Crystal Ponies, Gem Ponies, and Ponyfinder.

Crystal ponies are a bit awkward, mostly due to a lack of information; none of them are major characters and they’ve only put in a few appearances. That’s why they weren’t a part of the original series of articles. Still, Ponyfinder gave it’s “Gem Ponies” some definite abilities, and the question was about “what would your version look like”. Ergo, here we go – Crystal / Gem Ponies as a full-blown +1 ECL over the basic pony template.

We do have a little information. Before anything else we’re told that “If the empire is filled with hope and love, those things are reflected across all of Equestria. If hatred and fear take hold…”

So either there’s some sort of massive linked destiny effect (this seems unlikely, or the place being sent to limbo for a thousand years should have had some pretty major effects on the rest of the world) or it generates some sort of empathic broadcast. There’s still no evidence that this has anything to do with the actual Crystal Ponies directly; it might just be a function of the Crystal City and/or The Crystal Heart.

When we first see the Crystal Ponies they’re all grayish, droopy, and blatantly depressed and hopeless – but when they become hopeful they became sparkly, and brighter colored, and apparently regain their memories. Upon recalling themselves they pumped “light and love” into the streets of the Crystal Empire, which lit up and fed it into the Crystal Heart, which cleared away the dark crystals, blew up King Sombra, fixed the weather, got rid of the snow, and more. Evidently the Crystal Ponies can supply magical energy to devices – and the city itself is a massive magical channeling / amplifying system that focuses power into the Crystal Heart. The combination is capable of supporting a sizeable population in an icy wilderness, broadcasting their massed power (and a pretty lightshow), keeping the area unfrozen, performing spontaneous civic repairs, and more.

In game terms, that’s pretty obviously a Ward Major, but the details won’t matter to prospective adventurers.

We can probably throw in some ability to strengthen and repair crystal too. When it comes to building a city out of the stuff crystal just isn’t that great a structural material.

We don’t see any wings or horns among the Crystal Ponies at first although there are occasional examples later – but they’re rare enough that they might just be normal unicorns or pegasi with a temporary effects going. After all, exposure to the empowered Crystal Heart made everyone – including Spike – look crystalline for a bit and we do know from Nightmare Moon’s alternate-timeline guards that cosmetic transformation effects exist in Equestria (and are a good in-setting explanation for various animation errors). Secondarily, King Sombra’s forces in the Crystal War timeline didn’t seem to include flyers or other magic users. While we didn’t get that good a look at them, the lack of an aerial wing to meet Equestria’s Pegasi seems kind of telling. It would be downright stupid not to field them if they had them available.

Finally, the Crystal Ponies seem to be ridiculously easily influenced. They were made to forget everything pre-Sombra, can be transformed by speeches, and were apparently fairly easily turned into a mass of mind-controlled soldiers.

Well, crystals do seem to be a big thing in Equestrian magic – and when Sombra controlled the Crystal Empire he seemed to get a limitless supply of mind-control helmets and weapons with it – and I don’t think that he was personally laboring day and night on artificing.

So Crystal Ponies can shape, maintain, and repair crystal, empower crystalline devices, create magical crystal devices, and shift identities – to the extent of major personality and memory shifts. This is not always a good thing.

Ponyfinder Gem Ponies get:

  • +2 AC versus Rays.
  • The ability to deflect a Ray as if using Deflect Arrows 1/Day, although a free hand is not required.
  • A +2 racial bonus on saves against Fear and Despair effects.
  • A reroll any desired d20 check once per day.

Those are actually pretty good racial bonuses. They’re not particularly high-powered, but rays are pretty common attacks, fear and despair can be incapacitating, and a reroll – even once per day – has all kinds of uses.

So for our full-powered +1 ECL Crystal Ponies buy:

  • Spellcraft +6, Specialized and Corrupted / only for use as a Craft Skill to make (crystalline) Charms and Talismans (2 CP).
  • Specific Knowledge: How to make 20 specific Charms (2 CP) and 3 specific Talismans (1 CP).
    • Each Crystal Pony has an intuitive knowledge of how to make a small selection of charms and talismans. If the setting doesn’t require such knowledge, they get a bonus on creating their specific set.
  • Mana-Powered Inherent Spell I / Crystal Spirit (L3, Enhances Charms and Talismans. For the next minute the user’s personal Charms and Talismans have a base of L1 and L2 effects respectively. Alternatively, this can be used to pump power into major devices, but it will usually require a sizeable group of users to accomplish much. In either case, the effect can be renewed without it requiring an action or conscious effort as long as sufficient Mana is available (6 CP).
  • Mana-Powered Inherent Spell II: The Crystal Forge (L4, produces any crystal-related effect of up to level two, 6 CP).
    • This will allow Crystal Ponies to readily shape, repair, strengthen, or shatter crystal, to produce crystal implements, and even to create temporary crystal armor.
  • Crystalline Nature: Improved Defender (only, no base), Specialized for Increased Effect (+2 t0 AC) and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (4 CP) / only versus Rays.
    • A Crystal Ponies reflective coat is sparkly and shiny and tends to deflect magical rays as well as light.
  • Block (Arcane), Specialized and Corrupted / only versus Rays, plus Luck with + (Cha Mod) Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to use with this Block (6 CP).
    • Crystal Ponies can consciously deflect rays, although they will have a difficult time keeping it up if pressed.
  • Resist: +2 on saves versus Mind-Affecting Abilities, Specialized for Half Cost / only versus Fear and Despair effects (1 CP).
  • Luck, Corrupted/only for Rerolls (4 CP).
  • Being semi-transparent and apparently made of crystal is purely cosmetic, and has no real effect. It’s not like a lot of races don’t look a bit weird anyway. With no effect this has no cost.
  • Racial Disadvantages:
    • Accursed / Crystal Ponies are easily affected by the the power of Black Magic Charms and Talismans, and cannot avoid both empowering and amplifying them when they are afflicted with them. They can thus be readily forced to power their own torment or enslavement or suffer repressed memories (-3 CP).
    • Incompetent / Crystal Ponies are sparkly, somewhat glowey, and very, very conspicuous. They suffer a -3 penalty on all Stealth, Disguise, and related skill checks (-3 CP).
  • Crystal Ponies either get a Bonus Feat (6 CP) or – if Charms and Talismans are not normally (or widely) available in the setting – they’ll need to take:
    • Use of Charms and Talismans: Shaping, Specialized and Corrupted for increased effects/can only produce the effects for which the user has the appropriate foci ready, can only support a limited number (seven and three) of minor charms and more notable talismans at one time, charms and talismans are modestly expensive and take some time to attune for use (6 CP).

Total Cost: 32 CP

There. That lets our Crystal Ponies equip themselves with crystal weapons and armor, produce various boosting charms and talismans, and resist a lot of rays (probably the most common Unicorn Pony offensive effect). Given the right choices of charms and talismans that can actually make them fairly formidable fighters – far better than most ponies are without lots of special training – and thus explains their ability to hold their own against a much-larger Equestria (with a presumably far greater population) in the Crystal War timeline.

These Crystal Ponies actually make excellent explorers, adventurers, and hostile-environment colonists since they can use personal Charms and Talismans to  endure bitter cold, reduce the amount of food they need, and can create tools and simple structures out of magically-created crystal.

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2 Responses

  1. This is a great build! The best part is that this can be stacked with the other pony write-ups if you feel that crystal ponies are basically ordinary ponies with something “extra” to them. So if you think that your average crystal pony is still an earth pony, just lay this template on top of the earth pony write-up, and there you go. They’ll be +2 ECL, but that’s not a huge deal in a world where most of the population is already at +1 ECL anyway.

    Honestly though, I just wish the show would explain why we keep seeing (after their two-part introduction) crystal ponies in their non-sparkly state in various scenes, and their sparkly state in others. It’s little things like that which throw monkey wrenches into continuity.

    • Well, I’m glad you liked it! It was rather fun to set up!

      I’m afraid that I can’t tell why the show’s animators are getting sloppy though… Maybe just assume that cosmetic appearance-altering spells are “in” this season? And who knows? They might provide some kind of explanation sooner or later.

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