How fast do you advance your players?


So I DM my first session tonight and I am pumped!

I have extended and modified the Grey Hill Inferno to have a few extra rooms and have an ever encroaching sludge ( Grey Hill Sludge ) for the timer. I think it will be super fun.

So I plan on giving my players their first milestone at the end and a loot chest… I guess this kind of makes them like a level 2. Might seem to quick but I want to get them hooked on the system and their characters.

Since there are 7 milestones and 15 open inventory slots … I cant give them milestones with every session or we will be maxed soon but they probably wont be maxed on loot yet… so even if I did do a milestone every time we probably would have 5 more sessions to max out loot…

I’m probably over thinking this but just wanting to think about the pace… 15 sessions to ‘max’ a PC seems fair to me… thoughts or advice?


My personal rule of thumb is usually about 1 experience award every three sessions or so. Then again, it all depends on the length of your campaign. Are these characters only committed to a 4 session arc? Then have a milestone every other session or maybe you don’t need them at all. Are you in it for the long haul and planning on playing for 50 sessions? Maybe every 5 sessions. You’ll get a feel for when and how often to hand them out. Mostly you’re watching for when they are doing well or struggling. If they are doing well and everything is pretty easygoing, no need for a bonus. If they are slogging through the sessions, maybe it’s time for a boost.

You’re also not just limited to milestone awards. Instead of a milestone, let them roll on the epic loot table. Maybe just give them a +1 bonus to any of their base stats or efforts. Let them take a spell, or a tag, or a power, or an augment. The possibilities are endless!

In the end, try not to think too far ahead and just plan one session at a time. That way you can see where your players are, how they are doing, and if/when it feels good to advance them up a bit.


How fast you grant milestones depends on the kind of campaign you’re running. Are you planning a long campaign? Maybe once every two or three sessions. Much faster for one-shots, limited editions or miniseries. I recently ran a three-session Kumite campaign where players gained milestones every session (it’s a martial arts action setting so they basically got a milestone after each “stage” or boss, like beat-em-up games). And in the Journey to the Lands of Summer adventure (a 3-4 hour Blood & Snow adventure) the PCs get milestones every scene, for a total of four milestones in a single adventure (because those characters won’t be ever seen again, probably).

Here’s the thing, the milestones are just suggestions. There are actually infinite milestones… Because you can get the “ever stronger” (or whatever it’s called, books not close now) many times. I’d say about half of my players milestones are just increased stats.

Also, remember that nothing is permanent in ICRPG. Create stories and rooms and situations where power is lost just as easily as it’s gained. Remind your players that classes are not locked into a play style and losing their stuff is actually an opportunity for them to try something new. And because ICRPG doesn’t rely on a ‘challenge rating’ that’s artificially created and you can set Targets as you see fit, even without their stuff the PCs are still awesome and can accomplish whatever is necessary.

Anyway, welcome to ICRPG and I hope you and your group have lots of fun. Let us know how the game went!


My group just played their twentieth gaming session in my version of the Alfheim setting since the second week of August. These players have earned seven milestone rewards each, tending to complete a quest or otherwise do something really heroic (like defending a village or clearing out a dungeon) every two or three sessions.

My riff on the milestone tiers originally presented in ICRPG Worlds involves a sort of exponential curve of access to the higher tiers, as follows…

1st milestone — Tier 1 or equivalent reward
2nd milestone — Tier 1 or equivalent reward
3rd milestone — Tier 2 or equivalent reward
4th milestone — Tier 1 or equivalent reward
5th milestone — Tier 1 or equivalent reward
6th milestone — Tier 2 or equivalent reward
7th milestone — Tier 3 or equivalent reward

Milestones 8-14 will repeat the progression above, and Milestone 15 will be Tier 4. If these players progress that far with their current characters before the campaign comes to a natural narrative ending, I’ll move to retire them and have everyone start anew.

This progression has seemed pretty organic so far, and the players’ increased abilities feel earned based on the amount of adventuring they have accomplished successfully. It gives them a nice selection of low-level rewards while making the higher-tier rewards seem very special.


Use this: The EXP Bowl for ICRPG

Or the easiest fix would be to put milestone rewards on their own list rather than take up inventory space?


The really great thing about the ICRPG is that almost all of character advancement centers around loot. Doing so allows the DM/GM to have more control over the “power level” of the game. Should you feel that the characters are gaining power too quickly, breaking or taking their loot can be used to “rebalance” the game (I’m not a proponent of RPG game “balance”). Of course the opposite is true, if you want your PC’s to become more powerful, you can have them find something that would do so.

One of my favorite ideas comes from Numenera and the Cypher System as a whole, and that is to give the PC’s interesting or powerful one use items. These can be used to quickly push the odds into the PC’s favor in dramatic and fun ways. Conversely the GM can have a villain produce his or her own one use item to increase the challenge and tension of an encounter. Use them with a timer. Roll a d4 for the villain(s) and have them pull a powerful one use item when the timer runs out. The best part is that once an item used by a PC or an NPC it’s gone, bringing the playing field back down to more manageable levels in the long term.

Anyway, some ideas that you might be able to use. HAPPY GAMING!