Guidelines for the Narrator
As a general rule of thumb for the narrator, advancement points should be allotted at a rate of approximately one point per in-game week. The character’s development is related to their actions. In order to acquire a point, the character must have actively practiced or adventured in a way that improved the skills he wishes to improve. A merchant might gain a point by cutting a particularly savvy deal, whereas a swordsman might gain a point by succeeding in a difficult combat.
The exploits that qualify for a point are at the sole discretion of the narrator. Difficult or unusual feats are those that are worthy of an advancement point. What is difficult or unusual for a character will naturally scale up over time. Surviving a fight with a knife-wielding criminal may be dangerous to a green adventurer fresh out of his hometown, but a seasoned veteran would not consider it so. A balance must be struck with advancement: if a character is not performing actions worthy of a point several times in a session, the story may be getting boring. On the other hand, a constant barrage of trials is unrealistic. Remember that even if several advancement-point worthy moments occur in a session, characters are still capped at gaining one point per in-game week barring unusually strenuous circumstances. This is representative of the physical limits to advancement: no one, regardless of training, can gain 50 pounds of muscle overnight or master engineering from scratch in a month. Improving oneself requires time and discipline.
One point may be used to increase a malleable trait that is under 3 by one point, two points may be used to increase a malleable trait from 3 to 4 or train a first-tier ability, 3 accumulated points may be used to advance a skill from first to second tier or second to third tier or advance a malleable trait from 4 to 5, and 4 points may be used to advance a skill from third to fourth tier.
No advancement may be made in a malleable trait that was not used to gain the point (no fast-twitch musculature for negotiating, for instance) and no advancement may be made in a skill that was not taught to the character or practiced by the character. Also, a character will reach legendary status at 50 total accumulated points, at which point they have reached their full potential and may advance their traits and skills only at quadruple point cost.