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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 88 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: The Hero's Journey (Spirit-Touched)  (Read 1067 times)
AsuraDemon
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Posts: 23


« on: July 16, 2006, 01:20:41 PM »

So I've been thinking about what do I really want my game to be about, and what sort of things do I want the characters to have to deal with.  I have an answer now.  It is about the hero's journey.  Yes, many people familiar with this will say that every story is a hero's journey, but I want this to very clearly a very important part of the game, and I think for a game based around adventuring, but also dealing with being an outsider finding your place in the world, the hero's journey is just so classic and perfect. 

The Hero's Journey starts off with "The Call" this is something that invites the character to adventure.  In the case of my game (Spirit-Touched) this is when the character goes through metamorphosis (their magical abilities first manifest, and they become more than human), and realize that they are no longer human, and no longer really fit into human society.  But I need something more than this, something that makes going on the Hero's Journey necessary, some sort of mechanic, so I'm not just saying "the character feels alienated, so they decide to go off adventuring". 

The second part of the Hero's Journey is the threshold in which the character has to deal with entering the unknown, full of dangers (in this case both psychological dangers, especially temptation to abuse ones new found power, and external ones such as monsters).  Now, typically at the threshold is a guardian, and their function is to keep a person from taking a journey they are unprepared for, and once we prove ourselves they step aside so we can move on.  So I need something that will challenge and test the character until they prove they are worthy. I also need the character to gain a helper, and I think in this case that the helper and guardian might sometimes be one and the same. I'm thinking perhaps the helper should be a spirit, sometimes the spirit that gave the character their power to begin with, but other times a different spirit that has taken interest in the character.  I think this spirit should interact with the character in dreams, and visions rather than directly, or maybe they create (or lead the character into) situations to challenge the character, but also guiding them to some degree.

So that's as far as I've gotten with that.  Any sort of feedback would be nice, or any insight on something I should be considering that I haven't yet, or problems that you might see with what I'm doing.  This is the first time I've tried to design an RPG, so this is all new to me.
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matthijs
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Posts: 462


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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2006, 02:01:43 PM »

So far, you focus a lot on what the character will be experiencing and doing. However, I think you really need to take a look at what you want the players to be doing, and what engages them in this game.

For instance, if you mainly want the players to tell stories together, you can ask leading questions like: "You decide to embark on a journey. Why? What leads up to this?", and then role-play the scene(s) that the player describes.

If you want players to really feel the challenges that the characters are facing, you should encourage them - with mechanics, or with words - to put some of their own feelings and/or issues into their characters.
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Call Me Curly
Member

Posts: 63


« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2006, 07:40:15 PM »

You are on the right track.
Translating the Hero's Journey into game procedures is a worthwhile, fascinating goal.

The following link isn't specific to your idea, but it's something I'd recommend to
anybody who is at the point you're at:
http://lumpley.com/hardcore.html
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AsuraDemon
Member

Posts: 23


« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2006, 09:36:08 PM »

I'll look at that link for sure.  I definately will have to do some research on the Hero's Journey.  I'll also get into what I want the players to be doing for sure, I'll try to find a way to illustrate that players could put some of their own issues, feelings, and interests into their characters, though people tend to naturally do that it certainly is a point worth bringing up. 
I also want to create a system that reinforces the fact that a character's character flaws, and also their strengths of character are important in the game.  A system where a character could draw power from their strength of character would be great, and so would a system where by character flaws are detrimental, especially considering coping with personal flaws are an important part of the hero's journey (though room for character traits with no mechanical effects needs to exist as well).
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Graham W
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2006, 10:40:19 PM »

Hi Asura,

Try doing a search, on the Forge, for "Campbell". People have tried doing games based on the Hero's Journey story arc before, so it's worth reading what they've written, and learning from it.

Here's one game that uses Campbell quite significantly:

Playing With Parables

Also have a look at:

Re: [Ronnies] The winners for September

...which discusses Campbell briefly, because a couple of the Ronnies games used the Hero's Journey structure. All the games from the Ronnies are available on the www.1km1kt.com site, so you can have a look at those games and see what you think.

Graham
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Call Me Curly
Member

Posts: 63


« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2006, 10:57:23 PM »

I definately will have to do some research on the Hero's Journey.

"The Writer's Journey" is probably available at a public library near you. It's widely used in Hollywood.
Sometimes I don't like the book's tone: There's too much "Lets use this to get rich!" and not enough "Let's use
this to make art!"  But one thing the author get right, is that you should understand the steps of the Hero's
Journey well-enough to rephrase them in your own words.  Even group them together differently than Joseph Campbell does.

Quote
I also want to create a system that reinforces the fact that a character's character flaws, and also their strengths of character are important in the game.  A system where a character could draw power from their strength of character would be great, and so would a system where by character flaws are detrimental, especially considering coping with personal flaws are an important part of the hero's journey (though room for character traits with no mechanical effects needs to exist as well).

A playtest version of Matt Wilson's new game, Galactic, is available for free download:
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=20375.0

Check out the section on Virtues and Vices.  Matt Wilson really understands human nature.

In his game, flaws-- like greed-- aren't just detrimental:  they can be an advantage!
Like when other characters give up, a greedy PC might still have motive to keep slogging on.

Also, Virtues are designed so that they might run out... like when your Patience runs out.
But Vices never do run out!   They may backfire/ but they're always there to tempt you.  How true.



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AsuraDemon
Member

Posts: 23


« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2006, 11:47:34 PM »

I checked out that RPG (Galactic) and it sounds like it has taken a similar idea, and gone in a bit different direction with it. I've thought a bit about how I want virtues and vices to work, and decided rather than gaining the effects of them by acting in accordance to the virtue or vice, being put in just the right situation would be what resulted in the virtue or vice being brought out.
I should have a way for characters to try to get in touch with, or overcome virtues and vices as well, I think that I might try to incorporate that as part of the hero's journey.

I'm going to have virtues and vices be very specific as well such as "the character's love for so and so is what gives them strength" or "the character has hubris, and a certain type of situation brings the worst of it out", and when the character is in the appropriate situation, that's when their virtue or vice starts to have an effect beyond just role playing.  For example a character has the virtue, love, and specifically this love is for a particular individual.  They are in combat, when something reminds them of their love, perhaps the person they are trying to save reminds them of their love, and they draw strength from this.  However the person they are fighting against could also somehow remind them of their love, and they'd have a harder time fighting that person because of it.
Anyways I'm sure something even more like what I'm describing has been done before, and I'm going to continue to try and expand on the idea.

That's cool that some other people have felt inspired by Campbell, I'm definately going to give him credit as a source of inspiration.  Just what very little I've read of his has just been so good that I've got a book and I'm going to read it to get more ideas.
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