Things differ in the presentation. Experience points come in six different categories and a point in one is equal to points in any other. It gives the GM a way to grant EXP no matter what sort of game the party's methods lead too and it offers the players a window into what their characters have done to get this far. Usually a party is only able to earn a single point in each category per session, even if multiple situations that would earn a point occur. The one exception is that a single bonus point can be earned in the case of certain, extreme circumstances.
The six categories, in no particular order,
Blade: These points are awarded in sessions where players conquered, drove off, or captured powerful Antagonists or Monsters. What constitutes dangerous adversaries is up to the GM, but a good measure is weather their average Menace Ratings (or combined ratings, in the case of groups of monsters) is at least one or two steps higher than the average PC Rank. Bonus points may be awarded if the group defeats a particularly important Antagonist or a Colossus.
Skull: Skull points are earned by facing perils that aren't related to combat - surviving or disarming dangerous traps in a dungeon, traversing harsh terrain or even navigating a volatile political or social situation. These trials must actually threaten the character's lives or possibly lead to some other devastating loss if met inadequately. Bonus points may be given out said peril risks the death of the entire party, such as a touchy conversation with an irate cosmic power.
Crystal: Points in this category are received when the party manages to acquire a significant amount of wealth via effort, trickery or other deliberate actions on their part. A good measure of when this is deserved is if the value of whatever is gained is higher than 100 Coins x The party's average rank. Bonus points are often awarded if some sort of priceless item or something of similar value, like a valued plot of land, is put in the hands of the players.
Tome: Tomes are acquired when the party uncovers or learns an important piece of information within a session. The true name of an Asura, location of an Ark City, or a lost verse of The Song are all good examples of what may earn a point in this category - bonus points should be earned if this information can change the course of the campaign, prevent a catastrophe or ensure it!
Star: These are awarded when the party accomplishes an objective that is bigger than themselves; great deeds both villainous and noble should earn one, as should economic or social ventures that benefit the entire group. Bonus points are usually received if a major campaign goal is accomplished, or at least one that has been worked at for more than two sessions.
Shadow: Shadow points are granted to a party member who is able to accomplish a selfish or deeply personal goal - vengeance against a hated foe, great personal financial gain or the fruition of a lifelong dream should net one. While this category never grants any bonus points, the rest of the party gains a Star point whenever one of its members gains a Shadow. (This is the once and only instance more then two points may be gained in any category.)
Listed below is the amount of points required for each rank. As noted before, the above categories are equally valued.
- 0 Points
- 6 Points
- 12 Points
- 24 Points
- 36 Points
- 48 Points
- 72 Points
- 96 Points
- 132 Points
- 168 Points
The points are set up so that the average campaign will likely get a character to Rank 10 in a year or so, though its obviously very dependent on the GM (which I think is good). I have some ideas I'd like to try, such as Artifacts, Spells, and various entities reacting differently to characters depending on their totals in certain categories, but nothing concrete yet.