Latest Material Index

Continue reading

Latest Material Index

Continue reading

Latest Material Index

. It’s once again time to get the latest material index updated and to transfer the material from the old one to the main index tabs at the top of the page. If you want the very latest material, it may be necessary to either scroll down or consult the “Recent Posts” listing-widget on the lower right. The previous Latest Materials Index can be found HERE and – for those who like to rummage at random – the full post-by-post index can be found occupying a great deal of space in the lower right column.

. Eclipse Classless d20 Character Construction Cribsheet / Sample Character ListCharacter Creation PrimerCompiled Martial Arts.

. Subindexes: RPG Design – Twilight Isles – BattletechChampionsd20Legend of the Five RingsShadowrunWhite WolfOther GamesBattling Business WorldStar Wars

. Cumulative General Index. Continue reading

Champions and Ponies – The Great And Powerful Get Trixied

Now that the heroes and associates of Aurora Ward have established a firm link, it’s likely that at least a few other ponies will be turning up on their own. And who is more likely to be first than a wanderer who could really use a new venue and who has appeared enough to have the necessary support in the human racemind?

Trixie “Lulamoon”, The Great and Powerful, is generally presented as a pretty unsympathetic character. She rolls into town, boasts and postures, makes false claims, humiliates her challengers, and inspires a couple of colts to bring in a major monster, endangering the entire town! That’s pretty obviously kind of obnoxious at best!

Of course, as the wagon of Oz, the Great and Powerful proclaims…

Professor Marvel
Acclaimed by the Crowned Heads of Europe
Let him read your Past, Present, and Future in his Crystal.
Also Juggling and Sleight of Hand.

Yeah. Right. False name and title, impressive-sounding but uncheckable baloney, and claims of a power he doesn’t possess (instead he gets Dorothy to close her eyes, looks in her basket, and “sees” some details from a picture that she’s carrying). He never shows much in the way of juggling or sleight of hand skills either, but I’ll give him those – for one truthful line out of four.

Yes, Professor Marvel is a fictional character – but he’s representing a very real type of wandering entertainer.

Do you really expect the Swedish Bikini Team to come dropping out of the sky when you open a beer?

Trixie’s wagon unfolds into a stage. She’s a traveling performer. Of COURSE she’s full of nonsense about her amazing abilities; if she doesn’t get attention she doesn’t eat. In a realm where a third of the population can cast spells, she’s making a living putting on magic shows – which means that she’s got to be pretty talented compared to a baseline unicorn. She’s basically in the position of a traveling wrestler or strongman; she boasts about her amazing feats and she beats any local challengers – or her show flops. She beats them as quickly as possible, and makes it look as easy as possible, to discourage others; if people line up to challenge her she’s going to lose to one of them sooner or later. Performers get tired too.

No, Trixie doesn’t react well to hecklers fouling up her act. Would you expect a potter to react well to someone smashing up his or her shop? If Trixie’s audience isn’t impressed enough to give her money, she won’t be able to buy supplies, or get repairs for her wagon, until she gets to the next town and puts on another show. Too many shows in a row that don’t make a profit and she’s going to be reduced to petty theft and eating out of the trash.

Yes she was obnoxious, but feeding your own ego by gratuitously heckling a street performer who’s trying to make a living is at least as obnoxious and ruins the show for everyone else too. Personally, I’d have to say that Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity came off a good deal worse than Trixie did on this one. Trixie knew that she was hopelessly overmatched and STILL tried to stop the monster her idiot fans brought in instead of just running. That’s pretty heroic for an entertainer. Do we look to mimes to stop bank robberies?

Still, while Trixie may be pretty good at magic, she is unlikely to be anywhere near as powerful as Twilight. After all, according to Celestia (who probably ought to know), Twilight is the most powerful unicorn to be seen in more than a thousand years – which makes her one in tens or hundreds of millions even before she became the Element of Magic.

Trixie looks a good deal more malevolent when she turns up wielding the Alicorn Amulet- but apparently the thing was influencing her even before she bought it (and was oddly cheap too; how many legendary artifacts can YOU buy with modest sack full of one dollar/euro coins?). Under the influence of a legendary evil artifact Trixie was… very obnoxious, targeting the people who had ruined her act (Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity), brought about the destruction of her home (Snips and Snails), and spoiled her career (Twilight) with… really annoying practical jokes and a distinct lack of injury-inflicting or lethal spells. Don’t most serious villains actually hurt a few people?

Ergo this version of Trixie assumes that 1) she’s actually a fairly impressive magician by Unicorn standards, 2) she has some practical – but few combative – spells, and 3) she’s actually fairly good at her job. I’ve included a potentially-controllable version of the Alicorn Amulet because, given her general lack of combative magic, even being a fairly impressive magician by the standards of Equestria makes her just another innocent bystander by Superhero standards (as seen in her confrontation with the Ursa Minor). Thus, if you want her to be taken more seriously than that, just give her the amulet.

Trixie Lulamoon

Value Characteristic Points
8/14 STR -2
12/14 DEX 6
13/16 CON 6
7/10 BODY -6
8/14 INT -2
11/14 EGO 2
19/25 PRE 9
8/20 COM -1
3/6 PD 0
3/6 ED 0
3 SPD 8
6/9 REC 0
26/38 END 0
21/27 STUN 0
Total 20

 

 

Points Powers END
35 Cartoon Character Package Deal
(7) Elemental Control: Cartoon Powers (15-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Cartoon Pony Powers Only): -½; Always On: -½
a-7 Armor (10 PD/10 ED)
b-7 Regeneration (1 BODY/Turn); Regenerate: From Death, +20
c-4 Images: Background music and sound effects (Hearing, 16″ radius); Range: 150; Observer PER Penalty: 0, +0; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; No Conscious Control: -2 0
d-5 Cartoon Immunities
(1) Looking Good: Immunity to being messed up for more than a few seconds; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) What Gravity? Immunity to Falling until lack of support is brought to his attention; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) In My Pocket, Why? Immunity to having to have pockets to carry stuff in.; Frequency: Common
(1) Sure I’m Perfectly Normal: Gets treated as just another human in most non-comedic ways; Frequency: Common
(1) Clothing? Immunity to being considered insufficiently dressed; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) Rated G: Immunity to Indecent Exposure; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) The Sounds of Harmony: Immunity to the need to compose or practice topical songs; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) I Can Handle That: Immunity to not having normal hands; Frequency: Common
(0) All Devouring: Immunity to reasonable limits on how much they can swallow at one time.; Frequency: Rare
(0) There’s A Hole: Immunity to solid matter provided that it LOOKS like there is a hole in it and the user is not responsible for that.
(1) Yes, It’s Suitable: Immunity to having to wear appropriate clothing to stay warm, dry, etc.; Frequency: Fairly Common
(0) It’s a permanent: Immunity to hair damage save by bladed weapons; Frequency: Rare
(1) Immune to Aging
(1) Immune to Disease
(1) Life Support: High Radiation
e-5 2d6 Aid to Equipment Allowance/Bases/Etc (Fade/week, Max. 30); Range: 0; Extra Time: 1 hour, -2½; Generic Limitation (Only to pay for role-appropriate, provided, or generally available gear): -1; Activation: 11-, -1; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Generic Limitation (Only GM-Approved Equipment) 3
70 Cartoon Disadvantages
(20) Hunted: Fans of the Show (11-); Capabilities: As Powerful, 10; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Actions: Hunting, ×1; Punishment: Harsh, 0
(20) Driven by strong, but fairly simple, straightforward, and constant motivations (Very Common, Strong)
(10) Distinctive Features: Cartoon Character; Concealability: Concealable, 10; Reaction: Noticed and Recognizable, +0
(10) Public Identity
(5) Incapable of causing Body damage, cannot develop killing attacks (Infrequently, Slightly)
(5) Rivalry: Related Characters; Situation: Professional, 5; Position: Equal, +0; Rival: NPC, +0
19 Unicorn Magic Multipower (48-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Unicorn Pony Magic Only): -½; Generic Limitation (Only Basic Spells and those related to her Cutie Mark): -½; Generic Limitation (Easily disrupted by a blow to the horn, horn restraints, or similar): -½
Basic Unicorn Magic
u-2 Telekinesis (STR 15); Range: 240; Manipulation: Fine, +10; Reduced END: Zero, +½ 0
u-2 6d6 Suppress Magic; Range: 225; Affect: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Reduced END: Half, +¼ 2
u-2 4d6 Energy Blast; Range: 225; Versus: ED; Indirect: Any Location & Any Direction, +¾; Variable Special Effects: Any, +½ 4
Cutie Mark (Showmare) Magic
u-2 Images (Hearing, 2″ radius); Range: 225; Addition (Normal Sight): +5; Observer PER Penalty: 5, +15; Reduced END: Half, +¼ 2
u-2 2d6 Transform (Minor, Anything); Range: 225; Reduced END: Half, +¼Trixies transformations go away fairly quickly – but she can produce flowers, clouds of smoke, change the colors of objects, and perform many MANY impressive (if quite impermanent) feats with them.

She can also do a few practical things that tend to stick – small repairs, water purification, and other tricks that make it much easier when traveling.

2
u-2 Change Environment (8″ rad.); Effect: Variable, +1; Reduced END: Half, +¼ 2
Utility Magic
u-1 4d6 Healing 2
u-1 2d6 Entangle (DEF 2); Range: 100 2
13 Running (+4″, 10″, NC: 40″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×4, +5; Non-Combat (MPH): 18 2
6 +6 CP to All Attributes Blessing; Modifications to Primary Attributes do not affect secondary attributes. Aid to Defenses has half effect per standard rules.
(6) 1d6 Aid (All attributes) (Fade/turn, Max. 6); Range: 0; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; Always On: -½; Personal Only: -1; Increases maximums only, does not speed healing: -1; Aid to Defenses is halved per the standard rules. Aid to primary attributes does not affect secondary ones. 0
6 1d6 30-Point Equipment Allowance Aid (Fade/month, Max. 30); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Extra Time: 1 hour, -2½; Only activates in armories, labs, or between outings: -1½; Personal Only: -1; Difficult to Dispel: ×4, +½; Increased END: ×10, -4; This allows a character to haul along 30 CP worth of customized gear. 20
58 Total Powers  

 

Points Skills, Talents, Perks Roll
3 Acting 14-
3 Sleight of Hoof (Hand) 12-
2 Pyrotechnics and Stage MagicTrixie can do quite a few tricks WITHOUT any magic in evidence – which demonstrates her “extraordinary power”… or at least some skill as a trickster. 11-
2 Knowledge: Magic 11-
2 Vehicle: Wagon-Stage: 10
12 Total Skills, Talents, Perks  

 

Cost Equipment
30 The Alicorn Amulet; Independent: -2; Generic Limitation (User develops villainous psychological limitations to cover the cost of the amulet if they can’t cover it with their equipment pool.): -1; OIF (Amulet): -½

Yes, this version isn’t necessarily evil; any character who invests enough points in the thing can eventually learn to handle it safely.Trixie probably shouldn’t have the thing anyway, but if someone wants to throw it in, here it is.

(14) Multipower (75-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Unicorn Pony Magic Only): -½; Generic Limitation (Easily disrupted by a blow to the horn, horn restraints, or similar): -½; Independent: -2; Generic Limitation (User develops villainous psychological limitations to cover the cost of the amulet if they can’t cover it with their equipment pool.): -1; OIF (Amulet): -½
u-1 Force Field (8 PD/12 ED) 0; Reduced END: Zero, +½
u-1 6d6 Energy Blast 4; Range: 225; Versus: ED; Variable Special Effects: Any
(4) 2d6 Aid: Add Multipower Slots (Fade/turn, Max. 12) 0; Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Trigger (As spells are needed, up to 12 points worth of slots at once.): Set, +¼; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Independent: -2; Generic Limitation (User develops villainous psychological limitations to cover the cost of the amulet if they can’t cover it with their equipment pool.): -1; OIF (Amulet): -½
(5) Clinging: Cannot be removed involuntarily (Clinging STR +43) ; Independent: -2; Generic Limitation (User develops villainous psychological limitations to cover the cost of the amulet if they can’t cover it with their equipment pool.): -1; OIF (Amulet): -½
(5) +60 END ; Generic Limitation (Only to power magic): -1; Independent: -2; Generic Limitation (User develops villianous psychological limitatons to cover the cost of the amulet if they can’t cover it with their equipment pool.): -1; OIF (Amulet): -½
30 Total Equipment

 

125+ Disadvantages
5 Slightly reduced manual dexterity (Infrequently, Slightly)
20 Normal Characteristic Maxima
15 Prima Donna (Very Common, Moderate)
5 Poor
5 Rivalry: Other Performers; Situation: Professional, 5; Position: Equal, +0; Rival: NPC, +0
50 Total Disadvantages

 

COSTS: Char. Powers Total Total Disadv. Base
20 + 70 = 90 175 = 50 + 125

 

OCV DCV ECV Mental Def. PD/rPD ED/rED Phases
5 5 5 0 24/18 28/22 4, 8, 12

Height: 102cm (3’4″), Weight: 42kg (92 lbs), Sex: Female, Age: 23, Race: Cartoon Unicorn Pony

The Chronicles Of Heavenly Artifice CXCIV – The Fringes Of The Storm

Meanwhile, Aikiko was sticking with the trains. They were so nice for sightseeing, and there was quite a lot of spectacular scenery along the way, even if much of it WAS very big rocks. Still, one or two of the gorges seemed oddly deeper and more active at the bottom then they really were… She took lots of pictures for her mother, father, and friends in Yu-Shan!

And quite a few of those gorges, to see if the camera showed what she saw.

It did and it didn’t. Physically they were fairly normal gorges. They STILL were to essence-senses – but it was like there was a very faint overlay, a sort of a reflection of somewhere or something else that peeked through into reality occasionally.

Aikiko noted those on a map to come back and take a better look at sometime later.

Still, it wasn’t all THAT far to Minneapolis. The city had some destruction at the fringes – but the spot where the tornado left the ground was fairly clear, and rather obvious – and was pretty much a straight line on the ground.

OK, she was no meteorologist, but didn’t those usually swerve around? It looked like… it HAD meandered, but where it left the ground there was basically a line; on one side, the ground was swept clean. On the other, it was almost undisturbed.

The edge of a ward? There HAD been reports of a “dome”.

There were essence-traces of warding thaumaturgy, but on an immense scale. Someone had definitely been using Adenic thaumaturgy – but (on careful checking) there were traces of at least two additional major spells. Someone had invoked a low-grade but very wide area effect healing spell – and an equally wide area-effect repair spell. Both relatively subtle – but enough to keep injuries from proving fatal and to help them heal cleanly, and enough to prevent quite a lot of building collapses.

Secondarily there was a human component and quite a few bits of human-level (and not very skilled) thaumaturgy. Mostly repair, telekinetic stuff, and some minor probability warping. A few compulsion effects in the mix though, some of them very powerful and consistent. The origin point of the major spells was… much deeper in the city. The lesser stuff was scattered around.

That ruled out Charles.

The compulsion effects were pretty straightforward. “Aren’t I WONDERFUL!” effects. Pretty obviously designed to produce fascination and compliance – probably in mortals. It would be easy enough to resist if you had any real power though; they were high powered for basic thaumaturgy, but were nowhere near the exalted level.

That mostly ruled out the Guardians too; not skilled enough and too self promoting. The protective dome was probably someone invoking Charles though. Especially since there were multiple origins and it looked like they’d been directed at individual targets.

The current news in the city was mostly about rescue efforts (which were going surprisingly – at least to the mortals – well) and reconstruction. There were a fair number of missing persons though. It looked like… the percentage of kids was a bit high, there was a specific bias towards students at one (not destroyed) school, and there might be a bias there – but the sample size was far too small to be sure. Still, all last appearances were near the same school and two of the girls had reportedly been seen some time after the tornado hit – but that’s unconfirmed. At the moment, they were assumed to be victims. (Possibly too foolish as teenagers to pay attention to the tornado warnings).

Hm… The unconfirmed sighting had been at a McDonald’s near the school; possibly out for lunch (although, if they had disappeared in the tornado… they must have been cutting class for an early lunch. It wasn’t like SHE hadn’t done that more than once. Besides; she felt like a Big Mac anyway).

The Big Mac was nostalgically good! Sure, Yu-Shan was better, but a Big Mac pretty much said “new teenager on earth out with parents”. Ah, the memories! And… there was another trace of compulsion magic. Nothing to say if the girls had been here – they were just mortals, and wouldn’t leave any serious traces – but someone had been using rather mechanical magic at the restaurant!

Alchemical involvement? They did seem to be very protective of communities when they weren’t sick. Still, there weren’t many of THEM on Earth… much more likely just an artifact with a specific thaumaturgical function. Likely multiple thaumaturgists running about too, and no easy way to track who was responsible for what!

She set the Coatl to wide scale analysis of the area and poked around the school a bit. It was, of course, one of the emergency relief centers, even if that didn’t have much bearing on the disappearances. The school though… showed some serious magical traces. Adenic Thaumaturgy, and it looked like those three massive city-0assistance spells were cast in the parking lot outside.

And at least one kid was carrying an (unfamiliar) minor artifact and had a couple of minor thaumaturgies about him. According to the Coatl the artifact…. created instant minor forgeries, made it very unlikely that (mortal) authorities would take notice of you, deflected minor injuries, and provided minor good luck (+1d) on pretty much everything you did that wasn’t enhanced by better magic…

OK, that was pretty much every teenagers dream-talisman. Certainly something that Charles would be likely to make on request for somebody – at least outside of the forgery aspect. Still, he’d probably see little harm in it.

It was still pretty blasted unusual for a ninth grader to have ANY artifact. Shed need to talk to this one!

She used Invisible Statue Spirit, and dramatically stepped out of the shadows – and the kid “eeped!”, and looked rather surprised and disappointed about something, as he tried to back away.

(Aikiko) “Hey, where’d you get THAT” (Pointing to the artifact)

(Kid) “Er… Well, it just sort of showed up!”

(Aikiko) “What, like a miracle?

(Kid, attempting to duck through a nearby door and close it between him and her). “Er…”

Of course, to Aikiko through Skoll… he was mortal, a bit nerdish, and no athlete even WITH his little boost. For her, he was moving in slow motion – so she just ducked and blocked the door with her arm (accidentally shattering it as it impacted on Skoll) as he tried to close it.

(Aikiko) “I don’t want to hurt you, I just want to ask some questions.”

(Kid) “Eep!”

(Aikiko, bringing out the Coatl to make the point) “No, really, hurting you would be pointless, and I’d say things would be worse without you around. So why don’t we go get some pizza or something? I’ll pay!”

Weird! The kids eyes widened when he saw the Coatl – and he came along quietly with a most respectful attitude.

Aikiko put Diego back in and headed off to a pizza place with a nice quiet Wardable booth.

(Kid) “Uhm… How can I help you Lady?”

(Aikiko) “Did you have anything to do with that dome of light? It popped up and deflected that tornado.”

(Kid) “Ah… That was the Lady Penelope! She called for assistance, and it was granted!”

(Aikiko, sighing) “Let me guess, Aden”

(Kid) “She usually calls him Charles… but he seems to have a lot of names!

(Aikiko) “Yeah, he’s like that. What can you tell me about Penelope”

(Kid) “Uhm… Well, she transferred in about a month and a half ago – and she… well, she had POWERS. And she was willing to show some of us how to use them – although she’s WAY more powerful – and how to meditate to get Charles to grant you magical tools to use and how to ask for help in a real emergency. All of us in the RPG club have been studying with her! She’s great!”

Aikiko ran a search in Aden… It looked like… one of Charles’s thaumaturgy students from Atlanta. Should be seventeen now. Moved with her parents a few months back. Did kind of like teaching the younger students. Evidently she’d considered the RPG club a perfect place to pick up some students.

Well, there was no harm in that!. Especially considering that Charles was going to blow the covers out of the water in a few months.

(Aikiko) “Huh! I think I met her back in Atlanta. Nice kid. Good work on protecting the city. Charles will be pleased! But what was with the compulsion effects?”

(Kid) “Well, I’m glad that Charles will be pleased… but… compulsion effects? Those are pretty rude!”

(Aikiko) “Yeah… And not pleasing to Charles, either. Um… You haven’t seen anybody with a mechanical Essence signature running around, have you? I was getting that vibe from the compulsion effects.”

(Kid) “Nothing like that!”

(Aikiko) “It felt like an artifact, but they’re usually not THAT mechanical.”

Although, to be fair… she hadn’t dealt much with thaumaturgy-casting artifacts. Did they tend that way? It would be sort of a formulaic thing?

(Kid) “Do want to come to our meeting this evening?”

(Aikiko) “Hmm… Yeah, I was about to ask. I might need help tracking those compulsions!”
The meeting turned out to be a gathering of nerds! Quite a few of them with minor artifacts.

It looked like most of the dedicated gamers had had most of occult-I anyway… Play enough games and you’d soon have been exposed to every system of magic known to human history… Ah, the unintentional lessons of Gygax!

She had Skoll scan for artifacts, to have a look at what the nerds were into for artifacts.

Penelope had a couple of minor ones – some lesser armor and a pouch that stored things – along with a mid-level Staff of the Magi, which was probably a handout from Charles. The other kids mostly had two each; heavy on magical boosters, ways of dealing with the authorities, minor protections, and alchemical transmutations.

Yep. Ways of avoiding adult attention, protection, and sources of money – mostly in the form of gold.

A few had more exotic stuff, including one boy with something relevant – glasses that corrected his vision, allowed him to see through small amounts of solid matter, and could exert a fairly powerful and reasonably long-term obedience/fascination compulsion and a ring that maintained and shaped a very small pocket dimension for him.

And a match on the signature from the compulsion effects.

(Aikiko, pointing to him) “Hey, what’s with the compulsions all over the place”

(Kid, with a slight hesitation) “Emergencies can make you get pretty public with things! You’ve gotta cover up somehow!”

(Aikiko) “Well, yeah! But why was it an ‘I’m so wonderful’ and not a ‘please ignore me?'”

Unless he was running distraction for someone else, but even then, that was really unsubtle!

(Penelope) “That’s an excellent question… and why haven’t you mentioned this to the rest of us?”

(Kid) “Well, I knew that you didn’t really approve!”

(Aikiko) “Urgh… Now you’re probably going to have people infatuated with you. That has… Side effects.”

(Kid) “I think I can manage!”

Oh good grief. Nerdy teen, artifacts that tended to focus on granting his desires (no one said that they had to be good ones), secret hideout, fascination spell, and a couple of young women gone missing from the school he attended. Pretty obvious – and as distasteful as it was… Charles’s problem and not exactly worth her time when she had more important things to do!

Aikiko gave him a icy look. He was just going to have to learn the hard way, Dawai and Leon style.

Still… dead end, at least as far as finding another Guardian went. She’d just have to go after another clue! Perhaps… no, definitely; Scotland this time.

Eclipse – Where the D20 Ponies At? Part I

Now with the Cutie Mark Crusaders done for Champions, the question is “How do you convert ponies from the show for d20?”.

Unfortunately the answer is “generally you don’t” – at least not for a typical game. While there are several versions of the pony “races” out there, and Alzrius made a valiant try at converting Rarity for a standard game, he pointed out specific problems with some of the other mane six. Sadly, the more general problem is that baseline d20 characters simply do not function like cartoon ponies do. That’s the basic difficulty when it comes to Ponyfinder as well. It may let you play d20 with pony characters, but they don’t work much like the ponies do in the cartoon unless you add a few world laws to your setting.

To see why, lets take a look at the upper limits of the things that ponies in the cartoon pull off.

Ordinary d20 characters do a lot of fighting. How durable are the small technicolored equines on the show?

  • The Cutie Mark Crusaders are still alive – and are still being allowed to do things that would be insanely dangerous to human children with little or no supervision. That’s saying something right there considering the number of falls, crashes, and accidents they subject themselves to.
  • In the first season, Twilight Sparkle, while still a Unicorn and arguably the least physically inclined of the mane six, gets attacked by bees, slammed by doors, falls down stairs, and then gets a flower pot, a large anvil, a hay cart, and a piano dropped on her head in rapid succession from a considerable height. She is somewhat injured, but recovers entirely within a few hours – going from casts to running around madly in that interval. .
  • Rainbow Dash crashes through trees, and into rocks, and – at rainboom speeds (implied to be at least twice the speed of sound) – directly into the ground, creating a huge explosion, a mushroom cloud, and (from the amount of debris scattered afterwards) a huge crater with no injury at all. That’s quite tough enough to bounce anti-tank weapons. Even better, fast healing seems to be a thing for Pegasi too (while they never explain what broke it, recovering from a broken wing doesn’t take her all that long) – and probably for Earth Ponies as well given that Unicorns are supposed to be the most fragile of the three types.
  • Oddly enough, however, ponies incredible durability does not seem to protect them from actual attacks nearly as well as it does from accidents. That’s a limitation of sorts anyway.

How strong are ponies?

  • Pound Cake, as a one-month-old infant Pegasus, flies around carrying Pinkie Pie – a full grown adult or near-adult Earth Pony.
  • Rarity hauls around a boulder, apparently of granite, four to five feet across. Some quick figuring gives me an approximate weight of six to nine tons for a rock that size. Now she was “discorded” at the time – but she isn’t when she throws it out of her boutique. And why would a personality-changing spell make her stronger anyway?
  • Big Macintosh drags a house around quite easily (according to Google an average house weighs forty to eighty tons, or about sixty pounds per square foot. Even if we halve that because pony houses are smaller, that’s a lot to casually drag around). Sure, he was under the effects of a love potion at the time, but if it’s THAT easy to get super-strength as a side effect, why didn’t we see the royal guard smashing changelings with buildings? How often would such a powerful strength spell have been handy to Twilight?
  • Rainbow Dash executes a sharp turn, carrying four other ponies, at supersonic speeds. Considering the kind of forces THAT involves, it’s a lot more reasonable to assume that Rainbow Dash is just so awesome that physics looks the other way when she’s having a moment than it is to try and calculate what kind of strength that calls for (and how tough the ponies she’s carrying would have to be to survive it).

How early in their lives do ponies develop their abilities?

  • We don’t see many baby ponies – but at one month old Pumpkin Cake can levitate, phase through matter, use telekinesis (with enough raw power to break chains and padlocks), move and animate objects (handling at least four items at a time), and possibly teleport. We are told that “young unicorns have strange magical surges” of course. Those seem to happen most often when they’re left by their parents, are frightened, or are otherwise seriously stressed… can you say “Defense Mechanism”? Evidently during pony evolution “might die from out-of-control magic” was a much better deal than “WILL die from being eaten” for young proto-ponies. Still, evidently even unicorn magic is pretty intuitive and can show up early. Even without “surges”, rather small pegasi kids can fly – and Rainbow Dash could apparently exceed the speed of sound as a kid. She was also tough enough to maneuver and handle the slipstream at that speed, which isn’t easy. Even more tellingly, other pegasi foals could take being sideswiped and tossed around by her wake when she’s moving at that speed without injury. Not only are ponies insanely tough as adults, but they’re apparently inhumanly durable as children too.

How extensive are their abilities and how do they grow?

  • It’s hard to say much definite about Applejack: she’s supposed to be amazingly strong, tough, and enduring, she can obviously accomplish enormous amounts of work in a given time, and she has some supernatural agricultural abilities (She kicks a tree and has all the fruit fall off and neatly stack itself into baskets – apparently without bruising the fruit or damaging the tree. Seriously?) – but there isn’t enough detail to really quantify anything there beyond some inherent magic. She does have an odd ability to manipulate things with her tail and to store her lasso… somewhere. It doesn’t seem to be under her hat anyway. We are also told that “only earth ponies can grow food”, which is blatantly weird given that many edible plants grow wild, as shown by the discovery of the Zap Apples. It seems far more likely that Earth Ponies have some inherent agricultural magic, and thus can grow and harvest crops far more effectively than any other type of pony – although individual special talents and massive effort and study may make up the difference in individual cases.
  • Fluttershy can fly (quite well when she has to, even if she normally avoids it), control weather, generate lightning (given a cloud), walk on clouds (Hm. Cloud Horseshoes seem pretty practical in the setting…), resist the effects of high altitude and weather to some extent, heal rapidly, manipulate, stabilize, and build things out of, clouds (even if she never uses that ability), communicate with animals, stare down a dragon and a cockatrice with her supernatural gaze, is a skilled herbalist-healer, is apparently an expert naturalist and chorus director (you’ve got to be pretty good to be picked to perform at a royal wedding), and has numerous animal allies. On the other hand, her abilities are pretty much constant; they really don’t change a lot. Sure, she eventually acquires “Rainbow Power” – but that’s not really an ability of hers. Interestingly, when she was a foal who couldn’t fly well, the flight instructors and other students perched Fluttershy on a rather small cloud and made no attempt to rescue her when she went plummeting to the ground. Either they didn’t care (not likely in the setting), didn’t notice (now there is some NEGLIGENCE), or falling out of the sky is not normally dangerous for a Pegasus foal even if they can’t fly yet. Given how tough ponies seem to be, I’d go with the third option.
  • “Basic” Unicorns seem to be able to create light and basic lighting effects, use telekinesis to accomplish skilled tasks (albeit often mostly in fields related to their cutie mark), sense magic, provide power to magical devices, and resist or disrupt other magic with their own – although most of them lack the raw power to really accomplish much that way. They may be able to generate some basic protective and utility effects as well, such as resisting weather, purifying water, sealing and sterilizing wounds, and other simple survival-oriented techniques with practice (presuming they’re an evolved species, those are pretty obviously enhancements to their survivability). In most cases any further magical abilities seem to be linked to their cutie marks; Rarity can find gems, manipulate many items at the same time with telekinesis (at least as long as they have to do with sewing and making things), transform trees into topiaries, dress and undress ponies (and presumably other creatures) in an instant, and create light shows and backdrops – fitting enough if you accept the notion that her cutie mark indicates an ability to “find and bring out inner beauty”. Unicorns with magic-linked marks can learn magic easily. It’s more difficult – but not impossible – for other Unicorns to learn new spells, as Twilight teaching Sweetie Belle indicates. Still, a cutie mark seems to stabilize a Unicorn’s magic – allowing small children to do wild and wonderful things that adults apparently can’t.
  • Shining Armor shields an entire city against an army, and later shields another against Sombra. Presumably he has the usual abilities of a well-trained Unicorn and royal guard as well, but he hasn’t had enough screen time to really show off very much.
  • Twilight Sparkle can teleport pretty much at will, is a telekinetic powerful enough to reassemble a collapsing dam and hydroelectric plant despite the water pressure behind it, and displays a considerable list of other powers even BEFORE she becomes an Alicorn. She’s really the only pony who shows much development though – although it’s more an increase in “number of spells known” than power, which she was apparently pretty much born with.
  • Pinkie Pie… Honestly, Loki, Coyote, and plenty of other mythic gods have gotten along with a fraction of the abilities she displays. Sure, it’s limited – but semi-omniscience (pinkie sense, unaccountable knowledge, knowing when people are breaking promises), semi-omnipresence (ability to pop up and vanish pretty much anywhere), and the ability to warp reality (producing items up to a full-size cannon, breaking the fourth wall, being a one-man band with no hands or mouth, using Twilight as a gatling gun, defying gravity) covers pretty much everything I’d want to do. Worse, she can apparently inspire those same powers in OTHER ponies, such as Cheese Sandwich.
  • On the other hand, ponies generally aren’t big on epic-level or even high-order magic, you don’t see anyone bench-pressing mountains, and they do try to avoid serious attacks. There are some high-powered bits – but they tend to be VERY specific, such as Celestia’s moving the sun, or Shining Armor protecting a city. Those are very impressive stunts – but they’re still one-trick ponies.

How often can ponies use their abilities?

  • There isn’t a lot of hard evidence here. Given that the episodes are only about twenty-two minutes long, ponies really don’t have many chances to show off their endurance – but it apparently takes days of hard labor on very very little sleep to exhaust Applejack and she can applebuck all day long. Twilight Sparkle can cast practice spells all morning, then fight an Ursa Minor, and still be fresh and happy. We see four Earth Ponies pulling a train through a desert for a day and a night (and resisting being knocked over by buffalo, one of whom is dazed by bouncing off a far smaller Earth Pony), a feat calling for massive strength and equally massive endurance even if they’re just supplementing the locomotive. Scootaloo hauls her friends all the way to the crystal empire, fast enough to beat a train. Rarity sees to be limited by lack of sleep, rather than by how much magic she can use. All in all, ponies simply do not seem to run out of magic under normal circumstances. Instead they seem to be limited by simple physical exhaustion.

What kind of adventures do ponies go on?

  • There are slice-of-life episodes with social difficulties (suitable for d20 characters of any level) – but the very first episode / adventure puts the main six – a fashion designer, a farmer, a magic student, an athlete, and the town clown – up against a quasi-deity capable of bringing about eternal darkness. The series presents Hydras, Manticores, Chimera, and adolescent Dragons as minor opponents – obstacles to delivering pies in one case. For major ones they have dark lords, elder dragons, and chaos gods. What sort of characters join forces and go up against a quasi-deity for their first adventure? It ISN’T starting-off d20 characters in any “normal” campaign.

Are our ponies hunting for money and equipment? Or, for that matter, experience points?

  • In general, no. Applejack mentions needing money a few times – but it’s certainly not the real focus of things even in those episodes. Mostly they’re opposing the bad guys, and doing good deeds, because that’s what good guys do. There isn’t a lot of worrying about their jobs or supporting themselves.

Do they kill a lot of things?

  • Certainly not. Fatalities are vanishingly rare to (depending on if Sombra is actually dead or just on another epic time out) nonexistent.

Other attributes are a bit more nebulous… but ponies seem to have a fairly normal (perhaps slightly above normal, but not enough to matter in d20 terms) distribution of intelligence, they’re usually quite alert (although little more so than humans with similar cultures), they’re certainly cute and make friends easily, and they show considerable endurance (although so do healthy humans when they’re in good shape). They probably run a bit faster than human beings too; while there’s no direct standard of comparison they are little horses and the basic equine defense mechanism IS running away.

At it’s base, Friendship is Magic is a semi-utopian cartoon set in a world where pretty much everyone has at least limited super-powers. Yes, Ponies are better than non-cartoon people. In many cases they are WAY better. And they tend to be a lot nicer too. Simply making them higher level helps some – but doesn’t fit in well with the “have quite a lot of their powers even as kids” bit.

So… ponies generally have highly specific powers, which they use without any solid limit, but which do not change much with experience, they are incredibly tough, don’t worry much about background details, are brightly-colored, are easily identified since they always look the same, and they even have superhero-style names. Sure, the major characters can probably be presumed to be at least a bit exceptional – that’s stated outright in several cases – but lesser characters make some pretty good showings too.

That simply isn’t how baseline d20 works. We could approximate it by making ponies a high-ECL species, but most of the options there would still tend to run out of power too quickly.

In this case we’re probably going to want a multi-pronged approach – probably about a +1 ECL species to cover their baseline abilities, the Low-Level Hero Template to keep their developing powers from overshadowing their baseline abilities too much, and the Superheroic World Template to give them a continuous flow of Mana to power their abilities with.

When I next get back to this, it will be time to do the three major pony races.

Champions and the Cutie Mark Crusaders – Sweetie Belle

Armageddon (The superhero, not the end of the world) accidentally brought the first pony to Earth. Then young Ceara, an eight-year-old mage-in-training, wanted her own Unicorn friend – and accidentally summmoned the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Worse, thanks to her considerable – if mostly untapped – power, she’s given them full reality.

The world may not survive.

Sweetie Belle is the sweet little sister who wants to emulate her big sister – and manages to turn every attempt to do so into a disaster. Outside of that, however, she’s actually reasonably sensible and even fairly clever once she catches up on what’s going on. Whether that’s due to being a bit slow to catch on or to her having difficulty understanding how things got so absurd so quickly is an open question. While she isn’t quite as obsessed with getting her cutie mark as her friends, Sweetie is easily persuaded to go along with their various schemes.

Sweetie Belle’s actual powers are fairly limited. She may be a unicorn, but unicorn magic seems to be more learned than instinctive – and is apparently a lot of work to get really good at. She was originally only capable of having magical accidents (such as liquifying toast and setting juice on fire when attempting to make breakfast), but with Twilight’s tutelage she has become capable of basic telekinesis with fair control. For game purposes, this includes a very modest ability to disrupt other magics by wrapping their targets in her own magic and the ability to generate rather minor attacks – roughly equal to a normal person kicking someone. Her only other abiliities are looking incredibly cute (usually when trying to get something) and being able to moderately influence the emotions of those around her through song – neither of which really has much of a mechanical effect.

Like the other Cutie Mark Crusaders, Sweetie Belle is surprisingly skilled for her apparent equivalent age of 8-10. She’s a natural signer, knows the basics of writing (at least well enough to manage a gossip column – not that the requirements there are all that high), and has picked up some fashion and society related knacks from Rarity.

 

Sweetie Belle

Value Characteristic Points
3 STR -7
15 DEX 15
13 CON 6
8 BODY -4
13 INT 3
11 EGO 2
8 PRE -2
25 COM 7
1 PD 0
3 ED 0
4 SPD 15
4 REC 0
24 END -1
17 STUN 0
Total 34

 

Points Powers END
35 Cartoon Character Package Deal
(7) Elemental Control: Cartoon Powers (15-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Cartoon Pony Powers Only): -½; Always On: -½
a-7 Armor (10 PD/10 ED)
b-7 Regeneration (1 BODY/Turn); Regenerate: From Death, +20
c-4 Images: Background music and sound effects (Hearing, 16″ radius); Range: 150; Observer PER Penalty: 0, +0; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; No Conscious Control: -2 0
d-5 Cartoon Immunities
(1) Looking Good: Immunity to being messed up for more than a few seconds; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) What Gravity? Immunity to Falling until lack of support is brought to his attention; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) In My Pocket, Why? Immunity to having to have pockets to carry stuff in.; Frequency: Common
(1) Sure I’m Perfectly Normal: Gets treated as just another human in most non-comedic ways; Frequency: Common
(1) Clothing? Immunity to being considered insufficiently dressed; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) Rated G: Immunity to Indecent Exposure; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) The Sounds of Harmony: Immunity to the need to compose or practice topical songs; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) I Can Handle That: Immunity to not having normal hands; Frequency: Common
(0) All Devouring: Immunity to reasonable limits on how much they can swallow at one time.; Frequency: Rare
(0) There’s A Hole: Immunity to solid matter provided that it LOOKS like there is a hole in it and the user is not responsible for that.; Frequency: Rare
(1) Yes, It’s Suitable: Immunity to having to wear appropriate clothing to stay warm, dry, etc.; Frequency: Fairly Common
(0) It’s a permanent: Immunity to hair damage save by bladed weapons; Frequency: Rare
(1) Immune to Aging
(1) Immune to Disease
(1) Life Support: High Radiation
e-5 2d6 Aid to Equipment Allowance/Bases/Etc (Fade/week, Max. 30); Range: 0; Extra Time: 1 hour, -2½; Generic Limitation (Only to pay for role-appropriate, provided, or generally available gear): -1; Activation: 11-, -1; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Generic Limitation (Only GM-Approved Equipment) 3
70 Cartoon Disadvantages
(20) Hunted: Fans of the Show (11-); Capabilities: As Powerful, 10; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Actions: Hunting, ×1; Punishment: Harsh, 0
(20) Driven by strong, but fairly simple, straightforward, and constant motivations (Very Common, Strong)
(10) Distinctive Features: Cartoon Character; Concealability: Concealable, 10; Reaction: Noticed and Recognizable, +0
(10) Public Identity
(5) Incapable of causing Body damage, cannot develop killing attacks (Infrequently, Slightly)
(5) Rivalry: Related Characters; Situation: Professional, 5; Position: Equal, +0; Rival: NPC, +0
8 Unicorn Magic Multipower (33-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Unicorn Pony Magic Only): -½; Generic Limitation (Only Basic Spells and those related to her Cutie Mark): -½; Generic Limitation (Easily disrupted by a blow to the horn, horn restraints, or similar): -½; Activation: 12-, -¾; Side Effects (Random magical effects): 60/All, -1
Basic Unicorn Magic
u-1 Telekinesis (STR 10); Range: 155; Manipulation: Fine, +10; Reduced END: Half, +¼; Active Points: 31 1
u-1 4d6 Suppress Magic; Range: 150; Affect: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Reduced END: Half, +¼ 1
u-1 4d6 Energy Blast; Range: 150; Versus: ED; Variable Special Effects: Any, +½ 3
Child-Utility Magic
u-1 +66 COM / Puppy-Dog Eyes
u-1 1d6 Transform / Emotional Influence (Cosmetic, Limited Class); Range: 160; Area Effect (Radius): 128″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×64, +1½; Invisible: To All Senses, +1; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Cumulative: +½; Penetrating: +¾; Generic Limitation (Requires Singing): -½ 0
11 Running (+3″, 9″, NC: 36″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×4, +5; Non-Combat (MPH): 18 2
5 Shrinking-1 (DCV +2, Height 54 cm/1’9″); Mass: 5.125 kg/11 lbs; Knockback Increase: 3; PER Bonus: -2; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Generic Limitation (Physical Quality: Cannot be drained, surpressed, or turned off, user is a child and very small): -1; Side Effects (User is a small child, with all the limitations thereof): 60/All, -1 0
5 Equipment
(5) Focusing Gem / Buy off Activation and Side Effects limitations on her Unicorn Magic; After Sweetie Belle accidentally transformed most of Ponyville into anthropomorphic fruit, Twilight gave her a focusing gem for the tip of her horn – the equivalent of putting training wheels on a bicycle.
29 Total Powers  

 

Points Skills, Talents, Perks Roll
3 Professional Skill: Singer-Songwriter 14-
1 Professional Skill: Writer 8-
1 Professional Skill: Fashionista 8-
1 High Society 8-
1 Acting 8-
7 Total Skills, Talents, Perks  

 

125+ Disadvantages
15 Too cute to bear; keeps getting snatched, cuddled, hugged, and treated as being totally helpless. (Frequently, Greatly)
15 Small children (Frequently, Greatly)
20 Panics easily (Very Common, Strong)
10 Tends to miss the point (Common, Moderate)
10 Overconfidence (Common, Moderate)
10 Obsessed with discovering her special talent (Common, Moderate)
20 Distinctive Features: Tiny Pony; Concealability: Not Concealable, 15; Reaction: Always noticed & major reaction, +5
10 Reputation: Crazy Children (11-)
20 8d6 Unluck; Generic Limitation (Only to cause silly cartoon-style mishaps): -1
30 Vulnerability: Presence Attacks (2× Effect); Attack: Very Common, +15
10 Watched: Parents, Fans, Authorities, and Relatives. (11-); Capabilities: More Powerful, 15; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Only Watching: ×½; Punishment: Mild, -5
170 Total Disadvantages

 

COSTS: Char. Powers Total Total Disadv. Base
34 + 36 = 70 295 = 170 + 125

 

OCV DCV ECV Mental Def. PD/rPD ED/rED Phases
5 5 / 7 4 0 11/10 13/10 3, 6, 9, 12

Height: 108cm (3’7″), Weight: 41kg (90 lbs), Sex: Female, Age: 7, Race: Unicorn Pony

 

Champions and the Cutie Mark Crusaders – Scootaloo

Armageddon accidentally brought the first pony to Earth. Then young Ceara, an eight-year-old mage-in-training, wanted her own Unicorn friend – and accidentally summoned the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Worse, thanks to her considerable – if mostly untapped – power, she’s given them full reality.

The world may not survive.

In the source material Scootaloo is basically presented as an enthusiastic handicapped kid with a bad case of hero-worship – the same character you’ve seen in a hundred movies inspiring their hero to press past all normal limits. Fortunately for her, she’s from an episodic children’s cartoon rather than a tear-jerker segment from a movie, and so is spared the (all too common) “dies at the end” part of the trope. She gets to keep the “determined and upbeat in the face of tragedy” part though.

Unfortunately, since pegasus magic involves flight, weather manipulation, and standing on clouds, that means that Scootaloo – as the pegasus pony version of the spunky kid who performs stunts in her wheelchair – never gets to use most of her inherent magic. Fortunately, she picks up a notable setting-based boost here. While she’s a very poor-to-incapable (and possibly permanently handicapped) flyer in the original series (despite knowing a god of chaos who can do almost anything and seeing the other characters slap a propeller on a turtle to let IT fly), this is a superhero setting. Even more importantly, it’s one where a determined but perfectly normal person with no wings or inherent magic at all can pick up a textbook on elementary levitation at the bookstore and learn to fly, even if (unlike a superhero) they won’t be very good at it due to active point limitations. Given that, Scootaloo being unable to fly makes even LESS sense. Ergo this version is a clumsy, accident-prone flyer – but hardly incapable*.

*Given that Scootaloo can apparently generate enough thrust to drag her two friends up and down hills, at high speed, all the way to the Crystal Empire as fast or faster than a train can manage the trip… it’s hard to see what prevents her from pointing that thrust downwards and taking off like a rocket anyway. Hauling herself, two other fillies, a scooter, and a wagon, up a 45-degree slope at constant speed – even disregarding friction – calls for more than enough thrust to launch herself straight up at two gravities. And she kept it up for hours. Unless she just can’t steer she ought to be buzzing around like a hummingbird on coke.

Back with her canon abilities, Scootaloo is an accomplished acrobat, and a surprisingly skilled musician, mechanic, and dancer. That’s doing pretty well for a character who seems to be roughly equivalent to 8-10 human years old*.

As far as the Crusaders go, Scootaloo provides; propulsion – both in the form of physical transport and in throwing her apparently-unlimited enthusiasm and energy behind even the most unlikely plans.

*How long ponies live and how fast they mature is an open question, even presuming that all three major subtypes have very similar lifespans – which is in no way guaranteed. Personally, I’d tend to assume that ponies in general have somewhat longer lifespans than humans do, that they tend to mature in growth spurts, and that they tend to stay fairly young-looking for most of that time. That gives us a population consisting of a small number of babies and very young children, quite a few kids of somewhat indeterminate age, a lot of relatively youthful-seeming adults, and a relative few elders – a fair match for what we see in the show.

 

Scootaloo

Value Characteristic Points
8 STR -2
18 DEX 24
13 CON 6
8 BODY -4
8 INT -2
8 EGO -4
5 PRE -5
18 COM 4
2 PD 0
3 ED 0
4 SPD 12
5 REC 0
26 END 0
19 STUN 0
Total 29

 

Points Powers END
12 Pegasus Pony Magic Multipower (32-pt reserve); Extra Time: full phase, -½; Generic Limitation (Pegasus Pony Magic Only): -1; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼
u-1 6d6 Energy Blast: Lightning; Range: 150; Versus: ED; Generic Limitation (Only usable with clouds or a relevant magical focus.): -½ 3
u-1 1d6 Transform: Weather and Cloud Manipulation (Cosmetic, Limited Class); Range: 160; Cumulative: +½; Area Effect (Radius): 8000″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×8000, +3¼; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Generic Limitation (Requires flying around and wrestling the weather into submission.): -1 0
u-1 6″ Flight (NC: 192″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×32, +20; Non-Combat (MPH): 286 1
u-1 Hand-to-Hand Attack: Wing Buffet (3d6, Total 4½d6); Range: 0; Reduced END: Half, +¼; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Generic Limitation (Pegasus Pony Magic Only): -1; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼ 1
u-1 Acrobatics 24-
1 Elemental Control: Pegasus Powers (3-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Minor Pegasus Powers Only): -1
a-5 Running (+3″, 23″, NC: 92″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×4, +5; Non-Combat (MPH): 18; Reduced END: Half, +¼ 1
b-1 6″ Gliding (NC: 12″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 18; Generic Limitation (Winged flight/Cloudwalking only): -½
c-4 Armor (5 PD/5 ED); Generic Limitation (Only versus lightning and other weather effects): -1
d-2 High-Altitude Adaption: Immune to lack of oxygen, low pressure, and cold; Generic Limitation (Resistant only, not immune. ): -1
35 Cartoon Character Package Deal
(7) Elemental Control: Cartoon Powers (15-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Cartoon Pony Powers Only): -½; Always On: -½
a-7 Armor (10 PD/10 ED)
b-7 Regeneration (1 BODY/Turn); Regenerate: From Death, +20
c-4 Images: Background music and sound effects (Hearing, 16″ radius); Range: 150; Observer PER Penalty: 0, +0; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; No Conscious Control: -2 0
d-5 Cartoon Immunities
(1) Looking Good: Immunity to being messed up for more than a few seconds; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) What Gravity? Immunity to Falling until lack of support is brought to his attention; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) In My Pocket, Why? Immunity to having to have pockets to carry stuff in.; Frequency: Common
(1) Sure I’m Perfectly Normal: Gets treated as just another human in most non-comedic ways; Frequency
(1) Clothing? Immunity to being considered insufficiently dressed; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) Rated G: Immunity to Indecent Exposure; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) The Sounds of Harmony: Immunity to the need to compose or practice topical songs; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) I Can Handle That: Immunity to not having normal hands; Frequency: Common
(0) All Devouring: Immunity to reasonable limits on how much they can swallow at one time.; Frequency: Rare
(0) There’s A Hole: Immunity to solid matter provided that it LOOKS like there is a hole in it and the user is not responsible for that.; Frequency: Rare
(1) Yes, It’s Suitable: Immunity to having to wear appropriate clothing to stay warm, dry, etc.; Frequency: Fairly Common
(0) It’s a permanent: Immunity to hair damage save by bladed weapons; Frequency: Rare
(1) Immune to Aging
(1) Immune to Disease
(1) Life Support: High Radiation
e-5 2d6 Aid to Equipment Allowance/Bases/Etc (Fade/week, Max. 30); Range: 0; Extra Time: 1 hour, -2½; Generic Limitation (Only to pay for role-appropriate, provided, or generally available gear): -1; Activation: 11-, -1; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Generic Limitation (Only GM-Approved Equipment): -1 3
70 Cartoon Disadvantages
(20) Hunted: Fans of the Show (11-); Capabilities: As Powerful, 10; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Actions: Hunting, ×1; Punishment: Harsh, 0
(20) Driven by strong, but fairly simple, straightforward, and constant motivations (Very Common, Strong)
(10) Distinctive Features: Cartoon Character; Concealability: Concealable, 10; Reaction: Noticed and Recognizable, +0
(10) Public Identity
(5) Incapable of causing Body damage, cannot develop killing attacks (Infrequently, Slightly)
(5) Rivalry: Related Characters; Situation: Professional, 5; Position: Equal, +0; Rival: NPC, +0
5 Shrinking-1 (DCV +2, Height 62 cm/2’0″); Mass: 6 kg/13 lbs; Knockback Increase: 3; PER Bonus: -2; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Generic Limitation (Physical Quality: Cannot be drained, surpressed, or turned off, user is a child and very small): -1; Side Effects (User is a small child, with all the limitations thereof): 60/All, -1 0
25 Equipment
(20) Scooter / Extra Running (+14″, 23″, NC: 92″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×4, +5; Non-Combat (MPH): 83; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Focus Mobility: Bulky, -½; Focus (Scooter): Obvious Accessible, -1 0
(5) +15 STR; Doesn’t Affect Figured: -½; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Focus Mobility: Bulky, -½; Focus (Wagon): Obvious Accessible, -1; Generic Limitation (Only for hauling loads around): -1; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½ 0
35 Total Powers  

 

Points Skills, Talents, Perks Roll
3 Acrobatics 13-
1 Musician 8-
1 Mechanics 8-
1 Dancer 8-
6 Total Skills, Talents, Perks  

 

100+ Disadvantages
15 Too cute to bear; keeps getting snatched, cuddled, hugged, and treated as being totally helpless. (Frequently, Greatly)
15 Small child (Frequently, Greatly)
20 Panics easily (Very Common, Strong)
10 Tends to miss the point (Common, Moderate)
10 Overconfidence (Common, Moderate)
10 Obsessed with discovering her special talent (Common, Moderate)
20 Distinctive Features: Tiny Pony; Concealability: Not Concealable, 15; Reaction: Always noticed & major reaction, +5
10 Reputation: Crazy Children (11-)
20 8d6 Unluck; Generic Limitation (Only to cause silly cartoon-style mishaps): -1
15 Poor Flyer (Frequently, Greatly)
15 Seriously uninvolved parents. (Frequently, Greatly)
10 Watched: Parents, Fans, Authorities, and Relatives. (11-); Capabilities: More Powerful, 15; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Only Watching: ×½; Punishment: Mild, -5
170 Total Disadvantages

 

COSTS: Char. Powers Total Total Disadv. Base
29 + 41 = 70 270 = 170 + 100

 

OCV DCV ECV Mental Def. PD/rPD ED/rED Phases
6 6 / 8 3 0 17/15 18/15 3, 6, 9, 12

(Adult) Height: 124cm (4’1″), Adult Weight: 48kg (106 lbs), Sex: Female, Age: 8, Race: Pegasus Pony

 

Champions and the Cutie Mark Crusaders – Apple Bloom

Armageddon accidentally brought the first pony to Earth from the imaginal realms. Then young Ceara, an eight-year-old mage-in-training, wanted her own Unicorn friend – and accidentally summoned the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Worse, thanks to her considerable – if mostly untapped – power, she’s given them full reality.

The world may not survive.

Apple Blossom is about what you’d expect of any kid – presuming that kids all had a special talent that they were desperate to find and were semi-invulnerable cartoon characters free to do absurd things to try and find them. Human kids learn not to jump off high places because it hurts. Apple Bloom and her friends find that jumping off high places isn’t enough to reveal their talents, so they add rocket-assisted takeoffs.

Other than that… Apple Bloom is a well-meaning, if somewhat rustic, farm kid, loyal to her friends, cheerful, brave, always willing to give people a chance, and inclined to work hard, both on the farm and on whatever insane project she and her friends have come up with today.

Like any Earth Pony, Apple Bloom possesses great strength and endurance for her size*, can grow and manipulate plants (this being a superhero setting, fast enough to tangle people up in them, even if it isn’t really too effective), can get enormous amounts of work done (Sweet Apple Acres sells apples all over Equestria and seems to extend to the horizon. If the place is a mere two square miles… running it would be a full time job for a hundred humans, and call for two or three times that many during harvest season to pick the fruit. Sweet Apple Acres manages with two workers, a kid, and a granny in a rocking chair), and the ability to pull small tools and objects out of nowhere.

Her personal talents include a fair knack for brewing potions, using her ability to accomplish lots of work to fill an area with “Home Alone” style traps (not strictly canon, but entertaining and plausible enough given her rigging up a booby-trapped parade float in a few hours), some (very) basic combat skills (she apparently knows some Kung Fu and experimented with Karate), and a surprising level of skill for her age as a farmer and handyman. Most of those other than “handyman” have nothing to do with her (likely) special talent, it’s not like ponies can’t study other things.

*In a superhero setting… buy what you please. Rarity can haul around “Tom” – a chunk of granite four to five feet across with a likely weight of six to nine tons – and she’s a rather delicate female unicorn, the physically weakest of the pony races. Big Macintosh, a large and well-exercised male earth pony, is once shown towing around a house. Easily. Of course, the source material is a cartoon, so there’s no consistency about such minor details as strength; those same characters are shown having trouble with far lesser exertions.

 

Apple Bloom

Value Characteristic Points
15 STR 5
11 DEX 3
18 CON 16
9 BODY -2
8 INT -2
8 EGO -4
5 PRE -5
16 COM 3
4 PD 1
4 ED 0
4 SPD 19
7 REC 0
24 END -6
26 STUN 0
Total 28

 

Points Powers END
12 Earth Pony Magic Multipower (32-pt reserve); Extra Time: full phase, -½; Generic Limitation (Earth Pony Magic Only): -1; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼
u-1 1d6 Transform/Get Work Done (Major, Limited Class); Range: 150; Cumulative: +½; Reduced END: Half, +¼; Extra Time: full phase, -½;Apple Bloom can repair, modify, and build things with completely unreasonable speed and skill. 1
u-1 2d6 Entangle: Grow Plants (DEF 2); Range: 150; Area Effect (One-hex): 1 hex(es), +½This isn’t really very effective, but it can slow up normal folks briefly. 3
u-1 1d6 Transform: Plant Manipulation (Minor, Limited Class); Range: 160; Cumulative: +½; Area Effect (Radius): 4″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×4, +½Like any earth pony, Apple Bloom can make plants grow well even under terrible conditions, ward off most pests, knock leaves off, make fruit fall as needed, and repair minor damage to plants, boost crop yields, and discourage weeds among many other tricks. 3
u-1 1d6 Transform: Produce minor items and tools (Major, Limited Class); No Range, -1/2While this doesn’t allow for major items, Earth ponies never seem to run out of string, nails, or other minor supplies to keep things running. 2
u-1 Hand-to-Hand Attack: Hard Hooves (4d6, Total 7d6); Range: 0; Reduced END: Half, +¼; Extra Time: full phase, -½Given a moment to set up, Earth Ponies can hit very hard indeed. 1
; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Generic Limitation (Earth Pony Magic Only): -1; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼
Personal Talents;
u-1 +3 Earth Pony Kung Fu: DEXWhile Apple Bloom only knows a few basic Kata, if you give her a moment to get ready they do help out a little bit.
u-1 Change Environment: Filled with silly traps (16″ rad.); Effect: Fixed, +0; Trigger: Set, +¼Should this be “Change Environment / “home Alone””? 3
u-1 2d6 Aid: Brew Potions (Fade/min., Max. 30); Range: 0; Trigger (Drink or apply potion): Set, +¼; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Generic Limitation (Potions take hours to prepare, cannot have more than a dozen at a time ready, GMO ingredients required):Apple Blossom is actually a fairly capable alchemist, able to brew a wide variety of potions – if she has the proper ingredients. She might also need directions, but that’s not a big thing in Champions. 2
35 Cartoon Character Package Deal
(7) Elemental Control: Cartoon Powers (15-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Cartoon Pony Powers Only): -½; Always On: -½
a-7 Armor (10 PD/10 ED)
b-7 Regeneration (1 BODY/Turn); Regenerate: From Death, +20
c-4 Images: Background music and sound effects (Hearing, 16″ radius); Range: 150; Observer PER Penalty: 0, +0; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; No Conscious Control: -2 0
d-5 Cartoon Immunities
(1) Looking Good: Immunity to being messed up for more than a few seconds; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) What Gravity? Immunity to Falling until lack of support is brought to her attention; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) In My Pocket, Why? Immunity to having to have pockets to carry stuff in.; Frequency: Common
(1) Sure I’m Perfectly Normal: Gets treated as just another human in most non-comedic ways
(1) Clothing? Immunity to being considered insufficiently dressed; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) Rated G: Immunity to Indecent Exposure; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) The Sounds of Harmony: Immunity to the need to compose or practice topical songs; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) I Can Handle That: Immunity to not having normal hands; Frequency: Common
(0) All Devouring: Immunity to reasonable limits on how much they can swallow at one time.; Frequency: Rare
(0) There’s A Hole: Immunity to solid matter provided that it LOOKS like there is a hole in it and the user is not responsible for that.; Frequency: Rare
(1) Yes, It’s Suitable: Immunity to having to wear appropriate clothing to stay warm, dry, etc.; Frequency: Fairly Common
(0) It’s a permanent: Immunity to hair damage save by bladed weapons; Frequency: Rare
(1) Immune to Aging
(1) Immune to Disease
(1) Life Support: High Radiation
e-5 2d6 Aid to Equipment Allowance/Bases/Etc (Fade/week, Max. 30); Range: 0; Extra Time: 1 hour, -2½; Generic Limitation (Only to pay for role-appropriate, provided, or generally available gear): -1; Activation: 11-, -1; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Generic Limitation (Only GM-Approved Equipment): -1 3
70 Cartoon Disadvantages
(20) Hunted: Fans of the Show (11-); Capabilities: As Powerful, 10; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Actions: Hunting, ×1; Punishment: Harsh, 0
(20) Driven by strong, but fairly simple, straightforward, and constant motivations (Very Common, Strong)
(10) Distinctive Features: Cartoon Character; Concealability: Concealable, 10; Reaction: Noticed and Recognizable, +0
(10) Public Identity
(5) Incapable of causing Body damage, cannot develop killing attacks (Infrequently, Slightly)
(5) Rivalry: Related Characters; Situation: Professional, 5; Position: Equal, +0; Rival: NPC, +0
13 Running (+4″, 10″, NC: 40″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×4, +5; Non-Combat (MPH): 24 2
5 Shrinking-1 (DCV +2, Height 61½ cm/2’0″); Mass: 9 kg/20 lbs; Knockback Increase: 3; PER Bonus: -2; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Generic Limitation (Physical Quality: Cannot be drained, suppressed, or turned off, user is a child and very small): -1; Side Effects (User is a small child, with all the limitations thereof): 60/All, -1 0
38 Total Powers  

 

Points Skills, Talents, Perks Roll
2 Professional Skill: Farmer 11-
2 Professional Skill: Handyman 11-
4 Total Skills, Talents, Perks  

 

100+ Disadvantages
15 Too cute to bear; keeps getting snatched, cuddled, hugged, and treated as being totally helpless. (Frequently, Greatly)
15 Small child (Frequently, Greatly)
20 Panics easily (Very Common, Strong)
10 Tends to miss the point (Common, Moderate)
10 Overconfidence (Common, Moderate)
10 Obsessed with discovering her special talent (Common, Moderate)
20 Distinctive Features: Tiny Pony; Concealability: Not Concealable, 15; Reaction: Always noticed & major reaction, +5
10 Reputation: Crazy Children (11-)
20 8d6 Unluck; Generic Limitation (Only to cause silly cartoon-style mishaps): -1
10 Watched: Parents, Fans, Authorities, and Relatives. (11-); Capabilities: More Powerful, 15; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Only Watching: ×½; Punishment: Mild, -5
15 Orphaned (Frequently, Greatly)
10 Vulnerability: Nightmare Powers (2× Effect); Attack: Uncommon, +5
5 Rivalry: Other Farmers; Situation: Professional, 5; Position: Equal, +0; Rival: NPC, +0
170 Total Disadvantages

 

COSTS: Char. Powers Total Total Disadv. Base
28 + 42 = 70 270 = 170 + 100

 

OCV DCV ECV Mental Def. PD/rPD ED/rED Phases
4 4 / 6 3 0 14/10 14/10 3, 6, 9, 12

 

(Adult) Height: 123cm (4’0″), (Adult) Weight: 72kg (158 lbs), Sex: Female, Age: 8, Race: Earth Pony

 

Eclipse, Problem Players, and Page 163

And to try (once more, despite real life) to get back to posting regularly, we have the most recent question…

I have a question regarding page 163 in Eclipse: The Codex Persona: I’ve now encountered an abusive character (well, by the numbers, he doesn’t actually abuse his power) and would like to know what I can do without destroying it entirely.

Now I’ve looked at the page and it said: “Explaining rationally […] better than smiting them without explanation.”

Looking at the 10 “options” presented, however, the page doesn’t really tell me how to do just that: Option 1, 7 and 8 seem to be saying “Fuck you” pretty blandly, whereas 2, 4 and 5 seem to be able to backfire greatly and haven’t really shown the player where the problem is (he could lead the over-monster back to the party or the character to protect dies because of a natural 1).

Reading the “explain rationally”-line, I rather expected more of the likes of option 3 (you are powerful, you just won’t get any stronger), option 6 (talking seems to solve such a disagreement rather smoothly) and option 9 (well, the last 2 lines at least imply that you aren’t trying to just screw others over out of what can easily described as (in my case and I’m sure in about 95% of the other cases) the DM’s incompetence (I’m fairly new, so I make my mistakes…).

Also, should I consider option 10 after already having applied options that aren’t 3, 6 or 9? After all, it seems likely to me that there will be divine justice as soon as my character would enter the scene (especially fearing option 9 as justified revenge since his designs seem to outsmart me at given times…)

Greetings
A DM that would really like his group to not soon view him as vengeful monster^^̊

Sometimes you have problem players.

Now the exact nature of that problem doesn’t matter. You may have a player who’s frustrated in real life and – when it comes to play – simply wants to take out his or her frustrations on the monsters and NPC’s. Unfortunately, Godzilla Junior has no patience with conversation, clues, mission objectives, or anything but leaping into combat – thoroughly disrupting the game for everyone else.

Perhaps a player wishes to focus on romance. Or plays characters who are so noble and honorable that they refuse to participate in ninety percent of the game. Or are so evil that no other character would come near them if they weren’t a player character. Or is optimizing their character to the point that no one else gets to contribute in whatever situation the character is optimized for. Perhaps they want to debate obscure rules rather than trusting the game master to move the game along.

Pretty much any behavior pattern – from clowning around to negotiating – can become a serious problem if taken to excess. Everyone knows how big a drain on a game someone who is simply passive and disinterested can be. A player who is actively disruptive can ruin a game in short order. Tabletop role-playing games are cooperative social activities; part of the deal is adding to the fun rather than detracting from it.

While anyone can have a bad day, a player who consistently detracts from the game rather than adding to it is a potential disaster for a game. Unfortunately, like any other behavior, said player is getting something out of acting that way or they wouldn’t be doing it, and so they won’t want to stop. On the upside, quite a lot of role-playing gamers aren’t very good at being sociable, and so they may not know that pursuing their personal goal is disrupting the game for everyone else. If you can get them to stop being disruptive, the overall improvement in the game is likely to wind up with everyone having more fun, troublesome player included.

So step one is to bring it up. Point out the ways in which the other players are being frustrated or where you’re having problems. Is one character over-powered? Say “You know, I’m having trouble coming up with encounters that will challenge your character but which won’t wipe out the rest of the group. Wouldn’t it be more fun for everyone if…”.

If you’re lucky, whether the player just didn’t realize what he or she was doing or because they just wanted some attention, that will be enough.

If your player is having a bad time elsewhere and can’t keep that out of the game, it might be time for a break, or you can just put up with it for a bit longer.

If the player won’t stop because they refuse to see the problem, or feel that they know the “right” way to play, or whatever justification they produce for them continuing to get whatever they’re getting out of the behavior pattern, then you have a few choices.

  • You can decide to avoid confrontation and put up with it. There are lots of rationales for this option; the player is a friend, they’ve already gotten over-stressed, they’re not that bad, maybe they’ll get over it, you don’t need the argument – but statements like this are only rationales. You might want to check with the rest of the players before just throwing up your hands; it really isn’t fair to force them to put up with a disruptive behavior without at least talking about it with them.
  • You can throw the disruptive player out of the game. As a “solution” this is quick, simple, effective, upsetting, and extremely disruptive in its own right. Nobody really wants to do this, which is why it’s an utter last resort.
  • You can go in for some behavior modification by making sure that the behavior pattern isn’t rewarded.

That’s what page 163 in Eclipse is really all about. Perhaps the most common, and the only mechanical (since only the characters mechanics are really under the players control), form of this problem in role-playing games is the individual character who overshadows everyone else in some field. A certain amount of that is fine – every character should have their specialties – but if they’re dominating a major part of the game (often combat) the other players will rightfully feel cheated. They’re investing their time in the game and they aren’t getting to play.

Thus page 163 in Eclipse is a collection of ways to make sure that building an overpowered character doesn’t get the player extra attention or rewards.

And yes; you are intentionally setting out to make what the player wants to do less fun. No, that’s not being a jerk; said player has already had the problem brought up – and has refused to stop making the game less fun for everyone else. Such a player has ALREADY said “Fuck You!” to you as the game master and to every other player in the game. Refusing to deal with that problem, and thus letting one player take over the game for his or her personal amusement, is shirking being a game master – and is letting all of the other players down.

There isn’t a page on dealing with similar problems on the role-playing side because Eclipse is a book of mechanics and because there are generally a lot fewer rules involved there; if one player insists on trying to beat every problem into submission with his or her silver tongue… well, some things can’t talk, some things will be totally unreasonable and might as well not talk, and some things will simply stall while matters become worse and worse. You can always note that “ten minutes of talking passes unproductively”; you do not HAVE to play out useless scenes. Simply refusing to spend a lot of time on activities that don’t interest the rest of the group will cure most role-playing problems.

Unfortunately, that’s a game master tactic, not something for a character-design system to cover.

And I hope that that answers the question; if you feel that something needs more explanation, then do let me know.

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