Where do mundanes get their xp from?

So, the blanket XP/year advancement is generally considered slightly weaker than magi can actually achieve if played out season-by-season, and this is generally considered fine, because this is a game about playing things out season by season and having a reason not to do that would be somewhat problematic.


As best I can tell, the situation is reversed for most mundanes. I've been fiddling with stuff out of City & Guild, and...well. I can't find a reason to play a craftsman's advancement out season-by-season.

Your typical NPC craftsman, or professional, or whatever- should get ~15xp per year by the generic advancement rules, unless Poor or Wealthy. Assuming he's completed his apprenticeship and is no longer receiving training or teaching, the only sources of experience he has access to are Exposure and Practice, which amount to- at best- 12xp/year, a 3xp discrepancy. (Two seasons of Exposure and two of Practice per year, 2+2+4+4=12)

Are NPCs assumed to go on adventures every year? Are they hiring teachers to teach them low-ranked abilities every year? Does a massive body of cheaply available tractati on mundane Craft and Profession abilities exist after all?

The discrepancy is even wider for Wealthy characters (2+4+4+4=14 vs 20/year, a 6xp discrepancy), though at least they could believably afford to hire tutors on a regular basis.

Anyway. What am I missing? Where's the extra advancement opportunities that these NPCs are benefiting from in their boring background advancement that PC craftspeople and companions don't get to play with? Or is this just a handwavey don't think about it, sort of deal?

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I believe it's specified somewhere in the Grogs supplement:
The 15 xp per year is 2 seasons of exposure(2+2xp), one of practice (4xp), one of some kind of training or lesson(7xp)

That would be Grogs, p. 67. The opening line of "Abilities".

Anyone who is part of a levy would receive training in a Marital ability every year for example. The training source for other professions are anything you would like. It could include a quality 7 tractati.

The direct quote is "one “vocational” season of teaching, training, adventuring, or
reading books (7 experience points)."


2 seasons of exposure(2+2xp), one of practice (4xp), one of some kind of training or lesson(7xp)

...I mean, I guess the math works out, but who's going to teach a Journeyman after his apprenticeship ends? Certainly not the master; his obligations are complete. Is he going to shrug off his hard-fought right to practice his craft independently and buy additional training from one of the guild masters? Is a senior craftsman's time even for sale in that fashion? And who's the proud guild master going to bend his neck far enough to accept training from?

Certainly the training needn't be in their primary ability- it's not unreasonable for a craftsman to seek out a few seasons of training in Bargaining, for the most obvious example. But most working adult commoners are not going to be part of an organization that provides an annual season of professional-quality instruction, or believably hire more than a few seasons per lifetime of such instruction on their own silver pfennig.

It could include a quality 7 tractati.

...maybe in your saga, but most mundanes (and certainly the vast majority of the sort of common craftsmen and laborers and townsfolk I'm concerned with here) are illiterate.

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This is very plausible for the turb, and also for the scribes and teachers.

It remains unlikely for most roles, including craftsmen, peasants, entertainers, hunters, and so on.

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Maybe in any RAW saga you mean, since my answer was straight out of the book. That you do not like the RAW answer is no reason to get snappy.

One interpretation is that most people stagnate. They get 15xp/year when they are young and under training, but once they settle in a profession, they maintain it, with no attempt to learn more. Thus they are stuck with the 4xp of exposure, and 8xp of practice in music, storytelling, and other past times.

Those who keep learning at 15xp/year are those who challenge themselves by undertaking adventures (and also those who dedicate themselves to scholarly study).

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Quite the contrary. Reading books requires literacy. Literacy requires Artes Liberales, which is an Academic Ability, which characters cannot take unless they have a virtue that specifically allows them to do so. That is RAW, straight from p.63 of core.

Now, if you would like to argue that a typical craftsperson or professional laborer, about whom I am specifically asking has one or more of those virtues in question, you could certainly do so. It's absolutely possible for a given individual to have that capability; there are several Minor virtues that do so. I personally would not expect any of them- or even all of them taken together- to be common among working townsfolk, but in making that argument we have moved well beyond RAW.

Your quote does say that an average non-magus character has access to one annual season of some Quality 7 source of vocational advancement of one kind or another, and as such it does, I suppose, answer the question I started with, albeit not in a way I'm entirely content with.

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Reading is only one of the possible options offered. It is perfectly OK to disagree with RAW for your own saga. I believe most people posting on the forums to some extent or another break from RAW in some fashion for their game. If you had said you disagreed with RAW and were asking for other options my answer would have been completely different.

While characters can not take an Academic Ability during Character Creation without one of the Virtues (the same for Arcane and Martial), there is no restriction once they enter play. This is how you end up with things like Covenfolk craftsmen who have Finesse.

The literacy rate of Covenfolk can be completely different from the 30~40% of the population it was during the Dark Ages (though some part of that was only functionally literate, while AM5 literacy is full). This can easily happen after play begins, especially for long running games.

Manuals on Martial and Craft Abilities were beginning to become a thing during or shortly after the standard start date. The oldest known surviving Martial Manual in Europe was written between 1270 and 1320. It is not the oldest, just the oldest surviving.

Go with whatever fits your Saga. If it disagrees with RAW then change the annual rate or hand wave it.

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the fact is it depends on the year. If a grog (or companion) has a typical year it would be 2 seasons of study and 2 seasons of exposure, for 12 points. However if they travel and are learning a language or area lore for a season or two that could jump as high as 20xp in a single year, and if they are an apprentice they can get one season of training at (presumably) 8 xp. It also gives grogs and companions an incentive to adventure more than it does the magi, who can typically gain more xp from reading a book than by adventuring while grogs and companions will often find adventuring the fastest way to advance.

The typical working grog does not have the free seasons to have maximum benefit in area lore, and they quickly exhaust the gain in languages as they learn the local tongue.

However, training is a plausible avenue for most covenfolk who are eager to learn. They could shadow any covenfolk who do not have their own apprentices to pick up new everyday skills. That would give a lot of crafts, animal handling, and their like. We have overlooked this opportunity with our grogs.

For craftsmen who hold their own shop in town, training is hard to justify. People do not shadow their neighbours to learn their trades. Hiring a teacher would be expensive, and it would raise eyebrows, I think. OP's question remains IMHO unsolved in the case of rank-and-file townsmen (not wealthy, not literate, played rarely so that story xp are scarce).

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I believe you misunderstand seasons. A typical working grog does have free seasons. Roughly speaking: work 8 hours each day (2 seasons of exposure), 4 hours a day related to that work (1 season of practice), and 4 hours a day of other stuff (1 season of anything). This isn't really every day, with less work on the sabbath and more work other days; but that's the average.

Yes, the OP's point about the numbers being a little high is valid, but the numbers aren't wildly off. Silveroak pointed out that local language and local Area Lore will receive 5 rather than 4 from Practice. Also, practicing a trade or craft in an environment with immediate feedback is worth 5 and is probably fairly commonly available. If that feedback is assumed for just the practice portion related to work and Area Lore (covers locations, people, games, dancing, etc.) is common for the free season, then we're looking at 2+2+5+5=14 being reasonably typical. While 15 is a bit high, taking into account apprenticeship and looking for a nice number for multiplication, 15 isn't so far off. 10 is probably a touch low for Poor; and 20 is probably the most off for Wealthy, though the Wealthy character is probably the one most likely to get some teaching or similar.

I agree, and would note one more thing: 15 yearly xp for apprenticeship are rather low, so over the length of his career a character with the fixed advancement rate is probably going to be forever "in xp debt" compared to one advanced in game season by season.

Frankly, I think it's quite amazing that something as simple as 15xp/year works so well.

If you are building a grog seasonally keep in mind that the early seasons pay best- the youngster playing around studies the local area lore, depending on where they live there may be a second or third living language to pick up (especially in trade cities), and then you become an apprentice gaining 8xp in a season from being trained in your craft.
Later years will not be as productive, but if you make your grog right at the end of apprenticeship they should be ahead of the 15 points per year curve.

No, but I mistyped and lost the word genuinely. Without genuinely free seasons they do not learn languages and area lore at 8xp/season, which would be the presumption of 20xp in some years to be true.

The comment about practicing a language doesn't make any restriction for genuinely free seasons; you just cannot have the language at 5+ already. Yes, for a typical person Area Lore is more restricted by genuinely free seasons (don't know why), but there are exceptions.

Still, 2+2+5+5=14 is close to 15, and as I was suggesting and several others have agreed and stated more explicitly since, 15 is probably a touch low for an apprentice which balances it being a touch high for after apprenticeship for a while, making 15 a pretty good estimate for an average.

That means that the PC enters game a little too weak, having lost out in apprenticeship. In-game he continues to develop at the slower long-term rate, so that he never catches up.

You've got a bunch of assumptions built into this, several of which are probably commonly not the case:

  1. The character is beginning relatively shortly after apprenticeship. If the character starts older, then much of the counterbalancing has already happened. And there are the handful years between 5 and the beginning of apprenticeship that don't grant quite as much. So when a character is roughly 20 years old, just a few years out of apprenticeship, it's just about right. How many grogs start older than 20ish? They've probably got a few extra experience.
  2. You're working on the assumption people will do generic advancement of 2 exposure, 1 practice, 1 other rather than just applying 15 experience (whether generally or using the Grogs rules) for generic years. Otherwise they will catch up eventually since 15 is now over counting.
  3. You're working on the assumption a PC won't get better access to experience. I would expect PCs to be involved in adventure more, which almost always provides more than practice. PCs are also more likely to be given access to teachers and opportunities to read, both of which almost always provide more than practice.

if you assume that the typical grog advances as follows:
Age 6-8 two genuinely free seasons of area exploration, 2 seasons exposure (18 xp/yr) for 3 years
apprenticeship: 7 years: 2 seasons exposure (4 xp) 1 season training (8 xp) and one season practice (4xp) means 16 xp/yr ages 9-15
at this point it proceeds to have 2 seasons exposure and 2 seasons practice (12xp) per year assuming a completely humdrum routine life of complacency. They will have 211 xp at age 15, or be 16xp above the "typical" 15 xp/yr. They will be gaining 12 xp per year which is 3 under the typical 15 xp/yr. As such the age of convergence between these two approaches is right about age 20 (at which point the typical seasonal advancement will place you one over the generic 15 points/yr.
Once the game begins there will presumably be better opportunities for advancement whether because of adventuring or a gain of literacy under the covenant tutelage or both. Of course to follow this model the character would have to have a minimum of 42 points in area lore (local) and 56 points in whatever craft or profession they have been trained in.

Sound good to me. I'd say that 42 points of Area Lore and 56+ points in Craft/Profession is probably very realistic, too.