The Rainbow Bridge

Send comments and/or criticism to Simon E. Phipp
Created On 14 May 2001
Last Updated On 14 May 2001
Copyright © 2001 Simon E. Phipp

During the times before the Gods' War, two great beings embraced each other. Aether, the Sky, held Gata, the Surface Earth, and where they touched wondrous things happened. In many places, new things were made and shimmering lights danced between Earth and Sky, shimmering and moving as the two deities moved and rubbed. When Umath was born he reached out and forced Earth and Sky apart, destroying much of what they had created together, but the Rainbows clung tightly to both their parents. Some were torn away and only held to the Earth or the Sky, but many kept their feet on the Earth and their heads in the Sky.

As the Gods' War progressed, many of the Rainbow Bridges were broken or torn away, but some survived and could move around the world, delivering help to the Earth from the Sky.

In Prax, Rainbow Girl was one who had been torn from the Earth, but who remained connected to the Sky. She came down and carried messages from those who called to her to the Sky.

When Yelm returned, the Rainbows went away but often return after a storm to show that Sky is victorious over Storm, even after the mightiest storms.

Even now, intrepid HeroQuestors can call down the Rainbow Bridge to carry them to distant places.

The Magic Road

This is an Open Road that can be used to carry HeroQuestors between to temples or Holy Places of Sky Rune cults. The start and end locations must be open to the Sky, must not be underground and must have a clear view of the Sky. The Quest may only be attempted during the day and when the cloud cover is below 50%.

The Quest is usually performed by Sky Cultists, but others have been known to walk the Rainbow Bridge and they may be of other cultures, even enemy ones.

The Rainbow Bridge HeroQuest spell costs 5 Points and is available from the Rainbow Shrines or from certain Fire/Sky temples. It can be Invoked to create a bridge across a chasm or river that costs 1 POW for every POW in metres to be crossed, so a HeroQuestor with 15 POW would use 3 POW to make a Rainbow Bridge to cross a 40m chasm. The Bridge will last for as long as the Invoker takes to cross the Bridge, but each person who crosses will lose 1D3 POW.


Stations on the Quest include:

Calling the Rainbow Bridge

This must be performed at a Sky Holy Place or Temple that is not underground, that is open to the Sky and that has a clear view of the Sky. If the cloud cover is above 50% this will automatically fail.

The Questor must pass the Guardian of the Site in order to Call the Bridge. This Guardian is normally an Aspect of the deity to whom the temple is consecrated, and is often one of the priests of the temple or the guardian spirit of the temple, although sometimes an Angel, HeroQuestor or Hero may perform the role of Guardian.

The Guardian will allow friendly Questors past if they can convince him that they are friendly. Members of enemy or hostile cults will be attacked. Members of neutral cults must give a gift of some kind in order to pass, usually this is a magic item, spell or ability. The option of combat is always possible but this may prejudice any attempts to perform the Quest in the future.

Assuming the Questors can pass the Guardian, they must then Call the Rainbow Bridge. This is normally a formality but some GMs may require a Summon roll, a Sing, Play Harp or other similar role to bring the Bridge down.

This Station may be Invoked to act as a Summon Rainbow spell that summons a Rainbow in the Sky for 15 minutes.

The Guardian of the Bridge

This is an Angel who stands and guards the Rainbow Bridge. Whereas the Guardian of the Holy Place may be friendly to certain non-Sky cultists (e.g. Amanstan, Lorian) the Guardian of the Bridge will only allow Sky cultists to step onto the Bridge, and then only if they donate a gift (1D3 POW, 1 divine spell, special ability etc.). Enemy cultists (Darkness, Chaos, Water, Storm) must fight and defeat the Guardian of the Bridge to pass. Neutral cultists must persuade the Guardian to let them pass, this normally involves a roll of some kind with a substantial gift. Once again, violence is an option and the Guardian can be defeated, but this means that the Questor will be treated as an enemy for the duration of the Quest and for any future attempts at the Quest.

If the Guardian of the Bridge is not defeated and does not allow the Questors past, the Rainbow Bridge will be insubstantial for the Questor and he will not be able to step onto the Bridge, merely to step through it. If the Questor has successfully persuaded or defeated the Guardian, he may step onto the Bridge and it will act as a crystal bridge. Some GMs may require a Bravery roll or some other roll before the Questors can step onto the Bridge, but I do not think this is necessary.

Once on the Rainbow Bridge, the Questors will meet several obstacles as stations on the Quest. These Stations include Weathering the Storm, Passing through Darkness, the Well of Tears and Facing the Slime. If the Quest is being opposed then it is normally opposed in one of these Stations. There are two further stations that are encountered on the Quest - Heaven's Gate and the Narrow Way, but these are parts of the Rainbow Bridge itself and opposing Questors rarely participate in these stations.

Quite often, the Questors may encounter extra stations to these, depending on their own backgrounds. They may leave the Bridge and enter Heaven's Gate, passing through to the Sky. They may fall from the Narrow Way or be killed en route. They may have the Rainbow Bridge destroyed beneath their feet and be lost among the Planes. This can be quite a dangerous Quest.

This Station may be Invoked to allow a Guardian to be persuaded or bribed as above.

Weathering the Storm

When Umath separated Aether and Gata, he buffeted the rainbows and broke many of them. This station is an echo of that event. When the Questors pass through the Cloud Realm they are attacked by the forces of Storm. These may be winds or sylphs who try to blow the Questors from the Rainbow Bridge, but usually they are Guardian Heroes or HeroQuestors trying to block the Questors' way and to kill them. Occasionally the opponents here are Wind Children or even Storm Demons, but these are rare occurrences.

This station usually requires a combat, but friends of the Storm may be able to persuade the opponents that they have a good reason to be here and they need to pass.

Questors blown from the Bridge or who fall from the Bridge have failed in their Quest and need to check the Blown From the Bridge Station. If the Rainbow Bridge is destroyed, check out the Bridge Destroyed Station.

Those Questors with Cloud Clear may cast it heroically during this station, but this station does not allow them to cast the spell if they do not have it, nor does it allow them to sacrifice for Cloud Clear.

This Station may be Invoked to act as a Cloud Clear spell with a strength of the Personal MPs cast into the spell.

Passing through Darkness

This station occurs when the Questors pass through the Night realm. It occurs during the Night, so the actual time it occurs depends on the time of day the Quest was started. This Quest represents the struggles between the Rainbows and the Night Sky.

Those Questors from Fire/Sky/Light backgrounds will automatically be attacked here, as will Chaos cultists. Darkness cultists normally have to make a good case for being here or they will also be attacked. Other cultists also have to persuade their opponents that they should pass otherwise they will be attacked. Bribes have been known to work in the past, but this Station is known as one where combat is extremely likely.

Normally, the Rainbow Bridge is engulfed in Shadows which boil from the Night Sky. These Shadows are physical and corporeal in nature and must be destroyed by damage. Visibility is reduced here to almost nothing. From out of the Shadows come trolls, Dehori, Demons and Dark Angels, HeroQuestors and Heroes. These are tied to the Darkness Rune and will be of Rune Level or higher in strength. These will try to smash the Rainbow Bridge as well as to attack the Questors.

Questors with Light causing spells (Sunbright, Lantern, Sunbeam) or Dazzle causing spells can cast their spells heroically here, but they cannot sacrifice for or use spells that they do not have.

This Station may be Invoked to act as a Light spell.

The Well of Tears

Many Rainbows helped the Sky when Lorian invaded. They also appeared after Heler caused the rain, to show that he had not brought back the Deluge, and persuaded him to show moderation. Some Rainbows were present when the Sky Wept and they carried messages of the Sky's Sorrow to the people below.

Passing through the Well of Tears requires a roll to avoid the Sorrow of the Sky. This is normally a Fortitude roll but may take other forms, depending on the GM. If the roll is failed then the Questors may jump from the Bridge or simply turn back in despair.

The Well of Tears involves water attacking the Questors. Sometimes this consists of Lorian cultists attacking from the Sky, other opponents have included Heler HeroQuestors, Angels of Sorrow or even heavy rains of water or acid.

HeroQuestors with drought causing spells may cast them Heroically in this station, although they may not sacrifice for these spells here.

This Station may be Invoked to allow passage through water, although the Invoker and his comrades will weep uncontrollably when passing through.

Heaven's Gate

This is where the Rainbow Bridge touches the Sky. The entrance is guarded by an Angel or perhaps by HeroQuestors and Sky Cultists.

Those Questors who wish to leave the Rainbow Bridge and enter the Sky must persuade the Guardians that they are worthy. They must be members of Light/Fire/Sky cults and of no other cult. They must never have broken a geas and must always have behaved honourably. They must take a geas in order to enter the Sky and must give the Guardians a gift. If they are refused then they may fight the Guardians and defeat them. If they do this then they do not need to take a geas or give a gift, but they will be marked as enemies of the Sky for future Quests. Passing through Heaven's Gate means the Rainbow Bridge Quest is over, unless they pass out of Heaven's Gate and resume the Rainbow Bridge Quest at a later date.

Those Questors who do not wish to enter the Sky must persuade the Guardians that they should be able to continue along the Rainbow Bridge. This is similar to persuading the Guardian of the Bridge and involves the same rolls and gifts. As always, this Guardian may be defeated through combat.

Failure to convince the Guardians will mean that the Questors must return back the way they came.

Questors with Truth detecting spells may cast them heroically here, but they may not sacrifice for these spells here.

This Station may be Invoked to allow entry into a Light/Fire/Sky sanctuary by persuading the Guardians of the sanctuary. Obviously, Zorak Zorani using this spell will have difficulty persuading the Guardians, but they will have a chance.

The Narrow Way

At some point, the Questors will find that the Rainbow Bridge narrows until it resembles a knife edge. This is an obstacle to judge whether the Questors are worthy enough to pass.

Questors must successfully pass the Narrow Way in order to continue along the Rainbow Bridge. This can be abstracted as a dice roll, either against a Personality Trait or against DEXx5% or the Balance skill. Some GMs may feel that this is a spiritual test and should not be tested against balance, but I feel that a skilful acrobat should be skilful here as well. However, those who are spiritually unworthy will receive penalties on their roll. For each geas that has been broken subtract 25%, for each failed HeroQuest of Light/Sky/Fire subtract 10%, for each Darkness/Chaos/Storm cult the HeroQuestor is a member subtract 25%. As per normal RQ rules, the chance of success cannot go below 5%. If the HeroQuestor decides to follow the example of Solarus Skywatch [1] and try to cross on hands and knees it will not help here, he will only look silly. If the HeroQuestor fails the roll, he will fall and must check the Blown From the Bridge station. This may seem a little harsh, but only the purest may pass the Narrow Way.

HeroQuestors may use spells that improve Balance to cross the Narrow Way, if they have them. Spells that give automatic success will only double the HeroQuestor's Balance or DEX skill, before the penalties take force, this is because such spells would completely negate this Station otherwise.

This Station may be Invoked to cross a Narrow Bridge using a DEXx5% or Balance roll, ignoring any penalties that the Bridge may have.

Facing the Slime

During GodTime, the Rainbows fought Chaos as all right thinking people did. They faced the Sky Terror when he came to devour the Angels. They faced Urain when he brought his Dark Clouds against them. They faced the Sky Gorp when they rained. The Rainbows overcame or evaded all these Chaos foes until they met Gbaji whose birth they witnessed when they were summoned to form a series of arches around him. The Rainbows were seduced by Gbaji and some followed his ways, but they generally remained aloof and untarnished by his ways. Those that were seduced gained the ability to bring others to a higher level of understanding just by watching their ever-changing shimmering colours. Even now, some may call on some Rainbows to gain increases in Illumination.

Here, the HeroQuestors will be faced by Chaotic foes that boil out from the Sky or from the clouds around them. Normally, they will face worshippers of the Sky Terror or Urain, but sometimes they will face Sky Gorp [2]. GMs may want the HeroQuestors to face other Chaotic foes here and this is possible if they have HeroQuested to oppose the Questors, this is a good place to meet powerful Chaotic personal opponents.

HeroQuestors with weapons-enhancing spells from Fire/Sky/Light deities will be able to cast them heroically here, but they will not be able to use spells they do not have nor will they be able to sacrifice for those spells during this station.

This Station may be Invoked to act as a True(Weapon) spell against the forces of Chaos where the weapon is a weapon of Fire/Sky.

Leaving the Rainbow Bridge

Those Questors that have passed the obstacles of the Rainbow Bridge must eventually reach the end of the Bridge. They will meet a Guardian who is similar to the Guardian of the Bridge encountered previously. This Guardian will ask them their business and will require a successful persuasion roll and a gift to let the HeroQuestors pass. He will not let pass any Darkness/Storm/Chaos cultists nor will he allow to pass those cultists who have fought a Guardian of the Rainbow Bridge earlier in this Quest or on previous Rainbow Bridge Quests. He can be fought and the Questors can pass him without charge if they defeat him.

The Questors must then pass the Guardian of the Temple to which they have entered. This is follows the same format as the Guardian of the Way in the first station, but this Guardian is specific to the destination temple. The Questors must try to persuade him to let them pass, must give him a gift and must fight him if all else fails.

Bear in mind that Questors who are trying to attack a destination secretly using the Rainbow Bridge will probably find that the Guardian of the Way is instantly hostile to them and may even alert those in the temple that an attack is happening. Temple Guardians will take form as Spirit Warriors and Priests/HeroQuestors will use all in their power to stop the Questors. This final station is often the most difficult for hostile Questors to pass.

Once the Guardian of the Way has been passed, the Questors can end the HeroQuest and have reached their destination. They will find themselves in the inner sanctum of the temple that they called down the Rainbow Bridge to travel to, or they will be on the intended Holy Place. Now that they are in the Mundane Plane, all HeroQuest rules are suspended and normal RQ rules take over. They have succeeded in travelling the Rainbow Bridge and have travelled many miles in a single day. Songs can be sung about them that tell of how they walked the Rainbow Bridge and survived.

This Station may be Invoked to allow a Guardian to be persuaded or bribed as above.

Blown From the Bridge

Any Questor who is blown from the Rainbow Bridge or who falls from the Rainbow Bridge is almost certainly lost. Some GMs may allow a DEXx1% roll to hang on to the Rainbow Bridge and then to climb up, but this should cost 1D3 POW per round of climbing and only a special climb roll should be able to succeed. Those who do not make a DEX roll will find themselves falling. If they use flying spells to reach the Bridge, they will find that the Rainbow Bridge has become insubstantial and they cannot step onto the Bridge unless they donate 2D4 POW to the Rainbow Bridge.

Those HeroQuestors who cannot fly back to the Rainbow Bridge will find that they fall to the Earth in a random place. Some GMs will allow them to fall to the Magical Realms instead, so if they fell off during the Weathering the Storm station then they may be able to enter the Cloud Realm, if they fell during the Passing through Darkness station they may be able to enter the Night Sky. Those falling in the Facing the Slime or Narrow Way station will be unable to enter the Magical Realms and will simply fall to their doom.

Since the Questors have travelled the Rainbow Bridge at a constant rate, the GM can work out roughly where they would have been where they fell. If they choose, the GM can say that the Questors fell to earth in this approximate place. However, I feel that this is a little easy and would personally make their landfall a random place in the continent they were performing the Quest. Even better, I would set them loose in the Air Realms and have them fall forever, unless they had HeroQuests to allow them to find a Cloud, Fall To Earth or Fly to Safety. After all, this is a HeroQuest and not simply falling off a Bridge.

This Station may be Invoked to give the Invoker a DEXx1% chance to catch hold of something if he is falling.

Bridge Destroyed

It is quite difficult to destroy the Rainbow Bridge, treat it as Crystalline with 100 AP and only damaged by critical hits with Rune Metals or normal hits with Adamant, but the APs always protect first. However, if the Rainbow Bridge has been destroyed then all the Questors are treated as if Blown From The Bridge and must suffer the consequences, except that they cannot rejoin the Rainbow Bridge. This is very, very bad and means that the Quest has effectively ended in failure.

Destroying the Rainbow Bridge does not mean that the Rainbow itself has been destroyed, merely that this summoning has been destroyed. Think of it as similar to killing an elemental - the physical body has been destroyed but it can be summoned again. However, destroying it on the God Plane may have far-reaching effects and may even kill the Rainbow itself.

This Station is never Invoked.

Further Comments

Unlike normal HeroQuests, this Magic Road does not allow the Questors to sacrifice for magic during the Stations. This is because the sole purpose of this Quest is to travel the Rainbow Bridge. Any other benefits are incidental.

Since this is a HeroQuest, it gives the Questors an extra POW gain roll in addition to any gained on the Quest. It also allows anyone who has performed the Rainbow Bridge Quest to sacrifice for the Rainbow Bridge HeroQuest (5 Point Quest). This may be sacrificed at the successful conclusion of the Quest or afterwards at a Rainbow Shrine or at a Temple that teaches the Rainbow Bridge Quest, although such temples are extremely rare.

Questors performing the Rainbow Bridge again will not necessarily meet the same Guardians or Stations as these depend on the particular Rainbow Bridge that has been called. However, some Questors may be linked to a particular Rainbow Bridge and may encounter the same Guardians each time. This is a distinct benefit. Some Rainbow Bridges have Stations that are unique to them and Questors may be surprised by an unexpected station. For instance, Vadrus conquered and raped one of the Rainbows and anyone who calls her will have an extra station - The Despoiling Storm - that involves Storm Cultists and nasty practices.


1. Solarus Skywatch was a PC from our campaign who tried to cross the stone bridge in the Caves of Chaos in SnakePipe Hollow on hands and knees because he only had a DEX of 15 or so. The GM ruled that he now had a 95% chance of success so he quite happily rolled and fumbled, falling into the water and attacked the Turtle who was coming to help him, causing it to bite his arm off and swim away. Serves him right, really.

2. Sky Gorp are parts of the Chaos that invaded the Sky. They have normal stats apart from the ability to fly (normally to fly up into the air and then drop onto an opponent) and taking half damage from fire (ha, ha, ha!).