This is a scenario write-up - or actually more the transcript of our session - about a HeroQuest for Orlanthi adventurers who need to cleanse a large area from Malia's stain. This task being so big, that pleading for help of the gods seems to be the only solution.
Glorantha, Heler, Malia, Mallia, Scenario, HeroQuest, Myth, role-playing, RPG
Your party will differ, of course. I give this just to aid some understanding in reading the transcript. And because I like in my adventures to have little (sub) tasks for any PC, you will understand why there is one for a hunter, a shaman, an entertainer... As a GM you should adjust this to your party.
Thorius Bendix – Mercario follower, entertainer, acrobat
Meretseger – female Praxian shaman
Selene – Ernalda follower, "The Witch"
Solana – Selene's twin sister, Odayla / Yinkin huntress
Knut HelleSon – Fighter, Orlanthi smith
To understand why the party seeks this HQ, here are the last days of their adventures that led to the current situation:
The party, healers and elders did some brainstorming. Ideas came up. Some remembered a myth in that Humakt found a way to stop a plague in a similar situation: In his dispair he killed everybody infected - to be absolutley sure the spreading stops. But this cost a lot of colloteral damage, as he could not distinguish between the deadly ill, and those on their way to convalescence... And in our situation it was not about people infecting each other, but the river/land infecting anything. Belveren and Yuhurol were named as well, and this led to final decision to ask Heler for a cleansing rain, and a HeroQuest was the way to do that.
The godar started to prepare the party for the quest, the High-Healer gave them a sounding horn to take with. "I dreamt you might need it!" And somebody came up with the idea Selene should impersonate Ernalda in this quest.
It was decided Gods Time to be the right age to invoke for this HQ. But GM, beware, I do not know if this is canon and all fits together: 1) It is before time, so Elmal does not travel the sky. 2) Animals are sentient and speak. 3) Chaos is known, but the Unholy Trio does not exist yet. 4) Storm Realm, Storm Village and Karulinoran exist as we prefer to perceive it.
The party entered Storm Realm and started to make their way to find Heler. The HeroQuest took the following steps:
While on their way to Storm Village, the party meets some watchrodents of a colony of beavers busy taming water. First there was suspicion, then some small talk with the spokesrodent. When asked what they are up to, he says: "Hill up watersh, what you shink!" Spokesrodent hints "Beware of Griss!! That'sh why we're watshing." shaking spear and baring teeth.... As if it was possible to unbare those...
Entering Storm Village (Meet Hospitality, visit Karulinoran, drown Orlanth' anger about suspicious Non-Orlanthi characters in party by way of distraction, entertainment and Selene/Ernalda's soothing). Some gods and heroes are present, but not so Odayla (to tell him about Griss) nor Heler. Hint: “He ought to be guarding his sheep!”
Searching for sheep outside Storm Village. It took a moment to remember. “Heler's sheep? Clouds?! Of Course!” and gaping skywards they found him. Calling and shouting did not help, Heler was obviously not able to hear, up in the distant sky. Knut puts the sounding horn to give a mighty blow. Selene/Ernalda - not seeing this - at the top of her thundering and earth-shaking earth-goddess voice “HELER!!!!” Both big noises sounded as one, Heler woke and fell out of the sky! (In German “Falling out of all clouds” has the meaning of “being thunderstruck” in English! Of course, this is how this saying was invented :-) After apologies and introduction (fun and easy with Ernalda being here), Heler was still quite a bit grumpy and demanded to keep the horn, so no more nonsense could be done, to affright gods and sheep! This created the Myth “How Knut brought the wake-up alarm to the Gods, even before time!”
It took some thinking and was a bit lengthy to explain what they wanted Heler to do, because he was distracted all the time, whistling commands to the air-alynxes to keep his sheep in formation, and because it was before Malia was known to the gods. It was shortly after Chaos entered the world, but before the existence of the Unholy Trio as entities. They had to explain their needs without Heler understanding words like Malia/disease etc. but they managed. Benevolent to his kin (and his Queen, of course!) as is his nature, Heler agreed to help. When he finally understood the whole affair about the existence of a goddess as ill-disposed as Malia, he became so enraged, that he almost instantly lost his temper and would have washed away most of the land. But he came back to senses and realised he would endanger the land, kill people, and perhaps anger Magasta. So after calming down, he demanded a few things from the party, and a personal gift:
I am quite proud of this list. You may find better tasks for your PCs, especially concerning c).
The party agrees. Heler was the first storm god owning a shadow. Knut does NOT have a shadow since, even in the mundane world! Pondering about their task, the party decided to ask the obvious company for help.
They talk to the Beavers. Those agree to help against expected flood, but demand:
Again you may find better tasks for your PCs. There is no entertainer, but a trader? He could convice the beavers' providers of tools to not stop delivering... or suchlike.
For some time the party guards the beaver colony, then they decide to go out and hunt down Griss. They find and kill him. A big and tough black-furred bear, but at long not a match for the combined strength of the party. Solana serves the peaceful cut and saves the bear's last breath.
Meret is able to call the Big Beaver and puts up a séance with beaver chieftain and elders.
When asked about the sudden dwindling of dedication to the work, the Beaver spokesrodent replies "Tough worksh. We kaput. Needsh shleep. Worksh tomorrosh... shorry." Thorius Bendix jumps in to do some entertainment. His juggling performance does not run all so well, but the beaver have never seen anything like this. They think the mishap is a planned fun element in Bendix' show. So Bendix is not only a juggler, but a jester of high quality. Motivated again, they go working, stronger than before.
The beavers finish to build awesome fortifications against the flood! The party stand flabbergasted and gawp the constructions able to tame the towering waters.
Heler is satisfied, starts devastating downpour.
The party awake, back in the mundane world. The rain surpasses anything anyone has experienced so far, in strength and uninterrupted duration. Knut enjoys a naked Orlanthi dance in the rain, but after some moments even he feels uncomfortable and joins the party, Healers, and villagers, who gather in the village hall, the only building giving enough shelter. All houses of lighter built suffer roofs damages, or are under-channelled by rivulets etc.. Nobody, even the Godi, had expected and prepared for SUCH a phenomena. Travelling or working outside is impossible. The Praxian Meret is traumatised by an event like this. Too much water falling out of the sky endlessly... without the caring help of the healers she surely would have gone mad!
After one day, hunters (who have been out several days) return to the village, exhausted to their limit, almost dead. “We wouldn't have done it, if it wasn't for the freshly killed bear we found in the forest! We were searching since days, but couldn't track it down. Dunno who hunted it down. Was still warm! We ate. Then came Heler's grim upon us! If we hadn't been so well-fed...” they fall asleep. Solana wonders about this bear incidence, but nobody offers an explanation.
Cameo hook, of course!
It rains for three days and nights. Collateral damage is still high (buildings damaged, smaller things and plants with shallow roots washed away, cattle ran...), but only few things are beyond repair. Runaway livestock needs to be caught and one meagre harvest overcome, though. The river was largely kept in bed, thanks to the beavers. Still, travel is possible by foot or boat only, for several days.
Will they find Griss? If and when Magasta, Lord of the Water Tribe, complains about Malia leftovers swept into his oceans is not known yet, but this is an entirely different story to be told at campfires to come...