“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”Joseph Campbell
Hero’s journey is a metaphor created by Joseph Campbell who was a mythologist that was looking for the similarities of cultural myths and religious stories. But actually, it is not that simple, it is actually about a deep inner transformation of human, which does not change with time and place. It is the transformation of the “ordinary world” and “special wars.”
Campbell found out that all stories, fairytales, movies, books, myths, and legends share similar structural elements. The same structure followed by many cultures, religions, and places.
And we think that why not TTRPGs?
Campell stated that there are twelve stages in the hero’s journey. We have simplified the steps in order to provide a smoother area for creative works, however, it should be nice to know all the dimensions.
1. Ordinary World: This is where the characters stuck in a society. It is the overall situation before the adventure. It is the hero’s everyday life and safe zone.
2. Call To Adventure: We summon the hero at this point. The part is where the hero receives a call to the adventure for safety, peace, love, lifestyle or for her family, friends, community… It depends on the story we want to create but the call might be horrifying, dramatic, lovely…
3. Refusal Of The Call: The hero generally refuses the call at the beginning. The fears, anxieties, and insecurities are in the way of hero to accept the call and the hero refused.
4. Meeting the Mentor: The hero needs guidance for a mentor, advice, training, important objects or insights… What she gets at this point help her to solve the problem, give her the strength and self-confidence to overcome the problems.
5. Crossing the First Threshold: This when the hero goes the special world. The hero begins the journey and she crosses the boundaries of her safe zone. Life would not be the same anymore.
6. Tests, Allies, Enemies: The hero started to face more challenges, she learned how to fight against the antagonist. There are obstacles in her way through to her ultimate goal. During the times of the struggles/obstacles/tests, the hero learned that who can be trusted.
7. Approaching the Inmost Cave: It can be a literal cave, a dangerous location, a big danger or an internal conflict which the hero must face. The hero must prepare yourself for the unknown danger before the final and has to make difficult decisions.
8. The Ordeal: It can be near death experience, a dangerous physical test or a deep internal crisis. This is the high-point of the Hero’s story If the hero fails, she lost everything she got or die.
9. Reward: After the near-death experience the hero transformed into a new state where she is more stronger with a “reward”, which can be anything important for the hero.
10. The Road Back: The hero understands that she must leave the special world behind after solving the problem. It is the last push when the hero commits herself to a higher cause.
11. Resurrection: Death and darkness came one more time, the danger is at the peak where it can threaten not only the hero but also the whole world. The final battle among the hero and the antagonist which the hero generally succeed in classic narration.
12. Return with the Elixir: The hero changed/grown and returns her home with a treasure or insight.
This is the hero’s journey briefly which we hardly work on recently. The idea of transformation, journey, and the stages in narration are the areas we’re focusing on to adopt the theory into the practice.