"Yes, yes AugustusGloop, but how do you LEVEL?", you ask, eager beaver that you are. Well, I'm glad you asked.
DFRPG has a unique advancement system called Milestones.
Instead of earning incremental points after every single encounter or puzzle solved, the adventure is broken up into plot resolution achievements. They come based on how the narrative is progressing, not how well you've demolished the enemies, or if you've had to run away from every fight all day. Generally the GM and Players should ask themselves if anything significant has changed in the story, and that is probably an appropriate place for a Milestone. The frequency of Milestones is what sets the tone for the game. If they come quickly, characters will become epic quickly. If they come slowly, then characters have a chance to really embed themselves in the tapestry of the world in which they live. As with everything else, balance is important. Characters need time to feel lived in, but Players need a sense of progression.
Milestones come in three flavors, with a variety of options that a player can pick for their character.
Minor Milestones happen about once a "session", or every time a plot significant thing happens. You might discover that your dog is actually your evil nemesis, or that werewolves have overrun your favorite baseball stadium. Maybe you break up with your girlfriend, or you get back together. Minor Milestones are the steps on the way to the overarching plot of the adventure being solved.
Significant Milestones usually occur at the end of a scenario, or at the conclusion of a relatively major plotline. You might defeat a Lieutenant in the local crime family, giving an entire district a few weeks of violence free breathing room. Maybe you recover the stolen ancient Indian burial, totem so the spirits can rest once again.
Major Milestones are the culmination of a long, large-scale plotline, or a few unconnected scenarios, or when something shakes up the city a massive amount. They represent a really significant advancement in power for the characters, and shouldn't be given out lightly.
- Minor Milestones allow one of the following:
- Switch the rank values of any two skills, or replace one Average skill with one that isn’t on your sheet.
- Change any single stunt for another stunt.
- Purchase stunts or powers, provided you have the refresh to do so.
- Rename one aspect.
- Significant Milestones allow you one of the benefits granted by Minor Milestones, and in addition you may add one rank to a skill you possess, provided that doesn't break the skill pyramid, or add a skill you didn't possess at rank 1.
- Major Milestones grant all of the following:
- You can “clear out” an extreme consequence slot, allowing it to be used again.
- Gain an additional point of refresh.
- Purchase new stunts and/or powers.
- All the benefits of a significant milestone.