PCs in A!C will usually get more than 10 XP per mission, due to the awards per session, for achieving objectives and the constantly triggered awards for conditions like “1 XP if you bought a bonus d20 and failed”, which is a thing that happens to each PCs a lot per session. Some of the XP triggers are quite cumbersome to follow, require constant bookkeeping like “GM has spent 3 Threat on an NPC roll”.
But you may only buy an advancement, which costs 10 XP, ONCE between adventures.
That means, any excess XP are only “for the honor”, but don’t have any effect on your character improvement.
I would say, the XP rules are unnecessarily complicated. Simply handing out one advancement, that is the 10 XP spend allowed between missions, after each mission will do fine. No additional bookkeeping necessary.
As a player, I don’t like the players “voting” about who gets some XP bonus. That is an unnecessary “competition”. I usually give out the same amount of XP for every PC in a game (Conan, MC3, Infinity).
The A!C rules are surprisingly “competitive” in that regard, implying that PCs will get individual rewards, so that some might come out of a mission with several times the XP than others.
Especially the individual bonus XP in the GM’s book are rather high, up to 20 XP for individual actions that occur not that rarely in an A!C game.
What I find unsatisfying with that is, that feedback for such actions, like a show of bravery, would much better be given right on the spot, when the action happens, not after maybe multiple sessions at the end of a mission when the memory of the triggering action is already diffuse.
In Conan or Infinity or MC3 I usually award a Fortune/Infinity/Chronicle point on the spot. That works in my experience as GM and as a player best as positive feedback, and it is of immediate usefulness in the ongoing adventure.
But A!C as written only allows spending a single point of Fortune PER SCENE. That means, during a combat scene, you get to spend only a single point of Fortune for the whole combat, although in combat scenes you will be required to make many more dice rolls than in investigative or social scenes.
That is a weird limitation, which I don’t use in my A!C games. It makes having Fortune points less useful and makes players sit on them for the single, possibly life saving spend to avoid defeat during a combat scene.
I cannot understand why the A!C developers went for that limitation, as it lessens the usefulness and therefore the weight of positive feedback by awarding Fortune during a session.
And I cannot understand why the A!C developers went for suggesting individual XP awards that could lead to multiples of 10 XP, but only allow to make use of 10 XP per downtime.
I don’t think it is and I don’t think it should be that easy to get 20 or 40 XP for an adventure. But if a PC gets that many, prohibiting them to make use of them is a weird way of “rewarding” the player.
On the other hand it would be weird, if one PC with 40 XP gets 4 “advancements” while most other PCs get 1 advancement. That could make for a very steep power increase in this PC. - One reason I like to have everyone the same XP or the same amount of advancements.
What are your experiences with these A!C experience rules?
Maybe @Modiphius-Nathan could shed some light on the design goals regarding the advancement system and the (compared to other 2d20 games rather severe) limitations of using Fortune in A!C?