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CPA: Advancement

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After they are created, player characters(PCs) in CPA 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 and talent 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 perilous disasters, to crafty detectives with a wide range of skills, to legendary warriors who can defeat five enemies in one attack--as well as tons of diversity for player characters.

How to acquire experience points:

  1. Firstly, whenever players roll a critical failure--two 1's on 2d8--they immediately gain one experience point.
  2. Next, the GM may award some amount of XP on a regular basis. Typically this is 1 XP at the end of each per session for a low-power game aiming for about 30 sessions, or 3 XP per session for a fast paced 5-session adventure story.
  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 accumulating about 40-50 total XP, including the starting points.

How to spend experience points and talents:

  • Skill upgrades and new talents may be purchased with XP at any time. You can also save up the points to buy something more expensive like a higher level upgrade.
    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 steaming jungle, or how their nerdy scientist suddenly learned kung-fu while taking a nap, then it cannot happen, and the player must choose another upgrade or save the points for later.
    4. Once approved, the player must tell the group about how they advanced, and 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 may have its own special requirements.

    Statistic Advancement:

    Skill Advancement:

    You can improve skills at any time by spending your accumulated skill points. Note:
    1. The maximum level for any skill is 6.
    2. In order to acquire and advance arcane skills, the player character must have the talent "Caster I" for one arcane skill or "Caster II" for multiple.
    3. To emphasize versatility, you must have at least 2 separate level 1 skills before gaining a level 2, at least 2 level 2 skills before gaining level 3, at least 2 level 3 before getting level 4, etc

    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 worker, can earn a decent living.
    3 3 6 Reliable professional at this task.
    4 4 10 An expert, relied upon in your field.
    5 5 15 A renowned elite of the art.
    6 6 21 Maximum level. Minor super-hero facility with this skill, the character's skill begins to defy reality even if mundane, and they may attempt to defy gods at their peril.