Last week I promised to tell you about a great structure for your stories and games. Well, let me introduce Joseph Campbell, and his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Mr Campbell says that all myths, no matter where and when they were created, share a common series of events. This structure is common to all heroes, from Luke Skywalker to Harry Potter, from Wolverine to Superman.
Here are some of the steps on the heroes journey:
A Call To Adventure
The hero or heroin lives in the normal world until receiving a call to enter a new, fantastical world. This is Gandalf inviting Bilbo to leave the Shire.
A Road of Trials
Having taken the first step, the hero now faces difficult challenges. This is the Fellowship of the Ring and their perilous flight through Moria.
The Goal or Boon
Having overcome great challenges, the hero now receives some boon that will aid him in his quest. This is Wolverine getting his adamantium skeleton, after being defeated by Sabertooth (in X-Men Origins: Wolverine).
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”– Joseph Campbell
Return to the Ordinary World
The hero then returns to the world with the boon, facing troubles on the way. Luke Skywalker heading into Vader’s trap after training with Yoda, anyone?
Application of the Boon
The triumphant hero returns and uses the boon to improve the world he left. This is Harry Potter returning to his foster parents with his magical abilities.
Here’s another great explanation of the Hero’s Journey by Matthew Winkler...
Consider the Hero’s Journey when you create your next campaign or story, and how you might use it to challenge the heroes and make their impact more meaningful.