My Little Pony: The Roleplaying Game. (Working title still in progress)
I have been sketching out a Pencil and Paper D&D style game for the My Little Pony universe. The intent is to allow players to create characters and play out scenes with their own ponies.
Bear in mind that this is a work in progress, and that the system is not complete yet. I will be adding more hard numbers soon. Currently this is version 0 since it can't really even be called a playable version yet.
Part 1: System
The system is based on the Serenity/Ironclaw systems which has a very simple system of checks. Every time you make any sort of check you roll your stat die (or dice) and your skill die (or dice) and add up the total. The better your stat or skill, bigger the die you roll. Thus if you have a d4 in Athletics you are pretty weak at sports, but if you have a d12 in Athletics you are quite the athlete. If you have a d6 in Athletics and a d8 in jumping, when asked to jump you roll a d6 and a d8 and add the total. The higher the total, the better you do. You will have to roll above a certain number to accomplish different tasks.
If you roll a 1 on both dice, you have botched. If you have no training, you just roll the stat die. Obviously, the more dice and bigger dice you roll, the less chance of a botch.
You may also end up adding friendship dice to your roll, but that will be explained later.
Part 2: Stats
Unlike most systems, there is a lot less focus on physical stats. the stories tend to focus more on personalities than physical abilities.
The stats are (example of a skill which uses the stat):
Athletics - How good and strong an athlete you are (Jumping)
Resolve - How much will you have to keep going on (Patience)
Logic - How good you are at figuring things out (Research)
Attitude - How much of a presence you put up (Charming)
Perception - How good an eye you keep out (Hearing)
Reflexes - Your ability to think and act quickly. (Dodging)
Initiative: Perception + Reflexes
Constitution: Athletics + Resolve
Willpower: Resolve + Resolve (not a misprint)
Constitution is used to decide how hard a beating you can take. The total of your dice is how many life points you have.
Thus if you have a d6 in resolve and a d8 in athletics, you have 14 life points before you are KO'd.
Characters start with a d4 in all 6 stats, and 9 stat points to spend. For every point spent, the die increases to the next step. Thus a d4 becomes a d6, a d6 to a d8 (for another point spent) and so on. The limit is a d12 for a starting stat, though ponies may buy beyond that later.
Part 3: Skills
(This list is HIGHLY incomplete)
There are 2 types of skills, General and Specific.
General skills cover a wider range of a skill set and shows you are familiar with the basics of all ideas under that skill. General skills can only be improved to a d6, after that it is no longer possible to improve on the general skill, but instead on the individual specific skills.
Specific skills are more narrow than the general skills, but are able to be improved to higher levels.
General skills [Associated skill](Specific Skills)
Acrobatics [Ath](Jumping, Climbing)
Research [Log] (Lab Work, Fact Finding, Decryption)
Knowledge [Log] (History, Science, Art, etc.)
Local [Log] (People, Places, Fads, Rumors)
Flying (Fast [Ath], Maneuver [Ref], Carry [Ath])*
Bucking [Ath] (Air, Ranged, Ground)
Dodging [Ref] (Air, Ranged, Ground)
Magic [Log] (By Spell)**
Medecine [Log] (Herbalism, Rehabilitation, Psychology)
Craft [Log] (By different crafts)
Understanding [Per] (Ponies, Animals)
Spotting [Per] (Bright Light, Low Light)
Hearing [Per] (Close, Far)
Charming [Att] (Calming, Flirting)
Intimidate [Att] (Ponies, Animals)
Negotiation [Att] (Bartering, Diplomacy)
Perform [Att] OR [Ath] (Particular performance)
Organization [Log] (Construction, Events)
Patience [Res] (Waiting, Ponies)
* Only Pegasi can use this skill
** Only Unicorns can use this skill
You can buy skills at 2 points per level. Thus 2 points will get you a d2, 4 points will get you a d4, and 6 points will get you a d6. You can do this in any general skill up to a d6. Once you have spent 6 points to get the d6, you then have to start buying speciality. You can spend 2 points to increase a speciality to a d8, 4 points to increase it to a d10 and 6 points to increase it to a d12.
For example, a pony can spend 6 points for Knowledge, then another 2 points on Art and another 4 points on History. This means that they would roll a d8 on Knowledge (art), a d10 on knowledge (history) and a d6 on any other Knowledge checks. (This would be in addition to their Logic die as well)
Characters start with 62 skill points to spend, but bear in mind that this shares a pool with Perks and Flaws, discussed next.
Part 4: Perks and Flaws.
Everypony has their good points and bad, their strengths and weaknesses. Here we get to add a lot of flavor and quirks to a character through these perks and flaws. (see if you can figure out the source of some of these). There are 2 types of perks and flaws, minor and major. Taking a minor perk costs 2 skill points and taking a major perk costs 4 points. Taking a minor flaw adds 2 points to your pool, and adding a major flaw adds 4 points to the pool. It should be noted that players are encouraged to take at least one flaw, but not too many. There is a fine line between quirky and just plain irritating.
There are 2 exceptions to this, the Pegasus perk costs 10 skill points and the Unicorn perk costs 15 skill points. These MUST be taken at character creation and you cannot create a character with both perks.
Unicorn - Added skill, Magic. Gain spell basic telekinesis. You must also spend at least 2 skill points to get a d2 in Magic.
Pegasus - Added skill, Flying. Gain permanent cloudwalking ability. You must also spend at least 2 skill points to get a d2 in Flying.
Bear in mind any "+X/-X" included means that the die type increases by however many steps the +X is and decreases by however many steps the -X is.
Bouncy (Major) +1 on jump checks, smaller hinderences do not slow your move speed.
Premonition (Major) +1 on initiative checks, may be given random insights
Hard Buck (Major) +1 on buck checks and +1 on damage
Girlish/Boyish charms - (Minor)+2 on attitude checks to influence the other gender.
Only when it's funny (Minor) Gain a supernatural ability (such as teleportation or conjuring items from seeming nowhere). You can only use this ability when it would be humorous in some fashion (ask game master before being able to do so. If there is combat, the likelihood should be very low.)
Animal empathy (Major) +2 on attitude checks with non-speaking animals. When you use attitude checks on animals you normally have no chance of accidentally scaring or angering the animal.
Animal rearing (minor) Instead of your attitude die, you can use athletics to influence an animal. This only applies to non-speaking animals.
The Glare (minor) when spending a fate point on an intimidate check, increase the die by 2 steps.
Magical Savant - +2 on all magic checks, spells limited to those under your speciality. (Cost 0)
Shut in (Minor) Charming and resolve checks are at a -1 for you in social situations.
Uncouth (Minor) You are at -2 on charming and convincing checks in highbrow areas.
Weird (Minor) You take a -2 penalty on initial attitude checks for social interaction. Once a social interaction is successful (meaning the person likes your goofiness), you no longer take the penalty. (Major) A failed perception check yields an incorrect answer instead of no answer. This answer is often off the wall and silly.
Timid (Minor) -1 penalty on resolve checks to resist being intimidate, -1 on attitude checks with non-animal creatures. (Major) A failed resolve check to be intimidated results in the penalty being one step further.
Squeamish (Minor) -1 on any check when you are in dirty, muddy, or otherwise unclean conditions.
Obsession (Minor) You become easily fixated on a certain subject. This can be scientific discovery, beautiful gems, candies and sweets, etc. Pick one. While that obsession is in play you take a -1 on all perception checks. (Major) You take a -2 on all perception checks while under your obsession and a -1 on any resolve check to resist the obsession. The GM should make a point to have the item appear from time to time but not too often.
Pacifist (Major) -2 on all violent actions, including buck checks or any action which would cause direct physical harm to others.
Stubborn (Minor) Friends take a -2 on any check made to change your mind, even when it is for your benefit. Having more friends tell you has no cumulative effect on the check (no bonus for friends) until something major happens to convince you otherwise.
Lazy (Minor) You tend to wait until the last minute for your responsibilities, if you do them at all. When necessary, the GM may ask for a resolve check to have you work extra hard. Bear in mind that the GM should not require checks if there are friends in great need and never require one when a friend is in immediate danger.
Impetuous (Major) You suffer from a fragile ego or just a fiery nature. As such the GM may ask for a logic check to stop you from acting out (if you wish to resist doing so.) A paniced character can ignore this flaw until it is no longer paniced.
Part 5: The Elements
The Elements of Harmony
Everypony is expected to embrace one of the elements of harmony. It is rare that one favors one to the point of being a paragon of such, but every pony has their own element they have an affinity for. The elements are made to work with each other, so ponies with different affinities are not averse to one another. In fact they tend to work together better, as ponies of the same affinity feel like they are stepping on one another's hooves. Ponies who use fate points pursuing their element enjoy an extra +1 to the die
Honesty - Ponies of Honesty tend to be straightforward, hard working, diligent, and often blunt. They tend to favor the simplest approach and never beat around the bush. As such they can be counted on, but can cause trouble when in a delicate situation requiring finesse.
Kindness - Ponies of Kindness are generally nurturing, empathetic, and polite, but often a little spineless. They see the best in others and are respected and loved for it. They tend to be submissive, but have little tolerance for those they feel hurt others. As such their will shows better in defense of others than themselves.
Generosity - Ponies of Generosity are magnanimous types who get great joy in giving and contributing. They often long for possessions just for the joy of giving them away. They are often artists, constantly giving of themselves for the good of their work, and by extension the good of the people around them. They are always willing to help, and fix something, and would rarely turn down a person in greater need than themselves (though some may be too thick to realize when someone needs help). Unfortunately, they can overextend themselves or drag their friends into their giving.
Laughter - Ponies of Laughter are the spirited ones who make life happier through fun and games. They bring smiles to those around them with parties, music, art, even the occasional prank (Though some ponies don't know when to stop, most do.) They find much to laugh about and are willing to laugh at themselves. Their seemingly less than serious attitude can grate on some, but they know that laughter is the oil that keeps the machine of life running smooth.
Loyalty - Ponies of Loyalty are fierce defenders of their friends and homeland. They are the first to stick up for a friend, even if it means trouble. They are (usually) diligent in their duties to their homes and friends (though some may procrastinate, they always try to come through in a pinch)
Magic - Ponies of Magic are the glue that tie the rest together. They can be mysterious, or overt and even showoffs. Magic is a largely unexplored concept, only the surface is understood, but Ponies of Magic seem to have a sort of Instinct for what needs to be done. They are often leaders.
Elements of Discord
The dark mirror of the Elements of Harmony, the Elements of Discord are what cause chaos and break friendships.
Lying - When friends cannot believe what you say, they won't bother trying to hear you speak.
Meanness - Being a jerk to people or unnecessarily mean will make people want to avoid you.
Greed - Hoarding for yourself makes others think your precious possessions are worth more to you than them.
Rage - When you have no humor, people know being around you just makes them targets for your gripes.
Betrayal - When friends lose trust, they lose friends. FOREEEEEEEEEEVER!
Apathy - Your friends are no longer friends when they stop being important.
Falling into these areas can lead to friendships damaged, or even broken (If a friendship takes damage when it is at 0, consider the bonds broken, and only serious action can bring them back.)
Part 6: Fate
Everypony is blessed in some way, expressed in their cutie mark. However, their cutie mark does not appear until the blessing is found by the pony. This normally happens when the pony is just a filly, but can sometimes take longer for others. Less kind fillies refer to those who take longer as "blank flanks", which is considered derogatory. Usually the pony finds it on their own simply by trying different things (though some try to pull it out of themselves too hard)
Although a cutie mark is not dependent on the name of the pony, there is often a hint towards it in their name. The cutie mark is rarely complex in appearance and is an immediate identification mark. Ponies always have a sort of affinity for what is revealed in their cutie mark that can often lead to them engaging in the activity without them realizing it is their calling. Because of this, it is not uncommon for others to realize the calling for the pony before the pony does themself. It is generally considered poor form to point such a thing out since cutie marks are supposed to be discovered on one's own.
Ponies get a +1 on the skill based on their cutie mark if it is a general skill, and a +2 if it is a speciality.
There comes times when a pony has to rise up and be more of what they are then they normally are. That is where fate comes in.
Players start with 2 Fate points they can use at any point. These are in addition to the fate points handed out at the beginning of each adventure or episode. A character can only keep up to 4 fate points between sessions, so they are encouraged to use them often enough.
A GM can use their own judgement, but a good rule of thumb is handing out 4 fate points for a major adventure, 2 fate points for everyone if a minor adventure for the whole group, or if instead you plan an "episode" which focuses on one character, give 2 fate points to the focus and 1 to everyone else involved.
Unspent fate points in excess of 4 are lost under most circumstances.
Characters start out with a d2 Fate. This is the starting base die rolled when adding your fate check to a roll. Other modifiers will likely push this number up. (See Elements of Harmony and Friendship) This number will also rise as your attributes and skills rise as well. For every 10 fate points handed out to a character total
Characters can also earn fate points through particularly good roleplaying. Playing to their element, their friendship, or their perks and flaws. At any situation a GM may simply hand out a point or 2 for a particularly well played moment or section of a session.
MLP is about friendship. The show revolves around what friends mean and what they require and how it affects everyone. As such, friendship can have a profound affect on someone.
There are two kinds of friends. Normal friends and true friends. Normal friends are people who the ponies know and like. True friends however, are much more than that. They share a bond on a level not normally seen. Ponies are expected to keep track of their True Friends.
Normally other party members end up being true friends, as they have a special mysterious bond that can't be seen or felt, but someone pulls them together.
When one has a truue friend, they have a friend "rating" which ranges from 0 (basically unknown) to 10 (lifelong friend). This can start at 0, but can start at 1 if the group is destined for one another (Most games should start at 1). Friends who share an adventure increase this score at the end, no experience required. Some adventures increase this score by 1, though a particularly difficult adventure (such as defeating Nightmare Moon as a team) can increase the score by 2. No more than that should be awarded though damage (see below) may also be healed instead.
Adventures do not always increase friendship scores. The lower the friendship score, the more likely an adventure will increase the score. Friends get close through common trial, but that can only carry a friendship so far. Beyond simply being on the same side, true understanding of one another is needed for full on friendship. As such, when not on a direct adventure, the ponies will instead be interacting on personal things. It is here where characters often get to know each other, and learn to be better friends. Trial and tribulations need not be a dragon on a mountain, but a lack of understanding or fight with a friend can be just as damaging. As such, the GM should set up situations where ponies interact with one another. Any long interaction that results in ponies learning a valuable lesson about friendship or leads to much greater understanding of each other should result in an increased friendship score of the ponies involved. Players are encouraged to play them out without guidance from the GM except as a specific referee when needed. Instead after a time, the players should finish their scene together and summarize what happened and what was learned by the characters. If the GM feels it was a good interaction where both parties learned, he can approve an increase in friendship score.
Bear in mind that the difficulty in increasing a friendship score should increase as the score rises. Keeping a 10 should be near impossible.
Friendships can be damaged as well as built. If someone does something that would hurt a friendship (see the elements of dischord below) the friendship takes "damage". The GM decides how rough it was, assigning a point score, 1 to 10. If the damage totalled ends up beating the current friendship score, the friendship drops a level. Damage happens easier as friendship gets higher, but it takes more to break it. Even budding friendships can be destroyed however, with a moderate offense.
Damage in friendship heals slowly over time, though a drop in score is permanent until they increase it again. Damage can also be healed by sincere attempts at making amends and through working together in teamwork. (Fighting discord for example, caused a lot of damage until Twilight helped restore it with memory spells reminding them why they are friends.) While friendship is damaged, consider the friendship temporarily at the level of remaining undamaged friendship when it comes to adding to fate rolls.
Friendship is an important mechanic as it affects any fate roll involving your friends. The fate die increases in size by 1 step for every 2 levels of friendship you have (rounded up). Thus if your friendship is a 6, then it will increase a d2 fate roll to a d8. If the friendship is a 7, it would increase to a d10.
Individual players are expected to keep track of their friendship scores between other characters and players. These scores will likely fluctuate and will likely end in some characters getting along better with others. This is not a bad thing, as it is a perfect opportunity for a GM to make an episodic game session focused on those two's friendship and building it.
To be continued in part 7: Progression
HiOc? You're alive?
Anyway, I may be interested in this, but I have a question.
Uziel and I have been engaging in a more informal RP, and I'd like to bring that character over. Trouble is, he's got a magic power of my own creation - the basics, is that it's effectively bringing bending over from Avatar the Last Airbender.
"Elementalist" unicorn ponies, as they're known, are rare, maybe three or four per element per generation. Said elementalists are terrible at normal standard unicorn magic, but are extemely adept at their own native element, mine being a fire elementalist. (And a Royal Guard cadet to boot.)
Do you think there's a mechanism to bring him over?
Ponies are meant to progress fairly slowly overall, relative to most games. The real progression is in increasing friendship, which is far more important than increased overall stats. However, characters do develop, and some progression is inevitable.
Stat progression works alongside fate point progression. For every fate point given, an XP point is given (With the exception of the 2 starting fate points). This encourages roleplaying for characters, as they will earn more XP points as well as fate points. Unlike fate points, XP points do not disappear if in excess of 4 at the end of an adventure.
Stat progression is extremely slow, a character rarely ends up turning into a superpony. Often it will help a character become more rounded though.
In order to increase a stat, you must spend 4 times the size of the target die in XP points. For example, to increase a d6 to a d8 requires 32 XP points.
Skills are increased at a more significant rate. To increase a skill, one must first have the skill. Gaining a skill is a lot harder than making yourself better at it to a point.
To increase a general skill, you must spend the amount of XP as the target die, up to a d6 (Which is the maximum for a general skill).
Thus increasing a skill from a d2 to a d4 costs 4 XP, and then to a d6 costs 6 XP. The total to increase a skill from a d2 to a d6 is 10 XP.
Purchasing a d2 in a skill costs 5 points. It is a little rough to learn a skill initially to a workable point.
Once a skill increases to d6, just like in character creation, specialization takes over. You cannot increase a general skill past d6, you must instead pick a specialization to increase. You can increase as many specializations as you are willing to buy. The cost is the equivalent of the size of the target die.
To increase Acrobatics (jumping) from a d6 to a specialized d8, it would cost 8 XP. To increase it further to a d10, it would cost another 10 XP, for a total of 18 XP.
GMs should be very willing to give out fate points as people roleplay well. Bear in mind that this is not a game about overcoming monsters and evil wizards (though it can occasionally be.) Instead, making characters funny and interesting instead should be rewarded. Bear in mind that there is a line between funny and obnoxious. If it adds to the fun of the game, reward it. If it disrupts the game, don't reward it.
Also bear in mind that flaws should be FLAWS and not just a source for extra points. When a player properly lets their flaws play out instead of ignoring them, that is worth noting. A flaw should not be completely crippling to a character normally, depending on the flaw.
For example, Pompey the pony suffers from the Impetuous flaw. During play a couple of jerk ponies decide to poke at poor Pompey, calling him a useless unicorn who cant even use basic telekinesis. To prove that he could be as good as them, he tries to help a stuck wagon in a bog the other ponies could not lift out of the bog. Pompey is a fire elementalist. He instead tries to evaporate the wet mud under the wagon, but this instead results in hard caked mud on the wheels making it more stuck and to make matters worse he actually sets the wagon on fire. Panic ensues and in the end Pompey is yelled at for trying something so dangerous without thinking.
This is a good example of a player allowing their character's flaws get the best of them. However, GMs need to keep a sharp eye out for a player who consistently plays up their flaws to try to pull XP out of you.