Update for the Week of July 23, 2021

Author's Diary - Update for the Week of July 23, 2021

(Covenant’s playtest rules are out! Download a copy now and tell us what you think! If you like what you see, think about becoming a patron!)

Featured Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

We finished the Old Empire and started the Archimedean Confederation this week! Find out more below the fold.

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

  • The Old Empire
  • The Archimedean Confederation
  • The game mechanic of the week, genderless pronouns
  • How to become a playtester


We’ve finally finished writing up and editing the Old Empire’s summary on Wednesday. The whole thing clocks in at a hefty 56 pages without the table of contents (yes, it has its own table of contents) and will serve as the skeleton that we’ll use to build the Empire. Some of the subjects it covers are:

  • The Old Empire’s history
  • The Empire’s demographics
  • The Empire’s psychology
  • The Empire’s politics
  • The Empire’s technology and technology level
  • The Empire’s economics
  • The Empire’s culture
  • The Empire’s religion
  • The Empire’s healthcare system
  • The Empire’s foreign policy
  • The Empire’s military

We’ll make all these domain summaries in Covenant available to the public when we’re done. However, patrons can read them as we finish them for the low price of $1 a month (hint hint).


We took a day off from working on the game after finishing up the Old Empire before tackling the Archimedean Confederation.

The Archimedean Confederation is more or less the cyberpunk domain of Covenant, with large, powerful company-states surrounded by light years of lawless space filled with pirates, slavers, mercenaries, and the people upon who they prey.

Our process to create each domain like the Archimedean Confederation has four steps: note-taking, transferring those notes to index cards, organizing those index cards into an index card file, then using that file to write the summary. We started the first step in that process today.

The notes we took today focused on the Archimedean Confederation’s prehistory and its founders, a group of scientists chased off the thk’kok homeworld of Slice o’Heaven after a disaster destroyed one of the planet’s cities. We have some ideas on how they went from there to founding the Archimedean Confederation. We’ll be working on those this weekend.


We’re starting a new feature on this blog, where we feature one game mechanic from Covenant. Today’s game mechanic isn’t necessarily a mechanic, but it is something you need to know in order to read the Covenant rulebook: genderless pronouns.

Covenant’s rules replicate a Covenant custom of referring to strangers with genderless pronouns until their genders and/or preferred pronouns are known. That’s because:

  • Alien species have gender cues that untrained members of other species often can’t recognize.
  • Many sapient species, including humans, don’t fit into a neat gender binary.

The pronouns used in the rulebook – and in this blog from here on out – are xi and xir. They’re easy to use. Just follow this table:


xi (pronounced “zhee”)

xir (pronounced “zheer”)


He opened the door.

She picked up her things.


Xi opened the door.

Xi picked up xir things.

NASA Astronauts on Mars (Illustration) (Image Credit: NASA)


Have you downloaded Covenant’s playtest rules yet? Did we mention that they’re free? If not, do it now! They’re free! All we ask is that you tell us what you think about them. You can send your feedback in two ways:

That’s about 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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