Friday, July 8, 2011

MLP D&D: Rainbow Dash

Rainbow Dash is here to make your weekend 20% cooler.

Name: Rainbow Dash
Race: Pegasus pony
Alignment: Chaotic Zoom
Class: Barbarian

I fully expect this one will cause a lot of controversy, and frankly, it does require some stretching and extrapolating of the rules to get here. All I ask is that you bear with me until I'm done and listen to my explanation with an open mind.

Rainbow Dash is your typical fighter pilot: arrogant as all heck and, annoyingly, with the skill to back up that arrogance. She's the Maverick of the pony world (pun fully intended): hot-headed, undisciplined, highly competitive, and unfocused on anything that doesn't involve flying, going fast, winning, or charging in recklessly. She has an intense rivalry with Applejack, because while they both love competition and being outdoors, Rainbow Dash is more concerned with winning by any means necessary whereas Applejack desires a good, clean, fair competition.

So: Dashie is clearly a warrior of some kind (being able to go hoof-to-hoof with the best athlete in Ponyville) and is quite obviously chaotic to Applejack's lawfulness. But while AJ can go for days without sleep (high constitution), Rainbow Dash is more Dexterity-based, due to the demands of flying (skill focuses in both Acrobatics and Flying.)

Yes, yes, I hear you saying that Fly isn't a barbarian skill, but Rainbow Dash is a pegasus pony, so let's just assume that Fly is a racial skill, hmm? Similarly, it makes sense that the Fast Movement power inherent to barbarians applies to her flight and not to her ground movement, because, again, she's a flying creature (and has been shown to out-fly even other flyers) and also because in the footrace versus Applejack in Fall Weather Friends, the two were evenly matched.

All right, let's extrapolate some more. Barbarians get Rage Powers at level 2, and some of the powers available are such things as raging climber, raging leaper, and raging swimmer, which allow the barbarian to add her level to all climbing/leaping/swimming skill checks while raging. It would make sense, would it not, that a race of flying ponies would also have access to a power called raging flyer?

I think we can take it as a given that Rainbow Dash has also selected the Run feat (again, applying to flight and not ground speed) as well as the Swift Foot (in her case, swift hoof) rage power:
Swift Foot (Ex): The barbarian gains a 5-foot enhancement bonus to her speed. This increase is always active while the barbarian is raging. A barbarian can select this rage power up to three times. Its effects stack.
So let's assume that all ponies have a ground speed of 40 feet per move action and a flying speed of 60 feet. This gives Rainbow Dash a base flying speed of 70, and when she rages, that increases to 85. That makes a full move for her 170 feet, and a flat-out non-combat run (x5 speed, because of the feat) gives her a movement rate of 850 feet per six-second turn. This comes out to...

141.66  (repeating) feet per second, or 96.59 miles an hour. The only other class which can even come close to this speed is the monk, through a combination of spending ki points, increases to base movement due to level, and whatever other feats or class archetypes I may have missed. The problem, however, is that all monks are lawful, and anyone who has seen this show knows that Dashie is anything but.

But here's the best part: flying at nearly a hundred miles an hour? Still slower than the speed she moves during Sonic Rainboom:

Look at that face! Teeth clenched in concentration, eyes tearing from the effort... she is focusing her rage to push past the mach barrier (760 mph) and rescue her friend. If Dashie isn't a barbarian then I defy you to find a better base class for her.*

(Notice that I said base class. If there are any prestige classes out there which focus on speed, I'm sure she'd take those.)

Whoever made this is brilliant.

What's even more impressive is that Rainbow Dash has created a Sonic Rainboom not once, but twice; the first time she did it, she was a filly, and not only did it earn her a cutie mark, it also had an effect on everyone else who saw it, too, effectively blasting all of them into puberty.

After this, everything else -- including charging an adult dragon solo and kicking it in the jaw -- pretty much pales by comparison.


To summarize:
  • Dexterity is her core stat, with Strength right behind. 
  • Charisma is her dump stat, due to her incredible ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. The only character we've seen who is ruder than Dash is Gilda the Griffon, whom everyone hates because she made Fluttershy cry. 
  • If she isn't going fast, she's being a jerk, charging ahead without thinking, or generally making a mess of things. 
  • Regularly breaks things, including the speed of sound and the laws of physics.

Key "Rainbow Dash is a Barbarian" episodes:
  • Charges and attacks a dragon all by herself in Dragonshy
  • Creates a tornado (yeah, she can do that too) in Swarm of the Century 
  • Has an "Iron Pony" contest with Applejack in Fall Weather Friends
  • Totally sides with the buffalo (other barbarians) against the settler ponies in Over a Barrel
  • Creates a Sonic Rainboom through force of will in Sonic Rainboom
  • Does it again in her origin story in Cutie Mark Chronicles (this time it was in a race)

This series isn't over yet! I will wrap double-length pony week with rules and suggestions on how to actually make an MLP D&D game/campaign setting.

* Having said this, I fully expect someone will show up with a cheesy 3rd party core class for her.


  1. So, you're not going to class the Crusaders? I daresay we see enough of them that a reasonable guess could be made.

    Incidentally, after reading the others I was trying to figure out what Rainbow Dash would be. Monk, as you said, hit alignment restrictions hard. I don't recall why I didn't think Barbarian fit - maybe it's to do with not thinking of DEX as a Barbarian skill.

  2. There's a Pathfinder 3rd party book out with something that would be PERFECT for Rainbow. Gun Metal Games has a PDF called "Class Options volume 4 - Brutal Barbarians!" that has an alternate rage that just increases Dex, Will saves, and Wis-based skills as a dark, internal frenzy instead of Str and Con. Maybe overpowered for actual use in-game, but perfectly in keeping with the idea of the character.

  3. You're right, that sounds perfect for Dashie! As soon as I have enough store credits I'll pick that up. Thanks for pointing it out!


    Ahem. Scootaloo is probably going to be another barbarian, much like Dash, although perhaps land-based as we've yet to see her fly.

    Sweetie Belle is obviously a bard.

    Apple Bloom... hmm. As the wiki states, she's good at "practical design and craftwork." The best fit I can think of that's not a stretch but is still suitable for adventuring is the Artificer, but that's a third-party class.

    PS: Zecora is totally a Witch from the APG.

  5. Sean Michael MilliganJuly 11, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    See attached pics. You can find the rest of them on Ponibooru under the "my_little_mages" tag.

    Also, I wouldn't classify Dash as "rude," exactly. Maybe "callous." "Rude" implies malicious intent, whereas Dash is just thoughtless.

  6. For ideas about animal-based campaigns, check out Expiditious Retreat's really great The Noble Wild supplement (

  7. Old post, but in keeping with the Pathfinder classes...

    Scootaloo is a rogue.  Specifically a rogue with the driver archetype.  She's speedy on her scooter, more so than anyone else, and acrobatic both on and off it.  She is also called out as a good dancer, and rogues have perform as a class skill while barbarians do no.

    Sweetie Belle is a bard, absolutely.  At least a level 5 bard, too, since she can create an elixir of love.

    Apple Bloom might actually be a monk.  Martial arts are not her special talent, but she can do them - though not enough to base a dance routine off of!  So how about a monk with the master of many styles archetype and feats in the janni style feat tree?  Janni style is supposed to be dance-like and is based off ranks in acrobatics or perform (dance), but a master of many styles can take those feats without the skill prerequisites.  There's an explanation for how Apple Bloom might think her "moves" could be translated to dance, and an explanation for why they cannot - beyond her momentary foolishness.  Craft is on the monk skill list as well, so max her ranks in craft (carpentry) and have done with it.  Finally, Apple Bloom is, as we're shown in the Cutie Pox, more committed to the "crusade" than her friends and more willing to do whatever's necessary for it, including steal.  That commitment indicates a lawful bent to me.

    As for Zecora, an oracle with the nature mystery and the tongues curse fits better than a witch, IMHO.

  8. corrections: 

    One needs to be third level to craft an elixir of love, not fifth.

    Zecora is more of an alchemist than an oracle.  She's still not a witch, though; she lacks a familiar.

  9. Don't forget the aversion to reading! Well, before she started point-dumping into Knowledge (Daring Do)...

  10. If you include 3.X stuff, the Chaos Monk (Magazine, either Dungeon or Dragon) or Battle Dancer (Dragon Compendium) kind of fit her a lot better, or even a straight Monk with the Ebberon rules that ditch alignment restrictions for classes.


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