Send comments and/or criticism to Simon E. Phipp
Created On 27 December 2011
Last Updated On 14 May 2001
Copyright © 2001 Simon E. Phipp
Of all the types of HeroQuest, Magic Roads are the most unusual. Magic
Roads are Quests that enable rapid magical movement through the planes.
Typically, a Magic Road consists of several stages - Beginning, Crossing
the Planes, a series of Encounter Stations, The Return.
This starts the Quest and prepares the Questors. Normally it involves
facing and passing a Guardian of some kind, often but not always involving
Crossing the Planes
This unusual stage allows the Questors to travel via the Magical/Mythical
Planes and transports them to the planes. It is at the GM's discretion
as to whether this is the God Plane, Hero Plane, some mixture of the two
or some other plane. Once again, this often involves passing a Guardian
of some kind.
The Questor must travel to various locations, each of which has
an encounter, task or being, or group of beings, to be appeased or defeated.
The Questors must pass a final Guardian and return to the normal
Plane at the desired location.
Types of Magic Road
There are generally three types of Magic Roads - Open, Partially
Open and Closed Quests.
These may be started at any point and may be finished at any point. Both
start and end points have Guardians and the Questors must enter the Magical
Planes in order to travel. The Encounter Stations are normally the same
regardless of where the Quest starts and ends, with only the Entry Guardians
differing. The start and end points are normally similar and are mythically
based, but this is not always the case. Examples of Open Quests are the
Rainbow Bridge, where Questors summon a Rainbow Bridge to travel to a new
place; Lava Flows where the Questors ride the lava from one volcano to
Partially Open Quests
These are similar to Open Quests, but either the start or end point is
fixed and always occurs at the same place. Examples of these include the
Puzzle Canal Quest, where the Start Point is the Puzzle Canal but the end
point may be any one of a number of places; the Devil's Fingers where the
start point is beneath the Block in Prax and the end point is one of a
number of Chaos Nests and Chaos Holy Places.
These are where the start and end points are fixed. Quite often the intermediate
stations are also fixed and correspond to physical places. The Guardians
of these places are normally the deities of the places. Most standard Magical
Roads are of this type and allow travel between two fixed places.
Most Magical Roads are Closed Quests, but there are several Holy Places
that support OPen or Partially Open Quests, for instance the Puzzle Canal
in Pavis, the Caves of Chaos in SnakePipe Hollow and the Devil's Claws
beneath the Block can all be used as the start point of Partially Open
Quests. The end points for these Quests are fairly open but must be of
a certain type and normally form a short list. So, a Questor travelling
from the Devil's Claw must end up in a Holy Place or Temple dedicated to
Primal Chaos or Cacodemon, Riders of the Red Worm must start from the Caves
of Chaos and end up in a Holy Place to Primal Chaos, emerging from a Chaos
Void. Questors taking the Puzzle Canal Road must end up at a shrine to
a water deity where the shrine is underground and where Dark Waters from
an underground river must flow through the shrine.
Truly OPen Roads are rare and those who know them are powerful and feared
for they can travel to temples and other holy places almost at will. One
example of this kind of Quest was when the Pure Horse Tribe escaped the
Black Net and travelled across the Solar Plains until they reached the
Dragon Plains of Dragon Pass (Yes, that is "Plains", not "Planes" because
the Pure Horse Tribe can access their ancestral Plains and can cross the
Solar Grasslands). Open Roads often access parts of the Magical Plains
that are connected to the cults that provide the Quest. So, Storm Cultists
cross the Cloud Paths or Wind Paths; Solar Cultists cross the Golden Sky
or Rainbow Bridge; Earth Cultists cross the Bare Earth or Green Fields;
Water Cultists cross the Primal River or Primal Sea; Darkness Cultists
cross the Dark Hells, Obsidian Path or sometimes the Web Path. There are
other paths available but they are rarer.
Magic Roads are dangerous for several reasons.
Most Magical Roads take a day to complete, so the gain over conventional
travel can be impressive, considering the normal 70 km or so for a day's
travel. Even more useful is the element of surprise when a small group
of HeroQuestors, or even a small army, can appear at a temple or Holy Site
with no prior warning. This begs the question as to why Magic Roads are
not routinely used in battle situations?
They are HeroQuests and all HeroQuests are dangerous.
Questors can become lost on a Magic Road and be unable to return.
It is possible to be defeated by the Guardians and not be allowed to enter
the Mundane Plane.
They can be captured by the Guardians and trapped in other Plains in Spiritual
Prisons that the Questor must HeroQuest from in order to escape or be helped
by other HeroQuestors.
There are several reasons for this:
So, Magic Roads are often seen as the last refuge of the desperate, but
this could be said for any HeroQuest. Powerful HeroQuestors will use them
to move around the world quickly. Movement Rune cultists will perform Magic
Roads out of some kind of religious fervour.
Very few people have access to Magic Road HeroQuests
Most people will not follow a leader on a HeroQuest
The cost of travel may be very high for normal people
The HeroQuest itself can be dangerous and can result in the loss of the
Enemy HeroQuestors may oppose the Quest, perhaps by influencing the Guardians
fight, helping Guardians to block the Questors, or by Invoking or participating
in Stations to oppose the Questors
The more people travelling a Magic Road, the more powerful the opposing
forces. Nobody wants to fight several battles in order to reach another
The intended target must be a Holy Place or Temple of a particular type
and this reduces the number of places where a Magic Road may be used
An ambush may be arranged to attack the army as it emerges from the Magical
Differences between Open and Closed Roads
Open Roads can start and finish anywhere and are not mythically linked
to certain locations
Open Roads access the Magical Planes - a cross between the Hero and God
Closed Roads start and finish at the same places and have the same stations
Open Roads can have different stations each time they are performed
Magic Roads are strange types of HeroQuest that allow fast movement between
two places, but at a high magical cost. They can be very dangerous and
are only attempted by experienced or desperate HeroQuestors. The more common
kind of HeroQuest allow travel between two fixed points, whereas the rarer
type allows travel from many points to many other points.
I will write up some sample Magic Road HeroQuests, these should include
Open, Partially Open and Closed HeroQuests and will be from various cultures.
They should also serve as guides for other people who want to write their
own Magic Road HeroQuests.