In Aim Ten, you do not gain experience, but rather experiences.
Some of your experiences may not be very useful for your character, but you can share experiences with other characters, and other characters may share experiences with you.
When you discover an experience, you may also gain a combat attribute point or a social attribute point. You can choose which attribute point you gain, but it cannot be shared.
Experiences come in five flavours: Archons, Events, Places, Equipment, and Secrets.
Archons are special characters in a game world who help you discover Forms and Secrets. They may take the form of quest-givers, powerful monsters, or even player characters themselves.
An Archon has an Element and an Aspect. The element and aspect signal the kinds of Forms you may receive from them.
Depending on your setting, some Archons may grant many Forms and Secrets; others may grant only one.
If you are an experienced character, you may also be an Archon. If so, you can learn or teach a selection of Forms as appropriate for your setting.
Events are significant happenings, usually in the context of the game itself. An event is normally something dramatic and potentially life-changing, such as falling in love, watching a close friend die, or witnessing something extraordinary.
An Event has an Element type and a Tier. Some Events may also have an Aspect. This guides the character towards Forms they are able to acquire with the knowledge and memory of that Event.
Generally, you can “trade” an Event experience for any one Form of the same type, while they are in a corresponding Place and/or have an appropriate trainer.
A character does not have to use an Event to discover a form, but it offers them the opportunity.
Places are special areas in a game world. They may be towns, cities, geographical features, or even a quiet spot hidden from most eyes.
A Place, like an Event, has an Element type and a Tier.
When in a Place of the corresponding Element to an Event, you can learn Forms of that Element.
Particularly significant Places may express more than one Element. In such Places, you may be able to learn a Form of multiple element types, or of an alternate type to the original element.
In certain Places, you may learn some Forms from certain Archons (without an Event).
Important items that you use in the game can become experiences when they are used, or in some cases, after extensive use.
Similarly to Places, some Equipment may express more than one Element. Using such Equipment, you may be able to learn a Form of multiple element types, or of an alternate type to the original element.
Secrets include significant features of a character, such as their heritage, work experience, disabilities, physical appearance, etc. They also include training, which a character can undertake over time.
Some secrets can change the way a form behaves, or may add or remove a form altogether. Most Secrets may be discovered multiple times by a character, or improved by increasing their Level. This generally involves a lengthy amount of time, or a significant life event.
Secrets do not have elements or aspects.
Examples of Discovering Forms with Experiences
Your character wins an important contest.
This is an Event. As a contest, it broadly falls into the theme of Acheivement, Genius, and Prowess; in other words, an Air Event.
Due to the high importance of the contest, and the difficulty in winning it, the DM decides that it is a Tier III Event.
You decide that it would be fun for your character to learn a Tier II Air Form, and decide to go to an appropriate place to train in that Form.
That’s it! While your DM may narrate some things, you have now learnt the Form.
As the prize for the contest, your character wins a beautiful cloak, which reminds them of their homeland.
This is an example of an Equipment item changing a character’s experience, and perhaps relating to a Place as well.
Due to the character’s affinity to the item, you may use the dominant element of that item, or associations with that item, to alter their perception of an Event. For example, the cloak’s element or even the element of their home Place may be the element of the Form they can learn. Or, they could combine the various Elements of these to learn a mixed-element Form, if these occur in your setting.
After the contest, a famous coach approaches the character and offers to train them further.
This is an example of an encounter with an Archon. While the Archon may have certain conditions under which they can confer their forms, it will normally be possible for them to train the character without recourse to the memory of specific Events.
In a short game or one with a high level of asynchronous play, this can be a good way of introducing forms more quickly.
Discovering vs Learning Forms
In some settings, it may be practical for a DM to offer characters a chance to discover Forms which they cannot immediately use, or “learn”. For example, if you have several different Aspect types, or if you have a very large world, or if you have highly specialized characters, you may find that your characters easily “collect” experiences for Forms which they don’t need or want.
If a character has the Form ingredients but doesn’t have prerequisites such as Attribute levels, an appropriate Aspect, or the right equipment, the DM should normally allow the character to “learn” the form even if it isn’t immediately useable. Precise guidance should be given to the player – and the character – as to when and how they can learn the Form they have discovered.
If two characters have had a different Experience, they can share them. A character can share an experience as long as they remember it – it doesn’t matter whether they’ve used it to discover a Form or not.
A sharing of experiences can be as simple as encountering a character with that experience. However, the DM may prompt a player character to tell a story, do a demonstration, or otherwise help the other character learn from their experience.
If a player character is an Archon, the Archon details should describe how some Forms can be learnt or taught.