Author’s Diary for February 27, 2020: Traits Appendix (Part 4)

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

Yep, still on the traits appendix. Hopefully, we won’t be for much longer. More below the fold.

These traits are surprisingly hard to write.

I think part of the reason is that the traits in Covenant are so general. Other roleplaying games, or the ones I have experience with, have skills and attributes with only a few easily defined. Take the Medicine skill in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition. You can use it to revive a fallen ally, diagnose illnesses, and that’s it.

That’s not what I want to do with traits. I want the player and Force Majeure to use them for whatever bids they think they fit. The crazier, the better, as long as they fit. I think that’ll encourage flexibility and creative thinking.

Roleplaying games are supposed to be flexible like that. That’s the whole reason why you have a gamemaster. Xi’s a player who does nothing but interpret the rules and make up new ones on the fly. There’s nothing else that has that – a participant who’s also a referee – and I want a game that takes advantage of that.

So I have to try and think of everything that the players might use with their characters’ traits, and then pare that down to a representative sample. (The knowledge trait below is particularly OP, but then knowledge is power) I might be approaching this wrong, because it’s harder than I thought it’d be.

Or maybe it’s just that this part of the rulebook is boring to write, and I want to start playtesting this beast.

Here’s what I wrote for today.

  • Knowledge: General knowledge, education, book learning, trivia, life experience
    • Suggested Uses:
      • Advising others on any subject
      • Enhancing most bids
      • Knowing the general capabilities or limitations of almost anything
    • Negative Uses: None
  • Medicine: Healing, administering cures and therapy, performing medicine, reviving characters
    • Suggested Uses:
      • Advising others on how to heal
      • Administering therapy for trauma and scarring
      • Healing physical or mental damage
      • Installing cybernetic implants and genetic grafts
      • Removing conditions
    • Negative Uses: None
  • Movement: Moving under one’s own power
    • Suggested Uses:
      • Advising others on moving or taking the best or fastest path
      • Aerial movement, including flying and gliding
      • Ground movement, including walking, running, or crawling
      • Special forms of movement, like swimming, swinging from vines, or burrowing
    • Negative Uses: None
  • Perception: Searching, keeping watch, avoiding traps and ambushes, situational awareness
    • Suggested Uses:
      • Advising others on how to search or spot
      • Finding a trap, hidden item, or secret compartment
      • Noticing changes in the environment
      • Spotting an ambush
      • Spotting or hearing hidden opponents
      • Tracking quarry by sight or smell
    • Negative Uses: None
  • Piloting: Moving with a vehicle
    • Suggested Uses:
      • Advising others on how to pilot or drive a vehicle
      • Avoiding attacks on your vehicle
      • Dogfighting
      • Guiding a vehicle over difficult terrain or through a hazardous environment
      • Performing stunts
      • Piloting ground, air, water, space, or other vehicles
      • Piloting a vehicle through bad weather
      • Racing
      • Recovering from a spinout, tailspin, or failed stunt
    • Negative Uses: None

That’s it for now. Talk to you later.

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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