Character Improvement

Over time, people learn from their experiences and improve their skills and abilities. This is part of life and also a staple of narrative fiction - the farm boy becoming a hero or the bit-part actress who becomes a global superstar. Characters do this by gaining Character Points which are used to acquire new advantages or increase the CP / Dice Value of existing advantages.

How quickly characters gain CP depends very much on the style of the game being played. It can be a lot of fun to gain points quickly and see a character progress rapidly, but there is also the delayed gratification of earning points slowly and valuing every single one of them.

The recommended pace of improvement is to award 1 CP for every hour of play. This ensures that characters develop at a steady pace and it rewards players based on their commitment to the game and not on the pursuit of artificial goals or treasure. The hourly rate of CP can be adjusted to suit the group's preferred style of play.

Spending CP

Characters do not have to spend CP immediately, they can be accumulated. A note of spare CP should be made on the Character sheet. The CP can be spent any time the character is not in combat, but only with the approval of the group. It is reasonable for a hero on a quest to improve their sword skill having learnt from the experience of slaying a monster, but not suddenly speak a new language without anyone to teach it. Characters should not be restricted in their development but it is reasonable to prevent them using spare CP to suddenly gain exactly the skill needed for the situation.

Adventure Paths

Game Leaders can reward players with new paths when they complete significant parts of the campaign. For example, a party who has just completed a dangerous mission for a prince might be given the Courtly Life path as the prince rewards his new friends with a place in his court.

Alternatively the Game Leader may create a unique adventure path that reflects the characters' exploits. This path offers a selection of abilities that the characters may have acquired during their adventures. This might include knowledge of the types of monster encountered or an Environment advantage if the characters spent a long time in one area. It can also include useful skills that the characters may have learned during their journey. This is a very useful way for players to round off their characters' abilities without buying new paths.

Adventure paths can be put together by the Game Leader or created collectively by the group. Players can suggest advantages for the path that their character may have taught other characters or ones inspired by events within the adventure. This may involve creating new advantages.

Whatever the adventure path contains, characters gain the path as a 4 CP / 1d6+0 advantage without spending any points. They can then increase the path's points or purchase advantages from it using their CP.

Narrative Rewards

Not all rewards are directly useful or improve the character's abilities. Some are restricted to the game world, such as promotions or being invited to attend a banquet with the King. These in-game rewards are just as important as the more tangible rewards of CP or paths as they add depth and richness to the game, not just more dice and bookkeeping. Game Leaders should strive to find ways to reward players in this way and players should suggest ideas for their characters.

Loot, Plunder, Treasure

While characters can easily acquire mundane items there will always be rare or unique items of equipment. These can only be gained by defeating enemies, completing quests or similar exploits and are a reward to players for successful role playing.

What counts as treasure will depend on the setting and the players. A magical ring might be desirable treasure in a fantasy game but a simple knife or mobile phone might be prized in a prison-based adventure. Some keywords such as Double [Specify], Free [Specify] and Dice can be added to equipment to make them unique and highly desirable. They also make equipment significantly more powerful and Game Leaders should take care not to be overly generous. Treasure can also tweak existing keywords. A custom version of a weapon could have a longer Range (x) or an easier Reload.

What makes an item treasure is its scarcity and usefulness. The harder equipment is to acquire and the more it enables characters to do, the greater its value to the players. Other than this, treasure is no different from any other equipment and can be used in the same way. Players can turn treasure into character equipment advantages by spending the necessary CP but this may cause them problems if they choose an item that is unique and then lose it.


A milestone is a marker in the character's life and the narrative of the game, a significant point defining the end of one part and the beginning of another. What qualifies as a milestone and how often they occur will depend on the nature and style of play the group enjoys. They should not be so frequent as to become meaningless, nor so rare that characters never reach them.

A rule of thumb is that milestones should be reached every every twenty to thirty hours of play. If players are using standard 70 CP characters and gaining one CP per hour of play, the first milestone should be around 100 CP and, on average, every further 25 CP. Rather than slavishly following these timings, Game Leaders should coincide the milestones with a significant event in the narrative such as finishing a major adventure.

At each milestone characters receive additional meta-character points they can use to increase their dynamic or static potential, their recoup or the number of free resists they have.

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open/mechanics/core/characterimprovments.txt · Last modified: 2013/11/06 13:22 by darth_tigger
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