Friday, 17 April 2015

Malkioni HeroQuests

Inspired by this discussion a month ago on the Google+ community for Glorantha, I figured I would try my hand at some Malkioni HeroQuests, or as they might call them great ritual invocations, with HeroQuesters taking the title of Invokers.

The Ritual to Create a Grimoire

To create a grimoire, the invoker must first know their ultimate goal. By performing research and similar activities, they study the source of their magic, the Runes themselves, and the manner in which they may be manipulated. This takes many forms depending on the Sect the invoker belongs to. While the Zzaburites and Rokari devote themselves to performing meditations on the ultimate logical perfection of the Runes themselves; the Hrestoli instead research the actions performed by the Ascended Masters, examining their deeds in an attempt to follow in their footsteps to uncover a great truth about the cosmos.

First Zzabur's Sigil must be marked upon the ground, a pentacle with each point bearing one of the five Elemental Runes, progressing from Darkness, through Water, Earth, Fire and finally into Air. In the centre stands the invoker. When this is done, the invoker may breach the barrier between the material and the essential world. 
The difficulty for invoking the power of the runes is Very High, although the resistance is reduced one or more resistance classes if performed on a day or at a place where the barrier between the material and essential worlds is weaker.

The Road of Trials
When the initial invocation has been made, and contact with the essential world has been performed, the invoker must then send their psyche through this connection to the essential world.
  • Obstacle 1: The Symbolic Plane: The first of the essential worlds reachable to the invoker is the Symbolic Plane. Also known as the Spell Plane, Adept Plane, or Magic Plane; this is where the Third Action, Multiplication, takes place. In this plane, Runes combine with each other, forming the interactions which create magical effects. The invoker may choose to end his journey here, to create a spell (either within a grimoire they already possess, or as an independent spell); and most invokers do so.
  • Obstacle 2: The Idealised Plane: Those invokers who are not satisfied with creating a single spell must instead travel past the Symbolic Plane to the Idealised Plane, by following the flows of runic essence. This journey has been referred to as going "Past the Sun". The Idealised plane, also known as the Philosopher Plane, Founders Plane, or the Thoughts of God; is the result of the Second Action, Manifestation. Here the runes themselves exist; singular, primal manifestations of the elements, powers, movements, and forms.

Confrontation and Transformation
Now the invoker has come into the presence of the primal runes, they must focus on the one associated with the grimoire they seek to create, and come into contact with it. When they do so, they may study the rune, and how it manifests and combines with other runes.

Return and Integration
Having studied the primal rune and principles, the Invoker must now internalize this knowledge through meditation and revelation. If the invoker is successful in this, their psyche returns to their body on the material world, filled with the knowledge of their discovery. This allows them to develop their grimoire, and teach it to others.
The invoker tests their rating with the appropriate rune (or grimoire if learning a spell) against a Very High Resistance to integrate their knowledge. This becomes a breakout of their rune.

Ritual to become a Man-of-All

"Seeing his father's lands attacked by the lion men, the Krjalki, and worse, Prince Hrestol wept. He saw his people attacked by monsters, but knew he could not do all he might to help him, for he was a Noble, and could not fight, nor work, nor teach what must be done. He stood alone at night awaiting for an answer, and felt the Prophet Malkion's spirit with him. He felt Joy in His Heart, and knew what must be done."
This great ritual allows a Hrestoli who has known Joy to become a Man-of-All.
Before being performed, the invoker must have performed years of study in the duties of each caste, as well as a deed of great service to his community.
He must spend a night in deep meditation, communing with the divine for guidance.

"Hrestol's father stood by him, golden skinned and shining haired, and gave him his crown to carry with him, that he may guide the lost."
"At the gate stood a soldier, scarred and armoured, who offered Hrestol his brazen sword to carry with him, that he may defend the weak."
"In the fields stood a worker, tireless and loyal, who shared the lands' bounty with the Prince to carry with him, that he may feed the hungry."
"Alone stood a wizard, who revealed to Hrestol a sign, that he might teach those who did not know."
The invoker first surrenders all that he owns to his community, that he might confront Creation as he was Created. He must gather his companions to him: a lord, a soldier, a worker and a wizard, who each give him something he may carry along with him on his journey.
Then the invoker must leave his community, following the secret Map of Hrestol. 
The gifts given by each of the four companions may take many forms, and may even be that companions themselves, although even in this case, they offer a token gift as well. Leaving the community via Hrestol's map (said to be in the shape of the Truth Rune), acts as the crossing of the threshold. Invoking the powers of the Other Side.

The Road of Trials
"When Hrestol left, he felt the presence of Malkion, and knew Joy; although he could not see him. All was silent about him, and he knew that he was alone."
The Invoker finds themselves alone, and without allies. Armed only with their gifts, they feel the presence of Malkion with them, and must now face their trials. These come in many forms, and obstacles may be in a different order to how they are presented here, this is merely the order most commonly recorded.
  • Obstacle 1: The Worker: 
"Finding himself alone, Hrestol found the way ahead blocked by thorns. He took the flail, and threshed them, revealing hidden seeds. At this the Hungry appeared, and Hrestol gave them fullness." 
The invoker finds themselves confronted with an obstacle blocking their path. This may be a large boulder, a field of weeds, a ravine, or any number of things. It cannot be avoided (doing so would take the Invoker off the known path, and make them Lost,) but must instead be shattered, cut, or bridged, depending on the form it takes.
  • Obstacle 2: The Soldier: 
"Finding himself alone, Hrestol was beset by Krjalki. When he slew them, he found the Weak that they preyed upon, and Hrestol gave them freedom." 
The invoker is set upon by enemies, often ones already known to him, but sometimes an unknown threat arises instead. They cannot be reasoned with, and must be defeated in combat.
  • Obstacle 3: The Noble: 
"Finding himself alone, Hrestol was among strangers, who knew not the right way to behave. Hrestol showed them wellness, and the strangers became men." 
The invoker finds strangers, and must civilize them by convincing them of his right to lead. Many methods have been performed over the centuries, through trickery, bribery, intimidation, or diplomacy. None have proven more effective than any other, and it has become a common matter for debate as to which is the better method.
  • Obstacle 4: The Wizard: 
"Finding himself alone, Hrestol found people worshipping demons. Hrestol showed the people how the demon fooled them, and the demon was destroyed."
Here the invoker finds themselves confronted by a spirit, demon, or other entity. He must understand how it performs its magic, and replicate it via wizardry to prove it is not more powerful than man. Failure at this point will often lead to the spirit being freed to work its magic upon others, and is rightly feared for the horrors it brings.

Confrontation and Transformation
"At the centre, Hrestol again met Malkion, enthroned on Ferbrith. To him he offered his Right Hand, which was accepted."
After completing his trials, the invoker must now meditate, seeking access to the deeper levels of the Invisible Measure. This is the most dangerous and difficult part of the ritual, and involves travelling to the Law Plane (also known as the Venerable Plane), where Malkion still exists. All who the invoker aided must lend him their power, for this is protected by the blessings of Malkion, and the curses of Zzabur, and few men may enter unaided.
The resistance of this barrier crossing is at least Very High, and usually Nearly Impossible. Any lingering benefits from success at the earlier obstacles apply, as do any penalties. Community support is usually saved for this point as well, for journeying to this realm is nearly impossible otherwise.

Return and Integration
"Returning home, Hrestol showed he had worked, fought, led, and knew. Joy was upon him and all could see it, he was not worker, soldier, lord, or wizard, but all of them. And so all would call him Teacher and Master, and he was the Man-of-All."
Having achieved oneness with the divine, the Invoker is now a Man-of-All, able to perform the duties and magic of each caste without fearing spiritual contamination. They are now supported by their community, and are addressed by the title of Sir.
The Man-of-All receives a New Keyword, described later. Other participants often find their gifts filled with the power of the invisible measure, such as weapons or tools becoming made of pure runic metal. The community, as well as having certain problems solved, now also has a great protector.

Source of Magic: Trade Guild, Warrior Scociety, Ascended Master, School of Wizardry
Living Standard: Prosperous
Occupations: None
 Born into one of the Malkioni castes, you have followed in the footsteps of heroes such as Hrestol and Gerlant, becoming a member of the other castes as well. You have taken new oaths to your Lord, and often lead his warriors into battle. He listens to your council, and others respect you for both your position, and your knowledge.
 To become a Man-of-All, you were sponsored by a member of each of the other castes, your deeds exalt them for their wisdom for sponsoring you, and so they are your allies and friends, and you are able to call upon them for aid, although they expect you to respond in kind when they are in need of assistance.
 You are skilled in the arts of each caste, being a student of a specific art or craft, familiar with all kinds of arms and armour, a devoted scholar and you possess a silver tongue and are skilled at matters of state.
 As a Man-of-All, you are not allowed to spit, deceive, interrupt, offer sacrifice to demons, gods or spirits, dress badly, guffaw foolishly, or gesture with the left hand; you have also sworn to protect the innocent, the weak, and the poor, to show courage, to be gallant, obedient, to swear off cowardice and baseness, and to be a just champion of good against evil.


  1. Interesting. Have you tried this in an actual gaming session?

  2. Unfortunately, not yet. One of the players in my campaign is planning on becoming a Man of All in the next session or two, so I will be running that quest shortly.