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Hero's Journey is a set of guidelines that form the basis for most storylines, and is most commonly used in table-top gaming or linear gaming to progress a storyline. This is also considered a litterary device that essentially makes a character evolve or mature by subjecting him or her to various good and bad experiences.

There are two main authors that approach this subject, one from a classical stance, the other in a more modern and simplistic fashion. The former, is presented by Joseph Campbell, and will be the focus of this article. The other is represented by Christopher Vogler, and will be discussed as well.

Whether or not you choose to follow it is completely up to you or your storyteller.

Using the Elements of Hero's Journey
 

The Hero's Journey
Campbell's Journey Vogler's Journey
The Innocent World The Ordinary World
Separation
-The Call to Adventure
   The Refusal of the Call
   The Acceptance of the Call
-Supernatural Aid
   The Wise Old Man/Guide
   The Talisman
-Enter the Void
   Allies Join Forces
   Threshold Guardians
   Into the Belly of the Whale
Separation
-The Call to Adventure
   The Reluctant Hero
-Supernatural Aid
   The Wise Old Man/Guide
-Enter the Void
   Find Friends and Foes
   The Yellow Brick Road
Initiation
-Road of Trials
   Battle with the Brother
   Meeting with the Sister
   The Abduction/Hunt
   Mystical Insight
   Battle with the Dragon
   Symbolic Death/Sparagamos
-The Knowledge Gained
   Sacred Marriage
   The Sacred Grove
   Sacrifice and Betrayal
   Atonement to the Father
   Recognition by the Father
   Apotheothis
   The Magic Elixir/Ultimate Boon
Initiation
-Road of Trials
   Onslaught of Tests
   The Inmost Cave
-The Knowledge Gained
   A Taste of Victory
Return
-Refusal of Return
   Monster Combat
   Resurrection of Good
-Flight and Pursuit
   Return of Evil
   Magical Rescue
   The Final Battle
Return
-Refusal of Return
   Resurrection of Good
-Flight and Pursuit
   Return of Evil
   The Final Battle
Recognition
-The Reward
   The Unmasking
   Master of Two Worlds
-The Road Home
   Freedom to Live
Recognition
-The Reward
   Seizing the Sword
-The Road Home
   The Safe Journey Home

Using Hero's Journey...
Essentially, the components of both sides are different, but they achieve the same function. Both start off by describing the ordinary or innocent world. This explores the histories, current status of the soon to be hero, or both. Taking the classic example of, "Once upon a time, there lived..." is the best way to explain this set up. The purpose this serves is to alert players what's been going on.

After this occurs, seperation is where it becomes essential to "hook" a character into a storyline, because there has to be a reason to leave home, and rescue the princess. If that princess has a face that only Picasso could love, has the breath the resembles a plate of raw sewage, and is reguarded as the MOST undesirable lady in the lands, why would you have ANY reason to go save her? Unless your character likes that sort of thing, she had better have a rich reward offered for her return, or hold the secret to eternal life. After you establish what draws your characters into this mess, someone, or yourself, has to persuade/outright command you not to go. After some haggling, you then must decide you want to go, or have to go, and soon after you will meet with supernatural guide or strange coincidences that will set you on the right path. As you start to close in on your goal, some obstacle/guardian will appear, and help you establish friends and foes as you fight to overcome it.

Thirdly, the initiation is composed of the trials and errors of your character, and his or her interaction with others in the group and those outside. All the elements that are listed above do not have to occur to forfill the story. The battle with the brother simply talks about a disagreement with one in your group, and the meeting with the sister, also called worship of the goddess, represents the meeting of a feminine aspect of any sort, princess or hag. The abduction/hunt refers to the loss of a person or object from the group, and the search to return it. The mystical insight is self-explanitory, and is the only thing that has to occur before the battle with the dragon, otherwise your efforts would be in vain as you get slaughtered, because you forgot to read that a silver bullet is the only thing that will put a werewolf down. Normally, the symbolic death happens to the guide, or a best friend, which is why you don't want to stand to close to them when battling the evil or good-whichever happens to be your dragon. When you think of the next section, of the sacred marriage, the secret grove, sacrifice and betrayal, atonement and recognition by the father, apotheothis, and the ultimate boon, the best way to sum this up is to refer to the movie Braveheart. If you've ever seen the movie, it's pretty obvious where this scene happens, other than that, it's also self explanitory, and not every part is a necessary to achieve a complete storyline.

The return of the character is based around the final battle, and is usually stimulated by the return of the guide, or whoever was killed/captured earlier. This final battle is an apocalyptic war between you and your agressor. After exchanging blows, the only way it could possibly end, is for you to be victorious.

Lastly, this victory creates the reward of recognition for you actions. Congradulations, you've just won, now to reveal the fact that the dragon that you just killed-because it had been blamed for laying waste to a whole village, and was guarding the ugly princess, saved you when you were a baby by cutting off it's tongue to give to your father, gods rest his soul, for a magic elixir to save you from an evil curse-which left you with a stutter, and was trying desperately to let you know that, but had accidently let out a burst of flame in frustration, burnt and killed your guide, which triggered you to go after him with a vengence, and miss the fact that the dragon you just killed wasn't even red. Go figure. So is life.

 

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