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WORLDBUILDING: "Different Eyes" - A Setting With Pokémorphs In It

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Hi there, I'm unrepentantAuthor, and I write a pokémon fanfiction called Different Eyes. It's mostly about pokémorphs, but as I've worked on it I've found questions of worldbuilding come up time and time again. It's in my nature as an author to pay attention to details of the setting, and to try to compromise between the essence of the canon and my desire to be realistic, or at least to feel authentic.

I'll post in here occasionally with bits and pieces of worldbuilding specific to Different Eyes, but I'm sure to be more active if you ask questions and prompt me to think about whatever aspect of the pokémon world most interests you.

To start out, here's a somewhat concise summary of the setting of Different Eyes...

The pokémon world as shown in the anime, the games, the manga - those are just that. Entertainment media. This world is a world of pokémon to be sure, but it's also our world, a parallel timeline in which kami are real and you can capture them in metal spheres that fit in your pocket.

The countries of the world are largely the same, but as pokémon exist, not so much wilderness has been devastated. It's hardly to maintain an intensive logging industry when the local fauna fight back with magical powers. Nevertheless, history has played out similarly, perhaps by chance but perhaps by fate. The modern world is a benign one in relative terms, but climate change, international conflict and systemic poverty exist just as they do in our world.

Not all the fantasy technologies from the franchise exist in this setting. Pokéballs do, of course, but that's a cutting edge tech relying on the mysterious and poorly understood matter composition of pokémon. No teleportation here!

Pokémon themselves vocalise like animals rather than saying their names. (Growing up mostly with the games, I always found the anime convention infuriating. Note that Origins and Generations follow this convention!) They are also widely varied within their species, in the same way that animals in our world are rarely homogenous within a population. There are also many thousands of pokémon species in existence, though cataloguing them is arduous.

Obviously the critical uniqueness in this setting is the existence of pokémorphs: pokémon-human hybrids created from living pokémon in secret. An urban legend exists about a pokémon with human genes and human intelligence called "Mewtwo" but it has never been verified by a reputable source. When the story begins, they are a new development by an organisation known as Perihelion, ostensibly to bridge the gap in communication between species, but also to use as agents against their ideological opponents. More on pokémorphs in later posts.

[Index to come]

So, please, do ask questions about the setting and comment on what I share! I have a lot of fun getting stuck into worldbuilding, I hope there are others here who feel the same.
 
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10/10 thread

Okay, I've got a question: how do humans in your world get to understanding Pokémon? I believe I've seen PokéSign in Different Eyes so far, but how do humans learn that? Does that mean PokéSign is universal, across all species, with the animalistic sounds differentiating between species? Except I imagine a Klang having a more difficult time signing compared to Salem the Purrloin. Similarly, then, how do Pokémon learn how to sign and human speech?

By one question I meant a million. I'm sure the details will continue to be expanded on in the story, but I like the idea of having the full technical rundown too, heh.
 
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Aw, thanks @diamondpearl876!

Pokésign is a crude auxiliary form of communication alongside animal-analogous vocalisation and body language (and even speech in the case of some birds and humanoids!) It was developed organically, and is therefore not a consistent conlang with rules equally applicable to all pokémon or to all regions. It's rife with misinterpretation or inaccessibility to certain pokémon. The problem is mitigated somewhat by the fact that pokémon with few or no extremities to sign with tend to be less cognitively sophisticated and socially-inclined, but it still sucks to be a serperior for example, a pokémon with plenty of intelligence but few ways to communicate.

Pokésign is not universally learnt by either pokémon or humans, it's actually most ubiquitous in jobs that require human-pokémon cooperation and in the competitive pokémon training community. Your average civilian might only know a couple of basic signs such as [food] or [pokémon trainer] and not all pokémon get the chance to learn. Proto-pokésign also most certainly originated in a community of humanoid pokémon, so the sophisticated signs assume that you have a humanoid morphology and even fingers. Naturally, this drastically hinders the ability of other pokémon to express themselves properly.

English-speaking pokémon are uncommon, but some birds such as murkrow have the facility to mimic sounds and the brainpower to learn human words. The chatot in chapter three of DE is a particularly articulate example. Some humanoid pokémon have a limited ability to copy human vocalisations if exposed to human languages from birth - think Caesar from the 2011 Planet of the Apes franchise. This is most common in anthropomorphic fighting or psychic types, medicham being an excellent example of either.

Nevertheless, spoken communication is typically a frustrating challenge, and the ability to vocalise coherent relevant English words does not automatically indicate equal sapience to humans or confer equal rights and personhood upon pokémon, at least according to societal consensus and the state.

Notable mention to metagross! Metagross in DE canon are more similar to digital computers than to mammals, and this presents the interesting challenge of communicating with them through AI interfaces. It's an emerging field.

More questions! I'm ready!
 
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Ooh, this is going to be an interesting thread... because worldbuilding is indeed a very fun thing! Probably one of my favorite parts about writing, actually. But on to the question that I have for you today:

One of the things that tickled me most while reading chapter one was seeing the anime, games, and other real-life Pokémon media being reduced to merchandise fodder in this more-realistic Pokémon world. After all, it would make sense that the more fantastical elements from those sources would be regarded as just that - fantasy - in such a world. That said, this also had me thinking a bit about the villainous teams from said anime and games, whose wackier plots included attempting to increase the world's landmass/seas in the name of Pokémon, opening a portal to an alternate dimension in order to create a new world, and resurrecting a pair of dragons out of ancient stones as part of an elaborate plot to "liberate" Pokémon/take over the world. I'd imagine that evil is a bit less... extreme... in the world of Different Eyes... but how, exactly? Is it closer to to the terrorist organizations that exist in our world, or does it have its own unique flavor instead? Like, say, a corporate flavor, not unlike that of the apparently shady Perihelion organization?
 
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@InfiniteBakuphoon, thank you for this! As recently as 2016, I was still intending to set DE in a fully-realised pokéworld, so the decision to instead meld it with our world was not taken lightly. Incorporating the real franchise in a counterfactual way seems to have gone over well, and I'm very pleased about that.

The villainous teams of the Gotta Catch 'em All TV show and affiliated media are of course fictional in the setting of Different Eyes, but that's not to say that sinister organisations don't exist, nor that the goals and practices of those antagonists aren't social concerns in DE.
  • Teams Rocket & Skull are essentially stand-ins for organised crime, which certainly exists. There might even be a notorious "Rocket-dan" criminal gang which the franchise is parodying. The DE prelude, a speech by a Perihelion representative, heavily implies that someone still created Mewtwo in this canon, potentially with funding from organised criminals.
  • Teams Magma & Aqua are fantasy ecoterrorists in RSE and respectively invested in creating new habitable landmasses or wiping out harmful human civilisation in ORAS. These sort of concerns are real ones, both in our world and the DE canon, and there are individuals and groups pursuing those goals. The Perihelion Association actually has a stance on this, which is to preserve remaining global wildernesses and find technological or social solutions to issues of scarcity.
  • Teams Galactic & Flare seek to remake the world using primordial legendary pokémon. This is very much a fantasy, as in DE canon, dialga and palkia are not unique nor creator-deities despite their vast power, and one would be hard-pressed indeed to harness that power.
  • Team Plasma are a pressure group seeking pokémon liberation. Plenty of real groups exist which seek animal liberation, most notoriously the sham organisation known as PETA. Therefore it is sensible for such pressure groups to exist in the world of DE, albeit not in such a fantastical way as Team Plasma. The Perihelion Association is a signatory to an international convention prescribing ethical standards for the care and treatment of pokémon, but what constitutes abuse or proper care for pokémon remains controversial.
That's all stuff about how the franchise is creating media based on the zeitgeist, but there are 'evils' both resembling those of the real world and specific to a pokémon universe.

Since the setting of DE is based on our reality, many of the same global issues still persist, most notably climate change and pollution. It's not such a severe problem in some ways, as human civilisation in DE simply occupies less of the world's landmass than it does in real life (with the larger expanses of wilderness existing due to the presence of pokémon), but worse in others (as pokémon like grimer come into being in response to pollution). Warfare and terrorism also exist, although I'm not going to delve into that too deeply because it's outside the scope and theme of the story and because "World War Two With Pokémon" has been done not to mention I don't feel comfortable either canonising genocide in my setting or whitewashing genocide in a timeline based on our own.

The issues specific to the existence of pokémon are numerous and the creation of pokémorphs is chief among them. The capture and theft of powerful creatures, the use of pokémon in experiments, and even the existence of pokéballs at all are all antagonistic or malevolent to some degree.

As for the Perihelion Association, they're a fun one. I very much wanted to deconstruct the trope in almost all the morph fic I've read where morphs are created by shady nefarious cartels (usually Team Rocket) in order to use them as supersoldiers yet abuse them so much they inevitably rebel. Perihelion is a corporate syndicate with very little oversight, which is shady as hell, but they genuinely do have excellent ethics for everything from employee benefits to their ecological footprint. You can run a great company and still be sinister as hell, of course. Think Hank Scorpio. I don't want to spoil the morphing project too much, since looking into it is a multi-arc Thing, but I will say that it's far from unambiguously villainous. I don't really like writing unambiguous evil in the first place, I rarely find it as believable or as compelling as grey stuff.

A further note on writing grey stuff: I don't believe in intrinsic morality, I believe that ethics are something we decide for ourselves in a nihilistic universe. I take a consequentialist approach to my ethics rather than a deontological one (read: I believe that the morality of an action is context-dependent and Emmanuel Kant was hella wrong). Therefore, the idea of completely good or completely evil parties just doesn't sit well to me. I think any narrative where the villain has no sympathetic traits and the hero is above criticism is an unsophisticated/naive/even deceptive one. Propaganda vibes, my friends.

This went extremely long. That's... going to keep happening. Cheers, InfiniteBakuphoon!

Next!
 
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I read chapter 3 and saw how annoyed Salem got with humans easily. :p Makes me wonder how often Pokémon end up with trainers they don't like and, by extension, how many leave their trainers? I realize you probably don't have actual numbers, lol, and not even sure my question makes sense, but! Figured I'd try.
 
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Salem's an interesting case because she became accustomed to a lifestyle her human carer couldn't sustain. Most pokémon don't have such difficulty, either through having more attention paid them, more freedom and stimulation, or by having relationships with other pokémon and other humans besides their carer. Salem's tragedy comes about because she didn't have the agency to choose a lifestyle that could last past her carer going to uni.

Most pokémon that engage in competitive battling are comfortable with doing so, what with battles being a common natural behaviour in pokémon and it being difficult to coerce magical beings more powerful than yourself into participation in combat sports. Nevertheless, not all pokémon have any interest in doing this and not all pokémon that do are happy to do so with the first trainer that captures them. The first issue is only infrequently a problem as only pokémon willing to interact with humans are likely to be approached by trainers on 'training routes', but poaching in protected wilds is a serious problem. The other issue, of incompatibility, sometimes leads to release or loss of a pokémon, and sometimes in trading to a trainer who might be a better match.

I don't have actual numbers, of course, but I anticipate that the percentage of runaway pokémon would be low but steady.

Note that outright abuse of pokémon in this setting is less common than abuse of animals in ours, but that benevolent neglect is insufficiently recognised as a problem. Salem's physical needs were provided for by Laura and she was treated well by and large, but her dependency on large amounts of time spent communicating and learning were eventually dismissed when inconvenient. This is an entirely unintentional form of neglect, but it is negligence nonetheless.

Happy to get more questions!
 
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So, I still remember this thread exists, and I still want to fill it up, and I'd still love for people to ask questions and gives prompts & suggestions.

However, I'm waiting until Gen VIII comes out to really get stuck in, as I'm certain Galar will greatly inform the setting of DE, which is intended to be set in "Britain" aka Galar. I can still write the parts of DE that have no relationship to that fact, of course.

I also recently saw Detective Pikachu, and I anticipated that it might inform my worldbuilding somewhat. It was grand! I'm not convinced that no "food chain filler" mundane animals should exist, and I don't like that the film sustained the "pokémon say their names" trope, but it did have some worldbuilding content I really appreciated. However, the film hasn't been out long, so I'll avoid spoiling anyone reading this. Suffice it to say that it reminded me of starting the predecessor to DE for the first time way back in the day, in ~2006.

Anyway, hit me if you want! I love getting worldbuilding tasks. Helps direct the work.
 
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Hm, it seems there's been a bunch of great questions so far in this thread... so it's time for me to ask stupid ones!

  • Are all Pokémon compatible with morphization? If they aren't now, is that a goal?
  • If a particularly tricky mon walks in, will they say they don't know how to morphize their kind and turn them away, or will they take them in and start research?
  • What if a morph goes wrong and turns out horribly mangled? Are they de-morphed or just put down?
  • Can de-morphing be done? Has anyone requested such a thing?
  • Are complete morphs still considered animals legally due to lack of legislation?
  • Is it legally bestiality to have intimate relations with one? Asking for a friend.
And now for the bonus round of Pokemorph anatomy questions:
  • Would a Machamp or multi-limbed mon keep or lose its extra limbs?
  • Would a Seviper or other serpentine mon grow new limbs? Which limbs?
  • Do mon with wings (that are not their primary forelimbs) lose those? If not, do they become flightless?
  • Do invertebrate morphs grow an internal skeleton?
  • Do plant morphs generate internal organs?
  • Does Perihelion have plans / programs for morphization of non-biological mon, such as the Metagross you mentioned?
  • Ghosts. How do those tie into morphs, and how do they work in your world in general?
  • Does an especially large mon (i.e. Gyarados) shrink in the morphing process? If so, how much?
  • What happens to multi-headed mon?
  • Do morphs always retain their type? How are types considered in your world?
  • I remember asking this in chat with you once, but I forgot about the answer. Is the morphing process sterilizing? I imagine it is between a morph and non-morph, but how about a morph and another morph of the same species? Is that actually a goal, to have morphs be biologically viable in that way to reproduce without problems? (Smallness of the gene pool isn't considered.) It'd be a much less expensive way to produce more morphs.
  • Omastar morph when pls thanks.
 
Morphing Challenges & Morph Anatomy Questions
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Why, thank you! Those are great questions! Gentle content warning for the faint of heart: there's some implied body horror down below.

Are all Pokémon compatible with morphization? If they aren't now, is that a goal?
They are not all compatible, and it may never be possible for several species. The most esoteric pokémon, with body plans that don't even remotely resemble a vertebrate's, are hard pressed to actually survive the Gen II process. Gen I was even more restrictive. Certainly Perihelion would like to be able to create morphs from the widest possible selection of species, and future developments will allow some weirder species to morph, but not all.

If a particularly tricky mon walks in, will they say they don't know how to morphize their kind and turn them away, or will they take them in and start research?
They'll keep them. The appropriate research, if applicable, will already be ongoing, and the psychology of morphing candidates is a very important research topic in itself. Even if nothing can be done, they can be on hand as an assistant to the human staff or a companion to the morphs. Not to mention, any pokémon that becomes aware of the program represents a security breach if turned away at that point.

What if a morph goes wrong and turns out horribly mangled? Are they de-morphed or just put down?
If they aren't suffering greatly, then such a morph would represent important data for future development of the process. However, Perihelion's ethics board favours euthanasia in cases of indefinite low quality of life. This has happened on more than one occasion.

Can de-morphing be done? Has anyone requested such a thing?
Although there has been essentially no research into this topic, nobody in Perihelion's research cadre expects such a thing to be possible. You can trigger genetic fusion with a sample of human DNA, but there's no proposal for a procedure to induce reversion. Sorry to any morphs with buyer's remorse. You're stuck like that.

Are complete morphs still considered animals legally due to lack of legislation?
If morphs are ever exposed to public knowledge, their legal status will be an absolute nightmare to resolve. Very few serious legislators will take the stance that the exact same laws should apply without modification, if only because morphs cannot be held inside pokéballs. Significantly, most morphs are at least theoretically capable of fluent human speech, and some nations already have legislation protecting the most intelligent pokémon as "non-human persons," much as India does with dolphins in our world. Also relevant is the fact that while morphs in this setting are created from pokémon, the public doesn't know that in this story right now. A morph that went public somehow could easily pretend to have been a human in the first place.

Is it legally bestiality to have intimate relations with one? Asking for a friend.
This would be another legal nightmare in most countries. Firstly, it is usually possible to have intimate relations with a morph in the first place (without having to be particularly inventive, that is.) I suppose a vindictive person could report a human/morph couple to an unsympathetic legal system, but your average morph can communicate verbally to express that they have given consent, which rather takes the wind out of such an effort. Doesn't stop people from expressing revulsion. I feel like if morphs became publicly acknowledged and accepted, that any interspecies couple would get harassed by trolls day in, day out.

General note on hybrid anatomy:
All of these anatomical prompts are fantastic and tricky questions. Thank you for them! The morphing process is of course complete soft-science science-fiction, but the general principle is that the bodies of (Gen II or later) hybridised pokémon change to meet the following minimum criteria:
  • Cognitive sophistication equal to a human's
  • A mouth capable of human speech
  • Hands capable of fine manipulation and gripping
  • A digestive system that can handle a similar diet to that of typical humans
There are a number of other features that often turn up, but not always. I'm kinda covering my ass here.

Would a Machamp or multi-limbed mon keep or lose its extra limbs?
Morphs don't lose their surplus limbs, but they may become vestigial. Machamp is one example of a morph which consistently ends up with four fully human arms, regardless of the generation or whether they were a machamp already when morphed. Something like a scolipede will likely have a bunch of useless tiny limbs tucked into its upper garments.

Would a Seviper or other serpentine mon grow new limbs? Which limbs?
Arms always turn up. Legs don't tend to if they're not already there and the subject already has a means of locomotion, such as lateral undulation. This results in what you might call nagas and mermaids. There are conflicting theories about why this happens, and why pokémon with digitigrade legs don't become plantigrade when morphed. (What, did you think the scientists knew how this shit worked?)

Do mon with wings (that are not their primary forelimbs) lose those? If not, do they become flightless?
Dragons and the like don't lose their wings, no. Morphs with wings for primary forelimbs will keep their feathers or membranes, but the transformation of their wings into arms with hands often means loss of flight. Very powerful morphs such as most flying dragons will retain at least some flight capability and most winged morphs can still glide and flap, at least. A major character coming up has to deal with loss of flight.

Do invertebrate morphs grow an internal skeleton?
No, they don't. Not typically, anyway. Invertebrates keep whatever it is that was holding them together, and that generally does the trick. This irritates medical staff to no end, since it means there are a lot of morphs with biology that isn't quite like anything they know.

Do plant morphs generate internal organs?
Yeah, to some extent. But if their biology already supports a physical process, they don't tend to gain redundant organs to replace that function.

Does Perihelion have plans / programs for morphization of non-biological mon, such as the Metagross you mentioned?
Yes, absolutely. Gen III morphing accommodates a much more diverse range of pokémon species, including metagross, but it has its limits. (Don't morph an eggsecute. Don't morph a klefki. Don't morph a voltorb. Just don't.)

Ghosts. How do those tie into morphs, and how do they work in your world in general?
It's practically impossible to put a gaseous creature in a morphing tank, so you can never use the Gen II process on a gastly. A Gen I gastly morph would just dissipate in the embryonic stage. A Gen III gastly could possibly handle becoming a morph, but it would be a bit of a messy experience. Other, fleshy ghosts aren't really a problem, but pokémon made of insubstantial "flesh" are a pain in the ass for morphing purposes. Even when it can be done, they tend to have difficulty functioning like a morph and doing things like using tools, speaking, or subsisting on a normal diet. Still, they can be incredibly useful assets.

Does an especially large mon (i.e. Gyarados) shrink in the morphing process? If so, how much?
They do, but usually it's best just to morph a magikarp first or something. You'd have to fit the gyarados inside a morphing tank, which is something of a challenge. If you did build a swimming pool sized morphing tank for the purpose, though, you'd end up with a gyarados morph that was easily seven feet or more in height, having shrunk enormously. This takes longer than "growth" morphs and can be even especially disorienting and stressful to the resulting hybrid, so it's rarely done.

What happens to multi-headed mon?
They tend to keep them. It's not often a good time. A dodrio, for example, will become a morph with three heads, each with its own personality. Such a creature is not a reliable or functional candidate for almost any task, and distresses itself greatly in most cases. Not all polycephalous pokémon do as badly as dodrio when morphed, while others do even worse.

Do morphs always retain their type? How are types considered in your world?
They always retain their type, yes. Pokémon appear to be composed of a weird bullshit energy that is hardly understood, and this energy has a kind of elemental signature that interacts differently with weird bullshit energy of different kinds. This property is called the "type" and there are countless fascinating but ultimately unenlightening observations to be made on types. Pokémon types are actually continuous rather than discrete, but for the sake of making combat sports and general type-specific care accessible, researchers assign no more than two types based on the most dominant properties of a pokémon species' energy signature. So for example, if we were being entirely accurate, charizard is actually fire, flying and dragon type to a noticeable degree. However, the "dragon" component constitutes a less significant part of the overall mix, so league publications refer to it as a fire/flying type pokémon.

I remember asking this in chat with you once, but I forgot about the answer. Is the morphing process sterilizing? I imagine it is between a morph and non-morph, but how about a morph and another morph of the same species? Is that actually a goal, to have morphs be biologically viable in that way to reproduce without problems? (Smallness of the gene pool isn't considered.) It'd be a much less expensive way to produce more morphs.
Gen I morphs are almost always sterile, and tend to have other health problems. Gen II morphs are typically fertile, and can often interbreed with something that isn't radically different — offspring take the mother's species, but pokémon in this setting don't reproduce through egg laying if they're mammalian, for example. Gen III morphs are almost always fertile and capable of interbreeding with other Gen III morphs. It is absolutely a goal to have morphs be reproductively viable, and natural-born morphs with parents of any generation are always called Gen IV morphs. Gen IV would be the preferred way to make more morphs, save that it takes much longer to wait for them to reach full maturity, whereas a Gen II morph can be of use after a few months and a Gen III morph can be of use within weeks.

Omastar morph when pls thanks.
Later... if you're very good and I'm feeling generous.
 
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Trade Evolution & Mega Evolution
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Some stuff I was thinking about last night.

"Trade evolution" in this setting is still a thing that happens, but it's not the actual trade that triggers it, it's the "holy shit, I'm with a different person and different peers on a different path, I have no idea what to expect and all my expectations no longer matter" feeling that does it. Naturally occurring trade evos would be triggered by, for example, coming home one day to find your family dead. Evolution is always a response to pressures of different types that require maturation. Often this is just "I'm older and stronger now" but sometimes perfectly mature pokémon have an optional final form that's basically a trauma response.

Mega evolution is pretty much an emergency fight-or-flight form in response to absolutely critical danger that occurs only once in a generation in natural populations, and only for moments at a time. Many mega evolutions are pretty self-damaging and have frightening or disturbing dex entries. They involve freaking out and becoming concerned solely with the immediate conflict, which is not necessarily a battle if you're a pokémorph. For a pokémon with a competent trainer, mega evolutions are a kind of berserk mode super saiyan form that's hard to trigger without certain catalysts, like a strong bond, a clear intention from the trainer, and often a talisman made from resonant minerals. Pokémorphs don't need any of those things because they have the human traits that help to trigger and stabilise a mega form. However, for a pokémorph, they're more like panic attacks.
 
Gender, Death and Religion for New Morphs
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Some thoughts I've had recently:
  • Plenty of pokémon have sexual reproduction and therefore two or more physical sexes. This doesn't mean that many new pokémorphs will have a particular conception of gender. Using gendered pronouns isn't inconceivable or anything, it takes as much effort to learn as, say, using different verb tenses. Still, some morphs get stuck on pronouns and will just use the first one they learnt for every situation until they make a sufficient number of humans uncomfortable. Others are quick to identify as a gender other than their assigned one, and aren't sure why this comes as a surprise to humans.

  • Morph attitudes to life and death vary wildly, and while nobody's sure yet since morphs are new, it sure seems like they have a human metabolism and a human lifespan. This leads to some serious incongruity in attitudes by, in particular, bug types. Reconciling "death is cheap, live fast" with an eighty year life expectancy isn't easy. Neither is facing the thought that as a dragon, you may have cut your lifespan by nine tenths by opting into this and you can only find out by waiting. There haven't been many morph deaths yet, but there's a certain existentialism is bubbling pretty heavily under the surface.

  • Spirituality comes surprisingly easy to some morphs. After all, the world is fundamentally mysterious, and a developmentally mature morph is psychologically comparable to a poorly adjusted human adult. They're pattern-seekers just like humans. They want to explain the connections between actions and consequences and believing in gods helps some morphs. Of course, their conceptions of such things might be pretty different to the most successful human religious beliefs, i.e. omnipotent monotheism isn't popular with morphs.
 
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Starting to do worldbuilding again, making some different decisions and looking for ideas to chew on. Bumping this in case anyone wants to prompt me.
 
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Here are a few questions:

It's been established that pokeballs don't work on morphs. What about other items: potions, X attack/defense/etc., Revives, TMs, etc.? Do any of those items even exist in your world?

Do 'moves' exist as a phenomena that can be distinguished from 'natural' abilities morphs or Pokemon possess? That is, when a Pokemon uses 'scratch', are they just scratching something with their claws, or are they channeling some sort of energy? Is there a continuum between 'scratch' and 'slash' with no clear dividing line, or are those moves two discrete entities, such that e.g. a Pokemon could have scratch taken away with disable but still be able to use slash? Do meta-moves like disable, sketch, mirror-move, etc. even exist?

I feel like this one has already been addressed somewhere, but I can't find it anywhere, so here goes: If a not-fully-evolved Pokemon is made into a morph, can they still evolve as a morph, or are they stuck in their unevolved form?

Psychic powers! Always something to consider for organizations trying to keep a secret! Can psychic Pokemon/morphs read people's thoughts? If so, what are the limitations on it? Can Lucario 'Aura Reading' perform a similar function, assuming it exists as a distinct phenomena in this world?
 
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@The Walrein - thanks for these!

Medical aid meant for pokémon sometimes has a reduced effect on morphs, but is still of benefit. I consider instant-healing, X items and TMs to be gameplay abstractions, and they simply aren't present.

"Moves" are charged with the mysterious energy present in pokémon, and are therefore distinct from simply making physical contact with claws, or aking physical contact with water/fire/etc. However, the names for moves - scratch, for example - and the discrete types of pokémon and moves, are labels rather than innate qualities. They're simply a useful human system for addressing the practical concerns of battling. Those meta-moves are trickier! I expect the easiest answer is to say that they work essentially as you expect them to and not worry too much, but now I want to get into the details! Let me know if you have any interesting suggestions.

Morphs can evolve! It tends to be much slower than the near-instantaneous evolution of ordinary pokémon, typically taking several minutes, but it generally goes without much of a hitch.

Telepathy might glean some surface thoughts, but isn't terribly invasive, and can only be targeted with proper training. Pokémon don't tend to be able to meaningfully read thoughts, except for the most humanlike species, such as gardevoir. Perihelion are careful about what psychic morphs they create, and the mere presence of dark types can reduce the efficacy of psychic abilities. The value of aura reading is rather overstated - it tends to be most useful as a means of spotting living beings in conditions of limited visibility.
 
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