Part 50: I Don't Wanna Grow Up, I'm a Pokémon Kid (Howling Forest)
Good morning, Sheldon!
Ah, g'morning, Jake. You ready for another day of rescues?
Sure thing! Lemme just check the mailbox.
Aww, there's no mail today!
That's all right. We'll just check the board in town.
Although the mission to Uproar Forest had the feel of a sidequest, we actually had to finish it to advance the plot. Finishing it does trigger an actual sidequest, however, so long as we've also got the Sky Blue Plains Friend Area, which we got from Wonder Mail. (When PMD first came out, you could find a few Wonder Mail codes on promotional material, and one of them would unlock Sky Blue Plains.)
"Smeargle's desperate plea", huh...? That's some title. What's it say? Can you read it?
Sure! Ahem. "Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ross. I once had--"
"Aspirations". Dreams, basically.
I'll read the rest.
No, I can do it! "--aspirations of becoming an artist. Then, one day, there was an... incident of an... unforgivable nature." This guy likes big words. "I fled because I didn't want to become an adult. But then I lost my way. I now find myself in this forest, unable to..."
"Extricate". Get something out, basically.
"--extricate myself. I am lost in the Howling Forest! Somebody! Please save me!"
...It says he ran away because he didn't want to be an adult... what's up with that?
I don't really get it...
Well, let's go rescue this Smeargle!
The forest in which Ross is thought to have gone missing... the Howling Forest is now open for exploration!
If he's lost in the forest, how did he put that note on the bulletin board anyway?
...that's a good question.
Hey, Nigel, you wanna come with us on a rescue mission?
Sure! Lemme just pack a lunch.
Don't worry about that; we've got food already.
Well, then we can have two lunches, can't we?
Works for me!
Okay, okay. Just don't take long; we need to get going!
Welcome to the Howling Forest! It feels a bit darker and denser than the Uproar Forest, and the Pokémon are more of a challenge; while we're still overpowering them, we aren't one-shotting everything here.
Only most everything.
Spoink the Spoink (thanks for the name, Rooreelooo!) joins Team Hugs with a couple different moves, one of which is Splash. Weirdly, Splash is actually more useful in PMD than it is in the main Pokémon games.
Of course, that's because in the main games it does nothing at all in battles, while in PMD it causes the user to fling himself in a random direction and, if he hits someone, do five points of damage to both himself and his victim. So it's more useful in the sense that a D+ is better than a D.
By the way, Spoinks have one of the creepier Pokédex entries, at least if you easily empathize with imaginary cute creatures. Apparently it bounces all the time because its heart is too weak to circulate its blood on its own-- the tail acts as a supplementary pump-- and if it ever stopped bouncing, it'd die. Yeah, that's real territory when you think about it too hard.
I haven't seen this kind of berry before.
It's a Chesto Berry. Its juice keeps you awake for a little while.
Kind of like coffee?
And that's the most successful use of Splash you're going to see in this LP.
Hooray for snow!
It is pretty when you haven't been slogging through it for weeks.
As in the Uproar Forest, the Howling Forest has random weather on certain floors.
Note also the water on the floor here, another thing the two forests have in common.
Aww, the snow's melting!
I love One-Room Orbs. And this should make Shaezerus happy too. (Inside joke.)
Wow, we've found so much stuff in here, there's no more room in the Toolbox. I guess I'll just eat this seed now.
Wait, Jake, that's a--
Allure Seeds cause hallucination, as you can see. Fortunately, the effect only lasts a handful of turns.
There are a few new room types in this dungeon. This one is randomly scattered with small pools. It's more of an annoyance to navigate than anything, though you have to remember some Pokémon can cross the pools.
Now we're getting the good stuff. With All-Terrain Hiker active, Jake can cross water, lava, and a terrain type we haven't seen yet. Unfortunately, it doesn't mean his partners can.
Whoa, where are we?
I didn't know this forest hid a cave system. Everybody stick together; we don't want to get lost.
Augh! What did I just tell you?
Spoink gets a mild touch of ADD from time to time in this dungeon, attacking enemies that weren't in the room when we started to leave it. Fortunately, he never actually buys the farm from doing so.
In fact, this time he gets a level from it.
I accidentally guided Jake into the water, then tried to move him out of it but bumped into Nigel. Since Nigel can't swim, he'd be warped to a random space on the level to make room for me. This is Bad, but there may be situations where it can't be helped, and it beats getting stuck and starving.
Auuugh I got it in my eyyyyyes!
Let's get out of here before we're sandblasted!
I think I see the exit!
What are you waiting for? Go! Go!
Ow. Ow. Ow.
Oh, I'm glad that's over!
Hold still, I'll rinse the sand out of your face.
Darnit, there's sand in my sandwich! That's not funny!
Trawl Orbs cause all loose items in the level to be pulled to your vicinity. They save time searching for the items if you find the stairs first, but there's a catch; if there's a Kecleon Shop on the level, they'll be... less than pleased by suddenly losing their inventory. Best to use them while standing on the stairs, just in case.
Ahh, that feels nice.
But where's it coming from?
Uhhh, a wizard did it? (Incidentally, while rainy weather powers Sheldon's Water moves up, sunny weather weakens them.)
The two things of note here are the room itself and its contents. The room is divided in half by a river of sorts; Sheldon can cross because he's a Water type, and Jake learned how to swim through the power of massive gummi infusion, but Nigel and Spoink would be stuck and have to look for another way across. The other is the Trapbust Orb. Using one destroys all traps in the current room, which is less useful than it sounds; while there are some truly nasty traps we won't see for a while, generally if you know there's a trap in the room you've either just set it off or know where it is and can avoid it.
Reaching this level adds 'Avoid trouble' to our list of tactics. This isn't terribly useful; it causes the Pokémon to run away from enemies if it's badly hurt, but the safest place for them to be is usually right next to Jake.
And we've reached the end of the dungeon! Yaaay!
Ohhh... I've lost my bearings... where is this? I can't get out... I'm hungry... I'm in trouble...
Oh! You are?!
Did you maybe come to rescue me? Am I glad to see you!
Um, yeah, we're Team Hugs, and we're here to rescue--
Thank you so much. You saved me from great peril.
You didn't have to grab my rescue badge like that!
Why'd you run away? Your letter said something about not wanting to be a grown-up, but...
That is... oh!
Look, there he is!
Yeah, I see him. We've got to get him back quick!
More Smeargle? Two of them, even...
Hey, mister Ross? Who are those guys?
They're... my friends.
Now, come with us. The grown-up ritual is ready for you.
Quit fighting this. Have the paw print applied without a fuss.
N-no! If I have to get that paw print on my back... I'd rather not become a grown-up!
What is that? This grown-up ritual?
It is a custom among us Smeargle.
When we reach a certain age, they mark our backs with paw prints to show we are grown-ups.
They do that by taking the front paw and pushing doooooowwnn on the back...
I can't live with anything so tasteless. I have dreams of creating great art, so I have certain standards for design that I swear by.
...I know! I have decided! I shall join Jake's rescue team!
I will participate in your rescue activities! So... I won't return to the pack! This is where I will dedicate myself!
Is... is that so? Then there is nothing we can do.
We will inform our elders of your decision. We wish you luck in your new career as a rescuer.
Oh, wow... that's one pushy way of getting a job.
That's okay. Welcome to the team!
We expect your best, Ross!
Yes! Thank you! One thing I am good at is drawing and painting. For example... let me see... Ah, how about that?
Observe, the design of that flag. I could perhaps redesign the flag? If you wish to alter the flag's design, you must tell me, please. I will find my own place in the Sky Blue Plains. Until then...
Hm. Sheldon, what do you think?
I dunno. I kinda like the flag we've got.
Well, I'm gonna think about it overnight. Maybe we could use a change!
Not shown: Nicodemus goes from level 4 to level 21; Sheldon goes from level 36 to level 39; Jake goes from level 35 to level 37 and learns Fury Swipes instead of Scratch; Agnew the Spearow goes from level 4 to level 13; Pudge the Pidgey is recruited (thanks, Adexia!); Rollo the Snorlax is recruited (thanks, Volatile Penguin!); and I utterly fail to find an Exeggcute in all that grinding. Exeggcute Ah well, we can find it more easily in a later dungeon.
Team Hugs's newest members:
Random bonus sprite!
Next time on Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: did anyone not see this plot twist coming?