Author’s Diary for the Week of January 1, 2021

(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

Happy New Year! We hope you spent this first day of the new year doing something you liked. We spent it editing Covenant! Find out more below the fold.

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

  • The work that we did this week
  • Mechanics that we want to add to future editions of Covenant
  • Our progress on Covenant’s playtest rules
  • How to become a playtester


We finished writing Covenant’s playtest rules last week, so this week we went back and started editing them and adding material that we forgot on the first pass. The items that we added included:

  • Harm Reduction: Tips that players or the Force Majeure can use to reduce the chances of having problems with consent or triggered trauma or psychological problems and to get out of trouble if they do
  • Prompts: Ways for players to alter the game’s story (like knowing a character that they aren’t supposed to know or failing an important bid) and gain additional character advancement tokens
  • Combined Attacks: A stunt that lets characters add the damage from their attacks together before applying a target’s armor or other damage reduction, in order to deal out more damage faster
  • Mental, Physical, and Social Traits: Traits that classify each bid as a mental, physical, or social bid, to help players and the FM use abilities and conditions that affect multiple bids


We took notes while writing the playtest rules. Some of these were editing notes that we’re using now, but others are mechanics that we’d like to add to future editions of the game or that we didn’t have time to add to this edition. Here’s two of them:

  • “No Discipline” Rules: Right now, characters spend a statistic called “discipline” to make bids during the game. We would like to simplify the rules by removing this statistic while keeping the game diceless. We plan on doing this by having characters tap their traits to give them advantages during bids. If a character’s advantages exceeds a bid’s disadvantages or an opponent’s advantages, then xi wins the bid.
  • Species and Domain-Specific Traits and Abilities: Covenant takes place in a future with alien species and stellar empires or “domains”. We intend to differentiate these species and domains by giving each their own traits and abilities. We would also like to have each species and domain have unique mechanics that only characters from those species and domains can use. This will allow players to change how they play Covenant simply by making a character from another species or domain.


We got through most of our editing notes today, and we hope to finish them this weekend. After that, all we have to do is perform one final editing pass on the playtest rules and then lay them out. We’ll be rushing to complete everything that we want but, one way or another, we’ll release Covenant’s playest rules to our playtesters on Feb. 28, 2021.


Do you want to become a playtester? Just drop us a line at, and we’ll put you on the list when the rules are finished at the end of February.

That’s about for now. Talk to you next week!

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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