methods.in.the.madness

The Window
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Character Experience

Like a real person, your Window character will be constantly changing. How she sees the world, what her life is like day to day, and which skills she has mastered will grow as the story grows. If you like, the following mechanic can be used to improve your character's abilities as she gains experience.

Character evolution is the bread and butter of literature and roleplaying alike. Through the course of a chapter, your character may well go through many emotional and rational stages as his life is affected by the events of the story. The vast majority of this metamorphosis is impossible to represent with rules: it's up to you to get into your character's head and understand how he sees the world and how he reacts to it. If you are truly in character, the emotions you feel will be identical to your characters. You must then take those emotions and determine how they are affecting your character's viewpoint.

The following rules are offered only to help you keep your eye on the improvement of your character's traits and skills. They are in the optional rules section because you could just as easily determine character improvement by talking with the Storyteller and making modifications only when they make sense.

In any case, the mechanics of ability improvement are simple: after each session of roleplaying, your character will be awarded a small number of experience points. Each of these points may be applied to the improvement of a single skill or trait, and when the number of experience points assigned to a given skill exceeds the level or rung of competency, the ability improves by a level, as summarized on the following chart:

     Improve from D30 to D20 = 2 points
     Improve from D20 to D12 = 3 points
     Improve from D12 to D10 = 4 points
     Improve from D10 to D8 = 5 points
     Improve from D8 to D6 = 6 points
     Improve from D6 to D4 = 7 points

We suggest keeping track of where your experience points are spent by placing stars or check marks next to the ability on your character writeup.

There are, by the way, certain limitations to how many experience points can be spent on a given skill each session. For inherent traits, you may not expend more than one point per session; this reflects the natural difficulty in making these sorts of things "get better." For learned skills, this maximum is based on whether or not you used the skill during the course of the game. For skills that didn't come into play, the limit is one point. (If your character spent the entire chapter fighting zombies it's unlikely that they'd be getting much better at Russian embroidery, for example.) For skills that did come into play, there is no limit.

Now, you're wondering how many points to expect each game. This is based on your ability to answer the following two questions, which will be asked by the Storyteller at the conclusion of the session. Each of the question that you are able to give an intelligent and unique answer for gains you a point:

1. Were both you and your character present and involved in the story? This is usually a very easy "yes." So long as you paid attention and did your best to get involved, you get this point automatically.

2. What questions does your character have about the story or herself after tonight? This is a great way to explore theories about the mysteries in play as well as promote character development. The Storyteller will evaluate your answer (if you have one) and decide whether it's good enough to earn you a point.

Finally, there is a way to gain a "bonus" experience point from the Storyteller. All you have to do is make your character instigate a notably excellent acting sequence or contribute to the story in an outstanding way. This can come in the form of cleverly deciphering a particularly difficult puzzle, taking the story in an unexpected and wonderful new direction, or even something as simple as a memorable quote. It is rare for bonus points to be awarded by most Storytellers, but it does happen, and you should strive for it if it helps improve your roleplaying.

Now, understand that all experience awarded is subject to Storyteller approval. For instance, if she feels that you should be given a free point in a given skill because of something that happened in the story, then she can do that. Alternatively, she can penalize particularly immature or out of character roleplaying by refusing to award you any points at all. (Hopefully this should never happen, though. If you're using the Window then I'd like to think you're quite above that sort of thing.)

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