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4 move limit

Discussion in 'The Authors' Café' started by はるひ, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. Not sure if there was a topic on this already but yeah. I use the four move limit because I like to follow the game's mechanics but I've seen people use five or even six moves and the anime allows five moves. Problem is, I'm not using what the anime does...

    But why is it not alright to have only 4 moves?
  2. RoflLuxRay

    RoflLuxRay Pokemon Physiologist

    Ahhh... I've thought this too, but I'm not sure if there's an actual "rule" about this.

    Is it not alright? As far as I know, it's totally okay to use a logical number of moves according to your story. Must you use the same as the games?? Hell no, I've given a Flareon Flare Blitz and an Espeon Aura Sphere because I can and it doesn't look silly.

    As far as my knowledge goes, there's nothing wrong with a certain number of moves, as long as it doesn't look absurd or overpowered.
  3. I've been taught that giving pokemon moves they don't know isn't a good idea and since I'm sticking to game canon, that's what I'm going to do. I'm talking about giving a pokemon four moves vs what the anime does and gives them five moves. Some writers even have six moves.

    I do prefer to use what the games give me and stick with four moves.
  4. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine ██████████

    When people tell you "don't use Pokémon moves they can't know," they're not talking about a move limit. They're saying that if a Pokémon can't actually learn that move at all, don't have them use it. For example, don't have an Absol use Magical Leaf. Don't have a Charizard use Explosion to take out a group of Haunter. (These are actual examples I've seen, unfortunately.) Just don't have a Pokémon use a move they can't possibly learn through leveling up, breeding, being taught by HM/TM/Move Tutor, or so forth. In other words, if the move isn't listed on a Pokémon's Pokédex page (on places like Serebii's Pokédex, Veekun, or Bulbapedia), don't have them learn it unless you have a good reason for doing so. Especially if the move doesn't make sense for the Pokémon in the first place. (Why would an Absol know Magical Leaf? Any theories there?)

    The reason why you shouldn't have Pokémon use moves they can't learn at all is because it's seen as rather lazy, bluntly put. Why have a Pokémon use a move it can't learn to solve a problem when you could exercise a little more creativity to figure out how it can use a move it can learn? For example, that Charizard I just mentioned only used Explosion because it was surrounded by Haunter, but if the author put a bit more thought into what they were doing, they could have just had Charizard spin around while using Flamethrower. If they did that, then the scene wouldn't stick out to a reader.

    Point is, that advice has nothing to do with move limits. In fact, the main advice you should keep in mind about move limits at all is if you can figure out a way (that makes sense) to explain how they work in your story's universe, go for it, but if you can't come up with a way that makes sense, don't stress out over it. Generally speaking, though, there's no real reason why you'd have to hit the four-move limit at all unless you're writing a lengthy work that follows characters over a long period of time. I can't imagine why someone would want to use half a Pokémon's possible movepool for one battle, you know?
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2012
  5. Missingno. Master

    Missingno. Master Poison-type Trainer

    My fics tend to have a mixture of anime and game logic. I never go by the 4-move limit, myself.

    As for moves that can't normally be learned by certain Pokemon, I tend to be consistent with what moves the Pokemon can and can't learn, though sometimes I nearly make mistakes with that- in an early draft of one of the chapters of The Random of Randomness, Caitlin's Musharna was going to use Thunderbolt, only I remembered that it can't learn that. In 404 Error, there's a Raticate with Jump Kick, but that was an anime reference, and Raticate's usual inability to learn Jump Kick was even alluded to within the story. One of the main characters owns a Nidoking that knows moves such as Quick Attack and Rolling Kick, but this is in fact more due to what it evolved from. That story, in fact, goes by R/B/Y mechanics (Wrap is worth using, Magnemite can be poisoned, etc.) and movepools- one of the protagonists has a Raticate with Water Gun and a Doduo with Whirlwind and Skull Bash.
  6. I never said I was going to give a Pokemon moves they can't learn. I was saying that I WASN'T going to do that since the games called for it.

    Like you said, I don't *have* to have a four move limit, I understand. I just *prefer* to have it because I go by what the games have. Just like I prefer to have characters only carry six Pokemon max because... well game rules. Though I've see writers have characters carry 8 or even 10 Pokemon with them, I don't *have* to go that route. Same with moves. I want to be able to have only four moves because of that reason alone.

    That and I tend to enjoy using game logic and expand on it. But there's somethings that I stretch or wish I could stretch (like making cut a grass type move etc)
  7. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine ██████████

    I'd hate to be blunt here, but I think you missed my point. You said that people told you never to use moves Pokémon can't learn. That's not a piece of advice people will give you about move limits. That's a piece of advice they'll give you about not straying from a Pokémon's movepool. I'm telling you that it sounds like you misunderstood what those people said when they brought up that point. No one actually has a problem with writers that don't pay attention to the four-move limit of the games, and they never actually did. They also don't really care if you stick to the four-move limit if you want to, but there's probably not going to be a reason why you'd need to bring it up in the first place.

    They do have a problem with people who have Pokémon use moves they can't actually learn, and that's when they tell you, "Don't have a Pokémon use a move they can't learn." Know what I mean?
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2012
  8. Oh! I only said that about the learning moves that Pokemon can't learn in response to the person who said that they gave Flareon fire blitz.

    My bad. I already know not to.
  9. EmphaticPikachu

    EmphaticPikachu A tired little girl~

    This has nothing to do with balance or anything...or fanfiction writing...but my personal belief is that the 4 move limit is Bs added in the games to provide balance and no brokenness. And I agree with them for putting it in there...however it makes no sense how you lose the ability to use weaker versions of moves. I don't get why its only four moves...it just seems...so illogical @.@...So...against...logic...my brain would explode if I had to limit my pokemon to four moves just because theres a rule for it in thee games.

    ...Sorry, huge amounts of bias here. I don't mean to ramble so much. I just don't get the reasoning of 4 move limit in a story...Its why i was annoyed when they got rid of pikachu's signature move volt tackle for electro ball. ;____;

    Though I do understand an eventual move limit. Heck, you could even make it so the more moves a pokemon knows the less powerful its moves will be over all. It can't remember EVERY move, but 4 is too little :/...
  10. Steampunk

    Steampunk One Truth Prevails

    *facepalm* my entire fic is about pokemon learning moves that they cant normally learn.
    granted I have a good explanation but........
  11. EmphaticPikachu

    EmphaticPikachu A tired little girl~

    aha...you too? granted mine might be a bit of a different scenario...

    But if the main point of the story is not the changing moves, then lets not go out of a pokemons movepool. If you said before hand your story had that (or justified it in the story), then you're fine. xD
  12. Firebrand

    Firebrand Indomitable

    I was pretty elastic with the four move limit in my fic. When it came down to it, most of the pokemon only had four moves, but I would occasionally slide in a fifth for story purposes. And in that case, I would usually make sure it was a move the pokemon in question had in their moveset, so it's a skill they would naturally have, not a TM move they randomly picked up. As has been said above, there's no set in stone rule about having just four moves. If you need five or six, whatever. It's not like someone is going to pounce on you and say "That pokemon has five moves, but it's only supposed to have four! You're a terrible writer because you disregarded a small piece of the game canon!"

    But, on a different note that I don't think has been brought up, think of it this way. As a writer, having a pokemon with only four moves is a lot easier for you. You can know that the pokemon can use these four skills at any given time, and not have to worry about having their powers fluctuate. By limiting yourself to four moves, you can keep your pokemon characters straight in your head by knowing exactly what they're capable of.
  13. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine ██████████

    Sorry about the confusion there. Seems like I misread a bit of the thread myself. But even then, there's definitely a difference there. There's certain cases in which giving a Pokémon a move it can't learn is not kosher, but no one's going to argue with you if you use or ignore the four-move limit. For example, it's a touchy subject as to whether or not it would look rather silly for an Espeon to use Aura Sphere. After all, as I've said in my first post, part of the reason why people look down on writers who do that is because there's usually other moves in a Pokémon's built-in movepool that work just the same, so you'd need to have a reason to give a Pokémon a move it can't learn. "Because I can" is a pretty weak reason, sorry to say, because it's not really founded on anything that's absolutely necessary for the plot. Any change you make to canon needs to have a reason for happening. Sometimes, the reason can be as simple as "this canon bit of information doesn't actually make practical sense if you try to describe it in fanfic" (which is where the four-move limit falls for a lot of people, hence why they ignore it), but that's still a reason.

    If you want to keep the four-move limit, that's perfectly kosher either way because it's canon. No one can really argue that you're doing it. But if you do bring it up, just make sure you come up with a reason why Pokémon can't know more than four moves. Otherwise, don't worry about mentioning it, if that makes sense.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2012
  14. Dragonfree

    Dragonfree Just me Staff Member Moderator

    You can pretty much do whatever you want in this regard. Granted, as some kind of inherent restriction on Pokémon's memory, the four-move limit is pretty weird unless you're going heavily AU and making Pokémon programs of some sort. But you can easily implement the four-move limit in other ways. For instance, it's plausible that a Pokémon can only keep so many moves at a time fine-tuned in its muscle memory, so trainers are given four moves as a manageable guideline to stick with and are advised to retire one of the old ones when teaching them new ones after that. (This is also compatible with the anime version: trainers can decide to keep their Pokémon rotating five moves if they want, it's just considered a bit much.) And if you don't bring it up and just silently have the Pokémon only rotating four active moves, I doubt anyone is going to call you out on it - it's only if you insist on making it explicitly nonsensical that it becomes any kind of a problem. (Like, if you make a big deal about how a Pokémon can't use some simple move even in an emergency because it's forgotten it.)

    Personally, in my trainer fic I made the four-move limit into a formal battling rule: Pokémon can know a large number of moves simultaneously, but in an official battle, any given Pokémon may only use four different moves. Using a fifth leads to penalties or disqualification. This ends up producing a different strategic environment than the games' four-move rule, since the trainer can be picking the best moves to use in the battle at hand rather than having to give the Pokémon a set of four moves that need to handle any situation, but it's still a nod to the four-move rule and as far as I've seen readers seem to like it just fine.

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