Author’s Diary for November 6, 2020

(Don’t forget to contribute to our Patreon campaign or join us on the Radio Free Covenant Discord server! Don’t forget to tune in to the Radio Free Covenant podcast every Saturday at 4 p.m. Eastern (1 p.m. Pacific) on our Twitch page and get a summary of the game rules!)

Featured Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

We started writing the final version of Covenant’s playtest rules this week! Find out more below the fold!

Animation of Black Hole Disk Flare in OJ 287 (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Here’s what we want to talk about this week:

  • The three chapters that we either completed or are currently writing this week
  • The progress that we’re making on Covenant’s playtest rules

Before continuing, why not contribute to Radio Free Covenant’s Patreon? You’ll get regular updates every weekday for only $1 a week.


We’re going to get into the weeds of Covenant’s rules, so you might want to have this rules summary handy.

We completed or are in the process of writing three chapters this week. They are:

  • Foreword: An introduction to the game, including the genderless pronouns used in the book, basic terminology and some methods to avoid triggering player trauma and phobias during games
  • Backstory in Brief: A summary of the Orion Arm’s history, from the mid-21st century through the destruction of Earth and the human Diaspora to the 29th century
  • Basics of Play: The game’s basic rules, which players will need to understand more specialized rules later. So far, we’ve written rules for:
    • Discipline: An abstracted summary of a character’s expendable resources, which are spent to perform actions
    • Ties: The friends, family, and beliefs that are the sources of a character’s discipline
    • Bids: How characters spend discipline to perform actions, including how the winner of each bid gains the ability to describe the outcome of that bid
    • Advantages and Disadvantages: How positive and negative circumstances affect the cost of a character’s bids in discipline
    • Story Elements: The way Covenant measures game time (in scenes, chapters and stories) and the “downtime” between significant events (in interstitials and intermissions)


We have completed 27 pages as of today. Unfortunately, we don’t know how many pages the final document will be. The version before this was over 280 pages long, but we hope to pare that down to one-half or two-thirds of that.

We seem to be completing an average of four pages a day. At that rate, we should have the full document done in about two months, possibly even before the end of the year.

That is well ahead of our Feb. 28, 2021 deadline. It may not be enough time for us to do a full editing job on the rules, but it will be enough for us to go back and give it a final polish or two before distributing it to our playtesters.

Speaking of Playtesters: Do you want to be a playtester? If so, e-mail us at, and we’ll put you on the list!

That’s it for now. Talk to you next Friday!

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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