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Created On 25 February 2001
Last Updated On 25 February 2001
Copyright © 2001 Simon E. Phipp

Hero Wars Overview Apparently, there is a new product on the market, something called Hero Wars. From Issaries Inc, this is the new vehicle for promoting Glorantha and is so much so that all reference to RuneQuest have been purged from the records at to the extent that Glorantha was, apparently, associated with a popular roleplaying game in the eighties [1].

More and more people are playing Hero Wars and a great deal is being written for it. This means that it is going to become more important to Glorantha and deserves some attention now that it is a real game and now that people are actually playing it. [2]

To that end, I will try to do some things for Hero Wars, even though my blood is of RuneQuest. I will first look at some of the excellent Hero Wars material on the web and give my opinions of them. Then I will look at how we can convert the excellent cult prototypes found in Hero Wars to RuneQuest sketch cults. Eventually I will try and convert my own cults and creatures into a Hero Wars format so that they may be used in that game as well. Finally, I will try and convert some of the published material back into a RuneQuest compatible format, as long as I can get permission to do this.

Some people will ask why I am doing the conversions from a new system back to a dead system such as RuneQuest. Well, I am not convinced that people have as much love for Hero Wars as they have for RuneQuest. I know people who have bought Hero Wars and have said that it is not a very good system. I have also heard that it is an excellent system. However, I do know that there are still a large number of people who still play RuneQuest and do not play Hero Wars and I think they should be catered for.

As a caveat, I will freely admit that I have not yet bought a copy of Hero Wars and I do not know if I intend to buy a copy. If I buy one it will be for the Gloranthan background and ideas to convert back to RuneQuest. I do not intend to run or play in a Hero Wars campaign as I am no longer playing RPGs. Also, I cannot justify the expense of buying a number of supplements to give me some ideas on Glorantha when I do not actually play any more. To that end, maybe my views will be biased and predjudiced but that's OK as long as I admit this beforhand.

However, I do like the HeroQuests and cult sketches that are on the Web and I can see them being used in RuneQuest very easily. It seems that the best thing about Hero Wars for me is the cult prototyping that has been done. Excellent stuff. It also seems that Hero Wars is making HeroQuesting more accessible but more mechanistic as there are tables depicting results for succeeding, failing and changing Stations on HeroQuests, something that I feel uncomfortable with. I am also not keen on the wooliness that seems to be inherent in the system, something along the lines of "I can invent an ability then talk it up a bit so that it can be used for anything at all", something that I believe that Power Gamers will absolutely love - no rules mean no limits for abilities.

As a final point, I will freely admit that I do not know that much about the Hero Wars system and that I am writing this from a position of ignorance. However, that might give me a diferent viewpoint than people who rave about it or who hate it. We shall have to see.


1. This is a paraphrase, obviously, but I was so suprised that Issaries Inc could not even bring themselves to say RuneQuest, even though everyone who knows of Glorantha through roleplaying games also knows that Glorantha was the game world for RuneQuest. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that RuneQuest stimulated interest in Glorantha more than the WB&RM/NG games ever would have on their own and that without RuneQuest there would be no Hero Wars and no Glorantha as it now exists. It is very disappointing when we cannot even acknowledge past relationships.

2. It has taken quite a while for HeroQuest to actually come out and I welcome that. It is my job to try and integrate it back into RuneQuest so that we players of the Fine Art may use the new concepts in our own way.