Mom, Dad, Mom?

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Feb 6, 2008

Filed under: Links 29 comments

Back in early October of last year, Shawn and I had a Chainmail Bikini strip where one of the players invented a characer who had three parents.


The gist of the joke was that he wasn’t trying to make a character with three parents, he was just twisting the rules in a min-maxing, munchkinish attempt to make an absurdly powerful character. He wanted the racial bonuses of three different races, so he listed his parents as belonging to three different races. It seemed like a really ridiculous thing to try and do. I chose two mothers and one father to drive home the point that he really hadn’t thought things through. Two moms and a dad seemed more nonsensical than having it the other way around.

Then yesterday Pete Zaitcev was nice enough to send along a link to this story: British scientists create three-parent embryo.

Egads. That’s going to make family gatherings somewhat awkward. Not to mention Mother’s day.


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29 thoughts on “Mom, Dad, Mom?

  1. Aaron says:

    That’s actually kinda cool and kinda creepy all at once. In a way it reminds me of the movie Gattica, if only from a perspective of DNA selection.

    Plus, I have a hard enough time with Mother’s Day now (thank goodness for wives who remember). I can’t imagine having 2 biological mothers. I still think it’d be cool in a very Sci/Fi way though.

  2. thebigkr says:

    leave it to scientists to ruin a good joke.

  3. Inane Fedaykin says:

    No more will people complain about my half dragon half celestial half-orc!

  4. Darcy says:

    Gilgamesh was supposedly two-thirds god and one-third man. I’d always wondered how that worked…

  5. Maddy says:

    It didn’t occur to him to simply have two mixed-race parents?

  6. Gbyron says:

    Maddy, then he would be a quarter orc, quarter drow, half-human. It would require someone to conduct some serious research on the genealogy of his would-be parents to become a 1/3 hybrid of each race.

    Hmmmm…dnd eugenics…

  7. Shamus says:

    Well, Josh’s goal wasn’t to have 1/3 of each race. He wanted 50% of each race, making him 150% of a person, which is why he ended up so powerful, even if it doesn’t make any sense. (Or didn’t, before this science came along.)

  8. Deoxy says:

    It still doesn’t really ruin your joke – the only DNA from the second “mother” is mitochondria, which is important at a cellular level (and thus can cause life-altering conditions if it doesn’t work right), but completely irrelevant to any non-disease hereditary traits.

    That is, even if this technique were used in your comic, he still couldn’t get both strength bonus from the giant and dex bonus from the drow – he would only get mitochondria from one of them, which does nothing for the development of the body.

    OK, done being geekier than you now.

  9. Robert says:

    Not to be too much of a downer, but there won’t be any awkward family reunions, because the scientists killed the embryo. This isn’t necessarily the place for it, but there’s a discussion to be had about whether we ought to be creating and then killing human embryos.

  10. Nilus says:

    Didn’t the aliens in Alien Nation need 3 people to make a baby. I seem to recall something about that on the show, but then again I had not seen an episode of that in 15 years so my memory is not that great.

  11. Joe says:

    wouldn’t that be “Mothers’ day”? Leave it to science to move an apostrophe that’s been happy where it is for all these years…

  12. sineWAVE says:

    “No more will people complain about my half dragon half celestial half-orc!”

    That’s easy to have. 1 parent is celestial dragon, one orc.

  13. Shawn says:

    To toot my own horn a moment, I still love that picture.

  14. roxysteve says:

    Have the British Scientists also invented Blades of Fury?


  15. FlameKiller says:

    it could be part of his background that his mother/father was a magicly altered being that a wizard created from a ogre and a drow.

    like in Goblins.

    there were three(now 2) of these magicly altered beings that were part one race and part another with all the benifits of both.

  16. Jeff says:

    Isn’t it spelled awkward? :P

  17. Shamus says:

    Fixed. What an annoying word.

  18. Cadamar says:

    Funny… The obsurdity of two mothers didn’t even occur to me when I read the comic. I was to busy thinking “Ewwww, gross! He did it with an orc!?!”

  19. Pete Zaitcev says:

    The picture is great, and the dialog was good too. BTW, when I saw it for the first time, I thought that Josh’s dad was gagged. It took me a few strips where the same grin appeared before I realized my mistake.

  20. Kristin says:

    Heh, I just figured it was two moms and one dad because it fit Josh’s character better if his dad was a total stud. I know a lot of guys who love the idea of a 2-girl-1-guy threeway but are totally repulsed by the idea of a 1-girl-2-guy threeway (that’s so gay!), and I figured you were playing with that. To be fair, I know girls who are the opposite, and people of both genders who are okay with either or repulsed by either.

    It’s still one of the greatest pictures to come out of Chainmail Bikini.

  21. Chris Arndt says:

    That panel still makes me cackle loudly like a moron.

  22. Morzas says:

    “there's a discussion to be had about whether we ought to be creating and then killing human embryos.”

    I don’t believe that the embryo was alive in the first place.

  23. David says:

    @Darcy… as far as the 2/3rds 1/3rds, couldn’t one parent have been half-human/half-god and the other all-god?

  24. LuckyLefty01 says:


    That would have made him: (1/2 god from the full god) plus (1/4 god, 1/4 man from the half breed) = still 3/4 god, 1/4 man.

    Which is the problem. Basically no matter how far you go using any number of people who start as full blooded something-or-other mating in as many different pairs of two as you can create, you can’t get thirds of something.

    I think it’s pretty much identical to trying to trisect an angle with a compass and straight edge in geometry, really (which I’m sure you could google to find a good explanation of).

  25. ngthagg says:

    The Gilgamesh problem is actually quite simple: one parent was a god, the other a human. It’s just that the genes from a god are dominant. Very dominant.

  26. ryanlb says:

    Since this post is also about the comic I have to say, Awesome for having Marcus sing Depeche Mode in the comic! That’s one of personal favorite songs, too.

  27. Davey says:

    @lucky-left: Ah… : ) Well, do magic eugenics work the same as normal ones?

  28. Dennis says:

    God breeds with human
    1/2 human 1/2 god breeds with god
    3/4 god 1/4 human breeds with human
    5/8 human 3/8 god breeds with god
    3/16 human 13/16 god breeds with human

    limit as matings approach infinity, 2/3 god 1/3 human. However, we’re not dealing with a continuity here (since presumably the genome is finite in length), so after some finite but large number of generations, switching the “pure” breeding partner every generation, you will wind up with a 2/3 god 1/3 human, iff the number of alleles in the genome is a multiple of 3.

    Even if not, you’ll get close enough that even the most anal-retentive quantum physicists will break down and say “about 2/3 god 1/3 human.” (well, okay, they’d actually probably express his genetic composition in terms of a function of the number of generations of cross-breeding, but screw them.)

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