The Let's Play Archive

Pokemon Shield

by Falconier111

Part 73: Canon Roundup

Update 74: Canon Roundup

I’m gonna lead with a few anecdotes that seem COMPLETELY unrelated to Gloria but stick with me. During the American Civil War, when generals as a rule spent great deals of money on their clothes and appearance, Ulysses S Grant had a habit of not only wearing the standard foot soldier’s uniform, but not bothering to keep it clean or spend much time on his personal hygiene. He tended to shun fancy meals at the officers’ mess in favor of sitting down at the nearest campfire and sharing their rations (his friends and biographers agree he had bizarre tastes in food anyway, so he may have preferred it to what he’d get there); he ended up looking indistinguishable from ordinary infantryman, so much so we have a few anecdotes of messengers asking Grant to direct them to Grant and one where a messenger threatened to have Grant court-martialed when Grant informed him that he was, in fact, Grant. We have records of him getting haircuts with his soldiers, demanding Union and Confederate troops receive care in his army’s hospitals, and universally offering parole to the prisoners he took instead of sending them to one of the War’s notorious prison camps. By all accounts he wasn’t doing this for popularity; he seems to have genuinely felt more comfortable with ordinary soldiers then military high society and did his damnedest to look after them even as he sent them to their deaths. His troops fucking adored him, and his sense of egalitarianism and disdain for physical comfort/hygiene featured heavily in the most well-received paper I wrote in grad school which basically proved he was autistic (don’t push me, I’ll summarize it in the thread, so help me God).

Ulysses S Grant and Gloria are, uh, very different people, but I tried to write her with that same kind of egalitarian charm. She has the same contempt for social requirements forced on her (like at Motostoke), and the same ability to ignore the social status of those around her and just interact with them as individuals. It’s a big part of why she tends to make friends despite struggling in social situations sometimes; she’s confident, friendly, and doesn’t try to fit other people into boxes.

Her roles in the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra DLCs were very much improvised; I had at most a vague idea of how the DLC ended and what I wanted to happen over the next update or two. The only thing I had planned in advance was Gloria’s issues with her family and finding the empty plot where their old manor used to be. I can’t tell you how happy I was to discover Freezington had a little clearing in it; I thought I was going to have to find some vaguely square plot of land just outside of the village. Making Gloria a tourist in the Isle was a no-brainer (why else would she be visiting an out-of-the-way island), but I did have to strain a bit to structure her visit to the Tundra – if her decision to depart seemed a bit sudden, it’s probably because I ran out of time to figure out how to frame it.

Her sanity/mental illness rant paraphrases something I’ve believed for years, and I realized around Turffield that the LP was shaping up to reflect those themes without my conscious knowledge. I tried to lean into it with dubious success, I think. But, man, I put, like, literary themes and shit in an LP. That’s pretty wild.

Hop’s character arc canonically finished in the postgame, but I ended up completing it earlier because that felt more natural to me. I kind of struggled to give him any kind of pathos, especially because I don’t believe in inflicting characters with random drama to make the narrative more exciting. I think I managed well enough. So glad I managed to slip in another walk-and-talk, though; those started out as a way for me to hide the fact that I can’t write scene transitions but became a pleasure to write on their own.

Marnie was so underserved that I kind of feel bad; you never even run into her after the main plot unless you seek her out or she happens to show up as a random encounter on the Isle. I did what I could to work her in but there was only so much material to work with .

An asshole to the end, this one. In Canon he’s still much less mature and self-possessed than he is in the LP and he has a less supportive relationship with <player_name>; my takes on them have a sort of adversarial friendship that just wasn’t present in the original. I do like my take, it gives both of them someone to really fence with.

Avery is very close to his canonical self. I made him a little more rational and self-aware because I do that for every character (except Peony), but the two versions are nearly identical. The big differences are that a) he becomes introspective after his defeat instead of becoming another Bede and b) he has such a positive relationship with the dojo family because of his work with Hyde.

I’ll leave whether Gloria’s mom slept with Milo up to you.

Leon has a huge role to play in the in-game postgame in that he runs the Battle Tower. I tried it a few times and found it wasn’t to my liking, plus I didn’t have anything in mind for when it came to the LP. Consider it something fun you can do if/when/now that you have the game.

It didn’t come up in the LP much, but Leon now runs what’s left of Macro Cosmos as an entertainment company. He knows a lot of people in the energy industry, though, which is part of how Gloria, Marnie, and Piers set up their energy company.

Sonia was a lot better in the postgame than the main game, honestly; she showed some actual resilience and bravery while staying clearly herself, though she may have been a bit too forgiving. As I’ve covered, her relationship with Piers is completely original, but honestly, I think it works for them. Both of them were shunted into leadership roles they didn’t choose and offered respect they don’t feel they earned; they are both kind, intelligent, and mature people far enough from each other’s social spheres to escape the many expectations heaped on them.

In the Crown Tundra, she’s the referee of a find ‘em all search like we had for Digletts back on the Isle, except for a few Gen 4 legendaries. You have to literally track them down by finding footprints. You need to find something like 50 footprints for each and, like, no.

I never did get the chance to talk about her heartfelt, bittersweet history with Nessa. If the thread’s interested I’ll go ahead and dump it, but it’s not like you need it to appreciate the story.

By the by, “Elizabeth” didn’t even have a name originally; she just showed up as Sonia’s favorite assistant, backstabbed her, and left. She is, of course, named after Aunt Betty. This never came up, but in the LP she’s the scientist in the Max Lair (they share a model). The whole time she’s interacting with Gloria and Peony she’s internally screaming, but she isn’t in any danger because Gloria is absolute shit with faces.

Poor Magnolia, stuck in a secondary role and barely acknowledged.

I leaned too heavily into the “Opal is a troll” thing at the expense of her character, I think . Too late to fix it now.

Canon Piers is a friendly, laid-back, and generous person with a rough exterior, a punk with a heart of gold and a big fan base. Not a very deep character, but a likable one. I built my Piers from the ground up as the true king of Galar, however, complete with dropping hints in Gloria’s infodumps early on. He shares a demeanor and outlook with his original self, but he’s also highly insightful, a natural politician, and a natural at ensuring economic growth overflowing with charisma and a deep sense of responsibility for his people. In theory, he’s the perfect monarch. In practice, he despises the idea of taking any bigger leadership role than he has to and despises that kind of hereditary hierarchy on principle; he is, after all, pretty punk rock.


There’s a secret scene in the Crown Tundra where you can run into Oleana standing at a gravestone because she heard Rose might be in the region; if you talk to her, she yells at you, makes funny faces, and yells at a nearby Peony for being related to Rose before storming off. I was going to rewrite that scene to have her snapping at Gloria, apologizing, and then talking about being rootless after Rose went to prison. After a while, she decides to join Bede as one of his Gym Trainers and thanks Gloria for hearing her out. I forgot about that in the rush to get this thing done and don’t have the energy to go back, find her, and write it.

Rose ‘er? I ‘ardly know ‘er!

These two in Canon consider themselves co-monarchs and seem to have never heard of Piers. They spend a lot of time talking about how they’re celebrities as much is royalty and cite their popularity as frequently as they cite their bloodline when it comes to their right to rule. Those people in the powerplant? They were groupies.

Remember how I had that noncanonical fight back in update 52? In the first scene of the postgame they ambush Hop and <player_name> as they try to return the artifacts, steal whichever artifact Hop has, and use it to initiate their plan, which is nearly identical to what I put in the LP; you always fight the mascot of the other version before your mascot shows up to be caught. After you return to the forest shrine at the end of the postgame, Leon brings the two of them around and informs us all they have to do to get off free and clear is go on a fucking apology tour. They show up later in the Galarian Star Tournament which is a thing I will not cover.

E: forgot to mention: their names in the rest of the world are just takes on the English words for sword and shield, but look up their names in Indo-European languages and marvel at how wonderfully they all combine words for swords and shields with aristocratic names. Schwerthold and Schildrich? Jean-Fleuret and Jean-Targe? Perfection

I changed Zamazenta more than any other character except Gloria largely because she WASN’T a character. She vanishes from the narrative the moment you catch her and becomes just another Pokémon. However, I knew that Gloria was going to be alone for long stretches of time on the Isle and in the Tundra, so I needed something for her to do. I’m a follower of my take on the Team Four Star school of humor (such as it is):
The jokes I’ve written over the course of this LP have tried to stick to these principles, and since I needed somebody to help me fill out point one, I had Zamazenta form and maintain that mental bond with Gloria to give her somebody to interact with. They needed to have an actual relationship to make that dynamic work, though, and giving them time to develop one is a big part of why I had those two timeskips (I also wanted the characters to have time to come to terms with the way their lives have changed before throwing more stuff at them). I ended up using Zamazenta a lot less than I would have liked to, but she did come in handy at least a couple times.

Worth noting: she and Sonia are friends. She picked up the technical vocabulary she used on the Isle of Armor after I added it in from studies they conducted on Zamazenta’s control of Galar radiation.

Almost identical to his Canon self. I made him a little sharper and a little wiser, mostly so he could realize the obvious, but there isn't much that needs changing .

Likewise very similar to her Canon self. The only developments I had in mind would have been basically reprinting the information on her league cards (according to the wiki); she managed a trading firm before she met Mustard and, even as she runs the dojo, she’s currently working on developing a mass production-ready version of Max Soup (which she invented). She also has a team about on par with Mustard’s, but there was no way on earth I was going to sink all the time I needed to uncover this into the game.

The stereotyped vocabulary? The technical aptitude? The abrasive personality? The inability to go outside? That thing he wears, which I recognize as medical equipment used to moderate sensory input? There’s no way on earth Hyde isn’t meant to be autistic (or at least autistic-coded). I tried to give him a little more agency than he has canonically, but I frankly had no idea how to write him so I didn’t have him show up much. Didn’t want to turn this into another Spikemuth.

Peony is so close to his Canon self I think I gave him exactly one new line. Gloria didn’t like him much because he’s loud, unpredictable, talkative, and doesn’t listen to her, all of which she finds really uncomfortable; if you confronted her about it, she’d probably grudgingly admit there’s nothing wrong with him, but she basically just puts up with him and goes with the flow for most of that part of the LP. I ended up cutting a bunch of his lines and a big part of his storyline (Calyrex is the first of many Legendaries he helps you catch) for space.

Peonia strikes me as a Gyaru stereotype in a British school uniform, so I decided I needed something a little bit more interesting to make her an actual character. Her being trans came out of how her hair and headband map to the trans flag colors, pretty much.

The only characters that changed more than Calyrex were Gloria and Zamazenta, mostly because they are basically original characters. Canonically, Calyrex is supposed to be funny and almost pathetic, a Legendary without any powers that fails comically every time it tries to do something. It practically begs you to help it, despairs at its own inadequacies, and sometimes cracks jokes. It also turns Peony into a meat puppet out of convenience. That’s messed up, man. I wanted it to be a villain, but I went through several iterations of its villainy even as I wrote the updates; for a while I was planning for its presence to wear away at people’s free will until Gloria caught it moments before it took over entirely, but I gave up on that pretty quick. As someone who deeply treasures self-control, Gloria can’t help but be scared shitless by Calyrex’s mind control, and in fact her fear, paranoia, and isolation are what drove the last half of the Crown Tundra. But it went down and now it’s out of the picture. Once you have Calyrex you can do a bunch of weird things with it up to and including separating it from its steed, but I’m not going to bother with that.

I have to say, looking back at Calyrex’s introduction I’m pretty proud of how eerie it looks appearing behind its statue. Too bad it hid how I slipped “nice” into the end of Update 69.

Here’s a fun thing for you guys to do! Somewhere in this LP’s structure is a reference to a Glorantha character. If you can find him, I’ll spoil a plot point for my next LP that won’t tell you anything about the ending but will get your going. E: Protip: this isn’t something that showed up in a throwaway line, he came up a couple times.

Crosspeice posted:

Congrats on the LP, definitely different than I expected, but you had the freedom to tell your own story and it was great! Also congrats on finishing a Pokemon LP, it's harder than it looks!

A: thank you and B: don't I know it