Characters advance a level after three or four full heal-ups, i.e. between twelve and sixteen serious battles. The whole party levels up together.
Benefits of Leveling Up
When you level up, you get these benefits:
- +1 to attacks, defenses, and skill checks.
- An additional die of damage with weapon attacks.
- More hit points (by class).
- An additional feat. Choose any feat whose prerequisites your character satisfies. Feats are classed as adventurer (can be chosen at any level), champion (can be chosen at level 5+), and epic (can be chosen at level 8+).
- The ability to wield an additional magic item. (See Magic Item Personalities & Quirks.)
- At 4th level, 7th level, and 10th level, you add +1 to three different ability scores.
- At 5th level and 8th level, gain an additional icon relationship point, and possibly more talents depending on your class.
- Possibly more powers and spells, and possibly an increase in their strength. (See Classes.)
All your skill checks increase by 1 when you level up. If you want even better skill checks, take the Further Backgrounding feat.
If you just want to move around the bonuses you already have to show how your character is changing, you can move one background point around among your current backgrounds each time you gain a level, or swap the point into an entirely new background, with the GM’s permission.
After each session that goes well, the GM awards the players an incremental advance.
When you gain an incremental advance, choose one of the traits of your next level to receive immediately (if available) instead of waiting until you level up. You’re not stuck with your choice, however, once you do level up.
You can take each incremental advance only once (except power/spell, see below). The advancement choices are:
Ability Score Bonuses
As a 4th-, 7th-, or 10th-level incremental advance, you can choose +1 in three of your ability scores.
Choose a feat. For the purposes of this feat, your level is one higher than normal. When you level up, you can switch this feat out for another feat of your choice.
Your maximum hit points increase as if you were one level higher. If you’re presently damaged while mid-adventure, your current hit points increase by the same amount.
You can wield an additional magic item as if you were 1 level higher.
Power or Spell
Choose a single power or spell that you could take at your next level. If you have a choice of multiple powers or spells, then you can take this increment multiple times to match. If you must replace a lower-level spell with a higher-level spell, you cannot replace a spell that has been expended.
Add +1 to all skill checks.
If your class gains a new talent at the next level, you can take that talent as an incremental advance at 4th or 7th level.
Icon Relationship Points
As a 4th or 7th level incremental advance, with the GM’s permission, you can choose a new icon relationship point that you would get at 5th or 8th level.
No Attack or Defense Bonuses
You only get these bonuses when you level up.
Weapon Damage Progression
The basic rule for PC weapon damage is that a character deals 1 die of weapon damage per class level, plus their ability modifier (or double the modifier at 5 th level, and triple it at 8 th level). See Weapons for more on weapon damage rules.
Most of the spells used by characters have higher-level versions. Those versions allow you to choose the spell as a higher-level option if you like, rather than choosing an all-new spell. You do not automatically gain access to the higher-level effects of a spell when you level up just because you have a lower-level version of it.
Higher-level spells have higher damage amounts than their lower-level counterparts, but these amounts and effects are not cumulative. Amounts from the highest level spell you have are used. New effects from higher level spells are added to the spell’s original effects.
Shifting Choices during an Adventure
These are guidelines for allowing PCs to change their chosen spells, powers, talents, and feats during gameplay, subject to how forgiving you and your fellow players are.
Talents are a core element of your character. If you’re going to rearrange your talents, something extremely significant needs to have happened in your character’s story, some personal transformation or revelation. It is a sign of character transformation, usually coinciding with shifts in icon relationships.
You can change the spells you can cast after each full heal-up.
You can reselect your power choices when you gain a level.
If you’ve made changes to spells and powers, revise your feats appropriately. If the changes make sense for the character’s story and the GM agrees, play them.
You can gain a higher-level power or spell from an incremental advance. If you opt to raise an existing spell to a higher level, you can replace its lower-level spot with a new lower-level spell. If you swap out lower-level spell for a higher-level spell, you can’t replace a spell or power you have already expended.