The Will to Power

From: David Cake (
Date: Tue 21 Jan 1997 - 10:28:13 EET

Hey, Chaosium types, I'd appreciate some information from Chaosium about
why Imther was rejected. I'm sure a lot of people here are big fans of the
New Lolon Gospel as well, and so are also interested. This is merely a
humble request, and I fully understand that the information might not be
appropriate for this forum, but if is possible, I'm sure it would be


        There was much discussion about this at the RQ Con DU Heroquest talk.
        What was said by Greg (with contributions from several audience
members, particularly myself) was that the idea that Will is something that
the Gods have, and mortals do have, is still true, but that it cannot be
represented as simply as a number. Its certainly not as simple as Mortals
start of with a number of Will points and gradually spend it gain power.
        There are lots of examples of getting nifty powers in return for
losing free will within the RQ and Pendragon game systems. Gifts and geases
are a classic one. Joining a nifty new cult is another. Having a heroic
level passion or personality trait (probably above 20) is another. In my
rambling unfinished attempts to create heroquest rules that were fully
compatible with the RQ rules
( I ended up deciding that
the idea of Will being something traded for heroquest powers was not
something that could be written in the rules directly, but there were many
examples of it there already, and it best used as a design principle or
meta-rule rather than trying to clumsily represent as ethereal a concept as
Free Will within the rules.
        Think of free Will as simply constraints upon behaviour. I'm not a
big fan of the very abstract concept of free Will that gets thrown around
in a lot of Western philosophy, still less if you have to try and put it
into a game mechanic. In some highest senses I think we are just talking
about trading power for responsibility, so heroes have huge powers, but
huge responsibilities and little freedom to act. But at a lower level, they
just gain restictions on their actions that can be broken, just with awful
consequences (like gifts and geases). But clever heroes can keep coming up
with new tricks for a long time, getting their way round restrictions, its
just that each new trick has to top the old one.
        Gods eventually get to the point where acting against their
established heroquest paths is unthinkable to them. Whether they are
actually unable to do so, or whether they are free to choose but to depart
from their path would begin the destruction of the Universe is probably an
unanswerable question, but it doesn't matter - none of the gods are
nihilists (except the chaotics, who did try to destroy the universe and
failed). Or perhaps the gods are all dead in that sense (the dead have no
free will - your dead spirit can't just hoon off and bug your friends to
resurrect you, it has to go to the Courts of Silence like all the others,
unless you are a hero with previously prepared tricks up your sleeve).

        And the exception that proves the rule is the Red Goddess, who was
able to change her cosmic role dramatically, and certainly had free will at
one stage, unique among deities. She accomplished this only by being reborn
as a mortal, and then rebuilding her heroquest paths anew. Other religions
rely on heroes to change them.

        The other exception that proves the rules is Trickster - he keeps
changing and learning new tricks, but he keeps changing and forgetting the
old ones. He never accepts the responsibilities and constraints of power,
and so he keeps getting stuck with the bad consequences.

David Dunham
>has anyone posted all the great
>subcults we came up with for your game? Walind the Ram was fun

        In Tom Hobdays new campaign (started after he attended RQ Con DU,
and showing all the signs of Seattle influence, like Orlanthi clan
vendetta's) features a clan spirit called the Ram. They are vague about its
game effects, but claim it keeps you going all night. A popular spirit in
happier times.


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