Here is where we talk about character advancement.
- Your ability with a feature. Rank determines the dice pool of a feature, as discussed in Basics.
Experience Points (XPs)
- An abstract representation of your progress and knowledge regarding a particular feature. You advance a feature to the next rank when you have sufficient experience points.
Training Points (TPs)
- An abstract representation of your training and practice with a particular feature. Practice and training do not directly improve your ability, but - when applied - greatly improve your advancement.
- An abstract measurement of time. Generally comparable to roughly a month in real-world time.
Cycle Tick (CT)
- A subdivision of a cycle, each cycle has 30 cycle ticks. A cycle tick is roughly comparable to a day in real-world time.
- If you have enough XP towards a feature that decays to cover its base cost, the feature is considered maintained and is not subject to decay for this cycle.
- If you do not attempt to progress in your abilities, they gradually decay. Not all features are subject to decay; generally only skills and specials are subject to decay.
A character can, at any time, spend time to train in a Feature. For every cycle tick spent training towards the Feature, the character gains 1 Training Point (TP) towards that Feature.
A character who uses a Feature and rolls, rather than takes average, and the result is higher than his average result, gains 1 Experience Point (XP) towards that Feature. If the roll is the maximum possible result, the character experiences a Breakthrough, and gains 2 XPs instead (note that Humes gain 3 XP for a Breakthrough).
In addition, whenever a character gains XP, an equal number of TP for that Feature become XP.
Whenever a character gains his first Rank in a Feature, or gains XP or TP equal to its Base XP Cost, the Feature gains the Maintained flag.
At the end of each Cycle, each Feature the character has that is subject to Decay and lacks the Maintained flag suffers from Decay. All Features with the Maintained flag lose it.
You can turn 10 TPs into 1 XP.
With a 10:1 ratio, it takes 17 months of straight training to get a standard hume to 1d6 swords, 1d6 block, 1d6 melee, and 1d6 defense. For reference's sake, this is what I envision a standard guard in a moderately-sized city to have, at least in terms of what a city is willing to train (obviously a guard will have other skills, too).
It would take just over two years (25 1/2 months) with a 15:1 ratio.
- November 17, 2009
However, it is also possible that guards do not require this much training; with iron plate, iron longsword, and wood shield, it is entirely possible that a guard given minimal (read: 1 rank) training in those four relevant skills would far surpass the majority of threats to smaller settlements. Larger cities will, of course, have better-trained and better-armed guards, but if we assume a small settlement for purposes of determining TP:XP conversion rates, we will probably get much more reasonable numbers.
To get 1d2 in those four skills (Defense, Melee, Block, Swords), an individual requires 10 XP. That's 100 TP, which is just over three months of training. That seems pretty reasonable. Throw in the equipment, and you wind up with a combat stat-block that looks something like this...
HP: 6 (Max Wds: 3) Energy: 12 Hit Table: Humanoid Aggro: Intelligent Weapon: Iron Longsword [1 WT / 100 HP] Armor: Iron Cuirass [6 WT / 140 HP] Shield: Elm Tall [11 WT / 350 HP] Dodge: d6  Parry: d6+d2+2  Block: d6+d2+4  AV: 4 DM: 4 ATK: Iron Longsword (d6+d2)  DMG: Iron Longsword (d6+d2)  SPD: 3 [ F - 28 / L - 21 / M - 16 / S - 9 / Q - 5 / I - 2 ] ACU: 3 [ F - 17 / L - 14 / M - 11 / S - 7 / Q - 4 / I - 2 ] WT : 18 (9)
Yep, looks pretty solid.
It gets even better if you consider the idea that, once they're trained, chances are good that guards will continue training on the side; maybe one or two weekends' worth a month, let's say. While the TP required to gain more ranks goes up, a guard will still gradually become better, perhaps even to a somewhat ridiculous degree: Bob the City Guard who's been at his post for twenty years is going to be hardcore, no matter how you slice it, because he's been working on his skills for longer than most starting PCs have been alive.
Hell, let's experiment. Bob gained the initial 100 TP from training, then trains every other weekend, netting him 6 TP per cycle. At twelve cycles per year, and at twenty years, he has accumulated 1440 TP, which translates to 144 XP. Assume that's been split evenly between the four, so 36 XP for each skill... that puts him at a d10 for his 3+2/r skills, and d10 for his 2+2/r skills (and almost at d12). Throwing around attacks at d6+d10 (and damage being the same) means that, for the vast majority of the population, Bob is a killing machine, capable of throwing down with pretty much anybody who decides to screw with him.
In the same vein, though, Bob probably still only has 6 HP, and while it's possible his equipment has been upgraded, it isn't terribly likely he's packing anything better than steel. His speed will also still suck, meaning he can't reasonably wear anything heavier than the standard cuirass without seriously cutting into his ability to deal with threats (replace the cuirass with iron plate in the above block, and medium actions cost 20-some ticks). If somebody manages to land a hit on him through his d6+d10+4  Block skill, one solid hit will do him in (and by "solid," I mean at least 7 dmg, and that assumes he fails his health check. If you want to ensure he is dead, deal 10 damage - he might still make the health check, but he takes two wounds due to massive damage, so there is no way for him to recover).
In other words, don't screw with that grizzled old gate guard. He might not look like much, but if he's kept up with his training, he will stomp you into the ground.
...the journey of a thousand miles...
...begins beneath your feet...