RTM 1.1 Update

So after finishing Alpha Sapphire under my ridiculous Real Trainer Mode rules, I came to the conclusion that the rules concerning learning new moves are a bit harsh. Learning moves is an important choice that happens with a lot of frequency, so having so little control over it is a bit of a bummer. So I’ve modified those rules a bit, though I’m presenting it as an “optional easier version” for the moment, largely because I’m too lazy to update the rules file. This information has been added to the included Readme, though.

  1. Learning from an HM, TM, or NPC Teacher does not require a roll, you may choose which move to replace. (This will be your repair option if things get fucked up. Be sure to pick up those heart scales for the Deleter/Relearner.)
  2. When learning due to a level-up, if you do not want the new move, you may reject it without rolling (due to your trusty Training Stick).
  3. If you do want the new move, you must roll. On a high roll (4-6), you may decide what move to replace. On a low roll (1-3), the pokémon decides.
  4. Roll for the pokémon deciding:
    1-4: Replace that move.
    5: Pokémon is still deciding, roll again.
    6: Pokémon has decided that it doesn’t actually care after all. You may choose.
  5. If the pokémon decides to replace a move that you want to keep, you may still choose to use the Training Stick and reject the new move entirely, keeping your old moves.

Soup of the Evening

So in looking for low-carb recipes for my crock pot/pressure cooker, I ran across one that looked good, so I modified it a bit for my own preferences and to make it a little low-carber. It turned out good. Damn good. So here’s the recipe:

Chicken Bacon Broccoli Leek Chowder
(which I have just now decided to call CBBL or “Sybil” Chowder.)

4-8 cloves garlic (depending on your garlic preferences; I use 6), minced
3 green onions, chopped
1 leek, chopped
2 stalks of celery, diced (and a wad of the leaves, if you got celery with leaves in it)
8 oz portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 bag (12 oz) frozen broccoli florets (“Steamfresh” or equivalent)
4 tbs butter
2 c chicken stock/broth (I guess there’s a difference, but I don’t really know what it is. I bought broth and it was fine?)
1 lb boneless chicken breast(s)
1 lb bacon
8 oz cream cheese (i.e. a box of Philadelphia)
1 c heavy cream
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp MSG (“Accent Flavor Enhancer”)(optional)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp thyme or rosemary (your choice; I like rosemary)

Dump the minced garlic, onions, leek, mushrooms, and celery in your slow cooker, with 2 tbs butter, 1 c broth, and the salt/pepper/MSG. Cover and cook on ‘low’ for 1 hour.

You now have one hour to do the following:

— Cook the bacon, however you like to cook bacon. I prefer to bake it in the oven myself, but I no longer have an oven, so I went the easy route and got a box of pre-cooked microwaveable bacon (15 slices, which is about what you get out of a pound of raw bacon) and nuked it a bit longer than the instructions said so it would be a little crisper. This is not a gourmet solution. Anyway, after your bacon’s done, chop it into pieces.

— Put the remaining 2 tbs of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s melted, sear your chicken breast(s) on both sides, about 6-8 minutes each side until they’re well-browned. The chicken will not be cooked all the way through, and that’s fine. When that’s done, move the chicken to a plate to cool, turn the heat off on the stove, and pour the remaining cup of broth into the skillet. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the burnt off of the bottom of the skillet. You are basically making unthickened gravy here. When the chicken is cooled off, cut it into cubes a little larger than keyboard keys.

— Dump the broccoli into a colander in your sink and check that it doesn’t have any noticeable lumps of ice on it. If it does, rinse it away with some warm water. Otherwise, leave the broccoli there for now.

— Cut your block of cream cheese into wads. Probably like 8 wads. Leave it on the counter so it’ll soften a bit more.

— You almost certainly have not used up the whole hour, so go fuck around on the internet for a while.

Once the hour is up, stir the contents of your pot and put in the cream cheese. Stir that around till it’s well-mixed and you don’t really see any big lumps of cream cheese anymore. Then add the bacon, chicken, “gravy”, cream, broccoli, garlic powder, and thyme/rosemary. Stir it up and put the lid back on, and cook on ‘low’ for 8 hours.

Serve when finished, or serve whenever if your cooker has a ‘keep warm’ option. It’s not necessary, but you can add a little cheese on top — no food in history has ever been ruined by the addition of a little cheese.

Makes eight 1-cup servings. That’s like appetizer size. For a meal you will want 2-3 cups minimum.

Christmas Comics

By which I mean “comics I read over Christmas”, not “comics related to or in the spirit of Christmas”, because these are the opposite of that.



Basically, I downloaded every interesting-sounding fan-translated horror manga they had at bakabt.me, and read a bunch of them on my fancy-schmancy new iPad. (My comics app of choice is Comic Zeal.) And now I’m gonna do some little mini-reviews of them.

n.b.: I am not including any of the Junji Ito comics I read, because all Junji Ito comics are terrific and reviews are unnecessary. Go read some Junji Ito comics, that’s my review. Any of them. Also, some of these manga may be available in actual English-published editions, and you should buy those whenever possible. I ain’t gonna preach at you, just, it’s the right thing to do. Plus sometimes you get a fan-translation that was apparently made by a team that either has no native english speakers, or has no one who gives enough of a shit to convert a raw translation into sentences an english-speaker would actually say. I’m looking at you, “Kawaii Corner”.


how will we memory of a <death person>?

I am listing these in order of worst to best.

Delusional Female Teacher
— Garbage. Don’t even.

Corpse Party Musume
— Did not get very far, because the panty-shots are constant and egregious. Not what I look for in horror. If it’s what you look for in horror, well, christ, I hope I don’t know you. No, don’t tell me.

Revenge Game
— A “murder game” story like Zero Escape or Danganronpa, except amateurishly-plotted and uninteresting.

— Baffling. There’s some murders and maybe the nerd protag is doing them without knowing? And there’s some girls with absurd things that I guess are meant to be swords either trying to kill or save him? Real dumb, didn’t finish it.

File Dec 28, 11 29 28 AM

“Swords”. Also notice how they gave their figurine-hugging otaku protag a super-imaginative name.

Human Clock
— A weird little story about a kid whose parents are clockmakers and strange things happen. Art sort of reminds me of early Peter Kuper except with way looser (rounder, scribblier) linework. I’d call it a bizarre fever dream of a comic, but that would make it sound more interesting than it is.

Paranoia Star
— Incomprehensible. Sort of a WWII story with elements of Tetsuo: The Iron Man… I guess? If you don’t mind some crazy gore, it’s worth checking out just to puzzle over.

— A quick little thing, sort of a home-invasion horror version of Groundhog Day. Would wear out its welcome if it were longer, but at only 56 pages, it’s okay.

The Ring
— A manga version of Ringu, as you might’ve guessed, though I don’t know if it’s retelling the novel or movie version. Or indeed if there’s much difference between the two. I haven’t actually read or watched either one, though I have been meaning to read the novel. Anyway, it’s a pretty good story, and is fine in manga format, though the art style is oddly soft, which is weird at first and takes some getting used to. (I had a similar problem with the manga version of Battle Royale, which is totally worth it if you can get past that.)

Kodoku Experiment
— This one is sci-fi. A bit like Aliens, if the Weyland-Yutani guy were the commander of the marines and also a cyborg lady and there were more than one kind of alien and the protag becomes half-alien. Fun, but nothing really to write home about.

— This is the one I know for sure has an english edition, because I own it. It’s another “murder game” like Revenge Game, except good. The game is based on Mafia/Werewolf, though it doesn’t really play out according to any rules; that’s just an excuse to get some kids locked in a warehouse really. Some nice twists. Good atmosphere. Recommended.

— This is the <death person> one, and you may find it hard to read, but it’s quite a neat ghost story despite the obfuscation. Although I thought the final twist was a total cheat. Worth reading if you’re willing to struggle a little to figure out the exposition, or buy the english omnibus which I just discovered is a thing. (Note that the paperback is the manga, and the hardcover is the novel it was based on.)

Koroshiya Ichi a.k.a. Ichi the Killer
— You may have seen or heard of the movie that was based on this manga. I haven’t watched it yet, but I can’t imagine it’s as crazy as the manga is. The plot concerns a group of small-time crooks and their pet mentally-challenged superassassin going after a major yakuza gang led by a hardcore masochist bodymod enthusiast. Here’s a trigger warning for the list of trigger warnings I’m about to write: holy shit. And here’s a list of trigger warnings for the book: gore, rape, torture, torture, torture, penis mutilation, three severed nipples, a dude slicing his hand open with a box cutter to use the blood as jerkoff lube.

If you read to the end of that sentence and are still here, check it out. It’s a helluva thrill ride.

File Dec 28, 12 25 04 PM

this guy… jesus.

IT’S HERE! The new Pokémon RTM rules!


haha that looks terrible. It looks much nicer in the pdf.

Yes, one year later, I got interested in this dumb idea again, and here it is: the official release of the Pokémon Real Trainer Mode rules!

(Or at least an “open beta” release. I might make some more notes and adjustments to it depending on feedback, but at this point it is, I believe, pretty solid. I don’t forsee much changing from here out.)

You can get it from this Dropbox link.


It is a set of optional rules you can follow when playing pokémon games, including a rudimentary AI for your pokémon.

See, Pokémon promises the experience of being a pokémon trainer, travelling the world and training monsters to fight each other, but it doesn’t really deliver on that experience because you have full control over your pokémon in battle. You’re just a guy with six funny-looking heads, the exact same as any other JRPG party. RTM takes control of your monsters’ actions out of your hands, via four simple tables and a six-sided die. With this system, you really are just standing at ringside, watching your guys fight. You can shout “Use Thunder Shock, you bastard!” at Pikachu, and maybe he’ll listen, but probably he won’t.

Also, there is a small chance of perma-death, in that the PC becomes an extremely rickety and untrustworthy device that is pretty likely to destroy pokémon stored in it. This means that you are encouraged to develop a tight team of six that can take all comers without subbing guys in and out — a much more personal crew.

This combines to provide a pretty strong perspective shift: your role as trainer is to plan out a roster, capture the needed pokémon, train them, carefully research your opponents and what you’re walking into as you travel, and keep a careful watch for potion-throwing opportunities in battle (because item use becomes both more important and more difficult). With the battles essentially out of your hands, it becomes much more like a training sim, where research and planning is key.


No. God no. It’s not very much harder than a regular run of Pokémon, I don’t think, so long as you plan carefully. I do provide some options for making it harder though, if you want that. And I suppose you could use one or both of the Nuzlocke rules while playing RTM, but… I’m not sure that would be a good idea.  Try it at your own risk.

(I do recommend you play with the optional rule that you can’t buy Revives or Revival Herbs from shops — otherwise what little permadeath there is in RTM has no teeth at all once you get to a Pokémart that sells Revives. I would have made that a full-on rule, but making things hard isn’t the point of this, really.)


Nope! It is not very much grindier than the base game, in my experience. In my run of FireRed, I had to do some extra grinding at the beginning to get going, and at the end to level up for the Elite 4, and at one point in the middle when one of my pokémon decided to make itself useless and I had to catch and train up a replacement. Other than that, I went the whole run pretty much just on the EXP you get from fighting trainers along the way.  If you wind up facing a Gym Leader without the scissors to his paper, you might have to grind up a bit or train a pinch hitter — but again, that can usually be prevented with careful planning.

Anyway, I encourage you to try it out, if you’re inclined to play a pokémon game! Speaking as someone who has very little patience for JRPGs, this ruleset made the difference between a grindy JRPG with no real story to speak of, and an interesting training sim with a team I actually cared about.  I’m currently two badges into my second game (Alpha Sapphire), with long-term plans to collect every one of the 50 gym badges in the series.

If you have questions or comments, feel free to email me at pokemon.RTM at gmail.com, or @Rifflesby on Twitter.

EDIT: Regarding Mega-Evolution — I haven’t reached a point in the game where I could test it out personally. Until further notice, just treat it like anything else the rules don’t specify, and play it like you normally would.

Pokémon RTM 1.4

New rule. I call it the “Gary Oak Is a Motherfucker” rule.

The problem with Gary (and Pokérivals in general) is that a) they are very high level compared to other trainers you’ve dealt with leading up to that fight, and therefore will obliterate you if you aren’t ready for them, and b) they appear out of nowhere, so you WON’T be ready for them, unless you’ve played through the game before and know when to expect them.

(Yes, it is obvious at this point: Gary kicked my goddamn ass in Cerulean.)

It is not really suggested that you play your first run through a pokémon game this way. But I want it to be possible, so something obviously needs to be done about that motherfucker Gary.

The Gary Oak Is a Motherfucker rule is this: For any trainer battle in which the trainer surprises you by running in from offscreen, you are allowed one mulligan — that is, any pokémon fainted in your first attempt only at that fight may be healed for free, without revives, even in the event of a total party wipe. If you wipe, you had better find somewhere else to train before activating that event again.

If you know when and where Gary shows up, you may not take the mulligan. This is only for unexpected trainer battles. (And, to reiterate, they have to come from offscreen, so “I didn’t know that NPC standing there was a trainer” doesn’t count either.)

Pokémon RTM 1.3

Discovered a problem with using the PC to temporarily store fainted pokémon so that they aren’t healed by the Nurse: turns out the PC also heals mons. That throws a bit of a wrench into things.

New Rule: Assign a particular PC box to be Fainted Pokémon Storage. Rename the box accordingly, in games that permit it. Whenever you have a fainted (but not killed) party member, and don’t have a Revive to heal it with, drop them off in that box as soon as possible. (Remember to switch back to your main box afterward, so that captured mons aren’t sent to the Fainted box.) You may withdraw mons from that box only by paying for each one by discarding a Revive from your inventory. (You don’t need to roll the die.)

You may leave fainted mons in your party if you wish (for example if you’re on your way to the Lavender Tower heal pad, or somewhere where a Revive is available, etc.), but you cannot use Pokécenter healing while you have fainted party members.

Pokémon: RTM 1.2

Blame @ZombieHam for this.

1) When a pokémon wishes to learn a new move (due to levelling up) but already has four moves, roll:
   1: The move is not learned.
    2-3: Roll again:
       • 1-4: Replace the corresponding move. (re-roll if impossible [HM])
       • 5: The move is not learned.
       • 6: Replace the move of your choice (or don’t learn it, if you prefer).
    4-6: Replace the move of your choice (or don’t learn it, if you prefer).

2) When attempting to teach a move to a pokémon using an HM or TM, and the pokémon already has 4 moves, roll:
    1: Randomly select a different party member that is permitted to learn that move. Start this process over, except you are now attempting to teach the move to the new pokémon.
    2-3: Roll again:
       • 1-4 Replace the corresponding move. (re-roll if impossible [HM])
       • 5: If a TM, throw it away unused. If an HM, start over.
       • 6: Replace the move of your choice.
    4-6: Replace the move of your choice.

Yes, this is horrible. You are training horrible little monsters who do not listen to you, and who get in the way when you’re trying to teach new moves to other party members. As a trainer, your job is to embrace anarchy and roll with the punches; to survive, you must adapt to the capricious whims of fate (and little bastard monsters).