Well… where to start…?

A few months ago, all four of us here became aware of a show that’s doing quite well outside it’s normal demographic: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Dave in particular has really taken to it, as it’s done a lot to help raise his spirits, and he went so far as to write an RPG based on the show, using a trimmed down version of the Open D6 system. Of course, once Pony Tales was done, several of his friends started asking ‘so when’s the game?’

Of course, he’d done it more as an intellectual exercise, but it’s hard to say ‘no’ when people are coming up with characters on you. So Saturday night, six of us got together to adventure in the Valley of Heart’s Delight, a march on the southern edge of Equestria.

I’ll admit, I’m the one who wasn’t entirely prepared. I like the series, but my mental space has been elsewhere for the past month or two, and inspiration was not striking. Still, I have a basic feel for Marathon, Postal Express pony.

We also had Windshear (Baron) a pegasus who works for the coastal patrol, Astra Rose (Lance) an unicorn surveyor, Trot “Tongs” Ironhoof (Dusty) an earth pony mechanic/blacksmith, and Silver Tuppence (Smudge) the unicorn accountant for the Marquis in charge of the valley.

The story started the morning after Nightmare Night; Abendstern [Evenstar], the youngest daughter of the Marquess had gone to attend a party in nearby Ponyford. That morning, she and her two guards had not been heard from at the Marquis’ castle and Silver Tuppence was tasked to find the missing daughter as quickly as possible.

This will be the boring version of the session; we have a group full of quick-witted people, and various silly lines and shared geek-culture references zipped by all night. But, most of them were highly situational, and my mind has retained hardly any of the byplay.

Going down to Ponyford, Tuppence met two ponies who have had dealings with the household before; Astra Mare had been party hopping herself in Ponyford, and Marathon, who was delivering a new surveyor’s scope to her (and having been out flying the previous night, he was possibly the only non-hung over adult in the town). Tuppence questioned Astra about the parties last night, but she didn’t know much beyond seeing the guards… drinking, possibly heavily.

A quick scouring of the center of town followed. Astra used her magical talent to send materials to manage to locate a piece of one of the guard’s armor… up in a tree. With pegasi, and unicorns who can use telekinesis around, there’s plenty of ways it could have gotten up there. As I flew around, I noticed that it seemed like the number of gryphons that attended last night’s party was perhaps unusually high. The bit dropped, and I checked out the tree again, and there was indeed a gryphon feather there, dyed red.

Meanwhile, in the nearby town of Gallopston (the major town on the coast, and the next stop down the rail line from Ponyford), Windshear and Tongs were having encounters with the missing guards. They didn’t know where they were (well, until told), how they got there, or… where Abendstern was. They could remember her meeting up with a unicorn mare, and the two of them buying the guards some drinks… but nothing past that. After some time figuring things out, Windshear and Tongs set out with the guards for Ponyford to figure out just what’s going on.

After the two mini-parties met up and started exchanging notes there were a few avenues to explore. It eventually occurred to us to ask, and then the two guards realized that their memories from last night didn’t just fade into a drunken haze, but more just stopped. A check at the train station ticket window revealed that somepony matching the description of the mare who joined Abendstern last night had bought a ticket for a couple stops down the line. Cue traveling music.

Tracking her down once we were there took a little effort (Astra kept digging herself in deeper), but we eventually got to where she lived on the outskirts of town. Midnight (as her name turned out to be) was very startled, and a bit scared to see a large group arrive, with the guards in tow. Desperately explaining, “It was just a little prank!” it turned out that that this unicorn’s magical talent is good for putting ponies to sleep. She had agreed to help Abendstern get away from her escort for a little while (…which she has been known to do before) by knocking them out, and putting them on the train for Gallopston. Presumably, she was still going to return to the castle on her own the next morning; the last Midnight had seen of her was as she boarded the train to go home, and Abendstern stayed behind in Ponyford… with a griffon named Little Claw that had helped with the plan.

That prompted a trip to the Marchioness’ family lands in wine country. Abendstern naturally spends some time there, and it attracts a number of griffon workers in during “Griffon Summer”, which in the valley is the period just before Nightmare Night. It turned out that Little Claw was employed there (not very successfully), and is something of a misfit, he hasn’t done well at the winery, for a while he was interested in a group of young toughs that celebrate the more belligerent ‘warrior past’ of the gryphons (who like to dye their feathers with red ochre in imitation of old practices), and Abendstern was one of the few griffons or ponies who spent any time with him.

This led us to the Marquess’ castle. Most of the party checked on what Abendstern had been doing, while Marathon and Windshear flew off to check with a nearby Griffon community about Little Claw. He indeed did come from there. He hadn’t been home for a little while, but as he’d been working at the winery, that was normal.

Our return to the castle from that trip pretty much ended the night, as a couple of us were already fading fast. But there were a couple last things: checking with the palace staff revealed that Abendstern’s friend Midnight had visited her quite often lately. Midnight had given us the impression that they didn’t know each other that well…. And a quick check into Abendstern’s finances showed that she had been saving a fair amount of her stipend… and that she had recently cleared out her bank account.

In all, we all had a great time, and everyone had something to do. I contributed most to the early part of the session, where I think I asked a couple pertinent questions. Baron and Lance are somewhat stealing the show, but they’ve got the quick wit for that to happen quite naturally. ^_^

[Smudge, comment nit-picks on this! I want to clean it up a bit. 😛 ]