• Member Since 26th Sep, 2011
  • offline last seen 10 hours ago


"[FoME] manages the impossible combination of being an actual legitimate nerd while staying unabashedly pleasant." —Aragón

More Blog Posts1111

  • Thursday
    Deca Sanctuary

    Ten days remain for Imposing Sovereigns III, and while a few entries have come in, I suspect the bulk has yet to arrive. In order to help that suspicion, now's the point where I ask if people need more time. So, how goes it?

    20 comments · 205 views
  • 6 days
    Friendship is Card Games: The Knights of Harmony

    And so the unsung underbelly of G4 draws to a close… more or less. There’s that intergenerational crossover coming up. But this is certainly the finale to Season 10, and to the FiM line. 102 issues isn’t a bad run, and that’s not counting alll the spinoffs. Let’s see how it wraps up.

    Read More

    10 comments · 263 views
  • 1 week
    Expansion // Explosion

    "The series premiere, but different" is a timeworn genre in most fandoms, and pony is no different. A good chunk of the authors here have put their own spin on Twilight arriving in Ponyville and that first journey into the Everfree, including me. But this one is special.

    Read More

    6 comments · 337 views
  • 1 week
    Friendship is Card Games: d20 Pony, Ch. 2

    This week, we return to d20 Pony, the ongoing adventures and explorations of Trailblazer. (It’s also my birthday, but that has little bearing on the cards. :derpytongue2:)

    Read More

    9 comments · 168 views
  • 2 weeks
    Judge Worthy

    As promised, the judges' panel has been locked down for Imposing Sovereigns III. Joining me will be the stellar Kris Overstreet and the very aptly named

    Read More

    0 comments · 139 views

Friendship is Card Games: Homecoming, Part 1 · 12:27pm Oct 4th, 2020

Okay, now we return to the comics. Specifically for the first two issues of what they’re optimistically calling Season 10. Which are actually the first half of a four-part storyline. Still, this promises to have a lot to work with. Time for Zecora backstory.

Issue #89

Ah. You know it’s Andy Price with a beautiful, detail-filled opening splash page. Airship, bit of litter right next to a wastebasket, the Observer, Wheat Germ and Flax Seed… This should be fun.
Also, I suppose we’re being generous with Twilight’s “first” sunrise. Between the shaky one in “Twilight’s Kingdom,” the crazed one in “Between Dark and Dawn,” and the ceremonial one in “The Summer Sun Setback,” this is at minimum her fourth.

Events begin at 6:00 AM
Yeah, early. Sorry ‘bout that

Sure hope this Twilight is a morning pony. That can vary wildly.

Nice callbacks across the board. We’ve got Celaeno in the background, Discord cutting Eris out of photos, Capper and Trixie still chumming it up after Nightmare Knights, and Bonbon showing off her wedding ring. (Though there is the question of how she wears the thing.) Plus some wonderful rare character interactions. Tempest and Discord! Bonbon and Maud! Rockhoof and Big Mac hoof wrestling! (And Rarity giving Applejack paper money after losing the bet? Is Twilight already instituting currency reforms?)
Also, interesting to see that Spitfire would like to be involved more in cool Bearer missions. I wonder if she’s ever admitted as much to Rainbow Dash.

Very interesting choice of ponies to share the podium with Twilight. Starswirl, Sunburst, Stygian… and Cadence. Yes, Lovebutt is the only other active alicorn royal at the moment, but she kind of breaks up the “cape-wearing wizardly unicorn stallion whose names start with S” theme.

:twilightsmile: “I nearly missed raising the sun because I was so worried about what will set me apart. But then a good friend reminded me that I already knew the answer.”
:moustache: “I mean, that is kinda my job.”
Anyone else feel like you missed an episode? :rainbowhuh:

Ah. Those four represent “the smartest ponies [Twilight knows].” That makes sense, especially Stygian, the Pillar of Logistics... though I do wonder if Moondancer knows about the snub.

Nice representation of the show’s broadening horizons. Twilight really did do a lot to bring the world together… but now she’s stuck in Canterlot. That “Yours now, sucker!” note on the itinerary really drives the point home. And not in an especially palatable way.
Also, interesting to see the names that crop up as Equestria Plus expands into Equestria Supreme (and presumably adds refried beans and/or higher Internet speeds in the process.) Some of them, like Las Pegasus and Dodge City, seem to already be part of Equestria. Others, like the Mirror Dimension (which one is unclear) and the Moon, aren’t even on the same planet. I understand where Twilight’s going with this, but I feel she’s muddied the message.

Ooh. I like this plan. I really like this plan. Twilight’s taking the lessons of the Cutie Map and the importance of delegation and applying them proactively, having her personal lieutenants bring together friendship groups of their own to create further diplomatic ties between Equestria and the rest of the world.
… But that being said, I do have to wonder how many lives she’s uprooting in the process. Rainbow Dash’s team alone has two Wonderbolts including the captain and a pair of newlyweds. As much as I’d have loved to see this setup instead of the School of Friendship, it does carry some of the same problems. Heck, we’re running into the Lost Faculty issue; Twilight’s reassigned all of the School’s teachers, including Rockhoof!

And Zecora apparently agrees with me on the whole uprooted life issue. This is not the sort of thing you spring on your friends lightly.

You know it’s serious when Zecora stops rhyming. And she raises a very good point: If she hasn’t been home in a long time, there may be a reason for her not doing so.

… Though that emotional intensity falls a little flat when she says “I’ll still do it” on the very next page. :ajbemused:

Huh. Several points to take in at the docks. I’m not sure if the donkey is meant to be Cranky or not, but that is definitely pony Ragamuffin. And that is also definitely Captain Hoofbeard from the comics’ pirate storyline.

Dash managing to blend well-wishes and bragging so seamlessly is a fantastic character moment.

Ah. It is Cranky dusting off his old ship. I do love how he's literally a retired D&D character.

There’s something wonderful in both AJ and Rockhoof calling out someone’s accent. Though if this Ragamuffin is playing up the lovable urchin character as much as his counterpart, it makes sense that genuinely accented characters would find him suspect.

:facehoof: Rockhoof, you’re Nhorse. You come from a long line of sailors and can navigate by the stars (assuming Luna hasn’t been messing with them again.) You still have an applicable skill set even if shovels don’t have much use on the open waves.

Okay, Tempest fighting a thunderstorm and winning is amazing and I will brook no arguments.

Very nice use of Steven Magnet. Zecora’s not the only one returning to her homeland on this expedition.

Shovels aren’t the best way to bail out, but whatever works.

Again, you know it’s serious when Zecora stops rhyming. Though in this case it’s more a matter of inner turmoil than boiling rage.

Genuinely nice bit of Tempest/Zecora interaction. Especially how it works in Tempest’s later reconciliation with Glitter Drops.
Also, I just noticed that Tempest’s armor still has the Storm King’s emblem on it. (Or would you call it a logo given his aggressive merchandising strategy?) You’d think she’d have at least replaced it with Twilight’s cutie mark or some other Equestrian emblem at some point.

I won’t lie, Marini really feels like an overdesigned OC. I understand that a monochrome palette offers few options for making distinctive characters—heck, the entire evolutionary purpose of stripes is to make zebras hard to distinguish from one another!—but going full Fruit Stripe doesn’t seem any better.

Huh. So Zecora’s rhyming is more of a personal affectation than anything cultural? I may quietly ignore this.

Yeah, offering hugs around Rockhoof seems… perilous.

Ah. Casabronco. Of course there’s a Rick’s. Some things are universal. And we’ll always have Mareis.
Less referentially, this pegs Farasi as Morocco. Good to know.

Prince Abraxas? Somehow I doubt he’ll have the head of a rooster and snakes for legs.

“For a while there I was turning a prince or princess to stone once a week.”
Huh. There’s an idea. What if those petrification grenades were specifically tuned to take down royalty? There’s been stranger magic in Equestria. Also, this seems to imply that Tempest actually brought some of the things with her on this diplomatic mission. :twilightoops:

Yeah, the rest of Zecora’s old social circle feels overdone as well. Putting stripes on everyone doesn't help. I can’t blame her for not wanting to be associated with these jokers. :raritywink: Thank goodness for Rockhoof’s skald training.

Also, kelpies? These ones seem very different from the one that musically mind controlled all of Ponyville. More like elementals than sirens. Curious. As is the fact that all of these species can get cutie marks.

Issue #90

Okay, I have to appreciate the classic Batzebra panel that opens this issue.

Ah. Zecora was the Twilight of her group. Which, given her studious, reclusive nature, makes sense.

Okay, so the bicorned creatures are abada… which have one of the stubbiest Wikipedia articles I’ve ever seen. Still, two crooked horns, size of a donkey, tail of a boar, it all checks out.

The blue zebra with an afro really feels overdone. Maybe if Zecora weren’t so, you know, zebra-colored, I wouldn’t have an issue here. Goodness knows ponies don't hew to the standard horse spectrum.
The English alphabet above the chalkboard is kind of bothersome too. I understand the single world language as a convenient way to sidestep some narrative logjams… but we’ve heard Zecora speak a different one.

Wow. Wow. We’re going for completely nonmagical zebras. I do not approve. Especially since magic tattoos still appear on their hips. I’m definitely ignoring this.
That said, I do appreciate Equestria being seen as a mysterious, monster-infested, far-off land where those strange “unicorns” may only be myths… though that does raise the question of how the people of Farasi think the sun rises. The idea that unicorns are the only beings in the whole world who can learn new spells can be discounted as an inaccuracy in the book.

Zebrazebar instead of Zanzebra. Boo.

Ah. Zecora wasn’t so much Twilight as Sunset, driven to claim power to the point of obsession and alienating her friends in the process. And then running off to a distant land where she’d find both.

Claiming earth ponies don’t have magic either… This issue is really not endearing itself to me.

“Abraxus help us.”
Hmm. Venerating the prince is an interesting affectation. Are the four princes also immortal?

Huh. Choosing to rhyme to make everything she says into an incantation. I actually kind of like that. Still may ignore or modify it, though.

Based on the flashback, I suspect a good portion of the mockery was in Zecora’s mind rather than her friends’ mouths.

I do love Tempest gathering tactical data on kelpies and offering to subjugate the place in thirty minutes. Or, presumably, Applejack’s pizza is free. Some habits die hard.
Also, very interesting to see Tempest hold thing in her magic. Presumably she’s been working on that with Glitter Drops and/or Twilight. She did help with the shield in the finale.

Very interesting that there’s another source of zap apples out there. And that they electrolyze kelpies as effectively as other sources of electricity.

“Do you remember that week that you decided to say everything backwards?”
Ah, the Zatanna method. .lacipyt ton stluseR

The grootslang is a South African cryptid, though Earth legends ascribe more elephantine characteristics than draconic ones.

Uhura’s House of Kettles, eh? Well, if there’s no call for translators…

Ah yes, zebras are completely nonmagical. As demonstrated by the prince appearing in a nimbus of divine light. :facehoof:
And again, disappointing absence of snake legs for someone calling himself Abraxas, though the mane style is a bit roosterish.

And we’re getting the band back together… though we’ll have to wait to see how it all plays out. I’m all caught up with the comics at this point, and I can hardly offer an overarching opinion on a literally half-finished storyline. Still, the world building hardly endears me to it so far. I’m tempted to side with Lauren Faust’s Zecora origin story. (Namely, an Earth zebra wandered into the Everfree and achieved sapience. And magic.)

Of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t work with what they give me:

Searing Justice 1W
Searing Justice deals damage to target attacking creature equal to that creature’s power.
The potion only ignites in the presence of malice, and only burns the one who lit the flame.

Shining Righteousness 2W
As an additional cost to cast this spell, tap an untapped creature you control.
Tap all creatures you don’t control with power less than or equal to the tapped creature’s power.
So noble is Abraxas that monsters bow before him.

Archetype of Camaraderie 5WW
Enchantment Creature — Warrior
If an effect would create one or more tokens under your control, it creates twice that many of those tokens instead.
Your opponents can’t create tokens.

Amorphous Kelpie U
Creature — Elemental Citizen
U: Amorphous Kelpie gets +1/-1 until end of turn.
Kelpies can summon and manipulate water, making them valued community members in Farasi’s arid interior.

Involuntary Airlift U
Choose one —
• Target creature gains flying until end of turn.
• Return target creature to its owner’s hand.
Rainbow Dash doesn’t deal well with impatience.

Alchemist Ascension 2U
Whenever you draw your second card each turn, put a quest counter on Alchemist Ascension.
As long as there are four or more quest counters on Alchemist Ascension, rather than pay the mana cost for spells you cast, you may exile a card from your hand that shares a color with that spell.

Doomtusk Narwhal 3U
Creature — Whale
1W: Doomtusk Narwhal gains first strike until end of turn.
1B: Doomtusk Narwhal gains deathtouch until end of turn.
“Nastiest unicorns I ever met.”
—Applejack, Bearer of Honesty

Iceslick Kelpie 3U
Creature — Elemental Rogue
When Iceslick Kelpie enters the battlefield, tap target creature an opponent controls. That creature doesn’t untap during its controller’s next untap step.

Coiling Shipwarden 5U
Creature — Serpent Pirate
Vehicles you control have hexproof.
Cautious captains avoid sea monsters as best they can. Daring ones recruit them.

Thoughtsnip 1B
Exile target nonbasic card from a single opponent’s graveyard. For each card exiled this way, search that player’s library for all cards with the same name as that card and exile them. Then that player shuffles their library.
Overload 4BB

Stubborn Captain 2B
Creature — Donkey Pirate
3B: Stubborn Captain gains indestructible until end of turn. This ability costs 1 less to activate for each other Pirate you control.
“My ship only goes down with me, and I’m not going anywhere.”

Baltimare Dockmaster 3B
Creature — Pony Pirate
Whenever a nontoken artifact enters the battlefield, create a Treasure token. (It’s an artifact with “T, Sacrifice this artifact: Add one mana of any color.”)
“The real thieves charge docking fees.”
—Captain Hoofbeard

Ruinous Grootslang 3B
Creature — Dragon Snake
Mutate 2BB (If you cast this spell for its mutate cost, put it over or under target non-Human creature you own. They mutate into the creature on top plus all abilities from under it.)
Whenever this creature mutates, creatures your opponents control get -1/-1 until end of turn.

Conductive Blast 1R
This spell can’t be countered.
Conductive Blast deals 3 damage to target creature or planeswalker. If that permanent is white or blue, Conductive Blast deals 5 damage to it instead.
Lightning makes friends easily, but can never keep them.

Floating Kennel 1R
Artifact — Vehicle
Whenever Floating Kennel deals combat damage to a player, create that many 1/1 red Dog Pirate creature tokens.
Crew 1 (Tap any number of creatures you control with total power 1 or more: This Vehicle becomes an artifact creature until end of turn.)

Ransacking Sea Dog 2R
Creature — Dog Pirate
Raid — When Ransacking Sea Dog enters the battlefield, if you attacked this turn, you may discard a card. If you do, draw a card.
Seaponies trail behind dog vessels, gathering the treasure tossed overboard.

Thunderflash Abada 2R
Creature — Unicorn Shaman
Thunderflash Abada gets +2/+0 as long as you control another Unicorn.
Abada possess potent innate magic, but cannot learn anything beyond their first spells.

Stormbane Unicorn 4R
Creature — Unicorn Pirate Wizard
Whenever a creature you control becomes the target of a spell or ability you don’t control, choose new targets for that spell or ability unless its controller has Stormbane Unicorn deal 3 damage to them.
Her curses turn the sky blue.

Crushing Embrace 2G
Crushing Embrace deals damage equal to the greatest power among creatures you control to target creature or planeswalker.
Never offer someone else a hug where Rockhoof can see you.

Zebrat Cultivator 2G
Creature — Unicorn Druid
Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, create a 0/1 green Plant creature token.
Abada who can commune with plants are invaluable members of any Farasian village.

Dig Deep XG
Mill X cards, then return up to X land cards from your graveyard to the battlefield tapped. (To mill X cards, put the top X cards of your library into your graveyard.)
Given time and idle hooves, Rockhoof is sure to find a reason to use his shovel.

Ambassador’s Schooner 3
Artifact — Vehicle
Whenever Ambassador’s Schooner attacks, you and defending player each draw a card.
Crew 2

Twilight, Diplomatic Regent 2WU
Legendary Creature — Wizard Noble
Alicorn (This is also a Pony Pegasus Unicorn.)
Parley — T: Each player reveals the top card of their library. For each nonland card revealed this way, the next noncreature spell you cast this turn costs 1 less to cast. Then each player draw a card.

Crown Collector 2BR
Creature — Unicorn Warrior
Dethrone (Whenever this creature attacks the player with the most life or tied for most life, put a +1/+1 counter on it.)
When Crown Collector enters the battlefield, you may destroy target creature the monarch controls.
Rule doesn’t ensure reverence.

Outreach Program 3WU
At the beginning of each opponent’s draw step, you and that player each draw a card.
“Closing ourselves off from other creatures was never the answer. By enriching the world, we enrich ourselves.”
—Princess Twilight Sparkle

Comments ( 32 )

On dune and headland sinks the Fires of Friendship -
Take up the purple pony's burden, Twilight!
Send ye best into a friendless, fallen world!
And bind thy mares to thankless exile,
To serve thine savage neighbors' needs!

The East Zebrazebarian Friendshipping Company

Friendship provincia assigned to various friendship governors

Twilight's Empire of Friendship!

Also, in response to Twilight's last proclamation - By enriching ourselves, we enrich the world! - Flim. Or possibly Flam.

I always knew any exploration of the zebra would inevitably end up being, at best, annoying. This particular storyline isn't improving my view of some of the comic writers. Andy Price art aside (not that the colourist does him any favours), it's just not that good.

A friendly reminder that the retcon towards magic being a unicorn thing was done to save cloud cities from the implications of the season 8 finale... and couldn't have been introduced before it was mostly written, because they wouldn't have had Tirek in the episode drawing attention to the fact this was a change if they'd planned things out this way from the start. (Or they're just trolling the bronies again, but Fame and Misfortune proved they don't feel the need to be subtle about that)

Inside Baseball Alert: Archetype of Camaraderie is a reference to a Therosian cycle, while Alchemist Ascension references a Zendikar one.

Stupid Complicated Game Alert: If Crown Collector has a legal target, you have to choose one. However, you don't choose whether it actually dies until the ability resolves, so trying to set yourself up to profit from the death at instant speed probably won't work. (If it doesn't have a legal target, such as if nobody has become the monarch yet, then it doesn't really notice until it tries to resolve and fails. I don't know of anything that mechanically cares about the fact that it triggered in the first place, but it's possible)

I'm sure that, if anyone can correct this comic, it's you, FOME :pinkiehappy:

Of course, Part 2 could offer a way to tie up all the loose ends. "shrugs" You never know :twilightblush:
I'm probably wrong, but hey, hope springs eternal, right?

"Wow. Wow. We’re going for completely nonmagical zebras. I do not approve. Especially since magic tattoos still appear on their hips. I’m definitely ignoring this."
...Also, didn't we actually see Zecora doing what appeared to be magic, if briefly, at one point during the show? Conjuring tea, or something like that?

:facehoof: Rockhoof, you’re Nhorse. You come from a long line of sailors and can navigate by the stars (assuming Luna hasn’t been messing with them again.) You still have an applicable skill set even if shovels don’t have much use on the open waves.

My first thought was that a shovel makes a very passable oar :applejackunsure:

Humph re: the magic. That said, I think it’s salvageable. It’s a breakdown of technical language. Remember how in dnd there are spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities? And they’re all related, but have important differences. Apparently (and I’m going to TRY not to blame unicorn racism here, I really am...) there’s been a push to distinguish the three.

though that does raise the question of how the people of Farasi think the sun rises.

They believe that the world is spherical and orbits the sun via gravity. But that would be ridiculous, right?

I can’t look at Marini’s mane without thinking of an Enigma Berry from Pokémon, and I agree that the abada look too busy, but I love the kelpies’ designs. I want to be the first person to write about them... but I don’t have any ideas yet.

Also, I’m going to guess that “Earth ponies have no magic” was another in-universe mistake. Since the Farasians having cutie marks also goes against established lore, maybe it’ll turn out that zebras have some natural magic, too?

I nearly missed raising the sun because I was so worried about what will set me apart.

Well golly Twilight, what part of that sentence could set you apart?

Ah. Those four represent “the smartest ponies [Twilight knows].” That makes sense, especially Stygian, the Pillar of Logistics... though I do wonder if Moondancer knows about the snub.

It was an intense battle of the minds as Twilight pit Moondancer and Sunburst against one another in what turned out to be a four-hour-long debate. In the end, Sunburst took the victory when, on the subject of Manual Kanter's theories on how the pony mind organizes experiences into knowledge of how the world works, he explained a way that said theories can be used to categorize the components of complex spells.

I know you mentioned it above, but I still want to call out the panel with Pinkie, Bon Bon, and Maud, because I love everything about it.

Yeah, I have to be honest, this feels a lot less like "I have an idea to finally give an answer to this long-standing mystery!" and more like "Oh my god! We have single tiny element of the world that hasn't been totally explored, explained and demystified. We can't have that! Quick, cobble something, anything together!" It does rather reek of what I've termed Khoraphobia* - the belief that every single aspect of a work's entire world must be completely and exhaustively explained and that a bad explanation is always preferable to no explanation, neither of which I think is correct or a good attitude to have. It's okay to leave some things open to speculation and interpretation.

Also to be honest, I really get the impression that the "Zecora stops rhyming, it's that serious" thing and the lack of rhyming from anyone else was because the writer just didn't want to go to the effort of coming up with more rhyming couplets than they had to. Which is a shame since the ones we get aren't too bad. The metre's pretty shaky in places, but overall it was okay. Also, while I'm open to the idea of her rhymes being a choice (even if I feel that's unlikely given what we've seen of her and a lot less interesting), saying "it's to make everything into an incantation" feels... really lame to me. I don't know why - I think it's because it makes it feel like one of the most fun and intriguing parts of her character is just something she's doing because she feels she should or that it'll make herself seem better. I'm fine with it being a choice, but not with it being an affectation, if that makes any sense.

Combine that with "Zebras and Earth Ponies don't have magic" (because obviously, if they're not throwing energy blasts around, they must be totally magically inert, right?), the overdesigned inhabitants and the overall unremarkableness of what we're given and I am going to be thoroughly ignoring this in future. To be frank, I was totally fine with the series not exploring Zecora's backstory and zebra society and this makes me feel one-hundred-percent validated in that feeling.

*with the 'Kh' pronounced like Loch or Jaime. And the fact I have to specify this is the one problem with the term.

So what I got from this was Deviant Art OCs abound and:

Comics: *Attempt to provide world building and backstory for the most underdeveloped setting element and mystery.*

FoME: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

One of the reasons I actually prefer this idea to the School of Friendship is less of that nasty "enlightening the savages" aftertaste. Twilight's intentions speak more towards a Federation of Species than an Equestrian Empire, forging bonds with other world powers rather than indoctrinating the principles of friendship into the next generation. That said, her presentation explicitly presenting her mission as expanding Equestria's borders doesn't help. It's that darn country/planet/known world ambiguity striking again, combined with dubious writing.

5370517 5370869
Yeah, there are definitely times where potential-rich ambiguity is the preferable option, and this is one of them.

Also to be honest, I really get the impression that the "Zecora stops rhyming, it's that serious" thing and the lack of rhyming from anyone else was because the writer just didn't want to go to the effort of coming up with more rhyming couplets than they had to.

Highly probable. It did seem to crop up with ever-increasing frequency as Issue #90 went on. And I definitely understand where you're coming from in terms of the reason for the rhyme.

Gosh, it's almost like they should've rethought a "The magic goes away" plotline in a ludicrously high fantasy setting! :pinkiegasp:

Indeed it does. My expectations may be low, but the next two issue could still surprise me.

Why yes, yes we did. It only makes this worse. I'm tempted to say Season 10 was written by unicorn historians several decades after the fact. Presumably ones who will soon get a displeased visit from Princess Twilight.

I could definitely see some terminological issues at work. Details like the "only unicorns can learn how to cast spells" thing are aggravating, but not as terrible. The problem comes when the screwheads claim ownership over the term "magic." Which apparently doesn't cover things like weather control, kirin combustion, or Pinkie Pie.


They believe that the world is spherical and orbits the sun via gravity. But that would be ridiculous, right?

Let's not get too outrageous. :derpytongue2:

I admit, the kelpies present some interesting opportunities. I do love a good elemental. Their interactions with hippogriffs certainly invite some questions.

Also, I’m going to guess that “Earth ponies have no magic” was another in-universe mistake.

I can only hope. As for zebra magic, you'd think someone would've noticed by now. I swear, if this slips into "ponies show the naive locals the magic they overlooked for millennia..."

Headcanon accepted. Did Moondancer write a sonnet or just kiss him once he'd finished his argument?

As ever, I'm taking a toolbox approach. There are definitely some interesting components here. They're just assembled in a very stupid way.

Between the shaky one in “Twilight’s Kingdom,” the crazed one in “Between Dark and Dawn,” and the ceremonial one in “The Summer Sun Setback,” this is at minimum her fourth.

She hasn't done one yet. All of the above were accomplished with other ponies' magic, whether directly or through devices.

Yeah, if they do “show the locals their own magic” then it’s definitely more of that pony xenophobia by historians. Mostly to stop me rioting.

But, since they’re not counting what Pegasi do either AND they all have cutie magic, this is definitely just word appropriation. Clearly we need the cultural counter-narrative. What unicorns do is only magic. Parlor tricks. It’s not as if it’s spiritual. It has nothing to do with Harmony or a deep connection to the land or your own innate talents.

Which interestingly is actually bringing it more into alignment with our own language. The difference between magic and a miracle, or a sorcerer and a priest.

So yeah, the unicorns are off on a tangent with their magic. They aren’t doing anything important. It actually raises an interesting question: how DO you make unicorn powers spiritually significant and not just throwing energy around?

Further evidence, if anything, that ponies could probably conquer the world, between some of the contenders' weaksauce weaknesses, and a good number of them apparently being ignorant that they even exist, alicorns being a myth within a myth.


the belief that every single aspect of a work's entire world must be completely and exhaustively explained and that a bad explanation is always preferable to no explanation,

See also: Daring Doubt, and what happened regarding Garble in Sweet and Smokey. (the former was worse considering the contradictions to "Daring Done?" [that contradiction related to Ahuizotl], Fame and Misfortune, and Common Ground [in S9], because come on, they exposed Daring Do as actually existing in Fame and Misfortune, and yet suddenly you care about it being a "secret," Rainbow Dash)

"Princess Erroria": Aw, we don't wanna hear her bowing lessons! Come on! Tell us again about when you met Dawing Do!
Rainbow Dash: [laughs nervously] Again? Haven't we already covered that one? A couple dozen times?

Rainbow Dash: Um, you've met Daring Do, so that's probably an exaggeration. [to Clear Sky] No offense.
Clear Sky: None taken. When it comes to describing your special somepony, a little exaggeration's normal. [to Quibble] And I feel the same way about you.

Rainbow Dash: More like a disaster! Listen! [reading] "Daring Do isn't just a fictional character from over-the-top adventure stories. I've met her, and she is a real, live pony!" That's supposed to be a secret!

hmm, one just really didn't add up...


I think yet another thing to ponder is, for instance, can't Centaurs 100% learn magic in the sense of "can cast it," considering Tirek (and the exposition regarding "gifted in magic")? Are they just woefully ignorant in those parts to not know this information? Are they mythical even beyond unicorns?


Well, ponies were so darn insular they barely knew about Dragons beyond that they existed. So I wouldn’t put it past them.

You know... that school setting... having no context at all, my first thought is that there’s a conspiracy to keep Zebras from learning magic. That this isn’t a mistake, its malice on someone’s part.

Edit: Like maybe, for example, a zebra god-king who doesn’t want any competition?

And here I was thinking I'd probably buy the "Season 10" comics in hopes of a more satisfying ending than the show gave us. This is making me rethink that.
Rules question: can you sort of soft-lock a game via Stormbane Unicorn, by continually choosing your own permanents as the new targets, thus re-triggering ability, ad infinitum?


Hmm, that could be an interesting idea, actually.

Kinda unfortunate that I don't expect the comics to be doing something like that.

Whether or not it's technically allowed by the rules, it very clearly falls under slow play, and if you're not in a setting where tournament rules matter then you're in a setting where your opponent is also your friend.


Their interactions with hippogriffs certainly invite some questions.

What do you mean?


the belief that every single aspect of a work's entire world must be completely and exhaustively explained and that a bad explanation is always preferable to no explanation

That reminds me, the TV Tropes page for “The Last Problem” has an overly-long The Unreveal entry listing every single thing that wasn’t explained. Not only is that misuse, but most of it was stuff that would have a simple answer anyway, such as Twilight becoming taller.

Yeah, I'm going to studiously ignore everything about the worldbuilding in this comic. (Well, except for the water elemental kelpies, maybe. They're neat!)

Also, I kinda like the idea that, after Celestia's inwards-turned reign, Twilight's overcorrecting in the other direction with the "Let's export Friendship everywhere!" thing. I expect she'll find a proper balance in a century or so, and this period of Equestrian history will have lots of footnotes saying things like "It seemed like a good idea at the time!" and "In hindsight, it really was patronizing."

Well, so often, the flaws in their edifice are the cracks in which the seeds of our fanfiction can take root...

Yeah, I mean, it works if it's "Only unicorns have magic, because that's defined as the thing unicorns have, and can cast spells, because they're defined as the things unicorns do", but, uh... Well, it raises some questions about why the terminology is insistent, for one. I mean, in another setting one could say that "magic" as a tribal trait is equal with the others in fundamental cultural importance, but it's "Friendship is Magic", not "Friendship is Magic, and also the things pegasi and earth ponies and other creatures can do that aren't officially classified as Magic".

Oh, interesting spin on it, though. :D
"The poor unicorns. All they can do is directly manipulate matter, energy, and time; the closest they get to a real connection with the life force of the rest of the world is crude mind control. And they haven't even had a fundamental importance to the country since alicorns took over the sun and moon, not like how earth ponies and pegasi still feed us all and keep us safe from wild weather."

As for making unicorn powers spiritually significant, I think it actually is, or can be, more difficult than for earth pony or pegasus abilities. The earth ponies can engage with the living earth, its rocks, soil, and plants, and the pegasi work with each other and the tremendous and complex thing that is the atmosphere, with all its short and long distance connections to the land and water and life below and the sky above. For unicorns, perhaps something like focusing more directly on the living magic permeating the world?

Hm. Also an interesting idea! :D

See the unicorns sound stupid powerful when you say it like that. But, you know, a particularly crazy Pegasus kid given some instruction was able to knock out magic for the entire country. There’s an entire class of Earth Ponies with Toon superpowers and/or precognition. Not to mention that any group of good enough friends can summon the powers of Harmony and rainbow deathray horrifying monstrous threats. And that’s just the canon stuff that springs to mind at first thought.

What I’m getting at here is that spellcasting isn’t OP compared to everyone else, it’s that spellcasting is a more developed tradition. If the Earth Ponies were going to raise the sun they could probably do it, they’d just set up Stonehenge. And if a Pegasus was going to Time Travel they’d go 88 miles per hour while hit by lightning :p

But Twilight was the one who pulled the sun above the horizon. If your first time driving is in your parents' car, you still have some experience behind the wheel.


Yeah, if they do “show the locals their own magic” then it’s definitely more of that pony xenophobia by historians. Mostly to stop me rioting.

Sadly, it'll take more than one cultural revolution to pull some ponies' heads out of their flanks.

how DO you make unicorn powers spiritually significant and not just throwing energy around?

Depends on what qualifies as "spiritually significant." And if more institutionalized magic training (like the Doc Brown school of time travel) would make the other tribes' contributions less significant. The big problem is that alicorns took over unicorns' primary magical contribution to society, which presumably led to them exploring more esoteric applications of their supernatural capabilities. Hopefully Twilight's reign will encourage more research into noncornic applied thaumology.

Kind of wandered away from your question there. :derpytongue2:

And I do give even odds of Abraxas or one of the other princes being involved with the grootslang attacks.

Water elementals and a semi-aquatic civilization. Seems like they'd have some history.

As far as early mistakes in an alicorn's reign go, accidentally patronizing diplomatic outreach is probably better than Celestia's track record. And definitely better than Luna's. (Meanwhile, Cadence is actually the best statesmare out of the four of them, but no one notices. Which is how you know she's doing a good job.)

New prompt: Medley Brook visits Mount Aris. I think she’d get along with Silverstream and Skystar.

If magic was just a machine, that argument might have some merit, but magic is individualized and qualitatively distinct between individuals. It's Celestia's magic, with her cutie mark connection to the sun that uniquely rejuvenates her where other ponies would be exhausted, in the amulet and the merged crown that lets Twilight raise the sun. And it was her magic that Twilight used in Twilight's Kingdom. Just a massive spodge of power isn't enough, it's important that the magic Twilight is borrowing is unique.

Agreed about Cadance being the best statesmare among the alicorns. She's also the only one that's never had a psychotic break or five, and the only one who is raising a family. These things are probably not unrelated.

Huh. I was not actually meaning to make the unicorns sound stupid powerful there; I'm not sure how it came across as that?
But, yes, you have good points. :)

(I think I also sometimes think of the three tribes as having different power over population curves, as it were; the most powerful unicorns are really really powerful... but the spike is narrow and the drop off steep, with most unicorns not being anywhere near that strong. By contrast, the pegasi and then moreso the earth ponies have flatter curves, where the same peak level is an even smaller and rarer percentage of the population but the lower levels are more populated at the population average discounting outliers is higher.)

re your second paragraph:
Hm, and nice thoughts there, too, I think. :)

And to top it all off, Cadance is also the only one consistently shown as knowing how to fight. While the shield didn't work for reasons she couldn't have known about, it was still more than any of the other princesses managed. Never mind getting literally thrown into battle in a manner that implies practice on both ends.

Anyone else feel like you missed an episode? :rainbowhuh:

That would be the recent Free Comic Book Day release. I haven't seen a digital version available yet, but MD. Tanzim posted a frame-by-frame of it on YouTube. It's a bit on the short side, but perhaps you could combine it with The Stage and make a batch out of those?

Login or register to comment