The Pokegirls. Warning: Huge image.
A cataclysm had befallen the land of Entaro. The once-rich land had been swarmed with all manner of creatures, crawling up from the depths of the earth to menace any unprepared traveler. What caused this onslaught of malice had been lost to the ages, but it was thought that man's greed for magical power broke the delicate balance of nature and released untamed evil into the world. Wide open spaces weren abandoned, leaving only several fortress-cities, many leagues from each other; the last bastions of humanity. Within these ancient walled fortifications, humans thrived, such as it was. They were free to learn, earn, and love... as long as they never left the city.
Drawing from old tomes, a special type of human developed in the hundreds of years following the cataclysm. These humans were able to control the elements, to such a scale that they could leave the fortresses and survive in the wilds. The remaining governments, full of men who preferred to remain “true” humans, gathered up the old books and destroyed them, but not before creating their own system of control and proliferating it. Humans were given a choice, at puberty, whether to become these so-called “pocket monsters,” elemental creatures of great power that could survive beyond the walls. This power came with a price, however. In the process of becoming an elemental, it was also required that the human becomes a familiar of a “true” human. Rather than let such knowledge go to waste overtake “true” humans, the government introduced controls in order to profit from it.
Upon graduating from university, those who scores high enough to earn the right to vote were given the chance to have a familiar of their own. It was with these familiars that inter-city commerce began to boom once again via trade routes protected by familiars and their masters. Along these paths, humans that had familiars of their own were allowed to travel freely, but those without were still required to remain in cities. And so a new class emerged from the bourgeois: the Trainer. Typically young and wealthy, Trainers began to roam the untamed wilds, fighting for fortune and glory.
There was much to be found in the wilds. Dilapidated castles and towns pockmarked the countryside where people used to live, but were now overrun by ogres, ghosts, mermen and the like. Ancient stores of knowledge and wealth were rumored in every direction, and real danger followed in their wake. More Trainers were lost to the wilds than ever became successful, but it was in this way that the governments could root out their potentially problematic citizens and lure them to their doom. The draw of controlling magical creatures and facing grand adventure was too strong to resist for most, and for those that could not access these, education and money was too scarce for them to become trouble.
Eventually, competitions were set up in the civilized regions. Training centers developed, and national championships were not far behind. In the absence of significant arts or entertainment, combat between Trainers and their familiars became a national pastime, such as it was. Battles took place everywhere from back alleys to huge colosseums with tens of thousands of spectators. Pokemon, as the presiding committee deigned to call them, had become the national social currency.
Up to five Trainer positions are available. Each player will receive one Pokemon upon the outset of the journey. There won't be any “catching” such as it is, nor any plot-relevant combat between players. I don't want to use a system, so we'll be going with generally arbitrary rulings by me. I'll try to be reasonable.
The primary reason the players will start with only one Pokemon (besides that being the standard) is that each player will be writing their own Pokemon as well as the Trainers. Trainers are the “main” characters here, but I expect development for the Pokemon as well, as they are fully sentient people, but with magical powers and an innate obedience to their master.
Mind you, I've yet to construct the world, or work out minor details. We can discuss in this thread as I get things squared away to start. The setting will be similar to late Renaissance/early colonial period in terms of technology, apart from the magical stuff. Highly developed architecture, early guns, but not much else we would recognize as modern. Players will be early-mid twenties, and all Pokemon will be at a bare minimum 18. You'll notice as you go through the image that I've removed many Pokemon – over a third, in fact. This is because those looked underage, and I won't have any of that in this game. “Evolutions” such as they are here will just be the Pokemon character aging, but if you're choosing from a Pokemon line that has more than one available, choose the younger one. You're starting trainers, remember. Important: No legendaries or psuedo-legendaries (those being the dragons and Metagross).
All of that said, and despite using the term, these are NOT Pokemon. They do not have “movesets” or “stats.” These are people starting out into a life of magic, and will learn things organically. They won't know Hyper Beam right off the bat, nor will they be barred from having an ability that they should, logically, have access to. (i.e. Gardevoir being able to have Extrasensory.) Each will start out with a reasonably small pool of abilities, and gain more through training. I'll lay out stuff like this in the character profiles. I don't feel the need to explain everything here and now; your characters wouldn't have all the information anyway. Much of it can be laid out in exposition.
For the sake of diversity, please try to refrain from duplicating Pokemon that others have chosen. As I'm sure to remind you many times over the course of this game, they are people, and people are different from each other. Your Pokemon will also have real names, and while the profile will include their Pokemon species, this is just for reference. Such names won't exist in the game world.
I will be playing the former League Champion, Constance Cyntrona. She wields Flygon, Charizard, Milotic, Gardevoir, Weavile, and Jolteon. She has settled into a relatively quiet life as Moderator in the town you will all start in. The Moderator of each town is the person that administrates the New Trainer program, giving out advice and initial Pokemon. She is a mentor character, and will play a part in the plot, but she won't be a focus. I'll want to GM more than play.
More to come.