! Ralts Line

!! Morphs [Oak Catalog #]

* Ralts [#280]
o Ralts is a small humanoid Pokémon, a little over one foot tall. It is covered with short, glossy white fur that obscures its tiny ears and nose. The upper half of its head is covered with thick, lime-green hair that drapes over its eyes and resembles a bowl-cut, and a triangular red horn protrudes from its forehead and the back of its head. Its lower body is covered with a thin extension of long white fur that resembles a dress.

* Kirlia [#281]
o The first evolution, Kirlia, stands approximately twice as high. Its hair splits around the eyes to allow unimpeded vision and grows at the sides into bangs, and the horns have rotated around to the sides of the head giving the appearance of hairpins. The fur dress becomes shorter and stands up like a tutu, revealing slender green legs.

* Gardevoir [#282]
o The primary final evolution, Gardevoir, is nearly the height of a grown human (about five feet). Its tutu grows to an ankle length dress, the arms turn green and grow three articulated fingers. Its red horns shift down to reinforce its rib cage at the front and back. The green hair curls below the jawline and hardens into a protective helmet.

* Gallade [#475]
o The alternate final form, Gallade, is only attainable by males. He stands at about the same height, wiry but deceptively muscular, and the horns have again moved to the chest and back. The fur dress is gone, resolved into short fur down his sides and legs. The green hair hardens into a crested helmet, and the lower arms harden into thick bludgeons that extend backward past the elbows in a tonfa-like shape.

!! Notable Biology

The signature dress-like fur extension on all forms is somewhere between the consistency of cotton and silk. All forms except the Gallade have a distinctly feminine appearance because of it, though males most certainly exist.

Of note is the way the green hair on top of the head gradually hardens as the specimen grows. Whereas the Ralts has soft hair, the Kirlia has a firm baleen-like texture at the forehead and back of the head, and both final forms have resolved all of the hair into protective helmets. This process is caused by the horns, which produce excess keratin to fuse hair and fur together as they shift around throughout the specimen's various stages. Over time, the final forms exhibit similar toughening of the fur in the upper torso around the current position of the horns.

The horns also function as foci and receptors for psychic energy. Once the final forms' horns migrate away from the head, the specimen is able to focus power through the brain or chest horn if either is injured as a natural defensive redundancy. As the specimens evolve, their psychic capabilities increase dramatically.

Gallades gain smaller, decentralized foci across their whole frame, particularly in their lower arms. Their long-range psychic powers and empathic senses weaken considerably, but their bodies toughen to compensate. Their powers and combat style shift to optimize close combat via supercharging physical strikes with psychic energy.

The line is very receptive to empathic psychic emissions that give away the emotions and intentions of those nearby. The Ralts line is thus alerted to danger far ahead of time, and reflexively resonates positive emotion.

!! Habitat

Wild specimens live relatively far from large cities, as they dislike the emanations of monotony and "daily grind" from the humans within. They also dislike the deep forest due to claustrophobia and the occasional empathic death throes of nearby prey creatures. Thus, they tend to live on the edges of forests near clearings, close enough to hide if they sense danger. They tend to be shy and reclusive, though they will approach a human or Pokémon emitting positive emotions.

In captivity, a specimen will form an empathic bond with and become very protective of its trainer. Like most psychic Pokémon, more mature forms will attempt to blend into the trainer's life as equals. Due to this line's empathic nature, they dislike the isolation of a Pokéball, though they will seek it out if the environment emanates negative feelings and they are assured of their trainer's protection.

!! Diet

While the Ralts line is biologically capable of processing meat, they find hunting quite distasteful due to empathic backlash of killing prey, and remain herbivorous unless their trainer or offspring desperately need food.

!! Hazards

The Ralts line are naturally skilled psychics, easily surpassing the abilities of trained humans, but are very mild-mannered and dislike causing serious injury due to empathic backlash. Most hazards are related to direct threatening of the specimen or its family or friends, of whom it is very protective.

It is, however, unwise to antagonize a Ralts or any of its evolutions. Though it will almost certainly refrain from causing physical injury, a sufficiently annoyed specimen may find many ways to retaliate nonetheless, and antagonists may soon find themselves speaking incomprehensibly, or in need of a change of clothes.

Fully grown Gallade are fond of roughhousing, and in spite of their best efforts, accidents are always possible.

!! Courting and Childrearing

The Ralts line reaches sexual maturity at the Kirlia stage. They form empathic bonds with mates, and mate for life. They attempt to choose mates within their current evolutionary level due to an awkward three-foot height difference between the intermediate and final form.

Males tend to prefer evolving into Gallades — in the wild this is mostly just a status symbol, though in captivity they may grow self-conscious about their species' feminine appearance due to nearby and prominent human perceptions. As this requires finding and use of a rare Dawn Stone, families may hand down Everstones to sons to give them more time to accomplish this.

A child is raised by the parents until it leaves to seek a mate.

!! Social Structure

The Ralts line has a family structure very similar to that of humans. Nuclear families stay together until the nest empties, so to speak, and family ties are kept afterward.

Due to their sharp empathic senses and protective families, it is unusual for one of this species to be captured by a trainer unexpectedly. The capture is usually voluntary unto a trainer that the specimen has already befriended, like many of the more evasive Psychic-types.

!! Trainer's Notes

The Ralts line is potentially very powerful, but very difficult to capture and even more difficult to handle in the long term. It is not recommended for beginner trainers to bother attempting. While not aggressive enough to be a direct physical hazard, this Pokémon presents social hurdles unusual to most species ordinarily trained by a competitive battler. If handled improperly, especially by an inexperienced trainer unfamiliar with the psychology and dynamics of the rest of the team, this may catastrophically undermine team cohesion.

This Pokémon is as intelligent as most Psychic-types, but lacks Psychics' usual aloofness. Though incapable of human speech, it is not unheard of for one of the Ralts line to become literate or communicate telepathically with humans. As such, this Pokémon will attempt to establish itself as a social equal with its trainer, which may confuse other Pokémon used to a pack mentality. In particular, a "pack beta" (typically one's starter) may see the Ralts as threatening its position as the trainer's second-in-command, or worse, the ''trainer's'' as the leader.

This Pokémon is very affectionate to family, and applies the term rather broadly — that includes but is not limited to their nuclear family, you, your own family, your entire team, any traveling companions and their teams, and any other close friends. It tends not to approve of trading away other Pokémon unless the one to be traded has been extremely unpleasant or is going to another trusted friend, and it will be deeply offended if you try to trade itself. This often impairs competitive trainers who need to adapt their teams more fluidly than hobbyists, and is often found uncanny and "clingy" to more casual trainers. Bringing a Ralts or its evolutions onto a team will most likely result in either a long-term core member of a largely static team, or a friendship that deteriorates badly enough to warrant release back to its nuclear family, with rather little in between.

This line tends to not enjoy battling at first, and may never develop a taste for it due to the unpleasant empathic feedback of striking an opponent. Those who adjust usually do so by learning to filter their sensitivity, and Gallades are particularly adept at this (see a licensed Psychic-type specialist if they have difficulty doing this). Like most Psychics, they are poor multitaskers in battle, but unlike other Psychics are at least not too headstrong to admit this, and will not need much persuasion to defer to a trainer in combat.

[-Written by {{@/Pykrete}}.-]