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Steve Marsh's Heroquest Home Page

With files and documents provided for your download and use, thanks to Steve Martin and others for their help.

www.glorantha.com 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. http://lokarnos.com/ and http://adrr.com/story/

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 edition).

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 directly across.
  • 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.

Negative points:

  • 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:

  1. I would rework my "Regular Folks" (RF) campaign into a HQ campaign and would integrate it with the material in Barbarian 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 of.
    • 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 finish up.
    • Do the Key Words and Hero Bands that fit the setting.
  2. I'd rework some of the heroquests I've already done to fit the new rules and merge some existing heroquests into RF.
  3. I'd rewrite my Indigo Stories in HeroQuest format.
  4. 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.).
  5. 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 better).

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.

Bottom Line:

Specific Thanks to Steve Martin (the *real* Steve Martin, not the actor) who is responsible for the preservation and preparation of the heroquests posted on this page. For something new, including my stories, and some related creatures, start with "familiars."

Note, the "big" quests are still being worked on. Steve wants to get those right.  While those are still pending, he's given me the following minor misc. quests so this space doesn't stay empty. [The Book of Drastic Resolutions][The Book's Own Web Site][Steve Martin's Web Site]

Heroquest Scenarios and Rules

Runequest Scenarios and Rules

Links for Simulation Related Material

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