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    Profile photo of Edgar Francis
    Edgar Francis

    I’ve been skimming Heroquest in Glorantha, and I’m still a little confused about elements of Heroquesting. Specifically, does a heroquest always focus on a single hero who becomes the “Main Character”?

    On the most mechanical level: “Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes” specifically states that a heroquest has a single Main Character and all of the other heroes are Companions in a heroquest.

    “Heroquest in Glorantha” doesn’t specify that there has to be a single Main Character, but the description of heroquests seems to shift. Sometimes it sounds like the focus is on one of the heroquesters and at other times it talks about the entire group of heroquesters.

    It seems like this would have definite consequences for heroquests in existing adventures


    For instance, in the sample adventure in H:G, in the last section “Courting the Goddess,” (p. 231) it makes a difference if there’s one main hero trying to court the goddess versus each of the heroes trying to court her. Also, it will make a difference if only one character can make a Heroquest Challenge versus allowing every hero to make such a challenge if they wish.

    On a related note, if multiple heroquesters are engaged in a contest, will the opponent in the Otherworld still have to take multiple-opponent penalties?

    Going back to the sample adventure [SPOILERS AGAIN], “Courting the Goddess” is supposed to be a group extended contest. So, then does each hero offer to sacrifice something, and does that force the goddess to take multiple-opponent penalties?

    Profile photo of David Scott
    David Scott

    HQG is correct. Sometimes the focus is on one hero, other times on the group. Have a look at the Feast of Beasts opening event in S:KoH, it’s about the group, not a single hero. In playlets – all of the hero had a go at courting the goddess, and they all sacrificed something. As for multiple opponent penalties for the background difficulty – I roll them all into the difficulty level rather than juggling numbers on both sides. e.g.

    hero vs hero 1W versus Tough broo 14W (basic 14 + Difficult W)
    2 hero vs hero 1W versus Tough broo 20 (basic 14 + High +6)
    3 hero vs hero 1W versus Tough broo 14 (basic 14 + Moderate 0)

    Saves paperwork, my brain and time.

    Profile photo of Harald Smith
    Harald Smith

    It really depends on the myth.
    Many are centered on a primary hero – consider the example of Eringulf (HQG p194-6). In those cases, it is that hero who can make a Heroquest Challenge, and that hero who may have the central conquest in the myth.

    But… heroquests are not a single station, and sometimes a hero is actually more than one person. In same example of Eringulf (as noted HQG p196 under Preparation), “First, his mysterious spear accompanies Eringulf, which was itself obtained through a heroquest. Second, six allies accompany Eringulf, one for each direction (North, South, East, West, Up, and Down).”
    You can think of Eringulf as a ‘collective’ hero.
    Similar thing happens in most Orlanth stories where the Preparation includes the “Arming of Orlanth”. He gets his sword (called Humakt, aka another hero), his shield (called Arran, i.e. another hero), etc.

    So, yes, many have a single Main Character which can be perceived as a collective Character.

    Then there are other myths like the Lightbringer’s Quest which clearly have multiple Main Characters (e.g. Orlanth, Issaries, Lhankor Mhy, Chalana Arroy, etc.). And each of them may be ‘armed’ or have particular ‘magics’ or ‘items’ that are in fact other heroes.

    The story may well shift a bit. At one station, Eringulf may need to achieve something. But “In the Dark Plenty he got lost, as everyone always does, but he had no trouble because he had the Vanak Spear and the help of his six allies.”
    Here the Vanak Spear may simply be another hero taking the action.
    Similarly, “Eringulf Vanak Spear bet his left arm and the way he threw his javelins that he could catch the Dancing Jar, and he won.” His left arm, in this case, may be another hero who actually had to try to catch the Dancing Jar.

    The myths and stories are very flexible in this regard. And it gives a lot of room for different player groups and the GM to improvise these stations.

    Re: it makes a difference if there’s one main hero trying to court the goddess versus each of the heroes trying to court her
    This is true, but it is open to how you want to run a given myth.
    It may be the Goddess alone at Very High Difficulty. And the multiple foes represent the collective calling for her return. The more heroes who have reached this point, the more likely success will be achieved.
    Or it may be that the Goddess is herself a collective with attendant followers – one for each hero. This note on HQG p199 suggests that aspect: “His contest is wagered against unspecified denizens of Asrelia’s Hut, who would be various powers of the Underworld.”
    I’d probably base the decision on the situation in the quest: what makes for epic narrative and Maximum Game Fun in your game at that point?

    Do those thoughts help?

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