What's the timing of the game?

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Question 1: When does the Maidens crisis take place in the canonical history of creation?

Have the Solars come back yet? Deathlords? Abyssals? Has the Empress disappeared? How much are each of those likely to get involved?

A Fate-centric worldview leads me to think the Maidens disappear first, and everything else is the result of poorly-planned Fate. That only makes sense if the game spans years, though, which leads to:

Question 2: How much game-time does the crisis span?

The kind of crisis we're setting up could very easily lead to a sense of urgency which leads to no downtime. That keeps up excitement levels, but likely leads to lack of ability for characters to advance (lacking training) and a lack of an ability to demonstrate the long-term effects of broken Fate on Creation.

The timeframe could be stretched if the crisis isn't one of imminent doom, but of gradual degradation. Fate violations get more and more frequent, and the Siderials get more and more busy fixing them. Along the way, teams are sent to investigate (or accidentally find) the clues which lead to parts of the final solution. That would mean more of a missions+downtime approach.

Related question: how long does it take? How much do the characters advance over the game?

Not at all.

4ish XP/run.

5ish XP/in-game-year: one year, one century.

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