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Meta Accounting HERO

This document describes an alternate method of character rewards that is intended to allow a staged approach to character growth rather than the normal slow and gradual progression. It is entirely meta in its application; i.e. it works entirely outside of the "4th wall" by manipulating game definition aspects.


To use this method, instead of manipulating XP awards or otherwise attempting to control things on the back end, the GM just sets the Disadvantage Max cap for a campaign lower than than they normally would during character creation, and then periodically raises the Disadvantage Max cap after play has started. Players can then opt to take more Disadvantages up to the raised cap and use the points generated to pay for more abilities. It is as simple as that.

For instance, if the Disadvantage cap would normally be 75, the GM could instead set it as 50 at campaign start, and then later raise the Disadvantage cap to 75 once the player characters have progressed sufficiently.

Players may then opt to take on extra Disadvantages as they made sense to their characters as the game progresses (either all at once or over time). The points gained from the extra Disads can then be spent all at once on a big power up, or held onto and spent later as the player sees fit.

This allows a gradual escalation of power counterbalanced by increasing ensnarement in plot elements and character complications springing from the emerging storyline.

At some later point the GM could again raise the cap to 100 and repeat the process, and so on.

Awarding XP

Using this method, full normal XP is awarded in the standard fashion.


This method is very simple and is effectively "invisible". It also models a situation often seen in fiction whereby power ups come with extra complications


High level characters can end up carrying a lot of miscellaneous Disadvantages, similar to some characters in Superheroic campaigns. The GM also needs to exercise control over what constitutes valid Disadvantages, not allowing anything that they don't think is going to work out in play (but, this is a good general practice anyway).

Also Adjust Base Points Variant

To ameliorate the Cons somewhat the GM can also raise the Base points available to characters, which effectively subsidizes the process and yields a direct stair-stepped progression where once a character hits various thresholds and get more Base and Max Disadvantages they are effectively on a higher tier of power than lesser characters, which encourages an "epic" feel such as is found in many examples of "the heroic journey" in fiction.

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