Sean again. Yesterday, I told you that the playable species in Covenant to have more depth than the “all X are Y” trope prevalent in science fiction and fantasy. Here’s how we plan to do it.
A player will build hir character from the ground up, starting with hir species and adding other details, like gender and the empire or “domain” in which they live. Each of these details is a trait that provides the player with advantages and disadvantages on bids during the game, as well as backstory and roleplaying hooks.
Here are the traits that a player can choose at character creation:
- Species Trait: The character’s species (e.g., a human would have the Human species trait, a calerre would have the Calerre species trait, etc.). Hir species trait gives hir advantages for at least two kinds of bids. For instance, a calerre is agile and tough, so ze can spend hir Calerre trait on bids requiring agility or to resist damage. Note that ze can take traits for other species later. For instance, a calerre who has lived among or studied humans can take the Human trait, which will help hir when interacting with humans. However, hir species trait never changes.
- Gender Trait: The character’s gender, including male, female, or nonbinary. Gender differences in most species, including humans, aren’t big enough to provide advantages or disadvantages for most bids. However, they can influence how ze is treated in different parts of the galaxy, like the fundamentalist Dominion and traditionalist Old Empire.
- Outlook Traits: Each species has at least two competing outlooks, as well as a neutral outlook. A character’s outlook represents hir overall philosophy and how ze generally perceives the world, and it affects both what ze chooses to learn and how ze reacts to the world. A character can have up to two outlook traits: an outlook ze used to have and an outlook ze has now.
- Domain Traits: The part of the galaxy that the character calls home. This trait gives hir 1 advantage to bids to know the politics and history of that domain. Hir domain may also give her access to other traits, like hir social station or the region in which ze lived, that provide their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. A character can have up to two domain traits: where ze used to live and where ze lives now.
- Environment Trait: The environment in which a character grew up, such as a world with heavy or light gravity, a marginally inhabitable world, or on a spaceship.
- Species-Specific Trait: Some species, like the thk’kok and valka, have traits to which only they have access. A thk’kok can choose hir nation, which is an ethnically and culturally similar group of tribes and villages, while a valka can choose hir caste or role in hir hive.
Now you know how to build a better alien in Covenant. Tune in tomorrow, when we introduce you to the architects of both the Covenant and the Old Empire, the calerre.