Ponies Of The Eclipse – Stygian and The Pony Of Shadows

After the write-ups for the six Pillars of Old Equestria Alzrius requested a writeup for Stygian, the Pony Of Shadows – and so here we go. As always, the first thing to do is to look at what Stygian and The Pony Of Shadows are actually shown doing – admittedly, mostly in campfire tales and in the My Little Pony: Legends Of Magic comic book series.

  • To start with the obvious, pony names are often pretty good indicators of their talents. Stygian is “of or relating to the river/deity Styx”- a part of the Greek underworld, associated with darkness, witchcraft, and hidden lore, and with dark waters that granted near-invulnerability,. That’s really rather suggestive. Moreover, Equestria includes Tartarus (another part of the Greek Underworld), Minotaurs, Centaurs, Hydra, Manticores, and more – all elements of Greek Mythology made real and tangible in the setting. It may be worth taking Greek Mythology references fairly seriously.
  • Stygians Cutie Mark has never been revealed. He covers it all the time, just like Sombra. That’s also rather suggestive, and more than a bit ominous.
  • Stygian is supposed to be fairly young. Of course, given that it’s a kids show, most of the characters are fairly young – so this isn’t exactly a power unless he’s immortal as the Pony Of Shadows. (The Pony Of Shadows was no longer in charge when his world was revisited more than a thousand years later – it had apparently been taken over by an alternate version of Discord – but we aren’t exactly shown that much of the alternate world in either case and we’re not told why there was a change).
  • Stygian is an expert on the sea, biology, and folktales, is at least competent at strategy and tactics (that’s probably pretty rare among generally-peaceful ponies) and astronomy, and is apparently quite knowledgeable about the various creatures of Equestria. That’s more than a bit weird for a villager. Serious scholarship kind of calls for either access to libraries, mentors, and support for your studies or a great deal of natural talent in a field to develop everything from scratch (and is likely to go badly wrong even then; Aristotle was very clever, but most of his “scholarship” was very badly flawed, to say the least). Secondarily, that’s a LOT of fields of study for a youngster with no resources to master. A way to support himself and a teacher or teachers of some sort would make this a lot more reasonable.
  • On the practical level he’s a competent sailor, a skilled maker of baskets, a horticulturist, a good housekeeper, and can apparently handle an immense list of other chores (presumably involving other practical skills) in one evening. He’s good enough at survival to wander the wilderness in relative safety, became a successful commercial author (after being freed from the darkness) and may have various other practical “village” skills or spells.
  • He was a skillful telekinetic, with excellent fine control and – as shown in My Little Pony: Legends Of Magic #8 – enough telekinetic strength to hold back water across a canal with force barrier. Even if it was only ten by ten… that puts the total force in the ten to twenty ton range. Admittedly the writers probably had no idea of what they were showing, and unicorn telekinesis tends to be as strong as the story calls for (since he then found lifting Rockhoof mildly awkward), but even lifting Rockhoof seems likely to be fairly impressive for your basic unicorn. Perhaps it was a force barrier or “wall” effect though? Those might be a lot easier.
  • As a unicorn scholar, who has specifically noted that “he wanted to go back to studying spells (Legends Of Magic #9), his magic is probably fairly versatile, even if mostly focused on practical spells and effects that could be found and practically employed in a seaside village.
  • When the Sirens attacked his village, he was the only one to escape their influence. He stated that it was because he was “out of range” – but he got more than close enough, and then resisted for long enough to go and consult his books before running away. Even if the sirens gave a concert, surely the place had farmers, woodcutters, and others who worked much further away and who didn’t come? Why didn’t any of THEM get away? Some special resistance seems likely.
  • He then evaded, escaped, or fought giant sea serpents, crab monsters, timberwolves, and gryphons, and possibly more obstacles than would fit in the single page devoted to his solitary travels to reach Rockhoof’s distant, apparently “northern”, viking-styled village.
  • He gathered a group of heroes to stop the sirens, even getting crochety old Starswirl to come along. Sure, ponies are generally helpful and willing to go a long ways to help others (as established in the first couple of episodes!) but surely legendary heroes had other urgent requests to deal with. Ergo, he’s probably fairly – and perhaps unnaturally – persuasive.
  • He could command the minions of an alternate-universe version of himself. This might be a power, or it might just be that they were too obedient/cursed/stupid/whatever to tell the difference.
  • That alternate-universe version of himself had, however, apparently killed off most of the pillars, eliminated or chased away all other ponies (at least there were none shown), commanded many minions, had corrupted large areas of the world, and wanted to become a cross-universal corruptor (strongly implying that he’d either finished with his current world or was being forced to run – and he didn’t seem to be running). Evidently, given time, the Pony Of Shadows became fairly dangerous directly and extremely corruptive.
  • When he confronted the alternate-universe Pony Of Shadows, their magic proved ineffective against each other – canceling out, despite the Pony Of Shadows supposedly being much more powerful than plain Stygian.
  • He borrowed the Pillars signature artifacts and went to Ponehenge to make copies of them so that he “could be a Pillar too”. Given that several of those artifacts are purely symbolic, that may have been purely irrational thinking – which would help explain why the Pillars misinterpreted what he was up to. It’s hard to understand something that makes no sense.
  • When he was prevented from making copies of the Pillar’s artifacts he wandered off, only to return later hosting a powerful force of darkness. Again, that seems likely to be an uncommon (if dubious) talent, simply because – while it seems likely that a lot of ponies get really upset – most of them don’t wind up hosting mighty evil forces.
  • Starswirl The Bearded, scholar of magic, didn’t know how to deal with him as The Pony Of Shadows. That rather implies that there was something pretty unusual about the magic that was in use in that form – and perhaps normally.
  • Stygian actually seemed to be fairly strong and versatile for a Unicorn in practice. Why wouldn’t that power be apparent to others?
    • Stygian can Teleport at least three ponies at a time for fairly long distances – possibly hundreds of miles – in Nightmare Knights #2 – but that series is only halfway completed, and didn’t even start until October 2018, so I think that it probably represents a somewhat later version of the character who has picked up at least one more level; otherwise his journey to find the Pillars would be just a bit less impressive. So no teleportation for this version.

For his primary attributes…

  • Strength: He’s a really scrawny little guy, so his Strength is going to be pretty underwhelming.
  • Constitution: He seems to be reasonably tough and enduring though, pointing towards a decent Constitution. Sure, he needed more rests than Rockhoof while they were traveling together, but a stream locomotive probably needs more rests than Rockhoof.
  • Dexterity: When it comes to Dexterity Stygian is probably fairly average for a pony. He did move pretty quickly, and with no obvious fumbles, when he needed to – but it was nothing all that impressive.
  • Intelligence: Genius plus. He definitely seemed to have a better appreciation for what might go wrong with a plan than Starswirl did despite being much younger and presumably less experienced, he’s apparently a self-trained scholar in many fields, and he has a LOT of skills.
  • Wisdom: Wisdom is always a bit harder to pin down, but being a field naturalist, and surviving solo journeys across the wilds of early Equestria, implies that (at the least) there’s no major deficiency here – and he certainly shows a reasonably strong will, both in resisting the Sirens (whether he used a power or not) and in setting out on a solo quest to bring help.
  • Charisma. Rockhoof finds Stygian pretty affable, and he’s apparently pretty persuasive – but he’s certainly not that good at being the center of attention, dominating a group, or showing that much force of personality. Of course, some Charisma is pretty much built into ponies.
  • Finally, while Stygian is fairly adamant about “not being a hero”, he certainly is one from an observers standpoint – so I’m going to use the same 25-point attribute buy as I did for the rest of the Pillars.

When it comes to level, Stygian did a lot of wandering around as a scholar, then went on a quest to find the Pillars, and then participated in some degree in the various adventures after he started finding them. Since the low-level adventurer template would keep him from advancing at the breakneck speed of a normal d20 character, I’m going to put him at level three. That would actually be a bit high for his known “number of encounters” – but presumably he did some things that didn’t make it into the comics. After all, he was a pretty busy guy even before he started collecting the pillars.

The world of My Little Pony is a world of friendship, harmony, and rainbows. So… why ARE their true villains? Sure, Trixie, the Flim-Flam Brothers, Spoiled Rich, pre-reformation Diamond Tiara, and even Discord were really annoying, but they mostly just misinterpreted or failed to “get” all that happiness.

So what is powering a (possessing) Nightmare? Or Tirek? Or Sombra? What powers dark magic?

For Nightmare… it was Jealousy. For Tirek, Greed. For Sombra, Fear.

For the Pony of Shadows? He seemed to be powered by the greatest of all dark magics in the world of Friendship Is Magic – Friendship Betrayed. For the Pony Of Shadows may have been somewhat separate from Equestria-primes version of Stygian – but as the MLP: Legends Of Magic annual showed… over the years they would have become one, for that alternate version of Stygian bore tattered batlike wings. He had ascended to become a Dark Alicorn. So it is time to create…

Stygian Shadow, potential Prince Of Friendship Betrayed.

Basic Attributes: Str 8 (-2 Unicorn = 6), Dex 12 (-2 Pony = 10), Con 12 (+2 Pony +2 Enh = 16), Int 18 (+2 Knack, +2 Unicorn = 22), Wis 13, Cha 13 (+2 Enh = 15) (Pathfinder 25 Point Buy).

Available Character Points: 96 (Level Three Base) + 10 (Disadvantages: History (a bit of a freebie for most converted characters), Obligations (takes responsibility for all kinds of things), and Accursed (tends to be misunderstood, ignored, and uncredited) +18 (Unicorn, L1 and L3 Bonus Feats) = 124 CP.

Basic Abilities (36 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 6 (L1d6, 2 CP) +9 (L2-L3d6, 4 CP) +12 (Template) +15 (5 x Con Mod) = 42 HP. With pony damage reduction this makes him reasonably durable.
  • Skill Points: 6 (Purchased, 6 CP) + 36 (Int) + 18 (Fast Learner) = 60 SP
  • BAB +1 (6 CP). Stygian isn’t stupid, but he just isn’t a physical fighter.
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude +0 (0 CP) +3 (Con) +1 (Tem) = +4
    • Reflex +3 (9 CP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Tem) = +4
    • Will +2 (6 CP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Tem) = +4
  • Proficiencies: Simple Weapons (3 CP).
  • Initiative: +0 (Dex)
  • Move: 40 (four legs, 20 on three or less).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +7 (Force Armor III) = 17. May rise to 24 when he adds a Force Shield III.
  • Stygian really doesn’t do physical combat, so he has no “usual attacks”.

Sage (35 CP):

  • Adept x 2 (12 CP). Pays half cost for Knowledge: Arcana, Geography, History, Local, Nature, and Planes, Linguistics, and Spellcraft.
  • Fast Learner (6 CP), Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only for Knowledge Skills.
  • Universal Jack Of All Trades, Specialized and Corrupted / Only for Craft and Profession skills (4 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus / Adds (Int Mod) to (Wis Mod) for Skill Check Purposes, Specialized and Corrupted / only for Profession Skills (2 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus / Adds (Con Mod) to (Int Mod) for Skill Check Purposes, Specialized in Knowledge Skills Only (3 CP).
  • Tactician (8 CP): Mystic Artist (Knowledge / History) with Echoes, Specialized for Double Effect, Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only to use the inspiration abilities, only to provide bonuses in combat against specified enemies, requires that the player provide a plausible plan.
    • This is actually pretty potent; sure, it only lasts for ten rounds once a fight starts – but a good plan / +2 Positive Levels from Mass Greatness can go a long ways in ten rounds.

Skills:

  • Craft (Universal): +1 (JOAT) +6 (Int) = +7
  • Diplomacy: +6 (6 SP) +1 (Cha) +3 (Tem) = +10
  • Fly: +3 (3 SP) +0 (Dex) +8 (Fly Speed as the Pony Of Shadows) = +11
  • Heal: +6 (6 SP) +1 (Wis) = +7
  • Knowledge: Arcana, Geography, History, Local, Nature, and Planes: +6 (3* SP x 6 = 18 SP) +6 (Int Mod) +3 (Con Mod) = +15.
  • Linguistics: +6 (3* SP) +6 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +15
  • Perception: +6 (6 SP) +1 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +10
  • Perform (Sing): +3 (3 SP) +1 (Cha) +2 (Race) = +6
  • Profession (Universal): +1 (JOAT) +1 (Wis) +6 (Int) = +8
  • Spellcraft: +6 (3* SP) +6 (Int) +3 (Tem) +2 (Race) = +17
  • Survival: +6 (6 SP) +1 (Wis) +3 (Tem) +3 (Unicorn Skill Mastery) = +13
  • Swim: +6 (6 SP) -3 (Str) = +3

Stygian Magic (53 CP).

Like Trixie Lulumoon centuries later, Stygian wields a strange, and often frightening magic. He is so used to thinking of it as “wrong” that he conceals his cutie mark and has denigrated his own skills to the point where he believes himself weak, ineffective, and incapable of fighting. Stygian doesn’t lack power though, even if it doesn’t show up very well on Equestria’s usual scales. What he lacks is self-confidence.

Mana-Powered Witchcraft III (18 CP) with Finesse (Uses Int Mod in place of Cha Mod for Witchcraft, 6 CP). Will Save DC 19, Base Power 11. (The Superheroic World Template provides him with 3 Mana – equivalent to 12 Power – per round).

Basic Witchcraft Abilities:

  • The Adamant Will. This allowed him to resist the Sirens,
  • Elfshot: He can inflict minor hindrances on opponents. This is rarely worthwhile unless he’s trying to do something subtle or create an opening for someone else.
  • Hand of Shadows: He can perform a wide variety of telekinetic tricks (and do lots and lots of chores).
  • Infliction. The basic “I do magical damage” effect. In his base form Stygian isn’t very good at this, although he can vary his attacks to whatever he thinks is most likely to scare off his targets. It’s not generally his first option though.
  • Glamour, He can enhance his persuasive abilities and project mental orders to creatures that have been bound to his will – even if they were so bound by an alternate version of himself.
  • The Inner Eye, Specialized for Increased Effect / Only to “hear” whispers of the Akhasic Record (+10 Insight Bonus to a skill check for 1 Power) or the outer ones beyond reality (this provides an excuse for taking any desired knowledge skill, for prophetic or weird dreams and nightmares, and so on).
  • Witchfire. Stygian uses this – in conjunction with boosting metapsionics – to generate basic force effects, such as Mage Armor, Shield, basic barriers – such as the one he used to hold back all that water.

Advanced Witchcraft Abilities:

  • 2d6 Mana as +6d6 (21) Power (12 CP). Even if somehow cut off from the flow of Mana, Stygian has some reserves.
  • Metapsionics / Amplify, Specialized and Corrupted / only for Hand of Shadows and Witchfire (force effects) (2 CP). With this ability Stygian can spend more Mana to boost his Hand of Shadows to handle much heavier weights and his Witchfire force-effects to create reasonably durable force barriers and Force Armor/Shield effects of up to level three.
  • Tenebrium’s Coin, Specialized and Corrupted / Stygian always has access to basic supplies for a scholar – food and drink, camping gear, ordinary clothing (such as it is for ponies anyway), reference books, a lamp or candles, blank journals, pens and ink, and a comfortable lifestyle, but cannot accumulate or spend funds from this ability (2 CP).
  • Ridden By The Loa, Specialized and Corrupted / Stygian only knows of one entity to channel per +2 or part thereof of his total Knowledge: The Planes bonus, must intentionally seek out a “weak point” between the dimensions and conduct a ritual to for the first “summoning” of such an entity (and must do so again if the link so created is later broken), cannot upgrade his level of control or use The Adamant Will to resist or expel such an entity, and (unfortunately) is focused on nigh-incomprehensible Lovecraftian Entities (2 CP).
  • Metapsionic Theorem / Elemental Manipulation with two levels of Streamline, Specialized and Corrupted / only to automatically add a Dispel Magic or Dispel Psionics effect to his Witchcraft-based single-target attacks (6 CP).
  • Reflex Training (Three extra actions per day variant) with +3 Bonus Uses, Specialized for Reduced Cost / only to use Witchcraft (5 CP).

The Pony Of Shadows: Stygian plus a (157 CP / +4 ECL Acquired “Black Pharaoh” Template):

The Pony Of Shadows is Stygian channeling Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos, Corrupter Of Worlds. Unfortunately, even with a +4 ECL Lovecraftian Template stacked onto him… Stygian is still only an ECL 4 character at base. Without time to grow he is severely limited.

  • Journeyman, Master, and Grand Master (Hit Dice, 24 CP)
  • +6d4 Hit Dice (48 CP). While an extra thirty-five hit points never hurt, the real bonus here is that Witchcraft’s “casting level” is based on hit dice – so this gets his “casting level” up to nine. In Equestria that’s a fabulous level of raw power.
  • Apparition, Specialized for Increased Effect (Construct VIII) / must take the “Enveloping” ability (see The Practical Enchanter / Psychic Constructs), can only be manifested around himself, can only take one specific construct-form with the choices of A) Fly 40′, Armored (+1 Deflection Bonus to AC), B) Fast Healing II, Trample, Versatile (Increased Flight to 80′), and C) Energy Bolt (Adds +5d to Infliction effects) and Enveloping (6 CP). This forms the dark body of the Pony Of Shadows.
  • Immunity to Casting Level Requirements (Very Common, Major, Major, for six levels off the requirement, Specialized and Corrupted / only for the Construct-VIII effect, as given above (5 CP). This gets his casting level for the Apparition effect up to level fifteen.
  • Additional Advanced Witchcraft Disciplines:
    • Master Of The Sabbat, Specialized and Corrupted / only for use with Elfshot, only to lay curses of slow corruption, only usable once per day to a game master decided maximum effective level of curse (2 CP). The Pony Of Shadows can corrupt lands, creatures up through Alicorns, and entire worlds – but it will take considerable time and effort.
    • Seize The Wandering Soul (6 CP): Entrap unanchored souls. A dark and terrible power.
    • Spirit Binding (6 CP): Bind souls into creatures or objects. Another dark and terrible power.
    • Nightforge (6 CP): Create solid objects of shadow.
    • Mouth Of The Earth (6 CP): Upgrade Infliction to d8’s and add other effects.
    • Ashen Rebirth (Shadow) with Teleportation (12 CP). Become a creature of shadow.
    • Leaping Fire (6 CP): Accelerate it’s own movement, healing, and attacks,
  • Other Abilities:
    • Cloaking. Detection and Scanning Magic will simply show a normal unicorn pony of little power (6 CP).
    • Celerity: +10′ Ground Movement (6 CP).
    • Reflex Training (three extra action per day variant) (6 CP).
    • Amorphous (6 CP). The Pony Of Shadows can move through cracks and spaces that are logically too small for it.
    • Immunity to Aging (Uncommon, Severe, Major, 6 CP).

The Pony Of Shadows does not wish for simple destruction, It seeks madness, corruption, and to lead intelligent beings into destroying themselves. Thus it’s attempt to corrupt Celestia and Luna, so as to send them against still more worlds, rather than simply passing through the mirror-portal, lurking, and slowly corrupting the world with it’s own power. Unfortunately for it, it’s not really all that good at interacting with normal creatures, so it’s attempts at corruption are both direct and more than a little crude.

Equipment:

  • Charms: Astrolabe, Foulflesh Amulet, Loaded Brush, The Ocean’s Arms, Sands Of Time, Traveler’s Bedroll, and Vanishing Coat (Cloak),
  • Talismans: Preserving Chest (for specimens), Rubydraught, and Stone Of Sustenance.
  • Stygian presumably keeps a pocket-knife, current journal, bit of rope, snacks, and other minor items wherever it is that ponies keep things, but ponies don’t rely on equipment very much.

Stygian is more or less right. He’s not a hero. Under normal circumstances he can provide a nice boost to a group of heroes, repair or build pretty anything, is a bottomless well of exposition, and can throw some decent protective spells. He’s an invaluable sidekick to a hero or heroes, but just doesn’t have much offensive punch – leaving him safely in the rear echelon providing support services. Of course, he has a lot more offensive capability and options when channeling a spirit – but when he resorts to that he pretty much loses control to the spirit he’s channeling. .

Now, if only he could figure out what this odd little golden thing – like a bit with most of the center drilled out – that he found in Rockhoof’s volcano was. He keeps getting this odd urge to put it on, but it’s not like there’s any portion of his anatomy where the silly thing would fit.

Since these have appeared over and over again, they’re here at the bottom for easy skipping:

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

To summarize the Basic Pony Modifiers:

  • Quadruped. In general ponies are slow and have trouble moving while using tools or weapons.
  • Attribute Modifiers: -2 Dex, +2 Con. An additional +2 Con and +2 Chr are dispellable magical bonuses.
  • Damage Reduction 9/- versus both Physical and Energy Attacks, only DR 2/- versus melee attacks by living creatures.
  • Endure Elements. Ponies pretty much ignore the weather.
  • Ponies heal 1d8+1 damage per round three times per day.
  • Ponies are always treated as having lots of pockets, even in the nude.
  • Ponies get minor cartoon effects, such as hair that responds to moods, blushing through fur, and so on.
  • Ponies may begin or participate in spontaneously choreographed musical numbers that provide bonuses for group tasks.
  • Have a base pool of 1d6+3 Mana, regaining 1d6 with an hours rest up to three times a day and 1-2 points per day regardless.
  • Get a +2 Racial Bonus to Perform/Sing

To Summarize The Unicorn Subrace Modifiers:

  • Occult Talent provides their usual minor spellcasting while the use of Mana powers it.
    • L0: Dancing Lights (in many trivial variants), Daze (with various special effects), Detect Magic, and (Skill) Mastery (provides a +3 competence bonus on a particular skill for ten minutes per level, +6 if it only covers a limited aspect of a skill).
    • L1) Greater Mage Hand.
  • Immunity/Being unable to Concentrate on more than one thing at a time (covering up to three tasks and/or spells of up to level three at any one time).
  • Upgrade their basic Mana supply with the Spell Enhancement Natural Magic option.
  • Metamagic: Amplify / Only applies to Occult Talent abilities.
  • A +2 Racial Bonus to Knowledge/Arcana (2 CP).
  • +2 Intelligence/-2 Strength.
  • One Bonus Feat.
  • Executive, Corrupted for Increased Effect (add the user’s Int Mod to his or her effective level of use)/requires 2 Mana/hour to power. Unicorns are good at coordinating groups, and can provide substantial bonuses.

Eclipse: The Codex Persona is available in a Freeware PDF Version, in Print, and in a Paid PDF Version that includes Eclipse II (245 pages of Eclipse races, character and power builds, items, relics, martial arts, and other material) and the web expansion. Here’s a Featured Review of it and another Independent Review.

The Practical Enchanter can be found in a Print Edition (Lulu), an Electronic Edition (RPGNow), and a Shareware Edition (RPGNow).  There’s an RPGNow Staff Review too.

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Adventurers Of The Anomaly – Tarsus Korazan

This character request for the current Anomaly game was for a vaguely Shadowrun-style Wizard-Gunfighter – a military-trained “magitech” engineer – not a primary combatant, but a maintainer and sometimes-maker of specialty gear and weapons.

Solopsis:

The old nation-states are fading as rapid transport, digital communications, Better-Than-Reality (TM) virtual experiences, and fusion power make the old boundaries and physical resources less and less relevant. Physical location is still important when it comes to basic services and security, but it has become less and less relevant to the masses interests, social circles, employment, and focus. As the population drops and the great cities turn ever more inward upon themselves, the barren lands between them are slowly returning to a wilderness populated by mutated (or magical) monstrosities and occasional groups of reactionaries, survivalists, or other holdouts.

Yet competition, ambition, and greed endure. Corporations, unions, neotribal groups, fan clubs, political movements, and a hundred other groups struggle in the shadows, spurred in part by the inability to agree on the reality underlying their virtual overlays and tailored “news”, in part by the lack of central control over the data files and the micro-manufacturing systems that place sophisticated hardware within the grasp of any anarchist with a few credits, and in part by the use of virtual reality systems to train mages – taking magic use from a painful and ill-understood thing of traditions, drugs, apprenticeships, and hundreds of self-crippled contradictory systems to a thing that anyone can study (even if relatively few prove to have any real talent for).

For those who seek change, or wealth, or glory, or a thousand other things and are unsatisfied with a private virtual world to experience it in… while poor choices are likely to lead to an early grave, a good choice of training simulations, equipment, and employers can lead to genuine wealth, power, and luxury as an independent operative or in the service of some greater group.

Inspiration for characters from Solopsis can be found in Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, SLA Industries, Cyberspace, Expendables, and any number of futuristic or “cyberpunk” stories and movies.

Solopsis World Laws:

  • Characters from Solopsis gain access to the Weaponry and Biotech Occult Skills at normal cost (12 CP). The people of Solopsis have deeply integrated biotechnology, cyberware, and personal weaponry with their basic lifestyles. They may purchase these two Occult Equipment Skills as basic skills.
  • Guns Are Best: Universal (applies to both physical and energy damage) Damage Reduction, Corrupted/not versus Guns, 3/Guns (4 CP). The overall superiority of Firearms is deeply ingrained in Solopsis’s world laws, to the point where other weapons have reduced effects against it’s peoples.
  • Simulation Learning. Kids from Solopsis pick up skills fast and early through high-pressure Better-Than-Life (TM) virtual reality education and games, gaining a +4 Training bonus on any one skill and a +2 Training bonus on any two other skills (8 CP).

Solopsis uses magic, but it uses it quite scientifically and methodically – treating it as just another branch of engineering. Arcanotech Personal foci are most common, what independent magical items there are tend to be at least partially technological.

Post-Industrial Human

(31 CP / +0 ECL Racial Template):

  • Highly Adaptable: Racial Bonus Feat (6 CP).
  • The Quick And The Dead: Fast Learner Specialized in Skills for +2 SP/Level (6 CP). Homids are the preeminent masters of acquiring knowledge – even if they often do acquire inaccurate ideas just as easily.
  • Tribalism: Humans bond with other people to form close personal friendships, and intensely – loyal groups quickly and easily. They perform at their best when defending those relationships. Presence/+1 Morale Bonus to attacks, damage, saves, and checks, Specialized for double effect (+2 bonuses)/only when defending or assisting members of their family, tribe, or extremely close personal friends (6 CP).
  • Enduring Traveler: Celerity, +20′ ground movement, Specialized/only for use in calculating long-distance travel ranges and whether or not they can catch up with something (4 CP). The heritage of ancient migrations and persistence hunting remains a fundamental part of humanities genetic arsenal.
  • Projectile Predator: +1 Racial Bonus BAB with ranged attacks (3 CP). Two million years of throwing weapons leaves it’s mark.
  • Omnivorous Scavenger: Humans are tougher than vultures. They can handle horrific pollution levels, noxious food additives, and many other environmental insults with little harm. They get a +4 bonus on relevant Saving Throws (Resist II, 6 CP).

Low-Level Adventurer Template:

Everyone on the Anomaly gets either the NPC (adjusted for people who just want to live quietly) or the Adventurer version of the Template for Characters in a Low-Level World. Not too surprisingly, this character is getting the “Adventurer” version. To summarize it’s effects:

  • A -3 penalty on unskilled skill checks.
  • 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.
  • A +3 bonus on five skills which suit their backgrounds and training. Sadly, this cannot be applied to active psionic or magical skills. These are, however, considered to be natural skill ranks.
  • Extra hit points equal to [12 + (2 x Con Mod)].
  • Two minor special talents or “knacks” appropriate to their home universe – one Class-A (roughly equivalent to the effects of a first level spell or power) and one Class-B (roughly equivalent to the effects of a cantrip). His are +2 Dex and a +1 Bonus on Saves.

Characters will be using the Condensed Skill List, complete with the various skills special functions. These may, however, be adjusted for world or origin; Sci-fi characters rarely spellcast, but often have other special talents. Skill Checks are normally made on 3d6, and characters may “take 15″ instead of “20″. They are normally assumed to get a “5″ for passive checks, such as to notice something in passing.

Now that all of that is out of the way, it’s time for the actual character build:

Tarsus Korazan

Not Quite Third Level Arcane Gunslinger

Available Character Points: 92 (L2 +20 XP, may purchase things as L3) +10 (Disadvantages: Blocked (Witchcraft), Inept (Charisma-Based Skills. A virtual education will do that to you), and Accursed (stranded on the Anomaly with no apparent way back)) +18 (Human, L1, and L3 Bonus feats) = 120 CP.

Basic Attributes (Pathfinder 25 Point Buy): Str 8, Dex 16 (+2 Template = 18), Con 14, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 10.

Basic Abilities (60 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 6 (L1d6, 2 CP) +12 L2-3d6, 4 CP) + 12 (Template) +10 (5 x Con Mod) = 40 HP.
  • Skill Points: 6 (Purchased, 6 CP) +12 (Human Fast Learner) +18 (+3 Int Mod) = 36 SP
    • Adept (Biotech, Perception, Spellslinger Style, Weaponry, 6 CP)
  • BAB: +6 BAB, Specialized /Ranged Attacks Only, Corrupted / Pistols only (12 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude: +0 (0 CP) +2 (Con) +1 (Tem) = +3
    • Reflex: +2 (6 CP) +4 (Dex) +1 (Tem) = +7
    • Will: +2 (6 CP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Tem) = +4
    • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses Specialized in Saves (6 CP).
  • Proficiencies: Simple Weapons and Pistols (6 CP), Light Armor with the Smooth Modifier (6 CP).
  • Initiative +4 (Dex) +4 (Improved Initiative, 6 CP) +2 (Reaction Booster) = +10
  • Move: 30′.
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +4 (Dex) +3 (Kevlar) +1 (Martial Art) = 18

Usual Attacks:

  • Black Cat Flechette Pistol :+17/+12 or +15/+15 Rapid Shot (+6 BAB +4 Dex +3 Smartgun Link +3 Martial Art +1 Enhancement), 2d6+1 Damage, Crit 18-20/x2, 40′ Range Increment, 50-round magazine, Silent, Smartgun Equipped. May be used to inflict stun damage at will, jumps into hand from up to 10′ away when wanted.
  • Lion’s Roar Mini-Grenade Launcher: +13/+8 (+6 BAB +4 Dex +3 Martial Art), 4d8 damage in a 10′ radius, 40′ range increment, scatters as a grenade-like weapon if square missed, 5 Shot Magazine.
  • Tigers Claw Combat Knife: +2 (+0 BAB, -1 Str, +3 Martial Art), 2d4 Damage, Crit 20/x2, 10′ Range Increment if Thrown, Impervious (never gets damaged), Vibro (+15 damage to overcome Damage Reduction only).
  • Unarmed: +2 (+0 BAB, -1 Str, +3 Martial Art), 1d4 Damage, Crit 20/x2, may inflict lethal or nonlethal damage without penalty. Is always considered Armed.

Other Abilities:

Solipsis Arcanist (35 CP):

  • Graduate Arcanist: Five Base Caster Levels, Specialized in Wizard Casting using Generic Spell Levels (15 CP).
  • Craft Of Wizardry: 4d6 Mana as 8d4 (20) Generic Spell Levels, Specialized / only to be bound into prepared wizard spells using available formula (12 CP) (note that, if he wants to use metamagic and such he’ll need to unspecialize this later – but this works very well for a lot-level character).
  • Scientific Magic: Action Hero/Invention, Specialized (for increased effect) and Corrupted (for reduced cost) / only for Researching Spells (at 2 AP per level of the spell), only during downtime – a total of 2(Level+2) AP per level (4 CP). At an effective level of three, Tarsus has had a total of 24 AP to spend on buying additional spells at a cost of 1/2/4/6 AP for a spell of level 0/1/2/3.
  • Gunslinger Training Spells:
    • L0) Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Drench, Flare, Mending, Message, and Read Magic.
    • L1) Burning Hands, Color Spray, Ray Of Enfeeblement, Sloth Ray (Single-Target Slow).
    • L2) Acid Arrow, Gust Of Wind, Ray Of Stupidity, Scorching Ray.
    • L3) Lightning Bolt, Ray Of Exhaustion
    • L4) (Not yet usable) Shout
  • Hedge Magic Spells, Corrupted/does not include making Conjures (4 CP). The Hedge Magic spell list includes a wide variety of relatively minor, practical, spells. Taking this feat automatically adds them to all your spell lists.
  • Personal Spells:
    • L0) None selected.
    • L1) Comprehend Languages, Shield, Sleep
    • L2) Arcane Disruption, Blindness/Deafness, Warp Strike
    • L3) Stinking Cloud

Warp Strike. Conjuration (Teleportation), Ass 2, Sor/Wiz 2, probably various other classes 2, Components V, S, Range Touch, Target Touched Creature (may be self), Duration one minute or until discharged, whichever is shorter, Saving Throw none, Spell Resistance Yes (harmless). When this spell is cast on a creature it may discharge it to cause the origin of an attack, power, spell, or other ability it uses to be at any location within long range thanks to a momentary portal. Line of effect is not required, but if the destination point is occupied by a solid object the spell fails.

This will let you backstab someone from long range, dump dust of sneezing and choking on someone from across a battlefield, throw a fireball around a corner, and various other tricks.

Arcane Gunslinger (19 CP):

All of these abilities are Corrupted / they require the use of an “attuned” pistol as a focus (and, for Spell Conversion, as the target of enhancing spells). Attuning a pistol is a process that requires several hours and inscribing the weapon with his personal sigil while it remains attuned. Only (Int Mod) weapons can be so attuned at a time.

  • Ray Mastery: +1 to Critical Multiplier with Ray Spells that have them. Improved Critical (Rays) (4 CP).
  • Arcane Focus: Improved Augmented Bonus: Add (Dex Mod) to (Int Mod) when determining Spell Save DC’s, Specialized / only for ranged touch attack, cone, line, or ray spells, DC increase cannot exceed the enhancement bonus of the gun in use (4 CP).
  • Guided Bolt: Augmented Bonus / Add (Int Mod) to (Dex Mod) when rolling attack checks with Rays, Specialized / cannot exceed the enhancement bonus of the gun used for the focus (3 CP).
  • Innate Affinity: Spell Conversion / Wizard Pistol Magic Spells (4 CP).
    • L0) Weapon Mastery: +3 to BAB with Pistols for one minute per level.
    • L1) Trick Shot: Make a ranged combat maneuver with a shot.
    • L2) Swift Reload: Reloads a firearm with available ammunition as a swift action.
    • L3) Eldritch Pistol: Gives a gun a +4 Enhancement Bonus, up to +2 of which may be invested in special weapon properties, for one minute per caster level.
    • L4) Dispelling Shot: Expend an AoO to shoot an incoming spell as per Dispel Magic.
    • L5) Bullet Storm: Shoot at up to (Level) targets at your full BAB and with a +10 Insight Bonus on the attacks. No more than two shots may be directed at any one target however.
    • L6) Hydrostatic Shock: Fire one shot with a +10 Insight Bonus on the attack. If it hits it does +10 damage and creature hit must save versus massive damage or die.
    • L7) Greater Eldritch Pistol: Gun gains a +8 Enhancement Bonus, up to +4 of which may be invested in special weapon properties for one hour per caster level.
    • L8) Distant Shot: Ignore range penalties with pistols for the rest of the day.
    • L9) Missile Mastery: You may make ranged combat maneuvers with up to four shots per round as if you had Improved Dirty Trick Greater Dirty Trick, and Dirty Trick Master for the rest of the day.
  • Gunslingers Instincts: Reflex Training / once per round can convert a spell as a part of an attack action (4 CP).

Anomalous Experiences (6 CP):

  • In his time on the Anomaly, Tarsus has learned to use the local Charms and Talismans (See The Practical Enchanter, 6 CP).
    • Charms:
      • Ammunition Pouch: Turns up to 3 GP/Day into Ammunition. (Pistol Ammunition costs 1 GP per 50 rounds. Specialized Ammunition costs twice as much and takes a -2 to Hit, but has one special quality from among: +1 to Critical Range, +4 to Damage, Silver, Quiet (+10 to Hearing DC to hear), and Tracer (can start a fire if it hits something flammable, reduces penalties for iterative attacks to -4 per shot)).
      • Dust Of Illusion. A pinch produces minor visual illusions. Needs restocking every 4d6 uses.
      • Foothold Boots. Can create a momentary disc of force under themselves three times an hour, even in midair.
      • Luncheon Pot. Provides enough cheese, jam, or butter for several decent sandwiches every day.
      • Vanishing Coat (Cloak). Renders the user invisible for up to 12 seconds (3 + Level/3) times daily.
      • Wellstone. Provides a steady trickle of pure water whenever activated.
      • Wizard’s Hand. Provides a Mage Hand effect when concentrated on.
    • Talismans:
      • Rubydraught Flask: Produces 2d4 Goodberry Draughts per day, accumulating up to three days worth.
      • Rune Weapon (On Black Cat Pistol, Below. Making it a +1 Eager weapon)
      • Tulthara (Wristband that creates a temporary Black Cat Pistol, as below, for a backup weapon).

He has also collected 34 Obols (14 Black Gold, 8 Sunlight-Silver, 5 Opaline Crystal, 3 Red-Iron, 1 Starry Crystal, and 1 Green Diamond). 164 GP, and 40 silver.

Skills:

Biotech: +6 (3* CP) +2 (Con) +2 (Training) +3 (Template) = +13

  • Augmented Eyes II (Smartgun Link, Data Display, Low-Light, Flash Resistance).
  • Subdermal Impact Weave III (+2/- Universal Damage Reduction).
  • Communicator III (Transceiver and Network Datalink).
  • Computer II (equivalent to a Tablet).
  • Oxygen Reserve I (10 Minutes).
  • Reaction Booster II (+2 Initiative).

Weaponry: +6 (3* CP) +3 (Dex) +2 (Training) +3 (Template) = +14

  • Black Cat Flechette Pistol: One-Handed Small Arm, Improved Critical I, Enlarged Magazine I, Silent, 3.5 lb. 2d6 Damage, Crit 18-20/x2, 40′ Range Increment, 50-round magazine, Silent. Cost: Weaponry 4 +1 (Smartgun Link accessory, +3 to hit). “The handgun of choice of special ops, swat, and daemon-response forces. You don’t want to cross their path.’ Manufactured by Core-Tech Arms exclusively for the military and special police needs.”
  • Lion’s Roar Mini-Grenade Launcher: One-Handed Small Arm, Cannot Critical, Improved Damage I, Explosive III: 2.5 lb, 5 Shots, 4d8 damage in a 10′ radius, 40′ range increment. Cost: Weaponry 4. “Crowd Control, Doorbreaker, or Assault System, the Lions Roar can fill dozens of different tactical needs on the battlefield. You don’t want to hear the Lion’s Roar!”
  • Tigers Claw Combat Knife: 2d4 Damage, Crit 20/x2, 10′ Range Increment if Thrown, Impervious (never gets damaged), Vibro (+15 damage to overcome Damage Reduction only). Cost: Weaponry 3. “Forged of Core-Tech Arms exclusive Duralloy Blend, the Tigers Claw Combat Knife is slim and diamond-honed to a permanent razors edge, a tool suitable for all your needs! Comes with a lifetime guarantee, if you manage to break it we will replace it for free!”
  • Thunderbolt Flash-Bang Grenades: 15′ burst radius, DC 18 Fortitude Save or Blinded and Deafened for 1d4 rounds. Cost 2.

Less Complicated Skills:

  • Spellslinger Style: +6 (3* CP) +4 (Dex) +4 (Training) +3 (Template) = +17
    • Known Techniques: Attack 3, Strike, Defenses 1, Weapon Kata (Rays), Weapon Kata (Unarmed), Rapid Shot
  • Acrobatics: +1 (1 SP) +4 (Dex) = +5
  • Athletics +1 (1 SP) -1 (Str) = +0
  • Arcana: +6 (6 SP) +3 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +12
  • Concentration +3 (3 SP) +2 (Con) = +5
  • Craft +3 (3 SP) +3 (Int) = +6
    • Covers Weaponsmithing, Carpentry, Charmsmithing, Fieldworks, Mechanics, and Armorsmithing
  • Engineering (Arcane): +6 (6 SP) +3 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +12
    • Gadgets (4): Wrist Grapnel, Smoke Pellets, Spell MiniGrenades (5), One-Shot MiniParachute.
  • Linguistics +2 (2 SP) +3 (Int) = +5
    • Languages (5): Three Solaran languages (irrelevant, so not counted), Gathran, four of choice.
  • Perception +6 (3* SP) +1 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +10
  • Stealth: +1 (1 SP) +1 (Wis) = +2
  • Survival: +1 (1 SP) +1 (Wis) = +2

Other Equipment:

  • Armor: Light Kevlar (+3 Armor, Max Dex +5, Armor Check Penalty -1, Spell Failure 15%, 10 lb. Fortunately, purchasing “Smooth” takes care of the spell failure and armor check penalty.
  • Waterproof Survival Pack: Bandages, Bedroll, Brush/Comb, Canteen, Compass (not working), Firestarters, Flares, Flashlight, Glue, Grapnel, Hatchet/Hammer, Insect Repellent, Matches and Match Safe, Messkit, Needles & Thread, Razor, Scissors, Silk Rope, Soap, Spare Clothing, String, Tarp, Towel, Washcloth,
  • Rations: The local food is a LOT better, allowing him to reserve his box of 24 Ration Bars for emergencies. For actual meals he usually just picks up some pre-packed meals with preservation charms and uses his Luncheon Pot.

As might be expected for a fairly well optimized high-tech cyborg character with three minor templates (world, low-level adventurer, and upgraded species) stacked onto him, Tarsus is quite formidable for his current level. On the other hand, he cannot be expected to increase in relative power as quickly as a character without all of that stuff will – which is, in large part, the goal of the low-level adventurer template.

Eclipsing Drago, the Son of Shendu

Drago was the major villain of Jackie Chan Adventures season five. The son of the early-seasons villain Shendu, he was, like his father, a Fire Dragon Demon Sorcerer. Unlike his father, outside of being a demon-dragon who wanted to gain vast powers and take over the world, he was a fairly typical obnoxious, overconfident, impatient, and easily-manipulated teenager. As such his usual pattern was to find a new source of extra power (on the show the relics of his aunts and uncles “Demon Chi”) and try to grab it – ushering in a battle with the heroes who always turned up at about the same time. Sometimes he got a hold of his new power source and sometimes not – but either way he’d wind up without it at the end and yet would manage to escape. Eventually he managed to get a hold of several powers at the same time – and was still defeated, although that time it took more effort.

Drago was fought to a standstill more than once by a random bystander who accidentally absorbed some Demon Chi – granting them powers more or less equal to his, but no skill in using them. That alone made it pretty obvious that he wasn’t particularly skilled either. He was, however, very strong, agile, and fast (at least compared to a normal human being), had a scaly armored hide and a tail to smack people with, could sense demonic powers, and could project potent blasts of fire. Given a little time and some appropriate foci he could work a fair number of dark magical rituals and even a few quicker spells – albeit mostly focused on moving demonic powers from one host to another.

When he did acquire additional demonic powers they were pretty limited as well – amounting to little more than some basic elemental manipulation. With Water powers he could shoot blasts of water, create whirlpools around himself, and make big waves. With Gravity powers he could levitate and (I think) employ basic Telekinesis. With Thunder powers he could project lightning and absorb natural lightning to enhance himself.

Presumably there was more potential than THAT in those powers, but it’s not like he ever got to spend much time experimenting with them. He never got to keep them for very long and he spent a lot more of his time trying to find a base other than the local junkyard and trying to find some minions who were tolerably competent and didn’t want to backstab him (he never really managed to do either).

And if that doesn’t seem too impressive, it’s because it shouldn’t. Drago could be a serious threat if he got a hold of the components for a major ritual, or actually managed to hang onto several sets of powers – but for the most part he was fighting an elderly ritualist (most of Uncle’s direct spells looked like level one or two), a fast and highly skilled – but still entirely human and fairly low level – martial artist, a kid, and a big guy who was an apprentice mage. Drago had claws, fangs, and fire breath capable of destroying cars in a single blast – and yet apparently the closest he came to seriously hurting someone was leaving them in his Fathers way in a future timeline that never actually came to pass.

While I can’t say that I’ve seen much of the actual show past the first season, I have seen Drago’s first appearance with Future Jade on youtube – and it gave me a distinct angry-ex-boyfriend impression. He might have grown a bit past that in the next season, but the Wiki’s don’t really show it – and it would explain why the Chan’s kept letting him get away. If you’ve got to have a villain in your life… if you can’t get Colonel Klink, Catwoman, or Megamind, an angry and basically ineffectual teenager who spends a lot of combat time on banter is probably your next best choice.

So to build him I’ll start with the…

Fire Dragon Demon Sorcerer Template:

  • Draconic Toughness: +3d4 Hit Dice (24 CP) and +4 CP towards enlarging their first hit die (thus getting a d4 even as an infant) (4 CP). While extra hit points are always nice, this is because you need at least 4 hit dice to qualify for shapeshifting to a Deinonychus, below.
  • Heritage Of The Ancient Dragons: Shapeshift, with Dire (allowing dinosaurs – specifically Deinonychus), Attribute Modifiers, Hybrid Form, and Clear Speech, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost (9 CP) / cannot actually change forms, obvious humanoid dragon, easily identifiable, blatant predator, causes considerable social problems (9 CP).

This provides 60′ Ground Movement and natural weapons, replaces his physical racial attribute modifiers with Str +8, Dex +4, Con +8, and grants him +5 Natural Armor, Low-Light Vision, Scent, and Pounce. This is grossly exploitative, even beyond the usual Shapeshift cheese. While that doesn’t really matter for an NPC who’s “level” is entirely arbitrary, this is only really suitable for player characters in games using the Superheroic World Template (where this sort of thing is useful, but minor) or SciFi settings where things like mecha, power armor, and vehicle combat seriously overshadow personal physical abilities.

  • Fire Demon C’hi: Witchcraft I and II (12 CP), 1d6 Mana as 3d6 Power (6 CP), and Rite of C’hi with +4 Bonus Uses, Both Specialized for Reduced Cost / only to restore Power (6 CP). This gives him access to three basic abilities, as follows:
    • Witchfire, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Range and Damage) Fire Creation Only, cannot use pre-existing flames, create prestidigitation effects, extract essences, infuse drugs or toxins, or for any other application. Note that this can be quite powerful – but the rather low Save DC (14) means that most targets can dodge quite effectively, escaping injury entirely if they happen to have Evasion.
    • Witchsight, Specialized and Corrupted / Drago may detect C’hi / Magic – and only C’hi / Magic – at no cost and gets occasional “visions” of sources of power that he can go after, but cannot sharpen his senses, give himself Darksight, Scent, or other special sensory powers, or use any other Witchsight functions.
    • Healing, Specialized in Self-Healing for Double Effect. Drago DOES recover very quickly.
  • Absorbing Demon Chi: Witchcraft/The Path Of Spirits/Ridden By The Loa, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Must find a unique source of power to absorb, powers can be stripped away, by counterspells and make him vulnerable to banishment and dismissal spells, no more than +1 ECL of template per power source. Templates do not, however, cost Power to maintain when not in use (2 CP).

At a total of 63 CP this is a +1 ECL Template – and grossly overpowered for it’s cost. Of course, in a world of normal people… he’s a dragonman. His career choices are basically Circus Freak, Cloistered Monk, or Supervillain. He’s lonely enough to give his minions another chance even after they betray him, to spend a good deal of time bantering with his enemies, and to make “bringing more dragons to earth and be respected” be his major life goal. That’s really kind of sad.

Drago

Would-Be World Conquerer

Level One (ECL 2) Fire Dragon Demon Sorcerer

Basic Attributes: Str 14 (22), Dex 14 (18), Con 14 (22), Int 13, Wis 14, and Cha 12 (Pathfinder 25-Point Buy).

Available Character Points: 48 (Level One Base) +10 (Disadvantages: Accursed (opponents always show up as soon as he gets close to obtaining something good), Broke (Variant; no matter what base Drago acquires, he always winds up back in the junkyard), and Inept (Charisma Based Skills)) +6 (Level One Bonus Feat) = 64 CP.

Basics (23 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 16 (L1d16, 8 CP (+4 for Template)) +12 (extra 3d4 at L1, Template) +24 (4 x Con Mod) = 52 HP.
  • Skill Points: 6 (Purchased, 6 CP) + 4 (Int) = 10 SP.
  • BAB +1, Specialized in Melee Combat (3 CP).It’s largely instinctive at this point, but Drago is a reasonably effective brawler.
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude +0 (0 CP) +6 (Con) = +6
    • Reflex +2 (6 CP) +4 (Dex) = +6
    • Will +0 (0 CP) +1 (Wis) = +1
  • Proficiencies: None. Drago relies on his massive strength, natural weapons, armored hide, and fire-blasts in combat – which is actually pretty reasonable. If I had those advantages and fought unarmed martial artists a lot, I’d probably tend to rely heavily on them too.
  • Initiative: +4 (Dex)
  • Move: 60
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +5 (Natural) +4 (Dex) +2 (Leathers) +2 (Martial Art) = 23.

Preferred Weapons:

  • Talons/Tail/Claws: +7/+7, 1d8+6 (Lethal or Nonlethal). Can Pounce.

Other Abilities (41 CP):

  • Ritual Magic (Legends of High Fantasy style, 6 CP). Dragon can work powerful rituals if he can find the ingredients for them – but otherwise can only produce fairly basic spell effects.
  • Power Words, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only to store personally-generated ritual effects (6 CP). Given time Drago can store up to five minor and three major ritually-generated effects. Usually he has a few for gathering Demon C’hi, but he’s not really very good at loading up with other useful effects in advance. He’s got the standard teenager lack of forethought.
  • Leadership, Specialized for Increased Effect (Drago gets some basic minions, even though he’s too low-level and low-charisma to qualify for any) / His minions are unreliable, and are likely to betray him if he seems weak (6 CP). He usually has three apparently teenage minions: “Strikemaster Ice”, the pizza delivery guy, “D.J. Fist”, the mechanic, and “M.C. Cobra” the video gamer. Sure, they were competent martial artists – but even working together they were no real match for Jackie Chan after the surprise wore off. And Drago still took them back after they tried to backstab him.
  • Returning, Specialized for Reduced Cost / Drago can’t actually return from death, but he does show quite a knack for evading or getting out of jail. If the series hadn’t ended he might even have made it back from the netherworld (3 CP).
  • Luck with +2 Bonus Uses (9 CP). Drago usually gets lucky a few times in each episode. Then, of course, his luck runs out and he gets beaten.
  • Universal Damage Reduction 2/-, Specialized for Double Effect (4/-, versus both physical and energy damage) / only to convert normal damage to nonlethal damage. Drago gets knocked out a lot, but rarely seems to get too badly hurt (3 CP).
  • Witchcraft/Path of Water/Spirits Of The Deep, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only to share a bit of his current “demon chi” powers with mortals, only works on followers gained through Leadership, bestowed templates are never better than +1 ECL, bestow a very limited set of abilities, and have obvious physical effects (2 CP). This probably gets upgraded with a few points later on, making it cheaper to use and longer lasting instead of buying off those limitations.
  • Adept (may purchase Acrobatics, Dragon Brawling Martial Art, Ritual Magic, and Escape Artist for half cost), 6 CP).

Skills:

  • Acrobatics +4 (2* SP) +4 (Dex) = +8
  • Dragon Brawling +4 (2* SP) +6 (Str) = +10
    • Known Abilities (5): Defenses +2, Strike (can do lethal or nonlethal damage with his natural weapons), Toughness II (Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only protects against the energy forms linked with his current set of powers – at base, fire only. This does stack with his base damage reduction however – so he normally ignores the first six points of fire damage and converts the next four points to nonlethal damage. That’s quite enough to ignore most normal fires).
  • Ritual Magic +4 (2* SP) +1 (Int) = +5. Drago really can’t do much beyond minor tricks without rare magical ingredients even WITH the use of Luck.
  • Escape Artist: +4 (2* SP) +4 (Dex) = +8
  • Linguistics: +1 (1 SP) +1 (Int) = +2. Drago speaks English and Mandarin.

Specific Knowledge: Demon C’hi (1 SP). Drago doesn’t know a lot, but he’s fairly knowledgeable on this topic.

In more serious settings Drago is probably best used as an unwanted suitor/villain, a comic relief villain, as a redeemable villain, or in some other reoccurring semi-enemy role. If you want to use him as the big bad guy, he’ll need a bunch of levels and some MUCH better plans and minions.

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.

Ponies Of The Eclipse – Mistmane, Pillar of Beauty

Mistmane – or at least her role as the “Pillar of Beauty” – is a bit awkward. After all, beauty isn’t really a quality that you have. It lies in other people’s perceptions.

Checking some definitions… “A set of qualities in a person or thing that pleases the senses or exalts the mind or spirit”. “An especially graceful, ornamental, or excellent quality”. “An exceptionally good example of something, regardless of whether or not it is a “good” thing.”.

There is physical, mental, and spiritual beauty, the dagger-like beauty of a deadly stratagem, the beautiful elegance of a brilliant mathematical proof, the bloody beauty of a tiger pulling down its prey, and even a warped beauty in a scene of utter carnage. There is beauty in friendship, love, and sacrifice – and in the maniacal purity of obsessive hatred.

There have been people who have thought that torturing children was pleasing to the senses, exalting to the mind and spirit, and an excellent example of the finer things in life – a thing of marvelous beauty. Thankfully, most people do not agree – but that alone shows that there is no consensus on what is “beautiful”.

I personally would say that there is more beauty in a scarred, crippled, and elderly, but still enduring, survivor of war, loss, and suffering, than there is in any vain supermodel – but that is merely MY perception.

Mere appearance often has little to do with beauty. Beauty lies in the mind that perceives it, not in the outside world.

And if Mistmane (who struck me as rather physically ugly to start with and seemed to gain some character from her magical “aging”), had somehow given up what most of us would describe as her inner “beauty” – some or all of the positive elements of her personality and perhaps a part of her ability to relate to others (the primary function of Charisma in d20 terms) regardless of the motive – she wouldn’t be hero material. She’d be Granny at best, or more likely Hydia from the Volcano of Gloom, or the Wicked Witch of the West.

Damaging her physical appearance was a side effect. Mistmane’s aspect is not mere physical “Beauty”, but a much deeper and far greater Beauty. Her aspect is Accord – forgiving wrongs and overlooking conflicts to come together to solve greater problems. Cooperation – not quite Harmony, but perhaps the best that could be expected of a relatively new federation of once-quarreling tribes. Still, in Accord… there is the seed of Harmony.

Perhaps quite literally.

That is why (at least in my version) she has that moving magical mane, an effect she shares with Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, King Sombra, and the Pony of Shadows – all individuals channeling a power beyond themselves.

So, Mistmane was a pretty young mare with high-end magical talent, an excellent spellcasting education (if only fair by modern standard since there have been advancements over the last thousand years) , and a good deal of natural power (in superheroic d20 terms a high constitution). She returned home from school on being informed that one of her best friends had become the local ruler, only to find that said friend had gone a bit mad with jealousy as well. She defeated and cured her old friend, restoring beauty, prosperity, and good government to the area in the process, before wandering off across Equestria to look for further adventures in being nice to people.

So what is Mistmane seen to do? Well – presuming that Rarity’s campfire-tale version of a story from a thousand years ago has all the details right (which honestly seems pretty unlikely) and throwing in what the Wiki’s say she does in the comics, she is seen to…

  • Escape an entangling/grappling effect. That’s L0) Untie, boosted up to L1) Liberating Command, with the usual Unicorn option to power it up further to escape other forms of confinement, dogpiles, and similar restraints. .
  • Communicate with Animals and Plants That’s L0) Influence Animal, powered up to L1) Speak with Animals, L2 Speak with Plants, and L3) Influence Animals (lets you try to persuade groups of animals and grants a +10 enhancement bonus on social skills against them).
  • Attempts to Purify a Timberwolf. That’s probably L0) Purify Food And Drink boosted up to L3) Remove Curse. She might also be able to manage L3) Neutralize Poison.
  • Cause a plant to suddenly grow and grapple someone. Similarly, she can fix up a sick tree and – for a short time thereafter – a trail of flowers sprouts where she walks. So… L1) Enhance Plant (prettier, stronger, more fruit, stronger medicinal effect – double something at CL1+, 3x effect at CL4+, quadruple something at CL 7+), L2) Plant Strike (cause a nearby plant – even if small – to execute up to (Cha Mod in total) combat maneuvers on those targets adjacent to it – such as a Grapple, followed by a Hold/Pin), and even L3) Plant Growth or L3) Diminish Plant. She has a slight disadvantage on this particular set of effects – they cause her to leave an obvious trail of flowers for a bit – but that’s really too minor to worry about in game terms.
  • Project multiple magical blasts – although they might be representing telekinesis. I’ll presume an actual combat spell – L1) Magic Missile – although she can power it up to provide a variety of secondary or enhanced effects.
  • Summon a Flying-Serpent Psychic Construct (Water versus Fire) that defeats a similar construct and then either grapples an opponent, ties them up in vines, or dissipates while Mistmane casts a spell to tie an opponent up in vines. Probably L1) Summon Psychic Construct, powered up to get higher level ones.

OK, up to this point this is Improved Occult Talent (three level zero and three first level effects plus standard unicorn boosting effects) – the standard unicorn bonus feat option for having an advanced magical education. Given a high constitution and the superheroic world template (or a reserve of Mana) to work with and boost those effects, you get a versatile mage with a wide selection of fairly low-level effects.

  • She’s also seen to clean up, and make minor repairs on, an entire village and it’s landscaping – including possibly removing a curse of ugliness -albeit at a significant, and apparently permanent, personal cost. Of course, in game terms… none of that has real effect save, perhaps, acting as a large-area Mending spell. Whether or not things look nice just isn’t a major element in the d20 rules. This is a powered-up version of Mending, Prestidigitation, or an effect that does cantrips. I’ll call it Cantrip Mastery (L2, produces up to three arcane cantrip effects targeting any desired target in a 20′ radius within short range. Thus you could Mend a lot of stuff, apply a Ray Of Frost to six opponents, and Drench all the torches in the area. A L3 version produces four effects in a 30′ radius within medium range. That’s useful, and fairly versatile, but still… I bet that most casters would prefer something like Fireball, Fly, or a nice battlefield-control effect).

So that’s Mana-Powered Inherent Spell (L3 Cantrip Mastery, 6 CP). Her grandiose effect was achieved by spending more Mana (+3 points), using the Compact Metamagic to pay for another +3 (by accepting a permanent curse of damaged appearance), and +2 levels worth of the Magic Of Accord (Below), to achieve an Amplified effect across a massive area.

And, of course, she has the standard unicorn racial Occult Talent package – all of which can be boosted as usual.

  • L0: Dancing Lights (in many trivial variants), Daze (with various special effects), Detect Magic, and (Skill) Mastery (provides a +3 competence bonus on a particular skill for ten minutes per level, +6 if it only covers a limited aspect of a skill. In her case it’s Craft/Landscaping).
  • L1) Greater Mage Hand.

The Magic Of Accord:

  • Metamagical Theorems, all Specialized/only for use with Occult Talents and no more than three inherent spells, no more than two Amplify (only +1 CP since Unicorns get part of it already), Area (3 CP), Compact (3 CP), and Sculpting (3 CP),
  • Streamline III (two levels of each of the above Metamagics save Compact), Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost/no more than two levels in total may be applied to any one effect, only when acting on behalf of others or working in a group endeavor, shows a tell-tale physical sign (moving ethereal mane) (6 CP).

The Magic of Accord is, in fact, a lesser, and somewhat unbalanced, version of Alicorn Magic – but it’s about as much of that power as is available to a Unicorn who lacks Earth Pony and Pegasus Magic. It does, however, give Mistmane exceptional flexibility and control over her magic when acting in Accord with others – a trick that Starswirl the Bearded (who is something of an anti-social loner) has never mastered. That alone makes her a renowned sorceress and allows her to make a substantial magical contribution to a group that contains a more powerful spellcaster in Starswirl and a more versatile healer/item crafter in Mage Meadowbrook.

Mistmane The Enchantress, Pillar of Beauty Accord.

ECL 5 (including a+1 ECL racial template) Unicorn Pony Enchantress

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 Mistmane we’ll take a +2 bonus to her Constituition) and Enduring (providing her with a +1 bonus on her Saves).

To summarize the Basic Pony Modifiers:

  • Quadruped. In general ponies are slow and have trouble moving while using tools or weapons.
  • Attribute Modifiers: -2 Dex, +2 Con. An additional +2 Con and +2 Chr are dispellable magical bonuses.
  • Damage Reduction 9/- versus both Physical and Energy Attacks, only DR 2/- versus melee attacks by living creatures.
  • Endure Elements. Ponies pretty much ignore the weather.
  • Ponies heal 1d8+1 damage per round three times per day.
  • Ponies are always treated as having lots of pockets, even in the nude.
  • Ponies get minor cartoon effects, such as hair that responds to moods, blushing through fur, and so on.
  • Ponies may begin or participate in spontaneously choreographed musical numbers that provide bonuses for group tasks.
  • Have a base pool of 1d6+3 Mana, regaining 1d6 with an hours rest up to three times a day and 1-2 points per day regardless.
  • Get a +2 Racial Bonus to Perform/Sing

To Summarize The Unicorn Subrace Modifiers:

  • Occult Talent provides their usual minor spellcasting.
  • Immunity/Being unable to Concentrate on more than one thing at a time (covering up to three tasks and/or spells of up to level three at any one time).
  • Upgrade their basic Mana supply with the Spell Enhancement Natural Magic option.
  • Metamagic: Amplify / Only applies to Occult Talent abilities.
  • A +2 Racial Bonus to Knowledge/Arcana (2 CP).
  • +2 Intelligence/-2 Strength.
  • One Bonus Feat.
  • Executive, Corrupted for Increased Effect (add the user’s Int Mod to his or her effective level of use)/requires 2 Mana/hour to power. Unicorns are good at coordinating groups, and can provide substantial bonuses.

Basic Attributes: Str 8 (-2 Race = 6) (+3 for one level of Self-Development = 9). Dex 14 (-2 Race = 12), Con 16 (+4 Race +2 Knack = 22), Int 12 (+2 Race = 14), Wis 14, Cha 14 (+2 Race = 16). (Pathfinder 25-Point Buy).

Available Character Points: 120 (Level Four Base) +10 (Disadvantages: Blocked (Polymorph Magic), Compulsively Nice and Forgiving, and History) +12 (L1 and L3 Bonus Feats) +8 (Duties: Pillar of Equestria) = 150 CP.

Basic Abilities (50 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 20 (L1-4, d6, 8 CP) +22 (12 + 2 x Con Mod Template) +24 (4 x Com Mod) = 66 HP.
  • Skill Points: 12 (Purchased, 12 CP) + 14 (Int) + 14 (Fast Learner) = 40 SP
  • BAB +2 (12 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude +0 (0 CP) +6 (Con) +1 (Knack) = +7
    • Reflex +2 (6 CP) +2 (Dex) +1 (Knack) = +4
    • Will +2 (6 CP) +2 (Wis) +1 (Knack) = +5
  • Proficiencies: All Simple Weapons (3 CP) and Oriental Weapons “Suitable For Women” (3 CP).
  • Initiative: +1 (Dex)
  • Move: 40 (four legs, 20 on three or less).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) + 1 (Dex) +4 (Shimmer Mail) +3 (Martial Art) = 18

Other Abilities (100 CP):

  • Magic Of Accord (Above) (16 CP).
  • Inherent Spell (as above, 6 CP)
  • Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for Double Effect (6 CP).
  • Adept (Atheric Dance, Craft/Landscaping, Perception, and Knowledge/Engineering, 6 CP)
  • Mystic Artist (Landscaping) (6 CP), with Composition (Specialized, only as a Prerequisite, 3 CP), Influence (6 CP), Mass Influence (6 CP), Acclaim (6 CP), Song of Power (Specialized, only as a prerequisite, 3 CP), and Touch The Soul (6 CP).
    • At a net cost of 36 CP this is pretty expensive – but Mistmane’s magical landscaping can deeply influence cultures, illustrate philosophical points, empower her to achieve remarkable things, and – at it’s peak and once every thousand years – change the world. Mistmane never fully understood it (or she might have completed her ascension to Alicorn)- but her beautiful Gardens of Accord would help bring the suspicious tribes, insular villages, and local leaders of Equestria together as one nation and would, in the end, usher in the Age of Harmony (and likely Discord, since he put in an appearance soon after the Tree of Harmony did).
    • At +20, this allows her to incorporate Inspiration (Emotion, Competence, Greatness, Excellence) and Synergy (Block (prevents weeds and minor changes in her gardens), Amplify, Harmonize, and Serenity) functions into her gardens – over and above her ability to influence the wider world with them.
  • Luck with +8 Bonus Uses (18 CP).
  • Privilege (Fabulous Beauty, 3 CP).
    • Mistmane sacrificed this ability to empower her grand spell of renewal – which is why her high charisma currently manifests itself as looking like everyone’s cheerful grandmother. The points wound up accidentally being invested in the flower she used as a focus, giving it Returning (the flower is essentially indestructible, 6 CP), a Mystic Link (with Power Link, 6 CP) to her, and Grant of Aid (6 CP) with +2 Bonus Uses (3 CP) – the net cost of 21 CP making the flower a three-point relic.
  • Skill Emphasis (Craft / Landscaping, 3 CP).
  • Skill Focus (Craft / Landscaping, 6 CP).

Skills:

  • Aetheric Dance Martial Art +7 (3* SP) +3 (Tem) +6 (Con) – +16
  • Craft (Landscaping) +7 (3* SP) +2 (Int) +3 (Tem) +5 (Feats) +3 (Enh) = +20
  • Diplomacy +4 (4 SP) +3 (Cha) = +7 (Specialized in Animals for Double Effect, +10 Enh = +24).
  • Escape Artist +4 (4 SP) +1 (Dex) = +5
  • Handle Animal +2 (2 SP) +3 (Cha) = +5
  • Knowledge / Arcana +4 (4 SP) +2 (Int) +2 (Race) = +8
  • Knowledge / Engineering +7 (3* SP) +2 (Int) +3 (Tem) = +12
  • Knowledge / Nature +2 (2 SP) +2 (Int) = +4
  • Perception +7 (3* SP) +2 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +12
  • Perform (Sing) +2 (2 SP) +2 (Race) +3 (Cha) = +8
  • Sense Motive +3 (3 SP) +2 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +8
  • Spellcraft +4 (4 SP)
  • Swim +2 (2 SP) -1 (Str) = +1
    • Specific Knowledge: Oriental Cultural Arts (1 SP).

Aetheric Dance Style (Con):

  • Requires: Unicorn Magic
  • Basic Techniques: Defenses 4, Synergy/Knowledge/Arcana, Synergy/Spellcraft, Toughness 2 (Variant, +2 on saves made during magical duels), Attack 2 (Specialized for Increased Effect / with spells during Magical Duels).
  • Advanced Techniques: Mind Like Moon, Weapon Kata (Shuriken or Chakram), Deflect Arrows, and Improved Initiative (Specialized, only during Magical Duels).
  • Occult Techniques: Healing Hand, Inner Strength, Serpent Strike, and Vanishing.

Known Techniques (8): Defenses 3, Toughness 2, Improved Initiative, Inner Strength, and Healing Hand.

Equipment:

  • Charms: All-Weather Cloak, Automatic Writer (Uses Loaded Brush), Bracers of Force, Druid Boxes, Grace of Miravor, Sands of Time, and Stunstone.
  • Talismans: Loaded Brush, Shimmer Mail (Mages Kimono), and a Sunstone.

Mistmane is a powerful – if rather subtle – force for cooperation, cultural change, and peace – but isn’t really much for fight scenes and is best off sticking with someone who can block incoming attacks. As a more conventional adventurer she’d be well advised to acquire a damage blocking effect as an Innate Spell or to find a way to upgrade her Psychic Constructs so that she can “wear” one and let it absorb the damage. Worse, as usual for superheroic mages, she’d need several levels worth of Mana and Rite of Chi to get it back with to function effectively in more conventional settings.

Still, she’s an excellent example of a standard superheroic mage; she’s got a rather limited list of base effects that she can use all she wants. She can vary them to fit the situation and boost them to some extent – but most of the game-breaking powers (easy long-range teleportation and that kind of thing) are basically out of her reach. 

Eclipse: The Codex Persona is available in a Freeware PDF Version, in Print, and in a Paid PDF Version that includes Eclipse II (245 pages of Eclipse races, character and power builds, items, relics, martial arts, and other material) and the web expansion. Here’s a Featured Review of it and another Independent Review.

The Practical Enchanter can be found in a Print Edition (Lulu), an Electronic Edition (RPGNow), and a Shareware Edition (RPGNow).  There’s an RPGNow Staff Review too.

Ponies Of The Eclipse – Rockhoof At Level Four

For this particular request, it’s an upgrade to Rockhoof – basically “what he might be like after some experience” with specific reference to his past adventures and “A Rockhoof And A Hard Place”.

There’s another good reason for doing that. Given that Equestria is a low-level superheroic world (providing a constant supply of Mana for it’s heroes to work with); Rockhoof is an excellent example of the standard “Super Strongman” type. He lacks only Flight to be a splendid example of what PS238 calls the most common super-power package of all – “FISS”, or “Flight, Invulnerability, Super-Strength”. Even as he is… he’s a pretty fair approximation of what Superman was like in his early adventures, back when he was just leaping around rather than truly flying – and he could always work his way up to true flight in another level or two.

So why not? For those who want to play such a character (and are playing in a superheroic setting where it’s possible), he’s a general example of the build.

While, we don’t have much information on most of Rockhoof’s historical adventures, the Legends of Magic series does indicate that there were a fair number of them. Looking at the “A Rockhoof And A Hard Place” episode, we basically have a long string of “too strong and breaking things” jokes (which was a bit hard to swallow: there was plenty of fragile stuff in the past and apparently Rockhoof wasn’t a walking disaster area back then) along with a few “socially clueless” jokes (also kind of hard to swallow; he spent his youth as a scrawny weakling who presumably did not want to be kicked in the face; he should know better. Perhaps something happened?). Still, Rockhoof does demonstrate a very physical style of storytelling – and has presumably picked up a few levels with his historical adventures. It’s pretty arbitrary, but I’ll peg him at level four.

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

Level Four, ECL 5, Experienced Earth Pony Athletic Superhero.

To summarize the low-level adventurer template, those affected get:

  • A -3 penalty on unskilled skill checks.
  • Very slow level advancement, by direct session-based character point awards rather than experience points. Succeeding in goals helps, but killing things and taking their stuff does not.
  • The status of valuable trouble magnets – they’re rare and find trouble everywhere they go.
  • A +3 bonus on five skills which suit their backgrounds and training. Sadly, this cannot be applied to active magical skills.
  • Extra hit points equal to [12 + (2 x Con Mod)].
  • Two minor special talents. For the full list see the Template, for Rockhoof we’ll take Might (a +2 bonus to his Strength) and Enduring (providing him with a +1 bonus on his Saves).

To summarize the Basic Pony Modifiers:

  • Quadruped. In general ponies are slow and have trouble moving while using tools or weapons.
  • Attribute Modifiers: -2 Dex, +2 Con. An additional +2 Con and +2 Chr are dispellable magical bonuses.
  • Damage Reduction 9/- versus both Physical and Energy Attacks, only DR 2/- versus melee attacks by living creatures.
  • Endure Elements. Ponies pretty much ignore the weather.
  • Ponies heal 1d8+1 damage per round for a round three times per day.
  • Ponies are always treated as having lots of pockets, even in the nude.
  • Ponies get minor cartoon effects, such as hair that responds to moods, blushing through fur, and so on.
  • Ponies may begin or participate in spontaneously choreographed musical numbers that provide bonuses for group tasks.
  • Have a base pool of 1d6+3 Mana, regaining 1d6 with an hours rest up to three times a day and 1-2 points per day regardless.
  • Get a +2 Racial Bonus to Perform/Sing

To Summarize the Earth Pony Modifiers:

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

Basic Attributes: Str 16 (+18 Ber +2 Knack +12 Enh = 48), Dex 16 (-2 Pony = 14), Con 14 (+2 Pony, +2 M  +1 Level = 19), Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10 (+2 M = 12). (Pathfinder 25-point point buy).

Available Character Points: 120 (L4 Base) + 6 (Disadvantages; History and Obligations (Pillar of Equestria)) +8 (Duties to his Village – or to wherever he adopts now) +12 (level one and level three bonus feats) = 146 CP.

Basic Abilities (69 CP):

  • Hit Dice: 12 (L1d12, 8 CP) +20 (12 + 2 x Con Mod Template) +18 (L2-4d8, 12 CP) +20 (5 x Con Mod) +114 (Str Mod x 6, see “Divine Physique” and “Belt of Strength”, below) = 184 HP.
  • Skill Points: 18 (Purchased, 18 CP) + 28 (7 x Con Mod substituting for Int Mod) = 46 SP

Skills:

  • Acrobatics: +7 (7 SP) +2 (Dex) +3 (Tem) = +12 (Jump +50).
  • Bluff +1 (1 SP) +1 (Cha) +19 (Str), Specialized for Double Effect (Combat Only) = +42
  • Diplomacy +1 (1 SP) +1 (Cha) +19 (Str) = +21
  • Intimidate +1 (1 SP) +1 (Cha) +19 (Str) = +21
  • Knowledge/Nature +7 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +0 (Int) = +10
  • Perception +2 (2 SP) +1 (Wis) = +3
  • Perform (Storytelling)  +5 (5 SP) +1 (Cha) +19 (Str) = +25, +30 when telling tales of heroism. Corrupted for Increased Effect (listeners find his tales inspiring no matter how absurd they are, but he often accidentally breaks things while telling them).
  • Profession/Farmer +4 (4 SP) +0 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +7 (Includes making basic farm tools, such as replacement shovels – since he’s specifically noted as having had his destroyed many times).
  • Profession/Sailor +4 (4 SP) +0 (Wis) = +4. Rockhoof picked up the basics after he joined The Mighty Helm, since they used a ship. He’s no great expert, but he is an able-bodied seaman. Unfortunately, his knowledge of Navigation is long out of date.
  • Survival +7 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +0 (Wis) +3 (Tem) = +13
  • Swim +2 (2 SP) +19 (Str) = +21
  • Homesteading Rune Magic Casting +7 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +1 (Cha) = +11
  • Homesteading Rune Magic Mastery +7 (3* SP) +3 (Race) +1 (Cha) = +11
  • Martial Art / Jade Mountain Stance Style: +7 (7 SP) +3 (Race) +13 (Permanent Str) +3 (Tem) = +26.
  • Perform (Sing) +0 (0 SP) +2 (Race) +1 (Cha) +19 (Str) -3 (Tem Unskilled Penalty) = +19
    • Specific Knowledge/Heroic Tales, Sagas, and Chants (+15 to knowing them, +5 to telling them) (1 SP).

The Jade Mountain Stance Style (Str):

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

Known Techniques (13): Attack 1, Power 1, Strike, Toughness 4, Breaking, Combat Reflexes, Improved Disarm, Weapon Kata (Shovel), Healing Hand and Inner Strength.

  • BAB +2 (12 CP).
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude +2 (6 CP) +4 (Con) +1 (Tem) +19 (Str) = +26
    • Reflex +2 (6 CP) +2 (Dex) +1 (Tem) +19 (Str) = +24
    • Will +2 (6 CP) +0 (Wis) +1 (Tem) +19 (Str) = +22
  • Proficiencies: Earth Pony Reinforced Shovels (1 CP).
  • Initiative: +2 (Dex)
  • Move: 40 (four legs) +30 (Light Foot) +30 (Haste),= 100 (50 on two or three legs).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) + 2 (Dex) +4 (Shimmermail) = 16. Rockhoof is still not so good at not getting hit. Fortunately, he does not really need to be.

Usual Weapons:

  • Unarmed: +22/+22 (+2 BAB +19 Str +1 Martial Art, Personal Haste), for 1d6+19, Crit 20/x2, lethal or nonlethal. 3 Attacks of Opportunity, see “Concussive Parry” below.
  • Shovel: +22/+22 (+2 BAB +19 Str +1 Martial Art, Personal Haste), for 1d8+13, Crit19-20/x2, lethal or nonlethal, B or S, Trip, usable as a shovel. 3 Attacks of Opportunity, see “Concussive Parry” below.

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

  • Shovel-Thrown Rocks: +23/+23/+23 (+2 BAB +19 Str +3 Competence -1 Rocks), 1d6+19, Crit 20/x3, Range Increment 80′.

Other Abilities (77 CP):

  • Add Odinpower and Odinmight to his basic Berserker ability, for a total of +18 strength (+6 CP).
  • DR 2/-, versus both physical and energy attacks (3 CP).
  • Upgrade his racial Mana Pool with a form of Natural Magic (Reality Editing), Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only to support the user’s heroic narrative and let the user’s abilities function without normal scaling restrictions (2 CP). This is great for engineering and digging massive trenches, but so-so otherwise.
  • Concussive Parry: Opportunist (6 CP): Rockhoof may make an attack of opportunity against any attack that enters his threatened area. If his attack roll exceeds that of the attacker he can subtract the damage he “inflicts” on the attack from the damage IT would normally inflict, reducing it to a minimum of zero. If this completely negates the damage from an attack, it also negates any other effects it might have, such as requiring a saving throw.
    • This is a powerful defense, but this IS a superheroic setting, so why not? In other settings it might get defined as an Inherent Spell to limit it’s uses – but a superhero will just fuel it with mana and get exactly the same result anyway.
  • Reflex Training: Can spend Mana to maintain his “Berserker” strength enhancement and his Innate Enchantments without it requiring an action of any kind – even while asleep or unconscious. Corrupted for Reduced Cost / he must do so as long as he has Mana available. (4 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment, Specialized for Increased Effect (effects are considered extraordinary abilities and cost no experience to acquire) / Requires two mana to activate for one minute. Is blatantly obvious in operation since he bulks up a lot (11,310 GP Value, 12 CP).
    • Lob (L1: The user may hurl three items at his or her full BAB and with no need for getting out or loading ammunition or for a physical weapon (or proficiency therewith). This is otherwise treated as if the user was using a medium-sized Halfling Staff Sling. Only while wielding a shovel (x.8), only for throwing rocks (x.8) = 1280 GP.
      • In general: 1d6+Str Mod bludgeoning damage and a -1 to hit for using rocks instead of bullets, Crit 20/x4, Range Increment 80 feet, requires a normal roll to hit. In combination with his Reality Editing he could also throw lots of dirt and junk to make clouds of dust and difficult terrain if he wanted to.
    • (Weapon) Mastery (Halfling Sling Staff, Cantrip): +3 Competence Bonus to BAB with a Halfling Sling Staff (or magical simulation thereof). x.7 Personal-Only (700 GP).
    • Thousand Pound Stance (Target gains a +8 versus Bull Rush, Grapple, Trip, Overrun, being lifted or thrown, or similar situations, for one minute. x .7 Personal Only = 1400 GP). Note that this changes the -4 Penalty for Light Foot to a +4 Bonus.
    • Resist Energy (Provides resistance 10 to all energies), x.7 Personal-Only = 1400 GP
    • Personal Haste: User gains a +30′ enhancement bonus on all movement rates and +1 attack at his or her full BAB when making a full attack (2000 GP).
    • Light Foot: User becomes very light, gaining a +30 circumstance bonus on his or her ground movement speed and, a +10 circumstance bonus on jump checks, as well as DR 10 versus Falling Damage [only]. The user is, however, considered one size category smaller in a Bull Rush, Grapple, Trip, or Overrun situation. x .7 Personal Only = 1400 GP.
    • Heroic Will: Protection From Evil, Personal Only (x.7), 3/Day Only (x.6), Only when the GM feels that the user is being compelled to do something against their personal code or otherwise is likely to summon a mighty surge of will to throw off possession/mind control/etc (x.25) = 210 GP.
    • Heroic Rally: Remove Fear, 2/Day Only (x.4), user must make an adequate inspiring speech (x.6) = 480 GP.
    • Coincidental Catch: Feather Fall, 2/Day Only (x.4), activates automatically (x1.5), but only works 50% of the time (x.4) = 480 GP. When a hero falls off a roof or gets dropped, there is a substantial chance that SOMETHING will happen to break his or her fall.
    • Heroic Health: Relieve Illness (from the Hedge Wizardry spell list) 1/Day (x.2), Personal Only (x.7) = 280 GP. Relieve Poison (from the Hedge Wizardry spell list) 1/Day (x.2), Personal Only (x.7) = 280 GP, Lesser Restoration 2/Day (x.4), Personal Only (x.7) = 560 GP. Fast Healing I (from The Practical Enchanter, for 18 rounds, 2/Day (x.4), Personal Only (x.7)) = 560 GP.
  • Hard Training: Finesse (substitutes Con Mod for Int Mod when computing skill points, 6 CP). Thanks to Pathfinders ruling that changes like this are retroactive, this gets him quite a few skill points.
  • Double Damage against inanimate objects, Corrupted/also applies when he accidentally damages stuff (4 CP).
  • “Muscular Spectacle” / Augmented Bonus, adds Str Mod to Cha Mod when using charisma-based skills (6 CP).
  • Finesse, Uses Str Mod in place of Dex Mod for Ranged Combat, Specialized / only for throwing rocks with his shovel (3 CP).
  • Mana-Powered Inherent Spell/Trebuchet Special (L3 Transmutation). You can grab an unresisting individual (or adjacent group of up to four if you have sufficient strength to lift them) and throw them to any location within medium range accessible via a normal parabolic trajectory. The landing is harmless and, during the trip, they are considered to be stationary while the world moves by them (6 CP).
  • Divine Physique: Advanced, Improved, Augmented Bonus: Adds (Str Mod) to (Con Mod) when calculating Hit Points. Specialized and Corrupted/only works for levels 1-5 (6 CP). This gets him an extra 78 HP, or 114 when his Belt of Strength is active
  • Divine Endurance: Improved Augmented Bonus x3 (Add Str Mod to all three saving throws), Specialized / only while being noble, helpful, charging in to face the foe, standing between others and danger, and otherwise being a big boy scout or Superman/Captain Marvel expy, Corrupted / Costs 2 Mana per Use. That’s +13 to all saves, or +19 when his Belt of Strength is active (12 CP). Note that this means that he can normally only boost two saves a round.
  • Minor Privilege (3 CP). Rockhoof gets invited to all the parties and has lots of willing female companionship.

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

Equipment:

  • Charms: Captain’s Torc, Conjurer’s Tattoo (His Shovel), Contraceptive Charm, Foothold “Boots” (hoofwrappings), Impervious Glue, Resounding Horn, and Tinkerstone.
  • Talismans: Ditty Bag, Helm Of War, and Shimmer Mail.
  • Relic: Thur’s Belt Of Strength (Inherent Spell, L3 Personal-Only Enhance Strength/+8 Str for one minute per level, Corrupted for Increased Effect / uncontrollably drains mana to renew itself, makes the user clumsy and prone to breaking things as well as removing any sense of tact or awareness that maybe you should take the thing off sometimes. Net +12 Strength and a lot of environmental and social damage (1 CP Relic).

Rockhoof is now capable of withstanding enormous amounts of damage, bouncing arrows from his skin, resisting minor energy bolts, partially blocking fairly serious attacks with his shovel, dishing out rather a lot of damage, and will be unaffected by most poisons, diseases, or other special effects – although he can be overloaded if he’s hit with more than two a round and has moments of vulnerability (when he’s spending some of this rounds mana keeping his strength boosted). Still, at this point… he’s your basic Colossus, fully capable of going toe-to-toe with massive elementals, lesser giants, and similar menaces. In comparison to normal characters… the Superheroic World Template adds at least +3 CR, a high-efficiency Eclipse build is about +2. and he has a +1 to start with – making him roughly equivalent to a normal character of level ten or higher.

He also has his full allotment of Charms and Talismans and has picked up one minor Relic on his adventures.

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