Covenant Game Design: Traits

Covenant Game Design - Game Mechanics - Traits

Traits in Covenant are anything that your character is, knows, or knows how to do. Their species and gender are traits. So are where they come from. So are their jobs, careers, hobbies, and any random skills that they’ve picked up along the way.

Whenever you spend a trait on bid, you add one to your bid. That’s one less Discipline that you have to spend on your bid. Best of all, you can spend any trait that applies to your current bid on that bid. It doesn’t matter how off-the-wall the connection is. As long as you can convince the FM that a trait has something to do with your bid, you can spend it on that bid.

Say you have the Rifles trait. You could spend this trait on bids when you:

  • Shoot a rifle (you know how to aim a rifle and line up a shot)
  • Defend yourself from a rifle attack (you know how people fight with rifles and can use that to your advantage)
  • Repair a rifle (you know the inner workings of rifles)
  • Buy a rifle (you know how to recognize a good rifle from a shoddy or inaccurate one)
  • Talk to people who use rifles, like soldiers and mercenaries (you can talk shop)

And so on.

Many other roleplaying systems, like Dungeons and Dragons, have something similar to traits in skills. They works, but we decided that they were a little too restrictive for Covenant. They tend to have a small number of well-defined uses. If you try to use them for something unconventional, you either can’t or must come up with a house rule on the spot. The Discipline game mechanic, on the other hand, implies that you can use any and all of your character’s resources in any way you can imagine, or at least in any way that fits the current situation. Covenant’s traits had to have that flexibility, as well.

That’s about it on traits for now. Tune in next week for advantages and disadvantages.

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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