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"To Twilight it's numbers in the paper, to Cadance it's the letters from her husband, to Luna it's guns and tanks. But to me, it's my little ponies"
Princess Celestia, Equestria at War
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Equestria at War is a Game Mod for Paradox Interactive's Grand Strategy Game Hearts of Iron IV and a Fan Game of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic that blends the detailed World War II and political simulation of Hearts of Iron IV with a modified, grimmer version of the My Little Pony setting and storyline.

Released in July 2017, Equestria at War has grown to be one of the most comprehensive mods for HOI4. With a custom-made map, 60+ countries with 30+ unique focus trees, racial tech trees and units, a huge variety of complex interweaving events, and more custom icons and portraits than the entire base game, it shouldn't exist, but it somehow does.

It can be downloaded on the Steam Workshop and has a detailed wiki.


It is 7 years since Princess Luna was saved and the Elements of Harmony restored by Princess Twilight and her friends. The world is changing. The peaceful isolation of the village and farm under a distant monarch is giving way to a new world, with radical ideas, terrifying weapons, centralised nation states and industrialised cities.

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Already Equestria has suffered invasions, coup attempts, a rogue demigod, and even near annihilation at the hands of stolen time travel magic. A long awaited commission has released a scathing report condemning the Canterlot administration of gross unpreparedness for military, magical and internal threats.

Everywhere Equestria finds new challenges. To the west, Queen Chrysalis has abandoned her attempts at infiltration and instead mobilised the Changeling Hives for industry and war, planning her revenge on Equestria. To the north, the Crystal Empire, returned after centuries in limbo, considers its future in this strange world even as the threat of Sombra's return remains ever present. Communists spread radical ideas in Stalliongrad to the east, and the griffons of the north are thrown into chaos by the assassination of their governor.

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Across the sea, things are even worse. The Griffonian Empire has collapsed after centuries of stability, and millions lie dead as lords, kings and revolutionaries rush to fight over the spoils. The vulnerable ponies of the colony of New Mareland find Equestria more distant than ever. In the cursed north, the Necromancers of the Dread League stir to battle the Holy Knights of the Arcturian Order. And in the far east the ponies of the disparate nations of the River Coalition face this dangerous world with no alicorns, no harmony, no advanced technology, wielding only the grim determination of those who fight to protect their home and lives.

In this modern world of danger and impending war, the Magic of Friendship can seem very distant indeed...


Equestria at War contains examples of:

  • Action Politician: As a military game, many potential country leaders are also Field Marshals or Generals. This is particularly common with the Fascist paths.
  • Aerith and Bob: The game contains a mix of noun-based names used by ponies and "real world" names used by Griffons, Deers, and other non-ponies.
  • A.K.A.-47: Many of the game's infantry weapons are based on real life weapons from the nation's real life counterpart, with their names changed somewhat. Wingbardy gets Italian-based weapons, Changelings get German-based weapons, etc.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name:
    • The Reformisten, also known as the Black Cloaks, are a radical griffon faction in power in the County of Longsword and can come to power in the Knightly Order of Hellquill. They are griffon supremacists that believe that the ponies are mortal enemies to griffons, responsible for all of their problems. They desire to eradicate the griffon land of ponies and create more "living space" for griffons at the expense of ponies.
    • In general, the fascist ideology from HOI4 has been renamed to "Supremacy", due to encompassing a far larger set of ideals than just fascism (such as totalitarian theocracies, bandit nations, and non-fascist imperialists).
  • All Elections Are Serious Business: Usually played straight – national elections are already serious in real life, but in game elections go beyond this, consistently leading to dramatic differences in ideology, war, policy, and even the very culture of the nation itself.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: Played straight with the Changeling Lands, a Fantasy Counter Part Culture to Nazi Germany. Averted with the Griffonian Empire which takes after the Holy Roman Empire instead.
  • The Alliance: As this is HOI4...
    • Entente: An alliance created by Republican Aquileia to defend against the Griffonian Empire, which usually includes the Griffonian Republic and Skyfall Trade Federation.
    • Republican Pact: An alliance created by the Griffonian Republic aimed at overthrowing the Griffonian Empire.
    • United Ponies Front: formed by Equestria to defend against the Changelings, bringing together horses, commie horses, sparkling horses and Australian horses.
    • River Coalition: An alliance of nations located in Eastern Griffonia, created over a hundred years ago to protect against invasions by griffon armies. All its member countries have a shared focus tree which works towards uniting the Coalition into The Federation.
    • Karthinian Pact: An alliance of Southern Griffonian nations, headed by Wingbardy. Its ideological composition can be any of the four ideologies, as Wingbardy usually retains the faction no matter the ideology they go down.
  • Adapted Out:
    • The reformed, multicoloured changelings are gone. Although some Changelings discover that genuine friendship and harmony feeds their hunger, this does not come with any transformation and the changelings remain their dark selves.
    • Discord is present, but really can't be bothered to help.
    • The Tree of Harmony and Pillars of Equestria are not depicted save for a brief appearance in an Equestrian focus – these story elements appeared in the show after the mod was already well developed.
    • None of the new races or locations depicted in My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) make playable appearances, either, for the same reason — which is somewhat ironic, given that the Storm King's army is probably the universe's closest canon equivalent to an actual Hearts of Iron faction. According to the official reddit page though, some of them might be included in a future Zebrica update.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Ponies and Griffons come in all variety of colours. The only species that seems to avert this trope are the changelings, who generally have a black or gray skin colour.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: For a world of singing candy coloured ponies, MLP is full of little dark moments. The canon includes warring Griffons that care only for money and power, armies of insects that will cocoon you and drain your love and Equestria in a state of Total War over the invasion of Sombra. The mod has taken the canon and followed it to its natural conclusion.
  • Adaptation Inspiration: Adapting to HOI4 has foregrounded the industrialising, modernising aspects of the show, which were always in the background. The result has been a dramatic tone and theme shift away from adventure to more complex stories about ideas, diplomacy and national changes.
  • A.I. Roulette: Interestingly, while the AI normally acts like normal HOI4 AI, doing focuses and paths with a weighted randomness, the mod actually has a "Historical AI" option in the starting screen, which locks the AI paths to some specific paths suggested to be the "canon" (or "historical") paths the countries took.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI often keep troops on the border almost equally, even with that of neighbours who they have good relations with instead of putting most of them on one which is next to a major threat. This even continue once the said threat already commenced their hostility. For example the Griffonian Republic often keep most of their troops on their northern borders despite the Empire is already invading them from the south.
  • Balkanize Me:
    • The Griffonian Empire at game start. Its entire southern half were lost to Aquilea and Wingbardy, along with multitudes of independent petty kingdoms and city states. Meanwhile much of its core territory is held only in name, and its vassals will secede if too upset.
    • Equestria breaks up into many states with the outbreak of civil war. What is initially a simple Equestra/Lunar Empire war is complicated with the secession of Vanhoover, Appleloosa, and Las Pegasus, and the Southeast jungles will soon turn into an isolated sub-civil war called the War in the South between four factions. Most of them tend to destroy and annex each other over the course of the civil war, though some cases (particularly with Equestrian victory) allows for the secessionists and the Southeast to stay independent.
    • If the Changelings succeed in their conquest of Equestria, they have the option to partition the country, turning the south and the east into protectorate states.
  • Bee People: Played straight for the standard changelings, but with some free will and their own personal motivations for following their queen, alternative paths are possible.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The mod contains a lot of Gratuitous German, Russian, French, Swedish, Icelandic, Finnish, Dutch, Serbo-Croatian and other languages for its assorted Fantasy Counterpart Cultures, that, puns notwithstanding, exemplify higher-than-average accuracy. Scheißwald, for instance, translates to "Forest of Shit" in German.
  • Cain and Abel: Either of the Equestrian Princesses Celestia or Luna can become the Cain, or the Abel, with multiple ways to kick off a sisterly rivalry so devastating it tears a thousand year empire in two.
  • Chummy Commies:
    • Stalliongrad, the major starting communist nation, is portrayed positively despite having a lot of trouble with food and industry; the party actively wants to help the people, and Stalliongrad can help rival Equestria against the changelings. It probably helps that ponies are just too nice to easily replicate many of the failures of historical communism.
    • The ponies of the Socialist Republic of Longsword, on overthrowing their griffon oppressors, show tolerance, acceptance and egalitarianism to the griffons despite centuries of oppression and even attempted genocide.
    • The Socialist Republic of Skynavia is a strongly democratic socialist country in the far north of Griffonia. They reject authoritarianism of all sorts, even communist authoritarianism.
  • Cincinnatus:
    • In the more idealistic route, President-Marshal Kemerskai of the Griffonian Republic can spend years reforming the Republic and defeating the Empire, to pass away just as the first elections chart a new direction for Griffonia.
    • Equestria's rapid and centralised war reforms can be wound back after the war, and in the post war reforms, even the Magic of Friendship and decentralised administration can be restored.
  • Civil War: Many examples:
    • The Lunar Civil War, which erupts if the racial tensions between batponies and the rest of the population are not resolved, and sees Princess Luna's supporters on one side, and Celestia loyalist on the other, with many regions breaking away.
    • The Kingdom of Olenia can enter a civil war to overthrow King Johan and restore Princess Velvet, or to abolish monarchy altogether and create a communist state.
    • In the County of Longsword a three-way civil war erupts between Count Pallas Dusktalon's Reformisten, Conrad Silvertalon's moderates, and Starry Night's communist partisans.
    • The Grand Duchy of Feathisia can erupt into a civil war if the political crisis is handled poorly.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • Vassals of the Griffonian Empire are colored orange.
    • Vassals of Aquileia are colored wine red.
    • Members of the River Coalition are colored green.
    • If the expansionist, imperialistic Sinister Serov is elected as secretary of Stalliongrad, the country will switch to a darker shade of red on the map.
    • Sombra's version of the Crystal Empire is a blackish-purple instead of the bright purple of the normal Crystal Empire.
    • Protectorates of the Changeling Lands are all a shade of off-black
    • New Mareland, the Dragon Lands, and the Crystal Empire will change colors to match the Solar Empire or Lunar Empire if they become subjects of one of the ascended sisters.
  • Comeback Mechanic: The Equestrian-Changeling war is initially weighed against Equestria. As the war continues to go bad for Equestria, Equestria can unlock more radical decisions to call for help and mobilize their country. If things are going really, really bad, the Equestria player can decide to have Celestia ascend to Daybreaker and turn the country into the Solar Empire, granting massive bonuses that can turn the tide of the war, at the cost of abandoning the Harmonist ideology.
  • Commie Nazis:
    • The Rozenkamp brothers from Feathisia are the founders of Rozenkampism, an expy of Strasserism that espouses both radical nationalism and anti-capitalism. Rozenkampism seeks to create a strong, militarist and all-encompassing state that can destroy the the capitalist bourgeoisie while achieving national glory.
    • Dark Wing initially presents himself as a harmonic, pro-Equestrian leader for Stalliongrad. In truth, his real ideology is "National Communism", a completely batshit insane ideology that equates Dark Wing with the state and forces everyone to serve him alone.
    • Although the Changelings are explicitly based on Germany, their invasion of Olenia is based on the Winter War (that is, between the USSR and Finland), and when Chrysalis almost always wins, she can choose to give favored servants the equivalent of a Black Sea dacha along the Olenian coast.
  • Corrupt Politician: Johan of Olenia seizes the throne from the rightful heir Velvet, maintaining his tenous grip on power through kickbacks, bribes and an army of corrupt cronies willing to put advancement before ethics.
  • The Coup:
    • Andreia, a young Nimbusian general, will attempt to overthrow their nation's direct democracy should things not go their way.
    • In Wittenland, Merchant Captain Honoria wins the throne through the support of the nobles, who are using her merely as a tool to depose the progressive Queen White Star. However, she launches what amounts to a coup, executing powerful members of the nobility before they can depose her.
    • Lake City begins with a coup attempt against the government, as supporters of an heir to an ancient line of Emperors attempt to reinstitute the monarchy. However, recruiting Westerly Leeward and his paramilitary to fight off this coup can instead allow Westerly to launch a coup of his own!
  • Crapsaccharine World: Despite the colorful cartoony aesthetics of My Little Pony, the world of Equestria At War is a world bordering on chaos and warfare.
  • Crapsack World: While the continent of Equus may still disguise its underlying instability through its seemingly perfect exterior, Griffonia had already ditched the facade and fallen deep into chaos; the continent is filled with radical revolutionaries, cruel bandits, fascist fanatics, despotic autocrats, ambitious imperialists, bitter revanchists, and worse. Warfare, bloodshed, and even crueler acts are all but inevitable on Griffonia.
  • Creator Cameo: Sponsors of the game's patreon get portraits commissioned that are then used as characters in game. Naturally many of the volunteer dev team are such sponsors, and various members of the dev team are scattered through the game.
  • Crutch Character: Some countries give you high level generals and field marshals at the start of the game, but will soon enough get removed, which makes some focuses which give you generals and marshals to be Suspicious Video-Game Generosity because chances are you are going to need them despite apparently you don't.
    • Albert Berthelot is a level 6 Marshal in Aquilea, but he dies shortly before you can even make use of him.
    • Also from Aquilea, Léonard Rodier will stick with you even if you are going Harmonic path. However, he will leave you later once you have pacified the royalists unless you are going the Fascist path that is.
    • President-Marshal Kemerskai will probably see you through almost the whole Griffonian Republic storyline until right at the end when he passes away. Chances are you already have some generals powerful enough to replace him.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Changelings vs Olenia a battle so one sided, that the non-historical option deliberately holds back the Changelings to give players a chance to play around with the rich Olenian content that would be otherwise wasted.
    • On the flip side, an Olenian player who knows what they are doing can turn what looks like a losing battle into the deer curb stomping the changelings.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: Despite an incredible number of portraits, icons, and art, the Griffons, being a rather minor part of the MLP canon, don't have much environmental art, and it tends to show in many of the event pictures.
  • Darker and Edgier: While it's a given that a war game set in the world of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic would be darker and edgier than the show, it's also arguably darker and edgier than unmodified Hearts of Iron 4, with more horrific depictions of crimes against sapient life, such as the Longswordian Genocide, the Dread League's mission to exterminate all life, and nuclear weapons that actually reduce a state's population and leave long-lasting fallout.
  • Dark Horse Victory:
    • Very literally, when Equestria is in the middle of a referendum on batpony rights, Nightmare Moon can return, throwing both sides into chaos and starting a civil war, and can possibly go on to win the war despite few wishing her victory.
    • Blackrock's Bandits can enter the Prywhen Civil War by declaring war on both sides, and with all the mercenaries they can hire, emerge victorious by conquering both the monarchists and the communists.
    • The Reformisten, one of three factions in Longswordian civil war, despite starting with the most populous and industrial state under the control, start with by far the least divisions, and are usually the first faction to fold. They can still win, but it takes a very good player to do so.
    • The monarchists of Lake City revere the heir of a barely remembered ancient emperor. In the midst of the chaotic military-controlled Lake City elections, the distracted nation is taken completely by surprise when the monarchists launch a coup attempt.
  • Decadent Court: The nobles of Griffonian Empire are generally hated because their unbridled ambition and bickering among each other were one of the main reasons the once great empire is now a shadow of its former self.
  • Deep South: The Equestrian region of Appleloosa, similar to the show. If the Equestrian civil war goes on long enough, they would secede as an independent "Southern Confederacy".
  • Developers' Foresight: Even though monarchist Griffonian Republic (Duchy of Cloudbury) does not have a focus (or really, any reason) to declare war on the Griffonian Empire, if they manage to conquer Griffenheim, they do have unique post-unification content (instead of just a generic "Declare yourself the Empire"). In this case, they will proclaim the creation of the Kingdom of Cloudbury-Herzland.
  • Emergency Authority:
    • In the more pragmatic route, President-Marshal Kemerskai of the Griffonian Republic will indefinitely postpone the democratic reforms, a bold choice for a nation defined entirely by it's Republican opposition to the Griffonian Empire.
    • Equestria can be permanently transformed by its emergency war reforms, abolishing the Magic of Friendship, and even leading to a Tyrant Takes the Helm if Celestia is allowed to lose herself.
    • The government of the River Republic can invoke emergency powers in order to prevent socialists from democratically winning the elections and becoming the ruling party. These powers can rapidly become permanent.
  • The Empire:
    • The eponymous Griffonian Empire, whose authority at the start has been reduced to Griffenheim only. No matter the leader chosen for it, the Griffonian Empire will first attempt to reunify the Herzland, and if they're successful they'll move on to invading the rest of the Griffonian continent.
    • The Crystal Empire at the game start is a benevolent example. If Sombra takes over, however...
    • The Solar and Lunar Empires, ruled by Daybreaker and Nightmare Moon respectively.
    • The Changeling Queendom will effectively become one if they win the Great War.
  • Enemy Mine: The Kingdom of Brodfeld (Royalist Pryhwen) can call on Blackrock's Bandits for aid against the communists. While they obviously don't care for the slaving, plundering bandits, and Blackrock herself is no fan of nobles, they both have a vested interest in preventing communism from gaining a foothold.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Chrysalis can build one in the Changeling capital once she unites the Changelings, intended to serve as the nerve center of her centralized government and a propaganda piece. It conveys useful bonuses in game terms.
  • Expy:
    • Queen Velvet, Queen of the Deer, is lovingly borrowed / shamelessly stolen of her character in Them's Fightin' Herds.
    • The Kingfisher, the charismatic politician of New Mareland, bears a suspicious similarity to a certain Huey Long, who was a real person, but has attained such status as an alt history meme that it is essentially an expy of a fictional character.
    • The city of Skyfall and Alaric Dawnbreaker, ruler of Rumare are originally from Dusk Quill's A Soldier's Memoirs.
    • Idol Hooves, fortification engineer for the Crystal Empire, is taken from The Changeling of the Guard.
    • Dierdre Skye, a Mayoral candidate for Lake City, is a nod to the character of the same name from Sid Meier's Alpha Centuari.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Three major examples, all of them permanent if they happen (Heel Face Revolving Doors are not allowed, mostly to not over-complicate events and focus trees):
    • If Princess Celestia lets the burdens of war take too high a toll on her sanity, she could transform into Daybreaker and turn Equestria into a totalitarian, warlike country.
    • If Princess Luna is let to deal with the reforms to incorporate the thestrals/batponies into Equestrian society, Nightmare Moon will attempt to take over.
    • If Twilight Sparkle fails to escape Equestria during the rise of Daybreaker, she will be brainwashed and turned into Daybreakers top enforcer.
  • The Famine: Famines (represented as national spirits) are disturbingly common in the world of Equestria at War, and they are very big problems that can completely cripple a nation.
  • Fantastic Nuke: Though identical in form and function to real life nukes, they are powered at least in part by magic crystals rather than purely radioactive isotopes.
  • Fantastic Racism: The many different fantasy races of EAW don't like each other that much. Ponies and thestrals don't like each other, Griffons and ponies don't like each other, and Griffons and Minotaurs don't like each other.
  • Fantasy Conflict Counterpart: The Changeling invasion Equestria is treated as a counterpart of World War II, with a news event calling it "The" War. The changelings are analogues to Germany, who are revanchist and desire conquest, while Equestria is the analogue of the European Allies (France and Britain), who are surprised by the Changeling invasion despite having witnessed their invasion of Olenia beforehand (the Changeling invasion of Olenia in this case could be seen as an analogue of German annexation of Austria and Sudetenland).
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: As a crossover between WW2 and ponies, many of the counterparts are very deliberate, borrowing language, names, industrial firms, famous politicians, ministers, scientists and generals from real life in this era. Some cultures do not take inspiration from the 1930s and are in fact modeled after ancient ones.
    • Equestria: United States mixed with United Kingdom
    • Changelings: Nazi Germany
    • Olenia: Scandinavia (especially Finland and Norway)
    • Yakyakistan: Mongolia
    • Buffalo Chiefdom: Native Americans
    • Feathisia: Netherlands
    • Griffonian Empire: Holy Roman Empire, with a dash of latter-day Austria-Hungary and Tsarist Russia.
    • New Mareland: Australia mixed with Depression-era America
    • Stalliongrad: The USSR.
    • Aquileia: France
    • Wingbardy: Italy
    • River Republic: Croatia
      • The River Socialist Union they can form in turn is akin to Socialist Yugoslavia
    • Lake City: Japan and Weimar Germany. Their region, city, and division names are however based on Serbia.
    • Nimbusia: Ancient Athens and Ancient Sparta.
    • Ponaidhean: Scotland and Ireland
    • Gryphian Host: Ukraine (specifically, the old Cossacks)
    • Griffonian Republic: Nationalist China, in particular the Kuomintang under Dr. Sun Yat-sen and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. Culture-wise, the region they inhabit at game start (Cloudbury) is Danish.
    • Socialist Republic of Skynavia: Communist China in terms of splitting from the Griffonian Republic. Their government is heavily modeled off the Spanish Popular Front of the 1930s. Unlike the direction Communist China took, Skynavia proudly upholds democratic socialism and rejects totalitarianism.
    • Greifwald: Luxembourg by default, becomes Free Territory of Ukraine if they go communist.
    • Prywhen/Brodfeld: Romania
    • Rumare: Wales
    • Longsword and Hellquill: Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia, especially as ruled by the Livonian and Teutonic Orders. Somewhat like the Changelings, Hellquill also has Nazi Germany aspects.
    • Asterion: Greece
    • Gryphus: Poland
    • Sicameon: Spain
    • Baltimare: Revolutionary Catalonia, the libertarian socialist side of Baltimare in particular.
  • The Federation: As the name implies, the River Federation is this if formed — although its membership can be a bit nasty and depending on who takes the lead even a harmonic Federation can be iffy on pony rights.
  • Genre Shift: For both Hearts of Iron and MLP given the crossover. For MLP: FIM, its characters are in a world akin to our's on the eve of World War II, and thus problems aren't going to be solved by the magic of friendship as opposed to war, diplomacy and economics. Once you step out of the Pony-Changeling conflict, the mod makes heavy use of Fantasy Counter Part Culture and No Celebrities Were Harmed (Kingfisher is obviously Huey Long and Lavender Berry is Lavrentiey Beria for instance) to see what would happen in a Hearts of Iron game if our world's nations, problems and figures were in a fantasy setting while inhabitting the bodies of mythical creatures.
    • And within the mod, the conflit between the Arcturian Order and Dread League is straight up fantasy, with both nations having been lost time and centuries behind anyone in terms of scientific advancement and technology. With some elements of mystery, it's almost closer to the spirit of the show.
  • Good Republic, Evil Empire: The dynamic between the Griffonian Republic and the Griffonian Empire: the Republic is a democracy (or at least aiming to be one) that can eventually adopt Harmony as their ideology, and will always work to improve the livelihood of the griffons if they are victorious, even if they become dicatorial for a certain time. The Empire is a decaying aristocratic monarchy with no possibility of peace or democratic reformnote , and aims to reconquer their lost territories to reestablish their hegemony.
  • Good vs. Good: It is possible for a strongly democratic Socialist Republic of Skynavia to go to war with a strongly democratic Griffonian Republic, due to the irreconcilable divisions in the two's ideologies and the bitter grudge between both states.
  • Grim Up North: Northern Griffonia is a desolate place, and one of the most remote and desolate regions of this already awful region is where the Dread League resides, planning their world conquest.
  • Historical In-Joke:
    • The name of the leader of Haukland, Herman Mayer, is a reference to Hermann Göring, who once said that "If one [enemy bomber] reaches the Ruhr, my name is not Göring. You may call me Meyer." The bombers did reach the Ruhr, and Hermann Meyer became a joke name for Göring.
    • A Griffonian Empire event mentions the publication of a book named "Of Things That Never Happened" by author Barys Solartail, which follows the life of a Republican terrorist named Ropshin, and some critics have pointed out that at times it feels as if the character and the writer are the same person. This is a reference to real life Russian right-wing revolutionary of Kaiserreich infamy Boris Savinkov, who wrote a book titled "Of Things That Never Happened" using the pseudonym Ropshin.
  • Game Within a Game:
    • As the Crystal Empire, attempting to bring back Sombra will start a small choose your adventure as you play a regular citizen of the Crystal Empire who stumbles upon a secret society dedicated to bringing back Sombra.
    • A similar choose your own adventure game is present in Longsword if the socialist path is picked. Your goal during it is to lead a group of partisans into Hellquill in order to contact allies there.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid:
    • Stalliongrad can come to the aid of Equestria in the Changeling War, either via Equestria requesting help via a focus, or when Equestria is losing badly.
    • Should Equestria be defeated by the Changelings, New Mareland can harbour the Equestrian government, and call for aid not only from the Hippogriffs, but all pony and Harmonic countries to form a giant alliance.
    • Harmonic Olenia can call Equestria to their defence, which early enough in the game is usually a Awakening the Sleeping Giant moment.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Arcturian Order and Dread League are completely isolated from the rest of the continent, due to their geographic location (the inhospitable far north) and the fact that the Order deliberately wants to remain isolated and turns away outsiders. They have a special "Detached Country" level of development, which blocks all attempts at diplomacy and gives them an 800% penalty to research speed. The two countries are so isolated that the Order is still using swords and shields while the rest of the world had adopted firearms.
  • Heel–Face Turn: There are multiple cases of evil characters becoming good. If they happen, all of them stick. No Heel Face Revolving Doors. This is mostly for the sake of not making event chains and focus trees excessively complicated.
    • You can try to coax Rosa Maledicta to do one if you play as the Arcturian Order and manage to defeat the Dread League. If you make the right choices, she can make that turn for good genuine! A surprising spark of idealism in a mostly cynical universe.
    • If Thorax' rebellion goes off, his rebel faction has a focus to convince his brother Pharynx to join his side.
    • In Diamond Mountain, one possible way for Princess Molly's Harmonists to take over and disband the slave system is for her father, the fascist King Rover Diamondshield to decide to hand over power to Molly and let her do her reforms.
  • Home Field Advantage: Olenia, which faces an almost unwinnable fight, gains focuses to build mass forts, has a border with poor infrastructure, has racial tech specialised in fighting in cold and mountains, and is generally designed to make Changeling life as miserable as possible on the defense.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Fitting with the source material, a truly staggering number of place names are puns that combine a real world place name and a word associated with the primary species inhabiting the place, even those that never showed up in the show, such as Thessaloneighki (Thessaloniki) or Feathisia (Frisia). This also extends beyond places - characters, design companies, and sometimes even equipment items will also incorporate similar puns.
  • Icon of Rebellion: The symbol of communism in Equestria at War is the Hammer and Horseshoe.
  • Irrational Hatred: Played for Laughs with Duchess Gabriella Eagleclaw's (non-aligned) aristocratic Griffonian government, who seem to really despise the empire's Niederer Adel (lower nobles and peers, whom they consider upstarts and peasants diluting the nobility's gods-given awesomeness), despite (or in spite of) the fact that they primarily depend on the peers' support against the theocratic (and highly anti-aristocratic) Archon Eros.
    "The insurrection of 978 has done wonders in culling the number of peers, yet there still remains a large amount of them, who hold little more than a fancy title before their name. [...] While we loathe to work with these... lesser nobles, we value more our continued safety and tradition. A deal can be made, certainly."
  • Jack-of-All-Stats:
    • Pony Mage support companies don't necessarily excel in any one category, but they do a little of almost everything. They can provide recon like proper recon companies, they can provide initiative like signal companies, they can provide ponypower trickle back and experience retention like field hospitals, they can provide breakthrough and armor like tanks, they can provide piercing like an anti-tank company, they can provide air attack like an anti-air company, and they always contribute at least a little soft attack like recon and engineer companies. They're not as good at any of this as dedicated companies, but there's absolutely no reason they can't be paired with more dedicated support companies, save for the fact that no division can have more than 5 support companies.
    • Changeling Infiltrator companies can combine significant hard and soft attack like various support artillery companies, initiative like signal companies, reconnaissance like recon companies, and resistance suppression like military police companies, though much like pony Mage companies, they don't excell in any one of these areas like more dedicated support companies.
  • King on His Deathbed: Emperor Grover V is the terminally ill Griffon Emperor of the Griffonian Empire. His death throws the Empire into chaos.
  • Land of One City:
    • The Free City of Romau is an independent city state located between Feathisia, Greifenmarschen, and Yale.
    • Our Town is an independent town holding on to the Equalist ideology, located on the northern border of Stalliongrad.
    • The Barony of Rumare is a land of one island, located on a tiny island in the middle of the Rumare lake in central Griffonia.
    • The City of Flowena is another independent city-state located between the Empire and Aquileia.
  • Luck-Based Mission: A lot of nations surrounding Equestria depends heavily on Equestria being unstable to succeed. Fascist Buffalo state for example, relies entirely on Equestria being in a war with the Changelings or being in a civil war to have any chance in expanding.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The rumours about about Enrico being an prince of Brodfeld is true.
  • Magitek:
    • Starting around 1010, countries start developing powerful magical rifles that use magical crystal cartidges to shoot powerful magical blasts that make them significantly more potent than standard firearms.
    • As a part of the improved technology tree in the mod, countries also get an additional Race-specific technology screen. These generally involve using race-specific magic or powers to enhance the military/industrial capabilities of the country, such as improving industry with Griffon machine enchantments, improving strategic planning with Deer seers, and improving air combat capabilities with Pegasi weather manipulation.
  • The Magocracy:
    • The Barrad Magocracy, a nation of dark spellcasters who fled Wittenland to continue their magics unhindered.
    • The Kingdom of Wittenland is a nation of magic-using unicorns. Their monarchy is meritocratic; a challenger may usurp the monarch via magical duel, if they have the support of enough nobles. In practice the duel is often a formality, and many Wittenland monarchs have simply stepped down and handed over the throne upon seeing the support their challenger had gathered.
    • If Shinespark is allowed to return as the new chieftess of the Firtree Villages, she lifts their Ban on Magic and transforms the villages into the Firtree Magocracy, which can either become a bandit state or a necromancer state, depending on if they focus outwards or inwards.
  • Mêlée à Trois:
    • In the County of Longsword a three-way civil war erupts between Count Pallas Dusktalon's Reformisten, Conrad Silvertalon's moderates, and Starry Night's communist partisans.
    • The Equestrian southeast can fall into a four way civil war between Luna's loyalists, Celestia's loyalist led by Daring Do, Baltimare communists, and the natives led by Dr. Caballeron.
  • Merchant City:
    • The city of Skyfall is a major trade city located on Western Griffonia, and flourished after the fall of the Griffonian Empire.
    • The Free Towns of Gryphus is a union of many merchant city states governed by a council, and obtained their independence after the fall of the Empire.
  • Multiple Government Polity: The River Coalition starts out as The Alliance, but on the path to becoming the River Federation, begins to fuse all the different nations of the coalition into a greater Federation.
  • The Necrocracy: The Dread League is a half-and-half example even before Rosa Maledicta turns into a lich or vampire queen. The league is governed by a cabal of necromancers (most of them liches) and a coven of vampire lords. The mooks are hordes of ghouls, zombies, skeletons and vampire thralls.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Many. Especially many of the Fantasy Counterpart Culture nations are full of ministers, leaders, generals and scientists inspired by their real life equivalent:
    • Wingbardian Fascist leader Giulio Beakolini is pretty blatantly based on Benito Mussolini.
    • King Garibald Talonuel III of Wingbardy is a griffon version of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy.
    • Pretty much the entire lineup of generals in Wingbardy correspond to real Italian generals, with Griffonized portraits and names altered with a "G" at the start of their name. (e.g. Italo Balbo -> Gitalo Galbo)
    • The Rozenkamp brothers are based off the Strasser brothers, and are likewise Commie Nazis that advocate for a centrally planned worker's repbulic that is also ultranationalist.
    • Cricket Chafer, the communist leader for the South-Eastern Socialist Republic (Baltimare after it wins the War in the South), is based on Nikita Khrushchev. His strangely realistic portrait is based on a memetic photograph of Khrushchev holding a cob of corn.
    • Most of the Gryphian Host leaders correspond to historical leaders of Ukrainian and Cossack history: Harmonic leader Borad Gfifnitsky is based on Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky who led the Cossack uprisings against Poland, the Fascist leader Yeven Krawvelets is based on the OUN founder Yevhen Konovalets, the Communist leader Cornilo Khurshevich is another take on Nikita Khrushchev with a reference to his memetic corn obsessions, and the non-aligned counter-coup path leader Pavel Vereskopadsy is based on Pavel Skoropadsky who briefly led post-WWI independent Ukraine, mixed with a little of his many great uncle Hetman Ivan Skoropadsky. Only Caras Bulba, the initial non-aligned Host leader who dies very early, is not based on any historical person, but on the book Taras Bulba which is about the romantized depiction of Cossacks.
    • The totalitarian leader for the South-Eastern Socialist Republic, Lavender Barry, is based on Soviet secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria.
    • President-Marshal Kemerskai is a Composite Character of Chinese revolutionary Dr. Sun Yat-sen and military dictator Chiang Kai-shek. His name and title, meanwhile, allude to Alexander Kerensky, Minister-Chairman of the short-lived Russian Provisional Government.
    • One of the generals for the Socialist Republic of Longsword is named Abba Povner, a reference to Abba Kovner, a Jewish partisan who was famously portrayed in The New Order Last Days Of Europe, another HOI4 mod.
    • The anarchist leader for Greifwald, Nestor Bernier, shares his name with famous Ukrainian anarchist Nestor Makhno.
    • The name of the fascist leader of Farbrook, Hermane Gering, is based on Luftwaffe chief Hermann Göring. Aside from the name and ideology, little else is shared between the two however.
    • Olenian Field Marshal Carl Gustav Mantlerhim is based on famous Finnish general Carl Gustaf Mannerheim.
    • The leader of the Changeling protectorate for Olenia is named Vidkun Hjortsling.
    • The head of state of the secessionist Confederation of Southern States is named J. D. Neighvis, a parody of Confederate president Jefferson Finis Davis.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: In comparison to other countries in the continent, the Griffon Liberation Army/Prywhen is a poor and backward state, however in comparison to their even poorer neighbours, they're practically a military and economic powerhouse that can easily steamroll their neighbours early game. Without proper buildup, they easily fell apart when faced with the actual heavy hitters of the continent: Wingbardy and Griffonian Empire. Played well, they just keep rolling.
  • The Order:
    • The Arcturian Order is an ancient order of holy knights founded to keep the undead to the North of the Griffonia continent at bay.
    • The Knightly Order of Hellquill is a Griffonian Empire knightly order founded to fight against the ponies of the Riverlands. They were granted their captured territory as reward for their actions.
    • The County of Longsword is formed from a similar Knightly Order as Hellquill, and is ruled by Count Pallas Dusktalon after gaining its independence.
    • The Order of Opinicus is a Knightly Order founded by the Empire in the Free Towns of Gryphus to defend their Empire's southern border. Even after Gryphus declared independence from the Empire, the Order persisted and are as fanatical as ever.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Rosa Maledicta, Leader of the Dread League, plans to unite the council of necromancers on a mission to exterminate all life and make the undead rule the entire world, after which they also will be extinguished.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The Free City of Romau punches well above its weight militarily, and is, even if AI-led, capable of fielding several divisions of mountain troops and other special forces supported by high-level defensive structures. Any attempt to conquer it by any of its much larger neighbours (and even, say, the Griffonian Empire) is sure to rake in dozens of thousands of casualities on each side, since maneuvering past their positions generally isn't an option. Even then, unless the attacker outnumbers them heavily, Romau can actually turn the tide and drive the enemy back far beyond city limits. In any case, Romau will inevitably put up a tougher fight than either Yale or Greifmarschen.
  • Politically Active Princess: Princess Luna not only becomes politically active, but accidentally finds herself declaring a democratic referendum, the campaign for which she must lead.
  • Plot Tumour: The Griffons, a minor side race in the show, now have a whole continent which has consumed more work, events and code than the ponies.
  • Plunder: Some bandit clan "nations" like the Sunstriker Clan and Blackrock's Bandits have special mechanics for raiding other countries, from which they gain loot and use to build their "country".
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The griffons have a rich martial culture, and greatly honor their knights. Combined with their greediness and selfishness, this means that the Griffonia continent is filled with near-constant warfare, as everyone wants to claim their glory by warfare.
  • Reality Ensues: Ponies are not gung ho fighters, and Equestria will be militarily incompetent against the Changelings until major government reforms are implemented to change things up.
  • Schizo Tech: Technology in Equestria at War runs the gamut from pre-Industrial (and even pre-Gunpowder when it comes to the melee weapons that some nations use) to nuclear era technologies. Race-specific Magitek are sprinkled on top.
  • Secret Circle of Secrets:
    • Cult of Sombra, which seek to return Sombra to the Crystal Throne.
    • The Nightmare Cult, who seek to bring back Nightmare Moon.
    • The Woodpecker Society of Skyfall is a shadowy cabal of rich griffons that wants to turn the country into a paradise for the wealthy and unscrupulous.
    • The Masons of the Kingdom of Brodfeld are in truth an extremely secretive religious group with desires to take over the world through subterfuge and bring their orderly rule to all.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Griffonian Frontier and bandit leader Virgil are a reference to Someguy2000's New Vegas Bounties.
    • The Three Archons are an indirect shoutout to the Three Pashas.
    • Streamer Conquering History Games is a general in Stalliongrad.
    • One of the loading screen quotes is Apple Bloom saying "Buy some war bonds!"
    • One of the hireable government officials is the Nuclear Scientist, that gives a boost to researching nukes. In the case of Equestria, this role is filled by Fluttershy!
    • The Barrad Magocracy is ruled over by a group of five ammoral reasearchers, carving up the land with their often pointless experiments, and who lobotomize people to build their army. The only difference between them and the Think Tank is they haven't put their brains in jars.
    • In the Greater Equestrian Union route for General Secretary Dark Wing in Stalliongrad, one of the military focuses is called Let's Get Dangerous.
    • The Communist leader for Diamond Mountain, the Diamond Dog nation, is Clifford the Red.
    • Several names and concepts are borrowed from Warhammer 40,000, ranging from the Changeling city of Vraks to the Solar Empire going full Imperial Cult under the God Empress path. There are also shoutouts to the original Warhammer in the form of multiple Griffon Knightly Orders, who name themselves things like the Order of the Panther, the Order of the Blazing Sun, and more.
    • The name of a theorist in Gryphus is "Grzegorz Brzęczyszczykiewicz", which is a popular Polish meme originating from a Polish comedy film named How I Unleashed World War II.
    • One of the Olenian military ministers is named "Spurdo S. Perkele", referencing the Finnish memes Spurdo Spärde and Perkele.
    • The faction of the Griffonian Empire and its vassals is called the Reichspakt.
    • The feuding House Eyrie and House Erie both have banners featuring a moon and falcon.
    • One of the major advisors for Equestria is Dotted Line, who publishes a paper that kickstarts Equestria modernizing its military. He's also the protagonist of the Equestrian Civil Service fanfics.
    • An admiral for Equestria is pretty clearly a ponified Yuudachi.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: Subverted - unlike unmodified Hearts of Iron 4, nuclear weapons kill civilians and leave long-lasting fallout in addition to shredding divisions' equipment and wrecking buildings.
  • Solar and Lunar: This trope, already strong in the original show, is taken further in Luna's attempt to welcome batponies to Equestria. If she succeeds, it is implied that Equestria's long stagnation has been a result of Luna's absence and inability to live up to her role, to bring change where Celestia brings constancy.
  • Sore Loser: Queen Chrysalis, and the changeling species in general, is resentful from losing against Equestria right when it was almost in their hooves. She will have no qualms about going into open war to take her revenge on Princess Celestia.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: A large portion of the pony racial tech tree is devoted to applying the scientific method to standardize and enhance unicorn magic to increase their effectiveness in combat.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: Although Equestria was never a total Sugar Bowl in canon, it is still a generally cheerful, colorful place where every problem from interpersonal conflicts to supernatural invasion is beaten by The Power of Friendship almost as soon as it occurs and most people live in, well, harmony. This mod shows that cheery façade collapse. Perhaps most illustrative is a loading screen quote from Twilight about the abandonment of cutie-mark-based jobs, because while a pony might have a balloon or soda pop cutie mark, they're needed as an industrial welder or infantrymare.
  • Technophobia: Farbrook and Firtree have extremely strong traditionalist sentiments and their people strongly reject modernization. As such, they have a special industrial focus tree with two mutually exclusive sides, one for gradual industrialization, and one for rapid industrialization. The rapid industrialization tree has significantly greater payoff, but if their stability drops too low in the rapid industrialization path, a revolt can happen.
  • The Usurper: At the beginning of the game, the deer Kingdom of Olenia is ruled by Johan, bastard son of the late King Aldar II, and the true heir, Velvet, is hiding in Equestria. Things can remain that way or change in multiple different ways.
  • Vestigial Empire: Griffonian Empire, which has lost a large amount of territory in the past, and even its heartlands are ruled by other major noble houses that might break away at the first opportunity.
  • Video Game Time: Despite HOI4 being better at this than most games, the production spike that even primitive nations can achieve over the decade is still present, and many of the nations start with crippling, civilisation collapsing maluses that can be reformed away with a year.
  • We Have Become Complacent: Equestria is this. Its military path opens with a long awaited report damning the government for its inactivity in the face of rising threats, but even this is not enough - Equestria cannot shake off its complacency until war is nearly upon them, bringing in emergency reforms
  • Weird Crossover: Its My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic meets World War II. The weirdest thing is how well it works. The extensive use of No Historical Figures Were Harmed even gives us a bunch of Fantasy Counterpart Culture versions of Earth's 20th century generals and politicians to interact with the show's characters.
  • Wutai: Averted. The Developers have ruled out a Japanese nation, despite a large amount of other nations inspired by South East Asia. However, though no nation has explicit Japanese influences, the Lake City restoration path is based on the Empire of Japan during WWII.
  • You Cannot Kill An Idea: Zigzagged. Despite the destruction of the Aquileian Republic the republican dream still burns in its citizens. However, it is possible for the Kingdom to eventually stamp out this belief, with one of the focuses along this route literally being called "To Kill an Idea"

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