Character Growth

As characters go on Quests, they grow and improve. In the game, this can be one of the tangible goals for the players.

The main currency for achieving this and indicator of how well the character is doing in game terms are growth points or just simply growth. The Referee hands these out after a Quest.

Growth can happen because of three situations.

  • Bringing motives into play, as determined by the player and approved by the Referee.
  • Quest achievement awards. These are determined and handed out by the Referee.
  • In game rewards for skill use. If the player fumbles or criticals during a skill test.
  • Ad hoc growth awards. The Referee gives these out as a result of certain events occurring during the Quest.

Awarding Growth for Motives

The characters’ motives are the main way players get to drive play and grow their characters.

If your character completes a motive, either short or long term, during a gaming session, cross it out.

If you engage with a motive in a gaming session, bringing it in to play, but don’t complete it, put a * next to it. You can only mark growth once in this way per Quest.

Make sure you make these marks as soon as your character achieves them with your Referee’s permission.

At the end of the Quest, look at your motives.

+5 growth points if you complete your Saga motive.

+2 growth points if you complete your Quest motive.

+1 for every motive that is brought into play. You don’t get this award as well as the award for completing a motive.

As a result, you should have a total between 1 growth point (you engaged with your short-term Quest motive) and 7 growth points (you complete both your Quest motive and Saga motive).

At this point, rub out any asterisk markers and remove any short-term motives, whether completed or not. Leave the completed long-term motives on the character sheet.

Motive Review

At the end of each Quest, the player and the Referee can call for a Motive Review. During the review, the player can change Saga Motives that are no longer interesting to them or relevant to the character. They can also remove uncompleted Quest Motives or carry them over to the next Quest, in which case the Referee makes a note of them.

Referee Growth Awards

The Referee award character growth as a result of the following.

  • Quest achievement award is directly linked to how long the quest was.
  • In game rewards for skill use. If a character fumbles or criticals during a skill test, their player adds a growth point immediately.
  • Ad Hoc awards that acknowledge growth that occurs due to achievements outside of the standard growth system.

Quest Achievement Awards

At the end of a Quest, the Referee makes this award, a simple flat award of two growth points for each session of play of average length of two-three hours. Adjust for longer sessions.

For example, A self-contained one session one-shot game that took three hours should give two growth points, while a Quest that took four sessions, each two to three hours, to play out gives eight growth points to each player.

Note: if you want to reward clever or entertaining play, use fortune points instead and award one point at a time. 

In-Game Rewards for Skill Use

If a character fumbles or criticals during a skill-test, they grow from the experience and the player immediately records a one-point growth award. The table should also cheer on the player. There is no limit to how many times this reward can be issued. The reward reflects this author’s belief that we grow from great success or great failure.

Ad Hoc Awards

Ad hoc means when necessary or needed.

The characters may grow as part of the Quest in ways that are immediate and hard to fit within the context of awarding growth points and the Referee wants to make a one off award of a character growth directly linked to the Quest.

For example.

  • A Wise may teach (for free) the spell of Detect Gold as a reward for completing a Quest on their behalf.

Spending Growth Points

Players may spend growth points in the downtime between Quests, even when their characters who are badly injured are healing. The default downtime period is three months, although it could drop to mere days if the flow of time in the series of Quests, known as a Saga (see page <?>), requires it.

Growing Skills

A player may improve any number of skills by spending growth points, but each skill can only go up by +5%, during the downtime between adventures.

The cost of that growth depends on the expertise of the skill.

Growth Costs by Expertise

Skill Expertise Growth cost Per +5%
0-25% Novice 1
26-50% Apprentice 2
51-75% Veteran 3
76-99% Expert 5
100% Master 10 to reach 100%

Growing Characteristics

A player can choose to spend five growth points to increase one characteristic by one point.

SIZ never increases using growth points.

The maximum a human character can increase a characteristic to is 21. For non-humans, the maximum for a characteristic is equal to the maximum possible starting score for the characteristic plus three.

This type of growth allows the character to overcome the innate weaknesses they suffer due to low characteristic scores.

Growing Magic

How the character learns more magic is dealt with in the respective magic chapters (Personal Magic, Divine Magic, and Sorcery). But for convenience the costs are summarised in the following table.

Summary of Growth Costs

Cost Growth
One growth point +5% to Skill
Five growth points +1 to any characteristic except SIZ
One growth point per magnitude Learn a Personal Magic spell (see Chapter 8 page <?>)
Two growth points per magnitude Learn a spell or an increase the magnitude of a Divine Magic spell (see Chapter 9  page <?>)
Three growth points Learn a Sorcery Spell (see Chapter 10  page <?>)

Improving Outside of Quests: Practice And Research

The characters may often experience long stretches of downtime between Quests. Group members may need to heal from wounds suffered during the last Quest, the characters may engage in some activity that takes time, or life may return to normal until the next danger to face the player characters appears.

During such downtime, the characters may improve their characters.  The players might request downtime between Quests to learn new skills, and it is up to the Referee to determine if this is appropriate.

For every three months of practice or research, a character may gain one growth point, which they can spend on growth. Note skills can only increase by +5% per downtime period.

Improving in Magical Rank

There are growth point costs when a character increases their rank in their religions and in sorcery, and when they become a specialist caster using Personal Magic—explained in more detail in the relevant chapters, along with the benefits.

Unlearning Spells and Changing Magical Path

Suppose characters change religions or even magic path. In that case, they may want to free up previously learnt magic spells, to learn a more powerful spell. For example, a character might change spells when they graduate from being Personal Magic users to users of Sorcery or Divine Magic, or learn the Divine Magic of their new religion if they change faith.

Characters may do this during downtime between adventures. The player describes how their character is spending time unlearning the spell and then, as long as they have a teacher or source of the new spell, they can learn it. Also, extra growth points from the character’s current pool are added to the growth points freed up by unlearning the spell, to make up the total growth points needed to learn the new spell.

Also, they may return the growth points they spent to become a specialist caster (such as Shaman, Wise, Priest or Adept). They can then spend this growth on spells, or more likely on becoming a specialist caster in their new magical path.