Posts Tagged ‘Tempest Shadow’

Eclipsing Tempest Shadow

December 11, 2017

It’s been much too long since I’ve posted an Eclipse character here. Although I wasn’t planning on making another pony-related post, this was the first individual that came to mind when I sat down to stat someone up.

With its official release over two months behind us as of this post, I’ve had plenty of time to think about my reaction to My Little Pony: The Movie. My ultimate takeaway is that, while it wasn’t a bad film, it’s largely defined by its missed opportunities. The movie goes out of its way to present a stand-alone story, one which – while it does explore new areas of the world and introduce some interesting characters – is severely flawed for how many details it overlooks in the course of doing so.

Much has been made of where in the show’s timeline the movie falls, with the favorite interpretation (largely due to its release date) being that it’s between seasons seven and eight. However, that’s purely speculative, as the season seven finale makes no mention of the movie, nor foes the film itself drop any hints as to its chronological placement. Other than the fact that Twilight has wings and refers to herself as the Princess of Friendship, there’s little here to say when its story happens.

That, however, is still enough to give rise to some rather uncomfortable observations. Discord, for example, is notable in his absence, both in terms of his lack of presence and no one ever so much as mentioning his name, even though he could have solved things with a snap of his fingers. With such a gaping plot hole, it’s little wonder that we never see Starlight Glimmer, let alone any of the other more recent allies that Twilight and her friends have made, such as Thorax and the reformed changelings or Princess Ember of the dragons.

But none of these are as egregious as the Mane Six themselves apparently forgetting some of their own abilities. Pinkie’s Pinkie Sense, for example, never goes off even once during their adventure, nor does Fluttershy ever so much as try to use The Stare on their enemies. Even these are somewhat forgivable, if for no other reason than the show is equally guilty of overlooking them at times. But Twilight never teleporting, even when she’s in a cage? That’s not something that I can easily overlook.

This isn’t to say that the movie was all bad, of course. It had some funny moments, a few good songs, and added some world-building. But the single best part was, hooves down, its villain: Tempest Shadow.

Tempest Shadow, level 5 unicorn striker

Tempest Shadow

She’s basically pony Darth Vader.

A unicorn mare whose horn was broken by an ursa minor when she was a filly, Tempest Shadow now serves the nefarious Storm King as his second-in-command. In contrast to her master’s whimsical attitude, Tempest presents a cold and austere personality, beneath which seethes a pit of bitterness about the isolation her disability has caused her. Desperate to have her horn restored, she’ll stop at nothing to be made whole again, even if it means leading an attack on her homeland.

Available Character Points: 144 (level 5 base) + 12 (levels 1 and 3 feats) + 6 (disadvantages) +8 (duties) +5 (restriction) = 175 CP.

Tempest’s disadvantages are History (the story about how she lost her horn, and with it her faith in friendship) and Compulsive (her overriding obsession with having her horn restored). Her duties – which she only assumed as of 2nd level – are her tasks as second-in-command to the Storm King. Her restriction is against using melee weapons other than unarmed strikes.

Ability Scores (28-point buy):

Ability Scores Base Racial Levels In. Ench. Total
Strength 14 -2 +2 enhancement 14 (+2)
Dexterity 16 +2 enhancement 18 (+4)
Constitution 10 +2 enhancement 12 (+1)
Intelligence 13 +1 14 (+2)
Wisdom 10 10 (+0)
Charisma 11 +2 13 (+1)

As a major antagonist in an epic film, Tempest has a large point buy for her ability scores, albeit not quite as much as Princess Celestia.

Unicorn Pony (30 CP/+0 ECL race)

  • Attribute Shift, +2 Charisma/-2 Strength (6 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment, caster level x spell level 1 x 2,000 gp (7 CP; 6,000 gp)
    • Greater mage hand (2,000 gp).
    • Greater mage hand (2,000 gp).
    • Electrotechnics (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).
  • 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/minor – only for spells of level 3 or below) (10 CP).
  • Eldritch, a unicorn’s horn glows when using innate enchantments or spellcasting, and a matching glow surrounds the target (0 CP).
  • Skill Focus/Tumble (6 CP).
  • Accursed. Any damage, or other harmful effect, that befalls a unicorn’s horn (e.g. must target their horn specifically, rather than the unicorn overall) causes all innate enchantments and spells cast to immediately end. No more can be used until the effect is healed (-3 CP).

ELECTROTECHNICS

School transmutation; Level bard 1, sorcerer/wizard 1

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S

Range long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level)

Area 30 ft. burst

Duration 1d3 rounds; see text

Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes

Electrotechnics creates a small orb of electricity that flies to a designated intersection, whereupon it immediately bursts into a sparkling display of electric fireworks. The color and pattern of the fireworks are set while casting, and can form basic images (but not complex arrangements such as maps or words). The images fade after 1 round.

These fireworks are bright enough to cause creatures within 30 feet of them to be blinded for 1d3 rounds on a failed Will save. These creatures must have line of sight to the fireworks to be affected. Spell resistance can prevent this blindness.

Having Tempest’s Skill Focus (i.e. her cutie mark) be related to the Tumble skill was a judgment call. Given that we never actually see her cutie mark in the movie – and even finding out her real name didn’t do much to suggest what her special talent was (the way so many pony names do) – it seemed best to apply it to what we see her do in the movie. Given her incredible athleticism, this seemed like the safest bet.

Basic Abilities (74 CP)

  • Light armor proficiency with the Smooth modifier (6 CP).
  • 5d8 Hit Dice (20 CP).
  • +5 Warcraft (30 CP).
  • Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +1 (18 CP).
  • 0 skill points (0 CP).

As a 5th-level character with a highly combative focus, Tempest is a force beyond what your average pony could possibly hope to face. At the same time, she’s not a match for what the alicorns can do; she overcame them only because of her sudden onslaught with petrifying magic items.

It’s worth noting that the vast majority of Tempest’s resources – her ship, her minions, and most of her magic items – come from the Storm King, rather than being her own. Even Grubber, her sidekick, doesn’t really do anything to assist her (or really much of anything at all, besides make poor attempts at humor), and so doesn’t require that any Character Points be spent on her part. It’s no coincidence that we don’t see her having much of anything, save the clothes on her back, after the Storm King has been defeated. Hence, Tempest won’t have any sort of Leadership, Privilege, or related social abilities.

Aggressive Assault (18 CP)

  • Far Shot, specialized for one-half cost/only for thrown weapons (3 CP).
  • Overwhelm, specialized for increased effect/only for unarmed strikes; drives opponents back an additional 5 feet for every 5 by which the attack roll exceeded their Armor Class (6 CP).
  • Opportunist/Make an attack of opportunity whenever an attacker misses her with a melee attack, specialized for one-half cost/only with unarmed strikes (3 CP).
  • Bonus Attack/may make an extra attack when using unarmed strikes (6 CP).

Although there are plenty of other ponies that outclass her in raw strength or sheer speed, Tempest is by far the most physically combative pony we’ve seen to date.

Untouchable Aegis (33 CP)

  • Improved Defender (dodge bonus), specialized for double effect/only when unencumbered and wearing either light armor or no armor (12 CP).
  • Evasive/overwhelm (3 CP).
  • Evasive/trip (3 CP).
  • Evasive/grapple (3 CP).
  • Acrobatics (6 CP).
  • Fortune/evasion (6 CP).

Tempest’s fighting style relies on quick, acrobatic reactions. She leaps, flips, ducks, and dodges with incredible speed, never taking a hit as she moves in to attack.

Lingering Magic (34 CP)

  • Immunity to her racial disadvantage (very common/minor/trivial), specialized for double effect/only for Occult Talents and Innate Enchantments other than greater mage hand (4 CP).
  • Improved Occult Talent, specialized for increased effect/no 0- or 1st-level spells; grants two 2nd-level spells (12 CP).
  • 3d6 (12) Mana, corrupted for two-thirds cost/no form of natural magic, specialized for one-half cost/may only be used to fuel Occult Talents (6 CP).
  • Elemental Manipulation metamagic theorem with one level of Streamline, specialized for one-half cost/only to convert lethal damage to nonlethal damage (6 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +2 Bonus Uses, corrupted for two-thirds cost/requires 10 minutes of rest per use (6 CP).

Tempest’s broken horn is shown to be like downed power line, still sparking with a dangerous amount of power. She’s shown to have been able to harness this, firing powerful electrical blasts, although she can’t use other magic such as telekinesis. This serves as a supplement to her martial abilities, and cements her as a force to be reckoned with by those who cross her.

Tempest’s occult talents are for the electrical versions of the spells elemental bolt and elemental burst, found on pages 148-149 of The Practical Enchanter. Using these requires her to spend mana, and she can decide whether to deal lethal or nonlethal damage with each use.

Compensatory Prowess (16 CP)

  • Fast Learner, specialized for double effect/only for skills (6 CP).
  • Immunity to the limitations on Jump (very common/minor/trivial) (4 CP). This allows Tempest to ignore the running requirement for jumps, may double her result for long jumps and quadruple her result for high jumps.
  • Innate Enchantment (6 CP).
    • +2 enhancement bonus to Strength (1,400 gp).
    • +2 enhancement bonus to Dexterity (1,400 gp).
    • +2 enhancement bonus to Constitution (1,400 gp).
    • +10 competence bonus on Jump checks (1,400 gp).

In addition to being exceptionally talented, Tempest has rerouted some of her body’s natural magic so that it enhances her body in a manner somewhat similar to an earth pony.

Equipment

As a 5th-level character who, as a major villain, should have PC-level wealth, Tempest is supposed to have 9,000 gp worth of gear. However, the only gear we see her use are the shield-penetrating orbs that release petrifying gas and her armor. In the case of the orbs, those seem to be materials she has as a result of her relationship with the Storm King, rather than her own gear. That technically goes for her armor too, but given that she’s still wearing it at the end of the movie it seems likely that she’s kept it for herself.

Given that, we’ll focus on her armor here. Since it looks to be a combination of a lighter undergarment and pieces of metal, and isn’t hindering her movements, we’ll say it’s the equivalent of masterwork studded leather (175 gp). We’ll also say that it has a +1 enhancement bonus and the spell resistance (13) magic armor special quality, which collectively are worth 9,000 gp. This approximates an underutilized aspect of the film: that the Storm King’s minions seem to have magic-resistant armor (i.e. Twilight tries to blast one early on, and her attack bounces off of its shield), and even the cage used on Twilight resists her attempting to blast it open…but not the Storm King’s using the Staff of Sacanas (powered with all four alicorns’ magic) to rip it apart.

Derived Stats

  • Hit points: 8 (1st level) + 18 (4d8) + 5 (Con bonus) = 31 hp.
  • Speed: 30 ft.
  • Saving Throws:
    • Fort: +1 (base) +1 (Con bonus) = +2.
    • Ref: +4 (base) +4 (Dex bonus) = +8.
    • Will: +1 (base) +0 (Wis bonus) = +1.
  • Armor Class: 10 (base) +4 (Dex) +4 armor (+1 studded leather) +4 dodge (Defender) +1 untyped (martial art) = 23, touch 19, flat-footed 15.
  • Attacks: +5 (BAB) +4 (Dex) +1 (martial art) -2 (Bonus Attack) = +8/+8 unarmed strike (1d4+2 lethal or nonlethal).
  • Skills: 16 (Fast Learner) + 10 (Int bonus) = 26 skill points.
Skills Ranks Ability Modifier Misc. Modifier Total
Balance 0 +4 Dex +4
Intimidate 3 +1 Cha +4
Jump 2 +2 Str +10 competence +14
Knowledge (local) 2 +2 Int +4
Knowledge (geography) 2 +2 Int +4
Listen 2 +0 Wis +2
Martial Art (swifthoof) 5 +4 Dex +9
Perform (sing) 2 +1 Cha +3
Search 2 +2 Int +4
Spot 2 +0 Wis +2
Survival 2 +0 Wis +2
Swim 0 +2 Str +2
Tumble 2 +4 Dex +3 Skill Focus +9

Tempest’s “class” skills are those listed above (including the two that she has no actual ranks in). In addition to English – or whatever ponies call the language we hear them speaking in the show – she should know two additional languages thanks to her Intelligence bonus. These can be assigned as needed, probably to represent her time in countries she helped the Storm King plunder.

It also makes sense to say that a pony as combative as Tempest has invested some skill points in a martial art. Although the movie never goes into any such details about her – nor do the secondary materials, insofar as I’m aware – we’ll say that it’s something she picked up to abet her combat skills.

Swifthoof (Dex)

This martial art is an offshoot of Stronghoof, the traditional earth pony school of unarmed combat. Unlike its predecessor, Swifthoof focuses on speed rather than strength, emphasizing dodging incoming attacks while building up momentum to deliver powerful hits. It’s too new to have gained any Occult Techniques, though this currently means that it’s open to virtually anypony who can find time to study its principles.

  • Requires: Quadruped body-type.
  • Basic Techniques: Defenses 4, Attack 2, Power 2, Strike, Synergy (Tumble).
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Combat Reflexes, Instant Stand, Mind Like Moon, Weapon Finesse.
  • Known: Defense 1, Attack 1, Strike, Combat Reflexes, Weapon Finesse.

Further Development

As a consummate light-skirmisher type, Tempest has a number of areas where she can try and improve her abilities. She’d be very well served to increase her movement rate (and AC versus attacks of opportunity), bump up her hit points for when things get rough, and definitely buy some Luck for when she’s faced with a Fort or Will save that she needs to make. Beyond that, some additional damage for her melee attacks would be good, and if she can ever get her horn repaired (and retrains that Immunity that lets her use her magic at all), she’ll want to broaden her range of available magic in case she ends up in a bad position…as her almost being sucked into a tornado helped to showcase.

Still, as she is right now, Tempest is a powerful warrior among the ponies. Hopefully we’ll see what becomes of her now that she’s rediscovered what friendship means.

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