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On the Sliding Scale Of Cynicism Vs. Idealism, I like to think of myself as being idyllically cynical. (Patreon, Ko-Fi.)

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Pony Puzzle Quest: The Non-Game Mechanics Strike Back (Warning: potential 'verse spoilers) · 5:08pm May 18th, 2018

Look, FOME designs MTG cards...

I've done this twice before: one as a blog post, with the others appearing in some comments. And when the second went up, I semi-threatened that if I was in the right mood, I might have to do another blog post.

Turns out I'm in a mood. I'm not sure if it's the right one, but let's give it a place to work itself out.

So for those who haven't been here before: character game designs use the Marvel Puzzle Quest parameters: we're interpreting them in the context of a Match-3 game, in which nearly every character has three powers. These are energized by making matches in the proper colors (red, yellow, blue, green, purple, black: white powers team-ups) and then spending them.

Characters are rated in strength from one to five stars: one-stars are the training wheels of the game, five-stars are exceptionally dangerous. However, with proper resource management and a lot of luck, it's possible for a character to beat someone two tiers above them.

As the characters below will be 'verse incarnations, beware of spoilers. And I'm serious. Do not venture any further down the line unless you want to chance learning some things which you might not have read yet.

(Not that anyone's reading this one, but You Have Been Warned. For the empty set version of 'You'.)


Gentle Arrival ****

Black: Just A Little Squeeze... Cost: 14 There is only one unicorn in Equestria with the ability to reach inside a pony's body. And that's a good thing. The doctor launches a direct attack against the organ of his choice, doing heavy damage to the front-rank opponent. This power cannot target airborne or invisible opponents. (For game purposes, we're presuming anypony in the air is too high for him to see clearly.) However, because it targets the most vulnerable sections of his victim's inner anatomy, it also ignores every Protect tile on the board.

Green: Their First Friend Cost: 12 When Doctor Gentle gets in trouble, ponies congregate from all over Equestria to help. It's a display of love -- and it's very good for getting in the way. Place a two-turn countdown tile on the board, then check the board to see which color is most dominant. The latter will determine which pony shows up. Should the countdown reach zero, this pony (one of his 'special' deliveries) will appear on your roster, and a second countdown appears: three turns this time. For every turn in which the second tile is present, that pony attacks and takes damage in the Doctor's place, using their own powers as he sees fit -- as long as you have the color points to power them.

Red: Star Swirl's Notes Cost: 11 The doctor has access to more knowledge than most ponies even suspect to exist, but it doesn't mean he fully understands it. Randomly converts two tiles into strong Protect, Strike, or Attack tiles. However, if any of those tiles had previous effects on them, including allied ones, the entire team takes moderate damage.

Apple Bloom ** (Apprentice Engineer)

Purple: Make It Better Passive & Conditional She's still trying to work this whole 'special talent' thing out. However, early results are encouraging. As long as you have and retain at least ten purple in your color pool, all ally powers cost one point less to use. However...

Black: Established Reputation Passive Most of Ponyville connects Apple Bloom's presence with disaster, and if there isn't one around right now, wait. Everypony, including her own allies, pays one point more to activate their powers until that purple goal is reached: at that point, her allies get the savings and the enemy team continues to pay extra.

Green: Improvise! Cost: 8: If there was a mark for breaking things, she'd have it by now. Apple Bloom draws on three years of Crusade experience and creates a little havoc, doing moderate damage to the front-rank opponent. If there are any enemy special tiles on the board of any kind, this power destroys one of them and collects the appropriate color point for it. Yes, this power can destroy Trap and Invisibility tiles -- randomly: Apple Bloom can't pick the target. However, if there's only one such tile around, she'll get that.

Iron Will *** (Crystal Cabinet)

Blue: Trained Psychologist Cost: 12 You don't get into this line of work unless you know what you're doing. Choose one ally: any negative status effects on them are now gone. Iron can't use this power on himself.

Red: "These Are Called 'Hands'." Cost: 9 A minotaur's magic is in their strength. A minotaur's tactics is in their ability to cover a short distance faster than anything else, then go for a wrestler's grip. Do moderate damage to the front-rank opponent. However, if Iron has more than fifteen yellow in the pool when this power is used, he gets his target in a headlock: the same damage is automatically done again on the next turn at no additional cost, and that opponent can't move.

Purple: Mundane Solution Passive Iron takes 30% less damage from all physical (generally match-based) attacks and regardless of how they may come about, is immune to the multiplier damage from criticals: any match-five made against him just does damage based on the tiles involved. He also takes 20% more damage from any magical attacks used against him.

Quiet Presence *** (The Most Devoted)

Purple: You Forgot He Was There... Cost: 10 Quiet has a certain way of escaping notice. Create three invisibility tiles in random locations on the board. As long as even one is present, Quiet cannot be directly targeted by enemy attacks. (Area effect powers can still get him.) However, he can't do too much to call attention to himself: while in this state, Quiet's matches do no damage. He still collects color points through making them, but no direct harm will be inflicted on his opponents. Quiet may use this power multiple times and if there are less than three invisibility tiles present, doing so will restore them -- but he can never have more than three present at once.

Black: Secrets In Shadow Passive While invisible, Quiet collects one color point from every match made by his opponents. This point will only come from the first match: in the event of a cascade, he just gets a single point from the move which began it.

Blue: One Strike Cost: 18, Conditional Quiet isn't meant for combat or long-term exertion, but there are times when he can get in just the right position -- and he'd better do so quickly. Does heavy damage to the front-rank opponent and leaves them stunned for two turns -- if all three of Quiet's invisibility tiles are present. If one is missing, Quiet takes 20% of that damage. Two means 50% is inflicted upon himself, and having none on the board disables this power until at least one such tile is restored.

Fleur Dis Lee **** (The Third Most Dangerous Mare In Canterlot)

Yellow: Such Pretty Toys... Cost: 10 It's amazing what ponies will do to impress her -- or keep her from talking. Fleur converts three enemy special tiles of her choice to allied ones: this includes countdowns and (if located), Traps, but not invisibility tiles. If no such tiles are available, Fleur collects her blackmail in the form of other resources, which drains four color points from whichever hue the enemy has the most of, adding them to her own.

Black: Predator's Smile Cost: 10 What a lovely hooficure. What a beautifully-polished horn. What a complete lack of caring she has about ruining those cosmetic effects through crashing them into your skull. Does moderate damage to the front-rank opponent.

Blue: What You Desire Passive, Conditional & Constant There are certain advantages to knowing what somepony lusts after: for starters, you always know what they'll try to acquire next. As long as there are at least fourteen blue points in the color pool, before Fleur makes her match, the opponent must show Fleur what their own ideal next move will be: this includes any powers they intend to set off on the next turn. Additionally, regardless of the blue count, no invisibility effects can be used against Fleur by anything living.

Clear Coordinator ***

Black: Shielding Layers Cost: 0, Passive & Conditional It's all about acquiring and expending resources. Anypony who isn't Coordinator is, at best, a resource. As long as there's at least eight black points in the color pool, any attempts to directly damage Coordinator will have a random ally step in to take the hit. This power isn't effective against team attacks, it doesn't prevent status effects from occurring, and it stops working when Coordinator is stunned or out of allies.

Red: Offers You Can't Refuse Cost: 12 He just can't keep from setting a little aside for himself. Drains two points from every color in the enemy's pool, but only adds half of them to his own group's: the rest vanishes into what he feels are untraceable accounts.

Purple: The Element Of Control Cost: 10, Reaction If an enemy is about to use a power directly against Coordinator and there are at least this many purple points in the pool, he may spend ten of them to delay the attack by two turns. This power may be used repeatedly by Coordinator as long he has the purple to pay for it. Attacks delayed by this effect have the committed color points put on hold: they don't leave the pool and still count for effects which measure resources, but they can't be spent on anything else. If the delay sees the enemy pool drained below the number required for activation, the attack is aborted.

Flash Sentry ***

Green: Battered Armor Passive Any time Flash makes a green match, convert one basic green tile into a small allied Protect tile. This power only works when Flash directly makes the match or one results from a cascade which he started: it doesn't function if any other ally or enemy does it.

Blue: Right Place, Right Time Passive & Conditional Nothing stops Flash from being present when a disaster is about to go off. Nothing. If Flash has any status effects on him which would prevent Intercede from working, they vanish.

Yellow: Intercede Active & Passive: Cost 10 or 0 Flash's deepest magic is about saving others -- but not himself. If any single ally is about to take a hit which would down them, Flash finds a means of getting in the way: 25% of the damage is negated, and Flash takes the rest as damage to himself. This power will normally work automatically, but Flash can spend ten yellow to prevent it from taking place. He can also spend that same amount to get in the way of a team attack, saving multiple allies at once -- but he then gets to take 75% of that cumulative total. (Should Flash be lucky enough to still have some allied Protect tiles on the board, they will cut down on the damage taken.)

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Comments ( 8 )

I was tempted to do this one:

Bayleaf ** (For Mature Players Only)

Blue: Some Pony Said... Cost: 5 Bayleaf innocently describes her latest sexual fantasy in luxurious, lurid, and exhaustive detail. The front-rank opponent can't do anything on their next turn. Well, they can do one thing, but you probably don't want to know what that is.

I'm always happy to see people flex their game design muscles, even when it isn't in my personal area of expertise. (Though I do have a few Triptych Continuum designs. Had to make her a Horror, since "Legendary Creature — Pegasus Shapeshifter" doesn't fit on the type line. One of the three type lines, anyway.)

In any case, very neat designs, though depending on how skill leveling works (assuming you'd implement it,) the best move with Apple Bloom might be to keep her from getting her black power. And I have no idea how one would accurately implement Fleur's blue ability against a human opponent without actual magic. Still, again, very cool designs.

Also, now I want to see the look on Quiet's face when Fleur never fails to notice him.

Estee #3 · May 18th, 2018 · · 1 ·


Though I do have a few Triptych Continuum designs.


Here's an example:

Gentle Arrival 1WUB
Legendary Creature — Unicorn Wizard
Each other creature you control has hexproof as long as it entered the battlefield this turn.
WB, T: Return to the battlefield target creature card in your graveyard put there this turn.

Going from bottom to top: The dubiously good doctor can bring back anything on the brink of death. Any one thing at a time, in a cruel case of gameplay-story integration. Furthermore, he ensures opposing magic won't touch anything you bring into the world until it's had a chance to experience it.

As for the deathtouch... Well, that should be self-explanatory. You won't often want to get Gentle involved in combat, but goodness knows he can hold his own. And other ponies'.

Nice. Makes me want to find a mpq blank board and draw some characters in.

I've not played MTG since the guy teaching me said something to the effect of "I know that card SAYS it allows you to return any 'bear' to the battlefield, but Spectral Bears isn't a bear."

Deathtouch is "Any amount of damage dealt by this card to a creature will destroy target creature.", right?

Basically, yes. Also, you'll be pleased to know that the official ruling these days is that Spectral Bears is a Bear. (Well, its creature type is Bear Spirit. It's not a 2/2 that costs two mana, but that's getting into slang.)

4864937 I'm given to understand that the card WHEN ISSUED was still a Bear, but it was some nonsense about it being a Summon - Bears. Something about Uncle Istvan ( Who is now a human, but used to be immune to spells that target creature type:human because he wasn't a human, but An Uncle Istvan?) I haven't talked to that guy in over a decade.

I was actually aware if that slang term, which is why I linked the Oracle entry, as that was the most expedient way I knew of to say "no. I mean a literal BEAR. ))

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