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.

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2 Responses

  1. Nice to see the rest of the Pillars getting stats!

    Reading this over, I realized something: Netitus, as listed, is a potent relic, but doesn’t actually serve as a mundane shield in any capacity. That is, it provides no shield bonus to AC, has no armor check penalty or % chance of arcane spell failure, etc. Is that by design? I know Flash wouldn’t get any bonus (due to his force shield from his air-based magic), but it strikes me as a bit odd that the shield-relic doesn’t function as a normal shield, even if it has other ways of protecting you.

    • That’s more-or-less what the physical damage blocking is for; if you get the shield into position, you take less damage – which seemed like just as reasonable a way to portray a shields mundane value as an armor class bonus. After all, since the thing is indestructible, and thus need not be very heavy, using it isn’t necessarily equivalent to using a “normal” shield.

      That being said, I did consider stating that it functioned as a normal shield – but that would get entangled with “what kind”, “is it masterwork”, and “does being indestructible and thin equate to a special material?” Ergo… I just went with the damage blocking.

      And I hope that helps!

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