Saturday, February 18, 2012

Unknown Ponies: Kelpies

There are very strong elemental themes running throughout My Little Pony.  Earth ponies are, naturally, earth dominant, and pegasi are the sky ponies. Unicorns are related to fire in ways that are not immediately obvious: fire is energy, and energy changes things, and magic also changes things. Add that to the telling glow around a unicorn's horn when she is practicing magic, and you see the fire connection.

Oh yeah, and then there's the fact that Twilight Sparkle bursts into flame twice in Season 1:

Twilight Sparkle has evolved into Rapidash!

So that's settled, then. But what about the element of water?

With the understanding that future episodes of MLP:FiM may completely invalidate this, I present you with Kelpies*, the ponies of the sea.

Some times referred to as the hippocampus or aughisky, kelpies are seaponies who usually dwell in the ocean or deep inland lakes. They are a quiet and introspective people who prize the arts above all else. Preferred hobbies are singing, growing coral, or making items from seashells. Their role in the ecology of Equestria is similar to that of the pegasi: they tend to the needs of other aquatic creatures and control the waves and the tides. Unlike the pegasi, who have turned their duties into an industry, kelpies see their role as artistic in nature. They are sculptors, not manufacturers.

Kelpies receive +10% to their Soul attribute and the skills Water Control and Shape Changing (Soul).

Water Control is the ability to manipulate water in order to create or diminish waves and tides. Having this skill grants the ability to breathe underwater, to walk on the water's surface as if it were solid (even while shape changed), and to use the gallop skill to swim.

Shape Changing allows a kelpie to shift between the traditional hippocampus appearance (head and front legs of a horse, with fins instead of hooves and hair, and a seahorse tail) with that of a regular earth pony. Certain aquatic details will remain when shapeshifted, such as small fins, gills, scales, a bifurcated tail, or a mane and tail that are always dripping wet.

Picture courtesy of 

While this is basically a "shift between water and land" power, Kelpies who decide to make shape changing their special ability may, at the Ponymaster's discretion, perform other transformations. Changes to coloration and hair style are easy, but at higher levels (and perhaps requiring the expenditure of a Magic point) other abilities may be possible, such as: adhesive skin, sharp teeth, flight and even turning into mist. Consult with folklore for additional ideas.

* Because another name of Kelpies in folklore is Water Horse**. Trololololol!

**Fun idea that is in no way canonical: since most folklore about water horses comes from Celtic mythology, I think it would be hilarious if Kelpies spoke in Scottish, Irish, or Welsh accents. Or pirate dialect!  Arrrrr!


  1. I love this! Very excited to see players use them in your game. :-)

  2. I was asked by a friend if a Kelpie could do water control with, say, a bucket of water at a party, or if it had to be ocean water only. 

    I thought about it and my reply was, why not? In "Hearts and Hooves Day," Scootaloo was able to bite off a piece of a cloud for use in the love potion, and she hasn't exhibited any other skills at weather control, or even flight. 

    So I imagine that it could be done, sort of like waterbending in Avatar. Although it would probably require physical contact of some kind. Think of it like sculpting ice, but at room temperature. 

    Sea Ponies!

  4. Yes, something like that.

    Only, y'know, cuter and not quite so horrifying.

    And playable! I am so tired of seeing marine races be totally useless out of water (aka the Aquaman Effect).

  5. Of course, now I want to see Joie draw the MLP version of the Keplies... :-)

  6. Me too! But having just gotten some art from her I feel terrible in asking.

  7. Kelpies could be canonical in the future, given that sea ponies are cannon in earlier generations of MLP. In fact, part of me is extremely hopeful that that will be the concept of season 3's premier episode. The ponies of Equestria never seemed all that exploratory, and there isn't any market for fisherponies, so encountering kelpies would always be unlikely (given the assumption that none of the kelpies went Ariel on us)


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