[Runequest] Runequest Digest, Vol 17, Issue 2

Nikk Effingham nikk.effingham at gmail.com
Thu Sep 17 18:47:49 EST 2009

I use my own rules, which are heavily based on Simon Phipp's ruleset:


(other rules are on this page: http://www.nikkeffingham.com/runequest/hq.htm)

Although, I have to admit, if I were you I'd modify the rules as
written. For instance, following the old standard of 'dividing skills
by 5' when on a HQ and then multiplying experience gained by 5 upon
your return is, in my opinion, a bad idea. Having witnessed how my
campaign ended up going under that rules set I recommend against it as
skills just become silly very quickly (in the same way that D&D is fun
around mid-level, RQ stops being as much fun once your skills rocket
above 100% - the rules system was just never really designed for
that). For major Quests I would still divide skills by 5, but for most
HeroQuests I would now leave skills unaffected.

As for surprises, I always thought of writing HQs as a challenge. I'd
give the players the myth, but the myth would be written to
deliberately bring out one of four challenges:

* Lack of skill: The myth might say that Orlanth met the Racorn Beast
but knew the secret of how to slay it. The PCs, of course, DON'T know
the secret. So they're going to have to think of a different way to
beat the Racorn Beast.

* Demand for preparation: HQs are all about prep. Harmast took years
prepping his Quest. So you might have something saying 'Orlanth pulled
out the map given to him by Lhankor Mhy and used it to navigate to
Subere's Realm'. The PCs now have to ensure they have such a map, by
finding one in the mundane world first. If I were you, for a
reasonably major quest, I'd have an adventure or two just getting
stuff and information necessary to do the quest. (Which, of course,
may include things like 'discovering the secret to defeat the Racorn

*Open challenges: The quest might just read 'Orlanth had to overcome
many obstacles before getting to Subere's realm'. Well, that could
mean anything. Remember, Quests in Glorantha - as far as I understand
- change slightly everytime you walk them. So one time it might be one
set of obstacles, like climbing a mountain, or seducing the Ghoul
King's wife, whilst on another Quest it might be a different set of
obstacles, liker convincing Bereden the Badger Lord to make a burrow
for you to go under the mountain, and constructing a catapult so you
can launch Eurmal the Assassin into the Ghoul King's castle so he can
assassinate the Ghoul King's wife. Whatever. It can vary, and you can
leave the specifics open for the players to find out.

* Deliberate ambiguity: The quest may have throwaway comments like
'Orlanth crossed the chasm by having faith in his every stride' - that
could mean all kinds of things. And then, when they get there, it
might turn out to be a chasm with a bridge just like the one from
'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' (cliched example, but it is just
an example). Or, another example. You might have comments like
'Orlanth saw he could not defeat the Racorn Beast with his sword, so
he used the cave against it' which, again, could mean anything. Say,
smashing stalactites so they fell on it, or managing to lose it in the
cave system so it starved to death trying to get out. Whatever. Just
in these cases you obviously have to have clues so the players can,
whilst on the quest, disambiguate what they're meant to do.

And, of course, you can leave bits of the myth out. Not every myth is
known, and some bits might be missing (I once had a PC have to go on a
Quest with no idea what the myth was - oh what fun we had as he
experimented with what he was meant to do). Also, there should be
secrets on every quest - things so secret no-one who knows them would
tell anyone else because they're THAT MUCH of a cult secret. So you
might be on a Quest and discover there's a special station where
Humakt becomes illuminated or something. I'd make this last tactic far

Hope that helps.


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