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NAHTMMM 12-20-2017 12:54 AM

D&D Online is going to get keyboard-mashy, so that's out. Star Trek Online likewise. Those are the two "big name" RPGs I've played.

How about the Mardek series? I remember that being pretty good and the plot simple, though I didn't get past Chapter Two.

I'm looking at Kongregate's other RPG badges and a lot of them are point-and-click or platformers or other not-really-RPG genre stuff. I remember when everyone was bowled over by Sonny back when zombies were the new hip thing, it's not amazing but it's good.

The Epic Battle Fantasy series tends to have good mechanics, a good "starter" RPG series, but, uh, the little girl gets the Gainax treatment if you get my drift.

Oh yes! Flagstaff series is a good starter RPG. Simple and easy. Looks like you need the keyboard to pan the map.

Nate the Great 12-23-2017 01:38 AM

Flagstaff is a little too simple. Move, attack, heal. Move, attack, heal. I fail to see how that's fun.

Epic Battle Fantasy is a little better. If nothing else it's good training for juggling attacks and healing. I wish there was a little more "meat" to it, if you get my drift.

Thanks anyway.

Nate the Great 12-24-2017 08:32 PM

PNQ: What's the biggest difference between the spelling and pronunciation of a word that you've ever seen?

Today I re-encountered Goethe (pronounced "ger-teh"), although I know that's probably not the biggest difference between the two that I've encountered, it was still a catalyst.

Nate the Great 01-09-2018 11:42 PM

Inspired by today's Vlog Brothers videos...

PNQ: Do you pronounce .gif as "giff" (like "gift" without the "t") or "jiff" (like "jiffy" without the "y")? (henceforth "hard g" or "soft g")

I think it's supposed to be the former, but I use the latter, it just rolls of the tongue easier.

Wikipedia says that the creator intended soft g, while the Cambridge Dictionary says hard g. Merriam-Webster places hard g ahead of soft g.

The New York Times says take the cue from the "graphics" that the acronym is formed from and use hard g.

Nate the Great 01-14-2018 02:59 AM

I'm starting to get tired of my Kid Radd avatar, so it's time for a change...

PNQ: Does anyone remember my spinning Kataan probe avatar?

And more precisely where I can find it again? I can't seem to find it in my files. No wonder, that was over ten years and several computers ago.

Nate the Great 01-15-2018 02:47 PM

So I'm watching the SFDebris review of "The Trouble With Tribbles" again, and once again I wonder why Cyrano Jones would bother dealing with tribbles when he'll only make a couple sales before they multiply to the point of worthlessness...

PNQ: How about the following as a slight plot modification?

Quadrotriticale is a a recent invention, right? Of course the full effects on humanoids would've been studied before it was sent to Sherman's Planet, but what about the effects on tribbles?

Let's say that in their natural state tribbles age and reproduce at a safe rate: they're great pets! But what if you feed them quadrotriticale? Suddenly the tribbles' metabolism mutates to the point where they age to maturity very quickly and breed much larger litters.

Furthermore, what if it's not the normal quadrotriticale after all: it's the poison that Darvin added to it that mutates tribbles? He inadvertantly laid the seeds for his own exposure and defeat. This would be a plot twist that could've provided for an explanation why McCoy takes so long figuring things out: he's never seen the poison before so he wouldn't know it's effect on humanoids, much less tribbles.

Would this have worked?

Nate the Great 01-21-2018 02:26 PM

PNQ: Hey, Z, new avatar means new title, right? Until I can track down that spinning Kataan probe again I can tiptoe a little away from the air guitar.

PNQ2: When's the last time any of you jumped on your bed?

Nate the Great 01-21-2018 04:25 PM

PNQ: How much of the premise of Discovery requires its current placement in the timeline?

Not counting cameos from people who happen to have the same names as TOS characters (it's amazing how many Sareks and Harry Mudds there are, aren't there?), of course.

As a prelude to the following, I'm about to compliment Enterprise again, so feel free to mark your calendars before I go back into my groundhog hole for another year.

At least Enterprise talked about issues central to its placement in the timeline. What are the implications of entering the larger universe? What are the implications of being on a long-range mission when most ships you meet will have more advanced technology than yours? How will our laws and directives have to evolve as we learn more about the consequences of our actions? What can go wrong with first contact?

Does Discovery address questions like this that depend on being where it is in the timeline? Does it feel like we're evolving towards a place where it makes sense that Kirk/Spock/etc. can be on their adventures ten years from now? If both DIS and TOS were radio shows and we couldn't see the technology or uniforms, will the events being discussed mesh?

Or are the creators using the good will generated by names like "Sarek" and "Harry Mudd" to get viewers, just like they did with the Kelvinverse?

Nate the Great 01-28-2018 11:52 AM

So I'm watching "The Way of the Warrior" again and notice that Kasidy says that Cestus III is eight weeks away at maximum warp...

PNQ1: Is that "maximum warp" for her ship specifically (i.e. her freighter can only go warp six or something), or is "maximum warp" just shorthand for the fastest any starship can go at the moment (i.e. warp 9.9)?
PNQ2: How large is the Federation in the 24th century?
PNQ3: Should there be a practical maximum size for a nation-state in terms of travel time?
PNQ4: In "Family Business" a one-way subspace transmission takes two weeks to get to DS9 from Cestus III, doesn't this seem odd (i.e. subspace should be way more than four times faster than maximum warp)?

Memory Alpha indicates that the Federation is eight thousand years across, which would be eight years of maximum warp according to the Voyager scale.

However, it seems reasonable that you could "slow down" Voyager and say that 1000 LY/yr is based on less than maximum possible warp. That is, if Voyager was in the Federation and could regularly stop at starbases for refit and maintenance it could go much faster than 1000 LY/yr. The slower speed is a result of the need for more frequent stops for maintenance.

So let's say that if supported by a network of starbases and regular supply stops at Federation worlds a starship can go 2000 LY/yr. That's still four years to travel across the whole thing.

As for the two week transmission from Cestus III, I hope that's a combination of outdated civilian subspace technology and some sort of black hole/nebula/subspace anomaly causing interference between here and there, and it really doesn't take that long to transmit a message across the Federation.

As an aside, I am appalled at the inconsistencies of how fast warp factors are, even if we limit ourselves to the 24th century (23rd century speeds being on a different scale is already well-known). And if you look at how Enterprise tortures the scale from episode to episode, it gets downright painful.

Nate the Great 02-03-2018 02:51 PM

So I'm watching "The Ascent" again, and Quark offers to teach Odo how to play fizzbin, claiming that "it's a very simple game".

Let's put aside the fact that Kirk made it up back in "A Piece of the Action", either he or the Iotians have had over a hundred years to defictionalize it.

PNQ: Were the rules simplified in the intervening decades, or was Quark being sarcastic, or are the rules simple from the Ferengi perspective?

It stands to reason that Ferengi games would be more complex, and that they'd be treated as training for business dealings as well as just entertainment.

Nate the Great 02-21-2018 04:29 PM

At intervals I try to make PNQ posts about how mishandled the Maquis were. I keep going off onto tangents (as I did today twice before I had to delete them), ranting about many different things. Let me try to keep things simple and relatively civil...

PNQ: Was the basic premise of the Maquis ever properly developed or even followed up on consistently?

In my opinion, no. Bulletpoints:
* Supposedly there were also Cardassian colonies left high and dry on the Federation side of the DMZ, but we never saw them (and for that matter, it was never stated whether or not the Federation became landlords to them). This would've provided for some interesting plots: Cardassian High Command asks how things are going and the colonies admit that the Federation has left them completely alone, not even trying to create their own colonies elsewhere on their planets. There couldn't have been one episode of DS9 based on this premise? It would've been useful leverage to make the Cardassians stop hassling the Federation colonists so much, right?
* Okay, the Cardassian colonies in the DMZ was mentioned, but only to tell us that the Cardassian military was secretly gave them weapons so they could hassle the Federation colonies. That sure seems like an act of war to me! Why not give this information to Starfleet and let them handle it?
* The Maquis kept demanding the rights and powers of a nation without ever actually owning the space that they claim. It seemed like every parsec was still "owned" by either the Federation or the Cardassian Empire, so the DMZ residents were either of no nation or of the nation of their landlords. All they could do was petition both sides to cede the territory to them.
* The Maquis kept complaining that Starfleet stop treating them like terrorists and refugees (even though they were). Eddington claimed that if left alone the Maquis would've focused all of their attention on the Cardassians. Yeah, that's a suicide mission, dude. He could never grasp the simple fact that his people could live "in paradise" had they just relocated to a Federation world in the first place.

You'll note that Voyager never really came up. It's well established how mishandled the Maquis were on that show. If the creators were so scared of the Starfleet officers looking like the bad guys the premise should've been not Starfleet and Maquis, but Starfleet and another group. A group that has their own morals and values that happen to be quite different from Starfleet, but still valid. Have the other ship be Vulcans with little experience with humans, or Ferengi, or Andorians, or Binars, or Klingons, or even another Delta Quadrant race that we've never seen before. Maybe tweak the Talaxian race to be a little less annoying. The possibilities are endless!

Nate the Great 03-28-2018 08:25 PM

Today I rediscovered the cliche: "In Europe 100 miles is a long way, in the U.S. 100 years is a long time."

PNQ: Have any of you been to Europe? How accurate is this?

Nate the Great 04-19-2018 02:05 AM

This one's been niggling at me off and on for years, but it came back today. Regarding Earth Station McKinley...

PNQ: What's the point of putting massive parts of the station on hinges to "grasp" a starship if the ship isn't actually docked to it?

All I can conclude is that the "fingers" create their own shield bubble to protect the ship inside.

But then you wonder what happened to Spacedock. At least that facility fully enclosed a number of ships (but don't ask me how Starfleet built the thing, it's just too big!)

As for the other single-ship spacedocks (lower-case "s"), at least those facilities could protect workbees, shuttles, and workers in EV suits within.

Nate the Great 06-16-2018 09:50 PM

I finally bit the bullet and signed up for Reddit...

PNQ1: Does anyone have communities that they'd like to recommend?
PNQ2: I don't intend to post for a long time, but any advice (do's and don't's) along those lines?

Nate the Great 06-17-2018 03:25 PM

Rewatching "The Most Toys"...

PNQ1: Why would Worf be promoted to Chief of Operations to replace Data?

It's a matter of training. Being COO requires science training that is on a completely different career track than tactical officers. I can understand either Data or Worf being transferred to Command to be first officer (take that, Eddington!), but being shunted into each others' jobs is just weird.

PNQ2: Why were Data and Kim called COO when they're really the Science Officer and O'Brien called COO when he's really the Engineering Officer?

I can sort of understand operations=engineering, but operations=science is just baffling.

Memory Alpha seems to treat "Operations" as a catchall for the goldshirt divisions-engineering, security, and tactical. This troubles me. So is the COO supposed to be an intermediate liason between the goldshirt senior officers and the first officer? What's the point?

PNQ3: Who else assumes that O'Brien was named Chief of Operations just so people could still call him "chief"?

It's not like "chief" is his rank or anything--oh, wait!

Flying Gremlin 06-18-2018 09:26 PM

It doesn't really help that Data is the first one we see, whom basically can do anything on the ship.

But the Ops officer can probably do whatever the writers want them to that particular episode.

Nate the Great 06-19-2018 10:57 PM

SFDebris again...

Do you pronounce it "muu-ga-two" or "muu-ga-toe"?

Flying Gremlin 06-20-2018 04:27 PM


Originally Posted by Nate the Great (Post 81361)
Do you pronounce it "muu-ga-two" or "muu-ga-toe"?

I pronounce it "space dinner".

Nate the Great 08-16-2018 06:30 PM

The MECO remix of the Star Trek Love Theme.

PNQ: While I recognize a few bits here and there as being very TOS-like, where is the original version of the love theme from?

Nate the Great 09-19-2018 02:00 PM

PNQ: What is the most pompous alternative job title you've ever seen?

I don't mean your generic "'Secretary' is apparently sexist now, so let's call them 'Administrative Assistants'" scenario. There's this gas station chain called Maverick, and they call their cashiers "Adventure Guides".

Nate the Great 09-21-2018 10:54 PM

PNQ: How do you feel about people reposting stories from other sites without properly crediting them?

Story from Retail Hell Underground (September 2018)

Story from Computer Stupidities (the site hasn't been updated since 2013, and I personally know the story is much older than that)

I understand that Computer Stupidities is a relic from the days of dialup (I read the site during those days), but that doesn't forgive blatant plagiarism. The RHU poster could've said "this is one of my favorite stories from" and I would've been fine, but s/he didn't. It sounds like a recent personal account.

Nate the Great 09-25-2018 06:21 PM

Today is Mark Hamill's birthday...

PNQ: What is your favorite role of his? You can't say Luke Skywalker, Trickster, or Joker because I want more interesting answers.

I've never played any Wing Commander games and only know of his connection through Spoony.

I'll have to go with Hobgoblin from Spider-Man the Animated Series.

Nate the Great 09-28-2018 02:10 PM

In The Voyage Home the Klingon Ambassador (Kamarag, ahem) calls Kirk a "renegade and terrorist." Renegade, granted. He defied orders and stole a starship.

PNQ: How was Kirk a "terrorist"?

NAHTMMM 10-13-2018 04:18 PM

Well, he was kinda "freedom fighter"y on Organia, wasn't he?

It doesn't have to make sense to us, it just has to make sense to those who believe the Klingon Empire's official version of events.

Nate the Great 11-04-2018 10:34 PM

This month is Mickey Mouse's 90th birthday...

PNQ: Favorite classic Mickey Mouse shorts?

By "classic" I mean the original run, i.e. pre-Mickey's Christmas Carol. You can find a list here, and an incomplete YouTube playlist here.

Mickey's Band Concert-my only problem is the early deformed Donald Duck design
Through the Mirror-I like the use of small objects as substitutes for human-sized props a la Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and I like Alice in Wonderland, so this one's obvious
Mickey's Trailer-props folding in and out of hammerspace, and the classic corn on the cob typewriter gag are just the tip of the iceberg
The Brave Little Tailor-to anyone who says that Mickey is boring, show them this short

Nate the Great 12-07-2018 07:28 PM

Today I was reminded of the Smash Brothers "No Items, Fox Only, Final Destination" meme...

PNQ: Why are the hardcore fighting gamers even playing Smash Bros in the first place?

SSB isn't supposed to have mechanics akin to serious fighting games anyway!

Nate the Great 12-10-2018 12:28 AM

So someone drew fan art of what the Rescue Rangers would look like if their show was rebooted today...

PNQ: Would a new show use the Indiana Jones and Magnum PI-inspired costumes for Chip and Dale, or would more current culture icons be used?

I suppose Indiana Jones is iconic enough (and bomber jackets ubiquitous enough) that it would still work for Chip, but the whole "Hawaiian shirt=goofball" thing is a bit outdated these days, right? I'd think to modern audiences Hawaiian shirts have reverted to their original meaning of "wacky tourist." Wouldn't a modern Dale be more likely to go with something more akin to Jude from 6teen; the whole slacker skater knit cap and baggy pants thing?

Nate the Great 12-10-2018 10:22 PM

Nintendo rereleased the Gamecube controller adapter again for the Switch for Smash Bros Ultimate...

PNQ: Why do we still have to use the Gamecube controller port format for these things? Can't they make a Gamecube controller with a simple USB connector?

Nate the Great 12-14-2018 12:16 AM

Watching "Indiscretion" again...

PNQ: Why would Kasidy want quarters on the station, and why did Dax suggest she move there?

Think about it, her quarters on on her ship and she's fully capable of sleeping there whether or not it's docked at Deep Space Nine. Then again, Morn also runs a cargo ship and has quarters on the station. Are we to believe that nobody is allowed to sleep on their own ships when they're docked at Deep Space Nine?

Nate the Great 12-14-2018 01:16 PM

Watching "Trials and Tribbleations" again:

PNQ: Why is everybody using hand tricorders?

Think about it. Hand tricorders are useful if you're exploring a new planet and need a scanner to detect everything. But the need to scan a large area for explosives only, don't they make a larger, more powerful model of scanner (a backpack model, perhaps) that could be calibrated specifically for this task? Surely there are scanning methods that would be undetectable by 23rd century sensors, no matter what the range.

For that matter, why is everyone putting tribbles up against the sensor diode when every tricorder we've ever seen can cover several dozen feet at minimum? If Darvin built his bomb to be undetectable except at short range, they could've dropped a line of dialogue to that effect.

Nate the Great 12-17-2018 12:14 AM

It's official-there will be no N64 Classic. Nintendo says that the NES and SNES were just to kill time until the Switch, and they'd rather not sell us games once if they can get us on the hook for a monthly subscription instead.

PNQ1: Do they not grasp in the slightest that there's a demographic that will never pay for Nintendo Online? Ever? (Like me, but that's another story...) For that matter, a demographic that will never ever ever buy the Switch, but might buy more Classic consoles?

PNQ2: How about making the Classic consoles continually profitable by including a cartridge port to sell us packs of 25 more games every so often? Maybe make the cartridges more expensive to pay for the licensing fees for certain popular third-party games?

Nate the Great 12-17-2018 10:32 AM

In my Netflix watching I tend to stick to TNG and DS9, with the occasional TOS...

PNQ: Would anyone be interested in a "Nate Finds Five Good Things About Every Episode of Voyager" thread?

Some ground rules off the top of my head:

1. I have to watch it, not just read the script like the anniversary retrospective threads.
2. No more than two of the five can be quotes. I can add more quotes for six, seven, etc., but there have to be at least three non-quote positive things per episode. Just tossing off five lines that I like seems lazy.
3. I won't promise one episode a week. Maybe it'll be monthly, maybe I'll do one every other day. Whatever. Stress would tempt me to get cynical and nitpicky.

Or I suppose...

PNQ2: Would you prefer me to do a B5 thread instead? There will probably be more nitpicking there, I'm warning you.

Nate the Great 12-17-2018 10:52 PM

Watching the SFDebris review of "The Pegasus" again...

PNQ: Did the Federation no-cloak rule make sense in universe?

SFDebris suggests that the Romulans may have made equal concessions that we never knew about.

To me, it falls in the same category as the no-money rule. It's okay to be high and mighty about not using money just as long as we don't interact with other races that do use money. But if we do, protesting the existence of money sounds like idiocy or lunacy. Likewise, choosing not to use cloaks if we can makes the Federation look like idiots.

Nate the Great 12-19-2018 08:21 AM

In watching SF Debris' review of "Family" again, I was reminded of his conclusion that it's worth watching once, but doesn't stand up to repeat viewings.

PNQ: Opinions?

I actually like the episode and always include it in my TNG marathons of good episodes. Who says Star Trek has to be high stakes and phaser shootouts all the time? At its heart Trek has always been about how characters react to the events that happen around them and whether they regret the actions that they took in response to these events. These characters don't become beloved by just giving orders to attack this or scan that, we have to know how their decisions affect them.

Nate the Great 12-21-2018 04:14 PM

Regarding Q's conclusion in "Tapestry" that Picard "isn't that important."

PNQ: What events can you think of that Picard would do drastically differently from any alternative or substitute?

Let's go straight to his Memory Alpha page and start at the Starbase Earhart bar fight in 2327.

The Stargazer Years

* One wonders how his relationships with Walker Keel, Jack Crusher, and Beverly Howard would've emerged. Probably nothing more than passing aquiantances.
* If he was on the Stargazer at all he wouldn't have taken command, or if he did he wouldn't have had the necessary skills to keep it for 22 years.
* No doubt his relationship with Jenice Manheim wouldn't have gotten very far, certainly not the "love" stage that was implied.
* One wonders if a different captain could've saved Jack Crusher's life.
* No Battle of Maxia, no Picard Maneuver. The Stargazer would've been destroyed.

Overarching TNG issues

* His replacement's relationship with Q would've been quite different, but that's a completely different essay, particularly if Riker had been in command from the start.
* Data wouldn't have been defended and would've died after "The Measure of a Man." No Data means a host of other problems, but that's another list.
* Worf would've died after "Sins of the Father" since it's doubtful that another captain would've defended him. Duras would've taken over the Klingon Empire, which would've slowly been assimilated by the Romulan Empire after Sela and her group killed him. No more Federation treaty, the events of "The Defector" would've killed the Enterprise crew, the Dominion would've conquered the Alpha Quadrant, etc. This is a whole nother list, folks.

If someone else wants to cover Season One, feel free. If nobody else does, I'll probably return to this eventually.

Nate the Great 12-25-2018 02:58 PM

I don't watch "Wrongs Darker than Death or Night" very often, I'm not fond of episodes set during the Occupation, with the exception of "Things Past." However, Kira says that to use the Orb of Time she must petition the Prophets and let them decide if her proposed time journey is worthwhile or whatever.

PNQ: Then how did Arne Darvin use it in "Trials and Tribbleations"?

I doubt revenge or intended murder would be considered a reasonable time travel mission statement.

PNQ2: Kira claims that since she's not a Federation citizen the usual time travel rules don't apply to her. Huh? Isn't time travel a big enough risk that the Department of Temporal Investigations would poo-poo any unauthorized time travel, regardless of who's doing it?

Nate the Great 01-12-2019 11:48 AM

So I just saw a YouTube video about why a fourth Kelvinverse Trek film never happened...

PNQ: Why isn't it a matter of law that when a studio declares things like how much a movie cost to make and how much they made from it, that the numbers have to be accurate?

It annoys me that movies always cost more than the studios admit, and that the "profit" declared isn't really what the studio gets to keep. You know, the numbers that help decide whether a sequel is viable?

Nate the Great 01-22-2019 12:32 PM

Today I stumbled upon the expression "parental units" for the first time in awhile...

PNQ: Does anyone ever use this expression sincerely, not as sarcasm or a joke?

Nate the Great 01-25-2019 12:44 PM

Watching SF Debris' review of "The Drumhead" the following occurs to me that completely escaped Chuck...

PNQ: What do the crimes of one's ancestor's have to do with the the person in question?

Case 1: Simon Tarses lied about his grandfather being a Romulan.

What does this have to do with anything? As Picard says in "Reunion", he can't punish Duras for the crimes of his father Jarod. At worst Tarses is guilty of lying about his background, that's it. Then again, why did he do this in the first place? If we're to believe the expanded universe, Saavik is half-Romulan and grew up in the Romulan way of life before Spock rescued her. I thought 24th century humans were more tolerant than 23rd!

Case 2: Sabin says Worf shouldn't be trusted as security chief because his father collaborated with the Romulans.

Okay, fine, at this point the only ones in the Federation who know the truth are the Enterprise senior staff. But again, what does this have to do with anything? Are you telling me that humans of today, who don't suspect Germans with Nazi ancestors, are better than 24th century humans?

Nate the Great 01-30-2019 09:49 PM

After today's recap of "Unnatural Selection" I found myself wondering if there were more reasons why the Pulaski/Data dynamic never worked as well as McCoy/Spock, besides the obvious, of course.

PNQ: Feelings about the following hypothesis?

McCoy's serious jabs were about Spock's philosophy. He knew that Spock had emotions, so he could target there. Plus he knew that Spock could give as well as he got, he could defend himself.

Pulaski's jabs are about Data's construction, things that are out of his control. And Data could never defend himself because everything Pulaski said was either true or a matter of opinion. And debating opinions that have no empirical right or wrong is impossible if you don't have emotions. Pulaski was being insensitive and sometimes even a bully because of this.

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