Samsara:Long term play
 Long Term Play
The majority of games use some form of advancement mechanic, often called “experience”. I would like to interject a point here that this does not capture the spirit of many, adventure tales. Sure, Luke becomes a better Jedi over the course of three movies and Frodo more generally competent over a like number of volumes. But John Carter, clean-limbed fighting man from Virginia, starts off as a fantastic swordsman and pretty much remains so. And Elric doesn’t learn new spells and sword tricks.
My point is that advancement mechanics may not always be suitable or meaningful. “Leveling up” is an inheritance from D&D, but it is by no means a required one for your game. If the game is set at a Heroic level or above, the characters begin as quite competent and don’t need to “level up” in order to do things. This is not to say that advancement mechanics are bad or don’t fit into SAMSARA, but that the group ought to consider whether or not they fit into the game being played. Particularly in free-form, Romantic games, “character improvement” may just not be that meaningful.
Assuming that you do decide to use advancement as part of the game, Samsara points can be given out at the conclusion (or beginning or middle) of stories and subsequently cashed in for character points. These new character points are used to increase the character stats, just as the starting points were at chargen. 1-3 Samsara points is a general guide-line for the number of points to give out. The actual number depends upon how fast and how much you want the character’s to improve. They can be exchanged for character points at 1:2 or 1:3 ration, again depending upon the speed of advancement that you want.
 Variation: Sacrifice
A variant advancement system would emphasis that for everything that a character learns, he must forget something else; for everything improved, something is lost. At the conclusion of a story, the player is allowed to switch his points around to reflect changes that have occurred in the character. The Farm Boy learns how to fight, but loses some of his naïve charm.
This system could also be combined with the Samsara point advancement system. One could say, for example, that new or improved stats can only be paid for in half by Samsara points; the other half must come from shuffling existing abilities. This way the characters do improve, but must also sacrifice to do so.
10.Long Term Play