HeroQuest Glorantha (2015, a.k.a. “HeroQuest 2.1”, not HeroQuest 1st edition, 2003) has simple contests for simple one-on-one conflicts, group contests for conflicts where a group cooperates against a challenge or another group, and extended variations of each. But none of the four contest types seem useful for contests like races or other competitions where everyone is competing against everyone else. Doing multiple contests of any kind in order doesn't seem right, since the action is simultaneous in these situations, and not between pairs anyway. I know about the guidance for Free For Alls (p. 111), but racers can't be paired off and resolved iteratively as in a grand mêlée so that doesn't help.

How are such multi-sided contests run in HeroQuest 2.x?

Why do I ask?

In specific, I will be demonstrating the game system soon, and there was a rock-throwing competition scene in the recent campaign that I wanted to re-run using HQ to show how a familiar situation works mechanically. But I couldn't figure out how to make it work as a contest. Obviously that means it's not a great situation to use for the system demo, so I won't be doing that, but it did suddenly make me concerned about running such things when they come up. There are enough such conflicts likely to come up in this campaign that I want to be prepared to handle them.

As usual, house rules are only useful when backed with experience

I'm specifically looking for how to model such a conflict using the existing rules, rather than speculative suggestions for house rules. (I have no trouble with coming up with experimental house rules I could try.) Previous experience attempting and failing to do this, and then detailing a house rule that worked to fix that problem, would be a good consolation answer though.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is a system-agnostic answer acceptable for answering this question or do you need something specifically regarding Heroquest? \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Nov 8 '15 at 22:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Sandwich It needs to specifically work with HeroQuest 2.x. It's not a general problem I face, the problem is specifically how to model this type of conflict using HQ's mechanics, so all the normal HQ conflict stuff (Consequences of Defeat, Boosts, Masteries cancelling, etc.) are sensibly involved. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 8 '15 at 23:31

I would recommend as previously mentioned setting them against the race (aka the GM). I use simple contests. If the players had a lot invested in the outcome, I would use the banding that was suggested and use the extended contest results to move band. Narrating the results would be the challenge:-)

This is a great question, I'm starting the errata for the HQG examples soon and this would make another good example to help clarify the rules.


I'd treat it more like many against narrator, and treat each leg of the race as an obstacle. See page 64, core rules (river crossing). Each legs some advance and some don't. You could also make the race many legs, and scale how many advances a racer makes. Say critical gets 5 advances, where success only gets 4 all the way down to failure gets 1 advance or zero depending on how harsh you want to be.

I am posting s picture of the cover.

book cover

  • \$\begingroup\$ After doing some more research, it turns out that Extended Contest rules changed significantly between HQ1 and HQ2. Since HQ2.1 Simple and Extended Contests are what I have to work with, I think knowledge of the available options is necessary even in an answer that is focusing on Simple Contests. I've updated the question. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 9 '15 at 22:44

Generally, each person ins a multi-person contest checks for success. The contestant who succeeds by the greatest margin is the winner. Ties simply result in another contest until only one winner is established.

Does this not work in HQ2?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't know — does it? At first thought it sounds like it would be a bit of a hero point pit, and moreso in contests with more contestants. How well does this work in practice, and where are its rough edges? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 6 '16 at 6:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is how I’ve always done contests between many people as it’s fast and it allows for a rapid resolution. The hard part is coming up with the bonuses and penalties. \$\endgroup\$ – lbutlr Feb 7 '16 at 21:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Doesn't it result in a lot of Marginal Victories instead of clear ones? Do you borrow the concepts of Boosting and forbidding of HP spending from Group Simple Contests (which otherwise have the same problem), or do you mitigate that some other way? Or is it just not a problem? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 8 '16 at 17:40

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