CHARACTER GROWTH AND EXPERIENCE POINTS
As the story progresses, your character will take on new experiences. After surviving dangerous adventures, unraveling vast political conspiracies, conquering environmental obstacles, driving away horrific abominations and defeating the machinations of the just and unjust alike. You begin to illicit mastery over your own abilities. Forged through the fires of adversity, the sum of these experiences cause your character to improve in several different ways. To reflect this, you gain what are called Experience Points – a form of intangible currency given as a reward to spend on improving your character’s abilities.
Killing fantastical monsters is oftentimes the assumed way to gain Experience Points with other role-playing games; this is not so with ZWEIHÄNDER. This system advocates that players be appropriately rewarded for thinking creatively, staying “in-character” around the game table and playing to your character’s psychological strengths and flaws. While losing can be cruel and harsh, characters who live take away invaluable knowledge and improve upon their proficiencies to better prepare themselves. Thus, Experience Points is given by your Gamemaster to reflect your character’s sojourn, a mix of both failure and success. You can generally assume that your Gamemaster will roundly hand out around 100-150 Experience Points per game session to each player. Additional Experience Points rewards may come from participating in social intrigue, surviving combat encounters, tackling environmental obstacles and excellent role-play.
SPENDING EXPERIENCE POINTS
As the story progresses and you gain Experience Points, new doors open for your character. You begin to pick up new aptitudes beyond what your Profession has taught you. This sum of these experiences are encapsulated through the Tier system.
All characters start out in Basic Tier. This Tier requires you to grow certain characteristics, until you’ve completed all of your training and move into the next Tier. However, as you move into the Intermediate Tier and Advanced Tier, you may grow in ways more appropriate to the story and narrative, customizing your character into someone truly unique.
Experience Points (sometimes called EXP) are rewarded by the Gamemaster over each session, which you then purchase for improvements. There are four different types of improvements you may make by spending Experience Points:
* PROFESSIONAL TRAITS – You pick up these traits in your Profession. They vary wildly from Profession to Profession, underscoring the primary function of their inherent Skills.
* PRIMARY ATTRIBUTE ADVANCES – You gain raw bonuses to your Primary Attributes, rewarding you with a +5% bonus each time you purchase one with Experience Points.
* TALENTS – You gain knacks or special abilities which either augment a way a Skill can be used or provides a new option your character may utilize.
* SKILL RANKS – You gain training and raw bonuses to your Skills, otherwise referred to as Apprentice, Journeyman and Master. These enhance your Base Chance of success by a cumulative +10% bonus.
In addition to investment, your Gamemaster may grant you the ability to spend Experience Points on Unique Advances. We’ll talk more about this later.
WHAT IS A TIER?
A Tier is measurement of competence, profiling a character’s experiences over the course of a campaign. Each Tier represents a collection of choices you’ve made. In ZWEIHÄNDER, there are 3 Tiers – Basic Tier, Intermediate Tier and Advanced Tier.
Each Tier has a certain number of required expenditures of Experience Points a character must have before moving onto a new Tier and into a new Profession. The Basic Tier limits you to invest Experience Points in a few specific ways, outlined in your Profession’s description. However, as you are promoted to the Intermediate Tier and Advanced Tier, these limitations are entirely removed as you grow your character towards a different Profession. Characters will automatically gain promotion into the next Tier by fulfilling all of the required Experience Points purchases from the previous Tier and making their first Experience Points investment into the Professional Trait of their new Profession.
AUTHORING YOUR PROFESSION
At this point in the character creation process, you should already know what Standard Profession your character begins in. It is assumed that your character has spent many years in this Profession, but is approaching the precipice of a new path. As such, not all characters (even those of the same career) are the same, you are able to completely customize your character during the creation process:
* Mark the oval on the front page of your character sheet called Basic Tier.
* Record any trappings your Profession’s description outlines for you on a piece of scrap paper, as you start play with these items. If you gain weapons or armor, write them down onto the character sheet and visit Chapter ???: Trappings to copy their related attributes.
* Give yourself 1,000 Bonus Experience Points to begin play with. If you gained additional Experience Points for your character’s Age or Drawback, add it to the above. These Experience Points are spent during the character creation process to completely customize your character during the character creation process. This means you can mix and match Talents, Skill Ranks and Primary Attribute Advances in any fashion you wish before you begin play!
When you first start out in your Standard Profession during character creation, you are already in your Basic Tier. The Basic Tier is analogous to how your character spend their formative and early adult years. You’ll note that on each Profession’s page there are several things you may purchase with Experience Points. You must fulfill these requirements before moving into your Intermediate Tier.
BUY YOUR PROFESSIONAL TRAIT
You must immediately spend 100 Experience Points to adopt your first Standard Profession. Find the Professional Trait your Profession confers to you. Once purchased, go to the first page of the character sheet and record your Professional Trait and related benefits.
SPEND REMAINING EXPERIENCE POINTS IN BASIC TIER
You should have at least 900 Bonus Experience Points left. Immediately spend them however you’d like before you begin play, following the requirements below. Each of these purchases costs 100 Experience Points. You may purchase these in any fashion or order you may desire. Also, note must fulfill these basic requirements before moving into Intermediate Tier:
* Each Profession has a list of Primary Attribute Advances tied to them. You must spend Experience Points to purchase all 7 of these Primary Attribute Advances. These are purchased in 5% packets. Once purchased, go to the first page of the character sheet and mark the oval that says Advances beside the related Primary Attribute. Adjust the related Primary Attribute accordingly.
* You must purchase the 3 Talents listed in your new Profession’s description. Once purchased, go the first page of the character sheet and record the Talent and related benefits.
* Your new Profession have several Skills tied to it. You must spend Experience Points to purchase all 10 of these Skills. Once purchased, you automatically gain Skill Rank: Apprentice in each of these Skills. Mark the ovals for each Skill Rank on the front page of your character sheet.
Once you have purchased the 1 Professional Trait, all 7 of the Primary Attribute Advances, all 3 Talents and all 10 Skill Ranks, you are almost ready to move into the Intermediate Tier.
This ancient order embraces the doctrine of asceticism, having taken vows to live the rest of their lives in meditation and prayer. Adherents are typically female, living amongst their own in convents dedicated to religious devotion. Most live cloistered lives, spending their years in worship and service to their faith. Others may act as itinerant priests of the road, making their living as midwives, spreading charity and attending to the education of everyday folk.
While Adherents typically abstain from pleasures of the flesh, some convents promote handfasting with Preachers or Monks to bring harmony to the church. Each holy order is different and may promote different doctrines. One conceit is consistent – Adherents actively preach peace, charity and temperance while casting aside violence, greed and luxury. Only a rare few advocate different views, worshipping darker gods with profane names best not spoken amongst other clergymen.
VOW OF PACIFISM
So as long as an Adherent makes no means to harm another, they are above reproach. But those who walk in blood-stained clothes with a sword at their waist may send the wrong message, allowing others to ignore the Adherent’s implied “vow”. If you intentionally avoid hurting enemies that are of your same race or religion, they cannot bring themselves to harm you unless they succeed a Discipline Test. There may be exceptions to this rule, solely made at the Gamemaster’s province.
PRIMARY ATTRIBUTE ADVANCES
Your mind is incredibly resilient to events that lead towards madness. Whenever you may potentially gain Corruption Points, you may re-roll a failed Discipline Test but must accept the results.
Through rote and ritual, you have learned to bend the powers of disorder to your whim or to channel divine energies. You may now learn and cast Petty Magick. You immediately gain access to a number of Petty Magicks equal to your Intelligence Bonus (IB) if you have Skill Ranks in the Invocation Skill or Willpower Bonus (WB) if you have Skill Ranks in the Piety Skill.
You know how to move crowds and persuade them to act in your favor. Whenever you attempt to befriend and persuade others, you may re-roll a failed Charm Test but must accept the results.