• Episode Four of The Writer's Locke podcast is now available for stream or download! This episode will be the last one featuring chapters from Call of the Divines and Solstice! Tune in to hear what the story's creators have to say about these audio adaptations of their runs.
  • No paparazzi clickbait here! Just a good old fashioned feature with exactly zero gossip about celebrities' love lives. Honest.Check out our spotlight of Rhema's storylocke, As Above, So Below.
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  • The results are in for the Nuzlocke Forums Extravaganza! Congratulations to everyone that placed this year!

  • New here and still figuring out the site? Check out the New User Guide and FAQ for some help!
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[March 6 2020] Shadows Over Sinnoh Interview!

Screenshot Sinnoh Mixed Media Teen [COMPLETE] Shadows Over Sinnoh

anonymouse

the plastic king of castle polyethylene
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
643
Caught
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
114
Location
southeastern USA
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
any; they/them
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon spends far too much time in front of a laptop, someone unglue them.
Shadows Over Sinnoh
A Lovecraft-inspired run of Platimun Ver.



What's up, Nuzforums! It's been a hot minute since I posted any of my nuzlockes, so might as well dive in head-first with my return to the scene. I'm Nelson, aka anonymouse, and welcome to this experimental Lovecraftian-style run of my long-time favorite installment in the Pokemon series. Which tied for second place in Best New and placed third in Best Main Character (in a Screenshot Run x2) in the 2019 Extravaganza! Holy shit!! Belated but profuse thanks to everybody who nominated and voted for SOS!

That said, let's begin this shambling mess with a bit of a disclaimer:

Credits & Caveats
The germ of this idea did not originally come from me. As one might expect, the concept of nuzlocke challenges has a way of crossing genre boundaries. Anywhere you have a battle system where things can faint and be removed from active use, you tend to get them. This includes website games, apparently, because people have been doing variations on nuzlocke challenges on Flight Rising (better known as “Neopets but with dragons”) for a while. This is relevant because I came upon the concept of a Lovecraftian nuzlocke on FR, thanks to a stellar user Pasafatu. (You can have a look here if you like. I believe the FR forums can be viewed without being logged in? If I'm wrong but you still want to see Pasafatu's specs, we can figure something out.) The corruption mechanics used in this run come from them, adapted to the different game.

Having done very minimal looking around the (old) Nuzforums, I’m not sure if anyone’s done a Lovecraftian nuzlocke of a pokemon game. In general or of a type similar to this. If someone does know of a previous run that’s done it, please point me in that direction!

In that vein, let it be declared here that I didn’t come up with this idea. I’m borrowing it and some of the mechanics that cleverer people already came up with. Credit for this goes mostly to Pasafatu; all I’m doing is sort of reverse engineering it back to pokemon.

By the time this thread is posted, I have already finished the actual gameplay and plot-related storyboarding for this run. Mostly because the adapted form of the corruption mechanic is untested, so I won’t know how reasonable it is until I playtest it. This run is that playtest. The idea is to balance difficulty with, well, making it doable. Difficult but not impossible. Give the outcome as even a chance as I can of going well or horribly badly. The fact that this is being posted means I’ve worked things out, at least enough to be worth showcasing.

If anybody else feels like giving this variant a shot, please go for it and let me know how it works for you! I’m always stoked to see what this community can do with new and inventive ways to torture ourselves. Fair warning here that just because it worked in this instance doesn't mean it's perfect. The corruption mechanics could use some more fine-tuning. Expect a link to end up here at some point when I make a thread in Challenge Discussion to do said brainstorming. here is that link!

Side note, in case anybody was wondering, this is generic unaltered Platinum. I had originally thought to do this on Red or Blue, but between software derps and my soft spot for Platinum, this is what we’ve got. I saw no reason to do anything about, say, trade evolutions; this is already meant to be a higher difficulty run (for me, anyway) so adding one more handicap is fine. All dice rolls and other RNG will be done via Random.org.


With that long-winded ramble out of the way, here come the rules.

Standard Nuzlocke rules
  • If a pokemon faints in battle or drops to 1HP outside of battle due to poisoning, it is dead and must be released.
  • Only the first pokemon encountered in any distinct area can be used in battle. In the case of the Great Marsh, I will have one catch attempt in each area. For all the good it’s likely to do me.
    • For the purposes of this run, a “distinct area” is defined as an area with different encounter tables and some form of screen transition between them. Inner and outer Mt. Coronet will count as two distinct areas as a result. The minor differences in the encounters between the different floors do not count, however.
    • In the tag-team doubles areas like Eterna Forest, I have the choice to attempt a capture of the first doubles encounter, or I may wait until after the doubles section.
"Standard" clauses
  • Optional dupes clause. If the first encounter is a pokemon in the same evolutionary line as a pokemon currently alive in the box or party, that encounter can be treated as if it did not happen. Duplicate encounters can only be ignored 1d4 times (i.e. roll a d4 and whatever number it gives, that’s how many tries I get.) If the final allowed encounter isn’t caught, then a catch for that area is forfeited. This dupes clause is optional in that if I choose to catch duplicates, I am free to do so provided it is the legitimate first encounter.
  • Shiny clause. Wild shiny encounters ignore the encounter rule and can be caught no matter what. They can also bend the teamlocke clause; I can’t immediately add them to the party, but the next time I go into the box to bring a new member in, the shiny can skip to the front of the lineup.
  • Pokeballs clause. The fainting and encounter rules don’t come into effect until I can first purchase pokeballs.
  • Gift pokemon are legal to use if they obey the encounter rule. This only really matters in the case of gift eggs being hatched; eggs are counted by where they are hatched, because that is what shows up as the “Area Met” in their info.
  • HM-slave clause: if my current party cannot use a specific HM needed to progress, I may temporarily sub in a pokemon for that purpose. Any HMs my current party can learn, I must teach them; HM slaves are only allowed when my team physically cannot learn it. An HM-slave cannot see battle at all and, for the purposes of the story, will be treated as though they don’t exist.
Other, less standard rules
  • Teamlocke clause. Once I have a full team of 6, I cannot arbitrarily swap out team members. Dead pokemon can obviously be replaced as needed, but outside of that, I am only allowed to swap one living party member with one living reserve pokemon after each boss battle. The swaps are optional.
    • Any new pokemon withdrawn from the box to be added to the fighting team must be the pokemon that has been in the box the longest. Therefore, the active team should consist of the six pokemon that have been registered longest.
    • For the purposes of this run, a boss enemy is defined as the Gym Leaders, Galactic Admins, and the rival.
  • In-battle healing clause. For any and every battle, I may use only one status-healing item per battle and only as many HP-healing items as I have battling pokemon in my party (i.e. if I have a full team, a maximum of 6.) They can be used in whichever manner I choose.
  • There’s no way for me to make this a blind run, but I will bar myself from looking up boss teams, encounter tables, and the like. What foreknowledge I do have as it pertains to encounters and bosses, I will try my best to ignore for the sake of authenticity and actual difficulty. This should also keep unnecessary level grinding at a minimum.
  • The challenge is failed if there are no more pokemon alive in the box or party.


Fairly straightforward so far, right? Now on to the Lovecraftian conditions!

Corruption
  • The player character begins the game with the following statistics:
    • Sanity: 50/50
    • Possession: 0/50
    • Avatar: 0/50
  • Every five (averaged) levels the battling team grows, the player character will lose points from Sanity equal to n+1 where n= the number of pokemon that have fainted.
  • If or when a party pokemon dies, n points are lost from Sanity on the spot.
    • i.e. if the player has 45/50 San when the first party pokemon dies, they will go down to 44/50, and the next time the team reaches a level milestone, they will lose two points for 42/50.
  • Whenever Sanity loses any points, the point(s) go to Possession.
  • A 1d50 is then rolled. If the outcome is less than or equal to the Possession score (which is to say, if the roll succeeds,) one point is added to Avatar.
    • Whenever a point is added to Avatar, the player character’s behavior and decision-making will change. They will become more anxious/paranoid, more obsessive, and so on.
  • If or when Sanity drops to 0 or below, each level-based recalculation will automatically add 1 point to Avatar, and any deaths will add a single point on the spot.
  • If or when Avatar reaches 13/50, a 1d50 will then be rolled every time stats are recalculated. On a successful roll, the player character is ʀ̴̫͔̔ɛ̷͔̀̂ɖ̴͖̦̆ǟ̴̬̉͜ƈ̶͉͈̒͆ȶ̷̼̔̔ɛ̵̪̈́͋ɖ̵͓̦͌
    • If the team wipes - or even if several pokemon are lost in the same battle - in a spectacular enough fashion, especially if Avatar is close to/above 13/50 (or if the counter in the next section is within reach of its maximum), some liberties might be taken with these stats to reflect the event. Artistic license and all that.
Re: fainted pokemon

  • Fainted pokemon are quantified by their level. Each one will give at least the same number of points as their level. If a fainted pokemon leveled up under the player character’s command, each level they gained during that time yields +1 extra points
    • i.e. the starter is obtained at level 5. If they die at level 40, they give an extra 35 points for a total of 75.
  • Running total of points: 497/500
What do the points mean? What happens at 500/500? ʏ̸͇̑օ̶̗̋ʊ̶̻̈'̶̞͐ʟ̷̝̽ʟ̷̪̚ ̵̟̈́ֆ̸̻͌ɛ̵͎̾ɛ̷̭́.̵̗͠


Now let's jump in, shall we? First story update will be below the ToC, and further updates... will happen when they happen.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: you are here
Chapter 2: to Oreburg
Chapter 3: Gym Leader Roark
Chapter 4: to Floaroma
Chapter 5: Valley Windworks
"Chapter" 6: Eterna City
Chapter 6.5: bonus content
Chapter 7: Eterna aftermath? Hearthome and Solaceon? both??
Chapter 8: Veilstone
Chapter 9: Pastoria to Celestic
Chapter 10: Canalave to pre-Snowpoint
Chapter 11: Snowpoint, back to Veilstone
Finale: Spear Pillar



Chapter 1


My name is Kuranes. This is my home, in the sleepy town of Twinleaf. This is, well, I suppose you could call this a new beginning for me. I moved here only a few months ago to put some unpleasantness behind me. So far, it has worked quite well! Twinleaf is what you might call a one-ponyta town. The only reason this place hasn't dried up and blown away is because it's where tourists stop on the way to Lake Verity. My neighbors wasted no time in making me feel at home here. One of them, a young man named Barry, seems to have adopted me. He's of the opinion, which he states loudly and often, that I am too retiring.

Speaking of Barry, I should probably go get him. He recently signed on to the Pokedex project and this evening is when we're both supposed to pick up our pokemon. I'm not sure how I got roped into it. When I first arrived in Twinleaf, I took a job with Prof. Rowan to help him with his research on pokemon evolution. Apparently, the good professor thinks that means I should be on the Pokedex project, too. I disagreed. And yet... here I am. About to go pick up a starter pokemon. Ah, well.

Here is Barry's house. I'll just knock -



Oh, there you are, Barry. Are you ready?

Barry: Yeah I am! Prof. said to meet him at the crossroads, right? Let's go!

... And off he runs. Might as well go catch up with him.



Barry: Kuranes, he isn't here! He said he'd meet us here!

We are about ten minutes early.

Barry: Maybe we can head toward Sandgem and meet him on his way?

Or we could just wait here. Where we arranged to meet him. Barry, where are you going?



See? I told you.

Barry: Professor! Oh, hey Dawn!

Rowan: Good evening, you two.

Dawn: Hi, Barry. And Kuranes!

Hey, Dawn. Professor. Why were you coming from that direction?

Rowan: We took the starters to the lakeside for some exercise. Why don't you say hello and choose which one you'd like to take along?



Barry: Yes please! Ohh, hey there, little piplup! You look like you had a swim in the lake!

Rowan: That he did. He's a determined little fellow.

Well, it looks like Barry and piplup have hit it off. I - whoa! Chimchar just hopped onto my shoulder. Looks like I know who'll be coming with me.



Hello, little one.

Rowan: Excellent. I am certain you both will have some fine adventures with your new partners.



Adventure isn't quite what I'm looking for. But at least I'll have some company along the way. See you later, Professor, Dawn.

Barry: Hey! Kuranes! We've finally got pokemon now.



sigh, Really? Is this really necessary? Oh, fine. What harm can there be.



Barry: Okay, piplup, let's show Kuranes how good we are!



Piplup used Growl three times before it even bothered to start attacking. Chimchar can barely do any damage at all while piplup batters away with Pound.



Barry: Y̸e̶a̷h̸!̵ ̸G̷o̶o̷d̴ ̸j̴o̴b̴,̵ ̵p̷i̵p̷l̸u̷p̶!̸

.̵.̶.̶S̴o̷r̶r̶y̴,̶ ̵c̷h̷i̸m̵c̷h̷a̶r̶.̸ B̵͉̔ę̸͘t̶͋͜ẗ̷͍e̸̗͑r̸̤͗ ̴͈̄l̶̥͊u̵̠͌c̵̳̀ḵ̴͐ n̴̝͛́e̸̯̲̾͋x̵̡̣̞̽̅͠t̶̢͎̼̃͑ ̶̟̙̦̋̾͠t̶̼͚̎ĭ̸̯͙̺m̴͕͇̈́̋̇ȩ̴̝̓̏.̷͍͐
Chapter 1 Author's note
expect every chapter to have an author's note, if only for the purpose of Kuranes' stat calculations and whatnot. speaking of that:

Sanity: 49/50
Possession: 1/50
roll: 41. fail.
Avatar: 0/50

that is exactly why i added the pokeballs clause. chimchar (whom i chose because Sinnoh is allergic to fire-types) is too fragile to muscle through the starter fight easily unless Barry's AI decides to be especially stupid. so chimchar isn't dead, but since he fainted, Kuranes gets an early San loss. this is a one-time loss that won't stack.

you get points if you know what Kuranes' name is referencing.



folks just now coming in wouldn't know, but as of posting the final update i just now added the critique tag! now that the run is over and i don't have to worry about a critique distracting me from the primary goal of Getting This Done, i am open to and would honestly give my left arm for some hard-hitting hot takes on how y'all think i did with this. i’m adding this disclaimer here so that y’all who are concrit-minded can have this in mind as you read through the run.

here are some things critique-related that are already on my brain:
  • the pacing is a hot mess. partly that's due to the presentation style, the months long gap, and also just how the stat rolls worked out. an exponential curve of tension isn't necessarily a bad thing, but i know it could use some work. particularly, i feel like i didn't set up the stakes very well regarding. yknow, the ending. i did my best to foreshadow the potential for how this went, but. "tried" is about the best i did lol.
  • there are typos galore and probably some places where i flip tenses, or just general word salad. none of these updates were beta'd, so the prose is going to be rough. come @ me like this is the hastily written first draft it really is.
  • there are loose plot/character threads everywhere. i am not as familiar as i'd like to be with the more mechanical aspects of like. making sure a plot makes sense? so i probably opened quite a few narrative brackets, as it were, and failed to close them. please lmk wherever you see things i haven't tied up at all, or haven't tied up in a satisfying fashion. satisfying does not necessarily mean happy, since this is a horror story. but i need to make sure i answer all the questions i asked over the course of it.
  • as i mention in chapter 6, i am not a natural writer of horror. so while i'm not necessarily mad about how i managed the particularly tense/horrific bits, i'm not altogether happy with them, either. any tips/suggestions on that front will be most appreciated. or just what you think worked!
  • does it all make sense. if there are any places where you just. don't get what the hell is going on. whether or not it looks deliberate or it works for the story!! please point them out! there is vaguery and confusion in there on purpose, but i need to know if i’m still doing that even when i intend for it to make sense.
  • with all that said i am also a small, soft enby with a thirst for validation, so i am always glad to hear about anything you liked or thought i pulled off well. it not only gives me the validation i crave like the earth craves rain after a drought, but it will also let me know where the strong points are relative to the weaker ones. all feedback is useful feedback!!

those are just the things i am aware of. but no one is aware of everything in their own work, so don’t be afraid to bring up some other point i may not have mentioned here. and this is level 5 for a reason! i like validation, but i also really want to improve my writing, so don’t hold back if i really fucked something up.



Kuranes, by Agent Nein


more Kuranes!! by NyanCheetos
 
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fluffyspy

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
283
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
66
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
I saw "Lovecraftian" and sprinted into the thread at top speed. Hey, Platinum makes a lot of sense for this theme given Giratina and the Distortion World, right?

Hm, I sure hope there isn't anything unearthly and ominous about that Chimchar when they heal it up at a Pokemon Center!
 

anonymouse

the plastic king of castle polyethylene
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
643
Caught
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
114
Location
southeastern USA
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
any; they/them
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon spends far too much time in front of a laptop, someone unglue them.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
Hm, I sure hope there isn't anything unearthly and ominous about that Chimchar when they heal it up at a Pokemon Center!
😉

Chapter 2
In a dream I saw the city in the valley, and the sea-coast beyond, and the snowy peak overlooking the sea, and the myriad shapes of creatures and men that sail out of the harbor toward the distant regions where the sea meets the sky.

I had the dream again after I went home with my poor, battered chimchar. The dream is always the same, but at the same time, always different. Sometimes I go down into the valley and walk the city streets; sometimes I go to the coast and bury my feet in sun-warmed sands; and sometimes... sometimes I climb the frosted mountain to its peak wreathed in flying snow that glitters like diamond dust. This time, I climbed the mountain.

I woke with a pounding heart when chimchar landed on my chest, squeaking for his supper. It seems he's recovered from the battle earlier.



Well then, now that we're both fed, it's time to head out. Just to be on the safe side, I'll limit my data gathering to this side of Mt. Coronet. This dynamic duo isn't really equipped to do any spelunking or long-distance travel. Well then, little one, let's go!



Barry: Kuranes! It took you long enough. Are you still upset that I beat you?

sigh, What is it now? I really don't have time for -

Barry: I was just thinking, since we're working on the Pokedex for the Professor and all, why don't we visit the shrine at Lake Verity? Maybe we'll see Mesprit!

... Do you know how low that chance is?

Barry: That chance will be zero if we never go! Come on!

Fine, okay, fine. There are wild pokemon there I can study, at least.



Barry: What is that guy doing, just standing there? Is he muttering to himself?

We're leaving now. Come on.



We are leaving. Right now. Go.



Cyrus: Excuse me.

...



Barry: Kuranes, are you okay? You look like you've seen a haunter!

... He didn't even look at me. Should I be relieved, or even more worried?

Barry: Hey, don't start muttering to yourself, too! C'mon, let's -



Barry: Was that...?!

A chill just ran down my spine. Was that...

Barry: Mesprit! Wow, that cry echoed all the way over here from the shrine. I wish we could get across to it!

It's... it's probably better if we just go.

Barry: You don't look so good.

I don't feel so good. Let's get out of here.

Barry: Are you gonna be okay?

Yes, I'll be fine. See you later, Barry. It's time for me to move on. Maybe hit Sandgem for some supplies and start working on the Pokedex. Best to keep my head down and stay busy.



Dawn: Oh, great timing, Kuranes! We just got back. How is your chimchar buddy?

Fine, Dawn. We're fine.

Dawn: That's good. What's his name, by the way?

... Oh, I haven't thought of that yet. Ah, how about...



Dawn: Hanuman? That's a good name.

Thank you. I'm afraid I need to get along and buy some supplies, so -

Dawn: No worries, I have some data entry to do before I go home. See you later, Kuranes!

Yeah, see you. All right then, Hanuman, let's stock up and head toward Jubilife, shall we?



Okay, all set. Let's get you some training and maybe catch a new teammate or two.





Pretty much to be expected. Route 202 next!





... What a nature for a starly. Oh well, you're with us now, Nova! Let's get to Jubilife.



Oof, these trainers aren't messing around. You two newbies have some catching up to do.



... Yeah, you really have some catching up to do.



Better? When you did that to my team? Whatever you say. Let's heal up, explore a bit, and get some training on you three.



Receptionist: You're in luck! We're giving away free Poketechs to new trainers; would you like one?

Well, I'm not sure 'trainer' is the right word, but sure! Just as long as they aren't bright pink or anything.

Receptionist: You can choose between these colors. No bright pink, I'm afraid. There is neon purple if you'd rather!

I think I'll just take this red one, thanks. This might even be useful at some point. Now, is there anything interesting to the west?



Oh, thank you, sir! Let's go over to the water here on route 218 and see what we can find!



Yeah, that's not a surprise. At least -



Oh. Oh, now that's what I'm talking about. Karpe Diem indeed. You are on the team, my friend! And while I'm on a catching roll, let's head north to route 204!

Ran into a bidoof first, but we already have one. I'll give it a couple of more tries. Another bidoof, a starly...





Not bad! Ah, and there are trainers on this route, too.



At this level, getting leered three times in a row is a bit nerve-racking. We've had some uncomfortably close calls. The last thing I want is any of my team to faint. Best play it safe and level up a bit.



That will do. Karpe, you are destined to be a fearful creature eventually, but right now you'll just have to be patient and leech some experience from the others. Now, let's head east to route 203 and see what we find there.



Barry: Kuranes! Wow, you caught a bunch of pokemon, didn't you? I caught some, too! You know what this means?

I would really rather just -



... sigh, Fine.



"Some?" That was one new pokemon, Barry.

Barry: Hey, it still counts! I'm about to go catch some more. See ya on the flip side! Nice battle!

Aaand off he goes. Well, let's continue with the plan, then.



... And get into more trainer battles. Joy.





Ah, these things. I'm not sure if I want to use something that only knows Bide and Growl. Still, a Pokedex entry is a Pokedex entry...

Okay, Banjo, if you're going to be here, you'll have to train up and please learn a better move.



Not sure if Leech Life counts as 'better,' but you did indeed learn a new move. That will just have to do. Since there are more trainers on this route, we might as well take advantage of the experience.



Okay, Banjo, I will revise my earlier skepticism. Since you're the only evolved pokemon on the scene right now, you're not half bad. Keep it up.

Now, I know what's on the other side of the Oreburg Gate. And I don't want to go there yet. So let's go back to route 204 and explore the cave up there.



Turns out it's a dead end populated by psyduck. There's no space for you on the team, Brian, but an entry is an entry. Fine, let's head into the Gate.



It's a bit surprising that this is the first time I've run into one of these. They're notorious. Into the box you go, Damian. Keep Brian company.



Two more trainers in the gate, then we're free.

From the looks of it, the Oreburg gym is closed right now. The aide by the door said something about the mine? Why people decided to turn a disused mine into a training grounds is beyond me.



And there seems to be some good stuff buried in this waste pile. The world moves in mysterious ways.

Right now, I am moved toward the Pokemon Center to get some rest. Maybe the gym leader will get back from whatever he's doing if I give it a while. And maybe I'll successfully talk myself out of challenging the gym by then. There's no reason for me to do it. I'm filling out the Pokedex; that doesn't require gym badges.

Well, it kind of does, but that isn't what I was hired to do. Gaining gym badges wasn't in the agreement. I caught and trained up this team for Pokedex completion, not for battling.

... If all that is true, then why don't I believe myself?
Chapter 2 Author's note
bonus points if you spot the pun. and/or the quote, bc i legit have no idea who on the Nuzforums has or hasn't read any given shortstory Lovecraft wrote.

the team hit their first level-checkpoint at an average of 10, so have the first 'proper' recalculation of the run!
San: 48/50
Pos: 2/50
roll: 24; fail
Av: 0/50

the two routes where i had to roll for dupes, we got a 2 and a 1. so far, so fortunate that a non-dupe showed up before i ran out.

here is what wikipedia says about the starter's namesake. there's no set naming theme. this leads to some weird nicknames later in the run.

also forgive the abrupt day/night changes in the screenshots. pretend the sun isn't up one minute and down the next. please ignore the man behind the curtain.

standard Platinum opening is standard; there's nothing much of note about this bit. things will pick up soon, i promise.

gonna edit this part 295630 times before all the typos are eradicated
 
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Rainbow Robin

Toss a coin to your witcher, oh valley of plenty
Pokédex No.
157
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
84
Location
A secret bunker, just off Route 2, next to Greggs
Nature
Lax
Pronouns
Him
Pokémon Type
Fighting, Flying
So yeah; the promise of Lovecraftian horror is an effective hook and I do like the opening monologues to each chapter; it will hopefully prove a good vessel to deliver the descriptions and atmosphere Lovecraftian horror requires. The meat of the run seems quite normal for now, sort of half commentary half character (and I do commend you for not using colourtext for Pokemon speaking) but every Innsmouth needs to look normal at the surface. Slow burn is so important. Here's hoping the run lasts long enough for those complicated rules to come into play and the nightmare to really start ramping up.

Is the Canalave library the Miskatonic University?
 

Alba Corbina

Conqueror of the Cinnabar Gym
Screenshotter
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
581
Caught
Jul 26, 2019
Messages
96
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Dark, Fairy
The idea of a Lovcraftian-themed Platinum run is super interesting! Looking forward to seeing how this plays out!
 

anonymouse

the plastic king of castle polyethylene
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
643
Caught
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
114
Location
southeastern USA
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
any; they/them
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon spends far too much time in front of a laptop, someone unglue them.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6
Is the Canalave library the Miskatonic University?
yeah basically


Chapter 3

I had the dream again. Once again, I was climbing the mountain with the bitter cold of the wind howling around me. Never before in my dreams had I gotten this far up the slope. Just ahead, I could see the gaping dark maw of a tunnel or cave. Somehow, even over the banshee shriek of the wind, I could hear a sound coming from that yawning blackness. It was a sound that defied description It was not a rumble, nor a roar, nor even a whistle. It should not have been audible, but it carried over the din of the snowstorm as if not even the elements could hide it. Even as I heard the sound, I could not identify it or its source; that only added to the churn of growing fear in the depths of my heart. My mind, which in my vanity I consider my best feature, could not discern anything about the noise. But my instincts, the hindbrain that cannot think and only reacts, knew what was important about that sound.

This time, when Hanuman tugged on my arm and jarred me out of my dream, I was grateful. Often those dreams are my refuge from reality, but that one took a turn I don't like at all. Hopefully this uneasy feeling will go away once I get back on track. How about I go check up on the gym?



Roark is still not in his gym, so I guess it's time to check the mines for him.



This was pretty predictable. Also predictable were the handful of people training here. One of them told me that Roark just left the mine, so he should be available for challenges shortly. Fantastic. More waiting.



Well, that's that, I suppose. Might as well check out the area up north of town and see if I can't find more Pokedex entries.



Like so. Armstrong here isn't very useful since Hanuman will have that type covered; however, Orvash will be quite valuable going forward. I think I will let Beula take a break for now and train Orvash up instead. Let's go heal up, then I'll -

Nurse: Ah, excuse me? Your pokemon...

What about them?

Nurse: They have all tested positive for Pokerus.



Nurse: ...organisms that infect all pokemon indiscriminately. So far there have been no reports of it jumping to humans, but we recommend caution all the same.

Wait, how is it transmitted? Is there a cure?

Nurse: It's transmitted by contact of some sort. Most of the cases we see come from trainers who do a lot of wild battling. Unfortunately, there is no known cure. All you can do is be very careful with infected pokemon.

Careful how? What happens to infected pokemon?

Nurse: It affects the brain and nervous system the most. We aren't sure exactly what it does, but infected pokemon who lose consciousness often slip into a comatose state or... or just die. Most trainers whose pokemon contract Pokerus retire those pokemon from active use. It also affects their sleep in - well, the symptoms differ among species. But some of them include insomnia or hypersomnia and sleep apnea. Those are the most common.

...

Nurse: I'm very sorry. We haven't seen a case of Pokerus in this area for quite some time. If you would like more information, I -

Maybe later, thank you. I just need to think right now.

All right, this is - this isn't good news, but it's not the end of the world. I can't bring any of them into battle, that's - no. I just can't. I'll just have to let them rest in the PC for a while until I decide what to do. I doubt any shelters would take them and I can't just release them. Maybe I can call Prof. Rowan later and ask him. I'll have to change my plan for Roark - damn. I don't need to challenge the gym! I shouldn't, not now. For all I know, I could be carrying Pokerus on me and if I work with any of my other pokemon, they could get it.

Take a deep breath, Kuranes. Calm down. There is no reason to panic. Deposit your team, take a shower, and then review your options. In that order.

Okay. Going into the PC and - wait. Why is the "Deposit" option grayed out? That doesn't make any sense, there's only four pokemon in there! Maybe it's just an error, I'll restart the PC and try again.

... That didn't fix it. What is going on?!

Deep breaths. I'll tell the Nurse about this so they can get an IT rep over to look at it. Might as well take that shower now and see what the tech says when I'm done.

The tech says there's nothing wrong with the PC. Yet when I tried to deposit any of my pokemon, it wouldn't let me. I even showed the tech that and they were completely bewildered. I can access the view-only mode; that's it.



HOW?! How did all four of the pokemon in the box contract it? Was one of them already carrying it when I caught them? Then how did it spread to the other three in the box?

Nurse: Pardon, are you well?

No! I am not well! My pokemon are all infected with Pokerus, including the ones that I caught before my team contracted it and none of whom have even been in my party at all!

Nurse: I-I'm sorry...

No... I'm sorry, you don't deserve to be shouted at. It's just been a day. I'll take myself out of here before I disturb the peace. I need some fresh air.



Okay, what are my options? For the moment, let's put aside the inexplicable and examine the bare facts. I cannot deposit any of my pokemon into the PC. They all have Pokerus, so even if I could, it wouldn't change much. If any of these ten pokemon faint, that's as good as death. It would be irresponsible to battle with them at all. But if I release them, that's sentencing them to death anyway.

Hanuman! Why did you come out of your pokeball? Listen, little guy, I know you were promised adventure when we left home. But your safety is more important. If you or the others get knocked out...

sigh, Well, there is this. You and the others are stronger than the wild pokemon in this area. You're not in much danger from them. And if we can get you enough training, then you'll be strong enough to handle trainer battles with less risk. I don't like that "less" is the key word in that sentence, but... well, they say that you never live if you stay safe all the time. That's some Barry logic if I've ever heard it. You fail all the challenges you never try, and all that.

But that smacks of sophistry. I feel like I'm trying to rationalize this in a way that will appease my conscience when I challenge the gym leader and put the lives of these pokemon at risk. Okay, what would be the point of taking the League challenge? I'm supposed to be keeping my head down and filling the pokedex. Having pokemon isn't necessarily a guarantee of safety from my own past.

A compromise, maybe? Try Roark's gym and see if I'm just being paranoid for no reason. If it goes well, I'll reconsider. We can train up enough to minimize problems. This is the first badge, after all. It's not meant to be a big challenge.

Whether I'm making that decision because it's sound reasoning or because I just want to badly enough, that's the decision. We'll train up and challenge Roark.



That's better.



This should be sufficient. Nova, Banjo, and Karpe can hang back. Inigo and Hanuman will be doing the most work, with Beula as emergency backup. My heart is already starting to pound, but it's time to take the leap.



Roark: Welcome, challenger!

Thank you. Shall we?





First up. This exchange should be short and sweet.



It was; geodude went down to a single Mega Drain. The next round shouldn't be much different.



This round was identical to the first. Here comes Roark's ace. Since Inigo's attacking move also restores some of his HP, it should be fine to leave him in even if he's outsped.



... Yes, that's totally the move I expected cranidos to use.



Good for you, Inigo.



Roark: Congratulations for a clean battle, challenger. Good luck!

Thank you. That went about as well as I could have wished.

Well. This hasn't cured any of our problems, but at the very least, I feel a little better. This problem is not insurmountable. It's about time to head back home, though. Maybe once I'm home I'll be able to think more clearly about everything that's happened.



sigh, Hi, Barry. What's the hurry now?

Barry: There you are! Kuranes, the professor sent me to find you. He wouldn't tell me what was up, but he said something was happening that you needed to know about. It sounded pretty urgent.

Oh?

Barry: Yeah. He looked pretty grim about it. Even more serious than usual. We should probably hurry.

And with that, the unease from before is back with interest. Joy of joys. Fine, let's go back to Sandgem. That's on my way anyway.

Barry: No, he said to meet him in Jubilife. I don't know what it is, but -

No, I get it. Let's go to Jubilife and see what he has to say.
Chapter 3 Author's note

aight, got a long "weekend" off work and not much to do yet from classes, so expect the updates to stay consistent this week and probably drop off shortly thereafter. i would like to promise an update at least once a week, but i know better, so we'll stick with "further updates will happen when they happen." it helps that the gameplay is already done and all i need to do is slap the screenshots here and ramble about them.

anyway, props to flyffyspy for inadvertently foreshadowing that my team caught pokerus while i was grinding for Roark. i had my emulator on turbospeed and wasn't paying much attention to the nurse dialog until my eye caught on the line that i screencapped. that couldn't have happened at a more serendipitous point in the run, so of course i had to capitalize on it and work it into the story. and we're finally introducing the teamlocke rule in-story as well. very little of what Kuranes will endure in this run is happening by their will.



here's a daily fun fact. did you know that wild geodude have a chance to carry everstones? i sure didn't until i was in the middle of giving pokerus to everybody in the box.

also, here is a bit of a plug. i mention in the intro post that this run was basically a playtest of the corruption mechanic. i made a thread in challenge discussion for space to brainstorm new ideas and tweaks to this ruleset, so if you're interested, maybe take a look! there are some relatively major spoilers for what happens later in this run, so be aware of that if you peruse the discussion.
 
Last edited:

Alba Corbina

Conqueror of the Cinnabar Gym
Screenshotter
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
581
Caught
Jul 26, 2019
Messages
96
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Dark, Fairy
Ooh, Pokerus! That's a really clever way of implementing the whole "Pokemon die if they faint" thing.
 

fluffyspy

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
283
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
66
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Ah, there's the unearthly and ominous bit! I wonder, is pokerus really just a virus in this universe, or... something more? 👀

I'm loving the dream descriptions in the opening paragraphs of each update. Very Lovecrafty.
 

anonymouse

the plastic king of castle polyethylene
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
643
Caught
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
114
Location
southeastern USA
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
any; they/them
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon spends far too much time in front of a laptop, someone unglue them.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9
replies
Ooh, Pokerus! That's a really clever way of implementing the whole "Pokemon die if they faint" thing.
the opportunity refused to be ignored, really. if it hadn't happened before i truly lost any team members, it wouldn't have had nearly the same effect. RNGesus was determined to make this run memorable.

Ah, there's the unearthly and ominous bit! I wonder, is pokerus really just a virus in this universe, or... something more? 👀

I'm loving the dream descriptions in the opening paragraphs of each update. Very Lovecrafty.
thank you! hopefully it doesn't come off quite as purple prose-y as Lovecraft's lol. he's famous for winding up suspense, which is accurate, though to me he managed it mostly by using so many words that it takes an eternity to get where the narrative is going. hopefully i can replicate that building of suspense in another way.

Chapter 4
With the memory of my dreams and the unsettling turn they've taken fresh in my mind, I am hyper-aware of Mt. Coronet looming just to the north, blotting out the sky. The promise of an immediate goal ahead to distract me from my thoughts does not offer its usual reassurance, either. I've never seen Barry this serious before; I don't think he's exaggerating the importance of whatever message Prof. Rowan has for me. It can't be good. And I can't do anything about it until I hear it.



On the way in to Jubilife, a half-familiar voice calls out to me. It's a good thing Barry is right there, because the sudden cry of a name I swore to leave behind almost makes me lose my feet. Barry looks confused, but I send him on to tell Rowan I'm coming. Then I turn to speak to the inspector. We're not friends, exactly, but we're allies of the sort forged by necessity. The only name I know to call him by is Looker.

Looker: I did not mean to startle you. Sorry.

No, it's okay. What do you need?

Looker: It is not what I need. It is what you need. Agents of Team Galactic have been sighted in this very city.

Damn, more of them?

Looker: More?

I... I saw Cyrus at Lake Verity yesterday. Or at least I think I did. It looked like him, but he didn't react to seeing me at all.

Looker: That is... troubling. This Team he has assembled, they are growing in number and influence. So much so that they are going about in the open now. There are rumors of their operatives stealing pokemon from young trainers.

No...

Looker: You know what this means? It seems like very petty thievery on the surface, but...

No, it's anything but petty. You don't know what they're planning.

Looker: But you do.

Yes. And I still won't tell you. You won't believe me if I did. Half the law enforcement in Veilstone think I'm a lunatic who needs to be institutionalized. Just... just believe me when I say it's not petty. If they're stealing pokemon, their plans are nearing fruition.

Looker: Very well. I will keep an ear to the ground and contact you if I hear more. Will you do the same?

Yes, yes, I will. Thank you, Looker. No one else is willing to give me the benefit of the doubt on this.

Looker: You have not deceived me yet. Of all people, I understand the necessity of withholding information. Just be sure that you do not withhold information I need to pursue my case.

I won't. It's in both our best interests to deal with this.

Looker: That it is. Be watchful, my friend.

You, too.



After that encounter with Looker, seeing this tableau isn't as much of a shock. A little bit of relief can even make itself felt; these two are low-clearance agents. Just grunts who do the legwork. But that relief is minor and can't counteract the anger - against Galactic and everything they've done to me - that's been smoldering in me for months.

Rowan: Ah, there you are, Kuranes. I'm sorry, the news I had for you -

It's all right. This was only a matter of time.

Galactic grunt 1: Hey, buzz off, buddy. We're talking to this gentleman here. Don't stick your nose in our business.

Did you rip that line out of a movie? Either way, you're the one getting into other peoples' business.

Dawn: Kuranes, please, don't instigate -

Grunt 2: Yeah, listen to the girl. Don't instigate trouble with us. We're not just working for ourselves. We're part of -

Yeah, Team Galactic, I know. I also know that you two are expendable pawns to your bosses. They won't hesitate to throw you away if it will benefit them. It's not worth it for you to get in a fight with me. Leave the professor alone and bugger off.



Grunt 1: You asked for it, idiot.

Dawn: N-no! I won't let you two gang up on them.



Thank you, Dawn. Don't worry. These two are small-time.



See?

Grunt 2: D-damn! You'll pay for that...

Oh, will we?



That's right. Go limp off to lick your wounds. If I see you bastards near Professor Rowan or Dawn again, you won't like what happens.

Dawn: W-well. At least we're all okay? Their pokemon weren't strong, but still...

Rowan: Yes, "but still." Kuranes, please promise me that you won't go looking for more trouble. Not after you spent the past few months keeping a low profile.

I - I won't. Sorry. That could have - we could've avoided a battle there. I'm sorry.

Dawn: If it helps, I'm glad you got here and could call their bluff. They were trying really hard to intimidate us and... well, it worked, at least on me. you never know when somebody with only one pokemon might have something really powerful.

Rowan: This is true. And I am also grateful that the situation has been resolved. However, there are other ways to defuse such situations.

Yes. There are. I'm... I'm going to move on now. Be safe, you two.

Dawn: You too, Kuranes.



Damn. What was I thinking? I knew they don't let lackeys keep powerful pokemon, but that still wasn't safe. My team has Pokerus. I could have gotten Banjo killed. And if there had been more than two of those grunts, or if one of them recognized me... how could I have let my anger drive me like that? I'm still shaking with adrenaline...

Whatever. Standing here angsting isn't going to get anything done. I need to get going; Floaroma isn't far ahead.

Oh, and of course there are trainers through here.



All right, that wasn't too bad. The double pachirisu weren't fun, but that's over. It's late enough I should just get some rest here and -



You've got to be joking. No, this isn't my business. I'll get to the Center, call Looker to tell him they're here, and keep my nose clean. After this afternoon I can't afford to make any more of a stir.

... What's that sound?



Little girl: My Papa, thu-sniff-those people in-n hic the f-f-funny suits to-ook my P-papa!

H-hey, it's - it'll be okay. Um, do you have a place to stay, little one?

Little girl: sniff Y-yes...

Then go back there and be safe. The police will be on their way to deal with this. Where did they take your Papa?

Little girl: W-wuh-work. He works i-in the po-power p-pla-hic-plant.

Okay. I'll tell them that. Get to somewhere safe, all right? Your Papa will be back in no time.

Little girl: O-hic-okay.

Gotta run back to the Center. I need to tell this to Looker right the hell now.



... No, Kuranes. This is Looker's job, not yours.

Okay. Looker is going to get backup and head to the Windworks. This isn't the best place for me to spend the night, but going through the Forest right now would be stupid. Staying here is the lesser of two evils, I guess.

Wait, those grunts are gone from the field north of town. Where did they go?



Hey! What the hell do you think you're doing?!

Grunt 1: None of your concern. Get - whoa!



You get out of here!

Grunt 1: Heh, rowdy, aren't you? Fine.



NO!

Grunt 2:
Still think this was a good idea, punk?



I never claimed this was a good idea.



But now I'm definitely not letting you off the hook.



Grunt 2: Shit! C'mon, let's beat it. The boss is still at the Windworks.

Grunt 1: Right!

...

Honey farm owner: Hey, are you all right? Thank you for driving those two away.

You're welcome. Why were they here?

Honey farm owner: The manager of the Windworks escaped before those goons could trap her. She brought me her keys so they couldn't barricade themselves inside. One of them must have realized what they did, because those two showed up asking about the keys. They didn't even react when I pulled out my phone and threatened to call the police. I probably should anyway...

The authorities are already on their way. When they'll arrive, though, I'm not sure.

Honey farm owner: Oh, good. I'll stay in town and wait for them. Are... is your bidoof going to be okay? That looked like a bad hit.

... She'll be fine. I'll just take her to the Center.
Chapter 4 AN
can i just say that xenforo is superior in just about every way to the old forum setup? the BBCode available is just *pacha meme*

anyway, sorry for the short talking-heads-tastic part. the script/commentary-style isn't conveying all that i want it to, so for the next chapter i'll probably do something different.

and we have out first loss. here's the stat calcs:
San: 47/50
Pos: 3/50
roll: 46; fail
Av: 0/50
and the fainted pokemon counter: 14 + 12 = 26/500 points
she had been screeched and poisoned, but the killing blow was a fury swipes that crit at just the wrong time.

as a side note, i deliberately made myself release fainted mons instead of just boxing them. at the time it just seemed appropriate for this run, but i never expected how much of an impact it would have on me to see that release text. it gave me a legit twinge.

 

Alba Corbina

Conqueror of the Cinnabar Gym
Screenshotter
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
581
Caught
Jul 26, 2019
Messages
96
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Dark, Fairy
Releasing Pokemon is weirdly hard. I don't have too much problem deleting pokemon when I start a new save file, but releasing them? I don't think I've ever been able to do that.

Sanity's starting to drop. I can't wait to see what happens when it reaches a more noticeable level.
 

anonymouse

the plastic king of castle polyethylene
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
643
Caught
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
114
Location
southeastern USA
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
any; they/them
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon spends far too much time in front of a laptop, someone unglue them.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11
replies
Releasing Pokemon is weirdly hard. I don't have too much problem deleting pokemon when I start a new save file, but releasing them? I don't think I've ever been able to do that.

Sanity's starting to drop. I can't wait to see what happens when it reaches a more noticeable level.
right? the sorts of attachments we make to pixel critters...
Chapter 5
It's getting late, but I don't want to sleep. Not with the dreams going the way they are.

The nurse at the Center here in Floaroma took Beula from me. With how potentially infectious Pokerus is, they can't risk taking her to the Lost Tower. They say I can pick up her ashes tomorrow. Just out of curiosity, I check the PC one more time. It looks like the Withdraw option is available; that surprises me a little, given how things have been going. But when I try to withdraw Orvash, I can't interact with his icon. The only icon available is Brian's. My willingness to fight this madness is at a low ebb right now, so I'm giving in. Welcome to the team, Brian.



There are a few areas outside of town with wild pokemon. I know exactly what will happen if I catch one; there's no use denying it. I'm stuck between two equally amoral decisions right now. I can not catch any more pokemon, which will mean I'm on something of a timer. If or when the last of the pokemon currently available to me die, my - whatever I'm doing - is over. There's a high chance that will happen at the worst possible time. Especially with the way things are going now. But if I catch more pokemon, I'll be condemning them to an almost guaranteed early death. So do I risk the lives of innocent pokemon to continue my own goals, or do I hamstring myself?

The pokemon I have with me now, they got involved before I knew what was going to happen. And there's a strong possibility that if I go around with an inadequate team, their fates will be sealed long before they might have been if the team were stronger overall. If I can build a strong team, they'll be more likely to survive.

... Is that reasoning truly sound, or am I still trying to delude myself into thinking what I want to do isn't horrible? The answer is probably, "yes, you're deluding yourself." There is another alternative here. I can leave the pokemon currently in the box in the box, take these six with me back home, and just live the life of a hermit until we all shrivel up and die of boredom. That isn't a good option, but it's the one that risks the fewest lives.

And I know deep down that I'm not going to do that. I kept telling myself that dealing with Galactic is Looker's job and not mine. But I also know that Looker doesn't understand the half of what's really going on. I thought ignorance would protect him, but it won't if he's going to actually try taking them on. This can't be just Looker's job.



So we'll bolster the ranks and press on.



Let's see if the idiots in the Windworks posted guards. Looker and his backup are still a while out at last check, so it won't hurt to do a little reconnaissance before he arrives. And there is a guard, but only one. They must be pretty confident.



Screw recon.



Ha, the door guard didn't even say anything. He just ran off. Of course, that means whoever's in charge here will know I'm here before long. Looker will just have to play cleanup this time.



Nothing special in these two.



Ah, the boss here is -

Mars: You!

Kuranes: Yes, me. Dare I ask why Cyrus sent you here?



Kuranes: Very informative.

Mars: You abandoned the cause. You don't deserve to know what we're planning.

Kuranes: I know the end goal, remember? I know what Cyrus is trying to do. I wonder if you do?

Mars: That doesn't matter here and now. I see that you're finally using pokemon. Did you come here to fight me? Force us to retreat if you win?

Kuranes: No. I came here to gather information, just like always. Do you know what Cyrus is planning?

Charon: She doesn't.

Mars: Keep out of this! You aren't a Commander, no matter that you've been brown-nosing ever since you arrived.

Charon: You don't know everything, Mars. Kuranes - yes, Cyrus told me what you're going by now - she doesn't understand the full truth of it. Not the way you do. Why don't you come back?

Mars: Shut up, old man! We don't invite deserters back.

Kuranes: Even if you did, I would decline. I have a grain of sense left. If you did, you'd jump ship, too.



Mars: Enough talking!



Kuranes: Agreed.



Zubat is practically a throwaway pokemon for her. The real problem is -



That. A Fake Out by itself does about a third of Hanuman's HP. I healed just to scout out its other moves and took a Scratch that did about the same damage as Fake Out. I have five more opportunities to heal. Time to try out a Mach Punch.



Hanuman, you beautiful beast.



Kuranes: Now that you mentioned leaving if I beat you...

Mars: Tch!

Kuranes: If it helps, the authorities are on the way as we speak.

Charon: I told you those two idiots who went after the manager wouldn't be able to get the job done! Let's go, Mars. There's nothing more we can do here.

Mars: Fine. But you know what this means, right?

Kuranes: Spare me the speech. I was already on Galactic's Most Wanted list before. This won't make an appreciable difference. Now get out.

Windworks employee: Are they really leaving?



Kuranes: They're gone. Don't worry about what they said.

Windworks employee: Wh- okay. Are you with the police?

Kuranes: No.



Looker: Kuranes! For the love of - what were you doing in there?!

Kuranes: What I should've done instead of cowering behind InterPol. Did your people manage to detain any of them?

Looker: Some. What do you mean by that? Why did you go in there alone when you knew I would be here shortly?

Kuranes: Because if I'm going to withhold information, I owe it to you to help in some other way.

Looker: That is not how you help, Kuranes. That is how you get into trouble. And aid might not be available.

Kuranes: And you aren't getting into hazardous situations in this investigation?

Looker: ...

Kuranes: Look, I know InterPol doesn't like getting civilian consultants involved in cases. But you might well need my help. I know how Galactic works and what they're after. For instance, I'd bet that whoever you didn't manage to catch here has retreated to their base in Eterna City. You aren't getting a warrant to raid the place anytime soon, right? But there's a chance I can get us in there to look around. And if we find they're holding stolen pokemon there...

Looker: Fine, fine. I will meet you in Eterna City once this mess has been cleaned up. Be careful.

Kuranes:
Yeah. Will do.

Well, with that... over... might as well keep going north. My conscience, already stretched, won't allow me to catch more than one pokemon in each area. So let's see what I can get up here.



sigh



There are a surprising number of trainers here.



Cheryl: Excuse me. I, um, I need to get through the forest, but I only have my chansey with me. That might not go well. Would you mind if I came along with you for safety? I can keep our pokemon healed up along the way.

Kuranes: Oh, well, I guess that makes sense. Sure. I'm Kuranes.

Cheryl: Cheryl. Thank you, Kuranes.



This might even be helpful. There's always plenty of people training in here.



... Like this. I don't like that pachirisu, so let's send in Inigo to resist its Spark. The wurmple and silcoon are annoying with Poison Sting and String Shot. Thankfully chansey seems happy to chip away at those while Inigo works on the pachirisu. And then a beautifly comes out. Inigo is paralyzed, but he's at decent health, so -



... Gust outdamages what Inigo can get from Mega Drain. I'm sorry. So sorry, little friend. Nova, the pachirisu is nearly gone. You know what to do.



Cheryl: It's all right, I have - oh...

Kuranes: Don't bother. I need to go back to town to deal with this; you can wait or move on as you choose.

Cheryl: I think... I'll wait at the forest edge for you.

Chapter 5 AN
i hope it's a little more clear where dialog is different from Kuranes' running commentary. i may or may not alter the presentation style more as the run goes on, because this format still isn't that great at conveying the emotional ranges the characters are experiencing. this would've been a full on storylocke if i had the motivation, and later on i might well do a proper storylocke of it since i abandoned the storylocke of my mono-ground run

stat calcs! for the level 15 checkpoint:
San: 45/50
Pos: 5/50
roll: 20; fail
Av: 0/50

and for Inigo:
San: 43/50
Pos: 7/50
roll: 18; fail
Av: 0/50

16 + 13 = 29 + 26 = 55/500

not so fun fact, this is the second time that bug catcher's beautifly has killed a mon of mine in a nuzlocke. it's easy to go into that fight more worried about the pachirisu, especially if half your team is weak to electric. the problem with the team as it was? the other half were weak to flying.

 

Time Master Eon

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Screenshotter
Pokédex No.
398
Caught
Jul 6, 2019
Messages
197
Location
A place beyond space and time
Nature
Lax
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Bug, Fighting
Pokédex Entry
This Pokemon switches rapidly between passion and apathy
It seems to me that nearly everyone who doesn't lose someone to Mars loses someone in the forest instead, not all mind you, but a large percentage.
 

Alba Corbina

Conqueror of the Cinnabar Gym
Screenshotter
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
581
Caught
Jul 26, 2019
Messages
96
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Dark, Fairy
Double battles are the worst. Thanfully, most of the ones in Eterna forest can be turned into single battles.
 

anonymouse

the plastic king of castle polyethylene
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
643
Caught
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
114
Location
southeastern USA
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
any; they/them
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon spends far too much time in front of a laptop, someone unglue them.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14
replies & announcement

It seems to me that nearly everyone who doesn't lose someone to Mars loses someone in the forest instead, not all mind you, but a large percentage.
Platinum's difficulty curve does seem to swing wildly. most of the mook trainers are no problem, but certain ones are ridiculous. i wish i could say i remembered that beautifly and restrained myself from attacking it with extreme prejudice because i'm trying not to make Kuranes omnipotent, but i genuinely didn't remember that jerk's moveset until it had already used it.
Double battles are the worst. Thanfully, most of the ones in Eterna forest can be turned into single battles.
most of the doubles in general can be done as singles, and you'll see me do that as much as possible. especially with those fiendish ace trainer doubles later on.

anyway, with replies out of the way, it's time to fess up. part of the reason the update schedule dropped off is due to classwork picking up and work-work being soul-sucking. but partially, i'm just not satisfied with my own execution of the story in this screenshotlocke. i'm not a natural writer of horror, and the screenshot format just isn't working for me. so i'll work on a proper story version of this run in the background and continue this as basically gameplay and stat roll proofs to show how the mechanics work alongside the game. events to come later on in the game progression really do make me want to continue this, since it was a truly memorable run.
part 6


here's Inigo's replacement. for all that zubat line are Nuzlocke staples, i haven't used them much. so this will be a learning experience trying to keep this little bloodsucker alive.


Damian got switch-trained on wilds until he was less cripplingly underleveled and i felt marginally more secure about continuing.


another fun fact i forgot until i ran into them: the psychics in here with two abras that know hidden power? those abras are hard coded to always have HP Fighting. not sure what its power is, but it does a predictably minuscule amount of damage to Cheryl's chansey. and Kuranes was still training Damian at the time, who i think had gotten astonish, so they were easy pickings. the other two psychics with a meditite and psyduck, however, were a little more scary. i recall being salty that the enemy psyduck had confusion while Brian didn't because it was one level higher.


here's the team just before i released Cheryl from her healing duty. Banjo couldn't hit anything in the forest for beans, and Karpe was still a magikarp, but everybody else who could pull weight got levels.


no bonus points for guessing where that went immediately.


Eterna forest catch. i don't think i even had to roll for dupes.

these bridge trainers were more free exp, so they got mopped up as well. at that point, i decided to yolo the gym with Hanuman and Nova. my memory tried to tell me that Gardenia's ace was 20. it was wrong.


but first, we must be ambushed by the plot again.


since this is a requirement to leave the city, i decided to take care of it immediately. Kuranes would not have been caught dead using this stupid thing, but i spent enough time in the Underground to pick up a few heart scales and a skull fossil. how i'm going to justify that in the narrative is something i'm working on. that, along with a few other incidental gameplay-related things, and honestly Kuranes taking on the league challenge, are things i'll have to finagle for the story version.


during the course of more bored and aimless exploring, i rediscovered this. Mimi the buizel is still in the box. i decided at the time not to do the trade unless i really needed to; since at the time i had Nova and Ned, i didn't see the need for another bird.


clearing out the gym trainers was easy enough, as might be expected.


Gardenia herself was a different matter. my memory of the game, which i tried with mixed success to ignore throughout this run, tried to tell me her ace was level 20. my memory was wrong.


turtwig being the tank it is, Hanuman's flame wheel failed to OHKO, so it got a chance to set up a reflect.


she healed it back to full, but that actually made turtwig a clean 2HKO through the reflect. i think it used sunny day during its free turn? which helped me more than it did her, honestly.


Hanuman was proving his worth this fight; he burned the cherrim on his first hit before it got the chance to safeguard, then the reflect went down that very turn. Hanuman finished that battle still in good health, but the leech seed bothered me, so i switched to Nova for the roserade.


roserade outsped Nova, making me really regret her nature, and hit her way harder than i liked.


in this instance, the berry was useful, since it took the roserade out of the range for Gardenia to heal it herself. Nova cleaned up despite being on lowish health.


that was a fairly satisfying fight, from my perspective. steamrolls might be safe, but they're boring.


and now time to teach someone cut. as the team member with the crappiest moveset, Banjo got the honors. i swear i took a screencap of the message after this when she actually got the move, but that image has disappeared.

also, as you might've noticed, i haven't taken any of the optional team swaps yet. even though the current team isn't optimal, that wouldn't be improved if i switched anyone. so here, as i will for much of the rest of the run, i choose to stick with the mons that are at least higher leveled. Damian will evolve soon and could potentially be fully evolved not long after, so there is that much going for him.

... apparently, i forgot to take a screencap of entering the Galactic hideout. so i guess we're jumping right into the grunt battles.


most of them were standard mooks. all except for that scientist. i remembered that jerk from past runs, but i made myself walk into that fight without changing up the team order. anybody remember what that scientist has?


he's also packing an X-Special to make that thing even more terrifying. now, if i hadn't had Karpe up front, this wouldn't have been a threat at all; the turn spent to apply the x-special would've given me the chance to damage it and potentially one-shot it. but i instead had to spend that turn switching out of Karpe Diem, so now the kadabra was buffed and ready to wallop my team.


Banjo had the highest special defense of the whole team, and yet that's what a +1 confusion did.

with only 6 healing items available in this fight per the rules, there was no way i could've out-healed the damage. also, since was Banjo in easy KO range, the kadabra was also pretty much guaranteed to use confusion again the next turn. obviously switching wouldn't save anybody, so all i could do was sac a team member so Nova, who had the best chance to outspeed and finish the kadabra off, could swap in for free and revenge KO. of the six mons on the team, there was one clear choice for who should take the hit.


Brian was the most expendable member on the team. Damian was close to evolution, as was Karpe, who had a lot more potential than a psyduck who would soon start to lag behind stats-wise and not evolve for some time.


this was still a risky choice; if Gardenia's roserade could outspeed Nova, this kadabra had the potential to, as well. but of the two fast and hard-hitting team members at full health, Nova was the one who wouldn't take SE damage.


thankfully, she pulled off the KO without any problems. now it's time to care for the fallen.



San: 40/50
Pos: 10/50
roll: 28; fail
Av: 0/50

20+15 = 35+55 = 90/500


here are my notes from while i was playing this section: "welcome to the team, armstrong. you might be redundant, but let’s still hope you don’t go the way of brian. you’ll hang out in the back until the end of this plot bc i can’t be assed to catch you up right now." that will become relevant later. for now, the fact that a mook trainer's pokemon was basically on level with my team had finally gotten me nervous, so i decided to put off finishing the Galactic plot until i did a bit more grinding.


heading east of Eterna toward the mountain, i stuffed this gal into a pokeball. eventual psychic coverage won't go amiss.


blundered into this hiker on the way to the caves inside Mt. Coronet. this is about the point i started to miss having a better hard counter to rock/ground types than a flimsy monferno.


sigh could have had a bronzor here, but instead, i got a chingling. great.


hit up these trainers east of Eterna in the course of grinding.

but first, the collective level average hit the level milestone before that catching spree, so it's time for another recalc. by now Kuranes is losing 4 Sanity each.

San: 36/50
Pos: 14/50
roll: 8; success
Av: 1/50

at this point in gameplay, i wasn't decided on exactly how Kuranes was going to present symptoms of corruption. two somewhat conflicting options presented themselves: either paranois and hypercaution, or recklessness. however, either one would be a slow decline rather than an immediate change. i sort of decided on a compromise: paranoia, but not the kind of paranoia that would lead them to overgrind. they already felt hunted by Galactic and by other forces, so that would do. the first few Avatar points wouldn't have a huge effect on their decisions regarding gameplay choices. anyway, on to the grind:


she's A Monster

my usual grinding habit is to put the game on turbo and watch a youtube video or something with most of my attention while DeSmuMe is crammed into a corner of the screen. i did a literal double-take when i glanced over, saw a bronzor silhouette, then thought, "it's green??"


so yeah, i caught a shiny bronzor. named them Yauhtli because link-surfing on wikipedia.


back to regularly-scheduled grinding. the other screencap i swore i took of Damian evolving disappeared? and for reasons known only to past me, 22 on everyone but Armstrong who barely got any attention at all was as far as i chose to grind. to be fair to past me, the team had received a serious upgrade in the form of a giant murderfish.


a giant murderfish with two useable moves, but still a giant murderfish. so, bolstered by that fact, i charged in to face the boss.




here's another "i want to say i led with Hanuman because i told myself not to remember what Jupiter's lead is, but i actually did forget her lead." and regretted it.


i also regretted the fact that Orvash was stuck in the box. i sent Banjo out in the hopes of singing the skuntank to sleep.


prior to this turn, Banjo and the skuntank traded a sing that missed for a poison gas that missed. then, when i risked another try, it stopped screwing around and landed a night slash. that hurt.

time to strategize again. there was no point in trying to out-heal, especially not with the high crit chance of night slash. plus, i only had one status healing item, so getting poisoned wouldn't be good. i decided that getting at least one intimidate off would be best.


now skuntank's attacks were doing marginally less damage. criticals were still a scare, but Karpe had enough bulk to tank a few turns. her only attacks were the lackluster bite and tackle, though, so i couldn't leave her in. thankfully she had enough bulk to take a hit or two while i healed the only team member on level who could resist night slash.


like so.


however, skuntank had an easy way to effectively reverse the intimidate debuff and undo several turns' worth of progress.


with Hanuman's health that low, i couldn't afford to heal the poison, just his HP. unfortunately, that had very little effect. i was in essentially the same predicament now i'd been in against the scientist's kadabra.


Armstrong managed to survive one night slash, which gave me the chance to heal Hanuman to full.


Hanuman might have resisted night slash, but Nova could bring another intimidate to the party, and had slightly higher attack.


one hit didn't quite KO, but skuntank wasted its turn on smokescreen.


well that sucked. the team was underleveled and it hurt. past me overestimated how much murderfish would change things.

well, i say past me. it's supposed to be Kuranes, who doesn't know the level curve or how much grinding is necessary, who's making these decisions. but part of the reason the team was underleveled is because i was just done with grinding. there are several places where gameplay-changing choices happen that Kuranes wouldn't make; some of those are necessity, some aren't. and this was one of the latter. i'll own this one.


anyway. remember when i quoted my notes above?

five gd minutes ago said:
welcome to the team, armstrong. you might be redundant, but let’s still hope you don’t go the way of brian.
yeah, about that.

San: 31/50
Pos: 19/50
roll: 33; fail
Av: 1/50

9+2 = 11+90 = 101/500


the silver lining was that Yauhtli could skip in line and join the team immediately, if i chose. the alternative was Orvash. that skuntank fight proved how much the team really needed some type diversity, and while steel/psychic would do that, rock/ground would overall be more useful.


but who the hell am i kidding. it's a shiny. you can't not use a shiny.

with that rollercoaster of a section over, it's time to leave Eterna. next time, more shenanigans will ensue.

as soon as i can figure out what the actual hell is imgur's problem with only certain images refusing to show up. if all else fails i'll rehost some of them elsewhere, but i can't be bothered to do that right now.
 

Chess

birds can't hurt me these shades are gucci
Administrator
Moderator
Tech Team
Artist
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Team Omega
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
5
Caught
May 13, 2019
Messages
405
Location
in forest floor detritus
Nature
Docile
Pronouns
They/Them/She/Her
Pokémon Type
Fire, Grass
Pokédex Entry
can be bribed with shiny objects and spices to do household repairs. utterly incapable of many things, but does them anyway
In a dream I saw the city in the valley, and the sea-coast beyond, and the snowy peak overlooking the sea, and the myriad shapes of creatures and men that sail out of the harbor toward the distant regions where the sea meets the sky.
Hi i'm just popping in to say that this sentence alone has me hyped for whatever form this run continues in - you might say you're not a natural horror writer, but this part absolutely nails the essence of it more than a lot of horror stories these days.
 

Agent Nein

Southern Cryptid
Hacker
Artist
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
21
Caught
Jun 6, 2019
Messages
102
Location
In The Woods Somewhere
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Highly reclusive, but responsive to being summoned
I gotta agree on the natural horror writer thing with Chess, like, I'm not expert or anything but I was pretty sunk in and adored your dream descriptions. I like Kuranes a lot and am super interested in his history with Galactic and this dynamic with Looker. Really appreciate the rationalizing and that one line with "that's some Barry logic" too. I'm just really excited for this entire lovecraftian screenshot concept and love the style you were doing it in before.
 

Agent Nein

Southern Cryptid
Hacker
Artist
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
21
Caught
Jun 6, 2019
Messages
102
Location
In The Woods Somewhere
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Highly reclusive, but responsive to being summoned
Welp, I'm about to be guilty of double posting but
Decided to take a crack at drawing Kuranes? I don't know if I missed a description but y'know. *vague gestures*
 

anonymouse

the plastic king of castle polyethylene
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
643
Caught
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
114
Location
southeastern USA
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
any; they/them
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon spends far too much time in front of a laptop, someone unglue them.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #18
replies??
Hi i'm just popping in to say that this sentence alone has me hyped for whatever form this run continues in - you might say you're not a natural horror writer, but this part absolutely nails the essence of it more than a lot of horror stories these days.
thank you <3 that particular tidbit is lightly altered from the opening line of the work that Kuranes' character is based on -if you're curious, it's one of his shorter works, and not much like Lovecraft's usual stuff.

I gotta agree on the natural horror writer thing with Chess, like, I'm not expert or anything but I was pretty sunk in and adored your dream descriptions. I like Kuranes a lot and am super interested in his history with Galactic and this dynamic with Looker. Really appreciate the rationalizing and that one line with "that's some Barry logic" too. I'm just really excited for this entire lovecraftian screenshot concept and love the style you were doing it in before.
thank you! and i nearly did a literal spit-take at the art! thank you so much!! that captures the bleak depression of Kuranes' whole character very well - i love it! <3 <3


on that subject, this is a... not a replacement for the gameplay update, but some prose bc i've been feeling lowkey guilty about this run for months. irl things have more or less settled down, so as long as i can keep my headstate in an all right place, i hope to work on this run some more. i'm still determined that i can't do the run justice as a screenshot 'locke, but making a whole new shebang for a full storylocke is more daunting. so we'll try something else for a bit and see how this goes.
bonus content?
Now there were two urns of ashes waiting in the Pokemon Center clinic. Kuranes had kept the tiny urn with Inigo’s papery remains since it was so small, but those? Those were impractical to carry. They might have to just… stay there. It was not like Armstrong and Brian would feel abandoned.

The cigarette was almost done. The cherry was so close to the filter that each drag burned hotter, more acrid, until finally they took it from their lips to cough. Kuranes stuck the filter back in their mouth long enough to fumble for the pack. They lit the second cigarette with the cherry of the first.

Footsteps clocked on rain-damp cobbles, getting closer. Looker called from half the block away, “Kuranes?”

It was a good thing Looker had given them time. Right now Kuranes’ nerves were so tight that even at that distance, they still flinched. But they turned, dropping the spent cigarette to grind it out. “Looker. Have your people finished the raid?”

“Not quite. But they have found… some interesting things.” Looker’s voice was tight and guarded. He stopped within conversational distance; close enough for Kuranes to see the pallid cast to his face. “It is time for you to tell me what is going on.”

Kuranes averted their face. “What did they find?”

A pause sat between them for just too long. Kuranes could all but hear Looker weighing whether to answer the question in hopes of luring Kuranes to talk, or to demand that Kuranes answer first. The former won out. “The ground floor and upper floors were nothing special. Except that some file cabinets were suspiciously empty, and we did not find as many people inside as we expected. So it’s clear that some of them escaped before the raid.”

“Probably fell back to the Veilstone base,” Kuranes offered. “It’s their main headquarters.”

Looker nodded. Though Kuranes still refused to meet his eyes, they could feel the detective’s gaze boring into the side of their head. “The basement level was a different story. That was where they had put the stolen pokemon.”

Kuranes knew what that meant. Their stomach knotted. “Did - did you recover them?”

“Some. The ones that were unhurt. Some are in the Center’s ICU.” Looker paused. “But there were many more we could not save.”

Kuranes swallowed back bile, eyes squeezing shut against the images that filled their mind unbidden. “Killed?”

“Yes. Ritualistically; all of them. And not cleanly.” Looker took a few steps around, closing the distance until he stood directly in front of Kuranes’ face. ”Tell me what they are doing.”

Kuranes ripped the cigarette out of their mouth, dashing it to the ground as they turned. Both hands rose to cover their face. It was difficult for Looker to make out the words that Kuranes croaked into their hands, though he recognized the tone well enough as a stream of obscenities.

“They’ve already started the rituals. It’s too late,” Kuranes choked. ”Damn it.”

“Kuranes. Talk to me. What is too late? What does it mean?” Looker demanded.

Kuranes’ hands trembled as they dropped them, so they wrapped both arms around their chest. Slowly, they turned to fix haunted eyes on Looker. “You recall the myth of Sinnoh’s creation. Right?”

Looker’s eyebrows beetled. “What does that have to do with it? Are you saying this is some cult of those pokemon in the legend?”

Kuranes shrugged and shook their head. “Yes and no. The version most people know is incomplete. The full story has been suppressed for centuries. And for good reason. Nothing good ever came of anyone digging up the old stories.” Their bleak face darkened. “I knew that going in. So did he. We all did. But we didn’t listen. Now look!” The sick terror began creeping back in to Kuranes’ demeanor.

Looker regarded his informant warily. “What are you talking about?”

They shook their head, turning away again. “Just… go to Canalave city. Go to the library and ask whoever’s at the desk if you can speak to Zebulon Elridge. He was one of our first sources.”

“How do you spell the first name?” Looker’s notepad and pen were out and scribbling. Kuranes obliged; as they recited, the tension began, slowly, to drain from their shoulders. It came back a moment later when Looker asked, “And if you used this Elridge as a source, why can you not tell me yourself?”

Kuranes turned to glare at him. “Do I look like I’m in a fit state to talk about it right now?” they snapped, spreading their arms. “I can hardly string two words together. Call the Canalave library from here if you need to talk to someone right this instant. They’ll give you Elridge’s home number. Or wait until tomorrow and ask me once I’ve had some rest. Just…” They deflated again. “Just not right now.”

Looker held their gaze for a beat. Then he nodded, capped his pen, and tucked it and the notepad back into his coat pocket. “Very well. But I do not want you leaving this city until I say so. Understand? Your behavior worries me, Kuranes. This is twice you have changed the plan without my consent. And both times it ended with suspects getting away with valuable information.”

They tensed, hands balling into fists. “I’m not on their side, you -”

“Be that as it may!” Looker cut them off. “Do not leave the city. Tomorrow afternoon, you and I will have coffee and talk more.”

Kuranes dropped Looker’s gaze by fishing for their cigarette pack again. “Fine.”
 

Agent Nein

Southern Cryptid
Hacker
Artist
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
21
Caught
Jun 6, 2019
Messages
102
Location
In The Woods Somewhere
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Highly reclusive, but responsive to being summoned
Oh shit, Looker's pissed! Like, for good reason but I'm very happy to see more of them interacting! I was really excited to get the notif and see more stuff, and I'm glad you liked the drawing! But yeah, rip Kuranes under lockdown now, I can't wait to see how this chat goes with Looker. Like damn, I want some coffee too now
 

anonymouse

the plastic king of castle polyethylene
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
643
Caught
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
114
Location
southeastern USA
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
any; they/them
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon spends far too much time in front of a laptop, someone unglue them.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #20
reply
Like damn, I want some coffee too now
big mood.
prose type thing
Looker sat down across from Kuranes in the tiny coffee shop in downtown Eterna. Neither of them spoke for a moment, occupying themselves with the alchemical ritual of adding sugar and creamer to coffee. Looker did, at least. Kuranes clutched the steaming mug between both hands while it cooled enough to drink.

"It does not look like you got any more rest than I did," Looker observed. His tone had more sympathy in it than it had the night before.

"If you got any sleep at all, you got more than me," Kuranes answered. They took a cautious sip, winced at the heat, and took another anyway.

"Why is that?"

Kuranes raised their eyes to meet Looker's. "Does your job ever give you nightmares?"

Looker frowned. "Are you answering my question or redirecting the conversation?"

They huffed a bleak laugh. "Both. But it doesn't matter. We're not here to talk about dreams. Did you call the library?"

Looker gave them a wary look for a beat, then nodded. "Yes. That Elridge man, he works there, they told me. But he was not there this morning. They would not give me another number for him."

There was no reason for that news to drain the blood from Kuranes' face. Zeb Elridge was old and arthritic, only employed at the library part time for something to do. But the last... "Elridge has a landline. I know he does. They didn't even take a message?"

"No, they did. But they were not willing to tell me when he would come in to work again." Looker shrugged. "I can always go there in person if I need to. Right now, however, I have a different priority."

The significant glance made Kuranes' mouth twist into a grimace. They covered it by taking another sip of coffee.

When that leading statement failed to get Kuranes to talk, Looker withdrew his notepad and pen from his coat pocket. "So. What has caused you to charge into these dangerous situations without backup or a plan?"

That was not the question Kuranes had been dreading, but they had no more desire to answer this one. In no small part because they had no idea how to. Telling Looker the truth, that they acted without thinking and only after all was said and done did they realize how pointlessly dangerous and stupid it had been, would benefit neither of them. If Looker tried to arrest them for this recklessness, or just tried to bar them from involvement in the case...

In all honesty, Looker would be fine without them. Kuranes had been so reticent about giving him any information that there was no point pretending they were much help there. Once he got in touch with Zebulon Elridge, that would be enough information for him to know what he was getting into. So why did the thought of giving up make Kuranes' gut twist?

But they'd been silent for too long. Looker said, "Kuranes. You are too intelligent not to understand what this looks like to me."

They finally looked up. "Why haven't you arrested me, then?" Why would he force the issue? If he really suspected them of trying to sabotage the investigation - which, to be fair, was exactly what Kuranes' recent behavior looked like - what did Looker gain by bringing it up here and now?

Looker kept his gaze locked with theirs. "Because I want to trust you. My instincts about people are not often wrong, and they tell me you did not lie when you said you wanted to help stop this Team Galactic. Either my instinct is wrong, or there is something causing you to behave in this way. In both cases, I would prefer to not act precipitously." He paused to incline his head. "So which is it?"

Kuranes dropped Looker's eyes to rub the bridge of their nose. "I'm not trying to work against you. I - I'm sorry. The - my need to help, to stop all this madness, is... it's strong. I'm not used to this sort of thing." With every word, their stomach knotted tighter. This was the same sensation they had all those months ago, the moment they woke up to the realization of what they had found. The feeling of watching a train wreck - the slow, horrible inevitability. They wanted to stop but were powerless to do so. "It's probably best if I go back home. You can always call. And once you get hold of Elridge, he can tell you a lot. Maybe he's better to talk to anyway." And all this babbling could hardly help their case.

When Kuranes dragged their eyes back up, it was to see Looker writing in his notepad. He put the pen down, ripped the page from his pad, and pushed it across to Kuranes. "I made another call this morning. To another of my local contacts. She gave me the name of a respected psychologist in Jubilife." He paused, seeing Kuranes begin to shake their head. "Hear me out. This is no asylum; merely a psychotherapist. It is clear to me that, if you are not lying, then your ability to make rational decisions has been affected. I would rather see you get help than arrest you."

"I don't need a therapist," Kuranes snapped. "There is nothing wrong with my decision-making. I'm fine."

Looker's single raised eyebrow spoke volumes.

"I'll go back home. I'll check in regularly so you know I'm still there and not making trouble. But I'm not going to a shrink." Their hands, braced on the table as if to push it and Looker away, balled into fists. "You don't even know what you're suggesting. If I told a psychologist about the research, and the dreams, they would institutionalize me. That's what the Veilstone PD threatened to do, remember?"

"Yes, I remember that," Looker replied in even tones. "And I can understand why you feel that way. I do not want to see you locked away, either in prison or in a mental institution. But I also do not want you to get yourself, me, or anyone else hurt." His even tone hardened.

Kuranes almost gave a scathing snort, almost asked Looker if he thought an institution would treat them gently, but refrained. That argument threatened to go on forever. Instead, they said, "So is that what my choice is? Either see a therapist or you arrest me?" If Looker wanted to force the issue, so would they.

Looker took a deep breath. "No. Almost, but no. As you have been of use in this investigation, and I still believe you have not lied to me, I will give you a second chance. On the condition that we coordinate every day or so and you do not repeat your prior behavior."

Relief loosened the tight muscles in Kuranes' shoulders. "Okay. I - I can agree to that." It was either that or be arrested. What choice did they have? Still, this was a better compromise than they had any right to expect.

Looker pushed the note he'd torn from his notepad a little farther across the table until it touched Kuranes' coffee mug. "Take that, if you please. And consider it." The page had a name and phone number scrawled on it. Reluctantly, Kuranes took it.
gameplay type thing


... yeah, i'll be honest, i'm not yet sure whether i'm even gonna bother working Cynthia into the narrative. she does very little in the story besides make the player run errands she could easily do herself for no apparent reason.

also, since it's required to take this egg, i do. and i hatch it; if you see screencaps of the boxes later, it'll have the togepi in there. but i end up releasing it before it even comes around in the rotation. at the time i did it, i thought, "this is supposed to be a pokemon drawn to happiness. Kuranes and happiness haven't existed in the same room in a long time. no togepi would be caught dead in their vicinity." plus, even then i wasn't too invested in Cynthia's presence, something that only got more pronounced by the end of the run. so for the purposes of the narrative, i'm going to ignore the togepi. pretend you don't see it in the box.



these, however, are much more useful. Yauhtli got the exp share, then we proceed down the cycling road.



mmm time to regret leading with a brave staravia when this cycling road is infested with electric types. i made the decision to avoid as many trainers as possible for safety's sake on the way down to Oreburg.



in case you haven't noticed, i'm not good at naming pokemon unless i have a theme or something. i can at least make the excuse that Kuranes is 100% left-brained and doesn't have a creative bone in their body.



i don't like pachirisu.



plot! i really wonder what the heck Cyrus is doing in these random places. he's just... standing there.

and now, because i'm apparently bad at taking screenshots of scenery for the purpose of helping the audience keep up with where i am, we teleport to Hearthome.



the only clever nicknames in my runs are memes i borrow from other people.



cleaning up other random stuff around the city. i ended up wandering back east a bit to clear up other stuff.



~shiny~



revenge sucks. it nearly took my shiny green mirror away from me.



first encounter. the subsequent encounters were machop and geodude. since my usual dupes clause specifies that it's only a duplicate if i have a member of the evo line alive in box or party, i could've caught that machop. i either forgot or decided that catching a new one right after losing Armstrong wasn't okay. either way, i didn't get a catch from this route.



i took this screencap as an excuse for Kuranes to poke around in the hidden bit of wayward cave. they don't have the same excuse to go exploring that some other pokemon protagonists do, so i'm gonna have some more narrative gymnastics to do to figure out why they even go here. i told myself originally that i wouldn't go into the hidden bit since it's not something Kuranes would automatically know about... but i'm weak.



... all right, if anybody knows about gen 4 RNG, i'd be curious to know exactly how it's advanced. i know that walking or running on certain tiles? can do it, saving, flashing the journal and the like... but i swear, i get gible as a genuine first encounter more often than not when i come into this area directly after the Eterna stuff. almost every time. it can't be a coincidence since its encounter rate is only like 20%.



RNG is being weirdly nice to me in this run and i don't get it. the sing landed and the gible went into the first great ball at full health.

so since i was both hyped at catching a gible for Kuranes and simultaneously feeling guilty for doing the thing i tried to tell myself not to do, i decided to do a thing i actually don't often do in casual runs of Platinum; go into the "proper" side of wayward cave. i also didn't get the earthquake TM from the hidden bit because going in there for a catch was already too much of a stretch.



oh god this whole floor is dark. balls. i do Not know my way around here. and only Yauhtli and Banjo can learn flash. i don't want to sacrifice any of Yauh's moves and Banjo already has some, so... looks like Kuranes is going to blunder around in the dark for a while.



dead end, dead end...



oh god i blundered right into this double. a double with a water pulse psyduck



... they were guarding... another dead end... hhhhhhh



oh fuck these can blow up now oh god oh shit



the team is barely on the level curve, so these trainers are getting dangerous. ughhhh



so what do you do when you're blundering around lost in a cave when you're not as overleveled as you'd like to be? fight all the trainers anyway, of course. at least i was able to avoid plowing into the doubles and fight them singly.



i think? i'm figuring out how to navigate here? at the very least, these rock smash rocks are useful as breadcrumbs to help me figure out where i've already been. and then i run out of those, and of trainers i haven't challenged, so i flail around until i somehow get back to the beginning and then find more rock smash rocks in a completely different part of the cave than i was in before.



she was over here the whole time??



in these weird npc doubles areas, i kind of take the npc's level as a decent baseline for where my team should be. and i'm lagging further behind than i like.



HALLE-FUCKING-LUJAH

so yeah that was even stressful for me. poor Kuranes is going to add a fear of dark, enclosed spaces to their growing list of issues. now that they're feeling more paranoid than before, it's time to grind a bit.



that also hits the level 25 checkpoint, so have a recalc:

San: 26/50
Pos: 24/50
roll: 17; success
Av: 2/50



directly after that traumatic adventure in wayward cave, Kuranes is not thrilled at this gym puzzle.



for the sake of some extra exp, i took out all the gym trainers. it wouldn't do much to reassure Kuranes, since they're starting to feel the anxiety more. so time to grind more! i recall 30 being a reasonable goal to shoot for.



evolution! and the main team's active pokerus has worn off, so now Kuranes gets to puzzle over the weird smiley face icon.



thank you for learning better moves, Banjo. her stats are starting to fall off now, but at least she's outgrowing the earlygame moveset fuglies. have a pre-gym teamshot:



Banjo is still here, too, but i have no clue where her stat screenshot went. oh well! Fantina time.

but first, the level 30 checkpoint!

San: 21/50
Pos: 29/50
roll: 43; fail
Av: 2/50




despite having a 100 attack gyarados with bite, i opted to not sweep with Karpe and give somebody else a shot.



Damian OHKOs the duskull like a champ. i remember that mismagius has a psychic move; unfortunately, Kuranes doesn't. so Damian's gonna stick in.



of course, why use a super-effective move when you can do this instead. Damian's bite was a clean 2HKO, so i gambled with the confusion...



and it worked. however, this is the perfect time to swap him out. so out comes Yauhtli to -



- tank an unimpressive critical shadow claw. they can't hit very well and Fantina healed the haunter, but the conclusion was foregone anyway.



i, Nelson, was a little bored by that fight. but Kuranes' anxiety isn't really appeased by that not-difficult bossfight.

here's the point where i had to decide whether to take a team swap. geodude is sitting there waiting, promising some much needed type diversity... but then again, the rest of the team is doing all right. Nova, Hanuman, and Karpe Diem are solid players; Yauhtli is a gd shiny, and Damian just evolved. Banjo is the one weak link, but... she's been around the whole dang time. her ability to pull weight continues to surprise me. plus, she's recently gotten a couple of move upgrades. i'm more attached to Banjo than i ever expected to be to a kricketune. so she's staying; geodude will wait.



time to go from one bossfight to another.



another, equally easy bossfight.

on the next route, the first encounter is a bibarel. we have one try to get a non-dupe this time, and we get:



unfortunately i forgot it had teleport and made the mistake of trying to damage it. so we get no catch for this route. oh well!



trainer montages, yay. on to Solaceon!



this cave isn't as dark, but Kuranes is still traumatized. gonna get a catch here, get defog, and get out.



standard solaceon ruins catch is standard. no idea what its hidden power is. i could've sworn i took a screenshot of picking up defog, but it's not there. guess we'll just move on north?



hey look, the second of two fire types found in Sinnoh before Platinum added in magmar, houndour, and eevee before natdex.



i forgot about this until i ran into him again. why is there an illegal rapidash here anyway? besides the whole "dad and daughter double battle" thing?



yadda yadda more mook trainers from a gen before GF got really bad with the "easy bosses, obnoxious kaizo route trainers" thing. Platinum is where that tendency got started, though, i feel like.



good meds good meds! i wish every mainline game gave you 100HP meds right after gym 3.



hey look, i remembered to take a "here's where we are now" screenshot.



and back to generic route trainers. this is one of those filler updates with nothing much going on. that psychic is actually on the route heading south from Veilstone.



a good bug! too bad he's five miles back in the queue.



speaking of screenshots taken from the next route, here's the catch. knowing that Kuranes would be wary about hanging out in Veilstone, i passed through it in favor of doing some pre-gym training on this route. and getting the catch. nice to know we'll have a backup rock in the box, even if he's also really far back.



32 isn't the target level for the gym, but it's enough that i/Kuranes feel safe poking around, at least.

next time. this gameplay update was boring, but at least it's out of the way so we can go back to the relevant bits of the plot.
 

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