Monday, May 26, 2014

Spheres in Hero's Journey: Powers of Heaven and Earth

All right, we're back from the road! A little late but definitely not forgotten, it's time for the Monday spoiler. Several of you have been asking about Spheres lately, especially now that the Kickstarter has gotten us a brand new additional one, so today they're our topic of choice.

While all Heroes can do amazing things just by virtue of having invested in the supernatural Aspects and Talents and using the powers associated with them, the truly divine powers in Hero's Journey come from the Spheres. Spheres are areas of cosmic influence that affect the world and all things in it; they are the powers that allow gods to control the seasons, smite mortals with plagues or flood the landscape to express their anger with human misbehavior. Heroes, as representatives of the gods, gain access to those same Spheres on their journeys, and can become more proficient in them as they go along, leaving the realm of merely superhuman feats behind for the truly magical.

Spheres are organized into one of three Domains: the Celestial Domain, which contains all the powers of the heavens and celestial bodies, the Elemental Domain, which contains all divine powers over the natural elements, and the Spiritual Domain, which contains all powers over life, death and the essences that support the world. Within each Domain, Heroes can specialize their powers into individual Spheres - so, for example, if your character put some points into the Elemental Domain, you could then choose to advance in some or all of the Fire or Thunder or Water Spheres as you wish.

The core release of Hero's Journey contains seven Spheres (unless of course the Kickstarter explodes and adds more, in which case we'll talk about those later!), three each from the Celestial and Elemental Domains and two from the Spiritual Domain. Let's do a quick run through them!

The Death Sphere, part of the Spiritual Domain, gives Heroes access to powers over the afterlife and the bodies and souls of the dead. With it, they will be able to communicate with and manipulate those who have passed on, sanctify bodies or become inured to the effects of the very underworlds themselves.

The Fire Sphere, part of the Elemental Domain, gives Heroes access to powers over flame, smoke, heat and the destructive forces of combustion. With it, they will be able to light fires or quench blazes, provide comforting warmth and light to their allies and heat their own bodies to a dangerous inferno.

The Heaven Sphere, part of the Celestial Domain, gives Heroes access to powers over air, breath, wind and the vault of the heavens itself. With it, they will be able to grant or deny breath to others, use the wind to move objects or to carry themselves along, and manipulate the ephemeral powers of the rainbow to uplift their spirits.

The Life Sphere, part of the Spiritual Domain, gives Heroes access to powers over health, disease, and life in all its forms. With it, they will be able to heal allies of their injuries or inflict sickness on their enemies, call upon the bountiful plants of the earth to become fruitful or wither, and bring unbounded fertility to fields and humanity alike.

The Lunar Sphere, part of the Celestial Domain, gives Heroes access to powers over madness, moonlight and the silver disc of the moon itself. With it, they will be able to clear their allies' minds or muddle those of their enemies, bring gentle light to the darkness and call upon the moon's phases to aid them.

The Solar Sphere, part of the Celestial Domain, gives Heroes access to powers over light, warmth and the daystar in the skies above. With it, they will be able to shed light into darkness, inflict heatstroke or soothing warmth on others, and even control the path of the mighty sun itself.

The Thunder Sphere, part of the Elemental Domain, gives Heroes access to powers over rain, thunder, lightning and storms. With it, they will be able to use electricity to smite their foes or power their inventions, call rain to fall, and become forces of natural destruction second to none.

The Water Sphere, part of the Elemental Domain, gives Heroes access to powers over the waters of natural bodies and humanmade reservoirs alike. With it, they will be able to create refreshing liquid to quench their thirst, seek for treasure in the depths of the oceans and treat the waters as their own natural domain.

These are not all the Spheres that Hero's Journey will ever have; while we would have loved to include every possible divine power in the game from the start, reality has (as usual) forced us to choose some to begin with and plan for expansion in the future. We chose this beginning set of powers because they are among the most common in mythology, both for the gods to wield and the heroes who represent them to tap into, but there are other cosmic powers out there, and we hope to release those quickly once the initial game has been completed.

In the meantime, we hope you'll all be as jazzed about these as we are. Powers for days!