Continuum II: C’hi Powers, Part I

The next few posts will be another segment of the Continuum II rules – a set of rules I’ve had knocking around for many years now. Since they were designed to be modular, some parts may find a home in pretty much any campaign. This particular module is concerned with second-order Psychic Powers – commonly known as C’hi Powers.

Continuum II used a scale of 1-6 for several universal constants. For Psychic Powers, which involved transferring energy through the Empyrean Plane the important one was Empyreal Transfer Impedance. At 6, psychic powers did not work. At ETI 5, only Introspection powers – abilities based on awareness of your own energy field and how it interacted with other energy fields – operated. At ETI 4, you could also use C’hi powers – abilities based on manipulating your internal energies.

C’hi powers could be quite useful, they offered remarkable fine control and considerable versatility – but the user was limited by the actual energy content of his or her own body. An incautious user could easily harm, or even kill themselves. On the other hand, C’hi powers were almost impossible to block without killing the victim. As usual with Continuum II, the rules were concerned with HOW things worked – what you used your tools and effects to do was up to you.

C’hi techniques are the most personal, and thus the most individualistic, of all active psychic powers. They tend to be interpreted and used differently by each and every C’hi master. They also have highly variable costs, as they can be warped, extended, combined, “pushed” – and otherwise mangled – in a vast variety of ways. Adding special limitations will reduce the costs somewhat – but it can be hard to tell just what’s a limitation.

Like most psychics, C’hi masters can generally only use three abilities at a time. Since some attacks will involve several techniques, this can be a bother. C’hi masters may partially avoid this problem by setting up a list of “practiced combinations” which only count as a single psychic effect. Such combinations may involve up to three abilities themselves, including, possibly, other combinations. Masters are automatically entitled to develop up to (Int/2) combinations, and may acquire an additional three per skill point expended in study. Skill points may also be – as usual – spent to upgrade particular abilities, up to a maximum total of seven (basic techniques are already at II, Advanced at III).

In any case, onwards with the techniques!

PRIMARY C’HI TECHNIQUES:
  Technique Advanced Version
1)  Acrobatics Free Action .
2) Adrenal Surge  Adrenalin True
3)  Amplification  (Char) Boosting

4)

 Animation  Psychic Forging Sp.
5)  Auric Shunt  Auric Bar
6)  Balancing  Adhesion

7)

 Binding  Paralyasis
8)  Biofocusing  -True
9)  Bokken  Charging

10)

C’hi Drain  -True
11) C’hi Infusion  C’hi Teaching
12) Compensation  Auric Body
13) Dim Mak  -True
14) Dragon C’hi  World C’hi (True)
15) Eagles Claw  Crushing Claw

16)

Energy Absorption  Energy Storage
17) Evasion  Vanishing
 17b) Face Dancer  Shapechange
18) Focused Mastery  True Mastery
19) Focusing  Ad. Focusing
20) Hastening  Ghosting
21) Hypersenses  True (Sense)
22) Iron Fist  C’hi Pulse
23) Iron Flesh  Protective Air

24)

Kinetic Aura  -True
25) Latent Energy  Remote Trigger
26) Light Foot  Levitation
27) Metabolic Control  Internal Alchemy

 27b)

Bioenhancement  Phermones
28) Mystic Channeling  -True
29) Parting Waters  Tunneling
30) Polarity Shield  -True
31) Plague Carrier  Poison Touch

32)

Power Block  Damage Shield
33) Precision  Prana-Bindu
34) Projection  Psychic Lance
35) Psychic Aura  Psychic Projection
36) Psychic Purging  -True
37) Psychic Reserver  -II, III, Etc
38) Psychic Shield  -True
39) Resistance  -True
40) Self Healing  The Healing Touch
41) Senethar  Channeling
42) Sexual Techniques  Tantric Mastery
43) Shadow Casting  Animal Mimicry
44) Shockwave  Chiburst
45) Somatic Control  Yoga Mastery

46)

Transfer  Reflection
47) Vibration  Vibratory Pulse
48) Vocal Control  Psychic Voice
49) Whirlwind  -True
50) Will Shield  Iron Will

 

Ability Listings :

Acrobatics: This technique generates an low-grade internal psychokinetic field which subtly “guides” the users movements, augments his reflexes, and “cushions” falls, allowing the user to perform any acrobatic feat which he can clearly envision, including midair turns, spectacular leaps, landing safely – and resisting being knocked, thrown, or lifted. The advanced version is expensive, but can compensate for external hindrances – allowing the user to ignore encumbrances, move freely underwater or through similar mediums, and override the effects of paralysis or other hindrances. Further improvements usually involve increased movement rates, feats of immovability, strength enhancement, and reduced costs.
The usual game mechanic is to spend one psychic Str point per D6 that needs to be removed to make whatever roll the GM requested… The advanced version usually costs anywherefrom one point per turn to one point per round, depending on the resistance.

Adrenal Surge: Taps the users physical reserves – allowing brief bursts of “superhuman” strength, speed, endurance, and reaction time. While this uses little psychic energy, it’s rapidly exhausting. The technique cannot be used for more then (End/3) continuous rounds – and should not be used more then (End) rounds in any one day. It leaves the user strained, tired, aching, and hungry. The advanced version extends the “burst” with psychic energy, tripling those limits. During a burst the user receives +1 attack, +3″ move, a +1 on his Defense Rating, Damage Bonus, Resistance Rating, and Attack Rating, and a chance to evade any incoming missile he’s aware of… Adrenal surge can also be used for a “final strike”, making the user almost unstoppable – and incredibly dangerous – for the few minutes before his body burns out totally. Further improvements commonly include allowing momentary bursts of incredible speed, strength, and agility – or other “supreme efforts”. Such stunts are dramatic, but generally leave the character exhausted.

Amplification: This handy ability channels psychic energy into boosting one or more of the user’s “basic” attributes (Strength, Intellect, Presence, and so on). The basic version is passive, and provides a +3 bonus on an attribute, to a maximum of 19. It can also be used to boost two attributes by +1, to a maximum of 18. The attribute(s) to be enhanced must be selected when this ability is acquired, and can not be changed thereafter. The “advanced” version is an active ability focused on the same attribute(s) . It allows the user to boost an attribute by +6, to a maximum of 24, or to enhance two attributes by +3, to a maximum of 21. Minor variations apply to movement rate and to some optional attributes (GMO depending on the attribute). Further improvements usually involve specialized bonuses and related bonuses, rather then further increases in the basic attribute. These attribute maximums are for “normal” humans, with a base attribute range of 3-18 and a normal limit of 21. They should be adjusted appropriately for races with differing limits and for special talents.

Animation: This bizarre technique channels a part of the users personal energy into an inanimate object, giving it temporary “life” under his (or her) control. Obviously enough, massive items require more energy to animate. Being essentially a “part of the user”, such items can be used in many ways, but are limited by the users strength. Items commonly animated include ropes, flexible weapons, and ECHO (Exoskeletal Configuration/Humaniform Operation) combat vehicles. The advanced version permits the user to create a permanent psychic construct – although this requires expending permanent points of psychic strength. Weapons are common, armor, companion creatures, tools, and instruments are all possible. Whatever the form, such constructs are a living part of the character and can generally be called forth at will. Constructs can be imbued with a variety of C’hi powers – as well as those of their basic form. The exact cost of giving a construct a specific power, function, or ability, is up to the GM. Simple solidity (allowing a sword to function as a sword or some such) is relatively cheap. Some are simply channels and/or amplifiers for the users psychic abilities. These are also relatively cheap. Constructs can be “imbedded” in physical objects, rendering them permanetly “solid” as well as making them a good deal more independent. This has occasionally allowed such creations to survive the death of their creator.

Auric Shunt: Allows the user to “channel” kinetic energy within his personal bioenergy aura, amplifying, redirecting, and focusing it as necessary. The “basic” version of this ability must be specifically “focused” via some physical gesture or through concentration. It is often used to divert blows and missiles, increase the impact of the users blows, assist in “martial throws”, and to create small “force fields” (allowing the user to block sword blows and such with his bare hands without injury). The advanced version of this skill allows the user to generate an “aura” of such effects, creating a “sphere of defense”, diverting full flights of arrows, or manifesting walls of force. Popular special tricks include attempting to turn an opponents blow back upon himself (basic), and generating the equivalent of an exo- kinetic field (advanced, see “psychokinetic effects”). This technique is sometimes known as “hard” and “soft” C’hi – but unless the user chooses to specialize, both modes are available. Further improvements commonly include easy “reflection” of missiles, force fields, and a variety of special tricks. Probably the most common later improvement is to set up a “passive” enhancement of the users Defense Rating and effective toughness. The most common use of “Auric Shunt” is probably to block attacks or enhance attacks. The basic version is good for +/- 3 points per point expended, the advanced is good for +/- 5. Other tricks vary…

Balancing: Gives the user a vastly improved sense of balance and accompanying control. This ability can be used in climbing, when walking on slippery, narrow, or sloping surfaces, when diving, in acrobatics, or to reduce the effect of falls. It also negates penalties for surface conditions and allows the user to fight from any position without penalty – at least within reason. While the advanced version doesn’t literally allow the user to stick to walls and things, it does allow him / her to manage with the tiniest projections and surface irregularities – or to accomplish remarkable acrobatic and contortional feats. While extraordinary, such feats are in no way superhuman – and so are relatively cheap to perform, usually costing no more then one point per turn. If you want to be a human fly, to join a circus, to twist yourself into bizarre positions – or to fight that way – then this is the technique for you. Further improvements usually involve die roll bonuses or other martial arts enhancements.

Binding: This skill employs inductive feedback to “jam” an opponents central nervous system, effectively allowing the user to use a martial-arts type “hold” or “nerve strike” at range. The targets escape rolls are based on dexterity, rather then strength. The targets bioenergy aura must be in contact with the users aura, giving this skill a maximum range in feet equal to the users and targets combined dexterities. The “advanced” version allows only one chance to escape via any given means, and causes near-total paralysis. Unusually, there is a “standard” third level to this skill, that allows the user to jam the targets involuntary nervous system as well – causing anything from mild headaches through respiratory failure, shock, convulsions, and heartbeat irregularities. This is unpleasant, and causes up to 2D6 points of damage per round – while your victim remains helplessly paralyzed. Further improvements may involve diagnostic or helpful abilities, “reading” the targets neural responses, inflicting massive pain, controlling someone else’s body, and causing even more damage.

Biofocusing: Allows the user to transfer physical energies within his body by psychic means. The “basic” version only covers to muscular force – but by concentrating the output of many muscles, it allows the user to exert great force with a touch – or to increase his effective strength. The advanced version uses psychic means to protect the user’s body from the consequences of concentrating other energies, allowing him / her to focus thermal (depends on constitution), bioelectrical (depends on dexterity), or other energies (DMO). Even more advanced techniques permit the user to build up a pool of energy over time, generate an intense surge of power, or tap energies from the immediate area (within his or her bioenergy field).

Bokken: Allows the user to channel his power into a material focus, enhancing it’s effectiveness. While this is limited to relatively basic, hand-held, items, the technique makes even crude props as effective as a “conventional” tool or weapon. Hence a crudely-carved wooden blade can be used as effectively as a well-made steel blade, a couple of crossed sticks could function as a pickaxe, and some thin twine could substitute for a heavy rope. Obviously enough, such items normally must remain in contact with the user. The advanced version of this skill can further enhance the effects – giving the focus item supernormal effectiveness. Weapons gain a bonus to their Attack Rating and Damage Bonus of (Users Level-1)/3, and can be used against creatures resistant to normal weaponry without penalty. Other items gain similar bonuses, albeit to defense or to noncombat effects. Improvements usually involve temporarily charging an item with psychic energy, either from this discipline (allowing the use of this discipline on missiles and such) or from some other discipline. The effects and stabality of this vary enormously. This technique is often combined with “Animation”, allowing the user to do remarkable things with things like ribbons and pieces of string. Stranger improvements may involve learning to enhance functions of psychic, mystic, and technological devices, enhancing other people’s abilities – and temporarily imbuing items with a “pool” of energy and some abilities to use it on.

C’hi Drain: Allows the user to disrupt a targets reserves of psychic energy and, thanks to its physical aspect, induce physical exhaustion and damage as well. The “advanced version” allows the user to disrupt both his victims current energy reserves and his ability to accumulate psychic energy, causing neurological damage which must be healed through time or specialized techniques before the victim can regain his full power, or use it to best effect (see; “Overload Damage Effects”). The recovery time necessary may be further extended by applying this talent over several hours, although this normally requires a helpless, or throughly distracted, victim. One notable “special trick” involves combining C’hi Drain with Dragon C’hi (Bioenergies) to “steal” a portion of an opponents power. The “advanced version” of this trick allows the user to steal part of a dying victims life energy itself, permanently increasing his personal vitality, psychic potential – and possibly even acquiring one or two of his victims abilities. Sadly, only a small part of the victims talents can be stolen in this fashion and integrating such stolen life energies with your own is difficult and dangerous. Bits of each victim’s memories and personality are acquired as well – an effect which can easily drive the user insane. Further improvements commonly involve extending the recovery time, creating a continuing effect, or using this technique to disrupt magical or physical powers.

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Ponies Of The Eclipse – Somnambula, Pillar of Hope

The “Power Of Hope” is just about as undefined as the “Power Of Heart”, and can range from simply inspiring others on through being virtually all-powerful (at least if you go with the “Heart is an AWESOME power!” trope). Ergo, the first thing to do when writing up Somnambula is to take a look at what she’s actually shown doing. She…

  • Helped out her neighbors when they were in need. So she’s a nice person. Of course, being a nice person doesn’t require any special powers – and, to be fair, it seems like “being a nice person” is pretty much the default for a pony. Really obnoxious ponies are fairly unusual.
  • Guessed a riddle. Of course, it was one that was uniquely suited to her thanks to a bit of narrative causality and anyone can guess a riddle. That doesn’t necessarily call for any special powers, but perhaps a bit of Lore or (more likely) Luck is in order. Maybe a Narrative skill too, although that is a bit farfetched.
  • Crossed a narrow bridge while blindfolded. Well… lots of real people have crawled across catwalks and ledges and such when they couldn’t see. She had a voice to guide her, could feel her way, and is inherently on all fours to start with. This required some determination, but no special powers. Still, perhaps some Luck is in order again.
  • Got swallowed by a giant snake – which happened to have a livable interior – and directed other ponies towards the mouth to get out, giving them bits of her necklace to light the way. This required determination, unbridled optimism (most animals DIGEST the things that they swallow), and a plentiful supply of light sources. Still no real indication of any major special powers though.
  • Kicked the head off a large timberwolf. This calls for a decent knack with Pegasus Pony Air Magic (to use the high-pressure impact-boosting effect) – but it’s not that impressive in My Little Pony terms. Rainbow Dash kicked chunks out of four sizeable trees (starting 56 seconds in) just to set up a campsite. Given that timberwolves have been shown to be fairly easy to knock apart (if difficult to “kill”), this doesn’t seem to be beyond the basic powers of a normal pegasus pony.
  • Created an effect which hurls away a bunch of… well, semi-illusory (and apparently pretty light) mummy/zombie things created out of dreams by a cursed amulet. This was centered on her, but didn’t have much effect on her or her friends. So… a Whirlwind Push maneuver? Using Pegasi Air Magic to create a high-pressure blast of air to toss them away? Some sort of Light Burst from her necklace? Some combination of those? Positive Energy Wave? A variation on Pathfinders level three Anti-Undead Shell effect? Calling on the Vishanti for the Light of Truth? Dispel Illusion? Hard to say, but SOMETHING. Still… an air blast and bright light from her necklace certainly seems to cover what we’re shown. I’ll probably give her some alternatives anyway, just in case.
  • Threw a potion bottle and hit a small target. Either good aim, a bit of air magic to guide the shot, or Luck (whether a power or the basic “the heroes make the shot when they need to” narrative imperative).
  • Made a fairly high-speed loop and a sharp turn in flight. So she’s a reasonably agile flyer. Of course, Pegasus Ponies have “Perfect” maneuverability anyway. This still helps to justify some Luck or a skill booster though.
  • Is a cheery optimist who always hopes for the best and she apparently offered advice on politics and rulership that was better than what someone who was raised to rule could come up with. I’m going to call that “Luck” again (for taking 20 on coming up with some good advice), simply because “divine providence warps the universe so that whatever advice you gave works out” really isn’t a reasonable power to buy and because actually being sensible enough to offer good advice normally doesn’t fit in well with plans that involve “letting the giant monster eat me….”. It also means that I’m really reaching here, but so be it!
  • Makes a good motivational speaker. Admittedly, that’s a knack, but – once again – it doesn’t really call for any special powers. A professional-level skill (that’s +5 to +8 or so), Luck, or a skill booster would probably do it – but I think I’ll call it evidence for Bardic-type powers, simply because otherwise all I’ve got so far adds up to very little more than “Luck with Bonus Uses”, “a bit above average with her racial air magic”, and “shiny necklace”.

So, presuming that it IS Bardic Powers… Well, she was in a small village. Farming villagers usually don’t have either a lot of time or need for motivational speakers, yet rather a lot of ponies were gathered to hear her speak in what was apparently a regular event. Evidently whatever benefit her powers provide, it is both well worthwhile and temporary (to keep them coming back). Well, that’s easy enough.

Finally, of course, she strikes me as a bubbly, happy, teenage almost-hippy who wants you to get in touch with your “inner self” and let “the light within” shine forth to illuminate the world – thus the bit about the light from her necklace illuminating the whole kingdom (which seems unlikely physically, but makes a good metaphor for being an advisor to the throne). Ergo, I’ll put her at Level Three, just like Flash Magnus.

Pegasi: live fast, get sealed into limbo young.

Oh well. Fortunately, when you’re using four templates – the Superheroic World Template (providing free Mana to work with every round), the Low-Level Adventurer Template, the basic Pony Template, and the Pegasus Template, you don’t need a lot of levels to have a good deal of power.

Somnambula, Pillar of Hope

Level Three (ECL 4) Pegasus Inspirational Traveler

Since most of the template summaries are pretty much the same as last time, I’m boxing them for easy skipping if you’re so inclined.

.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 Somnambula we’ll be taking Impervious (for a+2 to Saves) and Photographic Memory.

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 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. For Somnambula I’ve rolled 6 – low-average. Still, she usually only needs it for her Harmonic Convergence power, and then only one point.
  • Get a +2 Racial Bonus to Perform/Sing

To summarize the Pegasus Subrace Modifiers:

  • 40′ Flight, with perfect maneuverability
  • Cloud-Walking
  • Adept (Rune Magic/Air, Mastery and Casting, Flight, and Knowledge/Nature (Specialized for Double Effect in Weather Prediction and air-related phenomena).
  • +3 Racial Bonus on all Adept Skills (effectively +6 for the specialized Survival)
  • Damage from high-speed collisions, crashes, and similar impacts is one-fourth normal to a maximum of 6d6.
  • Resist Lightning 10 (stacks with general energy resistance).
  • +2 racial bonus to Spot (Perception in Pathfinder).
  • Additional +6 Racial Bonus to Spot (Perception)/Specialized, only to make up for range, fog, and other atmospheric penalties (3 CP).

 

Basic Attributes: Str 10, Dex 12 (-2 Pony = 10), Con 14 (+2 Pony +2 Magic = 18), Int 14, Wis 13, and Cha 16 (+2 Magic = 18) (Pathfinder 25-Point Buy).

Available Character Points: 96 (Level Three Base) +6 (Disadvantages: History and Foolhardy – a version of Insane) +12 (L1 and L3 Bonus Feats) = 114 CP.

Basic Abilities (36 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 16 (L1-3, d6, 6 CP) +20 (12 + 2 x Con Mod Template) +12 (3 x Con Mod) = 48 HP.
  • Skill Points: 6 (Purchased, 6 CP) + 12 (Int) +24 (6 x Cha Mod) = 42 SP.
  • BAB +1 (6 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude +2 (6 CP) +4 (Con) +2 (Knack) = +8
    • Reflex +2 (6 CP) +0 (Dex) +2 (Knack) = +4
    • Will +2 (6 CP) +1 (Wis) +2 (Knack) = +5
  • Proficiencies: None.
  • Initiative: +0 (Dex)
  • Move: 40 (four legs, 20 on three or less), Flight 40 (Perfect, +8 on Fly Checks).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +4 (Shimmer Mail) +4 (Martial Art) = 18

Other Abilities (78 CP):

  • Adept (Perform/Acting, Wing Dancer Martial Art, Diplomacy, and Bluff, 6 CP).
  • Luck (6 CP) with +12 Bonus Uses Specialized in Saving Throws (9 CP), +8 Bonus Uses Specialized in Skills and Checks (6 CP), and +4 Bonus Uses Specialized in Attacks (3 CP). This is spectacularly unexciting, but quite useful. When it’s really important… Somnambula pretty much ALWAYS pulls through.
  • Mystic Artist (Perform / Acting), Specialized for Double Effect (double potency of effects) and Corrupted for 2/3’rds cost (4 CP); The initial activation requires at least three minutes of exposure to the user’s performance, only allows the use of Inspiration and Synergy Mystic Artist Abilities (never Manipulation), can only produce beneficial effects, and requires a compatible alignment and general philosophy to take effect on listeners.
    • Basic Modifier / Echoes, Specialized and Corrupted: Does not work with advanced mystic artist abilities, only allows the use of Inspiration and Synergy Mystic Artist Abilities (never Manipulation), can only produce beneficial effects, and requires a compatible alignment and general philosophy to take effect on listeners (2 CP).
      • Somnambula’s entire life, like Pinkie Pie’s, is basically performance art – in her case, outrageous optimism, bubbly good cheer, and a deep surety that everything will turn out all right in the end.
  • Harmonic Convergence: Mana Powered Innate Spell / High Prayer (The Practical Enchanter, basically a double-strength Prayer) L5, reduced to L3 by costing 5 Mana instead of 2 to cast (6 CP),
  • Indefatigable Optimism: Augmented Bonus / Adds (Con Mod) to Charisma-based skills (6 CP).
  • Universal Jack Of All Trades (12 CP): +1 to all Charisma-Based Skills, effectively has one skill rank in all unrestricted skills – avoiding the -3 penalty for being unskilled. Somnambula is annoying that way; she can throw together a good legal defense, sail a ship, analyze molecular structures, cut gems, forge swords, and do pretty much anything else with great competency based on nothing more than luck and a positive attitude.
  • Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus (Adds Cha Mod to Int Mod for skill purposes), Specialized and Corrupted/only applies up to level five, only for calculating skill points, points may only be spent on Charisma-based skills (6 CP).
  • Occult Skill / Narrative, with +3 SP on paying off the “irrelevant” surcharge (6 CP).
  • Occult Skill / Stealing The Scene, with +3 SP on paying off the “irrelevant” surcharge (6 CP).

Skills (42 Skill Points Total):

  • Bluff +6 (3*SP) +4 (Cha) +4 (Con) +3 (Tem) +1 (JOT)= +18
  • Diplomacy +6 (3*SP) +4 (Cha) +4 (Con) +3 (Tem) +1 (JOT) = +18
  • Flight +6 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +1 (Dex) +8 (Perfect Man) +3 (Tem) = +22
  • Knowledge/Nature (Specialized for Double Effect in Weather Prediction and air-related phenomena) +6 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +1 (Int) = +10, effectively +20.
  • Linguistics +2 (2 SP) +1 (Int) = +3. Somnambula speaks three extra languages.
  • Narrative +6 (6 SP) +4 (Cha) +4 (Con) +1 (JOT) = +15
  • Perform/Acting +6 (3* SP) +4 (Cha) +3 (Tem) +4 (Con) +1 (JOT) = +22
    • Mystic Artist Abilities (9): Inspiration: Competence, Greatness, Excellence, Mass Greatness, and Mass Excellence. Synergy: Group Focus, Amplify, Harmonize, and Serenity.
  • Perform/Dance +1 (1 SP) +4 (Cha) +4 (Con) +1 (JOT) +2 (Syn) = +12
  • Perform/Singing +1 (1 SP) +4 (Cha) +4 (Con) +2 (Race) +1 (JOT) = +12
  • Rune Magic/Air Casting +6 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +4 (Cha) +4 (Con) +1 (JOT) = +18
  • Rune Magic/Air Mastery +6 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +4 (Cha) +4 (Con) +1 (JOT) = +18
  • Spot +1 (JOT) +1 (Wis) +2 (Race) = +4, extra +6 only to counter penalties for range and atmospheric conditions.
  • Stealing The Scene +6 (6 SP) +4 (Con) = +10
  • Wing Dancer +6 (3* SP) +4 (Cha) +4 (Con) +3 (Tem) +1 (JOT) = +18
    • Known Techniques (9): Defenses 4, Mind Like Moon, Synergy (Dance), Instant Stand, Inner Strength, and Healing Hand. This gives her just a bit of healing ability and considerable skill at dodging attacks.

+3 Skill Specialities: Air Mastery / creating pressure waves (1 SP), Offering Good Advice (1 SP),

Somnambula’s Glowpaz Necklace:

“Glowpaz” is a greenish crystal that is apparently plot-luminescent. It glows brightly when given as an award, somewhat when the bearer needs light, and apparently not much at all when the bearer is trying to be sneaky – but I’m going to presume that it’s based on the will of whoever’s holding the stuff rather than on plot points and that the Prince who gave it to her wanted it to glow brightly. In Eclipse terms, it’s a relic:

  • +2 in Charisma Based Rune Magic/Light Magic Mastery and Casting, Specialized for Reduced Cost / only to generate basic light effects (no worthwhile illusions, hypnosis, etc – although a Color Spray would work), does not stack with similar items or actually having the skill, and Corrupted for Increased Effect (the user need not spend Mana to produce illuminating effects (2 CP).

As a “natural” relic, this has an effective cost of 1/3’rd point (generally rounding down to 0) and will allow anyone with a +0 or better Charisma Modifier to generate cantrip level light effects at caster level one. Those with a +2 or more can get first level effects at higher caster levels. Somnambula, with an effective +9 for charisma-based skills due to her Indefatigable Optimism and Jack Of All Trades abilities, can generate second level light effects at caster level five.

  • Larger chunks of Glowpaz or collections of smaller pieces can fairly readily be turned into slightly more powerful (1 CP) relics – providing a +8 base in Light Magic Mastery and Casting as above, but otherwise essentially the same. If the necklace is this powerful, Somnambula will have an effective skill of +17 – enough to generate fourth level light effects at an effective caster level of eight. That’s sufficient for effects like Brightest Light, Celestial Brilliance, and Wrathful Mantle (at least if the game master feels that it fits under “basic light effects”. It is a fairly good candidate for her anti-dream/undead/whatever burst however).

Somnambula is, of course, the party bard. She isn’t bad on her own, but she really shines when she’s boosting the rest of the party; After all, she can use Harmonize to combine double-strength Mass Excellence (Two +8 Bonuses – Saves? AC? Attributes? Attacks? Damage? All good!) and Mass Greatness (two positive levels and 2d10 temporary hit points) – triggering it with a quip or phrase. Then she can stack a double-strength Prayer effect on top of that. That’s pretty impressive even by superheroic standards – enough to make a bunch of random villagers into a reasonably effective force.

Ponies Of The Eclipse – Flash Magnus, the Pillar of Bravery

A thousand years ago Flash was a cadet in the Royal Legion of Cloudsdale – which really tells us very little. Still, even today, most “cadets” are teenage trainees, Cloudsdale is just one city (and so probably had a relatively small military, accounting for some of that organizations apparent informality), and Equestria’s Rank-And-File seems to be expected to take charge whenever danger pops up – which is sort of a “Junior Officer” role.

So, when a problem pops up in Equestria, the nearest individual(s) with combat training take charge of the civilians. They draft those with useful abilities to help deal with whatever it is and get the ones without useful talents out of the way. This would never work in real life – but ponies are clearly labeled, hard to seriously injure, recover quickly, and almost never get killed, so drafting suitable bystander to help deal with a monster or other emergency is actually fairly reasonable.

This also explains why Twilight and company tend to wind up dealing with monsters attacking Ponyville; Twilight has authority over the local guards by virtue of being a princess and probably has some training. Celestia would have to be pretty silly to have totally neglected a students physical education and basic combat training when she knew that said student might have to fight Nightmare Moon – and she’d probably pick up some more from simply being around Shining Armor. Ergo, if there’s a monster attack, and Twilight is available… she grabs the people nearby with useful talents (such as her generally-exceptional friends) and they deal with it. Similarly, Applejack – who is the best qualified to deal with it – deals with a stampede and the Mayor presumably does the paperwork.

Finally, this makes trying to take a detachment of six pegasi – at least three of them partially-trained youngsters – through the Dragon Territories, and then leaving one of the kids in charge of the rescue plan when the dragons do attack, make some trace of sense. Dragons or not, the pegasi weren’t expecting any trouble – and when there was trouble, the one who stayed to face it and came up with a plan was automatically assumed to be in charge – cadet or not.

It also explains why there was no trouble over him “violating orders” to help out a griffon village later on. He was there, he took charge, and it worked out – making him right. No real-world military could function that way, but given ponies, the magic of friendship and harmony, and what’s basically a town militia, it’s at least comprehensible.

As for his actual abilities… He doesn’t really seem to be on the top end of the normal-pegasus scale for speed, or militarized weather manipulation, or even combat skill – although he’s presumably at least decent at all of them. He doesn’t actually seem to be terribly bright either, but he does mean well – and in Equestria that goes quite a long way all by itself. He IS fast, evasive, reasonably strong, quite acrobatic, and lightning-resistant, but the only thing he’s got that pretty much every other military-trained pegasus doesn’t have is a magic shield – and he has to get that into position; it doesn’t automatically protect him.

And there’s a reason for that.

If you’re nigh invulnerable, or have powers far beyond those around you, or your defenses aren’t always at risk of failing… you don’t NEED bravery. THAT is why Flash Magnus is pretty much a normal pegasus pony with a neat shield – because if he doesn’t get the shield in position in time (a risk with every attack made against him) he’s going to get hurt. Probably not too badly given that he IS a pony and they’re pretty tough anyway, but just a little bad luck – such as missing several times in a row – could easily bring him down. That is what makes being at the forefront, being the bait, and being the first into danger, an act of courage rather than basic tactics.

So what we have here is Captain America with wings. All-around competent, and with reasonable tactical skills (at least for a setting where you can’t do anything that would confuse a small girl too much), a valued member of the Pillars because of his courage, determination, loyalty, and being the only one who has any real idea what he or she is doing in a fight.

Secondarily, he hasn’t wandered the world extensively like Mistmane or Mage Meadowbrook or (especially!) Starswirl The Bearded even if he did start off with a solo encounter with some dragons and then participated in a few group encounters with Gryphon diplomacy, the Pillars against the Sirens, and so on. Ergo, level three, or ECL 4 with the +1 ECL Pegasus Pony package.

Flash Magnus, Pillar Of Bravery

Level Three (ECL 4) Pegasus Military Officer

.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 Flash Magnus we’ll be taking +2 Dexterity and Internal Compass (so that he never gets lost).

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 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. For Flash I’ve rolled 8 – at the high end of the usual pool.
  • Get a +2 Racial Bonus to Perform/Sing

To summarize the Pegasus Subrace Modifiers:

  • 40′ Flight, with perfect maneuverability
  • Cloud-Walking
  • Adept (Rune Magic/Air, Mastery and Casting, Flight, and Knowledge/Nature (Specialized for Double Effect in Weather Prediction and air-related phenomena).
  • +3 Racial Bonus on all Adept Skills (effectively +6 for the specialized Survival)
  • Damage from high-speed collisions, crashes, and similar impacts is one-fourth normal to a maximum of 6d6.
  • Resist Lightning 10 (stacks with general energy resistance).
  • +2 racial bonus to Spot (Perception in Pathfinder).
  • Additional +6 Racial Bonus to Spot (Perception)/Specialized, only to make up for range, fog, and other atmospheric penalties (3 CP).

Yes, that’s a whole bunch of racial stuff. That’s because ponies come with a whole load of powers and abilities straight out of the box, even if taking them out of the box does make them a lot less collectible.

Base Attributes: Str 13, Dex 16 (-2 Pony +2 Knack = 16), Con 14 (+2 Pony +2 Magic = 18), Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 12 (+2 Magic = 14) (Pathfinder 25-Point Buy).

Available Character Points: 96 (Level Three Base) +6 (Disadvantages: History and Foolhardy – a version of Insane) +6 (Duties to the Cloudsdale Military) +12 (L1 and L3 Bonus Feats) = 120 CP.

Basic Abilities (66 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 23 (L1-3, d8, 12 CP) +20 (12 + 2 x Con Mod Template) +12 (3 x Com Mod) = 55 HP. Usually starts with three additional temporary hit points from Personal Greater Heroism.
  • Skill Points: 12 (Purchased, 12 CP) + 6 (Int) + 18 (Augmented Bonus) = 36 SP.
  • BAB +2 (12 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude +0 (0 CP) +4 (Con) +4 (Resistance) +4 (Morale) = +12
    • Reflex +4 (12 CP) +3 (Dex) +4 (Resistance) +4 (Morale) = +15
    • Will +2 (6 CP) +1 (Wis) +4 (Resistance) +4 (Morale) = +11
  • Proficiencies: All Simple and Pegasi Weapons plus Shields (12 CP).
  • Initiative: +3 (Dex)
  • Move: 40 (four legs, 20 on three or less), Flight 40 (Perfect, +8 on Fly Checks).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) + 3 (Dex) +4 (Shimmer Mail) +3 (Martial Art) (Usually) +4 (Shield Bonus from air-based Force Shield effect) = 24.

Usual Weapons:

  • Strike: +9 (+2 BAB +1 Str +2 Martial Art +4 Morale), 1d4+1 (Str) +4 (Morale) (may add +3d6 Concussive Strike, for 1 Mana), Crit 20/x2 plus Fort DC 16 Blinding Strike. May inflict Lethal or Nonlethal Damage and make a Whirlwind Attack. Counts as being armed or unarmed as desired.
  • Javelin: +11 (+2 BAB +3 Dex +2 Martial Art +4 Morale), 1d8 +1 (Str) +4 (Morale), Crit 20/x2, Range 30. May spend 1 Mana on a wind assist to add +1d8+1 damage, raise the range to 120, and increase the critical range to 19-20/x2. With his Tulthara Charm (see Equipment, below) he may opt to inflict lethal or nonlethal damage and will never run out of Javelins.

Other Abilities:

  • Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus (Adds Dex Mod to Int Mod for skill purposes), Specialized and Corrupted/only applies up to level five, only for calculating skill points (6 CP).
  • Adept: Acrobatics, one Wind Gallop Martial Art, Knowledge /Military Tactics, History, and Gear and Perception (6 CP).
  • Skills (All save Rune Magic skills +4 Morale):

Purchased Skills:

  • Acrobatics +6 (3* SP) +3 (Dex) +3 (Tem) = +16
  • Flight 6 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +3 (Dex) +3 (Tem) +8 (Perfect Man) = +27
  • Javelin Storm Style Martial Art +6 (6 SP) +3 (Dex) = +13
    • Abilities (7): Attack 2, Power 1, Crippling, Expertise (may trade off attack bonus for AC), Inner Strength, and Vanishing.
  • Knowledge/Nature (Specialized in Weather for double effect) +12 (6) (3* SP) +6 (3) Race = +22
  • Knowledge/Military Tactics, History, and Gear +6 (3* SP) +1 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +14
  • Perception +6 (3* SP) +1 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +14 (Additional +6 versus atmospheric penalties).
  • Perform/Sing +2 (2 SP) +3 (Cha) +2 (Race) = +7
  • Rune Magic/Air Casting +6 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +2 (Cha) = +11. Effective Caster Level 5.
  • Rune Magic/Air Mastery +6 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +2 (Cha) = +11. May use second level effects.
  • Stealth +4 (4 SP) +3 (Dex) = +11
  • Wind Gallop Martial Art +6 (3* SP) +3 (Tem) +3 (Dex) = +16
    • Abilities (8): Defenses 3, Attack 2, Strike, Blinding Strike, and Whirlwind Attack.
  • Fortune (Evasion Variant, 6 CP). If Flash makes a successful Reflex save he takes no damage. This is actually pretty normal for combat-trained Pegasus Ponies: “no be there” seems to be one of their major defensive strategies.
  • Reflex Training: Combat Reflexes Variant (+3 Attacks of Opportunity per round) (6 CP).

Pony names tend to be pretty descriptive and fairly often tell us something about their personal talents – and here we have Flash (“a brief burst of energy”) and Magnus (“the great”) for a name. Moreover, he seems to be a pegasus-style Paladin; a guardian who will always place himself between friends, innocents, and the helpless, and any danger. So…

Flash

  • Opportunist: Can use a personal-enhancement air magic effect of up to level two as a part of another physical action (6 CP). He usually uses this to pull off incredible acrobatics, make instant high-speed aerial turns, boost his armor class, boost his speed, expand his physical attacks to affect a small area (knocking down a line of creatures by flying through them or spinning to affect a small radius). boosting the impact of one of his attacks, or similar tricks.
  • Reflex Training, Three Action Per Day Variant, Specialized for Increased Effect (provides a full round action, but can only be used when heroically going to the rescue of someone else, 6 CP).

Magnus:

  • Mana-Powered Inherent Spells:
    • Greater Warding Rune (The Practical Enchanter, L3, reduced to L2 by costing 3 Mana, adds +4 + (CL/6) Resistance Bonus to Saves for one minute per level, 6 CP).
    • Personal Greater Heroism (The Practical Enchanter, L4, reduced to L2 by costing 4 Mana, +4 morale bonus on attack rolls, saves, checks, and weapon damage, immunity to fear effects, and temporary hit points equal to the caster level, Max 20. Lasts ten minutes per level, 6 CP)
    • Greater Blink (d20 base, L5, reduced to L2 by costing 5 Mana. Note that this is more than he has available from the Superheroic Template with his Constitution Modifier, so this is a limited-use effect that taps into his personal mana reserve – albeit by only one point. His special effects run more towards moving in and out of cover, moving so fast that opponents cant keep track of him, and vanishing into the shadows than becoming invisible, but the mechanics are the same (6 CP).

Netitus

Flash’s shield was capable of (mostly) protecting him from Dragonfire and the Siren’s magical (sonic?) blasts and survived being used as a dragon plaything. Ergo, the shield itself is close to indestructible and will protect the user from a good deal of energy damage and at least some simple physical damage if properly deployed. It’s obviously a Relic, and the build looks like this:

  • Returning, Specialized for Reduced Cost / does not apply to the user, simply renders the shield itself nigh-indestructible (3 CP). There are, of course, ways to destroy it – but none that are likely to come up in combat.
  • Immunity to Energy Damage (Very Common, Major, Minor), Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (36 points)/ user must be able to raise the shield against an incoming attack, must expend an Attack of Opportunity, and must successfully make a DC 20 Reflex Save to make use of this immunity (10 CP).
  • Immunity to Physical Damage (Very Common, Major, Trivial), Specialized for Increased Effect and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (10 points of protection, 3 CP).
  • Blessing, Specialized for Increased Effect (May protect a small area) and Corrupted for Reduced Costs / only to allow the user to extend the two immunities above to one or more persons behind him or her if it is successfully used against an area effect attack (4 CP).

With a net cost of 20 CP, this is a 3 CP Relic – in a setting where characters may have up to 4 CP worth. Given that the build for Mage Meadowbrook included the ability to equip her companions with a single 1 CP relic each, this works out perfectly. It’s also pretty much a build for Captain America’s shield, but the resemblance is hard to deny anyway.

Other Equipment:

  • Charms: Cleansing Wand, Contraceptive Charm, Ditty Bag, Firespice Shakers, Fireworks Pouch, Sovereign Ointment, and a Tulthara (creates Javelins “made of lightning” which may inflict lethal or nonlethal damage at the user’s option).
  • Talismans: Helm Of War, Mother’s Tears Amulet, and Shimmer Mail.
  • Outside of the usual basic supplies (some rope, rations, a water bottle, personal items, and the rest of a basic travel kit) Flash – like most ponies – really doesn’t use a lot of equipment.

Flash Magnus is fundamentally very different from his companions. They were all solo heroes to start with – while Magnus was a Soldier. He’s competent in a wide variety of tactical roles, he can use weapons other than his favorites, and if confronting major monsters his reaction is not to confront them directly with his massive magical power, it’s to pull them into a trap set up by his comrades. In a team full of rugged individualists used to adventuring on their own, Flash Magnus is the one who keeps them organized and on-mission rather than each doing their own thing.

For further development… his biggest needs are more attacks (Personal Haste if the game master is willing to put up with it, Bonus Attack otherwise), better saves to make the use of his Shield more reliable, and pumping up his Constitution and Dexterity a bit. Otherwise he’s really quite competent; Pegasus Air Magic has a wide variety of combat applications, his attacks are already pretty good, he has ranged options, he has melee options, he’s highly mobile, and Netitus will – with a little luck – let him tank a good bit of incoming damage.

Prince Blueblood’s Aggravating Pony Overlord List Part VI – The Mendaciously Meandering Miasmic Morus Maze of Meticulously Mangled Mutinous Management Maxims

Previously on the Aggravating Pony Overlord Channel…

  1. If someone says “This isn’t a cartoon!” I will glance at myself and say “Really?” in a questioning tone. If they have been amusing enough so far I will add a horrified “OH NOOOOOOO!!!!” and teleport away, leaving only a slowly dissolving after-image of myself with an expression of horror on it’s face!
  2. If any of my kids fall in love, I will make sure that their crush is a reasonably decent sort and is not just using them! If that checks out, the pair (or group, it’s not like I don’t keep a harem!) will be supplied with plentiful travel funds, reservations wherever, contraceptives (if desired) and toys of choice (if any) and told to go for it! Sex is fun, grandchildren are great, and it’s not like I’M a model of decorum!
  3. If I am confronting an Eldritch Abomination I shall remember that I qualify as a Cute Eldritch Abomination myself, and there shall be tea and cookies! And possibly dancing! I haven’t done the Lord Of The Shoggoths Line Dance Show since the last Eldritch Elder Invasion!
  4. If dealing with Vampires, Werewolves, Mummies, or some similar potentially sensible horror-movie creature I will talk first! If forced, I will point out that – while they are good at terrorizing normal humans – I am at LEAST a cartoon superhero wizard and can put them in the core of the sun, toss them into a black hole, or banish them to some eldritch elder dimension if I have to!
  5. I shall train my own ninja, pirates, and ninja-pirates, starting with adorably fluffy kittens and puppies! That way when my ninja puppy trips an opponent out a window, cuddles will be entirely appropriate!
  6. I will disguise myself (perhaps with a mustache, hat, or glasses!) and join any team of heroes gathered to oppose me, proclaiming myself to be my heroic dimensional alternate, a counterbalancing mystic force, arcane rival, or some such! That will let me know what’s going on, help keep the heroes gainfully employed, and – if and when I successfully help overthrow myself – I will be starting off in the upper tier of the successor government and will doubtless be the only one with administrative skills, and so I shall continue my rule with a fresh start, new public support, friendly heroes, and without interruption!
  7. I will encourage my kids to be rebellious scamps who sneak out to go adventuring – but only after I have arranged for some reasonable form of immortality for them and a nigh-unbreakable magical link so that I can pull them out of messes! But I will mostly get the heroes to do it! They will never be able to resist rescuing a bunch of youngsters running away from an Evil Overlord if no one tells them that they’re trying to escape school and bedtime! Of course, if any of the kids turn out to be incompetent dimwits, I shall shunt them to suitable pointless positions! I am an Aggravating Overlord, I can be as nepotistic as I wish, and they’re still my kids!
  8. I shall not be a corrupt CEO or any other style of corrupt leader! I am a Wealthy, Immortal, Decadent, Pleasure-Seeking, Superheroic Unicorn Wizard! What will being corrupt get me that I can’t have already anyway? Smoother ice cream?
  9. Trampling my foes beneath my hooves will ruin my hooficure! Blood splatters look terrible on my coat! Screams of agony spoil the music! There will be none of that barbaric nonsense in my realm! If something along those lines is absolutely required for some reason there is always Vogon Poetry!
  10. If I am told that I am an alien, descendant of an eldritch power, heir to something, the prophesied one, part of some deal with the underworld, or anything similar, I will start laughing! I escaped from a cartoon into reality and created both myself and fifty generations of my family history from pure fanfiction and egotism, and I didn’t include any of THAT nonsense! (Except when I did! I am a Cartoon! Consistency is not one of my major attributes!)
  11. I will hit on female opponents with combat propositions! They’re already attacking me, so what have I got to lose? And it’s not like anyone can seriously attack someone who is currently reeling from a smack with a hammerspace mallet! It would be unsporting and would break the running gag!
  12. I will knock loudly – and repeatedly – and announce my presence before entering a sauna, bath, hot pool, or similar establishment . This will save me from getting unavoidably whacked with hammers and things until I’ve had time to actually make at least one indecent proposition!
  13. I will not go for the domineering, master of sex slaves routine, or any similar perverse cliche, unless some of the mares in the harem request them for a role-playing night! It’s not like I have any shortage of willing partners who want to try out quirks!
  14. Listen very carefully, I shall say ‘zis only once! Watching the heroes try to figure out just what you might be suggesting with an innuendo involving wet celery, egg whisks, and flying helmets is amusing enough that I shall use the mysterious perverse quirk routine! After all, it worked for Allo Allo!
  15. My allies do not all have to be ponies! Griffins and other monsters work fine too! There is much to be said for diversity and a combined lack-of-arms strategy!
  16. If I am having a flashback, I shall drag everyone else into it with me! I am immune to paradox, but I bet that most of the heroes are not!
  17. If the heroes attempt to send a comic relief character who always bumbles their way to victory against me, I shall allow the kids to join the ensuing pie fight and clown-off, with the victor being whoever can raise the most money for charity! Given that my funds are nigh limitless and that the power of heart will be on my side, my “victory” is inevitable – and the comic relief can return to the heroes and announce that he or she was defeated, but the battle nevertheless raised a great deal of money for orphaned children!
  18. Fanboys and Fangirls will be offered harem jobs if they’re qualified and cute enough! If they are not they will be sent to places so distant that no one there has ever heard of me to spread the word (whatever they think THAT to be). Hero-worshiping playthings can be a lot of fun and it’s not like they’re ever going to be anything but a hindrance in any other role!
  19. If I am (somehow!) actually being overthrown and cannot escape, I will act like a petulant five year old and embarrass the heroes as much as possible! If I can manage to convince them that I have been a disposable figurehead all along, so much the better. To this end, there will be some sinister figure lurking nearby, to attack (machine gun, grenades, whatever) and injure (but certainly not kill) both some heroes AND myself, shout something unintelligible about “DOOM!”, and then make a cackling escape of its own. Given that this will be a well-shielded summoning protected from divination, and will vanish as soon as it’s out of sight, they will never catch it!
  20. If I ever feel the need to wear a mask, it will be a classic domino affair, suitable for parties or Zorro! It will be conceal my identity just as well as some elaborate demonic mask of power (Unicorn, remember?), is far less likely to attract swords of bullets, and is far, FAR, more stylish! And, as a bonus, you can nuzzle other ponies just fine while wearing it!
  21. The only acceptable reason for approaching the Moral Event Horizon is to cast “Reverse Gravity” on the ethical singularity, and ascend past wherever the heroes stand on the good-guy scale on the resulting cosmic eruption of virtue, thus leaving them with no reason to object to my sudden transcendence!
  22. If someone actually manages to badly hurt me, I shall do a dramatic death scene and dissolve into little sparkling lights. I regenerate quickly – even if killed – ANYWAY and I do need to use SOME special effect for my teleportation and dimension hopping! Who says that it CAN’T it be “leaving everyone with the impression of a dramatic death scene”?
  23. I am not limited by logistics, rationality, or sanity, and I shall not assume that the heroes are either! Numbers mean nothing! Of course, if I am up against a reasonable hero, there is something to be said for targeting his ammunition dumps, food stores, fuel reserves, and other supplies. Reasonable heroes seem to think that they need that kind of stuff!
  24. Family time takes priority over nefarious plotting! When I am busy attending a wedding, birthday, anniversary, or any other events important to wives, concubines, or children, the heroes can just come back tomorrow! After all, if they try anything at that point, they will be on the wrong side of so many tropes that I probably will not have to lift a hoof! Which is good, because one is occupied with a mare and the other with my drink!
  25. If a popular and known-to-be-fictional hero appears to stop me, I shall play along with their cliches rather than getting into an existential debate! After all, I’M fictional and I managed to sneak into reality, so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have managed it too!
  26. Non one ever defeats an Overlord until he or she has used every weapon in his or her arsenal! So I will have a wide variety of powers (and every possible flavor of pie) and will keep adding more – including some that I can swap out! That way any heroes will have to work their way through an infinite list before they can defeat me!
  27. I will not attempt to “steal” Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Hannukkah, Memorial Day, Boxing Day, Independence Day, or any other popular holiday! Instead I shall invite their avatars over for tea and become well-known for my generous support of such festivities! For no attack launched on someone celebrating a holiday is ever successful and that will both give me a day off and provide a reasonable chance of watching the heroes battle Santa or the Easter Bunny! The home movies will keep me laughing for YEARS!
  28. Super-Soldiers, Proud-Warrior-Race-Guys, and Villainous Henchmen only become effective AFTER they turn on their Creators, Manipulators, or Masters! Therefore I shall only recruit them on the rebound from whoever was trying to use them! Then they can teach the kids!
  29. I shall study the Greats! Overlords like Aku, Bavmorda, Ahab, Hook, Jareth, Megamind, Zod, Kurgan, Kahn, and Ming! They REALLY knew how to ham it up and chew the scenery – and I am quite possibly MADE OF HAM and I EAT scenery!
  30. If a serious villain turns up to spread evil and misery, or kidnaps one of my kids, or otherwise interrupts my aggravating overlordship, I shall join forces with the heroes right away! After all, I am protected from heroism by the power of the farce – and can give the heroes a nice fruit basket! But when it comes to defeating serious villains, that’s what heroes do!
  31. I will keep the air conditioner running, levels of alcohol in my system that would be lethal for any normal creature, and enjoy my ability to always stay nice and clean and my cartoon immunity to disease! Whatever it is that causes Villain Decay, I’m not catching it!
  32. If the heroes are the offspring of my lieutenants, I shall ensure that they get safe visitation days and college funds and give their younger siblings having part-time jobs as pages in my household so that they can throw water balloons at their older siblings whenever they get too serious. Nothing spoils a heroic narrative like a six-year-old sibling with a water balloon!
  33. If someone leaves a giant statue of me or any other creature outside my gates I will call up some builders and landscapers and turn it into the centerpiece of a carnival honoring myself! If someone is hiding inside, I will ensure that the exit is stuck until the evening rush and that all nearby restrooms are coin operated!
  34. If a God or Goddess is intervening to assist my opponents I will adjourn to the realms of the gods to find out what their problem is! I don’t stick my nose into THEIR portfolios, and even if I’m not a member of THEIR pantheon, I expect a similar level of respect when I’m being aggravating! Which is in itself aggravating! RECURSION FOR THE WIN!
  35. All the enhancement potions, super-soldier serums, and similar boosting effects that I give to my minions will be short-term only. Anyone who wants something permanent will have to buy it in the gift shop or volunteer to get experimented on! After all, such things ALWAYS exact a price proportionate to the power that they provide, and better it be “powered up for a few hours before taking a day off to sleep” than “go permanently insane with permanent super powers” unless that’s really what they want!
  36. Traveling performers and such can book the music hall down the block! If they want to perform for ME they can get accredited, build up a reputation and a repertoire, submit an application and a proposal, and go through a security check just like everyone else! Or they can get a recommendation from Leisure Suit Larry! Whichever!.
  37. If some mystic balance must be maintained, I will have a mechanic check it over and then set it spinning! Gyroscopes are a lot more stable! And it can’t be me upsetting it anyway! There are PLENTY of things out there that AREN’T aggravating to balance out me!
  38. If I am having a tantrum, my minions will be fully authorized to hit ME with a pie, and will have orders to do so! Tantrums aren’t really much fun anyway and pie fights make an excellent countermeasure!
  39. I will abuse time travel to train with the great masters! Not only are the arts a nice hobby but it will let me buy a lot of otherwise unknown original works at discount prices to decorate my residence with! Go ahead, blow the place up, destroy priceless pieces of history! At least until I abuse time travel some more to get them back!
  40. If confronted with a sealed cosmic power in a can, an omnipotent artifact of doom, or any similar macguffin I will add a minor fascination charm and a cigarette-lighter charm to it and use it to get free drinks and break the ice with women! The accumulated sleaze will soon drain all narrative importance from it and give me plenty of time to find out if the obvious booby trap is actually somehow useful!
  41. My citizens shall be well-educated, so that any would-be rebels will be able to realize that the odds are against them and that they have hundreds of other options! That way they can bog down endlessly in debates, discussions, and petitions!
  42. If I am engaged in a war, SOMEONE is losing their job! All conflicts come down to a tiny band of heroic adventurers against me anyway, so wars are pointless, messy, and wasteful! Why not just skip to the main event and let the taxpayers (and those cute new girls in my harem) get on with their jobs!
  43. If some terrible entity demands a sacrificial victim that has some special quality, I shall find a more reasonable entity that is willing to take a retainer and work for cash or just for the LOL’s! It’s a big multiverse and there is no need to work with obnoxious, demanding, occult entities when there are plenty of more reasonable ones out there!
  44. There is nothing like existential confusion to aggravate people! I shall leave both my subjects and the heroes opposing me hopelessly confused at every opportunity; and preferably unsure as to whether I am good or evil or just crazy! Consistency is for Overlords who aren’t cartoons!
  45. I will ensure that all heroes have evil (and grandstanding, if not especially effective) twins and vice versa! It will help keep things interesting if no one knows who is who!
  46. I will have an Evil Grand Vizier, of the sort who will advise everyone that he or she is a treacherous master of exotic poisons, twirl his villainous mustache or peer through her villainous spectacles at them, and then offer everyone tea and cookies that he or she had especially made!
  47. When some terrible quest needs to be accomplished, I shall send off the youngest kid who’s successfully completed an immortality ritual and a linking effect! Those things are most fun when you’re young and it’s always the youngest one who goes who succeeds anyway! I shall also give them a cat! Those always help!
  48. I will invite a selection of witches, fairy godmothers, mysterious gypsies, and similar occult types to my kids parties! Some suitably modified curses and blessings make a fine basis for pretty much any fantastic fantasy career!
  49. If any gods or goddesses want me to judge something, or decide who is best at something, or otherwise settle something, I shall remain utterly flippant! If they wanted a serious opinion on something they wouldn’t have come to ME!
  50. There shall be monster preserves with a limited number of no-kill monster fighting permits available for heroes to practice their skills! You never know when you’re going to need either a hero or a monster or a pair of them who have had a recent bonding experience!

And hopefully the various time-sinks that have kept me from writing for the past month have been dealt with…