Friendship isn't Vancian

Share and review houserules for Ponyfinder.
Iron Heart
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Friendship isn't Vancian

Postby Iron Heart » Sun Jun 15, 2014 2:37 am

If you've seen That Show, you may have noticed that most of the spells unicorns cast do not, in fact, have spell components. Instead, the unicorn wills a thing to happen, and it is so, and the only show that a unicorn is using their power is a glowing horn (and perhaps this is just a visual cue to suggest to the audience, 'hey, this is a unicorn power'). If the unicorn has the talent, and strains themselves trying, they can manage incredible paranormal acts. Does this sound like arcane magic to you? Does this sound like divine magic to you? To me, it sounds like Overchannel.
So, with the numerous races and classes published by my good friends at Dreamscarred Press, that manage to provide an alternative to "I fill my 3rd level slots for the day with explosive runes," I was inspired to devise these variant options for use in my Ponyfinder games. I hope you see fit to use it in your own games, or else offer critique here, and before you throw counterexamples from That Show at me, note that Little Miss Magic could be a spell-to-power erudite.

Core changes
Unicorn ponies' spell-like abilities are now labelled Pony Psionics rather than Horn Magic. (Thus, they are now, for all intents and purposes, psi-like abilities (this doesn't change as much as the name suggests, but it still makes slight differences for prerequisites), and this grants basic unicorn ponies the psionic subtype (which means it grants them the ability to gain psionic focus as a full-round action, allowing them to choose their active energy type from cold, fire, electricity, and sonic; and to treat any one concentration check they make as if they had rolled a 15, by giving up their psionic focus), and it allows them to take psionic feats.)

At your option, you can choose to implement this variant unicorn as you see fit.

Brilliant Unicorn
Ability Scores: +2 Constitution, -2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence: In addition to having the cardiac muscle of horses, unicorns are studied ponies, if a bit clumsy.
Innate Spells: Unicorns gain their choice of the Unlocked Talent feat or the Access Psionic Talent feat as a bonus feat at 1st level.
Psionic Adept: Unicorns gain a +2 bonus to concentration checks made while manifesting to dispense with displays, as well as to manifest defensively.
Psionic Aptitude: When a unicorn takes a level in a favored class, she can opt to gain an additional power point instead of a hit point or skill point.


Feats
Several feats have been updated to increase adventuring utility and strip qualifications down to the essentials.

Practiced Horn Magic [Psionic]
You have honed your horn magic to the point that you can wield weapons and shields using its might.
Prerequisites: Pony Psionics or Psionic Adept racial trait
Benefit: Using your innate telekinesis, you gain an extra effective hand, with which you may wield any one-handed weapon or shield, or hold any other item of a size category up to yours. The held object is treated for all purposes* as if you were physically holding it, using the higher of your Charisma modifier or your highest key ability modifier instead of your Strength modifier. This is a supernatural ability.
* Special: Yes, even then.

Advanced Horn Magic [Psionic]
Your ability to manipulate objects with your magic has grown much more refined.
Prerequisite: Practiced Horn Magic
Benefit: You gain a second mental grip, allowing you to wield a weapon two-handed, or wield a weapon and a shield, or even wield two separate weapons. These follow all basic rules for wielding such items. Further, you may manipulate any number of objects up to the higher of your highest key ability modifier or your Charisma modifier, with weight not to exceed your Lift Over Head carrying capacity, as if you had the appropriate number of hands, although you can't wield weapons or don shields in this way.

Master Horn Magic [Psionic]
You are capable of amazing feats with your finely honed ability to manipulate objects with your horn.
Prerequisite: Advanced Horn Magic, character level 9th
Benefit: You gain telekinesis as a psi-like ability usable twice per day, with a manifester level equal to your character level. Your key ability modifier, if you don't have one already, is Charisma.



If you don't have knowledge of what psionics is, please try it out in your games before posting, and remember The Golden Rule: You can't spend more power points than your manifester level at once, especially when you're augmenting powers.
Last edited by Iron Heart on Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:56 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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-ReiMar-
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Re: Friendship isn't Vancian

Postby -ReiMar- » Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:04 am

I reckon Twilight mentioned that it's enough to recite the spell in the head, non verbally.
Other than that, psionic's an interesting idea)
:)

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David
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Re: Friendship isn't Vancian

Postby David » Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:58 am

Generally! Favored classes are specific to classes. That is, I've never seen a racial option that you can use with any class. Other than that, looks alright. I have not read the PF psionic rules.

Iron Heart
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Re: Friendship isn't Vancian

Postby Iron Heart » Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:14 pm

Well, David, regarding the optional power point, I tried to borrow the wording from the Psionic Aptitude trait that most of the psionic races have, so... there's that.

Psionics is a fun subsystem. You should take a look at it.


ReiMar, where's that from? I must have missed it.

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-ReiMar-
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Re: Friendship isn't Vancian

Postby -ReiMar- » Sun Jun 15, 2014 4:28 pm

Iron Heart wrote:ReiMar, where's that from? I must have missed it.


Not directly, but they do call them "Spells". And Rarity TAUGHT Twilight that gem search spell. And that Starswirl's unfinished spell recited in voice did cause an effect. Not "Psionically" controled)) And at the very start, Twilight knew few magic spells. She learned them little by little. In that Ursa Minor incident, she just learned 25 new spells)
:-)

But I guess this works a bit more complex. Spells just easen process of pouring majic into reality for desired effect. Young Unicorns subconciously cast magic all over the place, without actually learning spells))
;)

I'd say this: Unicorns go with magic. You want Psionics - go with Earth Ponies or Pegasi, make 'em actually use brain's psionics, not magic)
:)

Iron Heart
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Re: Friendship isn't Vancian

Postby Iron Heart » Sun Jun 15, 2014 5:45 pm

-ReiMar- wrote:And that Starswirl's unfinished spell recited in voice did cause an effect. Not "Psionically" controled

Again, Twilight is a spell-to-power erudite. This means she learns spells as powers, and still manifests them with spell components.

-ReiMar- wrote:But I guess this works a bit more complex. Spells just easen process of pouring majic into reality for desired effect. Young Unicorns subconciously cast magic all over the place, without actually learning spells

This might be what a Wilder does. (I'm honestly lost on the fluff of it.) Plus, nothing works like power points for representing "pouring majic into reality for desired effect".

As for Rarity teaching Twilight a technique, that's also doable within the psionics rules, from what I've seen.

Personally, I find that innate controlled magic is best represented with psionics, whereas learned-from-a-source magic is best represented with wizardry and such. The analogy I've seen is "Wizards run scripts, whereas psions write the code themselves." Explains why a wizard can't cast a coldball, while a psion can choose their energy type every time they gain psionic focus (or each time they manifest the power, in the case of kineticists, energy specialists).

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-ReiMar-
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Re: Friendship isn't Vancian

Postby -ReiMar- » Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:23 am

Iron Heart wrote:
-ReiMar- wrote:And that Starswirl's unfinished spell recited in voice did cause an effect. Not "Psionically" controled

Again, Twilight is a spell-to-power erudite. This means she learns spells as powers, and still manifests them with spell components.

-ReiMar- wrote:But I guess this works a bit more complex. Spells just easen process of pouring majic into reality for desired effect. Young Unicorns subconciously cast magic all over the place, without actually learning spells

This might be what a Wilder does. (I'm honestly lost on the fluff of it.) Plus, nothing works like power points for representing "pouring majic into reality for desired effect".

As for Rarity teaching Twilight a technique, that's also doable within the psionics rules, from what I've seen.

Personally, I find that innate controlled magic is best represented with psionics, whereas learned-from-a-source magic is best represented with wizardry and such. The analogy I've seen is "Wizards run scripts, whereas psions write the code themselves." Explains why a wizard can't cast a coldball, while a psion can choose their energy type every time they gain psionic focus (or each time they manifest the power, in the case of kineticists, energy specialists).


Well, I guess that works as an explanation) Make sure it's balanced though) :-)

Iron Heart
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Re: Friendship isn't Vancian

Postby Iron Heart » Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:40 pm

Even just scratching some basic numbers down on paper, I found that my 1st-level unicorn aegis had 7 power points, three of which were from her class, which was... quite the wasted potential, so I'll note that this race works best with enough levels in a psionic class to be able to spend power points. (She also had fewer hit points than the pegasus vitalist. Having less hit points than the medic is a bad thing for a tank, even if the medic steals your wounds, so I'm fairly certain I built them both wrong.)

Since not all unicorns are clever, I'm adding variants. Because unicorns will be the 3.5 elves of my campaign setting, and this is just a starting point.

Edit: I've since pulled the alluring and enlightened unicorns.
Last edited by Iron Heart on Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Gomegadon
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Re: Friendship isn't Vancian

Postby Gomegadon » Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:54 pm

A Wizard can so cast a Coldball, provided they are an Admixture wizard, fireball is an Evocation spell after all.

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Jynnx
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Re: Friendship isn't Vancian

Postby Jynnx » Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:38 pm

Well, yes, it is technically possible.

However, this is one situation where the psion has an easier time of it. I don't have Ultiamte Psionics in front of me at the moment, but to my knowledge the psion can choose the energy type when she manifests the power?

The wizard, on the other hand, can do this only so many times each day. Plus, depending on the spell used and its secondary, non-damaging effects, don't forget that changing the energy type of the spell can also cause you to lose these secondary effects, where as similar psionic powers tend to either not have any secondary effects to lose or list specific secondary effects for each available energy type.

Again, it's a matter of thaumaturgy. A wizard draws energy from clearly defined schools of thought - they are varied, and new colleges can crop up at any time, but generally speaking they are rigid in their application. The psion, on the other hand, reaches straight into the cosmos itself with her mind and basically makes the universe how she wants it - in a sense, by telling the universe it has always *been* the way she wants it all along, so convincingly that the universe forgets things weren't that way.
Let me sleep through this time of pain,
And grant me innocent dreams.
Rouse me during the first summer rain,
When all the world's at peace, it seems.

* * *

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