Writing Pokemon Battles

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    Default Writing Pokemon Battles

    Seeing as this is a pokemon forum, I think it's safe to say most people in this area of the forum are writing and/or reading pokemon fanfiction. I would like to know what everyone likes to see when reading pokemon battles. Do you like battles to follow more of a strict game-like set up, or do you prefer the improvisation in the anime and like to write battles that way? What else do you like to see? Considering most of the authors here have probably written at least one pokemon battle I think this is something that would be useful to discuss.

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    Default Re: Writing Pokemon Battles

    This thread pops up every once in a while, but I always feel like it's a good topic to go over since Pokemon battles play such a big role in most fics.

    Personally, I'm more of an anime style person. The four move limit has never made any real sense out of game, and improvisation and strategy is part of what makes battles exciting. I won't speak for others, but I like battles with tons of detail as to the trainers, the Pokemon, the environment, everything!

    For the sake of realism, I've always been a fan of blood, sweat, and specific injuries as well. By specific injuries, I mean things like a hurt arm or leg rather than just generally hurt/tired.

    Realistic or at least semi-realistic status effects have always been a bit of an issue for me, though. Anyone care to share how they go about it? Sleeping or freezing is usually pretty easy, but the whole sporadic paralysis thing is kind of sketchy.

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    Default Re: Writing Pokemon Battles

    I tend to get very overly attached to my fictional Pokemon even though many of them end up just being creatures of war, so I tend not to let them get hurt. I reason this with the fact that Pokemon either are taught by their families not to kill other Pokemon as it would bring retribution or that they are trained to only knock opponents out rather than kill them. However, Pokemon do have the ability to kill if they particularly want to, and Pokemon do cause serious injuries to both their fellow creatures and humans in my world, and occasionally death.

    For battles, mine vary from the traditional to epic sort of free-for-all battles between the goodies and the baddies. I generally prefer doing the types of battles we get in games as it is easier to write, but I throw my own spin on with combination moves, use of surroundings and other tricks similar to what they do in the anime, as then you can paint a much more visual picture in the mind of the reader. Battles are sometimes the best ways to properly incorporate Pokemon into a story without turning them into pet substitutes.

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    Default Re: Writing Pokemon Battles

    I tend to take the anti-game approach to battling. I don't think it's really realistic to have Pokemon take turns firing movement waiting for the other to land a blow before trying to land one yourself, etc. I tend to go the boxing-style route of a real fight. Trainers don't so much call out singular attacks as they do prepare the monster for battle beforehand and hope they fare well in battle. It's a fluid thing, fighting, in my opinion, and I write them as such.

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    Default Re: Writing Pokemon Battles

    When it comes to writing pokemon battles, generally I think that the one of the reasons we resort to fanfiction is to write more realistic battles and fights. I do take into consideration though, the strategic side of pokemon. I don't think it's believable that a pokemon with a quad-weakness to an certain type of attack could survive if it takes a direct blow. In some cases you can argue that it "fainted" but when putting that many variable that are associated with a pokemon, it's very hard to believe a scizor didn't die when it took a direct fiery dance from a volcarona in the wild where the might've been in some kind of fight over territory.

    But, I think that a writer should be as creative an innovative as possible when writing a very intense, critical part of the story battle. And I wouldn't find it odd if the fight was prolong for several chapter, as long as it provides the reader with enough excitement and unpredictability, along with the "helpless" situations where one the side starts to think it's all over when the next think you know... three more chapters of epic fighting!

    I don't know maybe some readers might find it redundant or just a way for the writer to make the story longer, and I would too, but if the necessary input is invested and it wasn't just endless punching and kicking (I'm looking at you DBZ) then I wouldn't get bored at all. (... not that I found DBZ boring.)

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    Default Re: Writing Pokemon Battles

    I agree with Lance, a battle should be entertaining regardless of length.

    Regarding how I write my battles, well I prefer the anime style for reasons that have already been said. However, like Legacy and AetherX I also like those kinds of battles but I guess mine are a bit different in a way. Before I start to write a battle I always look up the Pokemon that are going to find in Bulbapedia, with an open list of moves they can use and what those moves can do so that I can keep checking while I write. I like to incorporate strategies into the fic, but not just simple strategies either but ones that make use of a Pokemon's weakness or the move's weakness itself; I also like to use moves in distinct ways, such as using a move like Incinerate to defend rather than attack.

    I myself like to go for shorter battles, which is why I prefer doing battles where both trainers use only one Pokemon rather than going for more rounds. The way I do the battles in general would be kind of like boxing style as it was mentioned earlier but also a little different, I like to use combos and there are times when Pokemon just stop. Pokemon in my fic have a hang of the moves they can use themselves and the trainers are like coaches in a way but it isn't letting the Pokemon do the work but rather the Pokemon takes the order as a suggestion, basically the trainer gives an order and if the Pokemon thinks that it's something logical and that could work then it'll do it, if it doesn't then the Pokemon won't and then there are some that are so loyal that they will do it regardless which can sometimes lead to problems (as seen in my latest chapter)

    I'm not picky about the types of battles that I like to read, though I do want them to be engaging and have some thought put into them rather than just moves going all around (like Lance said, punching and kicking alone is boring) I like something more dynamical and that gets my mind flowing, I actually get inspirations for moves to use and battles to do from reading other ones so it's a big influence.

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    Default Re: Writing Pokemon Battles

    Battles are probably the hardest part of a Pokemon fic, since you want them to flow naturally, yet incorporate elements from all sides. Even though I've done battles before outside of Pokemon, I always find fight scenes to be hard.

    As for what kind of battle elements do I prefer, I like to use anime-like strategies over game-style ones, since improvising makes a battle more interesting. Like using two moves together to create a fusion move or using a certain dodging tactic that varies for different opponents is what makes battles in fanfiction so much more enjoyable. I do use some game mechanics, however, like talking about Critical Hits or properly describing a move's effect, like Leech Seed not working on a Grass-type, etc. I'm no expert, though, so I can't say much, but the idea of combining moves vs straightforward attacking makes a story seem more interesting. I also despise the four move limit the games create, so it makes more sense to use more anime-like ideas vs. game-style ideas. Though I always look up the Pokemon's moves and abilities prior to writing, so it helps me plan a more detailed strategy. In my stories (which I haven't posted here as of yet, since I'm the paranoid perfectionist that I've always been), my main character often creates almost contest-style moves, like his Gardevoir's signature technique Thunder Claw, a fusion of Thunderbolt and Confusion/Psychic, creating a giant electrical claw that can bypass type immunity, or Shadow Blast, a fusion of Shadow Ball and Focus Blast, creating a Ghost/Fighting fusion move that combines their powers into one, doubling the chances for a secondary effect to activate, stuff like that. It makes for a more interesting story.

    But battles are probably the hardest to do in Pokemon fics. Because of the anime's influence on me, I don't really describe wounds or injuries too well, which I'm trying to address, since I'm trying to make my stories seem more realistic. After all, Pokemon are living beings as well, so it's a natural thing that happens, especially when battling harsh opponents. But in the anime's entire run, only three incidents of blood have ever been seen, so it's not always easy to get the "softer" ideas the anime presents and remold it to more realistic ways. So that's probably some of the bigger problems presented in battling, making it seem realistic but keeping it close to the origins of the series.

    But anyway, a story is meant to be enjoyed, so the battles are meant to grip you and keep the reader wanting more. Battles are, indeed, hard to write out properly, as everyone has their own style and preferences, so it's not always easy to tailor to everyone's tastes. The most important thing about writing, as I've learned over time, is to enjoy your work and have others enjoy it too. So it really boils down to each individual person's tastes, styles, and ideas, but either way, the story will be written one way or another.
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    Default Re: Writing Pokemon Battles

    I try to blend the game and the anime:

    Trainer gives an order
    Pokemon does its best to follow that order, but is also aware the opponent could hit before it, counterattack, or defend before it makes its move

    The Pokemon don't stand there while the other side makes its move, either--they can defend and counter as well.

    Of course, if one side is overpowered (like with the Ursaring battle in "The Song of Jewels") or there is an obvious type (dis)advantage, my battles are over fairly quickly. But if both sides are evenly matched and there is no obvious (dis)advantage (as I will demonstrate in an upcoming episode), they will go on for a while.
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    Default Re: Writing Pokemon Battles

    I would not called my style as either anime-style or game-style, but rather original. Merely, Pokemon is a living creature, so battle should go semi-auto.

    Firstly, in my fic, the Pokemon were knew to have human-level intelligence, so they think like human and understand human's speech, but just merely they have no oral and verbal ability to speak human language. With such background setting in the mind, the interchanging between the Pokemon's own battle decision and the Trainer's decision, also the level of understanding of trainer's instruction and communication between Pokemon and Trainer is very important.

    As I mentioned previously, Pokemon is a living creature, so even without the instruction from the Trainer, the Pokemon can battle on its own. The Trainer are there to instruct the Pokemon only if he/she feels certain moves will do better in specific situation, or the Pokemon is confused and/or bewildered which doesn't know what to do and how to move in the next step. Therefore, the instruction is to increase the battle efficiency of the Pokemon.

    But then really, that doesn't mean the trainer's instruction will definitely improve the movement and efficiency of the battle. This also depends greatly on the battle experience of the Trainer him/herself. So even if the Pokemon has very high battle experience, but if the Trainer is not, it will not help, but rather the instruction from the Trainer may ruin the winning chance. And yeah, it may happens that Pokemon sometimes refuse to obey the command, not because of low in friendship or dislike the Trainer, but because the Pokemon thought such command is unreasonable for the situation, provided that the Pokemon is wiser than its Trainer.

    The command and instruction is not necessarily to be all verbal, and is not limited to the move's name only. Together with the verbal instruction, one may use hand signals, sounds from other tools (such as whip as in A.J. did to his Sandshrew in the early Pokemon Anime), etc. For the well-trained Pokemon and strategic Trainers, they may also use other sorts of instructions, such as "Double Team, siege by twelve.", "Strategy B, 'The Lightning Blitz'!", "Link attack, Agility Flare Blitz!", etc. Also to note, commands that is too long will actually hinder the communication efficiency between the Pokemon, so I tried to avoid instructions that is too detailed. Then on the opposite, if the Pokemon need to understand what the Trainer's was trying to tell them, it then really needs to work on the trainings. For such advanced instructions, the Pokemon must be trained to a level where it understands its Trainer very well by knowing what his/her mind think generally.

    Also, I like the idea of creative usage of moves during the battle. This includes attack aimed at something else like the surrounding other than the opponents, link the moves such that execute the moves all at once or consecutively will create a special effect and/or more powerful forms, the "version up" or "more powerful version" of certain moves for the highly-trained Pokemon. For example, In a grass field battleground, using Flamethrower on the ground to set the whole field on fire will give advantages to Pokemon with Flash Fire ability. Link up PoisonPowder, Stun Spore, Sleep Powder and fire them all at once will create a mixture powder that create mixture of abnormal states (very nasty combo). For the "powerful version" of the move, lets take Lucario for example. Normally his Aura Sphere is only basket ball size. But in Smash Bros Brawl, it will be more powerful as he is more damaged, so the move can actually "charge up". I also have a Lucario in my current fic, where in his all-out state, the Aura Sphere can be as large as Goku's Energy Sphere in the Dragonballz. (Don't be surprise if you are reading this. This is because in my fic, the protagonist are not battling ordinary Pokemon, or I should say, they are no "Pokemon")

    In my fic, the strength of the Pokemon is depends very greatly in: 1) Experience of both Trainer and Pokemon, 2) Strategic judgement and creativity of the Trainer, and 3) The most important one, the level of mental synchrony between the Trainer and Pokemon. When the Pokemon and Trainer know each other like the back of their hands, lesser instructions will need to make, and actional-wise it will increase efficiency of battle.

    Ah, and by the way, in the battles of my fic, types advantages because less important, unless it is immunity. Usually the power of the moves is so great that it surpass the advantages cause by type effectiveness. If a fire attack can one-hit KO a normal-type Pokemon, then it will just take like two hits to KO a water-type of the same strength. Really, type effectiveness does not give a Pokemon very much advantage unless it is immunity. The battle is fundamentally a competition of power, not type.
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    Default Re: Writing Pokemon Battles

    You know, I really get bored with Pokemon battles. As a point I wrote what I considered the "traditional" Pokemon battle, and perhaps it was peachy, but I just found myself bored with it. Fan fiction is a place for me to experiment, I've never written anything that reads alike. I have quirks and oddities that I allow to thrive in fan fics because I simply could not get away with it anywhere else. My immediate notes are quite simple, really; Trainers calling out attacks, no. I will never use that pattern officially, the story just drops dead at that point.

    Pokemon are not robots, they aren't simple minded creatures. I've always believed they have an intellect that rivals the human, they simply have their own language and forms of communication. Heck, they built their world after all. So they're already intelligent. And limiting a Pokemon to four moves, it's simply absurd in the heat of battle, while it's necessary for game mechanics, prose fiction just doesn't flow as well, and there's no logic to it. Like Samus Aran requesting permission to use one of her suit's special features, but then you stall and she dies. Stupid, right? I apply that same logic to Pokemon.

    For me, battles should be important and critical, and since I don't write traditional Pokemon fiction, they need to stand on their own, and the last thing I want to do is hang off what the anime and games tell me how it should go. Because it's simply not how I do things. I have one rule in fan fiction; choose a continuity, stick to what has come before, and do everything else your own way.

    The one battle I have written that I like is, well, not quite what the games or show presents. But not terribly weird, either.
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    Default Re: Writing Pokemon Battles

    Writing a Pokemon battle? Well I prefer the anime style.

    I have the two trainers and their Pokemon. Then the trainers order an attack and things go from there by themselves.

    Usually I prefer having two or three lines describing the command.

    For example: "Froakie, use Water Pulse!" roared Tom. The blue frog opened his right palm. One second later a ball of water began to morph inside of his palm. Froakie then threw the ball of water at his target, hoping to defeat it in one blow!

    After that I would write another command or maybe a line or two of how the attack turned out. The trainer commands are really necessary to me. Because without the trainer helping, it seems that the battle is being fought only by the Pokemon themselves.

    Once the fight is over. I describe the fainted Pokemon with swirls replacing their eyes. And that's pretty much it.

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    Default Re: Writing Pokemon Battles

    I don't like the "4 moves" thing. Unless the trainer has something reflectively crucial to add I'd rather they just shut up and stand in the corner. The real actions inside the the white lines. Sure, have your Pokemon only know 4 moves, but don't waste time telling me what they are. Just "do", dude. I don't care what variant of fire attack Charizard is breathing, just that it's breathing fire. And don't forget to use the environment!

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    It's not about using Aura Sphere that mattered, but how it was used. Go into detail about how a Pokemon utilizes its natural abilities through moves based on things like its physical build, reflecting on past training, anything that builds up the moment in an otherwise short fight. Is your Pokemons personality to rush into a fight or is it going to try and read the enemy? Will it take advantage of their weakness or pull a bait-n-switch to make a weakness?

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    Default Re: Writing Pokemon Battles

    The way I see it, battles can play out a number of different ways depending on how experienced the trainers are:
    1. Novice trainers will fight in the games' turn-based style, calling individual attacks aloud simply because they haven't learned a better way to do it yet. On average, these trainers also tend to rely on just four moves per Pokémon, leading the League to adopt it as a rule in open competitions.
    2. More experienced trainers will teach their Pokémon complex move sequences and/or combos, usually calling out codenames for their strategies mid-battle. These battles are faster-paced and more dynamic.
    3. The best trainers can rely on their Pokémon to formulate complex strategies on the fly without the need for constant commands. These battles are even more dynamic and intense.
    4. Particularly ruthless trainers, usually criminals and villains, will teach their Pokémon to use techniques not legally recognized by the League as "moves". Law-abiding trainers may be forced to do the same in self-defense and the defense of the innocent. Combined with the previous category, this makes for the most dynamic and brutal form of Pokémon combat.
    5. In a category of their own are wild Pokémon. Unrestricted by the Poké Ball technology, their power can be potentially lethal—a full-power Hyper Beam can outright vaporize a target. This makes attempting to capture or even disturb Legendary Pokémon extremely dangerous, and it is thus emphatically discouraged by the League, if not wholly illegal.

    And then, of course, there's larger-scale battles with multiple participants at once, all the way up to and including full-scale Pokémon warfare. This sort of thing tends to end about as well as you would expect.

    In short, my battle-writing style is very situation-dependent.

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    Default Re: Writing Pokemon Battles

    I tend to use the rules of the game as a guide and start from there. In my story, pokémon are implied to be bright for an animal, but still quite dumb by human standards - hence the business of calling attacks is the trainer coordinating the battle. That being said, I've never liked the anime's habit of the trainer giving specific movement commands (All this "Jump up, then use Thunderbolt!" stuff) - you can fudge time a little in a battle, but honestly, there's not going to be time to call these sorts of movements which a pokémon is quite capable of doing by itself.

    As for the moves, I've got a guide of about six in a moveset as the rough number of moves - enough to give me plenty of options while writing the battle, but not so many that it becomes confusing for the reader. Some moves scarcely count, in my opinion, because they're obviously easy to perform or improvise (Tackle, for instance). I also tend not to worry too much about the specific movesets of each pokémon and how moves can be learnt from the games.
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    Default Re: Writing Pokemon Battles

    I have done a lot of work in Anime Style Battling leagues and my largest completed/abandoned project to date was a roleplay on one. As such, I tend to still use rough turns (ie, equal amounts of moves or chances to fire) but I completely abandon the notion of the four move limit. I hate going above, say, six moves for a new Pokemon or ten for a very well trained one since that tends to lead to "here's a new move for this situation! so easy to win!" positions. I also set my fic mostly in the confines of Generation One canon so more than ten moves is the equivalent of literally ever relevant move for most Pokemon.

    My battles range from really long epic matches to a few paragraphs, largely depending on the strength of the combatants and how much non-battle stuff I need to fit into a chapter. In all honesty, my favorite battle to write involved no moves or KO's. It was just a short sport-type match between two sides. This meant that the length was totally arbitrary and I was free to play with clever strategies beyond "attack, dodge, defend." That's actually a problem with battles for me; whatever you do, there are generally only so many things that can be done with a match due to the objective being "do more damage to the opponent than they do to you." I've never quite found a way around that without the aforementioned alternative contests that hardly count as "battles."

    I really haven't made a lengthy battle in a fan fic that was not completely interrupted by something else yet. I'm still not quite sure how I'll approach that challenge, but I'm looking forward to it.

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