Xp And Character Generation

In SWATT, characters develop mechanically through the expenditure of Experience Points (XP). XP is awarded for every event a character attends, and events for which a player monsters. Once you gain a certain amount of XP, you may spend it to gain new skills.

XP is an abstract, OOC concept, and can represent many things in character; in many cases, it can represent lessons a warrior learns from taking part in combat, or an alchemist or mage learns from practising their arts; but it can also represent increasing favour in the eyes of a god (ie. priests being entrusted with more power due to acting in accordance with their strictures.) XP can represent experiences gained in uptime, or in downtime, such as reading magical theory in a library as part of a college course, or training for hours fencing against members of your guild. Sometimes, it can represent things like contacts or investments made, when purchasing the alias skill for instance, or career progression through purchasing more levels of the Income skill.

Characters are roughly divided into eight "levels" according to how much XP they have. There is 60XP per level. if a character reaches 480XP, it is not possible for that character to gain any more and they will stop mechanically advancing (although reaching this level takes a very long time and most characters will not reach this level.) Level boundaries are given below, along with an indication of what each level corresponds to in terms of society. Please note - your level is not an ic obvious feature and people's IC reactions to you will be based on what you do in uptime and what your social situation is. These indications are more guidelines to NPC capabilities rather than for how to view characters, and a cunning or brave level 3 character can achieve much more and earn more respect than a wary, defensive level 7 or 8 character.

Level 1: 1-60XP Peasantry, completely unskilled people.
Level 2: 61-120XP Wildlife, goblins, complete beginners in any class.
Level 3: 121-180XP Beginner-average professional.
Level 4: 181-240XP average-good professional.
Level 5: 241-300XP Very skilled, holding a high rank in guild or temple. Approximate max NPC level.
Level 6: 301-360XP Extremely skilled veteran. More powerful than a guild or temple head.
Level 7: 361-420XP Mighty heroes, geniuses of magic/combat/alchemy.
Level 8: 421-480XP Legendary figures of power.

Desiging your character

When beginning to create a character, there are a few questions to consider before you start assigning your XP. What kind of thing do you want to do with your character? Do you want to be a berserking warrior, a cunning thief, a simple student mage who has just gone down to the pub for a drink? Take a look at the setting, and see what appeals to you, in terms of race, devotion, and organisations within the city. If you're not sure, get in touch with a referee, whether you have a vague idea of the kind of thing you like to do and are wondering where it fits in, or even if you have literally no idea (but at least take a quick look around the setting first please!)

When generating a character, we request that you submit a brief character background, so that we know where your character comes from, what their motives are, how we can create plot relevant to your character, and to ensure that your starting XP spend is appropriate for your character's history. Your character background cannot mechanically advantage your character in any way - for example, you cannot start play with a stash of money from a bank robbery, or with non-standard items or skills. These things may be achieved in uptime. If you wish to represent being rich, you may purchase the Income skill, perhaps multiple times. However this is not required - you can still play a foppish noble who has no expendable income because it's all tied up in property, for example.

Characters can generally start play as a member of a guild, temple or other organisation. These will occasionally have a stance or opinion on various things which are happening in the world, and may in some cases grant access to certain resources. They will also have expectations from their members and may occasionally make requests or demands. It is possible to join (or leave) an organisation in play. If you enter play with membership of an organisation this should feature in your character background.

You may also like to think of what friends or family your character has prior to their first appearance in play. There is no guarantee that these NPCs will feature in uptime, nor will you have any control over their actions or circumstances when they do, nor will they automatically grant you any mechanical advantage. NPCs are controlled by the refs and are part of the system, and as such they may be killed or have other bad things happen to them if appropriate for plot. However it can often add depth to a character to have a concept of their background family and friends, and they can provide strong incentives to take part in plot that will directly affect them, so we encourage you to define these.

Spending Starting XP

Each character starts with 150XP to spend. This places them at mid-way through level 3, a respectable level for a starting or long-term professional. However, by no means do you have to play as this; farmer's son coming to the city or playboy noble are completely acceptable characters to play at any level.

You may spend XP on any skill that you posess the prerequisites for. Skills in the "General Skills" category may be purchased with no prerequisite, while skills in the warrior, priest, mage, alchemist, subterfuge and wilderness classes require a "buy-in" skills which grants acess to other skills in that class.

Example: If you wish to purchase the Melee I ability enabling you to call SINGLE with a 42'' sword, you first need to purchase the 15XP Warrior I skill, which also grants access to buy all first-level warrior skills.

You may purchase skills from any number of classes (sometimes known as "multiclassing"), though obviously spending a lot of XP on multiple buy-in skills will limit what uptime-useable skills you can buy.

Example: "Paladin" and "Warlock" type builds consist of warrior skills and priest or mage skills respectively.

From each tree you may only purchase skills of level equal to or less than your character's level. For example, starting at level 3, you can buy into warrior I, II and III, but not warrior IV. Alternatively, you may buy Warrior I and II, and alchemy I.

When buying skills, your level counts as the level you are on once the skill has been bought, not before.

Example: Eduardo is being statted up as a priest of Nephthys. He is currently on 48XP. He cannot buy Devotion II, because this will only take him to 58XP, still level I. If he buys Health I from the General Skills tree, he is on 54XP, and can now buy Devotion II, taking him to 64XP and level II.

You are not required to spend all or even any of your starting XP at character generation, but bear in mind that if you wish to spend it later you may not be able to spend it all in one go - it is not possible to walk in off the street and do 3 levels worth of magic exams in 1 week!

Some example charactersheets can be found here, for inspiration and as a resource you may copy and paste for your own characters if you wish.

Playing Multiple Characters

It is possible to play more than one PC simultaneously in SWATT. The number you play is up to you, but if you go beyond 3 you will probably find you don't have time to get much done with any character, and even 3 is pushing it. You may prefer to stick to 1 character, or play 2. If you do play multiple characters, they are not able to interact in any way; If you are playing Alfred and Bruce, then Alfred may not send Bruce letters, talk to people about or on behalf of Bruce, deliberately become involved in the same plot as Bruce and should avoid moving in the same social circles as Bruce to minimise the chance of any accidental crossover.

This can usually be achieved by playing characters of different classes with different interests, eg. a paladin of Aten motivated by fighting the undead wherever they arise, and a research mage with an interest in investigating conditioned alchemy. You are advised not to play two priests simultaneously unless you are quite sure they will be involved in different things, and you should avoid playing mages of the same or opposite colours simultaneously at a minimum. The refs may advise you to delay in starting a particular new character character on hold if they feel upcoming plot or other factors may result in your different characters crossing paths.

If you feel your characters are becoming involved in the same plot and there is little you can do to prevent it, please inform the refteam, who will be happy to provide one of your characters with a reason to be removed from this plot. It is up to you, rather than other players, to ensure that you avoid interacting with your other characters, or learning things as one character that would affect the actions of your other character. Also bear in mind that if Bruce has an alias known as "Batman" (this is a silly example please do not try to play batman) then Batman and Bruce may investigate the same plot as they are the same person in reality. Attempting to use OOC or rules information such as this to determine if someone is playing an alias or a separate character is metagaming and against the rules. We will be extremely unsympathetic to anyone abusing meta information.

Gaining XP

XP is allocated for attending events, on a per-player basis. Each player who attends an interactive receives 10XP for each character that they have played for at least half an hour that interactive. If a character walk into the bar and get carted off to the cells by the militia within 5 minutes of showing up, that character will not be able to receive XP for that week unless he somehow manages to escape and return to the bar.

XP is also allocated for attending linears. Each character which attends a linear "in-person" gains 15XP. XP is also awarded to everyone who monsters a linear, at a rate of 5XP per event, which can be spent on any character which has seen at least half an hour of uptime within the past two weeks.

This is the only mechanism for gaining XP. XP is not rewarded for achieving goals or feats of roleplay (which should be their own reward,) neither will you be awarded extra XP to buy a skill that you are just 1 or 2 XP short of - you will need to wait until you have enough.

Spending XP

XP may be spent in a similar fashion to how XP is spent at character generation. In general, you will have some XP left over after buying skills that does not make up enough XP to buy the next skill you are intending on. This spare XP is kept until you do gain enough to purchase the next skill.

Regardless of what you spend XP on, you should ensure this correlates with your character's IC situation eg. a mage locke in the cells for a week will not be able to learn the spells from the syllabus textbook no matter how hard they try. A warrior who's had both arms cut off is unlikely to be able to practise their weapon skills (but may be able to justify taking other skills like combat awareness or berserk!) Learning some skills will require specific IC circumstances and achievements - to be Spiritually Awakened to a god, for example, you need to be the kind of person that god would awaken, and usually the actual awakening will take place at an appropriate time of the god's choosing. If you are in any doubt about whether or not you can purchase a particular skill, do not hesitate to consult a referee.

Removing Your Characters from System

At any time you wish, you may permanently remove your character from play. This is known as retirement and may occur because you have grown bored of a character, you have achieved what you wanted to with that character and want to make sure they finish on a high rather than growing stagnant, you OOC are unable to continue playing the character for some reason, or because you feel the character has become IC unplayable for some reason, ie. anything that would cause them to flee the city. At this point you may never bring that character into uptime again, or influence uptime in any way, such as by communicating with people in an ongoing investigation etc, or sharing details of any research you have done or secrets you have uncovered. If retiring, we advise you to provide some justification for this, such as travelling to another country or otherwise "dropping off the grid."

By the same token, once a character is retired they may not be targeted by current PCs and may be secure in the knowledge that they have ridden off into the sunset.

In some situations it may be possible for your character to feature as an adversarial NPC on a linear shortly after their retirement. The udnerstanding would be that if the PC party are successful they will probably be killed, but some villanous knaves might enjoy a final stick-it-to-them as a way to end their character rather than quietly disappearing.

If you feel you would like to bring a character to an end in a way that featuers in uptime (perhaps by going on a mission that they know will be fatal, or retiring somewhere on the course of a linear) please let the refteam know. It may be possible for this to be incorporated into upcoming plot, though there are no guarantees. From time to time certain linears may be flagged as particularly dangerous. In these cases death for a cause might be more than possible.

It is our intention to run weekend-long events during the Summer, perhaps starting in Year 2, in which a group of characters who are planning to retire can go on one final adventure before leaving system. This will normally feature larger-scale plot than standard linears, tailored to the PCs going and with potentially large-scale implications for success or failure. Characters on a year-end event will be upstatted to 480 (ie. the maximum) XP just before this adventure. Characters who go on the year end adventure will not return to normal play, either because they die or their circumstances at the end of it remove them from play (f/ex, by having ended up founding a new sect of a church in a foreign country, by ascending to their god, by becoming ruler of another plane of existence etc.)

Players who have decided to send their characters on a year end event may wish to consider retiring them from play before that if they feel they are unlikely to survive until that point, as the refs will not intervene to save a character just because they are planning on attending the year end event.

The Point of No Return

Characters who have been around for a while start to become vastly more powerful than a normal citizen. This is a normal and intended part of character development, however if many such powerful characters persist for a long time in system it damages the realism of the system, as well as makign it difficult to create plot that can be accessible to beginning characters that is not trivially solveable by established characters. However, some people enjoy playing long-term open-ended characters with no fixed endpoint in mind.

To this end, we have a rule that once a character reaches Level 7 (that is, gains 361 XP or more) they must have left system by the same time next year. This may be through death or retirement, or the character may leave play and be marked to go on a Year End Event. Players who do not want to retire their characters within this timeframe should refrain from giving them more than 360 XP.

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