Page 594 - Implausible Applicability

14th May 2015, 6:00 AM
Implausible Applicability
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Newbiespud 14th May 2015, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
Story Time! Suggest something for my Everfree Northwest panel!

My intention is to 1) highlight and contrast many of the different tabletop homebrews, mods, supplements, materials... things this growing niche has made since the show collided with the RPG community way back when; and 2) talk about why ponies and tabletop seem to go together so particularly well.

The second part I've got more or less locked down, but I'm a little afraid I might not have enough exposure to get a good selection for the first part. So I'm open to suggestions. And if you think there's something else I should do in the 50-some-odd minutes I have available including Q&A, I'll consider those ideas, too.

40 Comments:

Digo 14th May 2015, 6:23 AM edit delete reply
2) talk about why ponies and tabletop seem to go together so particularly well.

I think because it's something unexpected? It's like bacon dipped in chocolate. Lots of folks love that crispy salty bacon taste and many of the same enjoy that nice sweet chocolate flavor. But together?

It works strangely well!

With RPGs, we're playing as cute little pastel-colored ponies that normally live in highly magical worlds with a good sprinkle of interesting magi-technological marvels (like airships and bug-sucking cacuum machines). A big majority of RPGs are about magical worlds and magitek, so ponies fit right in most any genre! Arguably better than 'mundane' humans do.

Move to more gritty sides of the genre spectrum like Shadowrun and Fallout. Ponies work here as well! Why? Perhaps the shock-value of cute little horses with guns? Possibly! Or maybe it's something about the 'friendship' aspect of ponies that lends itself to making these genres work in a new and interesting way. Shadowrun, you are a team of mercenaries hired by Company A to do something against Company B. Most runners don't really get to know their teammates often unless they go on multiple runs together. They come together, do a job, get paid, then go their separate ways.

But ponies? Friendship is a weapon for them, and so runner teams consisting of ponies are working together more readily because they gain an advantage. They build relationships and find that they want to spend time outside their usual 'job' together because its in their very nature. They're more social than humans are.

Just my thoughts based on groups I've worked with.
Specter 14th May 2015, 10:05 AM edit delete reply
Specter
2)talk about why ponies and tabletop seem to go together so particularly well.

Because it adds a layer of challenge and difficulty that others (far more then what I would like to know of) won't even consider.

The challenge starts of with that, you're a pony, an equine creature normally used as a mount or pack mule for a "normal adventure". However, you've gained a higher knowledge of the world, and acquired sentience, which (from almost every definition that I have found) would make you an equal (but as we all know, a majority of any people do not like change or things they don't understand).

Second part of the challenge is that you are a quadruped animal with no arms or, more importantly, fingers, which is connected to the "fingerless" trait (or rules) demonstrated by the ponyfinder supplement book by Silver Games (I'm pretty sure Silver Games). I've attempted those rules, and it is hard (more so then going into a game without the ability to speak).

Granted however, not a whole lot of people would agree, simply because "it's ponies". Those who are too blunt to see beyond that aspect would never be able to see the potential of the kind of stories that they could make from this boon.

... Now I'm starting to think about those stories about people and their trusted steeds. Thinking about it with the sentient pony aspect brings a number of lights into my mind.
Winged Cat 14th May 2015, 10:36 AM edit delete reply
What about steeds and their trusted people? Twilight might not like being ridden, but when she and Spike (thought they) needed to rescue Rarity...

(This may trip to transhumanist-ish angles if taken far. Central intelligence with limited direct capability, controlling or influencing other bodies with far more capability.)
Digo 14th May 2015, 12:56 PM edit delete reply
Even when playing as a unicorn with "telekinetic fingers", there are interesting challenges. Most unicorns only have a select few spells related to their talent, so magic isn't an end to all problems. And then you have to deal with anti-magic zones, counterspells, magic-jacking...

It's a lot of fun really.
Winged Cat 14th May 2015, 10:22 AM edit delete reply
Friendship is a weapon for them

Really, this is one of the core reasons.

So many RPGs out there right now are all about the grim and grit and dark. In many systems, enemies are statted out using minor variations - or no variations - on PCs, partly for rules simplicity, but essentially you're fighting other characters and there is not necessarily any emphasis on teamwork. (I've lost count of the number of gaming groups I've been with that wound up spending a lot of play time doing PvPs - white room, or IC sparring - which was about the time I lost interest in said groups.)

There is a place for that. But there is also a place for teamwork, for true companions, for parties of friends who would only think of turning on each other under mind control (or as character flaws intended to get worked out during play).

It may also be a reaction to perceptions of a hostile world. The "War Against Terror" has lasted for about 14 years now (if one dates its start to the 9/11/2001 first strike), with the parties involved finding new ways to express fear and hate, and blasting it over the media. Also, for just over the past six years in the US, you have a bit under half of the national political establishment resorting to fear and hysteria as their primary reaction to a black man holding the highest office, with publicized examples of similar at lower levels (possibly a result, possibly coincidence) - and I hear there have been similar problems in other countries where FiM has become popular. In so far as RPGs are escapism, they may be the only way for some to experience a world where trust and friendship are dominant. (This partly explains FiM's popularity among adults as well.)
Digo 14th May 2015, 1:00 PM edit delete reply
I do love to have teamwork in my RPs. And yeah, the world of Equestria is a nice bit of escapism when the troubles you face are adventures, and not an HOA. :3
Raxon 14th May 2015, 11:15 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
You could talk about the unsettling trend of taverns not having enough cute yuan ti barmaids.
Dragonflight 15th May 2015, 5:54 PM edit delete reply
That comment about Twilight not liking to be ridden hit me at just the wrong moment, and now I can't get that image out of my head! >_<

Anyone who still don't know what I'm talking about, check this out. Note that it is *very* NSFW.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMWgTHXKvSk
Masterweaver 14th May 2015, 6:44 AM edit delete reply
Masterweaver
1) highlight and contrast many of the different tabletop homebrews, mods, supplements, materials... things this growing niche has made since the show collided with the RPG community way back when.

Right, so I know of at least... I think three or maybe five different online PDFs for Pony Based Tabletop systems (of vastly varying quality mind you), plus there's Ponyfinder and (I'd expect) somebody went and made pony mods for D&D and other popular Generic Setting tabletops. I'll look into that, somebody else look into miniatures for tabletop and then somebody else go dig through the fanfics. There are some really good fanfics with Tabletop Mechanics.
Masterweaver 14th May 2015, 6:58 AM edit delete reply
Masterweaver
Okay, I found this:

http://www.examiner.com/article/a-list-of-unofficial-my-little-pony-tabletop-rpgs

It doesn't include Aspirations of Harmony in it, but it does show both good and bad alternatives. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is an example of what appears to be a poorly put together PDF with rules that might actually be interesting if... well... they were comprehensible.

So yeah.
Winged Cat 14th May 2015, 10:42 AM edit delete reply
http://www.equestriadaily.com/2014/05/gaming-index.html and click "Tabletop" for a much larger selection. (Unknown Ponies gets props for specifically rewarding play emphasizing the Elements.)

But of course NewbieSpud already had this list, right? ;)
Digo 14th May 2015, 1:01 PM edit delete reply
I think I've seen at least a pony conversion for all the main genres out there... I had started one for Shadowrun, but it is incomplete. I really should get back to that.
Newbiespud 14th May 2015, 2:59 PM edit delete reply
Newbiespud
Yep. I'm pretty much starting from the EQD list, but I was wondering if I needed to widen my gaze.
Winged Cat 14th May 2015, 5:31 PM edit delete reply
It's like that infamous Internet rule: "There is pony of it." It might not be as widely true as the original rule, but it's safe to say that if it's popular enough and online such that anyone in your audience would have heard of it, someone somewhere has probably done a pony version of it.

Unless there's no such thing as "a pony version". Systems like GURPS and BESM already have everything they need to support pony PCs, in Equestria or in a crossover. Since there's no need for a pony conversion of the entire system, they don't get much publicity. At most, you get pregenerated characters and setting statistics, and templates for new types of characters (e.g., "to play an earth pony, take this set of advantages and disadvantages") - which those systems encourage anyway. (This can easily quantify type differences. Q: How much extra Strength do earth ponies start with? A: The amount that costs the same number of character points as a pegasus's Flight advantage.)
Disloyal Subject 16th May 2015, 2:59 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
Oddly enough, I mentally balanced the three pony races' powers and attributes in much the same manner, and I haven't so much as opened a single GURPS book.
I like Earth Ponies generally having a pool of boosts to physical stats whose distribution varies from one to the next - eg Big Mac's absurd strength vs Applejack's more even spread.
Toric 14th May 2015, 6:48 AM edit delete reply
This is where we get into the fun of stretching skills beyond their intended use.

Think this story time has happened already, but if you feel like sharing an event where players used skill checks for unorthodox tasks, let's hear it.

For myself, there was the time I used profession: cook to identify burnt bodies by the smell and tenderness of the flesh. Or profession: judge to decide whether naked pictures of an aasimar matched the approximate size of an empty bed.
Digo 14th May 2015, 1:05 PM edit delete reply
I heard a story from a friend who's team included an explosives expert with a hobby in sculpting.

Sculpting + C4 = Really unique art that will literally blow you away.

Mykin 14th May 2015, 1:59 PM edit delete reply
Mykin
One of the new additions to our group on Wednesdays is a Paladin who really should have been a Bard considering his obsession with collecting and telling stories. During one encounter, our Paladin decided to use an Intimidation check to try and impress the bandits there by talking about how completely awesome our Barbarian was.

Again, he was using an Intimidation check to try and impress the bandits.

The sad thing is that we're not sure if it worked or not because neither of them were paying attention to the bandits when they disappeared into thin air; our Barbarian was giving our Paladin the most dumbfounded look as he got way into his own tales that he was making up off the top of his head. My Cleric walked in on them and decided it was better not to ask any questions about it all.

Then there was the 3.5 game I played in where my Bard was hired by kobolds to form an alliance between them and a town full of idiots with literally nothing to offer them other than protection....Where the kobolds were the only threat to the town. It went about as well as you expect it to and it pretty much died when the Knight mentioned to them that kobolds usually worship dragons. Oh boy, did the town grab a hold of that and ran with it like there was no tomorrow! kobolds were no longer on their radar when a white dragon was flying around the place (they decided that it was white and somehow not aligned with the kobolds, not us)!

I then realised I was dealing with idiots and ended up using my Diplomacy skill to somehow guide their line of thought towards allying themselves with the kobolds and the bandits (that I totally made up on the spot in one of my previous attempts to get them to join with the kobolds) in defense against the terrifying new threat against their farming community. It was sorta like creating a mental line of cheese for the stupid mice townsfolk to follow and twice as aggravating. After that, I got my pay from the kobolds and the entire group left as fast as we possibly could before something else could happen that would drag us back into this mess.

It is the only time I had to roll multiple checks to make sure I was properly talking down to an entire town.
GrayGriffin 15th May 2015, 8:26 AM edit delete reply
Intimidate to resist a psychic influence in my mind, justified as basically using the beginnings of the link to frighten off whatever was on the other side from continuing.

In the next session, I successfully intimidated several trees into dropping their mental influence aura that was forcing the party apart.
Disloyal Subject 16th May 2015, 3:02 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
...magical fear trees?
Ace Jackson 14th May 2015, 6:56 AM edit delete reply
Ace Jackson
You might have already seen this, but it cant hurt, EQD's index. One of the more interesting systems IMO is "Failure is Awesome." I freely admit to not knowing anything about the engine it's run on beyond a brief look at the free preview, I don't know how the game play itself goes, but the idea failing at something not a total wash, I don't think I've seen used in TTRPGs anywhere but the core engine, unknown armies, and this reskin. Baring really fantastic GM's who can and do make failure mean more without the game having padded walls.

As for any other ideas, perhaps a brief overview of some more obscure settings if you know of any? For example, I really like the setup of D&D's "The Known World" AKA "Mystara," because just about anything goes, from the byzantine-esque Thyatians, to the mageocracy of the principalities of Galantri where clerics are banned, from the Orcs of Thar with their over the top characterization, to the "halflings" of the five shires with their blackflame forges, everything about the setting is dripping with character. Here's an overview if anyone's interested.

And for Masterweaver's note on fanfics, This one is unreasonably long, and probably poor in technical standards, but I still love it. This one is far shorter, but also far less meaty. A decent, if dead, middle ground would probably be here.

Let's see if I used that BB code right...

Edit: Take two.
Enchanter Tim 14th May 2015, 1:46 PM edit delete reply
as a side note on the topic of Ponies and Mystara, here's something I believe I linked before, though it was quite a while back:

My(stara's) Little Ponies: Friendship is Adventuring by John Biles
http://www.fimfiction.net/index.php?view=category&user=3859
Newbiespud 14th May 2015, 3:10 PM edit delete reply
Newbiespud
Oh man, Unknown Ponies: Failure is Awesome. The reskin of Unknown Armies made by Erin Palette, the one who wrote the series of blog posts that were the primary inspiration for creating this comic.

I actually was one of the early playtesters for Failure is Awesome, way back in the day. It... wasn't a fantastic session, looking back, but it was one of the earliest attempts to throw dice at roleplaying ponies I'd seen anywhere in the fandom up to that point, so we all gave it the benefit of the doubt.
kiapet 14th May 2015, 7:27 AM edit delete reply
I'm not sure if this helps, but I ran the PonyTales game you have in your links in order to introduce my baby sister to roleplaying. It was suited in two ways: the rules were relatively simple, and it was based on something she (and I) love. It actually worked really well.
Zuifan 14th May 2015, 7:31 AM edit delete reply
I call shenanigans on you, Dashie! What does the physical act of racing have to do with the physical act of bronco bucking?
Qwertystop 14th May 2015, 8:29 AM edit delete reply
It's not about the physical act. In this particular case, bronco bucking is something which has to be done faster than someone else. Therefore the mark applies - giving a bonus to "being faster". All the marks are magic anyway.
j-eagle12212012 14th May 2015, 8:49 AM edit delete reply
j-eagle12212012
I called it on the last page, the DM is "allowing" them to cheat so they end up tied so the DM can implement some world building with the running of the leaves as a tie breaker
Solitary Performance 14th May 2015, 9:10 AM edit delete reply
How about a few tabletop things that have gone through Kickstarter that are related? I'm specifically going to mention what I've backed, being the Pewter Ponies from Slap Minitures (slapminis.com , there's a tab for ponies along side the other miniatures they've done), and both of the Pathfinder 3rd party campaign setting books that Silver Games LLC kickstarted, being Ponyfinder Campaign Setting, and Ponyfinder: Griffons of Everglow. Plus, on DriveThruRPG, there's supplements for Ponyfinder, mostly in racial handbooks or a dungeon/encounter setting or two, but also both 4e (free) and 5e (US$0.99) translation books to bring David's work to mainstream D&D.
[This post not directly affiliated with Silver Games LLC; merely from someone who backed high enough for a character in one of the books]
Tatsurou 14th May 2015, 12:21 PM edit delete reply
Tatsurou
2) talk about why ponies and tabletop seem to go together so particularly well.


I don't think they do.
Not to say they don't work well together. What I'm saying is it's nothing special about PONIES that makes them work well together.

The RPG systems are designed to work well with just about any fantasy, sci-fi, or modern day setting. With enough creativity, you can make a wondrous adventure and characters in any setting, balanced to the setting.

The problem with trying to start or participate in a D&D campaign involving any given fandom is finding other D&D players within the fandom. Most fandoms, however, are either small, specified, or too far spread to make such things work.

Bronies and Pegasisters, however, are a fandom that is so widespread that you can easily find a fan of any type (the artists, the writers, the gamers, the debaters, etc.) if you know how to look. Heck, typing in a google search would probably find you a good dozen - if not hundred - of what you're looking for in the fandom.

Not only that, while most fandoms only discuss within their own fandom, the brony fandom has taken an active stance to try and show others that there is more to the show than teaching moral lessons to little girls and selling toys. Bronies are PROUD to proclaim their fandom, and share it with others.

THAT'S what makes ponies work so well with tabletop games. It's not the ponies, and it's not the games. It's US.
daftdeafdave 15th May 2015, 7:50 AM edit delete reply
daftdeafdave
Got to agree with this one. The MLP fandom is a little more vocal about its cultural significance than most. Also, "If it exists, there's an rpg of it" is at least as universal a rule as "If it exists there's porn/ponies of it." I know someone who was working on a That's so Raven RPG and I've played in a one shot of a Totally Spies RPG he found online.

Also played in a Dr Doolittle RPG and an RPG based on the dungeons and discourse comics in Dresden Codak.
daftdeafdave 15th May 2015, 8:07 AM edit delete reply
daftdeafdave
...and I have just confirmed that there are ponies of all those things.
Disloyal Subject 16th May 2015, 3:04 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
Totally Spies might actually be pretty fun to play.
Granted, most groups would turn it into a bloodbath, but I'd enjoy that too.
Evilbob 14th May 2015, 5:15 PM edit delete reply
Evilbob
Wow. Uhm... 1) will probably take up a good chunk of your panel. Actually... it'd be quite easy to fill up several hours on this subject... if you wanted to. Doing a good job here would probably require a lot of research on your part sooooo... good luck. If you've had the good fortune of playing multiple roleplay systems (especially pony), it'd probably be a better idea to just talk about your personal experiences.

As for 2). Let's be honest: this is purely conjecture. I really like Digo and Winged Cat's proposals, but... PURE CONJECTURE.

Other possibilities? COMEDY ROUTINE! Or maybe a SKIT. Or a COMEDY SKIT with Roleplayers Roleplaying as Roleplayers (grab some reader-volunteers, and find a way to capture highlights of RP and entertain the crowd?)!
Serialkillerwhale 15th May 2015, 1:03 AM edit delete reply
Just wait until she starts using her rage.
Erfunde 15th May 2015, 6:03 AM edit delete reply
There's a game that just got kick started that might be relevant to your panel called Epyllion. It's an Powered by the Apocalypse game that centers on a society of dragons, not ponies, but the inspiration is pretty obvious. The first 6 playbooks are very familiar archetypes from our favorite show and there's a mechanic where cohesive interparty relationships are used to power magic attacks.
Winged Cat 16th May 2015, 8:54 AM edit delete reply
The inspiration is stated explicitly in the Kickstarter. It's as if they wanted something that was FiM RPG, but not ponies.
belmontzar 15th May 2015, 10:16 AM edit delete reply
I gotta agree, I mean really the ponies in MLP work as well as the base humans in most fantasy games. I mean alot of them already have unicorns, pegasi, and normal ponies/horses. So just modify those, give them human intelligence, and tada rock on. I mean many game systems like For example palladium have monster races that also work as playable characters. [like Dragon Wolves for example]
Specter 15th May 2015, 10:37 AM edit delete reply
Specter
Poor Spike, always getting hurt, yet still wanting to help his friends with whatever they need. It's one of the few things where I can relate with him.

However, it's a good thing he's the one who is part of a team, cause I am not that good at it.
Akouma 15th May 2015, 10:52 AM edit delete reply
Akouma
A friend of mine shared this little story with me once that I thought was amusing. He joined an MLP LARP that ran in the area, and he decided to play as a griffon. Literally everyone else in the party was playing a pony of some nature, so he was the only one with decent combat stats. First encounter sees them in the Everfree for whatever reason, and they get attacked by a manticore. All the people playing pony characters begin cowering because well it's a damn manticore and they're all just ordinary ponies. My friend who played the griffon walks over to the cowering ponies two rounds later saying "I killed it. It's dead."

Just thought that was a fun story.
Disloyal Subject 16th May 2015, 3:06 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
No pony had a decent combat build? Surprising. Were they using a specific system?