Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

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Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Zarhon on Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:48 pm

Warning: Lots of text below.

I think ponykinesis, as it is, needs to be modified or updated.

Ponykinesis utilities:
Ponykinesis – At Will
Mentally pick up or manipulate an object within fifty feet that weighs 25 pounds or less. You can hold only one object at a time in this way.

Precise Ponykinesis
With your Telekinesis powers, you can manipulate up to 10 items whose combined weight do not exceed the power's weight limit.

Advanced Ponykinesis - 3/day
Preparation Time: 1 Minute
You may use Telekinesis with a maximum weight limit of 100 lbs for 10 minutes.

Master Ponykinesis - Magic
You may use Telekinesis with a maximum weight limit of 1,000 lbs for 10 minutes.

Ponykinesis analysis, talk, ranting, wall o' text:
The problem with ponykinesis is that it's based off of what Twilight Sparkle does, but never actually matches her level of ability. Twilight in this regard seems to be considered a special case, in that her magic is simply better than anypony, on account of cutie mark and vague powers as a foal. But let's say we want to make a pony who would mimic Twilight in power, as a Pony Tales character: You simply can't, due to the weight limitations on the ponykinesis talents. And that weight limit cannot be affected in any way, other than by using special utilities. So in order to use ponykinesis to great effect, you must invest in several utilities. And she's pretty much the only pony you can't "match" in this case (RD, FS, AJ have their abilities pretty accurate): Even if you take all the ponykinesis talents, you still can never match Twilight Sparkle in ponykinesis prowess. Despite her being just a pony who studied a lot.

Compare ponykinesis with weathercrafting: From the get-go, you have everything you need to make any kind of weather. The other talents merely allow you do to do it more efficient or faster, or with unique effects. Ponykinesis, however, you have yourself limited from start and have to take multiple talents to be able to do anything "better" than what you start with.

There is also the trouble with the very "nature" of the magic. Is lifting object translated as a physical effort (sweating, getting tired), or a purely mental one (headache, sleepyness, numbness)? What would be considered as the basis of how much "power" you can exert in that regard, your arcana knowledge (which is exactly that: knowledge of a spell), or something like brawn/athletics/precision? How does the power get treated in regards to amorphous/segmented substances (like water, or dirt, or dust), can a object be considered as "what you could scoop up in your hand" or "what you can envelop in magic to lift it", or "a singular object you enchant to float to your command"?

Ponykinesis - The 25lb limit is rather small: It's generally what a person could hold with a single arm. The weight limitation instantly makes you completely unable to manipulate anything heavier than that, despite being perfectly capable of carrying it with your hooves without question. We normally see Twilight effortlessly carry such heavy objects, but again, she is an exception due to having a cutie mark in "Magic". This doesn't mean that every other unicorn is incapable of carrying common household objects with ponykinesis. If they've grown up with this magic, it makes sense they're good enough to use it properly.

Precise Ponykinesis - Carrying 10 objects is all fine and dandy, but them sharing a 25lbs limit means you are just dividing an already low weight limit. While you would be able to carry 10 light objects, you would be unable to carry, say, two crowbars. And the combined weight limit doesn't even make sense, considering Rarity ignores (and trumps) it in the show. The only way to truly profit from this talent is by combining it with advanced ponykinesis.

Advanced Ponykinesis - This talent appears to be designed to be a must-pick for any character wishing to use ponykinesis for anything more significant than "move light objects without your hooves". Any "difficult" case of ponykinesis relies on having this talent, otherwise it's simply "not allowed" by the rules. The 100lbs (45kgs roughly) limit doesn't even allow for much weight control either: You can pick up a stone bust, a chair, a table, but you can't pick up a pony-sized creature (again, something Twilight was shown doing easily. Trixie also showed that levitating a pony's weight would be simple), assuming a pony-sized creature weighs similar to a human, around 90kg.

Master Ponykinesis - This talent is good: it more or less allows you to act like a hulk, and is the only talent of such that lets you do it (outside of normal skill checks). Sadly, this also means that this talent is the only way for using ponykinesis to levitate most pony-sized creatures. It still doesn't match up with the show. A prime example of how master ponykinesis looks like in the show, is Twilight Sparkle carrying an Ursa Minor. 1000lbs is less than half a ton. A typical car weighs 2 tons, which would be 4000lbs. Twilight sparkle carries a metallic watertalk double the size/volume of a car (filled with its volume of milk), along with the Ursa Minor itself, which is the size of a house. Compare that to a pony using master ponykinesis. If Twilight Sparkle can do that, a master ponykinesis should be able to carry, at the very least, more weight.

So I'd like to propose two ways to change the talents, in order to make ponykinesis in itself less reliant on having other ponykinesis talents in order to gain a proper utility from it:

Variant A focuses on pretty much doubling the weight limits across the board.
Variant A:

Have every ponykinesis talent have its weight limit doubled, like so:

Ponykinesis – At Will
Mentally pick up or manipulate an object within fifty feet that weighs 50 pounds or less. You can hold only one object at a time in this way.

Precise Ponykinesis - Unchanged

Advanced Ponykinesis - 3/day
Preparation Time: 1 Minute
You may use Telekinesis with a maximum weight limit of 200 lbs for 10 minutes.

Master Ponykinesis - Magic
You may use Telekinesis with a maximum weight limit of 2,000 lbs for 5 minutes.

This would vastly improve the use of each talent, without making them reliant on each other in order to do common tasks. You no longer need to take advanced/master ponykinesis to make a decent use of your utility, but if you do, your ponykinesis becomes similar to that of Twilight Sparkle.

-Ponykinesis would be able to act as though you can carry an object with the strength of two hands, which is a lot more objects in general and would makes sense for such a "daily life" ability unicorns have, without relying on advanced ponykinesis.
-Precise Ponykinesis would be able to easily find 10 objects whos combined mass doesn't exceed the talent limit, as well as allow for a compromise of slightly heavier tools to be used simultaneously. It would no longer require advanced ponykinesis as a "crutch" to work in most situations.
- Advanced Ponykinesis would become vastly more fun: You could lift objects that require the very limits of one's physical power to lift, as well as levitate a pony-sized creature.
- Master Ponykinesis would be a talent reserved for very special, very epic moments. It turns from "talent you take to lift creatures" to "talent you take to cause hulk-levels of damage with your mind".

Variant B is similar to Variant A, but it also treats ponykinesis similar to how flight is treated, as of the latest "no racial restrictions" expansion, by making unicorns start with a "slightly better" version of ponykinesis, :
Variant B:


Feeble Ponykinesis - At Will
Mentally pick up or manipulate an object within fifty feet that weighs 25 pounds or less. You can hold only one object at a time in this way.

Ponykinesis – At Will
Prerequisite: Feeble Ponykinesis*
Mentally pick up or manipulate an object within fifty feet that weighs 50 pounds or less. You can hold only one object at a time in this way.
*This talent is what unicorns start with as a racial

Precise Ponykinesis - Unchanged

Advanced Ponykinesis - 3/day
Preparation Time: 1 Minute
You may use Telekinesis with a maximum weight limit of 200 lbs for 10 minutes.

Master Ponykinesis - Magic
You may use Telekinesis with a maximum weight limit of 2,000 lbs for 5 minutes.

- This variant lets those with unicorns start off with an advantage when it comes to ponykinesis: They can manipulate a whole lot more objects, at will, than those who start with regular ponykinesis. At the same time though, they wouldn't be obligated to take advanced ponykinesis. Those with the feeble version can, conversely, skip the 50lb version and just take advanced ponykinesis.

Another alternative to simply increasing weight limits, is to add a reference of how much "power" a pony can put into their ponykinesis. Perhaps have the utilities be able to roll to break its typical weight limits, with arcana (if its magical, knowledge) or even brawn (if the magical focusing requires a degree of physical energy).

Well, that's it for me. Discuss away!
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Ramsus on Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:09 pm

When I looked at this I thought you were going to suggest something more interesting like letting people make some kind of roll to lift higher weight limits.
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Xel Unknown on Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:10 pm

Ramsus wrote:When I looked at this I thought you were going to suggest something more interesting like letting people make some kind of roll to lift higher weight limits.
I love this idea. Ramsus, you just full of great ideas!!! XD
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Ramsus on Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:24 pm

It makes sense right? You roll athletics to lift objects with your muscles. Why not rolling arcana (optionally still athletics as well?) to lift things with your mind? 25lbs. would just then be the "no check required" amount.
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Xel Unknown on Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:27 pm

Yeah, and it stikes me an easlier fix then the crazy suggestion here and rant that I've admitingly not yet read... >.>

Sorry about that dude.
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Zarhon on Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:32 pm

Ramsus wrote:When I looked at this I thought you were going to suggest something more interesting like letting people make some kind of roll to lift higher weight limits.

I did suggest that. Last few lines.

The problem though, is what would you roll to lift the limit? Arcana? Precision? Knowledge? Brawn? Mechanics? There aren't many logical choices for "magic".

The obvious answer seems "arcana". In which case you suddenly end up with "It's witchcraft".

Which I imagine can be taken to do such, but you'd still be sacrificing a utility talent slot (instead of advanced ponykinesis) to make ponykinesis "fully useable" AND you'd need high arcana to do so, which essentially forces the character into a role (especially for unicorns, who start off with that talent as a racial. Got low arcana? Sorry, your racial just became completely unreliable for anything non-trivial).
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Ramsus on Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:55 pm

That's why I'd suggest Arcana or Athletics. Similarly to how flying uses Athletics or Acrobatics.
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  SilentBelle on Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:59 pm

Zarhon wrote:
Ramsus wrote:When I looked at this I thought you were going to suggest something more interesting like letting people make some kind of roll to lift higher weight limits.

I did suggest that. Last few lines.

The problem though, is what would you roll to lift the limit? Arcana? Precision? Knowledge? Brawn? Mechanics? There aren't many logical choices for "magic".

The obvious answer seems "arcana". In which case you suddenly end up with "It's witchcraft".

Which I imagine can be taken to do such, but you'd still be sacrificing a utility talent slot (instead of advanced ponykinesis) to make ponykinesis "fully useable" AND you'd need high arcana to do so, which essentially forces the character into a role (especially for unicorns, who start off with that talent as a racial. Got low arcana? Sorry, your racial just became completely unreliable for anything non-trivial).

Well, what if you do this: Have Feeble Ponykinesis grant you a 5 to checks and Ponykinesis 10 . Then in lieu of using an actual stats to perform the task. So if you have Ponykinesis then you can use your magic to perform tasks as if you had 10 Brawn or 10 Precision.

Any thoughts on that?
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Ramsus on Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:12 pm

That's a way better solution.
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Appkes on Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:17 pm

I think guys are missing the point - that the weight limits are pathetic. 25lbs is about ten kilos, and if you have a 5% chance of failing whoever you pick up, say, a bag full of textbooks, then something is really wrong. It's like if Flight had the restriction: 'cannot fly higher that fifty feet' - its just ridiculous and makes no sense.
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  SilentBelle on Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:55 pm

AppkesGelatinousCubeBait wrote:I think guys are missing the point - that the weight limits are pathetic. 25lbs is about ten kilos, and if you have a 5% chance of failing whoever you pick up, say, a bag full of textbooks, then something is really wrong. It's like if Flight had the restriction: 'cannot fly higher that fifty feet' - its just ridiculous and makes no sense.

Well of course, beyond the prerequisite, the further talents would have to be updated, and if we switched it as I suggested, you'd be able to easily carry stuff as if you had a 10 in athletics, which is about as much as Big Mac can carry, that's quite a lot I reckon. (Besides you can always take ten on skill checks unless you are under stress. You don't really roll every time your character picks up an item, that would be silly. The checks would be made if you were using said item in an intricate way. For example: as a battering ram, to pick a lock, or uncork a potion and drink it while you are falling off of a 200 foot cliff.) Then the advanced talent could be the once-a-day 1000lbs weight limit or something.

So I think the real question is 'how much weight can a pony carry?'
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Zarhon on Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:52 pm

AppkesGelatinousCubeBait wrote:I think guys are missing the point - that the weight limits are pathetic. 25lbs is about ten kilos, and if you have a 5% chance of failing whoever you pick up, say, a bag full of textbooks, then something is really wrong. It's like if Flight had the restriction: 'cannot fly higher that fifty feet' - its just ridiculous and makes no sense.

Exactly this. Another example would be if weather-crafting was limited in "cubic meters".

So I think the real question is 'how much weight can a pony carry?'

Actually, the question would be 'how much weight can a pony carry with his mind/magic powers?'.

Perhaps it would have different criteria on skill checks for different uses of ponykinesis...

Brawn - Actions that would require physical effort, or would normally be physically taxing if attempted by hoof - lifting a statue, holding said statue in midair, pushing it, pulling a rock, lifting and levitating a creature...
Mechanics - Manipulating very small or delicate tools, objects, appratus or machinery (from within or outside)...
Acrobatics - Assisting your own or somepony's elses acrobatics by applying forces appropriately at the correct moment - Making a pony swerve to the right while in midair, catching a ball mid-flight...
Stealth - Discreetly levitating objects without it being obvious
History - Repeat/recall a ponykinesis manouver you've seen done before
Streetwise - Performing "magic tricks" with ponykinesis, like card tricks
Arcana - Substitute for brawn/mechanics, or countering other creatures using ponykinesis.

In this regard, the weight limits would be "how much you can carry without a check", but they would still be pretty low.


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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Ramsus on Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:13 pm

Just to note, History never means "my own personal history".
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Xel Unknown on Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:15 pm

I disagree... I swear this system, does, say that's how History works...
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Ramsus on Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:24 pm

That would be moronic. You don't need a skill to determine your own backstory.

"History: Knowing recent history, ancient history, cultural practices, legends, lore etc."
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  SilentBelle on Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:04 pm

I'd replace the history with perception in that particular example, but if you were doing a trick or ritual involving ponykinesis that you've heard of or read about, then that would be where history would be used.
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Greywander on Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:25 am

Zarhon wrote:assuming a pony-sized creature weighs similar to a human, around 90kg.
I should point out that ponies are quite a bit heavier than humans, sources around the 'net indicating that they range from 200 lbs / 90 kg for the smaller ones to 900 lbs / 400 kg for the largest ones. So maybe 500-600 lbs (225-275 kg) for the average pony. Also note that ponies would be able to physically carry a lot more weight than humans would (if Pony Tales had a carry weight limit, then ponies would get higher limits than other creatures, particularly bipeds). Not sure how this might affect ponykinesis, but it seemed relevant.

I'd say to require a test only when the weight or number limit is being exceeded, and to allow either Arcana (for the learned, such as Twilight), Endurance (when lifting heavy objects), or Mechanics (when lifting many objects) to be used. Alternatively, Arcana, flat Brawn, or flat Precision.

The problem is that there's not a skill that quite correlates with ponykinesis. As magic, you'd think it would fall under Arcana, except that ponykinesis is universal to all unicorns, not just those that study magic. Rarity, for example, seems to do very well at manipulating lots of small objects at once, whereas Littlepip from FO:E can lift positively huge loads (like train cars, if memory serves). Neither one is very magically inclined, unlike Twilight.

EDIT: Apparently ponies can actually get quite a bit heavier than than, I just didn't do enough research. One person says their [real life] pony weighs 800 kg (1750 lbs). (Although that particular case is a cob, which apparently is a small horse rather than a pony.)
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Zarhon on Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:20 am

Technically, they're all "little ponies", so they might be smaller than actual ponies. I imagine that only Celestia and some of the stallions are actual pony-sized creatures: All the others are pretty, well, small. And we've seen the typical size of actual horses (the delegates from Saddle Arabia).

How about this as a solution?


Ponykinesis – At Will
Mentally pick up or manipulate an object within fifty feet that you could carry with your own strength. Picking up/manipulating heavy or otherwise difficult to move objects may require either advanced knowledge of magic (arcana), great physical effort (athletics), or your own reserves of mental/physical energy which tires you out (endurance). You can hold only one object at a time in this way.

Precise Ponykinesis
With your Telekinesis powers, you can manipulate up to 10 items whose combined weight do not exceed your normal carrying capabilities.

Advanced Ponykinesis - 3/day
Preparation Time: 1 Minute
For 10 minutes, you may lift objects with telekinesis that a professional weight-lifter could (rolls may still apply), and you automatically succeed in lifting objects within the limits of Ponykinesis.

Master Ponykinesis - Magic
For 10 minutes, you may lift objects with telekinesis that a fully-grown adult dragon could (rolls may still apply), and you automatically succeed in lifting objects within the limits of Advanced ponykinesis.
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Whiteeyes on Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:58 am

I love you. This in my mind makes up for the disadvantage of playing a unicorn.
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Greywander on Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:42 pm

Zarhon wrote:Technically, they're all "little ponies", so they might be smaller than actual ponies. I imagine that only Celestia and some of the stallions are actual pony-sized creatures: All the others are pretty, well, small. And we've seen the typical size of actual horses (the delegates from Saddle Arabia).

I think Celestia is probably closer to actual horse size (in fact, in this shot, she appears to be larger than the Saddle Arabian delegates). The problem is that without any humans in MLP FiM, it's difficult to compare their size and weight to that of the ponies. If we want to compare ponies and humans, we'll have to go back to G1. As can be seen in this screenshot, the ponies seem to come up to roughly shoulder height on Megan (note that she's crouching slightly), and in this shot it's clear that the ponies are big enough for her to ride (although I believe it's stated that the flutterponies aren't able to carry Megan, even though they're about the same size). According to Wikipedia, most competitions consider anything under 14.2 hands to be a pony, and anything over is a horse (note: this is measured to the withers [shoulders], not the top of the head). 14.2 hands is equal to 58 inches, or 4 feet, 10 inches, which would put the average pony at about shoulder height on a 12 year old girl like Megan.

It's not exactly conclusive, but the most logical assumption is that ponies are comparable in size and weight to real life ponies.

I'm not sure we should limit unicorns to only carrying one item unless they pick up Precise Ponykinesis. I prefer the idea of requiring a Precision check when they carry items beyond the limit number, getting increasingly difficult the more they're carrying. Getting Precise Ponykinesis would make it a lot easier to carry multiple items, and allow you to carry significantly more before you start bungling checks, but wouldn't be required to, say, manipulate two or three items simultaneously. Maybe something like a DC10+5*X, where X is the number of items beyond the limit (so limit+1 would be DC15, limit+2 DC20, etc.).
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Whiteeyes on Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:52 pm

In Hearthswarming Eve, the candycanes were noted as 8 feet tall.
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Jason Shadow on Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:45 am

Plus, I recall that someone examined that candy cane and did some calculations to come to the conclusion that, if Twilight was correct at her estimate of it being eight feet tall, then ponies of Equestria are about four feet tall when full-grown. (By those same calculations, CMC-age foals are about two and a half feet tall.)
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:12 pm

Well if the biggest ones are just above 4ft...
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Re: Should ponykinesis & its variants be modified/updated?

Post  Videocrazy on Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:14 pm

Just want to point out that there is a problem for Variant B, if you want it similar to what a Pegasus has:

Ponykinesis – At Will
Prerequisite: Feeble Ponykinesis*
Mentally pick up or manipulate an object within fifty feet that weighs 50 pounds or less. You can hold only one object at a time in this way.
*This talent is what unicorns start with as a racial

If it was similar to how a Pegasus' flight worked, it'd be 1 RP for Feeble Ponykinesis, and two more for the regular variety. ((Like flight, it works out to 1 RP for the first, and 2 RP for Naturally Skilled to get the upgraded "standard" version.)) Pair this with a Cutie Mark (2 RP) and Naturally Skilled (2 RP) and the total cost comes to 7 RP, one point over the limit.
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