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Forget not that I am a derp.

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  • Wednesday
    Animate Well

    I'd put a "Contest!" in the blog title, but I'm not running this one. I'm just helping judge it. Pick your favorite classic cartoon and throw them into ponies, because it's time to ask a question that's been echoing about the site practically from the day it went up: Who Crossed Over My Little

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    3 comments · 159 views
  • 6 days
    Friendship is Card Games: Rainbow Dash Presents: Captain Hook the Biker Gorilla

    This week, we’re putting ourselves four degrees away from the source material. It’s a card blog based on a video based on a story based on a song based on FiM. Let’s get going.

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    10 comments · 202 views
  • 1 week
    Friendship is Card Games: Generations #2 & #3

    This week, we return to the union of modern ponies and 80’s villains. Well, the daughters of 80’s villains. Well, the minions of the daughters of 80’s villains.

    … Let’s just get started before I take this any further.

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    9 comments · 189 views
  • 2 weeks
    Alms Collection

    A friend alerted me to this situation, and so I'm sharing the news: Eponafest, an Italian pony convention set for May, is running crowdfunding to get some operating funds... and they're about halfway to their goal with a week left. See here for details.

    0 comments · 79 views
  • 2 weeks
    Friendship is Card Games: The Journal of the Two Sisters

    This is the main reason why I decided to skip over the comics a few weeks ago. I like the idea of the first card blog of 2022 using one of the oldest in-universe documents we have for source material. Let’s see what the diarchs thought of their first days on the throne.

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    19 comments · 285 views

FoME Thinks Too Much: Chromelanin · 4:45pm Dec 9th, 2014

Chromelanin is a pigment protein that only occurs in sufficiently magical environments. Its structure is nearly identical to brown eumelanin. The difference lies in the complex isotopes* that compose the molecule, including carbon-11+i and oxygen-14+2i. This partially magical structure allows the molecule to reflect virtually any color.

The most common manifestation of chromelanin is in the iris, allowing for the much higher incidence of both unusual eye colors and heterochromia in magical universes. This is known as iridic chromelanism.

In most such universes, chromelanin also forms in the hair follicles. This behavior is known as follicular chromelanism, and is the source of many instances of hair colors beyond the normal human spectrum.

Fig. 1: Follicular chromelanism

In universes with somewhat higher background magic, chromelanin may completely supplant its mundane counterpart, causing the skin color of the population to be as variable as their hair color. This is termed dermal chromelanism, and is not known to occur without follicular chromelanism.

Fig 2: Dermal chromelanism

Curiously, hair and skin color rarely coincide in a single individual from a dermally chromelanic population. The molecules' apparent ability to distinguish between dermis and hair matrix is among the many frustrating behaviors found in molecular biomancy.

This apparent awareness is best seen when chromelanins seem to distinguish between discreet regions of the scalp, resulting in a "natural highlighting" effect known as follicular heterochromelanism. The stimuli needed to achieve this effect remain unclear, as it is not mutually coexistent with dermal chromelanism; a given universe's population may exhibit either, both, or neither.

Fig. 3: Follicular heterochromelanism and both iridic and dermal chromelanism

No chromelanic analogue to neuromelanin has been isolated, but it is hypothetically possible. Neurochromelanin may have a role in the conscious use of magic.

*Complex isotopes contain equal, nonzero numbers of protagons and antagons. Protagons (charge +i) are composed of two rise quarks (charge +2i/3) and one fall quark (charge -i/3.) Antagons (charge -i) are leptons, and thus are indivisible elementary particles. Like mundane isotopes, complex isotopes may also have variable numbers of neutrons, as well as their magical analogue, ancillons (charge 0,) composed of two fall quarks and a rise quark.
Purely imaginary isotopes heavier than hydramagen (hydrogen-i) are stable only in the strongest magical fields.

**The terms "chromelanocyte" and "chromelanosome" are sometimes used, but the cells and organelles themselves are virtually identical.

Comments ( 47 )

Is there a unified thaumic theory to explain the many forms and uses of magic, or is it simply power and the will to use it?

Damnit Fome, stop flexing your huge brain in front of us! You're making us look stupid!

But yeah, magical pigments explain a lot of weird anime and fantasy stuff, and are pretty plausible given a magical reality.

interesting, but... wouldn't this imply that the verse that Doug takes place in is a high magic verse?

Man, the last thing anyone needs is Roger Klotz throwing spells around!

High BG magic does not mean high magic usage. And besides, there's the dog. The dog does a lot of nondog things, probably due to magic-enhanced neurology.

Most magic is either Clarken (Real World Physics masquerading as magic), Vatican (Specific rituals that always produce specific results with no known explanation), Arcane (researched patterns in an energy matrix such as leylines or quantum strings that cannot be manipulated IRL), Divine (ask the local demigods/demons to do it), or a mix of the above.

2642650 I'd say I prefer arcane, seems like it would be better if the only people with such power had to know exactly what to do with it and how they did it.

why can't I favorite this?!? we need a favorite/save button for blogs like this!

Varies wildly depending on what you're watching/reading/playing. MLP for example offers little to no explanation for how magic works and what limits it has (aside from Twilight commenting that most ponies are limited to spells related to their special talent). Warhammer 40,000, by contrast, explains the basic idea of how 'magic' works (dragging power from the Warp, a place where reality is constantly changing), details some of the basic things you can do with that power (mostly kill things), and the potential risks involved (mostly going insane, accidentally killing yourself, or horrible monsters showing up to murder you).

Even just skimming this site you'll find stories where magic is relatively weak and has short range, only to start another story where Twilight could theoretically mind control someone from across an entire ocean or something. Same way that Rainbow's top speed has been everywhere from "can be tracked with the naked eye and outrun by a fast car" to Mach 10.

2642815 I feel that is more individual interpretation of ponies skill and talent, we know rainbow is fast yes, but how fast is that? We know Twilight can teleport, but we know not the limits, different realities mean different circumstances. I was more referring to just the idea that magic could be understood if given the prerequisite time and training, not unlike a muscle and how our universe has inherent patterns nothing happens without a reason for happening. Other types of magic simply conflict with my world view so I prefer those that explain things. Even if explained in complete gibberish. It is still explained in a way that doesn't (shouldn't) break the rules it has established.

To be fair, all the systems I proposed could have genetic factors, i.e. some people just happen to be able to cast fireball just cause.

I'm not generally a fan of poorly explained magic either, it tends to kill the drama of a story. I just meant that the exact nature of magic changes so much from one story to another (even within this fandom) that there's no real way to explain it that wouldn't contradict a lot of stories on this site, even if we don't worry about exactly how powerful the characters are.

As an example, I have read a couple of stories where magic basically was just having lots of power and insisting that reality change a bit. One of them even spelled it out, though I can't recall the name of it. But I've also read stories where magic is just a form of energy that messes with the laws of physics in a way that nothing in real life can, but it still interacts with those laws in a way that makes sense (or in other words, 'magic' was basically their name for a branch of physics that works very differently from any other branch).

2642759 Well, until that happens, you can bookmark it (like, in your browser)

This also explains the heightened incident of mages with gold, green and purple eyes in fiction. Also the preponderance of redheads and raven-haired spell casters.

This partially magical structure allows the molecule to reflect virtually any color.

Including octarine?

2645095 Named for the most magical of citrus fruits, which shares it's color from out of space.

I lost it at "complex isotopes". Brilliant, and funny as heck! :twistnerd:


You are brilliant. :twilightsmile:

This is amazing and you should feel amazing.

Wait, is neuromelanin a real thing? You kind of write as though it is, but that would be very surprising and strange.

It is! It was quite a surprising discovery when I was doing research on pigment proteins. (And yes, I did research. This isn't just making stuff up, this is fanfiction of reality itself. That means keeping as close to canon as I can.)

3212318 That is fascinating! I wonder if this has any relationship to the fact that redheads process pain differently.

EDIT: And of course the way it ties in to the rest of this concept is quite brilliant.

This is some pretty hard science for an explanation of a magical element. Consider me impressed.

Can there be a genetic mutation where there is no chromelanin produced in the body, thus making an albino?

Of course! However, albinos have to be distinguished from those who just produce highly reflective variants of the pigment in their skin, like Rarity, Sweetie Belle, and Vinyl Scratch.


You know, coming back to this, EQG Applejack may well be a chromelanin albino, as her skin tone is fairly "realistic."

The same might be said of Indigo Zap, at least in her skin. Or chromelanin could contain the usual dermal spectrum as a subset of its possible hues.

Have there been studies already on the connection between chromelanin concentration and individual magical potential? Twilight, Starlight, Sunset and Rainbow Dash all seem to have above-average levels of follicular heterochromelanism, not to mention the Princesses themselves.
And let's not forget the short but probably unprecedented surge of iridic heterochromelanism that marked each of the Mane Six achieving a deeper connection to the Tree Of Harmony (and the weaker surge of 'regular' iridic chromelanism that marked Twilight connecting with the Element Of Magic the first time). :moustache:

The connection has never been definitively confirmed. Pony thaumoluminescence greatly muddies the issue. Consider the flash that comes from a cutie mark after a misguided pony reaffirms his or her purpose; clearly not a case of pigment proteins. The iridic effects of each harmonious revelation were likely similar phenomenona, and the energy flow in the elder princesses' manes is likely bleed-off from their connections to the heavens and the tremendous amounts of mana therein.

This is now my head-canon, thank you.


The Rainbow Power forms could be seen as directed pattern overload of Chromelanin.

This is scientifically the best scientific thing.

Yey science.

Soooo, I'm stealing this for later use. I'll give credit when I do. (if that's ok with you) :fluttercry:

I'm always happy to inspire people, especially when they give credit where it's due. :twilightsmile:

How vexing, I can't upvote a blog post.

This is a cool head canon. I always just had the theory that the bright colors are just how people native to Equestria (and we) see the world, unless the Humane 7 are using magic they look like normal humans to everyone else. For a world different from our own though, this could work.

Author Interviewer

fuck's sake o.o

Okay but if I ever write that Sirens fic, I'm stealing this :V

Mana's a food though. :trollestia:

Only when it has two n's. With one, it's a Polynesian term for spiritual importance that pop culture coopted for referring to magical quanta.

Wasn't there a short as well though that's stated that in Equestria, they ate 'mana bars' - and that the measurement was actually Thaums? Sorry if I'm misremembering!

Only in one particular continuity, and it's not even canon to that one. Still, honest mistake. No harm, no foul. :twilightsmile:

If my Bionicle OC changes into a human and has colorful skin it won't be due to the magical pigment it'd be because he wants to have that color.

I must admit
I wouldn't be surprised if this actually exists
All we need to prove it is getting our hands on skin samples and notarize the local sets of physics for the reality they came from and start comparing and contrasting them

Also gaining access to other universes. That part might be a bit tricky. But hey, once we've got that pinned down, we can absolutely confirm the existence of magical pigment proteins.

Too bad any on demand dimensional travel carries risks of the most dangerous sort
To explain them I'll sort what I've figured out into 3 methods: a b and c
Method a is the safest but unreliable commercially, it in the end relies on the natural weakening and strengthening of the dimensional barriers between 2 universes which like the tide having 'high' and 'low' moments, high being strongest and low being weakest, but each universe has its own schedule of at minimum once a day to once every millenia and that isn't even considering what I refer to as "the law of setting" which is the reason why it is the safest (I can explain the law of setting as well as my chroma theory later if you wish) and the cost of making an artificial medium which is required to make it feasible unless one finds a natural one
B is the commercially reliable one via being the artificial thinning of the dimensional barrier aka 4th wall aka the veil aka whatever you'd like to refer to it with risks being the law of setting not occurring which will have drastic impacts on health (just look at the his dark materials series and notice the characters who lived on another world not their own for great lengths of time), leaving one at the mercy of local physics, and a slim chance of getting the equivalent of existence's(all realities that have not faded away into oblivion) white blood cells on your tail as well as possibly damaging the dimensional barrier between universes to a dangerous extent or like a rubberband pulled taught may 'snap' back into shape or snap completely
Method c is the most commercially viable but riskiest due to it looking for the 'pores' or if you prefer 'cracks' in a universe's barrier and will leave one completely at the mercy of whatever physics are on the other side with 0 chance of the law of setting to occur but has no time limit

The third image is broken. It was merged into a new ID a mere 12 days ago:

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