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Cosmic Peril Fantasy: Advancement

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After they are created, player characters(PCs) in CPF can grow as they gain experience, but they are not limited by any classes, levels, playbooks or tropes.

Instead, they acquire experience points over time, which can be spent on skill, talent, and stat improvements, as described below.

This system allows for a lot of flexibility in the power level and scope of a story played with these rules--from ordinary workers in strange situations, to master martial-artist heroes--as well as tons of flexibility for player characters.

How to acquire experience points:

  1. Firstly, whenever players roll a critical failure--a 1 on a d20 or two 1's on 2d6--they immediately gain one experience point. If it's a critical failure on a spell, they gain 2.
  2. Next, the GM may award some amount of XP and/or talent picks at the end of sessions, missions, arcs or seasons.
  3. Finally, the character may gain XP, talents, or unique abilities simply by exploring and experimenting in-game: cybernetic implants, mutagenic injections, viral infestation or the blessings of strange gods may give any benefit or flaw.

Note there is no expectation or need for advancement in this game. However, if you do use advancement, keep in mind that a character will become akin to a minor super-hero after receiving about 30 XP.

How to spend experience points and talents:

  • Skill upgrades, stat increases, new spells and new talents may be purchased with XP at any time--on three conditions:
    1. The player must declare to the group their intent to spend XP on a skill or talent, when they intend to do so.
    2. The player must give a reasonable an in-game explanation for the increase in the character's abilities.
    3. If the GM asks, and the player can't coherently explain how their stone-age barbarian gained computer programming skills in a barren wasteland, then it cannot happen, and the player must choose another upgrade or save the points for later.
    4. Once approved, the player must note the advancement spending on their character sheet or log.

    Talent Advancement:

    To acquire a talent, after declaration and approval, a player simply spends 3 XP and then selects the desired talent from the talent list. Note that each talent has its own special requirements.

    Statistic Advancement:

    To increase your statistics, after declaration and approval, a player simply spends XP in the following way:
    1. The first statistic point increase that a player makes costs 1 XP.
    2. The second statistc point increase that a player makes costs 2 XP, and so on, increasing the cost by 1 each time.

    Spell Advancement:

    A character who posesses at least one arcane skill of at least level 2 has the option to spend XP to purchase additional spells with a simple rule:

    Skill Advancement:

    You can improve skills at any time by spending your accumulated skill points. Exception:

    Skill advancement costs are as follows:

    New Skill Level XP Cost to Advance by 1 Level to this Level XP Cost TOTAL for this level Description
    Untrained 0 0 Layman, you have a -2 penalty with this skill
    1 1 1 Basic competence as a worker.
    2 2 3 Advanced skill as an accredited professional.
    3 3 6 Veteran Expert - chief officer, dean, inventor, general
    4 4 10 Master - famous in a world's history
    5 5 15 Stellar - renowned in a conference of worlds.
    6 6 21 Legendary demigod status, the character's skill begins to defy reality even if mundane.