Author’s Diary for February 17, 2020

Sometimes your characters will need a little help during a scene, whether it’s from a vehicle, a trained animal, or something else. Click through to learn more.

I’m kind of proud of today’s writing.

I took the rules for vehicles, mounts, and pets – rules that seem to be underused in many roleplaying systems – and combined them all into force multipliers. They’re all considered characters – including vehicles! – but differ in how they’re controlled.

Well, it makes sense to me. I just hope I can explain it to the players.

There are currently four force multipliers in Covenant.

VEHICLES: Vehicles can carry the most crew and gear. However, they can’t go into certain areas or inside small buildings.

MOUNTS: Mounts are available on low-tech worlds, and land mounts can go where most surface vehicles can’t. However, a mount’s master constantly has to fight for control, especially if xi wants xir mount to go where it doesn’t want to go.

PETS: Pets can be taught tricks and can act independently of their handlers. However, if you ask a pet to do something that it’s not trained to do or that puts it into danger, then it may turn on you.

REMOTELY OPERATED VEHICLES: Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) have better gear than pets, and you don’t have to fight them for control. However, you have to choose if you want your character or your ROV to act each turn, and you can still lose control of it if you try to take it someplace where it’s not designed to go.


Here’s what I wrote today.

FORCE MULTIPLIERS

  • This section has information on force multipliers that characters can use, including:
    • What force multipliers have in common
    • How to use vehicles
    • How to ride and train mounts
    • How to command and train pets
    • How to use remotely operated vehicles (ROVs)

WHAT THEY HAVE IN COMMON

  • Characters can improve their odds by using vehicles, mounts, pets, and ROVs.
  • Vehicles, mounts, and pets all have the following in common:
    • They are all considered NPCs that are under the control of other characters
    • They all have:
      • Their own Discipline
      • Their own assets
      • Their own gear
  • Vehicles, mounts, pets, and ROVs differ in how they are controlled and handled.

VEHICLES

  • Vehicles include buildings with traps or automated systems for the purposes of these rules.
  • The character controlling a vehicle is its pilot.
  • Characters riding in a vehicle are its crew.
  • Benefits: The pilot and crew can use their vehicle’s Discipline and assets along with their own Discipline and assets for some bids when riding in that vehicle. These bids include:
    • Attacking with the vehicle’s weapons
    • Defending against incoming attacks, either to the pilot and crew or to the vehicle
    • Resisting damage, either to the pilot and crew or to the vehicle
  • Drawbacks:
    • A vehicle cannot go some places that its pilot and crew can, like small buildings or caves.
    • A vehicle may lack the maneuverability necessary for some scenes like fights in tight quarters.
    • If the pilot or crew insists on bringing their vehicle into these areas or situations, then xi may need to make fixed piloting checks every round during a scene or lose control of the vehicle.

MOUNTS

  • Mounts are handled similar to small vehicles.
  • The character controlling a mount is called its master.
  • The characters riding a mount (usually just 1 or 2) are called riders.
  • A mount can act independently of its master.
  • When a mount tries to act independently of its master, its master has two options:
    • Let the mount act as it wishes.
    • Try to control the mount by making an opposed riding bid against the mount’s willpower bid. If the master loses the bid, xi and the mount’s riders are thrown.
  • Benefits:
    • The pilot and crew can use their vehicle’s Discipline and assets along with their own Discipline and assets for some bids when riding in that vehicle. These bids include:
      • Attacking with the mount’s natural weapons, like its claws, teeth, or hooves
      • Defending against incoming attacks, either to the master and riders or to the mount
      • Resisting damage, either to the master and riders or to the mount
    • Mounts are available on low-tech worlds. More high-tech vehicles usually aren’t.
    • Mounts are usually smaller than vehicles and can go in some areas where vehicles can’t.
  • Drawbacks:
    • There are still some situations where it’s inappropriate to ride a mount, like inside a building or on a narrow or slippery surface.
    • If a mount’s master insists on riding a mount into these areas or situations, then xi must make an opposed riding bid against the mount’s willpower check every round. If the master loses the bid, xi and the mount’s riders are thrown.

PETS

  • Pets are characters that are controlled by a handler.
  • A pet acts on its master’s turn.
  • Benefits: Pets can be trained to perform tricks. A pet’s handler can have xir pet perform a trick without making an opposed control bid (see below), unless performing the trick puts the pet in immediate danger.
  • Drawbacks: If the handler orders xir pet to do something besides one of its tricks or something that puts the pet in immediate danger, then xi must make an opposed control bid against the pet’s willpower bid. If the handler loses the bid, then the pet may ignore xir or, depending on the circumstances and how it has been treated, attack xir.

REMOTELY OPERATED VEHICLES

  • Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) are controlled like pets.
  • ROVs include small drones controlled by autonomous but nonsapient AIs. They do not include drones controlled by sapient AIs, like SADEs.
  • ROVs are controlled by a controller.
  • Benefits:
    • ROVs don’t need to be trained, unlike a pet.
    • The controller doesn’t need to make control bids to maintain control over an ROV, unless xi attempts an unusual or difficult maneuver with it.
    • ROVs usually have more and better gear than pets.
  • Drawbacks:
    • The controller must decide if xi wants to act or to controller xir ROV during xir turn in a round. If xi does both, xi has the Distracted condition until xir next turn.
    • There are still some situations where it’s inappropriate to bring an ROV, especially if the ROV is a large device.
    • If the ROV’s handler insists on bringing it into these areas or situations, then xi may need to make fixed piloting checks every round during a scene or lose control of the vehicle.

That’s all for now. Check back tomorrow for more.

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.

Join the Conversation

9 Comments

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: