Saturday, July 31, 2010

Secrets of Pavis Campaign: A Heroquest

It's been a while since I updated the campaign log and even longer since some of the sessions, so memories are hazy and almost certainly inaccurate, but for the record, here we go.

When last seen, Xaraya, Grom and Skye had agreed to aid Marcilla, High Healer of the White Sisterhood, in a Heroquest to bring Darnbar Chaosknower back to life.  The PCs escorted Marcilla to Horn Gate, stopping off at Ronegarth, where they picked up Lady Jezra, who was intent on visiting the White Sisters to get some herbs to help treat her mother, who had fallen quite ill.

They reached Horn Gate without incident, and Xaraya was able to restrain herself from confronting the Sables.  At the hospital, Marcilla gathered her sisters and explained the legend to her helpers.  During the Gods War, Lhankor Mhy went missing. Chalanna Arroy was worried at this, and asked Humakt, Issaries and Vinga to help find the Knowing God. Each was unwilling, but the Goddess persuaded them.  They overcame obstacles on the way to the land of the dead, where they found Tien about to decapitate Lhankor Mhy.  Humakt defeated him and drove him off.  Chalanna Arroy healed Lhankor Mhy, Issaries told him where he was, Vinga gave him a pair of walking boots and Humakt gave him a sword to defend himself.  In return, the Knowing God gave each of them a reward.  Then the gods returned to their homes.

Xaraya agreed to play the role of Issaries, while Skye and Humakt of course agreed to play the roles of their patrons.  Marcilla explained HeroQuesting for the PCs’ benefit, and emphasized that if the PCs veered too far from the ritual, very bad things could happen and if they did so on purpose then they would commit the sin of God Learning.  She stressed that if they failed at their tasks, they would likely fall out of the God Plane, with possibly bad results.  If they died on the God Plane, however, they would almost certainly be lost there forever.  In the earlier parts of the legend, when they are being recruited, they would have to play the parts of disinterest well.  If they simply agreed to go along, they would have failed and would fade as the legend goes on.  If they played their part too well, however, they would not accompany CA on her quest and would fall out of the HQ.  The PCs gulped and agreed to these conditions.

The sisterhood began their prayers and the questers found themselves on the God Plane, each heroforming into the gods they represented.  First Marcilla approached Xaraya, who as Issaries was engaged in a market.  Xaraya successfully resisted Marcilla's first two attempts to persuade her/him to come with her, when Marcilla argued that she/he must help her friend, and that without knowledge the market goods would be worthless, but agreed to come when Marcilla said that Issaries' customers were falling in numbers, for they did not realize they needed his goods.

Next, the gods approached Vinga, who was playing with Yinkin.  CA failed to get Vinga's attention until she sent Yinkin away, but was glad to see Vinga did not follow.  Then CA explained she needed someone who could climb far over hill and dale to find Lhankor Mhy, and the goddess agreed to go with them.

Then the gods approached Humakt, who was locked in combat with a Zombie god.  Grom defeated the Zombie easily and realized his sword was now enchanted against zombies.  Marcilla asked him to come with  her, but he said he had other zombies to dispatch.  So Marcilla showed him affection, and Grom was eager to help her, realizing his emotions for the beautiful healer.

The gods then came to a great scarp, which the legend said Vinga climbed and then pulled up her friends, with some undefined help from the other gods.  Skye climbed the cliff with difficulty, but then was at a loss as to how to pull her friends up as she failed in exerting herself.  Xaraya/Issaries shot an arrow up attached to a rope, and with the two ropes the questers were able to continue.

The legend then said that Issaries guided the gods across the River Styx towards Havan Gor, judge of the dead. Xaraya did not know the secrets of Issaries' travel in the underworld, and so was left to her own devices.  She managed to bring the gods to the dark river, where again she shot an arrow tied to a rope, which enabled them to cross over.

At last the gods found Lhankor Mhy, unconscious and with a garrote around his throat, put there by the headhunting Chaos god Tien.  The god was a headless monster, and Grom/Humakt challenged him.  Grom won swiftly, setting the monster to flight.

The questers could now see that Lhankhor Mhy was Darnbar, suffering from a grievous head wound.  Marcilla healed him and he opened his eyes.  He asked where he was, and Xaraya told him.  In return, the god gave her a magical map that could tell her where she was at any time, if she could read it.

Next, the god said he needed boots to make his way back to the God Plane.  At this point Skye realized she had forgotten to bring a pair that would fit him.  She faded out of the Heroquest.

Finally, Lhankor Mhy asked for a sword.  Grom realized that he, like Skye, had forgotten to bring the item, but he had the sword at his side.  Reluctantly, he turned over his newly-enchanted sword.  In return, the god told him the secret of Defending Knowledge.

The gods started back to their homes, although Lhankor Mhy did so with difficulty because he had no boots and Vinga the pathfinder was not there.  The questers woke up back at the hospital.  Darnbar was breathing and would live, but Marcilla said that because the myth was not wholly successful, he had not found his way back easy.  Ever after, she lamented, Darnbar would be subject to the Relife Sickness, and would be a shadow of his former self.

Nevertheless, the quest had succeeded in its main objective, and the party celebrated with the sisterhood that night.  Grom found himself unable to take his eyes off Marcilla all evening.


  1. This is great. Easy and fine. In the past, I was rather afraid of playing heroquests with RuneQuest, as there were no rules for it, and the fan-created rules were rather complicated. However, some months ago I ran the River Ritual heroquest with my players (so that Raus could have irrigation channels in his lands) and it played out well without much deep-thought. Instead of explaining everything with rules, I just narrated what I wanted to happen and the rest was up to the players. This was a real-world heroquest, though. I mean, the players did not physically go to the God Plane. BTW, how did you handle divine and common magic in the God Plane? If Xaraya is not a trader, did you apply some kind of negative modifier to her actions when playing the part of Issaries? I guess the Vingan could have given Lhankor Mhy her own boots, just like Grom gave his own sword... right? I like the magical rewards you gave to your players. In your God Plane, the opposition was of a level similar to your players, right?

  2. I handled magic just as normal, with rather greater special effects if appropriate. Xaraya is a Praxian who has rejected her ancestral faith (although she did so before initiation) and is dabbling in sorcery. I gave her -20% on everything, if I recall correctly. If she'd advanced beyond dabbling, it would have been greater. The Vingan tried to give LM her boots, but they wouldn't fit... Opposition was indeed scaled to the players' level, although looking back I should have made Tien tougher.