okay, so like there’s all this stuff about humans and the way we befriend all sorts of animals. but like, think about the way we interact with our pets. what if it’s not just the fact that we made friends with predators but that theses predators made friends with us back. the fact that there is a really clear bond between a dog or a cat and their owners and it’s reciprocal. the absolute love and devotion these companion animals show for us and us for them. think about the way you play with your pet and how an alien species might view it. or the fact that there’s a kind of rudimentary communication between species. the fact that I can tell the difference between my cat’s distressed meows vs. his i’m hungry meows. the fact that he prods me with a paw to get my attention, because he knows it works. that I can tell at a glance that my cat wants me to lay down a certain way so he can sleep on me. or the little greeting ritual me and my cat do when I come home for work – he meows really loud to be picked up… I sweep him into my arms and pet him, cooing goofy nonsense while he makes weird contented cat noises. think how absolutely flabbergasted an alien might be by the relationship between a human and their pet.
What do you think Nidoking and Nidoqueen are based of?
Their lines seem to be inspired by bits of all sorts of animals - we git some unmistakably mammalian influences, for example from rhinos, rodents/rabbits etc. but also something archaic and reptilian - hey don’t have cheeks for example. I think that they form a unique little clade within pokémon, a distinct body plan (that includes having also similar quadruped pre-evos) that allies them with the rhydon line. Indeed the Nido royalties, Rhydon, and Rhyperior all are known as The Drill Pokémon. Also, Khangaskan shares many features of this group too.
The body plan of a large, eared, bipedal, tailed, spiny, reptiley-mammal has an unmistakably gen 1 feel about it, it is so recognisable, for example it stars as the iconic gym statues, and as one of the major roster sprites in gen1/2. Rhydon like mons everywhere man.
Of course, rhydon was one of the first Pokémon designed, and you can see from this early concept art that the original rhydon was even more Nido like than now.
Ok I don’t know where I’m going with this, but before I had a tendency to shoehorn pokémon into definitive groups based on real life counterparts, however this often runs into difficulties where you have pokémon based on more than one unrelated real life animal, or when a real life counterpart simply doesn’t exist. Plus we have lots of game mechanic bullshit that can be just plain biological sacrilege - eggs, B̑́ͧ͐rͨͩ̇ͣ̏ͧE̷͗E͑͟d͗͆iͤͦͫ͒n͟Ǧ̃̃̄̌, evolutionary stages (though I see pokémon evolution in this sense as a form of facultative metamorphosis) etc.
I think now it’s better to assume that Pokémon is an incredibly different universe, but one that does share some fundamental biological and evolutionary laws and similarities. Thus for example instead of saying that Rattata is a rat definitively, it could be better to say that Rattata is an organism that shares many morphological and ecological characteristics with a rat, and thus, since we have very limited data to go upon (we can’t properly study it’s physiology, behaviour etc., sequence DNA etc., and like,the pokedex is written by a ten year old child lol), we can infer aspects of it’s biology from rats as well as it’s evolutionary relationships to other rodent like pokémon that share a similar suite of physiological and ecological characters, from what we know about such relationships in Rodentia, and from real world character evolution.
So what can we say about the Nidos? They are part of a distinguishable group of pokémon that all possess a distinct set of ecological, behavioural, and morphological characters, which have analogies to a variety of real life mammalian and reptilian real life counterparts, such as rhinos, glires (rodents and lagomorphs (hares, pikas, and rabbits), and mammal like reptiles. The variation within this group of pokemon is less than the differences between members ofthis group and other pokémon, and this unites this group as a clade. It would be a lot of work to actually work out what pokémon the drill pokémon + khangaskan are most closely related to, i.e. make a phylogenetic tree, but here is just a rough within group tree with a possible scenario of major character evolutionary events (indicated by black rectangles).
(also, the breeding rules between the Nidos, and whether the king and queen are different species or this is just sexual dimorphism is completely clouded by game mechanics of having gendered pokémon before established gender mechanics, so I’m not going to into that - however, I will say for a quick example, meerkats live in a matriarchal society and the alpha female usually has most of the breeding rights - however, because she has to defend the her position, as well as the group itself from danger, she often has very high testosterone levels which reduces her fertility - perhaps nidorina and nidoqueen are extreme examples of this, changing physically to take on a more protective role, letting nidoran sisters/aunts/mothers take on breeding roles)
This is a short piece from an AU I have where Bruce and Clark met during Bruce’s Batman training. Years later, they’ve been married since before they were heroes, but no one knows. Until Batman is caught kissing Clark Kent.
“You knew Jimmy was there!”
“I- You know how much of a distraction you are, and it was on top of a building full of reporters-”
“You.” Bruce whirled around, jamming his finger into the man’s chest. “Are lying to me. And you are still bad at it.” Kal was quiet for a long moment, standing in place. At long length, his shoulders wilted.
“I… I didn’t plan it, but- but I did notice him,” he admitted, pained.
“Before or after you kissed me?” Bruce challenged. Kal’s silence said it all. “What the hell were you thinking?!”
“What kind of PR can I spin about this?! Batman doesn’t do press!”
“Don’t you dare make a joke about him ‘doing’ the press right now.”
I promised to post the new info I gave out at the panel. Note that it’s all about Unstable. Here it is:
Unstable will have a small Squirrel theme, enough to build a deck around. There is a Squirrel lord but because its effects stack, it isn’t legendary so people can get multiples on the battlefield at the same time.
The set will have full-art basic lands with art done by John Avon. We did something with them that we almost did in Unhinged by chickened out. They look amazing.
The set will have Contraptions. I figured out a flavorful and fun way to do them but it was a bit much for black border. I consider it a home run execution. Steamflogger Boss is on the set. It appears once on the land sheet (It was the only way to get a black-bordered card in the set). Only the basic lands and Steamflogger Boss are Eternal playable. All the creatures in this set that assemble Contraptions are Riggers.
The set has a cohesive creative theme. We brought in artists and did real world building. The world is a mad scientist steam punkish world with five factions:
Order of the Widget (White/Blue) - This is the cyborg faction. They are like Esper but without any self control. They use their inventions to constantly improve themselves. You don’t need a toaster if you replace your hand with a toaster. They take self improvement to an absurd degree.
Agents of S.N.E.A.K. (Blue/Black) - This faction is the spies. They use their inventions for elaborate spy devices. The problem is, they are, for the most part, awful spies, using spy gadgets whenever and wherever they can often when not remotely called for.
Legion of Dastardly Doom (Black/Red) - This faction is the super villains. They use their inventions for death rays, weather control devices and apocalypse machines. They want to rule the world, but are constantly fighting as to who gets to destroy the world first.
Goblin Explosioneers (Red/Green) - This faction is the Goblins, it includes the Steamfloggers. These Goblins love making contraptions and are slightly obsessed with hammers. Their style is slapping thing together to see if cool things can happen. And when things don’t explode, sometimes they do.
Crossbreed Labs (Green/White) - This faction is obsessed with using their inventions to alter biology. They are all made up of hybrids of different animals. Part monkey/part spider/part leopard - sounds good. This faction mixes and matches all sorts of different animals in its quest for self improvement.
The set uses modern design and development techniques. It was designed to be drafted by itself and the release events for the product will be booster drafts. We worked hard to make the set have a lot of playability so you can draft it a bunch of times.
The set will have foil tokens, both for tokens produced by cards in the set and for popular tribes we felt the players would like in foil.
There are tons of other cool things I can’t talk about yet. The set does have a second named mechanic, along with Contraptions. It is something we’ve been trying to solve for years and with the flexibility of silver border, finally found a way to do it.
The set started design in January of 2011 and has its release date slip on several occasions. I am very proud of the work everyone did and think it’s the best Un-set we’ve ever made. I believe fans of Un-sets are going to love it.