Author’s Diary: Update for the Week of April 24, 2020

(Don’t forget to contribute to our Patreon campaign or join us on the Radio Free Covenant Discord server! You can also listen to the latest episode of the Radio Free Covenant podcast!)

I’ve gotten more done this week, and the playtest rules are still ahead of schedule. I’m happy with some, not so much with the rest. Read on.

INFLUENCE BIDS

Buy: Purchase an item or service with money, barter, trading favors, spending social or political capital, or a combination of these

  • To Accomplish: Fixed Influence bid, set by the item or service’s cost
  • Successful Bid: The character buys the item or service.
  • Unsuccessful Bid:
    • The character does not buy the item or service.
    • The character buys the item, but it is faulty. It will impose 1 or more disadvantages on all bids made with it.
    • The character buys the service, but it is performed incompetently and may lead to a complication.
  • Suggested Traits: Influence, Knowledge, Perception, Trickery
  • Suggested Advantages:
    • The merchant is friendly with the character.
  • Suggested Disadvantages:
    • The merchant is hostile to the character.
    • There is a language barrier between the character and merchant.
    • The character and merchant are from different domains.
    • The character and merchant are from different species.
    • The character and merchant are from different genders.

Convince: Gradually convince a target to do something that they wouldn’t do, either through diplomacy, arguments, bribery, threats, or a combination of these

  • To Accomplish:
    • Opposed Influence bid vs. target’s Influence or Resistance bid
    • Influence bids do not work against PCs. Players are free to react however they want to a situation with their characters.
    • Influence bids are not mind control. There are some things that a target will not do, no matter how much or how well the character convinces xir to do it.
  • Successful Bid: The character gains a cumulative 1 advantage on Influence bids against this target for every successful attempt at convincing the target. When the character gains a sufficient number of advantages from convincing attempts (usually 4 to 6, at the FM’s discretion), the target is convinced
  • Unsuccessful Bid:
    • The character suffers a cumulative 1 disadvantage on Influence bids against this target for every unsuccessful attempt at convincing the target.
    • The target becomes belligerent. Further attempts convincing xir will automatically fail.
  • Suggested Traits: Influence, Knowledge, Perception, Trickery
  • Suggested Advantages:
    • The target is friendly with the character.
    • The character is trying to convince the target to do something that xi would normally do.
    • The character has something that the target wants.
    • The character is in a superior bargaining position to the target.
  • Suggested Disadvantages:
    • The target is hostile to the character.
    • The character is trying to convince the target to do something that xi would normally do or that would harm xir.
    • The target is in a superior bargaining position to the character.
    • There is a language barrier between the character and target.
    • The character and merchant are from different domains.
    • The character and merchant are from different species.
    • The character and merchant are from different genders.

Gather Information: Gather clues and local contacts by talking to people, buying drinkings, and listening to rumors

  • To Accomplish:
    • General Information: Fixed Influence bid vs. target set by FM
    • Information on Specific Person: Opposed Influence bid vs. target character’s Evasion or Stealth bid
    • Players shouldn’t have to make bids for information or contacts that are vital to advancing the story. The exception is if the players try to gain them:
      • Early in the story
      • In a way unintended by that the FM
  • Successful Bid:
    • The character gains 1 clue about the current situation of the region xi is in.
    • The character gains 1 contact in the region that xi is in. This contact can provide items, assistance, and/or information for a price.
  • Unsuccessful Bid:
    • Nothing happens.
    • The character gains incorrect information but is convinced that it is correct information.
    • The character gains 1 enemy in the region that xi is in.
    • The character alerts the local authorities or one of the local factions that xi is snooping around.
  • Suggested Traits: Influence, Knowledge, Perception, Trickery
  • Suggested Advantages:
    • The character is trying to gather information in a friendly region.
    • The character is trying to gather information in a familiar region.
    • The character is trying to gather information in xir own domain.
  • Suggested Disadvantages:
    • The character is trying to gather information discreetly.
    • The character does not speak the region’s language.
    • The character is trying to gather information in an unfamiliar region.
    • The character is is trying to gather information in another domain.
    • The character is not from the region’s dominant species.

Rally: Inspire your allies to greater efforts or to keep going

  • To Accomplish:
  • Successful Bid:
    • Select 1 allied character that can see or hear your character. This character recharges all the Discipline in xir scene damage.
    • Select 1 allied character that can see or hear your character. Remove 1 psychological condition from this character.
    • Select 1 allied character that can see or hear your character. This character gains the Inspired condition until the end of the scene.
    • Every allied character in the same area as your character recharges an amount of Discipline in their scene damage equal to your Influence bid.
  • Unsuccessful Bid:
    • Nothing happens.
    • Select 1 allied character that can see or hear your character. This character suffers the Demoralized condition until the end of the scene.
    • Every allied character in the same area as your character takes an amount of psychological scene damage equal to your Influence bid.
  • Suggested Traits: Influence, Knowledge, Medicine, Perception, Tactics, Trickery
  • Suggested Advantages:
    • The character’s side or faction is in a superior or winning position.
    • The character has higher social standing than the target.
  • Suggested Disadvantages:
    • The character’s side or faction is in an inferior or losing position.
    • The target has higher social standing than the target.
    • There is a language barrier between the character and target.
    • The character and target are from different domains.
    • The character and target are from different species.
    • The character and merchant are from different genders.

KNOWLEDGE BIDS

Analyze: Gain information on almost anything, including scientific subjects and phenomena; the histories, behavior, and current circumstances or people; and the capabilities and vulnerabilities of creatures and objects

  • To Accomplish:
    • Information on Topic, Item, or Phenomenon: Fixed Influence bid vs. target set by FM
    • Information on Specific Person: Opposed Influence bid vs. target character’s Evasion or Stealth bid
  • Players shouldn’t have to make bids for information that is vital to advancing the story. The exception is if the players try to gain it:
    • Early in the story
    • In a way unintended by that the FM
  • Successful Bid:
    • The character gains information about the person or item that xi is analyzing.
      • Lower bids give general or public information.
      • Higher bids give more useful, more specific, or more current information.
      • Some information will be unavailable unless the character gains the necessary clearance or cultivates the right contacts.
    • The character gains 1 advantage on some bids (FM’s choice) until the end of the scene.
    • The character gains 1 clue about the current situation or a possible future situation.
  • Unsuccessful Bid:
    • Nothing happens.
    • The character gains incorrect information but is convinced it is correct.
    • The character suffers 1 disadvantage on some bids (FM’s choice) until the end of the scene.
  • Suggested Traits: Knowledge, Perception
  • Suggested Advantages:
    • The character is using appropriate specialized equipment (EXAMPLE: a chemistry lab to analyze chemicals, history books to research a planet’s history and politics).
  • Suggested Disadvantages:
    • The character is not using appropriate equipment.
    • The character is being attacked or under pressure or must make a snap judgment.
    • The character must extrapolate from incomplete or unrelated data.
    • The data being analyzed is old.
    • The subject is secret, taboo, or classified.

MEDICINE BIDS

Heal: Restore a character’s physical or mental damage

  • To Accomplish:
    • Fixed Medicine bid
    • No target unless the patient is from a different species or has 1 or more physical or mental conditions
  • Successful Bid: The patient recharges Discipline from scene damage or, for 1 disadvantage, from chapter damage. The amount of recharged Discipline equals the character’s bid.
  • Unsuccessful Bid:
    • Nothing happens.
    • The patient takes an amount of damage equal to the character’s bid. The damage severity equals the severity that the character attempted to heal.
    • The patient suffers 1 disadvantage to physical or mental bids until the end of the scene.
  • Suggested Traits: Knowledge, Medicine
  • Suggested Advantages:
    • The character is in a facility specializing in the type of healing being done (EXAMPLE: a hospital for physical injuries, a mental ward for mental injuries, etc.).
  • Suggested Disadvantages:
    • The character is not using appropriate equipment.
    • The patient is from a different species.
    • The patient has 1 or more physical or mental conditions.

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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