Fate Core: 1985
Character Advancement, Milestones
Hey Gang, It’s your terrifying GM Xander.
Right now you only have to know about 2 type of milestones (which have been added below from the book directly). I may have misspoke last time regarding which Milestone you all got, but it was in-fact a Significant Milestone. Which gives you the benefit of a Minor milestone and a new skill point (either getting you a new +1 Average skill that is not on your character sheet already, OR boost up one of your current skills by one… but you should read the page on Skill Columns before that.
What are Milestones?
A milestone is a moment during the game where you have the chance to change or advance your character. We call them milestones because they usually happen at significant “break points” in the action of a game—the end of a session, the end of a scenario, and the end of a story arc, respectively.
Usually, those break points immediately follow some significant event in the story that justifies your character changing in response to events. You might reveal a significant plot detail or have a cliffhanger at the end of a session. You might defeat a major villain or resolve a plotline at the end of a scenario. You might resolve a major storyline that shakes up the campaign world at the end of an arc.
Obviously, things won’t always line up that nicely, so GMs, you have some discretion in deciding when a certain level of milestone occurs. If it seems satisfying to give out a milestone in the middle of a session, go ahead, but stick to the guidelines here to keep from handing out too many advancement opportunities too often.
Milestones come in three levels of importance: minor, significant, and major.
Minor Milestones usually occur at the end of a session of play, or when one piece of a story has been resolved. These kinds of milestones are more about changing your character rather than making him or her more powerful, about adjusting in response to whatever’s going on in the story if you need to. Sometimes it won’t really make sense to take advantage of a minor mile- stone, but you always have the opportunity if you should need to.
During a minor milestone, you can choose to do one (and only one) of the following:
• Switch the rank values of any two skills, or replace one Average (1) skill with one that isn’t on your sheet.
• Change any single stunt for another stunt.
• Purchase a new stunt, provided you have the refresh to do so. (Remember, you can’t go below 1 refresh.)
• Rename one character aspect that isn’t your high concept.
In addition, you can also rename any moderate consequences you have, so that you can start them on the road to recovery, presuming you have not already done so.
This is a good way to make slight character adjustments, if it seems like something on your character isn’t quite right—you don’t end up using that stunt as often as you thought, or you resolved the Blood Feud with Edmund that you had and thus it’s no longer appropriate, or any of those changes that keep your character consistent with the events of play.
In fact, you should almost always be able to justify the change you’re making in terms of the game’s story. You shouldn’t be able to change Hot Temper to Staunch Pacifist, for example, unless something happened in the story to inspire a serious change of heart—you met a holy man, or had a traumatic experience that made you want to give up the sword, or whatever. GMs, you’re the final arbiter on this, but don’t be so much of a stickler that you sacrifice a player’s fun for consistency.
Cynere gets a minor milestone. Lily looks over her character sheet, to see if there’s anything she wants to change. One thing that sticks out to her is that during the last session, Zird has been scheming behind her back a lot and putting her in a bad position.
She looks over at Ryan and says, “You know what? I have this aspect, I’ve Got Zird’s Back. I think I need to change that in light of current circumstances, and call it, I Know Zird is Up to Something.”
Ryan says, “Seriously? I mean, it’s not like he does it all the time.”
Lily grins. “Well, when he stops, I can change it back.”
Amanda approves the change, and Lily rewrites one of Cynere’s aspects.
Meanwhile, Landon also gets a minor milestone. Lenny looks over his sheet, and notices that he spends a lot more time lying to people than he does trying to make friends with them. He asks Amanda if he can swap the ranks of his Deceive and his Rapport skill, giving him Good (3) Deceive and Fair (2) Rapport. She agrees, and he notes the new skill totals on his character sheet.
Significant Milestones usually occur at the end of a scenario or the conclusion of a big plot event (or, when in doubt, at the end of every two or three sessions). Unlike minor milestones, which are primarily about change, significant milestones are about learning new things—dealing with problems and challenges has made your character generally more capable at what they do.
In addition to the benefit of a minor milestone, you also gain both of the following:
• One additional skill point, which you can spend to buy a new skill at Average (1) or increase an existing skill by one rank.
• If you have any severe consequences, you can rename them to begin the recovery process, if you haven’t already.
When you spend your skill point, it’s worth one step on the ladder. You can use it to buy a new skill at Average (1), or you can use it to increase an existing skill by one step on the ladder—say, from Good (3) to Great (4).