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Created On 27 December 2011
Last Updated On 14 May 2001
Copyright © 2001 Simon E. Phipp

Magic Roads 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.
 

Stations

Beginning


This starts the Quest and prepares the Questors. Normally it involves facing and passing a Guardian of some kind, often but not always involving combat.
 

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.
 

Encounter Stations


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 Return


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.
 

Open 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 another.
 

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.
 

Closed Quests

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?

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.
 

Differences between Open and Closed Roads

Summary

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.

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