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Abilities

Reintroduction

Abilities are one of the “flatter” components of the Pokémon battle engine. They are, basically, per-species defined elements that provide a proactive or reactive effect during battle (also in the overworld, but that’s another matter), introduced since Gen3. In the mainline games, abilities are treated as a set of per-species traits that are assigned to a specimen in a mutually exclusive manner: a Pokémon can have one and only one of the (usually 3) abilities its species is capable of, and the ability can not be switched except via special mechanics in Gen6 onward. Abilities are also treated as discrete traits: either they are active or they are not, there is no “partial effect” or interaction of an ability.

Meta

While strongly present in the mainline games, the concept originated in the Trading Card Game, via “Pokémon Powers”, as far back as the Base Set of Gen1. Abilities in the TCG offer a broader take on the concept from which some elements are used in Suocéverse. For example, Abilities in TCG are not limited to 2 or 3 but can reach up to 6 per species (look at Espeon), and the offer of available abilities is tied up to the evolutionary level as well as Pokémon variance (Deltas, EX, Prime Pokémon, “LV-X”, etc). Abilities were, up until Gen5, also separated in two special concepts: “Pokébodies”, more like support always-active abilities, and “Poképowers”, more like reactive abilities that have to be explicitly used like a move would (and sometimes have a count limit to their usage).

Of course, the mechanics of TCG Abilities are tied to TCG mechanics general (cards, typed energy, etc) so in order to make use of those in Suocéverse, those have to be either reimagined, or retooled by bridging them over other concepts brought along, in particular Typed Energy.

There are similar concepts across the franchise that work in a way similar to Abilities but are not exactly it, such as PMD’s “IQ Skills”, but those, if integrated into Suocéverse, are to be treated separately.

Mainline Abilities

Of course, being based around a game engine, some Abilities don’t make much sense in a real-world without some serious explanation or reworking. Stuff like Levitate and Mold Breaker, maybe Trace, Unnerve, are probably the biggest offenders when not wanting to jump into “it’s magic, I ain’t gotta explainin’ shit!”, with abilities like Pressure and Bulletproof also being notorious but having the advantage of being more immediately tractable (thanks to relying on very easily reworkable hooks, such as the definition of a projectile).

Here follows commentary on the readjustment and retooling of some mainline Abilities, exemplifying how the concept is tuned for the Suocéverse.

Levitate

Pokémon with Levitate can, of course, still be hit by certain Ground-type moves. What Levitate grants, more than anything, is a passive effect similar to that of Pressure or Magic Guard where the Pokémon naturally deflects Ground-type energy away, meaning it’s easier for them to detect and evade Ground-type moves.

Because moves like Earthquake or Drill Run are planar in direction, that means the target with Levitate can be “blown away” in the normal/co-normal direction resulting in an easier time evading the move. In a way having Levitate is more or less having an inbuilt “Back to the Future”-esque hoverboard that, like the Lexus one, only works on certain surfaces - in this case, surfaces that transfer or emit Ground-type energy.

As an added effect of the “forcefield”, the Pokémon gains better maneuverability when hovering or flying if (big if) they could do so naturally without this ability.

Interpreting Levitate as a suspension effect has some foundation in basic real world phenomena such as Electromagnetic suspension; it also helps explain phenomena such as Rhydon riding on a Surf wave as it happens in the anime, as well as the effects of certain moves to realize matter of their type with directionality despite a lack of physical leverage or other means of support, as is seen in the Kyurem movie.

Pokémon: Generations seems to provide some support to this interpretation of mechanics, as Kyogre can be clearly seen hovering in mid-air or right out flying, which could be achieved thanks to its natural hydrokinetic control and a sort of Water-type parallel to Levitate - which could also explain how fish-like Water Pokémon can fight on land.

Mold Breaker

Mold Breaker, rather than an ability, is interpreted as an Umbrella term for various proactive ability-like effects that certain species have for adapting their moves to different kinds of targets so that they act passively. Those effects are usually physiological in nature and are species-defined. The umbrella of those “ability-like” effects could also cover some TCG Abilities for species that have Mold Breaker; this needs to be checked later.

For example a Druddigon with MB who has fought several Persian w/Limber before would have activated and perfected an (unnamed) ability-like effect to bypass their Limber; however if the Druddigon then faces another species with Limber, its adapted MB might not work to bypass it until it is perfected with more practice. From a w/b perspective this also has the nice effect of providing a good incentive for Pokémon with certain abilities such as MB to go out and travel with humans - they need the wide offer of opponents humans can provide to overcome the effects of crippling overspecialization.

It makes sense to reinterpret Mold Breaker this way since the name pretty much refers to a Pokémon being able to do something that is unexpected for its type/species, where “unexpected” is basically treated as in-universe “unstudied”.

Other

Other abilities whose mechanics need to be checked: to be discussed later.

TCG Abilities

As an example of integration of TCG Abilities, here is a list of Pokémon in Suocéverse who could potentially have TCG abilities and the effect they would have. (Note: not necessarily to be considered canon for those specimens!)

Species Ability Suocéverse effect of the Ability TCG effect of the Ability
Blaziken
(eg.: Tephros)
Firestarter Blaziken can donate/transfer part of their Fire-type energy to a newly sent-out ally. “Once during your turn (before your attack), you may attach a Energy card from your discard pile to 1 of your Benched Pokémon.”
Mothim
(eg.: Adanei’s)
Disturbance Scales This Pokémon’s splash / spread damage moves can bypass Resistance on their target (so a resistance factor of eg.: 0.5× becomes ). “Any damage done by attacks from your Pokémon to the Defending Pokémon isn't affected by Resistance.”
Staraptor
(eg.: Roc, Shahinne)
Protect Wing Increases defense, or recovers stamina more quickly, when fighting other fully-evolved Pokémon. Most likely a psychological trait. “As long as Staraptor is your Active Pokémon, any damage done by attacks from your opponent's Stage 2 Evolved Pokémon is reduced by 20[…] “
Houndoom
(eg.: Makenna)
Revenge Fang Power throughput increases as more allies are shuffled out of battle. Most likely a psychological trait. “If you have less Benched Pokémon than your opponent, each of Houndoom's attacks does 40 more damage to the Active Pokémon[…].“
Shedinja
(eg.: Thom’s)
Resent Reinterpreted as a variant of Aftermath, dealing “fixed damage” to the attacker before being knocked out. “Once during your opponent's turn, if Shedinja would be KO’d by damage from an attack, you may put 4 damage counters on the Attacking Pokémon[…] “
Various Species Crystal Type See the section “Crystal Type”.

DEVEL note: More information can be evaluated and discussed by requesting access to the development docs.