Oct
28th
2014

Last night, I dreamed of ponies. To be more precise, I dreamed of a pony-themed railroad-builder computer RPG.

It was called "Equestrian Rails: Business is Magic", and most closely resembled a pony-themed crossover of Railroad Tycoon, King of Dragon Pass and a Bioware RPG. The basic idea was that the ponies had just invented railroads, and Princess Celestia had announced a huge, Equestria-wide railroad building project. You started with one pony character, running a fresh new railroad company, tasked with both building the tracks and handling the traffic between Canterlot and some distant parts of Equestria (there were a bunch of scenarios varying in difficulty, as well as a "free play" mode), carrying bulk freight of all sorts, along with pony passengers, between the capital and the various pony towns and villages along the route.

There were a lot of RPG elements, too. As we know, Equestria is actually a pretty dangerous place once you leave the settled, pony-managed zones, with all sorts of monsters, and occasionally unfriendly non-pony natives living there. So as your train routes expanded, there would be encounters, some of them random and some of them a part of the storyline for that particular railroad. Diamond dogs might undermine your track, forcing you to chase them away or come to some kind of an agreement; buffalo braves might harass passing trains that disturbed the tranquility of their stampeding grounds; or there might be a crime on the train that had to be solved before the next station.

You started with just one character, an engineer pony from Canterlot who you could customize. An unicorn would have more starting money and could use magic; a pegasus would of course be able to fly and to deal with bad weather, helping your trains run on time; and an earth pony would be strong and sturdy, with a sense for the ground, meaning your tracks would be built quicker and need less repairs. They would also each have useful abilities for solving encounters, and get different bonuses and penalties to reactions -- for example, an earth pony character would have an easier time dealing with a town of traditionalist rock farmers who feared the vibrations in the earth caused by the trains would ruin their geode crops, than a unicorn or a pegasus would.

As your railroad expanded, you'd meet various NPCs, many of whom you could win over and recruit for your railway. Most of them would be ponies, but there would be more exotic ones, as well: donkeys, buffalos, zebras, griffons, diamond dogs and even young dragons! Every one of them would give you various useful bonuses for building or running your railway, plus special abilities for solving encounters. The exotics would have better specials, but they would be rare and harder to recruit, usually needing you to do a pretty hard mini-quest.

And there would be a system of friendship points, too, that you earned by having the characters of your company face trouble together, and overcome it. The closer they would be to one another, the better overall bonus you would get. You'd have to make some trade-offs there -- a smaller group of friends vs. a large one; an unified one vs. a diverse one -- with no clear right or wrong answers. Sometimes you'd get special friendship encounters where the railroad business was just the background for slice-of-life stuff or even romance.

In case anyone at Hasbro is reading this, I'm pre-emptively giving up all claims to this idea. It's yours to use, for free. Just... please have someone make this game. I would buy it in a heartbeat, and I'm sure I wouldn't be alone!

Lurks-no-More · 26 views · Edited 2d, 23h ago · Report

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#19 · 1d, 17h ago · · ·

>>1487161

Thank you! Also, eek. :pinkiegasp:

I feel very unqualified to take and recommend any of my fics, but... for a sense of symmetry, why not try Redeeming Blueblood?

#18 · 1d, 21h ago · · ·

I am following you because:

1) Of this comment;

2) anyone who dreams of weird King of Dragon Pass crossovers is alright in my book.

Should read some of your stories, too.  Any recommendations on a starting point?

#16 · 4w, 1d ago · · ·

Happy Birthday, Lurk!:twilightsmile:

#15 · 10w, 6d ago · · ·

>>1342004

True. And I haven't been writing lately, either. I'm still a pony fan, and eagerly read the new good stuff I keep finding on FIMfiction... but my creativity seems to have taken a long holiday. It's not a writer's block in the sense where I try to write but can't; it's more like I can't try to write, if that makes sense? :unsuresweetie:

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