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.
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):
|Intelligence||14||—||+1||+2 (crown)||17 (+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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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|
|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|
|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.