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Fanfic / Winter War Path

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Snowball fights. A winter tradition, even in the magical land of Equestria. However, when it comes to Crash Dive and Pressure Cooker, throwing frozen balls of water by hoof just wasn't satisfying enough. Each year the two inventors took it upon themselves to test their new inventions waging faux wars with catapults and launchers of all types, after all, it's all good fun, right? Unfortunately, when Pressure Cooker jumps the gun in their most recent duel, Crash Dive takes it rather personally. What follows is an increasingly insane war as the ponies keep upping the ante, as they start caring less and less about who gets caught in the crossfire...

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Winter War-Path is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fan fiction written by Turanic. The first chapter can be found here, pending upload onto Fimfiction.Net.

Tropes present in this work:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Most of the war machines used fire either gigantic snowballs or, later on, snowsplosives. A variety of projectile that causes whatever's struck by it to ice over is featured later on, first off in downing Night Strike's flying machine.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Princess Celestia's reaction to the war in question, even after it got out of hand.
  • All There in the Manual: A big failing in the writing department is that it does very little to really introduce the characters. Much of it has been built upon other stories, character sheets and pieces by the two creators involved. As such, while the story introduces the situation, the characters themselves just turn up without much explanation. As such, Crash Dive's attire, fear of other pegasi and the presence of a seapony seem to come out of left field. A previous short story, The Ballad of Ballast Flanks, helps to somewhat alleviate this issue, but Pressure Cooker herself still just seems to enter without much in the way of a introduction.
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  • Armor-Piercing Question: Featherweight uses this against the faltering inventors to help finally make them realise how out of hand their competition has become, specifically asking what the trophy flag they have been fighting for actually represents.
  • Author Appeal: Seen in Crash Dive's odd albeit useful atmospheric diving suit. Also seen in some of the vehicles developed over the course of the conflict, notably the obvious takes on the M4 Sherman, Pzkpfw VIII Maus, P1000 Ratte, and T28/T95 'Doomturtle'.
  • BFG: Pressure Cooker's arsenal consists mainly of these, massive guns that primarily shoot snowsplosives.
    • Not to be outdone and keeping with the original vehicle it was designed on, Crash Dive develops a 32-foot-long high-velocity icicle-throwing cannon mounted in the body of the Tortoise Mk. 28, using it to some degree of effectiveness against Pressure Cooker's RATTE... which mounts guns big enough to fire wagon-sized snowsplosive shells.
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  • Bigger Stick: As the story goes on, both sides build bigger and more destructive inflatable war machines.
  • Brick Joke: A few ponies start wondering where all the projectiles overshooting their targets are landing. In the final part we find out several struck Canterlot, hitting Celestia's castle.
  • Book Dumb: Subverted with Depth Charge. It just turns out he didn't have many books to read.
  • Captain Ersatz: The vast bulk of characters have been brought over from two Fallout: Equestria spin-offs written by a friend of the author, in particular Featherweight and Night Strike & Static Charge.
    • This is played with as the story seems to show what might have happened were the characters not born in Fallout: Equestria. As such, many have Lighter and Softer quirks or vastly different personalities to what emerged in those stories.
  • Cardboard Prison: It turns out that makeshift prisons founded on densely packed snow don't make the best jail cells.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Played with. While the later chapters start to lose some of their levity and lighthearted moments, the story focuses more upon the war's increasingly ridiculous nature. The author attempts to play the conflict so straight faced that the bigger battles become all the funnier as a result. Whether or not it works is down to the reader. It does swing back towards the goofier tone in the final chapter, once the two sides start to make peace though.
  • Comically Missingthe Point: Happens a few times, but one exchange between Night Strike and Depth Charge takes the cake:
    “Books,” she said slowly “you read books. Made of parchment. Which you got from a shipwreck. Which is currently lurking at the bottom of that lake right over there.”
    “Uh-uh,” he nodded enthusiastically “I was lucky, the ship was full of them! Mostly fantasy and magical stuff but there’s some really entertaining-“
    “Depth Charge,” she interrupted “this isn’t some elaborate joke is it? It- Look, how are you reading them?”
    “Practice?” he asked, “I mean, isn’t that how you learned to read?”
  • Covers Always Lie: Chapter two shows Crash Dive facing down Pressure Cooker in her own war machine. This never happens. Eventually subverted, as it instead makes a surprise appearance in the third chapter.
    • Once again with Chapter four, where Featherweight and Night Strike appear to drop their weapons with impunity and unhindered. Among other details, such is far from the case in the actual climax.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Depth Charge seems to have completely missed the growing insanity of the snowball war, or his friends' slow descent into madness. He instead spends most of the time dressed up as a fake admiral, proclaiming "For Princess and Country!" while pelting Pressure Cooker from the lake. Largely justified thanks to this being an Outside-Context Problem for him, having rarely communicated with anyone on land until a few months ago.
  • Crazy Awesome: Pressure Cooker all the way. Upon fearing defeat, she throws everything she has into trying to turn things around. Throwing a dozen Tulip tanks at the enemy trenches, and almost breaking their lines, she drives her brand new super-weapon across the bottom of the lake, and ambushes them from the other side. Said super-weapon has been built out of almost anything she has left on hand at the last second.
    • Arguably the entirety of chapter four. Between the reveal of the RATTE and Tortoise Mk. 28, the pitched battle between both massive war machines, and the deployment of snow versions of atomic bombs, the whole chapter feels like a long love-letter to completely mental bananas epic fight scenes in film and stories alike.
  • Dark Horse Victory: A coalition of Night Strike, Featherweight, Static Charge and (inadvertently) Depth Charge take out both sides at once, winning the war after they become sick of the inventors' constant fighting.
  • Escalating War: This story in spades, starting off with a simple winter tradition and snowballing into something far more hectic and insane.
  • Everything Explodes Ending
  • Fantastic Nuke: Both sides managed to develop these in snow-themed flavor, albeit having placed production on hold to focus down on their really ridiculous weapons of war.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Pressure Cooker's latest in massive war machines, the Mobile Artillery Unit (Submersible-Design), MAUS for short.
    • Later one-upped with its successor, the Rotary Auto-Loading Tactical Threat Exterminator or R.A.T.T.E.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Subverted and then played straight. It turns out that Princess Celestia didn't mind several giant exploding snowballs striking her castle. No, in fact she thought it was so hilarious she wanted to join in herself. Cue Pressure Cooker and Crash Dive fleeing for their lives.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Happens to both, first when the air compressor that Crash Dive was using to fuel her Improvised Armour came under fire and later when Night Strike manages to sabotage the air tanks filling the armor of Pressure Cooker's Tulip tank.
    • Brought to a head in the climax, where the war machines from both sides are destroyed by the respective inventors' own atomic snowsplosive weapons. Crash Dive receives a double dose of this, as well - not only was it her own bomb, but the bomb was only detonated thanks to modifications that she had made to Night Strike's flyer.
  • Improvised Armour: After her artillery pieces are disabled during their initial engagement, Crash Dive over-inflates her atmospheric diving gear as makeshift armour. This proves to be surprisingly effective at countering most of Pressure Cooker's snowballs, at least at first.
  • Worldof Ham: YES. The more wrapped up the ponies get in their war, the more bombastically hammier they become. So much so that Night Strike bursts out laughing at one of Crash Dive's propaganda speeches. Night Strike even evokes this herself as a wake-up call to how stupid the inventors' behaviour has been.
  • Long Title: To give it it's full name, Winter War-Path, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Snowball.
  • More Dakka: Pressure Cooker's approach to the conflict largely relies upon throwing the biggest guns she can at the enemy and attempting to pummel them into submission.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Pressure Cooker has a fleeting moment of this after seeing Depth Charge struggling on the shore, following him being blasted out of the water by the Ratte's secondary gun which she was in control of at the time.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Rivals!: Ponyville buried under constant bombardments to keep the populace in line? Check. Builds the weapons which eventually beats them? Check. Ticks of their own allies until they team up to beat them? Check. By the end Crash Dive and Pressure Cooker do more to hurt their own efforts than one another.
  • One-Man Army: Pressure Cooker has the habit of performing one pony charges at the enemy, many of which come within inches of succeeding.
  • Only Sane Man: As the fight goes on, everyone who isn't Crash Dive or Pressure Cooker tends to turn into this.
    • Featherweight later serves as this for Night Strike, after pointing out her Large Ham wake-up call will likely only put her on the end of a Roaring Rampageof Revenge. Instead he opts to turn this into a bizzare Bad Cop routine.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Both sides are acting extremely out of character thanks to being so wrapped up in their personal war, bitterly refusing to give any ground and not caring just who gets caught in the crossfire.
  • Properly Paranoid: Subverted. Both sides want to rope other ponies into the war, but are adamantly convinced anyone arriving is going to join the other side. As such anyone foolish enough to actually stray onto the battlefield gets pelted with exploding snowballs until they flee.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The entire fic is fueled by it, to the point where one commentor accurately summarized the entire second half thusly:
    "It's like Fury (2014) had a snow day during a Macy's Day Parade"
  • Sanity Slippage: Played for laughs, especially with Pressure Cooker's reactions to Night Strike's arrival, or the subject of surrendering.
    • Slowly starts to be played straighter as the story moves on, with the later chapters being lighter on the comedy compared to previous parts.
    • Sanity Strengthening: ... only for it to loop back around once the two finally start to realise just how far gone they have become.
  • Schedule Slip: Despite being a relatively short story on the whole, the fic has suffered a glacial pace with only a few updates. This is unfortunately caused by it being bounced around between other stories, but mitigated somewhat as each chapter is treated more like an individual episode of a larger saga than anything else.
  • Serial Escalation: Each side starts with bigger guns and just keeps getting bigger. At first it's a mixture of thrown snowballs and light artillery pieces, then tanks, aircraft and super heavy vehicles come into play as the "war" drags on.
  • Serious Business: The entire point of this war. Each side believes the other cheated in what's supposed to be a lighthearted and fun contest, resulting in an increasingly demented war between the two. By the third chapter, both inventors are obsessed with victory and little else.
  • Tank Goodness: Pressure Cooker's primary arsenal, inflatable versions of tanks from the second world war; first an M4 Sherman, then the massive Pzkpfw VIII Maus.
    • Brought to an inevitable conclusion by chapter four, wherein Pressure Cooker reveals her magnum opus of the RATTE superheavy mobile siege bunker and Crash Dive even shows up inside her Tortoise Mk. 28, a lookalike of the T28/T95 Gun Motor Carriage otherwise known affectionately as the 'Doom Turtle'.
  • The Siege: Unique in that each side is effectively besieging one another at the same time via trench warfare. Both are also engaged in a protracted one against Ponyville itself.
  • Those Magnificent Flying Machines: Night Strike's flyer fits, being effectively a hard cider-fueled H16 engine block with wings and a tail section.
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