If I'm going to tell you my adventure of my life — explain how I got to this place with these people, and why I did what I'm going to do next — I should probably start by explaining a little bit about PipBucks.
Fallout: Equestria is a crossover fanfic between My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and the Fallout universe.Set in an alternate future, it follows the story of Littlepip, a rather underwhelming Stable-dwelling unicorn in a post-apocalyptic Equestria. Stuck in the monotony of one of the lowest ranking jobs in the Stable, her life changes when she leaves in search of Velvet Remedy, the Stable's singer idol.Outside, she must learn to survive in a blasted, poisoned land... And possibly, with the aid of friends made along the way, bring new light into the darkness of the Equestrian Wasteland.Has a character sheet.The story is enormously popular and has inspired hundreds of side stories, including Project Horizons, Pink Eyes, Heroes, and Murky Number Seven, which have their own articles on this wiki. More information, including other side stories and art, can be found on its fansite.
Eventually Ditzy Doo, by her adoption of Silver Bell.
Affably Evil: Now Red Eye may be the most despicable mass murderer throughout all of Equestria's history-–what with how he enslaves thousands of ponies and subjects them to both torture and experiments of undefinable cruelty–-but gosh darn it if he isn't just plain likable.
After the End: The story is set in a post-apocalyptic Equestria, suffering from the effects of what was effectively a nuclear war. In this case however, it was done with Balefire and megaspells, rather than nuclear missiles.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The AI in Stable 29 which killed the population off slowly, trying to make up for a deteriorating water talisman, and to 'preserve pony life'.
All of the Other Reindeer: Littlepip notes that she herself—while not outright hated—never could fit in with basically anypony in Stable 2. She was treated like dirt in every recollection of her past with the residents, and pretty antisocial in most definitions of the term, which caused people to avoid her most of the time. When Velvet Remedy left the Stable, Pip was unfairly blamed and recognized even more as an outcast by the populace. When she leaves the Stable to go after Velvet Remedy, she's even told that they will not let her back in under any circumstances, despite having stated earlier that they planned on sending a search party out for the more important Velvet. Later in the story, when the Stable is then being sacked by a group of murderous Steel Rangers, Littlepip and her troupe pull a Big Damn Heroes and save it anyway, ignoring how badly it treated her in the past. In a small subversion of the trope, Stable 2 is actually kinda grateful for the rescue.
The Hellhounds. It's suggested a few times by Velvet Remedy that they might actually be a subversion. However, since Velvet suffers from some symptoms of Stupid Good, it should probably be taken with a grain of salt.
Chapter 42 reveals that Hellhounds believe ponies are this.
Raiders. Just like in the game, their only purpose is to torture and kill everypony they see For the Evulz.
And I Must Scream: The fates of Fluttershy and Celestia immediately following the war.
Subverted. They are both considerably better off at the end of the story.
And Now for Someone Completely Different: Littlepip narrates the entire story in first person, with the exception of the epilogue and afterword. The former is a radio broadcast and the latter is told from Fluttershy's perspective ten years later.
Anticlimax: Calamity finds the confrontation with his father to be nothing like he ever imagined, and in fact it's fairly amicable on Calamity's end. It shows his growth as a character.
Lampshaded by Red Eye when Littlepip threatens to just shoot him and end his tyranny.
One of Littlepip's primary goals is to find new bearers for the Elements of Harmony so that the Gardens of Equestria can heal the world. She finds four bearers, but Gardens isn't activated during the story and the bearers of Magic and Generosity are never named. The only acknowledgement of Gardens' activation is a retrospective mention in the afterword.
Anti-Mutiny: Realizing that the Steel Rangers had warped their original philosophy of protecting the innocent from harmful technology to protecting technology from the innocent, many decided to break off and form the Applejack's Rangers to follow their true goal.
Anti-Villain: Red Eye. He preaches a lot about rebuilding Equestria, returning the country to its former glory, everyone being safe again, and all that good stuff. For the most part, he means it. Unfortunately, this new world is built on the broken backs of thousands of slaves.
The crew behind the fanfic's radio play released the play’s prologue, which is the very definition of an Apocalyptic Log. Listen for yourself.
Artifact of Doom: The Black Book, a nigh-indestructible compendium of dark zebra magic. It's also sentient, constantly trying to tempt its owner.
Ascended To Carnivorism: Most wasteland ponies have no issues with eating bacon, the village of Arbu survived by exporting radigator meat and took this a step further with their secret tradition of cannibalism.
Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Many believe that this is what happened to Celestia and Luna after their Heroic Sacrifice, now acting similar to more conventional gods. There's no evidence for it (and many pegasi dismiss it as bunk), but there's not really evidence against it, either until Littlepip finds Celestia's consciousness inside of the Single Pegasus Project.
Attempted Rape: Littlepip narrowly escapes a gruesome fate at the tentacles of a pony Centaur in Chapter 31.
Pulled off quite well when, due to some fast talking, Littlepip has both Gawd and Deadeyes in one room, and each think that she's going to kill the other for them. She kills Deadeyes, for what happened to Silver Bell's family under his orders.
Red Eye is planning one against the Goddess.
Both of those are blown away by Littlepip's plan to take down the Goddess. The Goddess can read minds, so Littlepip forms a plan to sneak a balefire bomb into their lair, telling everyone involved their part to play and nothing else, and then has her own memory removed (and stored) so that nobody knows enough to stop them. Then she leaves notes behind to manipulate herself into doing her part. Yes, she pulled a Batman Gambit on herself.
Red Eye's plan to achieve godhood is the best example yet. Realizing the need for a true alicorn 'template,' Red Eye, an earth pony, has decided to have both a unicorn and pegasus ascend with him, rather than the purely unicorn mixture that the Goddess was made from. However, as a precaution against the more charismatic Autumn Leaf gaining dominance of the persona, he tempts the equally strong-willed Littlepip, knowing that her overwhelming sense of justice would ensure the Wasteland's safety.
Cruelly subverted throughout Chapter 34. Littlepip's killing of bandits who are implied to know about Arbu's secret cannibalism, and her needless slaughter of skittish Brotherhood of Steel members at the bridge, are in unknowing defense of a village that's quite blackly evil. The dead bandits and their motivations also serve as a dark Call Back to how Calamity and Littlepip met: shooting someone who looks evil and only later asking questions.
The magic cannon that Calamity uses against Topaz is literally bigger than him.
Spitfire's Thunder is so big it needs to be packed up and then reassembled before battle.
The B.E.L. in Chapter 36 is the equivalent of Fallout's Fatman.
Bittersweet Ending: In a parallel to the ending of Fallout 3, Pip plugs herself into the Single Pegasus Project, going into an induced coma in order to bring new light and hope to the Wasteland. Mitigated by the idea that she can still communicate with those she loves from the inside, and by the fact that the SPP's hibernation chamber keeps her alive for longer despite the various toxins that have shortened her natural lifespan (though a mutation from exposure to taint did grant her an increased lifespan already). The 10-years later epilogue shows that the last two Element Bearers have been found, Gardens of Equestria has been activated, alicorns have become a viable pony species, and the New Canterlot Republic is a stable government.
Bloody Murder: A form of dark magic, allowing the wielder to form blood into weapons.
Black and Grey Morality: The quality of the protagonists' moral compasses is disputable, yet they can still be considered knights in shining armor compared to the enemies they fight.
This is a valid subjective interpretation of the morality presented within the story. The merits and flaws of this viewpoint have been extensively debated in the story's associated TV Tropes forum thread, as well as in the "On Heroes & Violence" blog article by the author, and between two TV tropes liveblogs here and here.
Bio-Augmentation: The ghoul doctor attempted this with his patients and manticore poison sacs. The Zebra Alchemy perks "Bone-Strengthening Brew" and "Zebra-Augmented Pony" are more benign examples (and notably incompatible with cybernetics).
Given the way the chapters end with game mechanics, it's likely that it's less 'incompatible' than branching story lines; if Littlepip had resolved Fillydelphia differently, she likely would have gained access to cybernetic perks instead of alchemy.
Body Horror: What happened to most of the ghoul doctor's experiments in Chapter 17.
Body Surf: Twilight is able to survive the Goddess' destruction and jump into a nearby alicorn, later coming to Littlepip's rescue. However, since the body was already occupied, Twilight (apparently) dies soon after.
Book Ends: If I’m going to tell you about the adventure of my life — explain how I got to this place with these people, and why I did what I’m going to do next — I should probably start by explaining a little bit about PipBucks.
Elder Cottage Cheese also tries this, but is stopped by Littlepip.
The ultimate fate of Celestia.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Pinkie Pie, as always, except here she is able to break the fourth wall of the fanfic, by interacting with Littlepip through the memory orbs. Since this fic is Darker and Edgier, she can only do this when it serves the plot, not for Rule of Funny like usual.
Breather Episode: Arguably Chapter 32, which takes place mostly in Tenpony Tower and includes Xenith going on a shopping trip, all real action only taking place inside memory orbs and Velvet and Calamity doing... Things.
Broke the Rating Scale: Similar to how Cupcakes is the only fic to get the "GRIMDARK AS FUCK" tag on Equestria Daily, Fallout: Equestria is the only fic to get the "LEGENDARY" tag there.
Buffy Speak: Littlepip's thoughts on why one of Calamity's plans isn't, because "Plans have...plan stuff".
Call Back: The night before the final battle, Spike cajoles Littlepip out of bed to join a festive party much like he had tried centuries beforehand with Twilight Sparkle on the eve of Nightmare Moon's return. Spike lampshades this.
Can Not Tell A Lie: Monterey Jack, who would rather confess a crime and be executed for it than lie.
Cast from Lifespan: Due to exposure to radiation as well as insane amounts of violence that nearly kills Littlepip several times over, it's made clear that if and when her quest ever ends, the damage she's taken trying to free the Wasteland will catch up with her, causing her to die young. Then she gets exposed to taint, enough that her lifespan increases dramatically, so it more or less evens out.
Catapult Nightmare: Diamond Tiara, causing the prisoners to become aware of her existence and therefore indirectly causing her death.
Chekhov's Gun: An armory's worth. The author has mentioned that this is her favorite literary device to set up. Just to name a few:
Littlepip's mother's tendency to alcoholism is mentioned in the prologue and summed up in Chapter 19, where Dr Helpinghooves gives it as a reason for Littlepip's tendency to addiction.
The magical plasma cannon which is undergoing repair in Chapter 10 comes back in Chapter 12, where it helps Calamity blow a large hole out of the dragon, Mr Topaz.
In Chapter 13, Littlepip decodes a recording left by Trixie that said she was going to help Twilight with an important scientific experiment. In Chapter 29, we learn both what this experiment was and its end result. This one gets bonus points for Littlepip outright stating it's nothing special.
The red wagon Velvet Remedy uses in Chapter 18 to pull supplies, is then used to transport an unconscious Littlepip to the clinic.
The Balefire Bomb found in Sliver Bell's home is later used by Red Eye to gain leverage over Littlepip. After that, it's used to destroy both the Goddess and the Black Book.
Littlepip finds a special little book by the name of " Supernaturals" while the Shatteredhoof Correctional Facility. It is stated offhandedly and not mentioned again, until they find Fluttershy, transformed into a tree by killing joke, in the Everfree forest. At which point, Littlepip comes to the revelation that she read about a cure for poison joke in an old book she found and they use it to cure her.
Chekhov's Skill: Littlepip's lock-picking. Significant in the fact that only she seems to be the only one capable of doing it to any sufficient level in the entire wasteland. This is also an example of a Mythology Gag, since the player's character in any of the Fallout games will constantly find supplies that appear to have been locked up since the apocalypse several centuries ago.
Chest Burster: Chimeras and Hospital Horrors (the local equivalent of Centaurs).
Littlepip does this to the sea-blue pony in Chapter 17. Before that, she was smashing the ghoul doctor to a bloody pulp out of rage.
Combat Pragmatist: Anyone in the wasteland, given half the chance. Credit goes to Littlepip for levitating a boxcar, using telekinetic magic light to hide its shadow and then using it to smash an alicorn to a thin paste.
Clarke's Third Law: Magic and technology go hand-in-hand so much it's hard to tell where it one starts and the other ends.
Although in some cases they are mutually exclusive. When Littlepip gains the Zebra augmentations it is explicitly stated that they are mutually exclusive with cybernetic enhancements.
Crapsack World: Equestria is now a desolate and unforgiving wasteland, with mutated creatures and the like all trying to kill you, and 'Taint' making everything else worse. This is made even crappier when you catch glimpses of what used to be.
The Canterlot Ruins, which borrow elements from the Sierra Madre (Dead Money) reflect this well, as many of the already deadly threats are ramped up to even nastier levels. The original cloud would sap your health; the pink cloud is not only faster but threatens to warp flesh and fuse you to equipment or furniture or the ground. The bomb collars were mostly a puzzle and harmless as long as you turned off the speaker or got out of range; in Canterlot, their necromantic effect mean you start suffering and dying as soon as you get into range, making it all that much harder to get away.
The megaspells hit Splendid Valley. Good news? Twilight Sparkle thought to protect the facility, and no one dies from the nuclear explosions. The bad news? Trixie falls into a vat of a concentrated magical formula, turning her into a monster that kills everyone inside anyway, becoming The Goddess. Oh, and the Diamond Dogs get coated in magical waste, becoming the most lethal creatures in the Wasteland.
Applejack is sealed inside Stable 2, pregnant, never able to know what happened to her friends or family; Pinkie Pie was minutes away from preventing a balefire bomb from going off in Manehattan, but fails; Rarity teleports Fluttershy and Angel away from Canterlot, getting killed by the Pink Cloud in the process, only for Angel to become petrified and Fluttershy to turn into a tree; Twilight Sparkle is dragged into a vat of chemicals by Trixie, being trapped inside of her consciousness for centuries; and Rainbow Dash is a complete mystery, though she's all but confirmed for dead.
Death Is Dramatic: Subverted. SteelHooves' death, while foreshadowed, is abrupt and realistic.
Death World: Think of the Equestrian Wasteland as a typical Fallout Wasteland mixed in a bit with the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. In Fallout, few creatures have energy-based attacks, Super Mutants don't have the ability to generate extremely sturdy protective shields or fly, and Deathclaws aren't adapted enough to qualify as a faction on their own, with enough wit to reverse-engineer firearms for their own uses, plus being able to dig fast enough for it to be a viable combat tactic. Even the background element of F.E.V. is incarnated as an active environmental threat. Likewise, the environment offers relatively mundane challenges, including permanently cloudy weather due to the Enclave which brings massive rainstorms, and the dangers of the decaying structural integrity of the ruins Littlepip and friends end up exploring.
On the plus side, the magic in the wastes is mostly stable and the deadliness of it is (at least somewhat) offset by the fact that the heroes have access to spells and telekinesis, flight and such. Also, despite the condition of the world and the time since the missiles fell, Littlepip and her allies never find themselves struggling for basic resources like food or water, thanks in large part to Calamity's obsessive scavenging.
Not much from My Little Pony gets this, but several aspects of the games (and, to some extent, those who play them) are given a good look through this lens. The Party-Time Mint-Als are an excellent example: a player would merely be annoyed by the stat drop caused by addiction, but seeing how it causes a schism between Littlepip and Velvet that indirectly ensures the death of Monterey Jack from the addict's point of view is a very sobering experience.
Killing, even in self defense, is intensely deconstructed as well. Both Littlepip and Velvet have extreme difficulty coming to terms with the fact they have to kill to survive, even in self defense, to the point that Littlepip goes into an extended period of self loathing after wiping out a cannibal clan, and Velvet has a nasty BSOD after gunning down a tribe of Raiders, despite the fact they were both threatening innocents and desecrating her idol's home.
Remember the shooting range James sets up in the Vault 101 reactor chamber in Fallout 3? The same story happens in Stable 29, but with a tragic ending: one stallion did the same thing for his son, who accidentally shot the water talisman (the heart of the water purifying system), which doomed the complex to being murdered the artificial intelligence programmed to control population levels by any means necessary so that they remain proportional to the amount of resources.
Deliberate Values Dissonance: Littlepip considers the very concept of an eclipse to be blasphemous and obscene. Apparently, Celestia and Luna never had such things occur while they were alive.
Littlepip reacts badly to Stables with differences in design and society. The first one she encounters had a patriarchal society, initially prompting Calamity to question if she had an issue with males in authority.
Despair Event Horizon: Littlepip comes to believe that, rather than simply being born evil, ponies become Raiders after the Wasteland destroys every last shred of hope they have inside them.
Deus Est Machina: Celestia puts herself in a Soul Jar so she can ensure no one misuses the Single Pegasus Project, even if her body dies. It works, but she spends the next two-hundred years watching senseless death and pain throughout the wasteland.
Doorstopper: Hoo boy. As of its completion, Fallout: Equestria reached approximately 608,000 words - longer than War and Peace (560,000 words). Fo:E is one of the longest, if not the longest MLP:FiM fanfiction. Forty-five lengthy chapters, not to mention the numerous fanarts, game mods (mostly for Team Fortress 2) and Recursive Fanfiction about it. If you had the time, the paper, and the ink, this would literally be a novel, if not several. The author has identified the points where it should be broken to make either a trilogy or a 5-book series.
Also, Monterey Jack's confession and subsequent execution counts as this.
And it was suggested this was the fate of Fluttershy, but that was later shown to be incorrect.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: SteelHooves' death is sudden, unexpected and wholly ignoble. It just comes out of the blue and is over before you register it happened. A fitting reminder of how cheap and pointless death actually is in the Wasteland.
Drugs Are Bad: Littlepip's crashes after taking Party-Time Mint-als and addiction to said drugs do not bode well. Especially considering the eventual fate of Pinkie Pie.
Due to the Dead: Averted for the most part. There are weathered skeletons and defiled corpses galore in the Wasteland. Almost none of the pre-war characters receive any sort of burial. SteelHooves, however, gets a proper send-off from his friends and co-workers. Red Eye gets a particularly gruesome aversion that sickens even a horror-inured Littlepip.
Eldritch Abomination: Zebras believe that the stars are an entire race of these, looking to destroy Equestria. This was part of the reason the zebras were so deadset on winning the war: they believed Luna was their agent, and the events of the war were oddly similar to a prophecy for how the stars would finally kill them. It's strongly implied that there is some truth to this... but it's ultimately subverted. The falling stars were just rocks. Poisonous rocks, yes, but still rocks.
Alicorns. Like Celestia and Luna, they have wings of pegasi and magical horns of unicorns and are pretty darn hard to kill. As long as the shields are up anyway. Without them, or when caught by surprise, they're just as vulnerable as any other pony. Not to mention their powers of cloaking, regenerating, and shooting lightning bolts. And if they've absorbed an especially large dose of radiation, then you'll also be dealing with an Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever.
Hellhounds. They are the equestrian equivalent of Deathclaws. Fast, intelligent and able to burrow underground at amazing speeds. Oh, and they know how to use energy weapons.
Enemy Civil War: In the epilogue, Red Eye's army splits into various factions that fight one another for control, and the Enclave begins a civil war once the rest of the pegasi find out what their government has been doing to the surface and how much they've been lied to.
Enemy Mine: When the Enclave starts to invade the Steel Rangers and Applejack's Rangers temporarily put aside their differences to fight side by side.
Littlepip and Velvet Remedy, who can never come back inside the Stable once they've left. Irrelevant now that the surviving Stable members have been relocated to Shattered Hoof Ridge after the Steel Rangers raid it.
Calamity, for daring to descend to Equestria before the rest of his kind are ready for their glorious return, and for following Rainbow Dash and becoming a Dash-ite.
Scootaloo, who became the very first Dash-ite.
Littlepip again, upon activation of the Single Pegasus Project.
Expanded Universe: The author has done a lot of world building, and, due to a large amount of fan interest, has encouraged others to try their hoof at making a story in the Equestrian wasteland. Which some people have actually done and can be read here. According to Word of God however, only A Mare Worth Fighting For (the infamous 'Chapter 20.5', in which Littlepip and Homage discuss their motives and perform various sexual acts upon one another) can be considered canon to the main story.
DJ PON3 is a combo of Three Dawg and Mr. New Vegas.
Mint-als to Mentats, Dash for Jet, among others.
Red Eye to Lord Ashur (with shades of President Eden and the Mutant Lieutenant), and Fillydelphia to The Pitt.
The Zebra Empire to China with a few shades of Caesar's Legion.
Hellhounds to Deathclaws.
Steel Rangers for the Brotherhood of Steel, though they seem to act in their West Coast ideology.
Applejack's Rangers or the Outcasts to the Brotherhood Outcasts, though in a reversal, the Outcasts of this story are the ones who want to use their technology for altruistic means rather than just hoard and study it.
The Taint (or rather, Impelled Metamorphosis Potion for FEV.
The Alicorns are meant to be the Super Mutants of the universe.
The Goddess / Trixie for the Master.
The Pegasus Enclave is, well, the Enclave.
The Canterlot Ruins for the Sierra Madre with a few elements of the Big MT thrown in. Similarly, Elder Cottage Cheese for Father Elijah with a few shades of Mr. House.
The Ministry of Technology as a combination of Vault City and Underworld.
Arbu for Arefu, at first. It's a much closer parallel to Andale.
Glyphmark for Big Town.
Qarl Death-Hoof for Garl Death-Hand.
Making Xenith's former tribe an expy of the Khans, and thus Glyphmark's Angels are an expy of the Great Khans.
Maripony for the Mariposa Military Base.
Friendship City is a mix of Rivet City and Junktown.
Old Appleloosa to Paradise Falls.
New Appleloosa to Megaton.
Old Olneigh to Old Olney.
Canterlot represents Washington DC with the Ministry Walk practically being a remapping of the National Mall, with the Ministry of Wartime Technology's hub being a combo of the Museums of History and Technology (featuring a Stable/Vault filled with a community of ghouls).
Colonel Autumn Leaf to Colonel Augustus Autumn.
Barkin' Saw to Arkansas.
Neighvarro to Navarro
Calamity's Father to Sergeant Dornan
The Everfree Forest to Vault 22 but with even more terrifying things, like now magical deadly plants and spore creatures.
Fake Ultimate Hero: Subverted. After finally descending, the Enclave attempt to set themselves up as this, claiming to be Equestria's saviors and trying to take credit for Littlepip's deeds. No one buys it, largely because of Homage doing her best to spread the truth and the Enclave's going around and killing innocents just to kill a select few ponies.
Fallen Hero: While we don't get details, Homage has seen many of these throughout Equestria. So many, that when it appears that Littlepip has become one, she doesn't find it hard accept that her girlfriend might be evil.
Fantastic Drug: Despite the obvious downside to most of the drugs (addiction, crashes, overdoses, etc...) Party-Time Mint-als have let Littlepip overcome a whole lot of problems due to the increased clarity of thought. They also enhanced Pinkie Pie's Pinkie Sense to near Psychic Powers levels.
Fantastic Racism: People distrust ghouls, expecting them to turn into killing zombies, even the nice ones like Ditzy Doo. During the war, zebras were almost always represented as monsters in war propaganda.
Fling a Light into the Future: Pinkie Pie, high on mind-altering Mint-als, Pinkie Senses Littlepip (who has not been born yet) listening in on her memory orb (which has not been recorded yet). This inspires her to have Rainbow Dash collect a series of memory orbs from each of the Manes, one of which of herself communicating directly with Littlepip, and stash them in the Canterlot Ministry of Awesome after the apocalypse kicks off so that Littlepip can stumble across it 200 years later. The information in the orbs turns the entire tide of the story. Sunshine. And. Rainbows.
Footnote Fever: The end of every chapter includes a little footnote describing Littlepip's current level and/or acquired Perks.
Foreshadowing: While trying to fend off the Wonderbolts, Littlepip's mind is assaulted by a group of alicorns, who are ordering her to kill Velvet Remedy. She resists with the help of the Ministry Mares statuettes, only for the alicorns to say as a reminder to "Tell Red Eye that she has passed." Not too much later, Littlepip learns that the exact same thing happened to Colonel Autumn Leaf, which is a part of Red Eye's well-crafted Batman Gambit.
In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment during Red Eye's conversation with Colonel Autumn Leaf, the former mentions that a few things can get through the shield at the main hub of the Single Pegasus Project. One of them is certain kinds of dragon magic.
Friend or Foe: The E.F.S system on the PipBuck somehow determines the status of all living beings and marks them as either hostile or friendly.
From Nobody to Nightmare: The Diamond Dogs, once some of the most pathetic villains around, have been transformed by magical radiation into one of the deadliest and most dreaded threats in the Wasteland.
God Is Dead: Celestia and Luna sacrificed their lives to protect Equestria during the apocalypse. Since the sun and moon now move on their own, (though differently, as eclipses never occurred under their watch) many ponies, especially the pegasi, have turned to atheism. On the other hand, just as many believe that Celestia and Luna ascended and now perform their duties and watch over Equestria from there, similar to more conventional gods. Turns out Celestia survived, but her grief in losing Luna caused her to flee to the S.P.P, if you count uploading your mind while your body dies.
God Job: Discussed. Red Eye thinks that Equestria can't function without a god, and that ponies will turn to anarchy and cruelty without someone carrying a big stick to watch over them. In other words, a god like Celestia or Luna doesn't just move celestial bodies, they make civilized society possible without the props of violence and slavery. Littlepip disagrees, believing that Equestrians can heal the world through the magic of love and friendship.
Godzilla Threshold: To the Zebras, Luna's takeover of Equestria's government meant that if they lost the war then they faced a fate worse than death at the hooves of Nightmare Moon. When it looked like that had become inevitable, risking Mutually Assured Destruction with a first strike became the preferable option.
Gotta Catch Them All: Type C. One of the major plot points for story is for Littlepip to find ponies that represent the Elements of Harmony so that she can activate the Gardens of Equestria and hopefully rid Equestria of all the Taint and radiation.
In universe, the magical statuettes of the Mane six also work like this.
The Government: In the war, after Princess Celestia stepped down, Princess Luna formed a war government by having the Mane Six form the Ministries to deal with the war. In the wasteland, there isn't much of a government until after Red Eye, the Goddess and the Enclave are defeated, and the Single Pegasus Project and Gardens of Equestria are activated.
Grey and Gray Morality: Similar to Fallout, there aren't any overtly evil or good people. Instead there are mainly people with similar goals, and differing methods. Such as Littlepip and Red Eye (though admittedly Littlepip is A Lighter Shade of Grey in comparison).
Reggie also uses twin pistols modified by Calamity.
Hammer Space: Littlepip's saddlebags. Able to carry at any time up to almost a half dozen guns, including full sized rifles, several healing potions, the Ministry Mare statuettes, and other assorted items.
Healing Factor: All ghouls and alicorns when exposed to radiation. Later Littlepip herself gains the "Rad Regeneration" perk following exposure to Taint.
Heart Is an Awesome Power: Littlepip's only spell is telekinesis, which is the most basic unicorn spell, and she has a significant amount of angst over it. Velvet later points out that she is capable of doing telekinesis better than any other unicorn in existence. The Black Book later gives her Hemokinesis. Yes, power over blood.
Hero with Bad Publicity: Littlepip spends a brief stint as this after she kills the Arbu cannibals. Information on the massacre spreads slowly at first, and all anypony knows initially is that Littlepip massacred an entire village for no apparent reason. To their credit, everypony is aware that they're acting on incomplete information, but they're also aware how much damage an evil Littlepip could cause, and well, better safe than sorry. Fortunately, the whole thing is cleared up fairly quickly, and Homage delivers a public apology.
Het Is Ew: The Enclave encourage homosexuality among its rank and file as a means of population control, given their limited arable farmland.
Hidden Elf Village: Of a sort. When Cloudsdayle was hit with a megaspell at the start of the war, most of the pegasi brought about a permanent cloud cover and built new hidden cities to hide from the zebra forces. The pegasi living up above the clouds maintain that they'll be back to help the world eventually, though 200 years after the war's end they're still in hiding. In Chapter 38, they finally descend and bring the Wasteland under martial law. However, the real reason they've arrived is so they can deal with Red Eye, and they don't have any plans on staying once that's done.
Hit Me, Dammit!: At the end of Chapter 44, when Littlepip needs Spike to breath fire on her.
Hive Mind: Littlepip comes to the conclusion that the alicorns have one when they state they remember her killing them. They also refer to themselves collectively as 'Us'.
Hold Your Hippogriffs: Some of the characters swear by/pray to Luna and Celestia. Littlepip comes up with gems like "Luna shitting moon rocks". Really, some of the joy in this story comes from the brilliant color of Littlepip's vocabulary. Including "Stick a horn where Celestia don't shine" and "Solar-flaring orgasms of Celestia". To her profound embarrassment, Celestia recognizes her as "she of the colorful vulgarities".
Incest Is Relative: When Stable Two was founded, several of the ponies were part of Applejack's family. As years passed and no new additions were made to the gene pool, the inhabitants came dangerously close to inbreeding.
Incompatible Orientation: Littlepip had a crush on Velvet Remedy since she was little. Unfortunately, Velvet is straight. Though this was probably for the best, as they're distantly related.
Indy Ploy: Expect these every time you see the words 'Stealth mission,' as well as pain, violence, explosions and more violence.
I Need to Go Iron My Dog: When Calamity and Velvet start making out, in Chapter 41, Littlepip excuses herself with a "Time to go do the thing, in the place!"
Instant Expert: Littlepip leaves the stable with no knowledge of how guns work. She learns how to operate a shotgun simply by seeing it fired a few times, and within hours is capable of winning gunfights against groups of armed opponents. It's not long before she adds a revolver, an assault rifle and a sniper rifle to her arsenal as well.
Invisibility: The blue alicorn's unique ability. Acquired from Trixie.
Ironic Echo: When littlepip meets Monterey Jack again, and accuses him of robbing her:
Guard: Sorry. But it’s your word against his, and frankly, seeing as you aren’t a Tenpony citizen, your word doesn’t mean much here.
After he confesses, she finds out that there's a death penalty, and she claims he didn't do it:
Guard: Sorry kid. But it’s your word against his. And like I said, your non-citizen word doesn’t mean the dirt on my hoof around here.
It Only Works Once: Due to their hive mind, the same trick cannot be used on alicorns more then once. They are also capable of learning said tricks themselves, and once the hive mind is destroyed, they form an alliance with Velvet Remedy because they realize it's a better option than fighting Littlepip, the pony who outwitted and blew up their Goddess.
It's All My Fault: Calamity's reaction when Littlepip has to come to terms with her addiction to Party Time Mint-Als.
Celestia's reaction to Big Macintosh's sacrifice and the destruction of Luna's academy. Ironically, if she hadn't stepped down as ruler of Equestria, the apocalypse may never have happened.
Kill Sat: Of a sort. Celestia One - the megaspell in Tenpony Tower - focuses the sun's energy into a devastating beam.
Kirk Summation: Littlepip tries to talk Elder Cottage Cheese out of plugging himself into the Crusader Maneframe. It doesn't work, and she resorts to shutting down the entire system instead.
Lady Land: As per the show, the lead authority of the Stables is always female. (Exception: Stable 24, which had a patriarchal culture as it's sociology experiment.)
Large Ham: The Goddess, aka, the Great and Powerful Trixie.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: The memory orbs work either by copying or completely extracting the victim's memories, meaning they can't look back on them without accessing the orb. At the end of Chapter 31, Littlepip uses this to set a plan in motion against The Goddess, without the telepath finding out about it in advance.
DJ PON-3. The current holder of the title being Homage.
All of the Element Bearers, particularly Calamity and Velvet Remedy, for their admiration of Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy, respectively.
Littlepip herself is this in part for Twilight Sparkle, for finding the majority of the Element Bearers, as well as being the 'spark' responsible for helping them fulfill their destinies.
Left Hanging: Rainbow Dash's ultimate fate and the Bearers of the Elements of Magic and Generosity were never revealed.
Light Is Not Good: Littlepip finds other characters who embody the virtues in ways that causes more harm than good. It's explicitly stated by Watcher that the virtues can't do any good without friendship behind them.
Loyalty: The mercenary that is loyal to money and contract, but could easily betray co-workers.
Honesty: The pony who caused his own death by telling the truth, even when it was not necessary.
Laughter: The filly who tried to suppress all negative emotions, turning into a Stepford Smiler.
Generosity: The dictator who goes to monstrous lengths to gift Equestria with a future.
Magic: The Goddess Trixie, absorbing Unicorns and turning them into the powerful Alicorns, stripping away their identity and free will.
Kindness: Littlepip herself. At multiple points in the story, she goes to great lengths to save the people living in the wasteland, only to abandon them when the danger has passed or to find out that the people she helped weren't as good as she thought and saving them may not have been the right thing. The Goddess notes her "virtue" is Corrupted Kindness, words that haunt Littlepip more and more after he leaves her.
Doctor Glue, and he's completely unrepentant about it.
Twilight Sparkle qualifies as well. While she had very good intentions, she left a lot of collateral damage in her wake, to the point that Spike feels the need to preemptively defend her to Littlepip.
Magitek: Balefire bombs, magical energy weapons that shoot lightning/plasma/laser beams, several PipBuck functions, rifles that shoot flammable bulletsnote That is, a rifle that turns normal bullets flammable, and so on.
Memory Gambit: Littlepip's big plan with Red Eye and the Goddess hinges on her NOT knowing what the plan is.
Mind over Matter: Littlepip's only magic is telekinesis, which all unicorns can do, but the sheer level of her capability is staggering; during The Pit fight, she manages to levitate herself, an ally, a lance and several gallons of toxic goo, the last being stretched out to cloak them from snipers. And then she decides to pick a lock, without tools, by grabbing the tumblers from inside. And succeeds. She's extremely taxed by the feat but it would probably be flat-out impossible for any other pony short of Celestia or Luna. (Admittedly she had spent several traits on this.)
Mind Rape: The surviving alicorns under Red Eye attempt this on Littlepip, forcing her to turn her gun on Velvet Remedy. Littlepip manages to break free of their control before she pulls the trigger, however.
Misplaced Accent: Calamity's family (with the exception of Autumn Leaf) seem to be the only ponies in the Enclave – possibly the entire Wasteland – to speak with "Southern" accents.
Motive Decay: In-Universe. The Steel Rangers were originally some of the foremost protectors of Equestria. After the nuclear holocaust, many of them began misinterpreting their oath as "protect Equestrian technology, and kill anyone who gets in our way." This eventually causes the Rangers to splinter into two factions: one loyal to the old ways (protecting the citizens of Equestria) and another loyal to the new interpretation.
More Dakka: SteelHooves' armor is equipped with a rocket launcher and a grenade machine-gun. Even with this arsenal, Calamity still considers adding a plasma rifle to the armor.
Mutually Assured Destruction: The only thing the zebras could think of to escape their presumed slaughter under the reign of Nightmare Moon was to take out the entirety of Equestria with them as they went down. As stated in chapter 36:
The zebras had already lost. Equestria had won. It was only a matter of playing it out. Checkmate in a predictable number of moves. And if the zebras truly believed that there was no possibility of surviving a surrender, that they were facing annihilation or worse under Nightmare Moon... and they did truly believe that... then the only move left was to blow up the board. The zebras didn’t see any other choice.
Befitting to the setting, this trope had a rather different and more ironic name in Equestria: Communally Assured Reciprocal Existence, or CARE — Fluttershy came up with it, naturally.
Arbu for Littlepip, to the point where she starts obsessing over it.
Luna's magic academy is this for Princess Celestia. There were three equally good sites for the school, but she picked the one in Crescent Moon Canyon for the sake of a joke on her sister. Because this allowed for the later massacre as the school was near the Zebra border, escalating the war to the point of no return, Celestia blames herself for the eventual apocalypse and Luna's death.
The apocalypse likely never would have happened if Fluttershy hadn't given megaspells to the zebras as a sign of good faith. She acknowledges this.
Nailed To The Wagon: Littlepip by Velvet Remedy. She gets tranquilized and transported (in what happens to be a wagon) to the addiction clinic against her will. She doesn't take it well.
Neigh Theist: Played unusually. While Littlepip freely believes in the divinity of Celestia and Luna and is reverent towards them, she does not agree with Red Eye that the Wasteland needs a god to save it, or that it needs a living god to make everypony behave.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Most of the major players in the Great War caused severe consequences or problems which lingered on two-hundred years later:
Princess Celestia - Building Luna's magical academy in Littlehorn Valley and the massacre that followed led to the darker years of the war.
Princess Luna - While she did not do any major damage, her very presence as monarch triggered a devastating shift in the zebra's war mentality, not to mention the damage that was caused as a result of the Ministries that she created.
Twilight Sparkle - Her alicorn project led to the creation of the Goddess and the alicorn army, and the discarded Impelled Metamorphsis Potion batches eventually were mixed with balefire radiation, creating mutated species.
Applejack - Her Ministry built many weapons which devastated zebras and ponykind, help fund many companies which caused just as many disasters in the war, and founded the Steel Rangers who eventually became hoarders of technology, abandoning their oath to protect Equestria.
Rarity - Her Ministry's role making propaganda only fueled the hatred towards zebras.
Pinkie Pie - Pinkie Pie subverted her own Ministry's war on drugs, leading to rampant drug problems in Equestria, and even cooked up Party Time Mint-als.
An unnamed Pegasus Enclave soldier, upon witnessing his squadron leader vaporize a terrified filly.
Later: the entire crew of an Enclave airship. They cease their bombardment of Friendship City once it becomes clear that the defenders can no longer fight back. Their former allies promptly blow them out of the sky.
No Place for Me There: Red Eye knows that he isn't fit to rule Equestria once he's restored it. Thus his plan to ascend to godhood and control the sun, moon, and weather in the background while Littlepip takes the lead.
Nuclear Nasty: Magical radiation and 'Taint' mutated parasprites, bats, phoenixes and pretty much every other creature out there.
Nuclear Option: Littlepip kills the Goddess and destroys the Black Book by detonating a megaspell. Note that it was more or less the only option, as both are pretty much invincible otherwise.
Once More with Clarity: Littlepip will often recall a seemingly inconsequential throwaway detail in somepony's dialogue, memory, or audio log several chapters down the line to either provide another layer of philosophical reflection, unravel the pre-apocalypse conspiracy, or arm herself in the present.
Justified: the entire book turns out to be based off a direct copy of Littlepip's memories, edited and all.
One-Gender Race: The alicorns are all female. Even if they try to assimilate a male, he won't be one anymore by the time the transformation is complete. This is actually bad for them: they plan to become the dominant race in Equestria, which can't be done unless they have a method of reproduction outside of assimilation. In the coda, many of them have been turned back into males with the help of Xenith and the killing joke.
Operation Jealousy: Subverted. While angry at Calamity, Velvet considers doing this with Littlepip. Littlepip immediately rips into her for it, pointing out that Velvet is trying to manipulate someone who has an unrequited crush on her in order to get back at someone else.
Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Just like the Fallout version, some are mindless and feral while some are intelligent and a couple are allies (like Ditzy Doo, SteelHooves and Lionheart.) Though they might actually be undead due to the possibility of necromantic magic in the Balefire bombs. There is no doubt about the Canterlot ghouls: save beheading, they always come back after being "killed".
Pretty much the entire cast of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. If the war didn't kill them, the two centuries in between the war and the events of the story did. The only known exceptions to this rule are Ditzy Doo, Spike, and Twilight's mother — Star Sparkle.
If you can count being/part of a multi-conscious being 'alive' then Trixie and Twilight Sparkle are also exceptions. Twilight Sparkle survived the destruction of the Goddess by body-jumping into an alicorn, though she apparently died shortly afterwards.
Littlepip: How do you like...[them apples] (Just before sending a bunch of apple grenades down Mr Topaz's throat)
Properly Paranoid: Scootaloo goes to extreme measures to have safe meetings with her friends, thinking the Ministry of Morale may be watching. She's right.
Punch Clock Villain: While in Shattered Hoof, Littlepip meets some Raiders that aren't raping-and-killing monsters, and are just trying to survive in the wasteland.
Punny Name: It's a Friendship is Magic fanfiction. Go figure this will be a good chunk of the cast, of whom cheese shop owner Monterey Jack is only the first.
Radiation Immune Mutants: Ghouls and other creatures that survived the original nuclear fallout, such as phoenixes are resistant and even heal in the presence of radiation.
Revolvers Are Just Better: Lil' Macintosh (a scoped revolver) is one of Littlepip's most powerful guns. May be justified, as this one was crafted by, and shown in SteelHooves' memory, used by, the head of the Ministry of Wartime Technology AKA Applejack, and would therefore pack quite a punch.
Rogues Gallery: Although Littlepip and co. usually dispatch Raiders and the like, she has a number of foes that she crosses paths with on multiple occasions, the most notable ones being Red Eye, the Big Bad of the story; the Goddess, the most powerful entity in the Wasteland and the ruler of the Alicorns, and Colonel Autumn Leaf, Calamity's older brother and leader of the Grand Pegasus Enclave.
Cherchez La Filly - +10% damage to the same sex and unique dialogue options with certain ponies.
Math Wrath – You are able to optimize your PipBuck’s targeting spell logic. S.A.T.S. is now 20% cooler.
Mighty Telekinesis (level three) – Your telekinesis is Twilight Sparkle tier. You can handle multiple objects with ease; and with enough focus, you could probably carry around an Ursa Minor!
Screw You, Elves!: Pegasi have become the elves of the setting, living safely in the clouds and claiming that they'll come down to save Equestria, but never getting around to it. Rainbow Dash, Scootaloo and Calamity (who are pegasi themselves) gave them this treatment, with Calamity doing it every chance he gets. And now that they've descended, pretty much everyone is giving them this treatment.
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The zebras feared that Princess Luna taking over the rule of Equestria was the beginning of a prophecy that Nightmare Moon would return and destroy the world. Cue the zebras going to such lengths to prevent that from happening that they end up destroying the world out of sheer desperation.
Sequel Hook: A handful. The cloud cover is broken, the taint and radiation are mostly cleansed from the land, and Equestria sees a period of relative peace. However, the remains of the Enclave and Red Eye's forces are engaged in bitter civil wars, energy sources remain a long-term concern, the bearers of Magic and Generosity are never named, and the fate of Rainbow Dash remains a mystery.
Sex Is Interesting: Mentions of sexuality are common. Characters usually have "lovers"note which basically means "these individuals are having sex" rather than "fillyfriends" or "coltfriendsnote which don't necessarily involve sex. There are at least two lesbian mares and two gay stallions. Littlepip's profanity is usually some variation on "[Celestia/Luna/Both] [sexually violate] me with her [body part]!". Lifebloom notes that he was kicked out of the Republic because his homosexuality, while the population-wary Enclave are explained to give preferential treatment to homosexual officers (with Calamity referring to one of his older brothers as an example).
Shaggy Dog Story: Equestria was mere weeks from decisively winning the war. Twilight Sparkle had cracked the zebras' spell Bypass, enabling her to create impenetrable megaspell shields if she had just a little more time, and had begun testing the alicorn mutation formula the day of the bombings. The only reason the apocalypse started was because they thought Nightmare Moon was going to exterminate them after winning the war and that they seriously had nothing to lose.
Even more heartbreakingly, Pinkie Pie's strike team was mere minutes too late breaking into the Four Stars building to stop the megaspell that would destroy Manehattan. Her call to Twilight asking for help with her drug addiction and to repair their friendship was sent minutes after Twilight got bombed in Splendid Valley, and minutes before Pinkie herself was incinerated in the Manehattan blast.
Spell My Name with an "S": Littlepip's name can be a source of confusion, with readers sometimes spelling it as LittlePip or Littlepip. This isn't helped by the fact that the spelling is occasionally inconsistent within the story itself note The very first mention of her name, for example, is 'LittlePip'.
Spin-Offspring: Velvet Remedy is a direct descendant of Sweetie Belle, while Littlepip is descended from an undefined branch of the Apple family.
Stable Time Loop: Pinkie's drug-induced interactions with Littlepip inspire her to safely stash the memory orbs Littlepip used to interact with her 200 years later.
Stealth Pun: Her image devastated after the events of "Boast Buster" Trixie is implied to have wound up pulling tricks by a Canterlot Turnpike.
Sugar Apocalypse: This is the world of Friendship is Magic after the equivalent of a nuclear war, after all.
Take That: Chapter 11 has a jab at the one-use nature of permanent items.
(It's not as if books can only be read once, after all.)
The story also takes jabs at various parts of the games, such as:
Megaton in Fallout 3, when sheriff Railright comments on how keeping an undetonated megaspell in a town would be a terrible idea.
There's an alicorn that appears in chapter 37 that's a likely reference to Dog and God from Dead Money. Velvet comments on how someone with a mental illness that deep-seated couldn't simply be cured by talking to them.
Take Up My Sword: The world needs six new bearers for the Elements of Harmony so they can cast a mega-spell that can restore Equestria. The first prime candidates are Ditzy Doo as Laughter and Homage as Honesty, and later Velvet Remedy as Kindness and Calamity as Loyalty. (Was there ever any doubt?)
Near the end, Lifebloom comments that magic has always come easy to him, and he's never found a spell he couldn't learn: however, the limits to the strength of his magic are far weaker than Littlepip's, much less Twilight Sparkle.
Taking the Bullet: Big Macintosh took a shot meant for Celestia, hence the memorial statue in Ponyville.
Telepathy: The green alicorn's unique ability. Acquired from Gestalt and Mosaic.
Thanatos Gambit: Monterey Jack. By his admission of banditry, and subsequent execution, he forces the responsibility of his children's fate onto the now guilt-ridden Littlepip.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Red Eye poked around a little in confidential Enclave secrets. As a result, the Enclave finally descend and launch a full-scale military invasion to kill Red Eye and anyone else who might also have the information. And since they can't be certain how many people know the information, best to destroy entire cities just to be safe. This may have been Red Eye's plan all along, as their overreaction is destroying the Enclave's claims to be Equestria's saviors and allows him to bait and trap Colonel Autumn Leaf.
Also the modus operandi of SteelHooves and Butcher, who both have a tendency to fire their huge guns at any kind of threat, even in enclosed spaces and if a single bullet would have sufficed. Lampshaded multiple times by Littlepip.
The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Littlepip's Memory Gambit as noted above counts on her not watching her own extracted memories until after everything is in place, and has written a letter to herself explicitly telling her this. Naturally, the first thing she does is watch the first one — and immediately catches an angry earful from herself for being nosy.
Pinkie Pie's memory orbs where she addresses Littlepip come close.
Title Drop: The epilogue's subtitle is 'Of Forgiveness and Fallout.'
Tough Love: An example in Chapter 19, where Velvet Remedy shoots Littlepip with a dart gun to paralyze her and then drag her to Doctor Helpinghooves to forcibly put her through the addiction treatment. Littlepip is understandably upset afterwards, though that may be because Velvet's intervention resulted in Monterey Jack's death.
Transferable Memory: Memory orbs, they can be used by unicorns or ponies with Recollectors to live another pony's memory. It's a dangerous process, since the user won't be able to perceive their environment during the memory.
Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Littlepip's plan to deal with the Goddess. An interesting example in that Littlepip doesn't know what it is either. It works quite well, although the untimely arrival of the Enclave made the exit rather ugly.
Littlepip goes absolutely kill crazy after finding out the ponies of Arbu are cannibals. Leads to a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against every inhabitant there.
Not as extreme as Littlepip's, but Velvet Remedy goes trigger happy on a group of raiders who not only tortured and forced a number of young pony children to fight for their amusement, with the added promise of getting their parent's dead bodies back, but they also have the gall to set up their camp at, and defile Fluttershy's cottage, a mare who Velvet looks up to.
Villain Team-Up: Red Eye and the Goddess have such an alliance, though both are plotting behind each other's back. Subverted when the Enclave tries to form one with the Goddess. Since she has just a few minutes before being killed by a megaspell when they make the offer, the Enclave has incredibly bad timing.
We Can Rule Together: Done by Red Eye to Littlepip. He's aware that he's the last pony the wasteland needs as a ruler, so he offers Littlepip the chance to ascend to Godhood with him, becoming the resulting being's conscience. Her response is an impressive Shut Up, Hannibal!.
Weather Control Machine: It's the reason why Equestria is perpetually cloudy. During the apocalypse, the pegasi that would become the Enclave protected themselves by filling the sky with clouds, making the zebras unable to target their cities. It's also the source of the Enclave's power: by using it to grow crops above the clouds and using the perpetual cloud cover to fabricate stories about the surface world, they can maintain their autonomy. If control was ever taken away from them, they would not be able to survive and would be forced to leave the skies and join the rest of the world.
Chapter 29: The Goddess is Trixie, and Twilight Sparkle is part of her Mind Hive.
Chapter 38. The Enclave arrive.
Episode 39 is worse. SteelHooves dies, Velvet Remedy leaves the group, the Enclave take control of the Wasteland, and the chapter ends on a cliffhanger ending where Ditzy Doo apparently dies. The next chapter reveals that Ditzy survived, but that doesn't detract from the wham, since Ditzy instead pulled off a Sonic Rainboom.
According to the author, chapters with "The X of the Y" titles (such as Chapter Seventeen: "The Villain of the Piece") are plotted to be "Wham Episodes" which significantly alter the course of the story, although sometimes only obviously so to readers in retrospect.
Wham Line: Chapter 25. "Burning hoof means Littlepip's watching me.". It takes "Pinkie Pie is watching you FOREVER" to a new, horrifying level.
>XENITH HAS PLANTED THE BALEFIRE BOMB BENEATH MARIPONY.
>YOUR FRIENDS ARE SAFELY AWAY.
>YOU HAVE THIRTY-EIGHT MINUTES TO GET CLEAR.
What Happened to the Mouse?: In this case, referring to an actual mouse. Littlepip and friends set off a spell that turns the dragon in the Canterlot Royal Treasury (possibly Spike's mother) into a field mouse. They then leave (only confirming the spell's success through a gem), and later Canterlot is destroyed by the Enclave. Subverted when the mouse reappears in the Chapter 43.
DJ-Pon3 calls Littlepip out on this after killing all the inhabitants in Arbu.
Scootaloo planned to pull off an absolutely epic one to the Ministries and the Princesses themselves. When the Ministries, governors, and Princesses show up Stable 1, Scootaloo would seal the door and then viciously call them out on the horrific war that has cost so many lives. And since she believes that they don't deserve to have Equestria, even when it recovers, she designed the stable to remain shut forever until every single one of them died. It doesn't quite work, since most of the ponies never arrive, but goddamn Scootaloo.
Littlepip - called out by both Velvet Remedy and Littlepip herself after her destruction of the Goddess also wiped out the Splendid Valley hellhound warrens. Notably, the hellhounds living outside the area did not levy the same What the Hell, Hero? condemnation considering the Splendid Valley hellhounds had been engaged in a genocidal war against ponies.
Later invoked by Littlepip asking herself what the late SteelHooves would do.
What You Are in the Dark: Littlepip has a particularly jarring encounter with an obviously magical mirror which depicts her inner soul- as a raider dying in combat.
It later becomes a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when it is revealed to actually show her at her finest- shot repeatedly while dressed in raider armor, she nonetheless stood undaunted between a caravan of unarmed innocents and what she believed to be an attacking raider.
When the Black Book comes dangerously close to corrupting Littlepip in a dream, Rarity's soul jars take the form of the Mane Six and give Littlepip a Mind Hug.
Mentioned off-screen with Velvet Remedy, whose figurines comfort her after the onslaught of emotions following SteelHooves' death.
From Littlepip to Celestia, claiming that everyone needs the magic of friendship.
You Can't Fight Fate: Upon realizing that Pinkie Pie is aware that Littlepip is watching her through memory orbs, Littlepip tries to avert the megaspell apocalypse by communicating with her. Pinkie refuses, because that's a secret, and secrets are something that should be kept FOREVER!
Though it's later revealed that Pinkie did act on this knowledge, creating a Stable Time Loop.
Zero Approval Gambit: In the story it's referred to as becoming "The Villain of the Piece" — doing what is right even though everyone will think you're a horrible person for doing it. It's very easy to slip from this into actual villainy, though, if your moral compass is skewed.
Scootaloo first uses the phrase to describe her decision to seal the Manehattan Stable before the apocalypse actually happens. If the end doesn't come, everyone will think she imprisoned hundreds of ponies on a whim. Since it was her idea to run 'experiments' on the Stables before the bombs dropped, public approval wasn't much of an objective. When the bombs do drop, however, it's a happy coincidence that the Stables were already occupied.
Littlepip ultimately makes a similar decision. To heal the wasteland, the cloud cover must break, which means destroying pegasus agriculture. Like Scootaloo, Littlepip is forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.
Littlepip's plan to destroy the Goddess. Detonating the balefire bomb under Maripony was necessary not only to save the Wasteland at large from the Goddess and the Black Book, but also to save Homage and those in Tenpony Tower from Red Eye. The downside? Littlepip's responsible for a nuclear holocaust that kills a massive population of hellhounds, which indirectly causes SteelHooves' death. The worst part about it? It was the "best" possible option.
"In a world filled with misery and uncertainty, it is a great comfort to know that, in the end, there is a light in darkness."