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HeroQuest De-Magicified (!)

PostPosted: Thursday July 4th, 2019 3:20pm
by Kurgan
This seems like a strange title, but I have a play-partner who, due to certain religious scruples (and I know we don't argue about those here) doesn't want "magic" in the game, but otherwise loves to play. So monsters and potions are fine, but no real "magic" allowed. This was my challenge...

So I came up with a creative way to accommodate without diminishing game play and had a great time in the creative process. After all, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. I have designed new cards and tiles, many of which I share below.

"Magic spells" simply gets replaced with "Alchemy skills." In olde Bretonnia, despite the "medieval" setting, their natural philosophy (science) extends beyond ours in some areas and the stuff we read about in medieval tales actually works... this includes the lore of the Elves, and the mental abilities of some keen adepts out there. Alchemy already exists in the HQ world, so this is an expansion of it. "Chaos" is just the more dangerous form used by the bad guys.

I'm going through all of the official material and adding the substitutions as needed.


Fire, Water, Air and Earth remain, but take on the alchemy groups Pyro, Hydro, Aero and Terra (sorry, not Ignis). I thought it was fun that I later saw the "anniversary" cards for the proposed HeroQuest Revival used similar symbols. I swear I did not copy off of them...

The logic is that the Alchemist (Wizard) is the only one with the technical know-how to replenish his devices, remix his potions, etc. A "spell scroll" is an alchemist item that has been dumbed down for the layman. "Pull cord, light fuse and get away" in pictographs. Alchemy is normally written in obscure languages and with secret symbols. The lesser version of this is the Apothecary (could be an Elf or could be human). He knows some things but not as much as the full fledged Alchemist.


Fire of Wrath is replaced by the Fire Lance, a primitive firearm good for one shot.

Ball of Flame becomes Greek Fire, the syphon good for one use.

Courage becomes a drinking horn filled with Berserker Brew.


Water of Healing is replaced with Healing Tonic.

Sleep becomes the Paralyzing Dart.

Veil of Mist becomes the Flask of Fog (an ancient smoke grenade)


Tempest becomes the Gossamer Net, a shooter of giant spider silk that entangles the enemy.

Genie becomes the Chinese Rocket (Happy 4th)!!!

Swift Wind is the Warhog bladder. This is a fun one... a giant balloon strapped to the back of the Hero, letting the air out, cartoon style, giving him some extra distance!


Heal Body becomes Medicinal Herbs (not those kind of herbs...).

Rock Skin becomes Shellac & Mortar, a quick concrete-like mixture that protects the Hero like a temporary suit of light armor.

And finally... Pass Through Rock becomes the Hyrax Cage, a super efficient Badger that is released and digs through walls (even stone squares, he don't care!) as the Hero follows close behind (the debris collapsing behind him). Between quests, the Alchemist (or Apothecary) presumably tracks down the missing animal, and coaxes it back into the cage to be fed and rested for next time. The later "Elven Cloak of Passage" functions similarly, a bag that holds three wild Hyraxes.

The Magical Throwing Dagger I modified into the "Trick Throwing Dagger" that is not an instant hit, but uses a black Die for damage with no defense (making it almost a guaranteed hit).

The Wizard's Staff is now the Alchemist's Staff (made of exotic materials that resist acid/rust and containing hidden barbs). The Wizard's Cloak is of course now the Alchemist's Cloak, a garment spun from Giant Spider silk and concealing a coat of leather armor (for hiding all those tools and vials!).

Now on to Chaos...

Lightning is an Electric Bolt generated by a Baghdad Battery with cables and generators located at the wrists.

Rust becomes an acid spray of metal eating corrosive liquid.

Firestorm is an incendiary Fire Bomb (the Chaos Alchemist wears protective clothing).

Tempest is of course the Gossamer Net again.

Ball of Flame is of course Greek Fire again.

Fear is a Terror Dart, inhibiting a Hero's abilities by chemical means.

Summon Orcs and Summon Chaos (Undead) are achieved by blowing a horn or a special whistle that attracts the necessary monsters to the aide of the evil Chaos user.

Command becomes a Zombi Toxin (another dart attack).

Escape is achieved by use of a flash bang/smoke type bomb. Presumably the bad guy used a trap door or just ran off in the confusion. True teleportation (using small wormholes) is rare in this universe...

Cloud of Chaos is an exploding canister of paralyzing gas.

Now then, in the realm of Chaos, they have come up with ways to turn men (and other beings) into monsters.

The Skeletons we all know and love become Chaos Mutants. These Mutants (here I use the Reaper Bones "Frost Devil"/"Ice Devil" minis) are distantly related to insects, but are twisted by Chaos alchemy into something deadly. In "Alchemists of Chaos" (Wizard of Morcar) the "Raise the Dead" spell is actually a way to summon an incubating Mutant from the body of a dead monster (bursting forth "Alien" style!).

The Mummy is replaced by the Sasquatch (using the Reaper Bones "Yeti Warrior" mini, which looks awesome). These monsters have a new ability. When placing one of these unstable brutes, twisted by Chaos, Zargon rolls 1 white combat die. If it is a black shield, and there are other monsters closer to him than the Heroes or their allies, they can actually attack the monsters instead! I put in that they won't attack their fellow "undead" (Chaos Creatures) or the one who summoned them, unless they (the Sasquatch that is) is already wounded.

Zombis are like Zombies, but instead of being the true undead, they are men (and elves) who have been twisted by alchemical and surgical means.

Chaos "sorcerors" essentially are chemically modified beings. So the "Witch Lord" may dress up like a skeleton, that doesn't mean he actually is one.

"Dominate," "Mind Blast," and "Mind Lock" (Against the Ogre Horde) are Chaos Mentalist abilities that work using secret mind techniques aided by the subtle use of mind-altering powders or mists.

Chaos Creatures seem to have a similar reaction as Undead to the use of "Holy Water."

For the Frozen Horror:
"Magic Ice" become "Instant Ice" a marvelous invention. So Ice Storm uses a cloud of Instant Ice shrapnel, Ice Bridge uses it, etc. The bad guys sometimes call it "Chaos Ice" but it's basically the same thing. Psychic Recovery becomes Mental Elixir.

For the Mage of the Mirror:
The Airwalk becomes a Zip Line. The Cloak of Passage contains Hyraxes. Twist Wood is now Warping Formula. Time Stop is an Adrenaline Surge (speeds up the Hero). Invisibility/Disappear becomes Stealth. Some didn't even need to be changed... we assume the Elf can be trained in the mental arts of hypnotism, etc. The Bone Wand becomes the Mutant Whistle. Treasure Without Doom is a Treasure Flare (blows open a lock-disabling the trap in the process, illuminating the room so you can see and avoid a hazard, scare away a potentially stalking monster for the time being, etc). Werewolf's Curse becomes Lycanthropy, Dispell is just Dispel, and Mirror Magic is Mirror Skill.

For a lot of these I just changed the wording slightly, and kept most of it as is. This is because we didn't have these later Quest packs as kids, and I wanted to keep as much of the original essence as possible.

For the "Wizards of Morcar" they are now the Alchemists of Chaos. The High Mage becomes the Chaos Master, the Necromancer is a Vampire, the Storm master an Elementalist, and the Orc Shaman is an Orc Alchemist. Many of the same Spell/Skill substitutions work here too.

I'm still adding new material as needed...

Quick Links to:

New Cardbacks

New Cardbacks Part 2

Alchemy, replacing Hero Spells, Part 1

Alchemy Part 2, plus Ranger & Paladin Skills

"Spell Scroll" Replacements

New Miniatures for Wizard, Elf, Mummy & Skeleton

New Artifacts, various Skills

Japanese Artifacts

Elementalist Skills for the Mystic Hero

Clerical Skills

Re: HeroQuest De-Magicified (!)

PostPosted: Thursday July 4th, 2019 6:52pm
by Kurgan
Alchemist & Apothecary Hero Cards... (Updated)

Re: HeroQuest De-Magicified (!)

PostPosted: Thursday July 4th, 2019 6:56pm
by Kurgan
"De-Magicified" Chaos Skills Example (the treasure card backs are just extra, they're not part of this, obviously):

[Corrected Link]

Re: HeroQuest De-Magicified (!)

PostPosted: Thursday July 4th, 2019 6:57pm
by Kurgan
"De-Magicified" Chaos Skills Example 2:

Re: HeroQuest De-Magicified (!)

PostPosted: Thursday July 4th, 2019 7:01pm
by Kurgan
Alchemy Skills (these are not the final version, the sizes are a bit off, but you get the idea):

Re: HeroQuest De-Magicified (!)

PostPosted: Thursday July 4th, 2019 7:02pm
by Kurgan
Part 2 of the Alchemy Skills. Also included are some of the Sorasil Hero Skills I've added. Detect Traps is intended for the Ranger, and Holy Water/Flame for the Paladin.

Re: HeroQuest De-Magicified (!)

PostPosted: Thursday July 4th, 2019 7:26pm
by torilen
Good job.

You could also go the old-world-is-now-secret route. They had science way back in the day,
and have recently found ancient science items (laser stuff..."teleporter tech").
Only certain characters know where to find this stuff and how to use it.

Re: HeroQuest De-Magicified (!)

PostPosted: Thursday July 4th, 2019 7:29pm
by Kurgan
Yeah, I was talking with a friend, thinking about having silver skeletons (ie: Terminator Endo-Skeletons). That would be more fun I think for a "Space Crusade" type of revival. I could buy another $100 of reaper minis for another project and let it be the "Jetsons" to this "Flintstones." ;) The lost ancient tech thing is cool though. I liked that idea on the Inn of the "buried space ship."

Is it from time travelers? Ancient Aliens? All sorts of possibilities...

A sampling of "Alchemist Items" (Spell Scrolls):

Re: HeroQuest De-Magicified (!)

PostPosted: Thursday July 4th, 2019 7:30pm
by Kurgan
New Cardbacks... !

Re: HeroQuest De-Magicified (!)

PostPosted: Thursday July 4th, 2019 7:43pm
by Kurgan
Cardbacks for "Alchemists of Chaos" (Wizards of Zargon):