Celestial Aspirations

Writing up stats for the subject of today’s post didn’t go as I expected. My goal, as I mentioned in the previous entry, was to write Eclipse d20 stats for Princess Celestia – the demigod-like ruler of Equestria in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I had assumed that she’d have a great deal of powers displayed over the course of the show that I’d need to translate into game statistics. In fact, it turned out to be the opposite.

Princess Celestia

Hoof-manicure: 200 gp. Sparkling-hair perm: 900 gp. Making everyone respect the tramp stamp on your ass: priceless.

It didn’t take long to figure out why this was. In the context of the show, Princess Celestia has a very specific role: she acts as a mentor to Twilight Sparkle (and, by proxy, to the rest of the Mane Six). Mentor characters aren’t meant to occupy the spotlight; they’re meant to set the stage for the main cast members, which is what Celestia does. The vast majority of her appearances have her delivering exposition and adventure hooks, and the remainder have her either being defeated or explaining why she can’t fight…all the better to set the stakes with.

As such, there were comparatively few abilities of hers that required translation into game mechanics. Let’s go over what powers Celestia does have and see if we can quantify them.

Spellcasting: Princess Celestia seems to be an accomplished spellcaster. In The Cutie Mark Chronicles, she stops the young Twilight’s out-of-control burst of magic, similar to how she undoes the “want it, need it” spell Twilight cast on a doll in Lesson Zero, both of which look like dispel magic.

Some other spells she casts are in Return of Harmony to keep a door sealed shut (arcane lock), in Keep Calm and Flutter On to stop some things from being moved via magic (dimensional anchor), and in A Canterlot Wedding she fires a beam of magical energy at Queen Chrysalis (searing light).

She also demonstrates that she can use the dark magic of King Sombra in The Crystal Empire, causing black crystals to erupt from the ground. That particular spell is difficult to classify, but I’d call it a lesser version of black tentacles – one that causes damage on the initial round when it takes effect (save for half), and thereafter makes the area difficult terrain; call it one level lower than the basic version, since it’s not grappling anyone. Oh, and it has the [evil] descriptor – maybe the damage type is unholy?

Either way, none of these spells are above fourth level, which nicely matches the show’s nature of having magic be prevalent but not powerful.

Ageless: Princess Celestia is well over a thousand years old, already having been the ruler of Equestria with her younger sister, Luna, when the latter attempted a coup a millenium ago. Given that the show’s head writer has tweeted that Twilight – after becoming an alicorn – will not outlive her friends, it seems that Celestia’s immortality is something specific to her and Luna, rather than to all alicorns in general.

Raising and Lowering the Sun (and the Moon): Princess Celestia is the princess of the day in Equestria, with Luna being the princess of the night. Each day Celestia raises the sun to start the day, and ends it by lowering the sun to make room for the moon and the stars. During Luna’s banishment, Celestia also takes over her job of moving the moon and the stars each night, also.

Interestingly, in Hearth’s Warming Eve, it’s mentioned that before the Equestria was founded, the unicorn tribe collectively was responsible for moving the celestial bodies. That, and Celestia’s cutie mark being the sun (as well as her nature of an alicorn), conveys how extraordinary it is that she’s able to perform this task on her own.

Prophetic Dreams: In Twilight’s Kingdom, Celestia has a dream of Tirek’s return. She doesn’t question this vision, immediately (and correctly) interpreting it as being true.

Defeating King Sombra: In The Crystal Empire, Celestia tells how she and Luna defeated King Sombra a thousand years ago, changing him into shadow and sealing him in the ice of the arctic north. That’s…somewhat problematic. For one thing, changing him into shadow doesn’t, by itself, seem to have done anything to hinder him. In fact, he seems more fearsome that way.

Worse, sealing someone away in ice for a millenium isn’t functionally different from sealing them deep underground, or in the moon, etc. It’s still essentially an imprisonment spell, which Celestia and Luna apparently used under their own power here, but Celestia needed the Elements of Harmony to seal away a corrupted Luna.

We could possibly chalk this up to Celestia and Luna achieving greater power by working together, or even positing that the Elements of Harmony were used, despite their not being mentioned in the exposition. However, I think it’s easier to just give Celestia a way to use a powerful spell on rare occasions.

Alicorn Nature: As an alicorn, Celestia has all of the abilities of the three types of ponies – the flight of pegasi, the magic of unicorns, and the strength of earth ponies. It’s also mentioned that she and the other princesses have “alicorn magic,” though this isn’t expounded upon beyond some general intimations of it being stronger than “normal” magic.

One notable exception is in Twilight’s Kingdom, where Celestia – along with Luna and Cadence – give Twilight their alicorn magic, leaving themselves drained of all mystical abilities. Twilight, by contrast, is super-powered to the point of having difficulty controlling it all (at least until her epic showdown with Tirek).

So what does all of this look like in Eclipse? My guess would be something like the following:

Princess Celestia, level 8 alicorn (ECL 9)

Available Character Points: 216 (level 8 base) + 18 (levels 1, 3 and 6 feats) + 16 (duties) + 6 (disadvantages) = 256 CP.

Celestia’s disadvantages are History (we’ve seen a lot of her old enemies making reappearances) and Unarmored. Her duties involve administrating an entire kingdom.

Ability Scores (32-point buy):

Ability Scores Base Racial Levels Items Total
Strength 12 +2 14 (+2)
Dexterity 14 14 (+2)
Constitution 14 +2 16 (+3)
Intelligence 14 +1 +2 (crown) 17 (+3)
Wisdom 12 +1 13 (+1)
Charisma 14 +2 16 (+3)

Given Celestia’s status as one of the oldest and most powerful characters in Equestria, it seemed appropriate to give her the largest point-buy for her ability scores.

Alicorn (62 CP/+1 ECL race)

  • +2 Charisma (12 CP)
  • Innate Enchantment, caster level 1 x spell level 1 x 2,000 gp x .7 personal-only modifier where applicable. (11 CP; 10,200 gp).
    • +2 enhancement bonus to Strength (1,400 gp)
    • +2 enhancement bonus to Constitution (1,400 gp)
    • Cloud walk (1,400 gp)
    • Greater mage hand (2,000 gp).
    • Greater mage hand (2,000 gp).
    • Heavenly lever (2,000 gp).
  • Immunity/stacking limitations when combining innate enchantment effects with external effects (common/minor/trivial; only covers level 0 or 1 effects) (2 CP).
  • Immunity/the normal XP cost of racial innate enchantments (uncommon/minor/trivial) (1 CP).
  • Workhorse, corrupted for two-thirds cost/subject to dispelling, antimagic, and similar effects (4 CP).
  • Celerity with the Additional modifier, all set to flight, corrupted for two-thirds cost/subject to dispelling, antimagic, and similar effects (12 CP).
  • Immunity/needing to concentrate on spells (common/major/trivial – only for spells of level 0 or 1), specialized for half cost/only applies to innate enchantments (1 CP).
  • Immunity/verbal, somatic, and material components when casting spells (very common/major/major – only for spells of level 5 or below) (15 CP).
  • Eldritch, an alicorn’s horn glows when using innate enchantments or spellcasting, and a matching glow surrounds the target (0 CP).
  • 1d6 Mana, with the spell enhancement natural magic, corrupted for two-thirds cost/may only be used to pay for spell enhancement or other special abilities (4 CP).
  • Skill Focus (Spellcraft), specialized for double effect/only for checks to move celestial bodies (6 CP).
  • Accursed. Any damage, or other harmful effect, that befalls an alicorn’s horn (e.g. must target their horn specifically, rather than the alicorn overall) causes all innate enchantments and spells cast to immediately end. No more can be used until the effect is healed (-3 CP).
  • Valuable. Alicorns are desirable to dark forces for their purity and magic (-3 CP).

Celestia’s Skill Focus, and the last item in her Innate Enchantment, are specific to her. Other than that, the above is the racial writeup for alicorns in general.

Alicorns are essentially a mix of the racial abilities of pegasi, unicorns, and earth ponies. The notable differences are the addition of “alicorn magic” – which is their racial mana, the increased ability to use spells without verbal, somatic, or material components, and an additional disadvantage.

Celestia’s last Innate Enchantment spell, heavenly lever, is a 1st-level spell that grants a +10 competence bonus to Spellcraft checks to move celestial bodies. According to The Practical Enchanter, a spell of this level would normally grant a +5 bonus; given the limited circumstances of the check, doubling it seemed appropriate.

Fans of the show might realize that there’s a slight issue with making alicorns a +1 ECL race.

When Twilight changes her base race from unicorn to alicorn at the end of season three, that would put her a level behind her friends, since she needs to pay for the effective level in assuming a more powerful race, whereas they can level up normally. That’s a little awkward, since Twilight doesn’t seem to be any less capable than her friends after her transformation.

The answer here ties into Princess Celestia’s primary role on the show being Twilight’s mentor, as mentioned above. Specifically, she’s the justification for Twilight taking the Mentor ability, specialized for double effect/only to pay for a racial ECL modifier. That grants her +20% extra XP, used only to pay (proactively) for changing up from a +0 ECL race to a +1 ECL race. (She likely retrains this to remove the specialization afterwards, since it’s no longer needed as-is.)

Of course, given that the XP awards on the show are probably fairly small overall, it’s likely that Twilight was still at an XP deficit when the transformation actually happened. Hence the Equestria Girls movie following immediately thereafter. That’s exactly the sort of solo adventure a GM would run for a character that needs just a little more XP to get over the top.

Basic Abilities (138 CP)

  • No weapon or armor proficiencies (0 CP).
  • 8d10 Hit Dice (48 CP).
  • +6 Warcraft, corrupted for two-thirds cost/no iterative attacks (24 CP).
  • Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +2 (36 CP).
  • 30 skill points (30 CP).

Celestia’s basic abilities showcase her background. She hasn’t had to fight many battles, but she’s fought enough to have invested in large Hit Dice and a decent BAB, though not in iterative attacks or high saving throws (most of the spells she faces involve attack rolls anyway). She’s spent a fair amount on skill points, as you tend to learn quite a bit over such a long lifespan.

Regina Magica (59 CP)

  • 11 caster levels, specialized in the ranger progression for one-half cost (33 CP).
  • 11 levels of ranger magic progression (spontaneous casting, arcane magic, studies and restrained limitations). Specialized for one-half cost/not usable in armor (11 CP).
  • Spell Flow (6 CP).
  • Spell Pool (6 CP).
  • Enthusiast, specialized for double effect/only for spells (3 CP).

I’ve mentioned before that magic is provident but not powerful in Equestria. My interpretation of that is that the most “advanced” form of magic – the kind likely taught at Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns – is the spontaneous arcane variant of the ranger/paladin progression listed above. Celestia’s casting attribute is Charisma.

Since she has Spell Flow (taken at 1st level) Celestia has 22.5 spell levels that she can spend to “learn” various Spells Known (0-level spells are a half-level), though these must be on her spell list (which isn’t defined here, but as a four-level arcane progression with the “restrained” limitation, is going to be quite small). Once made, these choices cannot be changed.

As mentioned above, some of the spells she already knows (and their level on her spell list) are arcane lock (1), dimensional anchor (4), searing light (2), and “dark crystals” (3). I’ll also throw light (0.5) in there as a utility spell that every spellcasting pony is likely to know. That leaves her with 12 levels’ worth of spells she can add to her Spells Known List.

Likewise, her Spell Pool ability means that Celestia has a grand total of 14.5 spell levels that she can cast in a day. She can use these in any combination of spell levels, save that she cannot use more than four 4th-level, five 3rd-level, six 2nd-level, seven 1st-level, or eight 0-level spells.

Finally, her having Enthusiast allows her to know any particular spell, though it’d still need to be one that’s on her spell list. This is usually used in conjunction with mana and/or a Dominion Point to cast a spell of extraordinary power.

Eternal Princess of Equestria (24 CP)

  • Immunity to aging (uncommon/minor/great) (6 CP).
  • Major privilege (6 CP).
  • Dominion (6 CP).
  • Fast Learner, specialized in skills for double effect (6 CP).

Technically, Celestia and Luna both have Dominion for Equestria. That seems odd, but there’s nothing particularly counterintuitive about it; it’s not unusual to have areas ruled by multiple people simultaneously. Though at this point Celestia has a much greater store of Dominion Points than Luna does.

On an interesting note, Celestia has spent a Dominion Point on assigning at least one office; that of the Captain of her Royal Guard. Until the end of the second season of the show, this was Shining Armor, Twilight’s older brother (hence how he was able to cast such a large force field around the city).

Mystic Insight

  • Deep Sleep with Cosmic Awareness (12 CP).

This explains not only Celestia’s prophetic dreams, but also how she was able to rule over the day and night for a thousand years. Not needing that much sleep makes it easier to get a lot done.

Alicorn Magic (14 CP)

  • 3d6 additional mana, corrupted for two-thirds cost/as per her racial mana (12 CP).
  • Blessing, specialized and corrupted for one-third cost/only for mana, causes her to lose all magical abilities while mana is donated (2 CP).

Twilight confirms in the fourth season finale that alicorn magic, while inherent, is something an alicorn learns to control (and presumably strengthen) over time. Hence, Celestia has a fairly high amount of mana. Likewise, she can bestow it on another, though doing so leaves her severely weakened.

She Who Moves the Sun

  • Skill Emphasis (x2), specialized for double-effect/only to move celestial bodies (6 CP).

Between her +16 skill bonus in Spellcraft (below), the +6 from her racial Skill Focus, the +10 from her racial Innate Enchantment, and the +8 from this ability, Celestia has a total of +40 to Spellcraft checks to move celestial bodies. Ergo, by taking 10 on the check, she can hit a DC 50, which is the result needed to be able to rearrange the heavens.

Note that this particular application of Spellcraft – which has no prerequisites besides being able to cast spells – only works in Equestria (or realms with similar cosmologies). In a “normal” fantasy world, this would be an Epic Stunt (from Skill Focus), and the DC would be much, much higher. For a good comparison, see the 23rd-level spell orbital adjustment in Eclipse.

Weapon of Last Resort

  • Martial arts, 1d4 damage with unarmed strike (3 CP).

This is to represent that Celestia can use her horn as a melee weapon. We never see her do this, save for momentarily locking horns with Queen Chrysalis in A Canterlot Wedding, but it’s not a bad idea for her to have the option anyway.

Magic Items

  • Crown of Insight. This crown grants the wearer a +2 enhancement bonus to Intelligence, as well as a +2 competence bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, Knowledge (nobility and royalty), and Sense Motive (5,540 gp).
  • Torc of Royal Aegis. This torc combines the effects of bracers of armor +4 and a cloak of resistance +3 (25,900 gp).
  • Horseshoes of Swift Travel. The wearer of these horseshoes is under a continual personal haste spell (from The Practical Enchanter) (4,000 gp).

As a 9th-level character, Celestia has 36,000 gp (using the PC wealth-by-level table). However, like most characters from popular media, she isn’t shown to wrap herself in magical gear the way d20 characters do. Ergo, the best compromise is to say that what few items she does wear are themselves magical, providing continuous but unobtrusive effects.

Derived Stats

  • Hit points: 10 (1st level) + 38 (7d10) + 24 (Con. bonus) = 72 hp.
  • Speed: 30 ft., fly 30 ft. (perfect) + 30 ft. (horseshoes) = 60 ft., fly 60 ft. (perfect).
  • Saving Throws:
    • Fort: +5 (base) +3 (Con. bonus) +3 (torc) = +11.
    • Ref: +5 (base) +2 (Dex. bonus) +3 (torc) = +10.
    • Will: +2 (base) +1 (Wis. bonus) +3 (torc) = +6.
  • Armor Class = 10 (base) +2 (Dex) +4 (torc) = 16, touch 12, flat-footed 14.
  • Attacks: unarmed strike +6 (BAB) + 2 (Str) = unarmed strike +8 (1d4+2).
  • Skills: 30 skill points (30 CP) + 22 (Int. bonus) + 22 (Fast Learner) = 74 skill points.
Skills Ranks Ability Modifier Misc. Modifier Total
Bluff 0 +3 Cha +2 competence +5
Concentration 5 +3 Con +8
Diplomacy 4 +3 Cha +2 synergy (Knowledge (nobility and royalty)), +2 competence +11
Gather Information 2 (4 points) +3 Cha +2 synergy (Knowledge (local)) +7
Intimidate 3 +3 Cha +6
Knowledge (arcana) 5 +3 Int +8
Knowledge (geography) 5 +3 Int +8
Knowledge (history) 5 +3 Int +8
Knowledge (local) 5 +3 Int +8
Knowledge (nobility and royalty) 5 +3 Int +2 competence +10
Knowledge (the planes) 2 +3 Int +5
Listen 2 (4 points) +1 Wis +3
Perform (sing) 4 +3 Cha +7
Search 2 (4 points) +3 Int +5
Sense Motive 4 +1 Wis +2 competence +7
Spellcraft 11 +3 Int +2 synergy (Knowledge (arcana)) +16
Spot 2 (4 points) +1 Wis +3
Survival 0 +1 Wis +2 synergy (Knowledge (geography)) to keep from getting lost or avoiding hazards or when on other planes +1

Celestia’s class skills are the twelve in the above table that have ranks which have been bought on a 1:1 basis – Concentration, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Knowledge (arcana, geography, history, local, nobility and royalty, the planes), Perform, Sense Motive, and Spellcraft. Craft and Profession are also class skills for her, though she has no ranks in either.

There’s no Pathfinder presentation for Princess Celestia, unlike in the previous article. That’s because using the Pathfinder rules in Eclipse – not just the package deal and the extra CPs, but the Pathfinder ability score point-buy values, skill system, and even PC wealth-by-level table – present just enough differences that, for a higher-level character like Celestia, she’d need to be near-totally rewritten.

Needless to say, that was a little more than I wanted to portray, so I’ve elected to show only her 3.5 game stats.

Overall, Princess Celestia is a moderately powerful character for her level. She presents a fairly mixed balance between skills and spellcasting, being capable at both while overwhelming at neither. Of course, to the citizens of Equestria she’s akin to a demigod – that’s to be expected, since the disparity in power between a 9th-level character compared to a 1st-level one is overwhelming.

Insofar as the other alicorns on the show are concerned, Luna’s build would probably look extremely similar to Celestia’s (which is to be expected, given that they perform extremely similar tasks), being maybe a level or two lower and swapping out the prophetic dreams for actual dreamwalking. Cadence would be more of a support character, having buffing and healing instead of offense and utility powers.

And Twilight…well, we’ll just have to see where the show takes her.

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17 Responses to “Celestial Aspirations”

  1. bronycentaur Says:

    Intresting read… great!

  2. Thoth Says:

    Well, being “a level behind” in favor of a reasonably well-designed +1 ECL race doesn’t make a lot of difference in an Eclipse character anyway; the power levels tend to be pretty similar since it mostly just amounts to trading in the base d4 HD and (Int Mod) skill points for 8 extra CP.

    Celestia looks quite workable – although I think she might have a bit of Occult Skill (Foresight); from what little I know about it, she apparently usually has whatever spell she’s going to need for the episode.

    • alzrius Says:

      My thinking was that, since the alicorn race doesn’t grant much in the way of additional skill bonuses – and skill bonuses are the primary way in which a group of non-combatant characters are going to advance – alicorn-Twilight would fall slightly behind her friends in that regard. This way she gets to have both.

      It’s somewhat rare to actually see Celestia casting a spell (hence the paucity of examples I posted above), so giving her spontaneous spellcasting and precognitive dreams seemed sufficient there. That said, given how often she seems to know what Twilight and her friends should do before they do (e.g. showing Twilight the trick with King Sombra’s dark magic – which is critical later), you may be right about her having Foresight.

  3. Thoth Says:

    It’s complete guesswork on my part anyway of course; it’s really hard to tell character powers from scriptwriters convenient coincidences in most shows.

  4. Joining The Stampede – Ponies, Bio-Arcana, and Eclipse | Emergence Campaign Weblog Says:

    […] he has: here we have Lashtada, Hearts and Hooves, the Sirens, Lex Legis, and his Origin, Celestia, Rarity, the Pony Races, and the Elements of […]

  5. Further Musing on Celestial Aspirations | Intelligence Check Says:

    […] – such as for Pathfinder or D&D 3.5 – then they would be deities. Naturally, I disagreed with this line of […]

  6. Ponies Of The Eclipse – Alicorns and Princess Luna, Part I | Emergence Campaign Weblog Says:

    […] even as an application of Knowledge; Arcana. In this case, I think that I’ll go with Alzirus’s excellent build for Celestia and make it (at least in Equestria’s cartoon cosmology) a DC 50 application of Spellcraft – […]

  7. My Little Pony d20 Index | Emergence Campaign Weblog Says:

    […] Princess Celestia: As she generally appears on the show – as a ninth-level mentor-type who explains why she can’t handle things. […]

  8. Veebs Says:

    I’m a bit confused about the +2 Strenght enhancement bonus.
    Did you give her Ram’s Might ( http://dndtools.pw/spells/spell-compendium–86/rams-might–4059/ ) or Towering Oak ( http://dndtools.pw/spells/spell-compendium–86/towering-oak–4310/ )?
    I can neither see the +10 Bonus to Intimidate from Towering Oak nor the “treat unarmed attacks as lethal” from Ram’s Might, which kinda confuses me…

    • alzrius Says:

      The +2 enhancement bonus to Strength that’s bought via Innate Enchantment, as part of her alicorn racial write-up, doesn’t use either of those spells. Rather, it’s built via the enhance attribute spell template in The Practical Enchanter (p. 17). That spell template allows for easily building a 1st-level spell that grants a +2 enhancement bonus to an ability score.

      If you haven’t read The Practical Enchanter, I strongly encourage you to check it out. It’s written by the same guys that made Eclipse: The Codex Persona, and is in many ways a “sister book” to that one, doing for d20 magic what Eclipse did for d20 character-generation..and it’s also free (with a pay-for option as well, should you feel so inclined). The two books work very well in conjunction with each other.

      • Veebs Says:

        Oh ok.
        I was aware of that book, though I need to admit that I have some troubles understanding it (the high-level spells in Eclipse mention it beig used, but I can’t figure out how “Mana Vortex” or similar effects were calculated).

        The enhance attribute spell is indeed very intresting… it seems pretty amazing in what it can do, since the highest I’ve ever seen in terms of names enhancement boni was Nixie’s Grace, and this spell clearly tops it in terms of charisma.

        Still, I feel like “Towering Oak” would be a “free” +10 intimidate, since it’s also a 1st-level spell that provides that bonus in addition to the +2 strenght… and Celestia can be pretty intimidating, if you ask me (a sun to the face is probably massive fire damage).

      • alzrius Says:

        Both Eclipse and The Practical Enchanter have a steep learning curve with regards to what they can do. I only dabbled with them for quite some time before I began to seriously start designing characters with them. In that regard, the best solution (to my mind) for understanding what the books can be used for is to look at example characters, which can be found on the co-author’s blog, or in Eclipse II: The Libram Incarna (which is a collection of articles from said blog).

        …or, I suppose, right here on my blog!

        Insofar as how the high-level spells in Eclipse were calculated, I’d recommend asking about that on that blog I linked to above. For the most part, they’re not calculated using a template the way that most of the spells in The Practical Enchanter are, so it doesn’t seem as intuitive when trying to figure out how their spell levels were assigned.

        Bear in mind that the spell templates in The Practical Enchanter are just that: templates. They’re not malleable spells on their own. That is, you can use enhance attribute to calculate the spell level of a spell that grants a +12 bonus to Strength for 1 min./level to a touched creature (level 9), or the level of a spell that grants a +6 bonus to all six ability scores for 10 min./level to a touched creature (level 7), or the level of a spell that grants a +2 bonus to Strength and Dex to two creatures for one hour/level (level 6), and they’d all be different spells. In other words, the templates are meta-mechanics that are meant for spell design, rather than being super-flexible spells unto themselves.

        This is also exceptionally useful for judging the power of existing spells. Let’s take a look at towering oak for example.

        The (skill) mastery (various) template (p. 14) lets us judge that a spell that grants a +10 competence bonus to a single skill is a 2nd-level spell by itself, with the caveat that a bonus can be doubled for a “basic physical skill,” or only affect a single roll. Now, Intimidate isn’t a physical skill per se, and towering oak lasts for 1 round/level, rather than a single roll, but taken together these seem to be within the spirit of that particular exception; as such, this is really a 1st-level spell – that grants a +5 bonus – doubled for the aforementioned reasons to grant a +10 bonus.

        We’ve also already determined that it grants a +2 enhancement bonus to Strength, which is a 1st-level spell function.

        But does adding the two spell effects together increase their level? At a glance, yes; Lerandor’s Rule (The Practical Enchanter, p. 116) tells us that “it takes 2 spells of level ‘N’ to equal 1 spell of level ‘N + 1′.” So combining two first-level spell effects like this should make towering oak a 2nd-level spell.

        Or should it? Note that that spell has a duration of only 1 round/level, far less than the standard duration for enhance attribute (1 min./level) or (skill) mastery (various) (10 min./level). Since a combined spell uses the lesser of the two, this should still be 1 min./level. Likewise, towering oak is a personal-range spell, whereas both of these spell templates are touch-range.

        Normally, busting a spell down with the personalized modifier lowers the spell level by -1 (The Practical Enchanter, p. 115), so that would explain that, but what about the lowered duration? Well, on the same page, it says that extending the duration upwards by one “category” (e.g. rounds to minutes, minutes to tens of minutes, tens of minutes to hours, etc.) is a +1 increase to the spell level. That would seem to work in reverse – for another -1 spell level – but I think there’s cause (admittedly via fiat) to disallow that here. That’s because a bonus can’t always be directly reversed into a penalty, due to the fact that players will tend to put penalties where they’re least effective as a matter of course. (Certainly, busting a spell’s level down via duration-reducing modifiers, so that it’s cheaper to build a magic item – or Innate Enchantment – that’s built with the “continuous” listing, is worth some heightened scrutiny!)

        Of course, the fact that towering oak is already personal-only would mean that it would, when using Innate Enchantment, cost 2,000 gp instead of 1,400. That’s because the x0.7 cost reduction (The Practical Enchanter, p. 106) is meant for magic items that would normally be able to be used on others being restricted to personal-only range. Since this spell already has that, that wouldn’t apply here.

        Appropriately enough, that shows the overall savings of combining these two effects into a single spell for the purposes of Innate Enchantment (or otherwise building a continuous-use magic item); about 800 gp. That’s because, as mentioned, towering oak would, as written, cost 2,000 gp. By contrast, a “standard” +2 enhancement bonus to Strength (as listed for Celestia) that’s made personal-only would cost 1,400 gp, and (as mentioned above) a +10 competence bonus to Intimidate (as a 1st-level spell, as noted above), made personal-only would also cost 1,400 gp. So combining the two spell effects does have some savings, though not very much.

        Ironically, this would push Celestia’s overall gp cost for Innate Enchantment up to 10,800 gp, for which would require an extra 1 CP cost (e.g. being at 10,200 gp is only barely over the 10,000 gp limit that 11 CP buys you, and so can be allowed to slide; 10,800 gp, however, is too high to be rounded down, and so needs you to spend 12 CP). Luckily, since alicorns as a race are built using 62 CP, and 63 CP is the upper limit for a +1 ECL race, you can just barely squeeze this in there. That’s slightly better than you’d get by just buying a 1st-level +10 competence bonus to Intimidate, which would adjust things upward to 11,600 gp, which would probably require you to do up to 13 CP, at which point you’ve made her race cost 64 CP altogether, bumping its ECL modifier up to +2.

        The end result is that, if you really want to give Princess Celestia towering oak rather than just a +2 Strength bonus by itself so that she gets a +10 bonus to Intimidate, you can do so without really changing her stats otherwise.

        Although personally, I don’t think that Celestia is really all that intimidating. Just look at how often she’s been useless during a crisis!

      • Veebs Says:

        Actually… The fact that it is 1 round/level means that it takes 4 times the money it would normally take… so it would be 8000 gp… oops.

        Ok, that makes sense. Does the personal modifier stack with the SRDs Aligment-restrictio modifier?

        And I think our opinions on Celestia are kinda split there. While she doesn’t do much on the show, she ruled a thousand years without any mayor threats showing up, as Equestria didn’t have Deus Ex Machina for that millenia. I’d like to think the fact that she’s the pony that turned her enemies into garden ornaments, banished an empire out of simple dislike of it’s ruler and turned on her own family, banishing her own sister, removing her from the books as a princess and writing her back in as a monster-to-be-slain rather than sharing power with her all while wearing that cold trademark smile on her face. Now, this might not be true… but to the other nations, it probably looked that way, which is kinda scary… >.>

      • alzrius Says:

        I believe you’re referring to footnote 3 under “Table: Estimating Magic Item Gold Piece Values” found over here (also appearing as footnote 2 in Pathfinder).

        In fact, that wouldn’t apply here, because we’re using the magic item creation rules found in The Practical Enchanter, which doesn’t use that particular rule. I’ve asked Thoth about it before, and he’s confirmed that this is deliberate.

        (I should also note that, in my previous analysis of towering oak, I forgot take its 1 swift action casting time into account. That said, setting its spell level at 1 is probably still acceptable overall.)

        In terms of stacking modifiers, I personally wouldn’t allow stacking the personal-only modifier (x0.7) with the “requires a specific alignment to use” modifier (x0.7). That’s because the former modifier makes the latter fairly meaningless; if nobody can use that magic item except you, then having a restriction that stops people who aren’t of a particular alignment from using it is fairly redundant. The only real use, in that case, would be for it to prevent you from using it if your alignment somehow changed. While that might be a cool way to prevent you from using an item if you were under the effect of some sort of severe mind-affecting effect, that’s too much of a corner-case…at least for me. (Again, I’d also recommend dumping the SRD rules for magic item creation in favor of the ones in The Practical Enchanter, starting on p. 105. They’re a lot more expansive in what they cover.)

        Insofar as Princess Celestia goes, she may have a great deal of power, at least compared to the average pony, but she doesn’t strike me as going out of her way to be intimidating, even when she’s angry. She might come across that way to others, but that’s not really by deliberate intent on her part. In Eclipse terms, that’s probably Reputation (p. 40), which I admit I didn’t give her here.

  9. My Little Pony Index II | Emergence Campaign Weblog Says:

    […] Princess Celestia: As she generally appears on the show – as a ninth-level mentor-type who explains why she can’t handle things. […]

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