So let’s think about how to run a heroquest in a game session, based on the ideas in my previous posts. Couple of ground rules:
- I don’t want the players to have to read a ton of stories and interpret them, just glosses on what is already in the Lightbringers and Mythology books. References to out of print material or Heortling Mythology is a no go.
- We assume the players just have the existing RQ pregens. So Vasana, Yanioth, Sorala, Harmast, etc.
Let’s set the scene. The community or the players have a big problem that cannot be solved with the Rune magic of the local cults. If this is just a variation of Bless Crops or Rain, well we already have that magic and we already have that path to draw magic from the Gods Realm.
This quickly gives an option. We have a “normal” ceremony where the cult reinforces its connection to the god for the needed spell – and that quest goes wrong. Our characters find them themselves in the Hero Plane but a Cult Lore skill informs them that this place is unfamiliar. Maybe we appeared “before” the known story. Or maybe a spiritual intruder has entered this. But we’ve been charged with the magic and need to complete the ceremony or bad things will happen.
In this case the heroquest becomes about exploring the Hero Plane until we get to take the Four Magic Weapons, or receive Bless Crops, or Rain or whatever we were trying to get in the first place. That exploration gets us the chance to learn or gain “something more” – perhaps a heroquest boon or a new spell or a spirit ally or whatever. And it gives us a new myth and story to complement the old.
Alternatively, we could be just plain stumped. The problem we are is something OUTSIDE our existing stories. We want to find the trace of a soul devoured by the Crimson Bat. We need to defeat a foe whose own stories have him defeating our god. We need to find a magic path to a distant location of great mythical importance. Or so on. This requires exploring the Hero Plane as a place.
Maybe we decide that we need to ask Daliath a question about a secret only he knows. We know that is the sort of thing Orlanth did, but we don’t know the story. So we start from Orlanth’s home and travel to the Sea and go into the Deep! No doubt we need to fight Sea Giants or whatever! And then we need to force Daliath to reveal the secret. Whew! This is going to be a lot of sand box explorations with just the various Cults books to guide us!
Or maybe we want to get a magic favor from the trolls. We know that Orlanth once had the chance to have a quick easy short cut to his destination or to help a troll army fighting against Chaos. So we start from the Hill of Orlanth Victorious and begin the Travel to the West, with the hope that we will see Darkness army fighting against Chaos. And then we need to help Darkness defeat Chaos – very dangerous! And if we succeed, we gain a powerful favor in the Darkness.
In these latter quests, we sort of kind of know that there must be a story, but we don’t know the details. Instead, we get to discover the real story!
First remember that the Hero Plane is a “place”. So your trek from Storm Home to the Earth Goddess’s womb might guided by a story, just like you might be guided through the Long Dry by a story (look for the broken statue and then turn right away from the rising sun).
The story gives you a path. But you might not recognize it when you are there (take 155th South to Old Lane and then go a couple more blocks and turn right – that gets awful confusing if there is no sign for Old Lane!). Or you might choose to take a different path (if we go over the mountains, we are going to have to fight that Mistress Race Troll we saw – and it is too tough for us! So lets go over to where we saw that White Lady and go around the mountains).
But be careful. Glorantha’s existence is not created from its myths, but those are the vehicles for understanding it and communicating with the divine realm.