Progressing your Character
Characters aren't static objects, but instead constantly changing and developing entities. A character is always learning new things, to reflect this characters gain experience points (XP) for completing jobs, known as CrossRuns in Swan Song. Character generation is only the start. Your character will go on some runs, pick up some XP and NuCred, and then look for ways to get better at what he does. Character advancement rules tell you how to build your Crosser from a street novice to a big, bad, gun wielding street legend. XP advancement works similar to the way you spent XP at the end of character creation to customize the character, improve skills and attributes, but with one fundamental difference. When you create your character, it’s assumed your character has taken the time needed to develop and improve whatever skills he possesses. Once roleplaying starts, though, he’s going to need time to get better at his skills. He cannot, for example, simply rise from a Blades skill of 5 to Blades 6 overnight. He must train, possibly under the instruction of a master, and practice, practice, practice to improve his skill. This training and practice normally takes place during the crosser's downtime.
Progression Through Experience
The most common way for a character to progress his skillset is through experience points. This reflects the natural learning curve of a character. Through the completion of jobs a Crosser becomes more and more skilled. During the inevitable Downtime between jobs she can then use the knowledge she has gained from the job to train her existing skills as well as to learn new ones. A character who does not wish to use her knowledge for training, can also put it to use in sidework, earning an amount of NuCred per point of experience she spends in this way.
Cost of Progression
Learning new things as well as further advancing your skill with your current abilities requires two things, time and experience. The following table lists the experience (XP) cost, as well as the time required to gain new ranks in certain character features. Advancing in skills and adopting a new playbook is always easier, when they are connected to your Archetype, as you already possess the basic knowledge required for them. Because of this, they cost less XP and require less time to train, than skills and playbooks outside your archetype. Some things such as qualities, talents and biotic powers have no hard XP cost associated with them. The cost of these things is instead listed in their description.
|Progression Type||XP Cost||Time Required|
|Attribute||New Rank x 6||New Rank x 1 Weeks|
|Biotics||New Rank x 7||New Rank x 1 Weeks|
|Max Karma||New Rank x 6||No time required|
|Skill||New Rank x 3||New Rank x 3 Days|
|Skill (Archetype)||New Rank x 2||New Rank x 2 Days|
|Skill Specialization||12||1 Month|
|Skill Expertise||30||1 Month|
|New Playbook*||10 + (5 x New Count of Playbooks)||New Pb Count x 2 Weeks|
|New Playbook (Archetype)||5 + (5 x New Count of Playbooks)||New Pb Count x 1 Weeks|
|Playbook Talent||See Talent Description||1 Week|
|Martial Arts Style*||10 + (5 x New Count of Styles)||1 Month|
|Martial Arts Technique*||7||2 Weeks|
|Biotic Power*||15||1 Week||Complex Form*||12||1 Week|
|Street Cred||10 / Point||1 Day / Point|
|NuCred||1 / 2.000 NC (max 10.000 NC per Downtime)||1 Week|
* Can only be learned through the help of a Mentor or during character creation.
Obtaining a new Playbook
Acquiring a new playbook is a major event in a character’s life, and it can and should be more than a simple matter of spending XP. A character does not simply wake up one day with the knowledge and skills needed to be a Demolitionist. Obtaining a new specialization is a great opportunity for roleplaying, and can easily and naturally fit into the ongoing narrative. In fact, such a change is as often a result of circumstances as it is of a conscious decision. As a player finds his character attempting actions that fall outside of his current expertise, he may decide that a different playbook would better represent his character’s current situation. When he makes this decision and spends the experience points, it represents a turning point in his career and opens up new possibilities. Mechanically, a character either possesses a playbook or does not, but within the context of the narrative, the gradual evolution of a character can be seen. When a Player Character obtains an additional playbook, it can be seen as representing the character consciously embracing his new calling, or overcoming a challenge in the learning process and making the transition from amateur to professional. While a character could attempt to learn these new skills from reading datapads or watching holovids, the most effective way is to learn under an experienced teacher. In this way, the acquisition of a new playbook can become a part of the ongoing campaign narrative, and roleplaying out obtaining a new playbook can help merge the mechanical and narrative aspects of gameplay. If the players do not wish to dedicate a great deal of play time to this, it can be assumed that the character undergoes his training during periods of downtime, or in the narrative “off-camera” time periods between game sessions. Even in this case, the players and gamemaster should still work together to fill in the details. It enhances the game and reinforces the feeling of a living, breathing galaxy. If the players know that one character learned his skills as a Demolitionist under a known deserter from a Corp Military, they might be nervous when dealing with forces from that Corp in the future.
When a playbook has a ranked Talent, you can still only get 1 Rank of that Talent per occurance of it in your Playbook. If you want more Ranks in it, you'll have to also get it from other Playbooks. But note that no Ranked Skill can ever go above the maximum Rank of 6.
Downtime training restrictions
The time it takes to improve an attribute or skill is meant to reflect the in-world time a character must invest in improving his abilities and is measured in days, weeks, or months. The higher the rating in a skill or attribute, the more difficult and time-consuming it is to advance to the next level. Some Qualities, such as Dependents, extend this timeframe. This training time can be interrupted by going out on runs or doing other activities, but the character must resume his interrupted training as quickly as possible. Waiting too long before getting back into training can result in losing the benefits of previous sessions and having to start from the beginning again. XP for the new or improved rating of an attribute or skill does not need to be paid until the character has fully completed their training period. The time required for the training can be reduced with the help of an instructor. The time it takes to improve attributes cannot be decreased. Building muscle for Body or Strength, or improving cognitive functions, always takes a serious investment of time. Note that you can’t improve Physical or Mental attributes during the same downtime period when you receive implants or augmentations that improve those same attributes. That downtime is used solely for recovery from the augmentation implanting process and for getting used to their body’s new modifications. The character will have to wait to the next downtime to begin training for another improvement. A character may only train to improve one Mental and one Physical attribute, or one attribute and one skill, in a single downtime period. If the character chooses to focus on improving only skills during a downtime, the character may choose to learn or improve a number of skills up to their Logic rating divided by 2 (round up). Karma is a unique quality. Because it reflects the character’s luck, it requires no special amount of time to raise. Karma can be raised anytime the character has the XP to do so.
Instructed TrainingHiring an instructor can greatly reduce the amount of time or XP a character needs to improve his skills. The price for this is as always money.
An instructor can help a character with his own personal training, reducing the time it takes them to increase their skills. Skills can be taught for improvement purposes. If the player is able to find an instructor to train him and help him perfect his techniques, the time it takes improve his skill is reduced by up to 50 percent (round down), depending in the qualification of your instructor. Instructors for legal skills can be hired without much hassle withing every major settlement, while finding instructors for illegal or very complex skills might need contacts or the help of a Fixer.
|Adept Instructor||Skill-Rank 1-3: -50% Training Time||1.000 NC / Day|
|Skilled Instructor||Skill-Rank 1-3: -50% Training Time
Skill-Rank 4-5: -25% Training Time
|2.000 NC / Day|
|Master Instructor||Skill-Rank 1-5: -50% Training Time
Skill-Rank 6: -25% Training Time
|3.500 NC / Day|
Note that instructors can only help you to learn or improve skills. Attributes and other qualities can't be learned quicker through the help of an instructor.
Some qualities, such as new Biotic powers or playbooks from outside your archetype, can only be learned with the help of a mentor. This mentor can be a real person, but also a video log, transscription or AI (artificial intelligence). Finding a mentor can be done with the help of Contacts, a Fixer, searching the ECHOnet during downtime, or through story progression. Prices and availability of mentors can vary wildly depending on your location, Street Cred, Notoriety and many other factors. It's up to the GM to decide upon those factors.