My Little Pony Fantasy Multiplayer Text Only Role Playing Game
First Edition — version 1.2
These are not unbreakable rules, just guidelines for ideas. Change the rules as you need for your specific campaigns; and please share any such ideas you have! MLPFMTORPG is a relatively simple system meant to provide a base on which to build, run, and play epic fantasy adventures set in the MLP:FIM universe and settings inspired by it. We’re not here to recreate the show, and we’re not trying to reskin a pre-existing highly-complex RPG system, and we’re certainly not out to make money off of MLP:FIM or claim any of it as ours. We just want you to have fun.
>What do I need to know?
Character Creation Quick Guide
Choose a race, class, skills, talent, some equipment, and your alignment and/or deity. With a few exceptions, you can choose any race and class combination. Typical characters start with 5 skill points to spend on class skills. Your talent can be just about anything, and grants an in-game benefit. Choose armor appropriate for your class, though weapons are largely a matter of taste. You can choose any alignment that the DM feels is appropriate; you must follow a deity’s alignment if you choose to follow a deity.
Here is a quick template for a character.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
10-sided dice (d10s) are used to resolve the success of all actions, from negotiating a conversation to landing a blow in combat. If you intend to play on a reasonably fast-paced chan-style imageboard that doesn’t have a dice function, you can use the last digit of your post number to simulate dice rolls. If you use post numbers, treat 0 as 10.
An autocrit is an automatic critical if the roll is successful. 4- is still a miss, but 6+ are all crits.
Difficulty Check (DC) is the minimum roll needed for a success. The default DC for any action is 6, but the DM can announce a lower or higher DC. For example, hopping over a small pit might be DC 2, while leaping between moving trains might be DC 8. Situational bonuses also apply to DC: for example, a pegasus might get +2 (minimum roll of 6 for DC 8) to the above jump rolls due to their wings and agility, while a lumbering buffalo might take a -2 penalty instead (minimum roll 10 for DC 8). A roll of 1 always fails, regardless of modifiers.
Supercrits are rare circumstances where a DM may choose to amplify the effects of a critical roll. One such instance is when you roll a critical with modifiers that push the final result past the usual critical threshold (0- or 11+). Supercrits may also apply to rolling multiple criticals in the same or consecutive turns. If playing on an imageboard, getting double or triple digits may also be considered a supercrit. The use and application of supercrits is entirely at the DMs discretion.
The first step to creating a character is usually choosing their race. All kinds of intelligent creatures exist in the MLP:FIM universe, and with few exceptions you can choose any race and class combination. Every race has a racial skill.
Earth pony - Sturdy, tough and often big. Can move, lift, and carry heavier weights than other races.
Tough: passive; Earth ponies take an additional hit before becoming helpless (for a total of 6), and they can lift, carry and move heavier objects than unicorns or pegasi.
Pegasus pony - Speedy and adventurous. Can fly freely when they’re not carrying too much weight.
Pegasus Flight: Pegasi can fly wearing up to medium armor, and get a +1 bonus to actively evade and dodge midair. This is about as taxing as running at full speed.
Unicorn pony - Noble and intelligent. Can levitate objects with telekinesis and cast magic. A unicorn’s horn counts as a catalyst for spellcasting.
Unicorn Telekinesis: spell; manipulate objects through sheer force of will. Complex tasks and heavier objects may require more focus.
Buffalo - Hardy desert dwellers, a buffalo's charge is as strong as their connection to the land. They are big, lumbering things with thick muscle and bones.
Huge: passive; if a buffalo has more than one hit remaining till helpless, any attack that would normally render a character helpless instead reduces a buffalo to one hit remaining.
Diamond Dog - Subterranean gorilla dogs with a taste for gems.
Burrowing: Diamond dogs can dig tunnels and holes with ease, setting traps, moving unseen and fleeing in unexpected directions.
Donkey - Similar to earth ponies in a physical sense, if somewhat less bulky and far more stubborn.
Unbreakable Will: passive; famously stubborn, donkeys are immune to mind control, domination, intimidation and suggestion.
Goat - A curious sight in the lands of ponies, some say they are distantly related to the dread ram Grogar.
Goatcraft: passive; DC -1 for all climbing and agility rolls, and can use anything as food, including non-food items.
Griffon - Half eagle, half lion. Flight-capable and larger than ponies, they can carry more weight while flying, but tire quickly when doing so.
Griffon Flight: Griffons can fly wearing up to heavy armor, and have a +1 bonus to divebomb attacks from high altitude. This is about as taxing as running at full speed.
Zebra - Hailing from a faraway land, zebras are knowledgeable in natural healing and shamanism. They are often regarded with suspicion by ponies.
Heightened Senses: passive; +1 to perception-based rolls (spotting, searching, listening, etc)
Bear - Very strong and tough, but also dumb and incapable of speaking. Bears, and only bears, can be bears, and are always bears.
Bear: passive; Bears have access to the exclusive class of Bear, and are the sole wielders of Bear Lore.
Alicorn - Haha nope, you can’t be an alicorn.
CLASSES & SKILLS
A character’s class is the archetype for their abilities and role in a world of high adventure. Characters start with five (5) Skill Points to spend on class skills. When using most skills, you must roll a dice to determine the result. Some skills have keywords:
Instant: no roll is needed, this skill takes effect immediately when used
Passive: no roll is needed, this skill is always in effect
Recharge #: you must wait # turns after activating this skill before you activate it again
Spell: this is a magic spell, and may be subject to special rules for magic
Divine classes and multiclass characters with at least one Divine class must choose a deity and adhere to that deity’s alignment.
You can also choose to mix two classes. A multiclass character starts with three (3) Skill Points to spend on skills from either class. You also gain a special free skill, unique to your multiclass. Refer to this chart of multiclass descriptions and skills: http://goo.gl/7SuS3
Entertainers by trade, bards travel in search of new tales and new adventures to partake in. Most commonly armed with light weapons like rapiers or knives, as well as their musical instruments.
Divine Spellcaster. Clerics channel higher powers to heal and protect allies, and crush the unholy. Often armed with blunt weapons like maces, staves or large holy icons.
Cure: spell; removes poison, burns, frostbite, temporary blindness, incomplete petrification and other similar effects
Clad in armour and armed with both an iron will and an iron blade, knights excel at protecting others and themselves from harm. Knights are martial masters, able to wield every variety of weapon but most commonly armed with swords, axes, polearms, and shields.
Spellcaster. Magic is useful for everyday work, though some train to become devastatingly powerful mages instead. When forced to fight without magic, most mages rely on staves, daggers or heavier spellbooks for self defense.
Spellcaster. Everypony lives, not everypony truly dies. If death seems like too much to deal with, a necromancer is the one to call when you need to hug grandma one last time. Or when you need some zombies to take hits for you. Necromancers often favour symbolic weapons like scythes and sickles, though many also fall back on the more traditional staves and daggers.
Divine Spellcaster. Paladins smite their foes with great power and steel, blessed by unwavering devotion to their deity and an inner fire. Most Paladins favor large weapons like greatswords, warhammers, battle axes or larger holy books tied to sticks.
Thieves, assassins and dwellers of shadow, rogues prefer to remain hidden and strike when least expected. They often prefer easy to hide weapons like dagger or knives, as well as throwing knives and hidden blades.
Spellcaster. While only mages wield spells and only the devout wield divine power, all can turn to the elements of nature itself for help. Often the tools of the shaman double as his weapons, including ritual knives, staves, heavy ornaments or small totem poles.
Trackers live off the land and love it. They know nature like the back of their forelimb, and can thrive in situations that would drive many others to giving up or endless whining. Trackers are masters of ranged weapons such as bows and crossbows, but often also carry survival tools like knives or axes.
Only bears are bears. Bears poop in the woods, eat berries, and slap your shit with their bear hands.
Although the world is filled with magic, there exist spells that are specific manipulations of magical energy. Skills with the spell keyword are subject to special rules concerning the use of magic spells.
Armour Penalty: Normal armour blocks the flow of magic, making it harder to tap into such power. Each armour class adds a -1 penalty to spellcast rolls: 0 for Unarmoured, -1 for Light, -2 for medium, -3 for heavy, -4 for super heavy. Some special armour types don’t restrict spellcasting.
Critical Failure and Miscasting: A critical failure when casting a spell leads to a catastrophic miscast, as opposed to fizzling ineffectually. In most cases this means the spell backfires instead of just failing to work. A miscast of a stronger spell can have more dire consequences.
Any character with a spellcaster class can take the Improved Spellcasting passive skill for one point. This unlocks more powerful versions of all their known spells, allowing the spellcaster to use either the improved or unimproved version when activating the spell. Note that miscasting the stronger versions can be A Very Bad Thing™. Spells with recharge prevent casting of either version until the last version’s recharge has been fulfilled.
Some spells have multiple Improved variants, in which case you must choose which one you learn (a talented caster might even compose their own variants). Spellcasters can choose to spend a skill point to add a new variant to their repertoire.
You can see a complete list of Improved Spells here: http://goo.gl/D0Wn5
Big adventure comes with tons of fun, often in the form of violent encounters with hostile NPCs. Combat is typically resolved through determining initiative, attacks and counterattacks, rendering opponents helpless, and ultimately killing your enemies.
In summary, the typical amount of damage a character can take in combat is:
5 hits while standing to render a character helpless; reset to 0 when they get up
Wearing heavy or super heavy armour increases the number of wounds you can take before dying.
Initiative and Starting Combat
Combat begins typically by determining initiative: characters make their combat actions as normal, while the DM makes an initiative roll. Characters must beat the initiative roll to succeed. The DM can also choose to skip making an initiative roll and determine success/failure normally.
An attacking character can perform a normal attack with their weapons, use a skill, or take some other action. The attack roll made by an attacking character determines the results of the attack. On a success (6+ by default), the attack hits the target, applying damage or other effects.
Attackers always leave themselves open to counterattack; if their attack roll misses (5- by default), the defending character automatically hits with a counterattack, and the attacker takes damage accordingly. On a roll of 2-5, the attacker takes a varying number of hits, but a critical miss of 1 immediately renders the attacker helpless. Wearing armour decreases the number of hits you take from counterattacks.
Helplessness and Death
A character usually takes five hits to become helpless; powerful blows and some skills can instantly render a character helpless. While helpless, a character cannot take many actions, and most attacks against them incur wounds. The helpless character or an ally must make a successful roll to get them back into the fight. After four wounds, they cannot get up on their own. Five wounds kills a character. Unlike hits, wounds are permanent damage, and will remain until healed. Wearing heavy or superheavy armour increases the number of wounds you take before dying.
Skills such as Raise Dead, Animal Mastery and Command allow the player to take a pet. In combat, a player may choose to not take an action themselves, and instead command their pet to take an action. Normally, player can only have one pet at a time; for one skill point, they can take the Pet Mastery skill to increase the number of pets they control by one. Multiple pets require multiple rolls.
Player vs Player
When friendship is no longer magic and players must turn against each other, the DM can step aside and let players make dice rolls against each other, determining and reacting to the results of each action appropriately. In PvP combat, failed rolls don’t incur counterattack damage. The DM may feel the need to intervene if PvP combat is no longer tenable, so play nice! To help speed up combat, you should stay down after being rendered helpless three times in PVP, regardless of wounds.
CUTIE MARKS AND SPECIALTIES
Your character gains +2 to rolls when using their specialty. In some cases, it may confer a different benefit. Every character gets to pick one thing they are really good at. Your specialty can be just about anything, but you should check with the DM to make sure your specialty is appropriate and not overpowered. For ponies and zebras, a special talent is symbolized by a cutie mark on their flanks, and you should describe what it looks like.
Example specialties include:
EQUIPMENT AND ITEMS
The right equipment can be the difference between success and failure, life and death. Before you send your character out into the world, make sure to select some armor, weapons, and other tools to give them the extra edge they’ll need.
Wearing armour reduces damage taken from attacks and counterattacks, and can also help characters survive taking damage while helpless. Heavier armor offers better protection but also hinders movement, stealth, and spellcasting. Sometimes enemies wear armour as well. If this is the case, all non-elemental attacks against these enemies take a -1 penalty per armour class (0 for unarmoured, -1 for light, -2 for medium, -3 for heavy, -4 for superheavy).
Unarmoured creatures prefer to go unclothed, or only wear light everyday clothing. This allows total freedom of movement, is completely silent, and doesn’t impede spellcasting, but won’t reduce damage from counterattacks.
Light Armour is usually made from reinforced leather or unintrusive pieces of metal, offering some protection while still allowing range of motion. Spellcasters suffer a -1 penalty to cast when wearing light armour. Light armour reduces counterattack damage on a failed attack roll, and negates damage on a roll of 5.
Medium Armour consists of half-plate and chainmail, offering good defense against most attacks, but it is significantly weighty and noisy. Spellcasters suffer a -2 penalty to cast when wearing medium armour. Medium armour further reduces counterattack damage on a failed attack roll, and negates damage on a roll of 5.
Heavy Armour is made of full plate and other such heavy protective suits offer great protection; a character wearing heavy armour takes 6 wounds to die. Running, leaping, flying, and other maneuvers are nearly impossible in this armor. Spellcasters suffer a -3 penalty to cast when wearing heavy armour. Heavy armoured characters take dramatically less counterattack damage on a failed attack roll, and no damage on a roll of 5.
Super Heavy Armour are massive mountains of metal for which the term "heavy" is little more than an insult. In most cases, super heavy armor is restricted to characters with specific training for it. A character in super heavy armour takes 7 wounds to die, but cannot hope to take any sort of agile or stealthy action. Spellcasters suffer a -4 penalty to cast when wearing super heavy armour. Super heavy armoured characters take negligible counterattack damage on a failed attack roll, and no damage on a roll of 4-5.
Shields are strapped to a forelimb to deflect attacks, reducing counterattack damage by 1 hit. A greatshield reduces damage by 2 hits, but makes spellcasting, agile movement and stealth difficult, equivalent to heavy armor. Shields require mobility and control to use properly, and preclude the use of a great weapon, dual weapons, or any kind of two-handed weapon. Using two shields doesn’t increase the defensive bonus; greatshields cannot be dual wielded.
Special Armour is made from exotic or magical materials that offer extraordinary benefits. Adventurers just starting out can expect to sekzgear of this quality late in their campaigns.
Inventory, Items, and Tools
Nopony would go out on an adventure without some adventuring gear. Usually this includes things like food rations, rope, camping supplies, personal items, and crafting tools. Choose a few items that are appropriate to your character’s interests and the dangers they expect to see.
In addition to the normal weapons starting characters choose from, experienced adventurers in longer campaigns can expect to find special weapons with unique properties, allowing new methods and means of attack. Special weapon properties do not apply to the use of skills unless otherwise noted.
+1/+2: fine or masterwork, a fortuitous creation or the product of expert craftsmen
A character fighting without a weapon cannot cause wounds with normal attacks, but can still do so by using skills. A character whose special talent is unarmed combat can deal wounds without a weapon.
Heavier than most weapons, Great Weapons require more strength to wield, but offer far greater damage potential at increased risk. A great weapon user can use Cleave or Power Attack instead of a normal attack.
Cleave: can attack multiple targets as long as they are in range and close to each other. Every target beyond one increases the chance of a critical miss (attacking 2 targets crit fails on 1-2; attacking 5 targets crit fails on 1-5; etc)
Power Attack: counts 9+ as a critical hit, 2- as a critical miss. This attack puts your entire body into the blow, giving more damage on a good hit, but a larger opening on a miss.
Light weapons are perfect for use in pairs or with a second light weapon. Doing so requires great skill, but can yield impressive results if done well. Light weapons include: daggers, katars, rapiers, small hammers and maces, sickles, and shortswords.
When dual wielding, you can make two normal attacks in a single turn. Make two attack rolls; if either is a critical miss, both attacks miss. Rolling criticals on both rolls may be treated as supercrits.
With enough skill or money, weapons can be enchanted to become stronger than mundane counterparts, but often with a drawback. Example enchantments:
Sometimes it might be appropriate to reward a player with a truly unique weapon (or other item). Determining the properties of a unique weapon is a highly freeform affair: they could just have simple bonuses or whatever unique abilities you dream of. Here are some examples:
ALIGNMENTS AND GODS
Your group may elect to using alignments and gods in your game, for a more traditional roleplaying experience. If you do, all characters have an Alignment that summarizes their general attitude, beliefs and code of conduct. Lawful characters favor order and adherence to authority that serves its purpose, while Chaotic characters value freedom and individual judgment. Good characters seek to help or at least benefit others, while Evil characters want to exploit or destroy them. Characters may sometimes make choices or take actions that are counter to their stated alignment, but with good reason; as a character’s beliefs change, it’s entirely possible for a character’s alignment to change temporarily or permanently.
Characters don’t have to follow deities, but adhering to a deity’s tenets and alignment may grant advantages when interacting with others of your faith. Characters of a divine class must adhere to a deity and the corresponding alignment or risk losing their divine powers.
These deities are the most commonly worshiped entities in the world of MLPFMTORPG.
Celestia is the Lawful Good Princess of the Sun and ruler of Equestria. She is a physical god that resides in Canterlot Castle, ruling over daylight.
Luna is the Neutral Good Princess of the Moon, younger sister of Celestia and guardian of the night.
Pinkie, The Laughing God is a Chaotic Good creature of joy and laughter that exists beyond the observable world.
The Law is a Lawful Neutral abstract concept, and has more followers than any other. Those most devoted to it can even draw strength from it. It treats all as equals, and rarely looks into the details of each individual.
Nature is True Neutral, taking no sides in the circle of life, death, and rebirth.
Discord is a Chaotic Neutral Draconequus that once ruled Equestria with an iron claw. He is a trickster above all, and while certainly not benevolent will often go out of his way to disrupt order than being purely evil.
Nightmare Moon is the Lawful Evil incarnation of Luna’s corrupted madness and jealousy. Nightmare Moon seeks to bring about eternal night so she may reign over all.
Grogar is a Neutral Evil necromancer ram from the banished kingdom of Tambelon, worshiped by those who seek to subvert their mortality. In life, he had a great liking to hands.
Tirek is the Chaotic Evil Demon Lord of Midnight and ruler of Midnight Castle. Wielding the Power of Darkness, he can corrupt even the most benevolent creature into a twisted monster.
Before the time of Celestia, Luna and Discord, mortals worshiped other things in their place.
The Virtuous Sun, Lawful Good light that shines upon the pure
The Vigilant Moon, Neutral Good light who reveals the guilty
The Laughing One, Chaotic Good spirit who finds joy in all things
The Law, Lawful Neutral philosophy which is equal to all
Nature, Neutral force which takes no sides
Chaos, Chaotic Neutral primordial force of change
The Godless, Lawful Evil will of those who serve none but themselves
Death, Neutral Evil enemy of all things
Destruction, Chaotic Evil inevitable end
For more details, refer to this document: http://goo.gl/KiyhY
God tier creatures are unmatched in power, and can reshape history with a single word. They are most often plot devices in a campaign setting.
High tier beings are what most would regard as incredibly difficult if not impossible to overcome; the stuff of legend.
Mid tier foes should be faced only with the right tools and a good plan.
Low tier things are still big and scary, and can easily rout novice adventurers.
Weak tier critters most would-be heroes can confidently take on.
DUNGEON MASTER’S GUIDE
So you want to be the guy who runs the game, tells players what happens and what to do, plays the part of all NPCs, gets blamed for everything that goes right or wrong, and such? Follow these hints and tips when you host an adventure of your very own. We’ll have a proper guide later, if ever.
MODDING: CREATING NEW SETTINGS
MLPFMTORPG is intended to be a fairly simple system you can use for quests in settings other than the standard fantasy. When making your new setting, consider how classes and items may change, be replaced, added, or even removed entirely. If anything, try to maintain a good variety for your players, and keep things simple if you add new items or mechanics.
Creating the Splat
In tabletop RPGs, additional books for new materials are called “splatbooks”, or splats. For the potential MLPFMTORPG mod, this mostly amounts to creating a list explaining how the core classes, equipment, and other things are adapted to work in your setting. Whatever setting you choose, always tailor the material for your specific campaign. Don’t be afraid to remove things entirely if they won’t work, or introduce new rules for things that aren’t covered.
Here are some example splats of how various settings might be adapted:
CYBER PUNK: Welcome to the magitech capital of Canterlot, where mane meets magic and machine. Corporate espionage and criminal syndicates mean all kinds of dirty jobs to be done.
SPAAAAAACE: Go above and beyond to explore the final frontier. Whether you’re a cowboy making runs in ten parsecs flat or a browncoat on a bug hunt, a universe of possibility awaits freelancer and federation alike.
URBAN NOIRE: A modern or retro setting in a big city like Manehatten, with law enforcement, vigilantes, underworld criminals and everyone in the middle tied up in detective work, intrigue, and the occasional shootout.