I decided to test the relevance of a My Little Pony tabletop role-playing game by foisting my own version on my three-year-old daughter and six-year-old son. Using eTools, I simply modified war ponies and gave each of them one class level, bolstering their statistics and applying templates as appropriate. Here's how they netted out:
- Applejack: Fighter (18 Str)
- Fluttershy: Druid (18 Wis) + Winged Creature template
- Pinkie Pie: Bard (18 Cha)
- Rainbow Dash: Monk (18 Dex) + Winged Creature template
- Rarity: Psion (18 Cha) + Horned Creature template
- Twilight Sparkle: Wizard (18 Int) + Horned Creature template
I created the horned creature template to accommodate the "unicorn-ification" of the ponies. It bestows a natural attack (horn, 1d6 for medium creatures), +2 Wis, +2 Cha, +1 LA.
I purchased a set of G4 miniature ponies from Amazon, used the Heroes of Hesiod rules and adapted the Hero Kids Adventure: Glade of the Unicorn. I did some quick adaptations of the monsters to set it in Equestria, changing the names of some of the places and converting the monsters so that the matched up. My Little Pony has a lot more in common with Dungeons & Dragons than you might think, so this wasn't that hard. My son chose Pinkie Pie, my daughter chose Rainbow Dash, and they were off!
I learned a few lessons from my experiences with other role-playing games, which streamlined the complexity of tabletop gaming.
- Dots: I used Hero Kids' dot system to represent character and monster hit points, along with a big color representation of each.
- Cards: I created special powers for each pony, adapted from the d20 rules, and then printed out cards that corresponded with each power. I took this from my experiences with 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. A kid simply points to what card he or she plans to use that round and then rolls dice to resolve the effect.
- Rerolls: In addition to a big picture of each character, I displayed their cutie marks. Each character could then cross off one of their cutie marks (with the exception of Twilight Sparkle, they all have three marks) and reroll a failed roll. I took this from 5th Edition's advantage system.
My son enjoyed playing Pinkie Pie but after just using one card in a turn started getting jealous of the fact that Rainbow Dash could charge into the fray and he couldn't, so he role-played the combinations of whatever he wanted and I let him try it. This led to Pinkie Pie being an off-the-wall maniac as she played music, sang, fired her party cannon, and bounced off the walls. Which is a lot like how Pinkie Pie acts in the cartoon too.
In the end, the two ponies retrieved Rainbow Dash's Element of Harmony from the diamond dogs and returned it to Princess Celestia. Both kids say they want to play again, so I consider that a good sign.
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