Morphs [Oak Catalog #]
- Cubone [#104]
- Marowak [#105]
The members of the Cubone line are reptilian bipeds that possess a number of shared characteristics, including a brown and tan hide, diet, a common social structure, and the use of bones as weapons and tools.
The initial form, Cubone, is a short, pudgy creature that typically stands roughly 40 centimeters in height and weighs between 6 and 7 kilograms. These creatures possess scaled hides, composed of a light brown region surrounding a tan region that extends from its chest to a point along its lower tail. Members of this line are noted for wearing "bone" helmets with a resemblance to the skulls of its later form, Marowak, that typically obscure all regions of its head, barring a small area surrounding its eyes and the underside of its snout. In spite of numerous urban legends claiming otherwise, Cubone's head and facial features normally obscured by its helmet have been thoroughly documented. These obscured features include a head structure similar to that of the helmet protecting it, with a shorter snout, less prominent, non-rigid spikes located near the back of the top of the head, and jaws with a moderate overbite with small exposed teeth towards the rear. Individuals have two prominent rounded spikes running along their spinal column, the larger of the two located closer to a Cubone's shoulders than its smaller counterpart. Cubone possess legs with feet terminating with singular, nailed digits, and short arms with hands consisting of a nailed thumb and several other fused digits, giving an appearance akin to a spiked oven mitt.
Marowak, the second and (presumed) final form of this line, is similar to its previous morph in terms of physiology. A Marowak usually stands around a meter in height and weighs approximately 45 kilograms. Unlike its younger brethren, a Marowak possesses natural bony "helmets" that covers all regions of its head, barring a pair of fleshy eyelids. These "helmets" possess two large, rigid spikes, located in the same region as the spikes on its younger counterpart's helmet and true head, two ridges located along the back, and a snout behaving as a ridge-like extension of its upper head terminating with two small nostrils. A Marowak's lower jaw is also ossified in a similar fashion to the rest of its head. Although its hide possesses markings almost identical to those of its prior form, Marowak hides possess a darker-colored underbelly region with more prominent scales, giving this region a horizontally banded appearance. Other physiological changes include the loss of both back spikes coupled with the emergence of a small nub-like spike located near the end of the tail and a lither build.
Reports of Cubone and Marowak with green scales occasionally surface, and are highly sought after among some trainer circles.
A very unusual variant of the species is native to the distant Alola islands. While it's original Cubone form is the same as seen in other parts of the world, upon evolution, a strange metamorphosis occurs. Rather than remaining a ground type like other Marowaks, the Alola variant instead shares abilities and traits with both Fire and Ghost type Pokemon, including pyrokinetic abilities and the ability to become incorporeal. Alolan Marowak are easily identified by their dark grey color as well as their skull markings. The exact reason for this drastic change is unknown, but is speculated to have something to do with the high volcanic activity and strange interplanar activity in the area.
One of the defining characteristics of members of this line is their phenomenal tool-making and problem solving skills. These capabilities have enabled these creatures to develop a number of learned behaviors that have been passed down through successive generations of offspring for untold ages and have become ingrained into their psyche.
One of these behaviors is the observed practice among Cubone of wearing constructed helmets in order to protect their otherwise vulnerable heads. Although myths and urban legends maintain that these helmets are fashioned exclusively out of the skulls of fallen Marowak, analysis has revealed that the typical Cubone helmet is actually an agglomeration of clay, stone, and bone fragments. It appears that most Cubone receive helmets that have been used many times prior from their parents, a practice akin to the human practice of passing down familial heirlooms. Construction of new helmets appears to be organized by Cubone and/or Marowak sometime after the death of a related Marowak, after the cadaver is sufficiently decomposed for the skull to be separated from the rest of the body. The skull is then cleaned out and utilized as a helmet, with any damaged or overly decayed regions replaced with a mixture of clay and/or stone. With time, the bone portions of the helmet are steadily replaced with clay and/or stone due to eventual decay and wear and tear. This process apparently continues on for some time, as a number of helmets from wild Cubone have been found to be almost entirely composed of clay and stone. In circumstances where complete skulls are scarce, it is not unheard of for new helmets to be fashioned from portions of Marowak skulls. This practice appears to have left a significant impact upon Cubone psychology, as young Cubone, even in captivity, have been observed instinctively seeking out objects to use as helmets shortly after birth, and are noted to become timorous and/or irritable if they fail to locate a suitable object. In captivity, this often leads newborn Cubone to humorously don objects such as buckets, bowls, sports gear, and Halloween masks until a helmet or a more suitable surrogate can be found. Synthetic helmets made from a variety of materials ranging from resin to meticulous replicas of wild helmets (which tend to be favored by aspiring Coordinators) can easily be found at hobby shops, and are frequently used by trainers of captive Cubone.
Both morphs also exhibit a shared use of bones as tools and weapons. Although the best known of these behaviors is the use of bones as clubs and digging implements, the practice of using bones among members of this line appears to have been highly developed. One of the most complex uses of bones exhibited are the line's trademark "Bonemerang" attack; another is the use of bones as instruments to transmit messages via tapping boulders. Strangely, it appears that the vast majority of bones utilized by Cubone and Marowak do not appear to be those of their deceased brethren, with observations and analysis revealing that over 98% of all Cubone and Marowak wield bones from lifeforms other than Marowak. This small remaining minority appears to coincide with the known population of Cubone and Marowak that wield the items commonly referred to as "Thick Clubs." The impact of these items upon the wielding creatures' strength seems to be a combination of physical and psychological factors, as Marowak bones have been noted to be markedly more durable and rigid than the bones of most other Pokémon, and Thick Club-wielding individuals generally appear to be much more bold and aggressive than their typical counterparts. Although recorded data is presently inconclusive, several prominent researchers have theorized that the wielders of Thick Clubs occupy roles of importance within Cubone and Marowak social structures. Strangely, the use of bone clubs among members of this line appears to be instinctive, and Cubone and Marowak appear unwilling to utilize implements other than bones for their clubs. If a Cubone or Marowak is separated from a suitable club for a prolonged period of time, it will become paranoid and easily startled.
Cubone and Marowak appear to exhibit highly pronounced and distinct psychological states, which changes dramatically with evolution. Cubone, both in the wild and in captivity, are noted for being emotionally fragile, and typically respond poorly to traumatic events. One of the most well-documented and observed manifestations of this aspect of these creatures' psyche is their tendency to pine for deceased acquaintances and relations. Bereaved Cubone have been known to mourn loudly and plaintively when confronted with objects that remind them of the deceased party. In the event of the death of an intimate relative, such as a parent, it is not uncommon for Cubone to pine for the deceased until shortly prior to their evolution. It should be noted that Cubone often also exhibit similar behaviors if they are abruptly separated from figures that they have bonded with, and it is generally not recommended to capture a wild Cubone if one is unable to visit its original home on a regular basis, lest the Cubone in question become homesick. Marowak are by far the more emotionally sturdy members of this line, and mourn for their dead in a markedly more subdued and shorter fashion than their younger brethren. Marowak are also usually far more aggressive and bold than Cubone, and are typically vastly less forgiving of any (real or perceived) threats or transgressions towards themselves or their relations and acquaintances. Although rare, it is not unheard of for Marowak to "break" under extreme emotional duress and temporarily revert to an emotionally fragile state not unlike that possessed by their younger counterparts.
One of the more unfortunate quirks of the biology of members of this line is that of the behavior of the female immune system. Among both female Cubone and especially female Marowak, ovulation appears to cause hormonal shifts that temporarily weaken their immune systems. Although these shifts are seldom an issue in captivity, where potential resultant illnesses can readily be treated, in the wild, this development is often a death sentence. As a result, both Cubone and Marowak suffer above-average maternal mortality rates, with maternal mortality rates among the latter being among the highest observed for any species of Pokémon.
Members of the Cubone line appear to have a very limited range, and stable populations are only known to exist in areas that host so-called "Marowak graveyards." There appear to be eight contiguous blocs within these creatures' range: an area extending along the Route 9 / Route 10 corridor in Northeastern Kanto, the entirety of Quest Island in the Sevii Islands archipelago, an area overlapping with Kanto's "Victory Road" on Route 23, a currently unknown site (presumed to be somewhere in the vicinity of the Oreburgh Gate) to the east of Sinnoh's Route 203, a site overlapping with Unova's Route 15, the area around and within the Glittering Cave of Kalos, and transplanted populations near the Kanto and Johto Safari Zones. Although Cubone and Marowak are best known for dwelling in mountainous regions and cave systems, their existing range has also demonstrated that members of this line are capable of living within territories in dense patches of forest, at least after said patches of forest have been cleared of potential competing or predatory organisms. One of the most bizarre locations ever recorded to have supported a population of these creatures was the Pokémon Tower in Lavender City prior to its conversion to the Kanto Radio Tower. For decades, this seven-story necropolis supported a large population of Cubone and the occasional Marowak after an exploratory group set up residence in the structure. Shortly before the tower's conversion to its present function, it was discovered that a truly vast number of Marowak remains had been buried within the structure, the vast majority of them predating the arrivals of the first members of this population. This discovery, coupled with the successful transplanting of the entire population along with the remains to the vicinity of the Johto Safari Zone, has suggested that the range of the Cubone line can be manipulated by human activity, and most likely has been for ages in the past.
Members of the Cubone line exhibit a firmly omnivorous diet, with preferences for meat or plant matter influenced by the relative availability of different food sources. Creatures from this line have been noted to hunt or otherwise gather food in groups of 4-5 individuals, which is enough to dissuade most potential predators from attacking, as well as to overwhelm most creatures typically targeted by Cubone and Marowak as prey. In infrequent circumstances, groups of 20-30 individuals (and occasionally still larger groups) have been recorded pursuing and overpowering creatures vastly stronger than themselves, which have included, among other things, Skarmory, Nidoking, and Rhydon. Curiously, it appears that a large proportion of these "mob" kills are not for sustenance, but for implements to serve as tools or as vengeance for transgressions against local populations of Cubone or Marowak. Both members of this line have also been recorded scavenging carrion, though this behavior appears to be uncommon when alternative food sources are not scarce. Populations of Cubone and Marowak have been known to quarrel with populations of other creatures over food, especially in lean times. This behavior is believed by anthropologists to have affected human beings in the distant past, as a number of paintings from Mesolithic cave dwellings have been found depicting scenes of conflict between humans and members of the Cubone line.
As with the overwhelming majority of Pokémon, irritating or intimidating a member of the Cubone line, especially without the protection of Pokémon of one's own, is exceedingly foolish. Both Cubone and Marowak utilize a variety of clubbing, tackling, and boomerang attacks against foes that can leave deep bruises and hairline fractures, and the latter's attacks are more than capable of breaking major bones and causing internal bleeding. Although an attack by an individual Cubone or Marowak is not likely to be fatal, hostile encounters with groups of these creatures are quite another story. Trainers traveling in regions supporting known populations of Cubone and Marowak are encouraged to avoid engaging groups of these creatures if at all possible, and if a confrontation is unavoidable, to have any Pokémon on hand use attacks such as Roar and Whirlwind or use Repels to attempt to disperse the group in order to buy valuable time to flee. Attacks by even normal scouting groups of 4-5 Cubone have been known to leave imprudent trainers with injuries serious enough to necessitate immediate hospitalization, which on a secluded, mountainous route, often fails to come soon enough. Hostile encounters with "mobs" of Cubone or Marowak, while much rarer, are almost always fatal. Trainers attempting to capture single Cubone or Marowak are encouraged to avoid engaging these creatures repeatedly in a relatively small area, as doing so increases the probability of attracting a group of Cubone or Marowak who will attempt to aid their beleaguered comrade. Areas known to house Cubone and/or Marowak populations often have notices for passing travelers enumerating safety precautions pertaining to these creatures.
Both Cubone and Marowak are capable of reproducing, and reproduce via oviparous methods, though reproduction among Cubone in the wild is fairly uncommon. Courting among wild Cubone and Marowak is typically either initiated by males attempting to woo a potential mate, typically through offerings of gifts of food or bone tools, or less commonly, through attempts to show off his strength through various feats. After indicating the suitor of her choice, both the male and the female will seek the blessing of their union from the heads of their respective "clans". An alternate method of courtship, akin to the human practice of an arranged marriage, appears to be organized by the parents or other living elders of a Cubone or Marowak, who will approach the elders of a Cubone or Marowak deemed to be a fitting suitor to attempt to secure a union between their children. In either case, if a union is secured, the male and female will find a secluded, safe spot to construct a nest, mate, and for the female to lay her eggs. Females typically lay 1-3 eggs after mating, and typically guard their eggs while the male collects (or if need be, constructs) skull helmets and bone clubs for their future offspring. It is not uncommon for the females to fall deathly ill during this period, and members from the male's and the female's "clan", along with the local "tribe's" "healer/shaman", will often attempt to provide medicinal plants and aid the female's vigil over her eggs, as well as to help care for her offspring immediately after hatching. If the female survives her ordeal, she will typically remain bonded with her mate for at least one further breeding cycle before seeking a new mate. A small, but sizable minority of unions between members of this line will last for the duration of its members' lifespans. Members of this line are also capable of mating with a number of Pokémon species outside of their immediate line, though this behavior is rarely recorded outside of captivity.
Cubone and Marowak are noted for having what are perhaps the most extensive social structures of any line of Pokémon, with structures bearing a strong resemblance to mildly stratified human tribal societies. There appear to be four ascending levels of organization within a given Cubone/Marowak population: The immediate family; a network of extended family members and kin, not wholly unlike the human concept of a clan; a localized grouping of these "clans" that behaves as a cohesive unit, which are referred to among some observers as "tribes"; and what appears to be some sort of association-type structure that binds all of the individual "tribes" within a contiguous expanded area together.
Unlike most Pokémon, Cubone and Marowak appear to exhibit very intimate immediate family structures, with a typical mating pair lasting through multiple complete offspring-rearing cycles, and occasionally for life. With each cycle, both the father and mother, as well as extended family members, contribute to defending and raising their young for between 12-16 months before leaving them to fend for themselves as independent members of their "tribe". Cubone and Marowak appear to maintain extended familial structures that are typically referred to among researchers as "clans," which will behave as a bloc within a tribe to defend its members' interests. These clan structures appear to regularly cut across tribal divisions, and are often the primary means through which different tribes engage in diplomacy.
Cubone and Marowak tribes appear to typically consist of 50-60 individuals distributed among 4-8 clans, and they live a semi-nomadic lifestyle in an area nearby a Marowak graveyard shared with other tribes in fairly close proximity to each other. Vastly larger tribes are known to exist (the largest on record consisting of over 800 individuals and 20 clans), though such super-tribes are rare. These tribes appear to be matriarchal in nature, with the leader of the typical tribe being a female (though male leaders are not unheard of), and various social roles divided among the other members of the tribe, including defense (typically consisting of parties of 4-5 individuals that patrol current living areas to ambush would-be interlopers), the collection of food, and the preservation of tribal burial sites at the nearby graveyard. Most tribes also appear to have one or two members (typically female) who hold what appears to be a position similar to that of a healer and/or a shaman, and help tend to wounded or ill tribe members, oversee the burial of deceased members, as well as the exhumation of the deceased for skulls and bones.
Cubone and Marowak tribes appear to interact with each other on a regular basis. There appears to be a rudimentary form of barter-based trade among tribes, as when two tribes meet, their members will typically trade goods such as food and bone tools. These trading networks often span entire ranges, as members of tribes based on Kanto's Route 9 have been recorded in the past to periodically exchange goods with members of a tribe hailing from the southern portion of Route 10's Rock Tunnel. Tribes also appear to organize periodic expeditions to areas well outside of their territory. Two of the most famous examples of these are the periodic visitation of the former Pokémon Tower by groups representing tribes from Routes 9 & 10 (disoriented groups still occasionally pay visits to the now-converted tower) and what appear to be exploratory expeditions to Route 203 in Sinnoh organized by tribes hailing from what is presumed to be an inaccessible region of the Oreburgh Gate. Cubone and Marowak "mobs" used to down large prey are also regularly organized by multiple tribes, which pool their strength and resources to increase their probability of success and minimize casualties. Naturally, a major part of this interaction consists of hostilities between tribes. Surprisingly, conflicts between these tribes tend to be fairly short-lived and relatively bloodless, with battles rarely spilling over to affect non-combatants, and a system akin to the human practice of capturing and exchanging prisoners of war. It should be noted that, as with any Pokémon behavior, exceptions do periodically arise, one of the most notable being a bloody on-and-off feud between two tribes on Quest Island that has lasted over a decade. These conflicts typically stem from shortages of food or a dispute over remains and burial sites in a nearby graveyard, and last until they are resolved by some form of peace offering from one party, often arranged by members of a common clan that are present in both tribes.
In Human Society
Members of the Cubone line possess a peculiar dichotomy in the way they are perceived by the general public. Cubone are typically portrayed in media as sympathetic and tragic figures; their elder counterparts, on the other hand, are seldom depicted in a positive light, and are often portrayed as belligerent brutes. Marowak's poor public image has only been exacerbated by its popularity among members of criminal syndicates, most notably among members of the now-defunct Team Rocket, and among individuals affiliated with dubious professions such as bouncers and bounty hunters. Cubone are occasionally targeted by poachers for their skull helmets, which are sought after in some circles to form medicinal powders, though this practice has become mercifully rare since the collapse of Team Rocket a number of years ago. Due to their appearance and their presence in works targeting young children, Cubone are a staple among young trainers near areas with wild populations. This practice has long been a constant source of frustration for public service officials, as the creatures are deceptively demanding to care for, and some municipalities have turned to using public service announcements in order to disseminate information regarding how to safely and humanely train these Pokémon.
Written by Tracer Bullet.