You. Yes, you. Don’t look behind you, to your side or under the sofa. I’m talking to you and you alone. You are a hero. A big goddamn hero. You are telling a story unlike any other. A story of conflict, of romance and above all, a story of the unknown. Your story could be a best seller, a blockbuster or a fable that battles the tests of time. But instead, your story is one guarded and kept to those you trust most dearly. What’s interesting however is while we all have these stories, they all share similarities. The knight, superhero or general protagonist will normally follow a path. We call this path ‘The Hero’s Journey’.
The ‘Hero’s Journey’ is such a powerful tool when it comes to creating character and story arcs. Joseph Campbell, mythologist and writer, used the technique when creating his work ‘The Hero with A Thousand Faces”. With this in mind let’s run through a quick primer of the technique in regards to storytelling and LARP.
Things are as they seem. People live ordinary lives with little to no adventure. This is our baseline to show how far the hero will go.
Call to Adventure
The adventure begins. A call to arms, a request for aid or even the promise of much more. The hero will be inclined to follow.
Meeting A Mentor (Assistance)
Little can be achieved by one’s self. Adventure requires the assistance of those that have walked the path before. NPCs or PCs that hold this knowledge can give the hero such guidance.
Crossing the threshold (Departure)
Things are no longer what they were. The hero has entered the unknown. They may have left the world they once knew or it may have changed. Maybe what a player assumed to be true is no longer the case.
Trials and Failure
All good stories have conflict and challenge. The hero must face failure to truly feel like a hero. Maybe from this failure new skills and strengths are discovered.
Of course with failure comes the inevitability of death and crisis. This doesn’t have to be in the literal sense but the hero should experience unprecedented loss for then they will have something to compare their later success too.
Revelation, Results, and Return
The hero now finds their purpose, their new strength. The hero will face their demons and come out of it stronger. This is also the time where our hero receives their rewards and where lose ends are completed.
Now at a full circle, things return to what they once were. However, nothing is quite the same when you’re a hero. The cycle continues.