Hello all. This is my first submission to this site in years.
This is basically a "Pokémon For Dummies" written from an in-universe perspective, telling you everything you need to know about raising them. I owe a major debt of inspiration to Chencheya's "Beginning Trainer's Guide To Pokémon," the sadly unfinished guide that inspired this project. Read it, what there is of it; it's awesome. Also, "The Sun Soul" by 50caliberchaos, the still in-progress fic that inspired me to look at Pokémon from a slightly more realistic point-of-view. Read it too. This, I command!
I'll be updating this hopefully frequently. Constructive criticism and questions encouraged. Reviews get you love.
The usual disclaimer: I don't own Pokémon. If I did, this would be published as a real book.
A Beginner's Guide To Pokémon
By Professor Kudzu
*Introduction: So You Want To Know About Pokémon
Maybe you want a bodyguard. Maybe you want someone to help you with some chores around the house. Maybe you just want a new friend. Or maybe one of your children wants to become a Trainer and you need to know about what they (and you!) are getting into.
Whatever the reason, welcome to the world of Pokémon, you'll always be welcome here. This world is large and complex, and newcomers are often intimidated by how much there is to learn.
And so this guide was born, written over a period of several years and with the consultation of several other learned Pokémon professors. What it's NOT is a complete guide to everything there is to know about Pokémon. For any subject mentioned in this book that you'd be interested in learning more about, at the end of each section I have provided a list of further resources.
What is this guide, then? It's meant to tell you what you need to know to properly own and care for a Pokémon, and how to interact with them when you encounter them both in civilization and the wild.
In addition, this book contains a profile of every known Pokémon species, from Abomasnow to Zubat, along with a list of books that will provide you with a more in-depth look at any of them that catch your fancy.
And now, your Pokémon journey is about to begin…!
*What Are Pokémon?
One of the most common questions that Pokémon researchers have to answer is, just what is a Pokémon? What differentiates it from a normal organism? It's a fair question. At first glance, there doesn't seem to be much that separates a swallow from a Swellow.
To begin with, all Pokémon are closely related. They have incredibly similar genetic codes. Almost every Pokémon can breed with other types to produce viable offspring, which, themselves, can breed (this shall be discussed in greater length in the chapter on breeding). In most cases, this would result in all Pokémon being classified as one species with a massive variety of subspecies, but laypeople attached the term species to each variety and, for good or for ill, it has stuck. All Pokémon are omnivorous; even those that are almost entirely carnivorous or herbivorous will supplement their usual diet with plants or meat from time to time. And they all enjoy berries, as well as special human-made treats, such as Pokéblocks and Poffins.
Pokémon are quite intelligent. Even the dullest species is capable of understanding more human speech than the most intelligent normal animal. They can comprehend and execute complex strategies in the heat of battle. And, although much more research needs to be done in this area, a few certain species have brains best compared to a supercomputer. There is even the possibility that all Pokémon may be sentient, something which has led to the recent halt of the once common practice of feasting on species such as Farfetch'd.
Last but by no means least, Pokémon are powerful. Magikarp is often ridiculed for being weak, but even this "worthless" species is capable of surprisingly strong tackles and flails. In ancient times, wild Pokémon were capable of destroying whole towns, and it is only through the concerted efforts of the world's best trainers and scientists that we've managed to bring them under as much control as we have. Pokémon can do things no "regular" animal could ever dream of doing. A Starly may not look like much more than a typical bird, but no starling could even begin to create a powerful whirlwind that can blow away creatures that weigh up to a ton. Pokémon can read minds, induce sleep, temporarily enhance their strength and speed, trigger lightning, teleport, change the weather, summon meteors, and fire enormously powerful blasts of energy. And that's not even getting into the "legendary Pokémon."
Of course, this immediately raises a question: if Pokémon are so powerful, and are so numerous and widespread, how has humanity even managed to survive, let alone thrive? And why do such intelligent creatures allow themselves to be "owned" and trained by humans?
Calling the relationship between Pokémon and humans complex is about as much of an understatement as calling the universe big. Entire books have been written on the subject and no doubt more will be written. My colleague, Professor Samuel Oak, has devoted his entire life to studying Pokémon-human relations, and he'd be the first to tell you that he's barely scratched the surface. Nevertheless, there are some salient points that I can summarize here.
As noted, Pokémon are much more powerful than humans, but on average, we're roughly of the same intelligence. This seems to have acquired us respect from Pokémon, the fact that we were able to evolve this level of intelligence without enormous levels of power to keep us safe (At least, this is what we've been told by several Psychic Pokémon that we've discussed this with). This is also why they're willing to follow and serve us; out of respect. Either consciously or not, they believe that our survival on essentially pure intelligence without equivalent power makes us worthy of being "in charge." This is also why Pokémon are generally more disposed to stay with a smart abusive trainer than a foolish abusive one (though I could make the case that any abusive trainer is a fool).
*How Should I Begin Raising Pokémon?
Sadly, far too many people dive head-first into owning Pokémon without doing proper research. Fortunately, you've already shown you're not making that mistake. After all, you're reading this book.
The first bit of advice I'd give you is to read this book all the way through. Pay special attention to the profiles all the various species. Among all the other information included, I have rated each species by ease of ownership, on a scale from 1 to 10. Ideally, you should begin with a Pokémon rated 1, 2, or 3. One of these will give you little-to-no trouble, even with no experience whatsoever. Make sure you find several that appeal to you, just in case you have trouble acquiring your first choice.
If you're lucky enough to live close to a Pokémon Professor such as myself, call and make an appointment. Otherwise, do the same with your local Pokémon Center. Either way, you'll be interviewed. Once you've satisfied the interviewer that you'll be a kind, loving owner, and that you have some idea of what you're talking about, you'll be asked what kind of Pokémon you're interested in. Respond with your choices, making sure to mention which is your first choice. Note that if you ask for a Pokémon that an inexperienced owner has no business caring for, you'll be shot down and likely asked to leave.
If the Professor or Center has any of your preferred choices, you will be escorted to meet them. If not, you'll be told that they will acquire some and will contact you once they have them. Either way, sooner or later you'll meet several Pokémon. Interact with each one a bit, enough to learn what each one's personality is like. Then choose your favorite. You'll have to fill out a little bit of paperwork, pay a small fee, and then your choice will be placed into a Poké Ball and handed over to you. Congratulations, you are now a Pokémon owner.
If you plan to use your Pokémon primarily for battling, an additional note is in order. It's often recommended that a battling trainer begin with a Grass, Fire, or Water-type, and indeed, each region has its own set of traditional "starters" of those three types. Personally, I would recommend choosing Grass; a huge pile of leaves causes much less lasting damage to your home than an out of-control blaze or a torrential flood.
Once they have obtained their starter, most battling trainers frown on receiving other Pokémon in such an "official" way. They generally prefer to capture them on their own, swap them in trades with fellow trainers, or be given them as rewards for services performed during their travels. For those of you who do not battle, however, you may return to the Professor or the Pokémon Center time after time to receive more additions to your household. Unlike cats or dogs, Pokémon can do a very good job looking after themselves, and there is no real "hoarding" problem associated with large amounts of normal pets.
Bear in mind, however, that several Pokémon are very rare and may not be available by such a simple method. You may have to hire an experienced Pokémon trainer to journey into the wild and capture one for you. As these rare Pokémon are typically also very powerful, it is strongly recommended you do not take this step until you have already raised several more common species and have learned the basic ins-and-outs. Also be advised that some Pokémon have such a bad reputation that among capture, you must immediately notify and register them with your local government; these will be marked as such in the profile section of this book.
For Further Information: The Guide To Pokémon/Human Relations, Vols. 1-83 (ongoing), by Professor Samuel Oak.