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Starter Mon

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It's a simple fact in the world of Mons Series: Given the way that most problems resolve around mon-on-mon fights, you need a Mon yourself to get anywhere. But Mons themselves are often recruited through combat—either by defeating them, catching them, or appealing to them to join your cause. Since you need Mons to fight Mons, how do you even get into the world of Mon combat in the first place? Enter the Starter Mon!

The Starter Mon is exactly what its name implies: It's the first Mon the player (or main character) receives on their journey To Be a Master. Unlike regular Mons, this one is usually not caught or recruited like other Mons would be; it's typically given to them by an outside source, such as an Old Master. While in many RPGs, the Starting Equipment tends to be bottom-of-the-barrel, cheap and ordinary stuff, the Starter Mon tends to be a bit different (and a bit more valuable). They typically have three or more of the following traits:

  • They tend to run the gamut from rather rare to outright unique. Frequently, the only place they will be available is from the start of the game. If they can be found in the game world, it's often only under special conditions, or in out-of-the-way places. They also tend to possess unique abilities no other Mon in the series has.
  • The player is offered a choice between more than one. In this case, picking one is a lot like picking a starting class in other RPGs.
  • They tend to be at the very least moderately powerful; usually strong enough to be worth using the entire game. The Starting Mon is often intended to function as The Hero of the group, sometimes in more ways than one.
  • If they aren't very strong to start off with, they'll become so later on...
  • Even if Mons in the series aren't necessarily Bond Creatures, the Starting Mon has a higher than normal chance of being a Bond Creature, or of having a special link with the protagonist.
  • They are iconic of the game, or franchise, in some way. They are often pushed in The Merch and the marketing for the series. If the franchise has any adaptations, expect them to be the Signature Mon of the protagonist.

In other words, think Starting Equipment meets The Hero.

Free-to-Play games with Mons elements tend to use a slightly different set of characteristics for their starters. Their starter mons tend to be much weaker and more common, more like Com Mons. While they can be useful later in the game, the intention is usually to keep you playing the game so you can earn better creatures—and possibly pay for better ones. On the other hand, a well-raised Starter Mon can become a character's Signature Mon.


Examples from Pokémon can be found on their own page.

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     Video Game examples 
  • Much like Pokémon does, Temtem offers a choice between three starters right off the bat: the Crystal-type Crystle, the Melee-type Smazee, and the Mental-type Houchic. After your first battle, however, you also receive a Tuwai, which has a variety of different evolutions. You'll still be able to catch these Temtem later in the game, though they're very rare.
  • Azur Lane features quite a few "starters" for each category of ship. The absolute classic example of this trope note  occurs with Javelin, Z23, Laffey, and Ayanami, the destroyers you start the game with. As a Free-to-Play game, the "cheaper" variant of the trope also occurs with some Crutch Character ships in their class that get obsolete fast: Repulse (BC/BB) and Long Island(CV/L). A few strong free ships are also given to the player for simply progressing, without needing to dive into the gacha or map drops: Portland will usually be a player's first heavy cruiser, and Prinz Eugen is another heavy cruiser and typically a player's first "Super Rare" (highest-rarity) ship.
  • The Digimon video games, naturally, use this trope.
    • In Digimon World, A short questionaire determines whether you begin with Agumon or Gabumon as your first partner.
    • Digimon World 2 has you choosing to join one of three Guard Teams, each of which will provide you with your starter: Vaccine specialists Silver Cross/Gold Hawks will provide you with Agumon, Data specialists the Blue Falcons give you Patamon, and the Virus preferring Black Swords give you DemiDevimon.
    • In Digimon World 3, you're actually given a selection from a number of different Starter Mon packs, as opposed to just one. The Balance Pack includes Kotemon, Renamon and Patamon; the Powerful Pack provides Koemon/Monmon, Agumon and Renamon; and the Maniac Pack gives Bearmon, Guilmon and Patamon.
    • Digimon World DS has you choosing between Agumon, Gaomon and Lalamon.
    • In Digimon World Dawn/Dusk, you also get to choose from different starter "packs." Although they have different supporting 'mons, each pack also contains its versions' unique mascot: Coronamon for Dawn and Lunamon for Dusk. They also include high-stage Digimon that seem unusually strong for the beginning of the game, which are naturally reverted to their basic forms early in the plot.
    • Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth allows the player to choose from Terriermon, Hagurumon or Palmon.
    • Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory instead offers Betamon, Tentomon or Gottsumon.
  • Oddly for a Mons Series, the Monster Rancher franchise usually averts this: Since monsters in the game are randomly generated based on different factors (such as CDs or other games inserted in the console, or strings of code), the player can start with just about any monster they want, and as many as they want. Some breeds are locked from the start, however. Played straight in 4 and Evo where you start out with a Garu and Piroro, respectively.
  • Ni no Kuni
    • The game has Mite, Oliver's first familiar. He is explicitly formed out of Oliver's soul, and his melee attacks remain powerful for most of the game. He's also the first familiar you get to metamorphose into a stronger form, as a tutorial for that mechanic. In the DS version, he's even the only familiar you can't take out of your party.
    • Since you don't actually get the ability to recruit familiars until some ways in, you are gradually given a few extra "starters" to tide you over in a Thumbelemur and a Seed Sprite; plus Esther comes with a Drongo when she joins. When you do finally get to recruit your own, you're given a choice of Shonky-Honker, Boggly-Boo, and Lagoon Naiad for free as the recruitment tutorial.
    • The console version has a special island that contains only the base versions of the "storyline familiars", such as Mite, as well as the other human characters' default familiars, and those who join you during the story.
  • Monster Racers has Leafee, Cuboom, and Phoechick. Each one specializes in running on a different kind of terrain (Grass, Sand, and Lava respectively).
  • When players are first introduced to the Summoning feature in Onmyōji, they are guaranteed to get a 3-star SR Yuki-onna and a 2-star R Sanbi-no-kitsune. Both are powerful attacker-type shikigami.
  • Ooblets has four to choose from, based on what club you join in the beginning - Frunbuns (the cute ones) gives you Tud, Peaksnubs (the elite ones) give you Bittle, Mossprouts (the outdoorsy ones) give you Shrumbo, and Mimpins (the nerdy ones) gives you Sidekey.
  • Fossil Fighters
    • The first game has a Spinax who is given to you to start. Spinax is actually a fairly ordinary and easy-to-find fossil in the first area, though he is fairly useful throughout the game.
    • The second game takes a more traditional approach to this trope: At the start of the game, Joe Wildwest offers you a choice between four different dinos, one for each main element in the game. All of them possess Super Evolver capabilities and all are fairly strong, and cannot be found until later in the game. You also receive a Tricera after the cleaning tutorial.
    • The third game, Fossil Fighters Frontier, has Chompasaurus, a tiny T-rex like dino who can change form and evolve like a more traditional Mon. Your entire group of friends treats him like your Team Pet and he's a special friend of the main character. And he's the de-powered form of a powerful genetically-altered beast.
  • Fate/EXTRA: At the end of the prologue and that of the semi-sequel Fate/Extra CCC, the player chooses one of three Servants to fight alongside: Saber, Archer, or Caster, with CCC adding a fourth choice in Gilgamesh.
  • Fate/Grand Order: The game has two types of Starter Servants:
    • The first type is the guaranteed Shielder every player will start with: Mash Kyrielight. She will always be the player's first Servant and she's the only one the player doesn't need to roll or to have partake in events for. She also serves as the player's Signature Mon and the game's Series Mascot.
    • In addition to Mash, every new player will perform a Starter Summon, a tutorial-type 10-summon which guarantees them at least one out of ten (later 14) available 4* Servant. The original ten Servants were Siegfried (Saber), Chevalier d'Eon (Saber), EMIYA (Archer) Elisabeth Báthory (Lancer), Marie Antoinette (Rider), Saint Martha (Rider), Carmilla (Assassin), Stheno (Assassin), Heracles (Berserker) and Tamamo Cat (Berserker). The Caster-class was notably the only main class not covered by the ten. As of July 3rd, 2019, five new Starter Servants have been added to the Starter Summon pool, which are Suzuka Gozen (Saber), Atalante (Archer), Parvati (Lancer) Helena Blavatsky (Caster) and Nursery Rhyme (Caster). Of the original ten, only d'Eon has been removed while the other nine remain within the pool. With this change, each of the seven main classes is represented by two Starter Servants. 5* Servants or other 4* Servants are not available for the Starter Summon. Random 3* Servants that are neither story-locked nor limited are available for the Starter Summon, thus the player is guaranteed to have at least three Servants in their party when they start out. Due to the nature of Starter Summon, it's easy for new players and veterans to reroll it (read: re-start a new game and roll again) to obtain the 4* they desire, with Heracles and EMIYA being the two most popular choices.
  • Granblue Fantasy: Katalina is the starting Story character, while Walder is the tutorial R character who everyone gets. An update in 2017 included the rigged SSR tutorial draw which gives out a free SSR character of a specific element. They are Carmelina, Melleau, Charlotta, Zeta, Lady Grey, and De La Fille.
  • Dragon Quest Monsters
    • The first two games each start you out with an ordinary and humble Slime. For the most part, it's largely because Slime is the Mascot Mook of the Dragon Quest series... but Slimes in the DQM universe do have the potential to learn the single most powerful attack spell in the game, typically only usable by boss monsters and other difficult-to-breed creatures. The Level Cap might keep your starter from learning that spell, but that's not to say its offspring won't be able to.
    • Joker gives you a special, form-swapping monster partner called Incarnus. He's always a member of your party, unlike others, and he's a member of the special "???" monster family that normally only holds bosses.
    • The Video Game Remake of Dragon Quest Monsters 2 gives you a unique monster whom you can customize both the appearance and stat growth of. It's part of the special "???" family, it learns a special skill set exclusive to it, it stays the same species whenever you breed it, and in the story, it's the child of an immense, godlike monster who chose your protagonist to guard her egg.
  • Eternal Eyes gives you Mooscue, the game's Mascot Mook, as one of your two starting mons.
  • The traditional starter 'bot in Robopon is Sunny, a vaguely rabbit-like red robot. The Japan-only second games also have C-Cell, a battery-like robot.
  • Kewne in Azure Dreams. He is explicitly closely linked to the protagonist—necessarily so, because he's the one who levels up in the protagonist's place. (Or rather, the protagonist de-levels whenever he leaves a dungeon, and Kewne doesn't.) He's also the only monster who doesn't follow the elemental color-coding of the other monsters (Well, aside from the final boss), and has his own special sprite.
  • Dinosaur-themed RPG Fossil League has a Staurikosaurus who befriends the protagonist the first time he travels back in time. In addition to being a Neutral-element dinosaur who can use many different skill types, he's also the only one of his species you meet, and the only dinosaur you get to name. You can't take him out of your party, and he behaves more closely to a pet than the other dinosaurs you recruit do.
  • Mobile/DSi game Crystal Monsters gives you a choice between a fire type, water type, and plant type 'mon, much like Pokemon does. They cannot be caught in the wild, but they can be bred later on in the game.
  • Shin Megami Tensei will often start you off with Pixie, a low level tiny fairy with usually the lowest level elec spell and lowest level heal spell.
    • Averted in the first two games, where the heroes get the Demon Summoning Program for free, but have to recruit demons on their own. Since the heroes are active combatants, you don't need demons to fight, but it's highly recommended.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei NINE, a Cait Sith is automatically added to the party when you enter Idea Space for the first time.
    • The first demon recruited in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne is a Pixie who asks the Demi-Fiend to escort her somewhere. If he visits that place, she asks if he wants her to leave; if she leaves, she's gone for good. If she's in your party when visiting a certain spot near the end of the game (it's fine if she'd been fused into a different demon, but don't sacrifice or delete her), she'll evolve into a level 80 Pixie.
    • Both Flynn of Shin Megami Tensei IV and Nanashi of Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse obtain Centaur as their starter demon, in very different circumstances.
    • In the Shin Megami Tensei spinoff Devil Children, the only installments in the Lighter and Softer Devil Children series to come to the US, there are Rox and Nex; Rox in the dark version and Nex in the light version. They are the human characters' special partners, and can evolve at certain moments in the games (which no other monster can do). They even have special fusion rules associated with them, and can't be removed from the party, either.
    • The Persona subseries has the protagonist's initial Persona. While other Personas are mostly generic demons from Shin Megami Tensei games, these initial Personas have unique designs exclusive to the game, and are heavily associated with the protagonists themselves. In addition, they start with level 1, are of the Fool Arcana from 3 onward, and cannot be gotten through random encounters.
      • Persona 3 has Orpheus, the starter Persona of the protagonist. It's fairly unremarkable and players will often fuse it away for better Personas. Fairly late in the game, however, you can fuse Orpheus with Thanatos to create the protagonist's ultimate Persona, Messiah. Additionally, in the Updated Re-release versions, a much stronger version, named Orpheus Telos, is available as the highest level and most customizable Persona in the game.
      • Persona 4 has Izanagi, the initial Persona of the protagonist. Like Orpheus in the previous game, it's fairly unremarkable and players will often fuse him away. In New Game Plus after getting the True Ending, however, you can fuse Izanagi-no-Okami, a level 90 Persona and the only one of the World Arcana, which requires regular Izanagi as one of its component. It also plays into the story as The Killer's Persona is its Evil Twin, Magatsu Izanagi and the True Final Boss is Izanami, the vengeful wife of Izanagi in the myths. In the Persona 4: Arena duology, the protagonist exclusively uses Izanagi and Izanagi-no-Okami.
      • Persona 5: Arsene, the only level 1 Persona Guardian Entity, who you get at the very start of the game and starts with nothing but a weak physical attack and a weak darkness spell. Leveling him up will take longer than any other Persona in the game, and you'll have to sacrifice dozens of stronger Guardian Entities to him to give him enough high-end skills to make him useful beyond the first dungeon. As with Persona 4 Arena, Joker exclusively uses Arsene when he appears in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (despite his lack of power in his home game, which is explicitly noted in the launch trailer but Handwaved away by Rule of Cool).
  • Spectrobes actually gives you three starters: Two adult Spectrobes for combat, and one child Spectrobe for finding fossils/gems with. In every game in the series, either the child, one of the adults, or both with be members of the Komainu family, Komainu being the Mascot Mook of the games.
  • In Yo-Kai Watch:
    • The first yokai you recruit in Yo-kai Watch is Cadin, but the yokai who actually fills the Starting Mon role is Jibanyan. He's a unique, powerful yokai who is introduced in a special storyline quest, and he's the Mascot Mook of the series.
    • The sequel makes Jibanyan the actual first Yokai you recruit, he can't be traded, and unlike in the first game, when you evolve him into either Thornyan or Baddinyan, you can still use his regular form. It also introduces Jibanyan S, an S-Rank version of Jibanyan with the same abilities, but increased stats.
    • In Yo-kai Watch 3, since it has the player play as both Nate and Hailey, it introduces Usapyon to be Hailey's Stater Mon. He starts off as a reasonably powerful B-rank, and he also serves as the Deuteragonist in Hailey's half of the story, being both her guide to the world of Yo-kai and having a dream of his own to fulfill (that of going to space).
  • Moco Moco Friends has Scrunchie, a mysterious, chipmunk-like Plushkin whom no one had ever seen before until Moco befriended her. Unlike other Plushkins, she evolves through story events and learns powerful Light spells.
  • In Dinosaur King, your starting mon is determined based on your choice of player character. Max starts with a Triceratops, while Rex gets a Carnotaurus.
  • In Invizimals, you have a choice between two insect-like Invizimals, Stingwing and Ironbug, to catch at the beginning of the game.
  • Metal Walker has Meta Ball. He's explicitly a good friend of the protagonist, and he's also the Mascot Mook who shows up on the game's box art.
  • In Octopath Traveler II, Ochette can choose between one of the two animal companions at the beginning of her story. They are Akalā the physic-oriented jackal and Mahina the element-oriented owl. Both animals are stronger than many other beasts in early game, and can still be used to discover enemy weaknesses later on.
  • In the first Telefang games, your Starter Mon depends on your version. Power version nets you the armadillo-like Crypto, while the Speed version gets you the draconic Fungus.
  • ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal: Before you leave the First Town, you must choose one three starter fairies offered to you by Rufus: an all-rounder Nature fairy Sillia with a good evolution path, a tanky Stone fairy Grem, or a wonky Water fairy Tadana. The last one seems like an odd choice, except that you won't have a chance to capture another water fairy for quite a while after that.
  • Monster Hunter: Stories plays with this. In general, Rathalos ticks all the boxes: rare, powerful, the first "Monstie" that the player meets, forms a special bond with the protagonist, and already a mascot of the parent franchise. However, it suffers a Disney Death at the end of the prologue before you get any actual game time with it. When you actually start playing, you're given a Com Mon Velocidrome instead, and have to wait until you're reunited with Rathalos. Once it does reappear, it's even further treated as special, as it opens up a sixth slot in your team roster exclusively for it, and you won't be able to switch it out until the post-game.
    • Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is similar. A Rathalos is again the main, plot-important Monstie, but you don't get it right away and start with Velocidrome instead. Though in this case, the Velocidrome is "loaned" to you until you acquire and hatch your first egg, a Kulu-Ya-Ku, after which it decides to stay with you permanently anyway.
  • In Puzzle & Dragons, you're given the choice between Tyrra, Plessie, and Brachy.
    • In the 3DS spinoff Puzzle & Dragons Z, the choices are instead Melagon, Zabgon, and Morigon. In plot terms, the Starter Mon's narrative role goes to Syrup, a little dragon that befriends the hero and is the Sleep-Mode Size form of the Skydragon of Life, Zerclea, but he's an NPC that never takes part in combat. As a nod to the parent game, Tyrra, Plessie, and Brachy can be found in the post-game areas.
    • For Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Edition, the Leader characters, Mario and Luigi, have most of the Starting Mon traits; you start with Small versions of each but unlock more versions of both throughout the game. You're also given Red Toad as your first Helper character and a Goomba and Green Koopa Troopa to fill out your Mons roster slots at the start.
  • In Gensou Ningyou Enbu, this is played with somewhat, as while there is a clear starter 'mon (in line with its inspiration by the Trope Codifier), the trope is Exaggerated in a certain way: Specifically, you can pick ANY of the one hundred and eighteen (one hundred and twenty-six in the expansion, Yume no Kakera) to be that starter (And they can all be caught elsewhere). No matter which one you pick, though, they are guaranteed start with maxed happiness, maximum IVs in all stats and come with a unique item, the Dream Shard, which boosts all of their stats by 10%. These three traits, especially the last one, are unique to Starter Puppets. To make note of these, a Starter Puppet also has a unique tag that lists that they were met in 'a fateful encounter'.
  • has the selection between Carbon, Cobby, Patch, and Tent for your starter familiar, but you can also find them elsewhere early on.
  • In World of Final Fantasy, you have Tama. While most of the Mirages in the game are classic Final Fantasy monsters, she's a unique design. She's the only one of your Mirages to be a character in her own right, and even though you can remove her from your party, she still appears in cutscenes. She also can't evolve until very late game, when a certain event happens, which allows her to break out of her Sleep-Mode Size and assume her true form as a divine protector.
  • Golden Sun: The first Djinni you find and explains the mechanics is always a Venus-elemental one (Flint in the first and third games, Echo in the second). You also can't not get them no matter how often you refuse, but doing to leads to some of the funnier dialogues.
  • At the start of Animation Throwdown: the Quest for Cards, you get to choose from one of five heroes: Bob Belcher, Roger Smith, Brian Griffin, Turanga Leela and Bobby Hill, which also determines the cards your starting deck will use. The heroes you don't choose will be unlocked later on in the game through the Arena mode.
  • In Genshin Impact, playing through the prologue will unlock Amber, Kaeya, and Lisa as playable characters in additional to your choice of protagonist; similarly, Noelle is a guaranteed character on the discounted Beginner's Wish gacha roll. Later updates made Barbara, Xiangling, and Collei unlockable by playing through the early stages of the story (for Barbara) and a unique combat challenge, ensuring that free players (and even those who ignore the gacha after the beginning) have access to at least one character with every element and weapon.
  • In Punishing: Gray Raven, Lucia (Lotus), Liv (Eclipse) and Nanami (Storm) are the first three characters you acquire in game, and together form the first Attacker-Support-Armor team the game encourages players to use. They also happen to be the only B-Ranked characters in the game, signifying that they're intended to only last until the player can assemble teams of A or S-ranked characters attained from the Gacha.
  • Jade Cocoon:
    • Downplayed in the 1st game - Levant is a warrior who can fight and catch monsters by himself, but if he completes the monster capture tutorial with Koris, he'll be allowed to keep Arpatron, the water dragon he caught.
    • Played straight in the sequel - Kahu must find and hatch a Tamatoch egg before he can fight anything else. At a certain point in the tutorial, Ra will gift him another minion to support it - he can choose either a wind-type with a sleep spell, an earth-type that can summon a defensive wall, or a water-type with a healing spell.
  • Zoids Saga has the player making the choice of their starting Humongous Mecha from Shield Liger, Saber Tiger or Raynos.
  • In Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido, you get Jinrai. He's an all-powerful Sushi Sprite who choses to ally himself with the protagonist, Musashi. He's a major character in the game, participating in most cutscenes, and his power changes all sushi on your side of the board to the same color, so you can link it all freely.
  • In Disney Mirrorverse, your first Guardian is Rapunzel, and then you're given a choice of Hercules, Mulan, and Ariel. After that, you get Merida in the gacha tutorial; and then Sulley and Jack Sparrow are awarded for completing early chapters of the game; ultimately giving new players a starting selection of characters from all four categories.
  • In Disc Creatures, the game gives you a choice between five different starters and lets you pick three of them, ensuring you start the game with a full team: In addition to Fire, Water, and Plant types, there's also an Electric type and an Earth type. The game explicitly warns you that they're all rare, so think carefully about which you want, and they can otherwise only be won as prizes from a random NPC who may or may not spawn in certain towns.
  • In Fire Emblem Heroes, the player starts with three heroes- Anna, Alfonse and Sharena, the commander of the Order of Heroes, prince of Askr and princess of Askk, respectively. The three cover the weapon triangle, wielding an axe, a sword and a spear, respectively.

    Anime and Manga 
  • The Burnt Meatballs in Fighting Foodons were Chase's first attempt at making a Foodon. They're not particularly powerful, but Chase nonetheless has a special connection to them and keeps them around.

    Fan Works 
  • The title character of Jessica is this in Cameron's Pokémon Yellow game. This is part of the reason why Cameron is so attached to her.
  • In Pokémon Strangled Red, Steven's starter is Miki, an enormously powerful Charmander/Charmeleon/Charizard.

    Web Videos 
  • Pokémon Legends Neo: Ghetsis: Guardes-in-training are given a choice between three Pokémon to have as a partner. Unlike the starters of the past, which three species they are vary due to general lack of beginner-friendly 'mons in Neo-Kanto. Protagonist Auburn is shown to have had the choice between Snivy, Therpal, and new Pokémon Dreel.