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Upland Marsh Heroquests


Erol of Backford

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Does anyone have sources for Upland Marsh Heroquests: The Humakti ducks teach the heroes a strange variant on a popular Ernalda quest. It takes the heroes under the Upland Marsh and into a haunted grotto, where an imprisoned daughter of Ernalda grants them a powerful blessing. The ducks are enthusiastic about it and have been using newly gained Lunar secrets to get a new blessing to use against Delecti. The heroes can complete the quest without the Lunar secrets, but that makes the quest harder. If the group needs powerful magic to use against undead, this quest is a great place for them to earn it.

I saw this in 13th Age Glorantha and thought powers against undead would be a good thing especially if the PC's may be part of the Temple of the Wooden Sword even if for a short period?

What might the powerful blessing be?

Any help is appreciated, as always and thank you in advance.

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Hmmm... powerful anti-undead blessings for a successful Heroquest.... Hmmmm....

OK, just a couple of ideas off the top of my head:

- Sever Spirit on Undead at will w/o needing Rune Points

- Any Undead slain by the hero is automatically released to their afterlife and can never be raised, resurrected, or bound again. The corpse immediately turns to dust and cannot be reformed or reanimated.

- Any Undead must make a POW v. POW /MP vs. POW roll against the hero or act as if Demoralized

Edited by svensson
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But aren't you looking for inherent powers, not just item abilities? Or is the goal of the Heroquest to acquire a legendary item?

We have two examples of Heroquesters who were successful in their quests and are described by RQG statistics: Queen Leika of the Colymar and Sarostip of Jonstown. Both of these worthies have legendary items in their possession, but both have inherent abilities granted by their questing.

My thought on this is that Heroquests for items are of a lower magnitude than Heroquests to gain inherent abilities. My reasoning on that being that items are, by their very nature, temporary. After all, items can be stolen and an item's power is only available when the character is actually using the item in question. This isn't to trivialize 'item quests', however. Some items are legendary enough to require MAJOR Heroquesting.

Something else on this subject occurs to me:

Humakt's system of Gifts and Geasa/Geases indicates a 'power versus sacrifice' system in his cult. It's not too far-fetched to extend that into his Heroquests as well. We have the example of Sarostip Prince-Killer who can kill with a glance, but the cost was the vision in one eye. Both the ability and the cost are directly stated as being the results of the same Heroquest.

 

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A daughter of Ernalda who hates undead despoilers and can grant a military blessing sounds a lot like a Barbeester Gore subcult.

The “lunar secret” might be a secret connection to the moon - maybe the hero quest foes are weakest during dark moon. Or strongest. Or there might be a lunar talisman which grants passage at a critical point in the quest - maybe the vampire bats don’t attack if you carry the talisman or speak a secret password.

Reward - Something Earth related, like heroic summon gnome, or heroic use of great parry against the undead?

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Although the quest is learnt from Humakti, I read the premise as the power coming from the Earth. So it depends on whether I wish to destabilize or weaken the Upland Marsh, so it would be a power that others can use, or simply a cool power for a player character.

In the first case it could be some kind of enchanted fence that slowly drains the swamp and forces undead to succeed at a resistance roll to cross, while requiring maintenance and magic sacrifices. The effect on undead that cross it would be similar to the indvidual power.

In the second, it may be the ability to command the earth to hold the dead, so all undead in an area sink slightly in the ground, while the living move normally. That would immobilize them unless they overcome a STR equal to the MP spent by the Quester. Each round. 

I would expect the ducks to be ambivalent with the Earth overcoming Water, but any resident near the marsh would prefer the first option.

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Related idea to some of the above. The Heroquester can draw power from the Earth to burn any undead who are in contact with it. It only works while on dry land. Given the nature of the Marsh, this may largely be of use to someone who can use an Earth Elemental to raise dry land around themselves, or under the feet of an undead foe.

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4 hours ago, JRE said:

 

I would expect the ducks to be ambivalent with the Earth overcoming Water,

2 hours ago, Brian Duguid said:

The Heroquester can draw power from the Earth to burn any undead who are in contact with it.

Or maybe combine these to have the “blessed” earth beneath the swamp purify the water above it producing undead-burning “holy water”. You can have fun with this: area effects that fade toward the edges of still water; blessing the riverbed upstream of an undead enemy; tricksters selling buckets of supposedly purified water to zombie hunters …

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10 hours ago, mfbrandi said:

“blessed” earth beneath the swamp purify the water above it producing undead-burning “holy water”

Maybe there is a turn undead area effect granted to the character by expending magic points while in or near the swamp or a 5% bonus to hit and parry for allies in a radius sort of like the crusade ritual (I think there was one) but it also works as a negative 5% to hit and -1 damage done by undead in a radius around the character?

Have Howling Tower and will review.

I am not sure of the fire aspect as they are wet and its a swamp... imagine the smell of wet burning zombies, it might turn into poison gas? Maybe something that explodes heads of undead? An undead psionic blast of sorts...

Another twist would be that the undead in a radius of the character have to match magic points versus the character or come under their control? Even if one per round it would be fun, zombies and skeletons fighting each other, a taste of their own medicine.

Lots of good ideas here, thanks everyone!

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9 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

I am not sure of the fire aspect as they are wet and its a swamp

I was thinking of an acid burn rather than flames. I don’t know what Brian had in mind. Probably don’t want a third element dragged in, anyway.

Quote

the undead in a radius of the character have to match magic points versus the character or come under their control

It would be fun, but would it appeal to Humakti ducks? It sounds a bit … Zorak Zoran.

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  • 2 months later...

I cannot believe I never asked this. Where is Ernalda's Unded Grotto (possibly I missed it) and what about the less than informative note on the exits: One leads to the Marsh, two are heavily guarded and the third needs no guard? Where book is the Hero Quest to the Grotto in?

Anyone able to place it on the map or does it possibly move as its not on the same plane as the Upland Marsh?

Where does the 3rd exit go that it needs to guard?

Form Tales 19.

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22 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Where is Ernalda's Unded Grotto

It was also reprinted in WF 15.

Wherever you choose to locate it in the Marsh.  To my knowledge, it is not described elsewhere.  

Earth Temples are partially/mostly underground anyway, so all you need is some stairway down (such as from Delecti's Ruin) and you can presumably get to it.  I would link this with the Nontraya tales.

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On 9/19/2022 at 7:42 PM, svensson said:

But aren't you looking for inherent powers, not just item abilities? Or is the goal of the Heroquest to acquire a legendary item?

Sometimes it’s both; an item you get in the Heroquest becomes the source or focus of the power it gives you. The Lawstaff Quest gives you the Lawstaff, whose powers you use, but only you can use it, because you’re the one who earned it. At least, that’s how it worked in the HeroQuest system, which in fairness doesn’t draw a hard line between items and abilities mechanically.

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41 minutes ago, Leingod said:

Sometimes it’s both; an item you get in the Heroquest becomes the source or focus of the power it gives you. The Lawstaff Quest gives you the Lawstaff, whose powers you use, but only you can use it, because you’re the one who earned it. At least, that’s how it worked in the HeroQuest system, which in fairness doesn’t draw a hard line between items and abilities mechanically.

That's one of major problems with HQ as a system. It treats items, status, reputation, and everything else peripheral to a character the precise same way it treats the character's Strength characteristic. It's just glosses over too much reality for the sake of telling the story. In HQ, everything is a handwave. It's one of the reasons why I much prefer RQ to HQ.

Items are possessions... they can be picked up and put down. They can be stolen. Your cult could demand possession of it, something I could legitimately see with an item like the Lawstaff. Any Knowledge Temple who knows of it would want it, working or not, as a holy relic. I get that some cult relics will have user restrictions on them, but the mere possession of such an item as a focus of worship is the kind of thing that could propel a relatively minor Knowledge Temple like the one in Pavis to a MUCH more prominent and credible position. And that credibility brings in pilgrims. And pilgrims bring in cash, donations, and power. It was true in the Middle Ages and it's true in Glorantha. The same is true for items like the Windsword or the Yelmalion Everburning Torches that contain their god's very blood! And let's face it, if any cult in Glorantha were to measure a worshipers worth based on whether or not an adventuring cultist 'donated' a high prestige relic, it would definitely be Yelmalio.

In any event, I see an inherent ability [like Kallyr's Star on her brow or Sarostip's Eye Bite] as being more powerful than just the possession of an item.

 

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1 minute ago, svensson said:

...

In any event, I see an inherent ability [like Kallyr's Star on her brow or Sarostip's Eye Bite] as being more powerful than just the possession of an item.

The thing about those legendary items earned on HQ's:  they go on after you.
They can become part of the community, supporting tribe or clan.  They can provide long-lasting generational advantages.

Many heroquestors will prefer an item...
Something that can support and empower their people, while they are out adventuring (and their children & grandchildren &c, after they pass).

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I would say that a large part of what you bring back would be claimed by

 

1) the community supporting you

2) the most appropriate cult (even if not supporting you)

3) the (tribe or clan, kingdom if more centralized) leaders (even if not supporting you)

4) the bloodline of the "bringer"

5) then the family

 

of course it depends on the power of the item (more powerful it is, more claimed it would be) , if a ceremonial item was "given" by some party and what are the ties between the heroquestors and the different "claimers"

Pretty sure that the family will consider that the bringer is the temporal owner but the item should stay in the family (from where are the heirloom !)

but upper and upper in the hierarchy of the claimer, the bringer would have less and less opportunity to own it and will be rewarded in other ways (land, weapon, teaching, position opportunity,  etc..) However with or without bargain the bringer may obtain the use of the item for a while

 

but that's for players who are in a social game (at least partially), if players are more in a pure adventure game (any loot is my loot) who get the item get the ownership so mgf

 

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