Advancement and Rewards

As your character experiences adventure and life you'll grow and develop greater powers and greater responsibilities.

Advancement


As your character battles the forces of evil and completes missions, he or she becomes a more experienced hero, increasing in power and unlocking new skills and abilities. This progress is called leveling up. Your character does this by earning the number of advancement points (ADV). ADV can be gained in a number of ways—like battling villains, accomplishing goals, or dealing with difficult situations.

Whenever you gain a level, your class often provides additional features, listed in the class's description. These improvements include the following:

  • Every four levels your proficiency bonus increases.
  • You occasionally gain an ability score increase (ASI), allowing you to increase two scores by 1 each or increasing one score by 2. You cannot increase an ability score above 20. If you're using the option feats, then you can take a feat instead of an ASI.
  • Whenever you gain a level, you add 1 additional Hit Die, which increases your hit points. Roll the Hit Die, add your Constitution modifier to the result, and add the total to your hit point maximum. You can choose to use the fixed value shown in your class entry, which is the average result of the die roll (rounded up).
  • If your Constitution modifier increases by 1, then your hit point maximum also increases by 1 for each level. For example, if your 3rd-level Action Hero has a Constitution score of 15, and increases his Constitution score from 15 to 16 when he reaches 4th level, his Constitution modifier improves from +2 to +3. His hit point maximum then increases by 4.

To level up, a character must learn and grow through adversity. This is represented through advancement points (ADV). In order to gain a new level, a character must earn a number of ADV equal to his new level. Each time you level up, the ADV you've earned resets to 0.

Activities that are a normal part of a hero's life, like stopping a common robbery, beating up minions, or saving a cat from a tree don't earn ADV. But foiling the villain's diabolical plot, thwarting an alien invasion, and bringing your nemesis to justice do earn ADV.

ADV are awarded to the character for combat, story-telling, and role-playing. ADV are generally awarded by the GM to the characters at the end of a story arc, between issues. Level advancement also generally takes place between issues.

When an arc concludes, the GM should award an ADV if the character has accomplished any of the following:

  • You accomplished a significant task that protected good or thwarted evil
  • You succeeded at a task that posed a significant threat to you (usually, but not always, death)
  • You took an action that advances the storyline in a significant way
  • You defeated a powerful foe (typically a deadly encounter)
  • You defeated your rival on your own
  • You defeated your nemesis
  • You achieved a major life goal
  • You failed to achieve a major life goal in order to do something good

A great piece of role-playing could happen that doesn't fit any of the actions described. Give the character the ADV anyway. The question is, did the player and character do positively or negatively in each of the three areas.

Generally, when a hero completes a story arc he or she should gain an advancement point. At 1st and 2nd level, advancement points should be obtained more easily than at 3rd to 20th levels. Beyond 20th level, you can earn epic boons, but you no longer gain levels.

When you gain a level, consult the information in your character’s class and endowment description to see what enhancements you gain at each level.

When you gain a new level, look over your options and decide what class would be best suited to the character. This might be a class your character already has levels in, or it might be a new class.

Once you've chosen, add the benefits of the new level to your character sheet. Proficiency bonuses, class features, Hit Dice, and ability score improvements are shown under the individual class descriptions. If you decide to add a second class keep in mind that you don't gain all of the starting benefits of the additional class (see the Multiclassing section).

Proficiency Bonus and Leveling Up


When you raise your character from one level to the next, the proficiency bonus that's given as what you've earned thus far from that level. When you level up from 4th to 5th level, your proficiency bonus becomes +3, you don't add +3 to the +2 you had from being 4th level.

Retraining


Sometimes you just don't use skills, feats, or powers as often as you thought you would when you took them. Or you might achieve a level that allows you to unlock an ability that fits better with your current concept. If you want to trade out skills, feats, or powers, you can do that during character advancement.

You can't remove a skill or feat that you've used during the previous level.

Starting Level


While most titles begin with 1st-level characters—a typical empowered or magus still learning how to use your powers—it is possible to begin play with experienced heroes. The GM can tell you the character level of the game he’s running.

Starting at 1st Level: The default starting level for Super-Fantasy is 1st level. These characters have probably recently learned they have powers, or may even learn that they have powers in the course of the first issue.

Starting at Higher Levels: Heroes who are established in their world, whether thoughtfully or only somewhat, can start at higher levels. You can choose to start the entire team at a higher level if you're wanting to play a game focused on experience characters, like a military unit or a team of the world's greatest heroes.

New Characters in Old Titles


Sometime new character join existing titles. This is usually because of a new player joining the group, or because a regular player has to replace his character (because he died, he's in a coma, he turned evil, or the player just wants to try something different). The character level of a new character joining an existing title should be equal to the lowest level PC on the team.


Rewards


Rewards are earned by characters through the procession of the game. They can be earned within the story or between sessions (the GM can distribute them after the end of an issue or before the beginning of one). You might get information or gear, achieve a personal goal, or get the bank teller to agree to have dinner with you.

There are two general categories of rewards: story rewards, material rewards, and power rewards.

Story Rewards


A story reward is often personal to a character or team. While it doesn't often grant any tangible benefits such as new powers or improved statistics, it adds to the depth of your character or offers new avenues to adventure and role-playing.

This often comes in the form of information or relationships and often times are interconnected. Sometimes even unpleasant things can be rewards because they advance your character arc.

Examples of story rewards include:

  • You rescue a wounded white wolf from poachers and after nursing him back to health, he proves a worthy ally.
  • You catch a young hoodlum that you saved from himself following you and keeping up. She wants to learn how to be a hero from you.
  • After successfully capturing the villain who killed your sidekick's parents, she tells you that she's retiring from the superhero life to focus on college.
  • After delivering a mob boss and the evidence to convict him to the authorities, the police commissioner says that while she doesn't approve of vigilantism in her city, she expresses her gratitude and allows you to escape.
  • The cute police officer you've been flirting with mentions his break-up.
  • After a job well done, you receive a promotion
  • After a botched mission, a new, hardcore commander joins your organization and he wants you to prove why you belong there.
  • While looking into the mysteries of your past, you learn that your biological mother abandoned you as an infant.
  • After discovering that your father is alive you find him and return him to safety.
  • After saving the life of a local deli owner, he gives you free sandwiches for life.

Material Rewards


Material rewards are tangible objects which often grant you statistical benefits or gear. This could be something mundane like cash or a utility belt, or it could be something advanced or unique like a magic sword or a suit of mechanized armor.

Any item in the equipment section can be used as a material reward. However, these items should generally be limited to objects costing no more than $1,000 per level. In the case of vehicles, this value can be around $10,000 per level.

Treasure is a material reward. You might find a cache of valuable, unclaimed art or a chest full of gems.

Structures and real estate are also rewards that a hero can earn. A safehouse or a base can be very valuable assets.

You can also claim enhanced items such as advanced technology or enchanted objects. These items are not part of your power suite. An enchanted longsword +1 or an alien spaceboard that lets you fly across the cosmos are rewards you might discover within the game. You can use them immediately or after attunement, as stated in the item's description.

However, you may wish to "unlock" additional powers within an object. These powers are a part of your power suite, treated as dipping (see Endowments). You might "discover" that your magic longsword can be used to deliver a holy smite. Mechanically, you have added the holy smite power to your power suite and can use it in conjunction with your sword. But in the story, you have tapped into a previously unrealized ability of the sword itself. If someone takes your sword, they don't have this ability, as it took your bond with the weapon to unleash it (unless they spend a Hero or Villain Point to emulate the power).

Material rewards include the following:

  • A wealthy Baroness believes that her late husband is haunting her. She offers you $10,000 to put his spirit to rest.
  • The city is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the capture of a dangerous felon.
  • After battering past a foes impressive defenses, you take his enchanted shield.
  • After taking out a thug on the street, you take his gun.
  • During the search of a criminal's house, you find a wooden box stuffed with cash.
  • After a job well done, you receive a $1,000 bonus.
  • After saving a wealthy European noble he gives you a souped-up car that has your color scheme and your logo on the hood.
  • You steal the wallet of a mugger after turning the tables on him
  • After saving a grateful city, the mayor gifts your team a refurbished warehouse fitted with technology to help you and your team in your fight against evil.
  • After saving a grateful nation, the president gifts your team a high-tech skyscraper to use as a base of operations.
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Looting the Bodies


We've noticed that experienced gamers who have a history with fantasy role-playing games may have a desire to loot their fallen foes. While understandable, this is a tradition of sword and sorcery games, not superheroic stories.

The GM may decide that this activity is fine within the context of his story, particularly if the team is made up of antiheroes and vigilantes. But the cache of valuable art discovered in the villain's lair has an owner that he stole it from, and the authorities will expect a "hero" to turn that over. Those who do may experience more leniency from the police and military, as their actions are seen as noble. A wealthy benefactor or government organization may even take notice and wish to assist the team financially, making an anonymous donation or offering a stipend or reward.

Heroes may also collect rewards for capturing villains or returning valuables or other lost items, sometimes equal to or even more than the monetary value of the object. And unclaimed treasures will be returned to the heroes after a month or two.

However, you may wish to "unlock" additional powers within an object. These powers are a part of your power suite, treated as dipping (see Endowments). You might "discover" that your magic longsword can be used to deliver a holy smite. Mechanically, you have added the holy smite power to your power suite and can use it in conjunction with your sword. But in the story, you have tapped into a previously unrealized ability of the sword itself. If someone takes your sword, they don't have this ability, as it took your bond with the weapon to unleash it (unless they spend a Hero or Villain Point to emulate the power).

Power Rewards


Power rewards are bonuses and additional abilities that you gain outside the normal rules of character creation and advancement. They may come from integration with an alien device, fresh exposure to the catalyst that gave you powers, a blessing from some higher power, or contact with a magical relic. They might also be invented by you or be unlocked from the wellspring of power within you.

  • After a vivid dream of your deceased mentor, you add a new power to your power suite without going through the process of learning a new power.
  • After exposure to a fresh dose of cosmic radiation, which gave you your powers initially, you gain a bonus 1st-level power slot.
  • After winning a footrace against Hermes, you can a bonus knack.
  • After achieving victory against your nemesis, you add +1 to the attack of one power in your power suite.
  • After bathing in a mysterious pool, you add a +1 to your armor class when using a specific defensive power.
  • After reading a strange book, you add +1 to the DC of one power in your power suite.
  • After days of penitent fasting and prayer, you add +1 to the attack and +1d4 to the damage of one power in your power suite when battling the undead.
  • After a near-death experience during a telepathic union, you have a permanent, two-way empathic bond with one other creature and only that creature.
  • After eating a metallic plant, any critical hit against you becomes a normal hit when using a specific defensive power.
  • After catching a falling feather from the Lord of the Griffons, you gain a flying speed of 50 feet.
  • After a gentle kiss from the Queen of the faerie, you can spend an action to enter a mystical stealth mode. While in this mode, Wisdom (Perception) checks made to see you have disadvantage, and you have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide.

Some of these rewards may depend on your skills or class features. The GM might allow a scientist who's a cybernetic engineer to find advanced components or have a moment of unrepeatable brilliance that lets him upgrade his cybernetic arm granting him a +1 on unarmed attacks with that arm.

While the rate at which characters receive power rewards is at the discretion of the GM, it's suggested that you gain only one such benefit every 5 levels.


Action Points


If you're using the optional Action Points rule, your character earns a number of Action Points equal to half your level (rounded down) + 5 whenever you gain a level.

Action Points can be used to add the result of a d6 to any roll of a d20.

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