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I had my players play a WorldHQ only twice with RQ2 rules, and everytime there has been a change in the world around them : a source has been purified and a spirit has been freed. This is how I see it. I'm not found of WorldHQ just to gain an individual power or a magical item, the true effect shall be a modifiation of the conditions in the mundane World - even if the heroquester MAY gain some personal benefits. A Heroquest is a magical ritual with magical effects. This what for me makes a big difference with an mundane quest. In the above example, the purpose of the quest is wouldn't be to steal a magical item, but to achieve some beneficial consequence, and stealing the magical item would only the way to achieve it, a part of the ritusl. The item is a mean, not a goal, otherwise it is just a mundane robbery. This is how I see things.

And BTW, I did not change any stats in their characters.

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In my HQ rules - I'm reversing the position of runes and skills - instead of the Rune Augmenting the skill - the Skill augments the Rune - EG fighting using a broadsword is a test of ones Air rune (or

Sometimes it matters and sometimes it doesn't. I don't think that is necessarily the case. Someone can perform the Orlanth Slays Yelm HeroQuest to get rid of a local ruler. He doesn't need

This is an interesting thread – we are still finding our way with HeroQuests. After returning to Glorantha after a 35+ year break, we have had three HeroQuests in our short game so far. As we come to

On 9/4/2020 at 10:35 PM, Nick Brooke said:

For related reasons, I’m also a big fan of confusing my players - they don’t know whether they’re in a mundane “real world” reenactment ceremony, or off their skulls on hazia and Crazy Black Widebrew, or trapped in a pocket dimension. I like it that way: it means I don’t ever have to pin down exactly what’s happening, and can go with the flow of the story.

IMHO that's definitely the right way to run it for "street level" games where the PCs are initiates or lay members who are going along for the ride. At higher levels, however, the PCs are the ones starting the heroquests consciously so there's probably a lot less confusion about it (even if it can still be confusing, like, say, how experienced oneironauts still have to deal with the weirdness of dreams, in a hypothetical Inception-type setting).

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(The bits of heroquest rulesets where you tot up worshipper numbers or magic points spent to work out what happens, or divvy up abstract reward points between notional pools of beneficiaries, are terrible intrusions into my storytelling idiom, and get handwaved away or ignored)

For my own RuneQuest games, I think that kind of crunch is still necessary IMHO to keep with the spirit of the system. Resources gathered during the preparation of the heroquest (when it's initiated and managed by the players) should be as quantifiable as the magic points of a wyter or the stats of an army. I like things to be consistent so when I want a rules light/narrative heavy system for my heroquests, I also want a rules light/narrative heavy system for the rest of the game anyway (and that's what HQG is for).

Note that putting numbers and crunchy math on a specific bit of gameplay doesn't "intrude" on the storytelling, because those are two different things. Take RQ combat, for example, which is very crunchy. Some people might GM it in a very "dry and to the point" way, with rules-heavy dialogue ("roll to hit", "I do a critical", "failed parry, roll damage", "awesome: 11 points", "cool, the monster is down to 5 points, who's next?"), but others would GM it with suspenseful and dramatic scenes, using the numbers and rolls merely as the tapestry on which to weave the tale of an epic battle, its stakes, and its outcome. The reason we occasionally indulge in some crunchy system is to have the story be told to us as much as we are telling it.

20 hours ago, d(sqrt(-1)) said:

I've read a fair bit of mythology/fairytales etc, but the problem I often have is that I think "that's an interesting story", but if you ask me what hidden truth it's supposed to reveal I would have no idea unless it's something like "walking on your own through a wolf infested wood is a bad idea" - well duh! Must be me.

Not just you. It takes a minimum amount of familiarity with myths to be able to grok this whole thing. Trying to run a heroquest without knowing much about myths in general (or Gloranthan myths in particular) is like trying to improvise a guitar part on a blues song without knowing the structure of blues, or maybe even without really knowing how to play guitar. There's a bunch of basic 101 stuff that needs to be learned, like the reason/significance of the Storm and Sun pantheons being at odds, the role of the fertile Earth, etc. Often, this can be explained quite quickly (the clouds block the sun, the sun chases the rain, the earth wants both sunlight and water, etc.) but someone has to write it down somehow. We shouldn't set a barrier to entry for Gloranthan gaming which is "you need to read these 3 academic books on comparative mythology". I'm hoping that one day some RQ sourcebook (maybe the Gamemaster Guide?) will have this kind of "applied Gloranthan mythology 101" written plainly on the page...  Maybe Sandy Petersen could write that, actually, he's great at explaining things simply, from scratch, in a total no-nonsense way.

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4 hours ago, lordabdul said:
On 9/5/2020 at 12:48 PM, d(sqrt(-1)) said:

I've read a fair bit of mythology/fairytales etc, but the problem I often have is that I think "that's an interesting story", but if you ask me what hidden truth it's supposed to reveal I would have no idea unless it's something like "walking on your own through a wolf infested wood is a bad idea" - well duh! Must be me.

Not just you.

Sometimes it matters and sometimes it doesn't.

4 hours ago, lordabdul said:

It takes a minimum amount of familiarity with myths to be able to grok this whole thing. Trying to run a heroquest without knowing much about myths in general (or Gloranthan myths in particular) is like trying to improvise a guitar part on a blues song without knowing the structure of blues, or maybe even without really knowing how to play guitar.

I don't think that is necessarily the case.

Someone can perform the Orlanth Slays Yelm HeroQuest to get rid of a local ruler. He doesn't need to know that this represents clouds blocking the sun or that this is the last step in the Courting of Ernalda, that this proves Ernalda's power over Orlanth or that it shows how ernalda changes husbands at the drop of a hat. He uses it to get rid of a rival ruler.

4 hours ago, lordabdul said:

There's a bunch of basic 101 stuff that needs to be learned, like the reason/significance of the Storm and Sun pantheons being at odds, the role of the fertile Earth, etc.

This is useful and adds depth, but it doesn't really matter.

Sometimes, learning about the deeper mythic significance adds something to the HeroQuest and allows you to draw other abilities/spells/powers from the HeroQuest.

4 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Often, this can be explained quite quickly (the clouds block the sun, the sun chases the rain, the earth wants both sunlight and water, etc.) but someone has to write it down somehow.

Yes, I am going to try to do this in the HeroQuests that I write for Jonstown Compendium.

4 hours ago, lordabdul said:

We shouldn't set a barrier to entry for Gloranthan gaming which is "you need to read these 3 academic books on comparative mythology". I'm hoping that one day some RQ sourcebook (maybe the Gamemaster Guide?) will have this kind of "applied Gloranthan mythology 101" written plainly on the page...  Maybe Sandy Petersen could write that, actually, he's great at explaining things simply, from scratch, in a total no-nonsense way.

Different people draw different conclusions from the same HeroQuest. In the example shown above, Orlanthi could say that Storm overcomes Fire/Sky, or that anyone can depose an unlawful ruler or tyrant, or that Orlanthi are not bound by Solar Law; Solars might draw the conclusion that Orlanth cheated in the duel by using Death, that Orlanth is a rebel against the Divine Order and that Ernalda is a scheming woman with no part in Yelm's Court; An Ernaldan might think that it is easy to change one husband for another, that Orlanth is a patsy and easy to control or that Earth is more powerful than Air/Storm or Fire/Sky; an Eurmali might think that Ernaldans and Orlanthi are easy to manipulate, that this death things is loads of fun and that Humakt is going to be really angry now.

By the way, sorry for picking you post apart into different sections, as I know that some people don't like it when that is done, but it raised a lot of interesting points.

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7 hours ago, soltakss said:

This is useful and adds depth, but it doesn't really matter.

Sometimes, learning about the deeper mythic significance adds something to the HeroQuest and allows you to draw other abilities/spells/powers from the HeroQuest.

I'm sure someone can run heroquests as just straight up adventures in a parallel world, the same way, say, Call of Cthulhu investigators can suddenly have weird reality shifting experiences where they go to the Dreamlands or to Carcosa or whatever, in order to find some magic artifact to banish an Elder God or fight some other evil. In fact, I had previously asked specifically what the difference is between a heroquest and an "adventure in a strange place" in an older thread, from which @Joerg created a dedicated thread. That thread may be of help to others, but it mainly shows how I struggled to understand what a heroquest is/can be.

I was initially very confused when reading the heroquest chapter in HQG, because that text (and other texts I've since read about the topic) do hint at heroquesting being much more than an "adventure in a strange place". It's not quite natural for me (and, I assume, most people) to dismiss half these texts and say "I don't understand it, so I guess I'll just treat the God Time as a parallel dimension set in the past and be done with it... everybody roll for initiative against Zorak Zoran!". It can be just as fun to treat it that way. In fact, it's possible that the Gamemaster Guide presents different "takes" on heroquesting based on the GM and players' familiarity/interest in mythology. And the same can be said about any other normal adventure, really: people interested in drama and storytelling would have profound underlying themes in their adventures, while others might just play it straight up "get the McGuffin, kill the monsters, save your clan". It's just a bit more complicated with heroquests because the rulebooks we have on the topic actively present it as something complex and deeply significant, but without giving people the basic knowledge to understand it. I mean, just look at some recent threads where Jeff actually came out and said "this myth is about this and that" and even experienced gamers were like "oh really? interesting! I didn't get that at first!". We need more of this meta/no-nonsense/101 sidebar content.

Anyway, I was mostly sharing my own experience as a recent newbie so that other equally confused people don't feel like they're stupid (or, at least, can feel like they're not alone being stupid :) ), and even maybe hopefully remind Chaosium authors that this needs to be presented in a friendly way.

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By the way, sorry for picking you post apart into different sections, as I know that some people don't like it when that is done, but it raised a lot of interesting points.

No worries!

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8 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

I'm sure someone can run heroquests as just straight up adventures in a parallel world, the same way, say, Call of Cthulhu investigators can suddenly have weird reality shifting experiences where they go to the Dreamlands

The Dreamlands was one of my favourite ideas to see implemented in a BRP game!

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In what cases would you say that you don't die if you get killed during a heroquest?

I guess that you definitely die if you are killed during a This-World-HeroQuest. So let's talk about the Other World HeroQuests (Hero Plane heroquests):

For example, in the HeroQuest Glorantha rulebook you can read the nice example heroquest "The Quest of Eringulf Vanak Spear" about the hero Eringulf travelling to Asrelia's Dark Plenty (the domain of Asrelia in the Underworld) aided by his six allies (these six allies are Orlanth's six winds, but I guess they can also be used so that more PCs can accompany the main hero in the heroquest, each of them identified as or embodying one of those six winds). During one of the encounters, his six allies die (well, the text says specifically "removed" and later on "lost"). But after the heroquest finishes, they seem to be alive again, as Eringulf rewards them for their aid during the quest. Why are they still alive?

OTOH, you don't die if you are killed in a myth of the Golden Age, since Death hadn't been found yet. You could heal yourself even if dismembered. But let's face it, very few heroquests are set before the late Golden Age, specially for Orlanthi cults.

Any other ideas as to why/how you could not die after being killed in a heroquest? If you are playing HeroQuest it is easy to not die, since the results of the contest are open to interpretation. But that is seldom the case if you are using the RuneQuest rules.

 

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10 hours ago, Runeblogger said:

Any other ideas as to why/how you could not die after being killed in a heroquest?

I don't know much about heroquests but it was my (potentially erroneous) understanding that you don't really die "for real" when you die in a heroquest. You just get "ejected" from the God Plane and end up back on the Mundane Plane. The consequences of such a failure can already be pretty dire, depending on what the heroquest was about.

My other understanding was that you may come back injured, or with some curse or other problem, depending on how your heroquest went and how your "death" happened. I think it really has to do with your identification (is that the term? I forgot) with the deity -- the deeper your identified with it, the more boons and gifts you would get, but the more injured you would come back when you're ejected. If the identification was perfect, you might not come back at all and really die in the heroquest.

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10 hours ago, Runeblogger said:

Any other ideas as to why/how you could not die after being killed in a heroquest?

I would say :

- if the myth says "the god is killed or something like that" (Yelmalio hill of gold; Elmal guards the stead ... hum always the same god ? )  the pc should not die (and maybe  if the pc doesn't die, she may be ejected or not)

- if the pc/god is the trickster, it could be some way to avoid the death too

- in other cases, I would test the pc affinity with the myth (depending the system, devotion, cult lore, myth lore, .... ) . If the pc failed (aka, the pc remembers she is a living being, not a god) she could be ejected with dammage

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Thank you lordabdul and FDW for your insights/ideas. 🙂

Is there any source where this concept of being ejected is explicitly stated?

I like the idea, but doesn't that then make Other World heroquests more survivable than This World heroquests? For example, a heroquester in a This World heroquest of Orlanth slays Aroka fights a wyvern at the climax of the quest. She is killed by the wyvern. So she is definitely dead. However, a heroquester reenacting the same myth in the Other World faces Aroka, she is killed by Aroka, but the quester makes her roll and is only ejected from the Other World, badlyinjured, but then is healed. Shouldn't the Other World heroquests be way more dangerous?  🤔

And what happens when the heroquester enters the Other World phisically? Such as in the quest of Eringulf and the Vanak Spear, or during the Law Staff heroquest on top of the Arrowmound (I think that one is in the Sartar Companion)?  🤔

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1 minute ago, Runeblogger said:

Shouldn't the Other World heroquests be way more dangerous? 

it is more dangerous

ok your quester survived, but now, the supporting village is cursed : no more rain for one or two years, so a lot of people will die

Or maybe the quester is cursed too : need to drink more than usual or a penalty, and remember the reputation, passions and runes are also impacted. As her "career" in the cult.

The villagers will probably be angry against the quester, maybe a father will ask for revenge when his son will be dead because there is not enough food , etc...

Sometimes death is better than cursed life

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7 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

Or maybe the quester is cursed too : need to drink more than usual or a penalty, and remember the reputation, passions and runes are also impacted. As her "career" in the cult.

Thank you! For personal heroquests it still seems less dangerous to me, but I like the idea of increasing the curse if she manages to escape death.

What about the heroquester who enters the Other World phisically? 😦

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8 hours ago, Runeblogger said:

Is there any source where this concept of being ejected is explicitly stated?

It's not so explicit (I made a few extrapolations), but S:KoH p199 has some stuff about "Dropping Out and Falling Off" a heroquest. The way I understand it is that as you get badly injured and are on the brink of dying, you can "will yourself" out of the heroquest.

Arguably with the RQ combat rules (unlike HQ), you could get killed in one single blow and not have time to drop out of the heroquest, so.... I don't know. Maybe an INT roll or something to see if you are quick-minded enough ?

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Shouldn't the Other World heroquests be way more dangerous?  🤔

If you let go of the concept that "danger" is necessarily "personal danger to the quester" then yes, they are.

This World heroquests will very often yield lesser boons and gifts than Other World heroquests. Most of the time, because heroquests require hundreds of participants (especially Other World ones), the stated goal of performing it is to obtain some kind of blessing for your community. Failing a This World heroquest might kill the main quester and bring some curse on her companions, but failing an Other World heroquest might see the main quester survive, but with a severe curse/geas/whatever on both herself and her entire community! You might have survived, but your whole tribe is going to have failing crops and pregnancies for 3 years afterwards... or even forever, until someone heroquests again a succeeds where you failed. That's definitely more dangerous in my book!

You can also have other dangerous things, like Chaos creatures from the Gods War (or other enemies of your community) spilling back out from where you entered the God Time, rampaging through your tribe's settlements.

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And what happens when the heroquester enters the Other World phisically? Such as in the quest of Eringulf and the Vanak Spear, or during the Law Staff heroquest on top of the Arrowmound (I think that one is in the Sartar Companion)?  🤔

I don't think they enter the Other World physically in this case? I could be wrong but my understanding is that, for instance for the Law Staff, you enter the God Time and (hopefully) get identified with Orlanth and his companions. It's just that it happens in a gradual, dream-like way.

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14 hours ago, Runeblogger said:

I like the idea, but doesn't that then make Other World heroquests more survivable than This World heroquests? For example, a heroquester in a This World heroquest of Orlanth slays Aroka fights a wyvern at the climax of the quest. She is killed by the wyvern. So she is definitely dead. However, a heroquester reenacting the same myth in the Other World faces Aroka, she is killed by Aroka, but the quester makes her roll and is only ejected from the Other World, badlyinjured, but then is healed. Shouldn't the Other World heroquests be way more dangerous?

If you die while on a This World heroquest, you are clearly dead (unless you succeed in a Divine Intervention), but you have some chance for Resurrection.  Odds are that your foe is not so great that there is any great threat to your soul (unless it's Chaos).  You will be escorted to the Halls of the Dead, and your god will likely speak for you and bring you to a happy afterlife.

If you die while on an Other World heroquest, there are a number of possible outcomes depending on the myth, the Otherworld location, and when/where in the myth the death occurs.  Generally, when you die you drop out of the quest with some exceptions.  @lordabdul noted reference at S:KoH p199.  

  1. You die and drop out of the quest before the main threshold.  Probably you wind up back at the temple you started from, or a mundane world location corresponding to the place where you died.  You may actually be dead (and require DI or Resurrection).  Or you may be unconscious, but gravely wounded (in body and soul).  I'd base this on the place where you died and whether you were expected to die there (because the myth said you were supposed to) - if expected, then most likely you're unconscious (even if that seems counter-intuitive).  However, you lose something when you die on said quest, and it should be an important power or part of your soul - i.e. you lose your Fire Rune (because Darkness smothered you) or your Air Rune (because your breath was stolen), or your Devotion to your god, or similar.  Losing part of your soul is significant, dangerous, and transforms you.  
  2. You die at the after the main threshold/at the climax of the quest.  Were you supposed to die?  If yes, then follow the story of the myth.  Chalana healed you, Orlanth blew you to a place of restoration, etc.  If no, then you died in the Otherworld and when your body reappears at your temple, your soul does not - you are dead just like in a This World quest, and your soul is marching along the Paths of Silence, though you may still be able to be resurrected.  And even if you are Resurrected, you've lost part of your soul, too, as in 1. above.

Adding to the above, the mythic Age matters.  As you noted, if Green or Golden Age, then Death has not yet come, so you can put yourself back together.  BUT, something is still lost - some part of your soul is gone and has been taken by someone else (e.g. Zorak Zoran stole your Fire - if you're ever going to have a Fire Rune again, you've got to go on another quest to get it back from him).  Otherwise, proceed as above.

The mythic Location also matters.  Was it a place of Healing?  Then that impacts your dying body.  Was it a place of Death?  Then you should be dead when you drop out.  Was it a place where Eurmal was?  He was always tricking Death, so you can too.  Take advantage of Runic significance of a place so that Death connects to a separation from the Rune (or perhaps a related Passion).  

And then there is the Underworld.  Entering the Underworld bodily means you must die (even a symbolic Death is a Death).  But in this case, you're still on your quest because it's where you are supposed to be after you die.  Then things get more interesting:

  1. You have not yet crossed the River of Swords/River Styx/etc.  There are ways out (depending on the myth) such as entering the Earth cult's Caves of Silence and finding the stairs back to life.  But, if you die, your body and soul separate and your soul wants to join the Dead souls on the Path of Silence.  Unless your quest companions rescue your soul and bind it to your body (or similar), you will proceed onward to cross the Dark River and enter the Hall of Judgment.
  2. You've crossed the River of Swords/River Styx/etc.  The only path is through the Hall of Judgment.  If Daka Fal rules unfavorably, you are dead, and your soul is sent packing to some god-forsaken Hell - you're not coming back.  If Daka Fal rules favorably, and you can convince your god to let you follow the Resurrection path (and not the path to your god's afterlife world), then you might come back - and that IMO is one way that Heroes are made.  (Note: you still have to convince Humakt to let you out, too.)
  3. You've gone onto a Deeper Quest (e.g. the Quest of Hofstaring in SKoH; the Resurrection Stars in 11 Lights).  You definitely die!  And your body and soul are likely mangled, but there are powerful forces here.  You could get captured and enslaved in a Hell - unless someone else comes after you, even your soul is beyond contact by most.  You could free someone Heroic (like Hofstaring) who has the power to get out of the Underworld (and should bring you back to your temple/starting point, though some part of your personality should be drastically changed).  Or you can find a Path to Resurrection (e.g. join Yelm, or one of the planets, or even Xentha) who know how to return to the world - but you have to prove your worth/ability to do so.  

So, circling back to the question, I look at where/when the questers are, and the impact/consequences of "death" is determined by those factors above.

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In the absence of guidance on this important area, several authors in the Jonstown Compendium have put ideas and even mechanics forward. Someone mentioned Secrets of HeroQuesting. 6 Seasons in Sartar had some interesting insights and examples, though I don't believe mechanics. In a Merry Green Vale, which is generally much more about backstory than mechanics, does lead you through a long and complex heroquest with mechanics.

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I think it's also worth noting that many, if not most, This World Heroquests are ritual reenactments where you're in less personal danger because the participants are mostly people playing a role. And this distancing from the myth is what makes such quests generally less fruitful, too. 

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This is an interesting thread – we are still finding our way with HeroQuests. After returning to Glorantha after a 35+ year break, we have had three HeroQuests in our short game so far. As we come to complete the Six Seasons in Sartar campaign, two of the Heroquests were initiations – one for adulthood, the other for their cult. The third was an ‘other world’ quest to improve the fortunes of the clan.

Six Seasons in Sartar has an excellent initiation into adulthood Heroquest – it is detailed and was a great start to the campaign – worth checking out. The second was their initiation into three separate cults. There is some guidance for this in the rules and I also picked up a copy of Secrets of Heroquesting. I asked the players which Rune Magic they were going to choose and produced a short scene for each of them based around that spell. These were not long scenes and all three were completed in an hour of play.

For the initiation each character had to undertake a task. The Ernalda initiate wanted the spell, ‘Inviolable,’ and so had to show, ‘There is always another way.’ Members of the cult took the roles of two ancient enemies, The Black Stag and the Seven-Tailed Wolf and she had to broker a peace. There were two Orlanth initiates. One wanted ‘Earth Shield’ and again with cult members playing the part had to convince Ernalda to give him Arran’s Shield and then protect her from ‘Chaos’ hurling stones at her. The other adventurer wanted ‘Raise/calm wind.’ He had to get the Upper Winds to help fight the Dragon Aroka, we played this out with the clan chieftain with an Aroka mask and a vine whip striking at the adventurer, who had to grab the vine and pull it from Aroka’s grip.

The last one we played was a more substantial affair. The adventurers wanted to heal divisions within the clan through a Heroquest. To make life easy I wrote my own myth regarding the clan’s wyter, The Black Stag and the clan’s eternal enemy, the Seven-Tailed Wolf. The adventurers used their own stats but as they were avatars for powerful local entities such as Cob the Eight-legged Queen and Roara Father of Bears, I allowed the players to call on abilities they thought those entities might have as well. With a little negotiation we agreed on how to implement those. I read aloud passages from the myth as the players encountered each station.

The Heroquest had five stations:

1.     Talk with the animals of the valley and persuade them to join with the Black Stag.

2.     Prevent Scale Fish-Mother from warning the Seven-Tailed Wolf (a chase station)

3.     A combat challenge where each had to face their mythic adversary. This was complicated by a Telmori on its own Heroquest.

4.     Increase the fertility of the Black Stag and Running Doe.

5.     Help the Black Stag break the Sounding Stone.

I have learnt a lot from running these three Heroquest so far, and no doubt there will be many more to come. I would urge anyone unsure of how to play them is just jump right in. The three quests we have done have all felt quite different and no doubt they will continue to vary substantially – we will do whatever is the most fun way to resolve them.

 

 

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I would say (supporting the more elaborate posts above) that death from Heroquesting should be uncommon for two reasons, firstly a meta reason, it is boring, secondly it is usually not supported in the myth, and the myth is kind of the master script here. And remember, event if it is a this-world-dry-run quest, it actually deals with reality bending stuff, so the actual death event is symbolical anyway. 

Instead participants should be afflicted with mythic related effects, most could be expressed as various curses (on you, your bloodline, your village, your general area), but also things like getting lost and ending up in bad places (hell is one, so technically you are dead, but it may improve if you are as resourceful as players/characters usually are). 

<following is a completely demented try to explain my thoughts>

In my view of Heroquests each run of it strengthen or weakens the myth in it self, and while it can be bent into a pretzel it really never goes away (unless eaten by chaos) and is kind of set apart from our-world-causality. So death there is usually not relevant for living status here, instead the status of the myth is what affects the status here, and by joining a Heroquest you are irrevocable knitted into that mythic mesh and thus your death there is expressed in a mythic-related way here as you diminished the myth a bit.

So the Mythic death is is not expressed as a real world death beacuse that is not what happended in the mythic reality, instead it is expressed in the "mundane" world as a mythic related effect (curses etc etc) or as an even more dangerous diverge in the mythic world which may be a effective death in the "mundane" as you never return to the place you entered the myth.

hmmmmm need to find a clearer way to express my thoughts on this

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Thanks everyone for your replies to my questions. 🙂👍

For the record, I have read the part about heroquests in Six Seasons in Sartar, I have read Secrets of HeroQuesting, as well as S:KoH and HeroQuest Glorantha. I also have played through the Colymar campaign with HeroQuest and have played successful initiation heroquests, the Lawstaff heroquest, etc. (I'll probably also buy In a merry Green Vale, thanks to @Scorus). Here I'm trying to see how to adapt the dying part to a RuneQuest game.

OK, so the overwhelming general consensus seems to be you can escape death when killed during an Other-World heroquest (perhaps by succeeding or failing a  Devotion roll, as DFW suggested) but then you personally lose more (perhaps POW, % in runes, etc.) on top of the failure effects of a failed quest (big curses for you and the community, the Darkness entering the world, etc.). 

OTOH, you certainly die in a This-World heroquest when you face a wyvern playing the part of Aroka and it criticals your head with its bite, CHOMP! Bye.

I know some part of a This-World heroquest can be arranged so they are less dangerous, but they can't be controlled 100%, as they happen out in the open world, not in your sanctified site. The less arranged they are, the bigger the rewards. Not even holy day heroquests in your temple grounds can ever be 100% safe.

Now, what happens with heroquests where you go to the Other World phisically, such as the Arrowmound or Asrelia's Plenty in the quest of Eringulf Vanak Spear? For example, let's say you are a troll who flies up, up, up to the Upper World and are killed up there. How can you be ejected from the quest when killed if you travelled there phisically? I guess there's no escaping death in that case. And another question: are the hero's companion treated differently as far as death in a heroquest is concerned? I mean, are they "safer" because they are not embodying the main god?

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I would say that the physical part is not exactly as how we, in this IRL world, would see it as physical. It is not your this-world body that traipses around on the mythic plan, but a mythic reflection of it, your this-world body ... perhaps it is in limbo? Perhaps in the same place as your image in the mirror go when you step sidewise, you can't see it any longer, but someone else can see it if they look at the right angle.

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Although I am early on in my Runequest journey - I am tending towards character death not being part of the Heroquest process. I want to focus more on the purpose of the quest and the success or failure of that - to me that is far more interesting and of greater significance. If a character 'dies' in a Heroquest I am thinking they will drop out of it - maybe battered and bruised - but the real consequence will be the effect on the success of the quest. I think there are great roleplaying opportunities from a failed Heroquest and I don't want a player to get out of the consequences of that by just dying :)

That said the only 'otherworld' Heroquest we have completed so far was set in a time before 'Death' as a way to hedge my bets, it is all a work in progress...

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1 hour ago, Trotsky said:

I am tending towards character death not being part of the Heroquest process.

I would not exclude death from Heroquests any more than I would exclude them from normal adventurers - I think there's a balance to achieve for a good story (a TPK is not much of a story), but with tension and drama and the reality of death always present.

There can be a story after death.  Questers to the Otherworld usually bring along prepared enchantments to contain a spirit or soul or magic of what they hope to gain.  Therefore, if someone dies, you've got a vehicle to save their soul!  Admittedly their body is now something else (a sword, an animal, etc.), but they've returned!

Or, their soul is separated from their dead body, but in the Otherworld they can initiate spirit combat and possess another body!  They can bring back something extinct!  Or they have some new form (they become a Shade, or a swirling Sylph, etc.).  

Think of ways that the "dead" hero can become the Gift that is brought back by the quest - it makes it much more dramatic (there is Death), and yet the adventurer has found a way to return.

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On 10/27/2020 at 9:37 AM, Runeblogger said:

Shouldn't the Other World heroquests be way more dangerous?  🤔

They are more dangerous.

Getting killed on a This World HeroQuest means that you can come back in the usual ways: Resurrection, Self-Resurrection (Shamanic or Yanafal Tarnils). so, dying on a This World HeroQuest is the same as dying in normal Glorantha.

Getting killed on an Other Place HeroQuest means that you follow the Path of the Dead, or rather your spirit does. Your body stays where it is, but your soul follows Grandfather Mortal's path. Now, it may be that on an Other Place HeroQuest into Hell, or the Underworld, your soul starts off a bit closer and it may be that your body follows your soul. Someone taking your body back to a Chalana Arroy Temple could get you resurrected as above.

Getting killed on the Other Side means you physically follow grandfather Mortal's Path. It may be that your possession of the Death Rune means that Death has followed you and you end up following Grandfather Mortal's path before Grandfather Mortal does. you are now in Hell, how do you get out? You cannot just end the HeroQuest, as you have deviated from it to a large extent, by going into Hell. In the God Time there are not many ways out of Hell and very few after you have been killed. Experienced HeroQuestors might know a way out of Hell and might be able to follow that path, but it is going to be difficult. Also, you might be trapped in a special part of Hell, as Arkat was when he was bound into a jar. being trapped in Hell means that you have to wait for someone to HeroQuest to rescue you. How many friends do you have who are prepared to do that?

 

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On 10/27/2020 at 5:49 PM, Runeblogger said:

What about the heroquester who enters the Other World phisically? 😦

I have really no idea

I don't know if there is a difference, I don't know if you can enter the Other World not physically. 

Does that mean that, as a shaman ,you can be both in mundane (body) and other world (spirit / heroic / something) ?

clearly I m confuse here. I see -no mundane- heroquesting first "station" as the gate to the other world.

This gate could be permanent (a sacred place, something like that) where you enter automatically elsewhere : if you walk 1 meter you are in the other world. You may not able to enter, but in this case you cannot do this meter in the mundane world, that's like a wall

This gate could be easily opened (a sacred place too) where you can enter if you want or know how to enter

or this gate must be open by a ceremony / worship

 

I imagine that like Orpheus passing in the underwold but I don't know if it is the same thing or not.

 

 

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41 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:
On 10/27/2020 at 4:49 PM, Runeblogger said:

What about the heroquester who enters the Other World phisically? 😦

I have really no idea

I don't know if there is a difference, I don't know if you can enter the Other World not physically. 

It depends on what we mean by the Other World.

Clearly, people can travel to the world outside the mundane Plane, to those portions of Glorantha that are heroic. You can jump down Hell Crack/Magasta's Pool and end in Hell, travel to the ends of Glorantha and climb up the Sky Dome, fly to the Red Moon and so on. 

Some people can travel to Spirit Places, previously known as Spirit Pools, perform a ritual and enter the Spirit Plane, travel to another Spirit Place, perform a ritual and exit physically. That is effectively a form of Magic Road HeroQuest.

HeroQuestors on some Magic road HeroQuests do something similar, where they start a HeroQuest, move to a magical realm, travel there and move back to the Mundane Plane.

Some powerful HeroQuestors have physically entered the God Time and returned. the Red Goddess is a famous example, as she was lost in God Time and was brought back, physically emerging astride the Crimson Bat at the First Battle of Chaos. Yanafal tarnils seems to have physically entered the God Time as well, as he replaced her when she was impaled on a spike.

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