Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hero's Journey: An Excerpt from the Rough Draft

So I'm almost 120 pages into the first draft of Hero's Journey and wanted to share an excerpt from Chapter 7: Running the Game:

     Player characters explore lost dungeons, brave abandoned crypts and traverse dark woodlands. In short, they go on adventures. Referees are encouraged to design adventures that challenge the players and force them to think creatively. Hero's Journey is built around a few core themes that should be present during the adventures of the player characters.

Exploration of the Unknown: Player characters will be traveling to the wild, dangerous places of the world. As a referee, try to describe these places with a sense of mystery, wonder and danger. The ruins of an abandon castle aren't just “creepy,” but long shadows of broken towards cast shadowed claws across a courtyard littered with the remnants of long forgotten glory. Often times the player characters may be the first beings to set foot in a location in one hundred or even one thousand years. These amazing locales have existed since time out of memory and have a rich history that began long before they arrived. While the referee doesn't need to know the entire history of every place the characters visit, they should strive evoke a sense of the legendary and ancient in these places.

Heroic Characters: The player characters are the heroes of their age – or they will be, with a bit of experience under their belt. They are a cut above most normal folks. Soldiers are mundane protectors of a village or castle, but fighters and duelists are masterful warriors with intense training or untapped natural talent. Moreover, the player characters are the active forces for good in the world. Buried deep in the heart of a thief is a spark of roguish nobility and while he may offer no quarter to a dark beastie in combat and slit his throat without a moment's hesitation, he's not likely rob a goodly church aiding the community – unless of course he discovers the high priest is fleecing the good faith of the local congregation.

Danger: The world of Hero's Journey is one riddled with danger. Combat is deadly and even the most powerful barbarian lord can find himself near death after a few lucky spear thrusts from a pack of goblins. Battle is not entered lightly and whenever a sword is drawn, it could mean the end of that warrior's life.

Wonder: Magic is not just a resource to be expended. Magic spells are something that draws power from the fabric of reality or the blessings of the gods. Even a “simple” first-level spell is a miracle or powerful incantation to most in the world. Magic items are not bought and sold in shops, for they are not easily crafted and often require exotic and rare components or incantations to create. The most powerful magic items are those wielded by heroes and empowered by the very legends which they were a part of. They are not cast aside lightly by their wielders because they often grow in power along side them. As a hero's legend becomes more renowned, so too does the artifact grow more powerful.
     Non-human player characters are regarded as exotic and rare, immediately noticed in a world dominated by the mundane ways of the human race. Elves are rare, wondrous and exotic. Halflings are a curiosity. Their homelands exist in places far from most known settlements and their presence is a portent of stranger things to come.
     Even the weakest monster is something to fear. Goblins are sallow eyed beasts with leering smiles who titter madly as they cry for blood. Skeletons and zombies are unholy abominations who evoke fear and revulsion from all who see them. Greater beasts are things of legend and song. Giants, dragons and other terrible creatures inspire pure awe when seen, as if myth has stepped from the voice of a fireside story and into reality. Those few who claim to have seen such beasts are regarded as mad or at the very least liars – and those who provide proof are suddenly treated with awe and reverence.
 Anyway, I hope that gives you a sense of what kind of game I'm constructing on top of the Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox engine block. I'm having a helluva a good time with this project, that's for sure.


  1. This is exactly the kind of feel and ambiance I look for in games. Looking forward to seeing more.

  2. Hey, I thought I'd let you know there is another rpg called Heroes Journey.

  3. Free 2100+ stage hero's journey tips on the mailing list at KalBashir.com


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