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Created On 28 January 2001
Last Updated On 28 January 2001
Copyright (c) Simon E. Phipp 2001

A Cleansed One Quest

This is a HeroQuest from the Zola Fel Cleansed One cult. It involves swimming the length of the Zola Fel and being cleansed of a Chaos Taint, a Curse, a Geas or whatever ails the HeroQuestor. This HeroQuest is based loosely on a write-up of a scenario by Alexander G. M. Smith that was so good I thought it would make an excellent HeroQuest.

Mythos

The Cleansed One was a miserable creature that lived during the Darkness. He was tainted by Chaos but sought to improve himself and to remove the taint of Chaos. He tried many ways but none succeeded, but eventually he managed to use the powers of the Rivers and the Seas to remove the taint.

Now, many Rivers and Seas have a shrine to the Cleansed One and accept that spirit as a subcult. Each of these Rivers has at least one Cleansed One HeroQuest that follows one of the ways that the Cleansed One removed the taint of Chaos. This HeroQuest is one of the ways that Zola Fel has helped the Cleansed One.

The HeroQuest

This HeroQuest is a simple one. It involves the HeroQuestor joining with the Zola Fel and swimming its whole length while performing deeds for the River and fighting off its enemies and those who would stop him. Eventually he reaches the Sea and bathes in the Cleansing Waters and this is what removes the taint of Chaos.

There are many minor Stations on this HeroQuest and not all Stations are always encountered, but there are many ways of failing the Quest, so this makes it a difficult Quest, as it should be. However, anyone who has completed the Quest will find that the benefits outweigh the dangers.

The Stations

The Stretches

The Process

The HeroQuestor will swim the length of the Zola Fel. Each stretch of river will possibly have a Station encountered. When the HeroQuestor swims that Stretch, there is a chance of a Station being encountered. If a Station is encountered, then the Station associated with the Stretch will be encountered. If there is no Station associated with the Stretch then a random Station may be encountered.

The only Stations that are mandatory are The Long Swim, Facing the Filth, The Guardian of the Gates, The Searing Salt and The Healing Waters. They will automatically be encountered in the Stretches as stated above.

This HeroQuest is unusual in that it is very rarely attempted on the Other Side and is usually attempted as a Practice Run Quest as the Other Place and Practice Run are generally the same place. Of course, the Quest may be attempted at another River as a normal Practice Run, but that is unusual. The HeroQuest takes a long time to complete and has the possibility of interacting with non-HeroQuestors and normal encounters and scenarios. This means that there is a good chance of an extended session of the HeroQuest and associated scenarios, meaning that this can cover several play sessions.

There is a POWx5% chance of a Station encountered per Stretch of River, although the GM may change this as he requires, perhaps a POW x (4 + Number of Chaos Features/Geases/Curses/Diseases to remove) or an automatic chance of a Station.

If the GM wishes, he can also use the normal encounter tables as well in order to produce normal encounters in addition to the HeroQuest Stations. This may serve to confuse the HeroQuestor, making the HeroQuest more difficult and more dangerous, but also making it more interesting.

The HeroQuestor may, if he is able, Invoke his own HeroQuest Stations in order to provoke a HeroQuest Station at any Stretch, so he may meet some friendly Orlanthi who are aware that he is trying to Cleanse himself of Chaos and he may want to Invoke the Raging Storm in order to force these people to be the enemy Orlanthi, thus reducing the chance of being killed by the encounter.

The Stations

The Long Swim

The HeroQuestor must start his Quest at the Leaping Place, the source of the Zola Fel. He must travel here and enter the Leaping Place Shrine. He must then beg the Priest for permission to perform the Quests and must give the Priest a gift of a magical item, treasure or ability as a gift. He must also sacrifice to Zola Fel in order to continue, this sacrifice is normally a point of POW but may be something else at the GM's discretion.

The HeroQuestor must bathe in the waters at the source and must purify himself here. He must remove all trappings of the world, including his clothes and must cleanse himself, removing all dirt, grime and body hair, making himself as smooth as a fish. He must promise to serve Zola Fel on his Quest and must promise to help Cleanse the River. He is often given one or more geases to help him in his Quest.

The Questor must then attempt to swim the length of the Zola Fel. He may leave the water but will suffer as a Naiad when out of the water. If he moves more than POWx5 metres from the water then the Quest is over and he has failed.

As long as he is swimming he does not tire and cannot drown in the river.[2] This is the only concession that Zola Fel gives him. Of course, he may drown because of the Drown spell and may tire through combat etc.

The Long Swim starts here and ends at the Sea, or when the HeroQuest ends in another way. All the other Stations take place along the Long Swim, so this is the backbone of the Quest.

As this Quest is an unsupported one, taking place against the wishes of the Zola Fel cult, there is no cult support here. No Temple Barge will accompany the Questor, no cultists will offer advice or help. The Questor is on his own. However, individual members of the Cleansed One subcult may choose to assist the Questor, even though the spirit of the Quest is of individual triumph against all adversity.[3]

This Station may be Invoked to perform a long, uninterrupted swim without tiring or danger of drowning, but the Invoker must sacrifice a spell/gift/ability to the spirit of the water to be swam otherwise the Invocation will not succeed.

The Scorching Sun

This is normally encountered while swimming through Sun County. This Station involves meeting the Sun who tries to burn the Questor to nothing. In actuality, the HeroQuestor meets a number of Solar Cultists who try to kill him.

These Solar Cultists are normally Yelmalians from Sun County, but Yelornans and even Lunar Yelm Cultists have been known to participate here. These people will question the HeroQuestor and try to stop him from passing through. If he is not a member of a Sun Cult then they will attack and try to kill him. Even if he is a member of a Sun Cult, he may still be attacked if he cannot convince them that he is trying to purify himself. [4] However, he has a slight advantage that they will not enter the river. This means that if he does not leave the river then he will only have to cope with missile fire, unless he comes to the bank and gives the Pikemen a chance to reach him.

Sometimes the Sun Cultists will fetch reinforcements to try to destroy him, but normally the Questor can swim along the middle of the river and avoid the Scorching Sun. In any case, when the HeroQuestor leaves Sun County the Scorching Sun will leave him alone. If this is encountered before Sun County, the Scorching Sun will follow him down the river until he reaches Sun County.

This Station may be invoked to avoid close combat with Solar Cultists by keeping them out of the river. However, it guarantees that they will try to kill the Invoker using missile fire.

The Raging Storm

This Station is an encounter with Storm Worshippers. Normally these are Orlanthi or Thunder Bird cultists, although it is possible to include Storm Bull cultists, but they normally are found in the Bellowing Bull Station.

The Storm Worshippers will usually try to attack the HeroQuestor and will try to kill him if they know that he is Chaotic. If he persuades them that he is trying to cleanse himself of the Taint then they may leave him alone.

The Storm Worshippers may enter the water and chase him through the river. They do not normally use missile fire against him. They will soon tire of the chase and will leave him alone after this Stretch. Sometimes they will go away and come back later for a new attempt, especially if he sleeps on the river bank.

This Station may be Invoked to force an encounter with Storm Worshippers. It attracts a group of Storm Cultists and they will be hostile to the HeroQuestor.

The Icy Darkness

This Station is encountered at the Dark Plateau where the Zola Fel passes through Dagori Inkarth. The HeroQuestor is met by Darkness Cultists, normally these are trolls. Even though this is the Icy Darkness, the group of trolls most often encountered are Zorak Zorani, fighting Chaos. Sometimes normal Kyger Litor trolls are encountered but they hate Chaos almost as much. Only when these are Himile cultists does the HeroQuestor stand a chance of avoiding combat here.

The trolls will enter the water and will chase the HeroQuestor, using weapons and missiles to defeat him. They will stop chasing him when he leaves the Dark Plateau.

Invoking this Station brings an encounter with a Darkness group who will attack the Invoker.

The Smashing Waters

Some Zola Feli do not appreciate the idea of a Tainted One travelling the Zola Fel. They will attack the HeroQuestor and will do their best to try and stop the HeroQuest. These are often Zola Fel Cultists but need not be. Often they are Newtlings, Ducks, Intelligent Fish, Were Fish, Naiads or even dolphins. Sometimes the party will include Shamans or Priests and these will summon Undines to try and break the HeroQuestor. They will chase the HeroQuestor while he is in the river. If he leaves the river then the fish, Naiads and dolphins will not follow, but Ducks and Newtlings will. This can be a way of evading the enemies.

This Station may be Invoked to summon Water Foes to attack the Invoker.

The Dry Dust

This is the Choking Dust of the dry desert. It consists of Earth Cultists who oppose the Chaos that the Cleansed One represents. These are often Eiritha cultists, but may include Babeester Gor cultists, or even Maran Gor cultists. Sometimes Aldryami participate but this is rare.

The Dry Dust hates Chaos as much as any others, but they are not fanatical killers and can be persuaded that the HeroQuestor is trying to remove the taint of Chaos. Quite often they will allow the HeroQuestor to pass unmolested as long as he accepts a Geas from them.

If they do attack then they will not enter the water and will try to attack the Questor on the land, or may even bring the land to the water.

This Station may be Invoked to bring an encounter with the Earth that the Invoker can escape from by taking a Geas.

The Bellowing Bull

This is one of the more dangerous Stations. These are Storm Bull cultists and they Hate Chaos. They will not accept any wishy-washy excuse about trying to cleanse the taint of Chaos, as far as they are concerned "Any Chaos is All Chaos" and they will try to kill the Questor.

The Storm Bull cultists will try to enter the water but they are not water experts. Sometimes they will use boats and then go berserk, which is always amusing. They will use Sense Chaos to try and track the Questor and will only stop chasing hi if they cannot find him. A good tactic here is to dive deep and try to hide in a cave or sheltered area beneath the bank and hope they cannot find him.

This Station may be used to summon a band of Storm Bull cultists who will promptly attach the Invoker. This Station is rarely Invoked outside this Quest, but is sometimes used within this Quest to try and force the Bellowing Bull to appear amongst a low-powered group of Storm Bulls.

The Seeping Slime

Many of the servants of Chaos do not like the idea of people trying to remove the Gift of Chaos. They will try to stop the Questor or even to increase the Chaos he has. This band is made of Chaos Cultists, often Broos but sometimes Ogres, Walktapi, Thanatari or Pocharngo cultists.

They will attack the HeroQuestor and try to make it impossible to continue the Quest. Broos will try to impregnate him if they can. Pocharngo cultists will try to mutate him. Ogres will simply kill him. They will attack him on the River and will follow him if he leaves the river. Often they are skilled in boating on the river, so this can become quite dangerous.

Since Chaos is normally disorganised, this may actually be easier to defeat than it would seem. This may be a weakness that can be used against them. Even Ogres are not organised unless in a well-trained military band and they are rare in Prax.

This Station may be Invoked to summon a ravenous horde of Chaos creatures who will try to kill the Invoker. It is rarely Invoked.

Helping the Weak

Sometimes the Zola Fel cannot protect those who live along the river. This is one of those times. Here, the Questor will meet someone who is being threatened on the River. They are normally Zola Fel cultists as anyone who lives along the river is automatically a lay member of the Zola Fel. They will ask the Questor for help against some oppressor.

If the Questor refuses to help then he may continue with the Quest as normal, but the Searing Salt will not remove the Chaos Taint and the Healing Waters will not heal him, so he will have completed the Quest for nothing.

If the Questor tries to help the weak but fails then the Chaos Taint may be cured by the Searing Salt but the Healing Waters will not help him.

This Station generally does not involve leaving the river, but often involves defeating an oppressor or getting other people to band together to help defeat the oppressor. It can be turned into a full scenario and can promote the HeroQuestor's interpersonal skills.

This Station can be Invoked in order to allow the Invoker to help someone in need, even if they do not want to be helped.

Cleansing the River

This Station is where the HeroQuestor tries to remove something that is polluting the river. This may be a Pocharngo cultist, Broos, gorps or some other Chaos polluter. Normally, this Station involves combat against the Polluter but may also involve cleaning the river or even taking the pollution inside the Questor.

If the Questor refuses to help then he may continue with the Quest as normal, but the Searing Salt will not remove the Chaos Taint and the Healing Waters will not heal him, so he will have completed the Quest for nothing.

If the Questor tries to cleanse the river but fails then the Chaos Taint may be cured by the Searing Salt but the Healing Waters will not help him.

This Station may be Invoked to help cleanse a polluted stretch of water. It also acts as a Purify Water spell.

Facing the Filth

The HeroQuestor will meet a single Chaotic Creature who will try and run from him in terror and disgust. The HeroQuestor must follow him and speak to him. This is the Filthy One, a creature of Chaos who hates himself for what he is. The HeroQuestor must persuade him that he is not worthless and that he can change himself. Once persuaded, the HeroQuestor must tell him to travel to the Leaping Place and to perform the Cleansed One Quest himself in order to Cleanse himself. This was the Cleansed One's first missionary act and gained his first convert.

If the Questor refuses to try and persuade the Filthy One then he may continue with the Quest as normal, but the Searing Salt will not remove the Chaos Taint and the Healing Waters will not heal him, so he will have completed the Quest for nothing.

If the Questor tries to persuade the Filthy One but fails then the Chaos Taint may be cured by the Searing Salt but the Healing Waters will not help him.

This Station may be Invoked to persuade a Chaotic person to try and remove the taint of chaos., it doubles Fast Talk, Orate and similar skills for the purpose of the conversation.

The Guardian of the Gates

This is the Guardian that seeks to prevent the Questor from reaching the open Sea. It guards the Gate between river and Sea and is normally a creature of the Seas, maybe a Merman, a Serpent, a Shark or even a Triton, sometimes it is a water cultist, a follower of Magasta or Wachaza.

The Guardian will challenge the Filth and will attack to kill it. The Guardian will not leave the water, but the Questor can, although if he enters the water again he wil meet the Guardian again. Basically, the Questor must defeat the Guardian in combat and pass by.

If the Questor is killed here the Quest is over. If he turns back the Quest is over. If he manages to sneak past the Guardian or to trick him then he may continue to the Seas.

This Station may be Invoked to force a duel with a water cultist.

The Searing Salt

This is where the Questor must enter the Seas naked and allow the salty waters to cleanse the Chaos Taint. The Salt in the waters will enter every pore in his body and cleanse him of the Taint, but will cause immense agony and pain in doing so.

It is up to the GM to decide what damage is done here, but a rule of thumb of 1D3 acidic damage per location per Chaos Feature/Taint/Geas/Curse/Disease cured is a good rule of thumb for normal Questors. This means that humanoids will take 7D3 damage, an average of 14 points per taint removed. This is possibly survivable by most people. If the Questor is more powerful, increase damage done to 1D4 or 1D6 or some other amount of damage. The damage taken in this Station cannot be healed until the Healing Waters Station has been completed.

If the Questor has tried to help the weak, convert the filth or cleanse the river then if he survives then the Chaos Taint will be removed. Otherwise the taint will remain even though the Questor has been damaged.

This Station may be Invoked to cure disease or a similar affliction as the Invoker immerses himself in acid in order to remove the disease. If he survives then the disease will be halted.

The Healing Waters

If the Questor has survived the Searing Salt then he must return to the Zola Fel.

He must find a still pool beside the river and must enter the pool. A naiad will come to him and will speak to him. If he still has the Chaos Taint then she will weep for him and tell him to try again when he is stronger. If he successfully completed the encountered Stations of Helping the Weak, Cleansing the River or Facing the Filth then she will heal him of the damage taken by the Searing Salt. Otherwise she will weep for him. In any case, the damage from the Searing Salt may be healed now.

If the Questor has successfully been cured of the Chaos Taint, he will be able to join the Cleansed One subcult. He will be called a friend of Zola Fel and will be able to join the Zola Fel cult. His chances of promotion in the cult will be increased by 10%. If he wishes it, the Naiad will be his companion while he stays at the pool.

Summary

This HeroQuest does not bring magical powers or abilities. It does not improve one's wealth or social position. It does, however, allow the Questor to remove something that ails him. It also allows him entry into the Zola Fel and Cleansed One cults.

Some people may comment that this is similar to the HeroQuest in the River of Cradles supplement. This is intentional and also coincidental. Both are river Quests, both involve meeting enemies and helping the river. Both result in the Questor being friends of the river. These are all common properties of River Quests generally. However, they are different and distinct Quests.

A GM may use this as an extended Quest. It may take many weeks of game time to complete and may take in many sessions of game play. Even though it is a single person HeroQuest the Questor may take companions along with him in order to protect him against the mundane encounters along the river. However, should they try to help in the HeroQuest the opponents will become stronger accordingly. The GM can mix the HeroQuest Stations with normal encounters to provide a heady series of scenarios and adventures, or he can keep it a simple HeroQuest. In either case, it should be an interesting series of sessions.


Notes

1. Alexander Smith suggests that the Icy Darkness could be used in the Big Rubble where there are a number of trolls. He is, of course, correct. In fact, the suggested locations for the Stations are only that - suggestions. The Stations can be placed elsewhere if required. I would suggest, however, that the Long Swim, Searing Salt, Guardian of the Gates and the Healing Waters are found where stated as the Quest would be unbalanced if encountered elsewhere.

2. Some may prefer to use the Fatigue rules to make the Quest more interesting and, if things go bad, the Questor can rest on boats or even the Temple Barge, if that is being used. However, I do not agree because using Fatigue makes things messy and prolongs the Quest unnecessarily, if Long Term Fatigue is used, the Questor can swim through the day and can rest at night or can swim one day and rest the next, this makes the Quest a little longer but does not enhance the Quest. Also, my interpretation of the Quest is an unsupported one, so the Temple Barge would not be present. However, this does not stop friends following the Questor with a boat for him to rest in.

3. I think this should be completely unsupported, but others may take a less harsh route. In this case, the Questor may be supported by a number of initiates or even by the Temple Barge. The Quest is therefore made a little easier. I can see this happening where a nobleman or other important person performs the Quest and requires support for political rather than religious reasons.

4. Alexander points out that the Solar Cultists also hate chaos and would try to kill it, but I think they love their own kind more and would give the Questor a chance to purify himself.

[End]