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The Hero's Journey: Second Edition
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The Hero's Journey: Second Edition

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The Hero’s Journey Fantasy Roleplaying, Second Edition is a fantasy roleplaying game that blends classic tradition and modern game design to bring you an experience where players take up the mantle of heroes in a world of danger and magic inspired by classic fairy stories and timeless fantasy literature.

Whether you’re taking a Knight clad in shining armor astride your grand steed, a cunning Burglar hoping to use your silver tongue to flatter a terrifying Elder Wyrm while your friends slip away, or a dedicated Yeoman who has given your heart and soul to defend the good and true people of the world from the strange dangers of Fairie and beyond, The Hero’s Journey, Second Edition creates a gaming experience firmly rooted traditional western folklore where the player characters are more than just sword-swinging mercenaries looking to kick in the door, kill the monster, and claim the loot. In The Hero’s Journey, Second Edition, they are all that stands between civilization and the unimaginable dangers just beyond the wild…

Why A Second Edition: It its original edition, The Hero’s Journey Fantasy Roleplaying was explicitly designed to be compatible with Swords & Wizardry: White Box and similar games. While this new edition is still rooted in that classic rules set,extensive changes have been made to almost every element of the game in order to further evoke and emphasize the tone and theme of the game. In addition, more modern elements of game design have been seamless incorporated to keep play fast and simple. Some example changes include, but are not limited to…

New LineagesIn addition to traditional fantasy lineages like Humans, Dwarves, and Elves, players will also have the option of playing the strange and obfuscated Changeling: A fey creature left as a replacement for a child stolen at birth and raised among mortals.

New Archetypes: The original edition of The Hero’s Journey featured thirteen classes. This edition has been streamlined to keep the focus on classic, folklore-infused fantasy and now features only eight classes: the charming Bard, the clever Burglar, the noble Knight, the rugged Ranger, the swashbuckling Swordsman, the stern Warrior, the enigmatic Wizard, and the stalwart Yeoman.

New MonstersEvery single monster in The Hero’s Journey, Second Edition has been given a complete overhaul to bring them more in line with folklore, fairy tradition, and classic fantasy literature. For example: Kobolds, commonly known as yipping dog-lizards to many fantasy gamers, are now strange and diminutive elementals that appear old men fading into the stone as they guide and waylay underground travelers. Several new monsters are also introduced, like the savage draconic Lindworm, which craves the taste of flesh and whose wrath can only be undone when its impenetrable scaled armor is peeled away layer by layer. There is no such thing as a “stock” monster in The Hero’s Journey, Second Edition.

New Spellcasting: The traditional Vancian magic system which previously appeared in The Hero’s Journey has been drastically overhauled. Now Wizards may cast any spell they know and each spell has a myriad of different potential effects! In addition, particularly brave and reckless arcanists may Tap the Essence and sacrifice their own body when they are otherwise unable to cast a spell. Instead of being a stock list of spells found in so many other classic fantasy RPGs, these spells have been modified and re-written to fit the tone and feel of The Hero’s Journey.

Myth Points and Magic ItemsUnlike many traditional fantasy role-playing games, characters in The Hero’s Journey, Second Edition acquire magic items by performing heroic deeds that become inexonerably tied forever to the weapons, armor, and strange trinkets they carry on their adventures. As characters progress and grow, they earn Myth Points, which can be spent to create unique magic items specifically tailored by the player to their individual character instead simply finding a “better sword” in the next treasure hoard. Magics grow and develop alongside a character, becoming an important part of their legend.

 
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Reviews (4)
Discussions (26)
Customer avatar
John B September 03, 2021 6:02 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi James! Just finished a first read and the game looks great! I have a question about experience, though. It looks like the maximum experience for completing an adventure is roughly 1,000 experience points, give or take two hundred points. A knight requires 640,000 experience points to reach 10th level or roughly 640 adventures. I'm a dedicated GM, but if my group plays once a week for 52 adventures a year, that is about 12 years of real time to make it to 10th level. That said, are there additional things for which you award experience, or are there awards you permit players to repeat? I like a slow progression as much as the next guy, but that is REALLY slow. :-) Yes, I could fudge this myself, but I am curious to hear your thoughts on this.
Customer avatar
James S September 04, 2021 4:28 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hey John! Thanks for reaching out and I'm glad you're enjoying the game! Your observation is not incorrect and is intentional. An implied subtext of THJ2e is that a major hero would be someone of 4th level or higher, with 10th level characters being recognized icons of an entire age. While you can, by hard numbers, earn around 1000 (typically between 500 - 1500) per session of play that does make for a looooong progression to "max level." This can be mitigated by XP bonuses for high attributes, which can rack up to +20%.

The general intent is that players will have their characters hit that "sweet spot" that balances character proficiency and challenging play (typically between 4th - 6th level) fairly quickly and then hang in that region for a long, long time. Figures like King Arthur are an example of a 10th level character - there are darn near an infinite number of stories told about Arthur and he is a well-known mythic figure 1000+ years after he existed. That is what it means...See more
Customer avatar
John B September 04, 2021 3:38 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks, James!
Customer avatar
Jonathan S March 11, 2021 2:01 am UTC
PURCHASER
Probably should have asked this BEFORE purchasing. At any rate, I've read the reviews here regarding updates to the PDF and what not, and I'm wondering if the POD version I've purchased is the updated PDF or is it a separate untouched version with old verbiage specifically for POD?
Customer avatar
Alan B March 11, 2021 3:10 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
The POD should always match the latest iteration of the PDF!
Customer avatar
Alan B March 11, 2021 3:11 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
I realize that was unclear:

When you buy the POD, it should always match that iteration of the PDF.

Obviously, if we update the PDF, your POD does not update. We haven't made any updates since March last year, so if you bought it at any point after that, you should be set.
Customer avatar
Jonathan S March 12, 2021 1:43 am UTC
PURCHASER
Fantastic! I just wanted to make sure the POD was the latest edition of the PDF. So, my wording definitely could have been better! LOL

Thanks for everything!
Customer avatar
Eric B January 22, 2021 5:45 pm UTC
PURCHASER
1. When a character reaches their max level, say 4, what are their options from then?
2. It seems like the only way for a character to raise an attribute point is from leveling up I think to 3 or 7. Both milestones allow you to add 1 to an attribute of your choice. Am I missing any other moments that this can happen?
3. I have a player that really would like to be a gnome wizard but the roll to meet the requirements is not common. Is a wizard something you work toward (leveling bard possibly to max then changing class, if that's even a thing) or did I read the books wrong on this?
Customer avatar
James S January 27, 2021 3:44 pm UTC
PURCHASER
1. Whether or not a character can progress beyond the listed lineage level is the purview of the Narrator, though optional ideas are provided in The Hero's Companion.
2. You are correct, mostly. Yeoman get more attribute increases as they level than other classes, and there are a few heirlooms that allow a character to increase an attribute.
3. Wizards are intentionally rare to keep magic exotic and wondrous. That's why the requirement is so high. Feel free to either allow the character to begin play with an Insight of 15, or devise whatever method you desire to facilitate the fun at your table.
Customer avatar
Charles B August 10, 2020 12:08 am UTC
PURCHASER
The price point is quite high at $39.99 (which doesn't even include the PDF). The Delving Deeper compendium is much more complete for FREE from Drive Thru, or less than $5.00 in printed version (Lulu). The combat example talks about orcs, but no orcs are included in the "menagerie". For a book about epic quests to recover heirloom treasures, the rules for overland/wilderness travel and exploration are pretty sparse.
Customer avatar
Zachariah K January 20, 2021 6:21 pm UTC
PURCHASER
In Tolkien, orcs and goblins are the same race. The Hero's Journey is inspired by Tolkien and other 20th-century classics of the high fantasy genre.

This game is completely different from Delving Deeper. THJ is NOT intended to be a white box dungeon fantasy game. If that is what you want, by all means, Delving Deeper is a good option. As is Swords & Wizardry. But The Hero's Journey is its own thing.
Customer avatar
Krzysztof C July 25, 2020 7:50 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Digging it like a greedy dwarf! Question: what's the recommended ruling for a character reaching their Lineage-mandated level limit?
Customer avatar
Krzysztof C July 29, 2020 8:59 am UTC
PURCHASER
Got the Companion, question answered ;) Don't know if I'll use it wholesale, but I'll be sure to lift some elements to my other OSR campagins!
Customer avatar
Eugene S July 09, 2020 9:18 pm UTC
why get rid of the attributes? Way too many changes in my opinion.
Customer avatar
July 04, 2020 8:59 am UTC
PURCHASER
Can somebody tell me how the Warriors "A Greater Valor Against Lesser Foes" rule works? The rule first says one attack per level and immediately afterwards one EXTRA attack per level - which is it? Also I cannot wrap my head around the following example which doesn't seem to match the rule.

Also is this only for melee attacks?

Thanks,
Simo
Customer avatar
June 25, 2020 3:36 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Sorry, another quick question. A helmet is listed in general equipment and not classed as armour. Is there any reduction benefit through purchasing one ?
Customer avatar
June 22, 2020 2:50 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Quick question- where de orcs at ? There are goblins, but no orcs. Can we have orcs please.
Customer avatar
James S June 22, 2020 3:22 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Because The Hero's Journey is firmly rooted in British mythology and Fairy Tales, orcs were omitted. From a more mechanical standpoint, they are almost statistically identical to goblins so it felt like a bit of a waste of page space to double-dip for what was, rules wise, essentially the same creature. Given the myriad of fantasy RPGs that feature orcs in some capacity, it should be easy enough to import them if you'd like to use them in your game.
Customer avatar
Charles B August 10, 2020 12:25 am UTC
PURCHASER
Then why the reference to them on page 117: "But even a 10th level character is only a few steps from death. While they might be able to handle the spears and arrows of some blood-thirsty orcs,..."

In the first edition, the Goblins are inferior to orcs in every stat, Less armor, less reduction value, no base to hit bonus, fewer hit dice, worse attack, slower movement, etc. I have already made my own Menagerie Supplement, and have included Orcs. Here is what I came up with (the text is from THJ First Edition, by James Spahn, per the OGL):
Orc
Defense: 10 Endurance: 6 Reduction Value: 2
Attack Modifier: +1 Attacks: By Weapon
Special: None
Move: 4 Saving Throw: 19 Despair Rating: 2
Orcs are stupid, brutish humanoids that gathering tribes of hundreds. Most are subterranean dwellers, and fight with a -1 penalty “to hit” in sunlight. They typically carry small shields and wear ring mail armor. Occasionally, war-bands or even entire tribes of orcs...See more
Customer avatar
Charles B August 10, 2020 12:27 am UTC
PURCHASER
By the way, where did you find Stirges in British Mythology and Fairy Tales (I am curious)?
Customer avatar
christopher B August 14, 2020 8:03 am UTC
PURCHASER
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strix_(mythology) Make sure you scroll down, Strix, Striges, Stirges yada yada been around awhile in various cultures all over Europe.
Customer avatar
christopher B August 14, 2020 8:08 am UTC
PURCHASER
I think the author was quite literally using the orcs and goblins interchangeably much as Tolkien did. Mckiernan did it as well in his own terms. Heck, even Warhammer lumps them together as greenskins. Just my two cents anyway. Again, Tolkien was a heavy influence and used them pretty freely. To me they were all pretty much goblins except the Uruk Hai but I do not claim to be a Tolkien scholar or anything.
Customer avatar
June 12, 2020 10:20 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks for the speedy reply. Haven't role played for over 30yrs, so a bit slow on the uptake. Will be running these rules solo, so your reply clears up something that was bothering me. Many thanks
Customer avatar
June 11, 2020 4:16 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Rules look good, very Tolkien. However, have question about Wilderness Encounters. If an encounter happening is controlled by a d6 roll and hexes away from a town etc then an encounter cannot happen if the party is over 5 hexes from a civilised hex, thus a party knows it is safe while well away from civilisation. Can this be right ? I would rather an encounter roll per hex that is not civilised - a 1 on a d6, or something like that.
Customer avatar
James S June 11, 2020 9:19 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I think you're a bit mixed up, or maybe I worded it improperly. Long and short is that when a party is 5 or more hexes away from a civilized area an encounter occurs on 1-5 on 1d6. The chance of an encounter should never increase above this (unless the Narrator decides otherwise) even if they are 6 or more hexes from civilization.
Customer avatar
Michael M May 20, 2020 3:18 am UTC
The game looks fantastic. Looking forward to buying a hardback. Will there be a print on demand option soon?
Customer avatar
James S June 05, 2020 4:52 am UTC
PURCHASER
It's out now for your enjoyment!
Customer avatar
Jason D May 14, 2020 3:26 am UTC
PURCHASER
Does this include a blank character sheet? Looked around and was unable to find one to check out...
Customer avatar
Alan B May 14, 2020 2:51 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
I'm uploading a separate character sheet now.
Customer avatar
Charles B August 10, 2020 12:28 am UTC
PURCHASER
Will you be uploading the Estate Sheet as well?
Customer avatar
Patrick B May 12, 2020 10:38 pm UTC
PURCHASER
A few questions if someone would be so kind as to answer them:
1) Does armor make you harder to hit or does it reduce damage?
2) How much of a bonus do shields give you?
3) Does it use Vancian magic?

The second question probably seems strange, but in my experience fantasy games consistently under-rate the importance of a shield.
Customer avatar
James S May 12, 2020 11:45 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Patrick,
1. Armor reduces damage.
2. Shields give you a higher Defense, making you harder to hit. This is a larger bonus than in traditional fantasy roleplaying games. For example, a buckler provides a +2 bonus to Defense, while a Tower Shield grants a +8.
3. It uses a heavily modified version of "Vancian Magic." A character either knows a spell or they do not. There is no memorizing a spell. Characters ARE limited (based on their level) in how many spells they can cast each day. But each spell has 3 thematically tied effects. So, for example, casting "Breathed in Silver" can either convince a target they are your friend, put a mortal being into an enchanted slumber, or weave a minor illusion. The caster knows Breathed in Silver, so therefore knows all three potential effects - but does not choose which effect they are using until the moment they cast the spell. Finally, in the case of Wizards, if they have cast the number of spells based on their level and are in dire circumstances...See more
Customer avatar
Charles B August 10, 2020 12:30 am UTC
PURCHASER
I love the way you handle armor and shields in this game. It is how I think it should have been done log ago. Also, bigger creatures are sometimes easier to hit (thank in other RPGs) but harder to penetrate their hides/armor.
Customer avatar
Luigi C April 24, 2020 3:31 pm UTC
PURCHASER
What is the expected size of the POD book? 6"*9"?
Customer avatar
James S May 12, 2020 11:45 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Yep. 6x9.
Customer avatar
Luigi C May 13, 2020 9:31 am UTC
PURCHASER
Cool, thanks
Customer avatar
Sean T April 09, 2020 1:41 am UTC
PURCHASER
Really looking forward to the companion. Any idea when it'll be available to non-backers?
Customer avatar
Alan B April 09, 2020 1:49 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hey! It's currently in layout.
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Product Information
Gold seller
Author(s)
Rule System(s)
Pages
220
Publisher Stock #
BRG-001
File Size:
8.68 MB
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Original electronic
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File Last Updated:
March 23, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on February 10, 2020.