Ponies of the Eclipse – the Basic Pony Build and Earth Ponies

So you want to be a pony… Honestly, I’m not entirely sure why you want to drag a cartoon pony – an outrageously cute creature from a setting that resolves problems with friendship and harmony – into a d20 world that probably revolves around killing things and taking their stuff, but Eclipse is all about letting you do what you want. So lets build some ponies. Basics first, then the individual subtype modifiers.

Basic Ponies:

  • Medium Size: Ponies are short (about four feet as adults) due to their quadrupedal nature, but are still hefty enough to make the medium size category. No adjustments here.
  • Humanoid: For rules purposes, ponies are considered to be humanoids. Just think of them as humans with “clubbed” hands and REALLY bad posture and you won’t be far off.
  • Herbivores. Ponies can eat quite a few plants that humans would find indigestible, but can’t generally eat meat (although milk, eggs, and cheese are just fine). They can also apparently eat enormous amounts of cake, pastry, and ice cream without damaging their health. This isn’t generally important.

Now for the stuff that costs points.

  • Quadruped / “Accursed” (-3 CP): Ponies only move at half ground speed when they can’t use all four legs. They can use one hoof as if they were hooking a forearm around something, one forehoof and their mouth as if they were a hand, and may use both forehooves and their mouth as if they were a hand-and-a-half (-4 penalty on anything which requires two hands). As some slight compensation, this does provide the usual quadruped bonuses (+10 ground movement and increased carrying capacity, along with a +4 against Bull Rush). Fortunately, rings, boots, and so on adapt to fit anyone – so there are no changes in their behavior for ponies even if they can wear magical horseshoes in their “boots” slot.
  • Attribute Shift /-2 Dex, +2 Con: Ponies are fast and coordinated enough, but – when you come right down to it – hooves and mouths just aren’t quite as good as hands when it comes to fine work and (outside of Pinky Pie, who breaks the rules anyway) I don’t recall a lot of pony trapeze artists or acrobats either (6 CP).
  • General Damage Reduction 3, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (DR 9/-, versus both physical and energy attacks)/only to convert lethal to nonlethal damage, only one-half of the base effect (DR 2/-) versus melee attacks by living creatures. Ponies can withstand smashing into heaps of rocks at high speed, but can still be readily hurt by weapons and other living creatures and are stunned a LOT more often than they bleed. They also don’t need oven mitts and are almost unharmed by small bolts of lightning (6 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment (8 CP / 7000 GP Value). All effects Caster Level 1 x spell level 0 (½) or 1 x 2,000 gp (for unlimited-use, use-activated unless otherwise noted). Usually a x .7 personal-only modifier also applies.
    • +2 enhancement bonus to Constitution (L1, 1400 GP). Ponies are very healthy critters.
    • +2 Enhancement Bonus to Charisma (L1, 1400 GP). Ponies are cute and very social.
    • Endure Elements (L1, 3/Day, 840 GP). Ponies generally don’t need clothing, regardless of the weather, although things like booties and scarves do make them more comfortable when it’s cold or wet out (even if they do appear and disappear at random).
    • Cure Light Wounds (L1, 3/Day, 840 GP). Ponies heal far more quickly than they have any right to, and shrug off minor injuries in moments, but there do seem to be limits; major injuries may take several days to heal.
    • Pockets (L0 Bard, Sorcerer/Wizard Transmutation, 1 hour per level duration: The target has lots of inconspicious pockets and pouches (concealed as if by a decent tailor, although this won’t get past any kind of a search) to keep things in, regardless of their state of dress or undress. 700 GP). Ponies don’t seem to have much trouble carrying money, small tools, and other odds and ends.
    • Prestidigitation (L0, 1000 GP, x.5 for a limited selection of effects, 500 GP). This covers minor tricks like always having sunglasses on, defying gravity just long enough to look comical and say “Uh-oh!” before falling, having what little clothing they wear go back to normal despite being blown up, automatically returning their hair to it’s usual look, gulping down whole cakes, never suffering from indecent exposure, cleaning up in moments, picking up objects with hooves, continuing to look vaguely “adult” until they’re getting really old, having their hairstyle change to fit their moods, and even a bit of background music. While this stretches the limits of Prestidigitation, the lack of control – and of having any actual effects – makes up for it.
    • Harmonic Convergence (L1 Bard Divination, effective for the duration of the performance or task. When the user makes music anyone who hears him or her will automatically know how to best participate in the music and choreography and may “take twelve” in doing so if they decide to participate. If this is used to help coordinate a multi-person task, such as building a structure, harvesting fields, or clearing up an area, the total amount of work done by those who participate will be increased by 20%, rather than being reduced due to the distraction. If used during a social event, everyone who participates will find their attitudes towards each other improved by one level. In Equestria, where animals are quite intelligent, they tend to join in too – but this may or may not work in worlds where animals act like actual animals and where friendship isn’t the greatest power in the universe. 1400 GP).
  • Immunity/stacking limitations when combining innate enchantment effects with external effects (common/minor/trivial; only covers level 0 or 1 effects) (2 CP).
  • Immunity/the normal XP cost of racial innate enchantments (uncommon/minor/trivial) (1 CP). Ponies are born with their innate enchantments, and need not pay any extra experience for them. If the Pathfinder Package deal is in use, this cost will not apply – and ponies gain an additional +1 racial bonus to singing.
  • 1d6+3 Mana, Specialized/only usable with innate racial talents, Corrupted/no natural magic option (4 CP). Ponies all have at least a small reserve of magic, even if most of them can’t use it for anything except their instinctive abilities.
  • Rite of Chi, with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized/requires an hour or so of rest per use (4 CP).
  • +2 Racial Bonus to Perform/Sing (2 CP), +1 Racial Bonus to Perform/Dance (1 CP). Ponies aren’t necessarily brilliant singers and dancers – but they all seem to be capable of participating in group performances competently.

Ponies could arguably have low-light vision (they almost always seem to have enough light and those enormous eyes should be good for SOMETHING other than attracting hugs and begging), but there’s really no evidence for it. Similarly, they might have natural weapons (hooves) – but the royal guards all use weapons, and those few who seem to punch and kick effectively (Rarity and Rainbow Dash mostly, although Pinkie and Applejack seem to know the basics) both seem to have some martial arts training (in Rainbow’s case, apparently a black belt in Karate). Still, if I giving them things that they MIGHT have there’ll be no end to it.

With a total cost of 31 CP, your basic pony is a +0 ECL character. Since I expect to wind up with the various specific pony types as +1 ECL races, that means that there’s 32 CP available for each subrace.

Earth Ponies (+32 CP, 63 CP Total):

Earth ponies are the basis of pony society; the founders, farmers, builders, miners, and workers who support everyone else. Earth ponies can get along without controlled weather, and without delicate devices and enchantments – but neither Pegasi nor Unicorns can get along without the food, fiber, wood, and metals that the Earth Ponies produce. This doesn’t mean that Pegasi and Unicorns are incapable of farming – but barring very special talents Earth Ponies are just so much better at it that they might as well not bother.

Earth Ponies cannot cast spells in Friendship is Magic, since spellcasting there requires either a Unicorn’s horn or some special ability, such as Discord’s powers of Chaos Magic. D20 in general, and Eclipse in particular, offers a far, FAR, wider range of ways of using magical power – and cutting Earth Ponies off from all of them would make them almost unplayable in quite a lot of games. Ergo, d20 Earth Ponies can develop magical abilities if they wish, even if they usually stick to professions that take more advantage of their natural affinities.

  • Berserker (+8 Str) with Enduring (no fatigue afterwards), Powered by Mana (2 points) option. (9 CP). Earth ponies can manifest incredible strength, dragging around piles of anvils, houses, and similar massive weights. Other ponies sometimes develop this ability, but it’s not a normal thing for them.
  • Occult Sense/Nature Sense, Specialized/only provides very vague information save for in relation to agriculture (3 CP). Earth ponies are aware when something is “wrong” with nature, but only really get details when it’s related to their agricultural endeavors.
  • Specialist/Standing Firm: +4 to resist bull rushes and knockdowns (3 CP). Specialist is normally used for offensive tricks – but this seems appropriate enough, especially since even charging buffalo seem to be unable to knock earth ponies off their feet. Note that this stacks with the usual bonus for being a quadruped.
  • Adept (Rune Magic/Homesteading Magic, both Mastery and Casting, Knowledge/Nature and Survival) (6 CP).

Homesteading magic covers a great deal of practical stuff – growing, harvesting, and preserving crops, extracting resources, fashioning simple tools, erecting barns and houses, making simple clothing, and pretty much all the other stuff that goes into establishing and living in small rural communities. Earth ponies are thus generally the founders, pioneers, farmers, and builders of pony society – the ones who tame and work the land. Homesteading magic is generally inconspicious, used as a part of a longer action. Thus, for example, “Applebucking” is a simple, low-level, harvesting spell – cast by setting up the buckets and kicking the tree. Most earth ponies don’t even recognize that they’re casting spells at all. They just manage to get a lot done each day, and don’t really see why that’s anything exceptional.

The “Superheroic” World Template allows each character to spend (Con Mod) points of Mana each round, although those points cannot be saved for later use. Thus Applejack (Con 18+ and highly skilled) can support Sweet Apple Acres with an endless stream of third or fourth level agricultural spells – allowing her to handle an incredibly large farm and explaining why it collapses so fast without her in Magical Mystery Cure; her brother may be physically stronger, but he has a lower Con and may have less skill; he can’t pour as much magic into the place as Applejack can. Without this world template Ponies will still be able to use their inherent magics and magical skills several times a day – but they won’t be able to use them all day long, the way that they do in the show. That, of course, will power them down enough to make them reasonably compatible with a standard d20 game.

  • +3 Racial Bonus on all Adept Skills (4 CP).
  • Tireless, corrupted for two-thirds cost/subject to dispelling, antimagic, and similar effects (4 CP). Earth ponies simply do not seem to get tired under any normal circumstances, even from things like spending a day and a night dragging a train across the desert.
  • +3 Racial Bonus on any one “unarmed” (hoof based) Martial Arts style (3 CP). Earth Ponies are generally well-attuned to their natural equine combat instincts (such as they are). This doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily great fighters, but they can “punch” and “kick” reasonably effectively and can build on that if they want to. Given that fighting isn’t really that useful as a way to resolve problems in the show, this usually isn’t all that relevant.

Some sources imply that Earth Ponies can develop powerful defenses against Unicorn magic, or can readily smash stone with their kicks, and so on – but that wanders off into speculative abilities again. If you want that sort of thing in Eclipse, go ahead and develop it; it will just be a personal power instead of something inherent in your race.

And this is getting longer than I thought, so Unicorns and Pegasi will have to be next time around.

24 Responses

  1. Excellent write-up! I hope that after the pony races are all done, you’ll post at least one example character from the show (ideally one of the Mane Six) as well.

    One quick question I had was regarding the pricing of granting a +3 racial bonus to each of the four Adept skills for 4 CP. That’s clearly not via directly buying the skill ranks, since that would cost 6 CP. How was that price derived, then?

    • …or, it occurs to me, that’s a typo, and you meant that it was a +2 racial bonus to the four Adept skills for a total cost of 4 CP, in which case the pricing is self-evident.

      • It’s really just being a bit cheesy to help accommodate those magically-active pony babies like the Cake twins; Adept makes those skills half cost, so +3 costs 1.5 points. Since half-points round down, you can use that technicality to put off that 2 CP cost until you want to buy those skills up more (very likely at level zero).

        I couldn’t resist those big pony eyes anyway.

    • As for an example or two… Why not? Anyone in particular you would like?

      • After some thought, I think that the character I’d like to see most would be Nightmare Moon.

        While I don’t find her that compelling of a character unto herself (since we know her entire character arc – e.g. that she’s the apex of Luna’s jealousy towards Celestia – and that her plan to bring about eternal darkness seemed so short-sighted), seeing her character stats is quite enticing.

        I say that because her write-up would not only necessarily include the base statistics for alicorns in general, but also likely provide us with stats for Luna uncorrupted, as well as her villainous alter ego (e.g. her powers as Nightmare Moon honestly seem like a template, considering that they were initially gained when she went bad, and then subsequently lost when the Mane Six reformed her).

        A bit greedy on my part, to be sure, so I hope you don’t mind.

      • Rather amusingly, I just realized my previous response ignored how I’d mentioned earlier that one of the Mane Six would be an “ideal” example.

        Perhaps I should have just gone with my first instinct and said Rainbow Dash.

      • Oddly enough, Nightmare Moon is likely easiest – but also more debatable. Like your own writeup for Celestia… we don’t actually see Nightmare Moon or Princess Luna actually doing all that much. Rainbow Dash is much better defined… Still, there’s no reason to stick to just one.

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