything. So, Blue was only here because he wanted a chance to get his license years earlier than he would otherwise.
Max and blue took their place at the end of the line. They settled on the sidewalk to wait.
When Blue's name was called, he froze. Max pushed him forward. "Go on! Blue, that's you! Go on, go up there!"
After the ceremony, Blue looked at his friend. "This doesn't change anything, you know. I'm not going anywhere without you."
Max smiled. "I know. Besides, there's always next year."
Though the next year it didn't happen either. Or the year after that. Or the year after that.
My player character's name is Max.
Max's rival is Blue.
QOTD: What do you name your rival? Do you go with the defaults, or do you make up your own?
I'm excited to see which team members you get. That's kind of a lottery, too, in a sense!
QOTD: I used to name my rivals after my best friends. It's kind of random these days. Sometimes I use canon names. Sometimes I name them something that pertains to my particular theme/challenge. And a lot of times I still name them after buddies.
After a brief IRL interruption, I'm back with chapter one! :D This features the first Pokemon on the list, which was cool because I didn't need to worry about any temporary team members.
@Smote - I decided to post the list as I went along for exactly that reason. :p I never thought of using my friends' names! I usually pick from the list of defaults, but recently I've been branching out. Except for this one.
Happy Birthday! I'm sorry it didn't work out this year. There's always next year. I didn't get mine until I was almost eighteen, remember? So there's still time!
This is a kabuto fossil. It's one of the smallest ones we found. The markings on its back must be some sort of scarring, we thing, or some sort of mineral deposit. It's been cataloged and photographed and everything, so don't worry about me getting in trouble.
Just, you know, don't tell my boss.
Give mom a hug for me, and tell Lisa I miss her.
* * *
Max folded the letter up and sighed. He was fourteen today.
He didn't want to be fourteen today.
He wanted to be ten again. He wanted to be friends with Blue again. Before Blue got new friends, friends with lots of pokemon and people who worked at the lab with pokemon, and pokemon, pokemon, pokemon. He hated it. He hated his brother for bringing it up, for sending him a pokemon fossil, for having his own pokemon and winning the lottery.
He hated pokemon.
Still, he opened the box.
It looked a little like a horseshoe crab, round on top and nearly flat on the bottom. It fit easily into the palm of his hand, and he could keep it in his pocket if he wanted. And on its back was a strange design in what looked like some whitish-greenish substance. It was perfectly smooth. It certainly didn't look like scarring, unless the scars were covered by whatever was embedded in the shell.
"Max!" His mom shouted up the stairs, jarring him out of his thoughts.
"You have a visitor!"
"'Kay, I'll be down in a second!"
He set it aside and shoved the box under his bed.
Blue sat at the kitchen table.
"Turner," he said, using Blue's real name just to annoy him. "What are you doing here?"
His former best friend smirked. "Hey, Max. Long time no see."
"Two and a half years." Though really, they'd stopped being friends long before that.
Blue laughed. "Yep. Hey, listen, I've got a surprise for you."
"Yeah, it's outside. Come on." He got up and walked to the door.
* * *
"So, where's this surprise?" Max asked Blue when they were outside. They walked along the side of the road.
"It's in the lab."
Max wondered if Blue knew that he wouldn't have left the house if he'd heard that up front.
"So, uh," Max said, not sure what to talk about. "How is everything?"
"It's good! I've been on the tourney circuit for a while now."
Of course he had. "How's that going?"
"It was good, for a bit. Until they, ah, closed the circuit."
Blue turned red. "They closed down the tourneys. There's been a big change in how they do things -- I guess they're making them more regulated and stuff. Instead of tourneys there are gyms, and only in certain places -- the most popular tourney spots, I guess. And now there's this group of people regulating everything having to do with training and pokemon -- they're called the Elite Four. And they rescinded a bunch of licenses and made it so any kid can get one free, but adults have to pay. And there's a test to pass and everything. There's more of course, but that's the gist." They turned into the parking lot to the lab. "Anyway, here we are."
Max didn't know what to think. No more tourney days? Gyms instead? How would that work? He pictured a group of kids in a workout gym with a bunch of pokemon. That couldn't be right. And wait a minute... "Any kid can get a license?" Not that he wanted one, of course. But it couldn't hurt to be sure.
Blue grinned at him. "Yep! And I talked to my dad's boss and he's got a surprise for you." He turned serious suddenly. "I'm sorry for how I've treated you lately. I've been a jerk. I just got so wrapped up in everything. The tourneys are cool, and so are the people. But it wasn't fair to just up and leave and stop talking to you and stuff. I hope this will help make it up to you."
Nothing could make up for almost four years without his best friend, Max thought. But he didn't say it. Instead he followed Blue into the lab.
Inside were three pokemon. Blue gestured toward them. "Here they are! You get to pick one."
But I don't want a pokemon. "But I don't have a license," he said.
"Sure you do! Didn't you hear what I was saying? You get a license and a pokemon. It's all free for kids ten to eighteen." Blue grinned. "My dad'll print it out for you once you pick your present out."
Max sighed inwardly. He really, really didn't want a pokemon. He wasn't even sure what to think of Blue and his apology. But he looked, anyway. It was only polite.
The first was reddish-orange and reptilian, with a bright flame on its tale. It opened its mouth to reveal very sharp teeth. Charmander.
The second looked sort of like a giant blue turtle. It stood upright, making its shell look a little like a too-big backpack. Squirtle.
The third was green. It looked like a cross between some kind of reptile and a plant. It had scales, for the most part, and a bulb growing out of its back. Bulbasaur.
"Well? Which one're you going to pick?" Blue asked impatiently.
Max was about to say he really didn't want to pick, because he changed his mind a long time ago and really didn't want a pokemon -- that he didn't eve like pokemon, hated them in fact -- when the Squirtle turned around to look at something through the doorway. One its shell was a mark that looked just like the one on the kabuto fossil his brother sent. This one was all black, though, not white like on the fossil.
"What's wrong with his shell?" he whispered.
"Oh, that? It's just like a birthmark, I guess. Dad says that different breeds have different shells and marks and stuff. I don't know what kind he is, but it's just the way he was born."
Max looked at his friend. "You mean it's not from an injury or anything?"
Blue shook his head. "Nope. A scar would have a texture."
What would cause two unrelated pokemon, born hundreds of years apart, to have the exact same marking on their backs?
"I'll take that one. The squirtle," he said.
"Good choice," Blue said, as the squirtle walked up to Max and looked at him curiously. "What're you gonna call him?"
Max didn't look away from the intelligent red-brown eyes. A sudden smell of sea salt and a memory of waves and water and thunder on the ocean should have startled him, but didn't. It was definitely not his memory.
"Poseidon," he said. "His name is Poseidon."
Received Squirtle, level 5, named Poseidon.
Water - level 5
Tackle - Tail Whip
QOTD: I got lucky with this one -- one of the starters was on the list. How do you choose your starter? Do you keep them on your team?
QOTD: I always choose my starter based off of two decisions 1) How many future gyms it can counter and 2) How cute it is. I typically keep my starters on the team unless it is a challenge where I can't keep it (like nuzlockes, scrambles, monos, etc.). My first playthrough of any generation I'll use the starter.
Squirtle's Evolution line is a pretty lucky start to get right off the bat. I've however never really liked the Squirtle line, but nevertheless a very useful and powerful line. Also, I really like the non-traditional route on this challenge by reframing to tell us (the viewers) what your scrambled pokemon list is. I'm used to seeing most scrambles on this site telling us what pokemon they'll use, but this challenge kinda puts us on suprise. It makes the next update all the more anticipated and exciting to see what pokemon you'll receive next. I am very excited to see where this challenge goes an what pokemon you'll get. Good luck (but I'm sure you won't need a good luck :D )
Infinity - I used to do the same, only I didn't usually think that far ahead as far as gyms go. I was big into the water starters until about Gen 5, when I started branching out. :p I honestly made the decision to reveal as I go so I don't get bored with writing the story -- if I don't have the list in front of me, I'm not thinking about it, and if I'm not thinking about it all the time I can focus on the story. Thanks for the lucks! :D
Anywho, here's the second chapter~
"Okay, let's go again."
Max groaned. He and Blue had been at this for the past few days, battling Poseidon against the pokemon Blue had borrowed from the lab: the bulbasaur from the front hall and a pidgey.
And except for once, Max had lost every single time.
"Come on, Max! The only way he's gonna get stronger is if you train him! And the only way to train him is--"
"To battle," Max finished. He looked at his freshly revived pokemon. "You ready?" At Poseidon's nod, Max gave his command. "Okay, Bubble!"
The pidgey took the damage first this time, and for once Blue took pity on him and didn't make the bird kick up dust in Poseidon's face.
When the pidgey fell to the ground Max braced himself for the battle against bulbasaur. Poseidon was in good shape -- much better shape than he usually was at this point. Even with Leech Seed, he should be able to beat Blue. Finally.
* * *
"That wasn't too bad," Blue said later, as they ordered milkshakes at the Viridian City pokemon center. "You've got a ways to go, and you could do with some more pokemon, but I'd say you've got the hang of it."
Max didn't say anything. He was pretty sure Blue had thrown the fight on purpose. He wasn't going to say anything about it, though. It was kind of depressing how all he'd done was lose these past few days. What kind of trainer lost all his battles, anyways?
Blue kept on talking. "I got a call from my bo -- dad the other day."
Boss? Was he just about to say boss? Who would hire a fourteen-year-old?
"I need to do some work for the lab out by Cerulean. There's a shelter there that has some pokemon that can't be rehomed," he added.
Ah. So he worked for the lab. That made sense. Max nodded. "So the lab takes them off their hands?"
"Yup. They have to -- the pokemon they can't take care of are mostly really aggressive. Or they need a lot of advanced medical care that the shelter can't pay for. The centers cost money for everyone but trainers," he explained, at Max's puzzled look. "They've got to make money somehow. If you're not there on trainer business you've got to pay."
Max didn't see how they could charge a shelter for care like that. The Pallet shelter back home was nonprofit and run by volunteers like Blue's cousin and Kam's girlfriend, Lisa.
"Does the lab do it all for free?" he asked.
Blue looked at him in surprise and the laughed. "Of course! We also give money to the shelters to help offset costs. Just feeding that many pokemon can take a lot of money."
"Anyway," he continued, "I'll take you through to Pewter City and leave you there. That's the nearest gym," he said. He pointed to a building covered in ivy in the distance. "There's a gym here, but the gym leader's on a sabbatical, so it's empty."
"But what if I don't want to fight at the gym?" He said the words without thinking.
Blue smirked. "You don't really believe that, do you?"
"That's my choice, don't you think?"
"Of course. But good luck getting free service at the centers if you don't get any badges."
"What are you talking about?"
"What do you think separates you as a trainer from any kid off the street? That license?"
"That license is all well and good, but as a kid you need to show progress over the course of a year to get free services after that year. That means at least one gym badge a year. Adults have to do extra, so be glad it's just that."
"What kind of extra?"
"There's all sorts of tests and stuff they need to do every few years. They don't need to do the badges if they don't want. But they pay for their license. Kids don't -- the government pays all the fees for them. And since every kid's got a free pass to catch and train their own pokemon, they need to restrict them somehow. Care costs add up, and it gets really expensive if you have a lot of pokemon, even if you aren't doing anything with them. So either you pay your own center fees, you take special tests and training for special jobs, or you fight at gyms and get badges. And testing means special schools, which means you have to apply and get in and --"
"Okay, okay! I get it. But that doesn't mean I have to like it." Max wanted to punch the smirk off Blue's face.
"Great! We'll set off for Pewter tomorrow. Then I'll leave you to do your trainer thing while I go on to Cerulean."
Max grumbled under his breath.
Beat Blue at Oak Pokemon Laboratory. This was a pretty standard first gen starter battle. A lot of Tackles, a few Growls. Poseidon didn't have much trouble at all.
Beat Blue on Route 22. I lost twice before finally winning, due to Pidgey's Sand-Attack and Bulbasaur's Leech Seed. Poor Poseidon finally won when Pidgey happened to not use Sand-Attack once. I was so happy when that happened.
QOTD: Has anyone else ever gotten severely unlucky and not beat their rival in the very first battle? (I won in this run, but in the past I've lost, particularly at the start of Nuzlockes. It's like they know D:) Does it bug anyone else how easy they've made those starter battles in the recent generations?
We're in for quite a journey, I see. But I'm fine with that! And yay for Squirtle, that one's arguably the better of the starters to use for the main story. I'm sure we'll find out what those markings are about soon enough!
As for this question, in my Platinum Wedlocke in 2015, my Piplup did end up losing to Barry's Turtwig in the opening fight. I did apply the "challenge doesn't officially start until you get Poke Balls" though, so that was a thing.
icelandic - Thanks! I really got lucky with Max's character, I think. It's kind of like he's writing his own story. :p
Pendra - Yeah, I realized I had to do that after I lost in a Crystal run a few times.
After almost a week of having misplaced my 3DS, I've since found it and can continue the story. Here's the third chapter~
Max was surprised at how easy everything became after that. Poseidon had no trouble battling the trainers in the forest, and in the city. He flourished so well that by the time they said goodbye to Blue in Pewter City, Max had almost forgotten about their previous losses.
Now, more than a week after he and Blue had parted ways, Max stepped foot in the Pewter City gym.
The first thing that struck him was the sheer size of the place. Standing outside, he'd thought that the building was three stories tall. Now he saw that the whole thing was one floor, and the ceiling had been raised to towering heights. It was easily the tallest building he'd ever seen, let alone the biggest room.
And it was full of rocks.
He hadn't taken more than five steps into the building when another trainer approached him. "Hey, you wanna battle?"
Max looked at the kid. Surely this couldn't be the gym leader? "Um, I'm looking for Brock."
The kid pointed behind him. "He's in the back. But most people aren't ready for him right off the bat. So you gotta battle me. For practice, right?"
Max hesitated, then shrugged. "Sure." Poseidon shouldn't have much of a problem with anything he could come up with.
The boy pointed at Max. "Go, Sandy!"
A large, scaled rodent jumped out from behind a rock and stood ready, waiting. Sandy. Sandshrew. How appropriate.
Max looked at Poseidon. "Poseidon, Water Gun!"
The battle was over even quicker than Max had anticipated. With that first move, Sandy the Sandshrew was out of the running. The kid looked dismayed. "Aw." He headed for the door. "Go on in, then. I gotta get to the center. Good luck," he called behind him.
"Thanks," Max said, and turned back toward the gym proper. There were too many large boulders to be able to see where the gym leader was. He started to walk between the boulders, trailed closely by Poseidon.
Then one of the boulders moved, ever so slightly. But that couldn't be right, could it? He stared for a while, but it didn't move again, so he shrugged ad continued on.
Something moved above him. Max looked up.
There was a gigantic onix staring down at him.
* * *
The battle was quick. Even a pokemon as large as that onix didn't stand a chance against Poseidon. It must have been largely untrained, Max thought, to fall so easily to a simple Water Gun.
Now, hours later, he lay in bed staring up at the badge Brock had given him. He should go home, he thought. He'd gotten his quota of badges for the year. He didn't have to go anywhere to keep his license. To keep Poseidon.
He rolled over and looked at the door. He'd gotten used to sleeping next to the pokemon when they camped out in the forest. He couldn't get used to Poseidon not being there, tucked into his shell, little nose and toes barely visible in the moonlight. He couldn't sleep next to his trainer while they stayed in the pokemon center, though. Even back home, most pokemon stayed in the lab at night, not with their trainers. It was for the safety of the trainers -- pokemon could be dangerous if you couldn't control them.
It was a stupid rule.
Maybe he wouldn't go home just yet.
* * *
"Hey, if you're going up the mountain, can you take this up to the center for me?"
"Sure." Max tucked Poseidon's pokeball into his pocket. He hadn't been planning on it, but it wasn't like there was anything else he had to do.
"Thanks!" The center attendant smiled and handed him a package wrapped in paper. "It's just something that came for a trainer. There's no mail service up there, so..." she shrugged. "Here you go!"
Max took the package and tucked it into his bag. "Uh, see you later, then."
* * *
They found the jigglypuff on Route 3. Its light pink fur had been shaved down in spots, as if its trainer had been trying to treat it for fleas. There was no one around though, so if it had a trainer before it didn't have one now. Everyone knew that pokemon couldn't just be left on their own. They could get into all kinds of trouble. Some had even gone feral.
It wasn't the haircut that attracted Max's attention, though. It was the delicate dark pink design in its fur.
The lines traced along its side and back. Some jigglypuff had markings, he knew, but this didn't look like the patches or dappling patterns that he'd seen. And when it turned to face Poseidon, who had snuck up behind it....
It was just like the design on Poseidon's shell.
Max readied a pokeball. "Don't let it faint," he said. "I'm gonna catch it."
The jigglypuff turned at that, meeting his eyes. And like before, a memory that wasn't his own flashed through his head.
The sensation of swimming in a sea, a lake, a bay. The air full of fresh and salt water in turns, moonlight on the water. And through it all, a haunting song that seemed to cut through the fog.
"Siren," he said. "Welcome to the team."
Beat Brock in a super easy battle. Poseidon beat Geodude in two moves, Onix in one with a critical hit.
Caught Jigglypuff, level 3, named Siren.
Water - level 18
Tackle - Tail Whip - Bubble - Water Gun
I saw the feature on the front page and decided to come and check this out! ^^
So far, I'm really enjoying your writing. I can't wait to see where you'll take this story in the future. (Also +1 points for choosing Squirtle because he's the best starter in my humble opinion. u w u)
Hello again! It's been almost a week, but to be fair, a lot is happening in these next couple of updates. It's been difficult since I'm now writing primarily in spare moments at work, so I'm splitting them up (also they'll come out a lot quicker this way). On the downside, I don't have levels for this and the next update since I've only been recording levels for major battles, and I'm a little ahead of this point. There should be two or three minor updates before I get to the next major battle.
It wasn’t the knock on the door that woke Max -- rather, it was the bouncing ball of fluff on his bed. A bouncing ball of fluff that wasn’t supposed to be in his room, he realized, and bolted upright. He caught the squealing Siren and shoved her under the covers before answering the door.
A man in a Center uniform stood in the hall. “Is everything all right in here?”
“Of course! I was just watching TV.” Max gestured at the television set. Too late, he realized the cupboard doors were closed.
The man gave him a skeptical look, then held out the box Max had brought up the side of the mountain. “Special delivery from Pewter.”
Max stared at him. “You know you could have just told me it was for me when I dropped it off, right? Or when I picked it up in the first place?”
The man shrugged. “Hey, don’t blame me. I just deliver the mail.” He turned to leave.
Max had just reached to shut the door when a squeak came from behind him.
The man frowned and turned back, glancing around the room. Max stayed frozen, hoping against hope that Siren wouldn’t come out from under the covers.
Another squeal came, this time from the television cabinet.
The man turned to Max. “Looks like you left the TV on, kid. Don’t want to run up your bill!” He walked away chuckling to himself.
Max shut the door and leaned against it. “That was too close.” He walked to the television cabinet and opened the doors.
Siren stared up at him with big blue-green eyes.
“You’re not supposed to be in here,” he said, softly so she wouldn’t startle. “I told you, you have to be quiet. If you’re not quiet, I’ll get in trouble, and they’ll take you away.”
Those big eyes widened. “Oooooo.”
“I know you don’t want that, but pokemon aren’t allowed to stay with their trainers in the Center.”
“Ooooo.” Siren blinked and suddenly lunged for Max’s leg. She clung there, quivering.
“I don’t want that, either. That’s why you have to stay quiet. Shhhhh.”
Max fought the urge to laugh. “That’s right. Shhhhh.” He walked over to the bed, still hampered by his pokemon’s grip on his leg. “Come on, let go, don’t you want to see what’s in the box?”
Siren flew off his leg almost as quickly as she’d attached herself to it. She looked up at the box with wide eyes, then looked up at him. “Oooooo.”
Max ruffled her fur. “Yeah, that’s right. Looks like it’s from home, too.” He pried the box open and took out the kabuto fossil his brother had sent. “Looks like there’s a note, too.”
You forgot this at home. Maybe it’ll bring good luck!
P.S. - Kam called after you left. He wants to know if you’ll visit his field camp up on Mt. Moon.
Max sighed and turned to Siren. “Looks like we’re going spelunking.”
-Started through Mt. Moon. I was pleasantly surprised at how well Siren did here.
Water - level 18
Tackle - Tail Whip - Bubble - Water Gun
Normal - level 3
These levels aren't correct, since this is an in-between chapter.
QOTD: Would you rather have shorter, more frequent updates, or less frequent updates that always cover at least one major battle?