It’s 1924, only a year after the bloodiest war this world had ever seen had finally come to its end. The decade long conflict that gripped the planet came as a surprise to most, if not all, of its inhabitants: Even its hosts, in the now desolated desert nation of Orre. In the times before, Orre had been renowned for its idyllic countryside, and vast, prepossessing views… However, beneath its verdant fields, and hoary august mountain ranges, it harboured more than simply aesthetic value: Massive, fruitful veins of exceedingly rare ores, for which the region had been named, lay un-excavated and in slumber, left intentionally untouched, for Orre had no native inhabitants of which to speak, and those who had settled there- in an attempt to escape the industrial revolution that had claimed the civilised world of the 1800s- had deemed the land far too captivating to soil. And this, in the end, made little difference: The people to which Orre played host were simple ones, who cared for little more than to live their lives in peace. That is until the year 1904, in which the nation of Sinnoh- a region which, until then, had held the honours of being both the planet’s most technologically advanced country, and it’s most prominent mining nation- announced to the rest of the world that it was suffering a severe shortage of the rarer ores, such as gold, silver and platinum. As such, they were willing to offer the denizens of Orre a lucrative and generous series of payments in order to acquire the rights to mine beneath their virgin land. Orre’s citizens- a conservationist people- refused, much to the chagrin of the Sinnohan powers. However, refusing Sinnoh was no task done with confidence, and shortly after negotiations between those two regions collapsed, Orre- lacking its own substantial military of which to speak- sought the protection of others, in anticipation of what they perceived to be an inevitable war. And they found this protection in the world’s oldest allies: Kanto & Johto, the lands from which most of Orre’s inhabitants hailed. An entente was formed, between these three nations: An agreement, which guaranteed the support of the Kantonese-Johto alliance, in the event that Sinnoh- or indeed, any other power- should attempt to lay claim to Orre’s soil. Unbeknownst to this tripartite, however, Sinnoh had summoned the leaders of a fifth nation, Hoenn, with the hopes of striking a similar- albeit, more furtive- alliance. Sinnoh desired the support of Hoenn’s venerable naval fleet, the size of which had established it as the leading maritime power of its day, in the hopes of attacking Orre’s Eastern shore from the ocean, enabling them to take the continent by surprise. It was storied, and vaster than any sea-based force before it: In its genesis, it had ensured strong trade routes with nations so far as Kanto, but now served only as a means of defence, should any tempest batter it’s harbours, or alien ships advance on its shores. And a defensive fleet it would remain. To the irritation of Sinnohan ambassadors, the equatorial power of Hoenn had insisted on abstaining from the conflict, having forged a loyalty with the “classical” continents that now swore their combined military might to Orre’s service: As such, they would offer no naval support towards Sinnoh, no matter how many pokédollars they were willing to pay in order to acquire it. Following these tense negotiations, which had begun in 1905 and ended the following year, Hoenn alerted the tripartite to Sinnoh’s intentions, leading to the peaceful occupation of Orre’s East, effectively barricading it from Sinnohan advancement. This wasn’t to stop this particular mining superpower, however: If Hoenn wouldn’t lend Sinnoh its ships, then Sinnoh would construct its own maritime fleet. By 1910, a sizeable marine armada had been constructed upon it’s distant shores, and almost as soon as it had been completed, it was launched with the intentions of waging a war. However, Sinnohan generals knew that, even with superior firepower, they stood no chance if they struck the (more lucrative) Eastern shores of Orre, and so instead launched an alternative, stealthy approach on the Western coast, where the verdurous mountain forests would provide them with cover. And perhaps this would have worked, had the employees of a newly established greenwood pokémon laboratory, investigating the migration of bug-types to the equatorial territories of Hoenn, not detected them. One small disturbance in the behavioural patterns of nearby pokémon- whom, it is fabled, could sense impending disasters, sometimes even years in advance- alerted the scientists present to the existence of antagonistic forces on the horizon… The allies were promptly informed, albeit without the knowledge of the Sinnohan fleet, and quickly arranged a naval blockade at Orre’s most prominent Western ports, most significantly the region’s trade capital, Gateon. This caught Sinnoh’s water-based forces by surprise, and they retaliated poorly, resulting in the tripartite alliance of Orre, Kanto and Johto claiming the port in early 1911. 1911, however, is also the year that the shooting started. Kantonese special forces sent to investigate the presence of Sinnohan soldiers in the western forests were caught off-guard by the willingness of Sinnoh’s ground-forces to resort to guerrilla tactics, and were resultantly flanked from all sides: Although they fought valiantly, they were no match for the enemy’s tactical advantages, and were killed in a violent and virulent firefight. Gateon Port having been won by speed, those lost in the “Battle of Verdes Forest” were the first casualties of what would, in years to come, be known as “The Great War.” This wound to the entente was punctuated further by the rapid expansion and advancement of Sinnoh’s military throughout the region. Although Gateon was held fiercely, even after the gunfire began (following the events of Verdes Forest, in late 1911), frequent and thorough air-strikes orchestrated by Sinnohan bird pokémon made the area totally unliveable for the likes of the tripartite soldiers, and too risky and expensive to be worth maintaining. In June 1913, the port was finally lost in “The Battle of Gateon”, which saw one of the bloodiest battles of the early war. The wounds would remain, even as a decade passed by. This loss was a significant turning point in favour of Sinnoh, as it provided them the ability to mobilise troops from overseas with great ease. Having rescinded orders to attempt to retake Gateon, the Kantonese/Johto alliance focused instead on two other areas of significance: The largely defenceless, massively rural territories of Agata (which consisted almost solely of farmlands), and the region’s capital city of Phenac, the “Jewel of the East.” In order to ensure Agata’s protection from the approaching Sinnohan invasion, a third of the Kantonese-Johto alliance’s infantry, consisting mainly of Kantonese Rangers, were stationed in the dense woodlands of Agata Forest (1914), in the hopes of doing to Sinnoh what Sinnoh had to them, back in 1911. The other two thirds were distributed between the capital (a protective force constructed almost solely of Kantonese/Johto infantrymen and officers), and the neighbouring “Pyrite Mountains” in November of 1914, amongst which they constructed a small shanty-town in the hopes of flanking any advancing forces from the West as they approached Phenac. Those who inhabited this newly established ‘Pyrite Town’ were mainly Johto Rangers, although some Kantonese and Orrean soldiers who’d proven skilful on the battlefield were selected in order to bolster their numbers, which were dwindling following their defeat at Gateon. Both strategies were tactical successes in their own rights. When Sinnoh began to mobilise their footmen from Gateon and Verdes Forest in 1915, and attempted to march upon sylvan Agata, they were fiercely combatted by the Kantonese Rangers that lay in wait there. The suddenness of the resistance, combined with ill-prepared and quickly-trained troops on the part of Sinnoh, meant that territories such as Agata Forest and the surrounding villages were seemingly preordained victories for the Kanto/Johto alliance. This fortune stretched only to the inhabited regions, however: The Agata Valley and the surrounding mountains were quickly won on behalf of Sinnoh, and used in order to ensure that the entente’s soldiers remained inside of the territory they’d been protecting, rendering them effectively incapable of being called to assist other troops in Phenac or Pyrite. Following this, Sinnoh’s forces advanced towards the capital, and- as ordered by their commanding officers- began to enforce a scorched earth policy, charring the country beneath them black as they advanced past Agata’s borders, and moved steadily into the wake of The Pyrite Mountains. This was done so that, in the event their defences stationed in Agata’s mountains faltered, and the Kantonese soldiers present there escaped, they would be incapable of living off of the land if they attempted to launch a fringe attack on the soldiers advancing eastwards. Furthermore, it would make the inevitable mining of the territory far easier. The country they scalded would never recover: In the years to come, it would become a barren desert, inhabited by few and loved by none. The resultant flames were not well concealed, though, alerting the tripartite military to Sinnoh’s presence in their territories days before their arrival. The flanking manoeuvre conceived in Pyrite Town was, much like the defence of rural Agata, a massive success, as the Johto Rangers caught Sinnoh’s advancing infantrymen totally by surprise (as it’d been presumed that all of their available forces had been sent to reinforce Phenac City), and thinning their numbers substantially in the ensuing conflict (“Operation Hush, 1917.”) This wasn’t enough to halt the progress of Sinnoh’s invasion force, though: Although it bought Phenac City a week or so of extra time, in which those involved in Operation Hush assisted in the thickening of the city’s walls, and helped establish guard-towers and medical bays, the halting of Kanto’s best soldiers in Agata meant that there was nobody to suppress Sinnoh’s importing of troops in Orre’s west. By May 1917, the siege of Phenac City had begun. Although the six-year battle has been described in many words, soldiers on all sides concur that the “Sacking of Phenac City” was a disastrous campaign, fraught with needless bloodshed and violence. Despite having been well prepared for the attack, the allied forces were little match for Sinnoh’s army, which- whilst inferior in training- was superior by means of technology and pure numbers. The Sinnohan special forces moved around Pyrite- fearing another stab in the back awaited them otherwise- and arrived at Phenac’s Eastern entrance on the same day as their regular soldiers arrived on the West, and all the while they’d been scorching the landscape black. This gesture chocked allied trade routes- meaning supplies needed to be dropped with great inaccuracy and infrequency by quickly trained flying type pokémon- and the destruction of the environment also ensured that the entente could produce no food of its own on the battlefield. Attacked on both sides, the Kantonese/Johto alliance quickly evacuated the citizens of Orre, sending them to safety along with Orre’s anaemic armed forces, in order to find refuge in Johto: More often than not, these evacuees would escape on the back of an alliance soldier’s flying type pokémon, and- upon returning- that pokémon would be shot down. They were forced into a series of small trenches and segregated camps established within Phenac City’s walls, and from there they valiantly fought the onslaught until 1920, at which point Sinnoh pushed its way through the city gates, and seized the South-Eastern quarter. As the battle continued, their territory grew as the alliance’s dwindled: Once revered sandstone artistry was turned to concrete dust before men’s eyes, brothers were parted by hot lead, or the cool graze of wartime pokémon’s claws, and the “Jewel of the East”, Orre’s political and economic capital, was reduced to naught more than a crimson, dusty crater in heart of a motionless black desert. By 1922, most of the Kantonese armed forces had been killed in action, and what remained of Johto’s military might was rapidly moving in the same direction. They controlled only the North-Eastern corner of the city, and even that was subject to sudden change whenever a night-watchman who’d already done three shifts that week grew too weary to focus. By this point, it was clear: The war was lost, and Sinnoh had left very little country worth saving. By 1923, the Kantonese/Johto alliance officially surrendered, withdrawing their troops from Phenac, and- after lengthy negotiations- finally freeing the Kantonese Rangers from their internment from Agata (which, as part of a post-war contract, Sinnoh swore to leave untouched.) And that, truly, was the bloodiest war this world had ever seen. Even now, in the year 1924, it persists in some forms: Those of Orre’s inhabitants who didn’t flee to Johto when the war turned sour remain, fighting a lengthy revolution against the imposing Sinnohan military. But that is not our story. --- Goldenrod City was once a beacon of hope for the struggling nations of “The Great War.” It boasted the title of being the largest city in the world, and flaunted such contemporary attractions as the world’s first radio station (built upon war-time technology), and a series of spacious and resourceful department buildings… And one mustn’t forget the powerful steam engines manufactured there, which could journey as far as Kanto in less than three days, and had been paramount in bringing the two nations together, into a close and secure partnership founded upon economics, advancement and a truly vibrant shared history, as the hosts of the world’s oldest ruins and cultures. But, whilst these things may have been designed to bring the regions together, all good things can be corrupted. Following the escalation of the war in 1913, all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 25 were asked to step up and fight for their countries: It was, in some senses, a voluntary conscription. Then, following the events of the battle of Agata, 1914, Johto and Kanto’s governments grew desperate to replenish the numbers now imprisoned within the forest’s borders, which resulted in a large portion (as much as 75%) of law enforcers and medical professionals being drafted to fight on the battlefield. By the time the war reached its peak in 1920, it’s theorised that there was only around 7% of Johto’s original police force still working. This sudden loss of law enforcement in a city as large as Goldenrod, when combined with the amount of money- generated by tourists, and wealthy residents- flowing through the city’s streets, and the sudden ability to speak to the whole world in unison (as of the advent of radio) ensured the birth of a power struggle throughout Johto. Petty street gangs, made up of crooks and thieves, began to grow more prominent in an effort to fill the vacuum the police had left behind: They grew confident, and cocky. None more-so than Team Rocket, a nefarious group of pokémon thieves, and, if they weren’t given their way, terrorists. The roads ran rampant with pokémon theft, and the city was clutched by the pale hand of fear. Would they ask for protection money today? Who knew? Would they take it seriously, even if you paid them? Those who said yes were still vandalised: Those who said no, brutalised. Times were dark all over, battlefield or no. And in desperate times, people vote for desperate measures. Enter Giovanni, a charming and sociable political advocate who swore to end the age of oppression Team Rocket had laid down across not just Goldenrod, but Johto as a whole. He was a veteran of the war- having served from 1913 until 1917- and, on top of that, a reformed gangster himself. A man who knew how their minds worked, but had- he claimed- seen the errors of his ways, and opted instead to live the life of a good man. His face was trustworthy, his voice smooth and his promises, music to their ears. So of course, when mayoral elections arose in 1919, he was their primary candidate, and won by a landslide. If only, then, he’d been telling the truth. In all actuality, he was Team Rocket’s founder, their father and tutor: A manipulative soul, who played the role of the invisible puppet master, and pulled at their tangled, chaotic strings whilst he himself kept his gloves without scuff nor scrape. Make no mistake, Giovanni was a plane dealing villain. Upon his election, the police force increased in numbers, but those who were recruited often turned out to be crooked, working from some personal angle, if not for Team Rocket themselves. Furthermore, those who suspected Giovanni- as, indeed, his inaction in Team Rocket’s dealings elicited some serious criticisms- were promptly silenced by bands of marauding thugs, who instilled a chilling effect that ensured nobody would ever dare challenge his role in office. They even enforced a prohibition, of a kind: All bars and taverns would sell only the cheap, knock-off rotgut that Rocket themselves brewed, no ales or spirits that belonged to any other brewery. If you were caught running an establishment that sold anything but Rocket’s brand- of course, known as “Giovanni’s Own” and only unofficially supported by Team Rocket’s leaders- you could guarantee your bar would mysteriously catch alight one evening, whether you were inside or not, and that some strangers you’d never seen nor heard of will have claimed the insurance long before you. These days, the world looks dark. The steam engines that had once brought Kanto and Johto together are now idle and lifeless, and the glorious Goldenrod Train Station they’d belonged to, decimated by a terror attack in the fall of 1923. The radio that once broadcast thoughts to the world now just spouts political jingoisms, in between repetitive musical renditions of pre-war classics, and messages reminding Goldenrod’s citizens to throw a silent ‘thank you’ Giovanni’s way. Men and women continue with their daily lives- as indeed, they must- but do so knowing that they are under Team Rocket’s thumb. The police try to enforce law, but this is a lawless town at heart: The Jennies (as they are colloquially known) have tried remorselessly to stir Mayor Giovanni into actions, but he feigns innocence, ignorance, and assures them that he’s doing all he can. If we continue on this path, Team Rocket will destroy this great city. Something must be done. Welcome to Pokémon Noir! The region of Johto has grown restless and uneasy in these two years since the great war drew to its close: Now, trainers and soldiers alike live under the manipulative fingers of Giovanni. You’ll be living in this world, and either fighting against it, or to preserve it. But first, some ground rules. No pokémon, moves or items that came after generation IV. In this roleplay, Unova and Kalos are none-existent, and by extension, so are their pokémon. Battles are to be decided based on good, honest roleplaying. Just try to have fun! Don’t be afraid of losing, it’ll happen inevitably! Under no circumstances are you to kill another roleplayer’s character or pokémon unless sanctioned to by them personally. You must play an adult of some description, you cannot be a ten year old just starting out on your journey. This game predates gym badges, TMs and HMs, and is specific to Goldenrod: You will not be roaming around trying to win gym badges. Your pokémon can’t know moves it would learn post-level 50, and can only know a HM move if it makes sense for it to know such (i.e. a flying type knowing “Fly”, but specifically a flying type that looks like a bird, as opposed to Gyarados.) There is no fairy type. And by extension, no fairy type moves. You can only start with four pokémon, and none in storage. You will start with only two pokéballs. Hey there everyone! Captain Jenno here, newly emigrated from a foreign roleplaying forum far, far away and looking for some roleplaying friends! I'll just be straight forwards with you here: This is a noir roleplay incorporated into the Pokémon World, not just a new Pokémon game of its own. It's seedy, it's crime filled and there'll be violence and chaos aplenty. This is a darker take on the Pokémon franchise, I guess, taking place in the 1920s in the mafiosa-run remnants of Goldenrod city, beautiful by daylight and a horror-show by night. I'm looking for roleplayers who can promise me a couple of posts a week, maybe three if they're feeling generous. I'm not asking for much. Two or three paragraphs per post, with decent writing but a good mind for having fun and telling a story, too. How's it sound?