If your group plays once a week, and completes one score each week, and everyone Trains once per score, then you are looking at 2 + 1 (extra) + 2 (train) = 5 XP per score.
Times that by 52 and you get 260 points per year of play. Divide that over the 3 groups and the feats (6*3 + 8 = 26) and you are looking at 10 dots in each group (Resolve, Insight and Prowess) and 10 feats. Add the starting 2 dots and 1 feat, and you have almost maxed-out characters.
This example is contrived, of course; my group certainly doesn’t manage one score per week, but it got me thinking. Would this forum suggest that GMs should make the scores so tough that characters should get trauma-ed out before they get this powerful? Or suggest that a character retires when you get X many stats to 4, or max out your feats?
And yes, you can argue that having multiple characters will slow down this rate. That said, my group is reluctant to do that.
(P.S. “Feats” is a much more pithy term than the 6-syllable “special abilities”)
My group ran for 88 sessions over the course of two years, and the PCs never got anywhere near this powerful, and I consider myself a pretty generous GM.
It’s also easy enough to throw enough stuff at them at once to ensure that they never have enough downtime actions avilable to always train, even after spending Coin and Rep for extra actions.
I would say that if players were to train for every downtime, it would signal that what they’re interested in is playing maxed out characters, in which case, why keep them from the part of the game that they’re spending so much time working towards?
I’d say it means that Blades wasn’t designed to run indefinitely with the same main “cast.” If you’ve got a bunch of PCs with maxed-out action ratings after a year of weekly play (which I’d consider a long and successful game!), that seems like a good opportunity to do a “series finale”—let the crew try to “win,” whatever that means. Then, maybe, roll up new scoundrels and do a spin-off series. I certainly wouldn’t try to force additional stress/trauma onto a player just because they’d managed their XP and Downtime well.
This kind of analysis also needs to be put in the context of the crew sheet and tier. Sure, having nearly maxed-out action ratings is undeniably useful. But if you’re a maxed-out scoundrel in a T1 crew, taking on the T6 Imperial Military, you’re still going to need to spend stress and make Resistance rolls if you want to accomplish anything.
We played for two years, around 100 sessions. Each of the players had started at least one new character mid game (most had three scoundrels). One person died and came back as a ghost which changed their abilities a fair amount. Most of the characters had 4 dots in their most used actions, but even then the tension was always there. I think another two years probably would have been too much, but we’d probably address that by continuing the legacy of new characters. Most of them had 3 or 4 trauma by the end!
I haven’t played a campaign nearly as long as the one @Sean mentions above, but I’ve noticed that after a dozen sessions players start looking for their own trouble (starting wars, going against higher Tier targets). This lets them introduce their own difficulty (without the GM needing to push it) and slows advancement: wartime and injuries can soak a lot of downtime, and reduce training opportunities. Bigger, more complex scores might take more than one session as well.
Also, it doesn’t seem all that common that folks hit all their xp triggers in a single session.