Halfbreeds and Ponyfinder in Equestria – Kirin in Eclipse

And here we have another Ponyfinder type – the Kirin.

In Ponyfinder the Kirin are strongly dragonblooded ponies from distant lands. They have scaly coats, vaguely draconic features, and colors based on their elemental affinity – red, orange, and yellow for fire, blue, green, and white for water/ice, deep greens, browns, stony colors for earth, and the many colors of the sky for air. It’s implied that their cultures are basically eastern asian (with no particular reason given for that), but I’m having to rely on online sources here; I don’t have that particular book and they seem to be purely a fanon creation as far as the actual program goes.

Personally, I’d see a Dragon-Pony crossbreed – or race thereof – as creatures of great internal contradictions.

  • Dragons: Arrogant. Solitary. Predatory. Violent. Touchy. Hoarding. Hot-Tempered. Dominating.
  • Ponies: Sociable. Gregarious. Friendly. Mostly Nonviolent. Herbivorous. Generous. Enthusiastic. Group Oriented.

One could assume that a lot of those traits cancel each other out – but a lot of the point of playing a hybrid is to combine dissimilar traits and see what you can make of them. So trying that for Dragon-Ponies I see…

  • Generosity versus Hoarding. Kirin want stuff – and also see the value in being liked, owed favors, and impressing others. Thus they exchange gifts, especially when greeting others. Whoever gives the most impressive (but still reasonable for the recepient) gift will gain a substantial social edge, and the more impressive the gift, the greater the edge.
  • Solitary and Gregarious. Kirin DO live in tightly-packed groups, but they’re relatively small groups and they try to create an appearance of privacy and solitude through careful etiquette, privacy screens, thin “walls” that do little more than block line of sight, and similar stratagems. Many things are simply carefully “not seen”.
  • Nonviolent and Forgiving versus Touchy and Violent. Kirin are capable of savage violence and are easily offended – but are also well aware that violence is problematic and that most offenses are quite unintentional. Thus their social interactions tend to be filtered through layers of social rules, etiquette, and formality.
  • Herbivorous versus Predatory: This one is pretty simple. Kirin cusine tends to mix a bit of pretty much everything – a little meat, some gems and minerals, and simple vegetable fillers and sauces that let the exotic flavors shine through.
  • Arrogant and Enthusiastic: Kirin tend to throw themselves into their projects – but rarely, if ever, spend much time thinking about potential failure modes or whether or not whatever they have in mind is a good idea.
  • Sociable versus Hot-Tempered: Kirin like to share their projects and interact with each other – but criticism, rivalries, and even minor arguments tend to lead to contests to “settle the issue”, rather than to any kind of rational debate. Admittedly, having two fruit-growers involved in a heated, high-stakes, jam-making competition is a bit weird by most other races standards, but it works tolerably well.
  • Dominating (Me First!) versus Group-Oriented: Kirin want a hierarchy (SOMEONE needs to be in charge!) – but while anyone will enjoy the social status and rewards of leadership, any sane Kirin leader knows that the way to earn those rewards is to promote the welfare and goals of the group – not to simply exploit your followers. Kirin leaders thus focus on wisdom – knowing how to effectively promote those goals – rather than power. Their leaders tend more towards scholars, wise elders, teachers, and problem-solvers rather than warlords, demagogues, and combatants. A respect for age tends to go with that.

Ergo, we can reasonably say that many “eastern” elements of their culture and behavior are more or less rational social systems for dealing with their natural tendencies rather than an arbitrary way to reflect Earth’s mythology. That also means that they might reasonable appear in (surviving) relatively isolated kirin settlements without being a part of a greater culture. And that’s a good thing, because Dragon-Pony crossbreeds are likely to be scarce.

As for their abilities…

In Ponyfinder they get:

  • +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, and -2 Dexterity, to be Fingerless Quadrupeds with a boost to ground movement while on all fours, and Low-Light Vision just for being ponies. I personally don’t agree that ponies have Low-Light Vision – I see little evidence of it in the show – so that isn’t included in the Eclipse basic pony package, but a lot of other stuff is.
  • Fast Healing II whenever they take at least 1 Damage from the type of energy they’re resistant to to a maximum of 2 hit points per level per day. Honestly.. that’s over complicated and not very useful. Fortunately, basic Eclipse ponies get boosted healing (averaging 16.5 points per day) anyway. If you really must specialize for double effect / only work when exposed to appropriate elemental energies go right ahead.
  • 60′ Darkvision from having the Dragon type. I don’t think I’ll put this in though; at least judging by Owl’s Well That Ends Well, Spike can’t see well in the dark; we can’t be seeing as he does in the green dragon’s cave since there are shadows, Twilight needs Owlowiscious to guide her in the dark, rather than getting directions from Spike, and she wants a night assistant. Ergo it looks to me like Equestrian Dragons don’t have Darkvision.
  • Immunity to Spells and Psionic Effects causing Sleep or Paralysis from having the Dragon type again. Again, there’s little evidence of this from the series, although there is some evidence for general magic resistance – such as Greed-Growth Spike being immune to most magical attempts to stop him.
  • +1 Natural Armor. Well, that’s reasonable enough.
  • Resistance 5 to one energy type and “a corresponding elemental vulnerability”. Whether that means double damage or merely +5 damage or a penalty to saves or something is not entirely clear. Fortunately this can be ignored, since basic Eclipse ponies come with Resistance 9 to all kinds of energy straight out of the box.
  • Once per day they can spend a swift action to add +1d6 of the appropriate elemental damage to their melee attacks for up to one round per level. A modest, but worthwhile boost.

In Eclipse…

Kirin tend to be found in small clusters and villages, tucked away on mountain peaks, or in hidden valleys, or distant islands – wherever a dragon or two and some ponies had kids without too many others about to dilute the bloodlines before they settled into a reasonably stable culture. Unfortunately, this means that there are no mighty kirin empires out there; there simply aren’t enough kirin. Instead they tend towards isolated settlements, wizened elders who have settled down to meditate on a mountaintop for a few years (perhaps the equivalent of a draconic long nap), and wandering adventurers. Following their natural tendencies, Kirin are among the few ponies who have extensive inherent combat talents backing up their focus on formal etiquette and contemplative wisdom. Mucking about in a Kirin settlement is all too likely to trigger an “everyone’s a martial artist” episode. In Eclipse Equestria they get the following racial abilities:

Kirin (+32 CP, 63 CP Total with the Basic Pony Template for a +1 ECL).

  • Bonus Language: Draconic (1 CP).
  • Adept, Specialized for Increased Effect (+4 to the skill per SP) / only to determine the cost of their racial skill bonuses (6 CP). Their adept skills are:
  • Any one (Elemental) (Air, Death, Earth, Fire, Life, Spirit, Void, or Water) Dragon Style Martial Arts (Con Based), Specialized for Increased Effect (normally double the effect of each ability purchased, but variations – such as combining two base abilities – are possible) / only if the user is unarmored and unencumbered, user radiates elemental magical energies and is easily sensed by other elemental martial artists.
  • The same style, without the Specialization, for use when armored, Corrupted for Reduced Cost / must take the same abilities (or only one of the two options of “mixed” abilities) as the specialized version.
  • Rune Magic (Same Element) Casting.
  • Rune Magic (Same Element) Mastery.
  • Racial Skill Bonuses: +12 each to their two innate Martial Arts (5 CP), +12 Rune Magic Casting (3 CP), +4 Rune Magic Mastery (1 CP).

This means that a Kirin starts off with at least six, and more likely seven or more, martial arts selections and can start with one or more advanced techniques – and gets double effect out of them when unarmored and unencumbered. Thus, for example, an Earth Dragon Stylist could start off with DR 4/- (8/-) over and above their basic pony DR, a Weapon Kata (perhaps with a damage boost), and an Occult Technique (or two).

  • +2d6 (7) Mana with the Resilience Natural Magic Option, Specialized / only for use with their racial branch of rune magic and Resilience (6 CP). Note that, in Equestria with the Superheroic World Template, they may spend up to (Con Mod) Mana each round to fuel their Elemental Magic or Occult Martial Arts Powers without having to draw on their pool.
  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / requires one hour of rest or meditation per die, only to refill the mana pool above (4 CP).
  • Spell/Power Resistance. Either Generic or Specialized for Increased Effect / only Spells and Psionic Effects causing Sleep or Paralysis (6 CP).

This type of Kirin – like half-orcs in a more conventional game – are always a bit of a sideshow even in an Equestria game. After all… if they even EXIST, they’re going to be pretty rare. Still, making an exotic character is another large part of the point of playing a hybrid in the first place. After all, this is Eclipse; any special power a hybrid gets can be developed in some other way if you want them.

Of course, this power package can be applied to other races as a +1 ECL level adjustment – a handy way to start off as an expert elemental martial-artist mystic if you so desire.

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