Notes On Experience Points

"You can become better. Stronger. Powerful. But you must apply yourself…"

Earning XP

XP is technically not earned by killing things. XP is earned in the following ways:

  • After a GM Intrusion, the character being intruded upon, and another character of their choice (explain why) gain 1 XP each. If the earning character chooses to spend their XP to refuse the intrusion, the second character still retains theirs.
  • At the GM's discretion, particularly entertaining, beautifully-written, or otherwise awesome posing or dialogue can award 1 XP.
  • At any time, players can nominate another player for XP. If two other players express their agreement, the recipient may roll for a 50% chance to gain 1d3 XP.
  • For finding and successfully handling a Discovery, each member of the team can earn up to 5 XP.
  • For actions within an adventure specifically moving their character's story and advancement in keeping with their Type's Background, 1-3 XP.
  • Recent Edit: Due to the pacing of the game currently, I am amending the 'no XP for killing things' rule. Game design does not provide XP this way, but I want to give my players room to improve within the slower pacing of Play by Post. As such, each player who participates in combat gets 1 XP at end, each that damages an enemy gets an additional 1 XP, each who KILLS an enemy gets 1 XP, and the player who kills the MOST enemies when there are 4 or more targets gets a final 1 XP.

Using XP

XP can and should be used when appropriate — your character should grow naturally through the course of RP. Characters gain new skills. Characters learn new moves, spells, or tricks. Each use of XP to improve the character should be explained via storytelling, even if it's something that occurs 'off screen'.

XP can be used passively in the following ways:

  • 1 XP to re-roll (on any roll not a 1 — critical failure). Keep the better of the two rolls.
  • 1 XP to refuse a GM intrusion (not generated by a critical failure)
  • 4 XP to re-roll a critical failure.
  • 2 XP to choose a previously-discovered type of cypher rather than a random roll (75% chance)

XP can be used to improve your character in the following ways:

  • 3 XP to add a new skill (from untrained to Practiced — no skill bonus)
    • +1 per each additional skill added per tier.
    • +1 when updating an existing Practiced skill to Trained or Specialized.
    • Skills purchased CAN be a skill in one of your Type abilities to reduce difficulty. These will default to Trained when added.
  • 4 XP to add a new Focus Ability at or below your current Tier.
    • +1 for each additional added per Tier
  • 5 XP to add 1 to base stat (this will also add 1 to the same stat's pool)
  • 15 XP to increase maximum Cypher count by 1
  • 35 XP to change Focus
    • MUST be applied for before being added to the character, and time will need to be taken off-screen to explain the change.
    • Abilities and bonuses from the old Focus will fade, unless you pay twice to effectively take both (bonuses will NOT stack).
    • New focus will be at current Tier.
  • 25 XP to change Descriptor
    • MUST be applied for before being added to the character, and time will need to be taken either off or on-screen to explain the change.
    • Old bonuses/abilities will fade, unless you pay twice to effectively take both.
    • Bonuses will NOT stack.
  • 100 XP to change Type
    • MUST be applied for before being added to the character, and time will need to be taken off-screen to explain the change.
    • Old Abilities will remain frozen at your current Tier, and cannot be improved.
    • Skills for your old Abilities will default to 'Knowledgable' (no reduction of difficulty)
    • Bonuses from your previous Type will be halved, and cannot stack with your new Bonuses.
    • New Type will start at Tier 1.
  • 4 XP to add a new Artifact off-screen.
  • 1 XP to add a new Cypher off-screen.
  • 3 XP to add a new Oddity off-screen.
  • 3 XP to add a new Long-Term Benefit to your character (Home, Source of Wealth, New Form of Transportation) outside of standard acquisition in RP.

Please note that for those expenditures above that match those in advancing a Tier, they can only count towards Tier advancement once per Tier (resetting once the Tier upgrade is complete). The first use of XP for that method will count toward Tier advancement.

Raising Your Tier

There aren't really 'levels' in Numenera, since you're already a great hero the day you start. Instead, you're an expert who is honing and expanding their abilities. As such, there are only six tiers in character progression. Everything else is XP expenditure.

To advance in your tier requires a few things. Each costs 4 XP (for a total of 16 XP per tier):

  • Increase Your Capabilities: Add 4 points total within your stat pools. (Not the base stat, the pool itself).
  • Move Toward Perfection: Add 1 point to one of your Edges
  • Make a Greater Effort: Increase Effort by 1.
  • Improve Your Chances: Choose one of the following:
    • Increase one of your skills to Trained (-1 Step Difficulty), or a Trained skill to Specialized (-2 Steps Difficulty)
    • Reduce the cost to wearing armor by 1 (Both Might cost and Speed reduction)
    • Add 2 to Recovery rolls
    • Add a new Focus Ability at or below your current Tier

Fair point Edit: The above cost WAS at three per purchase as a result of a clerical error on my part, and so purchases up until Episode 6 reflected the lower cost. With the start of Episode 6, costs are back to normal since everyone has had a chance to spend at the lowered costs to make it equitable.

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