A heroquest is an exploration of Glorantha’s collective unconsciousness – the realm of mythology. In a heroquest, the questers interact directly with the primal forces and archetypes that make up the world. Their mundane skills and abilities are largely irrelevant here – this the realm of Runes and magic. Material limits do not apply here: things may change shape and size; rivers flow uphill; one can breathe beneath the sea and walk on the Sky; and the very landscape may change without warning.
And yet as mortals, the heroquesters themselves have one foot in the mundane world. They enter and leave the heroquest; but must be careful, as they may find they have traveled dozens, even hundreds, of kilometers! Upon their return, the heroquesters bring back both the boons and banes they have gained through their adventure. The banes are many; careless words might bind them as geases, and they might lose parts of their personality or even soul. But the boons are equally mighty – the ability to bring forth some of the magic of the God Time and manifest it in the Now.
Heroquesters use myths as guides and navigational beacons, study lore to find paths through the realm of mythology. Yet this can be like trying to find your way through a dream. Only a fool thinks they can effortlessly walk in the paths of the gods. Even the best-known stories can hold surprises, and our every action changes the landscape, like the rotation of a kaleidoscope.
The focus on archetypes is significant. When I run a hero quest, the characters encounter the mighty Storm King or Emperor Sun, the Adventurer, the Thunderer, the Sword Man, the Earth Mother, the Wolf, the Bear, the Blue Serpent, the Talking God, the Knowing God, the White Lady, and others. Let the players name them.