The completion of quests rewards characters with experience points (XP) which can be spent to gain new skills or improve existing abilities. The level of a character is governed by the quantity of XP spent; you are encouraged to spend your points as higher levels unlock additional bonuses for your character, as well as allowing you to enter certain, more dangerous pits and encounters in the world.
Experience points can be earned in two main ways; directly through adventuring and through the collection of XP tokens.
Going out into the world to complete quests and solve puzzles is the quickest way to earn experience points. Every quest or set encounter can reward XP for its successful (or otherwise) conclusion; the attending referee will reward XP by stamping your character card with the appropriate number of points earned. The number of points awarded is governed by a risk versus reward system; in general, the more dangerous a quest is, the greater the reward will be for its successful completion.
Quests can be triggered in a number of ways but the most common are through direct instruction by a non-player character (NPC) or through the entering of an encounter area, typically via a location marker.
As well as through adventuring, referees will grant experience points directly for good role-play. As such, as long as you play your character to the best of your ability, you can be rewarded, irrespective of success!
In addition to the experience points gained directly as reward from referees, players can also find experience tokens in the world. These golden tokens are often found on wandering monsters and in other areas where a referee may not be immediately available. The tokens are out-of-character items.
The tokens can be handed to a referee or GOD in exchange for experience points. The rate of exchange of tokens for XP depends upon your character level; one token is required for every three character levels (divide your character level by 3 and round up). As such, a level 2 character would require 1 token for 1 XP, but a level 11 character would require 4 tokens for 1 XP.
When you have earned experience points, they need to be spent in order for you to learn skills and advance your character level.
When you become trained in a new skill, you gain access to the benefits granted by that skill. As you advance skills from apprentice level to expert, master and grand master, you gain additional benefits. These are typically new powers associated with that skill; you do not lose access to the lower tiered abilities. However, if the new level grants additional uses of the skill per day, these additional uses are not cumulative; for instance, if a skill grants you one use of an ability at apprentice level and two uses at expert, this does not allow you to use it three times as an expert.
The experience point cost of new levels in skills is detailed in each class manual and the general skill list document. In order to learn a new skill or progress to the next level of an existing skill, you need to find someone willing to train you. The trainer could be an NPC or a fellow player character (PC); in order to train someone, the trainer needs to have the tutor skill (in the general skill list) and be trained to a higher level in the skill than the student is wanting to learn. Simply put, an expert in a skill can teach to an apprentice level, a master can teach to expert level and so on.
Training will involve a period of role-play between the tutor and student; this must be carried out “in time”. The precise nature of the training depends heavily on the skill being taught and the style of the particular tutor. At the end of the training, a referee will deduct the necessary XP and add the new skill to your character card. You are then free to get back to adventuring and put your newfound knowledge to the test.
As mentioned in the section on character creation, there are eight prestige classes available for your character to develop into, should you choose to. The prestige classes available to each base class are different, but the method of becoming a prestige class is the same for each.
First of all, your base character needs to have reached at least 4th level. Upon reaching this milestone, you can choose to learn skills from their base class or from an appropriate prestige class, assuming you have found a trainer willing to instruct you in the ways of the new class. Beware though, if you do not choose a prestige class before you reach 10th level, you will become locked into your base class; the change from one class to another at this level of expertise is too much to handle!
When you choose to follow the path of a prestige class, your currently known skill list is compared to the skill list of that new class. Any known skills that do not appear on the prestige class list or general list are lost and the XP cost is reimbursed to you, to be immediately respent on skills from the prestige class skill list. From the point that a character leaves their base class to become a prestige class, they can only purchase skills from the prestige class skill list or from the general list in the main player’s manual. You become a level 1 prestige character, but the previous levels of your base class remain. As such, any bonuses such as additional hit points or spell points you may have acquired through levelling will be kept. You will however lose access to any class-specific abilities (e.g. coup de grace) if they are not available to your new prestige class.
Finally, any spells you may already know are compared to those on the spell list of the prestige class. Any known spells that do not appear on this list are lost and replaced with the same number of spells from the same circles of the prestige class spell list. Prestige classes are not able to cast any spells above 4th circle, so any known spells above this circle will be permanently lost.
Now you know how to go about getting experience points and what to do with them, it’s time to learn about what might happen when you come across someone (or something) that doesn’t want you to complete your quests…