Home Forums Glorantha Glorantha Discussions Dying on the Heroplane/Godsplane

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    Profile photo of Erick Eckberg
    Erick Eckberg

    I have not run many Heroquests (as in, adventuring in the mythic world of the gods Heroquest). Specifically, I am about to run the last of the trio of Ernalsulva’s challenges, wherein the players go to hell. Here’s my question; If killed in hell do you simply remain stuck in hell or do you return from the heroquest having failed. I know it’s a dumb question but my confusion arises from the sidebar explanation as to what happens to players who are swept away by the River of Swords. It states they re-appear at the Sacred Time ceremonies, worse for the wear. I would have thunked they would be trapped in hell. I know I should reread the whole heroquesting explanations in Kingdom of Heroes/the Core Rules/Glorantha Rules, but you guys have a wonderful way of cutting to the chase. Thanks for your time, this forum’s insights are very valuable.

    Profile photo of Simon Phipp
    Simon Phipp

    It depends, I suppose, on what kind of HeroQuest you are doing and where it is taking place.

    Some people play that being killed on a HeroQuest means you snap back to the real world with a nasty wound to show for it. Others play that you are what you are, so if you die on a HeroQuest then you die.

    Being in Hell is slightly different, as you can continue the Quest as long as you walk the Path of the Dead – after all you are already going that way. Something similar happened to Flesh Man on the Lightbringers Quest.

    being swept away by the River of swords doesn’t necessarily mean you are killed. Sure, it dumps you out of the HeroQuest but does it kill you? It is a matter of opinion, I suppose.

    In a HeroQuest-The-Game view, it all depends on the scenario, the story and the feel of the game. Is this something that would suit the player’s view of the Hero? Would the Hero like to die heroically on a HeroQuest and not return?

    From a HeroQuest-The-Act kind of view, s a HeroQuest a dream-world kind of thing where you can wake up if you fail and try again? Does your body stay in a temple guarded by acolytes? Do you physically go on the HeroQuest and cross over to the God Plane?

    It all depends, which, I am afraid, is the worst kind of answer.

    Profile photo of Erick Eckberg
    Erick Eckberg

    Not at all, that’s a good enough answer for me! I just wasn’t sure if there was some “hard-and-fast rule” (I know: there really aren’t any…)regarding Heroquests. I suppose I’ll play it by ear, heck, maybe they won’t get knocked into the river anyway. I like the idea of a “going to hell Heroquest” as being more dangerous than other such quests, and I think the players would quickly catch on to the River of Swords being a sort of ejection lever to “punch out”. I think my River of Swords will banish your soul to hopeless wandering in hell, for eternity; so be the fate of Oath-Breakers!

    Profile photo of David Scott
    David Scott

    Before you run the scenario, re-read the HeroQuesting section in Sartar (page 183). The example on page 196 that should answer your question. There is also an important box on page 354, called “So you died in the Underworld”. I’d make sure you’ve gone through the scenario a few times, there’s a lot in it and preparation will make it run much smoother.
    When I ran the scenario, my player kne it was a lightbringers quest, so they assumed that each hero had to fail at some point (not my doing). The players decided when and all chose opportune moments to fail, Chalana Arroy failed to heal someone, Lhankor Mhy didn’t know something, etc. All except the hero who was Orlanth, he chose to fail during the Alone in the Dark section. He when first meeting Estel Donge, he had critted his obsessed by a woman flaw and thought it would be a good idea to transfer it to Estel (I kid you not). He then then of course betrayed her in the ensuing robbery. Estel was drawn into the heroquest for

    if he is lustful or an addict, then he is seduced by a demon of Temptation

    obvious reasons. He thought that he should fail here as it was only Estel and they were in love, he didn’t count on her stabbing him through the heart. The rest of the group completed the mission, Estel got the Woodpecker Staff. The group had expended all their energy and favours freeing Hostfaring, they didn’t go back to rescue Orlanth from the Lunar Hell. The following winter the Orlmarth clan started to suffer increasing attacks from their Darkness enemies, by the following year the Orlmarth had gone… Luckily another of the heroes was wooing Ernalsulva and went off to the Greenstone and lived happily ever after, the remainder are looking for refuge and Pavis seems as good a place as any…

    Profile photo of Charles

    My suggestion is that if your heroes are on a known/ritual HeroQuest and in their culture’s part of the God World then dying on the quest just bumps the hero out, with penalties to the hero and, if appropriate, their supporting community.

    However some of these quests go to foreign or alien parts of the other worlds. For example raids on foreign gods, such as The Plundering of Aron; or the underworld parts of the Lightbringers Quest. Dying away from ‘home’ will be disaster unless the hero can bring other powers to bear.

    Profile photo of Simon Phipp
    Simon Phipp

    Of course, in HeroQuest, dying might just be the start of a new adventure.

    The Red Emperor and the Pharaoh regularly died and came back again, after all.

    If your Hero knows the way out of Hell then there is no reason why he can’t just perform that HeroQuest to return to the world. It might be harder and harder each time and he might have to face all his ancestors who want to keep him there, but if he can do it then he returns.

    Profile photo of Harald Smith
    Harald Smith

    It might depend on where you are in your quest in the Underworld and whether you still have any connection to the living. For instance in S:KoH, the person might be carrying the Hawthorne Bough, which is a connection between the living and the dead. Someone dying in the Underworld, but carrying the bough, could still fall out of the quest back into their temple, though with some residual trait of the failure (e.g. Fear: Death). But if they lose that connection (e.g whatever item they’ve brought in with them to keep the flow of magic from their clan/temple), do not have an ability that allows them to escape (e.g. Hofstaring’s Leap), or they become truly Lost in the Underworld (e.g. the Lost Wood, the Forgotten Hills, the River of Forgetfulness, pass through the Hellmouth and fail to find their Star Heart, etc.), then they find they are trapped in Hell.

    As noted in S:KoH “the hero is lost forever unless the heroes return to the Underworld” to find and bring back the Hero in a further adventure.

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