Wednesday, December 28, 2022

HeroQuest: The Arena Quest Set-Up

  Here's another of the improvised HeroQuest games I played with my 7yo son was particularly interesting so I thought why not share it on the blog? You can see it in the picture.


The board: I used the arena from the Immersive Battle Maps book.

The set-up: The hero started at centre of the board. I placed one of each type of the green and white monsters at sides of the arena. I should have placed the grey ones too from the beginning, at another side, but I didn't, so I added them at a second time.

The objective: Defeat as many monsters as possible before succumbing. When a hero reaches zero Body Points, the challenge is over and they are taken out of the arena and healed of all wounds. For each defeated monster, the hero receives a reward of 10 gold coins.

I didn't think of a special prize in case all monsters were defeated, but now I think it could be a great addition.

Special Rules: At every Zargon's turn, 1 monster enters the arena. Zargon decides which one enters.

Setting your own Arena quest

Ideally, this set-up works best with a large areas. If you only have the standard HeroQuest components, I suggest putting all the open doors on the board, carefully placing them (and the wall blocker markers) to create a maze-y environment. You probably want to exclude the 1-square corridors, because those will create boring fights. Then, I would put the heroes in the central room, with four open doors, and the monsters grouped in the furthest rooms.
 This might actually be more fun than a single, large, open area.

Scaling with Players

I went with 1 monster per monster type, and had 1 monster enter the arena at every Zargon's turn. With more players, I guess it should work with 1 monster per player entering the arena at every turn.

What Story?

The arena set-up can fit well as an alternative to the trite "you've been captured and wake up inside a cell" scenario. This time, you've been captured and the diabolical Big Bad Guy wants you to entertain him.


Into HeroQuest? Check out my other HeroQuest Posts!

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

HeroQuest: The "Pac-Man Quest" Set-Up

 One of the improvised HeroQuest games I played with my 7yo son was particularly interesting so I thought why not share it on the blog? You can see it in the picture. I shared this very pic on facebook and one user said it looked like Pac-Man, which is quite accurate, so here's my "Pac-Man Quest" set-up.


The board: I used the hedge maze from the Immersive Battle Maps book.

The set-up: The hero started at one side of the board. I placed three chests at three different locations in the maze, the gargoyle ("just a statue") in the central dais, and a dozen undead scattered around the maze.

The objective: Finding the desired object (can't remember what the story was, sorry) inside one of the three chests.

Special Rules: All the monsters are already on the board, and they all move during Zargon's turn. They can go towards the hero, or set up ambushes or try to defend the chests. I had no idea which was the right chest: when the hero opened one, I rolled a die to see if it was the right one (5 or 6 on a red die for the first chest opened; 4, 5 or 6 for the second; and automatic for the last). The chests that don't contain the mcguffin contain a random treasure card. If/when all the chests are opened, the gargoyle statue animates, and it can fly over the maze walls to assault the hero.

Setting your own "PacMan" quest

This type of quest set-up can be duplicated with other boards or even with standard HeroQuest components. All you need is a maze-like environment with long, meandering passages.

With the regular HeroQuest board you can achieve the same effect by putting all the open doors on the board from the beginning, carefully placing them (and the wall blocker markers) to create a maze.

What Monsters? How Many?

The best monsters for this se-up are slow. Zombies and mummies create a good crescendo of threat, and allow players to evaluate the fights they'll have to face when they choose a path, including maneuvering to outflank large groups. As a rule of thumb, 10 monsters +3 per player should make a decent challenge.

What Story?

The chest inside the maze can hold anything really: the map or key to the next quest, or the enchanted item needed to defeat the Big Bad Evil Guy or to foil their plans.


Into HeroQuest? Check out my other HeroQuest Posts!

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Expanding HeroQuest: Why Did It Have to Be Snakemen!?

 Because Snakemen are the epitome of Sword & Sorcery! Without them, your fantasy is just some poor-man's Tolkien!

These are the models I chose!

So I've been scouring the internet to find some good-looking, not-too-expensive models for my HeroQuest game. I had been tempted by this Epic Encounters: Chambers of The Serpent Folk box. It is fairly cheap for the amount of minis included, and they are definitely high quality sculpts. I had even written stats for the minis. And the box also includes a large grid map.

This is the definitive box for a big snakemen campaign, but too many for me!

BUT THEN I found these lovely sculpts on Etsy. It is a matter of personal taste, of course. These guys are closer to my idea of HeroQuest, where I like to mix the '90s style with the contemporary style. They sure would rock next to the original edition minis (which I only "have" here, in my heart...).

I chose these over the Epic Encounters box mostly because I figured I don't need that many minis. If the base HeroQuest can make do with six goblins, two zombies, etc, I definitely don't need 20 snakemen. So I started looking for alternatives in a similar budget.

This is where I decided 10 snakemen with 3 different sculpts (4 warriors, 4 bowmen and 2 sword-and-board "leaders") were enough, and then I started exploring the rest of the Etsy creator's catalogue, since I had to pay for shipping anyway.

And that's when the game became: spend the same budget as the Epic Encounters box, and get the most out of it.

I decided I didn't want more monsters. I firmly believe a big part of the charm of HeroQuest is the immersive experience it gives, empowered by the simplicity of the rules and the glorious amount of (almost useless, from a gameplay point of view, unless you use my Searching the Furniture rules) furniture pieces.

So I went and chose the campfire pot, so now my orcs and goblins can cook snacks while squatting the dungeon!; these savage totems for my chaos dread temple dungeons (nothing says "don't enter this door" like a pair of grim totems next to it!); and these tomb and gravestones that along the core game's tomb (and the alternate sculpt from Mage of the Mirror) will allow me to more decently fill a crypt-themed dungeon. Oh and also a bunch of barrels, just because they were cheap, and they definitely can go along with the original table and cupboard.

"Looks like meat's back on the menu, boys!"
(God I'm bad at taking pics)

This was my first time placing an order on Etsy, and I gotta say it was all good. The box arrived in due time, everything was carefully wrapped and arrived in perfect conditions, and the sculpts are exactly as shown in the vendor's pictures, including the brown plastic used for the barrels, totems and campfire pot. Yes, this was a big plus for me, I'm not going to paint anything!

Plus, the unexpected nice part was I also received several freebies: the creator gifted me with 3 chests and 3 crates from the barrel set, and two extra snakemen!

After I got my order, I contacted Pieter, the creator (there's a direct message button on Etsy) and I found he is the nicest guy. I really should have asked him if he could have printed the snakemen in birght green plastic instead of grey!, here's the HeroQuest stats for these serpent persons, ready to chop and pierce the heroes!

Snakeman Warrior: Move 5, 3 AD, 3 DD, 2 BP, 3 MP, Hypnotic Gaze

Snakeman Archer: Move 5, 3 AD, 3 DD, 2 BP, 3 MP, Ranged Attack, Hypnotic Gaze

Snakeman Chief: Move 5, 4 AD, 5 DD, 4 BP, 4 MP, Leader

Hypnotic Gaze: Adjacent heroes roll 1 less AD and 1 less DD when fighting this monster (minimum 1 combat die).

Leader: All other snakemen in the room gain +1 AD.

(The chief has to do without the hypnotic gaze because he's got a human head)

And since I got a campfire pot, I may as well create a table for searching it, since I've done tables for searching basic game furniture:

Campfire Pot

A bubbling "soup" with a bizarre smell. You can decide to have a taste! If you do, roll 1d6 to determine what happens:

1 As you stir the pot, a wandering monster is attracted by the smell and attacks you immediately. The hero's turn is over.

2 The hero hallucinates and loses 1 Mind Point.

3 The hero loses 1 Body Point to belly pain.

4 You've tasted better, but this is quite good.

5 A hearty soup! The hero recovers 1 lost Body Point and 1 lost Mind Point.

6 How did this end in the pot...? Roll again:

    1 A pebble that almost broke one of your teeth.

    2 A useless button.

    3 A dagger!?

    4 A ring worth 10 coins. 

    5 You chew a rubbery shroom that tastes like blueberry, and recover all lost Body Points.

    6 A pearl earring worth 50 coins.


Into HeroQuest? Check out my other HeroQuest Posts!

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Expanding HeroQuest: Searching the Furniture

Since our very first HeroQuest games, my 7yo son always moved his hero next to any furniture piece in the room before declaring he was searching for treasure. Because it makes a lot of sense, after all!

So I had to explain that the rules say you mustn't move, and that you can search a room even if there is no furniture. But oh, boy, is this really cool?

So here's my rules for actually searching those interesting furniture pieces, each with different results. Wanna taste the potions on the alchemist's bench? See who's hiding inside the cupboard? Do you dare disturb the tomb? Are you sure you want to be scrutinized by the evil man in the portrait above the fireplace? What grim findings await you in the torture rack?

Here's the answers. After all, I love writing random tables


Into HeroQuest? Check out my other HeroQuest Posts!

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

About The Frozen Temple of Glacier Peak

 The Frozen Temple of Glacier Peak is a 24 page OSR adventure by Robin Fjärem, for a party of level 1-3 adventurers, designed for Knave, and easily convertible to other OSR games.

I got the PDF and printed it at home as an A5, stapled zine of sort (no POD option is available).

Mr Fjärem has done a very good job at designing a module that in 24 pages describes 32 rooms full of adventure.

What's it about? The adventure offers 3 levels, each with a distinctive theme and flavor. The first is the titular frozen temple with 11 rooms, the second is a a single large cave with an underground lake with 6 areas, and the last is "the spirit realm", a large underground complex with 15 rooms.

Before the dungeon proper, we have the description of a mountain camp, 6 different hooks, and 6 rumors.

The first level is long lost temple. The glacier has melt a bit, and it is now possible to enter the temple again. The contents of the temple fit the theme perfectly, its all abandoned and icy, close to no encounters except a frost centipede and, from the random encounters table, rival adventuring parties and a frost smilodon who has just ventured inside the temple looking for prey.

The second level is fairly linear, with a sequence of islets scattered through the lake. But has a snorting troll sleeping in the farthest islet, and the lake is the portal to the spirit realm, if the group figures out how (and there's plenty of ways to understand how the lake is magical), while possibly avoid waking up the mysterious source of the snorting. 

The last level, the spirit realm, is in fact a perfect adventure in the mythical underworld, with more than a hint at fairy tales and norse mythology. This level is full of fun, interconnected encounters with NPCs, including a Lindwurm (a flightless dragon) and its magnificent hoard.

So how is it? It's a great little adventure, with a distinct pacing and a strong theme. The writing is short and clear, exactly how I like it. You read it once, you're ready to run it.

Is it perfect? No, but close. I didn't like that some secret passages in level 1 don't include in their description an obvious way to suspect they are there. I didn't like that the "spirit realm" level is too small. It feels like it should have been vast, too vast to explore in its entirety (there's world in mythical underworld). And it feels so because there's a lot going on with the fairy creatures and peculiar places described, and also because of the very good random tables included (mushrooms, treasure, NPC motivations, events). At your own risk, you may attempt connecting this to other adventures such as The Incandescent Grottoes, or simply expand the map, adding rooms and paths between the keyed ones, to increase the feel of an underground world. Those tables should make it relatively easy.

All in all: It's a good one, definitely recommended if your campaign has snowy mountains and you like the fairy/norse(ish) themes, and worth the effort of conversion to your favorite OSR system.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Expanding HeroQuest: The Sword & Sorcery "Minions" Expansion Pack

 I've just acquired a new "expansion" for HeroQuest: the Sword & Sorcery "Minions" Expansion Pack, which I found for €13 on

...and, oh boy, this was a very good bargain! The box includes 10 spider minis, 5 spider egg clusters, and 5 mini-yetis. That's 20 pieces, for little more than 50c.

And it seems to be available for about the same price on too.

Here's a pic of the models together with the HeroQuest heroes:

Note 1: the rocks are from my back yard and are not included!

Note 2: the board is my very own custom cavern game board, which I'll write about as soon as the whole project is complete.

Note 3: I'm bad at taking pics. You can see the models on the official box art. The pic here is meant to show you relative size, and the fact that the spiders have bases.

So what about these models? Here's I plan to use them.

The Spiders: Spiders are fast. These spiders are small. All in all, the same statistics as the HeroQuest Goblins will do for me. HeroQuest is a simple game and I like it exactly because of that. If you want a little more punch, check my swarm rules in the Legend of Drizzt monsters.

The "Mini Yetis": I like them, even though they're fairly small. But hey, they are grey models, and in HeroQuest the color grey means Chaos Dread team! So I'll play these as Dread Imps, the little cousins of the Gargoyle. Small but vicious!

Move: 8

Attack: 3 dice

Defense: 3 dice

Body: 1

Mind: 3

The Egg Clusters: These are where the fun is at. You can use them as simple terrain in spider-infested dungeons, of course, but how about making them interactive? Here's how:

During Zargon's turn, each Egg Cluster spawns a spider in an adjacent square, until destroyed. Egg Clusters have 6 Body Points, but don't roll to defend.

As a one-trick pony, this is sure to surprise the players the first time, and it'll keep giving them a priority even afterwards: as soon as they find a cluster, they'll probably prioritize destroying it, even in the presence of other monsters.

The spider-spawning eggs can be fairly easy inside the dungeon rooms of the official board, but may make for one hell of a scenario if you use a different board, like the much more opened areas from the boards and map books I use.

All in all: If you find it for a low price, this box is an excellent expansion for homebrew heroquesting!


Into HeroQuest? Check out my other HeroQuest Posts!

Popular posts