RE: Heroquest/Spiritquest/Essence Plane

From: Mike Holmes <mike_c_holmes_at_...>
Date: Fri, 06 Jan 2006 14:42:22 -0600

>From: CJ <cj_at_...>
>I have seen the word spiritquest used,

Actually, on that subject, I get the feeling that there are at least two or three sorts of quests that would pertain to "animists." First is the "ancestor quest" meaning following a hero who is now a spirit, much like the theist quester follows in the footsteps of a theist hero. Really little difference there, it seems to me. The second, however, would be following the actions of a being that was always a spirit. Like "How Little Fox Stole the Sun" or somesuch myth.

Basically it seems that in theism quests one follows the acts of some being that had an impact on an otherworld previously. As such, there are generally two types - those beings that traveled to the otherworld, and those that are native to the otherworld (and then those who were around when all the worlds were one who are sorta both, but effectively the latter type "today").

>... I am a bit vague as to what an Essence based
>monotheistic heroquest would look like?�

Yeah, we already hit this a couple of times, but what the heck...

>Does one recreate events from a
>Sanint's life, in a sort of mystery play/Stations of the Cross

I think that, in Wizardry, there are probably a couple of types of heroquests:

  1. Yes, the whole Stations of the Cross, are precisely the sort of thing that I see happening for liturgists, and following saints for adepts. As somebody said, think of Arthurian legends, too, questing for the Holy Grail and such. Seige Perilous would be, no doubt, a part of the Saint plane.
  2. For Adepts, however, I see something that's harder to describe. But it starts with the concept of nodes. That is, in the mundane world many things have essences in them, but you can't see them (without symbolic sight), because they're hidden behind the mundane shell. Hence the term essence meaning the inner nature of the thing. In the essence world, there are no such mundane shells, so these inner sources of energy for things are laid bare. When one can see these sources of energy, apparently, one can discern how to touch them, mold them, and ultimately use them to effect change.

So what the Adept does on a quest, I'm guessing, is to follow the perigrinations of some founder or other previous quester, into the essence world to seek out these sources, learn about them, and eventually understand how to manipulate them and draw their power across the boundary into the mundane world to cause "spells." This is all a rather dry explanation of the process, and it can look quite mystical in practice, I'm sure.

For instance, the classic example that I can think of for an Adept heroquest is to cross over to the essence hell, find some demon, and ask it to teach you a spell. The "demon" in this case is a renegade essence, and it's probably just telling the adept how to deal with some local node. This would be "Sorcery" of course. For a faithful wizard, he might cross to some essential forest, find a unicorn there, and persuade it to tell him a spell.

In addition to spells and linking nodes to grimoires (particularly difficult as one has to get to the Node plane which is a 10W6 resistance), I'm sure that some wizards cross over to get "essential items." An alchemist, for instance, might go on a quest in the otherworld to find 10 things he needs to put together to create the Philosopher's Stone (or Gloranthan equivalent) to ensure himself immortality (I'm sure this is what the Brithinians do, no?).

Compare this to the recent discussion on the magnitude of quests for an idea of what life as an adept is about:
1. Practice quests - the adept reads about some wizard, studying the steps, and then mentally goes over them. He may learn some minor spells this way, ones that don't require close visualization of the essence source behind the spell to understand.
2. Heroquest - the adept, following chapter four of the grimoire he's studying, crosses over to the hero plane to follow some steps taken by the grimoire's writer when he first discovered the spells. The character learns the same spells in doing so.
3. Heroquest to the Node Plane - the adept, helped by his school, crosses over to the Node Plane, to attune his new copy of the grimoire to the node to which it usually is attuned.
4. Improvised Heroquest to the Node Plane - after years of study and other quests, the heroic adept crosses over to the Node Plane, and there creates a new grimoire from his understanding of some new node.

And that's just for gaining spells. Each may also pertain to gaining magic items, again, or other magical benefits. I always wondered how wizards created magic stuff - well, I think they do it in heroquests, just like theists do. What does it look like? Here's a sample Practice Quest with it's stations, to obtain a Ring to Keep One Warm on Cold Nights as taught by the School of ArizAx in Carmania:

  1. Find an essence of Warmth and bring it to the ritual site (has to be done to open the ritual, as they fade away quickly if not). 12W
  2. Perform a ritual of purification of the mind. 17
  3. Perform a ritual purification on a gold ring (must have been obtained before ritual). 5W
  4. Pulverize still warm charcoal made from a Yew tree (I dunno), and immerse the ring in it competely. 15
  5. Use the incantation of essence to flow the Warmth essence into the coal about the ring. 19
  6. Throw the ring into the hottest part of a blazing fire to heat it up. 3W
  7. Properly perform the incantation of enchantment (probably reading from the appropriate scroll). 4W
  8. Extract the ring just as the essence flows into it. This is a heroquest challenge. Risk your Know Way of ArizAx ability against a 15 resistance (failure means that the character's aquired knowledge of the Way is, in fact, faulty).

The resulting Ring ability has a rating of 15 or the ArizAx ability, whichever is lower, as usual.


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