London Ramblings

Musings of a London Migrant

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My Brain is Full of Ponies...
Mainly because I have purchased "Tails of Equestria", the official "My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic" RPG. I didn't even know this was coming out until a few days before, and Orc's Nest hadn't even bothered to order it in as they didn't think anyone would want it. Well I wanted it, so they got one for me and a few others on the offchance they might sell. Which they did I was informed later, very quickly too.

It is, as one might expect, a game with simple mechanics, stats and skills ranged from D4 (colts, filies and beginners) up to D20 (deities, heroes and experts) and tasks rated for difficulty likewise, 2 the easiest, 20 almost impossibly difficult, roll equal or higher and you've succeeded.

You choose your pony from Earth, Pegasus and Unicorn, each with their own special abilities (Pegasi fly, obviously, Unicorns have magic, starting with telekinesis, and Earth ponies are strong and tough). You decide if a pony will be brainy (giving you a D6 Mind stat and a D4 Body stat) or strong (giving you a D4 Mind stat and D6 Body stat. Everyone starts with a D6 Charm stat. Earth ponies boost the body stat up by one dice, they also get 12 stamina rather than the usual 10.

Nobody gets to play an Alicorn you note, no powergaming here, neither do you get to play the Mane Six.

Anyway then you select the Element of Harmony that most represents your pony (Kindness, Generosity, Laughter, Loyalty, Honesty and Magic), this is more for plot elements rather than any distinct advantage it gives you, You start with one Talent at D6, your special talent that is reflected in your cutie mark. Tasks are nomally carried out using the relevant Stat, if you have a Talent you can use too you roll another dice for that and take the highest score showing (dice rolls are open ended, roll maximum and you can roll the next level of dice to see if you get a higher score, the game calls it the "Exploding Hoof Technique".

Than all you have to do is give your pony a name, design your cutie mark and away you go. Like I said, simple.

Like the FATE system you also have a variable number of "Friendship Tokens" to assist in task challenges, one lets you reroll, two let you roll a D20 instead and three mean you automatically pass. Once they're gone they're gone, but you can earn them back during game play (a bit like Force points in the GDW Star Wars RPG as well come to think of it).

It's a bright, cheerful little game (combat is called "Scuffles" and nobody dies). it's well written, with lots of good advice for the GM. Despite its simplicity there's a good deal of depth to it, it is more to do with storytelling- character building, problem solving and developing friendships, rather than dungeon crawling and levelling up after all. The production quality of the game is unbelievable; hardback, full colour throughout and lavishly illustrated with images from the show, top notch. You get an introductory adventure "The Pet Predicament" in the book, designed to lead straight into the first published adventure, "Curse of the Statuettes". This I also have now, it's a boxed set with the adventure booklet, a pad of character sheets, a set of six dice (D4 to D20) and a very pretty GM screen. Again, quality is very high, it's a good, well written product and, again, the ending leads into another adventure.

Also your primary adversary, a Unicorn called Moonbeam, is unbelievably cute...

You can get a set of "Tokens of Friendship" as well, 12 purple plastic gems in a drawstring bag, these are frankly a bit small and in practice you'd be better off using something a bit more chunky, I'd use a large set of clear glass marbles I've got (apparently used for flower arranging), or you could use those glass gaming tokens (purple for preference, naturally).

The game is a joint production between two companies, River Horse Games (also responsible for the Jim Henson "Labyrinth" board game and a Terminator miniatures game) and Shinobi 7 (who more usually produce games based on anime shows). Other releases in the pipeline are the "Bestiary of Equestia", which details the many creatures and races you might encounter, and sets of specially themed Earth Pony (marble), Pegasus (gem) and Unicorn (glitter) dice, each coming with a mini-adventure.

Naturally Orc's Nest has a standing order to get me one of everything from now on. Being ponies as it is, it might not be everyone's cup of tea, but imagine your player's faces when, expecting perhaps Warhammer chaos spikey bits, they are informed they'll be playing a small multicoloured pony.

They might lynch you, but it'll still be funny. 


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