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Strength of pokemon attacks?

Discussion in 'The Authors' Café' started by Perilous Plaything, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. Perilous Plaything

    Perilous Plaything Up to no good

    How exactly do you guys go about portraying the strength of pokemon attacks? I ask because a good number of pokemon--if you take a closer look at their pokedex entries--possess some serious power.

    Take blastoise, for example. The rocket cannons on its shell fire jets of water capable of punching holes through thick steel (SoulSilver).

    Or magcargo. Magcargo's body temperature is approximately 18,000 degrees F. Water is vaporised on contact. If this pokemon is caught in the rain, the raindrops instantly turn into steam, cloaking the area in a thick fog (Sapphire).

    Or tyranitar. If it rampages, it knocks down mountains and buries rivers. Maps must be redrawn afterward (Black & White).

    I'm hoping to write a survival type story where my main character will be confronting certain species of pokemon with violent tendencies and try to, well, you know, come out of it still in one piece, but I'm not sure if it would make any sense.

    The anime contradicts the pokedex entries. Even if a pokemon is hit by a, say, hydro cannon from a blastoise in a battle, it'll only faint. Technically, it should be severely wounded if not dead, but since it's a show targeted towards kids and all that jazz...

    I can't write this story having pokemon that can kill humans, yet the worst case scenario during a battle is ending up unconscious. I don't think that would go down very smoothly.

    So, yeah, how do you guys go about portraying the strength of pokemon attacks?

    All replies are much appreciated.
  2. Dragonfree

    Dragonfree Just me Staff Member Moderator

    There is a popular fan theory that the Pokédex entries seen in the games are written by the ten-year-old player character, who is simply making stuff up and/or exaggerating up the wazoo. To a large extent, the numbers and facts cited in Pokédex entries just don't make any sense - according to the entry you cited, for instance, Magcargo is almost twice as hot as the surface of the sun, and if this were true, it wouldn't be vaporizing water on contact so much as the ground it's sent out on. I don't know of any fanfic writers that try to take them seriously.

    That being said, it's hard to insist that Pokémon that can breathe apparently normal fire, or a Pokémon with razor-sharp blades for arms, couldn't kill a person, and Pokémon being very powerful and capable of deploying lethal force doesn't have to contradict the existence of nonlethal Pokémon battling - they can simply be extraordinarily resilient as well as offensively powerful (which would make a human gravely outmatched against them) and/or deliberately keep their attacks nonlethal for friendly battling (which would mean if they really wanted to kill your human character, they could do so easily).

    You could still decide that in your fic the worst a Pokémon can do to a person really is just rendering them unconscious, and I'm sure many of the fandom's more lighthearted fics are successfully written on that assumption, but to be honest I wouldn't recommend it for your particular idea. If the Pokémon literally can't deal any very serious damage to your character, they're not very threatening and the fic in turn isn't very high-stakes (how do you make a "survival type fic" if the character's life isn't in any real danger?). Better to make the Pokémon perfectly capable of killing the human and have the protagonist need to hide, take cover, dodge and perhaps figure out something inventive in order to avoid taking the full force of an attack once the Pokémon get aggressive.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  3. Drippy Miltank

    Drippy Miltank Journeyman Breeder

    I agree with Dragonfree on this. Having higher stakes in a survival fic, would make it more exciting. If you really need something less threatening, consider using a younger pokémon.

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