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.

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7 Responses

  1. Another very adroit build! I was amused to see that Luna turned out to be a level 8 character, which is pretty much exactly what I pegged her as being in my original write-up for Celestia…even if you got there very differently than I did.

    I was wondering if it’d be gauche to make another request, only to realize that there really isn’t very much left to cover at this point. Most of the “standard” ponies can be represented with the basic templates you’ve written (though I’d posit that some ponies have a different inherent rune magic than their race normally does – e.g. that Pinkie Pie has “party magic” rather than “homesteading” despite being an earth pony…though Fluttershy has clearly taken minimal ranks in air magic, and then simply ignored it in favor of some sort of nature magic).

    Beyond that, well…you’ve mentioned in comments what you think the stats for Zecora (on my blog) and the Tree of Harmony (over here) would look like. Tirek got mentioned in the previous post, and Nightmare Moon over here. The unicorn villains (King Sombra, Sunset Shimmer, and Starlight Glimmer) were covered in their race’s write-up.

    I suppose Discord and the Sirens are left, but the former seems like he’d just be using massive amounts of mana for “chaos” rune magic, and the latter are suffering from being in a realm that doesn’t have the superheroic world template.

    I suppose the only parts of the show that are ill-defined are the various deus ex machinas that the heroes use…and even then, you’ve mentioned that that the Elements of Harmony would be relics created by the Tree via Divine Infusion, and the Rainbow Powers are likely to be Bestowal and/or Empower Champion.

    The only real mystery would be the undefined “ears, ponytail, hair-coloring (and maybe wings)…plus magic rainbows” that the girls use in the two Equestria Girls movies. That world presumably doesn’t allow for unlimited mana use, so it’s clearly something else (I think it’s implied to be lingering power from the Element of Magic that was brought there). The odd part is that pony-Twilight has that power too, but never uses it back in her native world. Maybe it can only be used there? (That wouldn’t be entirely out of whack with how that world works, since it apparently changes your body just by being there, including disallowing “most” innate racial abilities and granting clothes if you don’t have them…unless you’re not changed into a human (e.g. dog-Spike), etc.).

    • And thank you!

      It is interesting how much convergence there tends to be when converting characters to Eclipse. While there are a lot of routes to any individual set of powers, as long as there’s a fair degree of agreement on what those powers actually are (and none of the builds are really badly done), the levels usually come out fairly close.

      Of course the real kicker in these is the Superheroic world template; If you take that out, tossed in a level worth of extra Mana and more uses on Rite of Chi, and went back from “Literary Magic Items” (I suppose that should be labeled a world template in itself) to normal ones, you’d have fairly reasonable characters for a Pathfinder or 3.5 game.

      As for other things… Requests are always welcome; personally, I keep thinking of doing a writeup for Changelings – and then looking at the fact that My Little Pony only shows basic Changelings in action for about two minutes. Even if I threw in some stuff from the comic books (which I don’t actually have available anyway) a writeup would be at least half speculation, and that doesn’t really fit in with this series of articles too well.

      Discord… It would probably be easiest (if very superheroic game specific) to just get him a little Shaping and a grotesquely high constitution with Reality Editing (Specialized and Corrupted/ only for amplifying his Shapings, produces silly side effects, never actually injures anyone) and let him run amuck. After all, he’s never actually portrayed as anything but a REALLY annoying prankster.

      To quote some fan-fiction author going by “alarajrogers”… “There were pie trees and lollipop flowers and chocolate snow everywhere; no foal starved on my watch. Lost all their teeth, maybe”

      Not at all canon of course… but it certainly looked that way when Discord was rearranging the world to suit himself.

      I haven’t actually seen either Equestria Girls movie, but from what I’ve read it sounds more like a contest of Mystic Artists – mostly using the Path of Whispers to influence people and redefine reality in the area – than straight magic. Presumably each world has it’s own way of doing things.

      • I had forgotten about the changelings.

        Basic changelings strike me as being incredibly weak creatures. After all, the Mane Six were able to defeat several times their own number in “hoof-to-hoof” combat, despite not being physical fighter-types. It was only overwhelming numbers that let the changelings win over them (and the rest of Canterlot).

        Other than a basic alter self ability, changelings can’t seem to do very much at all (in fact, they can’t even seem to talk…possibly even when transformed, though they can in the comics). They have natural flight, and maybe can use a basic magic blast (also iffy), and can secrete some sort of adhesive substance, including making pods.

        Beyond that, the “big” abilities are draining love (which is their food), which over time drains a victim to be zombie-like and docile (it’s possible that only Queen Chrysalis makes these drained victims into her slaves, but my guess would be all changelings do that…which, like many parasites, eventually depletes their food source, forcing them to move on to find new victims to drain). My guess is that this would be some sort of temporary Wisdom damage (possibly a Trick, in Eclipse terms).

        Queen Chrysalis doesn’t really go much beyond this, save for being more powerful than the other changelings (to the point where, with sufficient love to drain, she can overcome Celestia), and clearly having some authority over them. In the comics, she can also drain magic, rather than love (which I think is implied to be permanent? I haven’t read them).

        Insofar as Equestria Girls goes, the second movie is indeed all about the Mystic Artistry. But for the heroes, their power is the same thing they suddenly developed at the end of the first movie, which isn’t related to singing. It’s pretty clearly some version of the Elements of Harmony/Rainbow Powers/literal “magic of friendship” all over again, but some of the specifics might be different.

      • Well, to organize the Changeling notes a bit, what I had was…

        They have fangs, horns, exoskeletons, and wings (and can definitely fly). Presumably this offers them at least a modest advantage in hand-to-hand combat. While the mane six did kick their way through a LOT of them, what little we saw of Changelings versus the royal guard and the citizens of Canterlot suggested that the Changelings won those encounters easily.

        While the royal guard on the show is notable for it’s uselessness (to the point where I might well translate it as an organization that Celestia designed to keep the scarce-and-precious males out of trouble and under her supervision), I think – in the interests of making Changelings a creditable threat – that I’d say that Chrysalis was egotistical enough to order something like “Take them alive and uninjured to witness my triumph!” (thus pretty well crippling her own forces). After all… what other purpose could dragging them back to the wedding have?

        They could bang on, and break, magical wards – presuming that the barrier wasn’t just a “wall” effect with it’s area pumped up being beaten down by simple physical force, which is what it looked like.

        They could undertake brief bursts of very high-speed flight, during which they could not steer well, but could generate a force shield which protected them from the impact – which was apparently fairly impressive from the holes they made in the street. This seems sufficient to account for the “energy blasts” shown when they were harassing Canterlot a little later on.

        They can apparently walk on walls.

        They can make sticky stuff, using it to catch royal guards and to make cocoons. For some reason being cocooned apparently satisfies most normal metabolic needs; it certainly looks goop-filled, which would make breathing in it awkward. Still, that could just have been the color of the “window” in it.

        They can coordinate themselves without a lot of apparent communication. This could be a “hive mind” thing, some less than obvious form of communications, or just reasonably good training and simple orders.

        They can shapeshift; in the show to the forms of ponies, in the comics to animal forms as well (from the Wiki, so I don’t have any details). Importantly, they cannot readily tell the difference between another Changeling in disguise and a pony, as demonstrated repeatedly in the fight with the mane six. That’s a big strike against a strong hive mind right there.

        They feed on love, or possibly just use love as a connection to drain magic through. Whether or not they also need real food is unknown. Chrysalis – presumably the most powerful Changeling around – fed on Shining Armor for a considerable period. Afterwards Shining Armor was magically exhausted, but was still definitely in love with Cadence – and he apparently made a full, and relatively rapid, recovery. Evidently being “fed on” by a Changeling has little or no long-term effect given time to recover, although it’s possible that such a recovery requires being loved. Given the lack of general panic over the presence of an undisguised changeling at the wedding in Slice Of Life, I’d guess that 1) Changelings were indeed scattered across Equestria after “A Canterlot Wedding” and 2) that individual changelings are considered a bit suspicious (to judge by the empty chairs), but are not seen as being especially menacing.

        I’d say that they can’t feed on lust or abstract appreciation; otherwise they’d have no need for the invasion in the first place. A shapeshifter can get plenty of those pretty much anywhere.

        Queen Chrysalis can mind-control at least four ponies at a time, and – when hyped up on love/magic – can out-blast Celestia (or at least outblast what Celestia is willing to do when surrounded by friends). So she’s better at combat magic than Celestia – which isn’t necessarily saying that much. She also has normal Unicorn-style telekinesis and can project energy blasts capable of destroying hats.

        The other Changelings – or at least the Changeling army – seems to obey Queen Chrysalis.

        And that’s about it. We don’t know if that’s the full extent of their magic, or what kind of society they have, or how they reproduce, or if they have non-combatants in their population, or how they learn, or if there are other queens, or even if (barring the comic books) the entire Changeling Army was simply conjured up by Queen Chrysalis while the real Changelings stayed safe at home.

        It’s really just not enough. Oh well.

  2. One more request, if I may: How would you calculate how big Equestria is, either in terms of square miles or in terms of population?

    The obvious answer to this question is “there’s no way of knowing,” since the show doesn’t ever tell us anything about population that I can recall, and gives wildly differing answers with regards to even the most indirect measurement of distance (for example, look at the travel time between Ponyville and Canterlot in MMMystery on the Friendship Express compared to how long it takes Pinkie to get to Yakyakistan and back in Party Pooped).

    Even trying to make some reasonable guesses based on things like the local level of technology isn’t very helpful, as places like Ponyville or Appleloosa seem to be a century or more behind cities like Manehattan (and of course, only Cloudsdale seems to have any sort of industrial manufacturing…for the weather).

    Even the single “official” map that we’ve been given not only has no scale, but also has a note on it pointing out that it’s not to scale (and, you know, secondary sources and all).

    Given the utter paucity of reliable data, and what little data we do have being so unreliable and contradictory, is there any way to come up with an educated guess as to Equestria’s total area and/or population?

  3. […] and Tirek. Commentary: Speculations on Tirek and Nightmare Moon. Continues with the full build for Princess Luna, along with some information on governing Equestria, the Dominion of Dreams, and the powers of […]

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