Here's the 2nd update preview. There are a few liberties taken with the backstory. We're not really certain how long the hippogriffs have been exiled to Seaquestria, but it seems to be a minimum of 15 years based on Silverstream's history. The entire concept of additional colonies and a home continent is headcanon as well.
Now that true-blooded hippogriffs are an established species entirely separate from griffons and ponies, I may eventually split up the hippogriffs into a couple of subraces. Maybe there's an arctic hippogriff subrace with cold-based magic, or a desert subrace with fire-based magic. What do you think?
When the Storm King invaded their mountain home almost 20 years ago, the small population of hippogriffs were swiftly overwhelmed and unable to even contact Equestria for aid. Facing the enslavement of her entire community, Novo, the hippogriff queen, led her race to retreat into the depths of the ocean. Using her magical pearl, a powerful transformative artifact, she caused all her subjects to transform into hybrid piscine forms adapted to aquatic life. There they lived for many years, until the Storm King’s conquering of northern Equestria. At the behest of Princess Celestia, Twilight Sparkle and her allies called upon the hippogriffs for aid, and learned what befell them. Though Twilight was captured, Princess Skystar of the sea ponies and a crew of pirates and thieves rebelled against the storm king and allied themselves with Twilight’s friends. The motley band made its way back to Canterlot and finally defeated him using the power of friendship (and a little luck).
Now that diplomatic relations have been renewed, hippogriffs and ponies once again travel freely between each others’ lands. Though ponies may still be intimidated due to the size and bold, (even blunt) personalities of hippogriffs, most Equestrian ponies are aware that without their aid they might still be under the Storm King’s rule. Hippogriffs, for their part, are quite naive of the ways of surface dwellers. The current adult generation has spent most of their lives living underwater, while teenagers and children have never known a life above the waves. Many hippogriffs have taken the opportunity of the Storm King’s defeat to return to the surface in order to experience those things they missed, see new and exciting sights, and share them with their families. Thus, hippogriff tourists are becoming increasingly common sights throughout Equestria.
Legend has it that the hippogriffs have several other independent colonies like Mount Aris spread throughout the world in remote locations that are difficult for outsiders to access, each with its own unique magical artifact to protect it from hostile outsiders. Further, there may even be an island home for all hippogriffs somewhere across the ocean from which they all originated. If any of these legends are true, the hippogriff scholars aren’t telling (or they don’t know, themselves).
Aris Hippogriff Traits
Ability Scores: From Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, and Charisma, choose one score to increase by 2 and another to increase by 1.
Speed: 30 feet
Languages: Equestrian, Griff, and one additional language
Natural Weapons: You are proficient with your claw, bite, and hoof attacks, which are finesse, heavy weapons that deal 1d4 slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning damage, respectively.
Flight: You have a fly speed of 50 feet. If you are at half your maximum HP or less, your fly speed is halved and you must make a DC 15 Constitution check to gain altitude. If you are at one-quarter your maximum HP or less, you cannot fly and can only glide to the ground (see below). If you have one level of exhaustion, your fly speed is halved. If you have two or more, you cannot fly.
Cloud Walking: You can touch and interact with clouds as if they were solid (albeit soft) ground. This means you can sit or lie on clouds, move them around, gather them together, or buck them apart with your hooves. You can also stomp on thick clouds and force them to rain, or possibly even coax out a small lightning bolt if it’s a thick enough cloud.
Glide: When you fall 30 feet or more, you can use your reaction to spread your wings and slow your fall, preventing you from taking any falling damage. For every 10 feet you fall, you can move 5 feet horizontally.
Sky Hauler: You gain Sky Hauler as a bonus Cartoon Physics ability.
Aquatic Form: You possess a necklace created with a shells and pearls enchanted by Queen Novo’s magical pearl. As your action you can touch the necklace and transform into a hippocampus (commonly called a sea pony). Any clothing or armor you are wearing transforms to fit the new form or drops at your hooves in the case of things your sea pony form can’t wear, such as horseshoes or gloves. The necklace only works for you or another creature you willingly give it to. Any other change of ownership causes its magic to fade until it returns to you or to Queen Novo.
In sea pony form you gain a swimming speed the same as your normal form’s walking speed, you lose your flying speed and related abilities, and you can only flop around on land, reducing your walking speed to 5 feet. You can breathe and speak in both air and water, although you gain a level of exhaustion after each hour you spend out of water as your scales dry out. A successful DC 15 Constitution saving throw after each hour delays each exhaustion level by up to one extra hour. As a bonus action you can cause your body to illuminate equivalent to the light cantrip. This light may be a glowing glob at the tip of a forehead fin, like an anglerfish, or glowing patterns or lines along your scales or fins. Another bonus action douses the light.
If other willing creatures are touching you when you transform, you can allow each one to transform as well, gaining the same benefits and drawbacks you do for your aquatic form. This is taxing to you and the duration is limited, however. You lose one Hit Die (total) when you transform other creatures. The duration of the transformation is up to 12 hours, divided between the number of other creatures you transform. For example, you could transform an entire group of four friends at once at the cost of one Hit Die, although the duration is only 3 hours. Alternately, you could transform each friend one at a time at the cost of four Hit Dice. In this case, each receives the full 12-hour duration.
Commanding Presence: Your bold personality inspires others to fight on even through injury and hardship. You can cast the healing word spell as a 2nd-level spell (restoring 2d4 HP) on a creature other than yourself. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for this spell. Once you've used this spell, you cannot use it again until you complete a short rest.
Shriek: In hippogriff form you can use your action to shriek loudly, with the same effect as the Thunderclap cantrip. The saving throw DC is 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Constitution bonus.