Pokémon Role Play Forum RulesRole Plays - or RPs for short - are interactive stories where every poster creates one or more characters and writes alongside other forum members. In theory they're merely stories with more than one author, but instead of pooling ideas (writing the story as one) each member continuously prompts the others to move forward one step at a time. The results can be interesting and often times amazing. It all depends on you guys.
This particular board is dedicated entirely to RPs taking place in the Pokémon world. RPs taking place in other settings do not belong here, but rather in the General Role Play board. Note that the General Role Play board has its own rules - and while they have many similarities to these, they are a separate rule thread and should be read if you intend to post anything over there.
Remember: These rules and regulations are here to keep the RP board fun for everyone. So, please respect the rules and abide by them. If any of you spots a violation, let us know. We'll do our best to deal with them.
How we RPHere in Pokécharms, RPing is done in story format, as opposed to script format, "sign-up" format or other freeform formats common on other RP forums or, say, Tumblr. This entails certain requirements from the format of posts:
- Posts must be written in third person (There is no "I" in "Role Play") and in the past tense (because we most certainly can't have everything happening all at once) - this helps maintain a certain consistency and grammatical cohesion between the players.
- Posts should be at least a paragraph long. With the exception of interaction scenes where one character replies to another's question and quick progression is required, one line posts are extremely dull and annoying. God, so to speak, is in the details - and adding description (of the scene, your characters, or the interaction between them) goes a long way to breathe life into an otherwise bland scene. However, do not overdo it - when the bigger picture is lost in unnecessary over-detailing, the point of a post may be lost.
First and foremost, RPs are a written medium, and this means that it is absolutely preferred to use words to describe things. Sometimes adding images can help clarify things. But as with anything else on the site, we do not tolerate art theft - including that of character and Fanmade Pokémon designs - and people trying to pass on the hard work of others as their own.
As such, we have some rules in place for use of images. These apply to both the Role Play Forums and the Role Play Discussion Forums
- If a post contains images of ANY sort, they must be either the original creation of the person who made the post, or something created specifically for them, specifically, by means of request or commission.
- If the image is a request/commission from another artist, use of the image must be complete with proper credit and link to the actual artist - in a way that makes it possible to verify that the image was created for this specific person.
- As with the Creative Corner, use of free-to-use/edit bases is permissible, but requires a link to the original base and credit to the original artist. Unlike the Creative Corner, however, the use of generators/avatar makers etc. is also permitted - but, again, with a specific link to the generator used.
- If a character, location or concept is inspired by or intentionally resembles something from another setting, do not post images of the source of inspiration directly - instead, state the source of the inspiration so others may look it up, or provide a link. This also applies for use of canon characters, items or settings in crossover RPs.
While music and videos may inspire you as you write or accompany scenes in your head - they have absolutely no place within the text of in-character RP posts - they disrupt the flow of the post, clutter up threads, and generally feature material that you appropriated rather than created. Use words to build up atmosphere, or allude to the music, or describe the scene you're trying to emulate - and allow your readers to picture the scene in their heads.
Of course, if you wish to share things that inspired you in writing a post and discuss them, you can do so in the discussion thread for a particular RP - that's one of the reasons they are there for. Please, however, do so in a matter that actually invites discussion, rather than, say, claim a piece of random video game music is your character's "theme song". Unless you specifically wrote it for your character, it is not.
Becoming Part of an RPThere are, naturally, two ways to become part of an RP: Joining an existing one or starting a new one.
When you browse the RP forums you may notice that threads have prefixes - small labels before the thread name, denoting them as "Open", "Ask to Join" or "Private/Closed". Those of you who attempted to start a thread may have also noticed that you must select a prefix. These prefixes are meant to relay in advance who can - or cannot - join the thread.
- Open threads, marked in green, are threads that generally anyone can join. You don't need to request permission to join the thread, and you can generally simply start RPing, right off the bat, with no need to submit a character bio for anyone's approval.
- Ask to Join threads, marked in yellow, are threads that require the approval of the thread creator to join, as per "Joining an existing RP" below.
- Private/Closed threads, marked in red, are threads that have been started by a specific group of users, exclusively for that specific group, and are NOT accepting new members.
Some RPs allow new people to join in while the RP is already in progress. Most, however, do not - many RPs are closed RPs limited to a certain group of users, while others may have simply progressed to the point that introducing a new character without warning would be disruptive to the story. Others still may have not seen activity for a long time and have been abandoned, thus attempting to continue them may be a futile endeavor (check the latest reply date - it's good practice anyway).
Thus, before attempting to join an existing RP, please make sure that it is OK to do so by contacting the topic creator via a Private Message or other means (such as the discussion threads that many RPs have in the the PRP Discussion board) and asking them if there's an open spot in the RP for you. Please refrain from leaving a post in the actual RP thread itself asking if you can join. Private Messages exist for a reason. Use them.
To borrow a phrase from the world of tabletop role playing games, when you start an RP thread you take on the position of "Dungeon Master" - that is to say, it falls to you to describe the environment, the setting and your character's place in it in sufficient detail - and to create an opening for another player to come in. It is virtually impossible for people to join a new topic if they have absolutely nothing to go on - so, if you are not ready for that kind of a commitment due to lack of time/energy/effort or other reasons, do not start new RP threads.
Also, remember - we do our RPing in story format. Ergo, write a sufficiently long post that is at least a few paragraphs long. if a prospective player looks at your introduction and thinks "Is that all you've got?", you are clearly doing it wrong.
A note on "Sign-Up" Posts: It is general consensus that sign-up posts (that is brief blurbs describing a setting vaguely followed by a 'post your characters here!' type thing) are unnecessary wastes of space that serve no purpose but to hold an RP thread down - and do not count as valid introduction posts. Therefore, they are not to be posted on the Pokémon Role Play Forum. If you wish to discuss the manner of details usually dealt with in this manner, please use the PRP Discussion board or Private Messages. All character bios should be posted on the PRP Discussion board as well, either within a topic specifically created for your RP or the Mainstream PRP Characters Bios topic. While concessions have been made if the post itself contains RP content and not just a bio, it is preferred that you use the RP forums for their intended purpose - RPing in story format and NOT character sheets. Posts that consist of bios and nothing else with no RP content WILL be removed and warnings will be issued to the people who posted such.
The Big "Do Not"s of RPingThese are the biggest, most important and most basic things that you must never, under any circumstance do in an RP - and will NOT be tolerated here.
Autoing (also known as "bunnying" in certain RP communities) is the act of controlling another RPer's character without their permission. This may take many different forms - from describing another player's character taking a certain action that their player did not make them take to forcing a hit on another player's character in a battle - all of which are equally annoying and none of which are considered acceptable behaviour.
Superplaying, Also known as "Godmoding", "Powergaming" or (less commonly) as "IT'S OVER NINE THOUSAAAAAAAAND!" is the act of breaching your character's limitations and doing something that should be entirely impossible for them to do even within this fictional universe. A special power or two are fine (as long as you can explain them properly) - but something to the line of destroying a planet with sheer thought is taking it too far.
Guidelines for Role PlayingThough these are described as 'guidelines', they will be enforced in the same way as any other rule here.
Mary Sues (or their male equivalent, Gary Stus/Marty Stus) are characters who are unbelievably perfect and 'special' to the point the laws of the universe seem to bend to accommodate for them. Note that a strong and talented character is NOT necessarily a Sue - you don't have to start your characters off as beginners or weaklings - but keep it believable. There is a difference between writing a character who is a seasoned trainer and a 17-year-old Rocket executive cat-girl with 200+ Pokémon, hyper-sharp senses and some dark, generic sob story past involving genetic engineering, magical amulets and signing a contract with the unholy lovechild of Espurr and Sylveon.
If you may have any concerns that your character may be a Sue or a Stu, here are a simple test or two.
When you write an RP post, you are writing a story in collaboration with several other people. As such it is extremely important to be mindful of your surroundings and of the actions of other characters to keep a solid, flowing continuity and avoid general confusion. Simply put: we don't want rooms spontaneously shifting into forests or characters randomly shifting appearance/locations because someone got too lazy to read other people's posts.
This should go without saying - but in story-format RPing, spelling and grammar matter a great deal. This means we expect you to go over your posts, format them properly (no one likes a wall of text), spell-check them and actually make them readable without other people having to bust out a Rosetta stone.
This thread is a good resource for all things grammar/spelling related in RP, and we strongly recommend you read it.
As one would expect from a setting where elemental creatures with pointy teeth clash with each other on the field of battle on a relatively daily basis, the Pokémon universe is more violent than we sometimes realize. While there isn't an exact limit on the amount of horrible grotesque things that can happen in an RP - "on-screen" violence is not everyone's cup of tea. Therefore, we ask that:
- Exceedingly violent posts must be tagged - either in the thread title or the post itself. That way, people who do not wish to read exceedingly violent content (or who shouldn't) are not caught by surprise.
- No senseless bloodbaths - Violence must make sense within the setting. No eviscerating the entire population of a small village and feasting on their entrails in graphic detail simply for the sake of it, please.
Finally, it bears noting that while Pokémon is a game series - a realistic, living Pokémon world does not follow game mechanics to the letter, and would more likely be similar in the way it works to the anime or some of the manga incarnations of the world. This means that things that are blatantly game mechanics and nothing but - the concept of levels and the four-move restriction of the games, for example - would be far more nebulous and may serve as rough estimates, but really do not mean much in any real context. "Catching 'em All" is not a feasible option as Pokémon are living, breathing creatures and not bits to catalogue on a Pokédex. Elite Four and Champions are not people you challenge repeatedly for cash and experience points - they are VASTLY powerful trainers far beyond the level of any but the most powerful characters, and are NOT idly defeated (Pokémon League challengers are more likely to be tournaments held between trainers who have gained all the prerequisite badges, and the winner of which may get a chance to face off against the Elite Four - which would likely not be an immediate affair). Journeys across a region should a reasonable period of time rather than a few hours, sometimes through rough terrain. These are all things that you should keep in mind as you write your posts.
Legendary Pokémon in RPLegendary Pokémon are "Legendary" for a reason - they are exceedingly rare, quite elusive and often phenomenally powerful. Not all legendaries are alike - they vary in rarity (ranging from exceedingly rare to, in a few rare occasion, singular beings) and strength (ranging from more powerful than average to having nearly god-like powers) - but be that as it may, they are certainly not creatures that the average person would encounter without a very valid, good and well-thought-out reason.
Therefore, the presence of Legendary Pokémon here is heavily regulated and must be authorized by one of the PRP moderators prior to writing any involvement of a Legendary Pokémon, even in a provisional manner - this goes for owning, befriending or even having a wild Legendary appear in a storyline. We'd prefer to keep the involvement of Legendary Pokémon to a minimum, but if you absolutely MUST have them in your plot, here is what to do.
There are three types of legendary interactions in RP: Encounter, Bonding and Capture/Ownership. These form a three-tier system according to which Legendary Pokémon are classified in terms of what can and cannot be done with them.
An encounter, basically, is any appearance of a Legendary Pokémon within an RP plot. It can take many shapes - from a brief sighting with no interaction to a complex interaction including a conversation with, a battle against or any other form of interaction so long as the legendary operates strictly of its own accord and does not adhere to the judgment or commands of any player character.
To request an Encounter, contact @StellarWind Elsydeon with a detailed description of the planned encounter plot, the species to be encountered and the reasoning behind it.
Legendary Pokémon that may only be encountered, but not bonded with or captured.
- Type: Null
- Tapu Koko
- Tapu Lele
- Tapu Bulu
- Tapu Fini
- Melmetal - For now, until an evolution pattern that does not require Pokemon Go materializes.
A Bonding Situation is a type of encounter where, in a certain situation, a Legendary Pokémon acknowledges the worth of a character and forms a temporary partnership with them, battling alongside them and following their suggestions in battle. This is a temporary, situational partnership that is dissolved as the situation that triggered it ends. In addition, it must be compliant with the specific Legendary's lore.
To request a Bonding Situation, contact @StellarWind Elsydeon with a detailed description of the planned encounter plot, the species to be encountered and the reasoning behind it - as you would for a typical encounter. However, also include a link to an up-to-date bio of your character and the reasoning for the legend partnering with the character.
Legendary Pokémon that may be encountered or bonded with, but not captured.
A number of Legendary Pokémon have been confirmed in multiple forms of canon as being parts of a species (rather than one-off individuals). Similarily, multiple forms of canon confirm that some (weaker) legendaries can be defeated - and indeed, Legendary Pokémon have been shown to be parts of the teams of some particularly remarkable trainers (such as the Pyramid King Brandon). Therefore - it should make sense that some Legendary Pokémon can be captured.
However, capture and ownership of a legend is no easy feat, nor is it to be taken lightly. Your characters are allowed up to ONE Legendary Pokémon each for obvious balance related concerns - and legendaries must be earned. To get permission to capture a legendary, contact @StellarWind Elsydeon with your request, complete with an up-to-date character bio, as you would with a Bonding situation. However, note that for a capture situation the character must be a very good trainer that has been doing this for a while - and you must be able to prove it.
If you are a good and trusted RPer, mature enough and meeting a certain standard of quality - and assuming your character is deemed good enough to handle a legendary - you will be tentatively approved to capture a legendary. Once you receive permission, you must detail the capture of the legendary. This can be done in the form of an RP or a fan-fic - but in any case, it must be submitted to our approval. The capture must be sufficiently difficult and convincing - and if we deem it so - congratulations, your character has captured a Legendary Pokémon.
Bear in mind that with great power comes great responsibility. You may use your Legendary in RPs that you have created - but if you intend to involve a character who has a Legendary in another person's RP, ask for the thread creator's permission. Needless to say, we will put a certain limit on the amount of Legendaries owned - can't have the entire universe run around with a Darkrai or something, now, can we?
New: Due to special stipulations in Canon regarding Type:Null/Silvally (only a very small number exists and most of them are in cryogenic storage at the Aether Foundation) and the Ultra Beasts (Capturing the beasts requires Beast Balls, proprietary Aether Foundation technology which is prohibitively expensive), requesting permission for having any of those would demand an even deeper explanation than normal.
And lastly: Do not abuse your Legendary's power in any thread, yours or otherwise - If you are caught doing so, your legendary privilege will be suspended or removed altogether.
Legendary Pokémon that may be encountered, bonded with or captured
- Articuno (Both Kanto and Galar forms)
- Zapdos (Both Kanto and Galar forms)
- Moltres (Both Kanto and Galar forms)
The following notes have been added to the rules to clarify a few frequently-asked questions and to broaden the definitions of the rules for RPs that are not trainer-centric.
The rules concerning Encounters, Bonding and Capture apply not only to the immediate plot of the RP, but also to your characters' back stories and histories. If your character encountered a Legendary Pokémon in person as part of their back story in any capacity, this must be cleared with a staff member in the same way an encounter that is to happen in real time during the plot would be. Such events will be judged on a case to case basis and may limit future encounters with other Legendaries in the future due to the sheer rarity of such events.
Legendary Pokémon may not be player characters in Mystery Dungeon and/or wild Pokémon based RPs at all. The appearance of a Legendary Pokémon as an NPC in such is subject to Encounter rules (as bonding and catching are not an option) and, again, they are extremely rare and powerful beings, that would most likely only involve themselves in the affairs of common Pokémon under particularly rare circumstances.
Lastly - being what they are, Legendary Pokémon are doubtless to have, well, legends about them. Myths and stories, depictions in art and on the walls of ancient temples, rumored cryptid-esque sightings that cannot be proven or disproven as being the actual being - the works. Needless to say, such myths and stories would doubtless capture the minds and imaginations of trainers - whether or not they actually have the skills and capability to survive an encounter with such monsters. Reading stories about legendaries, chasing rumored sightings (that are most likely a case of mistaken identity), being fascinated with old folklore etc. is perfectly fine and does not require special approval so long as no actual encounter takes place. Any actual encounter with a Legendary (even at the culmination of a long pursuit) is subject to the rules mentioned above.
Mega EvolutionMega Evolution, introduced in Generation VI and further developed in terms of lore in Generation VII, is a dramatic transformation/power-up brought upon by a combination of three elements: a Mega Stone, a Key Stone and a strong bond between Pokémon and Trainer. However, as the power-up that Mega Evolution bestows may unleash almost legendary powers, several requirements exist for their use.
- Only ONE Mega Evolving Pokémon per character - and it must have a deep bond with its trainer. This is simply a concern of balance as well as one of lore. Mega Evolution is a dangerous process in which a Pokémon is 'super-charged' with more energy than its body should be normally capable of handling via Mega Stone/Key-Stone resonance. The influx of energy may be overwhelming - perhaps even painful - and may send the Pokémon into a frenzy. The deep bond between Trainer and Pokémon is required to help the Pokémon maintain control of itself - without one, the process may fail (so obviously, a Pokémon you've just captured will not Mega Evolve for you) and even with one, it may take some training to master the transformation.
- A character must be plausibly recognized as worthy of Mega Evolution. The catalysts for Mega Evolution - Mega Stones and Key Stones - are phenomenally rare items (Key Stones are likely to be rarer than Mega Stones) which may not be idly found. It is severely unlikely that one would receive both of these items at the same time and from the same source, and it is preferable that obtaining at least one of these items is done through some proof of the bond between the trainer and their Pokémon.
In case this was not clear - the very ownership of Mega Stones and Key Stones in general
requires request of permission and the manner in which these were obtained must be cleared in advance. Do not presume that you can simply write your character as having all the means required for Mega Evolution so long as you don't use the power in the RP itself.
Important: Permissions for Mega Evolutions are character specific and non-mutable. That is to say, your permission for a Mega Evolution applies only to the character/Pokémon pair that you've applied for, and you may not mega-evolve another character's Pokémon (even if it is the same species) based on the same permission. If you want an additional character with a Mega Evolution, you'll have to submit a separate application, which shall be - yet again - judged on a case to case basis.
Z-MovesAs Z-Moves, collecting Z-Crystals and Z-Bracelets are such an integral part of the Alola Island challenge, Having a Z-Ring does not require particular permission - though as Z-Rings are made and conferred by Island Kahunas and Z-Crystals may only be found on Alola, having access to such means that the character must have at least been to Alola and obtained these items in some way.
Z-Moves, for the time being, are only restricted by the same criteria they are in-game - the trainer must have a Z-Ring (These are usually made by and conferred by Island Challenge Kahunas), the Trainer and the Pokémon using the Z move must have the appropriate Z-Crystal for the move's type, know a move of the same type as the Z-Crystal they are holding and a Z-Move may only be used ONCE per battle. Additionally, Mega-Evolved Pokémon or Pokémon with a hold item of any sort may not use Z-Moves.
Note that having a Z-Ring does not make you automatically eligible for Mega Evolutions - A Z-Ring does not function as a Mega Evolution catalyst without a Key Stone, and the restrictions on those, as noted in the Mega Evolution section of the rules, still apply.
Battle BondBattle Bond forms (such as Ash-Greninja) are similar yet different to Mega Evolutions. Both are form changes that are accompanied by a major power boost - and both require a deep, demonstrable bond between Pokémon and Trainer. However, while Mega Evolution draws its power from difficult-to-obtain catalysts, Battle Bond forms derive their power from a Trainer and a Pokémon sharing their strength in a particular way. This puts an upper limit on how powerful the transformation is and how much can it alter the Pokémon:
- A Battle Bond transformation causes the Pokémon to take on some appearance modifiers that resemble its trainer and some related to the moves or attributes boosted by the transformation (for example, the enlarged Water Shuriken on Ash-Greninja's back). The transformation, however, is typically fairly minor compared to the changes a Mega Evolution can bring.
- While a Battle Bond transformation gives a significant boost in battle power and may power up certain moves in particular (again, in Ash-Greninja's case, it was Water Shuriken), it may not change the type or ability of a transformed Pokémon, and the power of the transformation will usually not be as great as a "proper" Mega Evolution's.
- Battle Bond transformations form a two-way link between the Trainer and the Pokémon, and that link is required to maintain the transformation. When linked, a Trainer will see what their Pokémon sees and feel what their Pokémon feels - and that includes the pain of battle. Naturally, this puts an upper limit on how long the transformation may be kept up - one which depends on both the Pokémon and the trainer. Tolerance may be built up over time by both as they become familiar with how much they can share with each other without overwhelming each other - but that would require training and an even deeper degree of understanding to form between them.
With the exception of the restrictions mentioned above, the following restrictions apply to Battle Bond Pokémon:
- Only one Pokémon in a Trainer's team may have a Battle Bond form. Needless to say, a character cannot have both a Pokémon with Battle Bond and a Mega Evolving Pokémon.
- No Pokémon that is capable of Mega Evolving may have a Battle Bond form. Battle Bond may not be used to "cheat" one's way into an unauthorised Mega Evolution
- As a fan-made form change, all restrictions applying to fan-made Pokémon (as they appear in the relevant section below) apply to Battle Bond Pokémon.
Dynamax and GigantamaxDynamax and Gigantamax do not require special permission for use - but as in the games where this mechanic is present they require a Dynamax Band (containing a "Wishing Star" - typically only carried by those who have been endorsed to participate in the Gym Challenge) to be used, and they may only be used within specific power spots in the Galar Region, including the gyms and certain dens in the Wild Area.
When engaging in Dynamax/Gigantamax, keep the following in mind.
- Dynamax/Gigantamax, as in the games, is time-limited - after using three moves, regardless if these moves actually hit or do damage, the transformation wears off and the character may not use it again within the same battle.
- A Dynamaxed/Gigantamaxed Pokémon cannot use a Z-move (Max Moves and G-Max moves are obviously fair game as they are part of the mechanic) or Mega Evolve, nor can you Dynamax a Pokémon that was Mega Evolved.
- Keep in mind when writing Dynamaxed/Gigantamaxed Pokémon that they are giant enemies with all that entails - they can take plenty of punishment and their attacks have plenty of reach being as colossal as they are - but they are still not impossible to evade for trainers and Pokémon that are skilled enough, and their weak spots are still there and possibly easier to hit if you know where they are. As with any battle - practice discretion and refrain from absurd god-moding whether you are using a Dynamaxed/Gigantamaxed Pokémon or facing off against one.
Fan-Made Pokémon, Crossbreeds, Pokémon with Unique Qualities, etc.As a whole, use of fan-made Pokémon (often colloquially referred to as 'Fakémon', though this is considered a rather derisive term), crossbreed species, individual Pokémon with unique qualities are allowed in PRP. However, these must abide by the following requirements:
- Fan-mades must be original creations of the user using them - if you wish to use another person's fanmade Pokémon, regardless of whether or not the original creator is a member of Pokécharms or other websites such as DeviantART or Tumblr, you must obtain the original creator's permission to do so and be able to prove you received such. Unauthorised use of other people's creations will lead to action taken against those who do. Needless to say - using someone else's art to describe your own fanmade, even if you change their names et cetera, is still stealing and will still be treated as such.
- Always ask the thread owner if they allow the use of fan-made Pokémon - not everyone likes fanmades or approves of their usage. Do so via the RP's Discussion Thread or private messages, though.
- Fan-mades must be reasonably powered - keep your creations balanced. If your creature has a prominent strength (such as, for example, being capable of changing its type at will) it must be balanced by a weakness to prevent abuse of said ability (such as the transformation taking time and the Pokémon is vulnerable through the transformation). If the fan-made in question has powers on the level of a legendary or a Mega Evolution caliber power - including forms and other transformations - you are not allowed to use it without express permission from a staff member.
- Fan-mades, unique abilities etc. must be explainable - Balance aside, your creations must make sense/be feasibly explainable within the context of the Pokémon universe. This means that we will not accept any "a wizard did it" explanations. Mary Sue Pokémon are just as bad as Mary Sue characters.
- Fan-mades must not violate any existing RP Rules - This should go without saying.
That's it - have fun RPing - and if clarification of the rules is required, please contact StellarWind Elsydeon.