Pokemorph society - like many modern human societies - is a melting pot of several different cultures, traditions, personal beliefs and attitudes. Prism Island is a unique blend of human influence from several different regions and Pokémon instinct and lifestyles. While Prism’s society and economy has grown exponentially in recent decades, some prejudiced humans still consider “Pokemorph Island” barbaric or primitive.
Even on Prism Island, life as a Pokemorph has its own difficulties and obstacles, though some have been overcome by the work and inventions of Pokemorphs themselves. As one example, safety-spring swing doors to prevent smashed tails have been retrofitted even to most old buildings. Carpenters and other creators are held in high regard for the many custom chairs the island requires. Heated floors can be found in renovated public service offices, providing some comfort to legless morphs who need to traverse them. Some problems are not as simple to solve, and many still exist, as Pokemorphs have incredibly varied body types. Like all things, Pokemorph life has high and low points.
Humans speak in human tongues, Pokémon speak the language of Pokémon (unofficially known as ‘Pokéspeech’). Though many Pokémon can understand human language, an exceptionally rare few are ever able to use it; similarly, few humans learn to understand Pokémon language. Pokemorphs bridge that gap, capable of speaking the languages of both.
Communication on Prism Island is held mostly in the languages of humans - primarily Japanese and English. For the purposes of Pokemorph MUSH, all text is in English, or Romanized: consider PMM to be subtitled in English.
First Gen ‘morphs were conditioned to speak the humans’ language(s). First and Second Gens (and Liberated morphs know Pokéspeech due to being born as Pokémon - though not all have retained the knowledge to remain fluent in all languages. Due to lingering feelings of resentment towards their training and/or humans in general, some First and even Second Gens prefer to use Pokéspeech.
Unovan ‘morphs, both those morphed and Freebirths, speak human language(s) and Pokéspeech fluently as they received voluntary schooling, and tend to have a much different outlook on humans in general. Liberated are offered the chance to be tutored in human language upon morphing.
Interestingly, due to never having been Pokémon, some Freebirths never learned Pokéspeech, and thus are only capable of using human language(s).
As in the source media, Pokémon (and thus most Pokemorphs), are capable of understanding human speech in any language. However, they are best at receiving emotional “heart” based expression, with the comprehension of more cerebral or precise topics tapering off based on the listening individual. Some guarded individuals find this ability difficult to retain, and some Freebirths have never acquired it at all.
Humans on Prism Island will find little trouble communicating or reading signage, as even most written language on Prism is printed in both Japanese and English. It is incredibly rare for any human to fully understand Pokéspeech, but it is not unheard of. Pokemorphs often use this to their advantage to have conversations without nosy human tourists eavesdropping!
There are some terms used by Pokemorphs that are unique to Pokemorph society and the island; see the Glossary.
Notably, it is not considered rude to call someone by their species or element when you do not know their name; much like it is polite to use someone’s surname to address them (if they have one) until you are well acquainted. For example, someone meeting Golem the Golurk-Morph for the first time may call it “Golurk” or “Grounder” until Golem introduced itself. As such, many Pokemorphs simply call humans “Human.”
The Prism Island government is socialist, and as such offers various public services and support for its people. Aided by Team Plasma, Prism’s government provides housing, food, healthcare and other basic necessities to Prism citizens. Unfortunately, some individuals still slip through the cracks. Others distrust any form of assistance from the government, particularly those who still have lingering trauma and resentment from the “Rocket years”.
Prior to that, Prism Island was a dependent territory of Kanto, and was subject to Kanto’s federal laws and rulings.
Just like the Pokémon and humans they were created from, Pokemorphs experience a full range of emotions and can most certainly fall in (or out!) of love. However, personal relationships vary wildly from Pokemorph to Pokemorph. Some treat interpersonal relationships much the same as they would have as a Pokémon; others prefer to mirror human behavior, and may even opt to undergo marriage ceremonies to solidify romantic bonds.
While only certain groups of Pokémon can reproduce with each other, The Change renders all Pokemorphs breeding-compatible, though many Pokemorphs tend to find similar species the most attractive. Pokemorph children are always a singular species and never hybrids; children of differing species are most often the dam’s species, though a small amount may take after their sire.
A “mixed” child may display some traits of the other parent’s species - often manifesting as unusual coloration or instinctual behavior. There are no ‘true hybrid’ Pokemorphs - i.e. a Lucario-Morph and a Pikachu-Morph will produce a Pichu-Morph child or a Riolu-Morph child.
Attitudes towards inter-species relationships vary from ‘morph to ‘morph - most Pokemorphs tend to feel ambivalence or support towards Pokemorph/Pokémon relationships. Pokemorph/human relationships have a much broader range of opinions. Many First and Second Gens tend to have a sour opinion of humans, while Unovans and Freebirths tend to have little of the same prejudice and may even whole-heartedly approve of such unions. However, any desire for children in such partnerships must seek outside resources; Pokemorphs are not capable of producing offspring with either humans or Pokémon.
For relationships between Prism Island’s society and Pokemorphs, and human societies, see Foreign Relations.
See Types for additional information. While individual species is the cause of greater variance than Type alone, there are some recurring themes due to frequent similarities in morphs of the same Type.
The range of residential buildings on the island runs a wide spectrum. Multi-family vacation homes have been built in limited quantities, family homes have existed for decades, and apartment complexes both for Pokemorphs in general and specific Types exist. Rare is the Pokemorph that finds themselves unwillingly homeless, as the government provides housing as well. At the very worst, simple shelter can be created with the use of moves. For more about architecture, see Prism City.
Technology and Weaponry#
The sheer isolation of Prism Island’s years as a territory of Kanto has left Prism’s technology a decade or two behind the rest of the world. Personal computers, cell phones, tablets, video game consoles and more exist! However, even to this day they tend to be generations behind those of the mainland, as most morphs cannot afford the exorbitant import fees for the latest tech.
Vehicles also tend to be outdated, and expensive to maintain and repair; as such, few ‘morphs own an automobile. However, given the unique abilities of many Pokemorphs, many opt to simply travel by foot or wing; others may opt for bicycle, skateboard, rickshaw, or even public transit.
Medical technology, on the other hand, is top-of-the-line on Prism Island. See Pokemorph Health for more.
Weaponry on Prism Island is common, and for the most part, unrestricted. What justification could there be to forbid a Petilil-Morph to carry a sword for defense, when a Bisharp-Morph’s natural blades could do more damage? In short: Most traditional non-projectile weapons (with the exception of archery bows) are unrestricted for Prism citizens, as many ‘morphs are just as dangerous without them.
Firearms (handguns, rifles, shotguns, assault rifles, etc) are illegal to possess on Prism Island. While it could be argued that Pokémon and ‘morph powers are more dangerous than guns - and several Pokemorphs are resistant or even impervious to bullets - the devastating effectiveness of firearms have led the government of Prism to maintain a firm ban on them.
More notable than firearms is a complete ban on unused capture balls: Poké Balls, Great Balls, Ultra Balls - any capture device designed to hold a Pokémon. In short, capture balls attempt to separate the Pokémon from the human on a Pokemorph; this is extremely painful, to say the least, and may cause permanent injury or even death. See Poké Balls for more.
Clothing on the island varies dramatically, with influence of physiology and types weighing in heavily. Nudity is common and not seen as unusual, though philosophies clash on it, especially with mainlanders. Silk is a very common material. Tailoring is a regular and esteemed profession, and even store-bought clothing comes in a wide range of sizes.
Clothing on the island is incredibly varied due to the myriad body types of the citizens. As such, while there is plenty of store-purchasable clothing of human make, there are even more tailor shops, and the island also produces some of its own fabrics. Silk is plentiful since it can be created by various moves and refined into textiles, with a majority of it being exported for profit. Owing to both style and the ease of obtaining the material, it’s common to have silk replicas of clothes normally made from other fabrics. Garments traditionally made from silk, such as kimono, are sold with pride.
Modifications to clothing are frequent, not just for body shapes but also for the comfort of those wearing them. Multiple specialty shops exist for altering clothing. Both fur and scales take to clothing differently than skin, and types also heavily influence what Pokemorphs will wear, with more information to be found within that article.
As a significant degree of the population lived a portion of their lives without any clothing at all, numerous philosophies surround the topic. Some morphs find clothes a source of utility, some a source of comfort. Others find the thought of covering up nigh insulting, or an unnecessary sort of performative art. Nudity is permitted and common on the island, an expectation set at being respectful instead; the bar is set at being clean, tidy, and not overtly lascivious. While the public has own its own set of rules, workplaces have their own standards, with clothing a requirement at many establishments. For example, upscale food service or those intended to be primarily tourist-facing may set the bar even higher. They often require hairnets and fishnets on otherwise uncovered feathers and fur, though casual eateries are typically not so strict and simply expect employees to be dressed.
Because of the effort required in custom tailoring clothes and the volatile nature of combat, wearing them while in battle can be taken as a slight to the tailor, in effect stating the work of creating them has been deemed unimportant to the wearer. Such an act can also be taken as an insult to the opposition, as if to boastfully declare them incapable of landing even a scratch. Likewise, because of the expense of keeping a custom wardrobe, opponents intending to be respectful are expected to give one another time to doff their outfit, and areas designated for combat typically have small lockers, with some even including one-size-fits-all underclothes (generally described as ‘uncomfortable’) for cheap purchase and use.
Elementally resistant clothing is produced on the island, though its lack of widely useful purpose outside morph culture makes it see little export. As well, its price is generally above the range of custom-fitted suits, rendering it an investment best for those who expect to battle frequently, or intend for their battles to be broadcast to places off the island, such as in the Pokemorph Fighting League. Due to quirks of its creation, it is generally much cheaper to repair, though both processes are mutually kept trade secrets between production companies.
Over the years, Prism has resolved many of its problems, some including those that continue to affect human societies. Food on the island is effectively endless due to the fertile soil and skills of Grass-type Morphs that allow growing crops at an accelerated rate. Basic shelter from the elements is only ever a Rock-type move away, while housing and buildings can be constructed in a fraction of the time a fully human labor force would require. The government of the island assists with housing and sustenance to the point of simply fully giving to those in need; anyone homeless is almost invariably so by choice, and anyone starving needs only be pointed in the right direction.
Devoid of problems of simply making it day to day, the issues on the island are even more stark against what would be a peaceful backdrop. First and Second generation Morphs were engineered to be tools of conquest, not creatures intended to live in a civilization, and some entirely lack the necessary social skills to not take a fight too far, or even behave in a civil way in prolonged contact with one another. As well, their children will never fully understand them; no Freebirth will ever truly know what being a Pokémon was actually like. With the potential for violence at literally any corner, older morphs often feel the need to overly educate those around them, younger morphs especially. Meanwhile, the lack of social skills passed on can leave younger morphs with insufficient restraint about using their powers on others, including those that can’t defend themselves; with the tourist trade supporting the island and potential threats of outside military action still present, outright violence against humans is a line even the most vitriolic morphs think twice about crossing, but using magical abilities on tourists for fun and profit draws a wide range of opinions.
A “vanishing culture” also exists in the First, Second, and Unovan population of morphs; while more morphs are being made, the speed at which Pokémon choose to be morphed is exceptionally small by comparison to the quantity Rocket created. Trying to pass on the culture of Pokémon, or even the Pokemorph culture, can be a burden on the minds of a gradually aging, fully unique population. In just one example of existential crisis, specialized fighting techniques are best taught through experience, and more than one elderly morph has intentionally met their end passing on that experience by displaying it via public force.
Humans may not know how to interact with morphs, treating them as more animalistic as they are, as ‘furries come to life’, or otherwise tokenize them. Power abuses have existed plentifully in the attempted relationships of former Trainer and Pokémon pairs, leaving behind many examples to sour otherwise good faith; while generally Trainers are well-adjusted around their former friends, it’s easy for those with a vendetta in either direction to point to instances gone wrong. As well, there are still factions on all sides, however minor, that believe in the entire eradication of the other species.
The minds and powers of morphs are unique, and both creating new varieties of enjoyment and hiding them are developed on a monthly basis. Less savory entertainments range to all corners of thought, from malicious hacking, stunts and dares that escalate to unlawful levels, development of new drugs, and fighting until the spark of life is nearly gone. Seeking out greater hedonism also drives crime, be it greed to create a sense of safety through finance, or simple lust for power.