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  • Sunday
    Friendship is Card Games: Moonstuck, Pt. 7

    We come the penultimate Moonstuck card blog… not counting the epilogue. If it’s after the end of the main story, does that make it postultimate?

    In any case, let’s go see what Woona’s been up to.

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    1 comments · 70 views
  • Wednesday
    Relentless Advances

    This one's mostly for me and hawthornbunny, maintainer of PonyMTG, to whom I apologize for making their life more complicated. In my defense, WotC did it first.

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    6 comments · 229 views
  • 1 week
    Friendship is Card Games: Princess Cadance and the Spring Hearts Garden

    We now come to the novel I put off last week. It does present a truly rare opportunity: A chance to flesh out Cadence. We got the story of her ascension in the novels, after all. Let’s see what this one offers.

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    13 comments · 180 views
  • 1 week
    Dance of the Skywise

    I'm fortunate enough both financially and geographically that I was able to make a quick trip to New York City on Sunday to see KHAN!!! the Musical! It was a truly delightful experience, and if anyone reading this has seen Wrath of Khan and can make it to Greenwich Village in the next two weeks, they'll probably have a fantastic time themselves.

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    2 comments · 142 views
  • 2 weeks
    Friendship is Card Games: What if X Were a Princess? Pt. 1

    I’m playing a little fast and loose with the schedule this week, but as of writing this, I have a contest deadline to race, RL friends to meet, and a performance of Khan! the Musical to see with my mom as a belated Mother’s Day gift, so reviewing a pony novel isn’t feasible.

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    8 comments · 191 views

FoME Thinks Too Much: The Founders' Legacies · 12:57pm Sep 8th, 2018

Just a random bit of cultural worldbuilding looking for a home. Namely, what cultural impact the Founders of Equestria have had on their nation beyond starring in the annual not-Christmas pageant. (For the purposes of this blog, we’re putting aside the chronological ambiguity created by the Pillars. Star Swirl’s almost as bad as Starlight and Discord when it comes to muddying the temporal waters. And yes, I know some of this comes pre-Jossed. C’est la vie.)

As a rule of hoof, thumb, or other handy extrusion, the leaders of each pre-Equestrian nation are best remembered for their personalities, while their aides—a.k.a. the ones who actually managed to avert equine extinction—are remembered more for their deeds. It is generally agreed that all of them would be happy with this arrangement.

Commander Hurricane has become Equestria’s equivalent of Uncle Sam, John Bull, and other national avatars, especially in a military context. His1 face is the one used to represent war hawks2 in political cartoons, while those advocating for peace usually take on Celestia’s appearance. This has changed somewhat in recent years; Luna is sometimes shown aside or instead of Hurricane on matters where the sisters’ different opinions resonate in Parliament, and some cartoonists have pitted Hurricane against Twilight Sparkle instead.3 Still, it’s Hurricane’s face that graces most recruitment posters, scowling, sneering, or occasionally smiling at passing ponies and daring them to give their country all they’ve got,.

1 While Clover the Clever’s gender has been made ambiguous by both the draconequus-agitated mists of history and the occupational hazards of being an apprentice of the Bearded One, Hurricane’s masculinity is one of the best preserved facts of pre-Discordian history. Popular legend has it that one in every seven pegasi alive today are his direct descendants. The actual ratio is closer to one in thirty.

2 Even the ones who don't have wings.

3 One such op-ed page inspired Rainbow Dash to write an entire trilogy of stories. The contents could be described as “Spirited debate, followed by trying to make the ratio mentioned in footnote 1 more accurate.”

Chancellor Puddinghead acts as Equestria's Santa Claus. According to seasonal legend, her spirit thinks its way inside every chimney in Equestria and gives presents to all the good little colts and fillies therein. Of course, Puddinghead being Puddinghead, nopony can be entirely sure what her criteria for goodness are in any given year, but parents assure their foals that it’s best to err on the side of caution by observing the traditional earth pony value of listening to one’s parents. Clever foals who point out that Puddinghead was anything but a traditional earth pony are threatened with the even more traditional earth pony present of a rock.4

Beyond that, Puddinghead is best remembered for ensuring that every session of Parliament is a well-catered affair, going so far as to put it in the earliest drafts of Equestria’s constitution, where it has stayed to this very day. It was the one law that even Discord couldn’t bring himself to throw aside during his unreign, even when he abolished the concept of Parliament itself.

4 Yes, Puddinghead also grew up on a rock farm. Emotional disorders are practically a secondary export of the things.

Princess Platinum is a bit of a fudge on the aforementioned rule of naturally-occurring measuring device. She’s certainly remembered as the model of proper noble unicorn behavior, gracious to her peers, not unkind to her lessers, and first to claim the bounty of good times. Few remember that she also insisted on being the first to suffer in hard times, and barely survived the Great Exodus from the original pony homeland due to self-inflected starvation. Those who’d be expected to repeat that act are sadly least likely to understand the context of her saying “The queen and the country are one;” that the queen should suffer when her country suffers as much as she should thrive when it thrives.

However, Platinum is most remembered for her descendants, who became the nobility of Equestria.5 While the family trees grew unchecked during the Discordian Era, when blood purity sometimes had to take a backseat to avoiding extinction, magic and genealogy obsessive enough to placate the avatar of insanity himself kept something resembling a line of descent after the advent of the Diarchs. Since then, such matters have been more carefully tended to, especially as many of the nobility’s other duties have been quietly transferred to other institutions and two fillies who were originally adopted into the family just so everypony could call them princesses without anypony raising a fuss. Still, a few ponies managed to slip through the cracks, including a direct matrilineal descendant of Platinum who so embodies her ancestor’s philosophy that she has become the living Element of Generosity.6

5 All of the nobility of Equestria. Between simple gratitude at the face of still being alive after the windigoes’ banishment, the spirit of fellowship in the nation’s early years, and the desperate drive to perpetuate the species long enough to see the return of sanity during the days of Discord, Platinum’s blood has been mixed with that earth ponies and pegasi virtually from the word “Go.”

6 Most of the Bearers are descended from their corresponding Founder—Clover eventually reached such a degree of biological flux that their genes weren’t sure how they were meant to propagate—but it’s more obvious in some cases than others.

Pansy soared up the links of Equestria’s newly forged chain of command like she was riding the thermal from the foundry, but was always Hurricane’s underling. Today, she’s revered as the patron spirit7 of the unacknowledged soldiers. As was the case during the first generation of Equestria, while Hurricane is the face of Equestria’s armed forces, Pansy represents its heart, mind, and liver, the ponies who perform the thousand thankless tasks that nopony thinks about, but are necessary to keep Equestria’s military even as functional as it is today. Wherever a defender of Equestria acts without expectation of recognition or glory, from kitchens to mid-level desk jockies, you will find an icon of Pansy’s cutie mark.

7 While Celestism has persisted even as the alicorn population has quintupled in recent years, many ponies, especially pegasi, opt instead for ancestor worship. This has, if anything, exacerbated the average Equestrian’s historical ignorance. Reverence for a single figure often leads to indifference about everypony who wasn’t directly connected to them. Patron spirits help alleviate some of this, prominent figures being remembered not by descendants but by those in similar situations.

Smart Cookie serves a similar role for Equestria’s non-military bureaucracy. Appropriate, since she created most of it. Cookies are a familiar sight in virtually every government office, a far cry from the elaborate dessert trolley of Parliament, but still a comfort for those who work to keep the country operating when it isn’t being threatened by the latest nigh-incomprehensible monstrosity arisen from the depths of history and/or madness. Even Rainbow Dash set out cloud meringues when her turn came around in the Ponyville weather office’s cookie rota.8

8 Her mother’s recipe. Dash made sure she’d perfected it before actually letting anypony judge her for her baking skills, which meant going for store-bought stuff the first few times she had to provide the snacks. She still hasn’t gotten the hang of recipes denser than water.

She also brought meringues to Wonderbolt HQ once. Sadly, this was after her call sign was finalized.

Clover the Clever, whatever their gender or number of limbs9, is the patron spirit of libraries, universities, and everywhere else full of books.10 In all such places, there will be some representation of Clover, whether it’s a bust as in the Golden Oaks Library, a portrait, or even just a picture of their cutie mark. Clover is also invoked during arcane mishaps, to the point where there’s a small altar to them in Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, where students light candles in holders made of cold iron and sea salt in the hopes that Clover will help ward off the worst of their future miscalculations.11

9 Some say Clover ascended to alicornhood, even suggesting that Celestia has been dyeing her coat and cutie mark for centuries. Others say that the mutations reached the point where they slipped sideways out of the universe. Whatever the case, nopony knows precisely when, how, or even if Clover died. This too is an occupational hazard of apprenticing with Star Swirl.

10 This leads to some friction in public libraries and schools between Clover and Smart Cookie, though most ponies figure that if the two of them got along well enough to light the Fire of Friendship, they wouldn’t mind sharing places they both held dear. Compromises often involve cookies in the shape of Clover’s cutie mark.

11 Twilight never seriously indulged what she saw as misguided superstition, though she did perform a few experiments to see if it might actually impact her miscast rate and got frustratingly inconclusive results. Lemon Hearts, on the other hand, still lights a candle there on the anniversary of the Flask Incident.

Comments ( 19 )

Bravo! I'm not sure if it was intentional, but I very much enjoyed the similarity to another author's works.

Hrm... I don't think most of this is actually an issue, or pre-jossed. It's definitely been more than a few hundred years since the time of foundation, and even in 200 years America has gained bizarre personal legends like this. Celestia has raised the sun for 1111 years, meaning Equestria was founded maybe ~10-20 years before that. A lot of people don't really give credit for how long 1000 years is and all those '1000 years ago' things could be anywhere from 800ish to 1111ish due to rounding. I mean when you're an immortal alicorn are you going to keep track of the centuries or just go 'bah, a thousand years ago.'

:trixieshiftright: Though Luna's banishment might actually be exactly 1000 years... so that's just a little greater than 111 years for most of the crises to happen. Not necessarily unrealistic, but if nothing happened between 1000 and present day, that's a bit odder.

This, of course, means Luna's only a little over 111. If the idea that ponies live to be up to about 200 is right, she's not actually that ancient. Curious thought.

Anyway, like the idea of history twisting everything. Though I don't think I realized how much Clover was in flux. Definitely not Celestia though.

...unless time travel.

-GM, master of dice.

I'd figure Equestria would be big on saints anyway; everypony has a ready-made icon on their butt and sharing tribe/family/etc. stories seems to be a national pastime.

Before Fame and Misfortune aired, I figured the Friendship journal was getting edited into self help holy writ (and a terrible battle of security and countersecurity was being waged to keep Twiggles from wiping the "Smarty Pants Incident" from the record).

Actually, that leads to another interesting question. 1000 years later, what does the legacy of the bearers look like?

I like this a lot! :pinkiehappy:

That is all very intriguing. I would love to see a story (or five) in this particular vision of Equestria.

The contents could be described as “Spirited debate, followed by trying to make the ratio mentioned in footnote 1 more accurate.”




Also, nice "A Brief History of Equestria" references!

... I gotta brush up on how the Pillars are connected to the Founders, if at all, and where they go in the timeline...

Interesting ideas. And hints for Equestrian religion. Which I would like an in-depth analysis for. Pretty please? :pinkiehappy:

Clover approves of this :yay:

This was very interesting to read, nice interpretation of the founders and how they shaped Equestria's history!

They're not, at least any more than obliquely in two cases. Flash Magnus was a part of the Pegasus military, and involved in border skirmishes with the Dragons, and of course the Pillar of Sorcery was Starswirl the Bearded- who was Clover the Clever's mentor.

I can't remember where I first saw Puddinghead as Equestria's Santa Claus figure, but it's been my headcanon for a long time. From a worldbuilding standpoint, it makes a lot more sense than "Santa Hooves," which I've seen in some fanfics.

Hah, neat; thanks for sharing these ideas. :)

Lovely worldbuilding stuff! And never mind getting jossed, part of the fun in fanfiction is coming up with our own explanations for things, even -- especially -- when the show's provided a boring one!

For extra worry, how will the Cutie Mark Crusade be seen a thousand years from hence?


FoME does not think too much.

FoME thinks exactly enough to create an interesting, engaging, and amusing read.

Also... What will the legacy of her Friendship Students look like? In particular, one very special group of six, only one of whom is a pony?

I've always just assumed that "1000 years ago" is a pony idiom for saying "a long time ago on the scale of millenia". Other than luna's fall, everything else can be assumed to just be long enough ago that they use the saying for it.

Ah, but Celestia has raised precisely 1111 years worth of sunrises, as we learned in Horse Play. So while it can be 'a long time ago,' it still can't be that much longer than a thousand years.

-GM, master of tines.

I'm ignoring that for the sake of my own headcanons. :fluttercry:

:twilightsmile: That's all fine, that's what fanfic sites like this are FOR, after all. Headcannons - even completely unreasonable ones - brought to light. (well, that's one reason. I prefer the reason of epic stories and grand adventures, but that's just me.)

Just means that in pony canon everything happened probably somewhere between 1200 - 800 years ago. A thing that I don't think very many people realize when they say 'everything happened 1000 years ago' is how stupid long 400 years actually is. If ponies live to 200, that's two pony lifetimes. if they're like us, FOUR. That's a LONG time for Tirek, Discord, Sombra, etc to wreak havoc for decades.

What's far more interesting is that the ~800 years since then, nothing has seemed to happen, really, until recent memory. (Maybe an industrial revolution, but we never get to hear anything about that.) The more unbelievable bit is that within the last ~10 years EVERYTHING'S gone wrong.

Time is an interesting concept, ain't it?

-GM, master of :trollestia:

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