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Forums | Glorantha Discussions Heroquesting questions

Submitted by Dreamstreamer on Tue, 29/05/2012 – 15:04
Glorantha Discussions

Having made it all the way through Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes, I have a few questions regarding heroquesting.First, I gather that the passage of time is effectively meaningless while within the Otherworld. Is that correct?Also, place appears to be remarkably malleable. It seems like people from different locations in Glorantha can participate in the same heroquest. I look at the rescue of King Treeleaper as a potential example of people meeting up in different heroquests and wondered if something similar happens when it is the same heroquest.What happens when people from opposing clans perform similar heroquests for the same blessing? For example, can the Greydog clan and the Orlmarth clan both participate in separate heroquests to strengthen their forces against their enemy (in this case, the other clan)? Do they see each other in the heroquest? Do they appear differently to their enemies than they do to friendly participants in the same heroquest (meaning, do they appear as Orlanth to one group and as a predark creature to the other)?I realize that there isn’t a wrong way to do it, but I was wondering how other forum members handle such questions.Thanks!
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1. Yes. The Otherworld is

Submitted by Jeff on Mon, 11/06/2012 – 06:37.

1. Yes. The Otherworld is eternal. You may kill the sun one time, and face him unharmed the next time you enter the Otherworld.
2. Yes.
3. The classic dilemma of two peoples calling upon the same gods to kill each other. I’d handle it in whatever manner created the Most Game Fun. So for example, perhaps the Greydog and the Orlmarth clan coincidentally decide to perform the same quest to gain powers to destroy each other – I might decide that as a result, their heroes must cooperate for the quest to succeed. If I was in a particularly nasty mood, I might even make it clear to the heroes that the beleagured god they must aid for the quest to work as planned is actually their hated rival from the Greydogs.
Heroquesting is a chance to let you and your players explore heroic mythology in a semi-structured manner. Even more than normal, thematic and narrative requirements trump rules, and MGF should determine how things “work”.
JeffEditor-in-Chief, Moon Design Publications


Submitted by soltakss on Sun, 10/06/2012 – 15:19.

This can be incredibly confusing. Think of classical heroQuesting as the overlaying of a myth onto the normal world. You play the parts of the people who are in the myth and, by the overlaying, you force other people into playing the parts of the enemy or of other participants So, if the Greydog clan did a HeroQuest where Orlanth gains allies, then one clansman would play Orlanth (or a group would play parts/aspects of Orlanth), another would play Issaries, another Lhankor Mhy, another Humakt and so on. In this case, the overlaying of the myth would put other people in the parts of the deities that Orlanth met and connvinced to ally him. The HeroQuestors would then attempt to ally each of these deities in the same way that Orlanth did, with success meaning that the actual people have been allied and failure meaning that the actual people might be neutral or even might become enemies of the clan.What happens if both the Greydogs and Orlmarths did this Quest at the same time? Well, both would play Orlanth and both would try and ally those affected by the HeroQuest. However, the HeroQuestors might be able to ensure that different people play the roles of the deities to be allied, so the Greydogs might ally some Sun Domers as Elmal and the Orlmarthi might ally some Grazelanders as Elmal. Where the same person fills both roles, the Narrator needs to see how things work. If the Greydogs successfully ally that person, then the Orlmarthi might have a penalty on their attempt, or the Orlmarthi might be unable to ally that person, or perhaps they could force that person to become their ally instead, or that person might end up allied to both Greydogs and Orlmarthi, which could result in some interesting times when the clans actually call on their allies. The HeroPlane is very fluid because each HeroQuest event occupies a particular point in both space and time in God Time. So, going to StormStead in the Golden Age before Orlanth was born would be very different to going when Orlanth was king and again different to when Orlanth had gone on the Lightbringers’ Quest. Also, overlaying StormStead over the HeroQuestors’ own Stead will be different to overlaying it onto an enemy’s stead. Why would you overlay StormStead on an enemy’s stead? If you wanted to perfom a HeroQuest where members of the Storm Pantheon were defeated, or where a particular action happened. So, if there was a myth where Eurmal seduced one of Ernalda’s handmaidens, then a Greydog HeroQuestor might use this to seduce one of the Orlmathi chief’s daughters, so he would overlay StormStead onto the Orlmarthi’s stead. doing so would automatically mean that some Orlmarthi clansmen/clanswomen would take the part of members of Orlanth’s household and oppose the intrusion into their clan. Simon Phipp – Wallowing in my elitism since 1982.

As you need it

Submitted by Charles on Tue, 29/05/2012 – 15:55.

One of the great underlying principles of Glorantha (for me) is the convergence of stories. When you prepare a great ritual magic or HeroQuest, your enemies will make similar preparations, possibly starting even earlier than you. Having said that, it is unlikely that your Greydog neighbours will appear as the predark although it is likely that they will make appearances as another enemy.
The passage of time can go either way, either much shorter or much longer or even around the same amount of time.
Generally you do not recognize individuals while you on a quest unless you have some special, very esoteric, magic. Having said that, you will usually be able to recognise those people that entered the quest together with you and simultaneously see their mythical role. However, an experienced HeroQuester may begin to recognise the signature feel of an enemy that they have met several times and may pick up hints in the mundane world of who was questing at a similar time.

Perception is everything?

Submitted by Dreamstreamer on Tue, 29/05/2012 – 16:20.

Will the Greydogs (in the example) appear to themselves as Orlanth and company or will they see themselves the same way that the Orlmarth do? Can both sides represent Orlanth simultaneously? Can Orlanth show favoritism to one clan or the other by allowing the favored clan to represent him over the other clan?Because of the weird time dilation, is it possible for one clan to succeed in a heroquest, but have the repercussions of that success not manifest until the opposing clan performs their own heroquest, where it becomes an obstacle for the opposing clan?For example, Initiate Alpha of Clan A succeeds in a heroquest. Initiate Zed of Clan B kills Initiate Alpha in a skirmish in the mundane world, then returns home to journey in his own heroquest. Can the successful heroquest of Initiate Alpha serve as an obstacle for Initiate Zed during his own heroquest? Or must the heroquest be undertaken simultaneously for there to be interaction?P.S. You have a good, strong name! ;)A billion years is too short a time to accomplish everything you can imagine, for imagination is infinite.

Great answers from Charles,

Submitted by Simon Hibbs on Wed, 30/05/2012 – 10:01.

Great answers from Charles, but I’d like to make a few comments.Will the Greydogs (in the example) appear to themselves as Orlanth and company or will they see themselves the same way that the Orlmarth do?When you quest, you take on a role. You need to ientify with that role as completely anmd closely as possible, and in some extreme cases may not even be aware of, or might forget your mortal self.Can both sides represent Orlanth simultaneously?Charle’s answer is interesting – I can see a situation where someone trying to quest as Orlanth ends up blowing it and manifesting as Gagarth for example. It would very much depend on the quest and whether that would be appropriate. Generaly speaking I think if two groups attempt the same quest as the same gods or heroes, then those will be completely independent quests.

What is the consequence of failure?

Submitted by Charles on Wed, 30/05/2012 – 11:23.

Bad stuff, of course!
Orlanth does not seem to get particularly worried about 2 Orlanth worshipping communities fighting, as long as the relationships between them are not so close that the issue becomes kinstrife.
What is the mechanism by which bad stuff happens after a failed quest by an Orlanthi community against another Orlanthi community?
Well, maybe, possibly the losing  community knows that they did not fully manifest Orlanth and/or were forced in an identity challenge to manifest as Gagarth the Bad Wind instead of as Orlanth the Raider. So they know that their magic will not work so well or their morale is damaged and it becomes self fulfilling.
I think that the stories can be better when the issues get personalised at the community level instead of just bleating that the world is hard and “it’s not fair!”.

Good questions!

Submitted by Charles on Tue, 29/05/2012 – 19:05.

The way I understand the structure of Glorantha, the heroes of the two clans will start different quests and try to fill the role of Orlanth in two different situations. These two quests will be scheduled by natural forces so that the two heroes come prepared for the same fight at the same time.
For example, the Orlmarth hero invokes Orlanth in an attacking role, while the Greydog hero invokes Orlanth in a defending role.  To the Orlmarth hero, the Greydog hero appears to be a villaneous attacker. To the Greydog hero, the Orlmarth hero appears to be a villaneous defender, maybe resisting reasonable punishment.The clan with more guilt may take on a modifier that reduces their ratings. The clan with better morale or better weapons or better preparation prior to invoking Orlanth may get a bonus. One wins, one loses. At the end, the loser has been forced out of the Orlanth role and into an unwanted role and takes on (or the clan takes on) the bad magic and consequences of having ended up invoking a villain such as Gagarth.
Sometimes (or maybe even often), there is no local opposition and the opponent is drawn from a clan far away. Sometimes, particularly for the more ritual HeroQuests, there is no opponent at all anywhere and the opposition is supplied by Glorantha.
The Glorantha causality model, in general, works to bring opponents together at the right time to have a decisive resolution of their issues. However, weirder time effects do happen. One experienced Glorantha quester (Arkat) is known to have met himself at least once during his questing career.

I’m from the future. Come with me if you want to live.

Submitted by Dreamstreamer on Wed, 30/05/2012 – 10:02.

Thanks for the answers! You mentioned Arkat. When he met himself, would it have been possible for someone else to have been HeroQuesting as his alternate self? I would think that something like that (meeting yourself in a HeroQuest) would throw the player for a loop! Unless they are particularly vain, that is…A billion years is too short a time to accomplish everything you can imagine, for imagination is infinite.

Arkat the Narcissist

Submitted by Charles on Wed, 30/05/2012 – 11:12.

I don’t recall the full details. I think that Arkat gave himself an unhealable wound. I half recall that it was the earlier Arkat that gave the later Arkat the wound and the later Arkat could not prevent the wound without losing his place in his quest.
I don’t think that anyone else can quest as Arkat – the people that know how to are dedicated to preventing abuse. And there are very few of those.

Indeed. Arkat would be

Submitted by Simon Hibbs on Wed, 30/05/2012 – 11:14.

Indeed. Arkat would be questing as a being in the quest, say Humakt. You can’t quest as Arkat questing as Humakt.

Arkat the ultra-narcissist

Submitted by Charles on Wed, 30/05/2012 – 11:31.

Remember that Arkat was the first person to discover concious non-ritual HeroQuesting. I am not fully clear about what this means. I suspect that it is questing as yourself, doing things that have never been done before, using fragments of other myths re-assembled to meet your needs.
However, it could also mean that you deliberately change from one role to another vaguely related role as you progress through your story. Of course again, this story is built from fragments of other myths re-assembled to meet your needs.

I don’t think you can heroquest as yourself

Submitted by Simon Hibbs on Wed, 30/05/2012 – 12:44.

I don’t think you can heroquest as yourself. By the nature of the myths, you adopt the identity of a mythic being when you heroquest. Arkat discovered heroquesting as we now know it. I don’t think he had any special techniques now lost, at least not many. He pioneered experimental heroquesting as well, but anyone can do that now, it’s just unbelievably dangerous.My understanding is that he discovered how to step ‘through’ a ritual into the heroplane. Rituals consist of re-enacting mythic events, in other words pretending to perform them. In a ritual you don’t actually fight the enemy god, you re-enact it like a historical re-enactment, but energised with magical power. Perhaps before Arkat sometimes these rituals would become heroquests, but you couldn’t control the process or direct it.Heroquesting consists of actually performing those mythic events on the hero plane. You actually do fight enemy beings, you actually do walk the sword bridge, or whatever in the role of the being you are questing as. Arkat discovered how to deliberately do that and exert some concious control over the process. This opened up many new opportunities, but also many new risks.

Questing as oneself

Submitted by Charles on Fri, 01/06/2012 – 04:50.

I have been thinking about this and am certain it can be done. The canonical example is the quest a hero makes to break out of the cycle of life and become a god that can give magic to worshippers. Of course, this is as extreme an example as you can find.
A recently published scenario that seems to allow questing as oneself is the rescue of Hofstaring Treeleaper from hell, from Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes. If the heroes follow a mythical path to hell, they go in the roles of the gods. However, they can follow other paths to hell, such as the pit in the howling tower, which seems to let them go as themselves.
Questing as oneself does have its advantages and disadvantages. Questing in a role makes it easier to get community support and also does constrain the kind of response that certain entities will make. However, the role will also constrain the actions of the quester (but in the role of Orlanth, there are very few constraints, given the range of stories). Questing as oneself will allow much more freedom and potentially much more powerful results but also is less likely to attract community support. And failure without the protection of a role can be much, much worse.

Questing as oneself

Submitted by Simon Hibbs on Fri, 01/06/2012 – 12:45.

Ok, I’ll go with that. It can be done, but it’s a specific thing. Most heroquests are role heroquests where you adopt the role of a mythic figure and maintaining identification with that figure is very important to completing the quest, but if you find a direct way to personaly enter the heroplane then there you are.IIRC one of the tricks Arkat discovered was how to start doing one heroquest, but then jump tracks into another myth. I wonder how identification workes in a quest like that. I’m assuming it would be somethign like starting in an Orlanthi quest as say a wind god, but then transition into the role of a wind god in a somehow related or similar Troll heroquest. In that case I think you’d need to ‘prove’ the identification between the roles you’re taking in both quests.

No two quests are the same

Submitted by Herve on Wed, 30/05/2012 – 15:26.

I think each clan has its own versions of Major Myths known by everybody, each with its own secrets, Big and small. Orlmarthi know the vile, stinking, canine-loving greydog scums have a much weaker, impure version of the Arming of Orlanth, and that none of their quester ever succeeded in Incarnating Orlanth the Raider – which is why the Starfire Ridges are still ours. Greydogs are little shits who don’t worship Orlanth properly.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ridge : OK, the Orlmarthi had it better last time than we did. But our chieftain / shaman Bofrost knows the many spirits of the Air and Land. With his guidance, we walk the spirit paths of Kolat, and bring back terrible spirits of Wind and Storm we unleash on the unwashed, lunar-licking orlmarthi.
No way both clans would perform the same Quest. Some of their members would be drawn into the other clan’s Quest tho, cast as an ennemy. Also, don’t forget feuds are everyday life – our Real Ennemies are both the Ancient and Contemporary Ennemies that were identified in the clan-building questionaire.
Finally, heroes can’t normal make out other individuals (mortals) in the Hero Place. Perhaps they could recognize the smell of a wet dog, though. And meeting spirits would also bring suspicions of greydog involvement.
The only good greydog… is a dead greydog.