Meet the Humans – Part 1

Covenant Game Design - Meet the Humans - Part 1

(Having trouble with the pronouns? Check out this post, and be sure to tune in to the latest episode of the podcast while you’re reading it!)

Sean again. We’ve introduced you to:

Now it’s time to meet your distant descendants! That’s right, we’re talking about humans today. More below the fold.

As always, remember that everything on this blog is subject to frequent and massive change.

Now, you already know what their appearance their biology is. I mean, they’re humans. Things haven’t changed that much in 800 years (barring the occasional cybernetic implant or genetic graft, of course). So let’s jump straight to their psychology.

History: The Covenant first contacted humans approximately 120,000 years ago. This first contact was disastrous. Several humans and calerre died, and the Covenant withdrew to gather more information before attempting contact again.

This may sound like Chariots of the Gods?, but there’s one important difference: the Covenant had no desire to interfere with humanity’s development. They would occasionally send down sociologists in holographic disguises for closer observations, but they always used local technology and techniques to minimize their impact. A lot of good people died doing this, but they thought it was worth it.

However, the Covenant couldn’t just sit on the sidelines while millions of humans died to war, genocide, and other disasters. So they decided to rescue these victims whenever they could and replace them with increasingly advanced biological androids that would die and even rot exactly like humans. These refugees were then offered citizenship in the Covenant. They carried out a similar plan with the thk’kok on Slice o’Heaven, as well.

Humanity successfully landed a manned mission on Mars in 2058 CE, which the Covenant took as their cue to initiate “Second Contact”. Earth was offered membership in the Covenant and began to solve its many problems. Things were pretty good!

This nascent golden age unexpectedly ended in 2140 CE, when Earth began to fragment and fall apart. Within two weeks, the entire planet had been reduced to an incomplete debris field around the Sun. The Covenant mobilized and saved many billions of humans. This was the beginning of the human diaspora.

To deal with this disaster, many diaapora refugees retreated into religion and nostalgia for Earth. Many even blamed the calerre, wrongly, for Earth’s destruction.

This came to a head about 200 years into the diaspora, when a number of human-majority Covenant worlds voted to secede. These formed the Terran Federation, one of the Covenant’s most persistent foes today.

Psychology: Humans are usually the base species in most roleplaying games. They’re also usually the most adaptable species, since they need some kind of cool hook so players will want to play them.

I wanted to do something different with humans in Covenant.

Humans are defined by one thing: the loss of their homeworld. Every human alive in the 28th century was rescued from Earth from the Covenant. Some were war and genocide refugees from before Second Contact. The rest were survivors of Earth’s destruction in the 22nd century. Their descendants live in societies that weren’t made fro them and where they aren’t top dog.

Humans are therefore survivors.

The descendants of refugees from before Second Contact are generally grateful to the Covenant. Earth rejected them, so they rejected Earth and adapted to their alien hosts’ cultures.

The refugees from Earth’s destruction, on the other hand, suffered an unimaginable trauma: the loss of their homeworld and all of its history and culture. 800 years later, the wound hasn’t healed. Humans descended from this group of refugees often find solace in religion and conspiracy theories. Many wrongly blame the Covenant and the calerre for their troubles and for denying humanity “our rightful place” in the galaxy.

Lifespan: Thk’kok have an average lifespan of 40 to 50 years on their homeworld Slice o’Heaven. This lengthens to about 200 years off-planet and up to 1,200 years in the Covenant.

Abilities: The thk’kok have two main species abilities:

  • Survival: Humans are tough. They get bonuses to survive damage and abilities that help them avoid immediate death.
  • Karma: Humans are skilled at getting short-term gains at the expense of long-term ones. They can gain automatic advantages and successes on bids at the expense of disadvantages and failures later

Handles: These are single words that I use to try to get a handle on the humans.

  • Survivor: Humanity is in the running for suffering the worst in Covenant. They could have curled up and died because of it. Instead, they took the worst of it and came out tougher on the other side .
  • Immigrant: Pre-diaspora refugees are grateful to the Covenant. They’ve done their best to assimilate and contribute to the Orion Arm.
  • Nostalgic: Diaspora refugees are dangerously nostalgic for Earth. They see it as a prelapsarian paradise that was taken away from them.
  • Fanatic: Many diaspora refugees are religious fundamentalists. The Dominion is a small but significant human domain that is a Christian theocracy. Dominion citizens with nothing to lose often launch suicide attacks on the rest of the Orion Arm.

That’s about it for now. Swing by Friday when we show you how to roll up a human character.

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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