Return to That Godforsaken Country
Experience points in the Savage Worlds system are given out primarily for advancing the story, for completing adventures, for learning about the setting’s secrets, not as specific numbers for defeating each foe (so none of the “let me go kill a rat for that last XP I need before I level up” kind of thing.) Typically, characters receive 2-4 XP per session.
Every time a character receives a multiple of 5 XP, (s)he gets an Advance. Each time a character receives a multiple of 20 XP (s)he goes up a Rank. There are 5 Ranks: Novice (0-19 XP), Seasoned (20-39 XP), Veteran (40-59 XP), Heroic (60-79 XP) and Legendary (80+ XP). At Legendary Rank the Advancement rules change (you only get an Advance every 10 XP at Legendary and some of the other restrictions are also modified.)
It should also be noted that at Novice rank there are only 3 Advances (one at 5 XP, one at 10XP, and one at 15 XP. At 20 XP the character is Seasoned.) This can be particularly important to some of the Arcane Backgrounds (see below.)
So, what can be done in an Advance? There are several options:
Once per Rank, a character can increase an Attribute by one die type.
A character can take a new Edge, as long as (s)he qualifies for it.
A character can take a new Skill at d4 (this takes up the whole Advance.)
A character can spend 2 Skill points, either increasing two different skills that are below the associated Attributes by 1 die type, or one skill that is equal to or above the associated Attribute up by one die type. A character may NOT increase the same skill by two die types, even if that wouldn’t put it above the associated Attribute.
A character may, with the Marshal’s permission, buy off a Hindrance (even a Minor Hindrance would take the whole Advance) if it makes sense for the story. This is generally not recommended, but it is a possibility.
There are two Edges which can only be taken once per Rank that specifically apply to Arcane Backgrounds and only to Arcane Backgrounds (though not to ALL Arcane Backgrounds):
New Power (Hucksters, Weird Scientists, Martial Artists, Shamans): Once per Rank a character can learn a new power, as long as the power is not above the character’s rank. A Trapping must be selected.
Power Points (Hucksters, Weird Scientists, Martial Artists, Shamans): Once per Rank a character can add 5 power points to his/her pool. It should be noted that while the New Power Edge can be taken multiple times by Legendary characters, this one cannot, and therefore forms a hard limit on the amount of power points a character may have. Note that Blessed do not use power points (see rules for Blessed) and Weird Scientists have a separate pool for each power, since each power represents a separate device; as a consequence this Edge is at once less important and more powerful for Weird Scientists.