- Characters get a new Talent at every level past 1st. In Fantasy AGE, the classes mostly got their first Talent at 3rd Level and Mage's would have their Talent acquisition interspersed with Magic Talents. You also get Talents even if you also get a Specialization that level.
- Characters still get a new Ability Advancement and Focus each level, but the only limit is that you can't advance the same Ability twice in a row.
- Characters still get the option of a Specialization at level 4 and improving them every four levels thereafter. You are still limited to two Specializations, but you don't have to complete one before starting on the second.
- Characters get new Relationship slots every fourth level.
- If you are using Conviction, an additional point is gained at Level 3 and every odd-numbered level after that.
- Depending on Game Mode, Health, Defense, Toughness, and Resources advance at different rates.
- Gritty Mode
- Health, Defense, Toughness, and Resources never improve. Save that Resources may improve based on GM rewards for story accomplishment.
- Pulp Mode
- Health increases by your Con+1.
- At 4th Level you increase Defense OR Toughness, at 8th Level you increase the other. Then you alternate every four levels afterward.
- Replenish 1 lost Resources level every level plus possible GM granted story rewards.
- Cinematic Mode
- Health improves by 1d6+Con (as per Fantasy AGE)
- Defense and Toughness both increase by 1 at every fourth level.
- Gain +1 Resources each level after the first, plus GM granted story rewards.
Level 2 - Novice Scouting, +1 Dexterity, Perception (Seeing), +4 Health (27)
Level 3 - Novice Archery, +1 Perception, Willpower (Courage), +4 Health (31), +1 Conviction
The swarms of mosquitoes and sinking land claim more lives on the mainland as the heroes and their allies enter battle with the Bog Fiend and a mad woman. The beast spread a dark slime where it walked that softened the earth and raised a terrible stink that drew mosquitoes from all around while the witch used illusions to confuse the battlefield, but eventually the Beast was killed and the witch was slain. Going back, all the survivors of the fight faced the wrath of the lord for the death of his wife. However, they are able to expose him and after a brief fight with him and cultists in his guard, he is captured and placed in chains.
Level 4 - Novice Hunter (Fantasy AGE Rogue specialization, but appropriate here), Expert Scouting, +1 Dexterity, Intelligence (Navigation), +4 Health (35), +1 Defense, +1 Relationship Slot (Oskar Lintalos)
Looking for a good camp, the group establishes a place the begin their search for the wraith and the Lord of Madness. In the course of matters, they catch the magistrate trying to catch an illicit look at the dhampir knight as she cleans herself, resulting in an argument that threatens to split their forces or bring ramifications from later on. Turning back to the search about the keep, they find themselves under attack by a ghost hound which they are forced to evade by taking advantage of its supernatural reactions.
Level 5 - Novice Pinpoint Attack, +1 Accuracy, Dexterity (Acrobatics), +4 Health (39), +1 Conviction
After a brief tracking past the keep, they manage to further consolidate their authority, undercutting the magistrate slightly, though he seems to have been chastened. They find themselves ambushed by ghost soldiers, many of whom are familiar as the soldiers that had died to the horseman when he rescued the lord. Escaping the ghosts, Lintalos, the party's investigator suggests that there might be a ritual he could perform to grant them some edge in fighting the incorporeal entities that they had been facing. They veer off to give him a chance to try his rituals.
The head magistrate starts to give his apology and starts to step down as head magistrate in favor of Lintalos when the spectral horseman arrives again and strikes to kill him, only stopped by the combined efforts of Phaedra and Geida. The horseman leaves off as the dawn comes and the party finds it easy to rouse the group to continue the chase. They continue to pursue the horseman and with Lintalos's efforts, they manage to trap it at the Crossroads and begin to move in.
After a long and dangerous fight with the spectral horseman, desperate as it is in the light of day, they are finally able to defeat the creature and limp off toward town, seeking the midwife and doctor to patch their injuries. When they arrive, they find that the reverend has begin madly burning books of all sorts, including much of the books on occult lore from D'Garosh's manor and Lintalos's quarters. It quickly becomes apparent that the reverend has drunk himself into a raging stupor and engaged in this destruction of much knowledge that they could use to face the evil afflicting the countryside. They have to work hard to calm the roused mob and are forced to expose the reverend's shame in the process.
Level 6 - Expert Archery, +1 Dexterity, Constitution (Stamina), +4 Health (43)
The next week, the daughter of the mad Lord and his witch wife comes to the center of town screaming that the doctor is dead and an investigation is made showing that indeed he has been ripped to pieces as if by a beast but it quickly becomes apparent that the bog fiend was not responsible despite people's fears. There are no mosquitoes and no slime on the scene. The party begins to rouse militia patrols and search into the surrounding woods. With the gorgon's tracking abilities they easily trace the beast's passage to the monastery where they are again forced to talk their way into its grounds. Even with the militia behind them, the monks resist and the players begin to lay siege to the building.
Searching around the monastery for ways in, the heroes make several attempts to seek a way in before someone screams out and draws forth a dagger to stab the voyeuristic magistrate, slaying him instantly before he is captured and revealed as a cult. The heroes have to work to calm down the militia and start filtering through, trying to screen out who might be in the cult and who is loyal.
Completing their investigations into the soldiers and militia with them, the heroes are confident in their position as dark portents begin to surround the monastery about them. Certain of the evil of the place, the heroes and the militia storm the monastery, making short work of the silent monks and their sinister, assassins' weaponry. With control taken, they begin the process of scouring the building. They find that many of the monks have been possessed by dark spirits, and some recover their senses when exorcised. Then scream brings them to the sight of the murdered body of one of the freed priests and a trail of blood leading into a wall past which they find a corridor of traps and dark enchantments. At the end of it, they are surprised to see both the Lord and the presumably slain Lady standing and waiting for them. They are each naked and covered in blood. The confusion is made clear when both of the two change form into monstrous wolf-like beings and surge to the attack.
Level 7 - Novice Free-Running, +1 Constitution, Dexterity (Initiative), +5 Health (48), +1 Conviction
The heroes are able to survive the driving assault of the werewolves, who use the secret passages to their great benefit. As they back up they find that the Lord and Lady aren't the only werewolves among those in the monastery as some of the presumably dead bodies rise as lupine monstrosities. They are able to fight free and leave the monastery in flames as they and the surviving militia escape into the woods and continue running. Several of the militia panic and scatter to the four winds, likely to become easy meat for the evils abroad in the night, but the heroes are able to keep a small group together to push forward back toward town, avoiding the assaults and searching of the wolf pack.
The heroes find themselves facing a pack of normal wolves influenced by the dark magic of the cult which delays them long enough for several of the lesser cultist werewolves join the fight and cause much harm to everyone. Without fire, they are forced to turn to fire and the limited magic at their call, but make it through alive with even three of the militia remaining. There are fears of possibly becoming werewolves, but the occultists of the group quickly allay the fears of the survivors before they push onward seeking a place to hide and take cover.
Having arrived to the town with the sound of wolves in the distance, the party works quickly to start rising defenses while Geida heads to the smithy and the others start to call for the collection of all the silver that could be found. With efforts being made to fortify the village, several of the heroes head to the manor to speak to the daughter of the two lycanthropic aristocrats. They encourage her to reveal that she is also a werewolf, though her powers are not enhanced by the dark powers her parents have been dabbling in. They manage to rouse her and other secret werewolves not part of the cult to join them.
Level 8 - Expert Hunter, Master Scouting, +1 Willpower, Perception (Hearing), +1 Relationship Slot (Geida Klaus), +5 Health (53), +1 Toughness
Phaedra Hollyoak - Level 8
Novice Pinpoint Attack
Oskar Lintalos actually taught her some things about the origins of gorgons.
Geida Klaus has stood with her in battle.
One thing to note about this system in comparison to Fantasy AGE is that even if you use Cinematic progression rules, you start out with less Health than a hero in Fantasy AGE does. The fact that I chose the Pulp advancement means that it was basically the same as if I rolled a 1 on every level for increasing Health, so the end Health was quite low. That said, Fantasy AGE does not add bonuses to Defense at all outside of what you get for gear.
Another thing to note is that characters in this system get quite a few more Talents than characters in Fantasy AGE. I did add a step, but that gave mostly extra Ability ranks and Ability Focuses. It did not add any Talents. However, a starting character in Modern AGE begins with three Talent degrees, which can be stacked on top of each other whereas characters in Fantasy AGE can't start with an Expert/Journeyman Talent, much less the theoretical potential of a Master one.
A lot of the Talents between Fantasy AGE and Modern AGE are identical, though sometimes there are differences that need to be accounted for, but it does make for easy use of expansions to both for use with either. At least one of the Modern AGE Talents fills in for the Rogue class abilities: Pinpoint Attack, which is the one where you do extra damage when your Dexterity is higher than the target's.
It remains very flexible and well-designed, but as with Fantasy AGE, the innovative parts of the system are more in gameplay than in character creation and advancement.