Thursday 23rd July 2015
The game master should award experience points to PAEs at the end of each game session. Experience gained should be directly proportional to the actions the PAE has taken during the session along with the actions the PAE will be taking during the downtime between the current game session and the next one.
Thus it is OK for a player to spend six months working on his skiing ability as long as the story (and game master) allows for that much down time to occur between the current game session and the next one. This also assumes that the player has the ability and resources available to improve the ability. i.e. the money for skiing lessons and sufficient agility to contemplate skiing in the first place.
As your PAE learns and grows the GM will award you with a number of experience points. These points can be spent on areas of your character that you have developed. You can spend experience points to improve your abilities, the number of points you need to spend to improve an ability by one point is equal to the level you are trying to achieve.
e.g. to move an ability from a three to a four takes four points of experience. To move an ability from a four to a five takes five points of experience. Thus to move an ability from a three to a five takes nine experience points.
An ability can only be advanced by one point per game session at most by normal means. To advance more rapidly than this will very soon leave you with nothing to work towards and will also likely create imbalance in your game.
You can advance as many abilities as you like at the end of a game session as long as you have sufficient experience points and in-game time or rational to do so. This means that your character either needs time to engage in learning a new skill or they need to have had on-the-job experience in the previous game session to justify increasing the skill without spending time doing so. If your character has spent an entire game session creeping around a dungeon waste deep in water they may reasonably spend experience in move silently or perhaps swimming but unless the current adventure has come to an end and the player has gone home it will not be possible to learn the new skill nuclear physics as it has no bearing on what the character has been doing and will require some time to study.
To increase ones aptitude requires a fundamental change in your life's focus. Typically a PAE's aptitude is a score fixed for life, simply because it is a measure of potential (not actual ability). e.g. If a player states that they want to implement a rigorous fitness training regime into their PAE's life then they are far more likely to gain an ability called "athletics" that is based upon Strength and Agility that can be used for running, jumping and other physical exertions.
To actually increase your potential is to remove a barrier to progress within your being. This is most often accomplished by magical means. Or perhaps by cybernetic or bio-mechanical modification of the physique. Certain chemicals and hormone treatments can unleash mental potential and personality modification therapy can alter charisma. Instinct is very difficult to change but it can be achieved, those infected with lycanthropy often speak of the instinct being sharpened. There are tales told of brain stealers who can harvest memory and knowledge from their victims thereby adding to their own.
Suffice to say, it is very difficult to increase your aptitude and not something that is commonly done. PAEs are often not normal people however and the GM may permit them to pursue increases in aptitude as long as it does not imbalance the game.
It is up to a game master to decide how much experience to award to his or her players. If you give large experience awards, then PAEs will progress quickly and they will need ever bigger challenges to test them.
Experience points should be awarded in order to reward a player for their behaviour and actions. Some players are fantastic at role-playing games, they entertain all and bring life to a story, these players must be recognized so that other see how to behave to reap the same rewards.
Experience awards are also given for completing or partially completing stories. When designing a story you should lay out some clear goals and assign experience awards to them before hand so you can hand out the experience points easily.
A good rule of thumb is to make sure everybody progresses every game, but not so much that they feel like they are being given things for free. The following guide can be used to give experience, but feel free to change it as you see fit.
Experience awards per game session
- 1 for showing up and playing
- 1 for good role-playing
- 1 for the most useful player in the team
- 1-6 points for completing a story goal
- 7-12 points for completing a whole story