I have demonstrated that the "mane six" ponies constitute a functional PC group -- Wizard, Bard, Rogue, Ranger, Druid and Barbarian. While each have individual strengths and specialties, there is enough of an ability overlap that the loss of a single member does not mean defeat of the entire group.
But what of the world they inhabit? How would a GM run a My Little Pony campaign using D&D or Pathfinder rules? And just what are the stats for the different pony races, anyway?
Relax, I've got this under control.
THE PC RACES
I wish I could take credit for these, but I can't. Someone far more skilled in game design and photoshop created these three excellent "Ponyfinder" PC race writeups. They look pretty balanced to me, but I could be wrong. At the very least, I believe they're balanced against each other, and they're the only types of non-deity pony we've seen so far. (Sorry, there are no rules for baby dragon PCs. Or griffons. Sorry 'bout that.)
Although, they are a bit too serious in places. Rules for using weapons? Really?
While there are (as yet) no rules for Cutie Marks in Ponyfinder, a hasty houserule could be cobbled together thusly: When using skills or powers in line with their Cutie Marks, Ponyfinder PCs may always take 10, even in combat or when stressed. If they choose to roll, any 20 is considered a Critical Success with spectacular, magical results (such as a sonic rainboom).
Yes, I just invented the Cutie Mark Critical.
Also, if you're interested in crazy theories about how pony magic works (and who isn't?) I highly suggest that you check this out:
A horn is made of keratin as are hooves, thus as magic is focused through an alicorn to perform Unicorn magic, a small form of magic must also transfer though Earth Pony hooves. This being the tactile telekinesis that allows they and all MLP to manipulate delicate things with seemingly blunted hooves. With further study an Earth Pony might find an ability to focus magic through their hooves. Though I think the alicorns natural focusing shape makes the use of arcane powers, more potent and directed through unicorn means.
The thing to keep in mind about MLP D&D is that, if you want to be true to the spirit of the cartoon, you need to realize there is a distinct difference between conflict and combat. Out of the 26 episodes of the first season, only a quarter of those had any sort of physical altercation at all, and in only one episode did that actually advance the plot. In fact, rushing headlong into battle actually makes things worse in the series!
Now I realize that a lot of gamers are looking at this and rolling their eyes. "No combat?" I hear you scoff. "What is the point?"
|Cuteness is in the eye of...|
The point is that My Little Pony is cartoon for children, and you want to play MLP D&D, you're doing one of two things: you're introducing a small child to role-playing, or you're a hard-core brony and want to role-play in Equestria. Either way, you must observe the genre conventions.
You don't out-fight your opponents in MLP. To steal a phrase from the reality TV series Survivor, you outwit, outplay, or outlast your opponents. Maybe, sometimes, a fight is necessary, but that really should be the path of last resort. If it truly bothers you, reverse one of Carl von Clausewitz' famous sayings and you get "Diplomacy is simply war by other means."
To this end, instead of having adventures that are variations upon "Go to this place, kill things, and grab the loot," the Ponymaster is encouraged to build adventures which utilize the 7 Basic Conflicts:
- Pony vs. Self Example: Sonic Rainboom
- Pony vs. Pony Example: Look Before You Sleep
- Pony vs. Society Example: Winter Wrap-Up
- Pony vs. Nature Example: Swarm of the Century
- Pony vs. Supernatural Example: Feeling Pinkie Keen
- Pony vs. the Other Example: Bridle Gossip
- Pony vs. Destiny Example: The Show Stoppers
While Georges Polti's 36 Dramatic Situations are probably too "adult" for MLP D&D, Ronald Tobias' 20 Master Plots will serve a Ponymaster quite well:
- The Riddle
- Forbidden Love
- Wretched Excess
There's a reason I mentioned the episode Dragonshy in every singly MLP D&D character writeup, because not only is it a great episode, but it's classic D&D: a quest to defeat a dragon, complete with overland perils. You will note that the dragon was not defeated by force of arms -- in fact, that only made it angry. Likewise the Manticore in Elements of Harmony, the Parasprites in Swarm of the Century or the Hydra in Feeling Pinkie Keen.
Remember, when in doubt, Love and Tolerate the heck out of them.
|Just... not like this.|
THE CAMPAIGN WORLD
At first glance, Equestria might seem unexciting, but this misunderstanding comes from not properly embracing the weird. Consider the following:
- Princess Celestia must make the sun rise each day, or there is no dawn.
- Pegasus ponies are in charge of making the weather.
- All ponies are responsible for making the seasons change (see Fall Weather Friends and Winter Wrap-Up).
- The ponies are scared to enter the Everfree forest, where plants and animals function without pony intervention.
Equestria: half Dark Sun, half Gamma World. If that doesn't get your gamer juices flowing there's something wrong with you.
|My Little Ponypocalypse.|
Is there a little girl in your life who you'd like to introduce to role-playing? Odds are excellent that she's already a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (and if she's not, by all means, introduce her to the series!). All children have a natural affinity for make-believe, and rolling funny dice in bright colors can be fun. Make it an educational experience: you can teach her math, probability, and problem-solving, As she grows up she will want more sophisticated challenges and you can move on to other, more complicated games.
Remember: children are the future of gaming. Don't let them succumb to the instant gratification of MMO's and video games. Teach them the joy of tabletop gaming as they unleash their imaginations.