Yeah, the idea of starting with Level 0 heroes and building up towards the standard power level is somewhat intriguing—and is something that I think happens fairly often in modern comics—but the implementation leaves something to be desired. Particularly, having only one ability seems incredibly dull.
Here’s how I’d do it:
- Power & Quality Dice
- After finishing character creation, reduce all of your Power and Quality dice down one size.
- After finishing a session / issue, you increase some of your Power / Quality dice up one size, but not higher then what they were at the end of character creation.
- I can see two different ways this can work: you either increase only one Power or Quality every time, or you increase one Power and one Quality. Going by the first way, it would take roughly 8-10 sessions to get to full power, depending on how many dice you have; or 4-5 sessions with the second method.
- After finishing character creation, shift all your abilities down one zone: your Green abilities—except for your principles—become Yellow abilities, your Yellow abilities become Red abilities, and you lose access to your Red abilities entirely.
- After finishing a session / issue, you can shift some of your abilities up, but not to zones higher than where they were at character creation.
- Again, there are two ways you could do this: you either shift only a single ability upwards (or add one of your inaccessible Red abilities to the Red zone); or you shift one ability from Yellow → Green, one from Red → Yellow, and one from inaccessibility → Red.
I could see one using these two rulesets for Powers & Qualities and for Abilities separately or together.
If I may get on a soapbox for a moment, though, I sincerely don’t think that the SCRPG needs advancement. (And I know that the idea discussed in the video is more of a type of “prologue advancement,” not Real Advancement,™ but it’s a related issue.) Advancement (usually) just adds more rules / moves / tricks / abilities to characters,* thus making them more powerful. But for the game to still be fair, and for the heroes to have a reasonable chance of failure, their opposition needs to get stronger too. So nothing really changes, except for more stuff being added on that everyone needs to keep track of—but the power dynamics of the game stay relatively the same.
The main thing that advancement usually does in games such as D&D is unlocking greater-scale enemies and challenges for the players; they can go from protecting a single small village from goblins to battling gods for the fate of the multiverse through the course of a campaign. But if you want to do that sort of thing in the SCRPG, you can definitely do so with the rules largely as is. You can start with the heroes protecting a single city or neighbourhood, facing mundane crooks and low-powered supers, represented by Minor and Major Villains, - Minions, and - Lieutenants, and then progress to saving the Earth, the galaxy, the universe, or all of Reality, by battling entire alien empires or reality-warping cosmic entities, still represented by Minor and Major Villains, - Minions, and - Lieutenants. The mechanics are the same, but the stakes are much higher—a Major Twist for the street-level heroes could be the town hall getting blown up, or the mayor getting killed, whilst a Major Twist for the cosmic heroes could be an entire planet being ravaged by space plague, or accidentally creating a black hole.
Further, comics don’t really show heroes “graduating” from one scale to another all that often. It’s not like Daredevil is bound to eventually have to take on Galactus if he spends enough time beating up crooks, or that the Silver Surfer had to start with low-level street thugs before being able to fight Skrulls. Sure, Robin became Nightwing and got his own city to protect, but that’s a retooling of the character and a change of venue, not the result of a constant, steady increase of power.
In general, in the SCRPG, there’s really not much correlation betwixt mechanical power of characters and their narrative power. You could have an unpowered crook be an Overpowered Titan in one game, and a ten-foot-tall robot be a Underpowered Fragile in another. (Or even in the same game, if narrative focus is a bigger determiner of mechanical power than in-universe logic.)
Anyway, those are just my thoughts and opinions, at least. I do recognise that other folks have different playstyles and preferences, and enjoy different things, and that—as I’ve said before—I am largely a “theoretical Sentinels RPG GM,” as I’ve only run a single-digit number of issues, so other folks may very well know the practical aspects of this system better than me.
Thanks for listening to my TED Talk. : )
*Which you could do in the SCRPG, but I really don’t recommend it. I imagine that there comes a point when having all / Powers & Qualities and five abilities per GYRO zone would stop being very fun. Especially since the nature of the system means you can’t improve dice past a , which limits the ceiling of advancement in that direction.