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Developing Human vs Pokémon Characters


Level 28
Philly, USA
I lean towards human/trainer-centered stories, in some instances maybe to my own detriment. I’ve got a lot of ideas about developing characters in general, and some opinions on what I like and dislike about pokémon characters. For me the biggest concern is internal consistency, especially with intellect. Beyond that... I’m grappling with what I want / can accept to be the differences between human and Pokémon, between Pokémon and animal.

I know folks in this community have strong opinions about it. Probably little of it objective, haha. But I’m curious what people think about this spectrum of questions: What makes a pokémon character stand out for you? Is there anything that should always be different about the worldview of a Pokémon? How do you distinguish Pokémon from animals? What are your unbreakable standards? Etc.


I'm not sure I follow any hard and fast rules, and it depends on the story. I guess the main thing for me is that a raticate and an alakazam should not have the same internal monologues. Pokemon have such widely differing abilities and life-spans, that it seems appropriate to consider them by species, rather than as a whole.

I have noticed that I tend to give pokemon more of an honor and gift-giving based mindset. More pre-modern, I suppose.


everyday is halloween
the middle of nowhere
The mon in my stories are a bit of a cheat since my human-universe has mon able to gain sapience like humans provided they're raised with the right stimuli during a crucial development period in their youth. If they don't receive enough of the right stimuli in this stage, they're basically at animal level for the rest of their lives. Of course there are some edge cases where they get some stimuli and end up somewhere in between, though I haven't been able to explore those yet.

In the PMD universe... well, they're usually just Pokémon-shaped humans - although I do like to incorporate animalistic features like body language, vocalizations, diet and so on. I use a different system than in my human-universe regarding sapience (since it had complex ethical implications and PMD is kind of my break from the heaviness of the human-universe): there are just feral and sapient versions of the same species which cannot interbreed (at least successfully). They have certain morphological differences, where usually the sapient versions are more neotenized and closer to the cartoony designs. Bigger brains need bigger craniums, after all.

Back to the human-universe: the ones that stay feral there are pretty much treated like animals and stand in for most real life species. I did let myself include "lesser" real life animals like invertebrates, fish and amphibians, though, since the ecosystem gets pretty unbalanced otherwise with so many predatory species and so few decomposers. And people don't like the idea of eating something that could be a walking, talking person anymore, but there's still the taste for meat, so that's where seafood comes in.

The ones that are sapient don't exactly have it the same as regular humans, though. They have special needs regarding habitat, diet, clothing and mobility, and humans aren't perfect, so the mon do face discrimination and prejudice. I haven't touched upon that so much, though, and since I have no personal experience with those subjects, I likely won't get deep into it in later works, either. So... all of this rambling has kind of led up to me just saying I write them mostly the same as humans. Sorry ;p


*Crazy Absol Noises*
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
It really depends on what I'm writing. I tend to focus more on PMD-style stories, so the characters in that are more akin to those you'd find in a Redwall novel. They're sentient, and varied like any human would be. I mean... I have a cyberpunk series where the pokemon carry laser pistols and fly ships so... XD

When writing trainer 'fics, the pokemon are much more like animals. A fair bit more intelligent a-la the anime, but they don't speak. I don't even have them saying their names, tbh, they chitter or squeak or whatever XD They behave very much like animals. I try to emulate real-world animal body language into them, so an angry cat would pull its ears back for example. (Although to some extent, this also applies to my PMD stories since they are still animals.)