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As your characters muck about in the storyline, they’ll grow and change. At the end of each session you’ll earn a milestone, which lets you move things around on your character sheet. As you conclude each arc of the story, you’ll earn a breakthrough, which lets you add things to your character sheet. (Learn more about sessions and arcs.)
Milestones happen at the end of a session, part of the way through dealing with a story arc. They are focused on adjusting your character laterally rather than advancing the character. You may not wish to use a milestone, which is fine. It doesn’t always make sense to change your character. The opportunity is there if you need it.
During a milestone, you can do one of the following:
- Switch the ranks of any two skills, or replace one Average (+1) skill with one that isn’t on your sheet.
- Rewrite one stunt.
- Purchase a new stunt by spending 1 refresh. (Remember, you can’t go below 1 refresh.)
- Rewrite any one of your aspects, except your high concept.
Breakthroughs are more significant, letting your character actually grow in power. A breakthrough lets you do one thing from the milestone list. On top of that, you do all of the following:
- Rewrite your character’s high concept, if you care to.
- If you have any moderate or severe consequences not yet in recovery, you can begin the recovery process and rename them. Any that were already in recovery may now be cleared.
- Increase the skill rating of one skill by one step—even from Mediocre (+0) to Average (+1).
If the GM feels a major plot development has concluded and it’s time for the characters to “power up,” they may also offer one or both of the following:
- Gain a point of refresh, which you can immediately spend to buy a new stunt if you like.
- Increase a second skill rating by one step.
Improving Skill Ratings
When improving a skill rating, you must maintain a “column” structure. Each step may not have more skills than the step below it. That may mean you need to promote a few Mediocre (+0) skills first—or, you may save up your skill points rather than spend them immediately, allowing big increases all at once.
Ruth wants to increase her Lore from Average (+1) to Fair (+2), but this means she’d have four Fair (+2) skills and only three Average (+1)…that won’t do. Luckily, she has saved a second skill point from an earlier milestone, so she also increases her Mediocre (+0) Empathy to Average (+1). Now she has one Great (+4), two Good (+3), four Fair (+2), and four Average (+1) skills.
Sessions and Arcs
There are a few assumptions at play here where we talk about sessions and arcs. We’d like to shine some light on those assumptions so you can make adjustments based on how your game differs from them.
A session is a single session of play comprised of several scenes and a few hours of gameplay. Think of this as similar to a single episode of a television show. It likely falls into the three-to-four hour range.
An arc is a series of sessions that often contain plot elements that carry over from session to session. Those plot elements don’t have to conclude within an arc, but there are usually significant developments and changes that come about over the course of it. Think of this as similar to a third- or half-season of a television show. It’s likely comprised of about four sessions of play.
If your gameplay falls outside of those “likely” ranges, you may want to change how some parts of the milestones work. If your arcs run more than four to six sessions of play, you may want to allow Severe consequences to clear after four sessions pass rather than waiting until the end of the arc. If you want advancement to happen more slowly, you might allow improvements like skill points and refresh gains less often. If your group tends to schedule fairly short sessions, you might not hit a milestone at the end of every session. Season to taste; the game is yours to shape!