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A plea for Sanity (re: Gamemaster's Guide)

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Having recently acquired Arcane Lore ... with all due respect to the great man, this is virtually impenetrable. I feel like you'd need a PhD in comparative mythology and theology to even grasp at some of it, it's very stream of consciousness, and the bits that are rules related are all over the place with respect to system details.

So, a plea for sanity - please don't just reprint this for the Hero Quest section of the Gamemaster's Guide. :)

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Even more than with the other books in this series, I am compelled to warn readers that the material herein is Extremely Speculative...

Greg Stafford 2004

It's collection of essays (many out of print) and notes spanning a wide range of time (approx 1979-2006) and thoughts by different people (Greg, Sandy, Steve Marsh). It came out in 2006 (there was an earlier work as well). An an unfinished work, it a specialist interest / idea generator. Even by 2010 Heroquesting had been established as a playable system in Heroquest. RQG heroquesting is likely to follow a similar structure to HQG with more detail needed for RQG's crunchy rule system. There have been a number of previous HeroQuest systems:

  • Sandy wrote one in 1988, a super RQ variant
  • Steve Marsh wrote one in 1991, sort of super RQ
  • Steve Maurer wrote one in 1989, a really super RQ with Hypercrits & Supercrits
  • Greg had a go in the late 90s with Glorantha the Game (not RQ)
  • Then fortunately Greg got Robin Laws to produce what would become HeroQuest - narrative not super.
  • We were nearly when we arrived at the Moon Design Sartar & Pavis books with their heroquests.

Ultimately we will end up with something that doesn't involve reading Hero with 1000 faces, the four volumes of Masks of God and a few others. 

 

Edited by David Scott
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I don't think there is any way that Arcane Lore can be compared to the RuneQuest heroquesting rules. Yes, Arcane Lore is meant to be... what's the word... arcane?

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Does anyone else have a copy of the earlier version, perhaps with different contents. The photocopier was broken, so Greg got me to photograph myself a copy! (apologies to the person with the unique version).

761549999_2003HeroquestsHeroquestingcover.thumb.jpg.0c3072224e21537ee5c836ed62f997a3.jpg

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6 hours ago, GAZZA said:

Having recently acquired Arcane Lore ... with all due respect to the great man, this is virtually impenetrable.

It is definitely not a beginner's guide to HeroQuesting.

It does, however, have a lot of interesting ideas.

6 hours ago, GAZZA said:

I feel like you'd need a PhD in comparative mythology and theology to even grasp at some of it, it's very stream of consciousness, and the bits that are rules related are all over the place with respect to system details.

Yes, some rules are for RQ, some for HW/HQ and some for pretend systems that don't exist.

However, if you ignore all that, there are lots that are really useful. For example. the section that compares the strengths of deities could be adapted to HQ or RQ very easily.

The HeroQuests are generally workable as well.

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9 hours ago, David Scott said:

Does anyone else have a copy of the earlier version, perhaps with different contents.

Mine is 2004, so probably first real release.  Orange cover with map of western ocean on front.

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7 hours ago, soltakss said:

It is definitely not a beginner's guide to HeroQuesting.

It does, however, have a lot of interesting ideas.

Yes, some rules are for RQ, some for HW/HQ and some for pretend systems that don't exist.

However, if you ignore all that, there are lots that are really useful. For example. the section that compares the strengths of deities could be adapted to HQ or RQ very easily.

The HeroQuests are generally workable as well.

I haven't actually gotten to the Hero Quests part, so hopefully that will be of some use, but my feeling so far with all the talk of different breadths of deity, how many lower and higher runes you have, the continuing (and often contradictory) descriptions of the Hero/God/Spirit planes, and constant references to saints/gods/Malkioni heresies (I assume, I have no context) is essentially a combination of "what does this actually even mean" with a large portion of "what am I supposed to do with this?"

As long as this isn't a reasonable preview of what we can expect for the RQG Hero Quest rules, is all I'm saying - because I'll have to go play something simpler if it is. :)

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Arcane Lore is absolutely not something to be used for games. It's a collection of notes and rough drafts from Greg that are all vaguely connected as being about Heroquesting or Gloranthan metaphysics, and show many contradicting points of view on both of those as Greg's own ideas changed over time. Some are from early Runequest, others are from Hero Wars/HeroQuest 1, others don't relate to any game. I sincerely doubt the RQG Heroquesting info will be anywhere as incomprehensible though interesting) as Arcane Lore.

Edited by Richard S.
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12 hours ago, David Scott said:

There have been a number of previous HeroQuest systems:

  • Sandy wrote one in 1988, a super RQ variant
  • Steve Marsh wrote one in 1991, sort of super RQ
  • Steve Maurer wrote one in 1989, a really super RQ with Hypercrits & Supercrits
  • Greg had a go in the late 90s with Glorantha the Game (not RQ)
  • Then fortunately Greg got Robin Laws to produce what would become HeroQuest - narrative not super.
  • We were nearly when we arrived at the Moon Design Sartar & Pavis books with their heroquests.

I have read many times how early attempts at making heroquesting rules for RQ were described as "super RQ" but I have zero idea what that means... is it just that you get bigger stats and fight bigger monsters and get bigger loot?

Also, what did you mean in that last bullet point? (there a typo obviously but I'm not sure what was supposed to be the sentence there)

11 hours ago, David Scott said:

Does anyone else have a copy of the earlier version, perhaps with different contents. The photocopier was broken, so Greg got me to photograph myself a copy! (apologies to the person with the unique version).

What book is that?

Edited by lordabdul

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45 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

I have read many times how early attempts at making heroquesting rules for RQ were described as "super RQ" but I have zero idea what that means... is it just that you get bigger stats and fight bigger monsters and get bigger loot?

 

What I read at the time was that some of the super RQ types (there seemed to be several) gave Skills in the hundreds which means specials in the scores (factors of 20) and real chances at crits... i.e. 500%  yields a 25% chance of a critical! Characteristics greater then human max HQ gifts... RQ but much more.

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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I recall several such sets of rules. I think Steve Maurer's were imitated a lot; essentially, it extended the concept of criticals and specials to super criticals (1/100 of your score or less), hyper criticals (1/400 of your score), super hyper criticals (1/2000 of your score), and so on (divide by 4, then 5, repeating - much like specials divide by 5, then criticals divide your special by 4, and so forth). There was a chart that essentially cancelled higher levels of criticals down in a fashion not dissimilar to how masteries cancelled in Hero Wars (and presumably Hero Quest/Quest Worlds, I own the former but haven't read it, haven't read the latter).

Essentially the conceit was that on the Hero Plane, merely succeeding at your skill wasn't usually very impressive, you had to special to achieve results similar to what success could yield on the mundane plane. And more powerful versions of hero quests pushed that concept higher still. The flip side was that if you succeeded regardless (i.e. got a special) you got a 5d6 experience improvement, if you trained on the Hero Plane you got 5d6-10 as a bonus to your skill, and so on.

There was another system that I believe was called YAHQS ("Yet Another Hero Quest System"); Nils Weinhander was the author I believe. I can't track these down even via the Internet Archive, but from memory the idea was that you would get abilities abstracted up to their category modifiers (if you had several Agility skills at 100+, you'd have Agility 1; 200+ Agility 2, and so on) and you could sort of wager them to overcome foes that may have greater or lesser values. I thought it was really interesting, but it seems I never snagged a copy (does anyone have one? I don't suppose Nils is still around somewhere?).

Even Hero Wars (and again, presumably the sequel systems) more or less continued this; it may have switched from simulation to narrative, but the mastery system is more or less just Super RuneQuest as Steve Maurer envisioned it.

The only real "objection" I have to the Super RuneQuest approach is the implicit "you must be this tall to start HeroQuesting" restriction, which seems to mean that HeroQuests should be more or less the equivalent of "high level play"; my understanding is that current thoughts suggest HeroQuests are less about a more powerful type of adventure and more a different type of adventure (correct me if I'm wrong - HeroQuests are one of those things I find really interesting but don't really understand very well).

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8 hours ago, soltakss said:

It is definitely not a beginner's guide to HeroQuesting.

It does, however, have a lot of interesting ideas.

I think this sums it up pretty well.  

It's not a guide to Heroquesting in RQG (or even HQG).  It's bits and pieces of attempts to make some sense of how to do Heroquesting, none of which got it right. 

I do mine it for ideas.  The Crossroads and the Raven there are the most common in my heroquests.  Some of the Storm Bull/Berserker quests are fairly usable.  You can draw on the various Hill of Gold bits for Yelmalion quests.  A fair bit on the Lightbringer's Quest.  And ways to get into Hell (getting out is another thing altogether). 

1 hour ago, GAZZA said:

As long as this isn't a reasonable preview of what we can expect for the RQG Hero Quest rules

I think if you consider the timeframe - mid 2000's - you can be reasonably assured that this is not a preview of RQG Heroquesting.  I think Jeff's goal is to make it accessible and playable.

 

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3 hours ago, GAZZA said:

The only real "objection" I have to the Super RuneQuest approach is the implicit "you must be this tall to start HeroQuesting" restriction, which seems to mean that HeroQuests should be more or less the equivalent of "high level play"; my understanding is that current thoughts suggest HeroQuests are less about a more powerful type of adventure and more a different type of adventure (correct me if I'm wrong - HeroQuests are one of those things I find really interesting but don't really understand very well).

I certainly hope that's true... Otherwise, really, you'd have to be quite old before even attempting just 1 HQ, given the number of years it would take to get into the many hundreds of % required to be effective (rather than merely lucky).

Although, a rather obvious way around that would be via the supporting cast - the MPs (or POW???.. Or both???) that the support team send during the ritual increases your skills in some ratio... I suggest this to be thematic.

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The simple heroquesting rules I created for my RQ games so far included the idea Shiningbrow just mentioned. That is, for every 5 participants in the ceremony that are supporting the heroquester/s (praying, chanting, etc. on the holy ground where the quest starts), the heroquester/s get a 1% that works like the Luck points in CoC 7th ed. Meaning you can spend these points to alter the result of rolls down so you succeed or achieve better levels of success. But once used, they are gone until they are generated again in a new heroquest. You could also include the idea that adjusting the participants as close as possible to the original myth provides extra "luck points" to spend as a safe net. For example, if you are an initiate of Vinga in a Vingan myth, you get +25 points to spend. However, if you are undertaking a Vingan myth while being an initiate of Orlanth Thunderous, you do not.

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2 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

I certainly hope that's true... Otherwise, really, you'd have to be quite old before even attempting just 1 HQ, given the number of years it would take to get into the many hundreds of % required to be effective (rather than merely lucky).

The friend who got me into RQ has been playing the same character since his teens, over a decade now. On and off a bit, but generally consistently. His dad, their GM (I've never really played in that actual group myself) loosely used old superRQ notions for heroquesting. He has his broadsword attack % over 200, maybe over 250 now. Naturally, over the course of play, without magic. They still haven't done Other Side heroquesting because of the general skill penalties (my friend's character is by far the most skilled).

The rules I remember him describing were things like Skill/2, Skill/5, Skill/10 or even Skill/20 for while in the Other Side, depending on the quest's difficulty and other elements. Then, when you returned, your skill was multiplied back up to normal. So if you gained D6 experience on a Skill/5 quest, your Middle World skill rating could skyrocket. But yeah, it takes years of play to get "tall enough" to heroquest under the superquest model.

There were other elements, such as spells being persistent, and magic points not regenerating, because time doesn't pass. But certain locations might let you restore magic points, like a holy place, or completing a certain challenge. I never saw a document for these rules. Just stuff from repeated conversations with my friend (who GM'd us), about where he hoped to take his own character.

I've used some portions of those rules. Not really the skills element, but the time-stopped magic points. I ran an adventure where my players accidentally jaunted onto the (or a?) hero plane, and that felt like it worked well. I also allow use of Runes like skills when in magic places, like while heroquesting. So for example, when the Humakti was ritually defending the walls of New Pavis last Sacred Time, he just rolled his Death Rune to drive off the Night Tribe instead of an actual combat against described foes.

Steve Marsh's website was still up, last I knew, and had his heroquesting-in-RuneQuest materials available. I don't believe I've ever found Maurer's, or any of the other designer's, versions of early SuperQuest despite a moderate amount of searching.

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1 hour ago, Crel said:

The rules I remember him describing were things like Skill/2, Skill/5, Skill/10 or even Skill/20 for while in the Other Side, depending on the quest's difficulty and other elements. Then, when you returned, your skill was multiplied back up to normal. So if you gained D6 experience on a Skill/5 quest, your Middle World skill rating could skyrocket. But yeah, it takes years of play to get "tall enough" to heroquest under the superquest model.

 

I remember the same, and it gave a lot of issue from my perspective :

  • first the game balance, once you succeed an heroquest, no mundane scenario is playable
  • how to explain the official stats of heroes I had (Solanthos time sun dome, Leika now..) They were able to succeed in heroquest but have "normal" skills (120, 130% ?)

I think the rules should give a kind of bonus if you succeed something (devotion ? act like the god ?) This bonus could be "don't use your own skill but your god skill". If you get a critical success (or a rp behaviour, or I don't know what), you come back to the mundane world with some new powers for you, for your community

 

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1 hour ago, Crel said:

 I don't believe I've ever found Maurer's, or any of the other designer's, versions of early SuperQuest despite a moderate amount of searching.

Hum! Well, then, let me propose, by Steve Maurer, from 1990:

Heroquest Version 2.0:
http://glorantha.steff.in/digests/BellDigest/sup05.txt

Heroquest Questions and Answers:
http://glorantha.steff.in/digests/BellDigest/sup06.txt

Heroquest Scenario: Black Fang's Temptation:
http://glorantha.steff.in/digests/BellDigest/sup07.txt
 

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8 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Also, what did you mean in that last bullet point? (there a typo obviously but I'm not sure what was supposed to be the sentence there)

odd missing word: 

  • We were nearly there when we arrived at the Moon Design Sartar & Pavis books with their heroquests.
Edited by David Scott
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28 minutes ago, 7Tigers said:

Hum! Well, then, let me propose, by Steve Maurer, from 1990:

Ooh! Thank you kindly. :)

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I think that Six Seasons in Sartar does a pretty good job explaining Heroquesting, I hope the Gamemaster pack will expand on this by adding some ground rules.

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14 hours ago, jps said:

I think that Six Seasons in Sartar does a pretty good job explaining Heroquesting, I hope the Gamemaster pack will expand on this by adding some ground rules.

Six Seasons in Sartar is Jonstown not Chaosium so I wouldnt expect it to expand on what is community created material. Excellent though it is 🙂 

 

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On 6/3/2020 at 2:49 AM, GAZZA said:

There was another system that I believe was called YAHQS ("Yet Another Hero Quest System"); Nils Weinhander was the author I believe. I can't track these down even via the Internet Archive

Perhaps this is what you're looking for? https://web.archive.org/web/20000229131322/http://www.geocities.com/Paris/8689/YAHQS.html

You might be able to contact him here: https://basicroleplaying.org/profile/7758-nils-weinander/

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On 6/6/2020 at 9:49 PM, The God Learner said:

Very nice, cheers! Evidently I didn't look thoroughly enough, I'm glad you were able to find it, and I've snagged a copy now. :) I don't think Nils has been around here since 2018 but I've shot him a PM as a fan just in case.

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