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.

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2 Responses

  1. Another fine write-up! My one question would be how her blindfold factors into things, since that (and not her necklace) was apparently the relic that contained some of her power. That doesn’t really make much sense, of course, unless you interpret her trial of walking blindfolded as being like sleepwalking, hence her name (and even then, it’s still not a very good reason for having her blindfold be so important).

    • Well, I’m glad you liked it!

      Personally I’d say that most of the items used as “keys” were things tied to the Pillars legends, rather than necessarily to their personal power.After all…

    • Rockhoof apparently had to make a new shovel fairly regularly and there was nothing very special about them – but “his” shovel was a major bit of his legend.
    • Sommnambula’s blindfold was important to her story – but it was just a piece of cloth tied on her by an opponent, not something she’d put power into.
    • Mage Meadowbrooks mask was a present from her mother, but there was no indication of it being anything more than a tool. It was important to her story though.
    • Netitus was apparently carried by many pegasi, it wasn’t exclusive to Flash Magnus. It played a major role in his legend though.
    • Mistmane’s flower was both important to her legend and something she poured her power into (otherwise it wouldn’t have remained fresh and vital for a thousand years) – so it was both.
    • Starswirls Journal is more dubious – it was linked to him, at least up until he vanished into limbo – but Starswirl was legendary for his books and research. The journal provided Twilight and company with vital clues, but I’m not sure that any of the stuff Starswirl personally wrote wouldn’t have done as a key.
    • So basically, all of the items were tied to the Pillar’s legends – but only three were actually magical, and only two of the three magical devices were really personalized. Ergo, my best guess is that it was the legend that was important. That’s still just a personal opinion though.

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