Improving Attributes in TNE

A player can have his character pursue a program of exercise and/or study, for the purpose of increasing one or more of the character's attributes (whether to improve the attributes or to recover points lost due to aging or injury). The player must specify the nature of the exercise/study program so as to explain to the GM's satisfaction how that specific program serves to improve the attribute(s) in question. For example, the character could join a group that practices public speaking (such as Toastmasters), so as to improve his Charisma. Another character could be an avid solver of crossword puzzles ("What's a 17-letter word for 'ancient Vilani demigod of protocol?'"), for Education and/or Intelligence. And, of course, who can forget the stereotypical "jock" who spends much of his free time working out with weights (for Strength)? Other obvious examples are aerobics, running, or jogging (for Constitution), or gymnastics (for Agility).

After justifying the exercise/study program to the GM, the player then determines the level of intensity for the program, based on the number of hours to be devoted to the program (see below). This level of intensity will determine the maximum number of experience points (XP) that can be earned every four weeks (and thus, how fast the attributes will improve). If the player wishes for his character to pursue two or three unrelated programs (to improve two or three attributes), the GM should total all of the hours to be spent on these programs to determine the effective level of intensity.

Once the level of intensity is determined, the character must invest four weeks on the program before he can gain any XP from this program. Every four weeks, assuming the character keeps faith with the exercise/study program, the player rolls one, two, or three tests of the character's Willpower asset. The level of intensity determines the base level of difficulty for these tests of Willpower; however, see the modifiers listed below. The player must specify which attribute will receive the XP to be earned before rolling each die; the player cannot roll the dice, see how many XP he gets, and then chose where the XP go.

The XP earned can be used only on the specific attribute for which they were earned. The number of XP needed to improve an attribute is equal to the current value of the attribute plus one (i.e., it is equal to the new value of the attribute). However, this number is increased by the number of points of this attribute that were lost due to aging. For example, a character with a current Agility of 11 who had lost two points of Agility from past aging checks would need 14 XP to increase his Agility to 12 (11 +1 +2 = 14).

Just after testing for XP, the player can choose to adjust the level of intensity of the program for the next four weeks, but only by one level (i.e., from Light to Moderate is legit, but not from Light to Heavy). The player can also choose to adjust the nature of the program, thus altering the attribute(s) affected, but only by one attribute (either adding a new attribute, removing an attribute, or exchanging one attribute for another).

Level of
Min. Total Hours
(Per 4-Week Period)
Max. Hours
Per Day
Max. Hours
Per Week
# XPs
Light 20 hours 2 hours 10 hours Average 1 XP
Moderate 40 hours 4 hours 20 hours Difficult 2 XP
Heavy 80 hours 8 hours 40 hours Formidable 3 XP


Finally, players are reminded that no attribute can be increased by more than two points above its "pre-career" value.

(This option replaces the Physical Development Program on page 32 of TNE (v1.0) for my campaign.)