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This is version 0.93 of MLP45E, a rulebook supplement intended to be used with the 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook. It contains rules for setting a D&D game in the land of Equestria, with elements taken from the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic cartoon and its associated comics, art, and fan fiction.
This update to the original, MLP:45E - Roleplaying in Equestria for DND 5E, is now fully compatible with the D&D 5th Edition roleplaying game. It contains all you need (along with the D&D Player's Handbook) to create characters to use in a D&D game set in Equestria (The DM will also probably want to have a copy of the Monster Manual and the Dungeon Master's Guide).
For printable season Zinger cards, you can get them here: Season 1 Zingers
If you're looking for monsters, check the MLP45E bestiary: 45E Bestiary
For magic items, check out the new MLP45E Artifacts of Equestria
4/19/15: Version 0.92 update released!
2/13/16: Version 0.93 update released!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
You can remix and share it for non-commercial purposes as long as you attribute it to me and allow others to share it further.
New Canon Races:
-Pure Changelings (like Thorax)
-Seaponies (now that the movie is out).
New Fandom Races:
Also it would seem that the warlocks class was either missing or forgotten in the original document. Would like some more insight on this. Especially since it would be interesting to see a Warlock whose Patron is either Luna, the Tantabus or even Discord.
The type of Changeling Thorax now is still can fit under the "Changeling Orphan".
It would be cool to see some Breezies.
Also, how much playtesting or player feedback have you gotten? I'd love to be able to help in that regard, whether I have a group or not - I'm a veteran of running campaigns by myself, sadly...
That's right, Earth Pony Mage.
I'll resist saying I told you so, but I think this should be a lesson on restricting player options when the fluff supporting such is very much speculative.
Until Meadowbrook is shown to conjure things out of thin air, teleport, levitate objects, or do other traditional wizardly things without the aid of a magical item of some kind, I'm not going to jump to conclusions.
If her magic comes from Study and Knowledge, I think you'd have to call her a wizard, even if she mostly does healing. She could easily be a Mystic Theurge. All Wizards can cast remove curse too! There's no source saying that her powers come from a connection with nature or Faith in a higher power, so calling her a cleric or druid is unfounded.
Having a player running an alicorn should be a pretty delicate situation best left to the individual GM to manage.
(IE: They can be born, made through magic, there is actually a whole tribe of them out there somewhere that Celesita and Luna came from, it's normal for born alicorns to not have their cutie marks in adulthood sometimes / long lived.. maybe? and that their actually no different then a unicorn with wings...Elves basically)
But good to know thats there~...Though I do wonder how that actually makes them.. more powerful? I mean it doesn't really show, sides being a flying unicorn.
There's already a lot of awesomeness in the book as is, and I'll make sure to use it in a future campaign. But hey, I'm addicted to RPGs, so I hope to see more material in the next release!
I also have some questions and suggestions though.
1. Are you working on this project all by yourself? It would be nice to have a place where fans of MLP45E could also make their materials, like adventures, campaign ideas, monsters, etc. Some forums even allow play-by-post, but that's up to you. I don't really know if MLP45E has that many fans to justify a forum, but this is just my 2 bits.
2. Are you planning more than what was said in the book (more races, zingers, etc)? Will the Artifice class be open to all races? And also, are you planning to release version 0.94 anytime soon? Just to make sure.
3. You probably played your own campaign using your hack (unlike me who almost never plays the hacks I make). I'd like to see how was it! The characters, the adventures, how it went, etc. I love to read session reports, but that's just my curiousness.
4. I love the book and I will surely use it for my equine adventures, and I don't really have a problem with the rules. But there is one point where I agree with Harby94 in his comments below: Feat that have other feats as a pre-requisite. It's not a big problem, the optional rules even suggest a free starting feat, but maybe that could be reviewed. One of the Unearthed Arcana articles have tips for writing feats and they talk about that. But I still like your feats.
5. I'd allow some feats for restricted races to be taken by similar races, as well as arcane casters. The GM can allow it, as you said in the book, I just like to share my vision of magic in Equestria. I should make a handout with such changes and show to the players beforehand. Also, in the Lunaverse fanfics, the donkeys from a remote island used magical gems to focus magic just like a Unicorn's horn. Arcanium crystals, anyone?
6. Are you planning on making an introductory adventure anywhere in the future? We can make that ourselves, but I like to see it from the hooves of the creator.
7. Can you recommend some of the fanfictions you used as inspirations for some bits of MLP45E?
8. Good changelings are now canon! They don't need to be orphans anymore. One of my past hacks had "light" changelings from Chrysalis's hive, and "dark" changelings from other hives. Just an idea.
Well, I think that's all. As I already said, this game is awesome and I commend you for your efforts to blend our favorite hobbies and make Dungeons and Dragons approximately 20% cooler.
1. Yeah, I'm pretty much doing it myself, but whenever people have feedback I try to incorporate it if it makes sense to me. I know of around ten groups or so using the rules, but I don't know of any common collaboration area. It seems to be mostly experienced players & DMs already.
2. I would like to release the next update during the mid-season-7 hiatus in the next couple of weeks. There will be a few new races, many new feats and feat updates, some new spells, possibly a background or two. I'm not going to write my own artificer class, but instead suggest that people use the artificer that was recently released on Wizards of the Coast's "Unearthed Arcana" article: media.wizards.com/2016/dnd/dow…
3. Got nothing like that written up, sorry. No time!
4. Yeah, noted. There will be a lot of changes in the feats chapter in the next update.
5. Basically my view is that each race should have one feat that is mostly restricted to them, or to very similar races, to give them an extra-special ability nobody else has. I'll review the list though, to make sure there aren't too many restrictions.
6. I would like to, sure, but I think there's already a ton of great adventures out there that are easily adapted by replacing the character names.
7. Really the only major fanfics I've read are "A Dangerous Business" and "Background Pony." The first is very high-adventure, exploration themed and perfectly suits the game. The second is very depressing and not really a good fit with the game.
8. Changelings will eventually need an update in the game, but we need to see some more of their capabilities in the show first. I hear there's an episode with them coming up later in season 7, so we'll see what it has to offer.
Thanks again for your kind comments.
This ability is better for characters who have heavy armor proficiency but have a lower strength, like possibly a life domain cleric or a multiclass paladin or fighter.
Here's a partial list of adventure ideas going into the next revision. Maybe something will help inspire you:
* A small group of rogue changelings take up residence in a village or town in disguise, but the locals sense something isn't quite what it seems with this unusual family.
* An airship in distress makes a crash-landing, and it is/was carrying a VIP, many civilian passengers, a dangerous criminal/monster, or a valuable treasure.
* Thieves make off with the entire season's supply of cloud seeds for the Cloudsdale weather factory, wreak havoc by causing wild, destructive weather.
* A dangerous/cursed magical artifact is found, and it must be destroyed/contained before the owner wreaks any more havoc (think Alicorn Amulet or Manifestation Inspiration book)
* Diamond dogs, boars, deer, buffalo, griffons, or independent ponies kidnap a VIP who is unfairly exploiting them or their territory in some way.
* The party witnesses or falls victim to a robbery, burglary, or a pickpocketing group that steals something important which must be recovered.
* Thieves secretly plant stolen goods on a member of the party while fleeing the law and come back later to get them back.
* Ponies who have headed into the woods/hills haven't been coming back. Hags, sirens or kelpies may be hypnotizing them into forming a cult village, or a basilisk/cockatrice may be turning them to stone.
* A patch of plunder vines springs up around old magical ruins. Is there a new element of harmony? Or are they after something else?
* A player character receives a notice that they've inherited an old mansion/farm/business from a distant relative, but it turns out the place is haunted, infested with monsters, or cursed.
* A child runs away (a friend/relative of a player character?) and ends up kidnapped by a monster.
* The players find an abandoned foal or colt/filly in the wilderness. Is he or she an orphan? Simply lost? Or something more sinister?
* The players find signs of a dangerous creature rampaging its way toward a small village.
* Miners unearth something dangerous that was sealed away hundreds of years ago.
* The players find a messenger who's dead or too ill/injured to complete the delivery of an important letter or package. If they complete the delivery, perhaps the recipient has a reward or another job offer for them.
* Refugees stream into a town, talking about the barbaric invaders, worgs, or other monsters who've taken over their village.
* A dangerous creature moves into the area and begins attacking travelers, lumberjacks, shepherds, and farmers.
* Two neighboring villages get into a dispute over land and/or resources.
* Two rival villages have to work together when something threatens both of them.
* A mysterious illness begins spreading through town, but nobody is sure what's causing it. Is it a certain food? Is a visitor an asymptomatic carrier? Is it caused by a curse or spreading through animals? Maybe the townsfolk blame new visitors (perhaps even the PCs).
* A reporter begins following the PCs, photographing and reporting on their activities.
* One or more young children follow the PCs into the wilderness, seeking to emulate their heroes.
* Rumors spread through town about a haunted ruin that's appeared in the forest, hills, or swamp nearby.
* The PCs arrive at a village to find it completely abandoned.
* The PCs arrive at a village to find everyone seems to be hypnotized or enchanted in some way.
* The PCs encounter a farmstead that's under attack by monsters (or the attack happened recently). Some of the family members have been carried off.
* A VIP hires the PCs to deliver or recover something valuable to them. The problem is they may not be the legitimate owner.
* Animals begin streaming into town from the hills, forest, or swamp, because something dangerous has taken up residence there.
* Uncontrollable weather begins affecting the area, pegasus weather managers can't figure out why.
* Fans of the PCs begin following them around, taking pictures and gushing over them.
* A writer wants to write a book about the PCs, and asks to travel with them to learn their stories (and offers a share of the profits).
* A designer asks the PCs to take part in fashion show for the latest weapons and armor and provides free samples. Maybe it turns out the equipment is stylish but ineffective in actual use.
* Alligators are infesting the city sewers!
* Changelings have infiltrated a small village and are beginning to take it over.
* A village's food supply is threatened when crops begin dying mysteriously. Maybe a traveling merchant is poisoning them so he or she can profit selling the village food, or there's been a curse placed on the village by enemies.
* The PCs find a camera with many photos on the film roll. Who knows what they show?
* While travelling by bus, train, ship, or airship, rough weather damages the vehicle and the PCs may need to help repair it or defend it from bandits or monsters.
* While travelling by bus, train, ship, or airship, someone in the crew or passenger manifest or a valuable treasure goes missing.
* Villagers are acting strangely. Perhaps they're all unusually angry, generous, friendly, unfriendly, or amorous (or it affects everyone differently). Maybe there's a pheromone in the air from a plant or they're being magically influenced by a kelpie, sirens, a sorcerer or wizard, or some other means.
* A meteor crash-lands nearby, and many treasure-hunters stream into the area trying to find where it landed to recover metal or other souveniers. Perhaps the PCs are hired to acquire some. Maybe the meteor actually was carrying a dangerous alien creature or plant.
* Someone is kidnapped for ransom, and the PCs are asked to deliver the ransom and escort the victim back safely. Perhaps the ransom turns out to be fake, the victim turns out to be dead, the whole thing is a ruse to lure the PCs into the wilderness, or the party is attacked on its way to or from the ransom trade.
* Someone is spreading poison joke pollen throughout the town, perhaps unwittingly.
* Prisoners have escaped, either from jail or during a transport, and need to be rounded up.
* A reward is being offered for the capture of a dangerous criminal. The criminal may or may not actually be guilty.
* A bored dragon has taken on pony form and is trying to make a living in a pony village, but is having trouble fitting in (figuratively speaking).
I think it's better to say good things first. I like that you made the plunge and put this out there for everyone to see. That takes confidence. Most of your stuff is good, and it obviously took a lot of effort and thought to put together. Your spells and backgrounds in particular have lot of flavor to them. You also do a good job of talking about your reasoning. Even if I disagree, I can see why you made such a choice, most of the time.
1: I don't like that Pony isn't a race. Ponies share a kinship that I really think unites them as close as Forgotten Realm's elves or dwarves. The only reason I can think of is so that you can have several Earth Pony and Pegasus races. You don't extend the options to Unicorn though. That's pretty flimsy, not accurate to the show, and rather lazy, in my opinion. Also, why does every race have natural weapons, and why are they all finesse AND heavy? Odd combination of traits that I don't think is true of any weapon in the PHB. Unarmed Strikes usually don't proc Sneak Attack, so this makes a Monk/Rouge multiclasser more powerful than intended. I thought it might be intended to compensate for the fact that Ponies don't have arms and would wield weapons in their mouths, but I don't see any such rule for that.
2: I know it's an optional rule, but I find the concept of rules for breaking the rules of physics rather silly. Having set rules for it is both unduly restrictive on creative roleplayers, and forces silliness on those who want to be more serious. I think just letting such things happen as part of the roleplaying experience is a better solution. I just can't think of any situation that would be made more fun by adding rules to something that's intended to be carefree and silly.
3: I do not understand why you limit certain class option to certain races. Is it so impossible that Arcane magic might come from sources other than a Unicorn's horn? This assumption is responsible for why I initially didn't consider using this homebrew, and got me to look closer to see the other flaws. Since 4th edition, D&D has tried hard to make sure that you'll be able to execute any race/class combination you desire. Racial restrictions on that are a big backwards step in roleplaying a character that's truly your own, in my opinion. Sure, unicorns should have bonuses geared to making good mages, but only allowing horned races to be wizards is far too restrictive.
4: Your feats are just poorly made. Too many are racially restricted, or have other feats as prerequisites. There's a feat that gives you another feat, but itself also gives disadvantages. Why would anyone take that? Most games only run to about 15th level at best, so most characters will only get 2 feats. Fighters might get more, but that's still only 4 total. Feats need to be general and worth the +2 ASI you're trading away. These are such a mixed bag.
5: Eldritch Blast is Warlock only for a very good reason. Giving it to other arcane casters is a rather big boost in power for them, and makes Warlock a weaker choice in comparison. I agree that flavor can trump mechanics, but it shouldn't do so by making a whole class less attractive. Your new spells are mostly pretty good, though I think a few of the level 1 spells might need to be made level 2 instead, as they're a bit too good.
None of this is intended to be taken as an insult. I'd like to hear your response. Thanks.
1A. Yes, the main reason for keeping the three pony tribes as separate races was to allow for further differentiation through the subraces. In the show, pegasus and unicorn cultures are quite monolithic. For the most part, unicorns are from Canterlot and pegasi (normal variety) are from Cloudsdale. It’s quite different for earth ponies though--there’s humble, hard-working farmers (ponyville and the pie family), swamp-dwellers (the bayou ponies), plains-runners (Mrs. Peachbottom), desert dwellers (Saddle Arabians), tribal jungle-dwellers (Ahuizotl’s valley), and big city folk (Manehattanites). That’s a wide variety of cultures.
You could give them all the same statistics and let the differences come out through role-playing, but I like to see culture reflected in the racial mechanics as well. For the pony races in particular, I think about half their traits are due to physical differences and half are due to the environment they were brought up in. Unicorns and pegasi really haven’t been shown to have any unique variation in any particular region, thus the extremely limited subrace choices. Recently in the GM Berrow books a whole town of unicorns trapped in another dimension centuries ago was freed by Twilight and reintroduced to Equestria. That might provide enough uniqueness to create a unicorn subrace. If in the future the show/books/comics ever gives us any unique pegasus or unicorn cultures, that would certainly be another opportunity for a subrace I’d take into consideration.
One other factor is I assume the overall pony population is about 60% earth ponies, 25% pegasi, and 15% unicorns. I think this has even been borne out in studies done by fans. There’s arguments for and against this in the show itself, but I mostly base it on the fact that there are multiple towns or regions which seem to be entirely populated by earth ponies. Others are majority earth pony, but have mixed population of minority pegasi and unicorns. Majority pegasus and unicorn towns are few and far between.
As for whether they should all be considered one race, ultimately it’s really just semantics. You can call them the same race and still have completely independent racial mechanics for each branch, or you could call the three entirely different species due to their anatomical differences.
1B. Unarmed attacks are given more prominence because most of the fighting in the show is done without weapons, and I wanted that to be a viable combat option, better than regular D&D's unarmed combat, but not as good as manufactured weapons. They’re finesse so that those characters focused on dexterity aren’t at a disadvantage, and heavy so that those who have class abilities or feats which interact with heavy weapons are able to use them effectively as well (though the heavy keyword has unintended side effects for small characters in this situation). As for monk/rogues, monks are able to use short swords (a finesse weapon) or other simple melee weapons and deal their full martial arts damage, so it’s already possible in regular D&D for a monk/rogue to combine martial arts damage with sneak attacks. It’s still only possible to sneak attack once per turn, so it’s not a balance issue. By splitting their levels between rogue and monk, they're directly sacrificing their sneak attack and martial arts damage anyway, so it's probably a net loss.
2. Depends on the group, in my experience. Some people have trouble with thinking creatively in that way, and like to have something in their character’s repertoire that they can point to. D&D 4th edition had pretty comprehensive rules for improvised actions anyone could attempt, but I seldom saw them used. Also, in a purely free-form setting, it also may be hard for an inexperienced DM to adjudicate success fairly if a player is particularly persuasive or dominating. But like you mentioned, it’s designed to be easy to use or ignore as the group prefers.
3. My driving mantra for the entire book was to remain as faithful to the show as possible, while expanding it in directions that are unexplored or underutilized. Following the show's example, unicorn magic as used in the show closely mimics D&D arcane magic, right down to having spellbooks and magical formulas. That's why the restrictions are in place. And really the only restrictions are the actual wizard, eldritch knight, and arcane trickster classes. If I'm not mistaken, every other class is open to every race, including other magic-using classes like sorcerer, warlock, bard, druid, cleric, paladin, monk, and ranger. If the DM wishes to ignore them, more power to them. I would find it odd, however, seeing a donkey or pegasus use magic of the same type as Twilight or Celestia.
4. Feats are probably the most-revised section in the book. I do feel quite a few of them are very strong compared to PHB feats, but there are several that are too situationally limited and therefore weak. I did intentionally add one for each race to either enhance existing racial abilities or give them something thematically unique. The three that build on Magic Initiate were something carried over from the 5th-edition D&D playtest rules, but didn’t make it to the Player’s Handbook. They could probably be trimmed. There’s also several that enhance flight abilities that could be merged. Earth and Plant mastery should probably either be merged or eliminated.
As for the feat that gives disadvantages, are you talking about flight camp flunker? That’s a hindrance, not a feat. Hindrances are in their own section, following feats. Hindrances are free to take (other than the penalties they impart) but you gain whatever benefits are listed (in this case, a bonus feat). Right now there's just one, but I'm coming up with a few more for the next release.
5. Anybody can take eldritch blast via the magic initiate feat in regular D&D, so I don’t think it’s a terribly big deal. The cantrip's real power comes when you enhance it with the agonizing blast, repelling blast, and eldritch spear invocations, which are still restricted to warlocks.
1B: Tavern Brawler exists for characters who don't want to go monk, and want to have viable unarmed damage. That's a good bit of investment, though you don't seem to think so (see 5) but it's not like unarmed strikes are useless untrained. They still deal 1+STR damage. DEX is already 5e's King Stat, so I'm not sure DEX builds need to get even more stuff, but fair enough.
2: It's totally optional, but so are Feats. To me the idea is a bit incongruous, but more power to any group that likes it.
3: Just because we've never seen an Earth Pony Wizard doesn't mean they can't exist. I just don't like that fanon limiting player choice.
4: I missed the Hindrance thing, sorry. That one is on me, though it being the only one probably did contribute to that. I'm glad you're working on the feat section.
5: True, but a feat is a big investment, as I said, and most casters depend on ASIs over Feats. Magic Initiate is more for Martials who want some magic without multiclassing. Also, making Eldritch Blast a Wizard Cantrip means that Evocation's subclass bonuses apply to it, unlike the Magic Initiate version. And Sorcerers can put metamagic on it, again unlike the MI version. Not sure on other classes, but adding a spell to a spell list can do some crazy things. It's probably not broken or overpowered by any means, but it does mean that there's little reason to play a warlock now that one of it's major class bonuses is for most casters. In my homebrew, I just reflavor most caster's damage cantrips to be more beam-like if they cast it using their horn as the focus. (My unicorns get a free Arcane/divine Focus attached to their heads, among other things. Nice bonus for 1/2 and 1/3 casters or MI users that would otherwise need to buy component pouches).
I think it would make more sense to make a custom cantrip for this rather than try to squeeze eldritch blast into this role.
Thanks for the response.
Keep at it man, we love your stuff.
Here's the first item on the list, a not-so-subtle take on Captain America's shield:
AEGIS OF EQUESTRIA
Shield, rare (requires attunement)
The Aegis of Equestria is well-known throughout its lands as a symbol of the nation’s heart and unity. According to legend, its metal came from a meteor gifted to Princess Luna by the Zebra folk after assisting them in repelling a griffon incursion. The castle’s best blacksmiths couldn’t even scratch it, so Luna turned to Star Swirl the Bearded to help develop a unique spell that would allow it to be worked. The task was difficult, and would take years to complete.
In the meantime, Luna became jealous of Celestia. As Nightmare Moon she attempted to depose Celestia and become sole ruler of Equestria, which resulted in her banishment in the moon. Distraught, Celestia needed a symbol to inspire and unite the fragile nation which was still reeling from the attempted coup. She asked Star Swirl to focus all his efforts on finishing his work on the metal. Eventually, he and the blacksmiths of Canterlot forged a circular magical shield which was carried into battle by Equestria’s mightiest warriors. Tales of its many owners and their exploits are known by heart by many Equestrian citizens.
The Aegis of Equestria is lightweight (3 pounds) and seemingly indestructible. It doesn’t transfer heat, cold, or electricity like most metals, and has come through unscathed after being stepped on by the largest of dragons more than once. It’s beautifully painted with a scene of a forest clearing. A magically-animated sun and moon rise and fall in the scene’s sky, accurately depicting the current state of the solar/lunar cycle. Any scratches in the paint are magically repaired within moments. Owners attuned to the Aegis can use the following abilities:
While you have the shield equipped, you can use a bonus action to project a 150-foot cone of bright light from the sun or moon on the shield. A second bonus action douses the light.
You can treat the shield as a (proficient) thrown weapon with a range of 30/90 feet that deals 1d8 bludgeoning damage. If you successfully hit the target you can also initiate a shove attack against the target as a part of the attack (see page 195 of the 5th Edition D&D Player’s Handbook). The shield returns to your forearm/foreleg and is re-equipped automatically at the end of your turn.
While the shield is equipped, you can use your reaction to reduce the damage of an incoming attack by half. If you use this ability against a ranged attack, roll 1d20. On a result of 18 or higher you can instead deflect the attack against a different target of your choice within 30 feet of you. The attacker re-rolls the attack roll at the same bonus against the new target. You can add your Intelligence bonus (if any) and proficiency bonus to this roll. On a hit, the new target suffers the attack’s full effect.
Either through spells or feats?
Does Pegasus Pride confer the flight ability or just the sub race abilities?
Well, I know there are other MLP RPGs around there, plus Tails of Equestria coming soon, but I'm always interested in new systems.