Aspects

Guiding Element
The next step of character creation is to choose your character’s Guiding Element from the six Elements of Harmony.

Each of the Elements of Harmony embodies a number of concepts and ideals which can inform a character’s personality and outlook on life, helping them to make decisions and react appropriately to situations. However, it is important to note that a character’s Guiding Element does not restrict their behavior in any way; a character has aspects of each Element of Harmony within them, to varying degrees. The one they choose as their Guiding Element is simply the one which they best exemplify, and most strive to uphold.

The most important mechanical reason for a character to strive to embody their Guiding Element is that it provides an avenue for earning points of Valor, which serve many valuable purposes to help characters and groups during an Episode. The six Elements of Harmony are:

Kindness: The Element of Kindness is found in characters who have a deep compassion for others, and an acceptance of others for who they are. A kind character seeks not only to do no harm, but also to heal hurts in others, and nurture them. While they aren’t necessarily as generous, encouraging, or devoted as others might be, a character who embodies Kindness has a deep compassion and empathy for others which most do not. They are more aware of someone’s feelings and well-being, and how their actions--and the actions of others--might affect them. For this reason, a kind character tends to be reluctant to engage in confrontation and might try to stop it before it starts, and would be the first to make peace afterward and take care of those who were harmed.

Laughter: The Element of Laughter is found in characters who are optimistic at their core, and seek to use their positivity and energetic good cheer to make the world a better place. A cheerful character tends to be upbeat and rarely discouraged or fearful; even when things are at their worst, they can find the silver lining in the dark clouds. While they can tend to be odd or appear to not take things seriously, this is often not the case; a cheerful character generally understands the gravity of a situation, but chooses to focus on the positive and fun aspects of it instead of dwelling on the grim and negative. For this reason, a cheerful character tends to be more apt to encourage others than to oppose them; they are more likely to throw a party to try to change someone’s attitude than to argue with them.

Generosity: The Element of Generosity is found in characters who readily make sacrifices for others, giving of their time, effort, possessions, and even opportunity. While Generosity is similar to Kindness, it differs in that while a kind character might nurture someone by making sure that they get the medical care they need, a generous character would absolutely insist on taking care of the person themselves. It’s not enough for a generous character to make sure someone gets something nice or something they need; a generous character has a deep need to make, give, or deliver it themselves, personally. This can get them into trouble by causing them to try to take on too many responsibilities and thus suffer from the ‘weight of the world,’ but it is this theme of personal and dedicated self-sacrifice which is the mark of a generous character.

Honesty: The Element of Honesty is found in characters who focus on personal integrity, responsibility, and straightforward morality. An honest character is more than simply someone who doesn’t tell lies (in fact, they may lie if it serves a higher sense of responsibility); they have an ‘honest heart,’ and try to be dependable in all aspects of their life. An honest character usually has very strong self-discipline, and firm convictions in what they think is right or wrong; they rarely (if ever) cheat, even against their enemies. To an honest character, a commitment they have made is a sacred duty--an oath or vow that they must fulfill at any cost and by any means necessary. This can lead to an honest character being blind to the assistance others can offer, as they focus on their own personal responsibility and how important it is to their ‘honest heart’ that they make good on their promises. But it is this dependability and firm moral core of steadfast integrity which defines an honest character.

Loyalty: The Element of Loyalty is found in characters who place immense value on those who they consider important, and choose those friends over others--and even themselves. A loyal character desires value and acceptance from their friends, and regularly does things in service to their friends which they do not--or cannot--do in service to others. While a loyal character shows aspects of the other Elements in the things they do, they usually show them more when serving their friends. While they might help others and reap the glory for themselves, when helping friends they are likely to do so even to their own detriment. This is the difference between a loyal character and anyone else: a loyal character will push themselves far beyond the lengths they would normally go to when they do so out of loyalty to those they care about.

Magic: The Element of Magic is found in characters who approach the world with an outlook of idealism, faith, and wonder, and strive to see what makes all things special. A wondrous character focuses on the unique and the important, looking for what makes each pony, each situation, each experience, ‘magical.’ Often, a wondrous character tends to have an innocent, even naive, outlook on life; they have an optimism which is similar to (but more restrained than) a cheerful character’s. A wondrous character approaches situations with a unifying faith in the world around them and their friends, and more often than not, it is they who more readily see the ‘magic’ of friendship for what it truly is.



Fatal Flaw
The next step of character creation is to work with your GM to develop your character's Fatal Flaw.

All characters have a Fatal Flaw. A Fatal Flaw is a personal weakness; a mental, emotional, or moral trait that they struggle to cope with, or (if the GM allows) a physical handicap which reasonably hinders the character in their daily life. For example, a good Fatal Flaw for a character might be that they are a perfectionist, or are afraid of danger, or are a little too controlling. Another might be having weak wings, or poor eyesight. Whatever your character's Fatal Flaw is, it must be approved by your GM, to ensure that it fits the tone and theme of the Episode your game group is playing.

The mechanical impact of your character's Fatal Flaw is that whenever your character's Fatal Flaw reasonably and meaningfully applies to a task they are attempting, they must perform that check without the benefit of their Attributes (this is explained in greater detail in the Playing An Episode chapter of this book). In addition, when a character succeeds at accomplishing a goal despite being meaningfully hindered by their Fatal Flaw, or when a character takes on a meaningful challenge which forces them to confront their Fatal Flaw, the GM may choose to restore a point of Valor to that character (Valor is explained in more detail later in this chapter).