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Jeff's FB notes on Heroquesting

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The original FB post is here: HeroQuesting notes

But there's such good content there, and FB can be very difficult to search through after awhile, that I thought I'd repost here (and hopefully @Jeff you don't mind me doing so). 

"Some notes people mind find of interest or use:

HEROQUESTING

Heroquesting is a powerful and rare Gloranthan activity in which the participants leave the material world and enter the realm of legend and myth to interact with heroes and gods, gambling precious Life Force to gain miraculous powers. Heroquesting provides the method for advancement for a character to grow towards heights of greatness. It takes them from the ordinary world and places them in the league of immortals, and grants them the opportunity and awareness to find the paths of immortality and glory.

TYPES OF HEROQUEST

There are three basic types of heroquest:

1) The “In-World" heroquests.

2) The Magic Road heroquest

3) The Other Side adventures

IN-WORLD

In-World Heroquests mostly take place in the world that the heroes know. They set off from a temple or other holy place and travel across the normal map, occasionally having to stop someplace special or do something at a certain place.

Despite this familiar terrain, the questers are present in the Hero Plane. They will run into the normal traffic of an overland adventure, but they must be doubly wary in case the things they meet are some ritual enemy, perhaps also on a heroquest, that has been summoned by the magic of the heroquest. Spirits and other magical beings often appear at places strongly tied to the gods or spirits, summoned by that same magic. It is often used to prepare the way for greater voyages, and to acquire magical items useful to the individual.

MAGIC ROADS

Dragon Pass and its nearby regions are crossed by several magic “roads” that enable a quester to quickly travel to specific holy places along paths that skip in and out of the mundane planes, covering the distance in far less time than travel wholly on the mundane plane. Deities and spirits, or their avatars, are presented here, summoned by the magic of traveling on the road; ritual enemies are often summoned by the same magic.

The magic roads are often used in combination with an in-world heroquest. Travel along these magic roads is dangerous. There can be enemies along each path; although their type is often known, the strength of the foes may vary widely. They are also used for rapid movement, though there are occasionally side- benefits that can or must be gained to use the road.

Examples:

Hill of Orlanth Victorious to Kero Fin

Dragon’s Eye to Kero Fin

Kero Fin to Smoking Ruins to Arrowmound Mountain

Sun Dome Temple to Hill of Gold

Kero Fin to Cave of the Mother to Umath’s Point (this is going up the mountain)

Arrowmound to Halikiv to Balance Split to Wonderwood

City of Wonders to Durengard to Stormwalk

Starfire Ridge to Whitewall to Larnste’s Footprint to Stormwalk Mountain to the Block

OTHER SIDE

Other Side heroquests are the most dangerous, for questers must leave the known confines of the paths and sacred ways to set off across the wilderness of the divine world. It involves actual travel in the Gods World which, if properly entered, will be as recognizable to the quester as his own world. In these travels the landscape and the inhabitants are set by God Time events, but this does not make it any more predictable or less risky.

This is the region beyond that must be entered and returned from many times by the would-be Hero wishing for immortality, where they can find great powers and abilities that will make them remembered by mortals for many ages yet to come. It is the place of Godtime, where mortals are not welcome and which they cannot know except through experience.

QUEST PREPARATIONS

LONG TERM

The long-term preparations can vary greatly from quest to quest. Some quests require lengthy periods of ritual purification and self-denial so that the quester can be a vessel for the divine powers. Others require merely that the quester has been a devout and consistent follower of the gods. Questers who have failed to make these preparations will find their task harder. Persons who are downright frauds trying to rob the cult are singled out for particular violence and overly vile opponents.

LOCATION

Many heroquests must begin in a specific mundane location such as a certain hill, group of standing stones, or temple to the god. Others are less narrow prescribed, requiring merely that it begins on hill, forest grove, open plains, etc. Many quests must begin at a certain time, such as at night, dawn, dusk, noon, or when a specific planet or constellation is in a particular place in the sky.

MUNDANE SUPPORT

Mundane support is provided by one’s cult or other community. This might be magical gifts, weapons, or treasures to aid the heroquesters, or might be mundane supporters, such as healers, worshipers, preparation of the site, etc. Some heroquests require that the sacred grounds be defended by guards and sometimes priests while the heroquesters journey.

IMMEDIATE PREPARATIONS

These are the preparations that need to be made immediately before the heroquest can begin. These include the preparation of the site by a cult priest, the summoning of spirits, sacrifices, and such rituals as the Arming of Orlanth or the Three Blow of Anger. These preparations typically take 1 to 3 days.

HEROQUESTING TECHNIQUES

VERTICAL QUEST

Holy places are locations where the boundaries between the mundane world and the Gods World are permeable. From the temple of a god, a worshiper can transcend the ordinary world and enter the home of the god, in what the God Learners called a “vertical quest”. Such a journey takes place at every Worship ceremony.

WORSHIP QUESTS

Every worship ceremony is a heroquest. Some worship ceremonies have more complex quests than just a vertical quest, and the God Learners called these Worship Quests. When History began, people were performing these worship heroquests. Worshippers got together in a sacred place, performed their ceremonies to summon the deities, and reenacted the actions that brought them there. To worshippers the action enlivened them to transcend the ordinary world and they become part of the Mythic Realm. Individuals might then leave the house of the god and participate in the deeds of their deities.

Worship Quests usually begin with a vertical quest, and then a departure from the god's house to be in the mythic story. Thus, an Oria priestess in the harvest ceremony summons the god plane of the Weeping Oria to her and departs from that place and wanders around the God Plane for a while, before returning with the secrets she sought.

As time passes, the participants will participate in many of the major stories of their deities. These events are usually pretty well known, with few variations, and well contained within the established ceremonies. That is, they know the basic religious world through acquired experiences.

SOLO QUESTING

Sometimes a leader, whether religious or mundane, would undertake an individual quest to achieve a specific objective. These were usually some unusual activity, needed for extraordinary reason. These were the early and later Hero Cults.

In these ceremonies, supporters, several other people typically remain attendant upon the welfare of the traveler. They pray or perform, as appropriate, and lend their strength to the quester in case of emergency. The supporters are linked to the traveler in both blessing and curse.

SIDE LINING

Very early on, it was discovered in that some supporters could actually go along as participants and gain normal experience, and not always in what the ceremony normally required. This was a special type of supporter going along as active participant.

HARMAST

Harmast Barefoot was the first person to perform extended sequential heroquesting. He linked a number of stories together to reinforce each other, and to achieve long term and powerful consequences.

At the time everyone knew that even within a single myth, many variants exist and participants can actively and consciously affect which version of the story occurred by their preparations. Harmast discovered that it is possible to affect the very landscape of the quest after entering it. The God Learners called this Identification.

ARKAT

Arkat went even further than Harmast. Arkat had participated in several different religions and learned that different religions often portrayed the same event, but from different perspectives.

He went a step further and discovered that he could actually change paths in mid-quest and invade the mythic space of other peoples. The God Learners called this Ranging.

Ranging is extremely dangerous since more myths have many ways to preserve themselves and have little room for variance by intruders. But some people do it, and after Arkat learned how Harmast could manipulate the mythic landscape, he went to impossible places and discovered things to destroy his mystical foe.

GOD LEARNERS

The God Learners went further and discovered that they could forcibly alter the landscape. They called this Mutation.

Later, they learned to mutate the myths permanently, effectively destroying myths and their participants. They did this by applying sorcery to the myths, draining them. This is called Tapping.

HEROQUEST FOES

Heroquesters develop enemies as a natural byproduct of their actions. Most people never leave the armies of the gods, and so have enemies that are large and generalized. They are not personal foes.

People who engage in more personal heroquesting develop personal, recognized enemies. The effect of appearing as one's self depends on having enough personal power to appear that way. An entity with that kind of identity always attracts a similar foe of similar power. Once attacked escape is impossible except through death in the mortal world and a subsequent failure in the divine.

People that persist on similar paths discover that their foe also does, almost haunting them. This link is called the Face Dance by the Orlanthi, because faces are visible in the otherwise generalized realm. It is also called Prey Love, Tempting Foe, Spider's Singer, etc.

Face Dancers appear in the God and Hero Planes in their Otherworld guise. It is, however, possible to see through and identify the individual beneath it. Indeed, every Face who is dancing has a living foe somewhere in the world who is doing their own dance.

As heroquesting advances these individuals are attracted towards each other, even though they are often separated by thousands of miles in the Mortal World."

Added comments by from the FB thread for further clarification include:

- "Many of the magic roads in the West are broken, thanks to the Sunderinng of Seshnela."

- The Syndics Ban suppressed the magic roads of Fronela. "It is now up to bold and crazed adventurers to determine what Magic Roads work.... And whether they have changed."

- "Yes this is for a forthcoming book. But I am uninterested in discussing the specifics of it, and at this moment am only interested in the implications of what I have posted."

- "The take away from this is that at its core, a hero quest is about exploration of the mythic realms."

Q: "Would it be correct to say that the different types of heroquest are not clearly divided in practice? That a given quest might be performable as a this world quest or an otherworld quest? That the same magic road might lead to the 'same' location in the physical world or the otherworld? That an otherworld quest may be performed either by this world travel to a location, or magic road travel, or symbolic travel, all with different consequences?"

- "Correct. And sometimes part is on this world, then a magic road is taken, and then the Other World entered."

 

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I really appreciate you gathering all of hese wonderful details from the FB page. 

 

Some of this is info I have seen scattered about in older documents. Lots of really good leads and ideas for how to start HQing. 

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44 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Patience. 🙂  It will get there.

Heh.  Some of us have been saying that as a joke for decades.

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17 hours ago, jajagappa said:

The magic roads are often used in combination with an in-world heroquest. Travel along these magic roads is dangerous. There can be enemies along each path; although their type is often known, the strength of the foes may vary widely. They are also used for rapid movement, though there are occasionally side- benefits that can or must be gained to use the road.

Examples:

Hill of Orlanth Victorious to Kero Fin

Dragon’s Eye to Kero Fin

Kero Fin to Smoking Ruins to Arrowmound Mountain

Sun Dome Temple to Hill of Gold

Kero Fin to Cave of the Mother to Umath’s Point (this is going up the mountain)

Arrowmound to Halikiv to Balance Split to Wonderwood

City of Wonders to Durengard to Stormwalk

Starfire Ridge to Whitewall to Larnste’s Footprint to Stormwalk Mountain to the Block

The Magic Roads have been of interest to me since I first encountered reference in one of the old WF - might have been travelling by magic road to the Holy Country to find Temertain.  

One of the late TotRM issues (18? 20?) also included travel along a magic road to reach IIRC Stormwalk Mountain.  A somewhat different path used, but I think the same basic principle with particular steps along the way. 

It's interesting to see how central Kero Fin is to those in Dragon Pass - makes it look very important to be on Kero Fin's "good" side while travelling.

I'm sure that all of Belintar's Magic Roads count in this way (e.g. City of Wonders to Pedestal to Ezel in Esrolia).  Not sure if the Fish Roads also count as Magic Roads, but that would not be surprising if they did.

17 hours ago, jajagappa said:

quickly travel to specific holy places along paths that skip in and out of the mundane planes, covering the distance in far less time than travel wholly on the mundane plane. Deities and spirits, or their avatars, are presented here, summoned by the magic of traveling on the road; ritual enemies are often summoned by the same magic.

These must be strange to travel along.  Familiar scenery, but blurring perhaps in passage, sometimes close to the spirit world or the Gods World.  

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20 hours ago, jajagappa said:

IN-WORLD

In-World Heroquests mostly take place in the world that the heroes know.

AFAIK I was the first person to ask Greg a bit seriously about these, and I ran a few of them in my old campaign -- once you move beyond the obvious Initiation quests and stuff and then set aside the Otherworlds for your story, these types of quests are a really good way to get some really good Gloranthan immersion and Inner World weirdness into your game.

It can help sometimes to realise that for some types of magicians, the Inner World is itself an Otherworld.

The Hero's Journey does not always require some sort of extraordinary magic rituals at the start.

 jajagappa, I think the Magic Road quests vary tremendously in intent and form from one cult and culture to the next -- but IMO the traveling would internally seem mostly normal ; one RW analogy would be getting into "the zone", where your body just takes over and your mind is in some higher place, detached and unconcerned.

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All those notes are really eye opening for me (as someone who has trouble grasping how to handle heroquests except for the most basic ones), but the most eye opening thing for me was this:

Quote

The cosmos may summon a person to answer someone else’s quest only if the person summoned is also upon a heroquest of some sort or in some liminal place between worlds (such as a Worship ceremony or certain magically significant places). Thus, lay members are not troubled to be slaughtered by a champion, but another hero will be found. This may require some long journeys for powerful beings. And there is no guarantee that the foe summoned will be an exact fit, only analogous to it, and possibly with some nasty personal surprises of its own.

and this:

Quote

People that persist on similar paths discover that their foe also does, almost haunting them. This link is called the Face Dance by the Orlanthi, because faces are visible in the otherwise generalized realm. It is also called Prey Love, Tempting Foe, Spider’s Singer, etc.

Face Dancers appear in the God and Hero Planes in their Otherworld guise. It is, however, possible to see through and identify the individual beneath it. Indeed, every Face who is dancing has a living foe somewhere in the world who is doing their own dance.

As heroquesting advances these individuals are attracted towards each other, even though they are often separated by thousands of miles in the Mortal World.

 

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On 7/26/2020 at 3:41 PM, jajagappa said:

Starfire Ridge to Whitewall to Larnste’s Footprint to Stormwalk Mountain to the Block

This is an interesting Magic Road in several respects:

1) it starts in Colymar lands, and so should be fairly accessible to campaigns run there (if they know where the starting point is).  I do wonder if it approaches/crosses the dragonewt road that runs across the Starfire Ridge though and potentially draws dragonewts in as hostile foes?

2) the section running from Whitewall to Larnste's Footprint to Stormwalk potentially was an escape route for Broyan at the end of the Siege of Whitewall.  (I don't recall which book noted his reappearance at Stormwalk Mountain and then descent to Bullflood.)  But it also seems likely to have been a target for the Lunars during the Siege (and the Lunars may also have attempted to disrupt the starting point in the Starfire Ridges), and it passes through Larnste's Footprint and so likely subject to Queen Gagix or other chaos attacking.  

I could also envision Chaos attacking anywhere along this route - coming from the Block or the Footprint.  

 

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On 7/27/2020 at 7:28 PM, lordabdul said:

All those notes are really eye opening for me (as someone who has trouble grasping how to handle heroquests except for the most basic ones), but the most eye opening thing for me was this:

and this:

 

that was also the great discover for me, the first time I read it... years ago :)

My personal issue is game/rules design. Depending on the type of quest , how skills / magics / etc... are changed. How passions (since rqg) and runes and cult knowledges (or is there myth knowledge ?) impacts the quest.

What are opponent stats ...

 

I followed some rules found in internet (for example divide by 5, 10 where you are hero/god plan ...) Rules I can understand, if heroquest is no more difficult thant regular activity there is an issue.

But I wasn't conviced because the main question I still have is : How Leika (in rqg) or other leaders (in previous versions) were able to succeed hard quests with their official relatively poor statistics. (I mean if you divide 100 by 5 for Leika and the god opponent has 2000% what could be the result ? ...)

I hope game mechanism will be described (but my first interest is about the rqg version of gods and goddess backgrounds and powers)

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1 hour ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

I hope game mechanism will be described (but my first interest is about the rqg version of gods and goddess backgrounds and powers)

If they do like in HQ, I guess it could work by levels of power, each level giving you more powerful rewards for success and worse consequences in case of failure.

So if you are an initiate, the adversaries will be adjusted to your power level (just as your GM usually does! 😋). The same goes if you are a runelord/lady, but the rewards/consequences will be correspondingly higher. Some rewards might only be attainable/recommended for heroes above rune level. Great support from your community might help in being prepared for a rune level quest/reward when you are only an initiate.

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2 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

that was also the great discover for me, the first time I read it... years ago

Where did you read it? Was some of this info published somehow, or was it mostly shared on mailing lists and such?

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3 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Where did you read it? Was some of this info published somehow, or was it mostly shared on mailing lists and such?

I remember that face dancing comes up during the Eleven Lights quest in the book of the same title, connecting The Bad Dogs to Telmori that the players have had personal dealings with

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Conceptual question, does "The Westfaring" essentially forcibly create a Magic Road, usually but not always to the Underworld?

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18 minutes ago, nabda said:

does "The Westfaring" essentially forcibly create a Magic Road, usually but not always to the Underworld?

I suspect it is a case where you can use Magic Roads as you move or shift from in-world quest to Otherworld to get there faster.

Consider this series:

  • Hill of Orlanth Victorious to Kero Fin
  • Kero Fin to Smoking Ruins to Arrowmound Mountain
  • Arrowmound to Halikiv to Balance Split to Wonderwood

Three roads to take you from eastern Dragon Pass to Ralios near the end of the Mislari Mountains.  You'll need to know where the entries for each road are, and I'm sure there will be foes waiting at each point.  Inora may be waiting on Kero Fin, ready to freeze your heart for her necklace.  Gagarth may be at Arrowmound - maybe you need to save Jarani and the Lawstaff there in order to find the next road.  Halikiv of course will have trolls, maybe even Zorak Zoran, and hostile elves in the Wonderwood.

To complete the Westfaring, you still need to reach the Western Ocean and then cross that to Luathela and the Gates of Dusk (Westfaring does not take you all the way to the Underworld, though).  Jeff noted that most magic roads in Seshnela are broken, so perhaps from Wonderwood you need to go to the Otherside, probably into the Nightwood and face the Terrors there.

 

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On 7/26/2020 at 3:41 PM, jajagappa said:

Sun Dome Temple to Hill of Gold

@Jeff is this specifically the Sartar Sun Dome Temple to the Hill of Gold, or the Praxian Sun Dome Temple, or do some/most/all Sun Dome Temples have Magic Roads to the Hill of Gold?

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4 hours ago, jajagappa said:

@Jeff is this specifically the Sartar Sun Dome Temple to the Hill of Gold, or the Praxian Sun Dome Temple, or do some/most/all Sun Dome Temples have Magic Roads to the Hill of Gold?

Any proper Sun Dome Temple.

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4 hours ago, Jeff said:

Any proper Sun Dome Temple.

Which makes sense to me (and what I was hoping to hear!) - the Sun Dome temple is in so many ways a small version of the Hill of Gold.

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15 hours ago, nabda said:

Conceptual question, does "The Westfaring" essentially forcibly create a Magic Road, usually but not always to the Underworld?

Yes, the Westfaring is essentially a Magic Road. Interestingly, I have never thought of it like that, but it clearly is.

 

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1 hour ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

partials words in oriflam publication, other in previous official or not sites

Thanks... but yeah, I couldn't really understand how this whole "summoning of opponents" worked in practice until it was clearly stated that it summons only other heroquesters that are currently heroquesting themselves.

There are still some practicalities to figure out, though... like: if your heroquest requires some Troll opponents, but you get some Darkness-worshipping humans instead (because there's no Troll heroquesting anywhere at the moment), then do they wear a "Troll face" (and you wear whatever they need for their heroquest)? Is that mask only for you, and they would see a different pair of masks for themselves and yourself? What if your heroquest is supposed to happen at the top of a hill, but their heroquest happens in a cave? Does one landscape "win" over the other, or does the conflict weirdly shift from one landscape to the other, as if in a dream, as one side gets the advantage over the other?

Is it worth trying to sacrifice some bonuses given by heroquesting on the right holyday in order to reduce the chances of having more powerful opponents available at the same moment for the cosmos to pick for you? Or is it actually better to heroquest when there's more people heroquesting so that you get opponents that are closest to what you're "supposed" to get, and then both you and them can go through the motions with a lot less surprises?

Is it even about summoning opponents that are heroquesting right now too, or does the cosmos have a bit of wiggle room, picking from people who were heroquesting a few days in the past or the future, because heroquesting in the God Time means that time gets all fuzzy anyway?

(Am I overthinking this? Yes, probably, but I'm the GM so it's my role to cover all the bases -- the world needs to be consistent and believable, and you never know what kind of crazy idea or theory the players will spin up)

Edited by lordabdul
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2 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Thanks... but yeah, I couldn't really understand how this whole "summoning of opponents" worked in practice until it was clearly stated that it summons only other heroquesters that are currently heroquesting themselves.

There are still some practicalities to figure out, though... like: if your heroquest requires some Troll opponents, but you get some Darkness-worshipping humans instead (because there's no Troll heroquesting anywhere at the moment), then do they wear a "Troll face" (and you wear whatever they need for their heroquest)? Is that mask only for you, and they would see a different pair of masks for themselves and yourself? What if your heroquest is supposed to happen at the top of a hill, but their heroquest happens in a cave? Does one landscape "win" over the other, or does the conflict weirdly shift from one landscape to the other, as if in a dream, as one side gets the advantage over the other?

Is it worth trying to sacrifice some bonuses given by heroquesting on the right holyday in order to reduce the chances of having more powerful opponents available at the same moment for the cosmos to pick for you? Or is it actually better to heroquest when there's more people heroquesting so that you get opponents that are closest to what you're "supposed" to get, and then both you and them can go through the motions with a lot less surprises?

Is it even about summoning opponents that are heroquesting right now too, or does the cosmos have a bit of wiggle room, picking from people who were heroquesting a few days in the past or the future, because heroquesting in the God Time means that time gets all fuzzy anyway?

(Am I overthinking this? Yes, probably, but I'm the GM so it's my role to cover all the bases -- the world needs to be consistent and believable, and you never know what kind of crazy idea or theory the players will spin up)

I manage it like this :

If as a GM I want a troll opponent, there is always another way hu.. there is always somewhere a Troll heroquesting, maybe not in sartar, maybe in ralios, maybe not in genertela.. but in fact, I don't care if the opponent is in mundane world a troll or not, because the story you tell  is about the quest

If as a GM I want the quest opponent to become a mundane opponent ( I mean a named NPC, that PC will meet again in again in the mundane world, then one day identify that the quest opponent is in fact this guy) let s go the guy was already the opponent in previous quest. I don't need to anticipate it, that is the magic. The only thing to keep in mind is "if you decide this guy is the quest opponent, you have to explain why he was following the opposite quest. But even here, it could be change, that is not always the same guy, that is not the opposite quest but a station like a "nexus"

for example yelmalio (your pc) is fighting zorak zoran  (your npc) in hill of gold (the quest you are telling) when Argan Agar (your npc) is fighting Lodril (your pc) 

In fact as a GM you can explain what you want when you want, just be sure once it is said, that you don't change the past once the past is told (well i m pretty sure we can explain past change too but I haven't the skill /knowledge for that).

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