I have been reading the new 7th Sea Second edition kickstarter preview over the last week or so, and while I haven’t finished it yet, I have gotten through just over the first half of it. I will do more of a review once I finish reading it, but I wanted to spend a little bit of time talking about the character advancement mechanic for the game.
The mechanic is called “Stories”, and each character when created sets up a story during character creation. When creating this story, you start with a concept for the story (the starting point). Then you add a goal of the story which has two parts, the first part is the ending, and the second is the reward. Now in the rules, they make a specific point of talking about how the ending should be explicit but changeable so that it is always achievable. The reward is a specific form of character advancement, so it might be an increase in a skill, an attribute, the purchase or increase in an advantage, etc.
Once you have the goal, you start by adding a first actionable step on the road to achieving that goal. Once you complete the step, you add a next step that works you towards achieving your goal, and these steps are how you pay for the reward that is held by your goal. So the number of steps needed for each goal are determined by the cost to purchase the reward. So as an example to raise your Brawl skill to rank 3, your story would need three steps that would need to be completed before you reach your goal.
After you reach your goal, you get your reward, and the process starts over again. The player creates a new story with a starting and a goal, and works through the steps to achieve it again. Also in addition to the player’s story, the GM also has a story for the whole group that they work through at the same time. There are a couple of differences between character stories and Game Master stories. First Game Master stories have more steps planed out than just the next step. Also, the Game Master stories don’t have defined rewards. Instead, each player gets to choose their own reward based again on the number of steps in the story (though the Game Master might have suggestions as to appropriate rewards).
So with all of that said, how could you go about adapting this for Savage Worlds? Well the first thing would be to exchange experience points for steps, and only award the points when they have achieved five or ten steps worth of rewards. And while this would require some planning on the Game Master’s part, it wouldn’t be that much for the players especially if you keep their stories at five steps(ten steps for legendary characters).
All in all I like this concept for advancement because it feels more organic to me. I still want to think about it some more and figure out how I think it could be implemented best, but I also wanted to get the base idea written down and out for anyone else who might be interested.