Having played RuneQuest for many years, our campaign reached the point where the only way to advance was by HeroQuesting - the PCs had achieved all that could be achieved through normal play. This led me to investigate various HeroQuest rules.
The first set of rules I found was those of Steve Maurer. These were based on a Will/Rune set with an extended RQ system. Having modified the rules to better suit our campaign, we ran with the rules, changing them when they fell down until we decided that they did not work for us.
The main problems with the rules were the idea of Will to make changes and the manipulation of Runes to perform magic.
Will, while on the face of it a good idea, soon showed its weaknesses. It was possible to make relatively large changes for a relatively small cost. Characters could create permanent spell effects with tiny costs, admittedly at small chances, but the players I have think nothing of taking risks with dice rolls if there is the chance of major gains. Will also had the strange effect that the more experienced one became, the lower the Will, with people locked into the Hero Plane having no Will at all. This is not a problem except for the fact that Will also provided the means to cast magic on the Hero Plane, so people with 0 Will could only produce special effects by a rules fiddle which meant that experience reduced the Will needed to produce the effect. So, Orlanth could make the wind blow because he is "good" at making the wind blow. This always seemed a little lame to me.
The manipulation of Runes to perform magic also seemed a great idea, giving flexibility to magic on the Hero Plane. However, it also ran into difficulties. We have a campaign where membership of multiple cults was normal, where PCs often belonged to many Storm cults or many Sky or Darkness cults. The current rules did not take this into account when calculating the Runic Ties of characters, so we had to amend them. This led to greater Runic Ties than were expected in the rules. Having fairly large Runic Ties meant that sub-rune ties were also reasonably large. This meant that a character with 65% Darkness also had Cold of 20-30%, being in Himile and a Mistress Race Troll. This meant that characters could cast a large spread of Runemagic fairly easily, causing some unbalancing of the game.
Also, an unsatisfactory situation occurred - that of using Runes to produce flexible effects. Thus a Storm Khan could use his Storm Tie to summon Storms, fly on the wind, blow things over and so on. Fair enough perhaps, because he is on a Storm Quest after all. However, the players felt that why should a Storm Khan, belonging to a Storm cult which had no weather-causing effects, could summon a storm. Also, a Voria Heroine, member of the Spring Virgin cult of innocents, could fairly easily cast Earthshaker magics, having a strong Earth tie, leading to the Innocent Child being able to kill people using Earthquakes, throwing up walls of earth, causing landslides and so on. This was definitely unsatisfactory. All of the players felt that these effects detracted from the spirit of the game.
Our next attempt was to use cult ties rather than Rune Ties, so membership in Storm cults increased the Storm Tie which then affected ties to Orlanth. The Orlanth Tie would then be used to cast Orlanthi Heroic Effects. Thus, Runic Ties were reduced in importance and cult membership became more important. However, membership in many Storm cults at high level, for instance, could influence the Orlanth Tie so that it was greater than an Orlanthi Wind Lord. This was instantly seen as being unfair. Also, the calculations to work out Cult Ties were quite cumbersome. These objections meant that we had to abandon this approach.
Our next attempt was to introduce the idea of Hero Points. These were gained originally from having certain levels in a cult, how much Runemagic the PC had and so on. They were also gained through successful HeroQuests. Characters could then sacrifice Hero Points to gain special abilities, use them on a temporary basis to create spell effects and so on. However, many disputes arose over costs of abilities and spell effects, whether spells were similar to Rune Spell effects if so which ones and so on. The problem also arose as to whether Hero Points were cult-specific, quest-specific or independent. Thus, could Hero Points gained on a pure Orlanth Quest be used to gain a Storm Bull ability on a later quest? Could you combine Storm Bull and Humakt Hero Points to gain a Hunter ability? These questions were asked because the PCs often assisted on each others quests and could gain Hero Points from several cults. These points meant that Hero Points were reluctantly abandoned.
We looked at Steven Marsh's set of rules, but found that they either mirrored defects from Steve Maurer's system (Rune Ties, Will) or were too complicated (linked runes, different combat system). Although it had some good points, we felt that it was not for us.
We now had to go back to basics. After much thought, we decided that a HeroQuest rules system had to do the following:
After we devised this general framework, we had to develop a rules system encompassing these principles.
The system we came up with is as follows. It is far from complete and is not ideal even now. There are many things which could be changed, but it works better for us than the systems we looked at before.
The HeroQuest system was based around the use of HeroQuests. These were similar to spells which could be invoked to produce certain effects around the invoking character, or produced a framework or setting for a heroic journey or Quest.
When on a HeroQuest, magic was cast heroically, using the Character's own essences, so was internalised. The effects of the HeroQuest would make it easier or more difficult to cast such magics.
Free Will was traded or gained through actions on the HeroQuest, so a character gaining a Berserkergang ability would lose some Free Will simply because he could not always control his actions. Similarly someone gaining geases lost Free Will. Eventually, a character could become so enmeshed in his geases/obligations/abilities that he lost all Free Will and could no longer interact normally.
After some tuning, the system became quite quick to use, although a lot of work had to be put in by the GM and his players in order to set the HeroQuests and their effects in the first place.
A HeroQuest is, in these rules, defined by the HeroQuest Spell or HeroPath Spell used to create it. There is a major problem in terminology here, as the two terms are the same. I use the term "HeroQuest" both to define the HeroQuest itself and the spell which sets it up or creates it.
HeroQuests cost POW to learn, much like Rune Magic. As a rule of thumb, a Station or event on a HeroQuest costs 1 POW, a minor HQ costs 2 POW, a major HQ 4 and a SuperQuest 8 POW. Stations include Yelmalio meeting Orlanth on the Hill of Gold, a combat on the Turtle's back in the Westfaring, Caladra and Aurelion playing the harp to soothe Argan Argar. Minor HQs include those HQs found in Tales of the Reaching Moon. Major HQs include Yelmalio's Hill of Gold Quest, Orlanth freeing Heler, Yelm's Decent. SuperQuests are the Lightbringers' Quest, The Cycle of Death, The Yelm Cycle (Emperor, Dying, travelling to Hell and Self-Resurrection).
Once a HeroQuest has been learned, it can be cast. Casting is done in one of two ways:
Firstly, it can be used in a ritual sense to provide a framework for the actions of others. Thus, one could cast a Storm Bull defeats the Devil Quest in order to allow a party of Storm Bull worshippers to attack a more powerful band of Broos. This quest would give the Storm Bulls a framework to make their preparations, to travel to the Broos, to fight them and to be victorious after suffering heavy losses. This quest would also summon Storm Bull's allies to his aid, so if the Broos were to nearly defeat the Storm Bulls, an Eiritha cultist may be summoned as part of the ritual to provide help when defeat is near, or a Humakti may come to provide the coup de grace, playing the part of the Block destroying the Broos.
Normally, HeroQuests are used like this at the start of the HeroQuest. So, somebody performing the Blue Boar Quest would first cast the Blue Boar HeroQuest (2 POW to learn) which would enable him to go to the correct places and to perform the correct deeds. If he had not cast this, he would not have met the Blue Boar, may only have wrestled or caught a normal pig, and would never have gained any special abilities from the encounter.
Secondly, a HeroQuest can be invoked in order to display special abilities or powers or to gain superiority in an encounter. Examples of this are to be seen in King of Sartar, the Strange Fragment. Here, a HeroQuestor, probably Harmast, fights the forces of the Sea on the back of Sofal upon the Westfaring. When opposed with foes, he recalls and casts various HeroQuests in order to defeat his enemies. Sometimes he will summon an ally to defeat a specific foe, for instance when he calls upon his kinsmen to defeat Goddesses who attacked him. Other times, he recalls when Orlanth defeated a god, so he recalls Orlanth and Aroka in order to combat Water Dragons. At times these spells fail - he was fighting Dragonships, so Orlanth and Aroka had no effect, so he summoned the North Wind to smash the ships.
Throughout this combat, we are left with a sense of excitement, that the HeroQuestor is using his wits, his knowledge of Glorantha and his own sacrificed abilities in order to defeat vastly superior forces.
A HeroQuest invoked in this way will give the caster abilities/powers not normally held. So, he may do extra damage to Dragons, or he may be immune to Dragonfire by using one of the Orlanth slays (Dragon) Quests. He may use the Valley of Healers Quest to calm down a Babeester Gor Berserker by giving her a draught of wine. He may even use a Salmon Quest to leap up a waterfall when pursued by his enemies.
All these Quests have the advantage that they are flexible, that their effects are known and that they are easy to remember. They form part of the HeroQuestor's toolkit. Many powerful HeroQuestors have a "Quest for every occasion", in fact these rules give advantages to well-travelled or experienced HeroQuestors in that they will have had access to more Quests than people who have never left their home tribe. When something happens,. the more experienced Questor can pull something out of the bag. It also shows why Orlanthi are powerful Questors, since Orlanth defeated everything in his time, why Arkati are powerful, since Arkat gained Quests from many cultures, and why the Lunars are powerful, since they gain Quests from many different areas.
The GM and the players must put in a fair amount of work in order to make HeroQuests work well. The GM must write down the probable effects of invoking a Quest - does it double damage done against certain foes, make damage ignore armour or spells, make Healing work, make wounds incurable or whatever. Most HeroQuests should produce one or two major effects and have several side-effects. For instance, using the Storm Bull Defeats The Devil Quest for a Storm Khan fighting a Chaos Demon will help the Storm Khan, but may well cause him to become mutilated permanently, or may well make him nearly lose, only to be helped by a friend.
The most difficult part of this, in my opinion, is when players ask "is there a Quest to do such and such?" rather than looking things up in the books they have. I am then expected to look up possible myths, inventing them if necessary, devise the Quests and write down any powers gained by invoking the Quest. This can create a lot of work, but is often worth it in the end. A better way is to lend them the source books and say "here are the myths, go and devise a Quest", then adapt their Quest for game balance etc.
I will give examples of how we use HeroQuests as part of other Quests later on.
These define what the character's personality is. They are absolutes which put values on certain character traits of the PC or NPC. I use the terminology "Virtue" and "Character Trait" interchangeably.
Character Traits appeared early on in RuneQuest, either for the Griffin Mountain pack or just before, in Wyrms Footnotes. They are an opposed pair of traits with scores from 1 to 100 in each trait, each pair adding up to 100. For instance, a character may have Brave 80, Cowardly 20, so he is mostly Brave but can be Cowardly at times.
For a good list of character traits, either check out Griffin Mountain or Wyrms footnotes 14 or the PenDragon Pass rules in Tales of the Reaching Moon. For a good list of Cult Virtues, see Pendragon Pass.
Character Traits can be used in several ways. They can determine the general makeup of a character, how brave or honourable is he, is she wise, is he loving or cruel and so on. This can be important in many ways.
Firstly, when attempting to gain advancement in your cults, it is easy to show you have the skills and POW qualifications, that there is an opening and so on, but very difficult to show whether your character truly follows the ways of the gods. I play that to advance to an initiate in a cult, you must make three Character Trait rolls, to become an acolyte 4, to become a rune Level 5 rolls. Each deity has 5 Virtues which are appropriate to him/her, so an Orlanthi must be Energetic, Just, Proud, Brave and Generous, whereas a Zorak Zorani must be Brave, Vengeful, Arbitrary, Cruel and Indulgent. It is very difficult to be in both Zorak Zoran and Xiola Umbar (Forgiving, Generous, Just, Merciful and Trusting). If the character fails his rolls, he must wait for the next chance to attempt to further himself in the cult, because he is not yet spiritually in touch with the deity.
Secondly, when gauging other people's reactions. If your character has Lustful 99 and does not hide the fact, then he should not be surprised when he is not asked to accompany the tribal chieftain's maiden daughter on a week long journey in the wilderness.
Thirdly, when being influenced by unusual magic. The above character would be easily influenced by a succubus, no matter what his defending POW, he would have to roll against his Lustful trait to see if he was influenced. Similarly, somebody being affected by a Greed Spirit may well have to roll beneath his Greedy trait in order to steal the cursed gem. Another character may well have to make a Brave roll in order to cross Humakt's Sword Bridge - no matter what her DEX was. A character in my campaign had to roll Orlanth's Virtues to survive at the Baths of Nelat, taking acid damage depending on how well he missed his rolls. These effects must be determined previously by the GM.
A character may well have his Character Traits altered by what happens around him, so if he were possessed by a Fear spirit, his Bravery would be decreased and his Cowardly increased. However, if he wore the Crown of Emperors, his Just, Honest, Chaste, Generous and Bravery traits would be increased. A Berserker would have a high Bravery trait, probably increasing to 100 while Berserk. All of these effects serve to limit a character's Free Will and it may come to a time when every action he makes must first be determined by a roll against a Character Trait, if he has little Free Will left.
Some people are at the mercy of their personality traits. Dragonewts have gaps in their traits and must roll against a trait pair when confronted with a stressful emotional decision. If they roll in the gap, they can act honourably, with control and can choose their actions. If they roll in one of the traits they act unconsciously and cannot help their actions. Thus a dragonewt can be forced to act in a lustful way, for instance. It would seem likely that those others using dragon magic would also be affected this way, one of the reasons the EWF had problems.
Others may be trapped into a way of acting, so a cursed person may be forced to roll against a pair of personality traits for instance. Once again, this impacts on free will, reducing a character's freedom of action.
Normal divine magic is available to initiates and rune levels of cults and serves as a convenient way of accessing and reflecting the powers of their deity. However, on a HeroQuest normal divine magic seems a poor way of showing magic. If a HeroQuestor is portraying his deity he should be able to do more than cast one or two spells.
Other systems have used the concept of Will and Runic Ties to mimic this, but as I said before, these systems have proved lacking. Heroic Casting is a method of casting magic on HeroQuests which avoids the pitfalls of Will etc. However, it is by no means perfect and is not the answer to everything.
The basic game mechanic of Heroic Casting is to be able to cast reusable divine magic using personal magic points and one-use divine magic using POW. A person with heroic casting of Great Parry, for instance, could cast the spell costing 3MP if he had the spell reusably, or 3 POW if he had the spell on a one-use basis. Using the spell in this way does not use up the spell in any way. Here, personal magic points are those which come from the character himself, they cannot come from storage, bound spirits or any other source.
Heroic Castings can be used in several ways. Firstly, they can be granted as gifts to characters as rewards for a HeroQuest, or in return for geases. Secondly, they can be part of magic items of great power. However, in the context of HeroQuesting, they can be used to make magic casting more flexible.
If a character is participating in a HeroQuest where the deity used a particular power it would be reasonable for the character to also be able to use that power. In these rules, any HeroQuest has certain spells associated with the HeroQuest and participants in the Quest can use those spells heroically. So, a HeroQuestor on a Thunder Brothers Quest can use Thunder Shout heroically, which means that even if he only has one Thunder Shout spell, he can use it more than once.
This means that a GM has to determine which spells a HeroQuest can make Heroic. Often it can be obvious from the Quest, but occasionally, some care has to be taken.
One of the advantages HeroQuestors from established cults have over other HeroQuestors is Cult Support. When they participate in HeroQuests, they can ask their followers to help them out. Such help may involve the followers praying at temples, performing the same HeroQuest in the temple, sacrificing POW or whatever.
Cult Support can have many different manifestations in the rules. It can add to the personal magic points for the purpose of Heroic Casting of spells, making the HeroQuestor more powerful. It can increase personality traits, making certain parts of the Quest easier. It can also act as a shield against danger on the Quest, for example Orlanth should have been destroyed during the Requirement of proof, but "This was when the support of all who loved him was important. And in the land of Life, the thousands of mortals suffering from the chaos of life woke from a nightmare and prayed to Orlanth that it would not be so. Otherwise he would have been destroyed. ".
The GM should determine exactly what form this cult support should take. Generally, each group of followers should provide support in different ways, so followers who carry out Hero Quests in support may well strengthen his Hero Quest, making it more effective; people praying in the temple may make him more powerful; those performing rituals in the temple may increase personality traits and so on.
I have deliberately left these effects vague, since different GMs will want to implement them differently.
One of the main sticking points of any set of HeroQuest rules is heroes. What makes a hero, what is a hero, what powers do heroes have, what skills does a person need to become a hero?
Under these rules, a Hero is a person who is worshipped by others.
People can become Heroes by gaining that worship. This can happen in several ways. He can find an artefact on the God Plane which grants a power and can grant other people the power as a spell or skill taught, in which case he can start a Hero Cult to teach the spell or skill. He can gain a power or skill from a deity either as a gift or through thievery, and start a Hero Cult to teach the spell or gift. He can develop a power or gift and teach it to others in a Hero Cult. He can be worshipped simply because of who he is, perhaps as an ancestor, a clan or city founder, or simply as an important person.
So, Gerak Kag became a Hero by gaining the power of Jumping and teaching that to his followers. Sartar was worshipped as founder of his country. George Missinghands gave his followers bonuses when using swords.
What benefits does a Hero gain through being worshipped?
Firstly, increased POW - the more worshippers he has, the higher his POW becomes. All worshipped spirits have very high POW, and this is due to their being worshipped. This is shown by the example of Firshala "During Godtime she was worshipped to a limited extent, but during the God Wars she was imprisoned between these magical plinths. With the coming of Time, her worshippers have disappeared. Her power and intelligence have dropped to their current level.". If power can be decreased through lack of worship, it can be increased through worship.
Secondly, increased support on HeroQuests. A Hero may call on the support of his followers to aid him on HeroQuests. Support is explained below.
Characters can also become Heroes by being granted the status by their deity. Usually this is as a reward for deeds done by the character. Thus, Alakoring Dragonbreaker became a hero by slaying Drang the Diamond Dragon. Eventually, he also began to teach people of Orlanth Rex, but was not made a hero for doing so.
Each HeroQuest has several factors which make up the HeroQuest. These factors serve to define the HeroQuest and to allow it to be used within other HeroQuests.
These factors are:
|Runic Description||Darkness Defeats Fire|
|Action Description||Defeat of an enemy|
|Gifts gained||mastery over Fire, or a slave|
When a player or character wants to learn a HeroQuest, the GM has to do several things. Firstly, he must write down the myth. Secondly, he has to write a description as above. Thirdly, he must sketch out each station on the Quest and write a description of each station as above. Fourthly, he must determine the game effects of invoking each Station. Fifthly, he must determine the effects of victory and defeat on the Quest. Sixthly, he must determine the cost and availability of the Quest.
This can seem a great deal of work by the GM, especially as it has to be done for each and every HeroQuest learnt by PCs. However, the work can be made easier by asking the players themselves to participate. In fact, I have found that they enjoy defining the HeroQuests themselves, leaving the GM to tidy things up at the end.
Whilst on a HeroQuest, a HeroQuestor may need to use a Quest which does not form part of the normal Quest, in order to substitute an action for one on the proper Quest, or to change the outcome of a Quest.
For instance, consider a troll HeroQuestor on a Quest against the Dara Happans. He may meet a Dara Happan HeroQuestor and may need to fight him. The troll sees that Darkness is fighting Fire, so he recalls the Quest where Zorak Zoran defeats Yelmalio (Darkness conquers Fire) and casts this spell. The Dara Happan may cast a counter spell, for instance Yelm's Descent into Hell (Fire Conquers Darkness). Neutralised, the troll uses Argan Argar conquers Lodril (Darkness defeats Fire) and thus wins the battle, as the Dara Happan knows no more HeroQuests of use.
Here, the participants were invoking Quests which had similar Runic descriptions - Dark vs Light/Fire.
Another example is a minor Quest where the Questor reaches the bank of a river. Mr Otter should carry him over the water to the other side, but this Questor has mortally offended Mr Otter earlier on the Quest, so he cannot cross the river. However, he knows another Quest where his ancestor crossed another river on a log, being an elf friend. The Questor can cast this Quest and cross the river on a log found nearby. This is because the action (crossing the river) was all that was important, not how the deed was done. In the same way, Orlanthi crossing the Western Ocean may cross on Sofal's back, in the stomach of a whale, carried by Ygg or however they choose, as long as they cross the Ocean and experience difficulty on the way.
If participants on a HeroQuest stray too far from the actions required for that Quest, the Quest will fail. However, if the Questor were to invoke a HeroQuest to validate the deeds, then the overall Quest may well succeed.
I see HeroQuests as being made up of small segments, or stations, which bind together to make the complete Quest. If one station is altered and a similar station is substituted in its place, the overall Quest will be unaffected, although perhaps some benefits will be changed and different foes faced.
Care must be taken when using Quests in this way. It is all very well using one station for another, for instance using Zorak Zoran and Yelmalio on the Hill of Gold to defeat a Dara Happan, but what if the troll only knows the Hill of Gold Quest itself, rather than the particular station? He must cast the whole spell and be bound up in any effects that this may cause. This is why Questors will sacrifice for individual Stations as well as for complete Quests.
Illuminates have some very serious advantages when HeroQuesting.
First of all, they are immune to cult Spirits of Retribution. This means that they can stray more from the path of their deity and get away with it. This obviously gives them an edge over traditional HeroQuestors.
Scondly, they can use dubious HeroQuests as part of normal HeroQuests and get away with it. In this case, HeroQuests which would normally be incompatible can be shoe-horned into place. Illuminates have far more flexibility when HeroQuesting than straights.
Thirdly, Illuminates can use their powers to join more than one cult, even joining normally hostile or enemy cults. This means that they can gain HeroQuests from niormally incompatible cults. So, Ralzakark, for instance, may well know Storm Bull and Orlanthi Quests in addition to the normal Thed/Seven Mothers/Arkat Quests.
Illuminates can also break geases without having action taken. This means they have far more freedom when on HeroQuests. Orlanthi do not have to help the Sweet Green Woman or fight the Foul Slime. This can make the Quest easier, but can also cause problems - if the Orlanthi does not kill the Foul Slime, then it may come back to bite him.
Finally, Illuminates can mess around with their personality traits. First of all, they can have real and apparent traits. Apparent traits are those which everyone else sees, real traits are those actually held. Thus, Adelbert the Pure may seem to have a Lustful of 0 and a Chaste of 100, but get him into a stable and his true traits can appear. When joining cults, Illuminates can use their apparent traits in order to pass the ebtrance exam - Derak the Cruel may want to join the cult of Ernalda, but they prefer Merciful types, so he pushes his Cruel trait down and his Merciful trait up. This is also used on HeroQuests, where Trait rolls are needed. Why should an Illuminate who has spent the last 50 years appearing Chaste, becoming a Dayzatar Priest and HeroQuestor be caught by his Lustful trait when picking up the Chalice of Purity? On the other hand, surprise attacks will affect the real trait, so if he were surprised by the Nymph of Desire, he may well have to roll his real Lustful trait to see whether he is compromised.
Illuminates are the most powerful of HeroQuestors because they can bend, and even break, the rules. This is one of the reasons that Arkati guard HeroQuest routes - to stop Illuminates cheating.
Although one can substitute Quest Stations and leave the original Quest intact, this does not necessarily allow one to teach that Quest to others. All HeroQuests are merely reflections of the events on the God Plane, so to create a new Quest, one must do so on the God Plane. If one Station is substituted for another on a God Time HeroQuest, then a new HeroQuest has been created. If the Questor returns from the HeroQuest, then he can learn the complete new Quest and can teach it to others.
There are several advantages to learning a new Quest over learning the original Quest and extra Stations. Firstly, it costs less to learn one Quest than several Quests. Secondly, many normal people mistrust certain techniques such as substituting Stations on a Quest and are more comfortable with the idea of a new way of doing the Quest, or even a new Quest. Thirdly, most people are not adventurous by nature and do not like to take risks, so they would prefer a Quest which has no surprises rather than a Quest which they have to change each time in order to succeed.
This the time before Time, the mythical moment, where the myths and actions of the Gods happened. It is accessible by mortals using arcane rituals and HeroQuests.
The God Plane, or God Time, can be accessed in several ways through HeroQuesting. Firstly, a "short form" HeroQuest can be attempted. This technique is described in King of Sartar (p165) and is basically performing a HeroQuest in a temple or set of ritual sites. The Godplane is accessed through the rituals in a similar way to Holy Day Rites. Although the participants are present in the Mundane Plane they are also active on the God Plane. Secondly, HeroQuestors can be transported to the God Plane while their physical bodies are left on the Mundane Plane. For an example of this, see the description of King Varalz in the Snakepipe Hollow supplement "I was a friend to the King, keeper of his health. He lay there, deep in mystic travels to seek help against chaos. There were rumours of invasion, the return of Termain Osboropo, and like a good leader, he sought aid for his race. He was away when the raiders came." .
In all things, the God Plane is a more vibrant reflection of the mundane plane, or rather the mundane plane is a pale reflection of the God Plane. To reflect this, I use the "Super RuneQuest" approach of dividing all skills by 5 whilst on the God Plane. No experience rolls may be made on the God Plane, bit any made afterwards gain 5D6% skill if successful. This is simply to make sure that the games mechanics of adventuring in the God Time are similar to the standard RuneQuest rules.
The denizens of the God Plane are usually more powerful than mortals, so you may meet denizens with skills of 50% or so as standard - the equivalent of 250% skill in the real world. Also, denizens have much higher POW and INT than normal mortals. However, they are limited by their natures. Mortals are limited only be the restrictions of the Quests they are on - denizens are limited by their being. Since they are permanently trapped in the God Time, these denizens are bound by the Compromise to a certain extent and can only act in certain ways. If you know those ways, you know how they will react to you. This is a huge advantage and allows mortals to regularly defeat the denizens of the God Plane.
Of course, when the denizens of the God Plane are summoned into the Mundane Plane, they become extremely powerful and are quite difficult to defeat. They are often worshipped as gods when this happens.
When HeroQuesting on the God Plane, beyond Time, some game effects must be taken into account.
Spells cast before going on the God Plane are cancelled out. There is no rational reason for this to be so, except that it stops people casting huge spells beforehand. Perhaps this is unreasonable, I don't know.
Spells cast on the God Plane act as normal, but affect normal skills etc. So a Bladesharp spell will add 1% per point while on the God Plane - it adds 5%/pt to the normal skill and is then divided by 5. Spells last for the duration of the station on the HeroQuest, whether they are spirit magic, divine magic or sorcery. This may cause problems if you are using sorcery, as nothing need be put into duration.
On the God Plane, there is no Divine Intervention. You are taking the part of your God so cannot call on him for help, or you are going where your god never went and so cannot help you anyway. If you need Divine Intervention, then use a HeroQuest in order to summon help, to heal yourself or simply to do the things you need from the DI. This is one of the reasons why God Time HeroQuestors need companions or friends - they can help you out if you get into trouble.
If you are killed on the God Plane, there are two eventualities. Firstly, if Death has not appeared, you will stay broken until someone comes along and heals you. You will not be able to heal yourself, so someone else has to. This may take some time and may never happen, so you may never come back. Secondly, if Death has appeared, then you will have to walk the Path of Death into Hell. You then have three choices - to stay dead forever (very bad), to find your way out of Hell (difficult if you do not know how) or to be brought back by others. The Red Emperor, Ethilrist and the Pharaoh can do the second, Arkat, Talor and Sheng Seleris had the third done to them. In any case, if you walk the path of Death, it is very difficult to come back, so it is best not to get into that position.
These rules are a brief sketch of what I see HeroQuesting as being like. They are by no means complete and need a fair amount of expansion and fine tuning.
However, I believe that they go a long way to mimicking what we know of HeroQuests and how they are used. Many of the HeroQuest descriptions seem to use HeroQuests in similar ways to these rules. Certainly in my campaign they seem very flexible, easy to use, not too complex and they also seem to add a certain flavour to HeroQuesting.
As they are not complete, I would welcome any suggestions and comments, favourable or unfavourable, constructive or not.
Also see David Dunham's PenDragon Pass