My Little Pony: The RPG

My Little Pony and RPGs – a perfect match?

Friend of the blog Erin Palette has been running a series on the My Little Ponies done up in D&D stats.Right after I saw that, I ran across a storygames thread about “MLP” that, among random indie silliness, pointed at a really good Savage Worlds MLP mod.  And that in turn mentions “My Little d20”, a d20 MLP RPG.

Of course, this made me think of the 2006 WotC April Fool’s joke about – a My Little Pony RPG!

Even at the time, it pissed me off.  It pissed me off that such an obviously good idea, an idea that would result in a pretty darn popular game, was regarded as a joke by Wizards. I still remember this article unfondly, 5 years later. Now there’s so much demand on the heels of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series (which I somehow haven’t seen, despite having a nine year old daughter) that it is clearly just plain stupid that they haven’t done something like this.

Imaginative play is at a high premium with kids!  Parents pay a lot for things to promote it.  If they resisted the urge to make a rules-heavy abomination like D&D the engine behind it, a My Little Pony RPG (or “Adventure Game”) could be huge.

I put some thought into this when my daughter was younger.  You could quite easily make a commodity RPG based on, for example, Dora the Explorer.  Those episodes are very rote, the girl is on a quest and has to pass three different obstacles.  You print up some “adventure sheets” with three to-do things, and a harried parent can “run the game” while doing housework.  “Here, to get by the rhyming troll you have to write down a poem!  Work one out together, Dora, Nora, and Whoever-you-are!  Back in 5! Remember to play pretend!” It can be made appropriate down to a very young age. That article came out when my girl was 4 and I easily specced out some kid-compatible mechanics (who rolled higher on a d6 + arts & crafts!).

Of course, this is hard for most RPG companies to do.  It’s not like they’re part of a huge corporation that owns the rights to a bunch of children’s properties! Oh, wait…

It’s pretty sad that we want to get a new generation into the hobby, but the most obvious and high value things that could do that are despised, and instead we think all we need is yet another 300 page rulebook slaughterfest game. Get a child psychologist, combine simple to-dos with pony figures, run a TV spot during the show (retask some of the money being flushed down the toiled advertising Green Lantern toys), and voila, the My Little Pony Adventure Game has more people playing it than every other extant RPG within weeks.

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12 responses to “My Little Pony: The RPG

  1. This was going to be my closing argument at the end of the week. Thanks for stealing my thunder, Mxy. 😛

  2. I agree with you 100% regarding introducing the younger generation to RPGs. I would think it would be agreeable even to non-gaming parents. You can barely turn on the TV without seeing some fluff story about “kids these days only play video games” or “families don’t spend time together anymore”. RPGs have a lot to offer, both as educational tools and as wholesome family entertainment.

    As a side note, where is all of the buzz for “My Little Ponies” coming from lately? As a 41 year-old, with no kids, I recall the toys and seem to remember a cartoon. However, it seems like lately, everytime I log on to the Internet, I see some mention of it. Did the series have a re-boot?

    At any rate, this was a fun read. Glad I stopped by.

    • The series had a reboot last year and is properly titled My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. While it is obviously a child’s cartoon, it is *insanely* well done: well-written, well-drawn, well-acted, with plenty of puns, sight gags, at least one Chuck Jones reference, and several *very* catchy songs.

      To paraphrase the producer: “We knew parents would end up watching this show with their kids so we wanted to make it fun for them too. This includes *male* parents as well.” It worked! The series is now very popular with high school and college age students of both sexes.

  3. FYI — watch MLP:FIM as soon as possible. By the time you hit the “chase scene gag” in third ep, to the tune of Yakety Sax, true to the origins of chase scenes played to that tune, you’ve already laughed quite a lot by then. There are LOTS of jokes that will just fly over the head of kiddies, but adults will get them.

    Also? I would play MLP:FIM game.

  4. I’m with Kelvin there… although I have a house full of princess girls that want to play MLP:RPG. Using these “Flying Pink Pony Unicorn with Magical Ballerina Fairy” (with lasers) miniatures: https://www.thunderboltmountain.com/product_info.php?cPath=38&products_id=194&osCsid=64dd73ffc7d255b872bc2f14b2d1ccf1

  5. Pingback: Erin palette | Fotosnap

  6. Pingback: More Kids in Gaming Thoughts, The Future, and 5e | Geek Related

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