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
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.