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The Alola Pokedex

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Rediamond, Jun 2, 2018.

  1. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Hi! This is a guidebook to every species in the USUM pokedex, as would be useful to a young trainer on an island quest. Everything in here is canon in guidance, my alola journey fic. A few convention notes to begin with:

    -The evolutionary line as a whole is referred to as the most evolved pokemon of the same type as the base form. Thus Alolan!Geodude's line is referred to as "golem" and vikavolt's line is referred to as "grubbin."
    -I don't treat pokedex entries as canon, although some parts of some entries are inspired by them.
    -Ordinary animals and plants exist in the universe of guidance.
    -I don't necessarily consider all information given in any game, including USUM, to be canon.
    -This is rated E. If you can handle the average show on Animal Planet (or whatever the non-American equivalent is), you should be fine. Sometimes I'll talk in some detail about how a predator kills their prey, which can include humans. It will be mostly in academic language (talking about what gets pierced and with what force rather than how much blood gets splattered).
    -I shamelessly stole the idea from Cutlerine, who did it here.


    Table of Contents:
    -Dartrix

    -Torracat

    -Brionne
    -Toucannon
    -Gumshoos
    -Raticate
    -Metapod
    -Ledian
    -Ariados
    -Lopunny
    -Malamar
    -Zoroark
    -Fufrou
    -Raichu
    -Grubbin
    -Rhyperior
    -Sudowoodo
    -Blissey
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2018
  2. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Dartrix (Rowlet, Decidueye)

    Overview

    Rowlet is one of the three traditional starters in the Alola region, alongside litten and popplio. Of the three, it is the easiest to take care of and the most sociable. This is in large part due to the coevolution of the species and the Polynesians who scattered them across the Pacific Ocean. While they are not domesticated, and very much untamed colonies exist (see Acquisition), they are easily adjusted to working with humans and rowlet born in captivity seem to accept humans as large, featherless decidueye.

    Rowlet and dartrix are recognized as belonging to the grass and flying type classes. Decidueye officially belong to grass and ghost, although there is some controversy over whether or not they should retain the flying classification as well. This guidebook will not delve into the controversy over the so-called triple-typings and adheres to the official rulings of the Department of Agriculture.

    Physiology

    All stages of dartrix possess excellent hearing and night vision. Rowlet and dartrix can see perfectly well on cloudy nights with a new moon. Captive decidueye have been able to strike targets in near-perfect darkness in laboratories. It is presently unclear how they manage this, as there is no evidence they use echolocation at this time. Rowlet are born pure white and slowly develop their colors as photosynthetic symbiote colonies grow inside of their feathers.

    Rowlet resemble a small, almost spherical owl with pale brown body feathers, a white mask and a green crest on their chest. It is widely, and incorrectly, believed that this crest forms two intersecting ovals in the rough shape of deciduous leafs. While some Rowlet do have crests like this, the exact shape and shade is unique to each rowlet. The crests of related rowlets are usually similar, allowing them to serve as an identifier.

    Dartrix are slightly wider than rowlet. Adults in Alola are roughly two feet tall although, with controlled diet, humidty and sunlight, some captive dartrix have grown up to three feet tall. They gain a green headcrest and the brown feathers on their body darken considerably. Mature dartrix have developed projectile “blade feathers” that aren’t actually feathers at all, but rather thin hairs coated in keratin. These replace their talons as their main form of defense.

    Decidueye are usually between five and six feet tall. Their green crests grow to surround their entire head and an orange one forms where their crest originally was as a rowlet. Decidueye wings are dark brown. Their quills are much sharper and harder than those of dartrix, and a trained decidueye is capable of shooting them at speeds of up to fifty meters per second at ranges of up to five-hundred meters.

    Dartrix can live up to thirty years in the wild and twenty-five in captivity. It is unclear whether or not decidueye ever die of old age in the presence of combat and stress.

    Behavior

    Wild rowlet are nocturnal, although captive rowlet can be quickly trained to be crepuscular or diurnal. They perch on top of the highest trees in their area and spread their wings to allow their symbiotic bacteria to photosynthesize. At night, they leave their perches and eat leaves. This is both for nutritional reasons and to clear up more space to roost in direct sunlight during the day. In spite of their representation in folklore as powerful hunters, all stages of the evolutionary line are strictly herbivorous (this is not true for all subspecies, see Subspecies).

    Their reputation comes from the hunts of decidueye. When dartrix colonies face predators, the decidueye in the flock are known to set out at night (or, for diurnal predators, in the day) and assassinate all members of the predator species within a several kilometer radius. Some subspecies have also been documented killing predators who did not hunt dartrix so, in the future, those species will aggressively cull those that do prey on them.

    In captivity, rowlet are intensely social while awake and prefer to rest in direct sunlight or cuddle against warm-blooded animals or other rowlet for warmth. When allowed to do so, they will frequently perch on top of their trainers. Dartrix, thankfully, grow out of this practice. They still enjoy engulfing their trainer in their wings. The exact purpose of this behavior is unclear.

    Decidueye’s behavioral differences will be further detailed in the Evolution section.

    Husbandry

    It is best to acquire a member of the line while it is still in its first evolutionary stage. As it develops into an adult (see Evolution), it should seldom be placed inside of a pokéball or separated from its trainer for more than twenty-four hours at a time. Separation for any length of time is stressful for very young rowlet and should be avoided whenever possible. It should be exposed to direct sunlight for at least six hours a day, five days a week. If this is infeasible, most Pokémon Centers in Alola have rooms which can simulate natural sunlight. These rooms in the busiest Centers are typically filled with rowlet and dartrix, allowing for socialization (and an exercise in remembering your rowlet’s crest). During periods of particular stress, rowlet prefer to be cradled by humans or dartrix or, at the very least, given a cramped space to hide in.

    The dartrix line have very inefficient digestive systems and, like most birds, they tend to defecate whenever they get ready to fly. Thankfully, rowlet and dartrix much prefer short hops and walking on their talons to flight (see Battling). They are still quite difficult to house train and the only real consolation is that their waste is more solid, and thus easier to clean up, than most birds. There is a five hundred dollar fine for not cleaning up your dartrix’s waste in a public area.

    All stages of the dartrix line should be fed a special blend of leaf-based food sold in all Pokémon Centers in Alola, and most pokémon equipment and sporting goods stores. Adult dartrix can be held in pokeballs for considerable lengths of time, although most find this irritating and using their pokéball frequently will undermine their trust in you as their trainer. Dartrix without a photosynthesis-condusive pokéball should get thirty hours of direct or simulated sunlight a week. Decidueye need only three hours of sunlight per week, although they will become more active if exposed to more light. Decidueye also tend not to have strong feelings on being held in their pokéballs.

    Illness

    The most common illness by far for all stages of the dartrix line is feather bleaching. During a bleaching episode, a dartrix loses all color in their feathers and become pure-white across their entire body. Bleaching can be caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, severe injury, inadequate exposure to sunlight, too little humidity, isolation, disease, starvation, overeating or for no apparent reason at all. So long as conditions are quickly rectified and the dartrix is given a few days to rest and either exposure to other dartrix or injections of symbiotic bacteria the problem will usually be resolved within a week. If your dartrix begins to bleach, immediately consult a veterinarian.

    It should be noted that molting, the loss of feathers in certain parts of the body and slow regrowth of initially white feathers, is separate from bleaching. Unless feathers don’t gain color for over a month in an adult or three months in a juvenile or molting occurs across the entire body at once it is not necessary to consult a veterinarian.

    Evolution

    Rowlet naturally evolve into dartrix provided food, sunlight, companionship and time. The formal point where a rowlet becomes a dartrix is the growth of a full headcrest. This typically occurs when a rowlet is nine months old. It takes another five for a dartrix to fully mature and become ready for their next evolution.

    Wild decidueye are exceedingly rare. In times of great external stress, such as pandemics, sudden habitat loss, natural disasters, competition for their roosting spaces or predation, the eldest dartrix in a colony will begin to rapidly gain size and start to develop projectile quills. This will continue to happen with more dartrix evolving one by one until the crisis is resolved. Decidueye only live for one to three years after the most recent crisis.

    In captivity, projectile quills can be surgically removed, rendering evolution impossible. Otherwise, a dartrix exposed to enough battles over the course of roughly one year (or a handful of particularly dire ones in rapid succession) will begin to evolve on its own. During evolution, dartrix should be offered greatly increased amounts of food and sunlight and given as much as it wants of both.

    For a variety of reasons, dartrix evolution is not recommended for all but the most serious of trainers. Decidueye cut off from frequent, high-level battles tend to rapidly decline in health and die within a year. This makes retirement effectively impossible for decidueye trainers. Decidueye also undergo a temperamental change arguably greater than their physical ones. Decidueye sleep less than two hours a day and spend the remainder of their time hyper-vigilant and seeking out battles. If no opponents are presented to them in formal engagement, they will tend to pick their own fights.

    They otherwise lose almost all of the cuddly and expressive nature that dartrix are known for. While they will usually not decline physical affection, they will almost never initiate it. They will stand guard for their trainer when outside of their pokéball and do little else. Because of this, many trainers who evolve their dartrix complain about a death of personality in their beloved pet and some will lose interest and abandon their decidueye. The shock of losing the “colony” they evolved to protect and the combat withdrawal will usually kill the decidueye within six months. Decidueye seldom accept new trainers once abandoned.

    Battle

    Rowlet and dartrix are relatively durable pokémon and both are far more clever than they would appear. They have naturally good aim for the handful of projectile attacks they have. Unfortunately, they are not so capable at flying as to be able to dodge projectile attacks. Most dartrix and all rowlet are unable to dodge melee moves from average-size pokémon. They also tend to loathe battling and must be bribed into each individual fight. As such, they are not the recommended starter for trainers interested in serious battling.

    Decidueye, as mentioned above, are addicted to combat and violence. They are much more adept fliers than dartrix, have near-silent movement and can put their natural aim to much better use with their quills. Their only real counters are pokémon capable of taking a quill to any point of their body and continuing to fight. Otherwise, projectile moves that manipulate temperatures to either extreme are damaging to their tissue and symbiotes and should be avoided. Very fast attacks from behind can also throw a decidueye into a panic. Decidueye tend not to surrender fights until they are physically incapable of continuing, so a trainer should be mindful of the above and withdraw their decidueye if they appear to be visibly hurt.

    Acquisition

    Children between the ages of ten and twenty can obtain a rowlet from certified distributors free of charge with a Class I certification. Children who have cleared the grand trial on at least one island and did not receive a rowlet as a starter can purchase or adopt an additional one. Dartrix in licensed shelters can be adopted with a Class II license or higher. Decidueye adoptions are handled on a case-by-case basis.

    Dartrix colonies are found in Poni Meadow, Exeggutor Island, Tapu Forest and Lush Jungle. It is illegal to collect any member of the line from the wild without explicit government approval. It is also entirely unnecessary given the strength of captive breeding programs.

    Breeding

    Requires a Class IV license with an additional certification in dartrix breeding. The certification course has further information.

    Subspecies

    As island-dwellers with limited flight, there are nearly two dozen subspecies of dartrix. As such, this section will not cover them all in detail.

    Indonesian and Filipino dartrix (Filipino, Sumatran, Javan, Bornean, Guinean) typically have wingspans twice those of their Alolan counterparts at all stages. They are also much more capable fliers, and even some rowlet are capable of sustained, powered flight for a kilometer or more. Most of these subspecies are omnivorous during the wet season. However, their quills are not nearly as developed as the other subspecies and they hunt primarily through a combination of their talons and their silent flight.

    The Queensland dartrix is the only subspecies with naturally venomous quills. Queensland decidueye are less than a meter tall and their dartrix are correspondingly small and their quills take several weeks to regenerate. As such, they have not gained much popularity in the competitive battling scene.

    The small islands of the Pacific are littered with different dartrix subspecies. Most of them are quite similar to the Alolan dartrix, but smaller. Almost all are endangered. The Heahea conservatory has an exhibit showcasing several of these subspecies.

    Zealand previously had two subspecies of dartrix. The North Island dartrix is now extinct and the South Island dartrix at risk of extirpation. South Island dartrix regularly evolve into decidueye, regardless of external stressors. They are also nearly as large as the Sumatran decidueye and have much thicker coats. Despite their wingspan, they are nearly flightless and only use their wings for getting into and out of trees and slowing falls. Their primary weapon are their quills, by far the largest of any subspecies of decidueye. Photosynthesis aside, South Island decidueye are almost entirely carnivorous. During the summer they stay nearly stationary with their wings spread out in a field. In the long winter nights, they take up position on a low tree branch and wait to kill anything that crosses by.

    South Island decidueye form mated pairs until their chicks evolve into dartrix, at which point the pairs split up and leave the dartrix on their own.

    While they have nearly been hunted to extinction in Zealand, an invasive population in the Canadian boreal has become rather large. The latest estimates placed the decidueye population in Alberta alone at over ten thousand. They have become a major safety risk for humans in the area, as they will kill and eat any human who enters their territory in the winter and it is all but impossible to notice a decidueye before it notices you.

    Due to legalized hunting and capture of Canadian decidueye, they are quite common on the international battling scene. They are also the ninth most lethal pokémon worldwide and require a Class V license to possess in the United States.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
  3. Cutlerine

    Cutlerine a lonesome harp guitar

    Something like this is made or broken (oof. that sounds way worse in the passive voice, huh, darn irregular verbs) by its tone, and that's really what you've nailed here. It reads exactly as it should – and unlike some other fictional encyclopedias I've read, it contains enough actual information (or, well, not actual information, but you know what I mean) to feel like I'm reading a real in-universe encyclopedia, rather than just a factual summary of some things that the author wanted to tell me about their world.

    Another thing you do really well is set up questions to be answered later in the entry. There's a couple of different ways you can make an encyclopedia-style fic interesting; one is to let the writer intrude on the text and let some kind of human interest emerge, but another is to give individual entries the kind of structural integrity you might normally expect of a chapter of narrative fiction. That line about decidueye possibly never dying in the presence of combat and stress is a case in point; it's confusing at first, even seeming like it might be a typo for “absence”, but then you read on and gradually, as details are added, it becomes clear. It takes a lot of organisational nous to do this in such a way as to give your chapters this sense of unfolding mystery without making it feel forced, but you manage it – not least because of the strength of your tonal mimicry here.

    And like, this is just a side fic! Man, I need to catch up with your actual main story at some point; I feel like at this point I've left that way too long. Anyway, it's really impressive, and I think you do a disservice to yourself and your achievement here by comparing it to Coriolanus Rowland's Guide to Pokémon Husbandry; that fic is trying to do something very different to what you're doing here, and there's definitely room for both approaches within the format of “fun pokédex encyclopedia thing”. (That's the official term for the genre, I think? Yeah, probably.)

    Anyway, here are some other miscellaneous things I liked: symbiotic photosynthetic bacteria, which is a great idea; gradual evolutions, which is a concept I always like, though of course the varied physiology of pokémon means that it's feasible for some to be gradual and some sudden, so I look forward to seeing what variations you have in store for us there; the fact that most dartrix don't evolve, since I feel like there's too often an unwritten assumption in fic that all pokémon introduced will have evolved by the end, and that seems to me to not really reflect the variety of experiences any credible world must contain, and also because I like the idea that not evolving can have advantage to it, that to evolve is not always to become better but rather to become different, which may or may not help you in a particular situation; and finally, I love all the nods to various Pacific nations' bird life in the subspecies – I'm not enough of a bird buff to recognise them all, but a fair few of them, especially the New Zealand species, seem to me to contain a few references to species I recognise.

    Finally, here's a typo:

    I'm pretty sure that's meant to be 'crepuscular'.

    But yeah. This is a really strong start. The USUM Alola dex is a long one; that means there's an awful lot of this kind of thing for me to look forward to. Which strikes me as excellent news.
     
  4. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    @Cutlerine

    Thank you for the review!

    As a kid I adored and poured over guidebooks for children on the fauna of the world. As a young adult in university, I was mad that there weren't versions of those for actual scientists. This is an attempt to balance the two tones with unusual real-life-inspired biology and ecology that tends not to make it to books aimed at five-year-olds with the relative simplicity and flow of an encyclopedia meant for people without a science degree. I'm glad that you think it worked.

    Quite a few things in here are based on real organisms. The bacteria in dartrix are based heavily on the zooxanthellae of coral. I also borrowed bleaching from coral reefs. The Polynesian Dartrix were based heavily on little endangered birds like the guam rail and micronesian kingfisher. Australian dartrix were just a nod from everything on that continent being venomous whether it makes sense or not (hello platypi...). The South Island decidueye were inspired by a mix of great horned and eurasian eagle owls, the moa, kiwi, etc. The Indonesian dartrix weren't based on anything in particular beyond, I guess the Phillipine and Harpy Eagles.

    Evolution will be weird and varied throughout this. Kind of the message of the story is that pokemon evolution and husbandry is really, really varied and a trainer in this universe with a team of six pokemon would probably spend most of their time trying to tend to their team's various needs. Six pokemon is less of a hard tech limit or a gun control measure and more a way of keeping overly ambitious children from overtaxing themselves and hurting some animals in the process. And, yes, there will be occasional flash of light evolutions. Incineroar, tomorrow, has something like one.

    I'm glad you enjoyed it! Update schedule should be once every Saturday, as I already have most of the first dozen written or planned/researched, which is really most of the work for this project.
     
  5. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Torracat (Litten, Incineroar)

    Overview

    Fire-types have a reputation for forgoing strategy in favor of a barrage of smoke and flame. Torracat largely avert this; in the wild they are pack hunters that barely use their falmes are. Incineroar, however, plays the reputation straight. Contrary to the stigma around fire-types that they are difficult to control Torracat are the tamest and friendliest of the Alolan feline pokémon, even if their means of expressing affection can come off as detached and distant to those unused to working with cats. Incineroar have odder behaviors, but are perhaps friendlier to humans while in captivity.

    The primary appeal of torracat as a starter rests in their typicality. Children who grew up in a household with a pet feline, pokémon or otherwise, or even a species of fox Pokémon, already have a headstart in caring for and understanding their first partner. Additionally, torracat avert the typical territoriality of felines and are quite quick to accept new partners.

    Champion Luna’s incineroar has inspired a great many trainers hoping to get into serious battling to pick a litten as their first pokémon. It should be noted here that incineroar evolution takes time, luck and a willingness to go without the torracat for a while. Unevolved torracat are still loveable and capable of winning even moderately high level battles if used well. Going without evolution is a perfectly reasonable choice for a trainer on an island quest.

    Physiology

    Litten have a rather typical feline bodyshape, with the exception of a larger-than-average head for their size. They are colored black with red stripes on their legs and a red crest on their forehead. The exact hue and the shape of the crest vary by age and individual. Litten possess an internal flame sac right below the junction of their neck and torso. All stages of the torracat line have thick, flame-resistant skin. Their fur is surprisingly flammable. It is the fur they collect during grooming that serves as their primary flame source. However, due to the time required for fur to regrow this does provide a limit to how much fire they are able to use in a given period of time, even with diet supplements.

    Torracat are physiologically similar. They are far larger than their juvenile counterpart, growing up to roughly 0.75 meters in height at the shoulder, but the growth is mostly proportional. Torracat gain red stripes on their back and tail, and their head crest becomes more prominent. They also gain pronounced red whiskers that give them a sense of the thermal gradient around them. The most significant change is the growth of a bell-like structure protruding from the flame sack. The bell is not metallic, rather, it is made of bone and coated in natural oils. The bell helps regulate the release of flames, something litten tend to struggle with. They are also capable of emitting a variety of sounds that other torracat can pick up on up to two kilometers away.

    Incineroar are far larger with external flames around their waist. They typically reach roughly one meter in height at the shoulder. Contrary to popular belief, incineroar are primarily quadrupeds that sometimes rear up on two legs to reach higher, deliver more powerful blows with their forelegs or intimidate opponents. Their paws, claws and teeth are proportionally larger than torracat’s, and their muscles are more powerful and prominent. The incineroar’s headcrest has grown to encompass almost the entire head. Incineroar have replaced their reproductive system with additional flame sacs, allowing for more control and power. These replace the torracat’s bell.

    Torracat can live up to twenty-five years in captivity and fifteen in the wild. Incineroar typically live about ten years after evolution, regardless of their age beforehand.

    Behavior

    Torracat, like most felines, understand human behaviors and desires through the lens of their own. Many people are vexed by their tendency to stay within the same room as their trainers, but seldom initiate physical affection. They will even frequently reject petting or grooming from even longtime trainers. This is not because of a lack of love, although many litten are initially skeptical of terrifyingly large non-torracat mammals with unknown intentions, but rather a belief that humans desire the same personal space as a torracat does.

    Additionally, due to the use of fur as a fuel source, it is extremely uncommon for a torracat to allow another torracat to groom them, with the exception of mothers with very young litten or an adult torracat to very sick individuals they are friendly towards. As such, the offer of grooming (which is what they interpret petting as) is an insult to them. They sometimes allow humans to do it for reasons currently unexplained by science, and this should be treated as a great honor.

    In captivity, torracat will frequently approach other mammals and offer to groom them to build up their fuel reserves. They will even do this with humans, although their preferred method of doing so is licking human eyebrows with their rather coarse tongues. They can be trained not to do this through simple negative reinforcement with a spray bottle filled with water. Many trainers are reluctant to irritate their pets, but torracat are quick to pick up on humans’ boundaries with regards to grooming and will usually stop after the first one or two reprimands. To humans they have respect for, anyway. They will often weather water sprays just to irritate a human a torracat doesn’t like. This is a good first sign that either the litten needs replaced with a more compatible companion or serious effort needs to be put in to earning the litten’s respect. A torracat licking a human’s eyebrows after several reprimands is an indication that the cat should be donated to the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) breeding program before the insubordination escalates.

    Torracat seldom harm humans in the wild or captivity and very well-trained torracat can be trusted alone with infants and toddlers.

    Incineroar spend most of their time caring for their young in the wild. Typically one incineroar in a pair will hunt or sleep while the other watches the litten. Once a pair’s litten have evolved and left them, they will often appear to be lost and sleep far more than they previously did. They will sometimes seek to rectify this situation by adopting orphaned babies of other pokémon species. Sometimes they will even adopt babies that are orphaned because of the incineroar’s hunts.

    Husbandry

    At eighteen months of age, litten can be used in battle or gifted to trainers without a Class I breeding license and DNR approval. At this point litten have fully developed coats and flame sacks. The litten provided to trainers are almost all male, as female litten are retained in the breeding program. Sometimes a female litten that is particularly curious or combative will be given to trainers alongside the males, or a male litten that is physically or tempermentally unsuitable to be given to children will be retained.

    Litten will generally provide their own exercise if allowed out of their pokéball for at least twenty hours a week for non-battling purposes. This exercise may be detrimental to the integrity of furniture and camping supplies, so it is advised to let them blow off steam in battle or more structured play with other team members or their trainer.

    Even when properly exercised, torracat and litten are well-known to scratch furniture and walls to mark their territory. This makes them somewhat unsuitable to be indoor pets for retired trainers without either extensive training and a close bond or a professionally done cat-proofing. They do not mark their territory through urination and are easily trained in the use of litter boxes and, on walks, vacant lots while no other humans are around.

    All stages of the torracat line are not averse to rain and quite enjoy playing in it. Litten adnd torracat will even take submerging baths if water is provided, although they will not do so if they are forced to take them. Torracat can not be safely submerged for more than ten minutes at a time. Incineroar can not be safely submerged for any length of time (see Illness), although moderate rain and almost all water attacks won't be enough to kill them.

    Torracat and litten are omnivores. They will happily eat feline pokémon food sold in every Pokémon Center and pet shop in Alola, although they will require roughly 30% more food than recommended for a generic feline pokémon as they literally burn more calories than other cats. They will also happily eat most produce given to them. They prefer dried produce as it is more easily ignited. Torracat will not eat more dried fruit than they need. As such, it is advised to give them an overabundance at meal times and then simply remove and repackage what was not eaten.

    Unlike most felines, torracat crave additional fur to eat. This makes pokémon with high maintenance needs and thick fur, such as furfrou, lopunny or cinccino, ideal partners. Vulpix also qualify provided the torracat or litten is adopted first. See the entry on vulpix for more information. If it is not possible to provide a mammalian partner, fur supplements can be purchased in Pokémon Centers. However, these supplements, especially the high quality ones, are rather expensive for pokémon food.

    Incineroar are carnivores and apex predators and will require very large amounts of calories and fur to sustain themselves. The exact details vary by incineroar, but it is best to assume they will need 20% of their body weight in meat and 10% in fur every week. Incineroar will continue to groom team members that allow them to do so, but most pokémon that did not grow up with the incineroar while it was a torracat will be too nervous to allow it.

    Incineroar are fiercely protective of anything they see as their baby, which often applies to young trainers as well as small or unevolved pokémon on their team. They will often growl or rear up on their hind legs if they perceive another human as threatening their trainer, or if they see one of their teammates hurt in battle. It is recommended that incineroar be withdrawn during battles, not used in double battles and kept away from stressful situations.

    All stages of the evolutionary line require scratching posts to keep their claws in check. Otherwise they will seek out wood, be it forest logs or furniture, and take care of their needs.

    Wild torracat can live in mated pairs, litter groups, groups of multiple mated pairs, mixed groups or solitarily. They can adapt to almost all team dynamics in captivity.

    Illness

    All stages of the evolutionary line have illnesses similar to most felines, animal or pokémon. A torracat exposed to particularly heavy rains or submersion for long periods of time will develop waterlogged hypothermia, the most common illness for all fire-types. A waterlogged torracat will become very inactive, refuse to eat and obsessively groom its own fur to the point of ripping out entire patches and even tearing into the skin. They will not produce flames. Waterlogging is rather easily cured in torracat with the provision of oils under the supervision of a veterinarian. If a torracat becomes waterlogged and there is not a Pokémon Center readily available, withdraw it and keep it in its ball. Drop it off at a veterinarian or Pokémon Center as soon as possible.

    Parasites are particularly tricky to deal with in torracat as they will almost never allow a human to groom them. Fortunately, the few parasites that do prey on the species are usually near-harmless. Make sure your torracat has a full checkup by a veterinarian at least once a year.

    Any immersion of an incineroar’s open flames in water should be assumed to be life-threatening.

    Evolution

    Litten naturally progress into torracat as they age. This process usually takes roughly two years. The formal demarcation between litten and torracat is the first vocalization with their bell.

    Torracat evolve after reproducing with another torracat. The male will begin to eat and hunt more while the female is pregnant and begin the process of evolving, which will be completed by the time the female gives birth. After delivering a litter, the female will begin to evolve in turn.

    In captivity, all torracat breeding and evolutions are handled by DNR approved breeding facilities. Contact the DNR if interested in evolving a male torracat. Female torracat can be handed over for evolution, but they will only be returned to their trainer after their litten have been adopted out.

    Battle

    Wild litten and torracat primarily hunt with their claws and save their fire for self-defense, distractions, intimidation and mating displays. They can be trained to use fire more regularly in captivity, although their diet will need to be adjusted to compensate. Torracat are capable of fighting at range with (relatively inaccurate) embers and streams of flame, or up close with their claws and teeth. As such, they should be trained in a variety of strategies and the one picked in battle should be determined by their opponent.

    In the wild, torracat hunt through the use of rough terrain and large packs communicating over long distances to set up traps. In captivity this strategy is often unable to be replicated, as only the most experienced of trainers will be able to understand their torracat’s vocalizations in any detail and double battles are rare in Alola. It does mean that torracat are quite clever and can pick up on new moves and tactics quickly. This, combined with their reluctance to use fire, makes them less directly powerful than brionne or dartrix, but capable of using more complex maneuvers to compensate.

    They are most easily countered by rock-types that can shrug off their claws and aren’t seriously hurt by fire. Very accurate or powerful water- or ground-types can also force a torracat into surrender by targeting its bell. Litten are not particularly water averse and have no direct opening to their flame sacs, allowing them to take hits from those attacks more easily.

    Incineroar in the wild hunt with powerful flame blasts, bites and paw strikes. This makes them far more direct battlers than torracat in captivity. However, like most carnivores, they sometimes have trouble holding back. Incineroar seldom bother to defend themselves if they weren’t trained in defensive maneuvers as a litten. Instead they prefer to rush their opponents, rear up to bring their flame belt into play, and start scorching and slashing until one pokémon or the other is knocked out.

    Acquisition

    Children between the ages of ten and twenty can obtain a litten from certified distributors free of charge with a Class I certification. Children who have cleared the grand trial on at least one island and did not receive a litten as a starter can purchase or adopt an additional one. Torracat in licensed shelters can be adopted with a Class II license or higher. Incineroar can be adopted by trainers aged 16 or under with a Class II license. Trainers above the age of 16 require a Class IV license, as they are often unwilling to cooperate with an adult human.

    Wild torracat colonies exist within Poni Island National Park. It is forbidden to capture wild litten or torracat without the explicit approval of the National Park Service. Following the introduction of pyroar to Poni Island a fierce territorial dispute has emerged. The pyroar have all but entirely won the conflict through their greater size and social cohesion. Incineroar without a current litter will frequently hunt and kill pyroar in an attempt to reduce the threat to torracat and incineroar.

    Wild incineroar will often attack adult humans on sight, or younger humans if they get too close to their litten. Trainers are advised not to enter Poni Island National Park alone without a pokémon capable of reliably defeating a wild incineroar. Never approach a wild litten in the park, as at least one of its parents will always be close by.

    All feral torracat encountered outside of Poni Island National Park are the property of the Commonwealth of Alola and, if captured, must be dropped off at a pokémon center within thirty days. Due to abuse of the system, bounties for returned torracat are no longer offered.

    Breeding

    Torracat breeding with other torracat is handled by the DNR.

    In captivity, torracat will mate with other felines and even some non-canine mammalian fire types, as well as subspecies of fire-types that are not themselves fire-types, such as Lanakilan vulpix. This reproduction will not trigger evolution and the babies will seldom be fertile, if reproduction is even possible. Torracat pregnancies typically last eight months. They should not be withdrawn into pokéballs once the pregnancy becomes visible, and neither the mother nor her litten should not be withdrawn into their pokeballs until the babies are six months old.

    Litten typically abandon their parents at eighteen months of age in the wild. Litten of this age can be gifted to the DNR. Trainers will receive a $1200 tax break per litten handed over.

    Subspecies

    None known.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  6. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Brionne (Popplio, Primarina)

    Overview

    The first and most important thing to note about brionne to those who would choose popplio as their starter is that it is not mammalian. In fact, it is classified as an amphibian pokémon. As such, their needs, husbandry and even battle strengths and weaknesses are all often unfamiliar to the beginning trainer. The disadvantages of this are obvious. But, those trainers that manage to raise a thriving brionne will find themselves with the fundamentals needed to tame and care for the oddest of species in the future. And as the amphibian with by far the greatest support network in terms of knowledgeable veternarians and publicly available information, they’re probably the best way to get into the raising of unusual species.

    Beyond that very important note, brionne have the least problematic evolution when compared to the length period of absence required for a torracat evolution and the difficulties of caring for a decidueye in the long term. While primarina are mostly famous for their popularity in zoos and circuses worldwide, they are very competent battlers that are difficult for an unprepared trainer to counter. They also get more friendly and gregarious as they evolve, and primarina tend to take on a motherly role towards their teammates and trainer.

    Physiology

    Popplio are dark blue almost everywhere on their body. Their shape is typically pinniped, with two large front flippers used for movement on land and two smaller back flippers used for movement in water. Their muzzle is colored white and ends in a pink orb. There is a pale blue frill around their neck. Popplio use this frill to breathe and help regulate internal temperature and salinity. The frill is also used for regulating internal water supply and analyzing the properties of the water around them. The orb on popplio’s nose is used to sense and produce vibrations to view the world in echolocation. It is believed that this is their primary sense.

    Popplio skin is quite thick and rough, aside from the frill. As they evolve, their skin becomes thinner and slimier.

    Brionne are lighter in coloration and the tips of their flippers are white. They gain two more frills around their midsection. The most notable change is the development of two antennae on their head. These are used to produce vibrations and help with controlling the water around them. Adult brionne are roughly one meter long.

    While brionne mostly look like larger popplio, primarina have quite a few major external and internal differences from popplio. Their body as a whole is thinner and sleeker relative to their size, and their frills (now located on their forehead, the start of their hind flippers, the start of their tail and the area around their front flippers) are proportionally smaller. Their tail is longer and bulkier than a brionne’s and dark blue in coloration. The skin on their tail is similar to a popplio’s. The rest of their body proper is white. Primarina can grow to around two meters in length.

    The biggest difference is that the brionne’s antennae are replaced with thousands of long, fine hairs. These are used to sense and modify vibrations, allowing for much more complex sounds to be created.

    The brionne line use sonics and slime to channel their hydrokinesis. More complex sounds allow for more complicated water attacks and more nimble movement when submerged. More slime in an area allows for more water to be manipulated. Primarina have some of the most complex vocal chords of all pokémon and can produce sounds several octaves above and below the range of human hearing. Their frills gain the ability to aid in manipulating sound upon a primarina’s final evolution.

    Brionne can live up to fifteen years in the wild or thirty in captivity. Primarina can live up to sixty years in both the wild and captivity.

    Behavior

    Popplio are naturally curious and playful. They will attempt to mimic almost all sounds that they hear and will practice their attacks and singing ability constantly. In the wild they are prone to huddling together with other members of their evolutionary line. They will not do this with humans or any other species. This is for the best (see Illness). Unlike the other stages of their evolutionary line, popplio sleep on land during the night and enjoy playing on beaches during the dusk and dawn. Usually a small group of popplio or the choir’s primarina will supervise them during this time.

    During the day, wild popplio typically play with each other and forage around the choir’s resting place.

    Brionne are perhaps even more curious about sounds, but they now possess the proper anatomy to replicate them. In the wild they will frequently beach near human settlements to listen to music and urban sounds. They also frequent bird rookeries to listen to bird calls. In captivity, they are fascinated by sports and dancing. Brionne sleep during the day by hooking themselves to sea grass or rocks at the bottom of water between two and ten meters deep.

    Wild primarina spend most of the day resting. At night they teach their songs to the choir’s brionne (see Evolution) or beach on land to learn new sounds or forcefully introduce theirs to anyone in range. They are also known to forage for pearls, sea stars or anything they consider to be beautiful. They subsequently adorn their hair with these items. The purpose of this is unclear.

    In the wild popplio hunt small birds and insects through ambush tactics. One of their favorite strategies is to sneak up on a flock of small seabirds, make a loud noise to startle them into flight and then attempt to pick off one with a well-aimed burst of water. Their diet is supplemented by shellfish, benthic fish and invertebrates and insects provided by the older members of their choir.

    Brionne typically hunt in groups. They will find large schools of small fish and swim around them in a group while emitting very loud cries. Individual brionne will break out of the circle and swim into the school, picking out as many fish as they please.

    Primarina hunt by stunning or killing fish. They can also use their hydrokinesis to propel themselves up to 15 meters per second for short distances. Primarina can also use one of their songs to kill almost all insects in a thirty meter radius. Primarina will only eat insects when desperate. Insect kills are either done for sport or to feed their young.

    Husbandry

    The biggest challenge with caring for all stages of the brionne line is meeting their need for stimulation. In the wild popplio play with each other and the older members of their choir. This is hard to replicate in captivity as most humans do not have the patience to play with their popplio for several hours a day every day, and most pokémon’s idea of play is too rough for popplio (and especially for brionne). Popplio will need at least four hours a day of enrichment. Brionne require at least three. This can be done by giving the pokémon a toy such as a ball or rattle or just by putting an MP3 player on. Brionne in particular are quite fond of children’s television featuring dancing, singing humans.

    This will inevitably prove necessary as even humans who want to play with their popplio will quickly discover that their pokémon has more energy and stamina than they do. However, it is recommended to spend as much of this time as possible playing with the pokémon yourself or with your team members. Since popplio and brionne’s play enhances their battling prowess, this time can be used to work on moves and strategies. Indeed, one of the biggest strengths of the line is that they never need to be cajoled or bribed into practicing.

    During the remainder of the day popplio and brionne are almost always fine with resting in their pokéballs.

    Food designed specifically for brionne is sold in every Pokémon Center in Alola. Trainers are encouraged to allow their pokémon to hunt and forage on their own at least once a month.

    The best partners for brionne are musically inclined pokémon. Toucannon, crobat, noibat, mismagisus, torracat and oricorio all make good teammates for brionne and can save their trainer time and energy in enrichment. It is recommended that trainers who intend to evolve their brionne get some form of musical training as it will be a good bonding tool with the pokémon and a necessity for understanding how to command one in battle (see Battling).

    Wild primarina never have any relationships with an equal partner, platonic or otherwise. As such they tend to adopt a maternal attitude towards their trainers. They will frequently embrace their trainer or even fall asleep on them if allowed to. It is recommended to minimize skin contact while they are doing this and allow them a chance to swim shortly after. Primarina require less in the way of enrichment than their pre-evolutions, but they become quite protective of their trainer and will want to spend several hours a day in the same space as them. They also very much enjoy singing to and, especially, with their trainer.

    All stages of the line are amphibians and brionne and primarina are primarily aquatic in the wild. As such, it is important to allow them to soak in seawater whenever possible. Brionne and primarina will need to sleep in the ocean at least once a week for optimal health. It is important to note that tap water drawn in a bathtub can be toxic to all stages of the line and should never be used as a replacement for seawater. Almost all large, inland Pokémon Centers have saltwater pools that can be used as a substitute when necessary.

    Primarina are long-lived, intelligent and social. Many will begin to learn human languages, although their pronunciation is often jarring due to the different structure of their vocal chords. As such, they don’t learn commands through reinforcement of behaviors and the building of trust so much as through actually reasoning through their trainer’s words. This has obvious advantages. It also means that sometimes an amphibian will tell you you’re being an idiot in as many words. The feeling this creates is difficult to describe. Primarina are frequently conversational in multiple pokémon languages and will usually be willing to translate the wishes of other team members. Of course, by the time a trainer has taught a primarina to do this they will likely have a good idea what their pokémon’s behaviors mean.

    A final word of caution: primarina frequently steal jewelry and other shiny objects from their trainer to adorn their hair. They will refuse to give these objects back and, if the objects are taken from them, they will scream loudly and incessantly until they are returned. Watch your valuables around primarina.

    Illness

    The most common illness affecting all stages of the evolutionary line is damage to the skin. Brionne and primarina skin is thin, slimy and porous. This means that attacks that would leave thin scratches on mammalian or avian pokémon can quickly become gaping tears on amphibians. Fortunately, they heal somewhat faster than most other pokémon when allowed to submerge in clean seawater. Make sure to watch how rough your pokémon are playing with your brionne and be willing to withdraw them from battle early in melee exchanges.

    The next major problem with brionne skin is that it is very susceptible to dehydration. This is mostly a problem for brionne, as popplio have thicker skin and primarina are capable of rehydrating themselves in sufficiently moist environments. A dehydrated brionne will become sluggish and unwilling to play or eat. Their skin will look and feel dry and brittle. Fortunately, this can be cured by immediately bathing them in seawater. It should be noted that a brionne subjected to prolonged dehydration may appear to recover after a bath only to die shortly after of organ failure.

    Finally, brionne skin, and especially brionne frills, are very susceptible to foreign contaminants. This includes the oils on mammal’s skin. A brionne with damaged frills will typically begin to cry out in pain or pull away from direct contact. They will attempt to climb out of water with contaminants, including fluoride and chlorine. If a primarina initiates skin-to-skin contact with their trainer, allow them to soak soon afterwards. See if the primarina is willing to have a blanket or other barrier between her and her trainer.

    If any symptoms do not go away following immersion in seawater for six hours, consult a veterinarian.

    Evolution

    Healthy popplio naturally progress to brionne over the course of roughly three years, although constant exposure to enrichments, clean water, battle, and food can accelerate the process. The development of the third frill is the formal demarcation point between popplio and brionne.

    All popplio and brionne are male. All primarina are female. Every choir has exactly one primarina. When there is no primarina, the dominant brionne begins to evolve and changes sex in the process. They then form a reverse harem with the brionne in the choir. A solitary brionne will never evolve. As such, it is necessary to either train multiple brionne, which may be advisable simply due to their social needs, or to loan your brionne to a primarina collective.

    In primarina collectives, captive brionne on loan from other breeding programs or trainers, as well as injured wild brionne that could not be returned to the wild, are held inside a large enclosure. When a primarina evolves, they are removed. This does not stress the brionne as primarina frequently depart from their choirs in the wild and outside brionne frequently join them (see Breeding).

    Primarina songs are more inherited than improvised. In order to develop properly, a primarina must spend time with either another primarina after evolving or a wild-raised primarina before evolving. The wild brionne inside of primarina collectives help fulfill this purpose.

    Licensed primarina collectives are run by the Commonwealth of Alola through the Hau’oli Aquarium, Heahea Conservatory and Malie Zoo. Privately owned collectives can be found in Brooklet Shire, Seafolk Village, Heahea City and West Beach City

    Wild primarina are often willing to teach songs to their captive counterparts. See Acquisition for the locations where they are most commonly found in Alola.

    Battle

    Popplio have a reputation as glass cannons. They can take far fewer hits than the other traditional Alolan starters but have relatively powerful projectile attacks and are clever enough to learn a variety of moves rather quickly. Brionne, with their thinner skin but more powerful voices, are even more so.

    It is wrong to apply that term to primarina. They are not projectile glass cannons who either knock out their opponents before they can cross the field or get knocked out in turn. Instead, they are powerful arena shapers when well trained and played well. While they still might get taken out by one good serrating hit or a few blunt force attacks, they use their control of the battlefield to prevent most grounded physical attackers from ever reaching them.

    Primarina use their slime and hydrokinesis to condense water from the air and fill durable slime bubbles with it. They will then either use these bubbles as projectiles, trapping moves or, most commonly, for riding around the arena. This serves both as a way for them to move quickly on land and to coat the arena in a thin layer of slime that allows for more control of the water. They will then use the slime and water coating the battlefield to lock down their opponent’s movements, all the while bombarding them with sonic attacks, moonblasts, hydro pumps and other powerful ranged attacks.

    If primarina have a drawback, it is that their trainers can almost never understand exactly how their song works. They have limitations that can sometimes seem pointless but are not easily fixed without overhauling the entire song, something that would take multiple lifetimes for them to do completely. Because primarina songs are mostly inherited, this allows opponents to come up with primarina counter-strategies that work against almost all members of the species.

    Birds durable enough to take a ranged hit or two and fast enough to outpace a moving primarina can also reliable counters. Toucannon often find it difficult to fly between their beak’s weight and rapidly condensing water in the air, but their bullet seeds and rock blasts are often able to knock out a primarina in one or two volleys.

    Despite this, primarina have always had a niche in competitive battling. So long as they aren’t too popular in a given metagame, few trainers will have bothered to come up with a counter strategy. And it is rather difficult to stop a powerful, mobile arena controller without having a plan in place at the start. This is especially true as some primarina have learned how to emit sounds that disrupt complex thoughts in humans without being readily detectable. Because primarina trainers are seldom much use in the heat of battle, this almost always works to their advantage.

    The discovery of this ability has led to the ban of primarina from the Pan-African and European Union leagues. The primary leagues in China, Australia and Japan allow them provided that the exact frequency they use against humans is monitored during the battle. The Global Battling Federation and United States Competitive Pokémon Association currently allow primarina with no restrictions.

    Acquisition

    Children between the ages of ten and twenty can obtain a popplio from certified distributors free of charge with a Class I certification. Children who have cleared the grand trial on at least one island and did not receive a popplio as a starter can purchase or adopt an additional one. Brionne or primarina in licensed shelters can be adopted with a Class II license or higher.

    Wild brionne are frequently found at Exeggutor Island, Kala’e Bay, Hano Beach, or the coastline of Poni Island National Park. It is illegal to capture a wild specimen at any stage of the evolutionary line without the approval of the Department of Natural Resources. However, these colonies will happily play with and teach songs to wild popplio or brionne. Wild primarina seldom interact with each other. However, if a captive and a wild primarina are allowed to bond for several days the wild one will often agree to teach her songs to the captive primarina.

    Breeding

    Primarina choose to lay egg sacs every three to five years. They do so in early spring. The brionne then take turns fertilizing some of the eggs. The primarina will then coat the sac in additional layers of slime and form it into a bubble she will carry with her for two months, at which point the eggs will hatch in to forty to fifty popplio. These popplio are typically only six to eight inches long and are under constant watch by the primarina and brionne of the choir until they reach roughly six months of age, at which point they are roughly forty centimeters long. At this point popplio are given more leeway to play and explore, albeit with a brionne or primarina always keeping a watchful eye on them. Even so, less than ten are likely to survive to adulhood between illness and predation from species such as carvanha and tentacruel.

    If conditions are not ideal to continue raising popplio, a primarina will take her egg sac and swim elsewhere, taking a few brionne with her. The dominant brionne that remains will evolve. Brionne frequently leave their choirs to join new ones. The impetus for this is unclear, but it serves the purpose of diversifying the gene pools of any given choir.

    Subspecies

    There are four major subspecies of primarina, with disputed reports of a fifth. The primarina given out as a starter in the Alola region is the pelagic primarina.

    Reef primarina have brightly colored hair that flows beyond the end of their tail. Their hair contains nematocysts which emit a neurotoxin. They hunt by floating slowly through coral reefs and waiting for fish to die in their hair. The primarina then eats these fish. Due to differences in jaw structure, primarina can eat a fish or pokémon up to thirty percent of their body size. However, this has left them mostly unable to control sonics. Popplio and brionne in these regions have similar vocal chords and hunting strategies to their pelagic counterparts. The main difference in them is an immunity to most toxins and slightly more maneuverability in the water at the cost of being slightly slower on land. Reef primarina are entirely aquatic and they have virtually no presence in the international competitive battling scene. They are a popular attraction in aquariums worldwide due to their bright colors, large size and odd movement patterns.

    Mangrove primarina and brionne are roughly half the size of their reef and pelagic counterparts. They are mottled green and brown and tend to hunt insects, fish and small birds and mammals through the use of sonic attacks, slime webs and traps they build in the mud. They rest in seagrasses off shore during the day and lie waiting in ambush between the roots of mangrove trees at night. Mangrove primarina are officially classified as water and ground types, as opposed to the water and fairy typing of pelagic primarina and the water and poison typing of reef primarina.

    Abyssal primarina are the least studied of the confirmed primarina subspecies. They live at depths between one and three kilometers in the ocean and are unable to survive on land. Abyssal brionne are roughly three meters long. The largest abyssal primarina ever recorded was seven meters long from nose to tail. Abyssal brionne have far larger and more complex frills. They use slight control of water currents to create large nets of gelatinous material to create traps for plankton and other microorganisms. They then absorb the nets into their body, process the food and excrete the net material to be refashioned and used again. No abyssal brionne has been held in captivity for more than seven hours. If abyssal brionne have a popplio stage, they have never been observed.

    There are reports of a fifth subspecies of brionne, tentatively referred to as the hadal brionne. The evidence for their existence amounts to a single bloated and mangled corpse that washed up on the shores of Peru in 1983 and an account from a manned expedition to the Galapagos Triple Junction where something the explorers described as a twenty-plus meter organism resembling an abyssal primarina that disrupted their equipment and let out a low, eerie moan as it passed by. It is speculated that hadal primarina may have led to the abrupt disappearance of several submarines and exploration vehicles in the past.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  7. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Toucannon (Pikipek, Trumbeak)

    Overview

    After years of studying the finches of the Galapagos and refining his theory of macroevolution, Charles Darwin took one look at an Alolan toucannon and decided his theory didn’t apply to Pokémon. Lydia Aholo, heir to the Alolan monarchy until the overthrow of the government, used the very same pokémon in her argument that macroevolution did apply to pokémon.

    What Darwin found most jarring about Alolan toucannon is the sheer size of their beak. Despite being hollow and lighter than it appears, most of the bird’s anatomy is dedicated to supporting it. And, unlike the beaks of other birds, it does not appear particularly well adapted to toucannon’s food source. However, dissection of toucannon show that the structure of their beak is remarkably similar to toucannon from the Americas. It is unclear when or how a bird incapable of flying more one or two kilometers at a time crossed thousands of kilometers of open ocean, but it happened and the long period of isolation that followed led to the most unique of the toucannon subspecies.

    Princess Lydia’s work on toucannon beaks and feather structure is well documented at an exhibit in the Royal Aviary in Castleton. The descendents of the princess’ toucannon also live there.

    Toucannon is often overlooked among serious trainers in Alola in favor of larger or more agile birds such as decidueye, braviary, mandibuzz or talonflame. However, it has its advantages. Perhaps its most serious advantage for trainers who don’t expect to remain in competitive pokémon battling after the completion of their island challenge is that it starts out as a relatively powerful pokémon, is easy to care for at all stages of its evolutionary line and stays competitive up to the power levels seen at the end of the island challenge. Unlike decidueye, it can be evolved without requiring its trainer to actively battle indefinitely.

    Physiology

    All stages of the toucannon line are recognized as flying-types, even though toucannon is not capable of flying long distances (trumbeak can fly medium distances of roughly five kilometers). They all hold a placeholder normal-typing per Department of Agriculture standards on birds without compelling evidence for any secondary typing. There is some dispute as to whether or not Alolan toucannon should quality for a fire or even electric typing, but as their power source is strictly internal and only used to power other attacks without a clear elemental theme, the Department of Agriculture has declined to reconsider their ruling.

    Pikipek are counter-shaded birds with white feathers on their stomach and black feathers on their back. They have a red crest running from their bill to the back of their head. Their bill is narrow and conical with grey and black patches.

    Trumbeak lose the red stripe on their head in favor of a large tuft of black feathers. They do gain a red ring of feathers around their neck. Their beaks begin to properly segment and gain external rings of bright colors.

    Toucannon only have white feathers on their chest. Their crest disappears entirely and they gain patches of yellow feathers on their cheeks. The red feathers on their body shift from their neck to the area right above their tail. Toucannon have thicker and longer talons than trumbeak. Their beaks are also far larger and bulkier, growing from narrow cones to something resembling a proper horn. Trumbeak grow up to 120 centimeters tall and can weigh up to thirty pounds. Their beaks alone can weigh up to eight kilograms and reach seventy centimeters in length.

    Toucannon’s beak is incredibly intricate. It is capable of storing seeds and pebbles for long periods of time and chemically altering wood. It also contains several chambers filled with steam. These allow for toucannon to spit out small objects at speeds of up to three hundred meters per second. The resulting hit can stun, kill or badly injure most pokémon, depending upon their size and durability. Toucannon can accurately hit multiple targets with pinpoint accuracy up to ten meters away. Due to the weight of their beak, toucannon are only capable of flight for short distances.

    Toucannon can live up to sixty years in the wild and fifty years in captivity.

    Behavior

    In the wild, pikipek are insectivore that supplement their diet with fruit. They are known to practice spitting or dropping seeds upon opponents. Their primary feeding tactic is to carve small holes into wood to find and remove insects. It is believed that they possess some sort of ability to determine the location of bugs from the sound the impact of their beak makes. All members of the evolutionary line have been known to burrow into trees for sport or to pass the time.

    Trumbeak are known to incessantly vocalize, even during the wee hours of the night when they should be sleeping. They are prone to repeating any sound they hear to the greatest extent their beak an manage. Trumbeak that live near brionne choirs are known to get into hours long singing contests with their amphibian neighbors. Contrary to popular belief, trumbeak barely use their beak for these sounds. Instead, they originate in their chest. The reason trumbeak vocalize far more than pikipek is likely attributed to the relative dearth of predators that hunt the former compared to the latter. Trumbeak primarily live on a diet of insects, but fruit can comprise up to forty percent of their diet.

    Toucannon flock to forests with the oldest of trees. They then dig intricate tunnels and caverns into the trees. They can even build sealed passageways and multiple rooms through their ability to turn wood shavings into a hard resin with their beak. Toucannon spend most of their day looking for fruit and most of their nights sleeping in their nest. When they find fruit that is too high to reach from the ground, they will attempt to shoot down the branch it is on. If this fails they will settle for snapping the tree through repeated bites. Toucannon are neither particularly curious nor playful in either the wild or captivity.

    Husbandry

    Toucannon are rather easy to care for at all stages of the evolutionary line. They don’t seem to mind pokéballs so long as they are properly fed. Bonding with them usually entails giving them adequate food for long enough that they will accept partnership with you. Having musical talent and being willing to sing to them, especially as trumbeak, also helps.

    Pikipek and trumbeak can be fed insect mix sold in all Pokémon Centers. Berries, live crickets and worms serve as good treats and rewards. Trumbeak will require fresh fruit to make up at least 30% of their diet. Toucannon will only eat fruit, although some have displayed a fondness towards brightly colored cereals. Fruit provided to them must be fresh, as no stage of the evolutionary line drinks water. They get their moisture from their food.

    It is recommended that all stages of the evolutionary line be allowed to forage for at least some of their diet. The reasons for this are two-fold. The first is that it’s a cost saving measure and cuts down on the amount of heavy food that needs to be carried around on trails. The second is that pikipek and trumbeak will obsessively peck at all wood they find. They can be trained to not peck some types of wood through negative reinforcement (loud noises for pikipek, squirt bottles for trumbeak). However, they will resume pecking that wood again unless given a suitable outlet. Trees in parks or forests can provide this to them.

    Toucannon will want a nest if they are held in the same area for more than three days. They will attempt to build one unless given an enclosed space big enough to hold at least two toucannon. Ideally the nest will have a trap door to block light but allow for entry. These nests can be purchased at most pokémon goods stores, but they are neither cheap nor easy to carry. Some Pokémon Centers will have toucannon boxes available for rent. If you are staying in one place for an extended period of time on a journey and cannot use a Pokémon Center’s box, it may be cheaper to rent storage unit, line blankets on the floor and provide adequate food. The door should be left unlocked and the toucannon should be taught how to open and close it. They can be taught to use keys if necessary. Toucannon will not defecate inside of their nest.

    Toucannon can be quite clever. They just prefer not to use their higher thinking to solve problems.

    While toucannon don’t defecate as much as dartrix, they still produce waste that will need to be cleaned up. Pikipek and trumbeak can be house trained, to a degree, through negative and positive reinforcement. Toucannon will defecate wherever they want, whenever they want. In nature this helps spread seeds around. This could be attributed to simple natural instinct, but they have a habit of looking their trainer dead in the eyes and huffing while they do it, and then maintaining eye contact until it is cleaned up. It is suspected that they do this to assert autonomy and/or dominance.

    Toucannon that have been held in captivity for up to a decade have successfully reintegrated into the wild. If for whatever reason you don’t want to keep a toucannon at the end of your journey, they can be dropped off at any place their stage of the evolutionary line inhabits (see Acquisition).

    Illness

    Toucannon illnesses typically have symptoms of diarrhea, labored breathing, sudden loss of feathers or a sudden loss of interest in food. Should these symptoms arise, immediately withdraw the toucannon into its pokéball and take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Some diseases can be fatal within three days. While the frequency and severity of illness declines as a toucannon ages, they can still result in permanent injury or death if left untreated.

    Evolution

    Pikipek naturally mature into toucannon over the course of three to four years. The formal demarcation line between pikipek and trumbeak is the disappearance of all red feathers on top of the head. The demarcation between trumbeak and toucannon is the appearance of yellow feathers on the cheeks.

    Battle

    Pikipek’s greatest strength in battle is their relatively high speed and maneuverability for a young and easily trained pokémon in Alola. Their pecks are far more powerful than they seem and pikipek should be trained to pull their punches in battles against powerful opponents before they are allowed to fight pokémon of their own strength. Even holding back, a pikipek can easily stay out of reach of melee attacks before dropping in to deliver a barrage of pecks fast and powerful enough to knock out most young pokémon in a few rounds. However, it takes a pikipek a moment to regain altitude and they will be vulnerable during this phase of the battle.

    Trumbeak are prone to showing off through taunts, mid-battle preening and overly elaborate aerial maneuvers. Trainers are encouraged to let them do this in all but the most serious of battles, as it has been shown to boost their mood. Trumbeak rely on a mix of diving peck attacks and aerial barrages of seeds. The aim and force of these shots is far less powerful than in an adult toucannon, and at this stage much effort should be focused on getting them to hold back.

    In the wild, adult Toucannon prefer to defend themselves by firing small rocks until the threat stops moving or goes away. In captivity, this is often a felony. All but the most experienced of trainers will struggle to keep a toucannon acquired from the wild in its final evolutionary state from simply killing any opponent it can. With proper training in restraint, toucannon can be one of the fiercest competitive pokémon available in Alola. Their niche is primarily in shutting down hyper-offensive teams that often lack a pokémon that can take the equivalent of ten low-caliber bullets a second. Toucannon are also capable of taking quite a few hits and using their beak to burn or batter anything that comes too close.

    The pokémon that can shrug off toucannon’s attacks usually counter it. In these situations, high-level trainers typically rely on toucannon to support their team through defog, tailwind and u-turn.

    Acquisition

    Pikipek can be captured or purchased with a Class I license. They can be found by waiting in almost any public park or forest in Alola for five minutes.

    Trumbeak are rarer due to the sheer number of predators that pikipek have (vikavolt, rattata, yungoos, ariados, some canines, most felines, and a handful of other birds). They can still be found over almost all of Alola. They can be captured or purchased with either a Class II license or a Class I license and completion of at least one island’s Grand Trial.

    Due to the relative rarity and longevity of wild toucannon, as well as their difficulty to tame, wild toucannon have a very limited season, strict annual quotes and require a Class IV license to capture. They require only a Class II license to purchase a trained toucannon.

    No healthy specimen at any stage of the evolutionary line may be adopted. Licensed shelters will simply release toucannon to the wild that can be released to free up space for rarer pokémon, or those that don’t fare well upon reintroduction. Adoption of injured toucannon is handled on a case-by-case basis.

    Breeding

    Toucannon mate for life. At the start of spring, a female toucannon enters her nest and lays her eggs. The male seals her inside using a resin made in his beak. They drill a small hole in the barrier. The male returns to the nest every day and regurgitates food in for his mate and young. If the male fails to return for two days, the female will blast open the wall of the nest and abandon her young. Should the male continue to return, the female will stay inside of her nest for five months before emerging with her young. The parents stay with their pikipek for an additional two months before abandoning them.

    Subspecies

    There are several subspecies of toucannon in the Americas. However, the toucannon there tend to have only slightly larger beaks than trumbeak, less vibrant colors and larger, more powerful wings. They resemble fearow, their closest genetic relative, more than toucannon. American toucannon are also usually referred to as arboreabeaks. These subspecies have varied beaks and diets, but all of them share a basic morphology, typing and defense strategy. Arboreabeak can release projectile seeds, but they have nowhere near the accuracy and power of toucannon. As such, they rely mostly on their beaks for self-defense. They tend to be more prolific breeders and have shorter lifespans than toucannon.

    Most subspecies of arboreabeak can produce viable offspring with toucannon. However, all of these subspecies have at least a 20% chance of producing offspring that are not reproductively viable. There is a debate as to whether or not arboreabeak and toucannon should be classified as different species altogether.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  8. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Gumshoos (Yungoos)

    Overview

    Gumshoos has been one of the most useful and used pokémon in captivity for millennia. Hardy, fierce and loyal, they have been the scouts and sentinels of settlers and soldiers since at least the Old Kingdom of Egypt. Gumshoos grow quickly, are intelligent and patient enough to easily train and are fierce enough to give most apex predators pause.

    Previous additions of this text have whole-heartedly recommended gumshoos to trainers going on their island challenge. This is no longer the case.

    Despite being confined to the edges of the United States and Europe (see Subspecies), plains gumshoos have become the unofficial symbol of white supremacist organizations. This is due to the supposed resemblance between the gumshoos’ crest and a certain politician’s hair. Given the demographic composition and politics of Alola, trainers (especially white ones) using a gumshoos may experience social stigma and difficulty reintegrating after the completion of the island challenge.

    Physiology

    All stages of plains gumshoos are recognized as pure normal-types. Despite “memes” on some portions of the internet, they are not poison types.

    Yungoos are long, slim quadrupeds with light brown fur on their sides and yellow fur running in stripes down the length of their back and belly. They have two rows of proportionally large teeth. They can close their mouth completely but they seldom do so. Their stomach is proportionally very large.

    Gumshoos change their appearance rather little as they grow. The most obvious change is the growth of a crest on top of their head and a small beard at the end of their chin. Their mouth and head are proportionally smaller than yungoos. The end of their brown fur before the start of their tail also begins to stick up in tufts. They can reach a height of up to 0.7 meters and a mass of around 15 kilograms.

    Most of what makes a gumshoos remarkable is beneath their fur. They have very thick skin and musculature around their throat, head and vital organs. Their bones are some of the most durable among mammalian pokémon and their claws, while small, are sharp enough to pierce the hide of most species. They have a sense of smell far greater than that of a human. Their vision during the day has been observed as being at least five times sharper than that of the average human. However, gumshoos are effectively blind at night and tend to seek shelter and sleep. Gumshoos are strictly diurnal and over thousands of years of attempts, captive plains gumshoos have remained that way.

    Gumshoos can live up to twenty years in captivity and ten in the wild.

    Behavior

    Prior to recent events, gumshoos were most famous for their stakeouts. A gumshoos can stand near motionless for up to twelve hours at a time. They frequently use their sense of smell to detect an area their prey frequent and then stand there until something crosses their path, at which point they abruptly break composure and charge. Captive gumshoos can be trained to merely sniff out and point at a prey animal, although they usually can’t help but slowly creep up on their prey.

    It is a common misconception that this behavior is only for hunting. A male gumshoos with children or a pregnant mate will frequently stake out an area near their den. They use their mostly vestigal control over static electricity to puff up their fur when defending something, be it their trainer or family.

    Yungoos mostly hunt by roaming large areas in search of something to eat. They will frequently become fixated on killing the first moving thing that crosses their line of sight, even if it is much larger than they are. It is believed that this behavior is a form of play, as a hungry yungoos will ignore anything they obviously cannot bring down. Yungoos are primarily scavengers who supplement their diet with fruit in practice, although they will gladly hunt and kill anything small and slow enough for them to bring down.

    Gumshoos, given their greater size, speed and claws, are almost exclusively carnivores. Their prey includes most animals and pokémon smaller than a gumshoos and some larger than them. Outside of Alola, gumshoos have been documented approaching recent kills and either scaring off the other predator or killing and eating both predator and prey at once.

    Gumshoos are tenacious fighters with a deceptively sturdy build, sharp claws and multiple rows of teeth. The only species in Alola that prey upon gumshoos are bored or desperate apex predators. In their original habitat, the young of some large predator species have adopted coats similar to that of a gumshoos in hopes of scaring off potential predators.

    Gumshoos hunt alone but rest and socialize with groups of six to ten gumshoos and their young. Past scholarship has suggested that these groups have an “alpha male,” although recent research has suggested that this is false. Gumshoos squadrons are quite egalitarian and intra-group fights appear to be more for play than establishing dominance.

    Husbandry

    Yungoos and gumshoos will only voluntarily stay with and take orders from humans they view as at least an equal. Raising a yungoos from a very young age can establish this relationship. Otherwise, having several pokémon with power at least equal to that of the gumshoos will usually satisfy this requirement. If a trainer begins to lose too frequently, however, gumshoos may become uncooperative. For some species, a trainer fighting and defeating the pokémon in single combat without the aid of their pokémon is the best way to establish dominance. This is not the case for the gumshoos line. A yungoos will easily evade kicks and punches, give the human several nasty cuts for their trouble, and then run away. A gumshoos will view the situation as either a predation attempt or an opportunity for hunting.

    Yungoos will require at least ten percent of their body weight in food per day. They will eat nearly anything, but they prefer meat. Gumshoos will only eat meat and frequently leave to hunt on their own if they deem the food provided to them to be insufficiently fresh. A fully grown gumshoos requires roughly 600 grams of meat a day. This was previously the largest drawback of raising a gumshoos.

    All stages of the evolutionary line will require occasional access to trees or a scratching post, although they can be trained quickly through spray bottles or loud sounds not to scratch furniture.

    Gumshoos can be trained to use litter boxes. As a word of caution, yungoos held in fixed environments prefer to seek shelter in tight, enclosed spaces or at the highest point available. The former preference means that they will often spend large amounts of time inside their litter box if allowed to do so. Bathing a yungoos to get rid of the stench is a task that requires patience and gloves designed for pokémon handling.

    Gumshoos can be trained to tolerate pokéball use during the day, although they will lose respect for their trainer if they believe it is being used too often. The don’t seem to notice if they are withdrawn between sundown and sunrise.

    A gumshoos with sufficient trust in their trainer will often approach them and begin to cuddle. At night they will prefer to sleep like this. The behavior is safe and natural. Never initiate physical affection with a gumshoos, however much they like you.

    Gumshoos will groom themselves. Yungoos will allow larger or more adult pokémon to groom them. If this cannot be arranged, a trainer equipped with the aforementioned gloves can brush and wash them once a week, or as needed.

    Illness

    The most common health problems gumshoos experience in captivity are related to their weight. If a yungoos appears to be putting on weight but not height or a gumshoos is putting on weight, the food provided to them should be cut back. If they appear to be getting unhealthily thin or they vocally demand food outside of their usual feeding time, they should be provided with more food.

    Gumshoos should receive the rabies vaccines within two weeks of capture or two months of birth.

    Evolution

    Wild yungoos naturally mature over the course of two to three years, depending upon their diet and the amount of combat they receive. Captive gumshoos have been observed reaching maturity roughly a year after birth. The formal demarcation line between yungoos and gumshoos is reaching 0.6 meters when fully extended.

    Battle

    All subspecies of gumshoos have held a niche in competitive battling since the days where humans fought along with spears and shields. The plains gumshoos in particular is known for being easy to train, tenacious and surprisingly hard to take down. Gumshoos are neither fast nor powerful enough to keep up with the behemoths, tricksters or carnivores that make up the upper echelons of competitive battling, but they are tenacious and tough enough to wound almost all melee opponents before going down. This gives them a role as a disruptor, ignoring barriers or tricks for long enough to begin viciously tearing into anything trying to stat boost, set up barriers or manipulate the field.

    The temperate gumshoos (see Subspecies) has a well-established role in competitive battling as a “suicide lead” where they set up barriers protecting their team, deal some damage and then go down.

    Plains gumshoos fight primarily through melee scratches and bites. This leaves them vulnerable to agile snipers like jolteon, hard walls like some steel types, and fliers with ranged attacks such as toucannon and vikavolt. Much stronger melee attackers like machamp and hariyama can also take them out quickly before a gumshoos can do much damage. Gumshoos are still quite capable of trading blows with the likes of pyroar or flygon due to their natural durability and scrappiness. All but the fastest and strongest of fragile ranged pokémon will also usually fall to a mature and trained gumshoos, as they can weather attacks as they cross the field and then end the fight up close.

    Gumshoos should not be allowed to take particularly powerful blows as they will not surrender and can, in fact, be hurt or killed in battle.

    Acquisition

    Yungoos can be captured or purchased with a Class I license. They are most commonly found at the edges of urban settlements, in open fields or in sparse forests.

    Gumshoos are somewhat rarer due to yungoos’ need for very large amounts of food as well as their tendency to pick inadvisable fights. Gumshoos can be found in many of the same places as yungoos in the wild, although they prefer to stay further away from humans than their juvenile counterparts. They can be captured, adopted or purchased with either a Class II license or a Class I license and completion of at least one island’s Grand Trial.

    Yungoos and gumshoos were formerly common pets and pest catchers in Alola. This has changed somewhat abruptly, leaving many available for adoption from shelters throughout the commonwealth. Housebroken gumshoos or yungoos may be purchased relatively cheaply from breeders on Melemele, Akala and Ula’Ula.

    Breeding

    Wild gumshoos mate within their squadron. One or two pairs will breed a year, although there is no particular season in which this usually occurs. Pregnancy lasts roughly ten weeks. Yungoos litters typically contain four to six cubs. During the latter half of pregnancy the females will seek shelter inside of a cubbing den. This can be a natural cave, an abandoned toucannon nest or a small burrow they dig themselves. The mother will stay in the den with her cubs for roughly two months after birth. The other members of the squadron provide her with food during this time. Yungoos sometimes stay with their squadron until or after evolution and sometimes set off on their own to find another group.

    In captivity, a female gumshoos will begin showing signs of bloating and sluggishness as her pregnancy progresses. Attempts to cut back her food to avoid overeating will be met with angry hisses and displays of aggression until more food is provided. After these symptoms manifest, a secluded area with multiple chambers (one with a litter box, one without) should be provided. The female will not mind the trainer briefly sticking their arms in to change litter or provide food, but no attempt should be made to intrude into the nest without a readily apparent purpose.

    Yungoos should not be used in battle or taken away from their mother until at least four weeks after they live outside of the cubbing den full time.

    Subspecies

    It is belived that all other subspecies of gumshoos are descended from the alpine gumshoos. These gumshoos are native to the Ethiopian plateau, the Alps, and the Pyrenees mountains. They closely resemble the plains gumshoos, but only grow up to 0.5 meters in length. The brown portions of the plains gumshoos’ coat are marbled grey and white, and the yellow stripes on their fur tend to stick up in random clumps or spikes. Alpine gumshoos are ambush predators that use powerful electric shocks to fell birds or terrestrial pokémon that wander into their line of sight. They are the only subspecies that has powerful enough electric capabilities to warrant an electric typing.

    The plains gumshoos was the first to be tamed. They originally lived in the grasslands of Southern and Eastern Africa, with populations introduced to Egypt and Mesopotamia around 2500 BCE. Roughly one thousand years later, the Phoenicians spread them around the Mediterranean. The Iberians, for their part, introduced them to the Pampas, Mexico and California during the Age of Discovery. They were introduced to Alola in 1922 to deal with an outbreak of rattata.

    The Indian gumshoos, were originally native to the the Indian subcontinent. They reach a maximum length of 0.4 meters. They have scarlet side fur and very bright yellow stripes. Indian gumshoos seek out venomous snakes and poison-types to consume. Their bodies are capable of not only neutralizing, but breaking down and digesting most forms of venom and poison. Some of these compounds are retained inside of their bodies to make them highly toxic to eat. As such, they have less durable builds than other subspecies. They hunt their prey through a combination of ambush tactics and persistence hunting, where lines of gumshoos will slowly follow fleeing prey until it gives up out of exhaustion, at which point the gumshoos use their fangs and claws to finish it off.

    The boreal gumshoos is the largest subspecies, with males averaging 1.1 meters in length. Females tend to only grow up to 0.8 meters. This subspecies has darker brown fur on its side, and light brown fur on its belly and back. They are known for the black marks on their face that resemble domino masks. Their apparent coloration may vary as boreal gumshoos frequently have lichens or moss growing on their fur. The lichens appear to be capable of plant-based attacks, toxic spore release and rapid regrowth. There is some debate as to whether or not they should qualify as separate pokémon species altogether.

    Boreal gumshoos generally hunt by following the scent trails of other predators, finding their kills and then either waiting for the predator to move on or scaring the predators off. Boreal gumshoos have longer claws than their plains counterparts which they use for defense, offense and climbing trees. They have relatively smaller teeth, on balance. They hibernate and reproduce during winter months, emerging in the spring with their cubs in tow.

    Royal gumshoos were originally a domesticated breed from the British Isles produced through crossbreeding of imported Scandanavian telemmings and boreal gumshoos. The subspecies is known for its black coloring with star and moon shape white markings on its chest. It is the only subspecies to not have a prominent back stripe. Royal gumshoos are telekinetic at short ranges. They use this ability to dampen incoming blows and increase their own apparent strength. Like the alpine gumshoos, they hunt primarily through projectile attacks. In their case, royal gumshoos are known to pick up large stones and use their boosted strength to fling them at unsuspecting prey. Escaped or released royal gumshoos have formed wild populations in the Ohio river basin, Ontario, Quebec, and the British Isles. Royal gumshoos do not properly hibernate, but they are known to sleep up to 18 hours a day during the winter.
     
  9. Cutlerine

    Cutlerine a lonesome harp guitar

    Man, this just keeps on impressing. You do a great job of making pokémon stranger by making them more grounded; litten burning hair for fuel (which I've just realised must make a hell of a stink), popplio as a species of giant amphibian that has come to resemble a pinniped by some sort of convergent evolution; toucannon as a kind of hyper-specialised toucan reintroducing the weight its ancestors cut out of its beak by filling it with ballast – maybe most impressive of all, actually, is the way you take such care to give each species/line its own distinctly inhuman preferences, some of which even run contrary to their own wellbeing, as when primarina seek out skin contact with humans. Pokémon as a series implies that pokémon are somewhere between animals and humans, but contradicts itself constantly as to which group of creatures they're closer to in temperament and thought patterns; lots of fic sort of skews towards the human without thinking, but there's a lot of interesting ground to be explored in making them so very animal-y. By making them more familiar, you make all of these creatures much less familiar. There are a few different ways to maintain readers' interest with a project like this, and keeping up that (de)familiarisation thing is an impressive one, with the level of sustained creativity it requires.

    This is probably the part where I'd talk about structure or character, but the former hasn't changed significantly since I last commented on it and the latter isn't really present, so here instead are a few of the highlights for me: “choir” as a group noun for the popplio line; primarina acting as translators (this initially seemed like the kind of world where most species of pokémon wouldn't have a fully developed language of their own); the running theme of social pressure being one of the factors in a pokémon's evolution, and that so many species evolve only to fill a certain role; the little shout-out to the slightly odd developer decision that pure flying-types should not exist; the neat touch of the trumbeak line not drinking water; and all the wonderful subspecies (gotta say, I loved the Indian mongoose gumshoos in particular). At this point the review is now just me listing stuff I like – which is a lot – so I'll round things off with just a few typos and things:

    There's an A missing from the middle of “temperamentally” there.

    And an I missing from the middle of “veterinarians”.

    And a Y from the end of “lengthy”.

    And a full stop from the end of this sentence.

    The subject of the previous sentence was “wild toucannon”, which has the effect of making “they” here read like it's referring to the toucannon themselves.

    That should be “editions” rather than “additions”.

    That comma shouldn't be there.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
    Rediamond likes this.
  10. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    @Cutlerine

    Thank you for the review!

    Some of this was, admittedly, expounding upon canon. I think that Litten burning hair is in one of its dex entries. The popplio line has a slime motif and (most) mammals don't really have much in the way of that. Most amphibians do. As for the human/Pokemon dichotomy, the species explored so far (sans primarina) haven't been particularly intelligent. So they're more animalistic. The more intelligent ones (like pixie in guidance) are probably going to be something between real world gorillas and real world octopi. Intelligent and thus capable of reasoning with humans, but there's always something profoundly off. Dolphins, for instance, are extremely motivated by puzzles, play and rewards. Even if we could talk to them with perfect translation, I don't think we'd actually have much meaningful to say.

    On the other points:

    -Brionne choirs occurred to me mid-draft and I initially wrestled with whether or not it was too cheesy, so glad to see people like it

    -This is specified more in guidance, but there are a lot of different Pokemon languages, and each species has its own dialect. Only very vocal and very intelligent Pokemon such as primarina and zoroark can serve as translators. Even they require time and energy to learn new dialects, making them less "universal translators" and more "very good guessers." Also, "language" is sometimes an exaggeration. Pixie can and does use her words, but she prefers growls and body language. Um. If a translator pokemon ever shows up in guidance I'll comment more there. For now, word of God is that "language" might be an exaggeration, the translators are guessing and humans are too dumb to notice that and the translators are too mischievous or prideful to tell them.

    -Growth and evolution are biologically costly, so if there's no reason to do it a creature wouldn't. I'm only using this for type changes, though. Stuff like toucannon and gumshoos just grow up.

    -Most hornbills don't drink water in real life. Seriously, a lot of this stuff isn't creativity so much as research.

    -I actually understand the use of normal/flying as a convention, but I also think that it should apply to amphibious creatures with a water typing for consistency. If they aren't always in the sky, maybe they should have a placeholder to ground them.

    -Subspecies are usually my favorite part of drafting these things and I'm glad that people like them.

    I'll fix the typoes later. These things are usually made in a rush to get one out a week, so errors slip through.

    Thank you, again, for reading!
     
  11. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Raticate (Rattata)

    Overview

    Even factoring in subspecies, there are very few terrestrial pokémon that can truly be said to have a worldwide range. Raticate is one of them, appearing in one form or another in almost every corner of every landmass except for Antarctica and a few tiny, uninhabited, or remote islands. This is due in large part to the sheer versatility of the species and its capability of eating almost anything. The rest is largely due to the fecundity and short lifespan of the species that enables them to undergo macroevolution at a rate only matched by a handful of insect and mechanical pokémon. When combined with the adaptability of normal-types and the hardiness of mammals, the stage was set for raticate to become the most successful terrestrial pokémon. Currently the species has over 30 documented subspecies and they fill every ecological role from herbivore to decomposer to scavenger to apex predator.

    Physiology

    All stages of the alolan raticate (henceforth ‘raticate,’ unless another subspecies is specified) are classified as joint normal and dark types by the Department of Agriculture.

    Rattata are small quadrupeds. Their fur is counter-shaded with cream fur on the bottom and black fur on their back. They have prominent ears with tufts of black fur on top. Their incisors are very large and protrude from their mouth even when it is closed. They have a prehensile tail that is up to half their body length long. The tail is not particularly strong and is mainly used for balance.

    While rattata have a fairly slight build, raticate are often nearly as wide as they are long. Their tail loses its fur, their hindlegs become proportionally larger and stronger while their front legs become proportionally smaller. The fur on their belly darkens to a mottled brown color. They gain large, puffy cheeks with cream colored fur on them. Raticate grow to a length of 0.7 meters excluding their tail, and 1 meter including it. They can weigh up to 40 kilograms, but typically only weigh about 30.

    Rattata are primarily quadrupeds that sometimes stand on two legs to scout out their surroundings. Raticate, when they move at all, tend to waddle on their hind legs. This keeps their teeth in play during fights and makes them appear larger than they really are. Raticate and rattata primarily defend themselves with their teeth, and a fully grown raticate can bite with up to 8,000 Newtons of force. Most of the average raticate’s mass is composed of fat reserves and their claws are neither particularly long or sharp. This leaves them few weapons aside from their teeth in a fight.

    Raticate navigate primarily through their keen sense of smell. Their night vision is also considerably stronger than a human’s, although their day vision is not nearly as powerful. Despite their large ears, raticate are nearly deaf. The leading theory at this time is that their atrophied hearing helps avoid attacks from noivern and crobat they compete for nest space with. The ears are either vestigial or help with heat regulation. The alolan raticate’s sense of taste is one of the strongest observed in nature. While technically omnivorous in the wild, they will only eat very fresh meat from a handful of species. In captivity, they have shown a greater willingness to eat meat that is fresh, high quality and well prepared. They can subsist on vegetation alone provided that their protein needs are met.

    Most wild rattata die before their second birthday without becoming fully grown. Raticate in captivity can live up to six years. The lifespan of wild raticate is unknown.

    Behavior

    Surprisingly little is known about the social structure of wild raticate. They are nocturnal creatures, and rattata leave their nest to scour the earth for any food they can find at night. Their habit of gnawing through doors to pilfer pantries is well documented. As daybreak approaches, the rattata all retreat back to their home. Fully grown raticate only leave their nest to defend their territory. It is believed that they live in groups of one dominant female and at least one male breeding partner. They live with several dozen rattata, most (but not all) of whom are their offspring. It is unclear where the remaining, unrelated rattata come from. They either dig their own tunnel network to live in or, when available, take to living in existing caves or burrows.

    Uncovered raticate nests, along with circumstantial evidence, suggests that most of the food the rattata acquire is given to the raticate of the nest. It is believed that the raticate take more than they need, or even more than they can eat, in order to keep the rattata in a state of starvation. This limits the number of rattata that reach their adult state and can compete for sexual partners, territory and feed.

    Whenever food is relatively sparse or the raticate population grows too high (which, given their fecundity, happens quite often), raticate nests are known to go to war. These fights are apparently unplanned and simply occur when two rattata find the same piece of food at roughly the same time. The loser of their squabble will call reinforcements. As losses mount and increasing number of reinforcements are called, eventually the raticate on both sides will leave their nests and join the fray. The fight ends when the dominant raticate in either nest is killed, one side’s losses are great enough that their raticate calls a retreat, or the sun rises and gumshoos begin to wake up. In the latter case, the fight will usually resume at the same place roughly ninety minutes after sundown.

    When forced out of their range due to a territory dispute or a lack of food, raticate will typically abandon the rattata in their nest and swim to another island to start again. Their fat reserves make them quite buoyant and they use their tails to propel themselves through the water.

    Husbandry

    Due to the relative abundance of food in their habitat, the Alolan raticate has become accustomed to eating large quantities of very high quality food. Both stages of the evolutionary line require roughly 30% of their weight in food each week. They will become upset if they receive less than that and will frequently seek out food to eat on their own. If a raticate believes itself to be deprived for more than one month, it will frequently stop obeying its trainers commands or run away. Additionally, raticate will frequently reject food they deem to be insufficiently fresh or tasty. It is recommended that trainers bring their raticate (provided it is well trained) with them when shopping so it can select food that it will eat. This both saves on guesswork and ensures that their trainer will eat well themselves. However, this makes raticate one of the most expensive pokémon on Alola to train, exceeded only by those with hyper-specialized diets or medical needs (komala, fossils), very large pokémon (snorlax, dragons), or those that require specialized insurance packages (vanilluxe, metagross, sableye).

    Raticate require objects, preferably metal or bone, to gnaw on. If they are not provided these objects, they will resort to chewing on furniture, load-bearing walls and kitchen appliances.

    In the wild, raticate use specialized chambers of their nest for urination and defecation. This makes them quite easy to house train.

    Raticate will ask to be groomed at least twice a week. They are essentially incapable of grooming themselves and quite insistent on cleanliness. They can even be trained to help tidy up their home. They are also very social and cuddly pokémon and will usually seek to be close to their trainer. They enjoy sleeping alongside their trainer, but their sleep patterns tend to prevent this from happening. Fully grown raticate seldom mind being used as a pillow during the day.

    As naturally hierarchal pokémon, rattata acclimate rather quickly to taking orders from a human. Raticate are somewhat harder to tame, but they will usually become complacent with a human who feeds them well.

    Illness

    Raticate are carriers of several human diseases. They should be vaccinated within two weeks of capture or birth. In addition to being able to get their trainer sick, they can also be infected by their trainer. The best solution to this is keeping both you and your raticate clean.

    Raticate gain increasingly sensitive stomachs as they grow, making them rather vulnerable to food poisoning. They will usually refuse food that would make them sick, but sometimes they make an error in judgment or, if desperate, will eat food they suspect is bad.

    Gumshoos were introduced to Alola to curtail the growing raticate population. Ultimately, they proved unsuccessful. This is largely because Alola’s relative dearth of mid-size nocturnal predators allowed the raticate to become nocturnal and avoid gumshoos with relatively few consequences.

    The raticate population was ultimately checked by another invasive species, albeit one introduced unintentionally. The white mask fungus is a parasitic mold that spreads across a raticate’s face, preventing breathing, contaminating the food they eat and usually blinding them. It is the leading cause of raticate death in captivity and the second most common in the wild, after malnutrition (it is probably the leading cause of death for wild raticate when rattata are discounted, but it has proven difficult to confirm this). The first sign of an infection is usually a raticate vigorously rubbing their face against an object without gnawing on it. Infections spotted very early on can be treated. Otherwise, the raticate will usually need to be euthanized.

    Evolution

    Rattata, provided they are sufficiently fed, will typically evolve into a raticate within eighteen months. Very well fed rattata or those that battle frequently can evolve in less than a year. The appearance of cream colored fur surrounding their entire mouth is the formal demarcation line between rattata and raticate.

    Battle

    The Alolan raticate has no presence in the international or national professional battling circuits. Other subspecies do, although they are usually a crutch for young trainers due to the relatively short time it takes to fully train one and raise it to maturity. Before the atomic raticate was banned in every major circuit, it was well on its way to establishing itself as one of the premier threats on the international competitive scene. At present it is highly unlikely the restrictions upon it will ever be lifted.

    Rattata are fast but fragile, and their bite is one of the strongest attacks that new trainers are likely to have access to. The optimal strategies for a rattata take advantage of this through priority or speed-boosting moves to dodge attacks and close the distance. Rattata fight somewhat better against large opponents than small ones as they can attack the places of their opponent’s body they cannot easily reach. Rattata are surprisingly clever and capable of learning a number of dark-type tricks and attacks.

    Raticate do not like to fight. They are nowhere near as agile as their preevolution, although they sport the bulk necessary to take a few hits before going down. The sheer power of a raticate bite is enough to end most fights within minutes, but by that point the raticate will likely either be too injured to continue or seek to give up. By the time a raticate reaches maturity, it is best to retire it to the role of grocery shopping aid and refocus training time and resources on pokémon with a more combative disposition and a higher strength ceiling.

    Acquisition

    Rattata can be caught, adopted, or purchased with a Class I license. can be found nearly anywhere in Alola at night, or in caves during the day.

    Raticate can be adopted or purchased with a Class I license, or caught with a Class II license. They are usually only found safeguarding their nests underground, alongside dozens of rattata that will defend them in battle. It is recommended that trainers wishing to own a raticate should simply capture and raise a rattata.

    Due to their fecundity, the few trainers who wish to breed raticate will often end up with more offspring than they desire to keep. As such, rattata can be easily purchased or adopted in the major cities of Alola.

    Breeding

    A raticate exposed to another raticate (or a closely related species) of the opposite sex will attempt to breed with it. They have no particular breeding season and, in the wild, are believed to reproduce continuously. After a pregnancy of roughly eighty days, a raticate will give birth to around fifteen offspring. Trainers are required to spay or neuter their raticate unless they possess a permit to breed them.

    Subspecies

    Unlike dartrix, the various subspecies of raticate do not fall into clear groupings. Only a handful of particularly common or interesting subspecies will be noted here. Trainers wishing to do further reading are advised to go to their local library and check out a copy of Raticate: A Story of Global Conquest by Dr. Ellen Faraday.

    The two most common subspecies of raticate worldwide are often referred to as the eastern and western raticate. The eastern raticate is the direct ancestor of the Alolan raticate. They have a lighter coloration, with cream chest fur and light brown fur on their back. They are less bulky than their descendants and are primarily quadrupeds who sometimes rear up on their hind legs for intimidation. They are even more prodigious than the Alolan raticate and can produce up to seventy offspring a year. The eastern raticate is primarily diurnal. Most of their diet is comprised of small animals and pokémon, although they have also been known to dig up the roots of plants and eat them. Eastern raticate are found in eastern China, northern India, Central Asia, and on the southern Japanese islands.

    Western raticate have dark grey fur. Their tails are longer than their eastern counterparts and covered in fur. They are much more slender (and smaller, reaching lengths of only 0.6 meters) and have more developed legs and feet tipped in long claws. Western raticate do not dig burrows or seek shelter in caves. They live in social groups of one pair of raticate and their most recent litter. Western raticate seek shelter in tall grass, marshlands or tree branches when possible. Their range covers temperate Europe from the Iberian peninsula to the Caucuses. Most raticate subspecies in the Americas are their descendants.

    Raticate have fared poorly in Africa due to the sheer number of mid-sized predators that exist, including the plains gumshoos. The main subspecies there is the six-eyed raticate. These raticate do not, in fact, have six eyes; they have two and, ironically, are nearly blind. The remaining eyes are their nostrils and two facial markings that serve and unknown purpose. They are one of the smaller raticate subspecies (the largest recorded specimen was, from their nose to the end of their tail, 0.36 meters long). They are also one of the heaviest, reaching weights of up to 30 kilograms. This is because their bodies are coated in thin layers of metallic fur, and their claws are composed of nearly pure iron. They dig and live in elaborate tunnel networks underground. One of the few things that is well documented is that they seek out and eat metal deposits. This previously limited their range and numbers, but the growth of modern, metal-filled cities on the continent has removed these limiting factors. There have been dozens of events where swarms of thousands of six-eyed raticate ascend upon the business district of an African city and begin to devour the buildings. Whether or not they eat something other than metal has yet to be established, as they have a history of eating any cameras stuck in to their tunnels to observe them. No specimen has survived in captivity for more than three weeks.

    Polar raticate, native to Scandanavia, northern Siberia, Alaska, northern Canada and Greenland, are some of the largest and most aggressive predators among the raticate subspecies, reaching lengths of up to 1.3 meters. They have thick white fur coats and their hind legs are large and webbed. Their tail is broad and coated in the same waterproof fur as the rest of their body. Unusually for polar animals, they dig deep burrows in the summer and hibernate. They emerge in the winter to hunt. Their prey: other hibernators. They use their keen sense of smell to find the dens of other pokémon or animals. Then they assemble a hunting party of three to six raticate, burrow in and use their superior numbers and sharp teeth and front claws to overwhelm and kill their young or sluggish prey. Then the pack will disassemble and move on to finding their next target. Polar raticate are currently endangered across their entire range due to hunting, climate change (especially potent in the post-Sootopolis atmosphere), and capture. Prior to the Arctic Wildlife Protection Pact, polar raticate were a common in professional battling circuits anti-metagame pick due to their niche as a slayer of apex hunters and their status as one of the few ice-types with speed, power and decent bulk.

    The Caribbean raticate is the only species known to spend most of its time in the water year round. They have long, broad tails roughly equal to half of their body length (1.1 meters, tail included). Their paws are large and webbed and their body is slender with short, fine, counter-shaded fur. Caribbean raticate swim out to coral reefs or similarly abundant areas during the day and swim down to hunt slow moving or stationary pokémon underwater. They use their front paws to grab ahold of their prey and their powerful jaws to crunch down and kill it. They are even capable of shattering Gulf clamperl shells. At night they retreat to nearby islands to sleep on or near the shore. Faster invasive species such as sharpedo have begun to compete with them for food or hunt them directly, leading to a sharp decline in their numbers in the last fifteen years. The species is still in no danger of going extinct entirely due to a strong captive breeding program. The Hau’oli Zoo currently has a breeding pair on display.

    While the six-eyed raticate can damage cities and the western raticate is a well-known carrier of plagues, neither has terrified the public quite like the so-called atomic raticate. Prior to 1971, the dominant raticate subspecies in Papua New Guinea were arboreal herbivores that moved from tree to tree eating leaves and fruit and using their fangs to tear into trunks to drink water inside of the tree. This subspecies, the New Guinean raticate, only reached lengths of roughly 0.8 meters. In March 1971, the United States government began a series of oceanic nuclear bomb tests in the sea between Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. That August, a field biologist in New Guinea recorded seeing a raticate roughly 2 meters in length. In October a second biologist working on the opposite side of the country documented a 3 meter raticate. The atomic raticate became too large for the trees to support them and they moved to the ground. At some point, they changed their diet to suit their new habitat. By the start of 1971 the provinces of Enga, the Southern Highlands, the Western Highlands and Hela had experienced casualty rates of over 80%.

    In 1974, there was an outbreak of crossbred atomic and western raticate in the suburbs of London. Approximately 85,000 people were killed over the course of three years. A 1982 outbreak in Toronto led to the destruction of the city’s subway system and the deaths of approximately 11,000 people. Subsequent outbreaks across Canada killed another 5,000, although there have been no sightings of the species outside of New Guinea since 2002. Atomic raticate are by far the most prodigious breeders of all subspecies, capable of producing up to 600 offspring a year, which mature over the course of roughly eleven months if properly fed. They have been known to bide their time in the forests near urban areas, slowly killing off the local wildlife until their numbers are great enough to begin the proper hunt. It is believed that they actively seek out humans to kill and eat. It is unknown if this is for sport or nutritional reasons.

    International law prohibits the study of live atomic raticate specimens and field research upon them is extremely difficult. The limited research conducted by professional battlers and biologists prior to the London and Toronto outbreaks suggested that the atomic raticate had a very powerful connection to whatever force it is that allows pokémon to do what baseline plants, animals and minerals cannot. This granted them effective dynakinesis, creating bursts of fire, radiation or electricity around their body. Their crossbred offspring exhibited exceptional elemental powers of the other subspecies’ typing. All variations of the atomic raticate used their power to dampen incoming attacks of almost every nature, making them nigh-invulnerable to everything but some toxins.

    In 1997, the United Nations Security Council designated the island of New Guinea as a nature preserve under U.N. administration and began to relocate the survivors. Australia was initially supposed to take the refugees, but a new government installed at the last minute prevented them from disembarking. At present they are being held on the Solomon Islands in a state of legal limbo.

    Drone expeditions and satellite imagery have confirmed that the atomic raticate population remains strong on New Guinea but have found very little else there except for plants, birds and canopy-dwelling pokémon. It is unclear exactly what the raticate are eating. If there is any silver lining, it is that the atomic raticate are not adept swimmers. It is illegal under international law to possess a Caribbean raticate within 300 kilometers of New Guinea in order to prevent this from changing.
     
  12. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Metapod (Caterpie, Butterfree)

    Overview

    There is a paradox at the heart of Alolan ecology. Virtually all pokémon on the island save the birds were introduced by humans, either by the original Polynesian settlers or the waves of colonizers and immigrants who came later on. Yet, Alola’s ecology is remarkably balanced. With the partial exceptions of gumshoos and rattata, no single species has come to dominate the island. Even the dozen or so apex predators mostly keep their numbers and ranges small and specialized to minimize conflict and further diversify the ecosystem. Scientists are are conflicted on why, exactly, this is. I think that metapod are as good a representation as any as to how this can be true.

    Metapod were introduced to Alola by Japanese immigrants in the 1920s. They quickly carved out a niche and expanded in population… to a point. A variety of factors prevented Metapod from ever experiencing the initial explosive growth rates of some invasive species. To start with, caterpie and butterfree are picky eaters who’s preferred diet mostly constitutes introduced plants, which are themselves limited by other factors. While they later became quite fond of the so-called “meadow quartet,” they found competition in those spaces from ribombee and oricorio, in addition to the migratory birds in Alola that already knew how to deal with metapod.

    There has never been a serious attempt to exterminate the metapod population. This is because they have come to fill an important ecological niche. Ribombee tend to go dormant in the wet season, allowing newly evolved butterfree to pick up the slack as the dominant pollinator. Butterfree are also widely regarded as the most beautiful of Alola’s insect pokémon and the blue butterfree in particular has become a source of pride.

    Due to their relative cuteness, low maintenance, battle niche and short life expectancy, metapod are an excellent first bug-type for trainers. They are also quite gentle and surprisingly playful. This makes them a popular pet for acclimating children to pokémon.

    Physiology

    Caterpie and metapod are classified as pure bug-types. Butterfree is classified as a bug/flying type. There have been period efforts to consider it as either a bug/psychic or a psychic/flying type, but its powerful flight and control of wind currents as well as its distinctly bug-type anatomy have led to those proposals being rejected.

    Caterpie looks like a green worm with eight distinct segments of decreasing size from head to tail. Its head has two large eye-like markings. These are not actually their eyes and are used solely for intimidation. Caterpie’s eyes are slightly below the markings. Caterpie have a pair of legs on each segment but their first and last. Their head has a large branched antennae. They do not appear to use this antennae for sensory purposes. Instead, it contains glands that allow them to emit a horrific stench.

    Metapod are shaped like green crescent moons with eyes. Once again, these are not real eyes. Metapod do not, strictly speaking, have eyes. They do have eye spots which allow them to sense ambient light levels. The shell of a metapod is extremely durable, capable of taking hits from even pikipek and other young birds. By contrast, their insides are mostly composed of a highly viscous liquid and. Despite the prevailing narrative, there is no evidence that metapod insides solidify as they approach evolution. Metapod seldom move and never eat or defecate. The most metapod can do in their own defense is secrete a sticky silk-like substance. There have even been some attempts in the scientific community to reclassify metapod as an egg rather than a pokémon, with caterpie and butterfree being technically separate species. This theory has not gained the endorsement of any major scientific organization and the authors of this guidebook find it to be baseless. Metapod are typically around 0.7 meters tall and have a weight of roughly 10 kilograms.

    Butterfree grow to a height around 1 meter and a weight of roughly 16 kilograms. Other guidebooks have reported butterfree weight as exceeding 32 kilograms, which is obviously false. No insect of butterfree’s size could fly, much less float and glide, with that mass. It is true that a butterfree absolutely drenched in water can reach a weight close to that, but it seems disingenuous to count that as its true weight.

    Butterfree possess a body with two blue segments, blue feet and red feelers. Additionally, they possess a large pair of red compound eyes. Their wings are far larger than their main body and have a white coloration with various black lines marking them. Butterfree wings are remarkably water resistant and they are both strong and nimble fliers. This enables them to launch spores for up to 10 meters with reasonable accuracy, as well as fly relatively unencumbered in even the heaviest of rains.

    All stages of the evolutionary line are almost exclusively herbivorous. They primarily seek out and eat plants with either horrific taste or toxic properties. Caterpie and metapod store the spores, toxins and oils inside of themselves to create horrific smells and tastes to deter would-be predators. Butterfree are more active in seeking out specific spores, which they then store in chambers right beneath their wings. They can then emit powders with effects dependent upon their diet. In Alola, Melemele butterfree typically specialize in paralytics, Akala butterfree in psychoactive powders, Ula’Ula butterfree in chemical burns and rashes, and Poni butterfree in sleep inducing spores and other depressants. In captivity their diet can be selected to alter or maximize their capabilities (see Husbandry).

    Even with their taste and defenses, butterfree still have a fair few predators. Some birds such as fearow, noctowl and skarmory don’t seem to mind the taste at all; the latter also lacks a sense of smell. Crobat can also shrug off some of their spore attacks and ambush butterfree at night when their vision is weaker and they tend to be tired or asleep. Snorlax and toucannon sometimes prey upon metapod. Arbok prey upon metapod and caterpie. Ariados have been known to snare and hunt caterpie and butterfree and, on the rare occasion that they leave their nest, they have been known to carry back any metapod they encounter to feed upon at a later time.

    In captivity and the wild, butterfree can live up to fifteen months after evolving, but they typically only live for about ten (see Illness). Caterpie can live up to two months before they attempt evolution, even in highly unfavorable circumstances. Metapod may be immortal if not exposed to predators or water.

    Behavior

    Caterpie are diurnal foragers. They have a highly developed sense of scent and will walk for up to 100 meters to find the optimal plant in range. This may not sound like a long distance, but for a small and slow-moving insect, it definitely is. Once a caterpie finds their desired tree it will climb into it and eat leaves until it is forced out by a competitor or predator, the tree dies or stops producing leaves, or a better foraging opportunity presents itself. When a caterpie exits a tree they produce a silk line and slowly lowers itself to the ground. A captive caterpie that is provided leaves at regular time and in adequate supply will still seek to climb on objects around it such as walls, lamps or their trainer.

    Metapod have no behaviors worth noting, beyond their complete absence of any movement beyond reflexive self defense.

    Butterfree are diurnal, but they are most active whenever it is raining. Butterfree take advantage of harsh storms that ground other birds to go out and forage for flowers and spore-producing plants that provide but nutrition and ammunition. They also serve as pollinators, seeking out nectar and other sweet substances and then moving from plant to plant. Most smoothie stores in their range tend to have at least one resident butterfree camped out nearby, hoping to pilfer leftovers or steal from customers. When dormant, they perch and sleep in the canopies of tall trees. They sleep with their wings fully extended at their sides to make them appear larger to any would-be attackers.

    Husbandry

    Caterpie eat primarily leaves, although some nutritional supplements can be mixed in. It is advised that trainers conduct further research from a more specialized guide and alter their caterpie’s diet towards more toxic or foul-tasting plants that the caterpie can still digest. All bug catching stores and some general pokémon supplies stores will keep these leaves in stock. Caterpie being raised as pets, especially for small children, should be fed a standard leaf mix available at all Pokémon Centers and supply stores. This prevents them from gaining a particularly foul scent.

    Metapod do not consume food.

    Butterfree diets are more difficult to replicate in captivity. Some mix of fruit, flowers, and nectar is advisable. Detailed specialist guides can outline combinations that have been shown to work well for butterfree aimed at battling. A simple assortment of fresh or live flowers, honey and nectar will usually do the trick. Sugar water and fruit juices make for good rewards.

    Caterpie can not be housebroken. Butterfree can be, although it requires a fair bit of effort and will likely require a more experienced bug trainer to assist in the process. Caterpie waste is a dense soild; butterfree waste is a thin, almost colorless liquid.

    It is recommended that trainers bond with their caterpie before it evolves into metapod. This can be accomplished by supervising it while it forages in nature, holding leaves and making caterpie crawl over you to get them or providing it a climbing perch where its leaves are regularly provided and frequently standing or sitting nearby it so the caterpie can become acclimated to your presence and associate you with food.

    Butterfree will frequently perch on their trainers’ head or outstretched arm when allowed to do so. As a word of caution, they are surprisingly heavy. A gentle flick of the arm or head will usually be enough to convince them to leave. They are remarkably intelligent and enjoy toys such as balls, puzzles containing nectar, fans, surfaces with strange textures, misters, and strobe lights. It is good for butterfree’s enrichment to allow them to go outside on rainy days. Few of their predators fly in the rain, which makes it one of the few times they can safely remain unsupervised. Butterfree are smart enough to be taught to respond to even fairly complex verbal commands with time.

    Caterpie show no particular aversion to being held inside a pokéball. Metapod should be transferred inside of a pokéball, but should otherwise be left alone and outside of their ball. Butterfree resent being held in all but the most comfortable pokéballs during the day, although it is sometimes necessary to keep them from flying off. They show no particular aversion to their ball at night, and some butterfree seem to prefer it as a means of keeping them safe from real or imagined predators.

    Illness

    Unfortunately, time is something butterfree have in short supply. In their native range, caterpie typically hatch in early spring, evolve a few weeks later, evolve again two to six weeks after that, lay eggs in the fall and die off in the winter. Migration is largely impossible as they are outcompeted by faster and more aggressive butterfly and moth species to the south of them.

    In Alola, there is no particular reason that they need to die off in the winter. However, butterfree macroevolution has done little to select against age-related diseases beyond eight months. As such, butterfree typically succumb to organ failure or cancer between nine and twelve months of age. Some butterfree have been documented as living a few months longer, but none have ever lived to sixteen months of age.

    Technically, some illnesses affecting caterpie, metapod and butterfree can be cured. Veterinarians at Pokémon Centers will fix up the simple ones for free. Most more serious injuries or those related to illness rather than battle wounds are not covered for the simple reason that they would give the butterfree another year of life at most. Theoretically, some private sector veterinarians may be willing to cure serious butterfree illnesses. But, is it really worth prolonging the creature’s life until another serious illness inevitably strikes a few months later?

    Evolution

    A well-fed caterpie will grow rapidly over the course of roughly six weeks. They do not grow linearly, though. Instead they periodically shed their skin and crawl out. Over the next twelve hours they grow in size and develop another exoskeleton. This process will be repeated roughly ten times before caterpie are able to evolve.

    In the wild, caterpie climb up to an inaccessible or hidden spot in a tree, tie a thick silk line, and form a thick exoskeleton cocoon around themselves. In captivity, caterpie should be provided a safe place to rest at least once a week to see if they will evolve. Once evolution occurs, the metapod should be left undisturbed in the same place for a week. They should never be battled with. If a metapod evolves inside of a Pokémon Center room, the trainer will be allowed to stay there for the full week.

    Metapod evolve under very harsh or persistent rain. In nature they can sometimes lie dormant for the entire dry season. If natural rain is unavailable one to three weeks after metapod evolves in captivity, it is best to seek out a sprinkler room used to care for amphibians and water-types. Some of the largest Pokémon Centers have them. Failing that, most fish or herpetology specializing stores will typically have a room available for a fee.

    Metapod undergo so-called “flash evolution” rather than the traditional gradual, if rapid, changes of most evolutions. One moment a metapod will be apparently undisturbed. The next, it will become engulfed in bright white light as its body transfers into what appears to be an energy state. The light will grow and contort itself into its new shape. When the light fades, the metapod will have become a butterfree.

    Battle

    Caterpie are not natural battlers and actively avoid conflict whenever possible. In the wild their primary defense mechanism is to be so awful tasting and smelling that almost nothing wants to eat them. In captivity, this makes them hard to coax into fights beyond forcing them onto a battlefield and hoping they reflexively defend themselves. Caterpie are typically too nervous or unintelligent to be properly trained. Their self defense mechanisms amount to (weak) bites, (weak) full body tackles, discharges from its scent glands and (surprisingly strong) silk tripwires it uses to bind or trap opponents so it can run away. It should be noted that caterpie will simply run away from a sufficiently bound foe rather than taking the opportunity to damage them further. It is recommended that if caterpie must be used in battle at all, they be used to tie up a particularly tricky opponent and then be withdrawn or forfeited to give another more combative ‘mon an opening.

    Metapod should not be battled with. The slabs of their exoskeleton are incredibly durable and can take hits from pikipek and rattata. However, they are poorly built for handling impacts and will frequently burst and lose their inner liquid. These injuries are fatal.

    Many an aspiring youngster or bug catcher has dreamed of shocking the world stage with their butterfree, something they believe to be criminally underrated. The delusion isn’t helped by the simple fact that most trainer’s first abject humiliation comes from a butterfree. Flying projectile users are incredibly good counters for melee fighters, which most basic pokémon available to new trainers are. Butterfree have access to moderately powerful psychic attacks and delicate but powerful wings. Those traits in tandem allow them to strike with gusts of wind or carry spores to hit their target with surprising accuracy. From there it’s only a matter of time before they finish their helpless opponent off.

    More clever trainers still will note that butterfree would be a perfect addition to so-called “rain teams,” because it’s a capable flier, the rain mitigates super effective fire attacks, and the weather allows for more powerful hurricane attacks. Even if the weather isn’t raining, butterfree’s aim allows it to usually land hurricanes. Unfortunately, butterfree is not the strongest of pokémon. Or the most durable. Or the fastest. There’s a reason that their main defense in the wild is being inedible. A well-used butterfree might remain viable towards the end of an island challenge, but it’s hopelessly outmatched by pokémon such as swanna and pelipper on the world stage. It’s role as a status spreader is better left to bulky grass-types.

    Acquisition

    Caterpie are most common in meadows, temperate forests and near large man-made gardens or orchards. All stages of the evolutionary line can be captured, trained, adopted or purchased with a Class I license. Many trainers are tempted to go straight for capturing butterfree as there are no higher license requirements for doing so. This is usually inadvisable. To start with, butterfree are free-spirited, highly intelligent and resistant to confinement. By the time a trainer gets a butterfree to cooperate, it will either be mostly obsolete in battle or on death’s door. Butterfree tend to reflexively trust trainers who cared for them and fed them as a caterpie, and watched over them as a metapod.

    Metapod can, technically, be captured. This ensures that a butterfree is obtained while they’re still young and the capture process is much easier. However, the butterfree will not recognize their trainer and all the usual problems of establishing dominance will apply.

    Most shelters simply release butterfree rather than caring for them in their spaces. They don’t do well indoors and tend to fare well upon reintroduction to the wild.

    Butterfree, especially those of alternate colorations, can usually be purchased from breeders in major cities or near flower meadows. However, they will often charge a price that a battling trainer may not find worth it to pay to have a low-power pokémon for a few months. Caterpie are frequently sold in pet stores, but there’s no particular reason to pay to obtain one when they’re already quite common and not particularly hard to capture in the wild. Captive-born caterpie will be slightly more used to humans, but caterpie adjust to new circumstances quite quickly as it is.

    Breeding

    Butterfree find mates during the summer and fall months. After a courtship ritual involving elaborate flight patterns and one party providing the other with flowers or honey, they will consummate the relationship. Roughly three weeks later, the female will lay their eggs in leaves near the canopy of a tree, typically during or after rainstorms. They do not continue to watch these eggs after they are laid and show no particular loyalty to their offspring. In captivity, butterfree are somewhat more maternal and have been known to roost over their nest during their day and seek out and provide food to their offspring once they hatch. The reason for this difference is unclear.

    Theoretically, butterfree can be bred in captivity. But given how common caterpie are at the time of year when most trainers set out, and the low price commanded by even a full nest of ordinary-colored caterpie, there isn’t much purpose to doing so. If you want to go ahead with it anyway, provide the butterfree a mid-sized real or artificial tree in an indoor environment. Make sure the environment is kept relatively moist. Have enough leaves in supply to feed the caterpie once they hatch.

    Subspecies

    Butterfree technically has no subspecies. However, it does have alternate color schemes. While these do not have any major physiological differences they still appear to be more different from the baseline butterfree than some actual subspecies do. The most common alternate color schemes are blue, yellow, pink orange, and dark green butterfree. Botanical gardens, zoos and the royal aviary frequently have summer exhibits displaying butterfree of many different colors. These butterfree enjoy no substantial benefits in combat, but they do cost more to obtain and are almost exclusively found in captivity.
     
  13. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Ledian (Ledyba)

    Overview

    There is a peculiar sort of modern arrogance that history can be divided into two phases: the era of primitive mysticism and the Age of Science. The latter began only a few centuries ago. Before it no significant advances were made beyond, perhaps, the very basics of mathematics. Sometimes in their rush to repudiate ‘superstition,’ scientists rush to dissenting opinions when, in reality, the ancient wisdom was largely correct. Ledian appears to be one of those cases.

    The ancient poets, from India to Kalos to Mexico, claimed that ledian fed upon starlight. In the late 1700s a man by the name of John Alabaster published a lengthy treatise on how this belief was the height of ancient foolishness. Cultures around the world had built and protected homes for ledbya near their fields because ledyba prey upon other bugs. The same farmers would also complain when ledian ate the fruit from their orchards. What place was there for starlight in their diet?

    It is true that ledyba hunt bugs and ledian are very fond of fruit. However, it has been recently discovered that the cells on a ledian’s carapace appear to generate energy in reaction to starlight that isn’t from the sun. It is unknown what advantage they reap from this that they would not gain from simple photosynthesis. The leading theory, that they need only dim light, has been disproved routinely in experiments. It is further unknown how they evolved this trait as the only other pokémon to demonstrate similar attributes are clearly extraterrestrial in origin. And, while ledbya look almost exactly like a larger version of a baseline insect, their organ systems are closer to a klinklang than a butterfree, to the extent that their physiology is understood at all.

    Ledian are fascinating and loyal pets that can hold their own in even international competitions. Unfortunately, “the cycle” (see Breeding) limits the times in which ledian are available and even further limits the amount of time most trainers will have to bond with their partners.

    Physiology

    All stages of ledian are classified by the Department of Agriculture as dual bug/flying-types. The department is currently in the process of reconsidering its prior ruling in favor of a bug/fairy typing over their stronger connection to moonlight than agile flight, aerokinesis or a traditionally avian build.

    Ledyba have two segments. The larger of the two contains its wings and six proportionally small legs. The back of its carapace contains five black stars. The exact size and pattern of the stars varies between individuals. The second segment contains the ledyba’s head. Unusually for insects, their eyes are complex and quite similar to those of cephalopods or vertebrates in appearance. They have two large black antennae on their head. These antennae are used for smelling the world. Ledyba have scent glands located right beneath their antennae. They use these glands to signal their emotions, location and intent to other ledbya. Ledbya have a mouth, but as they have never been observed eating food or using bite attacks it is believed to be either vestigial or unusable until they evolve. They are counter-shaded; their bellies are yellow and their back is primarily orange.

    Ledian are some of the largest flying insects, reaching heights of up to 1.6 meters in parts of the world that are both warm year-round and have excellent air quality. Alola is one of those places. Ledian have a proportionally large head segment. and a proportionally small ‘body’ segment. The two are connected by a short but visible neck. Ledian have a visible black dot where their scent glands are. Curiously, ledian have conventional compound eyes rather than the more complex eyes of their juvenile form. Their mouth also grows proportionally smaller even though ledian actually use it. Ledian legs become more specialized, with two serving as ‘feet’ used for balance mid-flight and four growing longer and developing hard, round tips that vaguely resemble boxing gloves. Ledian gain a darker red coloration upon their backs.

    Ledbya appear to subsist entirely upon starlight. Ledian sometimes eat very sweet fruit or berries during long summers, long periods of continuous cloud cover, or during periods of abnormally bad air quality. Ledian have never been observed producing waste. Their digestive system, like almost all of their other organs, appears to be entirely different from known organic pokémon. The inner workings of ledian are still largely a mystery. Some organs (their ‘brain,’ their scent glands, their three hearts) readily appear to have a purpose. Most of their organs do not.

    The amount of energy a ledian obtains from starlight appears to be based upon the number of stars visible, air quality, cloud cover, the phase of the moon and the length of the night. There is preliminary evidence that ledian energy production might depend upon the alignment of planets, long-term fluctuations of the Earth’s tilt and distance from the sun and the presence of nearby comets.

    Behavior

    Ledyba are some of the most gregarious of all pokémon, preferring to live in swarms of several hundred members. Ledian are less social, but still prefer to live in groups of six or more. In the wild they are known for forming huge swarms and, when attacked, grouping together and throwing up reflective shields around the entire swarm. However, particularly powerful or stealthy birds enjoy preying upon ledyba, which causes their numbers to steadily decline. Even with human training and protection, the total number of ledian in Alola inevitably declines to roughly 2000 at its low point.

    Ledyba have long been known to find and kill other non-pokémon insects in their home. Ledyba emit a steadily stream of a weak insecticide from their scent glands and use their weak punches and wind attacks when their scent won’t do the trick. The purpose of these hunts is unclear, as they do not compete for food with these insects and they seldom attack ledyba except in self defense. However, they usually spare pollinators. This has made ledyba beloved by farmers, who in turn introduced them to Alola around 1850 C.E. This introduction has led to a decline in local insect populations, but the popularity of Alola as a rookery for large birds of prey (fearow, braviary, honchkrow, mandibuzz, talonflame, skarmory, noivern) has kept the ledian population in check.

    Ledian also make a habit of hunting bugs. Unlike their juvenile form, they hunt down pokémon insects. They spare pollinators such as ribombee and butterfree. There are records of ledian going after vikavolt in the first few cycles after their arrival in Alola, but they have since stopped hunting vikavolt and vikavolt, in turn, have stopped hunting them. Almost all other bug-types are fair game. Ledian punches are surprisingly powerful and can be unleashed at rates of up to 130 total punches a second when counting all four arms. Ledian’s preferred tactic is to ambush a bug while it rests and unleash fast, targeted punches to a particular area on their target’s exoskeleton. The resulting force is not intended to break the exoskeleton. Rather, it is meant to put pressure on weak points elsewhere and cause the insect to burst open. Ledian hunt insects that do not compete for space and food. They then do not eat the remains or lay eggs in it.

    Attempts to discern their reasoning through telepathy have proven unsuccessful, beyond giving the human psychic a deep-rooted fear that can last for weeks, months or years depending upon the length of the connection. Past editions of this guidebook have referred to the fear as simple arachnophobia. But, as the field of telepath studies grows more scientific, this no longer appears to be the case. The creatures telepaths see when they sync with ledian have nine long legs covered in spines that branch off into clusters of more spines, a core body that appears to be made up of a dodecahedron with giant, rapidly-moving eyes visible on each pane, translucent purple wings almost as large as the rest of the creature, and a constant scream one telepath described as “…a baby crying on a plane, but its voice is a car crash, metal on metal... the volume is always changing… I think it was saying something [like] if pure, all-consuming hatred was condensed to a single word…” Telepathic scans have further confirmed that ledian minds are structured nothing like those of any other observed insect pokémon. These traits have made their minds a subject of intense curiosity among non-telepaths in the field of telepath studies, and also a subject area almost no telepath wants to touch.

    It is hypothesized that the so-called “ledian spiders” may be relatives of metagross, a pokémon that is also quite likely to have extraterrestrial origins. Metagross seem fascinated by ledian; ledian will attempt to flee from metagross, disregarding their own safety in the process. Ledian exposed to metagross with no escape route available will frequently attempt suicide. It is strongly recommended that trainers not keep both species on the same team.

    All stages of the evolutionary line rest in the day and fly at night in what appear to be elaborate dances and social rituals. It is unclear what the purpose of these are or what they mean, as ledian are just as likely to perform them with a member of their swarm they appear to dislike as they are to perform them their closest partner in the swarm.

    Husbandry

    As ledyba need no extra food than natural starlight and produce no waste, they would appear to be ideal pets. Unfortunately, several factors complicate this analysis.

    To start with, ledyba are uncomfortable living in groups of less than 20 ledyba. This is infeasible to replicate on most standard teams of six pokémon. Ledian are less gregarious, but still require either a full team of six pokémon or near-constant interaction with their trainer. They are intelligent and loyal creatures and enjoy play.

    Ledyba prefer to sleep in their pokéballs. Ledian have no particular preference. However, ledyba and ledian both drain their energy reserves while they are in their pokéballs and will need to be let out each night. It is recommended that they have a guard pokémon, preferably an electric, rock, or ice type, to ward off birds.

    Ledian are almost constantly releasing powerful scents to signal their moods. Sometimes these scents can be quite pleasant. Sometimes they are not. It should be accepted that a ledian trainer will gradually gain a rather distinctive scent due to their pet’s communications. Their fondness of cuddling does not help with this.

    Ledian are some of the easiest pokémon to tame due to the almost absurd lengths they will go to in pursuit of the fruits they enjoy and their love of puzzles. Providing challenges or games with fruit as a reward will convince a ledian to practice their moves, engage in battle, or pick up eusocial behaviors for a comparatively low cost. Ledian do not appear to pick up weight when overfed, but it is best for a trainer’s wallet if they don’t overdo it. The more rewards a ledian gets, the less they will respond to the opportunity of obtaining food.

    As the ledian’s life cycle ends, they will attempt to leave their trainer. They should be allowed to go as every surviving ledian is important for restoring the population at the end of the cycle (see Breeding).

    It is extremely difficult to train a ledian alongside other bugs. Butterfree, ribombee and vikavolt, as mentioned above, are the only exceptions in Alola. Very experienced bug specialists can sometimes pull it off, but it’s a task best left to zookeepers and the world’s top trainers.

    Illness

    Ledian very seldom get sick. When they do there is absolutely nothing a veterinarian can do for them given their odd physiology. Ill ledian should be comforted, be exposed to as much starlight as possible, and left outside of their pokéball. Sometimes they will recover on their own.

    However, tempting as it may be, ledian should not be overfed when sick. More than one ledian has come to view feigning illness as a trick they obtain fruit when performing.

    Evolution

    Ledyba grow steadily after birth through repeated molts until they reach a height of roughly 0.7 meters at roughly seven months of age. At this point their size remains stagnant for one to three months until they begin metamorphosis. The soon-to-be-ledian will drop down to the floor of the swarm’s nest and remain there, protected by other members of the swarm, for roughly two weeks. During this period they undergo repeated molting and rapid growth.

    Ledyba only evolve when they have a ready source of protection. In most cases, this is their swarm. When a ledyba is held without other ledyba, something that is generally inadvisable but technically legal, ledyba will only evolve when provided a dark and sheltered area that remains a constant presence in their space for at least one month.

    Battle

    Ledyba are cowards that actively avoid battle with anything bigger than a few centimeters long. They are more likely than not to simply freeze up when exposed to an opponent.

    Ledian are naturally combative and can be disciplined to hold back from killing other bugs with the help of some wild pokémon and fruit. Ledian have access to highly targeted punches, even if they aren’t particularly strong, aerokinetic attacks, and low-level telepathic attacks. However, ledian are perhaps best used as supporting pokémon that set up telekinetic barriers, annoy the opponent or set up a sweep. If a trainer is willing to invest time and money on specialized training and TMs, ledian can learn a plethora of nasty tricks to capitalize upon their screens. Roost and drain punch compensate for their relative frailty, even with screens. Tailwind, agility, substitute, swords dance and baton pass can help set up another teammate. Encore, infestation and u-turn can help establish momentum. Ledian are also intelligent enough to know multiple tricks simultaneously which can keep opponents guessing as to whether ledian is a momentum-builder, a sweep enabler or an all-out attacker. This has given ledian a niche in competitive battling circuits despite their lack of bulk or power.

    For amateurs with less time, resources and knowledge to put into training a ledian, it is best to go for a screen-augmented attacker route. Mix the classic protective screens (reflect, light screen, safeguard) with moves such as comet punch, bug buzz and air slash together and you’ll have a pokémon that can continue to play a role through either the end of the island challenge or the end of the cycle, whichever comes first.

    Acquisition

    Ledyba require a Class II license to capture, adopt or purchase. Ledian only require a Class I license. The disparity is in place to prevent trainers without the time, resources or skills to wrangle twenty or more ledyba from trying to do so.

    The abundance of ledian and their evolutionary stage largely depend on the time in the cycle. To learn about ledian availability, consult a bug pokémon or agricultural supplies store. At some points in the cycle the capture of ledian is strictly prohibited. Late in the cycle when ledian are present and no longer living in large swarms, they can typically be found near orchards, gardens, plantations or some sparse temperate forests. Ledian are easily intrigued and bribed with fruit and, after they have let their guard down, hugs. Ledian can be overpowered and captured, but it’s usually best to get them to join your team voluntarily. Simply giving ledian food, attention and a community is enough to establish dominance over them.

    Breeding

    It is impossible to breed ledian in captivity.

    Ledian operate on well-known cycles based around total lunar eclipses, which occur about once every 2.5 years. Eggs are laid during the eclipse and hatch two to three weeks later. Ledyba eggs are about the size of a ping-pong ball and look and feel more like a crystal than a standard egg. The eggs are translucent and the growing ledyba is clearly visible.

    When the ledyba eggs hatch, there are suddenly hundreds of thousands of tiny ledyba in Alola guarded by roughly 1000 ledian. Predators, pokémon and otherwise, take advantage of this. When the start of the cycle coincides with the breeding season of migratory birds mortality is particularly high. By the time ledyba reach full size, there are typically only ten thousand remaining in the archipelago. Once all the ledyba have evolved roughly ten months in to the cycle, they begin to split off into smaller swarms of ten to twenty individuals. Individuals and swarms and gradually coaxed into captivity or killed off by predators until only about 50 swarms remain in the wild, with another 25 in captivity on large plantations. The remainder are held by private trainers or government-operated zoos and botanical gardens.

    As the end of the cycle nears, the captive ledian will begin to leave their trainers to return to the place of their birth. On the night of the total lunar eclipse, the ledian will begin one final moonlight ritual, this one with a clear purpose. Details of this event are largely unknown as ledian react with hostility to humans approaching their mating grounds and have even been known to destroy drones sent in to observe. The next morning, the ground of the mating areas are littered with eggs. Ledian will spend the next six months fiercely defending their offspring. Most will die in this process as predators flock to the swarms.

    The remaining ledian will begin to die off six months after the eclipse, unleashing powerful and incomprehensible psychic waves as they do so. Some captive ledian will choose to return to their trainers to die. Those that successfully return will embrace their human and initiate a psychic connection. Trainers report visions of vast fields of brightly colored stars and what appears to be a nebula in the middle-distance. The humans often report feelings of confusion and awe at mundane objects such as trees or forks in the following weeks, along with an overpowering sense of love for almost everyone and everything.

    Subspecies

    None known.
     
  14. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Last bug for a little bit. Entry ran long because covering four pokemon, as well as for in-universe reasons.

    Ariados (Spinarak) | Ālìduōsī (Xiànqiú)

    Overview

    It is somewhat uncommon for two subspecies of the same pokémon to coexist in the same range. There are forces that encourage specialization, namely the drive to fill every untaken niche, but the pokémon in an area usually continue to interbreed enough that the subspeciation process is slow. Population drift of distinct populations in different environments is the best way for it to happen.

    Ariados is the first pokémon discussed in this guide with two subspecies classified by the Department of Agriculture as having “significant populations” in the Commonwealth of Alola. These are commonly referred to outside of Alola as the Yangtze ariados and the Alolan ariados. Within Alola, the latter are just called “ariados” (spinarak as juveniles) and the former are referred to by their transliterated Chinese name, ālìduōsī (xiànqiú as juveniles). These names will be used for the duration of the article unless noted otherwise.

    The ancestors of ālìduōsī, now extinct, were smaller, nimbler and more aggressive than the current pokémon. Even while the humans in their range despised the spiders, they had to respect the sheer durability of their silk, which was capable of withstanding slashes from all but the sharpest ofbronze swords. Eventually, the Chinese domesticated the species. Anthropologists have yet to figure out exactly how the happened. The folklore revolves around a woman who was cursed to become a spider for infidelity, married a male of the species and served as a dutiful wife, and was then rewarded with humanity by the gods. However, she still loved her spider children and raised them as her own.

    Needless to say, this almost certainly did not literally happen. It is also about the most plausible explanation for how relatively intelligent and asocial man-eating spiders were tamed by humans with no reliable way of harming or containing them. No other culture managed to domesticate their local spider species, and several of them are less intimidating than the historical record suggests the proto-ālìduōsī were. The leading theory at present holds that the domestication was accomplished by keeping the first colonies faithfully watched by captive arcanine. However, there is no evidence of arcanine being domesticated for another five centuries after the earliest known ālìduōsī farm and, when they were domesticated, it was hundreds of kilometers away in upper Manchuria.

    For centuries, ālìduōsī silk was known and coveted as far away as the basins of the Congo and Thames rivers. Yet the spiders themselves never developed a long-term foothold outside of China, Taiwan, the Korean peninsula and the Japanese archipelago.

    Anthropologists and biologists have been divided over why this was when arcanine and eevee, other domesticated pokémon from China, ultimately found footholds around the world before the invention of the pokéball. Part of this is a deliberate policy decision by the Chinese empires not to export the production of their most valuable commodity. During the Han dynasty smuggling a ālìduōsī out of the country was one of the few crimes that not only the trafficker but their entire family was routinely executed for.

    Ālìduōsī also suffer from the fragility plaguing many domestic breeds crossbred and managed for hundreds or thousands of years. When compared to the tropical spider pokémon of South and Southeast Asia, ālìduōsī are slow and weak. Their main advantages lie in the strength of their silk and their cunning minds, but being slow-moving large targets without powerful venom makes them sitting ducks for birds or insectivores in tropical areas. Additionally, ālìduōsī prefer somewhat humid climates with lots of fast growing plants, particularly bamboo. This prevented their range from naturally expanding west. And Siberia is simply too cold for most large insect pokémon, save those with thick fur or special adaptations. The prevalence of talonflame in Europe likely prevented footholds from ever growing there as, even with guard pokémon, ālìduōsī would inevitably perish faster than natural reproduction would replace them. Colonies in the new world typically found themselves targeted and destroyed by local galvantula, which are larger, faster and deadlier than ālìduōsī and see other large spider pokémon as threats to their territory, even if they do not directly compete for resources.

    The first attempt to raise ālìduōsī on Alola occurred before first contact with Europeans and was apparently unsuccessful. However, some of the descendants of those ālìduōsī would later retreat to the dense jungles of Alola and become ariados.

    In the late 1800s, a British entrepreneur decided to try again. Using some ālìduōsī illegally smuggled from China, as well as some purchased from a desperate nobleman in Johto, he set up the first successful ālìduōsī plantation outside of East Asia. Alola’s climate meant that ālìduōsī have plenty to eat and never have to hibernate. The only other spider pokémon in Alola are aquatic and relatively docile or, in the case of ariados, generally tolerant of others of their species. Vikavolt were used to keep birds away from the plantation. After only two decades, Elisha Gage controlled no less than seven plantations across the islands and was well on his way to being the richest man in the archipelago. His political disputes with the king over taxation were the main impetus for U.S. intervention and the overthrow of the Alolan monarchy. Four plantations remain today near Malie city and, ironically, Castleton on Ula’Ula. Another two are located on smaller islands to the northwest of the Tapu Isles. Two are located around Melemele and one on Akala.

    Gage’s company, now known as Gracidea Clothiers, is a multibillion dollar corporation specializing in ālìduōsī silk products and luxury clothing. They have since expanded into jewelry, private security, restaurants, bottled water, wine, and real estate.

    (Full disclosure: Gracidea Clothiers is the second largest donor to the Alola Pokémon League, the publishers of this guidebook.)

    Physiology

    All evolutionary stages of ariados are classified as dual poison- and bug-type pokémon by the Department of Agriculture. All evolutionary stages of ālìduōsī are classified as pure bug-types. Neither designation is controversial.

    Spinarak are small arachnid pokémon with six legs and two body segments. Their legs are covered in uneven yellow and black stripes. The rest of their body is covered in a mottled green pattern. Most spinarak have features resembling two eyes and a mouth on the back of their body to ward off predators, although their mottled coloration sometimes obscures it. Spinarak produce and release silk from their larger rear segment. Despite common misconceptions, spinarak do not release silk from their anus or genitals. Instead, it is released from a series of nearby glands which each specialize in a specific type of silk. Spinarak’s smaller front segment contains the bulk of their central nervous system, although this also spreads into their hind segment and even their legs. The head segment also contains their mouth, venom sacs and eyes (unlike most spider pokémon, all subspecies and evolutionary stages of ariados only have one pair of eyes). Spinarak release venom from a stinger located just above their eyes. Spinarak venom is slow acting and primarily serves to weaken the target’s immune system and interfere with their circadian rhythm. The damage it deals is meant to be long-term.

    Xiànqiú are slightly larger and bulkier than spinarak. Their legs are proportionally shorter and, instead of a mottled coloration, they are very bright green with a clear face pattern on their back. Unlike spinarak, they are somewhat poisonous throughout their entire body but can only emit rather weak venom from their stinger. Xiànqiú are not particularly well equipped for hunting prey and rely mostly upon feedings from either humans or their mother to survive.

    Ariados have long, spindly legs with pale yellow and grey stripes. Ariados’ main body is covered in chaotic pale green and yellow patterns, often but not always with a distinct black face marking on its back. Like most arachnids, ariados have eight legs. However, one pair is very small and located near their silk glands to manipulate and cut their silk. Spinarak and xiànqiú have only four legs in the traditional position. All subspecies of ariados gain two more legs on their back which they use to grab branches above them or other points on their web, as well as defend themselves better against birds and other aerial attackers.

    Ariados have more pronounced mandibles and stingers than their juvenile form and their purple eyes are well known in Alola for glowing in the dark. Their venom is almost identical to that of spinarak, although their larger size allows them to possess more of it. Male ariados frequently grow up to 0.7 meters in length and 35 kilograms in mass, with females reaching lengths of 0.8 meters and masses of 40 kilograms

    Ālìduōsī are substantially larger than ariados. The females can reach lengths of up to 1.3 meters and masses of up to 100 kilograms. The smaller males only grow to around 1 meter in length and 80 kilograms in mass. Their coloring is also notably brighter, consisting of yellow and pink stripes and patterns throughout their body with a very distinct black face marking on their back. Their mandibles and stinger are larger still than ariados’ and colored pure white. These were both traits ancient farmers selected for aesthetic reasons and a warning to predators that they are quite deadly. This is something of a biological lie: while their juvenile form is still rather poisonous, the adults have roughly the same quantity of poison spread throughout a much larger body. It is speculated that their ancestors were, in fact, poisonous enough no bird would eat them and venomous enough to kill an adult human in less than a day. Farmers probably selected against both traits at some point, as the risk of getting killed by their livestock was more important than the risk of their livestock being killed by birds.

    Ariados silk is less easy to work with and color than ālìduōsī silk, but it is also far stickier. Ālìduōsī silk can be stronger than steel and lighter than almost all other cloths. Ariados silk is less durable and lightweight, but they produce more of it relative to their mass. The stickiness of the silk makes it better for snaring prey and worse for clothing humans. Ariados silk is also thinner than their domestic counterparts. This makes their webs more difficult to see.

    Ariados live up to two years in both the wild and captivity. Male ālìduōsī live up to three years in captivity and females live up to five years. No substantial wild population of ālìduōsī exists anywhere in the world.

    Behavior

    Wild spinarak old enough to have moved away from their mother’s web tend to stick to the canopy. They do not make proper webs, instead relying on small networks of tripwires to snare smaller bugs (pokémon and otherwise), young birds and small mammals and reptiles (mostly non-pokémon). The spinarak will drop more strands onto their prey from above or using their ability to shoot out strands a distance of up to fifty centimeters with reasonable accuracy. They will then either finish the prey off with their mandibles or, if it is too large to end in a single bite or too dangerous to get close to, they will stand motionless near their prey until it falls asleep, at which point they will either sting the prey or kill it.

    Ariados build elaborate webs spanning from the ground to the canopy. Their webs contain three distinct regions. The first is a dense “house” compartment that the ariados sleeps in during the day to avoid predators that could pick them off their web. The second is a typical spiderweb in the canopy spanning from branch to branch. This is used to capture birds and small creatures who unwittingly crash into it. The ariados will typically approach them from behind and either finish them off immediately or sting them to slow and sedate their prey so it doesn’t damage the web or alert other pokémon. The ariados will then eat the prey when it is hungry.

    The third portion of an ariados web is a series of thin tripwires spread out near the forest floor. These wires are attached to spools higher up in the web that can contain up to a kilometer of thread each. Once a creature snags itself on one of the threads, it will likely continue moving on none the wiser until it reaches its nest or resting spot. The ariados will then stalk the forest floor at night, following the thread until it reaches not only their sleeping prey but likely their entire family. If the prey are too large, powerful or numerous to take on in one sitting, the ariados will simply craft a web around the den and wait, occasionally landing stings or bites when it is safe to do so. Eventually the prey will die from infection or starvation, or at least fall into a deep enough sleep from the venom’s effects that the ariados is comfortable killing them. Ariados can sometimes consume quantities above their body weight over the course of a week from these feasts.

    While ariados and ālìduōsī can drink water, and often will in captivity, they are also quite capable of subsisting only off of their prey’s bodily fluids.

    Ālìduōsī build elaborate structure more closely resembling a bird’s nest than a spider’s web. They prefer to find several nearby trees or bamboo poles and weave the structure between them, suspended entirely in midair. The exact form of it seems to be learned from the spider’s mother and other nearby spiders rather than being an instinctual habit. For reasons unknown, ālìduōsī abandon their webs about once every six months and find a nearby location suitable for creating a new one. If their web is destroyed or severely damaged they will often abandon their current site prematurely. This is when their silk is harvested in captivity.

    Ālìduōsī do not actively hunt in captivity, but they will eat anything that lands in their web. Recently abandoned ālìduōsī in the wild have been observed scavenging nearby kills at night and retreating to their nest in the day.

    Something many people find offputting about both subspecies is how friendly they are towards people. Both will seldom attack, much less kill, humans. Ālìduōsī and captive-raised ariados will often seek out and approach humans who enter their territory, especially at night, to greet them and maybe beg for food. Some wild born ariados that have never had a trainer have also been observed doing this. Captive-born spinarak will happily climb all over their trainer and other familiar humans. Xiànqiú are more cowardly and are frequently under their mother’s watchful eye, but if they feel safe they sometimes will. Ariados have been known to attempt this but, given their large size, they usually fail and knock their trainer over. They then scurry away and hide out of either embarrassment or fear of retaliation.

    Husbandry

    All stages of the ariados line are carnivores, although they sometimes will not reject plant-based treats. They can be fed pre-prepared food mixes such as dog, cat or insectivore food. Meat intended for human consumption, either cooked or raw, is also good. It is best to vary an ariados’ diet over time. Food should be used as a reward for good behavior to help tame them, especially if the spider was captured as an ariados. Placing food around the environment and making the ariados hunt for it is also good for their mental well-being and prevents them from becoming entirely sedentary.

    In the wild, ariados avoid defecating near their web as the scent alerts some prey species to the presence of spiders. Instead the ariados leaves their web at night and walks up to three kilometers away (although usually no more than one, especially if they have young) to relieve themselves. If the ariados is a mother with young, she will bring the entire colony along either on her stomach, her back or trailing behind her, depending upon the spinaraks’ age. It is remarkably easy to train ariados to defecate outside in captivity. This is also a chance for exercise, especially if the walk goes on somewhat longer than is strictly necessary. Ariados are very fond of long night walks and can be taught to hold a leash on one of their back legs.

    Ariados will attempt to build webs almost anywhere they go. These can be difficult to clean up, even with special web dissolving fluids (which can be rather expensive). It is best to keep ariados in their pokéball when staying in an indoor space you don’t own, or an outdoor space where you aren’t allowed to leave webs (check the rules or ask the owner everywhere you camp).

    Ariados don’t mind their pokéballs in the day; spinarak prefer them. Ariados also don’t mind their pokéballs at night so long as they are also allowed a walk and given food as bribery.

    Ālìduōsī and xiànqiú are generally calmer and lower maintenance. The exact diet they are fed in captivity is a trade secret, but it is known that they are omnivorous and that the plants in their diet are the key to the texture and quality of their silk. They seldom leave their webs but will defecate in a nearby receptacle. To learn more information, visit the Ālìduōsī Museum on Melemele Island near Plantation Point.

    Neither species hibernates in Alola due to the warm temperatures. If the ariados is taken out of the Commonwealth during the winter or late fall, they may attempt to do so. This is a perfectly natural behavior. Consult a more specialized guide on insect hibernation for more details.

    Illness

    Insect diseases, especially parasitic diseases, are notably difficult to cure as much of modern medicine revolves around killing insects and other simple creatures. Due to their relationship to ālìduōsī, ariados diseases have some chance of being curable by at least one veterinarian in Alola’s larger cities. The most common symptoms of disease are red patches appearing behind the ariados’ stinger, the ariados obsessively scratching some portion of its body, refusing food for more than three days, defects in their slik, an abrupt change in fecal color or consistency without a corresponding change in diet, or an abrupt change in temperament. If an ariados in Alola attempts to hibernate by retreating for a long period into a secluded, dark area that is not their own web, that could also be a sign of illness.

    Consult a veterinarian as soon as any of these symptoms are observed.

    Evolution

    Spinarak grow to their full size over the course of roughly eight months for males and ten for females. There are no particularly rapid growth spurts or other abrupt changes involved in the transition. The formal demarcation line between spinarak and ariados is when their back legs grow long enough to touch each other.

    Ālìduōsī grow to full size from xiànqiú in roughly six months. The formal demarcation line of evolution is the same as it is for spinarak and ariados.

    Battle

    Ālìduōsī are far more valuable as livestock than battlers and no one has ever seriously used one in a major competitive circuit. When they must defend themselves from battles they use their hooked and somewhat pointed legs, especially the ones on their back, to defend themselves. They mostly avoid combat by staying inside of their tough, sticky webs.

    Spinarak and ariados suffer in battling from being ambush predators. In the wild the success or failure of their hunts is usually determined before the prey even knows the predator is there. They are not particularly bulky and their mandible strength, and even the strength of their venom, is nothing special for a pokémon. Ariados have a very tiny niche in competitive battling as laying the strongest webs and being able to project them up to a meter or two when well trained. If ariados were fast enough to dodge hits and weave around the battlefield to reduce their opponent’s mobility, as galvantula can, they might be useful. The same would be true if they were bulky enough to move unimpeded regardless of what their opponent did to stop them. As neither is the case for ariados, their use on the circuits has been almost entirely confined to rising bug trainers who haven’t had the time, money or experience to train something better suited for competitive battling.

    The headstone ariados has seen some usage in the few leagues where they are allowed. Their venom is one of the most painful and debilitating of any pokémon and they’re decently fast, which makes them an excellent wallbreaker against stall teams with bulky but weak pokémon. However, their venom’s potency has led to them being banned virtually everywhere. The notable exceptions are their native Johto and Kanto (where they are traditional), Australia (everyone carries at least three venom counters per team in the Uluru Conference and Pacific Invitational Tournament), and some of the less established or regulated leagues (kills are an accepted part of the game).

    On the island challenge, where most opponents won’t hit quite so hard, ariados can still be useful. They are best used not as attackers in their own right but as web layers that create traps around the battlefield until they can no longer safely continue. Ariados silk is quite flammable unless chemically treated after production, but it is very durable and sticky. This makes it difficult for opponents to remove without a fire-type, and in a fair few arenas lighting the battlefield on fire creates more trouble than it’s worth. Of course, this will also slow down your own team members. But they can be trained to navigate around the silk lines. Your opponent will likely have no such training. Be mindful that this does not particularly hinder most birds or pokémon that would never land on the battlefield anyway. More than one bug trainer has made the mistake of laying down ariados webs just to find out that it makes it even easier for an opponent with a bird to sweep them.

    Acquisition

    Spinarak can be captured, adopted or purchased with a Class I license. They are most commonly found in the forests of Melemele around Route 1. They can also be found in Alolan Rainforests National Preserve on Akala Island and the areas around Malie City, including The Malie Gardens. Ariados can be captured, adopted or purchased with a Class II license. They are found in the same locations as spinarak.

    To obtain a xiànqiú and ālìduōsī, you must have a Class V license, specialized training and a permit which requires a federal background check and security clearance. They are treated as resources vital to national security and their ownership is heavily guarded as such. Their high classification is not due to the difficulty of caring for or taming them; kabutops are more difficult on both fronts and only require a Class IV license and a specialized permit for formerly extinct species.

    Breeding

    Two ariados that cross paths during breeding season (early spring) will engage in a courtship ritual consisting of a mock fight, displaying their webs to each other and the male presenting his prospective mate with food. Should his efforts be successful, the female will take him back to her nest and mate with him. She will later lay her eggs into a special cavity located just behind the legs on his back. As the spinarak are born they will emerge from their eggs slightly larger than a quarter in diameter. They will eat the lining of the cavity for nutrition and, eventually, the rest of their father’s body. Once there is almost nothing left to consume they will join their mother. Spinarak stay with their mother until they are roughly five months of age and roughly twenty-five centimeters long. At this point they will leave their nest and wander the canopies until they evolve and begin forming a more permanent web. The female ariados will usually die of natural causes shortly after her offspring set off on their own.

    Ariados are often reluctant to breed in captivity. They will only do so if two ariados have been given large, permanent spaces to build webs in and are both well-fed. The process is much the same, including the cannibalism of the male. Female ariados will often refuse to have anything to do with their trainer while caring for their young beyond the acceptance of food. For these reasons, it is best to leave ariados breeding to wild populations and dedicated bug specialists used to dealing with gruesome deaths and moody insects.

    Ālìduōsī breeding is a trade and state secret revealed by Gracidea Clothiers or the Untied States government on a need-to-know basis.

    Subspecies

    Aside from the Yangtze and Alolan ariados, only three other subspecies have been documented.

    Two are native to central Japan. The Johtonian ariados more closely resembles the Yangtze ariados than the Alolan one in size and coloration. They are both poisonous and venomous and function primarily as ambush predators that eat anything unfortunate enough to collide with their relatively thin and translucent web. They do not sleep or rest on their web and prefer to wait in the nearby canopy to maximize the chances something accidentally sticks themselves in their trap.

    The headstone ariados is a domestic breed created from the Johtonian ariados (itself created from feral Yangtze ariados). They have far more potent venom than any other subspecies but die shortly after stinging an opponent. The headstone ariados is the smallest of all subspecies, with females only growing up to 0.5 meters. They were bred and maintained by secretive clans of assassins to quietly dispatch enemies in a reliable and reliably painful manner. Spinarak are both rather easy to train and quite small, making it easy for them to infiltrate even highly guarded structures and sting their prey before crawling a short distance to die in a hidden place. There is an antivenom for the headstone ariados but the clan that domesticated them refused to give up the recipe, even under heavy international pressure following the death of the Kalosian Prime Minister to a headstone ariados sting on a visit to Saffron City.

    An antivenom has since been independently created by researchers in Australia. With their preferred weapon suddenly blunted, the remnants of the headstone clans as well (as their modern successors, the Yakuza and Team Rocket) have begun selling headstone ariados to collectors, researchers and foreign governments for a hefty price.

    The third subspecies is native to the forests of northeastern Australia. They are the descendants of another early attempt to breed the Yangtze Ariados on Pacific Islands, after substantial crossbreeding with local insect and spider species. The Queensland ariados are classified as dual bug- and ground- types and build their webs on the forest floor alongside an elaborate system of hidden pits and trapdoors. Unlike the Johtonian and Alolan ariados, they will happily eat any humans that fall into their traps. Their reluctance to go above the earth’s surface makes them difficult prey for birds, but native and introduced fire types such as pyrotreemata and heatmor are quite happy to burn their nests and eat them as they flee.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2018
  15. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Lopunny (Buneary)

    Overview

    Lopunny is a domesticated descendant of European diggersby. It is believed that they were first domesticated in what is now Germany and were, at least originally, much bulkier and not nearly as cute. But generations of selective breeding produced several different breeds of rabbit pokémon. Lopunny is by far the lithest of the diggersby descendants. They were selectively bred, originally by serfs and commoners for the quality of their fur and utility in defending the home.

    Lopunny reliably shed and their fur is very warm when fashioned into a coat. Of course, in the old days few people bothered to work with the shed hair. Instead they were killed and eaten during harsh winters to provide both meat and pelts. Pokémon rights movements during The Enlightenment often targeted this practice both due to the death of a pokémon involved and, if only subconsciously, its association with the lower classes. This resulted in the passing of bans or restrictions upon lopunny care by several European monarchs and nobles (as well as the English parliament). The Kalosian Revolutionaries used the ban there as one of their arguments against the monarch at the time.

    In a somewhat ironic twist lopunny were most popular with nobles and businessmen during the 19th century due to their use in pokémon battling (which was becoming a popular sport after the creation of the first mass-produced apricorn ball in 1791) as well as the quality of their fur. As the use of pelts taken from a live lopunny was banned, a handful of artisans began to experiment with making coats from shed fur. The result became a form of conspicuous consumption and a lopunny a symbol of wealth. The landed gentry of Europe largely scoffed at the coats as the vulgar business class showing off.

    Then Hollywood happened.

    Many early film stars were fond of wearing their coats both on and off-screen. And as the influence of American cinema grew, so did the popularity of the coats. And as the popularity of the coats grew, more farms started raising lopunny and serious effort was put into finding a way to mass produce lopunny fur coats. By the 1960s and 1970s lopunny coats and ownership became, in the Western world, a common fashion item. Outside of Europe and North America, they became an easy shorthand for association with Western media and ideals.

    Lopunny almost never grow their proper winter coat in Alola, but the association has still made them popular among a strange mix of businessmen, youth and recent migrants from the mainland. As a result they can be easily obtained from pet shops and small feral herds descended from escaped or released pets. They are tame, pretty and surprisingly fierce in battle.

    Of course, being the mascot of American media imperialism also leads to associations with military and economic imperialism. This makes their popularity in Alola, and most of the developing world, somewhat limited. The collapse of global communism has also made fewer people insistent upon flaunting their capitalist ideology. As such there are far fewer lopunny on Alola than there used to be.

    Physiology

    Buneary and lopunny are both classified as pure normal-types. The challenges to this designation are mostly from a taxonomical school that argues domestic breeds should retain the typing of their wild counterparts. Mega lopunny is recognized as a dual normal- and fighting-type. This designation also has some opposition from purists who argue that mega evolutions cannot undergo a type change, but this school of thought has substantially diminished in influence over the years as mega evolution becomes more widely studied.

    Buneary are bipeds with two layers of fur. One is cream colored and very fluffy. This coats their bottom half as well as the tips of their ears. The other layer is dark brown and covers the majority of their upper half. They have two dots of cream colored fur over their eyes resembling eyebrows. The purpose of these is unknown. Buneary ears can reach lengths of up to one-half the rest of their body length. These ears do contain muscles, however they are nowhere as powerful as their equivalent stage in the diggersby line. For the most part they are used for emergency self-defense and balance with their arms and legs (or, more typically, their parents’ arms and legs) doing the heavy lifting. Because of the musculature of their ears their hearing is somewhat less adept than you might expect. It is still far greater than human hearing, but most canines can hear over a wider range of sounds as well as fainter or more distant ones.

    Lopunny are more slender than their juvenile form and the positioning of their fur layers is less even and predictable. Lopunny usually have cream fur beneath the knee, around their arms and across most of their ears. The eyebrow spots on buneary become large crests by the ears that can be up to 20 centimeters long.

    Lopunny have proportionally longer leg, arms and ears with stronger muscles in all of them. However, due to centuries of selective breeding and the inbreeding that accompanies it, they have somewhat fragile bones. Lopunny heal faster than most mammalian pokémon but their relative frailty means that they seldom pick fights and prefer to pull their punches whenever it is safe to do so (see Mega Evolution).

    At various times in the year, buneary and lopunny have different fur layer configurations. During the winter and in colder climates they have more of the cream fur. In the summer they shed almost all of the cream fur and grow an entirely brown coat. In Alola lopunny tend to keep roughly the same configuration year-round (something similar to the one described above). They still shed once a year, typically in early spring, and have a very thin brown coat for roughly one week until the thicker brown parts come back. Their coat is back to normal within three weeks.

    Lopunny grow up to 1.3 meters tall (with ears pointed straight down after the bend). They can weigh up to 70 pounds. They live up to eight years in captivity, although the life expectancy for feral lopunny is almost surely less. As of this edition’s publication, there have been no good studies on feral lopunny lifespan in the Alola region to back this up.

    Behavior

    Lopunny are herbivores and feral colonies tend to live in lightly forested areas near meadows. They use the trees for cover at night and leave to graze in the meadow during the day. One or more lopunny will always be standing sentry while the others eat to keep an eye and ear out for birds. When birds do try to take a lopunny they often discover how hard they can hit when their life is on the line and, should they survive, never attempt it again. The sentry duty appears to serve primarily to deter new migrants to Alola and to appease their nerves.

    Lopunny are very nervous creatures in the wild and have been observed moving in and out of panic attacks every few hours when in a group of fewer than five lopunny. In captivity they seldom have this problem and actually have a reputation for being one of the gentlest and calmest of the small normal-types. Having either a permanent home with a roof to retreat to or much larger creatures looking after them probably helps on this front.

    Lopunny sleep at night huddled together, even during the warmest summer nights. At least one is always awake. They sleep in shifts to relieve the night sentry. In captivity lopunny allowed to sleep near their trainer or larger pokémon tend to sleep through the night.

    Like many other pokémon with fluffy white fur (ninetales, furfrou, cincinno) lopunny are somewhat obsessive with their grooming and can spend up to two hours a day maintaining their fur. They will allow trusted humans to groom them, although usually only in the form of petting or light brushing. A lopunny will almost never allow a torracat or incineroar to groom them although it has been observed in captivity. A wild incineroar lived with an adopted buneary (later lopunny) in Poni National Park for several years and the lopunny did allow his adopted parents to groom him. These are somewhat odd cases.

    Husbandry

    Lopunny are easy-going pets that mostly take care of themselves. They also enjoy being around their trainer for most of the day. This gives them a reputation as a very good pokémon for young children or inexperienced trainers, something the authors of this book generally agree with. There are still a few care guidelines to keep in mind.

    As herbivores, lopunny require a mix of plants fed to them several times a day. The ideal diet for their health is a mix of oats and hay. These are most commonly sold in very large packs for farm pokémon but smaller lopunny-specific packs do exist in specialty pokémon supply stores or some larger Pokémon Centers. It is best to mix in some leafy green pokémon mixes. Lopunny adore clover and it can be a very effective treat or reward.

    While a lopunny is shedding they should be provided with a safe, enclosed place and seldom disturbed. They seem to be self-conscious during this period and hate being seen by their trainer or other pokémon, especially by mammals with strict grooming regimens.

    Lopunny very seldom bathe in water but may sometimes elect to do so. They should never be forced into this because, even if they have been bathed before, they may interpret it as a threat and lash out. An adult lopunny is strong enough to crack human bones if they aren’t holding back.

    While it is less obvious than with a diggersby or raticate, lopunny still need to be provided with logs or other hard objects to gnaw on to keep their teeth in check. If their teeth are frequently visible when the lopunny is not eating, this should be taken as a sign that they need to gnaw. Lopunny should also periodically be given scratching posts for their nails. Otherwise they will scratch furniture.

    Lopunny are intelligent enough to understand several words and verbal commands. While not strictly hierarchal in the wild they are rather easy to tame so long as a trainer is providing a safe place, cuddles and food. They can be trained to use a litter mat or box. They prefer to live inside full time but, provided they have a cage to retreat into, they can live in backyards.

    Never grab a lopunny too quickly or wake up a sleeping lopunny by touch as they may lash out.

    Lopunny are sometimes nervous around new carnivores or birds. Never leave them alone with even a very tame pokémon in these categories until they have been given a few weeks to acclimate to each other.

    Lopunny sleep through most of the night and still take several hours worth of naps during the day. Buneary are more active but still somewhat lethargic. They prefer to sleep while cuddled against their trainer or a trusted, fluffy pokémon. If this is not possible, withdraw them into their pokeball.

    Illness

    The most common problem for pet lopunny, aside from overgrown teeth (which is quite easily prevented), are hairballs. Lopunny are unable to vomit up hair they consume while grooming and it can mat in their stomach and block up their digestive system. Medication or even surgery are usually needed to deal with this.

    Battling lopunny often break their bones. They heal well enough that with a simple splint and either time inside of a healing machine or heal ball, or a long rest outside of one, the bone will usually be restored. It will break again more easily in the future. Lopunny should be retired from battling after a few serious breaks and allowed to live out the rest of their life as either a backyard or house pet. If this is not possible they should be put up for adoption.

    Evolution

    Buneary naturally grow up into lopunny over the course of roughly fifteen months. The formal demarcation line between buneary and lopunny is the growth of cream fur around their forepaws.

    Mega Evolution

    Mega lopunny are roughly the same height as normal lopunny and the few centimeters of growth observed can be attributed to changes in posture. Lopunny undergo relatively few physical changes at all when they evolve. The most notable change is the transformation of their ears from large, muscular pseudo-limbs into long whip-like instruments that are no longer either prehensile or useful for hearing. Lopunny lose their cream coat and gain a very thin brown- and black-patterned coat across their entire body.

    The difference in speed and strength observed comes from psychological changes. Mega lopunny are unable to either feel pain or care about injuries, including self-inflicted ones. This gives them the ability to exert far more force than even a truly desperate baseline lopunny would. This makes them incredibly dangerous offensive opponents, but also some of the most fragile pokémon commonly used in the international battling scene. Mega evolution of a lopunny requires a Class V license and a one month cool down period with no battling whatsoever between uses in combat.

    Battle

    As mentioned above, mega lopunny are one of the best examples of the glass cannon archetype in competitive battling. They enjoy widespread use in the European, American, Australian and international circuits. In the United States they are one of the most useful mega evolutions that is not banned in most circuits and, even if they’re fragile, they breed and grow quickly enough to be considered replaceable. In battle they rely upon powerful kicks and strikes from their whip-like ears. They can outspeed some of the large dragons and beat all but the most powerful of physical walls into submission. However, one good hit is usually enough to take them out of the fight.

    Normal lopunny enjoy far less usage. Their power and ease of care gives them some use among relatively new trainers but their fragility and frankly unexceptional power and speed prevents them from gaining widespread usage.

    All of that is true. It’s also true that on the island challenge where hard hitters are comparatively rare until the (optional) Elite Four and Champion battles, lopunny’s fraility usually isn’t a massive problem. They are also easy to raise before and after starting the challenge and have become a common non-traditional starter. They are powerful enough to reach the fourth island trials without many difficulties, although the very last few steps might cause them some trouble.

    Lopunny fight primarily through simple kicks. As normal-types they are capable of learning a fair few elemental attacks through TMs and special training, but their energy reserves aren’t really deep enough for their projectile attacks to do much more than sting. Their fighting style is basic and easy to teach, but it’s also quite effective against most opponents.

    Very durable physical walls and most birds counter lopunny. A handful of pokémon that hit fast and very hard can also take them out in one hit, but these are somewhat rare on the island challenge.

    Buneary fight in much the same way as lopunny but with less power (and faster healing). Their ears are proportionally stronger relative to their legs and arms which makes attacks utilizing them a decent option for early battles.

    Acquisition

    There are feral lopunny herds on Route 1 and in Poni Island National Park. Capture from both herds is permitted without restriction and requires a Class I license for buneary and a Class II license for lopunny.

    It is easier to just adopt them from the many shelters that have excess buneary and lopunny or buy them from breeders who specialize in them. The licensing requirements for adoption and purchase are the same as those for capture. One caveat: many shelter lopunny are retired battlers. They can be useful for training other team members but they should not be used on the island challenge due to their fragile health.

    Breeding

    Lopunny mate during the late winter and females give birth to a litter of three to five buneary in the early spring. They will stick very closely to their parents for the next seven months and stay near them until or after their evolution. It is not particularly hard to breed lopunny in captivity. Put an unrelated male and a female together for long enough and they will mate. Don’t try and separate parents from children for six months as this is a good way to wind up with an upset lopunny, which usually means at least one broken bone in either you or the pokémon.

    Subspecies

    There are a handful of different breeds of domesticated diggersby, as well as diggersby themselves. The latter is technically considered a different pokémon rather than a subspecies or breed and will be excluded here. Most lopunny breeds vary primarily in the thickness and color of their hair, their body size or how slender or bulky they are. They possess few substantial dietary, typing or anatomical differences. Most are entirely used in agriculture for either fur or meat. Consult a specialist guide or a breeder (many breeders around Paniola raise lopunny as either their primary species or a secondary one) for more information.
     
  16. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Malamar (Inkay)

    Overview

    The ocean floor comprises roughly 70% of the Earth’s surface and humans have visited less than 1% of it in person and only surveyed roughly 5% of it with unmanned research vessels. What we know of its life comes entirely from these tiny glimpses of areas that are usually selected because they are geologically interesting. Most of what we know about life in the abyssalplelagic zone of the ocean comes from trawls which naturally select for slow and stationary creatures in and around the very bottom layer.

    But we get a glimpse of what life is like far beneath the surface every single night. The largest migration on Earth (measured by both biomass and number of organisms) occurs not in the skies or on the plains, but in the sea.

    Sunlight is the source of most of the ocean’s bioenergy, with the remainder coming from chemosynthesis around a small number of hydrothermal vents. Photosynthesis is only viable where there is light and light is only present in a small portion of the ocean’s volume. But light can mean death. The abundant phytoplankton lead to an equal if not larger number of zooplankton to feed on them, which are in turn fed upon by everything from minnows to ship-sized behemoths. And those creatures also have predators. The surface has almost all of the food, but it also has almost all of the predators. What, then is a small oceanic creature to do?

    The answer for many is to live in the ocean’s suburbs, the zone just beneath the light, during the day. And at every sunset those creatures rise to feed on the resting organisms or phytoplankton at the surface. And every sunrise they slink back down to the depths as the residents wake up.

    Malamar are a deep sea enigma that have never been captured or even seen alive in the depths and very seldom appear on the surface. The only proof of their existence comes from deep scars on surfacing wailord, bloated corpses washing up on beaches and inkay raised and evolved in captivity (as will be noted below, these captive-raised malamar are not particularly useful for research purposes).

    By contrast, inkay are plentiful enough on the surface to be a reliable draw for tourists across their range. During the night, that is. Inkay are almost never seen during the day as they sleep down in the depths.

    Malamar are more difficult to care for than any pokémon discussed before in this guidebook but they’re powerful hypnotists capable of dishing out some of the hardest hits of any predator. Trainers looking for a husbandry challenge with high rewards can hardly do better than training an inkay.

    Physiology

    All evolutionary stages of the line are currently classified by the Department of Agriculture as dual psychic- and dark-types. The dark typing is heavily disputed. The top contenders for a secondary typing are water due to their habitat and use of water pulses for propulsion, bug due to their anatomy, and flying due to their ability to levitate above the surface and use of air for propulsion. Malamar are exceptionally difficult for psychics to interface with, much less read or control. Proponents of the dark typing hold this as evidence of it. Opponents believe that either they are technically dark-type but another type fits much better so, due to the prevailing rule against triple typing, it should hold. The other argument against is that other creatures that are far different from humans are also extremely difficult to interface with and there are no serious pushes for them to receive typings. Extraterrestrial organisms such as ledian and minior, invertebrates such as reuniclus (assuming it is not also extraterrestrial in origin—consult a mainland pokédex or a guide on extraterrestrial pokémon for more information), and revived invertebrates such as kabutops and omastar are all very difficult to interface with and are not given a dark-typing.

    Inkay are very similar to surface cephalopod pokémon such as octillery and tentacruel in physiology. Inkay’s body is composed of two core parts. The first is made up of a translucent, white, hat-like bulb on their head. Pink flesh is visible through the head containing four yellow dots spaced at equal intervals Two long tentacles that extend slightly beyond their lower tentacles reach down from the headpiece. The headpiece itself contains an elaborate system of chambers for water, air and other fluids and gasses that is used to raise inkay to the surface and lower them back down to the depths.

    The rest of their body is colored a dark blue. It terminates in six short tentacles that have been described as looking like a skirt when they are held close together. Inkay have two complex eyes on their face with a small pink feature between them. This, contrary to popular belief, is not an inkay’s beak. They do not eat from it and instead use it to ward off predators who might attack the eyes and use it to push or suck in water to aid with horizontal movement. The inkay’s real beak is hidden amidst their tentacles. It is roughly half as long as the tentacles themselves. Near it are three valves they use for filtering water, releasing waste and propulsion. Inkay found near the surface typically reach up to

    The tentacled portion of malamar is nearly identical, although it is somewhat larger and a darker of blue on the outside (the inner bits near the beak stay roughly the same shade). They also gain an additional two tentacles. Malamar’s headpiece grows far larger until it is roughly 1.5 times as long as the bottom tentacles fully extended. The inner pink flesh becomes a dark, nearly black, shade of purple and malamar gains two more lights, stacked in three rows of two. These lights are visible from any angle. Two ridges on the top of an inkay’s head grow into functional legs. It is unclear what the purpose of these legs are in the deep but they are used to balance on land on the surface. Malamar’s two arm tentacles grow to lengths exceeding the rest of their body combined and can be held down to form two more legs or arms when on land or extended towards their beak in the water to form powerful weapons for defense and offense. Their arms are tipped with axe-like blades sharp enough to seriously wound a wailord by either creating an infected cut or puncturing their air bladders.

    Inkay and malamar light are used to create elaborate patterns. These are used for communication between members of the species, to calm down predators with hypnotic patterns or to transfix prey long enough to be slashed open and eaten. These light patterns work on most pokémon and animals, including humans. Most of malamar’s carapace is composed of tissue that forms their nervous system and they are highly intelligent creatures capable of figuring out complex puzzles in seconds. They also possess telekinetic capabilities. Whether or not they have pure telepathy or just use their light patterns for hypnosis (or if there’s a meaningful difference at all) is disputed.

    Malamar are sexually dimorphic and their maximum size varies widely between captive and wild specimens. All measurements given below are from the tip of the carapace to the end of the last blue tentacle. Captive females grow up to 2 meters and captive males grow up to roughly 1.7 meters. Wild females can grow up to 8 meters and males can grow up to 6 meters. Captive malamar can live up to five years. Evidence suggests that wild malamar do not live much, if any, longer.

    Behavior

    It isn’t terribly clear what wild inkay are up to during their daily rest. They chafe at and can usually deconstruct or detach tracking devices and when injected their behavior appears to be altered considerably for a few days. On the surface they tend to swim in troupes of roughly twenty inkay. They form a grid where the closest inkay is roughly ten meters away from the next one. They move in close synchronization while flashing their lights to confuse and captivate predators and prey alike. Genetic testing suggests members of a troupe are all siblings.

    Inkay are capable of levitating over the water and, apparently, surviving in moist air for up to five hours at a time. They are well known for the mid-air flips they constantly perform while moving. It is unclear whether or not these are accidental, intentional with a clear biological purpose, or just part of their naturally curious nature.

    Linking the above paragraphs, inkay are intensely clever and often distracted by new and interesting environments or puzzles. This holds true for wild inkay who will sometimes put themselves in possible danger to investigate something of interest to them. They consider machines of interest and, given that their lights attract tourists to come up to troupes, they are often killed by boat propellers.

    Inkay primarily hunt fish (both pokémon and non-pokémon). Wishiwashi are a favorite of theirs in Alola and they are one of the few natural predators of wishiwashi. They can get away with picking on individuals without facing the wrath of the collective because their lights make the level of coordination necessary to school nearly impossible.

    No one knows exactly what depths malamar frequent or what their wild diet is. It is assumed from captive specimens that they eat large sea pokémon and non-pokémon fish but this has never been confirmed in the wild. Attempts to release captive malamar to observe their behavior in the wild tend to go poorly. They tear off mechanical trackers quickly, almost never return to their trainers, and malamar with inobtrusive trackers inside of them (that they don’t manage to get out anyway) appear to die shortly after release. The leading theory is that malamar are somewhat social creatures in the wild who teach vital skills to other malamar.

    Wild malamar almost never surface. Captive malamar can and do stand on their main tentacles and the expanded carapace ridges and are capable of levitating a few centimeters off the ground and surviving in air for several hours. Notably, their air sacs and carapace ridges appear to be proportionally larger and stronger than their wild counterparts. It might be physiologically impossible for a wild malamar to stand, float or survive on land.

    Husbandry

    Inkay require a seafood diet. They aren’t very picky at all on what they eat and are fine with crustacean meat (crustaceans with the shells still attached double as a toy), fish, mussels and even the flesh of other cephalopods. There is some evidence that wild malamar engage in cannibalism but this has only been documented in very cramped aquariums or between very underfed malamar in captivity. Inkay prefer fresh seafood to pellets and mixes but will eat those in a pinch.

    Inkay should be kept in saltwater about as often as they are kept outside of it. Some pokéballs can meet this requirement. Consult a specialty pokéball or fish supplies store for more details.

    Inkay are incredibly intelligent creatures and will require either frequent access to toys or an equally intelligent playmate. They appear to be motivated by curiosity alone and the presence or absence of food at the end of the puzzle doesn’t seem to affect their willingness to solve it. On the flip side, inkay in aquaria are incredibly gifted escape artists and their nimble tentacles and telekinesis allow them to frequently break ut of supposedly unescapable cages. Inkay are capable of contorting their body to fit through any space bigger than their beak. In an aquarium in Kalos an inkay was filmed waiting for a security guard to pass by and then swimming through the filtration system into the adjacent fish tank, eating the fish inside and then moving back to her own tank when it was time for the next security sweep. They are capable of learning rules but they tend to see rules as a constraint that they want to get around for the pure joy of bypassing it without getting caught. This makes inkay impossible to tame and difficult to keep in line. The best solution is generally to continuously present them with new and interesting environments or highly intelligent playmates. Brionne are very good for this purpose, as are slowking and oranguru. The latter two have much less energy than an inkay which can sometimes become a problem.

    Inkay are not particularly cuddly. When they do run their tentacles over a trainer it is often in either an attempt to steal something, to apologize if they get caught breaking the rules (they quickly learn that humans enjoy physical affection and will become more lenient when happy), or to figure out their trainer’s anatomy, which is an interesting puzzle.

    Inkay are most active at night in and out of aquaria. In community tanks, especially those with large pokémon, inkay tend to seek shelter for the entire day and then come out at night.

    Inkay can be housetrained but this is a rule they will often seek to break. Their waste is a stream of dark liquid.

    Malamar are often best approached on a case by case basis or not raised at all for all but the most experienced of trainers and public aquariums. Inkay tend to have similar personalities to each other and relatively few personality quirks per inkay. Malamar are moody and wildly different from each other in temperament and behavior. They tend to hide during the day in public aquariums and then prey upon other tankmates at night even if food is very explicitly provided for them, except when they are given more food than they could possibly eat and it can only be accessed through a very challenging puzzle. They are also fiercely territorial over their preferred corner of the tank and will seldom leave it except to hunt. Curiously, captive malamar seem to ignore each other entirely even if they were in the same troupe in the wild and raised together in captivity.

    Malamar are easily bored by humans and will often seek comeuppance against the people who control or restrict them. This usually takes the form of hypnosis. Inkay will almost never hypnotize a human unless they believe themselves to be at immediate risk. Malamar have no such compulsions. When training a malamar it is very important to have frequent therapy sessions, ideally with a telepath, and keep a diary several times a day on your emotional state and the subject of your thoughts. Malamar brainwashing tends to be accompanied by a general boost in mood, a detachment from other humans and pokémon and a mild obsession with obtaining fish. Some malamar trainers become obsessed with battles and competition; others abruptly come to resent them. Malamar training is really best left to public aquaria, psychics capable of recognizing telepathic assault, and trainers formidable enough to earn their malamar’s respect.

    See Evolution for more details on what to do when your inkay approaches evolution.

    Illness

    The most common illness for inkay is that they dry out. This happens when their water sac runs low. This can be fixed if they are quickly submerged in salt water and allowed to stay there until they float out on their own. The symptoms for this include drastically lowered activity, apathetic attitude and a refusal to eat. A substantial increase or decrease in the frequency or volume of their waste releases should also be noted. For any symptom other than those with obvious causes, dehydration should be assumed.

    If hydration does not solve the problem, consult a veterinarian.

    Evolution

    Inkay tend to evolve around their third birthday, although the amount of battling they partake in can move this back or forward. It is suspected that the actual catalyst for their evolution is reaching a threshold of telepathic activity across their lifetime.

    Inkay tend to become lethargic and eat far more when they approach evolution. They will also all but stop releasing waste. This should be the point where trainers who do not want to deal with a malamar (or do not have the credentials to do so) should release them back into the ocean. Inkay in the wild evolve by swimming deep beneath the surface and never reemerging. In public aquariums they usually seek out either the deepest or most protected spot in the aquarium and stay absolutely still for days on end as they grow and change. The water pressure and available light both appear to affect the amount of time it takes to evolve and the size they grow to.

    Trainers who wish to evolve their inkay and then keep the malamar, and have the proper licensing to do so, should work out an arrangement with a local zoo, aquarium or rehabilitation center to loan you a pressurized, dark or secluded space. Inkay should be provided as much food as they will eat during the runup to evolution. Malamar will often be very clumsy during their first couple of weeks after evolving, especially on land but they should never be laughed at. They tend to lash out when they believe their intelligence or agility is being insulted. And malamar have a rather formidable arsenal for lashing out with.

    Battle

    Malamar are most often used as an anti-metagame pick on competitive battling teams and their popularity waxes and wanes depending on what sort of threats are popular at any given time. In metagames (regional or international) dominated by psychic types malamar usually become quite popular. These scenes tend to attract psychic trainers who have an easier time raising malamar and they are also quite useful in countering most psychics. The same goes for metagames with large pools available as an arena pick as malamar are some of the best pokémon for taking down large water-types such as wailord and miltoic in the water.

    Malamar are most easily countered by bug types that can break their concentration with sonic attacks and retaliate with powerful slashes that can tear through their skin and seriously injure them. Malamar and inkay are vulnerable to cuts but they can patch them up quite easily in saltwater given a few hours (or days for particularly severe wounds). Pokémon that can present puzzles or traps mid-fight can often confuse or distract them as they obsess over how to ‘solve’ the problem, something ordinarily best left to the trainer while the pokémon reacts to the immediate problems at hand.

    Malamar are a mix of arena control and tech fighters. They are superb at twisting the battlefield around with attacks like trick room and setting traps for their opponent. They also have very sharp claws and can move quickly in short bursts by releasing air or water jets (this works triply well in the water). They function like a mix between primarina’s arena control and golisopod’s hit and run styles although they are not quite as good at either of them. Still, they are one of the few trapsetters that can keep up with and even knock out the glass cannons, nukes, or set up sweepers that usually counter them.

    Only psychics should attempt to use a malamar on the island challenge.

    Inkay fight rather differently to malamar. They rely more heavily on hypnosis as they don’t have many reliable ways to end the battle quickly. As such, they must use light patterns to pacify the opponent and levitation to avoid them. Tricks such as protect and trick room can prolong this phase of the fight. When the opponent is subdued they can be hit with a barrage of ranged or melee attacks without much fear of retaliation. Be mindful that if opponents are allowed to switch out this can disrupt the inkay’s hard work. Inkay are particularly useful against totems as the core of the battle is one very powerful pokémon that can stay on the field a long time. Provided that inkay can take a hit or two they are quite useful for draining the totem and setting them up for a harder hitter to take out.

    Acquisition

    Inkay are often found in Kala’e Bay in Bittern Peak Commonwealth Park. They can sometimes be seen off of Route 1, Route 2 or Hau’oli City. There are rare sightings of inkay around Fini Beach and the eastern shoreline of Poni Island. They require a Class III license to capture, adopt or purchase. They are somewhat rare in captivity, especially among trainers or suppliers who might be willing to part with them. It is easiest to simply capture an inkay.

    Capture of a malamar is illegal due to the difficulty of finding one, the possibility that they are quite rare, the difficulty of taming one and the simple fact that no captured malamar has survived for longer than a week in captivity. Possession of a malamar requires a Class V license for the general population and a Class III license for psychics who earn a PsiTest score of 50 or higher.

    Breeding

    Malamar have never been bred in captivity. It is unknown how wild malamar reproduce.

    Subspecies

    There is some argument that, due to their size and physiological differences, wild malamar are not the same subspecies as captive malamar. The argument goes that there is a benthic inkay that never surfaces at all that evolves into deep sea malamar. The inkay that come to the surface are a different subspecies entirely and the malamar known in captivity are a subspecies that fares so poorly in the wild that they are almost never seen. The main argument against this idea is that there is no reason for inkay to undergo the costly process of evolution if they would almost certainly die afterwards. There are also only very minimal genetic differences between captive and wild malamar. As such it is generally accepted that there are no subspecies of malamar.
     
  17. Cutlerine

    Cutlerine a lonesome harp guitar

    I know! That's what I was praising here – that your toucannon are nicely hornbill-y. And as an aside, I think making as effective use of research as you do here requires creativity, honestly. It's one thing to make up some wild nonsense; it's another to create something new and interesting by interweaving that with the infinitely wilder nonsense of actual animals. (Of which hornbills are possibly not the best example, I feel like they're not so weird as far as animals go.)

    Anyway, on to your latest entries! And fun stuff abounds here. Rattata is largely as I thought it would be – it's difficult to find much enthusiasm for a monster that's pretty much just a slightly bigger version of what we have in the real world – but it's to your credit that you get as much out of the pokédex entries as you do, honestly. I like the Rodents Of Unusual Size vibe that the atomic raticate have, though. The pokémon world as the games represent it is like perpetually fifteen minutes from becoming a disaster movie, so you know, it makes sense that this kind of stuff would keep on happening.

    I also like your sniping at the absurd weights listed in the in-game dex. Steelix, 400kg, butterfree, 32kg? Gdi, Oak, you must have enough funding to send someone other than a ten-year-old out into the field to take these measurements. At least read the data they send back to you and give it a superficial sense-check. But back to butterfree: I like that you add it to the noble tradition of animals who eat the poison they wish to spread in the world. That's a thing in nature I really like for no particular reason.

    As for ledian, it's nice to see them developed; they don't show up a lot in fic, but I've always felt that these weird bugs that eat starlight are worth more consideration than they get. Possibly I also just have a weakness for weakness, and also maybe for things with gorgeous eyes. I like that you develop the quantity rather than quality theme they have going on, anyway.

    But the real news: oh my god, your ariados are so precious. Giant spiders that want to climb on you and be fed! I mean, I guess it's probably a good thing I don't live in the universe where some of my ancestors probably got killed in the ROUS outbreak in the seventies and stopped me being born, but like, I think I might take that risk if this is a world with big friendly spiders. And fond of long night walks, too! I always knew that if pokémon were real my house would be a nightmarish pit of poisonous monsters, but like, if pokémon were real in the specific way that they are in your version of their world, then that would be especially true.

    On to lopunny. Again, there's relatively little surprising here; I think at this point I'm starting to get the measure of your world, so the relation to diggersby felt quite natural and expected. I liked that you developed the theme of mega evolution being something sort of undesirable, though – almost all the pokédex entries have something bad to say about mega evolved pokémon, about how they trade self-control or health or some other crucial thing for power when they use it. Never made much sense to me that everyone seemed excited about it in XY, given all of that; ORAS seemed to have a more reasonable take on the situation, though still a little contradictory in places.

    Inkay is interesting. I guess I'd always interpreted it as some kind of zany squid adapted for terrestrial life through the use of levitation, perhaps returning to the sea to breed; I don't know why, exactly, given that I don't think I've ever seen it show up in fic at all and have therefore never really thought about it except in a game-mechanical kind of way. Maybe because you seem to find it in coastal areas but not actually in the sea. Anyway, this is a really roundabout way of getting to the point that it's cool to see a different take on them. As usual, I can see a lot of real-world cephalopod trivia in here, which is nice – that octopus that learned the guard's routines so it could steal fish from another tank, for instance. I also love that they're able to hunt wishiwashi by hypnotising them out of the school. That's a great detail.

    Anyway, some nitpicks, as per usual:

    'In' looks like a relic of an earlier way of wording this sentence and doesn't fit here.

    You've got 'who's' for 'whose' here.

    This sentence ends abruptly after 'and', which doesn't seem intentional.

    Elsewhere, the narrator refers to themself as stuff like 'this contributor', or 'the authors of this guidebook'; the 'I' seems a tonal mismatch.

    Looks like 'of' is missing after 'height' here.

    The previous clause referred to skarmory in the plural, so 'lack' here needs to agree.

    This comes up a couple of times, where anything with a flying typing is called a 'bird'; I don't know if that's intentional or not.

    This reads really strangely – I can't tell if it's meant to refer to something that happened in the past and gives rise to a present situation (the total number of ledian in Alola has inevitably declined to roughly 2000) or something that happened entirely in the past but which implies that the current population is a bit higher (the total number of ledian in Alola inevitably declined, to roughly 200 at its lowest point) or something happening in the present moment (the total number of ledian in Alola is inevitably declining, and at present stands at roughly 2000 individuals).

    You've got 'and' for 'are' here.

    Not sure why 'the' is capitalised here; the Enlightenment usually only has a capital E.

    When you describe the reasons for Lopunny's sentry duty, you explain first that they do it to watch out for birds, then say the primary purpose appears to be to deter new migrants, which reads weirdly, considering you kind of just described the primary purpose. Or possibly there's a joke there that I'm missing.

    Missing a full stop at the end there. Also, for some reason, the introductory post and this one about ariados display with black text on a black background; I had to resort to highlighting the whole page in order to actually read any of this entry.

    I think 'as well' might be meant to be part of that parenthetical aside? That's the only way this makes sense to me, anyway; not sure if I'm just missing something.

    Anyway! Nicely done, as usual. And now I'm caught up, on this at least. The problem with following so many fics across multiple sites is that I keep on falling behind – I still need to catch up on guidance – but I'll get there eventually!
     
    Rediamond likes this.
  18. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    @Cutlerine

    Thank you for the review. It's really fine if you don't catch up on guidance. I understand the not reading things thing.

    I had a friend on bulba who took a backpacking trip in the indonesian part of malaysia give me all the details on hornbills. I ordinarily wouldn't do that much research.

    A lot of Raticate's entry was based on a pulp novel and its subsequent film. The book involved rats taking over London, the movie Toronto. They came from New Guinea in both so... it wasn't malice I swear. It's just the logical conclusion of the source material that they never bother to explore for... unknowable reasons that definitely aren't racism.

    I really loved writing the ledian entry. I've seen it used... once, in a fic on serebii. Which seems like criminal underuse compared to what butterfree gets. Has better lore, strategies, etc. But, nope, no usage :(

    Re: the population comment. That was on the cycle. At the end of every cycle there are usually that many ledian left in alola. And it happens predictably. I'll clarify this in later edits when I fix the many genuine grammar errors that writing on a weekly basis produces.

    Tbh I was inspired to make them cute by ghost town. I like taking things in angles people wouldn't expect that make sense in hindsight. And qt ariados is one of those. The scene about them knocking their trainer over just came to me in the flow of writing though lol. I also like to highlight that pokemon husbandry isn't all horrible time draining. Sometimes they're cute and nice to have as pets/partners.

    I don't have many thoughts on butterfree beyond the dex being obviously weird. My grandparents house had a bunch of monarch butterflies growing up, and they're toxic, so that was my primary inspiration there. I do like their design. I prefer vivillon's, but it's hard to still stand out six hundred pokemon later.

    Lopunny needs a playboy bunny joke added but after that I guess I'm fine with it. I was torn for a long time on whether to even include mega evolution at all since Alola tried to pretend it didn't exist until deep in the postgame. I settled for a compromise where you'd need a license you probs wouldn't have until you were already champion.

    I thought about making inkay fully terrestrial and malamar aquatic. I ultimately decided that they just made more sense as aquatic pokemon that could also float. Plus I'm a marine science major so I know more about sea critters and adaptations. And it's nice that you know about the octopus story lol. Some real life things are stranger than fiction. And glad you like the little details!

    Thank you again for reading. I'll fix the errors up when I post the new chapter. I understand lag and it's really 100% fine. I still owe you a final ghost town review anyway.
     
  19. canisaries

    canisaries *blocks your path*

    I saw The Alola Pokédex had an inkay chapter up on the writecord and I simply had to read it, being the squid enthusiast I am. Let's go!

    Love how this takes after the real life giant and colossal squids. That, their size and their aggressive nature really sell the deep-sea-horror aspect.

    I know the no-triple-types rule is naturally straight from the game canon, but is there an in-universe explanation for it? From the entries I've read, it seems a third type would be really accurate for some, and it's not totally clear why they're not accepted.

    Missing period in there. Also, is there a specific reason "bulb" is used rather than "mantle"? The latter just seems more squid-specific.

    *puts on artist hat* "Dark blue" is not really how I'd describe the color in inkay, in either official art or the models, it's closer to azure if I had to be more specific than "blue". Are the inkay of this interpretation actually differing in color to the official sources, or do we just have different opinions on what to call the color we see? It's just that "dark" blue makes me think of kyogre rather than omanyte, which I'd say inkay is closer to. *takes off artist hat*

    Yes! Inkay's beak being in front of its tentacles bothered me as well, even if I thought it was at least an improvement on the funnel-mouth octillery had. How I dealt with it was just imagine that, beneath the surface, the tentacles still reached above it... somehow. Good thing I'm not the one writing this entry.

    First sentence cuts off in the middle.

    I was going to say this seemed like an easy thing to test with a lights-covering vest, but then I remembered how nasty malamar could get. They probably wouldn't cooperate with such an experiment.

    [​IMG]
    NOOO MY BABIES

    *out. My text editor seems to prefer "inescapable" as well.

    Also TIL that plural of aquarium. Somehow had never seen it used before and never thought of it.

    Overall, lots of personality in this little mon and its freaky bigger form! A treat of a chapter for a squid lover such as myself.
     
  20. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Content Notice: Suicide

    Zoroark (Zorua)


    Overview

    Contrary to popular belief, the mythologies and folklores of Native American tribes varied substantially from one another. Yet all of them, from the Mississippians to the Dakota to the Aztecs, held close variations on one story. Sometimes a child would abruptly stop talking in the night. As they grew up they would slowly start talking again, albeit with less skill and frequency than they had before. Some would display magical abilities. Some European cultures also had a variant of the changeling tale. The difference is, the stories from North America had a very real basis.

    Zoroark are most well known for their illusions. And there is scientific interest in those. Specifically, all subspecies of zoroark have the same outcome (illusions) but approach it in very different ways (telepathy, hydrokinesis, pyrokinesis). This would ordinarily suggest an extreme case of convergent evolution, but all three living subspecies are closely related.

    What makes them of particular interest to scientists is their intelligence. Zoroark are not the most intelligent pokémon. Nor are they the only ones capable of communicating in speech (primarina, chatot and even some slowking can). Zoroark are interesting because of their ease of blending into human society and their desire to do so. Human children are often one of the first illusions a zorua learns to cast, even in the wild, and adult zoroark have been observed creating and maintaining a human identity for years. The changeling stories of North America have been documented somewhat frequently in the modern era in zoroark’s remaining habitats. They break into residences, steal children and leave behind a zorua of their own. More than one zoroark has told researchers and police officers that this is to give their child a better shot at learning human behaviors.

    It is unclear what exactly happens to the kidnapped children. While it has long and widely been believed that the zoroark simply ate the babies, this may be untrue. Human children showing up on doorsteps or living alone (but healthily) in the wild are also common occurrences in zoroark habitats. The prevailing theories at present are that zoroark keep abducted children in their nest to teach human forms and behaviors to their other pups, or that they drop humans off elsewhere in an attempt to reduce the hostility towards them.

    For understandable reasons, zoroark were both hunted and worshipped in pre-Columbian North America. Sometimes the same culture did both. European settlers were unnerved by the zoroark, especially after some infiltrated their expeditions and came back to Europe with them. Witch hunts in the early United States were ostensibly aimed at getting rid of supposed zoroarks. The success rate of these hunts was low enough to suggest other factors were more heavily influencing the target selections. There is at least one case where the minister spearheading a witch hunt that killed twenty young women was himself revealed to be a zoroark upon his death.

    The colonists were far more successful at driving zoroark extinct in the wild. Currently there are only two wild populations of zoroark in North America: one on the Olympic Peninsula and surrounding portions of British Columbia and Washington and the other near the California-Mexico border.

    Two of the three globally common subspecies, the Olympic and montane zoroark, are classified as having “significant populations” in Alola by the Department of Agriculture. However, montane zorua are not reliably available to travelers so they are relegated to the subspecies section of this entry. The rest will focus upon the Olympic zorua.

    Physiology

    Both zorua and zoroark are classified as pure dark types by the Department of Agriculture. This ruling is highly contested. Now is perhaps the best time to bring up the history of the dark typing. In the earliest attempts to group pokémon by typing, dark signified that the pokémon had a connection to satanic magic. The ruling has been controversial in the modern era and in the rest of the world for understandable reasons. However, the dark type has not been abolished both due to tradition and because it appears that there was something to the initial theory. While most scientists no longer view them as satanic, dark-types tend to have some general traits: they have the ablity to manipulate shadows, above average intelligence, a resistance to telepathy, and either some degree of malice towards humanity or shocking brutality. Zoroark fit all four categories.

    Among researchers that acknowledge the dark-typing, it is almost universally recognized that zoroark are primarily dark types. The dominant dispute revolves around whether or not they should also be water, flying, psychic, fairy or normal types as well. Zoroark are hydrokinetic to a very limited degree. They use this to manipulate the air, which could suggest a water or flying type. This trick has a cursory resemblance to low level telekinesis and they are highly intelligent, which could support a psychic typing. Fairy-types are ordinarily tricksters and, in the old days, were viewed as ‘holy’ pokémon. Zoroark have an extensive mythology tied to them and can be very friendly, even familial, to humans. They are undeniably tricksters. Normal implies versatility and a mastery of several elements. The authors of this guidebook take no particular position on the typing of the Olympic zoroark or zorua.

    Zorua fur is primarily either grey or black, depending upon the individual. They have a typical quadrupedal vulpine build. The fur on their paws is red and they possess several red markings on their forehead. The skin of their eyelids is also red. Zorua have an unruly tuft of fur on top of their head that is red at the tips.

    Zoroark are primarily bipedal. Their limbs are long and slender and their muscles are relatively undeveloped. Their claws are much longer and sharper than that of zorua and are colored blood red. Their fur is rather short across their entire body, except on their upper chest. Zoroark are most easily identifiable (when they aren’t casting an illusion) by their mane. The mane of a fully grown zoroark is almost always bigger in volume than the rest of their body combined. It is bright red in color with black tufts and streaks throughout it. They generally keep an object, usually a pearl from a shellder, clamperl or spoink with a hole with the middle carved out, around the middle of their main to keep their hair in some semblance of order. Their fur is coated in oils that they can control with their hydrokinesis so it doesn’t encumber them as much as its bulk would suggest.

    Zoroark can grow up to 1.7 meters and 80 kilograms in size, with males being somewhat larger than females on average. Zoroark live up to 60 years in captivity. Their wild lifespan is not well studied.

    Behavior

    Olympic zoroark primarily cast their illusions through small-scale hydrokinesis. They use airborne water droplets to manipulate the air. This allows them to create and suppress sounds, bend light and even move small objects and create tactile illusions. They can alter their secretions to create scent illusions. A particularly skilled zoroark can create an entire body out of faux-forcefields made of air and water, speak and look like a human and even smell like one. While the bulk of the mane might seem like an obvious challenge for presenting as a human, zoroark can remove their bead and telekinetically weave the hairs around their body in a pinch.

    The only real way to disrupt a zoroark’s illusions is to hit their body with enough force, usually little more than a particularly hard punch, that will break the surface tension of the projection and force them to spend time and energy to put it back together. There are other methods to bypass illusions as well. Longtime or skilled zoroark trainers can frequently identify zoroark from tells that they have difficulty explaining. Ultraviolet and infrared scanners, as well as thermal scanners, can usually bypass the illusion as they are targeted towards traditional human senses. As a note of caution, at least one zoroark has been able to beat all three of the above methods at different times (never simultaneously).

    Zorua tend to be far less skilled at illusions and have a variety of simple tells from an inability to mimic voices or suppress their own to pixelated glitches to forgetting to cover up their tail. They are also almost never skilled enough to replicate the scent of another creature.

    Zoroark use their illusions for a variety of purposes. In addition to infiltrating human society, they also use them to conceal their den and pups, imitate a harmless prey species to lure in a predator, imitate a very large predator to scare away a mid-sized one, or for mating displays (see Breeding). Zorua generally use their illusions to either replicate very well-known species or confuse their opponent enough that their attacks might miss and let them get away to safety.

    It is difficult to research wild zoroark as they are difficult to track and very sensitive about being followed to their dens. It is believed that the Olympic zoroark lives in groups of one to five adults and their young. Members frequently join and leave the pack and it is not believed that they have a particularly tight-knit social structure. Juvenile-only packs with an occasional unrelated adult providing protection or supervision are also somewhat common, particularly in areas outside of the Olympic peninsula where there are simply very few adults that live exclusively in the wild. This is the dominant model of zorua packs on Melemele and Akala, although there are semi-permanent adults in the Poni Island pack(s).

    Zoroark and zorua are primarily ambush predators, although they will also go to the shores to hunt for shellfish meat and pearls. Slowpoke are a frequent target of theirs as they don’t mind getting wet, resist psychic attacks and find that they taste quite good.

    Zoroark are nocturnal in the wild, although zoroark imitating humans will almost always adjust to diurnal life.

    Husbandry

    Zoroark present a unique challenge among all of the pokémon in Alola. Some species have comparable intelligence to humans, such as primarina, and others often insist that they are superior via actions or telepathy (ninetales, metagross, slowking). Zoroark are unique in their desire to be human. They will frequently take on the appearance of their trainer (or a gender flipped version of their trainer) at first and slowly make adjustments to their preferred human form. They resent pokéballs and any sign of subjugation and will snap at their trainers, literally and metaphorically, if they get the impression that they are not viewed as equals. They will only leave their human form for combat purposes or for illness or injury (see Illness). Their main goal when dealing with humans is not to obtain food or protection but to learn more about human appearances and behaviors. If they believe their trainer to be sufficiently kind they will often elect to stay with them when they decide their education is complete. Otherwise they will usually take their trainer’s valuables and slink off into a crowd, never to be seen again.

    Zorua will sometimes tolerate portable dog beds. Zoroark will not and demand a sleeping mat, cot, or something else equivalent to what their trainer has. Similarly, zorua will be willing to eat typical canine mixes or leftovers. Zoroark will become spiteful if they don’t have regular access to human food. Their digestive systems are similar enough to a human’s that they can survive on a typical human diet with a little more protein. Zoroark can be reasoned with on finances to a degree but they will still demand a measure of equality in even the worst situations.

    Unlike every other canine in the Alola region (Silvally excluded), zoroark love water. They can bathe themselves with hydrokinesis or their tongue but they prefer to have access to baths or showers. Rules will need to be set early on with regards to their water usage or else their trainer can find themselves facing a substantial water bill.

    Zoroark require scratching posts from time to time. Only very young or spiteful zorua will scratch up furniture. Adults will simply slink off to a forest to slash some tree bark if they are not provided with a scratching post.

    The most important lessons for handling a zoroark are those you should have in kindergarten: be respectful, share your toys, be willing to help others. Trainers who follow those rules often develop deep, even familial, relationships with their zoroark. This can help keep them sane and grounded on the trails of Alola and in the parts of life’s journey that follow.

    Illness

    Zoroark can contract rabies and should be vaccinated within two weeks of capture or six weeks of birth.

    Most zoroark illnesses and injuries affect their illusions in some way. Not all instances of a zoroark dropping their illusion are due to suffering. Sometimes zoroark drop their illusions for battle, for intimidation or for no clear reason at all. Zorua usually sleep with their illusion down and will often spend time in their default appearance around trainers they trust.

    However, if a zorua spends more than three days without casting an illusion or a zoroark goes for more than one, they may be sick or injured. Ask the pokémon to create a human illusion to talk, or at least to write if they are capable of it. If they can’t or won’t, take them to a veterinarian. If they will take a human form, ask them earnestly and repeatedly if anything is wrong. Even if they insist that everything is fine, it might still be for the best to take them to a veterinarian for a cursory check. Zoroark are very good at spotting lies so don’t try to conceal the real purpose of the visit from them.

    Evolution

    Zorua reach their full size around sixteen years of age. However, they can appear to grow much faster in captivity. Zorua with a devoted trainer become more skilled with human illusions and usually decide to match their trainer’s approximate age. This in turn forces them to think in more mature thought patterns, which has been shown to promote actual rapid brain development which is followed by physical development. Premature evolution has not been shown to have an adverse effect on lifespan and should not be encouraged or discouraged. Zoroark’s manes continue to grow in length and volume until their death.

    The formal demarcation line between zorua and zoroark is the selection of their first bead.

    Battle

    Zoroark are a niche pick in competitive battling for their mindgames. Even in leagues that announce each party’s full team beforehand it can be difficult to know which pokémon is a zoroark. While this isn’t terribly effective at the levels where one hit from almost any pokémon can knock out a zoroark’s illusion, if not the zoroark itself, it is a useful tool in leagues that allow for counterswitching. A common tactic is initiating a switch against an opponent’s fighting-weak pokémon while having your zoroark pose as a humanoid fighting type. This forces the opponent to gamble by either sending in a psychic type and risking a matchup against a zoroark or staying in and risking a beatdown from a fighting-type. A similar tactic applies to having your zoroark imitate a poison-type when fighting an opponent with at least one fairy, forcing them to decide whether or not to risk their fairy against what might be a real poison-type for the chance of annihilating a zoroark and gaining momentum.

    Island challenge grand trials don’t force either side to declare their pokémon beforehand, just the number they are bringing to battle. This gives zoroark a few rounds of confusion and setup against an opponent before the kahuna figures out the trick. Elite Four battles require declaring in advance (and allow both sides to freely switch) which makes the best zoroark tactics akin to the ones mentioned above. However, it should be noted that most opponents in the island challenge use monotype teams. This makes the utility of baiting out a pokemon less useful because the opponent will either have no fairy or psychic types (or bugs) to bait out, or will have so many that crushing one is useless.

    Beyond illusions, zoroark have sharp claws and surprisingly potent shadow manipulation. They can also abuse illusion “glitches” to disorient opponents for a split second. This allows them to either begin or disrupt a combo, get in for a melee hit or get out of range of a melee fighter. Their signature tactic is using shadows to trip up opponents as they move and force them to hit the ground with their own force. As zoroark are rather light on musculature and natural defenses, this is probably their best way of safely dealing damage. They can also be taught a number of elemental tricks and disruption tactics to maximize their efficacy.

    Acquisition

    There are zorua packs around Route 5 and in the Route 1 Holy Site. Captures from the former are currently prohibited. Captures from the latter are presently allowed without restriction (beyond the requisite trainer rank) as zorua are viewed as an invasive species and a public safety risk. Capture, adoption or purchase of a zorua requires a Class I license.

    Zorua are also found in the pack(s) in Poni Island National Park. There are enough zoroark that they sometimes split off into groups of an individual or pair and their children or multiple individuals and their children. The population is also small enough that they have been observed congregating in one group. Capture of zorua and zoroark is presently allowed in unlimited numbers with the requisite trainer rank.

    Zoroark require a Class III license to purchase, adopt or capture.

    Breeding

    Zoroark are incredibly private about all stages of reproduction. What is known is that they have a very long courtship period (sometimes lasting years before procreation) and that a pair will typically only have one litter of six to twelve pups. Zoroark pregnancies last seven months. Pregnant zoroarks will often be hesitant to create illusions, presumably due to the energy illusion formation requires. Male zoroarks will stay very close to their pregnant mates.

    Both parents stay very close to their pups until they reach their full size. If one parent dies before the pups are fully grown the surviving parent will seek out another zoroark to assist in childrearing. If both die in the same incident the remaining zorua will band together into a pack. Sometimes another zoroark will take over parental duties, or at least begin to drop by every so often to check on their welfare and provide instruction. It is believed that both zorua packs in Alola were formed by orphaned litters that did not gain a steady parental figure but did find another zoura litter to merge with and the pack continued to adopt any stray zorua they found.

    Mated pairs usually split up when their children leave. Sometimes they will pursue a long-term homosexual partnership. Sometimes they will find an orphaned pack and assist in raising it or they will join a multi-zoroark group. Zoroark have also been observed finding a member of another species and entering into either a romantic or platonic partnership with them.

    Zoroark will lay out their own boundaries and desires for privacy during reproduction and childrearing to their trainer. Sometimes they will wish to leave their trainer to find a mate and raise children. They should be allowed to do so. If forbidden from leaving, they will leave anyway but steal or destroy several of their trainer’s possessions on the way out. A zoroark that amicably parts from their trainer will often return when their pups are fully grown. Occasionally a zoroark will tolerate or even desire raising their pups in captivity. They will lay out their needs for this as well, although it typically amounts to a dark, safe and permanent home.

    Zorua cubs should not engage in anything more than a playfight until they reach two full years of age.

    Subspecies

    There are six living subspecies of zoroark with the possibility of a seventh in either the past or the present. The first is the Olympic zoroark discussed above.

    The second is the montane zoroark. While there has not been a stable colony of zoroark in the wild since at least the 1920ss, they continue to thrive in captivity. Mormon theology teaches that God gave the montane zoroark to the church as a gift. They proceeded to round up almost all of the zoroark in the Rocky Mountains and tame them. They currently run a breeding program for the montane zoroark that contains nearly all of the members of the subspecies in the world. These zoroark are used to protect their churches, leadership and missionaries around the world. Cynics also attribute the public and private miracles of the church to zoroark illusions.

    Montane zoroark are powerful telepaths that create illusions by hacking the brain of their targets and altering their sensory processing. This makes their illusions the most powerful; it also means that they are sometimes unable to affect all nearby minds at once. The sheer versatility of their power and ability to completely block the senses of opponents makes them by far the most powerful zoroark subspecies, as is seen whenever the church allows one of its members to use one in battle. The remaining montane zoroark are owned by the Smithsonian Institute. Once in a while they will display montane zorua at the National Zoo; zoroark would never consent to this. There are persistent rumors that other branches of the United States government may possess montane zoroarks, but this has never been proven. Montane zorua are very similar in appearance to the Olympic zorua, if a bit lighter in coloration and with bright purple eyes instead of pale blue.

    Desert zoroark used to range from Texas to central Mexico and from the Gulf to the Pacific. At present they are confined to a handful to a patchwork of habitats in Mexico and a handful of National Parks and reservations in the American Southwest. The Aztec, Navajo and Hopi revered the desert zoroark and the lands under their control house most of the remaining desert zoroark population. Unfortunately, the Aztec territories in Mexico are ever-shifting and ever-shrinking, putting the zoroark population there at risk. It is the policy of the Mexican government to kill every zoroark they become aware of. Until 1903, this was also the official policy of the United States government. The unwillingness of some Native American leaders to hand over the zoroark on their lands was the pretext for a number of wars.

    Desert zoroark create their illusions in a similar manner to Olympic zoroark, suggesting that they may be the most closely related of the subspecies. It would be impractical to use water in the air to create their illusions given their habitat. Instead, they create tiny heat waves to shape the air around them. While their tactile illusions are entirely unconvincing, they learn visual and auditory illusions much faster than their Olympic counterparts and don’t need to spend much time redeveloping an illusory body after their old one is destroyed. They are classified as dual dark- and fire-types and can create more powerful heat waves in battle than the ones they use for illusions.

    The swamp zoroark is nearly extinct in the wild. They are the largest of the subspecies and tend to be dark green in color with light purple stripes across their body. Their manes are also the smallest proportionally and stop growing when they reach physical maturity. Unlike other zoroark subspecies, they have webbed paws and spend most of their time in the water and, when they do go on land, they walk on all fours. Because of this and the factors below, it is believed that they are the ancestor of the other zoroark species.

    Swamp zoroark do not create particularly detailed illusions. Instead, they emit gasses that cause hallucinations and feelings of panic in their target. Long-term exposure results in blindness and even death. These gasses are used for hunting and defense. At present, there are believed to be fewer than 80 swamp zoroark and zorua in the wild. Most of these live in and around Everglades National Park, with the remainder split between the bayous of Louisiana and Congaree National Park in South Carolina.

    The remaining two zoroark subspecies are extinct in the wild. However, wild populations occasionally pop up around the world. This suggests that they have simply abandoned the forests and plains of North American entirely to integrate into human society.

    The first of these subspecies is the plains zoroark. They have thick dark brown fur in the winter and a lighter coat of grey fur in the summer. Their mane is more like a cape extending from the bottom of their head than a ponytail and they don't use beads. Plains zoroark are powerful telekinetics who create and craft forcefields into a body. They then warp the light and sound around their forcefields through an unknown method to complete the illusion. Plains zoroark have the most durable illusions of all zoroark and they can form them rather quickly. However, they are among the least intelligent of the subspecies and take some time to learn the voices and social norms of other species.

    Forest zorua were the most common subspecies at the time of European first contact. They ranged from Quebec and Ontario to the southern tip of the Appalachians and from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. Forest zorua are proper shapeshifters rather than illusionists and morph their form until they physically become their illusion. Like ditto, it is entirely unclear how they do this. However, forest zorua suffer from one core weakness: they must concentrate hard to maintain their illusory form. Lapses in concentration, usually including sleep, will often cause their illusion to begin to break down. While some particularly clever zoroark can maintain their illusions for up to 72 hours, even through full nights of sleep, a heavy enough blow will cause them to almost instantly revert. As such, there is some speculation that forest zoroark do not shapeshift so much as use an attack akin to substitute. Unfortuantely, captive forest zoroark tend to commit suicide or refuse to eat, much less cooperate with experimenters. It may never be known how, exactly, the forest zoroark’s illusions really work.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
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