Ponyfinder - Age of Adventure
Ponies and Pathfinder Classes
Ponies as Alchemists
Especially during the height of the empire, ponies have been called to curiosity about the workings of the world. Zebra have a particular attraction to the art, finding that its discoveries mesh well with their inherent urge to seek out their place in the great workings of the universe. Recognizing a ponykind alchemist is not difficult, even if one ignores the dangling alchemical supplies. Most develop stains around the lips and snout from their experiments, for better or worse.
Mutagen use varies with the practitioner, but since most ponykind are thankful for the forms granted to them by fate, mutagen use draws mild bewilderment and distrust from common pony folk. Who are these strange magic brewers that think they know better than the gods how to perfect their form? Of course, they are not alone in this, sharing the shadow of polite society with druids and transmutational wizards.
Ponies as Barbarians
Few are the ponies marked for this task, but those that are become horrible battlefield menaces.
Pony barbarians do not use specialized techniques alien to their humanoid companions, except for how they hold the axe. The increased speed that barbarians enjoy is a true delight for ponies, especially earthbound ones, who can compete with their airborne cousins for mobility as they race like a streak across the ground.
Ponies as Bards
Like many fey creatures, ponies appreciate good song and dance. Members of their community that remember and share tales of the golden era are celebrated. As a result, pony bards are highly valued in any pony community. If they turn to adventure,
it is an emotionally charged event. Sorrow for their leaving mixes with giddy anticipation that the bard may yet return some day with new songs and stories to share. Of all the classes, pony bards are most likely to keep contact with their home community. Regular letters and missives keep their family and friends updated on their latest exploits, world news, and current events.
The lack of fingers does not hinder pony bards as sharply as their humanoid neighbors would imagine. Pony bards have no hesitation in using their hooves in addition to their mouth, pounding beats on drums and even, with much practice, strumming a string instrument. A pony that holds a wind instrument in mouth and knows how to play it (has at least one rank in the appropriate perform skill) can do so, without manipulating the instrument with hooves. This is a supernatural ability that all ponies share. Some say that hoof string-strumming is powered by the same ability. This talent aside, most ponies express themselves in song first.
Ponies as Cavaliers
A curious profession for a race that appears like small mounts to the humanoid races, cavaliers do draw a small number of ponykind. The idea of chivalrous charges into danger appeals to a select few, and the comradery of the cavalier orders can be a powerful draw to the social minded ponykind. Ponykind are capable of riding any mount large enough to hold them. Able to sit upright and with all the knee control of any human, they can control a mount with minimal difficulty.
For their choice of mount, most of ponykind finds it feels wrong to exploit their ‘simplehoof’ kin. Others argue that their slow witted, but larger, horse mounts deserve as much chance to fight for the forces of good, or their Queen, as anyone else. Ultimately, the choice is up to the individual cavalier. Some try to go without a mount at all, instead relying on the lance’s synergy with their weapon rack to perform mounted charges on their own four hooves.
Ponies as Clerics and Oracles
Ponies are a faithful people. They are raised into it: with their life’s skill etched onto their side by forces beyond their control, ponies find achieving true faith in higher beings natural. This does not mean that ponies often become clerics. Most ponies find their cutiemark guiding them to much more mundane tasks. The most frequent sign of an up-and-coming pony cleric is to develop a mark that matches the holy symbol of a god.
Such ponies often become enamored with their god. Some claim the god has chosen them, others, that they are drawn to the god.
In either event, they will begin studying all there is to study of the god. If there is a church or other organization that the pony can reach, they will soon leave home to join it. Not every such pony makes it through to becoming a cleric (some become simple priests) but all are fanatical about their chosen deity.
Having a mark of fate that matches your god (See Pious Mark feat) counts as a divine focus.
Ponies as Druids
Druidism is a primal and natural fit for ponies. Their own stories speak of the ancient past, when they ruled the land with other fey and helped to watch over it: controlling the weather, tending the animals, and ensuring the balance of nature. Their global role has waned, but individuals can still feel the pull of their ancestral duty.
Despite being herbivores, pony druids have little compunction about traveling with sharp-fanged wolves or cats. Most ponies that have decided upon a life of druidism push past their equine skittishness to embrace the brutal equality of nature. A predator is just as valuable as prey. All deserve to live, if they are fit and can survive. Not all ponies travel with animal companions. Their mark draw them to different paths and varied journeys of self discovery. A pony druid often determines to become stronger and tougher: to be a survivor first, then explore their role in the wider schemes of nature.
A common sentiment amongst pony druids is that the world has fallen to imbalance due largely to the proliferation and exploitation of humanoids. Those that succumb to bitterness of lost glory and spreading humanoid cities risk a fall from serenity with ever darker thoughts, and can become implacable foes to civilized folk.
Ponies as Fighters
Ponies can make for a variety of warriors. Their lack of hands means that most ponies do not entertain the idea of using shields, favoring agility and swordplay to prevail. Unicorns have an advantage here. With practice, they can wield shields with their innate magic, but pure fighters rarely practice with their horns long enough to make this stick.
It is possible to get around this if a particular pony prized defense. Wielding their shields in mouth, a polearm or other large weapon can be placed in their saddle rack, allowing them to strike with their long weapon while warding blows away with the shield. Rearing up and striking with hooves and horseshoes is also quite effective, keeping the mouth free for other weapons or shield.
Being four-legged, ponies can bear quite a lot of weight, so it is not unusual for trained warriors to wear heavy plates of armor. Even encumbered, which can be difficult to inflict upon ponies, they tend to move at least as fast as their humanoid counterparts, making heavy armor quite attractive to these equine fighters.
Most non-adventuring ponies do not practice in the ways of war, trusting in their military to defend them in times of war and raids. The army accepts volunteers, and tends to be a lifetime vocation.
Ponies as Gunslingers
This is a troubling combination. Almost everything about this calling benefits from having hands and dextrous fingers, which ponies sorely lack. Reloading any firearm, especially with pellets and powder, is a long, arduous, task for most ponies, to say nothing of the fact that gunpowder does not taste good. The end result is a vanishingly tiny number of ponies that give more than a single glance at a firearm with anything but envy for the clever fingers of their neighbors. The few who do take up the art tend to be unicorns who’ve dedicated enough effort to replace wriggling humanoid fingers with clean horn magic.
Ponies as Monks
The way of the monk occasionally sends a serene whisper into fuzzy pony ears. The pony form takes full advantage of monk techniques without the need for adapted tools. A well-trained unarmed pony can become a flurry of hooves, horn, teeth, head, and body slams to knock sense into those that cross them. Stunning fists, and other related attacks, are delivered via hoof with equal precision and efficiency.
The concentration required of the profession is also at home with most ponies, allowing them to focus, without reservation, on perfection. To imitate particular styles, some ponies become used to rearing on hind legs almost instantly for short periods, pulling off fantastic feats of martial finesse before landing elegantly back on all four hooves.
Ponies as Paladins
A match made in heaven, possibly literally. Those who feel the draw to a bright god and possess strength of body and soul can be drawn to the orders of paladinhood. The single-mindedness of ponies turns to righteous fervor as they crusade to protect the innocent and stomp evil beneath their hooves. Donning gleaming suits of polished metal and typically wielding the largest sword or polearm they can find, pony paladins cut an intimidating profile on their quest for the forces of good and justice.
Pony paladins appear much like a small paladin’s mount, missing its paladin. Also, most ponies do not opt to gain a mount. Not because it’s impossible to ride (it isn’t) but it’s awkward and a horse on a horse rarely feels or looks right. Leave the humanoids to their equine exploitation.
Crystal ponies are especially drawn to the path of the crusader. Heralding back to the glory of their lost kingdom, they become beacons of light in a dark world, readily championing their ideals.
Ponies as Rangers
Keeping to natural climes is a common desire of many ponies. Like the calling of druids, ponies who take to ranging feel a special connection to their lost past. Of course, a pony has to be careful with their combat style specialization. Most ponies can’t make good use of bows. Two-weapon fighting is possible, with a racked weapon and a mouth-held light weapon, but this is awkward and usually avoided. Unicorns can, with practice, use their horn magic to dual-wield gracefully.
Using horseshoes is a more reasonable option for the rest, allowing multiple strikes that take advantage of the style. For other ponies, two-handed style or sword and shield style tends to win out. Saddle racks mean both can be executed without special training.
Ponies as Rogues
The life of a rogue is not a natural one for most ponies. It distances ponies from the communities that draw them, but fate is fickle. When a pony feels the draw of the subtle, they chase after it with all the fierce resolve that any other path would inspire.
Pony rogues learn to make use of belt pouches within easy reach of their mouth to keep the tools of their trade close. They are perfectly capable of using lockpicks and daggers held in maw at a moment’s notice.
Pony tools look a little different than humanoid sets.
Shaped somewhat like scissors, they allow the pony to perform two-handed manipulations of the lock or trap entirely with their mouth. This gets the job done, but means the unfortunate rogue has their face that much closer when things go wrong.
Pony rogues avoid hard covering on their hooves, and will go to pains to wear soft leathers over them after the first time a stray clop betrays their existence. Ponies that go brigand will leave survivors more often than not, if their victim complies with their demands. Such outlaws can be almost comical for the unprepared, as few expect to be waylaid by a small horse with a dagger or rapier in maw, mumbling something about throwing down jewels. Surprise becomes outrage when the joke turns out to be reality.
Ponies as Summoners
Most ponies are shy about forging relationships with mysterious extraplanar beings. Many ponies trot down this path chasing after the ancient ties of their people. There were once many grand beasts, intelligent and not, with whom the pony nations consorted as allies, pets, and enemies. Many have since passed away, but leave echoes to be found in the varied realms outside the material. Pony summoners tend to create bonds with these extinct beings, or at least shadows that claim to be related to them.
Ponies as Witches
It is an unusual pony that signs contracts with extraplanar beings of shady and undefined nature.
For those who take steps along this trail, their trials are similar to those of sorcerous bent. With their spells granted by their familiar, rituals are translated through the filter of this guiding spirit, saving them the wizard’s extra hassle. Ultimately, ponies serve adequately as witches, though suffer from some worried looks and shunning from their more mildmannered kin, who do not kindly look on the idea of it.
Ponies as Wizards and Sorcerers
While magic comes most naturally to unicorns, even a down-to-earth-bound pony or a flighty pegasus can become drawn to its promises of power and answers.
Ponies have an inherent disadvantage when it comes to magical study, at least to start. Performing delicate rituals, as well as drawing out scrolls and spells are a challenge to the hand impaired. Many ponies never study magic because the bridge between performing somatic gestures with humanoid hands and doing so with their own hooves is too far/difficult to cross.
This is not to say it’s impossible, but it is a constant challenge for any pony wizard, who must make this adaptation for every new spell they encounter.
Non-unicorn wizards have earned the pejorative title of ‘black lips’ due to the spell writing ink that inevitably stains their face.
Many of these issues can be worked around by getting a humanoid mentor to get them a hoof in the door of learning the arcane arts. This is a big reason why ponies consider becoming apprentices, or even familiars, for famous wizards that can help them with their studies. In return for faithful service, they have someone that can help them translate motions, and use a quill more easily while they learn the basics.
Sorcerer ponies have it easier in this regard. The rituals come intuitively to them as they explore their potential. That in many cases they don’t need to reach for components is also a welcome relief. This results in far more pony sorcerers than wizards. Unicorns are born with sorcerer bloodlines occasionally appearing as their cutiemark, marking their future and awakening the potential within them. This makes the choice clear, and most such ponies pursue its perfection doggedly.
Due to their focused nature, most pony spellcasters, sorcerer or wizard, tend to specialize rather than generalize. Many try to excel in a single school of magic, neglecting others in the process. This tunnel-minded pursuit of perfection is not universal, but common enough to give rise to stereotypes in magic communities where ponies are present.