With apologies to Hugh Nibley and Joseph Campbell, HeroQuest,
Glorantha, Hero Wars, and Issaries, Inc. are trademarks of Issaries, Inc.
and are used with permission.
A review of the new HeroQuest Rules.
Since Greg Stafford mentioned heroquesting, there have been two approaches.
One is the "Super Runequest" approach -- it looks more like Chaosium's
Superworld or one of the Champion games than anything else. The other
is a more mythic, storytelling approach. Phil Davis, David Dunham,
Steve Martin, Sandy Petersen and John T. Sapienza, Jr. all fell in that group.
As might seem obvious, mythic storyteling is what I prefer and I think the
truest to Greg Stafford's vision. It is truest to mine. It is well captured
and the heart of the new rules sold by Issaries: Heroquest (the authorized
First, some basic points:
Yes, the rules work. While you can use them mechanically, they work for
storytelling and myth. They are flexible without being arbitrary.
Yes, the rules are comprehensive. They cover things you would not know needed
covering and expand Glorantha in meaningful ways.
Yes, the rules are accessible. Interestingly enough, the examples used throughout
the books involve the same players/characters who are pretty much new to
Glorantha and FRPG.
Yes, there is useful, free on-line material that really helps.
Second, miscellaneous points:
You can map my Shattered Norns characters and materials pretty much
You can map RQ characters and Hero Wars characters across (or Pendragon Pass
characters, for that matter).
The rules are long and all of the content is relevant.
You need to read the rules more than once.
HeroQuest is as different from RuneQuest as RQ differs from D&D (any
version) or Champions.
There is a learning curve (not a bad one, but HQ is not just an expansion
pack for RQ).
There is a lot of new, significant, Glorantha Lore (though nothing that warps
what you know about Glorantha).
Should you get HeroQuest?
It is a great storytelling game, the first I've used where the mechanics
prevent arbitrary results.
Lots of new and interesting Glorantha lore.
Makes heroquests work.
Lots of material you can use for RuneQuest and Hero Wars campaigns. Even
useful for a d20 D&D campaign.
Nothing else is like it and Issaries has a lot of other stuff in the pipeline.
Finally, it is your only chance to see Masters of Luck and Death (the board
game will probably never make print, so the heroquest is all that is left,
and it is pending).
Postscript (Glorantha style stuff is never finished), combat is fast!
So, would I recommend buying it? Well I have a copy -- so yes. I'd
also recommend the Roster (and yes, I bought a copy of that too).
Summarizing the rules:
A full page summary has been written, I just need to type it up.
If I only had the time:
I would rework my "Regular Folks"
(RF) campaign into a HQ campaign and would integrate it with the material
Adventures. I would also:
Add in some small mythic encounters and quests (e.g. "encountering Rabbit,"
"The Blue Boar," "Making a Home.") which would lead for chances for a familiar
or unusual sidekick and create a community for the characters to be a part
Write up a year ritual or two, including at least one narrative adventure
about supporting a sacred time heroquest by a potential patron.
Include journies for the characters that would lead to encounters in myth
and prepare them for going "out into the world" when the Regular Folks scenarios
Do the Key Words and Hero Bands that fit the setting.
I'd rework some of the heroquests I've already done to fit the new rules
and merge some existing heroquests into RF.
I'd rewrite my Indigo
Stories in HeroQuest format.
I'd rewrite my Shattered Norns
material from the ground up to make them consistent and to make HeroQuest
conversions more seamless (SW in writing differs by the state at which my
rules were when I reduced the particular set to html. All of the material
is not necessarily on the same page.).
I'd start an HQ campaign and play with the rules.
If I only had the time.
Contrary to popular opinion, mythic encounters can be run in any HQ campaign
with a range of characters -- from fresh from the farm to grizzled
veterns emerging from following a leader to hell. The way to make such adventures
work is to have rules that seamlessly integrate mythic concepts into the
rules. HeroQuest does that.
Also, storytelling oriented rules do not need to be arbitrary or ruleless.
It is possible for a campaign to inculcate and promote stories (Sandy Petersen's
campaigns are excellent examples) without being unbounded by rules or limits.
In fact, it is the limits that make the stories satisfying and real (consider
Call of Cthulhu -- the hard nature of the rules makes the game
HeroQuest does it properly -- it brings mythic encounters into every level
of play, it encourages stories and it does so with strong rules and
stout limits. When you win, it is a real triumph. When you lose, it
is a real disaster. HeroQuest is a "real" game, which produces real satisfaction.
HeroQuest also allows for increases in scale. It can have the White Bear
and the Razoress in combat. A hero can face a mob, a hero band a small army.
Players can play characters anywhere in Glorantha and at any level.