As a popular pastime among the pony threads of /co/, pony quests have grown and evolved over the months to become one of the formidable sources of entertainment in their threads. It is somewhat surprising then that, outside of the general threads on that image board, nobody has really heard of them before. Well, that changes today. After the break you’ll find a detailed explanation of this wonderful activity. Here’s hoping you take something from it and start a Pony Quest of your own!
What is Pony Quest?
Simply put, a Pony Quest is a text based adventure run on a forum or image board. Some folks may use pictures, but most stick with text. In this game of sorts, the players either choose or are given a single character which they share and have complete control over. They are then introduced into the premise (either though a cold open, pre-written introduction or by their own action). From then on, it is their task to come together and decide the best courses of action to deal with the situations they find themselves until the conflict is resolved. There are always several possible endings in a Pony Quest, ranging from best to worst in terms of how well you handled the situation vs. how many casualties or negative repercussions there have been for your actions.
Who runs the Quest?
The Quest is run by a single person, usually called the Dungeon Master or DM after the term used in table top rpgs. The DM has complete control over all non-player characters (NPCs), access to privileged information about the Quest and sets the premise for the campaign; much like a DM would in Dungeons & Dragons or some other table top game. However there is another duty that the DM performs, and that is the writing. When looking over a Pony Quest, it reads like a story told in the third person with the narrator referring to the main character as “you.” The players typically only suggest a simple action or series of actions, as well as dialogue. It is the duty of the DM to narrate these actions and their consequences, working them together into single posts so long as two suggestions do not contradict one another or seem like an obvious attempt to derail the quest.
What kind of rules are there?
This is a tricky one. The rules completely depend on who is running the quest. Some DM’s like to micromanage and give players a limited number of options and “save files” (which they can use to restore to an earlier point if something goes wrong), whereas other DM’s just roll with whatever the players throw at him or her and only occasionally forces some things to keep the plot moving. Depending on the DM, you may find yourself in a ruthless campaign that leaves no room for error or a nice, laid back adventure of a quest that you can feel free to experiment in. Find a rule set that works for you and stick with it.
What are Pony Quests about?
They can be about just about anything, but quests should always have a clear goal at least by the end of the first session, typically in the form of a primary conflict or antagonist. Two recent popular Pony Quests on /co/ run by MightyShockwave involved Scootaloo cursed with Vampirism and searching for a cure and a similar Werewolf Applebloom Quest with an antagonist as well as the goal of lifting the curse. Whatever you do, make sure it has a clear goal and purpose. It’s also a good idea to keep things at least a little lighthearted. Slipping into full grimdark mode is a good way to exhaust and lose players. Remember, quests are supposed to be fun not depressing or agonizing!
How do I join a Pony Quest?
Since all of the players are determining the actions of a single main character, Pony Quests are very much drop in/drop out affairs. Most DM’s will post a summary of what has happened so far when beginning a session to catch new players up to speed. Players are typically free to jump in at any point in time, from the beginning of the quest to the end, so all you really need to do is figure out when and where a pony quest is going down and jump in!
In-thread examples (links to archived 4chan threads, possibly NSFW if you decide to check out the rest of the thread):
Pony Quest: Dreamscape (Day 1)
Raisin Quest 3: