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This is a Zorak Zoran Quest, closely tied in to the Hill of Gold Quest. In fact it is a modification/enhancement of the Quest, originally devised by Cragspider herself. It enables the Zorak Zoran Questor to gain one of Zorak Zoran's most secret and fearsome of powers - that of the Fire Maul or Fire Fist.
During the GodTime, Zorak Zoran lost these powers to Darkness. Only relatively recently did Cragspider find the way to gain these abilities, although at a potentially disastrous cost.
The Quest may be used to gain Fire Maul/Fire Fist abilities or even to access the Fire Maul/Fire Fist Secret Spirit Cults headed by Cragspider. The powers could be shared, allowing supporters to gain the abilities/spells.
As far as possible, this is a stat-less HeroQuest. This enables the same HeroQuest to be used for beginning initiates as for Super Rune Levels. In my opinion, HeroQuests should not be aimed at certain levels of play since they transcend the RuneQuest game. The GM must do some work in order to prepare appropriate stats for the encounters. Always bear in mind the Law of Balance - Hero Questors will meet those of similar skill/magic level on HeroQuests. Do not pit initiate HeroQuestors against Demigods, for instance (even though Cwim, the Crimson Bat and Cacodemon all have RuneQuest stats).
The HeroQuest uses Personality Trait Checks in order to force certain actions at certain times. This is now a standard HeroQuest feature, common to most HeroQuest systems and should not cause any problems. I would suggest that any Gloranthan campaign use Personality Traits whatever system is used and regardless of whether the campaign has HeroQuests - they can add a lot to the game.
Crush, Seal Wound, Berserker, Shield, Fear, Heal Wound.
All Zorak Zoran Spirit Magic except Fire based magic.
These spells may not be used or invoked on the Quest, even if the Questor has access to them from another source or knows the Quest to be able to cast them:
All Light/Fire based magics.
However, the Heart contained all of Yelmalio's Fire powers and burned Zorak Zoran's hand horribly. Instead of crushing Yelmalio's head as planned, Zorak Zoran smashed the Heart from his hand with the Great Club. He managed to put the Heart into Subere's Sack and, seeing that Yelmalio had managed to escape, fled home to the Underworld, howling with pain and anger. Yelmalio's fiery blood still clung to both his left fist and his Great club, making them flame in the Darkness and causing other spirits of darkness to flee the maddened god.
When Zorak Zoran returned to the Underworld he bound the Heart, whose name was Amanstan, into one of his personal Hells and went to his mother, Subere, to end the pain. Subere told him to dip his fist into the Styx, for Water and Darkness were the enemies of Fire. This he did but clumsily dropped the Great club into the inky waters.(1) He managed to retrieve the Great Club but only after all the fires were extinguished. Thus was Zorak Zoran denied these Fire Powers.
The Quest may be used by any Zorak Zoran cultist to gain the Fire Maul/Fire Fist abilities. The HeroQuestor, for this is a Quest for individuals not parties, must cast the Hill of Gold Quest at a Zorak Zoran Holy Place or Temple. He must also have knowledge of or access to the Xiola Umbar's Gift Quest.
Hill of Gold Quest (5 pt reusable, ritual ceremony HeroQuest)
This enables Zorak Zorani to perform the Hill of Gold Quest and defeat Yelmalio, gaining his fire powers.
Xiola Umbar's Gift (3 pt reusable ritual ceremony HeroQuest)
This allows the caster or recipient to ask for a boon from Xiola Umbar
I have not detailed the Hill of Gold Quest here, leaving that to others.
This is because my version is almost certainly wrong and I would not want to lead people astray. Basically, my version is a Hackfest where Zorak Zoran and a number of allies helps his master Argan Argar, lord of the Surface, to defend the Hill of Gold from aggressors. Fortunately Argan Argar does not personally take part in the Quest otherwise his Fire Powers would be increased and Yelmalio would be dead by now.
I see the Hill of Gold Quest as having the following stations (in the Zorak Zoran version):
The Questor goes to Subere;s Halls to petition her for a gift to help with the journey ahead. After he has defeated the Guardians, Subere will give her son a gift of Subere's Sack. This has the property that anything placed into it is captured and cannot hurt the holder of the Sack. It must be returned to Subere on completion of the Quest.
Normally the Questor leaves here, but in this version of the Quest he must stay and ask for a second boon. Subere's Rage is made manifest as a group of Hell Furies attack the Questor, leaping from her mouth as she shouts in Anger. The Questor must make a Brave/Courageous or flee in terror from her, leaving Subere's sack behind. If he defeats the Furies, then Subere will present him with a gift of a Lead Gauntlet to protect the Left Hand from the powers of Fire. Once again, this gift must be returned at the conclusion of the Quest and as a Guarantee of return, Subere will take the Questor's Fertility. Until the Gauntlet is returned the Questor will be infertile. (Male Questors are not rendered impotent , merely infertile, unless the GM wants to reinforce the idea by having Subere emasculate the Questor).
The Conquest of Yelmalio
Eventually, Zorak Zoran encounters and defeats Yelmalio in combat. The Questor must, at some stage, disable but not kill Yelmalio.
The Questor then transfers his Great Club to his right hand and reaches forth with his left hand, hopefully wearing the Lead Gauntlet, and tears Yelmalio's Heart from him. This covers the hand with burning blood and causes immense pain, even through the Gauntlet. It is so hot that the Lead Gauntlet is welded to the Questor's hand. The Questor must make an Enduring roll (perhaps with some negatives) or be completely maddened with pain and a Bravery/courageous roll or howl in Fear and Pain.
If the Questor is not wearing the Lead Gauntlet then he is automatically maddened with pain.
If the Questor is maddened with pain then all he can do is to strike the Heart from his grasp with the Club. He can then put the Heart into Subere's sack (assuming he did not flee in terror before) and can only flee home to Mummy. All skills are reduced to 25% of normal and he cannot maintain concentration. Yelmalio takes the chance to escape death and becomes the wrecked and hollow shell we now know.
If the Questor is not maddened with pain then he can strike at Yelmalio and try to kill him. He must make another Enduring roll with penalties or be maddened with pain. If he succeeds in the roll then he can finish off Yelmalio and continue the Quest. He puts the Heart into Subere's Sack and returns to the Underworld to be cured.
The Questor's skills will be reduced by 25% and all concentration rolls are made at INTx1% if the Questor is not maddened with pain but still burned.
No protection form fire will help in this case - Zorak Zoran had been burned before by Aether and is in fear of Fire. A miserly half damage from Fire will have no effect.
The Questor now follows the standard Hill of Gold route and returns to the Underworld in Triumph and Glory. (The fleeing and Howling in Pain are not things the trolls generally discuss with outsiders, so that is why nobody knows of them).
If at any time he has an encounter then he must roll against Enduring or be maddened with pain.
It is always a good idea here to throw in a few encounters - Hell Hounds, Avenging Furies, things of Chaos, just to get the Questor maddened with pain, don't overdo it though - the Questor should be able to return home in control, after all, Zorak Zoran cultists are not cry-babies!
Healing The Pain
If the Questor is maddened with pain, he flees straight to Subere and asks her for help. She tells the Questor to go to the Styx and dip his fist in the dark waters. If he leaves his club behind then Eurmal will steal it and run away giggling insanely to himself. If he takes the Club with him, then Eurmal will tickle him under the arm as his fist is hissing and the Questor will drop the Club into the Styx, extinguishing it. There is no defence aginst this - Eurmal will be using spells from this HeroQuest to achieve the required end. The Questor now has a choice - to catch the club and lose the chance to kill Eurmal or to lose the Club and try to kill Eurmal - his choice.
If the Questor is not maddened with pain and knows Xiola Umbar's Gift then he can ask his sister for a boon. Xiola Umbar will grant Solace to the Questor and will ease his pain. However, she will demand payment. The Questor must perform a service for her, take a Geas or do something difficult. This is entirely at the whim of the GM and should be used to abuse the Questor. As the pain dies down, so does the flame in the fist until it goes out completely. The Gauntlet is still welded to the Questor's hand, though.
Now the Questor must return the gifts to Subere.
First, Amanstan must be bound away - this means binding the Heart into a Sacred Place of Zorak Zoran (If on an Other Side Quest this would be in Amanstan's Hall, if on an Other Place Quest this would be a sacred place where the Questor keeps his power, if on a Practice Run Quest this would be a Zorak Zoran Temple.
Second, Subere's Sack must be returned to Subere.
Third, The Lead Gauntlet must be returned. Either the Questor chops off his hand and returns the Gauntlet (being permanently disabled unless there is some way of regrowing the hand, easy in the Mundane World, not so easy on the God Plane) or the Questor keeps the Gauntlet and becomes permanently infertile. If the Questor removes the Gauntlet then the Fire Fist abilities are lost forever. Most Questors elect for this path, preferring to be fertile than fearsome, although there are exceptions.
In addition to the normal benefits and abilities gained on the Hill of Gold (Prestige, Glory, Fire Magics, the satisfaction of caving in another Yelmalio cultist) the successful Questor gains one or both of the abilities of Fire Maul and Fire Fist.
Each can be taken is several ways:
As a personal gift/ability where all the powers are kept
As a shared ability where supporters gain some of the ability
As a shared gift where the supporters gain the spells of Fire Fist and/or Fire Maul
The Maul which was covered in blood becomes an artefact of Zorak Zoran and is permanently alight. In RuneQuest terms it does an 6D6 + Damage Bonus damage. Trollkin, Cave Trolls and Vampires are demoralised when within the Troll's POW in metres of the Maul.
If this was an Other Place Quest the Maul does 3D6 damage and must overcome POW/MPs to demoralise, if a Practice Run Quest then the Maul simply has permanent non-dispellable Fire Maul.
The Questor's supporters gain the ability to enchant a Maul or Club with the Fire Maul Blessing, this costs 3 POW and allows them to cast a non-dispellable non-extinguishable Fire Maul once per day lasting for 15 minutes
In this case the Questor may Heroically cast Fire Maul (1 SR to cast and 0 MP loss) and the spell will do 6D6 damage for him.
Each of the Supporters may join the Fire Maul spirit cult and may sacrifice for the Fire Maul spell.
The Questor gains the ability to invoke Fire Maul on his maul 1/day for an hour doing 6D6 damage.
The Fist which was covered in blood becomes an artefact of Zorak Zoran and is bonded to the Questor becoming a magical Lead Fist which can be ignited at will ("Flame On"). In RuneQuest terms it does an 6D6 + Damage Bonus damage and can be used to grip an object in which case damage is cumulative and will eventually work its way through even the toughest of materials (It cannot harm Adamant or Truestone).
If this was an Other Place Quest the Fist does 3D6 damage, if a Practice Run Quest then the Fist is a Range 0 matrix for a non-dispellable Fire Fist.
The Questor's supporters gain the ability to enchant their Fist with the Fire Fist Blessing, this costs 3 POW and allows them to cast a non-dispellable non-extinguishable Fire Fist once per day lasting for 15 minutes
In this case the Questor may Heroically cast Fire Fist (1 SR to cast and 0 MP loss) and the spell will do 6D6 damage for him.
Each of the Supporters may join the Fire Fist cult and may sacrifice for the Fire Fistspell.
The Questor gains the ability to invoke Fire Fist on his Fist 1/day for an hour doing 6D6 damage.
Note: All damages are based on a God Time Quest and will be down-graded for a Mundane Quest. It may be possible to have damage = 1D6/10 POW of the Questor, thus more powerful Questors do more damage.
Acts in the same way as a Fire Blade spell but may only be cast on a crushing weapon. If you use the RQ2 Crushing rules then a Special hit with Firemaul does 3D6 + Damage bonus + Maximum Damage bonus.
Acts in the same way as a Fire Blade spell but may only be cast on a Fist. If the fist grabs hold of something then damage is done each round, perhaps setting armour etc. on fire. It will burn through inflammable armour and skin but not metal.
The Spirit Cults of Firemaul and Firefist were originally created by Cragspider when she created this version of the Hill of Gold Quest. This made her infertile and very angry. Subsequently she forbade her worshippers and her Great Trolls from attempting the Quest or joining the Spirit Cults as the price was too high. She also restricted access to the Spirit Cults to those who succeeded in the Quest.
Of course, any shaman can attempt to contact the Firemaul or Firefist Spirits and learn the spells directly, all they have to do is to go into CragSpider's Castle and sneak up to her and make contact with the Spirit in her Fist or in her Maul. Unfortunately, CragSpider is a pretty good shaman herself....
1. Some say that Eurmal himself crept behind Zorak Zoran, having followed him from the Hill of Gold, and tickled him beneath the arm to make him drop the Club. Whether he did remains to be seen.