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Perpetually Underleveled

Conqueror of the Celadon Gym
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
Jan 6, 2020
Well, here we are. This is my first Nuzlocke I have posted on this forum (I haven't really taken notes in previous ones). This will be a mixed commentary and story run - the battles and Pokémon info will be commentary-style, but the game plot/human characters will be handled in a story format. Updates might be irregular, since I am not used to doing this, though I have played pretty far ahead before posting this so I would give myself time to update relatively often without being pressured to make a lot of progress so I don't keep you waiting. I have never done a Black/White Nuzlocke before and I want to avoid looking up the details of trainers and Pokémon (though I allow myself to look up anything not related to battles, i.e I can look up the learnset for my own stone evolution Pokémon so I know when to evolve it, but I can't look up the learnset of a Pokémon I'm fighting so I know what to expect). But first, some rules to spice things up!

1. I can only catch the first Pokémon on every route.
1a. Only one chance: I can only obtain a species Pokémon on the first route it is possible to get that species or its evolution line. For example, whether I end up with a Patrat or a Lillipup on Route 1, you can get neither on Route 2, only Purrloin. If you don't get a Purrloin as your first catch, then you get no catch for that route.
1b. I can't purposefully farm for shaking grass/water/sand, but if shaking grass just appears while you are looking for my first catch, I have to run to it immediately and not avoid it.
2. If a Pokémon faints, it dies and you permabox it.
3. Nickname all Pokémon. The name theme for this run will be cities. (I've gotten a bit addicted lately to online quizzes where you have to name all of the biggest cities in various areas, and i wanted to apply that to a nuzlocke).
4. You can't switch anything from your team with anything in your box unless something dies (unless you are using a boxed Pokémon as a temporary HM slave, and you can only do that if you have no other options for that HM on your team).
4a. When a Pokémon on your team dies, you must replace it with a random Pokémon from your box - you didn't get to pick and choose your initial team, and you don't get to pick and choose the replacement.
4b. If you have a shiny that you got as the legitimate first in the route,
5. You can only use the amount and type of healing items in battle as the opponent uses. So in most regular battles, no healing; in battles like gym leader battles, you can use as many as your opponent. And if the Gym Leader is using a Super Potion, you can't use an awakening or a Hyper Potion (well, unless your Pokémon is 50 HP or less from the max so Hyper Potion and Super Potion would have the same effect).
6. You can't level over a Gym Leader's ace. (For the League, I am going to level everything 50 (the level of the Elite Four's aces and not Ghetsis'). If your Pokémon accidentally levels over without even grinding, that's ok, but you should try to avoid that by using all of your team equally as much as possible.
6a. Only grind before/for important battles like Gym Leaders and rivals. You can't just grind at a random place to evolve something. In the case of Gyms, you are allowed to grind to almost the max level before fighting the Gym trainers.
7. No X items.
8. No gems.
9. You can only use vitamins that you find. In terms of wild battles, you can't purposefully EV grind certain stats and calculate EVs, though you can make decisions whether you want to grind with Audino or normal Pokémon based on EVs. So general decisions, but not specific ones.

So let's begin!

It begins like it always does - me, Bianca, and Cheren sitting in my room, waiting for whatever exciting adventure is to come. In this case, it's the most life-changing adventure of all - a new Pokémon. Some people don't pay that much attention to Pokémon in their lives; they want to focus on music, or soccer, or law, or whatever they are passionate about; the world of humans takes center stage. And then there are the people whose worlds revolve around Pokémon, the kind of people who obsess over what their Pokémon are feeling, or what kind of Pokémon live in that forest they are hiking in, or how Arceus intended us to love our lives in relation to Pokémon. The kind of people who put Poké in front of every word to show just how much they care about the non-humans in our world. Growing up, I was... that type of person. A Poké kid. My mom tells me that, as a kid, I would go up to random people walking around town and tell them all about how I knew that Steel resists Psychic or something. Luckily, I had Cheren and Bianca, kids my age who shared my obsession. I can't even remember who was the first to become so invested in Pokémon, just that we all were invested, and we would talk for hours about various Pokémon-related minutiae. So now, on my birthday, we are finally going to make our dreams of Pokémon training a reality.

I choose a starter randomly using this handy website https://www.random.org/, and I end up with Snivy. Though I can't see the nature during my battles with Bianca and Cheren, I look at the stats and immediately notice that its special defense is noticeably higher than its physical defense, and its speed isn't as high as I'd expect for a Snivy (calling Sassy nature now!). Both battles go off without a hitch, and I finally get to look at my new Pokémon's summary. She's female (fairly rare for a Snivy) and indeed has a Sassy nature and is "strongly defiant". Great, I have the most stereotypical Snivy of all time on my hands. Professor Juniper did warn me... Going with the city theme naming, I decide to name the Snivy Durban, well, because of this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_City.

Professor Juniper is not just a professor, she's an interpreter - a person with an uncommon ability to communicate with Pokémon, which she uses to explain the benefits and risks of training to Pokémon like the starters she gives out, and help people find the wild Pokémon who are most enthusiastic about going on an adventure with a human companion. It gives me chills just thinking about it - a Pokémon choosing me, bounding out the tall grass and almost speaking to the professor as it makes that fateful decision. Maybe that's a little romanticized; I know that interpreting is imperfect, that it is little more than detecting a few flashes of emotion and intention. Many cognitive scientists believe that interpreting is similar to the skills Pokémon use to understand other Pokémon of different species despite having wildly varying modes of communication, though it's certainly less common in humans than it is in most Pokémon.

With Durban in tow, Bianca, Cheren, and I take our first steps on Route 1 together.

"You're ready, Human?" calls Bianca, clearly hoping I'll say yes and she'll be able to dart off. This whole day, she has seemed like she can't believe her luck that she is actually starting a Pokémon journey. Of course, Pokémon training is a huge institution and, as much as we three can pretend we're special snowflakes in a small town like this, Unova is full of Poké-holics more insufferable than any of us could be. But I know she's had personal difficulties; her father never wanted her to become a trainer and she had almost resigned herself to believing she would never be one. And honestly, I can't help but share her enthusiasm.

Oh, and the "Human" nickname. It's an in-joke between the three of us; I've always been enthusiastic about Pokémon rights but I tended to pick issues that, looking back, were very petty. For example, how people would give themselves unique names highlighting themselves as an individual, and then just call their Caterpie "Caterpie". One day in Cheren's house when we were kids, I was ranting to my friends about how, if that's how it was going to be, then everyone should call me "Human" to make things fair. And so, kids being kids, I got stuck with the nickname "Human" my whole life, and at this point, years later, I kind of appreciate it (though really, the actual Pokémon could care less about what their nickname is). I bet the name rater would love it and say it's too good to be changed!

Route 1, I make my first catch - a Lillipup. He gets named Glasgow, has a Hardy nature, and is "highly curious". I then head over to Accumula where I run into a rally. Ooh! I've always heard the big cities can be full of crazy philosophers, amateur theologists and politicians, all discussing their views. I wonder where this guy fits in? He looks like he's wearing some kind of religious attire, and he's talking about Pokémon.

"I'm sure most of you believe that we humans and Pokémon are partners that have come to live together because we want and need each other. However... Is that really the truth? Have you ever considered that perhaps we humans... only assume that this is the truth?"

Oh, huh, a Pokémon liberation guy. I vaguely remember reading about these... I mean, it's just silly. We have interpreters, and come on, how could you look at the look Glasgow is giving me right now and say that Pokémon don't really love people? Can't we focus on real injustices instead of talking about a made-up one?

"Pokémon are subject to the selfish commands of Trainers... They get pushed around when they are our "partners" at work... Can anyone say with confidence that there is no truth in what I'm saying?"

But why, then... why do I feel so afraid, hearing these words? A little part of me saying; what if he's right, what if I am just deluding myself. "Can anyone say with confidence"... do I have that confidence? I know it's not logical, but I just have the sudden feeling that everything I just thought to myself was a lie to make me feel better.

I mean, everyone lies like that to themselves, right? And right now this guy is sounding pretty silly and isn't justifying himself that well, but I want to hear more, see exactly how he came to his conclusion. Somehow, the way he keeps asking everyone if they really know what they know, if they can really trust what they believe... somehow it awakens a sort of wounded pride in me. Well, if you think you know better, then tell me everything you know. Everything. And then I'll destroy people like you in a debate when I have to, knowing that I'm playing fair.

But of course, that's just a fantasy - he's not going to stop to debate with some random novice trainer in the crowd, and it would be rude to ask. The crowd disperses, except for one young man, about my age, who is shifting his gaze anxiously between the speaker ("Ghetsis") and me, and then focuses on me directly. Did he see how I was looking at Ghetsis?

"Oh", he says - "you were looking to have a discussion about Pokémon ethics?"

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