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Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
What can’t be seen, yet festers within us all.

The shadows that hide in your mind.

The inhibitions that hold back your feelings.

What happens when you’re forced to show your true self?


The Blacklight will expose the world to its eternal truth.



Hello everyone, and welcome to Blacklight Eternal. This is a group rp – RPG – Word Crawl hybrid campaign that will last almost exactly one year from the beginning of signups to the final round’s end.

Explore the canon world of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon several years after Dark Matter’s defeat (If you don’t know who that is, don’t worry, the early part of the campaign will explain it to you later!) A new threat, seemingly only visible to you all, is worming its way through the world and into the hearts of Pokémon.

Explore, make new friends and allies (and perhaps enemies!) and fight in earth-shattering battles, all while you, the player, read and write to strengthen your character. Or, if you aren’t one to roleplay, simply be another ethereal force behind the Pokémon fighting the Blacklight!



So! How does this all work?

Blacklight is divided into “rounds.” Each round will last three weeks. During most of the round, characters will be able to explore different locations as they become available during the story (each location its own thread in the subforum.) There, they can interact with each other, with NPCs, and so on. There is no true intended purpose for these interactions, and this entire campaign is technically rp-optional. However, if you do roleplay, some useful approaches would include:

-Interacting with NPCs to see if you can acquire new plot information, information about the setting, or simply because you like the character.

or

-Interacting with other characters to learn more about them and your own, basically developing your character by putting them in a situation you’d never write on your own.



In other words, just do whatever and have fun! It’s basically a group rp on a schedule, where near the end, I’ll typically start arranging for a large plot-related scene to get things moving forward, often to confront the next boss or threat in the campaign. Until then, though, you’re free to do whatever—though beware of consequences! If you're too reckless, you might cause problems for yourself or your teammates when it comes to fighting the boss!

As an aside, since it's a group rp, it is highly recommended that you stick to third person past tense for your in-character postings.



Also during these rounds, you, the player, will be reading and writing in order to fulfill challenges. These challenges are categorized below, and you can do as many of each one as you like, mixing and matching as you want (for simplicity’s sake, a “full set” of a single challenge type is provided if you want to keep it clean… and easy on me for logging purposes.)

To clarify: Each round will have three of these waves. For example, if you only did "writing time" challenges, you'd have to write for 3 hours to clear the first wave for exp, and then another 3 hours for the second wave of points, and then yet another 3 hours for the rest of the points. In total, you'd write 9 hours every round/three weeks to reap full rewards.

Disclaimer: Some things said in this post may be outdated compared to their respective official threads. If there is a difference between this post and another location pertaining to this aspect of Blacklight, do not defer to this post.

Here they are:
TierChallenge (only need to do 1 per reward, repeats okay)Reward 1 (exp)Reward 2 (points)Reward 3 (points)
1-Write 100 words
-Write for 10 minutes
-Read a chapter of someone else's work
Exp gained varies from round to round.21
2-Write a total of 200 words
-Write for a total of 30 minutes for this challenge wave.
-Review a chapter of someone else's work
^42
3-Write a total of 500 words
-Write for a total of 60 minutes for this challenge wave.
-Read a second chapter of someone else's work
^63
4-Write a total of 1000 words
-Write for a total of 120 minutes for this challenge wave.
-Review another chapter of someone else's work.
^84
5-Write a total of 2000 words
-Write for a total of 180 minutes for this challenge wave.
-Read and review a third chapter of someone else's work.
^105
S(Can only be done once per round; can only be done after all other challenges are complete and the user has tiers from previous rounds that were not completed. The "catch up" tier.)

-Publish a chapter or oneshot.
-Read and review 4 chapters from an author.
The equivalent of the lowest ten tiers that had not been accomplished, if any.N/AN/A
Tier X(Occurs at the end of every round, basically.)

Defeat the boss!
Typically slightly more exp than tier 5.+15 points if a special condition is metN/A

For players who have characters, the first wave of challenges will provide exp for your character. It works exactly as you think it would. For players without characters, the first wave is just more points.



Exp will contribute to leveling up your character, which works very similarly to their canon counterparts. Each level up, they’ll gain some stats—but in addition, they’ll also gain some bonus stats that you can distribute as you like! (within limits—you can’t increase a stat past 50% of what it would normally be without those boosts.)

Essentially in every round, while your character is doing their thing either onscreen or offscreen, you, the player, will be reading and writing as you always do to 'simulate' your character getting stronger in-universe. It seems that a mysterious power is strengthening your character over time...



Type of player?

Right! There are going to be three types of players for this campaign, and it is entirely up to you which one you want to be.



Front lines: This is the most intensive role and will involve the most legwork from you. This role is for the powergamers, the strategists, the workaholics, and in general people who are ready to get really involved in making a unit for taking on the tough fights ahead. You will have Levels, stats, moves, abilities, points, an inventory, and other bits and bops that will be introduced as the campaign continues. You will have an active amount of HP and Stamina during battles and can be KOed and so on—if all front line players are defeated, you lost the boss battle. You don’t want to do that.

Note that if too many people pick "front lines"--maybe more than 10 people--I might need to think of ways to determine who is front lines for a battle, and who is support, perhaps based on how many points they have by the end of the round, etc. But don't worry about that if fewer than 10 people choose this role.


Support: This is the “casual” role, but still an important one to have. It may be difficult to win without at least a few Supports. You will have a character and you can still participate in the roleplay segments, but you will only have to worry about your Level, stats, and points. During battle, you will not have HP, and will instead be fighting “per the narrative,” but not per the mechanics. Instead, you will be supporting the front lines with different actions (explained below) that will get stronger as the campaign progresses and you buy upgrades with points.


Ethereal: This is the “ghostly spectator” role, where you aren’t interested in roleplaying or the fights, you have no character in the campaign, but you still want to use the word crawl as a motivator to get some writing and reading done (and maybe you’re interested in the prizes here and there.) And who knows? Maybe all the points you earn would have some impact later in the campaign. ; )



If you’re not sure about how much you want to be involved in the fights, you can easily move between the top two roles, very easily in the early rounds, and those who want to join the rp outright, feel free! You'll have time until a certain round late into the campaign, and I'll let you all know when that's coming well in advance.



Boss Battle Mechanics:

After three weeks of roleplaying, reading, and strategizing, the boss will typically introduce itself 24 hours before the round ends. This will give you time to make last minute preparations, and then the battle will begin!

Each battle is separated into turns. Typically, battles are designed to last about 5 turns (less for earlier fights, more for late-game fights) and I have accommodations in place for them to last up to 10 before I’ll have to improvise on scheduling the remaining turns to be calculated.

Fights are turn-based and start with the enemy’s opening phase (turn 0, which may or may not happen depending on the circumstances leading up to the fight.) Then comes the first turn, where the player characters act, followed by the enemy phase, and so on. It’s very much like a classic RPG.

You may note that Speed is not a factor here. Indeed, the speed stat overall does not exist, and has been turned into stamina.

All moves use up stamina. Very weak moves like Tackle will use up perhaps only 1 stamina, while extremely powerful moves like Fire Blast could use 20. The amount of stamina you have determines whether you can use moves or not—think PP, but a universal pool, and it’s a lot easier to run out. The temporary bodies that you’re all being thrust into while going to this world is not stable, after all.

As with most fights, if your HP reaches zero, you are KOed. However, if you have a Reviver Seed of any kind, you will automatically be restored to full health… Though you should be careful, as in this game, you can only have one on you at a time. No Reviver spam here! (They’re pretty expensive anyway.)

Your goal will usually be to reduce the enemy’s HP to zero.

For front lines, that means using attacks and attacking the enemy. For Support, this means waiting for the right moment to cast your support actions—as those are pretty expensive, even if they’re powerful to use!

By the way…

Bosses are dirty cheaters.

Bosses will in general be able to do things that you don’t have to deal with. For example, for the most part, they have infinite stamina. They can sometimes perform multiple actions at once despite not having any speed boosts, and can gain additional beneficial statuses that are exclusive to bosses.

Additionally, their “thresholds” for gaining status ailments are higher than yours. At the beginning of the campaign, easy bosses may begin with a threshold of 200. That means that, for example, using Hypnosis on an enemy will add 100 to the status. You would have to use it twice to achieve the Sleep status.

And, obviously, their stats will be a LOT higher than yours. Beware.


In particular for units in battle... We have potential RP Bonuses (and drawbacks!) If you’re too reckless, as it goes in life, you may get hurt and earn battle penalties for the fight (for example, if someone goes off on their own and gets attacked, they may enter the fight with -1 to some stats.) Alternatively, if you guys manage to do good things, you might be able to get some boosts or other lucky circumstances for the fight instead!

Status ailments behave differently

In an effort to keep out as much RNG as possible for both players and me, a lot of status ailments have been reworked to be more deterministic. Some are unchanged, while others are very different. Check these carefully:

Burn: Deals 1/16th damage per turn, and halves physical attack.

Freeze: Reduces the target's action count by 1 and halves their resistance. Note for action counts: if the target only has 1 action, then it will behave similarly to a -4 speed debuff, where they would have an action every other turn, etc.

Paralysis: Reduces the target's action count by 1 and reduces their speed by 2.

Poison: Deals 1/16th damage per turn, and halves defense.

Badly poisoned: Deals 1/8th damage per turn, and halves defense.

Sleepy: Reduces the target's action count by 1 and halves their magic.

Bound/trapped: User cannot change row positions.

Confused: All actions the user performs also deals 50% recoil damage or 50% of the effect is also applied toward you or in another unfavorable way. (For example, don't use Heal Pulse or Reflect while Confused.)

Flinch: User’s action count is halved, rounding down, for that turn.

Infatuated: All actions the user performs against the Pokémon that infatuated them costs three actions, and all actions against the attractive foe's allies cost two actions.

Protect/Detect: User can completely nullify damage for 1 attack for each +1 they have to this status. Decays by 1 at the start of their turn as well.

Most of the other status effects are the same as their canon counterparts, but will be specified otherwise if it becomes relevant per player discussion.



NEW STATUS: STAGGER

Stagger:


Staggering is a new mechanic in this game, and it replaces the random critical hit system. When you stagger an opponent, the next blow they receive on the next turn will be Critical. Staggering occurs when the user is hit enough times by a strike that takes out some % of their HP; this is typically 10% of their HP, and typically has to be done five times. However, it varies depending on the opponent’s attributes.

For players, they only need to be hit twice for more than 20% of their HP for a Stagger point to be added. Be careful!



There is no accuracy in this game!

Instead, moves will all generally be guaranteed to hit, but they will instead use up more stamina depending on their power or effects. Stamina cost is semi-case-by-case, based on a combination of a formula I have for offensive moves, and modifiers based on how powerful the effects are (for example, Withdraw would cost less than Barrier.)


Damage multipliers:

Generally speaking, pretty much everything is cut in half. A Super Effective attack does 1.5x damage rather than 2x damage. STAB is a 25% bonus rather than 50%. Same for critical hits, though they still pierce defenses.

Stat boosters:

All stat boosters are anywhere between a little to very different from their canon counterparts. Here they are:

Attack, defense, magic, and resistance: The same, but their effectiveness is halved in both directions. For example, a +1 in Attack is normally a 50% boost in power. Here, it’s 25%.

Side note, "magic and resistance" are exactly "special attack and special defense."

Speed: Very different. Here, gaining a +4 in speed will give you an extra action per turn, as well as reduce stamina by 12/(12+n) where n is the stages boosted. For example, a +4 in speed would mean that stamina cost overall would be 12/(12+4) = 75%. Respectively, -4 speed would mean every other turn would be skipped, and stamina cost would be (12+4)/12, or 133% the usual amount. So a -4 in speed means that not only would you skip every other turn, but each action would also cost more stamina!

Additionally, if you have extra actions due to having high speed, if you perform two actions, the cost of those actions is multiplied by the number of actions taken. Example: Say you have +8 speed, so you have three actions. You would then use a 20-stamina move three times, for a total of 60 raw stamina. Because you used three actions, that overall cost is tripled, for a total of 180 stamina… However, because you’re at +8 speed, the cost also goes down to 60%—so the true cost of that strike was 108.



Evasion: Because there’s no accuracy in this game, evasion instead allows you to partially block or nullify n/4 attacks directed at you per turn, where n is the number of +1 evasions you have. For example, if you have +6 evasion, then you would completely nullify the first attack, and then take only 50% damage on the second hit you receive.

Accuracy: Accuracy can counteract the Evasion boosts listed above. Additionally, if accuracy is greater than evasion, it will hit for full power, and will also add extra Stagger points and make it easier to land Staggers in general. More accuracy = more crits! Every +4 in accuracy is an extra Stagger point, and a +12 in Accuracy makes it twice as easy to trigger a Stagger.



Critical+: Increases the number of Stagger points added and decreases the HP threshold required to land Staggers. This stacks with Accuracy, but each +1 to critical hits is twice as effective!

Aggro and Rows:

The way the enemy determines who to hit during their turn is based partly on story and special conditions (If you badmouthed them before the fight, for example, they may target you more easily) and in general performance during the fight, such as how much damage you're dealing, how much you're boosting yourself, or how strong you 'seem' to the enemy.

A way to cut your active aggro in half is by going into the Back row, rather than the Front row. Changing rows costs an action, but in the Back row, in addition to less aggro, you also take reduced damage from AoE attacks. However, while in the back row, you also cannot attack the enemy, and must return to the front row to do so, unless a specific enemy attacked you during that turn. The "back row" is, flavor wise, the concept of distancing yourself from the fight to get some breathing room.


And I have some toys for you guys, too! As you see from above, your support class comes in five starting categories (don’t worry, you’ll be able to do more than just those five simple actions later.)

The category you pick, for now, will be what happens when you try to Support your team during boss fights. At any point during the Player phase, you can choose to Support the team for 30 points. Note that each subsequent Support will cost 30 points more than the last time. So its second use in the same fight will cost 60, and then 90, and so on. This resets after each boss.

Additionally, here are the currently known Support skills, in a nice graph! Note that Tier I costs 1 point, tier II costs 4, and tier III costs 10. The amount of points you have is equal to your Level.


Who should I bring?

That’s going to be a very important question to ask yourself, especially since this campaign is going to last a year, and I am not going to allow character swaps mid-campaign. When deciding who to bring for your character, you should keep a few things in mind.

You are going to be using your character in a scenario that is likely very out of their element. Additionally, unlike the narrative they are from, you are not in full control of the story that goes on around them. If your character’s success relies on you being able to coordinate and carefully manage how other characters react to them, they may not be good to bring.

Additionally, they are not going to be in their normal bodies: They will be at Level 1, in their unevolved forms (I can make exceptions for this if you justify well enough) and will in general be extremely weak. If you are unable to write a character in this way, or do not want to, then do not bring them. While they will get stronger, and while some of their old powers may find ways to manifest here later, they will NOT have them at the start.


General character choice guidelines:

In addition to the above, you should also keep in mind the following points. Your character should be someone who…

  • You are willing to work with for a year. I really want to stress that a year is a long time, so bringing a character who is a one-note gimmick, or is someone meant to be taken in small doses, is a bad idea.
  • Is not “pure evil” or similarly unworkable as a "good guy." For plot reasons, evil characters aren’t going to be selected to join the squad.
    • It is OKAY if the characters aren’t goodie-goodies. Just, as long as they aren’t likely to join the bad guys’ side.
    • Technically speaking, actual not-good-guys might be eligible to join, if they are still set on defeating the enemies “because I want to do it myself later” or something like that. Think Bowser from Super Mario RPG or Super Paper Mario as an example. Still, tread lightly with this. It will make team dynamics… perhaps more difficult than it’s worth, depending on how bad they are.
  • Has at least a basic understanding of cooperation. No emo wanderers, lone wolves, or others who stupidly go into the forest when it’s dangerous to do so. Technically speaking, these characters have to agree to get involved in the first place. If they aren’t cooperative, they wouldn't have joined.
  • Is not a “kid.” This is going to be a weird rule compared to the others, but in general, “actual child” characters are not suited for this campaign. Note, there should be a special distinction here: if your character is chronologically a child, but is capable of taking on grand threats (for example, the canon hero Trainers from the main games) then you’re fine. Just, played-straight children, preteens and teens included, may not be. It enters a gray area once you hit 16 or so, but please err on the side of caution and use proper judgement.
  • Has depth, or is someone you want to give depth. This campaign is as much a word crawl as it is a place to build and understand your own characters. You can treat this as a case study on who they are inside and out. Parts of the plot will explore their dark and uninhibited sides, so keep that in mind when selecting. That being said, don’t forget the first bullet on this list.
  • You’re willing to fully evolve. This is probably a sore spot for a lot of PMD players, but this campaign will involve reaching their full forms. I’m hesitant to bend on this, but becoming significantly stronger is tied to evolving, for Pokémon lines that are capable of doing so.
  • Doesn’t NEED their canon-specific powers or traits to be functional or interesting. While these powers will NOT present (mostly) when the campaign starts, and while there WILL be plays to re-implement them later under certain plot mechanics, it won’t be the same. It may be “nerfed” compared to what they can do canonically. Some might even be buffed! But in general, if your unit's capabilities is the sole note of their character… remember the bullet about characters having depth, or can be given depth.
  • Is from a point in time in your story that is already published, or very close to it. This one isn't really a hard-and-fast rule, but it is a recommendation. Sometimes, writing a character 'ahead of schedule' can demotivate you to actually write the story up to that point, especially if it's at the end of the story. However, for characters that are part of a short story that isn't published, there's less harm in it, I suppose. Just keep in mind everything else here while doing that!
  • Is not a walking spoiler, or is someone you're willing to risk spoilery information getting out during the campaign. In general, like I said, a year is a long time, and the campaign is all about interactions. If a character has a lot of spoilers behind them, you have to either be willing to accept that these spoilers will get out, or not bring them at all.
And what if my character is human?

Not to worry! Most PMD stories have humans, too! They just become Pokémon! If that sounds like an interesting premise to go with for something like this campaign, you are encouraged to go straight for that and see how your character adjusts to their new body—in a sense, this will be the case for a lot of players, even if they had been Pokémon all along.

Note, I do have a potential alternative for something like this, but I’m hesitant to implement it because having a flesh-and-blood human in the campaign has odd flavors, rp and mechanic wise. Full disclosure, I do have a workaround so it's possible... but I've gone back and forth about this several times, and unless there is significant demand for actual humans from several potential players, this will be an all-Pokemon campaign.



What about if I have the same species as someone else?

When I first ran this campaign, I was hesitant to allow this. Having done it in full, however, I can confidently say that this should not be an issue: the personalities, play styles, and so on of the players and the characters will matter much more, and even the most rigid Pokémon species has potential to have two completely different uses in battle, thanks to some future gameplay mechanics that will be introduced. Therefore, I have no opinion on duplicates; do as you like.



But what about a Legendary Pokémon?

Be careful with this, but I will allow it. Due to the way stats are calculated in this setting, all players will have the same base stat total. Additionally, extremely powerful signature moves will likely be offset by a high stamina cost, making them fairly unwieldy in early game, and expensive techniques in late game. In terms of rp flavor, they won’t have a huge spotlight on them due to the circumstances of the setting, but they may draw extra attention .Tread lightly here, and if you have alternatives that are equally or more desirable, consider those before bringing a Legend.

But what if...

In general, if you feel you need to talk something out with the DM (me), feel free to speak out. That includes if you have any odd characters to bring. In fact, you're encouraged to do that in general, publicly or privately. If in public, you also gain the benefit of feedback from all the other players! Communication is key to a good experience in a campaign!


Any content warnings?

(Note: Most of what I am about to say pertains to the main plot and does not necessarily reflect the tone of other player characters. Player characters may bring new baggage and other content warnings, and while I won’t allow it to go beyond teen, be conscious of what you bring and what others are bringing.)

On a practical level, if anybody is familiar with my work, you’ll probably expect a similar feel… but Blacklight, despite the name, will actually be significantly more lighthearted. While there are still some dark themes, we aren’t going to be entering truly dark territory. You can expect Blacklight to be comfortably Teen with the following content advisories:

Fantasy violence (Small to maybe medium amounts of blood, lots of magical attacks and powerful punches, some body horror, but no gore.)

Some cursing

Some suggestive humor and implied actions, but nothing explicitly said, and certainly nothing explicitly depicted.



Prizes?!

Indeed, prizes! Over the course of the year, some of the challenges available per round will be for leaving reviews right here on TR. I mean, you can review elsewhere, of course, but reviews on TR are the ones that will count toward the Blacklight Prize Meter. Better name pending. Bad at those.

Anyway! Each review you do will earn a credit for every chapter that is touched upon, or for however many hundred words it is, rounding down, whichever is less. So for example, if you wrote a 200 word (without quotes) review on one chapter, that's 1 credit. If you wrote a 600 word review for 10 chapters, that's 6 credits. I will also count beta reading a chapter for a fellow author with some form of proof from the author (a screenshot, for example) as a flat 2 credits.

Additionally, for all new content you publish for stories on Thousand Roads (that isn't just crossposted from previously published material) you will get +1 credit for every 1000 words written!

As an example, say you have a story published somewhere else that's 10 chapters long, but it's only at chapter 3 here. You cannot claim points for publishing chapter 4 here, but you can claim credits for publishing chapter 11 elsewhere, since Thousand Roads will be caught up later anyway.

Also note that during some rounds, particularly the "big" boss fights, reviews and so on will be worth more credits than usual!

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns about the prizes and credit acquisition system in particular. These two weeks are the time for open discussion!

Note that I'm also looking for volunteers to assist with these prizes. Reviews done as part of volunteering will be worth double edit: extra credits, and volunteers for the more unique prizes will have similarly higher compensation depending on the tier.

1 credit: Unlock a special item for Front Line players starting in round 2 (and +10 points as well)
10 credits: 1 review
20 credits: 1 Voucher (used for a single free purchase from the point shop -- very worthwhile if you wait for something particularly expensive.) For Ethereal players, this is instead a raw +100 points.
30 credits: 1 review
40 credits: Character interview!
50 credits: Choice between a sprite companion (like the one you see under my avatar of this very post) or another review.
70 credits: 1 Voucher
90 credits: 3 reviews!
100 credits: The title/profile badge of "Blacklight Warrior."
110 credits: Fan-fanfiction! A drabble from a volunteer based on the writer's request!
130 credits: 1 Voucher
150 credits: Art prize! (Or, alternatively, one of Persephone's Alola Dex / World Myth Encyclopedia entries.)
170 credits: Author interview!
200 credits: The title/profile badge of "Blacklight Superstar."

Example round:

Let's use this incoming round as an example. Round 1 begins in August 1st, 2020, and will end on Friday, August 21st, at 11:59 PM UCT.

An example of how a round would go would be something like...

August 1: The fake and purely hypothetical boss battle 0 at the end of round 0 is ongoing and probably takes a few days to get done.

August 2: Boss fight would probably be finished by now unless it bleeds into day 3 (but that's definitely as long as it'd get) and we get into some group plot scene to wrap things up. The DM (...me) will probably reply slowly throughout the day so people have an opportunity to get a word or two in about what's happening, but sorry to those who are sleeping at this time due to time zones. I'll try to coordinate around this, but it largely depends on what turn people defeat the boss and so on.

August 3/4: Things break off for the intermission session and the first scenes between characters and NPCs (run by the DM) start getting queued up. I, as DM, will always have two slots open for NPC scenes, and a third slot open for Owen since I'll also be participating in this, but anybody who wants to have a scene with me will probably have to queue up, which I have a decent system in place. This also goes for anybody who wants to have a scene in a particular location with particular people, but either the location or the players are already occupied with other scenes--they'll have to wait and coordinate, with a possibly queue for specific locations, depending on how popular a place is.

August 5-19: Sometimes I'll have group plot scenes arranged on weekends or other convenient times, and I'll let people know in advanced. Otherwise, regular intermission scenes will be happening at this time, either having fun interactions with other characters, or with NPCs, or in general trying to unlock or solve things ahead of time (which may net you nice bonuses!) Near the end, I'll start gearing up for the final plot scene of the round that will lead to the introduction of the next boss.

August 20: A "boss walkup" happens, typically a scene where the group gathers up and heads out to fight the threat one way or another, either with a plan or it being totally unexpected. I will typically show a boss 1 day in advance. This gives everyone, no matter the time zone, time to plan their first or second move (in case they sleep through them on their regular schedule) as well as any last minute prep they might want to take. There will typically be a "dead day" where very little roleplaying happens because of this.

August 21st: Round ends, boss battle begins, and the cycle begins anew.

All the above is optional. Typically at around this time, people would also be completing their challenges.

Here's what things look like on the "official action" side of things, as an example:

Throughout the week, you can submit things on the official actions thread, such as...

-Wrote 500 words, claiming tier 1-3.
-Reviewed John Smith's first chapter (link).
-Spent the last hour writing, claiming tier 1-3
-I spent the last week writing for two hours a day, that's more than 9 hours, give me all three waves of challenges. (I have been given these before, and I genuinely love them because it's easy to log down ahaha...)
-Did a massive cumulative review of this 10-chapter work, gimme all three waves.
-"I have done nothing but write for the past three days, claiming everything." (Actual claim I got. Had a good laugh. Yes, it's valid. I interpreted it as writing for at least 4 hours each day, which is well over the 9 hours needed for all three tiers at this challenge type.)
-Wrote 500 words and then read and reviewed two chapters from Jane Smith, claiming tiers 1-5 (I debated on allowing mix-and-matching between reviews and writing challenges, and decided eh why not, I want to promote reviewing anyway! Just... please make it easy for me to log.)

NOTE: Even if you've completed all challenges, you can also still claim Thousand Roads-posted reviews as part of the Blacklight Review Point Meter. There is no cap to reviews toward the meter, but remember to pace yourself. This is a crawl, not a blitz.

Additionally, you may also want to do things with all that exp and points you earned. So, as an example...

-Purchasing an Oran Berry.
-Distributing Owen's bonus stat points into resistance and then defense and HP evenly (You don't have to give exact values--I can do them in good faith for you if you aren't interested in crunching numbers.)
-Owen forgets Growl and learns Flame Burst
-Purchasing Boon II

And, during combat...

-Owen uses Foresight
-Using an Oran Berry
-Owen uses Flame Burst on Magikarp


So, how do I sign up?

Right here: https://forums.thousandroads.net/index.php?threads/official-signups.378/

Along with discussions here, feel free to sign up right as you're ready, and I'll give some leeway on changing things around until the campaign officially starts. The signups will look like this:

(Required for all participants)

Player type: Front Lines / Support / Ethereal



(Support and Front Lines)

Character name:

Basic personality:

Pokémon Species:

Starting build: (Even if you're Front Lines, do this just in case it gets crowded) Hex / strike / boon / heal / shield

Talents: Choose up to three from: HP / Stamina / Attack / Magic / Defense / Resistance

Weaknesses: Choose up to three that aren’t in Talents; you must have at least one in each or none at all, and you cannot have three talents and one weakness, or vice versa. Feel free to specify if one talent is “bigger” than the other talent, etc.

RP notes: Put anything here that has to do with your preferences when roleplaying, such as content you aren’t keen on interacting with, so other players can be aware of them. If you yourself know that you have a tendency toward common content warnings, it may be wise to put those here (or, depending on how intense they are, avoid doing so during Blacklight / tone it down.)

DM control: Full / Partial / None: (see notes below)


Front Lines only:

Moves (Level 1/starting moves only, no egg or TM moves) :

Ability (No hidden abilities) :

Extra Move & Justification:

Notes on DM Control:

This is basically telling me how comfortable you are in me taking control of your character during critical plot scenes / group scenes, etc. and you aren't available, or otherwise when I'm making a transitional post that has to be done all at once. I fully respect, empathize, and understand discomfort in other authors controlling your characters for one reason or another, and while I will be trying my best in good faith to depict them accurately, I also recognize that nobody is better at that than the author.

Full: I can have full control of the character during large, plot-advancing posts such as time advancing, boss introduction and defeat cutscenes, and so on. This includes dialogue, specific actions and reactions, and other extended depictions of their character that was not written by your hand. However, I will NEVER control them during scenes that are not part of "main game cutscenes," so to speak.

Partial: Similar to full, but I never show them for any extended action sequences, I don't depict them speaking/show outright dialogue, and so on. Generally they are described more vaguely or as part of a group effort, and I'm much more careful about only depicting outright-definite character traits.

None: Exactly what it says on the tin. I don't imply anything they do, never control them, and they will likely not have any explicit interaction with plot cutscenes as a result unless you are there while it happens.

Notes on the Extra Move:

You can pick ANY MOVE for your character to also know, in addition to their legal Level 1 moveset. This will take up one of your four move slots. This can be a move they’d get later at a higher level, an egg move, a TM move, or one that is completely illegal. However, if you get one that is illegal, you MUST provide adequate justification for why they would have it, such as that canon reason from their world would allow for such a thing. This extra move shouldn’t be game-breaking, and it is encouraged to have this for flavor than for being stronger.



Player type: Front Lines

Character name: Owen

Basic personality: Bright-eyed, helpful, a little insecure, and surprisingly wise. Essentially the Sun Arcana if you played Persona games.

Pokémon species: Charmander

Starting support build: Boon

RP notes: I’m generally open to anything, but I’m not keen on intense, non-planned / uncoordinated pvp interactions.

DM Control: Full

Moves: Scratch, Growl, Miracle Eye (Extra)

Ability: Blaze

Talents: Resistance, defense

Weaknesses: Attack, magic

Extra Move & Justification: Miracle Eye, which in Blacklight also allows him to see and announce enemy HP and other potentially useful information. Justification: In his world, Owen has extremely strong perceptive abilities, and can ‘see’ much more than the average fighter can in battle. Also, as the Dungeon Master Player Character, it's appropriate that he's the team's tattle fairy.

Once again, if you have any questions, ask them here and I can clarify! And I hope to see you all when the campaign begins! Signups will officially begin now, and round 1--and the story as a whole--will start on August 1st! Note that you can still join even after the campaign begins, so there’s no worries if you miss the opening window. I’ll have ways to incorporate your late arrivals without a problem!
 
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The Walrein

Pokémon Trainer
Partners
  1. gulpin
Very excited about this! A few questions/clarifications:

1. Speed: Very different. Here, gaining a +4 in speed will give you an extra action per turn, as well as reduce stamina by 12/(12+n) where n is the stages boosted. For example, a +4 in speed would mean that stamina cost overall would be 12/(12+4) = 75%. Respectively, -4 speed would mean every other turn would be skipped, and stamina cost would be (12+4)/12, or 133% the usual amount. So a -4 in speed means that not only would you skip every other turn, but each action would also cost more stamina!

1. Okay, so based on this it seems like we aren't using the +6 cap on stat boosts seen in the main series games. Is there a maximum level a stat can be boosted? Is the maximum negative status mod still -6?

2. How do speed multipliers that aren't multipliers of four work? If you have a +2 to speed, do you gain one extra action every other turn? If you have a -2 to speed, do you lose every third turn? Or does speed only affect stamina costs until it hits +4 or -4?

Talents: Choose up to three from: HP / Stamina / Attack / Magic / Defense / Resistance

Weaknesses: Choose up to three that aren’t in Talents; you must have at least one in each or none at all, and you cannot have three talents and one weakness, or vice versa. Feel free to specify if one talent is “bigger” than the other talent, etc.

3. To make sure I understand this correctly: You can take anywhere from 0 to 3 talent points, which can be distributed however you like (so you could have +2 to HP and +1 to Attack, or +3 to Magic, or +1 to each of Magic, Defense, and Resistance), and then you must take a number of weakness points equal to the number of talent points you took, except unlike talent points they all have to apply to separate stats? I feel like this isn't quite right, but I'm not sure how else to interpret being able to specify one talent being "bigger" than others.

4. Do we have to bring a character from one of our fanfics (or an upcoming work), or can it be a character made up specifically for this?

5. Regarding the "Blacklight Prize Meter", do you have to complete all the "challenges per round" challenges within a round first before your reviews and writing can count towards earning points on the Blacklight Prize Meter, or do you earn points for both at the same time?

6. If a species line has a baby form, does anyone using a species from that line have to start as the baby form, or can they start as the non-baby unevolved form? Asking because one of the characters I'm considering is a Jigglypuff who was born as a Jigglypuff instead of an Igglybuff in a society where that's considered to have heavy negative implications, and it's an important part of his character.

7. To clarify starting moves - we start with all level 1 level-up-list moves our species knows in the most recent main-series game the Pokemon was available in, correct?

8. How would learning moves work for Smeargle? Would they be able to use Sketch to copy moves during RP segments or only during "official" fights (can Boss moves even be sketched)? Can they start with a "pre-sketched" move instead of the level 1 Sketch they'd normally have (in addition to the "extra move" which is pretty easy to justify for a Smeargle)?
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
1. Okay, so based on this it seems like we aren't using the +6 cap on stat boosts seen in the main series games. Is there a maximum level a stat can be boosted? Is the maximum negative status mod still -6?

I completely forgot to mention this. I was planning on elaborating on this when it became relevant, but I guess me randomly mentioning +12 here and there gave it away early.

So. There are going to be certain things and attributes that add to what will be known as innate modifiers. These stack with your normal modifiers, and also cap at +6. Therefore, the highest possible modifier for a stat is +12, if you have +6 normal (Swords Dance x3) and +6 innate, which isn't easy to obtain at the moment.

A very easy example of Inherent boosts is Tailwind, which is a +2 to the team's innate speed.

Under most circumstances, you can't be debuffed on innate stats, with rare exceptions (the "swampy" attribute from Water-Grass pledge behaves as a -2 to innate speed.)

2. How do speed multipliers that aren't multipliers of four work? If you have a +2 to speed, do you gain one extra action every other turn? If you have a -2 to speed, do you lose every third turn? Or does speed only affect stamina costs until it hits +4 or -4?

They don't! Unfortunately, if you're at a +3 speed, you simply don't get an extra turn from speed boosts. The only boost you get will be the stamina cost reduction.

3. To make sure I understand this correctly: You can take anywhere from 0 to 3 talent points, which can be distributed however you like (so you could have +2 to HP and +1 to Attack, or +3 to Magic, or +1 to each of Magic, Defense, and Resistance), and then you must take a number of weakness points equal to the number of talent points you took, except unlike talent points they all have to apply to separate stats? I feel like this isn't quite right, but I'm not sure how else to interpret being able to specify one talent being "bigger" than others.

That's another way to look at it, yes, though I abstract it out because if you only do one stat for each, it's technically only +2 to one and -2 to another, or +2 to one and -1 to two. Basically you can't do +3 to one stat and -1 to three others--you're capped at a difference of 2 for any single stat.

4. Do we have to bring a character from one of our fanfics (or an upcoming work), or can it be a character made up specifically for this?

I'm not discouraging the use of a "from scratch" character for this! The only thing you miss out on is the "crossover" appeal of the campaign, and using what you see in Blacklight as a sort of case study for the character if it's from an ongoing work. But as far as being allowed to do this, yes, you are. Though you may have a disappointing answer when people ask, "Where's your character from?"

5. Regarding the "Blacklight Prize Meter", do you have to complete all the "challenges per round" challenges within a round first before your reviews and writing can count towards earning points on the Blacklight Prize Meter, or do you earn points for both at the same time?

They overlap. A review done for the round challenges also counts for the prize meter.

6. If a species line has a baby form, does anyone using a species from that line have to start as the baby form, or can they start as the non-baby unevolved form? Asking because one of the characters I'm considering is a Jigglypuff who was born as a Jigglypuff instead of an Igglybuff in a society where that's considered to have heavy negative implications, and it's an important part of his character.

This falls under my "I'll make exceptions if you give a good case for not starting at the lowest form." Mechanically speaking, the only difference is movepool.

7. To clarify starting moves - we start with all level 1 level-up-list moves our species knows in the most recent main-series game the Pokemon was available in, correct?

I'm flexible on this. If you want to do some obscure past-gen Level 1 move, I won't deny it.

8. How would learning moves work for Smeargle? Would they be able to use Sketch to copy moves during RP segments or only during "official" fights (can Boss moves even be sketched)? Can they start with a "pre-sketched" move instead of the level 1 Sketch they'd normally have (in addition to the "extra move" which is pretty easy to justify for a Smeargle)?

My knee-jerk reaction is "Oh god please no" but my actual answer is, if you can find a way to justify copying a move (a rp scene or doing it mid-battle) then I'll allow it.
 

Tanuki

Friend of All Chu
Location
Rhyme City
Pronouns
He/him/his
Given that there are gonna be more artists this round, what kind of incentives are there for that kind of stuff? Or are we keeping this purely to writing/reviewing?
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
I can't really properly quantify in an easy way drawings and art matters for Credits / the prize meter... but I suppose since there are a lot of artists here, I do wonder if people would be okay with, at least for the point/exp side of challenges, "time writing" could also be substituted for "time drawing." That's a pretty no-brain conversion, even if you won't be able to convert that to Credits in parallel. Still, it's something. What does everyone else think?
 

Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Partners
  1. custom/mew-adam
  2. custom/celebi-shiny
I'm cool with it too since it'd allow me to choose whether to be productive on the art or writing front should I please.
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
Alright, so I have two more things to discuss, which came up on the discord chat for those unaware. I'd like to get some formal discussion going on here next...

First: What difficulty would you guys prefer to have for this, at least to start? I can nudge the difficulty per fight depending on how I see you guys fare, but otherwise, we still need a starting point. Below are the general difficulties...

Easy: It's generally not too hard to beat the bosses. Their offensive power will rarely take out more than half your health on one hit. Have fun roleplaying.

Normal: Bosses are decently paced. Most players, especially Front Line, will need to get at least two waves of challenges done per round for things to be breezy.

Hard: Bosses are challenging. Players, both Support and Front Line, will have to average out at around two complete waves, and have some decent synergy and strategy, to win these fights, especially near the end.

Lunatic: God help you. Most players should at least get 2 waves done, and all Front Line players may want to get all three done. Very careful strategizing may be required. Bosses can ohko non-tank units regularly.

--

And second, and this one is probably more important: I'm noticing that there are a LOT of players signing up. We're already eclipsing the first time I did this in terms of lifetime joining members. Now, we only have one Ethereal player so far--and they're the ones that could be the most numerous without any problems on my end. Ironic. Support players are also easy to manage... But less so for Front Line players due to their complexity and the fact that they have HP and will actively battle the boss, rather than be an implicit presence on the battlefield mechanically as Supports. I said to myself that 10 was the "most comfortable amount" for front line units.

There are a lot of people who seem to want to be Front Lines, or are Front Line / Support, but are curious about what FL is like. Which is perfectly understandable. FL is also going to get pretty complex later; if you thought it was complex now, wait until you see what happens later. Support, meanwhile, will be generally easier to manage.

How should we resolve this situation? There are a few things that I can do, none of them ideal in terms of, well, letting all Front Liners fight at all times (unless people just genuinely become less interested in being on the front lines). For example, Front Line players could rotate, or something, so the "front line party selection" is 10 at most, but that might be difficult to judge if we don't have a party count that's divisible by 10. Another is that it'd be based on who did the most challenges and, in the event of a tie, has the most cumulative points... but that might lead to a competitive rather than cooperative atmosphere. And then there's the wild west of "let you all decide among yourselves after the boss is revealed" route while I sit back and tent my fingers evilly...

Anyway, those are my three ideas for resolving it. What do you guys think? This was sort of a scatterbrain post, so I hope it's easy to parse...
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
I'd also like to note that I'm not against adjusting the number of Front Line players somewhat. However, I don't think I can go over 15 players without overwhelming the system (me) and the boss power balance... so 15 on the Front Line for any particular fight is the hard cap, and 10 is the soft cap.
 

kyeugh

onion witch
Location
florida
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. farfetchd-galar
just a support fighter here, but i'm of the opinion that we should start off at normal difficulty to establish a baseline, and adjust it later if we feel collectively that it's too easy (or maybe even too hard). since a lot of us are new to this, i think an easier start is probably a good thing to get us all into the flow of the game anyway, and starting off too difficult seems like a good way to demoralize people or scare them off.

rotation sounds to me like the best of the solutions you've described, but again, i'm just a support fighter and it doesn't affect me. still, i agree that keeping things cooperative rather than competitive is really important to keep the game fun rather than stressful, and allowing people to choose from among themselves seems like it might result in disappointment for some. rmeanwhile, rotation is predictable and fair.
 

windskull

Bidoof Fan
Staff
Partners
  1. custom/sneasel-nip
  2. bidoof
  3. absol
I've already given most of my two cents in the discord, but might as well post it here too.

I would prefer to start with medium, more so to give the newcomers a chance to get used to how the system works for the first round or two. Afterwards, I'm pretty open to bumping the difficulty up to hard. This would also give people that are uncertain about playing either frontline or support a chance to theoretically try it out and back off if it feels like it's going to be too much. Which sort of leads into the second part.

On one hand, I think letting everyone work it out after the boss reveals itself could help with the strategy side of things (i.e. Oh god a fighting-type boss let's not send in a team of all dark types). On the other hand, that could lead to sore feelings if someone gets voted out over and over, so I'm a bit hesitant. I don't like the idea of having people compete for slots though, especially with some players starting back to college in about a month.

One thing I do want to mention is if we did a rotating group, a multiple of 5 could still work out, as you could rotate 5 in 5 out each time, so players (outside of the first rotated out) would be in for two rounds before tagging out.
 

SparklingEspeon

Insquisitabilitating
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. espurr
  2. fennekin
I'm not a front line player, nor do I intend to become one. But my input, for whatever it's worth, would be not mucking with the difficulty until after the first boss, so both players and the GM team know what they're wrangling.

Another is that it'd be based on who did the most challenges and, in the event of a tie, has the most cumulative points... but that might lead to a competitive rather than cooperative atmosphere. And then there's the wild west of "let you all decide among yourselves after the boss is revealed" route while I sit back and tent my fingers evilly...

I wonder if there couldn't be some kind of hybrid of this. While I'd personally be in favor of the one with the most freedom (letting the party decide), there's also the concern that players who end up with "bad stats" may often get benched, even if they want to play. Offering some sort of writing challenge option that would allow players to reserve a slot (within reason) in addition to leaving slots open for freeform team building could help a lot there, IMO.

I'm against the rotation option completely, because unless bosses are customized to fit the players going up against them, there is a chance the current team on rotation could end up utterly screwed with no option to switch out ranks.
 

Maneki

Now Playing: Crystal Castles - Reckless
Location
the void
Pronouns
Feminine - She/Her
As a new player here, I also am of the agreement that Normal difficulty is the way to go. Much like what qva said, it would establish a baseline and allow for adjustments if needed - bumping it up if we all think it's too easy and knocking it down a peg if we all think it's too hard.

As for the Frontline thing, I'm mostly of a mixed opinion. On one hand, letting everyone work everything out seems like a good idea (ex; fire type boss, let's not send in steel or grass type pokemon) - but then their could be hurt feelings and the like, as well as possible preference of people with 'good stats', which could lead to possible bias? (unsure.)
Rotation, in my mind seems like a good option, with maybe teams of 5 differing people, with a tag-in system or something?

Offering some sort of writing challenge option that would allow players to reserve a slot (within reason) in addition to leaving slots open for freeform team building would help a lot there, IMO.
I think that'd be kinda neat! Maybe it could be a specific prompt depending on the situation in story? Or possibly a differing prompt for specific locations, to maybe build off of your idea, Spark?
 

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
Staff
Location
somewhere in spacetime
Pronouns
they/them
Partners
  1. custom/pikachu-chibi
  2. lugia
Starting with Normal and then adjusting to Hard as needed seems like a pretty solid way to go.

I personally think that having a means to rotate frontliners would be the way to go. I'd like to experience frontline combat, but I'm certainly not gonna be sore if I have to sit out every other fight, and having intermittent breaks would be nice. It's just the nature of having a big group--not everyone can have the spotlight all the time. And again--there's always Support for those off rounds.

The others have brought up some issue with letting the players decide specifically who gets to fight each boss--I think that should be avoided, yeah. The rotation method should be something more objective (taking preferences into account for who's already cool with sitting out every other fight.)
 

Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Partners
  1. custom/mew-adam
  2. custom/celebi-shiny
I'm like the others above that I'd prefer an incremental increase in difficulty starting from Normal to above.

On the other topic, I'm not really sure I'd be fond of the solutions because I feel the decision to Frontline or not should be entirely up to the player. The one I sort of lean to is the rotation option as it is the most fair on paper, but it'd really suck if one uses up his rotation slot on one boss but then the next boss fight is one they really want to take part in, but they can't participate because they've already used up their placement slot.

Even if one knows why they can't participate as a Frontline, it still wouldn't stop the human self from feeling sad about it. :confused:
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
Okay, after seeing these posts and being surprised at how open people were to the rotation idea, I did some walking around and cobbled together a possible system.

--

I ask everyone to give me a number between 1 and 5 to indicate their desire to be Front Lines. The lower the number, the less they want to be Support.

1. They absolutely want to be Front Lines and, as long as nothing from the higher numbers stops them, they will be.

2. They want to be front lines, but recognize that they might have to sit out now and then--but regardless, they do not want to be Support twice in a row.

3. It's sort of 2, but in reverse. They like Front Lines, but they probably aren't in the mood to be it all the time, and also want others to have fun, too. Therefore, they don't want to be Front Lines twice in a row.

4. The most passive, these people are fine with not being Front Lines, but are available if there happens to be an open slot.

5. "Fuck off let me be Support."

--

There are some flaws here. For example, there's a chance that some people in 4 would functionally wind up being 5 for the whole campaign, or people in 3 may suffer the same fate unless the stars align. I could allow for some kind of specification for 2 or 3 in particular, such as, "No more than twice in a row" as another limiter. Sliding scale.

Either way, I think this will really help get the Front Lines system working nicely with a larger group. Let me know what you think, adjust your signup sheets accordingly, and discuss!

Note: You can change your number at any time up until the boss is revealed, no judgement. But remember other players when doing so, and be considerate... both toward them AND yourself!
 

Virgil134

PMD Writer
Partners
  1. weavile
I think it makes sense to start things off on normal so everyone can get a feeling of how things work. Would personally prefer to switch to hard afterwards, but we'll see how everyone else feels about it after the first boss fight. Lunatic also sounds like a lot of fun, but I think most people here wouldn't be down for that lol.

As for how to handle the amount Front Lines players: For the first boss fight, does it perhaps make sense to prioritize people who didn't take part in Blacklight's first campaign? Since that way at least everyone who is interested in playing Front Lines gets a chance to try it out, which hopefully will make it easier to decide who should be Front Lines and Support in future rounds. I think the number system you're proposing could work after the first boss fight though.
 

Shiny Phantump

Born of Smol and Void
Location
Hallownest
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. sylveon
I dunno wether to put myself as a 1 or a 2. I’m really not interested in playing support, but if it has to happen, it has to happen. These bits from 1/2 both apply to me: “They absolutely want to be Front Lines” and “but recognize that they might have to sit out now and then--but regardless, they do not want to be Support twice in a row.”

As for difficulty, I’ll join the “start on medium, possibly go to hard later.” crowd. I’d very much prefer not to touch Lunatic at all because I want to run a tanky Celeste (which is sub-optimal) and bigger damage numbers might mean he has to leave the tanking to people with better defensive statblocks. I also don’t want optimizing Celeste to be important to our survival, because that would require a completely different build for him.

Oh I was supposed to edit the signup sheet, I’m illiterate.
 
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