Advancement Pyramid and Refinement
by Tom Miskey
After each major adventure, which may last anywhere from a few sessions to a half dozen or more, players will receive a chance to refine and advance their characters. Refinement is the process of substituting a stunt or aspect that has seen little use for one that is more appropriate, especially one that reflects the events that just occurred in the adventure. Perhaps a companion was killed, a gadget destroyed, or some new skills were learned in the course of the adventure. Refinement allows the player to do any of the shuffling described on pg 333 of SotC. The player may do one or more of the following, but only once each per Refinement.
- Swap out 1 aspect for another.
- Swap out an Average skill for one not currently in the pyramid, or switch the places of 2 skills in the pyramid that are not more than one level apart.
- Swap a stunt in exchange for another.
The player may also select an Advancement for his character and begin filling in his Advancement Pyramid. The Advancement Pyramid is identical in size and shape to the Skill Pyramid, and it begins completely empty. Players may fill in the pyramid as they advance, keeping in mind that like the Skill Pyramid, each level must be supported by a larger layer underneath. Each of the advancements for a given level may only be taken once, though most have another that may be selected at higher levels. Advancements within a level may be taken in any order.
|Level 5 Advancements:||+1 Skill|
|Level 4 Advancements:||+1 Skill||+1 Aspect|
|Level 3 Advancements:||+1 Skill||+1 Aspect||+1 Stunt|
|Level 2 Advancements:||+1 Skill||+1 Aspect||+1 Stunt||+1 Stress box|
|Level 1 Advancements:||+1 Skill||+1 Aspect||+1 Stunt||+1 Stress box||Defining Moment|
+1 Skill: This advance opens a new slot on the Skill pyramid. The 1st time it’s taken it creates an Average slot, the 2nd a Fair slot, the 3rd a Good slot, the 4th a Great slot, and the 5th creates another Superb slot. When the slot is created, you may move a skill from the level beneath it into the slot, filling in with skills as you move down the pyramid until you eventually pull another Mediocre skill to fill in the vacated Average spot. (Example: You’ve just taken the +1 Skill advance for the 3rd time, creating a Good slot. You’ll fill that slot with one of your Fair skills, you’ll fill that Fair vacancy with one of your Average skills, and you’ll choose a Mediocre skill to fill the Average vacancy.)
+1 Aspect: Each time this is taken, you may choose a new Aspect. You also get an additional Fate point, as Fate refresh always equals your number of Aspects.
+1 Stunt: This advance gives the character an additional Stunt each time it’s taken.
+1 Stress box: The character may add 1 Stress box to each track when this advance is taken, signifying his growing experience.
Defining Moment: Once per game session, the player may declare it is his Defining Moment. If he is being compelled, this causes an Escalation (see SotC pg 47), getting him 2 Fate points for accepting the compel instead of 1. If he is tagging an Aspect, it gives him either a +3 or allows him to reroll only the dice that came up blank and minus, leaving on the table any pluses that he got on the 1st roll. These are in place of the usual +2 or reroll all dice.
The Advancement Pyramid contains a total of 15 advances, which should last quite a while since you only receive an Advancement and Refinement at the end of each major adventure, each of which should last multiple sessions. If you wish to slow down advancement and have more stable characters, you could have players choose to either take Refinement OR Advancement, not both. Another option is to alternate them… on odd numbered levels they get Refinement, on even numbered levels they get Advancement.