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Pokémon PMD Guildmaster Sim (Reader Participation Quest)

Rules, Setting Information, And Current Status

The Walrein

Il faut cultiver notre jardin
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Welcome to PMD Guildmaster Sim!

Death, violence.

What is this?
PMD Guildmaster Sim is a fast-moving forum adventure where readers vote on decisions to be made by the leader of an exploration guild in a PMD fantasy setting. The primary inspiration is Haspen’s ‘SpamKingdom’ series on the Bay12 games forum, but you may be more familiar with the video game ‘Reigns’, which is also sorta like this (the main differences being an increased variety of options for each choice and more complicated mechanics deciding the outcome of decisions).

How can I participate?
For most decisions, voting will be done by making a reaction on the post in question, with different reactions corresponding to different options. What specific reaction corresponds to what specific choice will (usually) be arbitrary; don’t expect that an option indicated with the :mewlulz: reaction will necessarily be a ‘funny’ choice, for example. Occasional decisions will require user-write ins; for these, simply make a post in the thread with your write-in option, in the format “> Do custom plan X”. You can quote a user’s write-in option in your post to vote for it. If a post requires multiple write-ins, make sure to indicate what each of your write-ins are for. Ex:

> Name: Quagley
> Species: Quagsire

Most decisions will be open for around one or two days, possibly for less than a single day if support for a given outcome appears clear. When voting is closed for a particular option, I’ll edit the most recent post to declare this; please do not make or change a reaction on a post after this time.

For relatively unimportant decisions, voting ties between choices will be decided by what I feel would be most “in-character” for your guildmaster. If all options seem equally “in-character”, I will select an option randomly. Important decisions may have their voting period extended.

Additionally, feel free to comment in the thread to discuss the game or explain your voting rationale.

Rolls and Modifiers
After a choice is made, if there is an element of uncertainty in how the chosen option plays out (there usually will be!), I will roll a ten-sided die to determine how well things went. (Yes, an actual, physical d10.) Positive or negative modifiers may be applied to the result of the roll based on situational factors; the most common of these will likely be from character traits, which are aspects of your character that give you a bonus (or possibly, a penalty) to rolls aligned with the trait. Ex: The ‘Charismatic’ trait gives you a bonus on rolls to persuade people to give you a better deal when negotiating, while the ‘Abrasive’ trait would give a penalty to that roll.

The final results of the d10 roll + modifiers will be interpreted as such:

1 or lower: Critical Failure! Your decision has gone wrong in some unexpected way, with possibly disastrous results.
2 to 3: Failure. Your plan didn’t work, or at least not nearly as well as you hoped it would.
4 to 5: Partial Failure. Although it wasn’t a total loss, your choice had a distinctly sub-par outcome.
6 to 7: Partial Success. Your plan mostly worked out, although there are ways in which it could’ve gone better.
8 to 9: Success. Your decision worked about as well as could be hoped for.
10 or higher: Critical Success! Your plan went even better than you imagined it would.

Note that although luck plays a large role in determining outcomes, the choices you make still have a significant impact. A ‘Success’ result for a bad plan might be worse than a ‘Failure’ result for a good plan!

Charismatic: Grants a +1 to all rolls to influence people or win them to your side. In situations where charisma can be used to full effect, such as making big, dramatic speeches, this gives a +2 bonus instead.
Explorer: Grants a +2 bonus to rolls to navigate and efficiently travel the world when exploring, and a +1 bonus to these tasks for expeditions organized by you if you aren’t personally joining them. Additionally, gives a +2 bonus to rolls to evade traps and find secret passages – whether in mystery dungeons or otherwise.
Fighter: Grants +2 to all rolls involving personal combat, and +1 to all rolls for directing a team or larger unit in battle.
Scholarly: Gives a +2 bonus to all rolls involving knowledge of law, arcane lore, or natural science. Sometimes, this knowledge can provide additional options for choices.
Sly: Grants a +2 bonus to all rolls involving espionage, forgery, larceny, or other forms of skulduggery. This applies equally to actions taken personally or by a directly-managed agent. Also, an appreciation of underhanded solutions may sometimes open up additional options for choices.

Guild Stats
Your exploration guild has four main statistics representing how well it’s doing in different areas. At the beginning of each year, the guild’s record-keeper will present you with a scroll giving a zero to ten rating for each statistic. Higher ratings are better, with ‘5’ being the rating for an average guild, ‘8’ being an excellent rating, ‘3’ being a poor rating, and so on. The statistics are as follows:

Morale: This represents the overall mood of your guild’s members; both how happy they are in general, and how satisfied they are with your leadership. It can be increased by providing better amenities for your guild members and taking care of their personal needs. Making too many unpopular decisions can decrease morale, as can tragedy or misfortune befalling the guild.
Reputation: This represents how well-renowned and respected your guild is by everyone outside of it. It increases when your guild members do great deeds (or manage to take credit for them) and help out the community, and decreases when scandals become attached to your guild or guild members take the blame for notable public failures.
Wealth: A general measure of your guild’s financial health and available fiscal resources. Increases and decreases to this stat typically come about due to gaining or losing substantial amounts of money. Note that Wealth is separate from net profits; it’s possible for a guild to be losing money every month but still have a high Wealth stat due to having accumulated a lot of savings.
Strength: A measure of the overall quantity and quality of your guild’s exploration teams. It increases when you expand the membership of your guild or your teams become more experienced, and decreases when teams leave the guild or suffer lasting decreases to their capabilities for whatever reason. Acquiring better equipment for your teams can also improve Strength.

Any stat being at 1 or 2 represents a serious problem for your guild, and a stat being at zero (or less!) means your guild is in dire crisis. If any stat remains at zero or lower for two consecutive yearly reports, then your guild is forced to shut down, and it’s Game Over.

Guild Name: The Starlight Guild
Current Headquarters: An aged stonework mansion in Seahaven’s upper-class residential district. Notable for having a dormant mystery dungeon entrance sealed up in the basement. Could perhaps do with some remodeling.
Guildmaster: Theseus Bewear
Guildmaster’s Traits:
Sly - Grants a +2 bonus to all rolls involving espionage, forgery, larceny, or other forms of skulduggery. This applies equally to actions taken personally or by a directly-managed agent. Also, an appreciation of underhanded solutions may sometimes open up additional options for choices.

Stats as of the most recent report
Morale: 5
Reputation: 3
Wealth: 2
Strength: 3


Officers
Deputy: Chrsya Noivern. A highly passionate Pokemon who exudes a natural charisma, appointed by you shortly after becoming guild leader. She prefers to focus on the ‘big-picture’ rather than on fiddly little details.
Record-Keeper: Oranguru. A diligent and taciturn Pokemon who became guild record-keeper during its first founder’s administration, and who has remained in the position ever since. You have no idea what his given name is, or exactly how old he is, but he’s been a reliable provider of common-sense advice and perspective for generations, and replacing him would be almost unthinkable.
Treasurer: Tessa Drapion. A frugal Pokemon who always seems to be worried about something or other. Can be quite creative when it comes to finding new ways to save money. Appointed during the administration of Xute Mismagius, removed by Lud Exploud, and re-appointed when you came to power.

Team leaders are marked with an asterisk after their name. Note that not all teams have a specified leader. 'Mission Types' indicates what kind of missions a team usually takes, and is listed in rough descending order of preference. Keep in mind that some kinds of missions are much more common than others, so a team which has 'Rescue' listed as higher-preference than 'Escort' probably still does substantially more Escort missions than they do Rescues; what the ranking indicates is that they have a disproportionately high ratio of Rescue : Escort missions relative to the 'standard' team. For descriptions of mission types, see the 'What a Guild does' section of the 'Setting Information' spoiler.

Team Skyguard
Members: Joan Corviknight*, Wynna Flygon, Flinn Inteleon
Mission Types: Bounty, Scouting, Rescue, Escort, Tapping
Description: An elite team capable of taking on the most dangerous missions. Joan is a highly skilled fighter and good at making decisions under pressure. Since the recent death of her closest friend and former team leader Jess Talonflame, she’s been prone to dark moods and spending long periods of time alone, brooding. This has interfered with her administrative work, but Flinn Inteleon has taken up the slack without complaint. An extremely competent Pokemon in many areas, Flinn is especially skilled at using items to their fullest potential, and is probably the best in the guild when it comes to armed combat. He’s somewhat introverted and emotionally reserved, and it’s often difficult to tell what he’s thinking. Rounding out the team, Wynna is an energetic and outgoing Flygon who handles negotiations and other social tasks. Perhaps a bit reckless, and, after Jess’ death, has developed a concerning sadistic streak when fighting leks. Nevertheless, her raw talent and skill at improvising have been able to get her out of any bad spot she’s gotten herself into. So far, at least...

Team Sensation
Members: Tristram Slurpuff*, Jan Noctowl, Yves Indeedee
Mission Types: Rescue, Bounty, Escort, Tapping
Description: A veteran team where each member focuses on a different sense. Tristram, the group’s leader, can track down almost anyone with his incredible olfaction, be they the subject of a rescue mission or the target of a bounty. Jan covers vision, although her ears are almost as acute as her eyes. Lastly, Yves can detect emotions and packs a surprising amount of punch with his psychic moves.

Team Hodgepodge
Members: Liam Granbull*, Sargas Darmanitan, Gilliver Mothim, Martin Crabrawler
Mission Types: Escort, Tapping, Rescue
Description: An experienced team that lacks any clear theme. Liam Granbull is notable as having been the guild deputy in Xute’s time, where he was respected as a competent, if somewhat unimaginative, leader. Nowadays, though, his perpetual bitterness and tendency to harshly criticize others has left him with few friends. Contrarily, Sargas Darmanitan is one of the most popular Pokemon in the guild, due to his comedic wit, charm, and fun-loving attitude. He can’t handle dealing with pressure very well, which isn’t a good trait for a dungeoneer. Gilliver is an incorrigible romantic who seems to spend almost as much time pursuing his (constantly-shifting) crushes as he does on his guild duties. Lastly, Martin Crabrawler is a young and enthusiastic dungeoneer who never backs down from a fight. Even when he really, really should. And yet, despite everything, Team Hodgepodge almost always pulls through in the end, one way or another.

Team Long Shot
Members: Fiona Furret, Fierra Furret, Percie Ekans, Lerimi Dugtrim
Mission Types: Tapping, Escort
Description: A fairly new team founded by Furret sisters Fiona and Fierra. The two are nearly inseparable and have a lovey-dovey attitude, although they sometimes like to play little pranks on each other. Percie joined the team soon after it formed, and seems melancholy and somber a lot of the time. You wonder if she feels like a third wheel. Lerimi Dugtrim is the newest member, a three-headed Pokemon who’s enthusiastic and learning quickly despite experiencing occasional inter-head arguments.

Team Nap Attack
Members: Rin Jigglypuff, Chester Snorlax
Mission Types: Tapping?
Description: Rin and Chester can frequently be seen lying around the base, snoozing in odd locations. They claim to practice an obscure form of martial art based on fighting while asleep, which they say ‘unlocks the power of the subconscious’ and allows them to fight unburdened by fear or conscious delay. You suspect it’s just an excuse for them to laze around a lot.

Team Bloom
Members: Nell Lilligant*, Grover Cacnea, Trent Jumpluff, Calla Steenee
Mission Types: Tapping, Escort
Description: A team intended to help train Guild apprentices. Apparently the name got taken too literally, and then they were all grass-types. Nell was a seasoned dungeoneer somewhat past her prime, determined to pass her knowledge on to as many Pokemon as possible before retiring. Grover was a cautious and pragmatic explorer, and the anchor of the team in combat. Trent was enthusiastic, still made a lot of mistakes. Calla had a fair amount of innate talent, but was more motivated by a desire to get 'authentic experiencing' for auditioning for theatre roles as explorers than anything else.
Fate: After you attempted to convince Trent to move to Team Nap Attack to alleviate his low self-esteem, in the hopes that he'd look better than the slackers Rin and Chester by comparison, he interpreted this as himself being moved to a team of failures to get him to stop sabotaging Team Bloom. This produced a crisis of confidence in Trent, who quit the guild after losing a fight to Rin Jigglypuff, who overheard himself being described as a failure. Unfortunately, this created a domino effect where Grover left the guild because his best friend had left, and then Calla left because her two friends had left (eventually ending up joining the Metagross Guild), and then Nell retired since everyone on her team was gone.

Medical Team
Members: Dr. Antoine Aromatisse*, Venn Chimecho
Description: Antoine is a well-learned doctor from a distant land, who uses a variety of strange but apparently effective treatments. He has a tendency to get agitated and go on rants about the low quality of the city’s medical supplies whenever his ideas don’t work out. Venn Chimecho is much more chill – perhaps too chill for a medic – and provides ‘aural healing’ to back up Antoine’s aromatherapy.

Kitchen Staff
Members: Yvonne Meganium*, Sal Teddiursa, Tybalt Numel
Description: Yvonne is a cheerful old chef with an extensive knowledge of recipes, considered one of the best in the region. Hired in Lud’s time, she draws a salary that’s perhaps more than you should really be paying, however much the guild members may appreciate her cooking. Sal acts as her assistant and official taste tester, while Tybalt maintains the oven fires.

The world the game takes place on is called Novis. It’s a fairly typical Earth-like planet - a few large continents surrounded by oceans, an axial tilt creating seasons, a moon, orbiting a mid-sequence star, etc. Direct technological comparisons are kind of spotty, but in general the tech level is somewhere around the mid-sixteenth century of Earth. The printing press has been invented, but there’s no firearms.

In addition to Pokemon, ‘natural’ animals exist – nothing much larger than deer, though, at least on land. Carnivorous Pokemon mostly eat farm-raised giant rabbits or the like.

Windhaven is a mid-sized settlement with an air-breathing population of about 20,000, situated in a natural harbor on the northern coast of Sommer, the world’s third-largest continent. It is an industrial hub, turning raw materials shipped to it by river or sea into fine furniture, sailing ships, bronze-work, musical instruments, carts, barrels, and other items. The only materials collected locally are fish, tin from nearby mines, and whatever is pulled out of the mystery dungeons. Most food is imported, as the surrounding terrain is hilly, rocky, and generally unsuitable for growing crops.

It is governed by an eighteen-member city council, who are responsible for writing laws, deciding on the yearly budget, and managing the (fairly limited) bureaucracy. Councilmon serve for non-consecutive 3-year terms, and each is elected by a single type of Pokemon. (Pokemon with two types are considered to have a ‘primary’ type which decides who they vote for). In theory, this ensures that all kinds of Pokemon are represented, although some complain that this gives types with a relatively small population, such as dragons, disproportionate power. Partly counterbalancing this is that laws cannot be passed until approved by a direct vote of the citizenry, although Pokemon rarely attend these votes unless a bill is particularly contentious, turning the process into something of a rubber stamp. Ties in the council are broken by the City Champion, who is the winner of a yearly unarmed fighting tournament. The Champion is also considered to be the city’s chief religious official, and presides over certain ceremonies. Some Pokemon worry that the tournament’s emphasis on unarmed fights has made the populace unprepared for modern combat, which relies heavily on the use of magic items.

Nine city judges serve as the city’s judicial system. Cases are heard by a randomly-selected panel of three to nine judges, depending on the importance of the case, who decide on the result by majority vote after a period of argument and investigation. There is a written code of laws, although it is not extensive and most cases are decided by precedent. Generally, only serious matters are brought before the city court, and smaller issues are usually settled by independent mediators.

In times of crisis, the city council can elect a Governor General for a half-year period, who serves as supreme commander of the army and has broad executive powers. This is something of an unusual occurrence, typically only happening once every 36 years or so. It is expected that the Governor General will lay down their command as soon as the crisis ends, and only doing so at the expiration of their term is seen as a sign of failure.

The city doesn’t quite have a standing army, although about 500 Pokemon train semi-regularly as part of the city militia. This militia is overseen by a permanent officer corps of around 50 Pokemon, most of whom have other jobs besides serving as officers. Up to a quarter of the city’s population could theoretically be mobilized to fight for brief periods.

The first mystery dungeon appeared a little over 200 years ago. A Mienfoo poked his head into a little crack in a stone cliff, and instead of a damp cave, discovered a sunlit, labyrinthine garden. Pokemon nowadays find it hard to believe, but at the time, its appearance was seen as a positive development – it was dangerous, yes, but it was also novel, magical, wondrous. It was an age where mon were dedicated to investigating and explaining all the phenomena of nature, and if the dungeon appeared to be inexplicable, that just made the challenge more exciting.

Here are the key facts about Mystery Dungeons:

-Mystery dungeons are pocket dimensions which can be accessed by traveling through their threshold. The threshold can appear as any sort of gateway in the world – a cave mouth, a gap between trees, a door. There usually appears to be nothing unusual about the entrance itself – there’s usually a ‘buffer’ zone right after the entrance that blends into the surrounding area.

- They appear randomly at varying intervals. Once spawned, they can last several years before going away. Blockading an entrance to a dungeon will cause one or two new entrances to spring up nearby. It’s like cutting off hydra heads. Nevertheless, this is sometimes necessary when a dungeon threshold appears in a very inconvenient location, such as the front door of your house.

-They emit ‘calls’ targeting random Pokemon in the area. Called Pokemon feel a compulsion to enter the dungeon and travel into it up to a certain depth. If ignored, the urge to answer the call grows stronger over time. Most Pokemon are completely unable to resist it after a day or two, and need to be physically restrained from entering the dungeon after that point. If the call remains unanswered, the afflicted Pokemon will eventually enter a psychotic state where they delusionally believe themselves to be inside the dungeon, soon followed by a permanent coma. There is no known cure for a call other than for the Pokemon to descend into the dungeon as far as required.

-Mystery dungeons have themes based on natural or artificial locations. For instance, a mystery dungeon could have a hospital theme, and be filled with the sort of rooms you might find in a modern hospital – waiting rooms, operating rooms, MRI rooms, trauma centers, etc. Often, any single room will look normal – or almost normal – but the relative positioning of the rooms will be a chaotic jumble. Note that themes are often based off places and technology that don’t exist yet in the world of Novis. Tech taken out of the dungeons usually stops working – when dissected, the components are found to be arranged in a nonsensical manner.

-Dungeons have traps and magical items hidden throughout them. These are not scattered around the floor randomly – traps usually guard important areas, and magical treasures are usually secreted away in caches or storerooms. Traps tend to have at least a vague relation to the dungeon’s theme – opening a door to the ‘burn injury ward’ in that hospital dungeon might set off flamethrowers.

-There are no ‘feral Pokemon’ in this setting. Instead, dungeons are inhabited by Pokemon-like entities named ‘leks’. Leks appear as a normal species of Pokemon, and possess all the usual powers and weaknesses for a member of that species. However, they don’t feel pain and will ignore most injuries that aren’t immediately fatal. After receiving critical damage – or if dragged outside the dungeon – they dissolve into an inert substance called ‘lek goo’. They never seem to talk, but can act with intelligence.

Each of them takes on a role in the dungeon according to the theme – in that hospital dungeon, there could be ‘doctor’ leks who go around examining and performing operations on ‘patient’ leks, as well as ‘secretary’ leks who demand that the proper paperwork be filled out. They have little real understanding of the professions they’re imitating, and instead perform crude, twisted caricatures of those roles. You wouldn’t want one of those ‘doctor’ leks performing surgery on you.

When a Pokemon gets called into a dungeon, the leks assign them a role as well. The called Pokemon is not informed of this role, and feels no compulsion to act it out, but the leks will get upset if the called Pokemon deviates from how they feel they should be acting. For Pokemon who entered the dungeon without being called, it’s a bit different – the leks are often somewhat confused by such Pokemon, and usually end up assuming they’re in some sort of passive role. Leks are not by default hostile to these explorers, but can quickly become hostile if the explorers disrupt their routines or are observed undertaking suspicious actions.

-Every few hours to days, the dungeon refreshes itself, generating a new random layout that adheres to the same theme as before. This is preceded by an increasingly strong wind that blows through the dungeon at intervals, in addition to tremors in the ground. The exact moment of change is called “the crunch” - the walls of the dungeon close in on themselves, crushing everything inside. (In outdoor dungeons, the ground folds over on itself.) For a few minutes after the crunch, the dungeon cannot be entered, and when the walls open back up again, it has a new configuration, filled with fresh leks, traps, and treasures.

-There’s a limit to how many explorers can enter a dungeon at once safely. If more than about four enter at once, the leks will seem to realize something’s up, get agitated, and swarm the group of intruders. (Called Pokemon don’t count against this limit, though, as the leks treat them as expected, so a team of four won’t have problems if they’re escorting a called client.) For this reason, dungeon exploration teams are rarely larger than four members.

-Dungeons don’t have floors like they do in the games. The only way out of a dungeon is through the same way you came in – or, rarely, through an alternate entrance. (Teleportation doesn’t work across the threshold of a dungeon.) However, they do have ‘layers’. Everything described previously holds true for “layer one” of the dungeon. Layer two is a lot like layer one – it still has a theme – but it’s a lot more jumbled up. In the hospital dungeon’s layer two, there might be X-ray machines right in the middle of a cafeteria area. Traps are scattered about more haphazardly, and the lek’s understanding of their roles is even less coherent than on layer one. Deeper layers get increasingly surreal. The deepest anyone’s ever gone is layer five (in plausible accounts, at least).

-In addition to leks, more powerful creatures called ‘guards’ can be found on the lower layers. Sufficient disturbances can cause them to ascend to higher layers, but they suffer from a phenomenon known as ‘layer sickness’ while doing so, limiting the amount of time they can spend outside their ‘base depth’.

There are a wide variety of different types of magical items in the world. These items can only be found inside Mystery Dungeons, and, despite significant efforts, cannot be created outside them.

Wonder Orbs: Plum-sized glass spheres that release a magical effect when broken. Pokemon can touch the orb and ‘attune’ to it to be included or excluded from its effect, depending on the kind of orb. Effects can include making all non-attuned creatures in the vicinity fall asleep, teleporting all attuned Pokemon to the location the orb was broken at, instantly killing whatever the orb breaks against, and other things.

Wands: Short wooden or metal rods that can be made to release a certain magical effect if held and willed to activate. Each wand only has one effect, and has a limited number of charges, usually not more than ten or so. They can’t be recharged.

Seeds: Magical seeds which have beneficial or deleterious affects when consumed. Of particular note are the blast seed, which detonates in a grenade-like blast when the seed’s shell is broken, and the reviver seed, which will resurrect the Pokemon carrying it if they die, consuming itself in the process.

Permanent Items: These are magical items with a passive effect, usually taking the form of a scarf, band, or ribbon. A Pokemon must touch and attune to an item in this class to gain its effect, and can only be attuned to one permanent item at once. Switching which item one’s attuned to only takes a few seconds with practice, so skilled Pokemon can quickly swap between them in battle.

The primary job of an exploration guild is to combat the phenomenon known as Mystery Dungeons, malevolent sub-dimensions which started appearing across the land over 200 years ago. These are the kinds of missions guild teams usually participate in:

Escort: Mystery Dungeons emit ‘calls’ to random Pokemon in the vicinity – an overpowering compulsion to enter the dungeon and descend to a certain depth. Ignoring the call – or being forcibly restrained from pursuing it – eventually leads to delirium, followed by permanent coma. There’s no known way of getting rid of a call other than ‘completing’ it by entering the dungeon and going as deep as necessary. Therefore, called Pokemon usually hire an exploration team to escort them into – and more importantly, out of – the dungeon. Although often viewed as unglamorous work by experienced teams, escort missions are an exploration guild’s bread and butter, and provide the majority of their income.

Rescue: Sometimes, a call will be so overpowering that a Pokemon will find themselves drawn into a mystery dungeon before they have a chance to hire an escort team. Other times, Pokemon may wander into dungeons by sheer chance, as their entrances typically appear completely unremarkable, blending into the surrounding terrain. When this occurs, a rescue mission must be launched to recover the Pokemon from the dungeon before the next ‘crunch’ occurs – a phenomenon where the dungeon’s walls collapse inwards as it re-configures its layout, killing almost everything inside. These are dangerous missions that are reserved for the most skilled teams, and are quite lucrative. Fortunately, they are substantially rarer than escort missions.

Tapping: Prevention is said to be the best form of medicine, and this is also true with mystery dungeons. When Pokemon enter a dungeon and plumb its depths of their own will, this reduces the number of calls the dungeon sends out. If done enough times, a dungeon will eventually become ‘tapped out’ and stop emitting calls altogether, or at a greatly reduced rate, and may disappear entirely. Going into a dungeon with the intent to produce this effect is known as a ‘tapping mission’. This mission is a common task for new teams who need to get used to exploring dungeons without the life of a client on the line. As useful a service as tapping is, it generates no direct revenue for the guild, aside from that derived from any treasure recovered on the mission.

Scouting: A mystery dungeon is at its most dangerous right after it first appears, when its hazards and peculiarities are yet unknown. As such, a new dungeon formation requires an elite team to venture in and uncover its properties. The government of Windhaven pays a bounty for detailed written reports of new dungeons, but the main draw for explorers is the prestige associated with being the first to enter and ‘scout’ one.

Bounty: When a Pokemon refuses to abide by the ruling of a court – or repeatedly avoids showing up to trial when charged with a case – they are declared an ‘outlaw’, a Pokemon who has shown contempt for the law and is therefore no longer under its protection. There are also certain crimes which are immediate grounds for outlawing, typically murder – defined as knowingly killing another Pokemon and then failing to inform the court in a timely fashion – or civic treason. Declaring a Pokemon an outlaw is viewed as a measure of last resort, and (in theory) only occurs for the most obstinate or heinous of Pokemon. The consequence of being decreed an outlaw varies - usually it only amounts to exile, but sufficiently angered victims may post a bounty for the outlaw’s death or capture. A few exploration teams reason that the tracking skills they use to find Pokemon lost in a dungeon, and the combat skills they use to fight off said dungeon’s inhabitants, make them naturally suited to collecting on these bounties. Sometimes, they’re even right! Even so, opportunities for these bounties are rare enough that there are really no teams who specialize in it. Many cases end up handled by private vigilantes unassociated with any guild.

Most exploration guilds – including the Starlight Guild – take a certain percentage of the reward money paid for rescue, escort, and scouting missions, typically between 10 to 30 percent. Additionally, guilds which officially sanction their teams going on bounty collection missions may take a cut from those as well. Guild explorers get to keep 100% of any treasure found in the dungeon on their missions, although many choose to sell unneeded items directly to the guild, rather than negotiate with potential buyers themselves. As guilds usually maintain agreements with merchant associations which allow them to get good deals on resold items, they can effectively charge a “middlemon’s fee” for this service.

In exchange for the money taken, guilds provide explorers with food, housing, medical care, access to training facilities, and useful equipment (This typically means renting out tools, armor, weapons, and permanent magic items. Teams are usually expected to provide their own consumables). Also, they provide a centralized place for people to post mission requests, which is also convenient for teams looking for a steady supply of missions to take.

There are three dungeon exploration guilds in the city of Windhaven. The Metagross Guild is the oldest and most prestigious of these, established in the year 730, about forty years after the beginning of the Age of Dungeons. Technically named ‘The Windhaven Society for Investigation and Management of Mystery Dungeons’, everyone just calls it the ‘Metagross Guild’ after its founder and current guildmaster, Arcan Metagross. Its headquarters are dug into the side of a small hill just outside of town, which is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. The guild has served Windhaven and its surrounding settlements faithfully for over a hundred years, although it’s become increasingly rigid and bureaucratic as time has passed, and some say that its members are starting to focus more on jockeying for position within the guild and gaining personal glory rather than assisting the community. In the year 851, disillusioned by conditions within the guild, Pym Reuniclus formed the Starlight Guild to provide the citizens of Windhaven with an alternative, and the two guilds have been rivals ever since. A third guild exists on the seafloor just beyond the harbor – the Coral Guild, founded in 772 to handle underwater dungeons. It is composed almost exclusively of ocean-dwellers, although it maintains a small above-water office near Windhaven’s docks.

The Starlight Guild was founded by Pym Reuniclus in 841 CR to provide an alternative to the increasingly sclerotic Metagross Guild. Its name was taken from the old observatory that served as the guild’s first base, famed for its giant telescope, although it soon became too cramped and was abandoned four years later. Under Pym’s leadership, the guild experienced rapid growth, hitting its peak membership and activity shortly before their death of old age in 866.

As planned, the position of guildmaster passed to Pym’s deputy, Xute Mismagius. Although not as ambitious or charismatic as her predecessor, Xute nevertheless proved a competent leader, and managed to maintain the size and status of the guild until 890, when she departed on an expedition to find the Cave of The First Sculpture. The Namer’s recently uncovered and translated diaries – which prompted the expedition – state that the cave was the site of the Shaper’s numerous failed attempts at carving a form for the first Pokemon, before finally succeeding in creating the Rhydon later known as The Namer. Unfortunately, the ship carrying the expedition got sucked into a suddenly-forming whirlpool that served as the entrance to an underwater mystery dungeon, and most members of the expedition were lost and presumed dead. Even the majority of the ship’s complement of fliers received calls from the dungeon, and were unable to escape. Only Jess Talonflame managed to fly back to the guild, weeks later, and inform everyone of what happened. As Xute’s deputy, Liam Granbull, had also been lost on the expedition, who would succeed her was unclear.

Following a long series of arguments and campaigning, Lud Exploud, the charismatic and well-connected leader of Team Discovery, became the next guildmaster. This led to an awkward moment when Liam Granbull turned up at the guild several months later. It turned out he had managed to escape the mystery dungeon which had doomed everyone else on the expedition, but had been delayed from returning to the guild – almost on the opposite side of the world – through a series of misadventures. Lud managed to maintained his position, but turned out to be a deeply corrupt leader, using the guild as a tool to enrich himself and further his political aims. He was ousted in 895 after one of his schemes was finally uncovered. Lud had been billing himself and his old Team Discovery as expert thief-catchers, who were responsible for recovering a large number of stolen items and returning them to their rightful owners – for a certain “finder’s fee”, of course. However, it was discovered that Lud had been working directly with the gang of burglars contributing to the city’s recent crime wave, effectively acting as their fence.

Ever crafty, Lud managed to flee the region – along with a significant portion of the guild’s treasury – before the evidence against him solidified, leaving behind a much-diminished guild mired in scandal and disorder.
 
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Early Spring, 895 CC - Character Creation

The Walrein

Il faut cultiver notre jardin
Partners
  1. gulpin
  2. kricketot
  3. bulbasaur
Early Spring, 895 CC

Many years ago, Pym Reuniclus founded the Starlight Guild to provide the port city of Windhaven with an alternative to the increasingly sclerotic and profit-driven Metagross Guild. Although it never quite attained the same size or prestige as their rival, for over 50 years the Starlight Guild stood as a shining beacon of hope and idealism in an increasingly dangerous world. That all changed five years ago, when Pym's successor, Guildmaster Xute Mismagius, organized a grand expedition to find a legendary site claimed to hold the secrets to the origin of Pokemon. Tragically, almost every member of the expedition perished in a suddenly appearing Mystery Dungeon that swallowed their ship into a massive whirlpool. This plunged the guild into an unprecedented succession crisis, as Xute's deputy, Liam Granbull, had also been on the expedition. When the dust settled, the charismatic and well-connected Lud Exploud had gained control of the guild. Unfortunately, Lud turned out to be deeply corrupt, and over the course of the next five years, slowly ran the guild into the ground while using it as a tool to advance his political and business interests.

That's where you came in. Working with a group of concerned guild veterans, you finally managed to uncover evidence exposing one of Lud's schemes. He'd set himself and his old Team Discovery up as expert thief-catchers, routinely recovering large numbers of stolen items and returning them to their rightful owners – for a certain “finder’s fee”, of course. But your investigation discovered that Lud had been directly working with the gang of burglars contributing to the city’s recent crime wave - effectively turning the Starlight Guild into an elaborate fencing operation! Ever crafty, Lud managed to flee the region – along with a significant portion of the guild’s treasury – before the evidence against him solidified, leaving behind a much-diminished guild mired in scandal and uncertainty.

After Team Discovery and the rest of Lud's cronies were removed from the guild, you managed to get elected as the new Guildmaster following a protracted dispute over the succession. Now, you must lead the Starlight Guild out of these dark times and into a new era of adventure and prosperity. You plan to eclipse your old rivals, the Metagross Guild, and make the Starlight Guild the most prominent and prestigious exploration guild in the city! And then, just maybe, you'll have the resources to do what it takes to save the world...

But before that, a few questions. Who are you, and what's your primary talent as a Guildmaster?

First, vote for a name and species for the Guildmaster. These are write-in votes; reply to this thread with your desired choices. (You may not select a legendary or mythical Pokemon species.) Next, you'll need to vote on your Guildmaster's trait by making a reaction to this post. This will give you a special bonus to rolls aligning with the trait. The potential options are:

:quag:: Charismatic. You have a silver tongue (or telepathy module or the like) – and Pokemon find it easy to like you. Grants a +1 to all rolls to influence people or win them to your side. In situations where charisma can be used to full effect, such as making big, dramatic speeches, this gives a +2 bonus instead.
:veelove:: Explorer. You are a world traveler who's climbed to the highest mountains and descended into the deepest dungeons, and managed to return home each time. Grants a +2 bonus to rolls to navigate and efficiently travel the world when exploring, and a +1 bonus to these tasks for expeditions organized by you if you aren’t personally joining them. Additionally, gives a +2 bonus to rolls to evade traps and find secret passages – whether in mystery dungeons or otherwise.
:sadbees:: Fighter. Most Guildmasters tend to be skilled at battle, but even for a mon of your rank, you're considered a truly exceptional warrior, adept at fighting alone or in a team. Grants +2 to all rolls involving personal combat, and +1 to all rolls for directing a team or larger unit in battle.
:copyka:: Scholarly. Guildmasters can find themselves dealing with many strange and arcane situations - dungeon anomalies, mysterious curses, lawsuits - and your long years of diligent study have given you the knowledge you need to take them on. Gives a +2 bonus to all rolls involving knowledge of law, arcane lore, or natural science. Sometimes, this knowledge can provide additional options for choices.
:mewlulz:: Sly. Although most Guildmasters strive to be exemplars of virtue and morality, you realize that sometimes a more... pragmatic approach is necessary. Grants a +2 bonus to all rolls involving espionage, forgery, larceny, or other forms of skulduggery. This applies equally to actions taken personally or by a directly-managed agent. Also, an appreciation of underhanded solutions may sometimes open up additional options for choices.
 
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TheCouchEffect

Bug Catcher
Pronouns
He/His
Early Spring, 895 CC

Many years ago, Pym Reuniclus founded the Starlight Guild to provide the port city of Windhaven with an alternative to the increasingly sclerotic and profit-driven Metagross Guild. Although it never quite attained the same size or prestige as their rival, for over 50 years the Starlight Guild stood as a shining beacon of hope and idealism in an increasingly dangerous world. That all changed five years ago, when Pym's successor, Guildmaster Xute Mismagius, organized a grand expedition to find a legendary site claimed to hold the secrets to the origin of Pokemon. Tragically, almost every member of the expedition perished in a suddenly appearing Mystery Dungeon that swallowed their ship into a massive whirlpool. This plunged the guild into an unprecedented succession crisis, as Xute's deputy, Liam Granbull, had also been on the expedition. When the dust settled, the charismatic and well-connected Lud Exploud had gained control of the guild. Unfortunately, Lud turned out to be deeply corrupt, and over the course of the next five years, slowly ran the guild into the ground while using it as a tool to advance his political and business interests.

That's where you came in. Working with a group of concerned guild veterans, you finally managed to uncover evidence exposing one of Lud's schemes. He'd set himself and his old Team Discovery up as expert thief-catchers, routinely recovering large numbers of stolen items and returning them to their rightful owners – for a certain “finder’s fee”, of course. But your investigation discovered that Lud had been directly working with the gang of burglars contributing to the city’s recent crime wave - effectively turning the Starlight Guild into an elaborate fencing operation! Ever crafty, Lud managed to flee the region – along with a significant portion of the guild’s treasury – before the evidence against him solidified, leaving behind a much-diminished guild mired in scandal and uncertainty.

After Team Discovery and the rest of Lud's cronies were removed from the guild, you managed to get elected as the new Guildmaster following a protracted dispute over the succession. Now, you must lead the Starlight Guild out of these dark times and into a new era of adventure and prosperity. You plan to eclipse your old rivals, the Metagross Guild, and make the Starlight Guild the most prominent and prestigious exploration guild in the city! And then, just maybe, you'll have the resources to do what it takes to save the world...

But before that, a few questions. Who are you, and what's your primary talent as a Guildmaster?

First, vote for a name and species for the Guildmaster. These are write-in votes; reply to this thread with your desired choices. Next, you'll need to vote on your Guildmaster's trait by making a reaction to this post. This will give you a special bonus to rolls aligning with the trait. The potential options are:

:quag:: Charismatic. You have a silver tongue (or telepathy module or the like) – and Pokemon find it easy to like you. Grants a +1 to all rolls to influence people or win them to your side. In situations where charisma can be used to full effect, such as making big, dramatic speeches, this gives a +2 bonus instead.
:veelove:: Explorer. You are a world traveler who's climbed to the highest mountains and descended into the deepest dungeons, and managed to return home each time. Grants a +2 bonus to rolls to navigate and efficiently travel the world when exploring, and a +1 bonus to these tasks for expeditions organized by you if you aren’t personally joining them. Additionally, gives a +2 bonus to rolls to evade traps and find secret passages – whether in mystery dungeons or otherwise.
:sadbees:: Fighter. Most Guildmasters tend to be skilled at battle, but even for a mon of your rank, you're considered a truly exceptional warrior, adept at fighting alone or in a team. Grants +2 to all rolls involving personal combat, and +1 to all rolls for directing a team or larger unit in battle.
:copyka:: Scholarly. Guildmasters can find themselves dealing with many strange and arcane situations - dungeon anomalies, mysterious curses, lawsuits - and your long years of diligent study have given you the knowledge you need to take them on. Gives a +2 bonus to all rolls involving knowledge of law, arcane lore, or natural science. Sometimes, this knowledge can provide additional options for choices.
:mewlulz:: Sly. Although most Guildmasters strive to be exemplars of virtue and morality, you realize that sometimes a more... pragmatic approach is necessary. Grants a +2 bonus to all rolls involving espionage, forgery, larceny, or other forms of skulduggery. This applies equally to actions taken personally or by a directly-managed agent. Also, an appreciation of underhanded solutions may sometimes open up additional options for choices.
Name: Reaver

Species: Bewear
 

AbraPunk

Cosmic Guardian
Location
The Circle
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. luxio
First, vote for a name and species for the Guildmaster. These are write-in votes; reply to this thread with your desired choices

Name: Theseus

Species: Aggron
 
Early Spring, 895 CC - Deputy Selection

The Walrein

Il faut cultiver notre jardin
Partners
  1. gulpin
  2. kricketot
  3. bulbasaur
Name: Theseus

Species: Bewear

Ah, that’s right! You’re Theseus Bewear, and you’re a Sly, crafty fellow. Your days of petty – and sometimes, not so petty – crime are long behind you, but you still maintained enough contacts with the city’s shadier elements to catch wind of Lud’s scheme. After that, some careful eavesdropping and letter-intercepting gave you enough information to catch one of Lud’s thieves in the act, and their confession was the loose thread that began to unravel Lud Exploud’s criminal yarn ball.

Your central role in uncovering the conspiracy, your overall competence, and your dedication to the guild – proven when you stayed on as the sole member of your team after everyone else quit in disgust at Lud’s changes to the guild culture – was what convinced Pokemon to vote for you in the election for guild leader. It was a close race, as many Pokemon would’ve preferred someone with a less checkered past to represent the guild – a mon of virtue, who’d clearly signal that the Starlight Guild had moved past the time of Lud’s corruption. Xute’s old deputy Liam Granbull seemed to fit the bill, having opposed Lud from the beginning, but his acerbic nature and contemptuous “I told you so! You idiots should have listened to me!” attitude won him few friends. Flinn Inteleon was well respected and had a spotless record, but he had seemed a little too close to Lud for most mon’s liking, only publicly opposing him once it had become obvious which way the wind was blowing. Lastly, several Pokemon urged Joan Corviknight to run, but she refused, saying she preferred to be out fighting in the dungeons rather than doing paperwork behind a guildmaster’s desk.

In the end, you can’t shake the feeling that Pokemon only voted for you because they disliked you the least, rather than out of any faith in your capabilities and vision for the guild. But you did win, and now that you’re sitting behind the guildmaster’s desk, you’ll have the chance to prove you’re worthy of their trust. As you finish organizing the assortment of odd knickknacks and dungeon keepsakes it is apparently mandatory for every guildmaster to clutter their desk with, Record-Keeper Oranguru walks through the door.

“Greetings, Guildmaster. As is tradition, I’ve come bearing the yearly Scroll of Guild Status.” Oranguru unfurls a sheet of papyrus onto your desk. It reads as follows:

Morale: 4
Reputation: 3
Wealth: 3
Strength: 3


You utter a slight sigh as you take in the numbers. They aren’t very good, but you could hardly expect them to be better, given recent happenings.

“I’m afraid the Starlight Guild is currently deficient in every area. The scandal surrounding our former guildmaster has done great damage to our reputation, only partly alleviated by the fact that it was uncovered by Pokemon within the guild. Our treasury is running low due to years of Lud’s irresponsible spending, followed by his parting act of embezzlement. Membership has still never recovered from the losses of Xute’s expedition, and several more Pokemon quit out of dissatisfaction with Lud’s regime in the past few years. Finally, the closeness of the recent election left behind a lot of bad feelings. On the positive side, most Pokemon are relieved that the affair with Lud is behind us, and are hopeful that you’ll be able to turn things around.”

You nod thoughtfully, and step out from behind your desk to offer Oranguru a consoling hug, but he politely declines, slipping out of your office as suddenly as he came in. Alone, you slump back down, pondering what to do.

After giving it some thought, you decide your first order of business should be to choose a new deputy. Deputies act as second in command of the guild, and typically become the new guildmaster when the old one dies or retires. They help handle some of the guild’s administrative and logistical work – maintaining relationships with merchants, ensuring that the base is kept clean and orderly, evaluating potential new guild members, and other things of that nature. There are three viable candidates:

First, there’s Liam Granbull. During his time as deputy in Xute’s term, he proved himself to be a competent – if somewhat unimaginative – leader and administrator. Although always a bit gruff, he fell into a deep bitterness after making an arduous journey home from the ruins of Xute’s fatal expedition only to discover he’d been replaced. He was not sparing in his criticism of the guild’s decisions following the news of that disaster, and his sour attitude steadily decreased his popularity in the years subsequent. Nevertheless, he’s continued to prove a reliable leader in his role at the head of Team Hodgepodge, and although it certainly helps for a deputy to be well-liked, it’s not essential.

Next, there’s the other candidate you ran against in the election, Flinn Inteleon. He’s respected as highly competent in a wide range of skills, and he almost practically was the guild’s deputy during Lud’s administration. As Lud’s appointee – an apathetic son of a city councilor given the role for purely political reasons – did very little real work around the guild, Flinn took up the slack, organizing efforts to repair the base’s walls and striking deals with traders in dungeon items. This work was done in addition to his missions as part of the elite Team Skyguard, leaving him with very little free time. As for his downsides, he’s rather introverted, and comes across as stiff and overly formal whenever he’s talking about anything besides official business. There’s also the fact that he seemed to have a pretty warm relationship with Lud, who appreciated the cover Flinn's double-duty work gave to his sham deputy. Although he was never implicated in any of Lud’s illegal schemes, it still looks pretty bad in retrospect, Flinn’s last-minute denunciation of Lud notwithstanding.

Finally, there’s Chrsya Noivern. She was instrumental in helping you uncover Lud’s scheme, and was your biggest supporter during the election. Afterwards, she asked you to consider appointing her as deputy – and alarmingly, appears to be strongly expecting that you’ll do so, despite you certainly never having promised her anything of the sort! As she’s never been a team leader before, her leadership and administrative skills are untested, but she’s very passionate about everything she does, and a talented explorer. In contrast to the other two candidates, she has a natural charisma which has made her quite popular. She’s more of a big-picture person and tends not to care about little details – there’s a rumor going around that the only reason she isn’t already the leader of Team Sensation is that she has no taste for the paperwork associated with the position. It would certainly be a bad sign if true, given the amount of boring office work the job involves.

Each of the three believes themselves to be the most deserving – Liam because he was the previous deputy and was ‘unfairly deposed’, Flinn because he had been doing most of a deputy’s duties in the past few years, and Chrsya because she actually helped bring about Lud’s downfall while Liam just complained and Flinn cozied up to him (and she may also feel that she deserves something in return for supporting you in the election, though you aren’t sure how much that’s a factor). You worry that whoever you appoint, the other two will view it as some sort of personal slight against them.

Or perhaps you could simply contrive some excuse to put the decision off ‘till next year? Maybe say that you need some time to get acclimated to the role of guildmaster before you can decide who would make the best successor? You feel that this option would displease everyone, but at least everyone would be displeased equally.

:quag:: Appoint Liam Granbull as deputy.
:veelove:: Appoint Flinn Inteleon as deputy.

:sadbees:: Appoint Chrsya Noivern as deputy.
:copyka:: Put the decision off until next year.
 
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Mid-Spring, 895 CC - The Ditto Duelist

The Walrein

Il faut cultiver notre jardin
Partners
  1. gulpin
  2. kricketot
  3. bulbasaur
You decide to appoint Chrysa Noivern as your deputy. Although untested in administrative work, you’re confident she’ll be able to learn the necessary skills soon enough. But does the rest of the guild see the logic behind your decision?

1d10 + 1 (Chrysa’s Charisma Trait) = 6 (Partial Success)

For the most part, yes! Some of the older guild members openly wonder if perhaps someone more experienced might’ve been a better choice, given your own unfamiliarity with running a guild. Liam in particular grumbles about your ‘cronyism’, saying that the position of deputy should not given out as a reward for support in an election. Fortunately, few Pokemon seem to listen to him, and Chrysa is well liked enough that most Pokemon are happy for her new promotion. Flinn seems mildly disappointed but quietly congratulates her nevertheless. Chrysa thanks you and makes a short speech to the guild about how she’s glad to have their trust and will do her best to restore the Starlight Guild to its former glory, and then some!

***​
Mid-Spring, 895 CC

A month has passed, and the dust of the change in guild leadership has finally started to settle. You’ve implemented a few common-sense reforms to Lud’s policies - most notably, reducing the guild’s take of mission rewards down to 15% from the previous 30% - but have decided to hold off on making any major changes, wanting to get more experience at running the guild before shaking things up. Additionally, you’ve ensured that word has gotten out far and wide about the recent reformation. With any luck, some of the old members who left during Lud’s reign will hear and return to the guild.

Talk of the town lately has been about a Ditto who’s rolled into Windhaven and began betting on themselves in a series of duels. Ditto are usually considered to have a serious disadvantage in one on one fights against the Pokemon they’re transformed into, as they have to expend a substantial portion of their energy maintaining the transformation instead of on other techniques, and, unlike their opponent, haven’t had an entire life’s worth of experience piloting their current form. So mon were quite surprised to see the Ditto easily win every one of their duels, making a tidy sum in the process.

It strikes you that if a member of the Starlight Guild was the first Pokemon to defeat the mysterious Ditto duelist in battle, it could potentially earn the guild a bit of acclaim – and perhaps you could even wind up recruiting the Ditto as a new guild member! You ponder who would be the best choice to face them. Joan Corviknight would be the safest option, being the most talented fighter in the guild when it comes to the style of unarmed combat practiced in duels. However, the Ditto has bested several skilled opponents already. You know that one weakness of Ditto is that they tend to struggle when transformed into a Pokemon with an unorthodox moveset for their species, only really having the time to practice with a species’ standard moves. Given that, you wonder if perhaps Rin Jigglypuff, with his strange ‘sleep-fighting’ style, could do well against them. Of course, if he fails, it’ll probably be in a pretty embarrassing way.

You consider that it might be wise to send someone to carefully observe one of this Ditto’s fights in more detail before asking anyone to face them. This would hopefully give you a better idea of who’d be best suited for the task – although if you wait too long to challenge them, there’s a risk that someone from the Metagross Guild will beat them first and get all the glory.

You also have a suspicion that there might be some sort of trick behind this Ditto’s sudden string of success. Perhaps you could also ask Flinn to tail them after a fight and see if he can find out any potential secrets they might be holding.

:quag:: You yourself will challenge this Ditto to a duel!
:veelove:: Ask Joan Corviknight to face the Ditto.
:sadbees:: Ask Rin Jigglypuff to face the Ditto.
:unquag:: Have Jan Noctowl carefully observe one of the Ditto’s fights.
:mewlulz:: As above, but also have Flinn Inteleon tail the Ditto home and spy on them.

:eyes:: Bah! Engaging in petty duels for cash is beneath the dignity of a proper explorer! You and your guild will have nothing to do with this business!
 
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Mid-Spring, 896 CC - The Ditto Duelist, Part Two

The Walrein

Il faut cultiver notre jardin
Partners
  1. gulpin
  2. kricketot
  3. bulbasaur
Note: The voting tie was determined randomly, as the choice wasn’t of critical importance and both options seemed plausible for the guildmaster’s personality.

You decide that it’d be best to gather more information first, but after some internal debate, eventually conclude that sending Flinn to spy on the Ditto would be excessive. Jan Noctowl readily agrees to watch the Ditto’s next fight – but will that fight be against someone officially representing the Metagross Guild?

Roll: 1d10 + 2 (bureaucratic inertia) = 9 (Success)

The Metagross Guild seems to be incapable of doing anything quickly these days, so it doesn’t come as a particular surprise that, despite the Ditto loudly hinting that they’d like to see if any local guild members were up to challenging them, no response from the city’s most prominent guild is forthcoming. Instead, the next fight the Ditto lines up is against Vic Pyroar, who placed in the quarterfinals of the most recent city tournament.

Oob Ditto (as Jan reports their name to be) wins the fight, but just barely. According to Jan, Oob began the fight very strong, harrying Vic with a near-constant barrage of Hyper Voice attacks, drowning out Vic’s initial attempts with Noble Roar. Vic tried to run, perhaps hoping Oob would wear out as he chased him around the arena, but Oob appeared to be somewhat faster than Vic was – unusual for a Ditto, since running speed tends to be influenced by fine motor control that’s difficult to get exactly right in a temporary body. The tide started to turn when Vic suddenly whipped around and charged straight through a Hyper Voice to tackle Oob with an Endeavor, and the fight turned to close combat. It appeared that Oob was physically stronger, but not nearly as skilled as wrestling, and Oob’s strength seemed to quickly flag as the pair bit and clawed at each other. Nevertheless, Vic ended up falling after Oob released the last of his energy in a devastating Overheat attack.

Jan also looked into the history of Oob’s battles, and found that they all seemed to follow a similar pattern, of Oob starting off very strong but growing weaker as the fight progressed. She noted that Oob only seemed to take battles against Pokemon whose offenses were significantly stronger than their defenses, perhaps to compensate for this tendency. Curiously, Oob usually appeared to have the advantage in terms of raw strength and speed, when a Ditto should be at best equal in those areas, while still having inferior coordination and precision, as one would expect. Jan concluded that these mysterious advantages, as well as Oob’s sound tactical decision making, were what enabled their consistent win-streak.

The facts seem to suggest that Oob is somehow starting the fight boosted – it’s difficult to hold onto boosts for very long, especially on a Ditto’s energy budget, so that would explain the drop-off in power over the course of the matches. But Duelmaster Quagsire always uses Haze to clear away any ability boosts immediately before the fight begins, and the Duelmaster also hires a Klefki to maintain a continuous Magic Room effect on the arena, preventing any similar effects from hidden items. And even if Oob somehow managed to sneak a boost past the initial Haze, they’d lose it the moment they transformed into their unboosted opponent.

It’s possible the Ditto has some sort of accomplice – maybe someone using some sort of boosting move on them after the battle begins? All of the ally-boosting moves you know of have features ill-suited for this purpose, though, like needing to be touching the target or being externally obvious. Hmm… maybe someone could be burrowing under the arena floor, then poking a limb out from under the dirt to tap Oob with a Baton Pass or something? Seems like it’d be pretty hard to pull off consistently, though, especially given Duelmaster Quagsire’s innate ground-type tremorsense that allows him to sense the motions of burrowing Pokemon. Additionally, the Duelmaster has apparently been made aware of the concerns some Pokemon have had regarding Oob’s success, and has already claimed that he’s been “taking measures” to ensure that no cheating is occurring.

You feel certain that something suspicious is going on, but you don’t have more time to investigate, as Oob recently announced that they’re planning on having only one more duel before leaving town, perhaps spooked by how close their recent win was. If you want to have that last duel be against a Starlight Guild member, you’ll have to act quickly. After thinking it over, you come up with a few plans:

First, acting under the assumption that Oob is indeed getting boosted somehow, you could buy a Power Switch TM for Yves Indeedee, and have him use the move to steal Oob’s offensive boosts. It’ll be a bit expensive, but you can bet enough on the match to make up the cost.

Second, you could ask Joan Corviknight to fight Oob, as you considered earlier. She has a defensive fighting style and resists her own strongest attacks, so would be well suited to weather the Ditto’s initial onslaught before they tire out. Precisely because of that, you’d assume that Oob would decline an offer to face her – but! Corviknight can learn Power Trip, a dark-type move that synergizes exceptionally well with ability boosts. Joan doesn’t actually know it, but if you spread a fake story about Joan prominently using the move in a mystery dungeon battle, maybe Oob would be tricked into believing she does, and, if they actually are boosting themselves, might believe they could use the move for an easy win.

Third, you yourself could go and fight. You’re weak to your own fighting-type attacks, but your extremely fluffy and cushioning fur tends to counteract that. Additionally, you think you’re skilled enough at wrestling that you’d be able to stall the match through repeated clinches, even if Oob started off stronger than you. And if all else fails, you can use Endure to prolong the match further. So although you’re not as skilled a fighter as Joan, you think you still could pull off the defensive strategy needed to win. Of course, Oob might also assess your odds of winning in the same way and decline, but the potential prestige from defeating a guildmaster, plus the generous wager you’re prepared to offer, could tempt them into accepting.

Of course, it’s still not too late to just wash your paws of this whole affair entirely...

:quag:: Have Yves challenge Oob and use Power Switch.
:veelove:: Spread a story about Joan knowing Power Trip, then have her challenge Oob.
:sadbees:: Challenge Oob yourself and do your best to stall the match.
:unquag:: Just forget about having anyone from the Starlight Guild challenge Oob.


Additionally, if you think you’ve figured out what Oob’s trick is, you can reply with a post explaining your idea. As a hint, this hypothetical trick (if there is one and I’m not just faking you out) relies on an aspect of a certain mechanic functioning as it did in generation one of the main series games instead of as it did in later generations. The behavior in question is not a “glitch” as I or Bulbapedia define it – it’d be perfectly logical for that aspect of the mechanic to work the way it does in gen one in a “real” setting.
 
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Early Summer, 895 CC - A Cursed Item Conundrum

The Walrein

Il faut cultiver notre jardin
Partners
  1. gulpin
  2. kricketot
  3. bulbasaur
Note: I decided the voting tie with a die roll again. I feel a bit bad about doing this two times in a row, but it’s a been a few days and I want to keep the quest moving.

You must be a genius, as all your plans are equally brilliant! ...or at least that’s what you tell yourself when you can’t manage to settle on any of them. After giving it some thought, you finally decide to go with the plan involving Joan Corviknight. It’ll involve the least financial risk if it fails, and the guild doesn’t exactly have a lot of funds to be risking at the moment.

Although Joan isn’t thrilled at the concept of Pokemon spreading a false story about her, she reluctantly agrees after reasoning that perhaps Oob’s foul play justifies a little deceit of your own in response. That settled, you call the guild’s best gossips - Sargas Darmanitan, Gilliver Mothim, and the Furret sisters – into your office and explain the plan. They’ll be spreading a slightly-modified version of one of Joan’s recent mystery dungeon exploits, with the goal of making it seem like the point of the story is to play up Joan’s battle prowess to establish her as a worthy challenger to Oob, rather than to emphasize that she knows Power Trip.

“This plan has too many ways to fail,” Gilliver complains. “Oob could see through the story, or they could insist on transforming into Joan and learning her moveset before agreeing to face her, or we could be wrong about the nature of Oob’s cheat, or we could be right but Oob’s boosts might still be enough to take out Joan before she can stall the match. It feels like that time I planned to confess my love to Viella Butterfree on a starlit hill overseeing the Year’s End fireworks after singing Tagori’s Ballad of the Lonely Lovers, but then it turned out that she thought Tagori was trite, was going to be out of town for Year’s End anyways, and also the fireworks got canceled. You have to be simple, direct, straightforward!”

“And have any of your ‘simple’ plans for asking Pokemon out ever succeeded?” Sargas asks.

Gilliver’s antennae twitch backwards. “Well...”

“The plan’s good enough for me. I tell, let’s call em’ flavor-enhanced stories in the taverns every day, no one’s gonna think this time it’s part of some sinister deception. And Joan’s really good; she’ll be able to beat Oob even if they have some guy in the stands throwing invisible one-shot orbs at her.”

Fiona Furret lunges on top of your desk and rears up to her full height, scattering papers. “Yeah, I trust Joan absolutely! Let’s do this, people!”

You can only hope that she and Sargas are more in the right than Gilliver…

Roll: 1d10 + 1 (Sargas’ Socialite trait) – 2 (pressed for time) = 3 (Failure)

Later that same day, a Skarmory shows up at Team Skyguard’s roost in the base’s attic, saying that she’s thinking of applying to join the guild, and asking if she could speak to Joan for advice on the entrance exam. When Joan appears, the Skarmory dissolves into the pink form of Oob Ditto. Joan quickly requests that Oob not transform into her. Oob says that they weren’t planning to, but why not? Joan replies that she’d prefer her moveset remain a secret, as she was planning to challenge them to a duel. Oob says that’s funny, judging by what’s being said in the taverns, they thought she wanted everyone to know her moveset.

The conversation doesn’t go any better from there, and it ends with Oob transforming into Wynna Flygon and zipping off into the city. The following morning, the news comes to your desk that Oob’s announced a change of plans: They’ve decided to forgo their final duel, and instead leave Windhaven immediately. Apparently Oob claimed that, after hearing how skilled the city’s top fighters are, they realized they shouldn’t press their luck.

So much for that, then. You reflect that, given the limited window of time your gossip squad had to spread the story, they would’ve had to have come on rather strong. Judging by their tactical acumen in battle, Oob’s no fool, and they must’ve smelled a trap. At least the only thing you lost was the time and attention spent on the matter. Gilliver doesn’t say anything other than to sigh and claim he tried his best, but he gives you a certain look while doing so.

***​
Early Summer, 895 CC

Misfortune has struck! While escorting a client through the long and lonely corridors of the Silent Subway mystery dungeon, Sargas Darmanitan made the perhaps unwise decision to try on what appeared to be an off-color Pierce Band discarded on the floor. It turned out to be cursed and fused with his skin, and now whenever Sargas picks up any object, he experiences an uncontrollable urge to immediately fling it away from himself at high velocity!

When the effect didn’t go away after a day like Sargas initially predicted it would, he went to the guild’s clinic to see if anything could be done. Sadly, Dr. Antoine was at a total loss for what to do, other than to state that he certainly never heard about anything like this happening back in his homeland, a discrepancy he attributes to Windhaven’s “insalubrious salt air” ruining Pokemon’s resistance to curses.

Although admittedly not the most skilled of your explorers, Sargas is highly popular in the guild due to his comedic wit and charm, lightening up the atmosphere with his jokes and banter. It’d certainly be a blow to the guild’s morale if this curse ends up forcing him to retire. Already Pokemon have entered your office asking what you’re planning to do about the situation.

Unfortunately, you can’t think of a lot of options. Record-Keeper Oranguru tells you that the guild has dealt with curses in the past, but that every curse is unique and must be dealt with in its own way, and that this throwing-compulsion is entirely new to him.

The most obvious solution is to hire learned doctors and sages to study the issue and come up with a remedy, although they tend to charge a lot for their services, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to do any better than Dr. Antoine did.

Other than that, there’s always the saying “Time will cure what orans can’t.” Maybe if you just wait long enough, the problem will go away on its own. According to Oranguru, that’s sometimes happened before, and it’s pretty rare for this sort of curse to get worse with time. Dr. Antoine and his assistant can do some research on the matter in their spare time as well - maybe they’ll eventually turn up something in the event the curse doesn’t improve. In the meantime, Sargas will have to be taken off missions, since he can hardly go adventuring when he can’t even grab something out of his pack without hurling it off over the horizon.

...or, actually, does Sargas need to stop going on missions? Based on the limited experimentation he’s done, it seems like he now throws things with far more force than he could muster previously. Maybe this ‘curse’ is actually a blessing in disguise! Sure, Sargas might have to eat by mashing his face into a plate because any berry he picks up with his hands he immediately splatters against a wall, but who cares about that when he can also throw a fork through steel plating! All Sargas needs to do is incorporate this curse into a new fighting style, and he can get right back to exploring mystery dungeons!

:quag:: Hire doctors and sages to study the curse and come up with a cure
:veelove:: Wait it out while your medical team researches the matter in their spare time
:sadbees:: Ask Sargas to develop a new fighting style based on his curse-enhanced throwing
 
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Late Summer, 895 CC - The Augulinese Foreign Exchange Program

The Walrein

Il faut cultiver notre jardin
Partners
  1. gulpin
  2. kricketot
  3. bulbasaur
You decide that this is a matter for experts, and send out a call for Windhaven’s most noted physicians and scholars of magical anomalies.

Roll: 1d10 = 9 (Success)

First, Kevast Hypno tries having Sargas pick up things while in a hypnotic trance, seeking to determine if the curse relies on conscious understanding to work. It apparently doesn’t, and Kevast narrowly avoids being beaned by a Spheal doll. With that in mind, he suggests hiring Erina Luxray, who carefully stimulates different combinations of Sargas’s nerves to figure out exactly what triggers the throwing reflex.

It seems to be a highly complex effect relying on a combination of tactile sensation and muscular contraction. This apparently suggests that the “size” of the curse’s magical structure is large enough that it’s amenable to being treated with certain methods. Plue Bannette is brought in. Working with Erina to determine the effect’s exact parameters, they’re eventually able to cast a modified curse that’s “close enough” to the one on Sargas upon a Pierce Band taken from guild storage. Kevast puts on the Pierce Band and uses Switcheroo on Sargas, which transfers Sargas’ curse to himself while passing the Pierce Band to the Darmanitan. Thankfully, Plue’s version of the curse does not cause the Pierce Band to fuse into one’s body, so Sargas is able to simply take it off. Next, Kevast finds a Magnemite who agrees to wear the Pierce Band while Kevast uses Switcheroo on them, transferring the curse to the Magnemite. Since Magnemite don’t really pick up objects the same way Pokemon with fleshy limbs and hands do, the curse has no effect on them.

Problem solved! You thank the three doctors and stretch open the guild’s wallet to pay their (quite substantial) fees. The members of the guild praise your prompt action in dealing with the matter, and Sargas promises to be more careful about putting on strange-looking dungeon items.

Late Summer, 895 CC

A traveler claiming to be a representative of a foreign guild shows up at the base, and you receive her in your office. She introduces herself as Nicolette Swellow, and presents a letter of identification bearing the seal of the Mountaintop Guild. The name is only vaguely familiar to you. Nicolette says that the Mountaintop Guild is the largest exploration guild in the ‘nation’ of Augulin, which lies far to the north of Windhaven. As you understand it, a ‘nation’ is a coalition of cities that have agreed to be governed by a common entity, although you have a sense that definition is lacking in some important details.

The purpose of Nicolette’s visit is to ask if you’d like to participate in the Mountaintop Guild’s “foreign exchange program”, which entails them sending a team to come work in your guild for a month while you send a team over to them in turn. Supposedly, this will allow the two guilds to learn each others’ “best practices” and get new perspectives on how a guild should be run. After questioning her some more and having a private discussion with Record-Keeper Oranguru, you come to the conclusion that this is a legitimate offer and not some sinister attempt at kidnapping one of your teams.

If you agree to the exchange, the Mountaintop Guild will send over Team Farstride, a ‘versatile and well-traveled’ team with fast Pokemon who use hit-and-run tactics to defeat their foes. Nicolette assures you that, despite the name, any team you send should be capable of living and working in her guild comfortably, mountain-climbing ability or not.

Hmm. You couldn’t really make do without Team Skyguard or Team Sensation, but you suppose you could spare one of your less elite teams for a month. Team Hodgepodge is the third most experienced team in the guild and might be well-suited to recognizing and understanding the Mountaintop Guild’s ‘best practices’, especially given leader Liam Granbull’s previous experience as deputy.

You could also send Team Bloom for a month – as most of their members are still in the learning stage, they could have the most to gain from some fresh perspectives on exploring. Sending a team of apprentices in exchange for a team of veterans might not be appreciated, though. When asked, Nicolette says that her guild would prefer a more experienced team but could take an apprentice team if no one else was available.

When you talk to Team Long Shot, they say they’d prefer to stay in Windhaven, citing upcoming family events to attend. That leaves Team Nap Attack. You’re not sure how good they’d be at learning foreign practices given how much of the time they spend sleeping, but at least someone else would be paying Chester Snorlax’s food bill for a month.

:quag:: Send Team Hodgepodge.
:veelove:: Send Team Bloom.
:sadbees:: Send Team Nap Attack.
:mewlulz:: Decline to participate in the foreign exchange program.
 
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Late Summer, 895 CC - Culture Clash With A Foreign Team

The Walrein

Il faut cultiver notre jardin
Partners
  1. gulpin
  2. kricketot
  3. bulbasaur
Team Hodgepodge readily agrees to your suggestion to participate in the exchange program. Liam promises to carefully study the Mountaintop Guild’s practices and how they differ from those of your guild, although the other members of the team seem to be treating it more like a vacation of sorts. After packing their things, they depart alongside Nicolette for Augulin. The journey is expected to take six days, but luckily the Mountaintop Guild will cover all the travel expenses.

A little over nine days later, Team Farstride shows up at your door. They consist of Trevor Ninjask, Orane Accelgor, Raul Crobat, and Emeraude Sceptile. Although they’re experienced at dungeoneering, ‘well-traveled’ may have been a bit of a stretch; apparently they’ve been all over Augulin, but rarely ventured much outside the borders of their nation before.

A culture clash between Team Farstride and your guild quickly becomes apparent: They refer to everyone using the honorific for unevolved Pokemon, which the evolved members of your guild (including you) find to be quite offensive. When asked to explain, they say that in their country, the honorific Windhaveners use for evolved Pokemon was used exclusively to refer to a noble caste. Since that caste was deposed during Augulin’s recent Great Re-Establishment, they claim that referring to anyone with that honorific would be an insult to their dignity as free Pokemon. Chrysa points out that Nicolette Swellow used the evolved Pokemon honorific, but team leader Trevor just scoffs and says that Nicolette was lacking in Establishmentarian spirit.

Once again, the Pokemon of the guild turn to you to resolve this dilemma. Your first inclination is to tell Team Farstride that, when in Windhaven, they must follow the local customs and refer to evolved Pokemon with the proper honorific. However, they seem pretty fervent about this whole Re-Establishment thing, and it might be unwise to risk offending a guild as large and powerful as the Mountaintop Guild, even if they’re pretty far away.

That in mind, another option would be to speak to the members of your guild and ask them to tolerate Team Farstride’s unusual dialect. It would only be for a month, after all, and surely if they’re mature enough to handle going into dangerous mystery dungeons they can handle being referred to with the wrong honorific for a bit. You doubt they’ll like this very much, though, and you’ll have to gently steer Team Farstride away from any escort missions so they don’t offend your clients.

Hmm… maybe there’s a possibility you could work out a compromise of sorts? Simply dropping all usage of honorifics wouldn’t work, as that mode of address is used solely between intimate partners in your culture, but perhaps they could agree to call everyone by the honorific for middle-stage Pokemon or something?

Lastly, you could simply refuse to get involved and let Team Farstride and your guild members come to a resolution on their own.

:quag:: Talk to Team Farstride and tell them to respect the local linguistic customs.
:veelove:: Ask the members of your guild to tolerate Team Farstride’s use of the improper honorific.
:sadbees:: Try to work out some sort of compromise.
:mewlulz:: Refuse to get involved.
 
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Late Autumn, 895 CC - Team Nap Attack's Quest For Jirachi

The Walrein

Il faut cultiver notre jardin
Partners
  1. gulpin
  2. kricketot
  3. bulbasaur
You gather Team Farstride and a few representatives of your guild’s evolved members for a meeting in the dining hall. With any luck, you can come to a solution that at least sorta works.

Roll: 1d10 = 4 (Partial Failure)

The meeting begins with you presenting your idea to have Team Farstride use the middle-stage honorific for everyone. Unfortunately, it turns out that that honorific was used exclusively for a priest caste in Augulin, which the Great Re-Establishment also abolished. Discussion starts to get heated after that, with the Augulinese Pokemon accusing Windhaveners of egotistically demanding that they be treated like clerics and nobility, and your guild members accusing Team Farstride of being so caught up in their self-image as enlightened revolutionaries that they think common courtesy is beneath them.

Nevertheless, you’re eventually able to get them to agree on using a new honorific you make up on the spot, which translates roughly to “esteemed-one”. Using it sounds really clunky and awkward, and sometimes a member of Team Farstride accidentally uses the unevolved honorific by reflex anyways, but at least it’s something. Team Farstride ends up spending most of the duration of the foreign exchange month by themselves, spending their time exploring the countryside when they aren’t training or tapping dungeons. They do seem to warm up to the Starlight Guild a bit near the end though, and you catch Emeraude Sceptile sharing a laugh with Tristram Slurpuff over a silly play they watched together shortly before they depart.

Still, you didn’t really end up learning anything from the foreign Pokemon. You hope that Team Hodgepodge managed to pick up something from their part of the exchange.

Early Autumn, 895 CC

Roll: 1d10 – 1 (Liam’s Abrasive trait) + 1 (Sargas’ Socialite trait) – 1 (Martin’s Belligerent trait) = 6 (Partial Success)

Team Hodgepodge returns from the Mountaintop Guild on schedule. Apparently the honorific issue threatened to cause trouble when Martin Crabrawler got offended on his teammates’ behalf, but Sargas’ social graces were able to smooth over the situation. Aside from that, the trip went pretty well, although you get the sense that the Mountaintop Guild wasn’t terribly impressed by Team Hodgepodge or their way of doing things. Liam informs you of a number of interesting practices the Mountaintop Guild follows:

-In most years, a Pokemon won’t need the services of an exploration guild, but must still set aside a substantial sum of money for the event that they get a call from a mystery dungeon and have to be escorted or rescued. To address this, the Mountaintop Guild sells something called “call insurance”, a year-long contract that entitles the bearer to free rescue or escort services in exchange for a set fee. Teams that take on these missions still get paid, but the money comes from the guild’s purse rather than the client’s. Apparently the Mountaintop Guild makes a fair amount of money from these contracts, although getting the pricing of them right can be tricky, potentially losing them money in years with unexpectedly high mystery dungeon activity.

-The guild’s treasurers have a strange method of accounting where they write down each transaction twice, once as a ‘credit’ under one account and a second time as a ‘debit’ under another account. This seems inefficient to you, but supposedly helps them catch errors or fraud in their ledgers. You doubt that anyone other than Liam would’ve been meticulous enough to uncover such an obscure detail.

-Rather then rely on potential new guild members to come to them, the Mountaintop Guild sends ‘talent scouts’ to outlying villages and city districts to find promising candidates and encourage them to apply. You’re uncertain of the wisdom of this; Pokemon lacking even the modest courage and initiative necessary to travel to a guild on their own might not be suited for exploration work.

-The Mountaintop guild fields its own team in the Augulin Tri-Ball League. Tri-Ball is a popular sport involving three balls, one of which must be carried in the air, another which has to stay on the ground, and a third which must stay in the water lane in the center of the field. The athletes involved have to spend a lot of their time training specifically for it, which would seem to be time that could be better spent on dungeoneering duties, but apparently the Pokemon involved have a lot of fun playing, and the rest of the guild members enjoy watching their games. It’s also a good way for the guild to score some renown when their team ends up doing well in the league.

-It seems to be the ‘standard wisdom’ in Augulin that only evolved guild members should be allowed to go into mystery dungeons. Unevolved Pokemon are still accepted into the guild, but are required to spend almost all their time participating in an intense training regime designed to evolve them as soon as possible. You think it sounds unnecessarily harsh, and are unsure if this would really produce good explorers. For their part, the Augulinese consider the practice of allowing unevolved Pokemon to go into mystery dungeons ‘barbaric’, and believe this is an area where their culture is clearly superior to yours.

After giving it some thought, you still believe it’d be best to wait until you’ve been guild leader for at least a year before making any major changes, but these ideas will be something to consider down the road. You thank Liam Granbull for the diligent notes he took on his trip.

Oh, and also Gilliver has a new crush on a Dustox in Augulin now. He’s promised to send a letter every week. You can guess how long that’ll last.

Late Autumn, 895 CC

Uh-oh. Rin Jigglypuff and Chester Snorlax of team Nap Attack seem to have gotten it into their heads that now would be a good time for them to go on a quest for the mythical Pokemon Jirachi. According to legend, every 324 years (or every eighteenth eighteenth year), Jirachi awakens and grants the first Pokemon to meet them a single wish. The next awakening is supposedly coming up soon, but that isn’t why Rin and Chester are interested. Instead, they’ve heard that Jirachi has a tendency of attacking Pokemon in their sleep, and are hoping Jirachi will be able to teach them their legendary sleep-fighting techniques!

Many Pokemon have set out questing for Jirachi before. None of them have ever succeeded before (at least not according to any reputable sources), and some of them never return. But Rin and Chester believe that because they’re not looking to have a wish granted, and instead only wish to study the noble art of sleep-fighting, Jirachi will recognize the ‘purity’ of their desires and allow them to succeed at locating them.

You’re not even sure if Jirachi actually exists, let alone has the capacity to detect the ‘purity’ of their pursuers and selectively reveal their presence. While asleep, too! Most likely, team Nap Attack’s quest will be a long and pointless odyssey that will no doubt end with you needing to bail them out of whatever trouble they’ve gotten themselves into. Surely the wisest option would be to talk to team Nap Attack and try to dissuade them from this foolish venture.

Perhaps trying to persuade them would only make them even more stubbornly determined to go on the quest, though. Chester Snorlax can be pretty obstinate like that. And if past experience is any guide, there’s a chance that this latest idea of theirs is nothing but idle talk, and will soon be forgotten if no one brings it up with them. The best thing to do might be to simply say nothing about their quest.

Then again, you suppose that, even if they don’t end up finding Jirachi, it might do some good for team Nap Attack to get away from the guild for a while. It’d certainly help ease your food budget a bit, at least. Maybe you should officially sponsor their quest, and partake of some of their glory should they succeed. You’re pretty sure this would only make you look foolish in the much more likely event they fail, though...

:quag:: Try to dissuade team Nap Attack from going on the Jirachi quest.
:veelove:: Don’t take a stance on their venture.
:sadbees:: Officially sponsor team Nap Attack’s quest.
 
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Mid-Winter, 895 CC - 54th Anniversary Party Planning

The Walrein

Il faut cultiver notre jardin
Partners
  1. gulpin
  2. kricketot
  3. bulbasaur
Note: I rolled randomly to determine the outcome of the vote again.

You decide not to talk to team Nap Attack, predicting that they’ll lose interest in the Jirachi quest as long as no one brings it up to them.

Roll: 1d10 = 7 (Partial Success)

Rin and Chester plan a tentative route and start making a big list of supplies to bring on their journey, but quickly get sidetracked into endless arguments about what sort of snacks they’ll take. A week later, they agree to put off the journey until next year, when they’ll presumably have enough funds to buy all the snacks. You’re certain that the idea will be forgotten in favor of some other venture before even half a year is up, and treat the matter as resolved.

Mid-Winter, 895 CC

It’s almost the 54th anniversary of the founding of the Starlight Guild, and you know what that means – party time!

“We simply don’t have the funds for a big party this year,” Treasurer Tessa Drapion says. Her claws click nervously as she briefly swivels her head around to double-check a table of figures clutched in her tail.

You sigh and slump down on the desk of your office. Although everyone at the guild is happy to see Lud Exploud gone, one thing they might not miss is the extravagant anniversary day parties he held. Before him, founder Pym Reuniclus did nothing to mark the date of the anniversary besides give a short speech. After Xute Mismagius became guildmaster, she started to have little parties to mark the occasion, which seemed to get larger and larger every year. Lud greatly accelerated the trend, turning the anniversary celebration into an extravagant affair with renowned musicians, fireworks, and a massive feast with dozens of different kinds of exotic food. Important politicians and businessmon would be invited to partake in these parties, which could last almost an entire day.

Obviously you can’t return to throwing lavish Lud-style affairs every year, but fifty-four is a nice, round number in the base-eighteen system your culture uses. A lot of Pokemon seem to be expecting something big for the occasion. You ask Tessa if the budget could perhaps support a moderately huge and extravagant party.

Tessa groans and unstraps a pack full of wax tablets she begins to shift through. “You’re asking me to pluck berries from a stump,” she grumbles, but dutifully proceeds to scratch out a series of figures. “I suppose we could put something together without risk of immediate bankruptcy,” she says at last. But before you can begin to cheer, she adds “of course, my suggestion would be to have nothing more than a modest feast, like in Xute’s time.”

“Or, we could go back to the way things were done in Pym’s time, and do nothing but give a speech,” Deputy Chrysa says. “Think about what it would symbolize – a return to the old ways, a return to virtue, a return to greatness!”

“Very few guild Pokemon remember Pym’s administration anymore. The only thing forgoing a party would symbolize to them is cheapskatery.” Tessa sighs. “Believe me, I know how this works. You propose a modest common-sense savings measure like selling off the silverware and eating with our claws and hands like the Shaper intended, and suddenly everyone’s calling you a coin-clipper and whining about how their paws would get sticky. Having a Xute-sized celebration wouldn’t be that expensive, and it’s better to save risking everyone’s ire for the reforms that really matter.”

Chrysa thumps her tail on the floor insistently. “If we throw a little party when Pokemon are expecting a big one, it’ll do nothing but highlight how bad a state the guild’s in right now. They’ll see a bowl of five Flawless Kumquats and remember how that used to be twenty-five Kumquats last year. But if we don’t have a party at all, Pokemon can believe it’s something we’re choosing to do, rather than being forced into by lack of funds. And Pokemon outside the guild will notice too – we need to send as clear a signal as possible that Lud’s corruption is firmly in the past. Right, guildmaster?”

Both Pokemon are looking at you now. Honestly, you don’t want to go with either of their suggestions. A number as nice and round as fifty-four only comes once in most Bewear’s lifetime, and you want to have your big bash! Surely other Pokemon in the guild have to be thinking the same way, right?

:quag:: Throw a big party that’s only somewhat less lavish and extravagant than Lud’s were.
:veelove:: Hold a modest celebration like in the early days of Xute’s administration.
:sadbees:: Mark the occasion with nothing but a speech, like in Pym’s time.
 
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Late Winter, 895 CC - Planning The Anniversary Speech

The Walrein

Il faut cultiver notre jardin
Partners
  1. gulpin
  2. kricketot
  3. bulbasaur
You reluctantly give up on your dreams of a big party and begin thinking about the speech you’ll give.

Late Winter, 895 CC

Roll: 1d10 = 5 (Partial Failure)

There’s a lot of low-key grumbling after you announce that there will be no anniversary celebration this year, but at least most Pokemon are understanding of the guild’s financial limitations. Most. You expected that it’d mainly be the rookies complaining, but unfortunately, the greatest discontent seems to be coming from some of your most elite members. Wynna Flygon complains that, after all the hard work Team Skyguard did that year, taking on dangerous mission after dangerous mission, putting thousands of thalers into the guild’s coffers with each one, she’d have hoped that the guild would’ve had the money for at least some sort of party. You mumble something about virtue and traditions in response, but you don’t think it came out as eloquently as when Chrysa said it.

Not long afterwards, Flinn Inteleon announces that Team Skyguard has decided to use their own personal funds – which are quite considerable, what with all those ‘dangerous missions’ – to organize a little party of their own, to be held at a local tavern the evening of the anniversary. Everyone cheers, but you’re not as happy. You take Flinn aside and politely inform him that you’d been planning to give your speech at the base in the evening, as is tradition. Flinn apologizes and said that he thought that the old tradition was to give speeches at noon. But of course, he says, not everyone can be expected to have as keen a knowledge of Starlight Guild history as the guildmaster. Unfortunately, he’s already made the tavern reservations, and they can’t be changed.

You sigh and announce that you’ll just give the speech at noon, then. Great, now everyone will probably just be waiting for it to be over so they can get to the tavern and start partying early…

There’s still a chance to turn this around, though. If you can just give the right speech – one that’ll fire everyone up with thoughts of virtue and glory – then surely everyone will forget about how Team Skyguard’s supplying the festivities instead of the guild this year. All you need to do is come up with the right theme for the speech.

Your first thought is to justify the lack of a party with a talk about the traditions of the guild. You’ll regale them with anecdotes from the time when founder Pym was guildmaster, emphasizing Pym’s vision of the guild as an organization dedicated to serving the community. Remind them that it was exactly that commitment to virtue which allowed the Starlight Guild to rise to its greatest heights, and speak of how you’ll need to stay true to that spirit to rise out of your shaky post-Lud state.

But on second thought, you fear that that speech will get nothing but eye-rolls. Perhaps instead you could talk about how in the future year, the guild will need to innovate and take bold risks to earn glory and renown. Announce that it’ll be a challenge, but a challenge you’re sure the brave and dedicated Pokemon of your guild will be able to meet. Unfortunately, this theme has the distinct possibility of Pokemon actually expecting you to start taking big risks, and you’re not sure that would be wise given the guild’s current precarious situation in terms of finances and low membership.

Maybe you could just play it safe and praise the guild Pokemon for their efforts over the past year. This might ring a bit hollow, given the lack of any major victories besides overthrowing Lud, but you could play up how dedicated everyone has been in sticking with the guild through its recent rough patch. Everyone loves a bit of flattery, right?

:quag:: Make a speech about tradition and virtue.
:veelove:: Make a speech about the need for innovation and risk-taking.
:sadbees:: Make a speech praising everyone’s efforts in the past year.
 
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Negrek

Shadow Falling
Staff
I totally missed the start of this, but I’m hoping to keep up going forward! I’m enjoying this spin on Mystery Dungeon guild life, where we’re looking more at the admin than the exploring. Weird thing to say! But the worldbuilding and the little dramas between the various guild members makes this a fun read. My vote doesn’t matter much on this post, but I look forward to participating more in the future.
 
Early Spring, 896 CC - Budget Deficit Decisions

The Walrein

Il faut cultiver notre jardin
Partners
  1. gulpin
  2. kricketot
  3. bulbasaur
Author's note: This quest is now running concurrently on the SpaceBattles forum! Votes from both places will be totaled together. If you have accounts on both this site and SpaceBattles, please only vote on one of them. Additionally, substantial updates have been made to the setting information spoiler in the first post, clarifying some world info and how Mystery Dungeons work in this setting.

***​

Days fly by as you work on your speech, and soon enough, it’s noon on the date of the 54th anniversary. There’s no one room in the base large enough to accommodate everyone at once, so you gather everyone on the front lawn to give your speech. As you feared, a lot of Pokemon seem to be fidgeting around, antsy for the speech to be over with so they can go celebrate the anniversary their own way. Perhaps there was a reason the speech was traditionally given at the end of the evening meal, after good food had put everyone in a warm mood and ready to settle down and listen.

You give your talk about your plans to push the Starlight Guild forward into a new age of innovation and bold risk-taking. The traditions of Pym’s guild may have worked well during their time, but the Starlight Guild was never in quite the same slump then as it is now. A novel situation requires novel ideas – and even if you have to spend years experimenting with new policies before finding ones that work, it’s better than staying the course while the guild slowly slides further into mediocrity and obscurity.

Pokemon with new suggestions for how the guild should be run are encourage to drop by your office and present their ideas. Additionally, you announce that you’ll be willing to consider funding any bold schemes or expeditions they plan – within reason, of course.

Roll: 1d10 – 1 (antsy audience) = 5 (Partial Failure)

When the speech concludes, Pokemon holler and stomp the ground as their species suits, but you can tell it’s only a polite level of applause. Most of them probably assumed your big talk about innovation was just the sort of empty, grand-sounding noise leader-types always make in speeches like this. Hmmph. Well, you’ll just have to prove them wrong with your actions next year.

Afterwards, everyone seems to enjoy Team Skyguard’s big party, and return to the guild satisfied that the 54th anniversary has been sufficiently celebrated. Chrysa Noivern catches you in a hallway before you turn in for the night. She, at least, liked your speech, and pledges to finally work out the details of the new policy ideas she’s been thinking about all year. Heartened, you go to sleep with the knowledge that, all considered, the anniversary didn’t go so bad.

Early Spring, 896 CC

You once again start off the year with Record-Keeper Oranguru walking into your office bearing the Scroll of Guild Status. This time, though, Treasurer Tessa Drapion is with him. Uh-oh.

Morale: 5
Reputation: 3
Wealth: 2
Strength: 3


“I’ll begin with the good news,” Oranguru says. “The disruption of last year’s power change has faded, and most guild Pokemon are content with your leadership. I suspect lowering the guild’s take of mission rewards to a generous fifteen percent had much to do with this. Additionally, Pokemon continue to praise the culinary efforts of Chef Meganium, who makes eating at the guild feel almost like dining at a fine tavern.”

“Unfortunately, it’s exactly those same factors which have contributed to our slide towards insolvency,” Tessa cuts in. “I’ve run the numbers, and on average, the guild is losing money every month. We’ll go bust in a little over a year, at this rate!”

You wince. Lud’s 30 percent cut of rewards was definitely too high, but slashing it all the way to 15 percent may have been a bit overzealous. During the guild election, you’d pledged to keep it that way for three years to let teams ‘recover’ from the past period of high fees before restoring it to the twenty percent it’d been set at in Xute’s administration – a rate which still compares favorably to the twenty-five percent cut taken by the Metagross Guild.

However, that plan was based on the assumption that some of the teams who left during Lud’s rule would rejoin the guild, and so far, no one has. Everyone’s either settled in at a different exploration guild, or taken up different careers entirely. And without the additional revenue those old teams would’ve brought in, a fifteen percent take simply isn’t enough to support the guild’s operating expenses.

Tessa clicks her claws impatiently as you review this with her. “That’s all true, but there’s another factor – Yvonne Meganium might be an excellent cook, yes, but her salary is three times that of a typical chef! Worse, her food is good enough that it encourages Pokemon to eat almost every meal at the guild, instead of patronizing taverns or street vendors. That’s a big increase to our yearly food budget!”

You wince again. Chef Yvonne Meganium is a regionally-renowned chef, maybe one of the best in the city. Lud tempted her to the guild by offering a huge salary, justifying the expense by talking about the morale impact it would have. Unlike every other one of Lud’s appointees, she wasn’t removed alongside him. Yvonne has a motherly, warmhearted nature that makes almost everyone like her, and her reputation as a top chef is well deserved. Still, you feel that there’s something inappropriate about paying huge amounts of money for a star chef. You’re supposed to be running an exploration guild, not a posh tavern that charges 50 thalers for a fancily-cut potato!

“The only way for us to start breaking even every month is to replace Yvonne with a more reasonably priced chef and to raise the guild’s cut to twenty percent,” Tessa continues. “I know you pledged to keep the rate at fifteen for another two years, but leaders often end up having to amend their promises like that when they inevitably conflict with reality. I’m sure the Pokemon of the guild will understand.”

But… but… surely you aren’t just some conniving city councilor type who promises the sea and stars to get elected, then reneges on everything once they’re securely in office! You’re better than that, right? Desperate, you ask Tessa to calculate just how bad things would be if you only replaced Yvonne.

“We’d go bankrupt in about two and a half years at the rate we’d be losing money, assuming nothing else changes. Of course, that’s not taking into account unexpected expenses that may arise – I’m sure you remember the medical fees incurred dealing with Sargas’ curse situation last summer. And there could be opportunities we might have to pass up for lack of funds.”

What if you added new teams to the guild, though?

“Most new teams actually lose the guild money during their first year, since they have to spend most of their time training and the few missions they do go on don’t make much. They typically don’t break even until well into their third year at the guild.”

Supposing you were able to pick up some veteran teams, though-

Tessa gives you an exasperated look. “If you could somehow manage to conjure up another team on the level of Skyguard, that would work. Or two Team Sensations or three Team Hodgepodges, I suppose.”

Hmm. And what if, for some reason, you raised the guild’s take to 20% but kept Chef Meganium?

“Then we’d go bankrupt in about two years. Yes, she costs that much.”

Sighing, you dismiss Tessa and Organguru from your office after thanking them for their reports and advice. You’re in a bit of a bind here – you need more teams to make more money. But to attract more teams, you need a better reputation. But to get a better reputation, you have to go on big, flashy expeditions, which requires money! You walk to the ‘hugging post’ you had installed in your office and squeeze it with all your might, then sink back onto your seat-cushion, feelingly slightly better. Right, first things first. You have to get this budget deficit under control. How will you do that?

:quag:: Change nothing. It’s fine! Everything’s fine! You’ll find other ways to make money! (Estimated time to bankruptcy: A little over a year.)
:veelove:: Replace Chef Meganium, but don’t raise the guild’s take of mission rewards. (Estimated time to bankruptcy: About two and a half years.)
:sadbees:: Raise the guild’s take of mission rewards to 20%, but keep Chef Meganium. (Estimated time to bankruptcy: About two years.)
:mewlulz:: Replace Chef Meganium and raise the guild’s take of mission rewards to 20%. (Balanced budget!)
 
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Negrek

Shadow Falling
Staff
Glad to see this back!

Mmm, if left to my own devices I think my play would be...

1) attempt to negotiate with Chef Meganium for her to take a temporary pay cut, likely pinned to the reinstatement of the 20% guild take. Something like 2/3 her current salary until that bump happens. If she enjoys working at the Guild, perhaps she'd be open to taking one for the team while the Guild gets back on its feet

2) suck it up and run a posh tavern to attempt to recoup as much of Chef Meganium's salary as possible. Guild members continue (right??) to eat free, but anyone is allowed to partake, for a generous fee

3) use the increased non-guild traffic as an opportunity to recruit more rescue teams, highlighting the free meals as one of the guild's perks and arranging things so the guild members are clearly the VIPs in the mess hall. Probably won't get us the veteran teams we need, but although new teams are initial money drains, eventually one hopes at least some will turn into the earners and/or renown-makers the guild is looking for

I'm definitely torn on the options we have available to us... I guess morale has improved, but cutting things guild members really enjoy isn't a great way to retain current members or attract new ones for sure. We're definitely in a position where we need to gamble; we aren't going to win by just not losing. But without a clearer idea of what other opportunities for making money might come along in the next year, we probably ought to do something to stanch the bleeding. Don't like the idea of upping the guild's cut of rewards, so I guess Chef Meganium has to go.
 
Early Spring, 896 CC - A Pay Cut For The Chef?

The Walrein

Il faut cultiver notre jardin
Partners
  1. gulpin
  2. kricketot
  3. bulbasaur
1) attempt to negotiate with Chef Meganium for her to take a temporary pay cut, likely pinned to the reinstatement of the 20% guild take. Something like 2/3 her current salary until that bump happens. If she enjoys working at the Guild, perhaps she'd be open to taking one for the team while the Guild gets back on its feet

Hmm. You really don't want to raise the take of rewards or replace Chef Meganium! Maybe you can talk Yvonne Meganium into taking a temporary pay-cut until the guild's in a better financial position? You approach her when she's wrapping up in the kitchen for the day and, after politely declining an offer to try one of her new bluk berry tarts, gingerly raise the subject of her renumeration.

Roll: 1d10 = 3 (Failure)

Yvonne demurs, saying that she'll "consider" the offer. Then the topic of conversation somehow segues to Yvonne's (apparently quite numerous) grandchildren, an alarming number of which seem to be experiencing some sort of ongoing financial difficulties. By the time she's begun talking about her poor niece Comfey's struggles to afford medical school tuition overseas, you're starting to get the impression that a pay cut for her isn't in the Xatu's eye. You thank Yvonne for her time and mumble something about having paperwork to do, then retreat before Yvonne can start in on an anecdote about her half-brother's failed tapestry re-selling business.

Unfortunately, it looks like you don't really have an option here - you'll either have to replace Chef Meganium or keep her at her current salary. Honestly, three times the average chef's salary might even be a bit low for her. You recall an instance where you ate at the most renowned tavern in the city of Riverbend on a business trip once, and although you rated the food as just a bit worse than Yvonne's fare, you heard the star chef there makes five times the typical salary.

2) suck it up and run a posh tavern to attempt to recoup as much of Chef Meganium's salary as possible. Guild members continue (right??) to eat free, but anyone is allowed to partake, for a generous fee

3) use the increased non-guild traffic as an opportunity to recruit more rescue teams, highlighting the free meals as one of the guild's perks and arranging things so the guild members are clearly the VIPs in the mess hall. Probably won't get us the veteran teams we need, but although new teams are initial money drains, eventually one hopes at least some will turn into the earners and/or renown-makers the guild is looking for

I'm definitely torn on the options we have available to us... I guess morale has improved, but cutting things guild members really enjoy isn't a great way to retain current members or attract new ones for sure. We're definitely in a position where we need to gamble; we aren't going to win by just not losing. But without a clearer idea of what other opportunities for making money might come along in the next year, we probably ought to do something to stanch the bleeding. Don't like the idea of upping the guild's cut of rewards, so I guess Chef Meganium has to go.

You should be getting a chance to select a new policy to implement in the next update (assuming no catastrophes occur as a result of this decision), some of which might have the potential to bring in more money. I'll add running a tavern side-business to the list of potential options, although it's teetering right on the edge of the Overton window - it's the sort of thing that a respectable exploration guild just wouldn't do!

Also, yes, guild members do get to eat free at the guild.
 
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Early Spring, 896 CC - Policy Selection

The Walrein

Il faut cultiver notre jardin
Partners
  1. gulpin
  2. kricketot
  3. bulbasaur
After a considerable amount of fretting and late-night pacing up and down the guild’s hallways, you finally come to a decision. Employing Chef Meganium may be expensive, but she’s well worth the cost considering how much of an impact she’s having on guild morale. And if you let her go, you doubt you’ll be able to find any other chef of her caliber willing to work for the same price if you change your mind later.

Nevertheless, you have to make some attempt at balancing the budget. So, with a heavy heart, you make an official announcement: The guild’s take of mission rewards will be raised to twenty percent two years earlier than you initially promised. You say that you’re making every effort to cut down on costs, citing your decision to forgo paying for an anniversary party. Unfortunately, due to the currently limited membership, you have no other choice if you want to keep the guild running.

Treasurer Tessa Drapion shoots you a steel-piercing gaze at the ‘no other choice’ bit. She was not happy about your decision to keep Chef Meganium against her advice. But, hopefully everyone else will understand, right?

Roll: 1d10 + 2 Honestly Everyone Kind Of Expected This Bonus = 9 (Success)

There’s a small degree of grumbling, but it seems like everyone knew that the fifteen percent rate was too good to last, considering the current state of the guild. In the end, the change is accepted without real complaint. Whew! You’re glad that went over so well. Liam Granbull still seems pretty upset, though – you promising a 15% rate as opposed to his 20% was one of the key reasons you won over him in the election for guildmaster last year. You hear him mumbling something about how a guildmaster’s word used to mean something as he storms off, disappointed in everyone else’s easy acceptance of your reneging.

***​

A heavy rain pounds against the wooden shutters of your office windows, and a cold breeze blows through the gaps. You used to have windows of solid glass, but they were replaced with metal mesh after Lud Exploud’s shouting episodes kept breaking them, and you never found the time or funds to change them back.

You feel like you’ve been very reactive this past year, simply dealing with whatever problems or opportunities fate brought to your doorstep. Well, no longer! Today, you’re going to make some opportunities and/or problems for the Starlight Guild! Ever since your speech about taking risks, you’ve been collecting suggestions for new policy ideas from various guild Pokemon, in addition to a few you thought up yourself, and now they’re spread across your desk, ripe for the choosing. All that remains is to pick the perfect one, then sit back and bask in the warm glow of having been proactive for once.

...oh, and then you suppose you’ll have to actually implement whatever policy you choose. Darn, you knew there had to be some catch to this whole ‘proactivity’ thing. Sighing, you shuffle through the papers sprawled across your desk one more time.

Economic Policies
Mystery Dungeon Insurance
: Out of all the foreign practices ex-deputy Granbull uncovered during his trip to the Mountaintop Guild, this seems to be the most promising. The idea is to sell contracts guaranteeing free escort or rescue services to a Pokemon for a year. (Exploration teams who took missions for contracted Pokemon would still get paid the usual rewards out of the guild’s purse.) Most Pokemon have to set aside considerable funds for the contingency of getting called into a mystery dungeon and needing to pay an exploration team’s fees – which can vary widely depending on the details of the call. If they could just pay a single constant sum each year, they’d have more peace of mind and the freedom to spend their contingency money elsewhere.

You think this policy has a lot of potential for bringing in revenue, although it might take a few years to get the pricing of the contracts correct. However, you worry that Pokemon might assume the insurance contracts are some sort of scam, given how your guild’s reputation still doesn’t seem to have entirely recovered from Lud’s scandal. Maybe it’d be best to wait on this one, for now.

Sublet Unused Rooms: This was Treasurer Drapion’s idea. Due to all the teams who left over the years of Lud’s rule, you have a fair number of empty rooms in the base. So why not put that unused space to work and rent them out as apartments? Your guild’s current headquarters are in a nice, upper-scale part of town, so you could stand to make a reasonable amount of money this way. This plan could lead to some cramped conditions if you suddenly find yourself growing in membership, though… Not to mention, there might be a bit of a security problem. Currently everyone seems to be pretty lax about securing their valuables when not in use, and that might have to change if you start letting non-guild Pokemon freely wander through the base. Also, this plan has a whiff of desperation about it – it signals that you don’t expect the guild to grow much in the upcoming year and are simply trying to survive by whatever means possible. Still, out of all the money-making schemes laid out before you, this policy is the most certain of them.

Start a Tavern Side-Business: As long as you’re employing a head chef who makes tavern-quality meals, you might as well start running an actual tavern to recoup the costs of her salary! It might also be a good way to entice Pokemon to join the guild once they see what the quality of the food is like and have a chance to chat with some of your guild members. There’s a few problems, though – first, after another roundabout conversation with Chef Meganium, you’ve determined that she’d expect a substantial – thirty-three percent or more – increase in salary if she had to start cooking for a bevy of customers each day in addition to the guild Pokemon. You’d probably have to hire a few extra cooks and assistants as well. Then, there’s the issue that your current base is a converted mansion, which was originally constructed under the assumption that the greatest number of Pokemon who’d be dining at once was a single large family and maybe a few guests. If you wanted to start running a tavern out of the building, you’d have to do some serious expansion and remodeling.

Honestly, this policy seems as likely to lose large sums of money as it is to gain them, especially during the first year when you’d have no experience at running a tavern. Also, you can imagine all the jokes councilmon and other important people will be making about how you’ve done so poorly at managing an exploration guild that you’ve decided to change careers to mismanaging a kitchen instead. Starting tavern side-businesses just isn’t the sort of thing that’s done by respectable guildmasters! Although a part of you feels a temptation to do it anyways just to flout convention...

Recruitment Policies
Talent Scouts
: Another practice of the Mountaintop Guild in Augulin, this involves sending out teams of Pokemon to foreign cities and outlying villages to search for Pokemon with the potential to become great explorers. This would, of course, entail taking up the time of your more experienced members, and some Pokemon might not appreciate you actively trying to recruit their friends and family to such a dangerous profession. Then there’s the fact that you suspect having the initiative and courage to approach an exploration guild on one’s own is a key part of what it takes to make it as an explorer. Nevertheless, this method apparently works for the Mountaintop Guild, and you do need more members...

Get the Band Back Together: If the old teams who left during Lud’s regime won’t come to you, then you’ll just have to come to them! This policy would entail tracking down all the Pokemon who left and asking them to consider coming back. Of course, several of them are working at other exploration guilds now, which might not appreciate you trying to ‘poach’ some of their veteran members. And you have a feeling that this approach might come off as a bit desperate if you’re not careful. It is the only way you can think of to add experienced teams to the guild rosters quickly, though.

Public Relations Policies
Dungeon Safety Seminars
: Chrysa Noivern is especially excited about this idea. Guild Pokemon love to complain about how ignorant their escortees are of proper dungeoneering protocol – always having to be saved from blundering into traps or panicking at the sight of a lek and starting unnecessary fights. To remedy this, Chrysa proposes that Starlight Guild members should start giving regular – perhaps seasonal – seminars on dungeon safety at the city theater. It would be a good way to clear up misconceptions and superstitions surrounding Mystery Dungeons, and establish your guild members as knowledgeable experts in the public eye.

Although it might be possible to implement multiple of these policies simultaneously, you decide that it’d probably be best to only attempt one at a time. You’re still new to this whole proactive policy making thing, after all, and you don’t want to push your luck. You’ll have more chances to implement additional policies in future years.

Please vote on one policy to implement. If you have an idea for another policy, feel free to suggest it as a write-in vote.

:quag:: Mystery Dungeon Insurance
:veelove:: Sublet Unused Rooms
:sadbees:: Start a Tavern Side-Business
:mewlulz:: Talent Scouts
:eyes:: Get the Band Back Together
:wowzard:: Dungeon Safety Seminars
:screm:: Decide not to implement a new policy this year.
 
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Mid-Spring, 896 CC - Dungeon Safety Seminar Preparation

The Walrein

Il faut cultiver notre jardin
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  3. bulbasaur
After reviewing all the options, you conclude that Chrysa’s seminar idea is the only one that doesn’t really have a chance to go wrong. It might not have a huge impact, but you suspect your guild’s current poor reputation is the first thing you’ll need to fix to start addressing all the other issues, and any little bit helps.

Mid-Spring, 896 CC

Preparations for the first official dungeon safety seminar are underway! You’ve managed to reserve a spot in the largest theater in the city, during the mid-evening when diurnal, crepuscular, and nocturnal Pokemon should all have a chance to attend. Chrysa Noivern will be giving the speech, her booming voice sure to carry to all corners of the audience.

Sargas Darmanitan and Calla Steenee step into your office as you’re busy reading through Chrysa’s first draft of the lecture notes. It’s a little surprising seeing the two together – Calla has most of her friends outside the guild, and doesn’t interact much with anyone who isn’t on Team Bloom with her. And given how you can feel the heat coming off Sargas’ body even from several feet away, Calla must be roasting.

“Hey Theseus! I heard about this ‘seminar’ thing you’re planning, and I had an idea,” Sargas says. “Since we’ve got a big stage to use, I thought we could spice up the lecture with a few skits demonstrating what not to do in a dungeon. You know, throw in a little slapstick to keep the kids entertained. The theater already has a bunch of props for dungeon scenes we could borrow, and I know a Kadabra who’s good at special effects. It’d be easy.”

You gently remind Sargas that the seminar is about a serious topic. Mystery dungeons kill over 162 Pokemon every year in Windhaven alone. Slapstick comedy might not be appropriate for the subject.

“Aw c’mon, no one’s gonna remember anything if it’s just a bunch of boring lectures,” he says. “And I’d keep it plenty tasteful, don’t worry! Gilliver already talked me down from using any fake blood in the decapitation scene.”

Calla steps forward. “Guildmaster, I’ve always dreamed about acting on the big stage. This could be my chance to get noticed! Please, you have to let us do this! I’ve already started practicing my lines!”

Sighing, you tell the two that you’ll consider it. Both of them thank you profusely as if you’ve already agreed to allow the skits, then exit your office. You can hear Calla excitedly explaining the ‘backstory’ she’s invented for her character as their footsteps recede.

As you return to reviewing the seminar notes, something catches your eye. In a section on common superstitions about dungeons, there’s a bit about how there’s no known way to reduce the odds of getting called into a dungeon, other than physically distancing yourself from the dungeon entrance and staying in a place with many other Pokemon (so that the call is likely to fall on one of them, rather than you). This is true, but Chrysa’s notes have her specifically mentioning Rose Clefable’s “star fragment” amulets as being ineffective.

You wince. Rose is known to have sued Pokemon in the past for saying things like that. Although you’d probably win the case, it’d certainly be a huge hassle. The Clefable would bring in a bunch of witnesses who bought her amulets and never got a call, and then you’d have to track down a bunch of people who did get called with them, and then Rose would explain how she technically didn’t promise perfect prevention, just a reduction in odds, and ask you to prove that the amulets didn’t have any effect, and, ugh.

You call Chrysa into your office and explain your concerns, suggesting that she stick to general terms when discussing the uselessness of the many trinkets and tonics purported to protect from dungeon calls, rather than calling out Rose’s amulets in particular.

In response, Deputy Noivern clicks her tongue loudly. “Those stupid ‘star amulets’ are by far the most common of the lot, and I’m tired of seeing Pokemon throw away their savings on them. If we only spoke in general terms, then everyone’d just think that, sure, most things don’t work, but obviously the quack charm they bought is the real deal.”

The sort of Pokemon who buy those amulets probably aren’t going to be attending official guild lectures on dungeon safety anyways, you counter. Some of them even suspect that the guilds are causing the mystery dungeons somehow. You’d be taking on a lot of risk and inconvenience for little gain.

“I suppose you have a point, but hopefully at least some of their friends or family would be attending the seminar. And I really don’t like the idea of censoring ourselves just because we’re afraid of a little lawsuit. If you think it’s a bad idea, I’ll trust your judgment, but I think you should give some more thought to it.”

After the two of you go over a few more minor points, Chrysa departs, leaving you alone with your thoughts. This seminar idea was supposed to be a simple, risk-free plan that wouldn’t require you to make any difficult decisions, but now you have two things to decide upon. What will you do?

:quag:: Approve both Sargas’ skits and Chrysa’s call-out of Rose’s amulets.
:veelove:: Approve of Sargas’ skits, but ask Chrysa to exclude the specific call-out.
:sadbees:: Reject Sargas’ skits, but approve of Chrysa’s call-out.
:mewlulz:: Reject both Sargas’ skits and Chrysa’s call-out.
 
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