Ponies of the Eclipse: Rainbow Dash

So now that we have the races, here’s how to build a pony…

Rainbow Dash is brash, impulsive, egotistical, prankster, who would be pretty unbearable if she wasn’t also loyal to the point of absurdity, heroic, capable of living up to much of her boasting, and normally only taken in small doses (if you must watch a My Little Pony marathon, don’t say that I didn’t warn you that there might be side effects).

Of course, if you don’t know at least that much, and likely  more, you wouldn’t be reading these articles at all. Ergo I’ll just get on with the game statistics.

Since the questions come up, here is where we’ll find the fundamental difference between Ponyfinder and these articles.

Ponyfinder is about fitting pony-styled characters into a  conventional 3.5 or Pathfinder game. If Ponyfinder allowed you to build a Pegasus child with no character levels (or even with one) who could fly at supersonic speeds, survive sideswiping other pegasi children at that speed without injuring them or itself, and maintain control at that speed, then Ponyfinder would have failed. Characters of level one or less with regularly-usable powers on that scale simply will not fit into a standard 3.5 or Pathfinder game.

The Eclipse conversion, on the other hand, must specifically allow pegasi children of level zero to be built with that ability (among many others) since it appeared on the show. If the Eclipse conversion doesn’t allow the creation of such a character than it has failed.

Mutually exclusive design goals generally do not work out – which is one reason why the Eclipse version is built using a world law (the Superheroic World Template (Eclipse: The Codex Persona), which provides a flow of free mana to keep their abilities powered up with) and the Low-Level Adventurer Template, which makes low-level characters significantly more skilled and durable. If you remove those options these versions will be be powered down considerably. Of course, if you do that… they will no longer function all that much like they do on the show.

So lets make some statistics for Rainbow Dash.

To summarize the low-level adventurer template, those affected get:

  • A -3 penalty on unskilled skill checks.
  • Very slow level advancement, by direct session-based character point awards rather than experience points. Succeeding in goals helps, but killing things and taking their stuff does not.
  • The status of valuable trouble magnets – they’re rare and find trouble everywhere they go.
  • A +3 bonus on five skills which suit their backgrounds and training. Sadly, this cannot be applied to active magical skills.
  • Extra hit points equal to [12 + (2 x Con Mod)].
  • Two minor special talents. For the full list see the Template, for Rainbow Dash we’ll take Evasive (a +2 bonus to her AC) and Sun Eyes (allowing her to ignore penalties for excessive illumination, such as sun on clouds, and providing a +4 bonus on saves against bright lights, such as Color Spray).

To summarize the Basic Pony Modifiers:

  • Quadruped. In general ponies are slow and have trouble moving while using tools or weapons.
  • Attribute Modifiers: -2 Dex, +2 Con. An additional +2 Con and +2 Chr are dispellable magical bonuses.
  • Damage Reduction 9/- versus both Physical and Energy Attacks, only DR 2/- versus melee attacks by living creatures.
  • Endure Elements. Ponies pretty much ignore the weather.
  • Ponies heal 1d8+1 damage per round three times per day.
  • Ponies are always treated as having lots of pockets, even in the nude.
  • Ponies get minor cartoon effects, such as hair that responds to moods, blushing through fur, and so on.
  • Ponies may begin or participate in spontaneously choreographed musical numbers that provide bonuses for group tasks.
  • Have a base pool of 1d6+3 Mana, regaining 1d6 with an hours rest up to three times a day and 1-2 points per day regardless.
  • Get a +2 Racial Bonus to Perform/Sing

To summarize the Pegasus Subrace Modifiers:

  • 40′ Flight, with perfect maneuverability
  • Cloud-Walking
  • Adept (Rune Magic/Air, Mastery and Casting, Flight, and Knowledge/Nature (Specialized for Double Effect in Weather Prediction and air-related phenomena).
  • +3 Racial Bonus on all Adept Skills (effectively +6 for the specialized Survival)
  • Damage from high-speed collisions, crashes, and similar impacts is one-fourth normal to a maximum of 6d6.
  • Resist Lightning 10 (stacks with general energy resistance).
  • +2 racial bonus to Spot.
  • Additional +6 Racial Bonus to Spot/Specialized, only to make up for range, fog, and other atmospheric penalties (3 CP).

Yes, that’s a whole bunch of racial stuff. That’s because ponies come with a whole load of powers and abilities straight out of the box, even if taking them out of the box does make them a lot less collectable.

Base Attributes:

These are, as always for a cartoon character, are pretty  debatable – but lets take a look.

  • Strength: If we write off her hauling around four other ponies while making sharp turns at hypersonic speed as a manifestation of air magic (flight), Rainbow doesn’t show any great strength; Rarity hauled a huge boulder around, but Rainbow couldn’t get her wing-tip out from under one. A turtle managed it for her though. She did beat Applejack in  hoofwrestling, but a single good roll (see her Luck power, later on) would account for that.
  • Dexterity: Rainbow Dash is fast, and agile, and pulls off a lot of impressive maneuvering. On the other hand, she crashes a lot too – even having a nickname of “Rainbow Crash”. Personally, I’d say that she’s got a pretty good dexterity, but is FAR too inclined to push her abilities beyond the limits of safety. It’s a good thing that Pegasi are inherently crash-resistant.
  • Intelligence: About the best we can say here is that she’s not stupid (although the impulsiveness tends to make her act foolishly pretty often) – but she’s not especially brilliant either. Even if she does read all the adventures of the pony version of Indiana Jones, she’s no bookworm.
  • Wisdom: Rainbow is reasonably alert when she’s not asleep, fairly willful (even if she cannot deal with separation, procrastinates, and has little control when she wants something, and gives up fairly readily in quite a few cases), and tolerably perceptive (even disregarding the “learning while flying” thing, which is only a special effect in d20 terms). She also doesn’t show a lot of what I’d think of as “wisdom”, even if d20 “wisdom” has nothing at all to do with being “wise”. Wisdom is in competition with Strength for Rainbow’s weakest attribute – but she does get a lot of exercise.
  • Constitution: Rainbow is notorious for smashing into things and making mighty efforts and recovering in mere moments. She pushes herself to her limits practicing extreme tricks over and over again, and she may nap a lot, but it never seems to be for very long. I’d make this pretty high. That’s really the case for most of the six primary characters.
  • Charisma: Honestly, Rainbow is more than a bit abrasive. Sure, she’s a very social pony in a show built around friendship, and so certainly isn’t repellent, and once she makes a friend her fanatical loyalty tends to make it easy for her to keep them – but I can’t say that she’s marvelously charismatic. She’s just too narcissistic.

Well, this is a high-powered campaign, so…

Str Int Wis Con Dex Chr
Base Attributes 12 10 10 16 16 12
Pony Modifiers +0 +0 +0 +4 -2 +2
Child Modifiers -4 +0 -2 -2 +0 +0
Adult Attributes 12 10 10 20 14 14
Filly Attributes 08 10 08 18 14 14

Filly Rainbow Dash: L0 (Well, technically ECL 1 – but when pretty everyone in the world is of a +1 (or more) ECL race it doesn’t really stand out).

Available Character Points 24 (L0 Base) + 10 (Disadvantages: Brash and Impulsive, Pathologically Competitive Showoff, Irrationally Loyal) = 34.

We don’t see a lot of Filly Rainbow Dash – but she is capable of  pulling off a Sonic Rainboom when focused on competing and supporting a friend. In d20 terms, that means that she’s capable of accessing at least fourth level effects with her air magic to get to Lightning Step or Rapid Travel (the one-level-reduced “fast movement” variants on Dimension Door and Teleport from The Practical Enchanter) with a spectacular (if ultimately just special effects and thus about +1 to +2 spell levels) “sonic rainboom” add-on.

  • That means getting to +16 with her Dexterity–based Rune Magic. That’s +3 (race) +2 (attribute) +3 (skill points, requiring only 2 per skill due to Adept for a total cost of 4 CP) = +8. That will let her pull off second level air magic effects at an effective caster level of four – pretty good, but not good enough as of yet!
  • She’ll also want a good Flight skill. That’s another (2 CP) for a +3 bonus on that too. Given that this will obviously be one of the five non-magical skills that gets a +3 bonus from the low-level adventurer template (as for the others… Say a Martial Art, Survival, Intimidate, and Perception) she’ll be starting out with a pretty good check – but not good enough to avoid crashing fairly often at the speeds she reaches.

On the other hand, she can only preform a sonic rainboom  when she’s both competing and going to the rescue of her friends. Augmented Bonus is usually restricted (GM approval only) in Superheroic Settings due to the ease of pumping any single attribute to grotesque levels, but this looks like a place for a limited application. Buy…

  • Augmented Bonus/Pushing Beyond Her Limits (Add Con Mod to Dex Mod for Rune Magic Purposes)/Specialized for Increased Effect (+8); Only usable when protecting friends, children, or helpless NPC’s. (6 CP).

That gets her neatly to the +16 she needs – capable of creating level four air magic effects with an effective caster level of eight, which is just enough to break the sound barrier with Rapid Travel. While she can only do it when she really needs that speed, when she’s going to help one of her friends, there is very little in the way of level-appropriate obstacles that can stop her.

Accounting for her spectacular special effects – her contrails, buccaneer blaze, super-speed strut, sonic rainboom, and sonic rainbomb (as used on Applejack’s barn given that the basic effect is just a big pressure wave explosion) – is also easy enough, even if most characters don’t want to put that much effort into special effects. Buy:

  • Metamagic/Amplify and two levels of Sreamline, both Specialized and Corrupted/only usable with Air Rune Magic, only to add spectacular special effects (6 CP). That adds two levels worth of special effects to her air manipulations, at least when she wants to do so. She is more than a bit of a show-off after all.
  • Rainbow seems to be really good at short-term boosts. That’s Physical Hysteria (6 CP) – which allows her to spend Mana as a free action to get a one-round +6 boost on her abilities, a talent seen when she was hoofwrestling Applejack and one which will make her a top athlete and help her smash her way through Applejacks barn later on.

That’s 24 CP so far. As expected, Rainbow’s flight and athletic capabilities aren’t going to leave a lot of points left over for anything else; we’re down to ten. Still, while there’s not THAT much else we know about Rainbow as a filly, there are a few things we can buy:

  • She was a feisty kid. So +1 BAB, Specialized in Unarmed Combat (3 CP). I’d be REALLY surprised if Rainbow didn’t slug a few other youngsters along the way.
  • She was tough. So we’ll buy up to a d6 Hit Die (3 CP) even before level one, giving her a total of 30 HP when combined with the bonus from the low-level adventurer template. Combined with her inherent pony toughness that will let her bang around quite a bit.
  • She did become Ponyville’s weather manager quite early on, so we can presume a knack for that too – a pair of +3 Specialties in Weather Manipulation for Air Magic Mastery and Casting (2 CP). That’s not overwhelming, and won’t get her to third level weather effects quite yet – but it will be really easy for her to get to that as she starts her next level so she can start managing Ponyville’s weather.
  • She was friends with Gilda the Griffin – a very valuable contact for a feisty kid considering how much Gilda would be likely to intimidate other Pegasus foals. There was a rough patch, but Gilda turned out to be a valuable contact later on too, and is unusual enough to be worth the cost (1 CP).
  • Finally I’ll put the last CP into Specific Knowledge of the Wonderbolts (1 CP). It could have gone into quite a few other things, but I had to pick something – and the fascination with the Wonderbolts and competition seems like it started fairly early on.

That comes out to 34 CP – exactly what Filly Rainbow has available. She can be expected to start her apprenticeship with the weather teams soon after achieving her cutie mark. Given her natural talents it probably won’t take all that long either, giving her plenty of time to become a local weather manager before the start of the series.

Since level zero works out fine, we’ll go on to level one.

Level One Rainbow Dash:

To follow d20 tradition, I’ll say that Rainbow was a freshly-minted level one (OK, technically ECL 2 – but every adult in town is ECL 2) character at the beginning of season one. She’s also acquired Duties (Ponyville) and her first-level bonus feat, and so has another 32 CP to spend.

  • Rainbow gets swatted by monsters and survives and she crashes a LOT. I think I’d better get her up to a d12 hit die, at the cost of another (5 CP). This gets her up to 39 HP – enough to easily survive her worst possible (6d6) crashes, even without her natural damage reduction.
  • +2 on her Reflex Saves is in order, for (6 CP).
  • Luck, with +2 Bonus Uses (9 CP). Rainbow is notorious for getting lucky and for pulling off the most absurd rescues and maneuvers when it really counts – and a little luck will make that happen as reliably as it does in the show.
  • An additional +1 BAB (+2 total), Specialized in Unarmed Combat (3 CP).
  • +1 to her Rune Magic Mastery and Casting Skills (1 CP). That’s only +9 as a base – but with her specialties, that’s enough to achieve third level effects at caster level six in flying speed and weather control. Is that enough to clear the skies over Ponyville in ten seconds flat? Well… maybe. If you time it right that’s time enough for three spells, and removing a few clouds isn’t THAT big a trick. Maybe she threw in a physical boost too.
  • +1 to her Flight and +2 to her Air Specialty in Survival (to help with weather management) (1 CP). That’s still not enough to make her wild stunts reliable, but it’s quite enough to make her quite competent.
  • +4 to her Martial Arts (4 CP). With her +3 template bonus, and +2 Dex, that makes her quite good – albeit not quite black-belt level as she will be later on.
  • +3 Speed Specialties in Air Rune Magic Casting and Mastery (2 CP). Rainbow won’t yet be able to perform a Sonic Rainboom without the emotional push of helping a friend, but she’s  getting a lot closer.
  • Specific Knowledge/Cloud Architecture. This will help her build, maintain, and (perhaps most importantly) repair her cloud-house despite her undoubted tendency to crash into it (1 CP).

Higher Level Rainbow Dash:

By the end of season one, Rainbow can be expected to be level three, gaining some 58 CP along the way. Expenditures here will include:

Rainbow acquires the Element of Loyalty (Relic, free), expends some character points on acquiring two royal Contacts (Celestia and Luna, 4 CP), a certain amount of reputation and influence, even if she rarely uses it (since these are limited, about 6 CP), and a great deal of flexibility about taking time off from her job (Minor Privilege, 3 CP). With her Rune Magic skills up to +11 as a base (2 CP) she’s not QUITE up to performing her Sonic Rainboom at will even with her specialties to get her to +14 (it takes +16) – but a couple of instances of Skill Emphasis (+2 to both Casting and Mastery, for 6 CP in total) will allow her to perform it reliably by the time Lesson Zero rolls around early in season two. That in turn will allow it to be a standard part of her repertoire well before A Canterlot Wedding, where she has it down well enough to put in a practiced performance on cue. Another Specific Knowledge (Daring Do novels) is only (1 CP), but she’ll need Reflex Training (Specialized in casting Air Magic spells to boos her physical feats, 6 CP). That will allow her to use one of her favorite tricks – surrounding herself in a high-pressure zone to shield her from impacts and enhance her physical attacks as a free action – as seen when she destroys Applejack’s barn.

That leaves her 30 CP to spend on things like more hit dice, more BAB, her various other skills, saving throws, and getting some AC bonuses – but there’s no real point in going into a lot of detail; there’s no direct evidence as to how many points go where. Call it 2d6 HD (her high constitution will be doing the heavy lifting here, 4 CP), +1 on each save (9 CP), Defender (6 CP), another +1 BAB with unarmed conbat (3 CP), and 8 skill points (8 CP).

Overall, however, this combination of race, template, and world law does let us build and progress the character in a very good match to the actual events on the show – which is what this set of articles is all about, even if it WOULD blow a “standard” Pathfinder or 3.5 game apart.

4 Responses

  1. I have to say, this is a very artful build, and really shows what Eclipse can do (as the sidebar near the beginning points out)! Having so many moving parts fit together to make such an accurate representation is quite the lovely thought-puzzle to work through.

    One minor thing I noticed was her use of Augmented Bonus to reach a +16 bonus on her rune magic while still a filly. She normally has a +3 bonus from her race, a +2 Dex bonus, and a +3 bonus from skill points, for a +8 total. No problems there. But her Augmented Bonus is to add her +4 Con bonus to her Dex bonus (which itself is already factored in), corrupted for increased effect…which would be a +6 total.

    I’d say that corruption should probably be specialization instead, since those limitations are fairly significant, and that would get her to an additional +8.

    • And a good catch there (thank you!). That should indeed be “Specialized” (and the correction is now made).

      A couple of missing words are fixed too. Pesky things always elope on you, and you don’t even see that you missed a word or something until you check again a few days later and realize that you were reading what you meant to type, not what you actually did.

  2. […] Rainbow Dash and her development from a filly through the end of season two. An examination of Ponyfinder versus Eclipse Ponies and why they’re so different. […]

  3. […] Rainbow Dash and her development from a filly through the end of season two. An examination of Ponyfinder versus Eclipse Ponies and why they’re so different. […]

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