By Greg Stafford
Latest revision: 18 August 2003
Here is my current understanding of heroquesting (excerpted from a mailing list posting). Parts of it are expanded on in the Heroquesting chapter of HeroQuest 1.
Heroquests normally occur in the Hero Planes. These (as we all know now) are the previous eras of the mythological world. Maps of the Hero Planes are accessible here ADD. Others have appeared in Thunder Rebels pp 144, 148.
In those heroquests the opponents for a particular task are variable to meet the questers on a more or less equal level. The mechanic for this is to be illustrated in Gathering Thunder, book 3 of the Sartar Rising series, in a scenario by Martin Laurie and Wesley Quadros. The rewards change with the level of action. A beginner is a follower in a mythic story, probably one of the faceless masses. Such an event is common for people getting a feat or affinity during worship. Foes can vary depending primarily upon the success or failure of the leaders to respond to random events that are generally predictable within known parameters. Typical foes are other members of the opposition’s faceless army. Heroquest Challenges are not always required, and when they are they are often of minor commitment.
A mid-range participant takes a significant part of the story, as a leader or a main character. Again, the foes are within a known range of parameters, and these are tougher foes, often established heroes, demigods, or daimones. HeroQuest challenges are almost always required, with participants usually risking their entire Ability.
A key participant takes on the main role in a story. Opponents are known and usually very powerful. HeroQuest challenges are usually the reason for undertaking the quest, and always require significant risks and proportional rewards.
Heroquesting in the “true” Otherworlds is different because the denizens are much more powerful. Alien world penalties are always relevant. The stories are mythologically more significant than events in the Hero Planes, with more far-reaching consequences for success or failure. All three magic systems recognize types of heroquesting performed within their own Otherworlds, and recognize that they also share the battlegrounds of the Hero Planes. Heroquesters can, and often do, quest in alien otherworlds.