When the Last Ship Sailed
Short- and Medium-term Benefits
By spending 2 XP, a character can gain a skill – or, more rarely, an ability – that provides a short-term benefit. Let’s say a character notices that the computer terminals in the facility she’s infiltrating are similar to those used by the company she once worked for. She spends 2 XP and says that she has a great deal of experience in using these. As a result, she is trained in operating (and breaking into) these computers. This is just like being trained in computer use or hacking, but it applies only to computers found in that particular location. The skill is extremely useful in the facility, but nowhere else.
Medium-term benefits are usually story based. For example, a character can spend 2 XP while climbing through mountains and say that she has experience with climbing in regions like these, or perhaps she spends the XP after she’s been in the mountains for a while and says that she’s picked up the feel for climbing there. Either way, from now on, she is trained in climbing in those mountains. This helps her now and any time she returns to the area, but she’s not trained in climbing everywhere.
This method allows a character to get immediate training in a skill for half the normal cost. (Normally, it costs 4 XP to become trained in a skill.) It’s also a way to gain a new skill even if the PC has already gained a new skill as a step toward attaining the next tier.
In rare cases, a GM might allow a character to spend 2 XP to gain an entirely new ability – such as a device, a move, a twist, a revision, or a special mental power – for a short time, usually no longer than the course of one scenario. The player and the GM should agree on a story-based explanation for the benefit. Perhaps the ability has a specific, rare requirement, such as a tool, a battery, a drug, or some kind of treatment. For example, a character who wants to explore a submerged location has several biotech enhancements, and he spends 2 XP to cobble together a device that lets him breathe underwater. This gives him the ability for a considerable length of time, but not permanently – the device might work for only eight hours. Again, the story and the logic of the situation dictate the parameters.