Friday, July 5, 2013

Fridays are Magic: Adventure Edition!

I've been playing D&D for a little over a decade. I've been reading D&D books for far longer, but I didn't actually start playing until after high school, when I moved across the country and needed to build some sort of social structure to avoid turning into a crazed hermit (rather than the normal kind I became instead). I've played 3rd Edition, 3.5, 4E (and may I never have to play that again), and various spinoffs like d20 Modern or SpyCraft. I've also played a few other systems, like Vampire: The Masquerade and Legend of the Five Rings, though not nearly as many as I would actually like to.

Of late, though, my gaming group has finally settled on a single gaming system that we can all agree is pretty fun: Pathfinder, Paizo's revamp/overhaul of the D&D 3.5 ruleset into something bigger, better, and more fun than its predecessor. Pathfinder streamlines a lot of 3rd Edition's more complex oddities, introduces a few new ideas that add a lot of fun and value to the game, and comes complete with a setting vast and varied enough to contain any campaign idea you can think of, somehow without homogenizing everything into a bland soup like the Forgotten Realms. It's good stuff.

In seemingly unrelated news, a bit of boredom led to my discovery that some generous soul had taken the old program HeroMachine--a free, Flash-based costume designer/paper doll thingee my group had long used to create quick, cheap, and rather goofy-looking portraits for our characters--and updated it to a new version, with tons of new features and customization options. I immediately set about sinking far too many hours into it, hoping to learn its secrets and use this newfound power for my own nefarious purposes. To do this, I needed characters that I could design. Being a brony, well, it didn't take long to figure out who.

I've mentioned before that, seeing as Hasbro owns both My Little Pony and D&D, it's entirely possible--even likely--that any beast from the Monster Manual you care to name could exist somewhere in Equestria. We've seen hydras and dragons and minotaurs, so why not beholders or illithid? Continuing on that line of thought, if Equestria potentially shares so much in common with a typical D&D campaign setting, well, what would other aspects of the world look like with a dusting of swords and sorcery?

It's a question that's been asked before, and answered quite well. Artists have drawn the Mane Six as heroic campaigners, both in human and pony form. Writers have sent them on epic quests to battle forgotten horrors. And hell, there's even a pretty successful screencap comic a la DM of the Rings that sets the show as the backdrop to a 4th Edition game.

Different folks have come up with different ideas of how our six heroines would work as an adventuring party, and what roles they would play. And now, so have I. Mwa ha ha.

Behold, Applejack the Paladin!

Strong, honest, loyal, and doughty, AJ basically embodies the tenets of the Lawful Good alignment without really trying. True, most paladins are thought of as knights in shining full plate, chivalrous, refined, and gallant, but that's not true of all of them. Applejack would likely draw her power from a deity like Chauntea or Erastil, Lawful Good deities focused on families, small communities, farming, and other rural pursuits.
Avant! 'Tis Fluttershy the Cleric!

Yes, I fully realize that the obvious choice of a class for Fluttershy is the Druid, a class based entirely around harmony with nature and summoning lots of beasts to do your fighting for you. However, I can't really picture 'Shy wearing tanned animal hides or ordering her little friends into harm's way. Instead, I've made her a Cleric, a divine servant of a deity like Mielikki or Gozreh, gods of nature who encourage their followers to live much as druids do, just without the dead animal skins.
 What, ho! 'Tis Pinkie Pie the Bard!

Come on, like she was going to be any other class.

Who goes there?! Why, 'tis Rainbow Dash the Fighter!

First off, I'm not really happy with her design. Rainbow Dash is, perhaps ironically, a really difficult character to make look cool as anything but, well, Rainbow Dash. It's not impossible--I've seen it done--but she's composed entirely of strong, bold, clashing colors. For a guy who likes to balance strong colors out with neutral browns and grays, she's a bit of a challenge.

Anyway! I debated about whether to make Dash a Fighter or a Barbarian. After some thought, I realized that, while Dash is often brash, easily annoyed, and ready to engage in direct action, the core of her character is really just a big softy, not an insane juggernaut of unstoppable rage. Plus, while she's a naturally gifted flyer, becoming a Wonderbolt is as much about skill and training as pure talent. She's a Fighter, both in temperament and ambition.

Hark! 'Tis Twilight Sparkle the Wizard!

Again, really, what other class could Twi possibly be? She's got raw magical talent and natural leadership (the signs of a high Charisma score in D&D) but she's also a genius bookworm who has to study spells to learn them (the signs of an Intelligence-based Wizard).

So, well... you're a wizard, Twilight.

En guarde! 'Tis Rarity, the Multiclassed Rogue/Sorcerer!

Rarity was kind of a tough one to pin down. She's very definitely a Charisma-based character, and as a unicorn, she's a natural spellcaster. These things say Sorcerer. On the other hand, while she's shown a high degree of skill in a limited number of magical applications, she clearly has nowhere near the raw power or potential of her fellow unicorn, Twilight Sparkle. Making her a pure Sorcerer would not just match her pound-for-pound with Twi, it would actually make her stronger, just less versatile. And while Best Pony she may be, we can't really have that.

Instead, I decided that she'd be the group's social tank, leveling primarily as a Rogue so she could sink tons of ranks into skills like Bluff, Diplomacy, Craft (Tailor) and Knowledge (Nobility). She'd be the group's guide to courtly behavior and intrigue, with a little specialized magic to help her in her role, while still able to step up to the front lines when need be.

Plus, there was the whole Tom thing. You don't get much more Rogue-y than that.

Anyway! I was hoping to have some stats to go along with these portraits, but was up far too late playing The Walking Dead: 400 Days ran short on time. If I don't get lazy, I'll throw 'em up on the blog her over the course of the week.

Oh, and my new headset has arrived, which means I can start recording Let's Plays again. Which means I can get back to Battlefield 3 and Two Worlds II. Yaaay.

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