Author’s Diary for April 10, 2020: Bids Appendix (Teaching)

(Don’t forget to join us on the Radio Free Covenant Discord server or listen to the latest episode of the Radio Free Covenant podcast!)

You learned how to use the Assist bid to help your allies yesterday. Now find out how to teach them your character’s traits and abilities below the fold.

Characters can teach each other their traits and abilities with the Assist bid. At first, I did this just because I wanted it. Roleplaying games didn’t generally have teaching mechanics, and I thought it made it sense to include them.

It turns out, however, that by including teaching mechanics, we may have stumbled ass-backwards into solving one of Covenant’s design problems.

Covenant gives out tokens instead of experience points. You get one token at the end of a chapter, which you can then trade in during intermissions (the time between chapters) for a trait, ability, or piece of gear.

The problem is that I also wanted to have “action points” or “hero points” that give players more mechanical control over the game. I wanted to reduce the amount of bookkeeping that the players had, though, because the rules for Discipline are already complicated enough.

So I made tokens my action points. Unfortunately, this put the players in a nasty dilemma: either use their tokens for character advancement or story control. Giving players more tokens per chapter would solve this, but it also might lead to characters gaining power and gear faster than the Force Majeure wanted. Plus, I just liked the simplicity of giving the players one token every chapter.

Using the Assist bid to teach abilities and traits would at least partly alleviate this problem. Characters could teach each other their traits and abilities during intermissions and save their tokens for story control. Since Covenant will represent species and certain cultures with traits, this could also lead to roleplaying opportunities.

It’s not a perfect solution, but it does at least partially address the problem.

So! Characters can either teach each other during intermissions or cram (that is, give each other temporary access to traits and abilities) during the interstitials between scenes.

Teach: Give another student a trait or ability that you or another character knows

  • To Accomplish:
  • Successful Bid:
    • The student gains 1 trait or ability known by the teacher or another character to which the teacher has access. Each student can be taught only once per intermission by any teacher with the Assist bid
  • Unsuccessful Bid:
    • The student does not gain a new trait or ability. Xi can still use a token to gain the trait or ability.
  • Suggested Traits: Assist, Knowledge, Influence
  • Suggested Advantages: The intermission is long (EXAMPLE: measured in months or years).
  • Suggested Disadvantages:
    • The intermission is short (EXAMPLE: measured in days or less).
    • There is a language barrier between teacher and student.
    • The teacher and student are from different species.
    • The teacher and student are from different domains.
    • The teacher and student have different outlook traits.

Cram: Temporarily teach another student a trait or ability that you or another character knows

  • To Accomplish:
  • Successful Bid:
    • The student gains 1 trait or ability known by the teacher or another character to which the teacher has access. Each student can be taught only once per interstitial by any teacher with the Assist bid. The student loses this trait or ability at the end of the next scene.
  • Unsuccessful Bid:
    • The student does not gain a new trait or ability. Xi can still use a token to gain the trait or ability.
  • Suggested Traits: Assist, Knowledge, Influence
  • Suggested Advantages: The interstitial is long (EXAMPLE: measured in hours or days).
  • Suggested Disadvantages:
    • The interstitial is short (EXAMPLE: measured in minutes or less).
    • The teacher and/or student is being chased.
    • There is a language barrier between teacher and student.
    • The teacher and student are from different species.
    • The teacher and student are from different domains.
    • The teacher and student have different outlook traits.

That’s all for now. Talk to you on Monday.

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.

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: