Author’s Diary: Update for the Week of April 17, 2020

(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!)

Our output has increased since the introduction of Covenant’s Patreon campaign. Deadlines have a tendency to do that. We’re happy to say that we’re ahead of schedule on completing the game’s playtest rules. Find out more below the fold.

These rules are an unholy mess, but then that’s why God created editing. Here’s what we worked on this week.

DEFENSE BIDS

Dodge: Avoid any kind of attack, including ones that deal psychological damage (EXAMPLE: witnessing a murder, being betrayed) and social damage (EXAMPLE: losing face, being accused of a crime, confronting a political opponent)

  • To Accomplish:
    • Opposed Defense bid vs. attacker’s Fighting bid
    • Can be used when riding a mount or for attacks against pets or vehicles
    • Characters can’t dodge damage from “environmental” sources (EXAMPLE: a snowstorm, a lava field, hard vacuum, an exposed nuclear reactor). They must instead use the Resistance bid.
  • Successful Bid: The character dodges the attack and is not affected by it.
  • Unsuccessful Bid: The character does not dodge the attack and must make a Resistance bid against the attack’s damage.
  • Suggested Traits: Athletics, Agility, Defense, Escaping, Evasion, Fighting, Movement, Perception, Tactics, Trickery
  • Suggested Advantages:
    • The character is faster than the attacker.
    • The character has the higher ground.
  • Suggested Disadvantages:
    • The attacker is faster than the character.
    • The attacker has the higher ground.
    • The character is larger than the attacker.
    • The attacker is on familiar ground.
    • The character is outflanked or at some other tactical disadvantage.
    • The character has injured or lost the use of xir arms or legs.
    • The character’s movement is restricted (EXAMPLE: by a net, shackles, rope, handcuffs, or another character).
    • The character’s footing is uncertain (i.e., a narrow ledge, an icy sidewalk, etc.).
    • The character is unaware of the attacker or the attack.
    • The character is overburdened.

Fortify: Improve the protection of a character or piece of gear, create a temporary bunker against a certain type of damage or attack

  • To Accomplish:
  • Successful Bid
    • The target character gains 1 advantage to Defense or Resistance bids (your choice) until the end of the next scene.
    • Add 1 defensive feature to a piece of armor or a vehicle until the end of the next scene.
    • Designate 1 area on the map. Characters in this area gain 1 advantage to Defense or Resistance bids (your choice) against 1 kind of attack or damage until the end of the next scene. Enemies can bypass this with an opposed Tactics bid against your Defense bid.
    • Designate 1 area of the map. Characters outside this area must make an opposed Athletics or Tactics bids against your Defense bid to enter this area until the end of the next scene.
  • Unsuccessful Bid
    • Nothing happens.
    • The target character suffers 1 disadvantage to Defense or Resistance bids (your choice) until the end of the next scene.
    • Add 1 defect to a piece of armor or other defensive gear until the end of the next scene.
    • Characters in the area that you want to fortify suffer 1 disadvantage to Defense or Resistance bids (your choice) against 1 kind of attack or damage until the end of the next scene.
    • Opponents gain 1 advantage to Movement bids to enter the area that you want to fortify until the end of the next scene.
  • Suggested Traits: Crafting, Defense, Evasion, Fighting, Knowledge, Movement, Perception, Stealth, Tactics, Trickery
  • Suggested Advantages:
    • The character has the higher ground.
    • The character is on familiar ground.
    • The character is aware of an impending attack and its nature.
    • The map has available cover.
    • The map has materials that can be used to improve items or make fortifications (EXAMPLE: piles of 2X4s and plywood, a building, a crashed spaceship or vehicle).
  • Suggested Disadvantages
    • The attacker has the higher ground.
    • The character is not on familiar ground.
    • The map does not have available cover.
    • The character is not aware of an impending attack or its nature.
    • The character is outflanked or at some other tactical disadvantage.
    • The character does not have the right kind of defensive gear (EXAMPLE: gas masks for gas attacks) and must improvise them from available materials.
NASA/Ames Research Center/Daniel Rutter

EVASION BIDS

Evade: Escape from a pursuer

  • To Accomplish:
    • Quarry’s Evasion bid vs. pursuer’s Chasing bid vs. 
    • Made at the start of each turn during chase
    • Chase lasts for a set number of turns determined by FM
    • Can be used for chases:
      • Under the character’s own power (EXAMPLE: on foot or flying)
      • While riding a mount
      • While piloting a vehicle
  • Successful Bid: The quarry pulls away from the pursuer. If the quarry wins more or an equal number of Chasing vs. Evasion bids at the end of the scene or interstitial, then the quarry evades the pursuer or beats xir to the destination.
  • Unsuccessful Bid: The pursuer closes on the quarry. If the pursuer wins more Chasing vs. Evasion bids at the end of the scene or interstitial, then the pursuer catches the quarry or beats xir to the destination.
  • Suggested Traits: Athletics, Agility, Chasing, Evasion, Movement, Perception, Piloting, Riding, Stealth, Tactics, Trickery
  • Suggested Advantages:
    • The quarry is faster than the pursuer.
    • The quarry is closer to the destination than the pursuer.
    • The pursuer is being attacked or is under fire.
    • The quarry or xir allies try to stop the pursuer.
    • The quarry is familiar with the terrain where the chase takes place.
    • The quarry’s body is designed for the terrain where the chase takes place (EXAMPLE: a spider monkey swinging through a jungle’s canopy).
  • Suggested Disadvantages:
    • The quarry is slower than the pursuer.
    • The quarry is farther from the destination than the pursuer.
    • The quarry is being attacked or is under fire.
    • The pursuer or xir allies try to stop the quarry.
    • The quarry has injured or lost the use of xir arms or legs.
    • The quarry’s movement is restricted (EXAMPLE: by a net, shackles, rope, handcuffs, or another character).
    • The quarry is overburdened.

Cover Tracks: Prevent a pursuer from tracking down a character, or at least make tracking xir down harder

  • To Accomplish: Fixed Evasion bid, set by the FM
  • Successful Bid: The character’s Evasion bid becomes the quarry’s Evasion bid against any Chasing bids. This Evasion bid can be used until:
    • A pursuer beats it with a Chasing bid.
    • The quarry chooses to make xir own Evasion bid against a Chasing bid.
    • The quarry’s circumstances change (EXAMPLE: The quarry moves to a new town or planet, the quarry is exposed, etc.).
  • Unsuccessful Bid
  • Suggested Traits: Chasing, Evasion, Knowledge, Influence, Perception, Stealth, Tactics, Trickery
  • Suggested Advantages: 
    • The trail is cold.
    • No one is currently pursuing the quarry.
    • The quarry has a large head start.
    • The quarry is travelling through friendly territory.
    • The quarry has moved to another planet or geographic region.
  • Suggested Disadvantages:
    • The trail is fresh.
    • The quarry is currently being chased.
    • The pursuer is nearby.
    • The quarry is travelling through hostile territory.

FIGHTING BIDS

Fight: Attempt to inflict damage of any kind on a character or inanimate object

  • To Accomplish:
    • Opposed Fighting bid against opponent’s Defense bid
    • Requires 1 weapon to be used, even for unarmed attacks
    • Can be used when riding a mount or for attacks against pets or vehicles
    • There are 3 kinds of attacks: close attacks, ranged attacks, and area attacks
      • Close Attacks: Can only be made against 1 opponent in the same area as the character
      • Ranged Attacks:
        • Can be made against 1 opponent in the same area as the character or in a different area
        • Suffers 1 disadvantage for attacks beyond the weapon’s range
        • Cannot be made against opponents at twice the weapon’s range 
      • Area Attacks:
        • Can be made against all characters in the same area as the character or in a different area
        • The attacking character makes 1 Fighting bid for this attack. All the characters in the affected area make their own Defense bids against this 1 Fighting bid. The attack misses anyone who beats the Fighting bid and hits anyone who does not.
        • Suffers 1 disadvantage for attacks beyond the weapon’s range
        • Cannot be made against opponents at twice the weapon’s range 
  • Successful Bid: The attack hits the opponent, who must make a Resistance bid against the weapon’s damage.
  • Unsuccessful Bid: The attack misses the opponent, who is unaffected by it.
  • Suggested Traits: Athletics, Agility, Fighting, Movement, Perception, Sabotage, Stealth, Tactics, Trickery
  • Suggested Advantages
    • The character is smaller than xir opponent.
    • The character is faster than xir opponent.
    • The character has the higher ground.
    • The character is in a superior tactical position.
    • The character has some way to brace xir weapon (ranged and area attacks only).
    • The character is in a kneeling or prone posture (ranged and area attacks only).
    • The oppoent’s movement is restricted (EXAMPLE: by a net, shackles, rope, handcuffs, or another character).
    • The target has has injured or lost the use of xir arms or legs.
    • The target is intoxicated.
    • The target is overburdened.
  • Suggested Disadvantages
    • The opponent is smaller than the character.
    • The opponent is faster than xir opponent.
    • The opponent has the higher ground.
    • The opponent is in a superior tactical position.
    • The character is in a kneeling or prone posture (close attacks only) 
    • The character’s movement is restricted.
    • The character has injured or lost the use of xir arms or legs.
    • The character is intoxicated.
    • The chracter  is overburdened.

NOTE: Fighting bids can be used for any kind of attack, including but not limited to:

  • Physical Attacks: Weapons, unarmed attacks
  • Social Attacks: Accusations, arguments
  • Psychological Attacks: Insults, taunts, shocking revelations

That’s it for now. Talk to you next week, and remember to become a patron of Covenant!

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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