Covenant Game Design: Damage

Covenant Game Design - Game Mechanics - Damage

(Don’t forget to tune in to this week’s episode of the Radio Free Covenant podcast!)

So, your character can spend their Discipline on Covenant to make bids and accomplish tasks. How do they regain that spent Discipline, though? And if Discipline represents (at least in part) their physical and mental health, then how do they heal?

To answer that, we have to talk about how Covenant handles damage.

Damage in represents a loss of Discipline from a variety of sources, including:

  • Being struck by a weapon
  • Trying to accomplish a task
  • Losing social status or standing
  • Expending ammunition, fuel, and other resources
  • Suffering mental stress and trauma

There are three kinds of damage that a character can suffer: scene damage, chapter damage, and long-term damage. (See yesterday’s post on how Covenant handles time for more) Each one differs in when it’s restored or recharged to a character’s pool of free Discipline. They are defined as follows:

  • Scene Damage: Represents a less-serious loss of Discipline to bruising, exhaustion, and non-lethal or stun weapons. It can also represents a minor or easily replaced loss of resources. Scene damage is recharged as soon the scene ends or, if your character takes this damage during an interstitial, at the end of the next scene.
  • Chapter Damage: Represents more serious wounds, loss of resources, and damage from lethal weapons like knives and guns. It also represents a longer-term loss of resources. Chapter damage is recharged as soon as the chapter ends or, if your character takes this damage during an intermission, at the end of the next chapter.
  • Long-Term Damage: Represents scarring, limb loss, mental trauma, and a permanent loss of resources. Long-term damage can only be restored through roleplay, by accomplishing character goals, or with cybernetic implants.

One way to think of damage is as a series of buckets. Whenever your character takes damage, they pours some of their free Discipline into the appropriate bucket. When they regain Discipline, either by recharging or by some other means (i.e., healing, etc.), then they pours the contents of the appropriate bucket back into their free Discipline. This lets them use that regained Discipline again.

Let’s look at an example. Your character has 300 Discipline at the start of a scene. That means they have 300 Discipline in their free Discipline “bucket” and zero in their other buckets.

Damage Example - 300 Free Discipline, 0 Scene Damage, 0 Chapter Damage, 0 Long-Term Damage

You spend 30 Discipline on a bid. Bids usually count as scene damage, so 30 of your Discipline goes from your free Discipline to your scene damage. This leaves you with 270 free Discipline.

Damage Example - 270 Free Discipline, 30 Scene Damage, 0 Chapter Damage, 0 Long-Term Damage

Then you’re hit by a weapon that does 50 damage. Weapons usually deal chapter damage, so 50 of your Discipline goes from your free Discipline to your chapter damage. This leaves you with 220 free Discipline.

Damage Example - 220 Free Discipline, 30 Scene Damage, 50 Chapter Damage, 0 Long-Term Damage

You manage to survive to the end of the scene, so the 30 scene damage gets poured from your scene damage bucket back into your free Discipline bucket. However, the chapter hasn’t ended yet, so the 50 Discipline in your chapter damage bucket stays there, leaving you with only 250 of your original 300 Discipline to make bids, withstand weapon damage, and so on.

Damage Example - 250 Free Discipline, 0 Scene Damage, 50 Chapter Damage, 0 Long-Term Damage

That’s it for now. Tune in next week when we discuss how Covenant handles your character being incapacitated.

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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