Landscape Bands Q&A (2004)

HeroQuest Q&A with Bryan Thexton & Greg Stafford on the HeroQuest-rules mailing list. Last revision: 22 Feb 2004

Q: Any idea on how one goes about becoming a follower of entities like the Engizi River or Chalk Man?

A: It’s done the same way that someone joins any cult, or Practice. However, you need to remember that the characteristic of a Landscape Entity determines the way of worship. That is, it is not an Otherworld Entity, it is absolutely linked with a part of the physical world (hence, landscape) and it can´t go wandering around.
Since it has no Otherworld contact, it doesn’t work like a normal Otherworld entity to be able to give Feats or whatever. Since it is linked to the landscape, it is generally unsuited to be a Band Guardian.

Q: These are large,easily seen landscape features, but is it as easy as walking up and making the right sacrifice?

A: In most cases people do not become followers of the Landscape entities. The Landscape entities get occasional worship, when their particular properties are needed.

Q: Or do you have to find an existing member in good standing to teach you the secret handshake?

A: Many of these entities are part of the local Practices. The local shaman (or priest, godi, etc.) would know the rituals. However, even they are usually not members of the religons, just occasional participatns/leaders in the worship.

Q: Or do you have to find a leader of some sort (are there leaders for this this sort of “hero band”? It wouldn’t seem obvious).

A: Almost no Landscape Entity becomes the Guardian of a Hero Band. They are pretty different functions. A Guardian of a Hero Band has a priority obligation to its members. The Landscape Entity has a priority obligation to be a hill, river or whatever.

Q: From a character creation point of view, I guess it is as easy as saying “George follows Chalk Man.”

A: Can be done, but not by making Chalk Man a Guardian. Also, see below, there are significent problems because this is a Local Entity.

Q: In play I assume the usual 1 HP cost applies, and there may be an ability test of some sort for some of them (maybe the Engizi wants you to swim, maybe Chalk Man wants you to get lucky).

A: Any entity that accepts worshippers wants your loyalty, your sacrifice and your proper behavior. That is to say, your worship.

Q: Do you have to stay nearby to make regular sacrifices to stay part of such a band?

A: Yes. As a rule. Yes.

Q: In other words, if George is a follower of Chalk Man, and he moves to Prax to escape lunar pressure, can he still use Chalk Man’s magic to fleece the lunar soldiers with gambling sticks? Or maybe at first, but after a year he loses the ability for not having been back to visit?

A: A year at the most. Probably sooner. The local nature of these entities means that there is virtually no chance for a normal worshipper to contact them. You have to be in the Chalk Man Valley to sacrifice to it. You have to be at the Engizi River to sacrifice to it. If you are out of touch with the entity, then you can’t sacrifice to it. Remember that one characteristic of the local Landscape entities is that they are inhabiting a part of the physical world, juch as a person is. Only a person is mobile, and the landscape is not. You can´t got to the Other Side to chat with Chalk Man. He lives inside that hill over there.

Q: For that matter, is there any limit to the number of landscape guardians you can follow?

A: This is actually a non-question, since most people do not “follow” these entities. They make sacrifices on an occasional basis, for temporary gain.

Q: Obviously you can have multiple guardians in a general sense (like clan, war band, and hero band), and of course in terms of hero band most groups are somewhat jealous of your time–if you are part of the Black Thorn Reavers they expect you to be along pillaging and terrorizing, not always bowing out because you are busy with the Happy Bunny Patting Society.

A: This is of course the general rule for Guardians of all sorts. But I want to repeat, Landscape entities are poor Guardians. Most would, I think, absolutely refuse to bind themselves as a Guardian.

Q: BUT, landscape guardians have “bands” that would seem less exclusive.

A: Here I´ll say it again: most of them do not have Bands because they functionally different from Guardians.

Q: …presumably you may need particular virtues to join certain of them, but in most cases it is just “I’m gifting you in return for your protection” without a real philosophy behind it. So that those living in the area between the Creek and the Chalk Man may sacrifice to both for their differing protections, and if they meet Granny Vo in the wilderness to her too, and if there is an Ernalda hill near them then gift it too…..potentially going to many landscape guardians.

A: Yep, ABSOLUTELY CORRECT. This is how people interact with their local landscapes. But again, they do it WHEN NEEDED. It is certainly possible that they need it all the time, but they still treat it (mechanically) the same way, of making occasional sacrifices and then getting temporary benefits.

Q: Anyone have thoughts?

A: YGWV

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