The Gamemaster awards heroes Character Points at the end of each story. This represents the experience and confidence the heroes have gained, along with other factors contributing to an improvement in their abilities, skills, and powers.
Generally, heroes each receive 1 Character point for a successfully completed adventure that lasts for one game session. If the heroes overcame especially powerful foes or difficult challenges, the GM can increase the Character point award to 2 points. For adventures lasting more than one game session, the heroes should get 1 Character point per session, plus a possible Character point at the end if they did particularly well.
Gamemasters may vary the rate of advancement by awarding more Character points per adventure, allowing heroes to increase in power faster, which may suit certain styles of play. The Gamemaster also may choose not to award a Character point for an adventure in which the heroes did especially poorly, such as failing to defeat a villain’s major scheme or allowing many innocent people to suffer harm they could have prevented.
Players can spend their heroes’ awarded Character points in-between adventures to improve the heroes’ traits, limited only by the series power level. They can also choose to save up unspent Character points, waiting until the power level increases, in order to spend them to improve a trait already at its maximum rating or rank. Players spend Character points on new or improved traits for their heroes just the same as spending them to create a hero. So if your hero has a power costing 2 points per rank, and you want to improve it by 1 rank, spend 2 of your earned Character points to do so.
Just like starting Character points, once earned Character points have been allocated to a trait, they remain that way, unless some effect (such as a transformed condition) causes the character’s point allocation to change.
See Reallocating Character points for more information.
As heroes earn Character points through adventuring and spend them to improve their traits, they will eventually run into the limits imposed by the series power level (see Power Level for details). For a while, this can be a good thing, since the power level limits encourage heroes to diversify and acquire new skills, advantages, and powers rather than simply pumping points into their existing traits to increase them to unwieldy levels. However, sooner or later, you’re going to want to raise the power level, giving the heroes a bit more breathing room for advancement and spending their earned Character points.
A good guideline is to follow the starting Character point totals when it comes to power level: when the heroes accumulate an additional 15 Character points from the start of the series or the last time the power level was raised, it’s probably time to raise the power level by +1. So a power level 10 game starts out with 150-point heroes. When they have earned another 15 Character points (bringing their total up to 165), the GM should consider raising the power level to 11, allowing the heroes to spend some of those Character points to increase traits which are currently at the maximum limit.
When you increase the power level, you should also reevaluate the capabilities of the villains and other challenges the heroes face. While NPCs don’t earn additional Character points as such, and aren’t even subject to the same power level limits as the heroes, you should feel free to improve the traits of some non-player characters to keep pace with the heroes, ensuring those antagonists remain a suitable challenge. It’s also fine to have others lag behind, as the heroes outstrip some of their old foes, who no longer represent the kind of threat they did before, plus you can introduce new villains and challenges suited to the series power level as things progress.