Nobilis and Eclipse – Estates, Persona, and Domain

“Estates” are one of the core concepts of Nobilis – and are entirely subjective, described by seven “points” worth of sentences, assigning more “points” to more central properties. Your estate could be Time, or Dragons, or Clockwork, or Pillows, or Cooking Programs, or Sid Mier’s Computer Games, or pretty much anything else. It really doesn’t matter what you call it, since it’s defined by those (usually four or five) sentences – not by external expectations. Are you a power of “Cold”? Perhaps…

  • (2) Cold isolates the heart, destroying an entities traits.
  • (2) Cold is an undisturbed void, rejecting reality through not caring.
  • (1) Cold is the death of self, with mind and body soon to follow.
  • (1) Cold is outside, always waiting to force its way in.
  • (1) Cold is eternal and timeless, while all else passes.

Or perhaps…

  • (3) Cold negates energy, for all ends in cold.
  • (1) Cold crystallizes, preserving what lies within.
  • (1) Cold allows things to function far beyond their limits.
  • (1) Cold opens the way for new beginnings.
  • (1) Cold lurks in the depths.

Or perhaps…

  • (2) Cold rides the winds everywhere, stealing heat and life.
  • (1) Cold kills, desiccates, and shatters.
  • (1) Cold is winter, the season of scarcity, famine, and death.
  • (2) Cold is ice, from the smallest snowflake to the greatest glacier.
  • (1) Cold isolates and entraps, preventing or forcing interaction.

The Nobilis book also gives a couple of other examples for “cold”.

  • (2) Cold freezes things.
  • (2) Cold makes things sick.
  • (1) Cold is melancholy.
  • (1) Cold descends.
  • (1) Cold is the snow and the ice and the dark.

Or:

  • (1) Cold slows things down.
  • (1) Cold chills the heart.
  • (3) Cold brings silence, stillness, and peace.
  • (2) Cold is driven to fill emptiness.

Or you could be a power of mathematics, necessity, finance and logic, and still call it “cold” (although altering the rules of logic is a REAL headache).

For that matter, you can be a power of Illogic or Acausality and make anything at all happen as long as it has no rational connection to whatever you did to cause it. You could also make A = Not-A – at which point nothing can be distinguished from anything else.

In any case, Domain and Persona give you powers based on your Estate – Domain focused on affecting objects and the environment and Persona focused on affecting creatures (including yourself). You get a bunch of minor stuff that you can always do and you get major stuff that you can do, but not at all often.

Of course, Nobilis then goes on to say that “The Power of Fire can make someone more fiery, or give them a dangerous feel, or make sure that now and again in life their plans will burn them.” – without talking about what Estate of Fire it’s referring to. What if the Fire Estate that’s currently in play is all about nuclear fusion, metabolism, explosions, and cooking?

I’m going to ignore that bit. D20 focuses a lot more on consistency.

Buying the Domain and Persona Attributes:

  • Both of them are 4d6 Mana, with Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, all Specialized and Corrupted / only for use Spell Enhancement, only for use with the “Shaping” ability below, only for effects targeting objects or the environment (Domain) or effects targeting creatures, including yourself. Rite of Chi, only recharges the specific mana pool it was purchased for and then only between sessions or when the game master opts to award a die (24 CP in total).

You’ll also need:

  • Dominion (Your Estate). This lets you draw power from administering, defending, and otherwise promoting your Estate, as well as allowing you to use it to influence large-scale events (6 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Estate. You can detect things related to your estate, whether that’s something affecting it on a large scale or its relationship to particular creatures. Note that – since you are the embodiment of your Estate – you can make perception rolls to figure out where attacks are coming from, even if they’re being launched by magic from another dimension. They are, after all, “things affecting your estate” (6 CP).
  • You can produce minor effects related to your estate. That’s Shaping, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Level 0 and 1 Effects) / only for effects related to your Estate. Note that this includes Destiny Spells related to your Estate, but they’re no more controllable than usual (6 CP).
    • This is also the foundation for higher-level Estate-related “Miracles”/Spells. Thanks to that “Increased Effect” modifier, 1 Mana will get you up to fourth level effects, two to seventh level effects, and three to tenth level effects. “Imperial Miracles” or Grandiose Edits can reach level 13, but pushing things that far generally leads to all kinds of backlash.

This is incredibly cheesy. Applying “Specialized For Increased Effect” to the Mana used in Spell Enhancement is pretty ridiculous. This sort of thing is only acceptable if EVERY major character is using equally horrible cheese. Fortunately, in a Nobilis styled setting… they all will be.

  • Adaption: Nobilis characters are avatars of their Estates, As such, they adapt to how their Estate fits into the local environment as a basic function of their Persona attribute. They will learn local languages within a few moments of their arrival, take on a suitable local guise (while remaining clearly themselves), and fit into their local role – whether that happens to be as one of the octopus people of an undersea dimension, a towering kaiju in a dreamworld of battling powers, the depths of space, or a mere exotic culture. Thus, if the game master decides to set a session in an exotic city or an alien dimension or something, Nobilis characters need not worry about “can they speak the local languages?” or “can they breathe the local air”.

    • This is an automatic self-polymorphing effect – a small part of their innate Estate-related Shaping – which is entirely under the game masters control (although a Noble may ask the game master to spend 1-3 of his or her Persona mana to trigger it – (lets say if they’re lost at sea with no boat and are about to drown). This will occasionally call for effects of well above level one, so this is they need to buy +1d6 (4) Mana that counts as part of the Persona Pool for recharging purposes, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost; controlled by the game master, only to power self-transformation spells to adapt the user to the local environment, has whatever effects that the GM thinks will be fun (2 CP).
  • You can become one with your Estate, either possessing an instance of it (wherever that is) or “communicating” with it. That’s Blessing, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Treats “your Estate” as a valid target, permits easy communication) / only to allow communication with the Estate and to get instances of it to act within their nature (for example, a gun might go off or misfire) or to fully transfer yourself into your Estate, leaving your body behind and undefended to possess and act through one or more instances of it (6 CP). Sadly, possessing more than one instance of your Estate at once requires an Immunity to disorientation to work effectively. Ergo, buy Immunity to the disorientation of spreading your “self” over massive areas (Uncommon, Minor, Major, 6 CP), allowing you to – for example – find which of the hordes thousand fires has the chieftains council going on around it.
  • You may take on an Affliction related to your Estate – or give one to someone else. That’s two instances of Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / only to take on an Affliction related to your Estate (12 CP) plus Adaption (Specialized for Increased Effect / may spend 2 Mana to change the points around instantly, Corrupted for Reduced Cost (cannot change otherwise), only for your Estate-Related Afflictions, above, 2 CP), plus Blessing, Specialized and Corrupted / only to lend someone else an Affliction (2 CP).

Persona and Domain 4-5 are a problem; they’re where you can Create, Animate, Summon, Destroy, Adopt, or Cast Out (make something a part of your estate or not a part of your Estate, so that it transforms – although how is up to the game master). And while this is limited to a relatively small scale… unlimited Raise Dead, Create Undead, Slay Living, Animate Object, Summoning, and similar effects generally wreck the game.

The trick here is to recognize that such abilities aren’t really “unlimited” in Nobilis either; they may not have a base cost at this level – but trying to use your “Life” Estate powers to raise all the dead of a great battle will very shortly bring you into conflict with other powers. Nobilis conflicts expend resources to pump up your miracles very quickly too – so there won’t be many chances to use the free stuff there either. Finally, of course, the game master has a lot more input on what you get from any given attempt in Nobilis than in d20, where they’re basically just high level spells. That’s one reason why I’ve given the various Nobilis “Attributes” mana / “Miracle Point” pools of 4d6 instead of 5. They have some to spend on such effects, and so will get to use them about as often as they get to use them in Nobilis anyway. There’s no further cost here, since I’ve already included that.

That gives the equivalent of Domain and Persona 5 a total cost of 60 Character Points. Once again, that’s relatively cheap in d20 because most Nobilis “Miracles” are actually pretty straightforward in d20 terms. They may be high-level spells – but they’re just spells. D20 is a system where Raistlin – a mortal wizard – could challenge the entire pantheon of his world and destroy them all (OK, that was second edition, but the settings haven’t changed that much). In d20, power is a smooth scale; there isn’t any sharp division between “Mortal Magic” and “Divine Powers”.

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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.

Ponies Of The Eclipse – Somnambula, Pillar of Hope

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

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

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

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

Pegasi: live fast, get sealed into limbo young.

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

Somnambula, Pillar of Hope

Level Three (ECL 4) Pegasus Inspirational Traveler

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

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

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

To summarize the Basic Pony Modifiers:

  • Quadruped. In general ponies are slow and have trouble moving while using tools or weapons.
  • Attribute Modifiers: -2 Dex, +2 Con. An additional +2 Con and +2 Chr are dispellable magical bonuses.
  • Damage Reduction 9/- versus both Physical and Energy Attacks, only DR 2/- versus melee attacks by living creatures.
  • Endure Elements. Ponies pretty much ignore the weather.
  • Ponies heal 1d8+1 damage per round three times per day.
  • Ponies are always treated as having lots of pockets, even in the nude.
  • Ponies get minor cartoon effects, such as hair that responds to moods, blushing through fur, and so on.
  • Ponies may begin or participate in spontaneously choreographed musical numbers that provide bonuses for group tasks.
  • Have a base pool of 1d6+3 Mana, regaining 1d6 with an hours rest up to three times a day and 1-2 points per day regardless. For Somnambula I’ve rolled 6 – low-average. Still, she usually only needs it for her Harmonic Convergence power, and then only one point.
  • Get a +2 Racial Bonus to Perform/Sing

To summarize the Pegasus Subrace Modifiers:

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

 

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

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

Basic Abilities (36 CP):

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

Other Abilities (78 CP):

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

Skills (42 Skill Points Total):

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

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

Somnambula’s Glowpaz Necklace:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And there’s a reason for that.

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

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

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

Flash Magnus, Pillar Of Bravery

Level Three (ECL 4) Pegasus Military Officer

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

  • A -3 penalty on unskilled skill checks.
  • Very slow level advancement, by direct session-based character point awards rather than experience points. Succeeding in goals helps, but killing things and taking their stuff does not.
  • The status of valuable trouble magnets – they’re rare and find trouble everywhere they go.
  • A +3 bonus on five skills which suit their backgrounds and training. Sadly, this cannot be applied to active magical skills.
  • Extra hit points equal to [12 + (2 x Con Mod)].
  • Two minor special talents. For the full list see the Template, for Flash Magnus we’ll be taking +2 Dexterity and Internal Compass (so that he never gets lost).

To summarize the Basic Pony Modifiers:

  • Quadruped. In general ponies are slow and have trouble moving while using tools or weapons.
  • Attribute Modifiers: -2 Dex, +2 Con. An additional +2 Con and +2 Chr are dispellable magical bonuses.
  • Damage Reduction 9/- versus both Physical and Energy Attacks, only DR 2/- versus melee attacks by living creatures.
  • Endure Elements. Ponies pretty much ignore the weather.
  • Ponies heal 1d8+1 damage per round three times per day.
  • Ponies are always treated as having lots of pockets, even in the nude.
  • Ponies get minor cartoon effects, such as hair that responds to moods, blushing through fur, and so on.
  • Ponies may begin or participate in spontaneously choreographed musical numbers that provide bonuses for group tasks.
  • Have a base pool of 1d6+3 Mana, regaining 1d6 with an hours rest up to three times a day and 1-2 points per day regardless. For Flash I’ve rolled 8 – at the high end of the usual pool.
  • Get a +2 Racial Bonus to Perform/Sing

To summarize the Pegasus Subrace Modifiers:

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

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

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

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

Basic Abilities (66 CP):

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

Usual Weapons:

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

Other Abilities:

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

Purchased Skills:

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

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

Flash

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

Magnus:

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

Netitus

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

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

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

Other Equipment:

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

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

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

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

Previously on the Aggravating Pony Overlord Channel…

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

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

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!