Coriolanus Rowland's Guide to Pokémon Husbandry
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January 4th, 2012 (11:53 AM).
Gone. May or may not return.
The Misspelled Cyrpt
Leisure and Sport
If one can use it for murder, one can use it for fun: Pokémon, ever adaptable, are as useful in the field of recreation as they are in that of large-scale destruction. There are some species stoic enough to play the straight man at the circus, and others intelligent enough to grasp the rules of soccer; there are even some that are perfectly capable of beating humans at poker. (It turns out Slowking have no tell.) And if there is one thing that science has taught us, it is that if we
do something then we
to do it, and preferably before anyone has a chance to ruin our fun with clinical trials.
So, what sort of qualities are we looking for in a leisure Pokémon? It all depends on how we're using it. The circus requires something outwardly ferocious yet in actuality rather tame, or something that looks amusing; sport, something with speed, stamina and intelligence, yet not so much strength that it breaks the other competitors; chess or cards, something with a large intellect and preferably without the physical strength to back it up if it comes to a fight.
This obviously encompasses a very large range of creatures, and so for the sake of brevity I shall only include five of the most popular at the time of writing. I must advise, however, against the use of Luxray in the circus: all too often, they are seen as a more exciting alternative to lions, when in fact they are far more dangerous, being so sure of their superiority to humans that nothing short of execution can deter them from treating us as prey. Though there are a fair few humans who espouse this attitude as well, it cannot be allowed in circus animals and inevitably leads to a spate of violent deaths.
In addition to this, I have noted with alarm the rise in the use of Yanma as beaters in the world of hunting. Though their loud wingbeats and high speed mean they are adept at alarming game, they lack the intelligence to comprehend that this is where they should stop, and tend to regard all the animals that appear as their prey. This has led to a large number of incidents in which Yanma have contested the kills of the shooters, and owing to their ability to fly horizontally, backwards and vertically while still accelerating, most hunters are not good enough shots to take them out before they reach their throats. It is best to stick to dogs, Growlithe or unimportant people for use as beaters.
Moody, introspective and otherwise similar to the average human teenager, Gothitelle (
) should by now be familiar to anyone with a television set: famously represented by the specimen known as Elise, they are accomplished chess and poker players, and their tournaments are broadcast throughout the Western world. The really good ones are worth thousands, and earn their owners thousands more through their victories; unfortunately, the vast majority, like many humans, have either no talent or no interest in competitive gambling, and so do not do nearly as well.
The real trick is finding a good one before anyone else, and there are certain ways to tell: when purchasing a Gothita (for you must raise a Gothitelle from its youth in order for it to acknowledge you as its master), you should conspicuously set down your wallet or mobile phone unguarded. The one that steals it is the one to go for: that will be the one who is interested enough in reward and personal gain to bother to learn how to play.
Keeping and training a Gothitelle (or even a Gothita) is much like raising a small child with the mood swings and vanity of a teenager and enough psychic power to crush a child's head without touching it: in other words, fraught with difficulty, and occasionally fatal. We are firmly out of Eevee territory here; this is more akin to keeping a tiger.
What should one do? For a start, work around the Gothitelle. If it is tired, stop training; if it is hungry, let it eat. A spoiled Gothitelle is a happy Gothitelle, which is infinitely more desirable than an angry Gothitelle. It is also more likely to actually try to win tournaments for you; if they don't get what they want, they tend to deliberately use out of spite.
Gothitelle do have the added benefit of being able to imprison people within dreams generated by their own memories, something that I gather is of considerable use to supervillains.
It is uncertain what Gothitelle actually eat, since no one has ever observed them eating, and autopsy has never revealed any trace of a stomach. Recently their discoverer, Professor Aurea Juniper of Nuvema University, has suggested that they do not actually exist in a physical sense, instead being a form of sentient shared hallucination. As yet, the scientific community has not yet come to a consensus as to the truth of this.
In the home, like a person. If treated as anything other than a member of the family they may well decide to be your enemy, which is never a good thing.
They exhibit sexual dimorphism: males are usually around five feet tall and females can reach six feet, although it is rare to see any taller than five foot six.
About thirty years.
Very necessary. For a Gothitelle to even consider trusting you, you must raise it from a Gothita, to give yourself the maximum possible time to prove to it that it is in its best interests to work with rather than against you.
You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink; much the same thing is true for Gothitelle and potential mates. Like humans, they are usually rather selective about their breeding partners, searching for the most beautiful with unwavering diligence and optimism. Their standards of beauty, interestingly, do not correlate with those of humans; they prize thinness of the limbs above all things, signifying as it does that the Gothitelle in question has such powerful mental powers that it barely uses its arms or legs. They then require a brief period of courtship, after which they have a short but extremely passionate love affair. After this, the two Gothitelle go their separate ways and refuse to see each other ever again.
They live in small family groups in Unova, deep within the forests near Nimbasa; there are a few specialist breeders around, but not many. You could always try Dorian's in Castelia.
No longer as timorous as a Mudkip and not yet as murderous as Swampert, Marshtomp (
) is the thinking man's circus animal: flamboyant, impressive and very, very stupid. It will happily stand there while someone pushes a custard pie into its face, or trips it up in the ring. Alternatively, it is happy to wrestle someone – but equally happy to lose on demand. As long as it is fed every day and is allowed to sit motionless in muddy water every so often, it will remain happy and generally well-disposed to all those around it.
With a temperament like this, it is a wonder that any Marshtomp reach maturity – but that would be forgetting that they do, of course, evolve into the most feared swamp predator in Hoenn, and that buried deep within their primitive brains is a crafty and violent predatory instinct. If you
manage to offend your Marshtomp (and it can be done) then it will do its best to drag you down to the bottom of its pond and simultaneously beat and drown you. To avoid this undesirable turn of events, I suggest not doing anything to your Marshtomp that will definitely cause it real physical pain, as it will usually take this as a sign of aggression. Anything short of this is classified as 'play' by most specimens.
There is very little else to say about Marshtomp. If treated well, something that is easy to achieve, they are tame, docile and otherwise content with whatever their lot in life may be. The only reason I cannot recommend it as a house pet is its prodigious strength (do not make the mistake of teaching it to high-five; I have already explored that avenue, and discovered that it leads to nothing but shattered wrists) and insatiable appetite for raw flesh and horsetails, a unique and rather expensive diet, especially considering how much of the stuff it can get through in a week.
As mentioned above, this is quite a problem. If allowed to, it simply won't stop eating; it prefers meat, but likes to supplement its diet with horsetails for no adequately explained reason. Since both of these are produced by the average Haxorus farm (see the article concerned for more information) you may wish to place a standing order.
A large pit is the best solution, lined with metal or concrete to prevent them burrowing out. They do not like to live in groups, and it is better to keep them alone.
Between three and four feet long, not counting their large fins, which may add anything up to two feet onto their length. Do not be deceived by their relatively small size: they are incredibly strong, and perfectly capable of killing their trainers if they want to. Wrestling matches need to be carefully choreographed.
Around twenty years, though they can live for longer if they evolve.
Not desirable. Swampert are among the top predators in Hoenn, possessing immense bulk and strength, and the bull-headed brave idiocy to best capitalise on it. In that sense, they are rather like a number of professional sports players, though more prone to devouring people who come near them.
The spring rains bring Marshtomp into the mood to mate, and for the first couple of months of the season they will search tirelessly for a partner. If they find none, they will settle down again; if they do find one, however, they will perform a rather beautiful courtship dance that is wholly out of character for such clumsy amphibians. After this, the pair will retreat down into their pond, where the female will release a cloud of up to thirty eggs and then leave the male to fertilise and guard them. This makes Marshtomp one of the few amphibians to guard its young – although the father will lose interest when his progeny hatch. He will regain it a few weeks later, though it will by then be a purely gastronomic concern, and he will eat them if he finds them. It is prudent to collect the young and raise them yourselves.
It is said that Professor Alan Birch of the Littleroot Research Facility recently conducted some research into Marshtomp breeding behaviour that has left him with approximately 900 baby Mudkip on his hands; he would probably be grateful if someone were to take some away. Alternatively, you could try one of the stores in Fortree City, where the dangers of jungle predators such as Swampert are well known, and which is therefore built entirely in the treetops.
Perhaps the only Pokémon that is truly capable of providing limitless entertainment, Zorua (
) is, along with its mature form Zoruark, one of the most unusual Pokémon so far discovered. In appearance, it simply appears to be a small, slightly rotund black fox – but that is only when its illusions are broken, and these illusions are the basis of their practical applications.
Zorua illusions are taking the world by storm: more immersive than even 3D television or cinema, they are the very latest thing in entertainment. They function by using the power of several Zorua to generate a large illusion all around the viewer, placing them
whatever story they are currently viewing. In other words, these small, nondescript foxes can generate an entire virtual reality without the need for expensive computer equipment, or for technology that does not quite exist yet. I visited an illusion theatre last week, purely in the spirit of scientific inquiry; they were showing the illusion version of
, and I have to say that actually being on the island made events considerably more exciting than in the film version, even if several members of the audience did come rather close to being eaten by the raptors.
As the world is still just on the brink of the Zorua entertainment revolution, there are relatively few illusion theatres out there, and there are fortunes to be made in setting them up now, just in time to catch the point at which they become the dominant form of entertainment. Never mind that some research links repeated prolonged exposure to Zorua illusions to brain cancer; never mind that overuse of illusion may turn out to lead to a loss of the ability to distinguish fantasy and reality; this new area of entertainment is a goldmine, and the discerning miner needs to get there ahead of the rush.
Zorua are relatively intelligent – more so than most dogs – and have excellent sensory memories, meaning that they are capable of remembering most of a film after it has been shown to them just one or two times. From this memory, they can be trained to reconstruct the experience as an illusion; for large-scale theatre productions, this will probably require at least ten or fifteen Zorua. Resist the temptation to use Zoruark, despite their superior illusion-making powers: they will always slowly warp the illusion into a dark and terrifying horror show, with the intent of driving those within it mad with fear in order to make them easier to catch and kill.
I recall one such incident in London a few months ago; while watching a heart-warming rendition of
, the Zoruark backstage began sending various sinister messages to the characters, who slowly became more and more paranoid until they joined together and committed group suicide in a most brutal and unpleasant way that involved far too many eggs for a Christmas film. By this point, the audience were desperately trying to get out, but were suffering the illusion that the doors were blocked by heaps of corpses, and three of them were killed and dragged away by the Zoruark before the police turned up – whereupon the illusion, and the Pokémon generating it, vanished. Owing to the excellent powers of disguise common to its species, that particular Zoruark is still at large somewhere in the city; the police did ask me as a specialist to help them search for it, but I politely refused, since the police and I have something of a history, and ever since the incident in Ealing I've taken great pleasure in watching them struggle.
Zorua is a relatively recent discovery, having been hidden from the world for a long time by its illusions; this is why these theatres are only now attaining widespread popularity. Now that they are in the process of doing so, it seems likely that they are here to stay.
In the wild, Zorua feed on large insects and small mammals; I suggest a balanced diet that incorporates all three food groups: squishy bugs, bony rodents and hard-shelled bugs. Caterpie, rats and Karrablast is the usual solution.
They are physically rather frail, relying on their illusions both to lure in prey and drive away predators; they are therefore rather sedentary, and do not need a large space to run around in. This has the advantage of allowing a battery-farm-style system to be set up, where your Zorua live in small, stacked containers in the back room of the theatre. It should be noted that they should be let out of this room and the door to it concealed whenever an animal welfare inspector visits.
Seven to twelve years, just long enough to see in a good dozen major blockbusters. However, those in illusion theatres appear to have a reduced lifespan for some reason.
Zorua evolve only if placed under extreme stress; be careful not to agitate one too much, or you will end up with a Zoruark on your hands – which means increased intelligence, strength and cunning, which in turn means serious injury or death.
Unfortunately, Zorua are rather coy in captivity; this is the only serious downside to running an illusion theatre, since they do not often breed. This may have something to do with their living conditions; I am right now in the process of carrying out an experiment to see if Zorua kept in battery conditions breed any less readily than Zorua kept in virgin forest, and expect results as soon as I can find the ones I put in the forest.
Since they are native to Unova, there is naturally a stock at Dorian's; however, they can also be acquired (for an exorbitant sum) in the major cities of America and Japan, where illusion theatres have taken off in a big way.
Once, a circus could boast a pack of ferocious lions; now, with the rise of animal welfare laws, the closest one can get – and it is an admirable substitute – is a Liepard (
). The largest known species of leopard cat, and the only one to count as a Pokémon, Liepard is a lithe and dangerous beast, adept at appearing at unsettling times and striking down its victims from behind. I recall once waking up in the middle of the night in an Unovan motel to see a Liepard sitting calmly at the end of the bed, staring at me with unblinking eyes. We looked at each other for a moment, and then, without any warning or provocation, I shot it in the head. It now serves as an impressive rug in my drawing-room.
That is beside the point: we are interested in the potential applications of Liepard in the circus. It actually enjoys being in close proximity to humans, and many specimens are unspeakably vain; these two points have led to legislation that make it legal to use it in circus acts, as long as it is not abused – and indeed, the man who tries to abuse a Liepard is a fool, for they have long memories and creative imaginations. I remember reading about one occasion on which a Liepard that took a dislike to its trainer got its revenge a full twelve years later, at the grand old age of twenty, by swallowing a pint of kerosene and dying halfway through a stunt involving a jump through a ring of fire, which resulted, predictably enough, in a rather spectacular end to the evening's festivities.
If you can manage its vanity and occasional murderousness, however, Liepard are an excellent legal substitute for lions in today's circuses, and well worth the investment.
Meat, most commonly rabbits and trainers who offend them.
If fed and kept entertained by their training, they don't move much, and so do not require too much room; if they are restless, it is because they are bored, and if they are bored, it is a sign that they may soon go on a killing spree. Since you will probably want to avoid this (although it can serve as a useful smokescreen if you need to commit a murder yourself) you should probably aim to keep them occupied.
They are, as previously stated, the largest of the leopard cats, and can reach twenty-four inches at the shoulder, placing them at a similar sort of size to a snow leopard.
Ten to fifteen years in captivity, although some have been recorded at twenty. In the wild, they rarely live past six or seven.
Purrloin could be kept as a domestic pet, but, being childish and immature, it is even more fickle and prone to betrayal than Liepard, and could well decide to chew its owner's throat out during the night. No, stick to the Liepard, and keep the species well out of the home.
Fairly easy; once a Liepard has mated once, it will go and immediately have an affair to spite its partner. This results in the most duplicitous Liepard having the most offspring and being the most evolutionarily successful, which accounts for the treacherous nature of the species as a whole.
They are found throughout South-East Asia, though they were accidentally introduced into Unova by the British in the nineteenth century; consequently, they are in good supply worldwide.
Long since trained in Johto for their skill at dancing, Jynx (
) are ascribed the role of leading the recently deceased to the underworld in old Johtonian mythology, and one can easily see why: their dances are mesmerising, and can attract almost anyone to join in.
Today, their skills as dancers are in as much demand as ever, in a wide variety of situations; they are also excellent badminton players, since their erratic movements make them extremely difficult to predict. For some reason, they are recorded as doing especially well against male opponents.
Aside from these talents, Jynx are known for their peculiar language, a combination of words and dance that has been described as resembling High School Musical sung in a mixture of Spanish and Korean. It is thoroughly incomprehensible to all and sundry, but it hold a peculiar fascination for young children (especially girls) and linguists (especially men).
Jynx do not, on the whole, particularly like humans; they seem to regard the species as stupid, owing to the fact that we cannot understand what they say while they clearly can understand what we say. However, they have the advantage of mild telepathy to help them out, while we unfortunately do not (although I did once manage to convince a mob in Andorra that I could predict the future, which allowed me to make good my escape before they discovered the diamonds were missing). If raised in captivity from a young age, though, a Jynx will have no such reservations about humanity, having never learned the language of its species, and may even attempt to learn to speak English – though they don't appear to be capable of mastering the language. One or two has been reported to be fluent in Sinnish, but this hasn't been verified, and anyway, as I have said before, we must always take reports from Sinnoh with a pinch of salt, as it is a country of knaves and charlatans.
Very little, considering their active lifestyle. They like fruits when in season, but not vegetables; in winter, they occasionally resort to eating meat to survive. Make sure your Jynx is well-fed during the cold seasons of the year: there are occasional reports of owners being partially or wholly consumed in countries such as Sweden. These may be exaggerations, and you can rest assured that I will be performing experiments with Jynx and migrant workers at various temperatures to test these stories.
Despite being Ice-types, Jynx do not particularly like the cold. They will live in it, and historically have had to because the warmer lands are already occupied (and jealously guarded) by humans, but they prefer to live indoors. They are highly intelligent – worryingly so, in fact, because some, the Einsteins of their species, insist on fully furnished apartments to live in, and leave their owners to try and become functioning members of society.
Human, but broader, and with proportionally far larger eyes, hands, lips and breasts – the former two to find their way in the dark, and the latter two to seduce men, a commodity that their species lacks.
Thirty to forty years in the wild, but up to sixty in captivity.
Smoochum is by definition immature; it is tiny, and far less skilled at dance and badminton than its evolved form. If you obtain your Jynx as a Smoochum (and ideally you should) then you should raise it to maturity.
Mysterious. They are an all-female species, and seem to reproduce mostly by parthenogenesis; however, there are some reports from China that their scientists have had success breeding them with Machamp. The thought of the resultant offspring is enough to stop me ever visiting the country again, though presumably they make excellent bouncers.
They are found predominantly in Johto and Kanto, in the hills of the mountain range that divides the two nations. Specialist breeders exist in both countries, though the Johtonian ones have more of a history behind them, which some find reassuring.
The Thinking Man's Guide to Destroying the World
The Rocket Case
The Rocket Revival
Neither Here Nor There
Coriolanus Rowland's Guide to Pokémon Husbandry
Robin Goodfellow's Christmas Carol
Stranger Than Fiction
My Trip to the End of Time, by Pearl Gideon
A Smell of Petroleum Pervades Throughout
For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click
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