Saturday, June 30, 2012

Nidorina is in the Undiscovered Egg Group

Recently, I've been doing a crazy chain-breeding extravaganza in Generation IV. Here's how it goes:

1.  Start with a male Lapras. Level it up until it knows Rain Dance, Ice Beam, and Water Pulse.
2.  Breed it onto a female Slowpoke that also knows Water Pulse.
3.  Hatch eggs until you get a male Slowpoke with Rain Dance, Ice Beam, and Water Pulse. The Rain Dance isn't really used here, but it's a good thing to have available for breeding to save on TMs.
4.  Level up the Slowpoke until it learns Confusion, mostly because it's neat that Nidorino can get that.
5.  Breed the Slowpoke onto a Nidoran-female. This works because they're both in the Monster egg group, but note that Nidorina, for some strange reason, is in the Undiscovered egg group.
6.  Hatch eggs until you get a Nidoran-male with Water Pulse, Ice Beam, and Confusion.
7.  Level that up until it evolves into Nidorino.
8.  Level up that Nidorino until it learns Poison Jab.
9.  [step redacted]
10.  [step redacted]
11.  Profit!

What, you think that I'm going to give away ALL of my pokémon training secrets? :-p
Oh, and if anyone cares, I have a surplus of Spinarak with Signal Beam and Psybeam.

Sudden Short Story 33

"I don't think that you understand the weight of the situation," said the reporter - about the only challenging one left on Earth.
"No, L.-Ané, I think that you are the one who lacks such an understanding.  Science does not stop simply because a few people find it inconvenient.  You should remember your history.  The dark ages of Europe, the Middle East, and North America could not last forever.  Even in modern times, with everything interconnected, it can't all be blocked out."
"But don't you see how our society has grown since then?  Homosexuality is no longer considered a sin, nor even a choice."
"Tell me," said T.-Valon, "do you think that the motives for my actions determine them to be good or evil, or the actions themselves?"
"Of course your motives matter.  It is one thing to launch a rocket to explore the stars, and quite another to do so only to bear a warhead."
"My motives are the furthering of science and the betterment of mankind.  Why is that a problem?"
"Because gay births have dropped off completely everywhere that you've harvested trebulon j, and because you don't seem to even be aware of what you've done."
"What have I done?  I discovered trebulon j, and I've been harvesting it from the environment wherever I could find it, so that I could study it.  And, though I have yet to find a practical use for the damn stuff, no harm has yet come of my experiments."
"But the birth rates --"
"Are the same as they ever were.  Mine is a large company, L.-Ané.  We've been doing our own research, and it corroborates the independent studies.  There's been neither decrease in birth rates nor increase in death rates or cancer or mutation or STDs or even the common cold!  The only thing that has happened is that, where we made our first harvests of trebulon j, there now no longer originate homosexuals.  But everyone seems to assume that this is some sort of evil plot, and it's probably due to my age."
T.-Valon stood, and moved to face a window.  "I'm quite old, as I'm sure that you're aware, and I've seen a great deal in my time.  In my earliest days, I saw the turmoil surrounding the change that you suggested earlier.  I know quite well - probably better than any of your peers - that our society has changed in this way.  But you - all of you - you've grown up taking this for granted, but you seem to be confused about something."
There was silence for a moment, so she decided that he was waiting for her to ask.  "What is that?"
He turned to face her again.  "Do you think that homosexuality is a virtue?"
As she had come to almost expect from him, it was a question that she'd never heard asked before.  Caught off guard, her brain moved her mouth with the first thing that she knew of it.  "It's not a sin..."
He moved toward her, and rested his hands on the back of his own chair.  "It's not a vice, but is it a virtue?  Is a gay man somehow better than a straight man?"
"Well, no, not in that sense..."
"In some other sense, then?"
"Not in any sense, when you get right down to it."
"Well, at least you've got that part figured out, which is more than I can say for the others.  I knew that I'd not regret interviewing you.  So, tell me, do you understand my perspective now?"
She peered at him with great suspicion.  "You know, the scary thing is that I think that I almost do."
"In that case, would you still like the tour?"
"I think that I'll take a pass anyway, thanks."  L.-Ané stood and went to leave.  As she approached the door, T.-Valon suddenly asked her, "Would you like me to predict the future?"
"The famed scientist and industrialist T.-Valon, engaging in fortune-telling?  This I have to hear."
He didn't seem to hear her joke.  His mildly flippant tone had grown somber and sincere.  "You will see eugenics in your lifetime, but it will not come from me.  Eventually, we will discover how to efficiently synthesize trebulon j.  It will occur too soon, though, and when it does, the people will ask - nay, demand that it be made in large quantities and released into the environments where it was first taken.  And on that day, you will know eugenics, but you will be alone.  Good day, L.-Ané."

Defenders of the Realm

I recently got a chance to play Defenders of the Realm, and I'd like to share my thoughts briefly.

The gameplay is quite fun. I tend to enjoy challenging cooperative games, and this one doesn't disappoint.  The base game comes with a variety of adventurers, and there are several adventurer expansion packs.  Most characters have simple abilities that still add a lot to the game.  For example, I forget the Dwarf's first power, but his second power lets him re-roll failed dice against dragonkin - the hardest monsters to kill - and his third power reduces his damage per turn by 1, which, among other things, allows him to stay in a spot with 1 enemy at the end of his turn without taking any damage at all, so that he can finish them off on the next turn.  I had a lot of fun playing the Eagle Rider and questing all over the board.
Pro tip:  The movement mechanics of the cards are a lot easier to understand once you realize that the top-left symbol always ignores color.  (Really, the portal mechanics were the most confusing.)  Between the character variety and the quests, there's plenty of replay value in the base game alone.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Sudden Short Story 32

The adventurers made their way deeper under the ground, the way ahead lit only by the magical torches that they carried.  The human wore scale mail and bore a round, wooden shield in his other hand.  The elf wore studded leather, and carried a longbow.  They grew thirsty, as their water had run out the previous day, and they had been unable to find any water along the way.
Their journey through the underdark had led through tunnels wide and narrow, high and low, winding and straight.  This area happened to be very tall, and wide enough for an entire party to walk abreast with room to spare.  They reached a turn, to the right, and hadn't gone far when the elf spotted what appeared to be a pool of water ahead, with several high rocks around it.  When they approached, the elf suddenly dropped his eternal torch and knocked an arrow.
"What are you doing?" asked the man.
"I'm making sure that my hand's free in case I need to shoot something.  What does it look like I'm doing?"
"Well, why are you doing that now, of all times?"
"I just botched a Perception roll, that's why.  I don't know how useful this will be, though.  Since we're without a Rogue, it's probably a trap."
"Am I to understand that you're readying your weapon on the grounds that you didn't see anything?"
"Well, if we take it slow, then I might get another roll, and maybe I can act during the surprise round."
"Do you have any idea how stupid this sounds?"
"Hey, better safe than sorry."
"OK, fine," said the man, tossing his torch down near the pool and pulling out his longsword.  "Here.  We'll take it in turns.  You go fill your waterskin while I cover you."
Begrudgingly, the elf put away his arrow, picked up his own torch, and made his way toward the pool, his companion at his side every step of the way.  He knelt by the pool and placed his bow and torch down on either side of him, specifying that each was within arm's reach.  He was about to dip his waterskin in when he stopped.
"Wait, we're in the underdark.  What if the water's poisoned?"
"Isn't there some kind of roll that you can make to taste-test it?"
"Why should I have to do it?"
"Because you're the Ranger!  Here, if it makes you feel better, I'll swing my sword around in front of me, just in case someone's invisible and adjacent.  Just hurry up."
"Yeah, alright...."  With that, he scooped a handful of the liquid out of the pool and tasted it as he knelt.
With that, the transparent ooze rose out of the small pit, swallowing him whole.
The human turned around to see what had happened.  "HAH!" he said, "Nice."
And then they rolled Initiative.