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Team Building in Fanfics

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Why is this so hard? Now, I don't mean character development for the Pokémon. What I mean is this: How to decide what Pokémon I should put on the team? Anyone got any advice? Should I do like a theme or what?

Note: I'm not worried about moves and such. I will worry about that later.
 
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For me, I iron out the Trainer's nature and characteristics, along with any personality quirks (ie: fears), along with battling preferences (ie: prefers glass cannon Mons) and type preferences (ie: prefers Grass types) before making a team for them. Then I use that as a baseline to identify what Mons would fit best. I also use the regional dex for whatever region the Trainer is in to make out any teams (ie: the Platinum Sinnoh Dex for the Sinnoh arcs). Naturally, you can always make exceptions to whatever "rules" you give a character, especially if it helps the character in question grow and develop (ie: in my series, Geo is afraid of Ghost types but ends up with 2 in his team/reserves by the time the Sinnoh Saga ends, which helps him learn to overcome, or at least swallow down, his fear of them). You can also use the games, playthroughs, and even the manga to help give you some ideas on what Mons would fit a certain character, especially if your character was inspired by a game/manga character (ie: Jodi in my series was inspired by Platinum in the Adventures manga, thus she shares a couple of Mons and has similar personality traits with her). That's my 2 cents. Feel free to spend it however you want.
 
For me, I iron out the Trainer's nature and characteristics, along with any personality quirks (ie: fears), along with battling preferences (ie: prefers glass cannon Mons) and type preferences (ie: prefers Grass types) before making a team for them. Then I use that as a baseline to identify what Mons would fit best. I also use the regional dex for whatever region the Trainer is in to make out any teams (ie: the Platinum Sinnoh Dex for the Sinnoh arcs). Naturally, you can always make exceptions to whatever "rules" you give a character, especially if it helps the character in question grow and develop (ie: in my series, Geo is afraid of Ghost types but ends up with 2 in his team/reserves by the time the Sinnoh Saga ends, which helps him learn to overcome, or at least swallow down, his fear of them). You can also use the games, playthroughs, and even the manga to help give you some ideas on what Mons would fit a certain character, especially if your character was inspired by a game/manga character (ie: Jodi in my series was inspired by Platinum in the Adventures manga, thus she shares a couple of Mons and has similar personality traits with her). That's my 2 cents. Feel free to spend it however you want.
It does make sense to figure out the trainer first before worrying about the team. Is there anything else to team building, or am I just making it seem bigger than it is/making it harder for myself by starting with the team first?
 
It does make sense to figure out the trainer first before worrying about the team. Is there anything else to team building, or am I just making it seem bigger than it is/making it harder for myself by starting with the team first?

You should start with the Trainer first (or at least any basic info that would be helpful) and then do any team building. A good starting point when creating a team is to identify a "starter" for the character and use that as a stepping stone to other teammates. And it doesn't have to be a "traditional" starter like Bulbasaur or Chimchar, it could be any Mon that resides in the region (be it a canon region or an original one), though there's nothing wrong with going with a traditional starter, either. Whichever is most convenient to the writer. A good idea is to use the "Mons as Characterization" trope for help identify a starter and build it from there (ie: in my series Geo's "starter" is a female Ralts that eventually becomes a Gardevoir, and as identified in the first chapter they're both very similar: weak physically but strong mentally and spiritually, as in both Geo and Lora the Ralts/Gardevoir are not very physically strong/durable but have strong minds, wills, and are quite intelligent and resourceful). That can often help give you a starting point and allow you to build it from there. But always start with at least the basic info on the Trainer first and work from there. And don't be afraid to experiment in the team building, especially if it'll help produce character development for said Trainer. Hope that helps.
 
You should start with the Trainer first (or at least any basic info that would be helpful) and then do any team building. A good starting point when creating a team is to identify a "starter" for the character and use that as a stepping stone to other teammates. And it doesn't have to be a "traditional" starter like Bulbasaur or Chimchar, it could be any Mon that resides in the region (be it a canon region or an original one), though there's nothing wrong with going with a traditional starter, either. Whichever is most convenient to the writer. A good idea is to use the "Mons as Characterization" trope for help identify a starter and build it from there (ie: in my series Geo's "starter" is a female Ralts that eventually becomes a Gardevoir, and as identified in the first chapter they're both very similar: weak physically but strong mentally and spiritually, as in both Geo and Lora the Ralts/Gardevoir are not very physically strong/durable but have strong minds, wills, and are quite intelligent and resourceful). That can often help give you a starting point and allow you to build it from there. But always start with at least the basic info on the Trainer first and work from there. And don't be afraid to experiment in the team building, especially if it'll help produce character development for said Trainer. Hope that helps.
I think we can agree that picking a trainer class from the Pokémon games could be a good place to start.
 
The first misstep I've often seen authors make is to start from the perspective of team building in a game, because many of the considerations you'd make in building a game team might not apply to the character in the story. That does depend on the worldbuilding of the story, but I doubt many authors start off a journeyfic by deciding that the competitive circuit looks exactly the same as whatever the meta on Smogon is at the time of writing.

The second point, related to that, is that in the game, you can catch and raise any pokémon you want. Rarity is just a matter of time. Suppose that, in your world, finding a rare pokémon is a matter of searching for months, if not years. Is your teenage trainer going to have the patience or the resources for that? Suppose they would ideally want a powerful pseudo-legendary pokémon on their team. Is this pokémon going to require a special diet that's difficult to maintain for someone who doesn't make their living from training? Does it have a volatile temperament that requires time and expertise to tame?

The third point is that pokémon that look interesting (Or have an interesting moveset, etc) aren't necessarily interesting to write. Case in point would be the many quadrupedal carnivora pokémon. A team full of Eeveelutions might look nice in fanart, but after a couple of battles it's probably going to get boring to write about multicoloured foxes shooting energy beams from their mouths.
 
It's pretty much already been said already but finding mons that fit the trainer's battling style, represent aspects of them and make general sense for them to own depending on background is a good place to start, sometimes literally when it comes to a Starter Pokemon choice.

In my series for example: Kyle's battling style is mostly about creative tactics and stealth. His starting team consists of mons that in one way or another enable a stealthy way to dispatch enemies. His Lucario can use aura to detect where enemies are and where they are facing, like having a radar in a stealth game. His Gabite can use Dig to move about unseen and take enemies by surprise. Frogadier can cover an escape or enable an offense by clouding an area with Smokescreen in addition to evolving one day into a ninja frog. Kyle's own personality is taciturn but dedicated to helping others which does get represented by Lucario's typing; Fighting represents his sense of justice but Steel represents his almost mechanical dedication to his goals. Lucario is or was his starter as a Riolu, him having a Lucario also hints at a nobler side underneath his aloof appearance.

Another example from my series is Rachel; who is the team's primary frontliner. She's hotheaded and prefers to battle enemies head-on which makes Doublade and Hakamo-o as her primary battlers appropriate for her style. She is also a country girl who's family has traditionally owned many Grass type Pokemon, which is the reason for her Starter Pokemon being Bulbasaur, who is an Ivysaur when the story starts.

In any case, if you've got a cool or interesting idea for how a move can be used with the mon that can use it then go for it. Alex in my series owns a Joltik who uses String Shot to zip to enemies and swing from structures Spider-Man style, it's one of the reasons I had to put Joltik on her roster.
 
@Steel_Justice
You know, I just realized something that I didn't think about at the time of making this thread: What if the intended story is not a badge quest, but something entirely different? The playthrough would not make sense and just end up being wasted.
 
@Steel_Justice
You know, I just realized something that I didn't think about at the time of making this thread: What if the intended story is not a badge quest, but something entirely different? The playthrough would not make sense and just end up being wasted.
You could still get a feel for how the Pokemon could play and operate. In addition, you could find other kinds of inspiration for different parts of your intended story. My story isn't a badge quest and I find some ideas and inspiration from the normal games and the mystery dungeon series.
 
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