[Runequest] Runequest Digest, Vol 30, Issue 2

David Cake dave at difference.com.au
Wed Nov 3 14:32:22 EST 2010

At 11:49 PM +0000 2/11/10, Nikk Effingham wrote:
>  > I once read on the Glorantha mailing list, that if one heroquester changes
>>  the usual course of a given myth does not mean that the myth changes for
>>  everyone in the world. Only when everyone starts reenacting the myth in
>>  another way does the myth change universally (in your case, Yelmalio regains
>>  his power over fire). However, that can change in your Glorantha, and it
>>  probably should (to make a more epic finale). :-)
>IMG it's less that and more about your Supporters. The more people who
>Support your Quest, the more 'real' the change was. So I imagine
>things like the Trollkin Curse could've been done on a small scale (so
>100 people get together and do the HeroQuest, causing the local troll
>tribe to suffer trollkin births) but Nysalor rallied the Support of an
>entire empire and promptly inflicted the curse upon every troll in the

	In addition, it is worth noting that the troll army Nysalor 
was facing had summoned Kygor Litor herself (and had huge support 
from trolls across Genertela) - it wasn't just that Nysalor had huge 
support, but the trolls did as well. When your community Supports 
your quest, they aren't just helping you - they are committing to the 
quest as well. If your supporters commit to help you magically, they 
also stand to lose something if you lose. Yet their support isn't all 
powerful - perhaps you only get to draw on it once, or must carefully 
husband it through out the quest - so a community needs to be very 
sure that the heroquester they back is fully capable.
	That said, Nysalors ability to cure the entire race was still 
pretty extraordinary. He 'cheats' a little when it comes to 
heroquesting, I think.

>>  After a 3.5 year, 70 session plus RuneQuest (mainly III, a bit of AiG, a
>>  bit of MRQI/II) campaign I'm nearing the end... The PCs have collected
>>  the torches (c.f., Plunder) containing Yelmalio's Blood and are seeking
>>  ingress to Redstone Caverns where they will empty the torches into fire
>>  spirit and engage in the famous Hill of Gold HeroQuest, and regain said
>>  powers for Yelmalio...
>Sounds great. So is the plan to manage to do the HeroQuest without
>losing to Orlanth and ZZ and managing to survive to the end, fire
>powers intact?

	Which of course means whatever they face after that point is 
even more powerful than usual.

>One thing, which you may or may not care to try out, is
>that some Yelmalions won't *like* the idea of Yelmalio winning. Some
>of them will see the idea of Yelmalio as a suffering martyr to be core
>to the religion, so not every memb: traditionalist priests threatening
>them with censure; a possible schism in the religion etc. Or maybe

	Yeah, it is kind of a generic problem with this sort of 
quest. Nick Brooke once described it as less worship, more like being 
your gods personal trainer. Which shouldn't stop you, or your 
players, from doing it - but the point is that the change will 
initially only take effect for your players, their hero cult - and 
perhaps whichever community supported them. And some other parts of 
the religion are likely to find the new path heretical or otherwise 
	There is plenty of weird hidden history of Yelmalio - I'm not 
even sure the religion as such existed until the third age, certainly 
not under that name. So if you wanted to, there would be plenty of 
fun play to carry on after they are successful. Personally, I find 
the most interesting bit of the history the idea that the late Dawn 
Age Sun Dome Temples were actually temples to Daysenerus, the 
Nysaloran god of the High Light, a sort of mystic light cult, long 
since suppressed by Arkats followers.

	To get back on to rules questions, I agree with most of what 
Simon says:
- don't get too fussed about the rules
- concentrate on the myths
- throw the players curve balls. There is plenty of mythology of 
either Yelmalio, or the various other players in this drama, that 
they are unaware of, and they are journeying into a very 
unpredictable weird era of myth. If it was me, I'd throw them stuff 
that would be meaningful to a Dara Happan Antirius quester or a 
Nysaloran Daysenerus quester, but is unknown to modern Yelmalions. 
But you might just prefer to make stuff up :-). Or their ZZ opponent 
is part of some secret ZZ sub-cult or other troll cult that they are 
not familiar with, and has some weird new abilities. Have the chaos 
enemies be completely strange and new (though the various suggestions 
in published version are probably weird enough). Have the Orlanthi 
they meet be someone they already are familiar with, perhaps fighting 
them is mythically necessary but personally awkward.
- try to test the characters virtues and personality traits, and 
their ability to stick to cult virtues (and not give in to hate, 
greed, desire for new powers, etc). Have every defeated opponent make 
tempting offers with only one right answer. It works great if you 
have a game system that has already emphasised this sort of thing in 
the game system somehow so far - like Pendragon or HeroQuest (duh) 
but if you don't it probably isn't a good idea to introduce them at 
this point at make players roll against them. But do make sure they 
are very aware of what their cult virtues are and what their cult 
myths say is the right thing to do. Because they are trying to find a 
new path, of course sometimes what their cult myths say to do might 
actually be wrong.
- don't simply overwhelm your PCs by giving them characters with huge 
stats that will destroy them. Give them opponents that are better 
than anything they could normally defeat, then give them (preferably 
from appropriate mythic allies) more magic etc than they normally do. 
Or have items that have a rich mythic history suddenly manifest new 
abillities in this particular situation etc. The *worst* way to run a 
heroquest is have the PCs lost because the stats of the opponents 
they are fighting are too powerful. But having the stats of the 
opponents they are fighting be *almost* too powerful is perfect. 
Don't be afraid to fudge it a little if you get it wrong - and always 
make mythically appropriate strategies super effective (of course, 
the problem with this is there *are* no mythically appropriate 
strategies for fighting ZZ unless they are borrowed ones - the 
mythically appropriate thing to do is Lose - so that is a struggle 
for the PCs).

	One interesting curve ball to throw your players if they if 
they lose the fight against ZZ, they could still 'win' in the 
traditional manner - which does grant immortality, so it is no little 

	The biggest heroquest scenario I ever ran in RQ was also the 
final scenario of a long running campaign, and was very much a 'this 
world' heroquest. The Lunars had decided to subjugate the nomads of 
Prax by creating a drought (which their own territories near the 
oases and rivers would be largely protected against), and Lunar 
heroquesters got a Yelm priest and Molanni Priestess to create Daga, 
drought. At the same time, the Red School of Masks captured the 
Praxian rain spirit, Thunderbird . The PCs decided that the Orlanth 
and Aroka myth was the right one to destroy drought. They knew that 
the mythic preparation was as important as the fight - Orlanth needs 
the support of the six winds. They set off in a huge air rune shaped 
journey, that took them all over Prax and the Wastes and spiralled in 
to Pavis, taking many weeks of game time. They got winds from 
Sartarite wind priests, from Storm Bull at the Eternal Battle, etc, 
they got the Dark Wind by aiding trolls, the upper wind (captive 
Whirlvishes) by defeating a long running Gagarthi NPC (formerly a 
Waha worshipper, that the PCs had previously shamed and prevented 
from being named Khan when his betrayal of them at the Block failed) 
and so on. Thus fully equipped, the conclusion of the quest saw the 
lead quester (an Orlanthi Wind Lord) fight the sea dragon that lives 
at the centre of the Puzzle Canal, according to the Aroka ritual by 
releasing winds to counter its dragon powers, while the rest of the 
party fought off the Coders to prevent them interfering, which meant 
the central myth re-enactment was still a solo myth as it should be, 
but the rest of the PCs had epic stuff of their own to do (the duel 
between the Humakti Sword and Count Julan was pretty special).
	Worked well, I was pretty happy with it, and was a nicely 
fitting heroic end to the game. I hope yours goes as well!



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