A roleplaying game of gods and heroes, set in a modern world full of ancient myth. Read more
This project was successfully funded on June 21, 2014.
About this project
Enter a modern world, one where the ancient gods' worship was never lost and their power over the world remains as strong as it ever was in the past. Destiny has called for a new Age of Heroes to begin, and you must take on the mantle of a divine hero, destroying enemies, creating new ideas, and shaping the very course of the world itself. And one day, if your great deeds become the stuff of legend, you may ascend to become one of the very gods yourself.
Hero's Journey is a tabletop roleplaying game of modern urban fantasy and ancient mythology, in which players take on the role of God-Touched Heroes, mortals called by various gods to represent them in the world and perform harrowing feats and go on dangerous quests. It is steeped in the mythology of various cultures around the world, making their ancient gods and religions vibrant and powerful in a modern world.
The Hero’s Journey is a term coined by famous mythologist Joseph Campbell to describe the basic structure of a mythic adventure, one which is followed by various heroes all over the world. It ranges from the hero being called to action, overcoming trials and temptations along the road, and eventually accomplishing great deeds and being changed by their experiences. The Hero’s Journey has been used for thousands of years, from the ancient exploits of the Mesopotamian hero Gilgamesh to the story arcs of modern-day comic book and movie heroes. Heroes in the game will experience that same cycle of adventure while putting their own unique, modern spin on their individual tales.
The game's mission is to allow players to truly play as heroes the likes of which are normally confined to ancient myth; like Beowulf, Heracles or Gilgamesh, your exploits will be the stuff of legend and your advancement will lead you ever closer to divinity yourself. No feat is too difficult nor magical spell too arcane; within the world of Hero's Journey, all things found in the wide span of myth are eventually possible.
The game uses a success-based d10 system in which players roll dice in an attempt to gain enough successes to complete various tasks. Combat is streamlined and fast-paced, with a single roll determining both whether a character successfully hits an enemy and how much damage they can inflict; the goal is to make fighting quicker and easier, allowing players to experience epic and cinematic combats without bogging them down in a lot of fiddly detail.
Hero's Journey features a unique character creation system in which players choose to take on varying amounts of the seven Aspects of heroism - Creator, Hunter, Leader, Lover, Sage, Trickster and Warrior - and draw from their 28 attendant Talents, specialized skills (such as Disguise, Tactics, Knowledge or Athleticism) that allow them to become masters of whatever heroic feats they choose. They supplement these abilities with divine Spheres of mythic powers, including mastery of such areas as wind, water, storms, the scorching sun and gentle moon, the fertility of the earth and the dreary halls of the afterlife. Hundreds of other specialty skills are available through the interconnected Web of Fate, a unique system of specialized powers that allows any character to eventually gain access to any power in the game.
Each player chooses from one of forty gods to act as their divine patron, calling them to action and adventure and providing them with unique powers tied to their pantheon and religion. Each god grants their chosen heroes the ability to take more actions in their areas of expertise - war gods grant additional powers of warfare, deities of prophecy grant increased powers of foresight, and so on.
Players adventure in a modern-day setting, in a world that is almost identical to our own except for one major difference: monotheistic religions never rose to power, and the ancient polytheistic pantheons of various religions around the world are all still actively and vibrantly worshiped. Players can visit temples to the Egyptian gods in downtown San Francisco, find believers in the glorious tales of the Greek gods in the apartment buildings of New York, and witness ancient Norse fertility rites being enacted to bless the harvest of a modern-day soybean farmer in rural South Carolina. Wherever major events in history were shaped by religion, it was the religions of the old gods, from the courtly deities of Japan to the elemental god-lords of the Inuit of Canada, that set the course of humanity.
Every mythology of the world has its heroes, and the time has come for another cycle of legendary tales to begin. It is time for a new Age of Heroes.
The purpose of this project is to fund the creation of the core rulebook for the Hero's Journey game, and help support the many talents and buckets of time that it entails. When you pledge, you're doing all of the following:
- Financing amazing artwork. In addition to the teasers you see on this page, more artwork is in the offing, including landscapes, characters and portraits of the gods themselves. Our artists are dedicated, hardworking, and epically talented.
- Supporting manufacturing costs. With your contributions, we'll be able to create all the awesome gaming swag that this game deserves - hardcover books, softcover supplements, custom dice and art prints. Which we then get to send to all of you!
- Enabling time investment. We're a small team and we're pouring all our hearts, souls and aching carpal-tunnel handiwork into working on this game. Your backing helps make sure that the folks working on things like layout, design and content get to spend time working on this instead of on something else.
- Creating the future. This project succeeding will mean that Hero's Journey will be well and truly created, ready to bring mythological adventure to gamers everywhere. That means we'll be able to start making new things for it, increasing the awesomeness for all!
We have an awesome array of rewards for backers, packaged in various handy bundles for you to choose from. Rewards we are offering include:
- Printed thanks to each and every backer in the Hero's Journey core rulebook. You're awesome. We love you.
- Many levels of forum badges, so you can show off your backer cred on the official Hero's Journey forums.
- Four stunning digital wallpapers of official Hero's Journey artwork by Julian Lancaster.
- The Call to Adventure, a starter kit for Hero's Journey that includes sample characters, basic rules, and a beginning adventure, perfect for jumping right in with a group and playing with little setup and learning time.
- Custom ten-sided dice in sets of ten, crafted especially for Hero's Journey, featuring the ourouboros logo.
- Signed one-of-a-kind sketches of original deity artwork from Samantha and Stephanie Braithwaite, created especially for Hero's Journey.
- The Hero's Journey core rulebook, featuring hundreds of pages of gods, heroes, mythic adventures and cosmic powers.
- Children of the Sun, the first ever Hero's Journey fiction novel, written by Anne Ruthven.
- High-quality giclee art prints of the deity portraits from the Hero's Journey core rulebook.
- The opportunity to name and help create NPCs for the Hero's Journey core rulebook, leaving your mark on the game for all to see.
- The opportunity to add more gods to the forty already included in the core rulebook, expanding the options for divine patrons.
- The opportunity to play in exclusive online Hero's Journey games with John and Anne Ruthven, the game's creators, tailored to the needs of you and whichever friends you choose to invite along.
- Custom fiction written especially for your character by Anne Ruthven, tailored to your specifications.
- The coveted ability to choose the next Hero's Journey project - whether that's a new pantheon, a new set of powers, an expansion on one of the pantheons in the core rulebook, an adventure or anything else (within reason) - you name it, we'll do it next!
For ease of pledging, check out these quick rundowns of all the reward tiers and their options.
In addition, some rewards are available as add-ons, which you can add to any pledge tier you choose. When you choose a pledge, simply manually adjust the amount shown by the appropriate additional cost. Optional add-ons include:
- Set of ten custom ten-sided Hero's Journey dice (add $25)
- Softcover printed copy of the Call to Adventure starter kit (add $40)
- Signed original sketch of one of the gods of Hero's Journey (add $40)
- High-quality giclee print of one of the gods of Hero's Journey (add $50)
- Gain the ability to name and help design an NPC (add $100) - SOLD OUT!
- Gain the ability to add a god of your choosing from one of the four beginning pantheons to the core rulebook (add $250) - SOLD OUT!
Please note that original sketches from the artists are limited; they will be sent out on a first-come, first-serve basis, and we can't guarantee that we will still have sketches of a particular deity when you pledge. Please let us know ASAP when you pledge for one what your preferred deity is!
In the event that we hit our goal with time remaining, we also have several stretch rewards - extra bonuses, content and goodies that we will start releasing at various levels of funding. The higher we go, the more awesome stuff we can add!
At $6,000, we will add to the book a gorgeous full-color map of the world of Hero's Journey, detailing the areas of influence for various pantheons around the world to help add richness and detail to your games. All backers at the Warrior of Myth level or higher will receive a high-quality digital copy of the map, and we will be able to print and offer large vinyl maps for sale through our website for all your wall-hanging needs. Completed!
At $7,500, we will add a new Sphere of divine power to the game: Fire, the domain of flame, combustion, heat and energy. Heroes will gain the ability to wield the powers of flame against their enemies or warm their allies in its comforting glow, joining the ranks of famously dangerous fire-wielders across world mythology. Adding this Sphere may also add a little extra to the game's production time, but we promise to make it well worth the wait. Completed!
At $10,000, we will create an exclusive PDF pack of pantheon-specific character sheets, specially detailed and snazzed up by our talented digital artists to bring your characters visually to life. All backers at the Warrior of Myth level or above receive this PDF automatically. Completed!
At $12,000, we will add a new Sphere of divine power to the game: Fortune, the domain of luck, chance and destiny. Heroes will gain the ability to bless their allies with good luck or curse the destinies of their foes, turning happenstance and the whims of fate itself to their own purposes. Completed!
At $15,000, we will add a bonus pack of four new gods to the core rulebook, one each from the Norse, Egyptian, Greek and Indian pantheons. They will get the same portrait-art and writeup treatment as the other gods already in the game, and be released ready for action as divine patrons. Completed!
At $20,000, we will add a gorgeous full-color cosmological map for each of the pantheons in the core rulebook, showing mythical locations important to each of their legendary stories. All backers at the Warrior of Myth level or higher will receive high-quality digital copies of the maps, the better to plan their divine escapades. Completed!
At $25,000, we will add a fifth pantheon to the Hero's Journey core rulebook release. If and when we get close to this reward, we'll start dropping hints about who it might be!
We'll be adding more stretch rewards as the project progresses and we achieve various goals, so check back often!
If Hero's Journey funds, where do we go from there?
Mythology is a massive sandbox to play in. There are endless gods to add to the game as new divine patrons, new spheres of powers that heroes could wield, and endless settings and adventures to be written and enjoyed. The core rulebook being Kickstarted here is just the beginning - once it's out, we're committed to creating and releasing new content as quickly as we can.
We can't wait!
Risks and challenges
You've all heard it before: every project has risks, and this one is no exception. While we fully intend to produce Hero's Journey as quickly and awesomely as possible, there could be unforeseen problems in the future.
The greatest risk is of course that the game is not successfully created. While we are absolutely committed to Hero's Journey for many years to come, someone integral on the production team could still get hit by a bus tomorrow, or the artists chained in the Canadian Art Dungeon might get loose and make a break for the border. We can't plan for surprising major life changes, but we can promise that short of gigantic life upheavals - and maybe not even then - we'll see this game brought to life if we have to do it from cardboard boxes while leeching off of coffeeshop wifi.
Similarly, it's possible that the game's production and release might be delayed for any variety of reasons. If that happens, we'll not only let you know what's happening and why things have been delayed, but also keep you updated on our plans to move forward and any new projected times we set.
Some of our rewards, including custom dice, art prints and printed books, are created for us by outside vendors. We have excellent working relationships with them and they are poised with us to deliver on schedule, but it's still possible that they might have manufacturing or shipping problems that impact us. Should that happen, we will keep backers updated on our progress in solving the problem, and make every effort to make sure that your pledged rewards make their way to you as quickly as possible.
For those of you receiving your rewards through the mail, the postal service unfortunately remains a cruel mistress. It is possible that your package might go astray or be damaged in transit; if that happens, let us know as soon as you can, and we'll work with you to replace the lost items.
And finally, though our team is mighty, it is also small and everyone is doing a lot of things. It's possible that we may miss something you requested or accidentally process your pledge wrong. If that happens, let us know as soon as you can, and we'll get moving to fix the problem with all the speed we can muster!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The full complement of gods who will be available in Hero's Journey as divine patrons are:
Egyptian: Anubis, Bastet, Hathor, Horus, Isis, Nephthys, Osiris, Ptah, Ra, Sekhmet, Set, Sobek, Thoth
Greek: Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Demeter, Dionysus, Hades, Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, Pan, Poseidon, Zeus
Hindu: Agni, Brahma, Durga, Ganesha, Indra, Kali, Lakshmi, Parvati, Sarasvati, Shiva, Surya, Vishnu, Yama
Norse: Baldur, Freya, Freyr, Frigg, Heimdall, Hel, Hod, Loki, Odin, Skadi, Thor, Tyr
They are all available for those whose pledges include giclee prints. If you are pledging for an original sketch, the quantities of those are limited for each god - please send us a message to let us know which one you'd like, and we'll reserve it for you!
EDIT: All the extra gods from pledges, as well as from our stretch reward unlocking, are now added to the list above!
We have four different colors of custom dice, all bearing the Hero's Journey ourobouros symbol. You can choose from transparent, shimmery light blue or purple, satiny red or shifting green-and-purple.
You can see photos of three of these colors here on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php…
The blue dice, not pictured, are in the same style as the purple.
If you pledge to name an NPC, either at the Lord of Lore level or as an add-on, you will get the ability to name and help design that character. You'll have input into their history and backstory, who they are as a hero and what kind of things they specialize in, and who their divine patron might be (from the options provided in the Hero's Journey core rulebook).
If you live outside the United States and pledge for a physical reward, there will probably be an additional shipping charge to help us get your rewards to you. Each country has slightly different shipping costs, so please send us a message via Kickstarter with your location, and we'll look it up for you and send you back an estimate.
Pledge $5 or more
Hero of Destiny: Backers receive their names listed in the Hero's Journey core rulebook as the official Heroes of Destiny who made this game possible. Take your place in the annals of history!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10 or more
Soldier of Stories: Backers receive their names listed in the Hero's Journey core rulebook, plus a package of four beautiful high-definition digital wallpapers of official Hero's Journey artwork by talented artist Julian Lancaster.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $20 or more
Seeker of Adventure: Backers receive everything listed in the Soldier of Stories level, plus a PDF copy of the Call to Adventure, a starter kit for Hero's Journey that includes sample characters and a beginning adventure – everything you need to immediately test out the game for yourself and your friends.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or more
Chosen of Fortune: Backers receive everything listed in the Soldier of Stories level, plus a set of ten custom 10-sided dice, engraved with the Hero's Journey ouroboros symbol and suitable for all legendary escapades. Backers who are outside the United States may need to provide extra for shipping.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $35 or more
Warrior of Myth: Backers receive everything listed in the Seeker of Adventure level, plus a PDF copy of the Hero's Journey core rulebook – an action-packed compendium of rules, gods, and heroic adventure.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $40 or more
6 backers Limited (44 left of 50)
Muse of the Arts: Backers receive everything listed in the Soldier of Stories level, plus an exclusive original sketch of one of the gods of Hero's Journey, signed by artists Stephanie and Samantha Braithwaite. (This level is obviously limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis – we can't guarantee a sketch of the particular god you request if it's already been claimed.) Backers who are outside the United States may need to provide extra for shipping.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $50 or more
Traveler of Worlds: Backers receive everything listed in the Warrior of Myth level, plus a softcover copy of the Call to Adventure, allowing you to take your adventures from the world of the digital to the printed word. Backers who are outside the United States may need to provide extra for shipping.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $75 or more
Crusader of Legend: Backers receive everything listed in the Warrior of Myth level, plus a hardcover book version of the Hero's Journey game, perfect-bound in full 8.5 x 11” size, signed by game creators John and Anne Ruthven and in glorious full color. Backers who are outside the United States may need to provide extra for shipping.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $100 or more
Teller of Tales: Backers receive everything listed in the Crusader of Legend level, plus a signed softcover copy of Children of the Sun, the debut fiction novel by Anne Ruthven set in the Hero's Journey universe. Backers who are outside the United States may need to provide extra for shipping.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $100 or more
3 backers All gone!
Lord of Lore: Backers receive everything listed in the Soldier of Stories level, plus the opportunity to help create and name one of the NPCs in the Hero's Journey core rulebook. Unleash your creative genius on the divine world!Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $150 or more
Priest of Piety: Backers receive everything listed in the Teller of Tales level, plus a beautiful 8.5 x 11 inch giclee print of the deity of their choice from the original artwork done by Samantha and Stephanie Braithwaite exclusively for Hero's Journey. Backers who are outside the United States may need to provide extra for shipping.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $250 or more
1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)
Pioneer of Universes: Backers receive everything listed in the Teller of Tales level, plus the opportunity to play in a custom one-shot online game with John and Anne Ruthven, the creators of Hero's Journey, for yourself and any friends (up to a maximum of four) you would like to invite along!Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $275 or more
Trader of Treasures: Retailer specialty package! Backers receive everything listed in the Soldier of Stories level, plus five copies of the Hero's Journey hardcover core rulebook, suitable for resale or distribution as you see fit. Backers who are outside the United States may need to provide extra for shipping.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $350 or more
4 backers All gone!
Herald of the Pantheon: Backers receive everything listed in the Teller of Tales level, plus the ability to choose one additional god to be added to the Hero's Journey core rulebook as a potential divine patron. This god must be actually found in mythology and must belong to one of the four pantheons in the rulebook - Egyptian, Greek, Hindu or Norse - but can be anyone you choose within those guidelines!Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $500 or more
0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)
Devotee of Divinity: Backers receive everything listed in the Teller of Tales level, plus a customized introductory fiction story for their own Hero's Journey character, written by Anne Ruthven to your specifications for personality, story and concept.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $500 or more
5 backers All gone!
Venturer of Vistas: Backers receive everything listed in the Teller of Tales level, plus the opportunity to play in a custom online chronicle with John and Anne Ruthven, the creators of Hero's Journey. This game will last at least five sessions, and will be tailored especially for yourself and any friends (up to a maximum of four) you would like to invite along!Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $500 or more
3 backers All gone!
Master of Magics: Backers receive everything listed in the Chosen of Fate, Lord of Lore, Teller of Tales and Priest of Piety levels (one of each item), plus recognition as a producer in the Hero's Journey core rulebook.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $1,500 or more
1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)
Immortal Ruler: Backers receive everything listed in the Master of Magics level, plus the mighty divine power to choose the next supplement that is produced for Hero's Journey after the game's initial release. This might be an expansion that includes a new pantheon, a supplement including new divine Spheres of power for Heroes, an adventure chronicle for players to enjoy, an expanded look at one of the pantheons in the original game release, or anything else (within reason) that the backer might request.
If two people pledge at this level, both will choose a new supplement to be produced, and they will be created in order of pledges.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
- (30 days)