HORSE-PLAY
Introduction
Art Gallery

Campaign 1:
The Nightmare Ritual


Character Sheets
Session 1
Session 2
Session 3
Session 4

Campaign 2:
Fatebreaker


Character Sheets
Session 1
Session 2

The Nightmare Ritual: Session 1

Word Count: ~3.5k, Content Warnings: Cursing




It's been two years since the Elements of Harmony were chosen in Equestria and brought back the fabled Princess Luna, who was once a terrifying alicorn named Nightmare Moon. The Elements were able to heal Nightmare Moon into her kind and regal self once more. Rejoice has spread across Equestria!

In Haybale Hollow, a small town on the southern border of Equestria, the Nightmare Night festivities are well underway. Ponies are in costume, playing games and partaking in treats and sweets. Last year, Princess Luna had visited Haybale Hollow on this fun and sacred night. No-pony is surprised that she does NOT plan to return this year, after the unfortunate and embarrassing scene that was caused one year ago.

Still, this small town throws a great party!!

You are all adventurers who have settled here. You know each-other, too. Can you describe your relationship with Haybale Hollow and with your other adventurers? How are you celebrating Nightmare Night, tonight?


Occam:
Gloria was hoping, after leaving Griffonstone about a year ago herself, to make it big in Manehattan, Canterlot, one of the big cities. But, um, it seemed like they weren't quite ready for her bold musical stylings yet, either. So she supposed that a small town would be a good place to build a grassroots following and build from there!

Over the past year, the town has grown on her, and she's managed to make friends way easier than she ever had back home. Actually, she'd made some very good friends! Both of her closest were outsiders like herself, which was probably part of what drew them together, wasn't it? It was almost like a musical, honestly! Maybe a movie? A movie-musical!

As for tonight, well, she got the idea that the holiday was about being scary, but it was so much more fun to be impressive: her costume of a legendary princess from the Crystal Empire ages ago shimmered with every move she made, and she was currently hanging about doing impromptu performances at a small open-mic session that was part of the festivities. Hopefully the others would show up soon!


Dawn:
Haybale Hollow is ... comfortable in its' inanity. This close to the border, Mwezi could move about in daylight without the harsh eyes of concerned ponies following her around. She appreciated being able to go about her business with relative impunity. Still, it's not the first place she would've chosen to come to roost. There was hardly a sorcerer in sight and Mwezi was nothing if not goal-oriented.

Her traveling companions didn't do to much soothe her nerves, however. Gloria was loud and at times sickeningly saccharine... while Sunsteel was undoubtedly useful, but offered little for the harsh-tongued zebra. Still, they were her best shot at surviving in Equestria.

Tonight Mwezi wanted nothing more than to sit in the quiet and read and she would do everything in her power to make that happen. Even if it meant sneaking into the library after-hours!

Mwezi is frantically kicking her back legs as she tries to scoot into an open window.


Iris:
If there's one thing Sunsteel cared about in this world, it was doing the right thing. Which, of course, means beating up bad guys!

So she wanders from place to place, taking up odd jobs that will allow her to defeat villains, and eventually become the Legendary Hero she's absolutely destined to be! She ended up stumbling into Haybale Hollow at random. Southern Equestria wasn't the most hospitable place in the world, and Haybale was a lot friendlier than a place like Appleloosa for sure, so Sunsteel ended up sticking around longer than usual, especially since she was finally able to make some friends there.

Her and Gloria were of the same mind a lot of the time, they both enjoyed spectacle and drama, and Gloria had her heart in the right place. Mwezi was... also that! She might've been a bit aloof, but she was just rough around the edges, and her passion and skill were incredibly admirable. No one who was as passionately driven as Mwezi could be all bad!

And now, Nightmare Night was here. The night Sunsteel waited for all year. If ever there was a time for ghosts and ghouls and villains to crawl out of their evil holes to be thwarted by a soon-to-be Legendary Hero, it was on this night!

Sunsteel just picks up Mwezi's whole-ass body up with magic, and says, "Let's go! We've got evil to fight!"


A unicorn gallops in from the outskirts of town. "Help!" He screams. Other ponies roll their eyes, avoiding him and looking away.

"Please!" The unicorn repeats. "Please, you have to help them! They're in danger!"

This is Worry Wart, a unfriendly hermit of a unicorn who lives in town. You don't recall him every being so willing to talk to others.

However, it doesn't seem like the towns-folk are taking him seriously. Some avoid him just on principle, while others seem to treat his pleas like a Nightmare Night performance.

Worry Wart spots Sunsteel- his eyes are wide. He mutters something to himself, with a quick scowl, but runs over to her nonetheless.

"H-hey! I need help! I can't help them alone! Please, its an emergency! It's real!"


Iris:
Sunsteel's ears flick up, she's thinking "Fuck yea, this is it!"

She smiles a little too brightly at the unicorn and says eagerly, "What's up? How can I help you?!"


Occam:
Gloria interrupts herself in the middle of a sustained high note, promptly flopping right onto her tail-feathers. Well, that was weird. She realizes parties were all about having fun, but surely there are better ways of getting everyone's attention! That is, at first she thinks this was part of some sort of promotion, until she realizes just who was saying it.

Oh, it's...what's his name? Worried Warts or something close to it! And he doesn't seem like the sort to play pranks or be part of something fun. Kind of a downer, honestly, but she likes him anyway because ponies are so friendly.

Letting the mic fall, she flaps off the stage and hurries over in his direction, only then noticing Sunsteel.


Dawn:
Emergency? That was ... Scaredy Shine, or someone. Hermetic unicorn without much to teach Mwezi. She didn't care for him much and she could tell the feeling was mutual.

Still, for him to pick them of all creatures for help meant things might actually be desperate. She would, for once in her life, give him her undivided attention.


Iris:
"Yo, we're here to help and heroic as heck, so we'e gonna solve all your problems guaranteed!" Sunsteel says loud enough for nearby ponies to hear, and she bumps her nose right into the unicorn's to show her support.

"So tell us everything! Your worries, your fears, your problems, your hopes and dreams, your--" Suddenly Sunsteel's ears flick up and she stares into the distance, silencing herself immediately. She's been talking to long and needs to shut up.

She sits on her flank in silence, like she's been chastised by an unseen authority. She isn't going to speak up again without prompting.


Worry Wart sees that he has gotten the attention of not just Sunsteel, but her... strange companions as well. He takes a step back, almost nervous. He is especially surprised at Sunsteel's touch.

"The...the... the abandoned carnival!" He manages to blurt out. "Death Rattle has taken, uh, sacrifices to the Abandoned Carnival! He's going to summon an evil-spirit to re-create Nightmare Moon! He's gone mad!"

Death Rattle was the unicorn at the center of last year's unfortunate mishap. He embarrassed the town by insulting Princess Luna, insisting she was "cooler" as Nightmare Moon. Worry Wart and Death Rattle had been friends for a long time, partners in snooty and secretive magical studies, but even Worry Wart seemed upset with him then.

The "Abandoned Carnival" was a small-theme park that hadn't even ever been able to open. It was close to being finished when the investors pulled out. It was slowly rotting about half-a-mile from town since before the return of Princess Luna. Nobody wanted to even bother to tear it down. Some of the school children had began to make rumors that it was haunted.

"We have to stop the ritual before moon-high or... or.... they'll get hurt, the sacrifices, or-or worse!" Worry Wart frets. "Quickly, all of you! Please help!"


Occam:
For a moment, Gloria just stares, her crest of feathers slowly rising. If this is a joke, it isn't a good one, but he looks pretty urgent.

She wonders why he doesn't try to get the authorities involved...oh, wait, right. They probably wouldn't believe him. Pony sacrifices in haunted houses? It sounds like a ghost story, and tonight of all nights?

Slowly, one claw goes out and slips around Sunsteel's shoulders. The other just as slowly pulls Mwezi close to her for a group huddle. "Girls. You know what we have to do, right?" If there is even a chance that this was real, it's up to them to investigate! For safety, for--for excitement, but mostly for safety! Right? Right!"


Dawn:
Mwezi lamented her height for a moment. If she was just a liiiiittle taller, she could've clambered right into that library window and been halfway though a good book by now. But noooooo, somepony had to go and get themselves captured and dragged off to a spooky defunct amusement park on Nightmare Night of all nights! Sure, she did kind of owe the townsponies here some kind of goodwill but she wasn't excited to have it dragged out of her.

"Call the Elements? Get somepony more qualified to handle this?" Mwezi paused for a second. "Go bobbing for apples?"


Iris:
Whatever dark cloud had suddenly appeared over Sunsteel's head, it was gone as quickly as it came the second that Gloria addressed her, replaced instead with a bright grin that only widened as she slowly sidled up to Mwezi until she was smushing her cheek against the zebra's, putting a supportive hoof around her.

"No one is more qualified than us!" she cheered, bringing Mwezi and Gloria both in for a bone-crushing hug. "Equestria just doesn't know it yet!"


"R-right." Worry Wart agreed reluctantly. "It's...just... there's not enough time to call the Elements!" He looked up at the night sky, watching the moon carefully. "We'll, we'll have to leave now! Please! I'm sure that if you can help these ponies, the town will be so grateful!"

He gestured his head back in the direction of the forest, and the path that lead to the fairgrounds. "Follow me!"


Occam:
Gloria enthusiastically nods along with Sunsteel. It probably isn't clear to the more...level-headed ones present if she doesn't realize the possible (probable) actual danger, or if she just feels confident enough to shrug it off, but either way, she's helping! And looking good doing it!

Speaking of which, she's continually hovering a few feet off the ground as she follows because she just feels more confident that way!


Iris:
Sunsteel eyes Mwezi, wondering if Mwezi's gonna run alongside her or if Sunsteel will have to carry her... ...but she only needs to think for a second before remembering that carrying Mwezi is fun, so she picks Mwezi up in her magic and charges off with the zebra in tow, following behind Gloria.

She swore that if it weren't for Gloria's direction, Sunsteel would get lost trying to find her own tail.


Dawn:
Mwezi would have preferred to walk but she couldn't deny this was much easier. Sunsteel was taller than her and Gloria could fly and they were both so much faster than her so ... she would continue to allow herself to be carried.

Maybe this was an opportunity to learn something! After they beat the 'bad guys' and 'saved the day' Mwezi might be able to ask this Death Rattle some questions.


Its a long trek through the forest. The sounds (and smells) of Haybale Hollow's festival drift away, replaced with the chirping of crickets and the smell of dirt and mildew.

Worry Wart is at the front, sweating and panting as he fights to keep running. He skids to a stop as you approach the wooden fairground's gates. "What?! Oh no!" He gasps. "Death Rattle must have known I was going to get help... he's locked the doors!"

Sure enough, the wooden fence that encircles the fair-grounds is locked shut. There are glowing, greenish chains all over the double doors, as if it was a castle or fortress.

There is a ruined ticket stall, filled with damp and rotting wood, outside the door and along that path you came. It's dark and hard to see inside the ticket stall from here. You can also see some rickety scaffolding behind the left side of the ticket stall. The fence goes all the ways around the fairgrounds, and is about 30 feet high... much to high to jump over.

Beyond the scaffolding, the forest seems to have begin to creep closer to the fairgrounds and the fence...


Occam:
"Oh, it's a magic lock...? Yep. Sure looks like it. ...Well, that makes things a little harder. Kind of! I can just fly over it, I guess, but maybe there's, like, a lever or something in the booth?"

Gloria seems to be trying to go for Oatham's razor. That, and approaching things like a puzzle.


Dawn:
"Flying could be dangerous, I think. There's no way they aren't prepared for that."

Mwezi scanned the area, weighing her options. She didn't want to get to close to anything. If their enemy could make a lock he could probably do a lot worse. Best to stay alert!

Freeing her walking stick from her satchel, she focused on the dark interior of the ticket booth. She reached out to the darkness, imparting it with her will...


Mwezi: Dancing Shadows Talent (d6) = 5


The darkness seems to ooze away from the ticket booth, as if it was a physical ink wash. You can see some scattered papers, lots of them in various stages of being faded or molded. There are a few small shiny objects that glisten as the light comes in, half-obscured by the papers.

Worry Wart nearly falls on his rump in fear. "What-what did you do, Zebra? How? What?!"


Dawn:
Mwezi couldn't help but chuckle at Worry Warts' in-credulousness. Confident her path was clear, she moved to inspect the ticket booth further. She was still an adventurer at heart and a hoofful of shiny objects held a world of possibilities. "Magic, unicorn. All of us have some kind of magic in us in one way or another. This is how mine chose to develop."

As Mwezi walked, she turned to her kirin companion. "Sunsteel. Could you keep an eye out for anything unusual?"


Iris:
Sunsteel's ears shot straight up and her eyes locked on Mwezi. A task! From her friend, no less! She would give this her utmost focus, even if she was still a bit bummed that she'd have to momentarily abandon her plan in-progress of finding a way to throw a tree through the fence.

"No problem!" Sunsteel clamored, standing proud with a hoof over her heart. "No one and nothing is gonna sneak up on me!" To emphasize her point, her mane glowed with a bright blue flame that showered the area directly around her in a soft, warm glow.



The papers seem to be old, old fliers. At least one you can still make out.... it's a map of the planned fair grounds.



Underneath the map, are the sparkling shiny-s... two keys. One is golden in hue, though just by touch you can tell its not a real gold. The other is silver in color. They are emblazoned with skull brands on the side.

Worry Wart snorts a bit at Mwezi's brush-off answer... he seems a bit jealous, in fact.

Anyways, he didn't follow Mwezi and Gloria into the ticket booth. He stands near the front gate, side-eyeing the glowing chains, and calling over to the two. "Is there anything interesting in there?"


Occam:
Being the one with opposable thumbs (sort of), Gloria reaches in, her dress glittering faintly from the magical lock, and pulls out the map and important-looking keys. "Aha! Treasure! I mean...useful things. Wonder why they left them here?" Thoughtfully, she peers at them, then at the lock. ...Hmm...nah? Unsure.


Iris:
"Oh did you two find some treasure?!" Sunsteel cheered, hopping behind her friends.

"That's great! Now let's get through this fence already!" Without a second's hesitation, Sunsteel wrapped her magic around the ticket booth, intent on tearing it out of the ground. If she could pick up a whole pony, how hard could a ticket booth be, right?


Sunsteel: Telekenesis Talent (d6) = 3


Occam:
Blinking, the griffon backed away in a hurry!


The ticket booth's board creak and groan, and as Sunsteel magically pulls on them... they snap out of the ground, and out of place. The booth falls apart under the aura's pressure, collapsing into a pile of nasty wood and splinters. The papers begin to blow around in the night breeze.

Worry Wart shrieks. "Wh- what?! Why?"

Sunsteel is holding a pile of collapsed boards, fliers, and tent-fabric magically above the ground.


Iris:
"Oh. Stupid worthless boards!" Sunsteel snarls and throws the splintery garbage at the locked doors in a furious huff, before sitting on her flank and crossing her forelegs, shooting whatever remained of the ticket booth a nasty look.


The boards crash against the front gate, rumbling it and sending a shock-wave effect down the sides of the fence.

A few fall onto Worry Wart, who was standing beside it. He hisses in pain.


Worry Wart looses 1 Stamina!


The gate itself, and the glowing green chains, seem to withstand the impact and don't move any further.

Worry Wart huffs as he stands back up- "Why don't you try to be a bit more careful!!"


Occam:
"Um, okay! So that didn't work! W-what else? Say, maybe you could fix up that scaffolding?" There's supposed to be something about not getting a Kirin mad, if Gloria remembers rightly. "Or at least hold it in place?"


Iris:
"Oh geez, I'm sorry!" Sunsteel's anger faded instantly as she realized she had hurt someone, and she bit her lip.

She could try healing him, but she wasn't very good at it and didn't want to make things worse. "Sorry," she muttered, sitting on her flank and pawing at the ground.


Dawn:
Healing! Mwezi could do that and she was actually kind of good at it. Strange Sunsteel didn't jump at the chance, she was one of the more capable healers Mwezi had met.

"Hold still." Grabbing Worry, Mwezi looked over his body for any serious damage. She concentrated her healing magic, what little of it she knew, in an effort to soothe his wounds.


Mwezi: Healing Hoof Talent (d8) = 5

Worry Wart gains 1 Stamina!


"Oh... wow. Thank you. I..." Worry Wart seems lost for words.

"Thanks. But... we do need to get inside. I'm, well, worried. I think I heard the.... uh, her," He points a hoof at Gloria, "I think you found something?"


Occam:
"I'm a griffon," Gloria says proudly, puffing out her chest fluff. "And it's...it's alright, we're fine, we can do this! Yes, here are keys, and a map! But I'm not sure if we can use these keys on the lock in...that state?"


"Why not?" Worry Wart looks at the keys. "The lock seems like it's in reach, if we stand on our hind-legs.... Maybe one of them will unlock it?"


Occam:
"Yeah but it's glowing and stuff. I dunno- I'm not magic, what do you guys think?"


Dawn:
"I mean, it's worth a shot. We can even have Sunsteel here hold it at a safe distance with her magic in case something goes wrong."

She turns to Sunsteel, ushering her over. "Whaddya say?"


Iris:
Sunsteel bites her lip and her ears flatten against her head. There were two keys and one lock, and maybe putting the wrong key in the lock would make it explode? She didn't know! She didn't know anything!

But she was nothing if not determined, so... "Heck yea!" Sunsteel yelled, jumping to her hooves. "Just leave it to me! I'll unlock the heck outta that door!"