Monday, March 7, 2011

Rules Framework: The Making of the Storm Tribe Heroquest

Image from King of Dragon Pass: Buy it!

As indicated in the previous post, for each station the Orlanth substitute must make a choice of which of the three main Orlanthi tenets to follow: NCMYDA (No one can make you do anything), VIAAO (Violence is always an option) or TIAAW (There is always another way).  To successfully complete the Heroquest, the player must succeed in demonstrating each of these tenets at least once.

I allowed other PCs to accompany the main quester as disembodied "spiritual advisers."  They could augment the quester's skills with their critical range of the appropriate skill and cast magic where appropriate (sorcery at a -20% disadvantage owing to this being a divine quest.)

FMTSE = Failure means try something else (ie choose another option).  In the event of failing all three options, the quester falls out of the Heroquest and suffers the Backlash indicated.  Backlash effects are permanent until erased by a successful Orlanthi heroquest.

I ran this myth under MRQ1 rules.  I'd put the Mythic Resonance at 60% to reflect the 6 stages, but it could be upped by the addition of more stages for more powerful questers.  Each additional stage should reflect having to convince another skeptical god.  Whenever a roll needs to be opposed, used 60% as the resistance, therefore, or more if you have added more stages.

This myth may be used by Orlanthi to achieve an objective that concerns community building, like ending kinstrife, protecting a defenseless village (by winning it a Wyter, for instance) or gaining/cementing a leadership position like Clan Chief or Tribal King.  It may be undertaken by followers of Orlanth at no penalty, followers of other Storm Tribe gods at -20% penalty to skills and by non-Orlanthi who know the myth at -40%.

The Heroquest

Orlanth stands before Ernalda, who manifests as the most beautiful woman Orlanth has met recently (Orlanth’s choice).  She tells him to make a tribe and become King so that he can challenge the Emperor.

Station 1: Doubting Wheel

The wheel is being pushed by strange figures dressed in wooden masks.  It tells him he should not make a tribe and rolls towards him.

NCMYDA: Orlanth stands firm and discovers a net in his pocket.  Successful throw will catch the wheel and shrink it down to tiny size such that he can put in his pocket.  FMTSE
VIAAO: Orlanth draws his sword and must shatter it by inflicting 10HP of damage, overcoming 6AP.  Each combat round gives the Wheel a chance to inflict bludgeoning damage: 75% att, 1d10 damage.  Orlanth is wearing light leather armor in the HQ (1 AP). Failure means falling out of the HQ.
TIAAW: Orlanth ignores the wheel and addresses those pushing it.  Successful Inf/Orate roll persuades them to call back the wheel and push it elsewhere, to afflict another tribe (random roll 1=Plant Tribe, 2=Night Tribe, 3-6=Tribe-Not-Appearing-In-This-HQ; if afflicts tribe in HQ, they will be less effective). FMTSE

Backlash: Afflicted by doubt.  Must make persistence test to back up any major choice.

Station 2: Yinkin

Yinkin the cat god is fighting with the plant tribe over the hunting grounds.  Orlanth explains his wish to bring together his friends and relations to make a tribe.  Yinkin says he might come to the moot if Orlanth helps him against Rustling Vines.

NCMYDA: Orlanth stands before RV and calls it a coward.  He says that is seeks to invade Yinkin’s hunting grounds because it is afraid of the Emperor and the Fire Tribe.  Successful Inf/Orate roll and RV slinks off to invade the lands of the Fire Tribe. FMTSE.
VIAAO: Orlanth fights RV, which turns into a standard Elf from the rule book or Vronkali from Monster Coliseum. He has as spells Heal 4, Speedart, Countermagic 2, Repair. They will start 30m apart and the elf will have its bow drawn. Yinkin will help (use a shadow cat's stats or a small panther if you don't have them). Defeat=fall out.
TIAAW: Orlanth bargains with RV over sharing the hunting grounds with Yinkin. RV will agree after successful Inf test, but will demand an exchange of items, with Orlanth giving one more item for each failed Inf test.  In return, RV will give an Aldryami Lancet, enchanted to allow a human to use it. FMTSE

Backlash: Fear of elves (as demoralize spell when dealing/fighting with them).

Yinkin says he appreciates Orlanth’s efforts and may bring the Cat Clan to his moot, but he walks by himself and all places are alike to him, so he may not.

Station 3: The Knowing God

Orlanth finds the Knowing God, captured by the Stone Tribe (dwarves).  He has been imprisoned in a cube of iron.  The Stone Tribe look warily on.

NCMYDA: Orlanth recites a poem to the cube about how square things become round.  With successful Orate roll, the Iron Cube’s sides bend, breaking the bolts, and freeing the Knowing God. FMTSE.
VIAAO: Orlanth needs to bend the iron bars.  Brawn at -20% or smash through 2 bars each with 4AP/8HP, with appropriate damage to weapon. FMTSE
TIAAW: Orlanth recites a never-before-heard poem to the cube, which disappears on a successful Orate roll. FMTSE
Failure to release the Knowing God sees him carted away by the dwarves, but Orlanth can continue on.

If freed, the Knowing God agrees to make the Marks-on-Barks Clan part of the tribe, as long as it has fierce warriors.

Station 4: Vadrus

Orlanth comes upon his wild brother Vadrus, who has vowed to seek out Yinkin and the Cat Clan, and fight them.

NCMYDA: Orlanth challenges Vadrus to an arm-wrestling contest. Vadrus has the same stats as the Orlanth quester. Brute force opposed test. See below.
VIAAO: Orlanth fights Vadrus to first blood. See below.
TIAAW: Orlanth promises Vadrus wine, women and song at the moot. Successful Influence roll works. FMTSE.

If Vadrus bests Orlanth, he laughs at him and goes off to fight Yinkin, who will no longer show at the moot.
If Orlanth wins, Vadrus will say, “You have bested me, so I am obliged to do as you wish, Vadrus said, I will seek a foe other than Yinkin, and may even attend this confederation moot of yours so long as that accursed cat is not among the chieftains there.”

Station 5: The Moot

Orlanth and Ernalda stand before the moot.  There are many other chieftans there, such as Issaries, Chalana Arroy, Humakt, Vinga, Elmal and others, but they are all squabbling.  It appears Orlanth/Orlanth gave them contradictory promises.  Orlanth must gain their attention.  All tests are at -10% for each failure to have Yinkin, LM or Vadrus attend.

NCMYDA: Orlanth shouts loudly and recites a poem to them about the virtues of unity. Successful orate roll works. FMTSE.
VIAAO: Orlanth picks out a god to chastise.  Whoever it is, Vadrus will attack Orlanth back. This will be a fight to unconsciousness. Failure means falling out of the quest.
TIAAW: Orlanth asks Ernalda for help, and she brings the Tribal Regalia. She brought the Chest of Torcs, with which he could gift the clan leaders. She brought the Hall of Understanding, where people would settle their differences by talking them out. She brought the Crown of Authority, which made people respect his sacral powers and pledge allegiance to him. This is an automatic success.

Backlash: Influence skill is halved.

With success, most of the clans agree to make the tribe, but there are still some who are stubborn.

Station 6: The Attack

The warriors of the Night Tribe come and attack the quarreling clans. Orlanth directs the clans in their defense and everyone fights together to defeat their common enemy.  Orlanth must fight a massive troll, or (in my case) a savage spirit monster. 

Spirit Monster
STR 3D6+6 (15)
CON 3D6 (11)
DEX 2D6 (7)
SIZ 4D6+6 (20)
INT 2 (2)
POW 3 (3)
CHA 2 (2)
Hit Locations
D20 Hit Location AP/HP
1–12 Body 2/12
13–14 Tentacle One 2/6
15–16 Tentacle Two 2/6
17–18 Tentacle Three 2/6
19–20 Tentacle Four 2/6
Type Weapon Skill Damage/AP
Tentacle 60% 1D6+1D4
Special Rules
Combat Actions: 2
Strike Rank: +12
Move: 4m
Traits: Regeneration
Skills: Perception 20%, Survival 70%
Armour: Rubbery hide (2 AP on all locations, no Skill Penalty)
The monster can completely re-grow severed tentacles and flesh, restoring lost hit points in all locations at a rate of 1 point per round. If killed, it ceases to regenerate.

Losing to the troll or monster means complete failure of the Heroquest.  All concerned suffer the equivalent of a major wound to a random location and lose reputation or renown, depending on what form of reputation system you are using.

In my Heroquest, the defeated monster became a Wyter of a local town after successful bargaining.

All taking part in the Heroquest may take an appropriate Heroic Ability if they have the requisite Hero Points and skills.  Otherwise, they can raise any one skill by +5% for each success at a test.  They will also gain reputation and succeed in whatever community-building objective they had for the myth.


  1. Another excellent post. I've always wondered how the Heroquests in KoDP would be gamed in Runequest.

  2. Nicely done. I would have ruled that after each of the 3 options fails, the quester has a -10% on the skills used in the next options. Otherwise, he can go trying one after the other and dramatic tension can be lost IMHO.

  3. This was the last adventure we ran under MRQ1 rules. Under the new, clearer MRQII rules I'd apply a "difficult" (-20%) modifier after the first failure and "hard" (-40%) after the second. Grom's player actually rolled really well that night.