Where is My Little RPG?

In 2006, Wizards of the Coast (WOTC) made a compelling argument for a My Little Pony role-playing game and miniature line as a means of reaching "a previously unexploited segment of the roleplaying game marketplace," girls ages 3 to 7. The press release argued that the game would be a draw for younger players, would provide "cooperative play" opportunities for girls, and act as a transitional game to Dungeons & Dragons. There was just one problem: it was all a joke. With the My Little Pony franchise grossing over $1 billion in gross sales in 2015 for WOTC’s parent company Hasbro, the possibility of a My Little Pony role-playing game is no laughing matter.

For the uninitiated, My Little Pony is about unicorns, pegasi, and ponies in a fantasy universe where monsters are real and friendship is magic. The latest iteration, led by Lauren Faust who also created The Powerpuff Girls, has launched a global movement that has swept up men and women, boys and girls in its fandom. It's got an adult sensibility but is bright and charming enough for kids, which is how "bronies" have popped up -- male fans of the show. Hasbro Studios executive director Brian Lenard explained how the franchise has evolved:

What Lauren Faust brought to the table really helped redefine what My Little Pony was. It had become a bit saccharine and sweet, which was fine, but I don’t think it was able to cut through the clutter the way the new version has. This version introduced a deeper layer of mythology and a sort of irreverent sense of humor. It brought really iconic new characters to the brand.

Given that the license is owned by Hasbro, the parent company of Wizards of the Coast, it's no surprise that there's a long line of merchandise to support the brand. But is a Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons-compatible My Little Pony role-playing supplement possible?
[h=3]The Role-Playing Game[/h]
Ironically, Wizards of Coast made the most compelling argument for a role-playing game as part of its 2006 April Fool's press release:

Leveraging opportunities between Hasbro’s core girl brand and Wizards of the Coast’s most popular game formats, the My Little Pony RPG marks an exciting d20 experience for girls ages 3-7, a previously unexplored segment of the roleplaying game marketplace. The My Little Pony RPG uses the game system of the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game, featuring custom-designed ponies with rules for choosing a wide range of pony colors, hair styles, accessories such as “cutie marks,” and powers such as “rainbow flight” and “find-and-seek”. Containing both adventures (foiling the nefarious “Dark Rustler”) and adventure hooks (collecting the most butterflies and rainbow berries), the My Little Pony RPG core rulebook presents a fully detailed world, with such popular locations as Celebration Castle, Twinkle Twirl’s Dance Studio, and the Cotton Candy Café.

My Little Pony is no stranger to games. Simon Waters, Senior Vice President of Global Brand Licensing and Publishing at Hasbro, said in a press release:

The MY LITTLE PONY brand is experiencing explosive growth paving the way for highly thoughtful licensing programs that further extend the brand engagement in new and meaningful ways for millions of young girls around the globe.

The press release went on to explain the plans for 2013, including licensed merchandise from publishing to digital gaming, plush, and fashion & beauty:

From flipping the pages of the My Little Pony: The Elements of Harmony: Friendship is Magic: The Official Guidebook from Little Brown Books for Young Readers to swiping the screens of iOS and Android devices to hanging out and interacting with TWILIGHT SPARKLE and friends playing the MY LITTLE PONY game app by Gameloft, Hasbro continues to enlist licensees that deliver an unmatched level of creativity and imagination to the magical MY LITTLE PONY world.

There is a much broader audience for a My Little Pony game beyond little girls and the numbers back it up. The 2014 "State of the Herd" report of My Little Pony fandom estimates that fans with an average age of 20 range from 7 to 12 million in the United States alone, with 5 percent who also participate in Live Action Role-Playing (LARP) games and 20 percent participating in cosplay.

Still not convinced? Ponyfinder for Pathfinder's exceeded its Kickstarter goal by $16,000. And so did its sequel. A third is in the works that is over $7,000 past its goal. In addition to Ponyfinder, there are several other role-playing systems that have incorporated pony themes:

  • Laser Ponies is for girls and boys alike, and is the first all-ages role-playing game from Hex Games. It uses the QAGS system, but you do not have to own the QAGS rulebook-the QAGS Qik Start rules, which tell you everything you need to know to play the game, are included in the back of the book. Also included are rules for Pony Power, 40 story ideas, sample characters, illustrations by up-and-coming young artist Katie Staffiera, and a character sheet.
  • The Savage World of My Little Pony is the culmination of over a year and half of work by numerous authors who contributed to its continuing evolution since its conception in early February of 2011.
  • My Little Pony: Roleplaying is Magic was initially an idea between two bronies—Tall Tail and Know-It-All—to create a stand-alone pony RPG system which not only was unique instead of requiring another system to use, but was also designed to provide an experience true to the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic cartoon.
  • Ponies: The Roleplaying Game is a first draft of a simple RPG for people who want to play as ponies with actual stats and dice.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a roleplaying game that lets you play as one of the ponies from the show or create your own pony to explore the magical world that awaits you.
[h=3]The Miniature Line[/h]
The April Fool's article also proposed a miniatures line compatible with Dungeons & Dragons miniatures. Thing is, miniatures already exist in the form of G4 Blind Bag Ponies.

G4 Blind Bag Ponies are pony figurines that are fully molded toys and about half the size of the 'regular' pony toys. With their molded hair they more closely resemble the character in the show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. 'Blind Bags' refers to the fact that these toys are mostly sold in "surprise" opaque packaging, as in you can't see what pony you are getting until you open her up. However collectors soon found that each bag had a number stamped on it indicating which pony was in each bag. Jordan Peacock on PEG Inc.'s boards gives more information on how these miniatures work with traditional fantasy gaming terrain:

Scale is an issue. These are 2" high, so they are noticeably not very "little" compared to 32mm (let alone 25mm) miniatures and scenery. They seem [to] look nice enough next to most of my Hirst Arts dungeon pieces, although they fill up the corridors (a 2" wide corridor is really only wide enough for the ponies to comfortably walk single-file), and some of the doors are just too small. The Mage Knight and Warhammer Quest doors look large enough, however, and I think the larger 1.5"-wide Hirst Arts blocks doors should work as well.

For smaller scale miniatures more in line with 28mm humanoids there are several options to consider.

  • Pewter Ponies from Slap Miniatures consists of a base set of a "string of ponies" featuring 1 princess pony, 3 pegasi, 3 unicorns, and 5 regular ponies. The Kickstarter surpassed its £3,000 goal by £4,000.
  • Chibi Ponies from Impact Miniatures consisted of a unicorn, pony, eagle winged pony, and hat-wearing pony. The Kickstarter to launch this line had a modest goal of $3,250 and concluded with $105,099 on November 1, 2012. You can buy the miniatures at the company's web site, but a large majority of them are sold out.
[h=3]Now What?
John Frascotti, President of Hasbro Brands, laid out the My Little Pony blueprint: Toy & Game Product Innovation, Digital Media, Lifestyle Licensing and Immersive Entertainment Experiences. If there's a role-playing game, it seems that it most likely would fit in more than one category: a digital role-playing game would be a game innovation, digital media, and an immersive entertainment experience. There are rumors, but then trolling MLP fandom is a common Internet pastime, like the Kickstarter for a pony-focused dating sim that turned out to be an elaborate hoax.

Of course, the question of why there isn't a My Little Pony role-playing game can extend to all of Hasbro's licenses. Where's the Transformers game? G.I. Joe? It's clear that at least for the moment, Hasbro doesn't see "role-playing game" as a significant media channel to develop for its licensed properties.

That may change. Hasbro's approach to turning all of its franchises into transmedia properties has started to gain traction, most specifically with the Dungeons & Dragons film, which Hasbro considers a powerful enough brand that it was willing to go to court over the film rights.

There is also precedent for Wizards of the Coast to produce games from other properties, notably the short-lived Heroscape line. Wizards has also produced board games based on its properties, like the Magic: The Gathering board game...which looks a lot like Heroscape.

Of all the paths to game publication of a Hasbro franchise, the most likely means of getting an official game is through 3D printing and sub-licensing. Hasbro has already endorsed official My Little Pony miniatures through its partnership with Shapeways to launch SuperFanArt, with the pony franchise leading the effort. And that's not all:

While Hasbro is starting with My Little Pony, its other brands will be added to SuperFanArt this year in the coming months. It also owns Transformers, Monopoly, Play-Doh, Magic: The Gathering, Littlest Pet Shop and Nerf.

We've come a long way from 2006, when My Little Pony was the butt of an April Fool's joke. The warm reception of Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons by players and Hasbro bodes well for future expansions that explore other brands. Here's what lead D&D developer Mike Mearls had to say on the subject:

I can’t say for certain at this point, but one of the nice things about a modular approach is that it’s much easier to extend the game in different directions. If you have an elegant, robust, and easily learned core, you can imagine adding rules for mutations and dangerous tech for Gamma World, or beam weapons and space travel for Star Frontiers.

If fans can start making their own Magic: The Gathering and My Little Pony miniatures and Wizards of the Coast is producing a Magic: The Gathering board game, a My Little Pony role-playing and miniature game seems more feasible than ever.

Mike "Talien" Tresca is a freelance game columnist, author, and communicator. You can follow him at Patreon.

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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca


I crit!
I think this joke helped spawn the kids game they did end up doing. Though I think it only came out in PDF. Once when 5e play testing was starting and just a few months ago.


My little girl..4...loves MLP...

I have to admit, its a good show, and I like to watch it, when it's on. Its cute, its funny, I admit to knowing the character's names, AND Its got some great ideas to steal for games.

She has quite the imagination and I have been trying to figure out how to introduce her to RPG gaming. Especially now so that my son, nearly 16, and his friends are far more interested in girls, than playing D&D .

I think my little one would be all over a MLP RPG that was age appropriate with simple basic rules. I.e., notthing like D&D.


First Post
Well I can't post links yet because I may be a bot, but some of us have been working on this.


I need to update that introduction though, it's a little outdated. :cool:


Heh... after playing D&D with us, my daughter insisted on running her own RPG, set in the My Little Pony universe. It was a free-form game, a pure product of the imagination, proving, as Gygax supposedly once said, that we don't really need rules...


The EN World kitten
This article does an excellent job of looking at various unofficial incarnations of My Little Pony among tabletop RPGs, and gives us some background with regard to whether we might see an official MLP RPG, possibly compatible with Fifth Edition D&D.

While it's very interesting to contemplate (and makes for very interesting reading), even if Hasbro were to green-light such a project, it would quickly lead to some logistical barriers in terms of actually making the game compatible with D&D while still allowing for player-characters to mimic what the six main cast members (e.g. the "Mane Six") do in the show.

There's a reason that Ponyfinder (which is awesome by the way, though take that with a grain of salt; I've backed some of its projects on Kickstarter, and I'm on its Patreon) - which also has D&D Fourth Edition and D&D Fifth Edition (actually two) translations - takes place in an alternate world, rather than the world from the MLP show, which is...well, copyright and intellectual property laws. But the other reason is that this lets it use the baseline Pathfinder (or 4E, or 5E) rules to represent characters, without having to worry about how to reproduce what the Mane Six do.

And make no mistake, this is significant. Even leaving aside questions of what level the main cast members would be, they regularly showcase abilities that would be difficult for any but the highest-level characters to perform. Rainbow Dash, for instance, can exceed the speed of sound (generating a "Sonic Rainboom"). Applejack can knock over fully-grown trees with a single kick from her back legs. Twilight Sparkle, first among equals, can teleport (at least herself, for short distances) at will, etc.

To put it another way, any game that wanted to be true to MLP would necessarily have very different design goals from Pathfinder/4E/5E, which means that it would be exceptionally difficult to write under those rules.

This doesn't mean that it can't be done, of course - one of my favorite role-playing blogs is by a fellow who co-authored a book that "hacked" the d20 System to allow for point-buy character generation, and he was able to use those rules to make a stat block for Rainbow Dash that was completely true to her character (I've used those same rules to try my hand at writing up Rarity, with a fairly high amount of fidelity) - but it would require some significant retooling of what sort of characters can be built under the game rules.

Either way, I'd love to see an official MLP tabletop RPG...but if Hasbro produces one, I really don't think it will be D&D-compatible.
Last edited by a moderator:


Mod Squad
Staff member
And make no mistake, this is significant. Even leaving aside questions of what level the main cast members would be, they regularly showcase abilities that would be difficult for any but the highest-level characters to perform. Rainbow Dash, for instance, can exceed the speed of sound (generating a "Sonic Rainboom"). Applejack can knock over fully-grown trees with a single kick from her back legs. Twilight Sparkle, first among equals, can teleport (at least herself, for short distances) at will, etc.

It sounds like, in terms of genre, this is far more "superhero" than "generic fantasy". Might be very easy to do in Mutants and Masterminds, which is a d20 game, but not D&D.


The EN World kitten
It sounds like, in terms of genre, this is far more "superhero" than "generic fantasy". Might be very easy to do in Mutants and Masterminds, which is a d20 game, but not D&D.

That does summarize the disparity pretty well. To quote the blog I mentioned before, albeit in a different article:

At it’s base, Friendship is Magic is a semi-utopian cartoon set in a world where pretty much everyone has at least limited super-powers. Yes, Ponies are better than non-cartoon people. In many cases they are WAY better. And they tend to be a lot nicer too. Simply making them higher level helps some – but doesn’t fit in well with the “have quite a lot of their powers even as kids” bit.

So… ponies generally have highly specific powers, which they use without any solid limit, but which do not change much with experience, they are incredibly tough, don’t worry much about background details, are brightly-colored, are easily identified since they always look the same, and they even have superhero-style names. Sure, the major characters can probably be presumed to be at least a bit exceptional – that’s stated outright in several cases – but lesser characters make some pretty good showings too.

That simply isn’t how baseline d20 works.


First Post
There is only one place for a My Little Pony RPG, and that's the lowest depths of hell!


Other than that I have no opinions on it what so ever. :)

Hmmmm I suspect that the real problem with a MLP RPG is that the people who would actually end up playing it were the Bronies and not the actual target audience of little girls. And that's just....ewwww....


First Post
Laser Ponies. Dr Evil would be proud. And I will never trust unicorns again. That horn could be a high power wave guide for an energy weapon.

But in a general sense, anything that increases the number of folks playing RPGs is probably a good thing. Even cash from Bronies spends well.


First Post
Hmmmm I suspect that the real problem with a MLP RPG is that the people who would actually end up playing it were the Bronies and not the actual target audience of little girls. And that's just....ewwww....

Just as a question, if adult males want to sit around pretending to be super powered ponies, what's the difference between that and pretending to be super heroes? Or Elves? Why would it be considered 'ewwww'?

Before any accusations fly, I'm not any kind of secret brony and I have no agenda. I've never watched my little pony. I have a daughter who will one day probably be very into it. I'm just curious about this comment as an examination of gender typing versus RPG players perceptions/what's considered status quo in a 'normative space' and where we draw lines.

I think this discussion is on topic. If a mod or anyone else considers this off topic, I'll shut up now.


Nerds shaming other nerds is just not cool at all. We all need to remember Wheaton's Law and remember that there is a lot of crossover amongst the various fandoms.

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