Ponies Of The Eclipse – Rockhoof, the Pillar of Strength

Faced with a dreadful emergency, a scrawny, youthful newspaper boy farmers son threw himself into attempting to save those who were endangered – refusing to stop or give up despite his having no chance whatsoever to actually handle the problem. In the face of the onrushing mortal peril his sacrifice – however willing – seemed doomed to fail. Then, in a bolt of lightning flash of light, Billy Batson the boy became the mighty Captain Marvel Rockhoof, gifted with fabulous strength, speed, and durability as long as he remains morally upright doesn’t party too much. With the strength of Hercules, the endurance and durability of Atlas and the speed of Hermes, Captain Marvel Shazam Rockhoof went on to become a mighty hero,

OK, there are some nods to Norse Runes and “Viking” motifs in there too, but Rockhoof is pretty blatantly a four-color superhero character like The Mighty Thor rather than some sort of fantasy barbarian. Classic fantasy strong men are huge, strong, and tough because they are the scions of long lines of hulking mighty men who grew up in the wilds among other great warriors, often had divine blood, eat and burn off tremendous amounts of food, and get absurd amounts of healthy outdoor exercise. They run around leaving trails of bloody corpses as they smite their opponents with massive deadly weapons because they are mighty warriors and that is what they do. Enkidu, Hercules, Conan… they didn’t suddenly become powerful out of moral authority or self-sacrifice. Neither did they start their heroic careers by digging a big ditch with a shovel or by performing any other bit of basic engineering. They battled other heroes, strangled snakes when they were mere infants, and slew great enemies as kids. Rockhoof… simply isn’t a mighty warrior. Even if Rockhoof is fairly good at fighting when he must, ponies just do not tend towards the “charge in and kill them all” style of combat. There’s a distinct absence of “Blood for the Blood God, Skulls for the Skull Throne!“, “Blood and Souls for my Lord Arioch!“, “Lava quod est sordium!” (Cleanse that which is unclean!), “Jai Mahakali!” (Glory to Great Kali!”), or even “CROOOMMMM!!!“. Instead… you get a lot more “nice young man who made eagle scout and is currently out helping the neighbors!”.

So it’s a good thing for Rockhoof that Equestria is a superheroic world where characters get (Con Mod) points of mana to spend every round isn’t it?

As for his specific powers… Rockhoof can move a lot of earth and stone very quickly (including throwing boulders), hit really hard, jump a long ways, run very fast, and withstand major attacks. He also acquired – or at least activated – most of his power in a single moment of heroism as an adolescent or young adult rather than developing it over time like Starswirl, so it probably isn’t based on him being high level. Fortunately, with the Superheroic World Template in play, it can be based on Mana-fueled specialization at level one.

He probably got another level or two while out adventuring, but there’s not a lot of information on that – so here he is at the start of his heroic career.

Secondarily, considering the abilities displayed by Maud Pie, Big Macintosh, and various other Earth Ponies in what looks like a considerably more densely populated equestria… Rockhoof very likely isn’t actually the “strongest earth pony of all time”. While he may have been known as such in the distant past and in legends, that was without actual testing, after centuries of story-polishing, in comparison with a rather modest sample size, and (perhaps most importantly) not in a RPG full of players who dabble in character optimization. For, if you put stats on it, they will find a way to outdo them.

In any case, it’s on with the game statistics!

Rockhoof, the Pillar of Strength, Strong Man of Old Equestria

Starting (Level One, ECL 2) Athletic Superhero.

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 Rockhoof we’ll take Might (a +2 bonus to his Strength) and Enduring (providing him with a +1 bonus on his Saves).

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 for a 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 Earth Pony Modifiers:

  • Mana-Powered Berserker (+8 Str) with no fatigue. In effect, an Earth Pony with a Con of 14+ (their average) can run a continuous +8 bonus to their Strength.
  • Nature Sense (very vague save for items related to agriculture).
  • +4 to resist bull rushes and knockdowns
  • Pays half price for Rune Magic (Homesteading) Casting and Mastery, Knowledge/Nature, and Survival. (Yes, Homesteading Magic covers digging ditches, plowing fields, and so on via magic. Some appropriate spells for use with Homesteading Magic can be found under Hedge Magic – such as Plow and The Laborer’s Word). These skills also receive a +3 Racial Bonus.
  • Immunity to Fatigue and Exhaustion.
  • A +3 bonus on any one hoof-based Martial Art.

Basic Attributes: Str 16 (+18 Ber +2 Knack = 36), Dex 16 (-2 Pony = 14), Con 14 (+2 Pony, +2 M = 18), Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10 (+2 M = 12). (Pathfinder 25-point point buy).

Available Character Points: 48 (L1 Base ) + 6 (Disadvantages; History and Obligations (Pillar of Equestria)) +2 (Duties to his Village – or to wherever he adopts now) +6 (level one bonus feat) = 62 CP. Rockhoof started off Blocked – unable to spend Mana on anything but Rune Magic – so he couldn’t use his Berserker strength boost, making him pretty feeble in comparison to other Earth Ponies. But then in a desperate situation, he spent his last four character points buying that limitation off at a dramatic moment, thus activating his strength enhancement, innate enchantments, and four-color reality editing.

Basic Abilities (29 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 12 (L1d12, 8 CP) +20 (12 + 2 x Con Mod Template) +4 (1 x Con Mod) = 36 HP.
  • Skill Points: 12 (Purchased, 12 CP) + 0 (Int) = 12 SP

Skills:

  • Acrobatics: +1 (1 SP) +2 (Dex) +3 (Tem) = +7 (Jump +45).
  • Profession/Farmer +1 (1 SP) +0 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +4 (Includes making basic farm tools, such as replacement shovels – since he’s specifically noted as having had his destroyed many times).
  • Knowledge/Nature +2 (1* SP) +3 (Race) +0 (Int) = +5
  • Survival +2 (1* SP) +3 (Race) +0 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +8
  • Homesteading Rune Magic Casting 4 (2* SP) +3 (Race) +1 (Cha) = +8
  • Homesteading Rune Magic Mastery 4 (2* SP) +3 (Race) +1 (Cha) = +8
  • Martial Art / Jade Mountain Stance Style: 4 (SP) +3 (Race) +13 (Str) +3 (Tem) = +23.
  • Perform (Sing) +0 (0 SP) +2 (Race) +1 (Cha) -3 (Tem, Unskilled) = +0

The Jade Mountain Stance Style (Str):

  • Requires: Hooves
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 2, Power 3, Strike, and Toughness 4.
  • Advanced Techniques: Breaking, Combat Reflexes, Improved Disarm, and Weapon Kata (Any one simple weapon or farming implement, with a preference towards pruning hooks, shovels, hand axes, and similar items).
  • Occult Techniques: Healing Hand, Inner Strength, Ki Focus (Str), and Focused Blow.

Known Techniques (12): Attack 1, Power 1, Strike, Toughness 4, Breaking, Combat Reflexes, Weapon Kata (Shovel), Healing Hand and Inner Strength.

  • BAB +1, Specialized /Ranged Combat Only, Corrupted/Throwing stuff with shovel only (2 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude +0 (0 CP) +4 (Con) +1 (Tem) = +5
    • Reflex +2 (6 CP) +2 (Dex) +1 (Tem) = +5
    • Will +0 (0 CP) +0 (Wis) +1 (Tem) = +1
  • Proficiencies: Earth Pony Reinforced Shovels (1 CP).
  • Initiative: +2 (Dex)
  • Move: 40 (four legs) +30 (Light Foot) +30 (Haste),= 100 (50 on two or three legs).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) + 2 (Dex) +4 (Shimmermail) = 16

Usual Weapons:

  • Unarmed: +14/+14 (+13 Str +1 Martial Art, Personal Haste), for 1d6+13, Crit 20/x2, lethal or nonlethal. 3 Attacks of Opportunity, see “Concussive Parry” below.
  • Shovel: +14/+14 (+13 Str +1 Martial Art, Personal Haste), for 1d8+13, Crit19-20/x2, lethal or nonlethal, B or S, Trip, usable as a shovel. 3 Attacks of Opportunity, see “Concussive Parry” below.

New Weapon (Pathfinder Design System): Earth Pony Reinforced Shovel. Simple, One-Handed (mouthed), Melee Weapon (6 Design Points), Additional Design Points (+1 Point, +15 GP. Earth Pony shovels need to be heavily reinforced to stand up to earth pony strength), B or S damage (1 Point), Improved Critical Threat Range (19-20, 3 Points), Improved Damage II (2 Points), Tool (Shovel, 0 Points), Special Feature (Trip, 1 Point). Net Result: Simple Weapon, Medium-Sized. Damage 1d6, Crit 19-20/x2, inflicts B or S damage, Trip Weapon, freely usable as a shovel, 20 GP.

  • Shovel-Thrown Rocks: +4/+4/+4 (+2 Dex +3 Competence -1 Rocks), 1d6+13, Crit 20/x3, Range Increment 80′. He’ll probably want to learn Finesse to base this on Str instead later on.

Other Abilities (33 CP):

  • Add Odinpower and Odinmight to his basic Berserker ability, for a total of +18 strength (+6 CP).
  • DR 2/-, versus both physical and energy attacks (3 CP).
  • Upgrade his racial Mana Pool with a form of Natural Magic (Reality Editing), Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only to support the user’s heroic narrative and let the user’s abilities function without normal scaling restrictions (2 CP). This is great for engineering and digging massive trenches, but so-so otherwise.
  • Concussive Parry: Opportunist (6 CP): Rockhoof may make an attack of opportunity against any attack that enters his threatened area. If his attack roll exceeds that of the attacker he can subtract the damage he “inflicts” on the attack from the damage IT would normally inflict, reducing it to a minimum of zero. If this completely negates the damage from an attack, it also negates any other effects it might have, such as requiring a saving throw.
    • This is a powerful defense, but this IS a superheroic setting, so why not? In other settings it might get defined as an Inherent Spell to limit it’s uses – but a superhero will just fuel it with mana and get exactly the same result anyway.
  • Reflex Training: Can spend Mana to maintain his “Berserker” strength enhancement and his Innate Enchantments without it requiring an action of any kind – even while asleep or unconscious. Corrupted for Reduced Cost / he must do so as long as he has Mana available. (4 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment, Specialized for Increased Effect (effects are considered extraordinary abilities and cost no experience to acquire) / Requires two mana to activate for one minute. Is blatantly obvious in operation since he bulks up a lot (11,310 GP Value, 12 CP).
    • Lob (L1: The user may hurl three items at his or her full BAB and with no need for getting out or loading ammunition or for a physical weapon (or proficiency therewith). This is otherwise treated as if the user was using a medium-sized Halfling Staff Sling. Only while wielding a shovel (x.8), only for throwing rocks (x.8) = 1280 GP.
      • In general: 1d6+Str Mod bludgeoning damage and a -1 to hit for using rocks instead of bullets, Crit 20/x4, Range Increment 80 feet, requires a normal roll to hit. In combination with his Reality Editing he could also throw lots of dirt and junk to make clouds of dust and difficult terrain if he wanted to.
    • (Weapon) Mastery (Halfling Sling Staff, Cantrip): +3 Competence Bonus to BAB with a Halfling Sling Staff (or magical simulation thereof). x.7 Personal-Only (700 GP).
    • Thousand Pound Stance (Target gains a +8 versus Bull Rush, Grapple, Trip, Overrun, being lifted or thrown, or similar situations, for one minute. x .7 Personal Only = 1400 GP). Note that this changes the -4 Penalty for Light Foot to a +4 Bonus.
    • Resist Energy (Provides resistance 10 to all energies), x.7 Personal-Only = 1400 GP
    • Personal Haste: User gains a +30′ enhancement bonus on all movement rates and +1 attack at his or her full BAB when making a full attack (2000 GP).
    • Light Foot: User becomes very light, gaining a +30 circumstance bonus on his or her ground movement spee and, a +10 circumstance bonus on jump checks, as well as DR 10 versus Falling Damage [only]. The user is, however, considered one size category smaller in a Bull Rush, Grapple, Trip, or Overrun situation. x .7 Personal Only = 1400 GP.
    • Heroic Will: Protection From Evil, Personal Only (x.7), 3/Day Only (x.6), Only when the GM feels that the user is being compelled to do something against their personal code or otherwise is likely to summon a mighty surge of will to throw off possession/mind control/etc (x.25) = 210 GP.
    • Heroic Rally: Remove Fear, 2/Day Only (x.4), user must make an adequate inspiring speech (x.6) = 480 GP.
    • Coincidental Catch: Feather Fall, 2/Day Only (x.4), activates automatically (x1.5), but only works 50% of the time (x.4) = 480 GP. When a hero falls off a roof or gets dropped, there is a substantial chance that SOMETHING will happen to break his or her fall.
    • Heroic Health: Relieve Illness (from the Hedge Wizardry spell list) 1/Day (x.2), Personal Only (x.7) = 280 GP. Relieve Poison (from the Hedge Wizardry spell list) 1/Day (x.2), Personal Only (x.7) = 280 GP, Lesser Restoration 2/Day (x.4), Personal Only (x.7) = 560 GP. Fast Healing I (from The Practical Enchanter, for 18 rounds, 2/Day (x.4), Personal Only (x.7)) = 560 GP.

To summarize his various defenses, he can attempt to parry incoming attacks. If he’s still hit, he has DR 6/- versus physical attacks, DR 16 versus Falling Damage, and Energy Resistance (All) 12. If damage still gets through, two points of any melee damage inflicted by a sentient being and nine points of any other damage is converted to nonlethal damage.

Rockhoof really doesn’t need a high level. Being a fairly generic good guy and using the constant flow of mana provided by the superheroic world template to fuel strength, durability, and being able to swiftly accomplish huge amounts of work makes him about the most classical type of superhero there is. He’d still be pretty dangerous in a standard game – but he’d need to spend some levels on buying mana and the ability to quickly recover it to fuel his abilities with, which would make him a fairly powerful warrior, but not a superhero.

Faster than a speeding pegasus! More powerful than an avalanche! Able to leap small hills in a single bound! Look! Up on the mountain! It’s Rockhoof!

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2 Responses

  1. Looking at the Basic Abilities entries, I’m only seeing 26 CP: 8 for a d12 Hit Die, 12 for skill points, 2 for his specialized and corrupted BAB, 3 for a +1 bonus to Reflex saves, and 1 CP for his shovel proficiency. Unless I missed something, he has another 3 CP to spend somewhere.

    On a semi-related note, the episode A Rockhoof and a Hard Place gives us a glimpse of what Rockhoof is capable of later in his career, when he has a few more levels under his belt. Based on that episode, any suggestions for what level he should be now and how the additional CPs are spent?

    • Quite true on the 3 CP. He was supposed to have a +2 on base reflex saves; I’m not sure how it wound up a +1 – but it was probably just a typo that then got carried through. Easily fixed though! Thank you for pointing it out!

      And for the more experienced version, here you go. As usual… he should pretty much work as shown.

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