Covenant Game Design: Bids

Covenant Game Design - Game Mechanics - Bids

Yesterday, I told you about Discipline. I told you how everyone has it in Covenant, whether you’re a PC or an NPC. Now I’m going to tell you how to use it.

If you want your character to do something, you spend some of your Discipline to make a bid. You always make a bid to either overcome something in the environment or against another character.

You make fixed bids to overcome something in the environment. Examples include hacking a computer or performing a difficult spaceship maneuver. Your bid must exceed the target of the task, which is a fixed number determined by the Force Majeure (FM). If your bid exceeds the task’s target, you succeed at accomplishing the task. If not, you fail and possibly suffer penalties, like being detected by the computer’s security or crashing your spaceship.

You make opposed bids to overcome another character. Examples include hitting someone with a weapon or bluffing your way past a guard. Opposed bids always have an attacker, who is trying to make some change in the world, and a defender, who is trying to prevent that change. If the attacker’s bid is higher than the defender’s, then that player accomplishes what they want. Otherwise, they don’t.
Remember that your character’s Discipline represents all of their available resources. This means you can roleplay or skin your bid any way you want. For instance, if you’re trying to talk your way past a guard, you could skin it by:

  • Showing a forged pass that you got from a contact
  • Spending money to bribe the guard
  • Use your speaking skills to convince him that you belong there
  • Intimidate him so that he’s too scared to stop you

The winner of a bid also gains storytelling control – that is, the ability to describe the bid’s outcome. If the player wins a fixed bid, then they describe the bid’s outcome. Otherwise, the FM does. If the bid is an opposed bid, then the bid’s winner describes its outcome.

Discipline isn’t the only thing you can spend on a bid, though. Tune in tomorrow when we talk about your character’s traits.

Published by radiofreecovenant

A podcast about the science-fiction roleplaying game "Covenant" and the urban fantasy novel "Crossing the Line", soon to be published by Black Opal Books.

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