First, he is only allowed to capture the first Pokémon he encounters on a route or location. If he fails to do so, tough beans.
Second, if a Pokémon faints, it is considered "dead" and released (Or boxed).
Through these rules, he found a new respect for Pokémon that he originally considered trash. The webcomic details his playthrough with more dramatic and comedic emphasis.The comic itself has spawned many fan comics hosted on its site as well as becoming a popular Self-Imposed Challenge among the Pokémon fandom.Apart from the name of the comic and the nickname of the author, the original set of the rules is also known as Nuzlocke. The fans are encouraged to do the same, and the most widely accepted rules are: the original two, with the exception to the first one that if you have caught the first Pokémon you encounter on the location, you're allowed to safely ignore it, you are allowed to catch all shinies (because they are so incredibly rare you may not even see one); and last, but not least, you should nickname everything.Starting in September 2012, the website introduced two new non-Pokémon-related comics: Space Cat and SpeedRun (canceled as of April 2013). Space Cat may get its own page some time in the future.Also see the list of fan runs. A character Page is now under construction.
Art Evolution: Compare any given recent chapter with the first one and dare to say there's no improvement.
The Artifact: Ruby still lacks a nose, though everyone else is now drawn with one.
Art Shift: A trademark visual of the main comic (which sometimes appears in the fancomics) is Pokémon randomly taking on the facial features of characters from different series, primarily LOST. The name Nuzlocke comes from one such instance.
Attention Whore: While other comics show Burgh as Camp Gay, the main one went a different route and made him this instead.
Played straight in his Fire Red run, during the fight Mewtwo kills Sawyer and when Bruce finally defeats him, he and Ruby are caught in the explosion of energy, Afterwards Bruce is sent 40 years in the past and starts flying around, looking for Ruby. And then the last scene in the epilogue shows a blast of energy, in Nuvema Town.
Black Comedy: Hilbert killed himself after Cheren and Bianca pushed him too far. They get over it quickly and adopt Ruby as their new BFF.
Senor Fluff seems to be quickly getting this treatment. He does poor damage and has nearly died in all the matches he's been in. It's so bad that Ruby taught him Cut, effectively making him an HM Slave.
The Cameo: Most comics give a nod to others, often the original, but the original comic finally threw one in during Episode 26- the viewers of Ruby's battle include Hale, Robot, Nya, Kotone, Locke and a number of other popular forum comic leads.
The end of episode 31 gives us another - Mewtwo has the names of many Nuzlocke trainers including the above, written on the wall of Cerulean Cave... And all of them are scored out, except Ruby, which is in the centre, enlarged.
Cerebus Syndrome: In a series surrounded by dead pokemon, the story gets somewhat heavy in Fire Red Hard Mode: Gary was the first realized rival in story, and he verbally abused his Squirtle; A Dark Knight motif creeps up along with the Lost References; Compared to the videogames, Team Rocket and Giovanni are given more motivation than being evil for the sake of it; There goal is to stop Mewtwo, who manipulated Ruby into killing the legendary birds and Mew.
Creepy Child: Cheren and Bianca are so annoying they drive Hilbert to suicide. They are mostly unfazed when they find out, uttering only a quiet "oh darn" and lamenting that they now need to find a new best friend... To love forever.
Subverted in their last battle where Ruby easily beats Gary's first four Pokémon, but when Gary calls out Arcanine, it manages to kill both Buddy and Doakes, and later Blastoise manages to kill Blamo as well.
Darker and Edgier: Naturally, making the Pokémon die instead of faints creates this. However, it can sometimes veer into parody given how over the top it is.
And, as noted below, it's usually about equally dark with the Pokémon Special manga, so YMMV.
Driven to Suicide: After showing up in Hilbert's house at the beginning of White: Hard Mode Ruby finds a suicide note where he says he had to get away from "Them". Then finds Hilbert's hanged corpse in the closet.
Follow the Leader: Many other players made their own comics of playthroughs with these same rules with one or two added ones. This became known as the Nuzlocke Challenge.
Foreshadowing: Mewtwo creating the Nuzleaf ghost for Ruby has been hinted at since the start. He is clearly only visible from Ruby's POV as shown when he question's the Nuzleaf in the first episode, showing that Ruby was talking to a empty chair, later on he ask why he can see partner's ghost without the Silph Scope which Nuzleaf dismisses as their extremely close bond making him visible, and to hammer it into the ground that there is something not right with his ghost when he's talking with Meowth's ghost in Pokemon Tower it switches to a similar point of view from the start of Fire Red. But unlike Nuzleaf, you can see Meowth's ghostly shape on the tombstone.
Freudian Excuse: Parodied with Maxie, who wants to expand the land because a wave destroyed a sandcastle he made. Played a little more straight with Giovanni, who was constantly beat in battle by Professor Oak as a child and wants to prove himself.
Heel Realization: After Ruby defeats Mewtwo and seemingly dies in the energy blast, Giovanni finds a photo of Ruby and his Sceptile. Overcome with guilt, he turns himself in to the police and confesses everything.
Heroic Sacrifice: Several of Ruby's Pokémon give their lives to keep him safe in the more dangerous battles.
Loophole Abuse: Many people were surprised when Ruby caught Victini, since he'd refused to catch any other Legendaries up to that point. As it turned out, Ruby refused to catch earlier Legendaries because they weren't the first Pokemon encountered in their respective areas. Victini was.
Mushroom Samba: One of the (ab)uses of the Dream Mist as one of Fennel's "experiments" with Juniper in their Castelia University days can attest.
My Own Grandpa: Sort of. The reason Norman prefers Pokémon to family is because Bruce flew past his window as a child while HIS father was attempting to say that family was more important. Because of this, Ruby turned out the way he did, and would eventually end up taking the Nuzlocke challenge, resulting in the events of the Ruby and Fire Red comic, which caused him to attempt to attack Mewtwo with Bruce, causing the rift in the space-time continuum that made Bruce go into the past.
Repeated AGAIN with the same Pokémon in the last part of the epilogue: Bruce flies around more, and his faaaar past self sees him... and comments on how that will be him.If only he knew...
The guardian of Cerulean Cave having comically large hair, which is a joke about the positioning of his sprite in the Gen 1 Games making it look like it was his hair instead of the entrance to the cave.
Burgh lets Ruby pick the Radio station on the way to Castelia City, it turns out to be a radio station devoted entirely to Trumpets.
Burgh: "Oh God, you're from Hoenn, aren't you?"
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Part 31 reveals that the Legendary Birds were keeping Mewtwo's power in check and Ruby was being manipulated by Mewtwo to kill them by talking through an illusion of his Nuzleaf. Also Bruce's request during the fight with Gary was the reason Buddy, Doakes, and Blamo died. And remember Team Rocket's efforts to steal and take over? Turns out that they were researching ways of finally stopping Mewtwo before he got free and Ruby ruined their efforts. Oops.
In a more humorous version, the reason Norman considers Pokémon above his own family? Bruce flew past his window as a child while looking for Ruby in the past.
During the battle at Nacerene City, N coldly blames Ruby for Hank and Fluf's deaths.
Nobody Calls Me Chicken: In season 3 Cheren and Bianca imply Ruby isn't up for the challenge to get him to participate in the Unova league.
There are many, many LOST references throughout the comic. The author himself admits to being "a huge fan of ABC’s show LOST, to the point of obsession." The name of the comic itself consists of a Shout-Out to Lost (Nuzleaf + John Locke).
The Unfavorite: Luke (Oshawatt) is this to Ruby, at least compared to past starters. He's starting to warm up to him though. Especially so after evolving and being a key player in his team, so he might have molded out of this.
Took a Level in Badass: Buddy, quite literally. He started out as a hippie-like Oddish, but then Ruby shoved a Rare Candy, Leaf Stone, and a couple TMs down his throat...
Then there is Luke who goes from being The Unfavorite on Ruby's teams to evolving into a decent fighter who can take on Lenora's Watchog.
True Companions: If you're doing the challenge right, your Pokemon are like this.
Unbuilt Trope: Ruby lost the Nuzlocke Challenge that started it all, his Fire Red run ended in a Pyrrhic Victory, and N flat-out called him out in the White run for playing by rules that get his Pokemon killed. To contrast, many of the spinoffs have happy endings.
Wham Episode: Episode 31 of Fire Red... Oooh, boy. Okay, some people guessed Nuzlocke was evil/pulling the strings for Mewtwo, but the names crossed out was a special touch.
"Well Done, Son!" Guy: One of Ruby's biggest reasons for taking the challenge is to impress his father, Norman, who always valued "Good-Ruby" the Slakoth/Vigoroth over him.
Luke the Oshawott also seems to want to prove himself to Ruby. His evolution and being used to fight Lenora for the victory may have achieved this.
Hugo the Snorlax, Keith the Hitmonlee, and the Unnamed Eevee and Ryhorn in a more humorous example as Ruby leaves them in the box and gave the Eevee away and Hugo was only used once to move some boulders. And very briefly with an unnamed Kabuto when asked about the fossil he got at Mt.Moon.