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Friendship is Dragons is a Campaign Comic that follows that story of six girls as they play through a new Dungeons and Dragons campaign setting, one that just happens to closely resemble My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. The girls behind the ponies range from a Roleplayer to a Psychopath and from experienced gamers to a pair of Newbs. The players themselves have not been named, and of particular note is the fact that the comic is explicitly set in the Dungeons and Dragons universe, using 4e rules.
The players are:
- Twilight Sparkle, a Lawful Good Wizard
- Pinkie Pie, an Unaligned Bard
- Applejack, a Lawful Good Ranger
- Rainbow Dash, a Chaotic Evil Barbarian
- Rarity, an Evil Rogue
- Fluttershy, a Good Druid
This comic contains examples of:
- All There in the Manual: In-universe: the GM sent Dash's player a ten-page email explaining her character. She barely skimmed enough to pick up the term 'weatherpony', and misunderstood that as being a forecaster instead of weather control.
- GM: Campaign! Opening!
- Alternative Character Interpretation: The players' takes on their respective ponies.
- Backstory: All the characters have some backstory, Applejack most of all.
- Big "What?": From Twilight's teammates and the GM when she announces the Elements of Harmony are within her friends.
- Brick Joke: During Twilight's introduction, Pinkie's player mentions that ponies can't get drunk. Later, during her introduction, she brings it back up.
- Broad Strokes: While the basic events of the episodes remain the same, the author has thrown in some extra scenes (such as Twilight writing another letter to Celestia just before NightMare Moon's arrival or talking to the more experienced players after their first session wraps up) or changed how they play out (like Fluttershy botching her roll and Rarity going over the cliff).
- Brutal Honesty: During Dash's temptation, Rarity and Applejack's players state she's not very good at roleplaying and was probably the worst choice for the solo scene, leading her to take both scene and offer more seriously.
- When Twilight states that Applejack represents the Element of Honesty, AJ's player is honestly surprised at how she classes her behavior:
AJ's Player: Honesty... huh, never looked at it that way. Everyone else calls it annoying.
- Classy Cat Burglar: Rarity, who describes herself as a 'social rogue'.
- Colbert Bump: After Equestria Daily gave the site a mention, its hit count jumped from 4,905 to 266,190. In one day.
- Crash Into Hello: Rainbow Dash introducing herself to Twilight by attacking her, mostly due to severe boredom.
- Crossover: With One Piece Grand Line 3 Point 5, wherein Applejack's player is revealed to be another of Cory's cousins, and he, Luke and Nat try designing their own characters for the pony campaign. Starts here.
- Didn't Think This Through: Twilight counters Nightmare Moon's seizing of the Elements by fast talking up a claim that her friends represent five of the six elements. Unfortunately she doesn't immediately have a justification of how the sixth element is in the party's possession.
- Epic Fail: Nature checks are required to navigate the Everfree Forest. Fluttershy's first two rolls come up short; her third is a natural 1.
- Even Evil Has True Companions: How Dash's player justifies having the Element of Loyalty. Just because she's Chaotic Evil doesn't mean she won't stick by her friends no matter what others (or the GM) say.
- Failed a Spot Check:
GM: Forgot to ask beforehand - what's everypony's Passive Perception?
- Familiar: Spike is now Twilight's familiar.
- Friend to All Living Things: Fluttershy, naturally. She is very enthusiastic about it as well, going from soft-spoken to gushing when asked to describe her character's special talent.
- Forgot You Could Fly: Dash keeps reminding everyone that she and 'the Druid' can fly. Including the Druid.
- Genre Savvy: Applejack's player is exceedingly so, both when it comes to common game cliches and dealing with the Game Master. Rarity is also pretty savvy, and Twilight's savviness is more focused on story cliches than gameplay mechanics.
- Gold Digger: Rarity's ultimate goal is to marry into nobility.
- Heroic BSOD: Twilight and her player suffer one in the first arc when Nightmare Moon shatters the Elements.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Rainbow's player, after a long period of roleplaying, decided to spice things up by attacking Twilight.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The GM allows the players to shape the game world as they're playing, and railroaded the party through a series of challenges in Everfree Forest. Twilight then uses those experiences to justify their gaining the Elements of Harmony.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: Nightmare Moon was intended to be this.
- Hulk Speak: Rainbow Dash forces the Shadowbolts to reduce their offer to this. She's really sick of all the speeches.
Shadowbolt: We, Shadowbolts. You, captain. ...Accept?
Twilight: Well, yes, but... Why...? Ugh, I need a drink!
- I Shall Taunt You: Dash tries to goad the Shadowbolts into showing aggression so she can attack.
- Improbably-Female Cast: All the PCs are implied to be female. The gender of the DM is unknown.
- Info Dump: Fluttershy's gushing over Spike leads to him relating how dragons first came to Equestria. Most of it is off-panel, though, with the reader only getting to hear the lead-in and tail end.
- Jerkass Realization: Sort of. Twilight's player realizes that she'd been playing like a Munchkin after seeing Luke and Cory serve out ridiculous character ideas. Applejack's player reassures her that she's not as bad as them.
- Large Ham: Rarity's player busts out the ham when she realizes what Twilight's trying to do with the Elements of Harmony.
- Lethal Joke Character: During the One Piece Grand Line 3 Point 5 Crossover, Luke tries to play Owlowisicious like this.
- Literal Minded: When Twilight asks what her character's like, Fluttershy's player begins reciting her name, class, alignment and stats.
- Long Lost Sibling: Played for Laughs: The Reveal that Luna was Celestia's sister wasn't meant to be as shocking as it was to the players... but nobody paid attention to the prologue.
- Meta Gaming: Twilight gets caught in a conundrum when the player knows something about Rarity, but the character does not.
- AJ's player deliberately designed her as Genre Savvy enough to justify this as in-character knowledge and/or reasonable conclusions based on her in-character knowledge.
- Dash's Leave Your Quest Test leads to a brief discussion about this, as the rest of the group presumes she'll use OOC knowledge to her benefit. She doesn't.
- Min-Maxing: Twilight's player chose 'Magic' as her special talent specifically for the gameplay benefits. Similarly, Applejack's player established her talent as 'running Sweet Apple Acres' in order to justify a steady income.
- Fluttershy is the only pony who doesn't have some shade of this, her player's inexperience leading to her focusing on charisma, which is mostly wasted on a druid. However, she mentions that she couldn't decide on just one animal companion, leading to her focus on Animal Empathy.
- Naturally appears in the One Piece Grand Line 3 Point 5 Crossover. Cory's first character is Snips, with his scissors mark symbolizing a talent for 'cutting'. Meaning he's the fastest when it comes to cutting, and every cut deals massive damage. When that doesn't pass, his second attempt's the Mysterious Mare-Do-Well... with ALL their talents.
- Even Nat, who's the reasonable role player in Grand Line 3.5, seems like a min-maxing power gamer next to the regulars when she plays Trixie.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Played for Laughs when Rarity's player makes her overreact to Twilight's pointing out how she helped the sea serpent in this fashion.
- Never Split the Party: Pinkie Pie reacts badly when AJ suggests this.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: At the end of the Nightmare Moon arc, the GM invokes this by telling Twilight's player that they can't play anymore because she utterly demolished all his original plans. Fortunately, the others call him on this.
- The Nicknamer: Dash is the 'can't be bothered learning your real name' variety, calling the others by their classes.
- Newb: Both Twilight and Fluttershy's players are new to roleplaying. Twilight is well versed in the rules of Dungeons and Dragons, while Fluttershy is less interested in the rules than she is in the setting itself.
- Noodle Incident: Rarity's player has run at least one campaign of her own. Details are sparse, but apparently she would never drop the party into a grove of magical fear trees... that didn't talk.
- Not Worth Killing: Nightmare Moon's original impression of the Main Six. She changes her tune after they start awakening the elements, though.
- NPC: Spike's dialogue is naturally provided by the GM, along with many other minor characters.
- Off the Rails: The DM didn't foresee the possibility of Twilight successfully assigning her party all the Elements of Harmony.
- Oh Crap: The CMC's reaction to realising that the quest giver they just attacked was a 15th level druid.
- Player Archetypes:
- The Roleplayer: Played with through Applejack: her player created an extensive history for her, including the Apple Clan and Sweet Apple Acres. However, this was at least partly so that she could exploit the advantages they provided. Rarity and Fluttershy are straighter examples.
- The Real Man: Dash's player.
- The Munchkin: Twilight, a bit. She decided to make magic her special talent to make her character stronger, but she's new to the tabletop and didn't know that powergaming like that is frowned upon.
- The Loonie: Pinkie Pie; Rarity's player expects as much once she finds out she's an Unaligned Bard.
- Precocious Crush: Spike still has a crush on Rarity in this setting.
- Prolonged Prologue: An early Running Gag is how the character introductions are regarded as such.
- The Quiet One: Fluttershy's player, appropriately enough.
- Rage Against the Mentor: After the party, Twilight surprisingly contacts Celestia again to call her out over acting like she didn't know the legend of the Mare in the Moon. Celestia's response is basically telling her flat-out that the fate of the world does, in fact, rely on her ability to make good friends.
- Railroading: The GM does this occassionally, with Twilight immediately recognizing it the first time it happens. However, thus far the cast seems more or less content to follow the plot.
- Retroactive Wish: After Pinkie finds the reference guide:
Rainbow Dash: Oh, great. Is this book just gonna TELL us the information?
- Required Secondary Powers: Applejack's player establishes this about cutie marks. Essentially, if a pony's cutie mark symbolizes what they're best at, they have to know everything about that particular subject, and barring obscenely specific talents, there's bound to be some skills that overlap with other fields. So even though, for example, Applejack is an apple farmer, there are plenty of skills and aptitudes that cross over into her player class as a ranger.
- Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: When Twilight threatens to derail his planned plot completely, the GM responds by threatening a Total Party Kill courtesy of Nightmare Moon.
- Actually happens to the CMC's in their scene with Fluttershy taken from Staremaster. The CMC's try to derail the plot by accusing Fluttershy of being evil when she sets them a fetch quest, promptly attacking her familiar, Angel. Fluttershy promptly reveals herself to be a 15th level druid and wipes them out.
- Schrodinger's Gun: The GM has this in his arsenal, and Applejack's player is Genre Savvy enough to recognize it, to the point she warns him against turning an idle comment by Twilight into a plot twist.
- Schrodinger's Suggestion Box: As the GM is still creating the game world, they're open to ideas from the players. For instance, Applejack gets all the benefits of the money Sweet Apple Acres brings in because her player put a lot of hard work into her background and family tree.
- Sequence Breaking: Nightmare Moon was supposed to take up the entire campaign, and they got through it in a night.
- Show Within a Show: Meta-example; It's common (at this point every strip) for the commenters to tell stories of their own role playing exploits that relate the current strip, more than just anecdotes, most are longer than the strips themselves.
- Spoony Bard: Rarity's player immediately expects this once she learns what class Pinkie Pie is.
- Talking the Monster to Death: Dash's pet peeve. She's not too thrilled whenever an encounter ends without violence.
- Team Mom: Applejack's player encourages the others and is more than willing to help the newbies get accustomed to the game. She also uses this to justify a little metagaming here and there, such as being familiar enough with both Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie that she's ready to run damage control when they start being themselves.
- Tempting Fate: When they first learn about the Elements of Harmony, the party decides that, while they don't know how to use them, they should collect the Elements anyway, if only to prevent Nightmare Moon from using them. Applejack's player immediately tells the GM that if he hadn't come up with that idea on his own, he can't use it now.
- Just before the Manticore encounter, Dash comments that she'd like to face something that isn't a cliff or cloud. She's rather pleased when it shows up.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Rarity's player reacts this way when she hears Pinkie Pie's about to use a Glib Limerick.
- Title Drop: For the show.
GM: Really? You actually want to keep playing my little pony game?
- Viewer Gender Confusion: Twilight isn't quite sure if the sea serpent is a 'sir' or not.
GM: Would you like to roll an Insight Check?
- Total Party Kill: Happens to the CMC's due to them derailing the GameMasters plot and attacking Fluttershy as evil, when she was just trying to set them a fetch quest. She turns out to be a 15th level druid.
- A Worldwide Punomenon: The amount of pony puns gets Lampshaded early on, by Pinkie Pie's happy player. Dash's player is much less pleased, and Rarity's player mentions that if she were running the campaign, such puns would be an executable offense (or all characters who hear the pun take damage, at least).
- You All Meet In A Tavern: Referenced and avoided, much to the consternation of Dash's player.
- You Answered Your Own Question: When the Mane Six enters the ruins where the Elements of Harmony are kept:
AJ: "Then what the heck is Nightmare Moon up to anyhow? Is she waitin' outside or somethin'?"
- You Can't Thwart Stage One: Averted, to the GM's misfortune and ire.
- Note that these are the 4e alignments, which have different meanings than they do in previous editions of D&D