If I’ve read the rules correctly (no guarantee), then it looks like characters should be earning 25-75 XP per hour along with up to a maximum bonus of 50 XP/session. OK, so for a 4-hour session that’s 100-350 XP (average 225 XP).
Attribute Improvement seems clear, and 100 x new rating gives values from 700-1400 XP for an advance, so it might be possible to raise one every 3-6 sessions if you’re not raising anything else.
Skill Improvement is also very clear, but it seems very expensive. Raising a 1E/1F skill to 2E/2F is 800 XP, but it can go way up from there.
Talent Improvement is clear even if the adjustment for Focus can require a little adjustment from the simple formula of using multiples of 200 XP. In many cases, early Talents can be the cheapest and fastest advancements to take.
Overall, it looks like the game is intended to allow (very?) slow and gradual character advancement. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but with this in mind, how fast is advancement really supposed to go both in-world and at the table? Conan gains thousands of XP in each stage of his life (i.e., Barbarian, Thief, etc.) which range from several months to a few years of in-game length, but how many sessions would have been used to play out a given Conan adventure? Is each Conan tale really supposed to be 10-20+ sessions of play? If XP are being given to Conan for adventures done “off-page” in the transitions between, should PCs be given similar awards?
I have been running a game for 12 sessions now. I give 200 xp plus a bonus of 50 to one player each session. This has lead my players to ration their advancement and gives weight to every decision they make as they progress down their chosen paths. You can’t really measure the xp by the conan characters included. I am fairly certain those are intended to be examples of progression as well as add flavor so we can see where Conan was during that stage of his life.
Considering that the game is supposed to allow players to become legends like Conan and that they bother to show his progress (along with mentioning that he’s earned thousands of XP), it would be nice if that progression could be emulated.
How many days/weeks/months in-game have those 12 sessions taken? In that time, it sounds like each character has earned about 2,500 XP which–by Conan’s standards–is fine if the in-game time is only about 3-4 months or so, but might seem weird if it only covered a week or if it was a year or more of in-game time.
We meet every other week so real time it has been months. In game the overall time that has passed has been a couple months. I honestly have little doubt that at the rate we are progressing my part will have earned thousands of xp to progress with by the time even an in game year has passed. So long as my players are happy (which I make the repeated attempt to verify and they have always responded with a resounding yes) then I am satisfied as well.