Heroic Things

From: Lewis Jardine (jardine@rmcs.cranfield.ac.uk)
Date: Thu 16 Jan 1997 - 15:19:00 EET

MartinLaurie said (WRT megapowerful characters):

> Well maybe its just me but I like to have heights I can't reach, it keeps me
> reaching even harder but I'd be bored if I reached em.

I must disagree on this point. IMO if it is totally impossible to
something then people are unlikely to try too hard. If it is merely
very, very unlikely then the incentive is still there without changing
universe too much. After all why does RQ always have a 1% chance?


From: A fairly testy Peter Metcalfe

Who appears to think that I was attacking his POV,
when in fact I am in close accord with it.

> Me >I believe that traits should describe how a character feels and acts,
> >not force the character to act in a specific manner. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> Perhaps you can elaborate on the distinction between feeling and
> acting and acting in a specific manner -

The first is a general discription of the character (based on past
the second is what a character will do in a specific situation at a
specific time.
For PCs the first may be quantified the second is subject to "free

A heroquester can perform a act because he wants to follow a ritual
(why he wants to is moot, it could be totally selfish or piously
in his god's footsteps). Now the success of the ritual will depend on
how well the enactor's feelings match up with the god's. Thus it is a
thing," for reenacting your god's deeds, if your traits are similar to
god's ideals. Hence the PenDragon Pass religious traits.

> please note the trait roll is based on what the charcter feels.

I totally agree, my post refers to a "reflection of the character's

> The trait roll is merely a tool for simulating the results of heroquesting.

It can be more than this, but I agree that this is the primary reason
why we
are looking at it for Glorantha.

> It is not the be-all end-all of Heroquesting in that one can heroquest
> with any roolz whatsoever (cf John Hughes) and I have never stated it to
> be such.

Of course not, but then I never accused you of doing so.

> Therefore those who feel compelled to pontificate about 'unplayability'
> and 'flawed interpretations' can go jump in the lake.

The flawed interpretations I referred to were, quite plainly, those
state that trait rolls determine (force) actions. As for jumping in the
lake, the water is all iced-over here, so I suggest that you do it for
> me >In the mundane world traits have little direct effect, appart from
> >aiding roleplaying and helping players make difficult decisions
> >where they are unsure of how their character might act. [example
> >snipped] The answer is a simple opposed roll between lust and love
> >wife.
> Wow. Why not simply skip the whole roll and let player _decide_
> what to do _first_? Yes, his traits will change as a result of
> his decision to commit adultery of not, but that is _his_ choice,
> not the responsibility of plastic testicle substitutes.

Read it again Peter. OK in a perfect world roleplayers would be able to
totally separate themselves from their characters, but I for one am
happy to admit that sometimes things get too close for comfort. It is
these occassions when I believe that the *player* may choose to step
from the character and let the dice decide.

> IMO trait rolls should be used mostly for magical and religious matters.

Yes, I totally agree.

> [on the heroplane]
> me >Thus, if the PC heals the lion/dog/tabby cat/mongoose
> >or whatever they have carried out the mythical action, however, if
> >they do not do so out of Mercy (make trait roll) then they will not
> >receive some or all of the benefits of the HQ.

> In case you haven't noticed,

No, of course I hadn't!

> the success in the Heroplane depends on who you _are_ from a literary point
> of view. Androcles succeeded in healing the Lion because he was _kind_.

But in Glorantha he might have been able to cynically heal it for his
But how would the lion have actted?

> Sir Galahad (or is it Gawain?) succeeded in the Quest for the Holy Grail
> because he was _pure_, not because getting the Holy Grail would be a Good
> Thing for King and Country. Therefore opportunities for partial success
> by acting in 'self-interest' (ie it's a dumb animal but it could be
> helpful) are misguided methinks.

Well, how about the _unpure_ questing to the mythical east where they
the golden chalice of XXXX which they bring back and represent as the
holy grail. Who knows it might have some effect if people believe in


> The expression of _self_ is why Heroes succeed on the Heroplane,
> not what they 'do'.

Yes and no...

In Glorantha there is quite a lot of reworking of myths, as you know.
Partial success is definately a possibility in the the same way that
different outcomes are possible. I agree that these are based on who
you _are_ but they are also dependent on what you _do_. There is the
possibility of changing the myth by actting in a different manner.

A heroquest is generally more complicated than a single act or feeling,
thus a questor can succeed in most (but not all) of the tasks giving a
partial or even very different result.

Take the Hill of Gold with Elmal & Yelmalio, both act according to who
_are_. They perform different actions (suited to their different
Both succeed (in a sense, although Yelmalio's "successes" are to be
beaten up
by all comers), but the different actions have different results. So to
back to the point they succeed in their tasks because of of their
of _self_ (to use your words), but they can choose those tasks by their
But if they were to try to fullfill each other's quests they would have
a hard
time because their actions would not be suited to their _selves_.

This is probably one of the reasons why the Lunars (typical traits all
at 50%)

are so good at using/subverting other people's quests.

\begin{Rulesy Mathmatical Demonstration}

This means that Lunars will fail 50% of the time (ops time to get
another hero)
it also means that they will succeed 50% of the time on anyone elses
Whereas the lusty (80%) Orlanthi will be very good at Orlanthi quests
abysmal (20%) at Chaste Yelmalio quests. This becomes more apparent as
number of "stations" increases (see table below for typical

Quester Stages
Quest 1 2 3 4 5

O on O 80% 64% 51% 41% 33%
O on Y 20% 4% 1%
Y on O 20% 4% 1%
Y on Y 80% 64% 51% 41% 33%
L on O 50% 25% 13% 6% 3%
L on Y 50% 25% 13% 6% 3%

NB. The table assumes that the questers are 80% (16) in their god's
(which are those required for the quest).

\end{Rulesy Mathmatical Demonstration}

So that while it is costly (in terms of heroes) for the Lunars to tap
other peoples myths, the table above demonstrates that it is possible.
Obviously, the Lunars will bias it even more by choosing atypical Lunars
with traits biased towards the quest!


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