Stories in FTS are told through Scenes—moments in time with a clear beginning and end. Scenes are flexible in both nature and length, and can be a few minutes long, or they can stretch on for months and years at a time. Much like scenes in movies and television shows, Scenes in FTS revolve around one particular event, and tend to end once the event in question has been resolved—be it an intense chase scene, an emotionally-charged courtroom argument, or a quiet evening spent sharing stories around the fire. Upon the conclusion of a Scene (any Scene), the party receives 1 Experience. This is always true, regardless of whether the Scene was a dangerous fight or several days of relaxing in town. The only exception to this should be Scenes that are particularly pivotal or important to either a character, the party, or the story—those should reward 2 upon completion.
STs are encouraged to group series of small, short moments together into one Scene, so that the party doesn’t advance too quickly from performing trivial actions. A general guideline to follow is that as long as something is accomplished and/or the story or characters are made more interesting, it is its own Scene; if not, it should be considered part of the next one.
Kalla and her companions arrive at the town of Wildon, and decide to rest for a while. They spend the first two days purchasing supplies and relaxing, but are attacked by assassins in the night. The ST decides that, since they only spent a few moments describing the events beforehand, the first two days in town are part of the fight, and they are all one Scene. The party gains 1 Experience.
As the characters tell their collective story and explore their world, they grow and learn from their successes and their failures, and become more worldly as a result of their travels. This is represented through the Experience mechanic, which is used to track how much the party has accomplished since they first began their tale.
Experience is a form of currency, earned through exploration and interaction, and spent on improving a character’s abilities. Experience is usually tracked through the party, where everyone in the group always has the same amount to spend (so as to prevent anyone from feeling left behind or underpowered), though STs may make it tracked on a per-character basis if they wish.
As explained in the previous section, Experience is normally earned at the rate of 1 (or sometimes 2) Experience per completed Scene. STs may choose to reward the party with additional Experience for good roleplaying or creative thinking, but they should always err on the side of being conservative—after all, the idea of FTS is to tell a story, not power-up the characters.
Experience can be spent on a few different things. Each “purchase” and their related costs are listed in the table below.
Increase an Attribute by 1
Unlock a Significance (See The Legend chapter)
See The Legend chapter
Begin a new Skill or Forte
Increase an existing Skill by 1
2 + Current Rank
Purchase a Specialization for an existing Skill
2 x Current Rank
Increase an existing Forte by 1
Purchase a Specialization for an existing Forte
Kalla wants to start the Weaponry Skill, which costs her 1 Experience. She decides to increase it by 1 (costing her 3 Experience, as 1+2=3), and then another 1 (costing her 4, as 2+2=4). She now has the Weaponry Skill at Rank 3, and has spent a total of 8 Experience.
With her Weaponry at Rank 3, Kalla decides to purchase the Hand Weapons Specialization. This costs her 6 Experience (2 × 3 = 6).
Kalla decides to increase her Power Attribute. It currently has a score of 4, so it will cost her 4 Experience to raise her Attribute to 5.
Kalla decides to start up a brand-new Language Forte, at the cost of 1 Experience. She then increases its Rank by 1, costing her another 1 Experience, for a final cost of 2 Experience for a Rank 2 Forte.
Characters do not need to spend Experience immediately upon receiving it, and may hang on to it for as long as they wish. Experience may be spent at any time, for any reason (including in the middle of combat), on anything the player wishes.