MOONDANCER: A COMMENTARY BY BELLOSH101
It always seems like forever since the last blog article these days. It’s been months since the last blog post, character commentary writeup or otherwise. Well sit back and enjoy the ride folks, because this one today might take a while. A looong while..... [/cackle]
(Image drawn by LoopEnd)
Development Process: First things first, we’ll need a history lesson. You see, Moondancer is technically NOT an original character, for she was born from the depths of MLP Generation 1. She was around to be glimpsed in the Rescue at Midnight Castle special, but otherwise didn’t have that big of a role to play. The Moondancer I use today uses a G4ized variant of the original, which is pretty much unchanged save for getting rid of the bow on the ponytail (G1 ponies seemed to love those bows) and simplifying her cutie mark.
So why care about this random G1 pony? Because FiM’s writers did, for they name-dropped her twice within “Friendship is Magic, Part 1” during the first scenes. However we never actually saw Moondancer during the episode, and without an official design, the Canterlot staff for technical reasons had to declare my pony as an original character instead of a cast pony. Hence, why Moony is not Tier 3 even though I originally planned her to be one.
As for why I applied for this mystery mare? Well, let’s consider the following canon facts:
- Princess Celestia runs a magic school for gifted unicorns.
- Spike and a number of Twilight’s acquaintances had plans to attend a party for Moondancer and bring her presents.
- The fact that ponies wanted to do the above for Moondancer meant she had to be pretty well-liked.
- Ponies who knew Twilight by name and were around her age probably wouldn’t know of Twi unless they belonged to the same student body.
- Throughout the series, stars and crescent moons have always served as symbols of magic. They appear on clothing worn by Starswirl the Bearded and Trixie, on Twilight’s blankets, and on Moondancer’s cutie mark. Of course, maybe all four love just happen to love astronomy too. XD
I’ll be on the level with you folks: I think unicorn magic is cool. Twilight Sparkle is my favorite pony partially for that reason. Moondancer wasn’t the first of my spellcasting ponies however; that honor belongs to Ingrid Marie. But since Ingrid is more of an instructor, I wanted someone who was still a student… somepony highly skilled in magic who still had most of the unknown journey of life ahead of them. Since Twilight during late 2012 was a character that was barely seen in RP, I felt having a “magical girl” character of some sort active in WoE was very important.
Indeed, Moondancer might be justifiably explained as a type of anti-Twilight, although completely unlike other anti-Twilights like Trixie and Sunset Shimmer. Instead of being a shut-in, Moony was out making friends for as far as she could remember. While she is still very gifted in magic, Moony never achieved Twi’s level because Moony didn’t want to become a permanent studying machine like the other unicorn. I did my absolute best to keep Moondancer from appearing overpowered, although I could’t resist making her skilled in teleportation. Twi’s warp dance during her Failure Song looked really pretty, so I wanted Moony to do so on a semi-regular basis as a dance… something that made sense for somepony named MoonDANCER. I also wanted this mare to be among my quirkier characters too, but she’s kinda lost a bit of her initial goofiness ever since I’ve won Derpy.
(Image drawn by BrainedBySaucepans)
Moondancer is by far my most happy-go-lucky and extroverted “OC” I have, which has made her quite more versatile than I ever anticipated. Versatility is an important quality to have for “plain ponies”; essentially, characters fitting the background filler mold embodied by such favorites like Derpy Hooves (I’ll write about her one day) and Vinyl Scratch. Most OCs you’ll ever see on Canterlot look like and act like background fillers; they’re visually designed to blend into the crowd and they don’t really serve any gameplay function but to exist, live run-of-the-mill lives, and maybe liven things up a little if they’re that sort of character (*cough* Derpy).
I’ve since fallen out of the habit of designing background filler OCs, my philosophies on which I’ve documented more in detail in one of my older articles. However, I’m proud to say that of those ponies, Moondancer is by far my favorite to use in roleplay. For one thing, I was able to successfully establish her already having a number of pre-existing friends out there in the WoE universe, saving me the trouble of “grinding” through banal meet-and-greet scenarios in order to acquire friends for Moony. And there’s also magic to consider; I love RPs that explore the use of magic whether they’re slice-of-life or adventure threads, and since Moondancer can cast spells and all, well… that makes her RPs all the more awesome for me.
On the whole, I’ve gotten great mileage out of Moondancer and much fun from playing her. Much of what I’ve wanted to do with her has already been accomplished or is in the process of being acted out in RP. But her tale is far from over; I’ll still need to figure out what Moony’s going to end up doing once she gets her aetherology degree. But that’s the fun of RPing, ain’t it?
PS: As it turns out, IDW has indeed produced a Moondancer character design and gave her a cameo in that Sunset Shimmer bonus comic. Nice to see they also had the good sense to simplify her cutie mark in a manner similar to mine, but I’m in no way interested in amending my “OC’s” CM anytime soon. I don’t want to toss out all the artwork I’ve had requested of Moony just because the stars are aligned differently… and because I’m lazy.
(Scan from The Fall of Sunset Shimmer bonus IDW comic)
A Night Under the Stars: This became Moondancer’s first RP for a very obvious reason: she’s a night pony, and the thread was littered with night ponies up the ying yang. This included of course the Queen of the Night herself: Princess Luna as played by MyLittlePonyTales back in those days. Technically Moony didn’t do all that much in this RP; she came in halfway through and acted as the most normal pony of the lot, lacking any personal issues to discuss. And this was also one of the first times in WoE that I’d interacted with 2-3 other RPers at once (it happens quite a bit when I’m using Moondancer).
You know that pre-existing friendship thing I wrote about earlier? This is the RP where I really started taking advantage of establishing relationships beforehand rather than having to go through the grind of meeting new OCs for the first time. The only pony here that Moondancer met for the first time was Luna; the other two were the long-lost close friend Ice Storm and younger magic student Fire Heart. Both of these unicorns went on to bond with Moony in other threads, especially Ice Storm. Moony’s appearance at Icy’s (abortive) wedding and Moony's resulting romantic misadventure with Lux’s Lore Weaver probably would never have happened if I never made prearranged my unicorn’s friendship with Ice Storm before entering this RP.
Nighttime Tomfoolery: I managed to drag Raridash’s Dazzle Dawn out of retirement for this RP. Basically, the importance of this RP was that it strengthened the friendship between Moondancer and Ice Storm, as Icy’s worries about attending slumber parties were finally squashed once and for all. Also, this thread emphasized that Moony and Dazzle were already close friends too; something I always like. I will not hesitate to make similar arrangements with other characters in the future (especially those walking around with gifts during the pilot’s Canterlot sequences).
Spellbound Beginnings: Despite me writing the thread’s opening post, credit for the concept ultimately goes to LoopEnd, who wanted to set up a magic guild for WoE. Because I loved the concept so much, I eventually ended up as the de facto captain of this outfit. Technically, this thread is in fact a meet-and-greet thread that I usually tend to shun. Yet I really liked participating in this one, mainly because it was magic-themed and all. Plus a few of Moony’s friends showed up too, which always rules. Yet this thread also taught me to really be wary of multi-pony conversations; my responses to numerous OCs at the same time took forever to write… especially when I was using Ingrid Marie at the same time.
Personally, I’d say Spellbound as a group has had mixed success so far. It’s unfortunate to report that almost no new blood has joined our ranks since the completion of the first guild RP, nor have many dedicated Spellbound threads popped up since then. Yet the group is far from forgotten; many members are over in An Equestrian Education helping out with Princess Twilight’s magic camp, and this thread also directly leads into…
(Image drawn by Fauxsquared)
The Fixer-Upper: One Spellbound member, Tacobob’s Pocket Change, proved himself to be easily tempted by mares back in the last thread. Of course, I kept repeatedly joking to Taco that his OC was hot over heels infatuated with Moondancer, and I even requested LoopEnd to draw a mildly naughty artwork to that effect. As the introductory thread closed, I proposed to set up a private Spellbound thread for our characters to see if a genuine romantic connection could be forged.
I always assumed beforehand that I could never realistically match up Moondancer with any character. To me, Moony would be too interested in making friends to see them as romantic partners, let alone find someone with the right… chemistry to make things happen (Lore Weaver learned this the hard way). As things turned out however, Pocket Change actually was somepony Moondancer could fall for: he does everything with passion, always has exciting stories to tell, possesses a tender side, looks really dang hot, and maybe most importantly of all, clearly demonstrated a romantic interest in the mare from almost the get-go. All in all, MoonPocket is by far my favorite ship to write for so far, mainly because Pocket is a fun character to interact with and he’s always immersed in adventure… which when combined with magic, produces extreme excitement!
It also helps a lot that I plainly like working with Tacobob. He deserves credit for turning this thread into an interesting mini-adventure with loads of cute shippy scenes. The guy also has a good sense of using humor and littering his posts with worldbuilding, callbacks to previous RPs, and sneaky references. It’s really too bad I’ve never RPed with him earlier until now. The good news: working together, we already have a rough plan for our next MoonPocket thread. ^_^
An Equestrian Education: Funny story… I originally planned on setting up a magic tutoring workshop featuring Spellbound instructors. Those plans fortunately ended up merged into SteelEagle’s plan for a magic camp run by Princess Twilight. Moony for this thread will actually be a student, because the RP needed more grown-up students than just kids... plus Ingrid Marie was already set to be an instructor. With Pocket Change, Lore Weaver, and Dazzle Dawn joining in on the fun too, sparks should be flying very soon!
(Image drawn by GhostGirl)
That ran long, didn’t it? Hoped you all enjoy the read though, ladies and gentlemen. The next time I do one of these thingies, I’ll finally get to yap about my first (formerly) Tier 2 character. So… watch out!!!