Ponies Of The Eclipse – Alicorns and Princess Luna, Part II, The Build

So now that we have the Alicorn template sorted out, and have a pretty good idea of what powers we’ll need to buy, it’s time to give Princess Luna an actual character sheet.

Given that reading through the basic pony racial modifiers and four successive subrace templates that go into being an Alicorn is impossibly unwieldy, here’s a combined summary for the…

Alicorn “Racial” Template (+4 ECL).

  • Alicorns stand out absurdly. They are bigger and more conspicuous, are a beacon to magical senses, have attention-grabbing ethereal manes, have a horrible time disguising or concealing themselves and are primary targets.
  • Cartoon Talents: Heals 1d8+1 damage as needed three times per day, if only once per round. Is always treated as having lots of pockets, even in the nude. Gets minor cartoon effects, such as hair that responds to moods, blushing through fur, and so on. May begin or participate in spontaneously choreographed musical numbers that provide bonuses for group tasks.
  • Attribute Modifiers: +4 Con, +2 Int, -2 Str, -2 Dex. An additional +2 Con and +2 Chr are dispellable magical bonuses. May spend 2 Mana as a free action to gain +8 Str for (Con Mod +3) rounds.
  • Skill Bonuses: may buy Homesteading and Air Rune Magic Mastery and Casting, Survival, Flight, and Knowledge/Nature for half cost, with a +3 (with an additional +6 on Weather Prediction) racial bonus on all of them and in any one “unarmed” (hoof based) Martial Arts style. Knowledge/Arcana, Perform/Sing, Spellcraft, and Spot gain a +2 Racial Bonus. Spot gains a further +6 Racial Bonus only to counteract range, fog, and other atmospheric penalties. Note that any skill with a racial bonus generally becomes a “class skill” automatically.
  • Special Defenses: Damage Reduction 9/- versus both Physical and Energy Attacks, only DR 2/- versus melee attacks by living creatures, Endure Elements, Resistance 10 to Lightning (this stacks with her Damage Reduction), damage from high-speed collisions, crashes, and similar impacts is one-fourth normal to a maximum of 6d6. Never becomes Fatigued unless subjected to dispelling, antimagic, or similar effects. Gains a +4 bonus to resist bull rushes and knockdowns over and above the bonus for being a quadruped.
  • Movement Abilities: 40′ base ground move, 40′ flight with perfect maneuverability, may treat clouds of any sort as if they were solid ground (or a trampoline…). As a quadruped her speed is reduced to 20′ when she is using one or more hooves to use tools or weapons.
  • Inherent Spellcasting: Have a base pool of 1d6+3 (8) Mana, regaining 1d6 with an hours rest up to three times a day and 1-2 points to day regardless. May use Dancing Lights, Daze, Detect Magic, (Skill) Mastery, and Greater Mage Hand by channeling a point of mana through her horn, and may spend up to three additional points of mana applying the Amplify metamagic theorem to them to boost their effects. Horn-based magic can, however, be easily disrupted by targeting the horn.
  • Metamagical Theorems: Amplify (only +1 CP since Unicorns get part of it already), Elemental Manipulation (3 CP), Extension (3 CP), and Sculpting. These can, however, only be applied to Rune Magic on which they get a Racial Bonus or to horn-based Occult Talents. Streamline x 4 (Corrupted, no more than four levels worth may be applied to any one spell unless you’ve fused your powers with another Alicorn, in which case four levels from each Alicorn involved may be applied, 8 CP) – getting four free levels of Amplify, two of Elemental Manipulation, and one each of Extension and Sculpting to work with. These can, however, only be applied to Rune Magic on which they get a Racial Bonus or to horn-based Occult Talents.
  • Mental Bonuses: Can sense disruptions of nature vaguely, and agricultural information in detail, via Spot checks. May concentrate on up to three tasks or spells of up to level three at one time. Gains the Executive ability (providing skill bonuses to groups she’s coordinating) with her (Int Mod) added to her effective level for 2 Mana/Hour), and gains a bonus feat (In her case, a +3 Racial Bonus to Lunar Rune Magic Mastery and Casting).

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 Princess Luna we’ll take Evasive (a +2 bonus to her AC) and Enduring (providing her with a +1 bonus on her Saves).

Available Character Points: 120 (L4 Base; that’s not very high, but given that mass of racial abilities it turned out to be all that was needed) +8 (Duties to Equestria) +10 (Disadvantages; History, Obligations, and Accursed [she’s an incredibly sound sleeper thanks to her tendency to go dream-wandering while sleeping, thus missing out on – amongst other things – the Changeling invasion]) +12 (L1 and L3 Bonus Feats) = 150 CP

Basic Attributes: We don’t really see that much of Luna in action – but she’s apparently not a physical powerhouse (no exceptional Str), is only  reasonably dexterous, and isn’t all that perceptive or wise. She is, however, very tough (high Con), quite intelligent, and reasonably charismatic. Using 32 point buy, I thing that I’ll settle on base attributes of Str 10, Int 14, Wis 10, Con 16, Dex 14, and Chr 14. Throwing in the racial modifiers, that gives us…

Net Attributes. Str 8 (16 when boosted), Int 16, Wis 10, Con 22, Dex 12, and Chr 16.

That’s respectable – but it’s important to note that the only thing so high as to be unrelatable to an audience of small girls is her constitution, which doesn’t show. This doesn’t include her +1 level-based bonus; add that to whatever it is you like since, until she gets another +1, it makes no difference at all.

Basic Purchases (34 CP):

  • Warcraft (BAB): +3 (corrupted for two-thirds cost/no iterative attacks 12 CP). Luna isn’t entirely incapable in a fight, but she’s not amazing.
  • Hit Points / Dice: 8 (L1d8, 4 CP), +14 (L2-4 d6, 6 CP) +12 (Immortal Vigor) +36 (6 x Con Mod) = 70 HP.
  • Proficiencies: None. She’s a spellcaster with no hands. Weapons are NOT her thing.

Despite the notes in part I, it looks like I accidentally pulled a fan video for Celestia and Luna’s confrontation with Sombra instead of the original flashback while reviewing Luna’s appearances – leaving no actual evidence for any use of weapons on Luna’s part. I’d have given her at least simple weapons just for being more than a thousand years old if she had hands, but I’d say that using weapons isn’t really a natural thing for ponies.

  • Armor Class 10 (Base) +1 (Dex) +3 (Martial Art) +2 (Evasive) = 16. Again, she’s no combat specialist, even if she has learned to dodge a bit.
  • Initiative: +1 (Dex)
  • Movement: 40 (Run), 40 (Fly, Perfect)
  • Save Bonuses:
    • Fortitude: +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) +6 (Con) +1 (Res) = +8
    • Reflex: +2 (Purchased, 6 CP) +1 (Dex) +1 (Res) = +4
    • Will: +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) +0 (Wis) +1 (Res) = +2. Poor impulse control and relatively little resistance to possession. That’s Luna.

Celestial Diarch (24 CP)

Luna is one of the two original Princesses of Equestria. That’s a fairly big thing and comes with a LOT of duties, privileges, and options.

“There is more to being an evil despot than getting cake whenever you want it!” – Tarvek

“If that’s what you think, then you’re DOING IT WRONG” – Agatha (Phil Foglio, Girl Genius)

“I knew THAT several thousand years back!” – Princess Celestia

  • Major Privilege: Co-Ruler of Equestria (6 CP): This would probably require an immunity to the normal limits of Privilege, but we rarely see Luna OR Celestia really exercising a lot of authority. It looks like Ponies mostly govern themselves, with the Princesses acting as heads of state and occasional mediators. They do get an excellent lifestyle and all the cake they can eat though.
  • Leadership with Strength in Numbers and Horde (Specialized; most of these have background roles only, 6 CP): Luna has her own guards, servants, and – presumably – will be collecting some personal aides, students, and allies now that she’s back from exile. Admittedly, they aren’t that much use in the show, but this should cover most of the background work of her share of what little “national” government Equestria actually has.
  • Enormous Favors (12 CP) with the People of Equestria. Equestria apparently doesn’t really have taxes or most of the other mechanics of government; when Celestia or Luna need something… they mostly just ask for it.

Celestia apparently has quite a Reputation score as well, but Luna’s is a lot smaller – it wouldn’t be surprising if many ponies knew little or nothing about her as of yet – and is very mixed with those who do, being as much handicap as tool. Ergo, there’s no cost.

You could reasonably ignore this entire section, and just assume that it’s background detail – but the fact that Luna dropped right back into a position of authority upon her return says “purchased abilities” to me.

The Dominion Of The Night (22 CP)

  • Dominion (6 CP): The ability to draw power from the support of her subjects is an impressive, if rather limited-use, trick. Drawing on these reserves she can occasionally boost her spells, bestow offices, inspire armies, and otherwise fulfill her duties. Even more importantly, she can take abilities which will allow her to monitor and protect her realm.
  • Ears of the Wind (Specialized/only as a prerequisite, 3 CP).
  • Multi-tasking/Specialized (Only for use in dream-walking, 3 CP). Being able to keep track of (Level) independent actions and conversations is pretty vital when youre supervising the dreams of an entire realm. It would be pretty handy for doing the paperwork and such while awake too, but she really isn’t shown doing that. Celestia probably does though. This will stack with her talents as a Unicorn though.
  • Know The Flock (Specialized/only to know the dreams and detect the nightmares affecting her subjects, 3 CP).
  • The Spark Within (Specialized/dream-walking only, 3 CP). This will allow Luna to manipulate, and appear in, the dreams of those within her domain. Combined with Know the Flock, this allows her to make her interactive appearances.
  • Voice of Command (Corrupted/always involves amplified shouting, 4 CP). Presuming that the Royal Canterlot Voice means just a little more than yelling (if not, just use Air Magic, below), this ability allows Luna to easily take command of confused situations as long as she gives reasonably sensible orders.

Curse might make some sense – it would allow her to do weird things to Sombra and to other major menaces and possibly entrap Celestia – but it doesn’t really fit the show or Princess Luna. Nightmare Moon might have it though.

Additional Magic (27 CP):

  • Upgrade her Unicorn-Magic Occult Talent and add Improved Occult Talent (6 CP) as shown in the Unicorn Template to add another three level zero and three level one spell formula – with the option to spend up to three extra mana reducing the levels of the spells that she actually takes to fit them into those slots. Thus “L0″: Scorching Ray, Ray Of Instant Hair Styling, and Dispel Magic. “L1″ Dimension Door, Lesser Globe of Invulnerability (that should hold off most Unicorns), and Deep Slumber (too appropriate to skip).
    • Luna may well have some additional standard spells – after all, the series is ongoing – so I’ll reserve another (10 CP) for an additional horn-based  Improved Occult Talent. That will give her another seven “L0″ and four L1″ spells – which can be up to L3 and L4 after applying enough mana. Given that Luna really isn’t a primary character, we probably won’t see her add new abilities to her repertoire too rapidly if at all, but here’s the option.
  • An additional 1d6+3 Mana (18 total, thanks to a lucky roll), Specialized/only usable with innate racial talents (6 CP).
  • Skill Emphasis/Lunar Rune Magic Mastery (3 CP).
  • Journeyman/+1 level for purchasing Rune Magic, Specialized and Corrupted/only applies to the effective caster level available to Lunar Magic (2 CP).

The rule limiting the effective caster level of Rune Magic commonly gets ignored; if you want massive power and high caster levels Rune Magic generally isn’t the way to go anyway. Still, to be technically accurate, this will let her get her Lunar Magic caster level up to nine, one above her total ECL. – mostly just to handle fifth level spells in case a game master feels that “group dream” and “plane shift into the dream realms” are above fourth level.

Other Abilities (43 CP):

  • Immunity/Aging (Uncommon, Major, Minor, 4 CP). Luna can expect to live for several millennia or more, especially once we throw in the effects of Dominion and self-healing.
  • Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills (6 CP). I’ll presume she got this at level zero with points from her disadvantages.
  • Long Study: Augmented Bonus/Adds Con Mod to Int Based Skills (6 SP). Princess Luna has had many centuries to study; even in a slow-advancement world, that justifies some benefits. While Augmented Bonus is generally restricted in superheroic settings this should be allowable.
  • Adept (Lunar Rune Magic, Casting and Master, Spellcraft, and Intimidate, 6 CP).
  • Grant of Aid (6 CP). Luna does make some pretty fast recoveries.
  • Luck with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saves, Corrupted/not for Will saves (3 CP). Honestly, I’ve got three points left over – and with Changelings around, the ability to throw off being drugged or poisoned once in awhile seems almost required.
  • Skill Points: 21 (Int Mod x 7) + 10 (Fast Learner from L0) + 12 (Purchased,128 CP) = 43 SP

Skills:

Rune Magic (Int) Purchased Race Int Con Other Result
Air Casting  +4 (2 SP*)  +3  +3  +6  +16, Caster Level Eight
Air Mastery  +4 (2 SP*)  +3  +3  +6  +16, Fourth Level Spells
Lunar Casting  +6 (3 SP*)  +3  +3  +6  +18, Caster Level Nine
Lunar Mastery  +6 (3 SP*)  +3  +3  +6  +2SF  +20, Fifth Level Spells
Hearthsteading Casting  +2 (1 SP*)  +3 +3  +6  +14, Caster Level Seven
Hearthsteading Mastery  +2 (1 SP*)  +3  +3  +6  +14, Third Level Spells
Other Skills: Purchased Attribute Race Other Total
Concentration  +2 (7 SP) Con +6  +3T  +16
Flight  +7 (3 SP*) Dex +1  +3  +3T  +14
Gather Information  +1 (1 SP) Cha +3  +4
Intimidate  +4 (2 SP*) Cha +3  +3T  +10
Knowledge/Arcana  +3 (3 SP) Int +3  +2  +6C  +14
Knowledge/Nature  +2 (1 SP*) Int +3  +3  +6C  +14
Knowledge/Nobility & Royalty  +1 (1 SP) Int +3  +6C  +10
   All Other Knowledge Skills  +0 (0 SP) Int +3  +6C  +6^
Martial Art  +2 (2 SP) Con +6  +3  +11
Perform/Sing  +3 (3 SP) Cha +3  +2  +8
Speak Language  +1 (1 SP) Int +3  +6C  Sp.
Spellcraft

+18 for Celestial Manipulation

 +6 (3 SP*) Int +3  +2  +3T +6C  +22

+40

Spot  +3 (3 SP) Wis +0  +2  +3T  +8
Survival  +2 (1 SP*) Wis +0  +3  +5
  • “+6C” – bonus from Constitution via Augmented Bonus. “+3T” – Bonus from the Low-Level Adventurer Template. ^ – -3 unskilled penalty from Low-Level Adventurer Template.
  •  +6 Racial Bonus on Weather Prediction. +6 Racial Bonus on Spot to overcome range, fog, and other atmospheric penalties.
  •  Celestial Manipulation is an option available in certain obliging pocket dimensions. It requires a DC 50 Spellcraft check and the expenditure of 6 Mana per turn for three turns. Success allows the user to manipulate the sun, moon, stars, and other ornaments of the sky – raising or lowering the Sun or Moon, bringing the stars out, adding a comet, constellation, or aurora to decorate the night, and so on. This wouldn’t work in most realms, but Equestria is a world where ponies with shovels and carts manually change the seasons. Very little there is automatic.
  • Martial Art: I can’t think of a cute pony name offhand, but I’ll presume that her six abilities include Toughness II (Raising her DR to 11/melee attacks by living things, and 4/- versus those melee attacks, both affecting both physical and energy attacks), Defense III (Providing a +3 to her AC), and Strike (allowing her to consider herself armed and to attack with her hooves or horn for 1d4 lethal damage).
  • Languages: Luna speaks Common, Equestrian, Zebrican, Draconic, Breezie, Gryphon, Minotaur, French, Aquastrian, Nahuatl, and whatever-it-is that Diamond Dogs speak – which pretty much covers everything in Equestria (presuming that all those languages actually exist in Equestria).

As might be expected for someone who’s a thousand years out of practice, Luna’s powers are mostly derived from her +4 ECL pile of racial abilities, the Low-Level Adventurer Template, and the Superheroic World Template. Given all that… she really doesn’t NEED to have very many levels to do some pretty impressive things, just as Rainbow Dash didn’t need a lot of levels to pull off a Sonic Rainboom. That’s a good thing for her since, as a secondary character in a low-level world, it probably took her a long time indeed to get what levels she has.

So what did Nightmare Moon bring to the table? After all, most of the actual powers Luna used as Nightmare Moon were things that were well within Princess Luna’s capabilities anyway – as demonstrated in Luna Eclipsed.

Honestly, I’d say that Nightmare Moon mostly – and perhaps fittingly – provided another +1 to +2 ECL worth of rogue-style abilities. After all, as the Nightmare she snuck around, made dramatic entrances, gave orations, spied on the mane six, gathered information (such as finding out about Rainbow Dash’s obsession with the Wonderbolts), used light armor, tried to trick people and creatures into doing her work for her, and looked for psychological weaknesses. I half expected her to pull out a poisoned dagger and proclaim herself the evil grand vizier at some point. After all, if she hadn’t been crazy enough to be hamming it up and playing to her audience wouldn’t it have been a lot simpler to just scatter the Elements of Harmony? Perhaps smack Rarity into the hospital? Snatch a few of Fluttershy’s animals to force her to back off? Drop a tree on Rainbow Dash and break one of her wings?

Instead she sets up a rather contrived series of tests prominently illustrating exactly the qualities that the group would need to defeat her. Then she leaves the tools they’ll need to do it with laying out in front of them when they finally reach her lair, confirms that they’re the right items when they muck it up the first time, and then allows them a second chance at it. That’s not just shooting yourself in the foot. That’s shooting yourself in the head.

Nightmare Moon was probably pretty conflicted.