Song of the Sirens

Recently, Netflix uploaded Rainbow Rocks, the second movie for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Needless to say, I not only watched it immediately, but once again can’t help but blog about it in conjunction with my habit of translating characters from various media into d20 stats using the excellent point-buy character-builder that is Eclipse: The Codex Persona.

A direct sequel to Equestria Girls, Rainbow Rocks has several things going for it that make it a better movie than its predecessor. One of these is that it highlights the now-repentant villain from the first film, Sunset Shimmer, as she tries to atone for her previous actions. Her personal quest for redemption is a central aspect to the movie, and it’s stronger for it (particularly since this has only lightly been touched upon for previous redeemed villains, such as Luna and Discord).

Another notable strong point for the movie is the music. While they’re not all winners (“Tricks Up My Sleeve” and “Awesome as I Wanna Be” are sub-par, to my mind) the vast majority of the movie’s songs are not just catchy, but quite masterful in their presentation. This is especially true for the songs sung by the Dazzlings (the band formed by the villains), which were appropriately captivating.

The Sirens - Adagio, Sonata, and Aria

Clearly they’re monsters that have to be stopped.

It’s these villains that form the remaining strong point in Rainbow Rocks. While the trio of sirens – Adagio Dazzle, Sonata Dusk, and Aria Blaze – have a far simpler plan than Sunset Shimmer did (wanting only to be adored by the masses, rather than desiring domination and conquest), they’re by far more charismatic characters, at least in terms of being bad guys.

A large part of this is due to their singing, which as I noted above, is wonderful to listen to (I’m honestly starting to think that Kazumi Evans, the voice of Adagio – as well as the singing voice of Rarity and Luna – is simply incapable of singing anything less than heavenly). However, they also have a degree of aplomb that Sunset never did. Notwithstanding their sisterly sniping at each other, the sirens never lose their poise, keeping the heroines on the defensive throughout the entire film (at least before the climactic battle at the end).

It’s on that note (pun intended) that we’ll present stats for the leader of the sirens:

Adagio Dazzle, level 5 equestrian siren

Banished to Earth millenia ago by the unicorn wizard Star-Swirl the Bearded, Adagio – along with the other sirens – loathes her life here. Unable to draw much power from the negative emotions of non-magical beings, and therefore incapable of manipulating people on a grand scale, Adagio is tormented by her inability to attain the adulation to which she feels entitled.

It’s thus with dark glee that she notices that magic from her native Equestria is being used at a local high school. Now that a source of magic is finally within reach, Adagio will stop at nothing to restore the sirens’ full powers, and make everyone on Earth adore them!

While the stats below are for Adagio, Sonata and Aria are virtually identical to her. The only differences are likely to be their ability scores (except for Charisma) – Sonata has definitely made Intelligence her dump stat! – and their skill ranks (except for Perform (sing)).

Available Character Points: 144 (level 5 base) + 10 (disadvantages) + 12 (levels 1 and 3 feats) + 6 (human bonus feat) = 172 CP.

Adagio’s disadvantages are Accursed (Mystic Artist abilities that require skill level 15 or above – as well as the Conditioning modifier – cannot be used, unless they have used Rite of Chi with a group of people that have magical powers within the last 24 hours; see below), Showman (Adagio often sings exactly what she and the other sirens are doing with their songs), and Unarmored (wearing armor imposes arcane spell failure chances on their use of mystic artist each round).

Ability Scores (25-point buy):

Ability Scores Initial Scores (Point Cost) Level Bonuses Total
Strength 10 (2) 10 (+0)
Dexterity 11 (3) 11 (+0)
Constitution 10 (2) 10 (+0)
Intelligence 13 (5) 13 (+1)
Wisdom 13 (5) 13 (+1)
Charisma 15 (8) +1 (4th level) 16 (+3)

As the above point-buy total makes clear, Adagio is being built as a 3.5 character, rather than using the Pathfinder rules.

Human Traits (9 CP/+0 ECL)

  • Fast Learner, specialized in skills (3 CP).
  • Bonus feat (6 CP).

Originally, the sirens had bodies that were like that of hippocampi. However, as with all Equestrian natives that come to Earth (save, apparently, for dragons, which become dogs), their bodies were changed to that of humans. As such, they have the physical characteristics of humans.

Of course, having been on Earth for several thousand years, it’s likely that the sirens are, in fact, the original sirens from Greek mythology! They’re likely also the basis for several others mythological creatures as well.

Basic Abilities (87 CP)

  • Simple weapons proficiency (3 CP).
  • 5d8 Hit Dice (20 CP).
  • +2 BAB (12 CP).
  • Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +4 (27 CP).
  • 25 skill points (25 CP).

The vast majority of their basic abilities are purchased under the assumption that they must have developed some minor skills over the last few millenia, rather than anything we see them do in the course of the film.

Elder Evil (6 CP)

  • Immunity to aging (uncommon/minor/great) (6 CP).

Like many of Equestria’s power-players, the ravages of time simply cannot touch the sirens.

Unparalleled Performance (23 CP)

  • Perform (sing) 8 ranks (8 CP), with Skill Emphasis (3 CP), and Skill Focus with double Mastery (12 CP), all specialized for double-effect/may only be used with Mystic Artist, and corrupted for increased effect/may not be used without enchanted gemstone.

The 8 ranks in Perform (sing) taken here are separate from the 25 skill points that Adagio purchased as part of her basic abilities.

When the sirens are defeated in the final battle, their mystical gemstones shatter. This not only prevents them from using their song-based powers, but leaves them completely tone-deaf. Between that, and that they apparently never tried to use their singing to gain fame via mundane means, we can confidently say that their ranks in Perform were artificially inflated via the corruption and specialization given above.

Enchanting Intonations (42 CP)

  • Mystic Artist (Perform (sing)) (6 CP).
    • Basic Ability modifiers: Amplification (x9) (54 CP), Echoes (6 CP), Enduring (x10) (12 CP), Projection (6 CP), Rapid (6 CP), Whispers (6 CP).
    • The Path of Whispers modifiers: Subliminal (6 CP), Conditioning (6 CP).
    • Art of the Occult modifiers: The Hidden Way (6 CP).
    • All of these powers are specialized/uses of Mystic Artist must be recharged via Rite of Chi, and corrupted/may not be used without enchanted gemstone, for one-third cost (except Mystic Artist itself, which is for triple effect).

As listed in her skills table below, Adagio has a +48 bonus in the type of Perform skill that’s the focus of her Mystic Artist ability. As such, she has thirteen basic Mystic Artist abilities, in addition to the modifiers purchased above: (inspiration abilities:) emotion, (manipulation abilities:) fascinate, hold audience, suggestion, emotional auras, freedom, mass suggestion, alter attitudes, puppet master, (synergy abilities:) block, group focus, amplify, harmonize, rule the horde.

Tripling the effect of the basic Mystic Artist ability means that it can be used three times as often, which for Adagio is 3 rounds per level per day, or 15 rounds per day in other words. However, rounds that are used are not automatically restored each day, but must instead be regained via Rite of Chi, below.

Spiteful Convalescence (10 CP)

  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, corrupted for two-thirds cost/may only be used when in the presence of a group of people who are angry or upset, specialized for one-half cost/results are minimized results unless the crowd has magical powers (4 CP).
  • Reflex Training/may use Rite of Chi whenever in proximity to an angry group of people (6 CP).

While Rite of Chi normally recovers mana, spell levels, or psionic strength points, it’s not too much of a stretch to use it to restore rounds of Mystic Artist. In this case, we’ll say that a typical use recovers 2d4 rounds’ worth of Mystic Artist. Of course, in conjunction with the specialization of the above ability, this will only ever return 2 rounds’ worth each time it’s used, unless the crowd it’s used on has magical abilities. Together with their Accursed disadvantage, these are the main reasons why the sirens are unable to wield their full power on magic-poor Earth.

Pinnacle of Power (4 CP)

  • Inherent Spell (6 CP, specialized for one-half cost/only as a prerequisite) with the Advanced modifier (6 CP, specialized for one-half cost/may only be used during an instance of Mystic Artist). Both corrupted/may not be used without enchanted gemstone.
  • Eldritch/when using Rite of Chi with creatures that have magical powers, Adagio may manifest small, cosmetic changes to her personal appearance (e.g. pony ears, hair-tail, glowing red eyes, etc.) (0 CP).

The inherent spell used above is summon construct V (The Practical Enchanter, p. 85), using the “pre-specified construct” option to make it effectively a 4th-level spell. In this case, the construct uses the following options from Menu A: fly (x3), knockdown (variant that affects stored spells only), semisentient, and spell storing I (x2). The spells stored are five instances of lesser shout – a 2nd-level variant of the basic shout spell that cannot deafen or shatter objects, and deals 3d6 sonic damage to creatures with a save for half damage.

These are the copies of the sirens’ original bodies that they manifested during the final battle.

The Sirens’ Gemstones

The core weakness of the sirens is their reliance on their gemstones, without which they not only cannot absorb negativity and turn it into magical power, but can’t even sing.

Shattered at the end of the film, the sirens are said to be reduced to “ordinary teenage girls” without their gemstones (albeit ones who will likely live forever). However, that discounts the possibility that they could ever find a way to make new ones.

In game terms, the sirens’ gemstones have no powers unto themselves, serving only as a focus for their powers via corrupting a large number of their abilities. Creating new gemstones requires either Create Artifact or Create Item (wondrous items).

That would explain why the Mane Six feel so confident that the sirens’ power is beyond repair. After all, in a world as magic-poor as Earth, where could they possibly find someone that can create magic items? Of course, as the Mane Six themselves demonstrate, sometimes magic can be found where it’s least expected…

Derived Stats

  • Hit points: 8 (d8 1st level) + 18 (4d8) = 26 hp.
  • Speed: 30 ft.
  • Init: +0 (Dex bonus) – 3 (showman disadvantage) = -3 Initiative.
  • Saving Throws:
    • Fort: +1 (base) + 0 (Con bonus) = +1.
    • Ref: +4 (base) + 0 (Dex bonus) = +4.
    • Will: +4 (base) + 1 (Wis bonus) = +5.
  • Armor Class: 10 (base) + 0 (Dex bonus) = 10, touch 10, flat-footed 10.
  • Attacks: +2 (BAB) +0 (Str bonus) = +2 unarmed strike (1d3 nonlethal).
  • Skills: 25 skill points (25 ) + 8 for Perform (8 CP) + 8 (Int bonus) + 8 (human bonus) = 49 skill points.
Skills Ranks Ability Modifier Misc. Modifier Total
Bluff 3 +3 Cha +6
Concentration 3 +0 Con +3
Diplomacy 1 (2 points spent) +3 Cha +4
Gather Information 2 +3 Cha +5
Intimidate 3 +3 Cha +6
Knowledge (arcana) 1 +1 Int +2
Knowledge (geography) 1 (2 points spent) +1 Int +2
Knowledge (history) 1 (2 points spent) +1 Int +2
Knowledge (local) 1 +1 Int +2
Knowledge (the planes) 1 (2 points spent) +1 Int +2
Listen 3 +1 Wis +4
Perform (sing) 24 (8 points) +3 Cha +21 (Skill Emphasis and Skill Focus) +48
Sense Motive 1 (2 points spent) +1 Wis +2
Speak Language 2
Spellcraft 3 +1 Int +4
Spot 3 +1 Wis +4
Survival 2 (4 points spent) +1 Wis +3
Swim 3 +0 Str +3

For the sake of simplicity, we’re giving Adagio twelve class skills – Bluff, Concentration, Gather Information, Intimidate, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (local), Listen, Perform, Speak Language, Spellcraft, Spot, and Swim – as well as Craft and Profession, though she hasn’t taken any ranks in the latter two.

In terms of Adagio’s languages spoken, the only language she uses throughout the movie is English. If we presume that she’s been on Earth for several thousand years, however, then it’s likely that she knows at least a few others. Given her Intelligence bonus and her ranks in Speak Language, she should know three languages plus English. Since, as mentioned above, she’s likely the source of the mythological sirens, I’d recommend Greek, Italian, and Latin.

Overall, Adagio – like the other sirens – makes for a very poor combatant. In this regard, she’s very similar to the Elite Beat Agents, save that she uses her musical powers to exploit others, rather than coming to their aid.

Having no martial skills worth noting, her power is entirely focused on manipulating those around her. If things were to come to blows, she would likely use the power of her voice to either beguile her attackers, or charm bystanders to do her fighting for her.

Like many villains, Adagio has achieved a great deal of power by taking multiple shortcuts (via her many specializations, corruptions, and her accursed disadvantage), something which ultimately comes back to haunt her more than once. Now, with her power broken, it’s unlikely that she and the other sirens have learned anything, instead trying to figure out how she and her companions can come back for an encore attempt at captivating the world’s attention.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , ,

4 Responses to “Song of the Sirens”

  1. 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 […]

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

    […] Adagio of the Sirens: Unreformed, still at large, and needing only an enchanted gem to make a comeback. […]

  3. The Dark Side of the Horse | Intelligence Check Says:

    […] had come to that world, abandoned her sisters, and subsequently become a true pony (changing her game stats completely) – and against all odds the two of them started a romance. Although they’re […]

  4. From Dusk Til…Dusk | Intelligence Check Says:

    […] Adagio and Aria were long ago banished to Earth by the great pony wizard, Star-Swirl the Bearded. Living as humans there, they managed to retain a low profile for a long time, stewing in their frustration at having […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: