Beast rune The Blue Boar Heroquest Man rune

A version of this was published in Tales of the Reaching Moon 7


The Blue Boar was a famous beast who lived in Dragon Pass before the Darkness. His exact ancestry is unknown, but few believe the Tusk Riders' claim to kinship. He terrorized many farmers of the era, smashing fences and freeing pig herds. If the pigs were recovered, the sows were pregnant with piglets that grew up to become intractable boars. The boar would also sometimes show up and alert a wild pig just as a hunter was approaching. Blue Boar was the goal of many a hunt, but no one could catch him until one day a young hunter named Izen Swiftrunner succeeded.

Izen decided that to catch the boar, he had to become like the boar. He cast aside most of the trappings of humanity -- he wore no clothing, and carried only a boar spear he'd laboriously carved from an ironwood tree. For several weeks he followed Blue Boar's trail, getting ever closer. Several times he came close, but the boar always seemed to know he was there, and could outrun him. Finally, Izen realized that he could never hope to be a better beast than an owner of the Beast rune. He would have to use the Man rune's reasoning ability. He found some truffles and lured Blue Boar to where he lay in wait, then snuck up while the boar was eating the delicacy. They struggled, but Izen won, and offered the Peaceful Cut so Blue Boar's spirit would be at ease.

Izen returned home with his prize, but he had also taken on some of the boar's nature.

Starting the quest

The Hunt for the Blue Boar is a heroquest which anyone can attempt voluntarily, but only once. It can be performed during any season on Wildday of Disorder week. The ritual must take place at Izen's Shrine, which is about half a km from the Blue Boar Fort. Any priest of a hunter god who's familiar with Izen can explain the ritual, which requires a successful Ceremony roll to work. The heroquester, who must be alone, strips and applies body paint in various designs. The quest is performed in no clothing other than the paint, although any any sort of weapons can be carried, as well as jewelry and a belt. Protective magic (including Orlanthi woad) may be used.


This simple quest consists of a number of stations, each recreating an event from Izen's original Hunt for the Blue Boar. The trap and predator may be encountered at any time but usually near the beginning of the quest, the others in sequence. No statistics are given, so that the quest can be played out with any set of rules. GMs should make each station challenging, remembering that Blue Boar had roamed for decades, and that the predator dared attack him.

Additional stations can be added. A suggestion is basic survival in the wild (World Lore to avoid getting caught in a thunderstorm, Plant Lore to find food, Devise to snare small game). Or perhaps you (the quester) catch glimpses of the Blue Boar -- but he always gets away, having more points of Mobility than you.

  1. At some point during the quest, you must make a Scan roll, or else walk into some sort of trap (a deep pit, a deadfall, etc.).

    Blue Boar eluded every trap devised.

  2. You must make a Listen roll. If you succeed, you become aware of a large predator before it pounces. If you fail, you'll be attacked without warning.

    No predator could surprise Blue Boar.

  3. The predator must be driven off or killed. The predator is typically a smilodon or some other now-extinct carnivore. On occasion, it's a troll worshipper of Zong.

    Blue Boar fought off many predators and hunters.

  4. Make a Track roll to find a trace of the Blue Boar.

    Blue Boar was hard to find.

  5. Make Animal Lore and either Search or Smell rolls to find some truffles.

    No one succeeded at hunting Blue Boar, until Izen lured him into the open with some truffles he was especially fond of.

    A trickster performing the heroquest used an illusion to make himself smell like a wild sow, thus using himself as bait. One way or another, you'll have to come up with a plan to outwit or trick Blue Boar. You can't best the boar at being a wild animal.

  6. Make a Sneak roll. If you fail, you'll have to go back to step 4, and find some fresh truffles (as they only keep a short while).

    Izen snuck close to Blue Boar.

  7. Blue Boar will engage you in spirit combat. On a round in which you succeed, Blue Boar lets you attempt a Peaceful Cut (again, note that Peaceful Cut is not available to animals). If you succeed, the quest is accomplished. If you fail, Blue Boar will attack in physical combat as well as spirit combat. If you end up killing him in a fight, the boar's meat will be tough, and his tusks have no special powers. His pelt will probably be ruined, too.

    Izen struggled with Blue Boar, but in the end Blue Boar gave himself up willingly, and Izen let him die at ease.

The Reward

After killing Blue Boar, you find yourself back on the mundane plane. If you successfully used Peaceful Cut, the boar itself is your reward.

The meat should be used to hold a great feast, or to feed your tribe. It will go bad if you attempt to use it all yourself. Portions of the boar (liver, heart, etc.) may give temporary benefits, at the GM's discretion.

You can grind the tusks into a potion which gives a permanent +1 to STR and CON, up to species maximum, with no other limit.

You get to wear the skin, which is a distinctive blue-black. Under RQ2 rules, this would raise CHA.

You also gain the ability to impregnate a sow; the results of this union will be a healthy litter of piglets of superior attributes.

The Fort

The Blue Boar Fort can be found on the map from TrollPak, about 1 km to the west of the King's Road between Herongreen and Dangerford on the Donalf Flats. It's on a minor road which leads to Dragon's Eye, in the lands of the Dinacoli tribe.

Travellers are more likely to stay at Wark's Hotel, on the King's Road about 1 km to the south.

The fort is a typical Theyalan hillfort. The hill itself was built by magics from earth cultists. Although it's only about 5 metres high, it gives a commanding view of the Donalf Flats. The earthwork walls are another three metres in height, and enclose 50 hectares. Within are the Orlanth shrine, which also includes a stone sacred to the Rain Blossom clan, the Orlanth acolyte's quarters, and several poorly-maintained longhouses. The rest of the space is used if the clan lands are attacked; they will then take their chattel wealth and drive their herds into the fort for protection.

The fort's single wooden gate and door are carved with scenes portraying Izen's Hunt for the Blue Boar.


I originally came up with this quest when a party of adventurers stopped at Blue Boar Fort. I figured the name had to be significant, so I had a hunter ask them if they too were planning on going on the heroquest. They decided that they weren't skilful enough hunters, which spared me having to come up with the details on the spot.

Steve Marsh's essay on heroquesting (and indirect help digging up my original notes) was instrumental in fleshing out the quest.

Details on the hillfort are based on Greg Stafford's notes.

Izen Swiftrunner

A shrine to Izen Swiftrunner can be found in some Odayla temples, especially in Dragon Pass. Izen teaches the Smell skill, but it's difficult for humans to learn, and instruction is treated as research. He also teaches the Mobility spell.

Izen also receives worship from farmers, who sometimes leave offerings when they want their sows to become pregnant, or if wild pigs are giving their domestic herds problems.

Copyright ©1996 David Dunham. Last updated 1 Jun 96.

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