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The One Trick Pony · 12:08am Oct 20th, 2017

This is a long one. It's about Pathfinder and vengeance and exceedingly aggressive friendship. There will be math and a bit of whining. You've been warned.

Feel free to skip down to "presenting" if you just want the pony stuff.

The Setup

I'm in a weekly online Pathfinder game. Pathfinder is basically D&D 3.75 and if that means nothing to you, then wow did you pick the blog to read :P.

After the main adventure concluded, our DM sent us on a quest to plane hop around teh multiverse and undo all the horrid shit the BBEG set rolling a few hundred years ago. It's not plane-hopping: these are different worlds. Many worlds are actually other campaign settings, some of them not D&D at all. Unfortunately, the DM seems unable to separate out the concept of setting and rules-set.

We're currently in a extrmeley try-hard Neuromancer-with-spaceships-like world that corresponds to a system called Slade Industries (Slayer? Slate? Don't know, don't care.) Instead of using one of the many d20 futuristic systems (Pathfinder is d20, so rules kinda all work together,) he elected to do a conversion himself. Two problems: 1) he's fucking terrible mechanically at Pathfinder, 2) he did the laziest fuck up job converting stuff, 3) (bonus) he has absolutely 0 knowledge of teh design philosophy behind Pathfinder.

Back up. We've got the following party at 15th level. This is where knowing what Pathfinder is becomes important. A Transmuter. This guy is a terrible wizard. Doesn't ever really buff the team, just spams disitntigrate and uses polymorph to occasional heal himself (poorly). He's only really useful as a target. We've got an evoker. This guy knows what's he's about, sadly, like me, he's about not playing the strongest he can in order to let other people occassionaly have teh spot light. He delivers good damage, but that's about it. He did pick up haste once the trannsmuter flat out said he'd never use spells that don't benefit him. Fair enough. It makes him even more useless, but selfishness isn't always the worst plan. Unless you suck at the game. We had an Oracle healer. He quit. Someone got annoyed that he AFKed for 45 minutes w/o telling anyone he would be gone and everyone was "too serious" suddenly.

For the martials, we have a Myrmidon(fighter). That's a PoW class. She's a two weapon fighter who has trouble remembering any of the various options she has. When she does remember, she does amazing damage. Soldily build melee damage. Next, we have a Zealot. This is the all-star. Granting others extra actions, aid-another, halving damage dealth to others, and just plain no-selling attacking against friendlies. This guy is a CC (stagger condition) master. It's pretty awesome.

And then me. I built a bard. Anyone who's ever played one knows that means you're a buffer. You shine by handing out stupid bonuses to everyone else. I'm using Spheres of Power instead of the normal vancian magic, so my spell options are abit different. I buff (full round to set up +1 luck to hit, +7 competence to hit and damage, and +4 morale to hit, ac, and saves) and I lockdown (AOE web-like reflex or entangled. Goes great with stagger.) I can also bring some single target damage: (16d6+18 touch). But I'm mostly support. I've also got some great defenses. Really high saves, fairly good AC, PoW counters, and both Stalwart (Mettle from 3.5) and evasion. If I make a save, I don't suffer any effect.

So, in this world, the DM introduced guns and power armor. This isn't always bad, but in this case it was fucking dumb. He used 1 credit (SI currency) = $1, and gold (Pathfinder currency) to dollars at IRL market rate. So we broke the economy with pocket change.

The equipment he created is dumb. Armor with AC 20 that sets every stat to 18 (then applies racials) and can be upgraded with to apply an enhancement bonus of +10 to stats. So 28s all around. Now, the highest, most focuesed stats people had were around 25 at this point. Those went to 31-33. The lowest stat of anyone was 6, and it went to 26 (-2 racial). The TWF fighter went form 18/18 str/wis to 32/31. So That +12 I was handing out that was 4 times what her stat-to-hit was is now about even. Making the impact a lot less impressive. And pretty much unneeded. Her damage (str and wis) went sky high. From +8 to +22. No need for a mere +7 here here. Basically, there's little to no point in buffing anymore because she doesn't miss and kills everything in a single focused attack.

That's cool. I guess. I mean, I guess I can buff myself and be a second rate damage dealer. At least I have cc, right?

The big-ass sniper rifle he made (32d6 what the fuck) and the pistol (2d6 + no-save 5 round stun) mean that everyone (myself included) does about double the damage I used to do, and has better CC. So all those choices were pointless too. Everyone now does my trick better than I could.

Well my defenses are-- Guns ignore armor and everyone has this wonder-armor that gives them 28 dex. Miss a touch attack? Haha, no.

At least I have great saves and the ability to ignore partial effects on saves. Right? Right!?.

Twice now, I've been set to 0 HP after making a save, because the GM feels it's "too silly" that I would survive instead of dying. Other times, I get told "it's impossible for anyone to avoid this" and just take it anyway. 15th level PF characters do the impossible every day.

The Issue

Every choice I have made with this character over the last 6 months of playing has been systematically made irrelevant by terrible, terrible homebrew bullshit horse apples. Yes, I know the real solution: quit. And I am, but not before I thought of the following character.

This is the reason I posted here, on Fimfiction. See, we've been allowed to use the whole of the PFd20SRD, and some of Ponyfinder has been posted. Not a lot, but enough for my purposes.

Presenting: The One Trick Pony

Starlight Glimmer: Destroyer of Worlds

Hi! My name is Starlight Glimmer, and you will be my friend

Race: Unicorn (Fey;ponykind) Incanter 15 even the class is horse related
Specialization Points: 3
Domains (3 points): Trade(Travel), Glory, Revolution(Liberation)

Relevant Abilities

  • Touch of Glory (Sp): You can cause your handhoof to shimmer with divine radiance, allowing you to touch a creature as a standard action and give it a bonus equal to your clericincanter level on a single Charisma-based skill check or Charisma ability check. This ability lasts for 1 hour or until the creature touched elects to apply the bognus to a roll. You can use this ability to grant the bonus a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom casting-stat modifier.
  • Silver-Tongued Haggler (Su): Whenever you make a Bluff, Diplomacy, or Sense Motive check, you can, as a free action, grant yourself a bonus on the roll equal to 1/2 your clericincanter level (minimum +1). You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom casting-stat modifier.
  • Powerful Persuader (Su): At 8th level, when you make a Diplomacy or Intimidate check, you can roll twice and take the higher result. Using this ability is a free action. You can use this ability once per day at 8th level, plus one additional time per day for every 2 levels beyond 8th.
  • Moment of Greatness: If the affected creature is benefiting from a morale bonus of any type, it can double that morale bonus on one roll or check, before making the roll. Once an affected creature uses this spell’s effect, the spell is discharged for that subject.
  • Courageous Enhancement: In addition, any morale bonus the wielder gains from any other source is increased by half the weapon’s enhancement bonus (minimum 1).
  • Greater Heroism: the creature gains a +4 morale bonus on attack rolls, saves, and skill checks
  • Cloak of the Diplomat: (enhanced to +30 dip instead of +5)
  • Embraced Destiny: You may select ... two skills ... You gain +2 to skill checks involving the selected skills. The selection should relate to your cutiemark. If skills are selected, the bonus increases by 1 per 5 character levels.

The Trick

15(ranks) + 3 (class skill) + 2 (trait: princess I am a whore :V) + 6 (feat: skill focus) + 4 (feat: persuasive) + 3 (feat: voice of the sybil) + 30 (competence bonus item) + 7 (Trade domain) + 15 (glory domain) +2 (Kintargo Opera House Guild bonus - 5 PP) +2(luck : fate's favored + luck stone) + 2 (circumstance: masterwork tool) + 2 (circumstance: shark skin item) + 3 (untyped : circlet of persuasion) + 3 (untyped: pig familiar) +5 (feat: embrace destiny) + 12 ( spell: Greater Heroism : +4 increased by 2-> +6, doubled +12 ) + 10 (charisma) +1 (circumstance : 150 gp of jewelry) +2 (insight: spell: bestow insight) + 2 (circumstance : perfume) = 132 +2d20kh1 vs 25 + Cha mod with increased effects for every 5 over.

Anyone not actively trying to kill me can be made helpful, no matter how much they hate me. Anyone who is just generally against me can be made friendly. The check is easy. Literally can not fail. From there, I can make suggestions to them that they think are their own ideas. Such as "take part in the pony's musical number" or "help me with friendship lessons" or even "I really am part of the mane cast."

The DM likes the 3.5 epic rules. If you had any doubts about his judgement of balance, I hope you appreciate this statement. By 20th level, Glimmer will have another 5 (ranks) + 3(trade) + 5(glory) +1(cutiemark) + 3 (more charisma) for +149 . This is a magic number, because that is the number that will make a person who hates you a fanatic. Yes, glimmer can turn people who loathe her with the fury of a thousand suns into supporters so loyal, they would literally eat their own faces to please her.

Of course, a dip into Synthesis Summoner for +8 racial bonus and Infiltrator Inquisitor for Wis to Diplomacy too is possible, but neither of those classes have "canter" in the name. So no.

You'll note, a 15th level incanter gets 25 sphere talents. More than enough to dive into the Mind sphere and take those that won't be my friend and mind rape them until they are. Those aren't listed here, because it's kinda superfluous. With some dips into other spheres, I can: be understood by any sentient creature, thus freeing myself to spread friendship o'er the realms; gain 2 mile radius spells with which to spellcraft mind-rape onto, thus proving you don't need to see a pone to befriend a pone; take 10+1/2 my caster level instead of 10; reset time to an earlier point in the day; and make people make a save to even try to attack me. Anyone who isn't trying to kill me is going to be a great friend. If they are trying to hurt me, I'll just brain bleach them until they aren't, and then we can be friends! The only things (rules as written) immune to my friendship are animals (solved with magic), mindless things that can't communicate at all, and player characters.

I'm made Glimmer to prove one thing:

Friendship isn't magic.

Because friendship has no saving throw.

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Comments ( 21 )

Oh lord Pathfinder. I will play PF or 3e D&D but it is the only version of D&D I will refuse to DM. Way too much work for the amount of fun I would get.

A pony character will be fun and a good thumb your nose legally to the DM. I normally would not advocate that but since you are going to quit anyway might as well have some fun.

Talk about a system that has gotten to convoluted for its own good for me. Sadly the fixes needed for me to want to DM that system ever again are too extensive to make the time required worth it.

GM sounds like a real cockup which is always a pity, but I love Glimmer.

For real. Check out spheres of power. It can replace the magic system entirely and makes it a lot more flavorful and flexible, buts it's far lower powered.

Yeah, I'd say this is entirely called for. Your DM really doesn't get... well, anything about this game. Especially since last I checked, Pathfinder actually has rules for advanced firearms and power armor.

I've had some good times DMing Pathfinder, though I do have to regulate just which sourcebooks the group can draw from. Things can get silly very quickly otherwise... though I did permit the luchador who wrestled exclusively with his ten-foot-long handlebar mustache. I mean, how can you not?

Yeah the tech guide exists and starfinder is out now.

Lol. When I do PF I usually allow path of war (mug sub this out for spheres of might now that it's out), spheres of power, and Akashi mysteries. Plus the mundane PF classes. No vancian magic means little in the way of no-sell bullshit.

If you never have looked, I can heavily recommend spheres of power. It's far more like magic in novels. It would probably make Ponyfinder play out more like you had a special talent. Since you have to build your own style of magic as you level.

Sadly yeah. He's legit out of his depth with the level we're playing at. Under 10 he wa a great.


Funny enough despite the press it gets in message boards I actually do not have so many issues with magic. Magic has always been potent. The actual pain in the butt problems more relate with basic action economy problems (the guy who created the full attack action needs to be beaten over and over again until he apologizes to every weapon using character ever created) and things like how in 3e type games magic items are an actual part of the games assumptions for the players and the NPCs and having to deal with it is not fun for me at all (I remember in a late 3e game I ended up giving all NPCs the benefits of vow of poverty just to avoid handing out so much treasure while also making the NPCs having the bonuses they need to compete). Also feat chains as they have them need to be rehauled completely. For instance the two weapon fighting, imp TWF, and greater TWF should not be separate feats. Feats should scale (some feats like power attack already do but most do not).

I can make a perfectly good game using 3e type rues but the amount of effort needed for that fun is way higher than if I went back to AD&D/OD&D or going forward to 4e or 5e.

If you don't think magic is a problem in D&D derivatives, you probably just haven't had some one skilled at breaking the system at your table.

Author Interviewer

This is even better than when you described it to me earlier. XD

That was absolutely beautiful to read. If the DM lets you play this build, he deserves the cheerful hatef***ing you're going to inflict on his campaign.

I'd love to hear what dastardly, inequine deeds of love and tolerance you plan to commit in this game. It sounds like "running the place inside of a week" is not outside the realm.

He used 1 credit (SI currency) = $1, and gold (Pathfinder currency) to dollars at IRL market rate. So we broke the economy with pocket change.

What does 'IRL market rate' mean here? Because back in 2007 I got bored and worked out that 1 gp = 200 USD based on the value of gold as a trade good in D&D and the international cost of gold at the time.

To be fair, like me, most people that know how to break game know why doing so is a bad idea. I'm not actually bringing this character to a table. There are 4 other PCs having fun (I assume.) I'm not going to shit on their time because I'm unhappy. Most people capable of bringing a Tier 1 character to a game know this, at least in my experience.

Yes. Martials get fucked. It's why Tome of Battle happened. It's why I say everyone should use Path of War (or maybe the new spheres of might.) Both are systems that fix the fuckery that is martials in PF.

Ugh. Vow of Poverty is so, fucking bad D: D: D: D:. Did you at least use the community sourced version? The WotC version was written by a moron.

It really is, isn't it?

Well, given the fact I'm being told no on something as simple as evasion, a feature the worst class in the game (monk) gets, I doubt the DM will care what the rules are. So I probably won't actually bring this to the table.

Now... When our healer quit, I took the Conjuration Sphere for a summon companion. Her name is Yellowquiet and she is a small quadruped with feathery wings, max ranks in heal, and CL 8 in Life. Three guesses what color her mane and tail are :yay:. So yes, all the condition removal and big healing is already being done by a pony.


Gold: Price per gram (ounces would be easier, but >troy units): 41.56
Grams/pound: 453.592
Gold prince per pound: 18851.28352
50 GO/lb -> prince per gp: 377 c

So it's about right.

The problem is, the real conversion is more like 1 Credit = 100 Gp. This wonder armor, with AC 20, no dex penalty, no ACF, that sets ALL 6 STATS to 28, costs 52,765 credits. Around 140 GP. :pinkiecrazy:

Well, now I feel good about my gaming group that can only get together once a month or so but meets in person and isn't made out of psychos who wouldn't know what made things fun if it bit them on the behind.

Seriously, though, a good DM is one of the most important parts of a game, since in many ways they're more important than any one player, so you need to go with the solution you already know you need to go with.

What I'd do is talk to the reasonable people in your game (like the Evoker) without the DM around and see if they want to set up a smaller game elsewhere.

Site Blogger

Pathfinder is basically D&D 3.75 and if that means nothing to you, then wow did you pick the blog to read



I guess someone with no knowledge of the game might be something out of this, but there's a lot of game terms thrown around willy-nilly. It's been 20 years since I started in on d20 and I can no longer separate out what makes sense in English and what only makes sense in terms of the game.

Oh, I have no real plans to bring Glimmer to the virtual table. I'm slightly to mature to ruin a game others presumably enjoy for spite. But that doesn't stop me from building the character. Or sharing it with friends. Even those that are fairly disinterested in D&D thought it was a bit funny. So here we are. It's just nice to know that friendship is apparently a valid high level tactic in what most view as a tactical miniatures board game.

The most positive thing about this experience is how I shared this with my old (he moved) local DM. I basically gave him all the same info (more details on powers and such) and my solution. And he's about 60 minutes of free time away from actually watching Friendship is Magic. :pinkiehappy:

I believe the setting your DM sent you to is SLA Industries, and yes, it's incredibly nineties, mostly in all of the bad ways.

Also, your DM is [BUY SOME APPLES] and you really should quit. No gaming is better than bad gaming!

Also also, your Glim-glam is absolutely hilarious. :pinkiehappy:

I wish I had more chances to game.

My old GM had to move ~2 hours south for work. Which sucks, because I'm 95% sure I'll get him to watch FIM by this weekend. Mostly because of how I discussed this build, character, and setting with him over the last week. Also, several dozen of Rarity's lines have helped. :duck:

Anyway, spamming roll20 for sunday evening games usually comes up empty. Too many people want to do stuff during the day or when my kids are at soccer practice. I'll just have to keep looking.


Yea ToB and the like is a patch for the bad action economy the game is designed with. It should have been obvious to somebody that spellcasters should not be more mobile in a basic sense than a caster (prior to 3e a caster could not cast and move in the same round but a weapon user could use all of their attacks and move not sure what they were thinking switching that up).

As for VoP yea it does not actually replace items on a PC but on an NPC that does not need to be prepared for everything all the time it had the nice benefit of making sure that any NPC I made had at the very least the basic numerical bonuses they need to be a decent threat without me having to give them the Christmas tree effect which has two issues 1. I need to take the time to choose and implement a bunch of items and 2. when they defeat the threat the party gains a boatload of items to sell and otherwise boost their stats which is probably more than they need. Avoiding that was worth it.

Later on I implemented variations of 4e minion rules and monster building rules which meant that enemies had effective stats and were easier to correct and faster too. Then when I finished my level 1-20 campaign we ended up switching editions because at that point I decided it was faster and easier to use that than to keep doing al that work retrofitting and fixing 3e.

Breaking Pathfinder is always wonderful. I mean, the Jumplomancer is still amazing but this, this is a whole nother level of beautiful.

Does PF have something over the 3.5 jumplomancer? Without persist and footsteps of the deity, I don't see how PF can compete in jumping.

Maybe it was 3.5 I just remember the idea of it being amazing

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