The Web Quest

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Created On 20 April 2000
Last Updated On 20 April 2000
Copyright (c) Simon E. Phipp 2000

This HeroQuest was designed to give some insight into the Arachne Solara style HeroQuesting. It was an attempt to walk some of the path of Cragspider/Aranea/Arachne Solara that I wrote some 8 years ago. Obviously, much has changed regarding the mythos of Arachne Solara and Cragspider. The rationale behind the HeroQuest was to walk part of Cragspider's path and take part in the Compromise, allowing oneself to accept an enemy or a conflict of interest. It allows characters to accept what is normally unacceptable and so to improve one's understanding of Glorantha.

Although this is best taking place in the Godtime, thus making any pacts mythically binding, it can be run on the Hero Plane or even as a Practice Run Quest. However, as a Pracrice Run Quest this cannot change cultic obligations, so a Kyger Litor cultist may not be able to avoid the proscription on using Light magic on a Practice Run HeroQuest.

The HeroQuest has several Stations:

Common Knowledge

HeroQuestors taking part in this Quest have the followiing Common Knowledge:

The Quest is to meet Arachne Solara's various manifestations and pass their various tests.

The Quest links with the Lightbringers' Quest but is not part of that Quest.

The Quest has several major parts:

  1. The Homecoming - Descent into the Womb
  2. The Dangerous Path - Path of Fire and Light
  3. Meeting the Goddess - She who lives on the Cliff, Guardian of Night and Day
  4. The Dark Web
  5. Meeting the Goddess - Guardian of the Centre, She who stands astride all paths
  6. The Path of Pain - Descent into the Realms of the Invaders
  7. Meeting the Goddess - The Binder of Souls, Mistress of Time
  8. The Compromise - Where promises are broken and made
  9. The Final Ascent - Return to the Hurtplace
  10. The Dawning - End of reality, Salvation of the Universe
  11. The Return - Back to Reality

Failure to negotiate any part means death or defeat and return.

Failure to pass the Goddess' Tests means failure and returning the way you came.

The first goddess is only impressed if you have not used Fire/Sky/Light Magic to reach her.

The second goddess is only interested in her kind.

The third goddess is only interested in saving the world.

Success means breaking with the Old and aligning with the New.

When you return, you willbe different and people may not like what you have become. They may fear you and hate you.


The ritual normally takes place at a Darkness Holy Place, normally at one of the Castles of Lead.

At a key stage of the ritual, one of the major races are slain as their souls must open the doorway to the Mythic World.

Towards the end of the ritual, a priestess of Xiola Umbar will approach the HeroQuestor and will wind three cords around the HeroQuestor and say "Remember":

  1. A cord made of inter-linked obsidian disks "Darkness"
  2. A cord made of spider silk "Fate"
  3. A cord made of inter-linked amber figure-of-eights "Time"

The HeroQuestor now consumes ritual foods, including several varieties of Magic Mushroom and emerges on the surface near the Castle of Lead during the Greater Darkness.

Descent to Hell

The entrance to Hell is via a natural cave, the way the Trolls first emerged.

The way is guarded by a Dehori who will let the HeroQuestor pass in return for a blood sacrifice or a 1D6 POW sacrifice and a Fast Talk/Orate/Bargain roll. Any being sacrificed here is permanently dead - its soul is consumed by Darkness.

The HeroQuestor is attacked by the following:

  1. Chaos who hate Trolls
  2. Demons who hate everyone
  3. Ghosts who hate the Living

They may be aided by the following:

  1. Darkness Spirits
  2. Trolls

At some point, the HeroQuestor must pass over a Dark Lake, the Styx.

  1. Anyone drinking the water loses 1D10 POW but gains a reusable Oath spell that must be cast at night over a pool of still, dark water.
  2. The Ferryman demands payment of 1 magic item to carry the HeroQuestor across. He will accept Death Coins, but the HeroQuestor must be dead for this trick to work.
  3. The HeroQuestor may take 1 drop of Styx Water as long as he has an obsidian or lead flask to hold it and sacrifices 1D10 POW in doing so.

The HeroQuestor passes through a cave guarded by a Dehori Demon who attacks anyone not of Darkness. Anyone who is of Darkness is directed along the Dangerous path - The Path of Fire and Light.

Travel the Dangerous Path (Path of Fire and Light)

This path is marked by glowing Crystals and burning pools - remnants of Yelm's Blood.

The HeroQuestor will be attacked by Yelmic HeroQuestors, Fire/Sky Spirits, Angels and Salamanders.

If the HeroQuestor has troll enemies, they will be here and will attack.

The HeroQuestor is unlikely to find help here.

Meet Guardian of the Balance

The path opens up to a cave with a lava pool and stepping stones.

To cross takes 8 DEXx1% rolls or 4 Jump Rolls.

There is a high cliff ahead - HeroQuestor must climb this (4 Climb Rolls)

Atop the Cliff is an old hag staring at a great bonfire. This is Cragspider, Guardian of the Balance, of Fire and Darkness.

Cragspider greets the HeroQuestor as a "friend in the flame" and asks him "What binds Uz together?"

If the HeroQuestor answers "Darkness" then he has passed the test, otherwise Cragspider says he must return the way he came and the Quest is over except for the return to the surface.

If the test is passed:

Walk the Web Path

This is a gigantic Spider's Web containing many giant spiders that will attack anyone who is not a spider, not a member of Aranea or not riding a Spider.

The HeroQuestor will eventually reach a tangle of webs that will only allow those riding a spider, initiates of Aranea or spiders to pass. Anyone else is turned away.

At the centre of the Web is a Giant, bloated Spider.

Meet Guardian of the Centre

This is the Guardian of the Centre, She who is Astride all Paths.

She will bid the HeroQuestor welcome and ask them to approach.

She asks a question "What binds all people together?"

If the HeroQuestor answers "Fate", he has passed the test and may continue, otherwise he must return the way he came. If she is attacked, she will kill the HeroQuestor.

The Spider will remove the Spider Silk cord and the HeroQuestor's sight will be restored.

If the HeroQuestor sacrifices 1 POW then he will be able to walk Spider Webs without becoming stuck.

The Web will be opened and the HeroQuestor may continue along his path to the Halls of Pain.

Descend to the Halls of Pain

Like the Dangerous Path, this involves combat with Fire/Shy Spirits, Yelmic HeroQuestors and Troll enemies.

Nobody will help the HeroQuestor here, unless the HeroQuestor invokes certain HeroQuests and summons aid.

Eventually, the Path opens up into a Cavern filled with a near-blinding light.

Meet the Guardian of Time

The Halls of Pain contain many HeroQuestors and Deities, in particular The Maggot King from whom the blinding light emanates.

The HeroQuestor will almost certainly be attacked by Yelmic HeroQuestors here as an enemy.

There will be other combats here as HeroQuestors settle old grudges.

A female deity naked except for a silken veil, will whisper for everyone to stop fighting and to listen to her words. A City Harmony-type effect will wash over the cavern.

This is the Guardian of Time, Arachne Solara.

She asks "What binds all together?"

If the HeroQuestor answers "Time" then he has passed the test and may continue, otherwise he must return the way he came.

The Binding

Arachne Solara asks the HeroQuestor to swear to allow the existence of others and not to allow Chaos to grow. This is a minor part of the Compromise and will allow the HeroQuestor to reconcile something in his life that was previously impossible due to cultural or religious dictates. For instance, a Karrg Son may swear to deal fairly with elves or members of the Yelmalio cult.

If the HeroQuestor does not take part in the Compromise in this way, he must return the way he came.

Arachne Solara takes the Amber cord and gives the HeroQuestor a strand of web and asks him to pull the strand tight when the time comes. When the Devil appears, Arachne Solara turns into a spider and wraps it in the web. After a struggle, she devours it and gives birth to Time. If the HeroQuestor lets go of the strand of Web then he does not gain the full benefits of the Ritual of the Net.

Ascent to the Surface

The Fire/Sky cultists will take the main part of the fight to the surface.

The HeroQuestor will have to fight a few Darkness Guardians trying to stop him leaving Hell.

Finally, the Surface will be attained.

The Dawning

The HeroQuestor will see that Yelm takes his rightful place in the Sky.

He will realise that Yelm and his Kin have their place in the same way that the Darkness Deities have their own place and that all the Gods have a right to exist.

He will also see that Harmony binds everything and that Disorder changes everything and Chaos destroys everything.

The Return

The HeroQuestor must return to the starting point of the HeroQuest by persuading Arachne Solara to release him back into Time.

Once returned, the HeroQuestor must abide by the agreements he has made and must accept that others have a right to exist. This generally softens the attitudes of the HeroQuestor and makes him better able to relate to people of other species and cults.