Update for the Week of August 13, 2021

Author's Diary - Update for the Week of August 13, 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’re still working on the Archimedean Confederation! Find out more below the fold.

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

  • The Archimedean Confederation
  • The game mechanic of the week, advantages and disadvantages
  • How to become a playtester


We’re still working on the Archimedean Confederation this week. One of the problems with doing that is that there’s actually two Archimedean Confederations: the indigenous states that were there first, and the hypercapitalist company-states that are trying to “liberate” them. If you count the vast lawless regions between them, then there’s actually three, but we’re just focusing on the indigenous states and company-states for now.

Anyway, here’s what we worked on this week:

  • The company-states’ foreign policy with the Covenant, the indigenous states, and each other (yeah, they don’t like each other)
  • The justifications behind the company-states and indigenous states’ foreign policy
  • Additional ways for the company-states to con the indigenous states in the domain’s early history, which are strangely similar to Amazon fulfillment centers (with all their attendant tax breaks) and IMF loans
  • The methods that the company-states use to destroy indigenous culture and religion, and how the indigenous states have become more nationalist and fundamentalist in response
  • The fact that both the indigenous states and company-states hunt down Covenant agents within their midst, since the Covenant represents a successful alternative to their economic and political systems


Unlike other games, Covenant doesn’t use bonuses and penalties. Instead, it uses advantages and disadvantages to adjust the difficulty of your character’s bids.

Advantages are anything that helps your character make xir bids, while disadvantages are anything that prevents your character from making xir bids. They aren’t just bonuses and penalties by a different name, though.

For one thing, It doesn’t matter how big of an effect an advantage or disadvantage has on your character’s bid. No matter what the magnitude of the effect is, it’s only worth 1 advantage or disadvantage. For another, they don’t have a numerical effect on your character’s bids. Rather, it’s their relative amount to each other that’s important:

  • Same Number of Advantages and Disadvantages: Your character spends 1 discipline to increase xir bid by 1.
  • More Advantages than Disadvantages: Your character spends 1 discipline to increase xir bid by 2.
  • More Disadvantages than Advantages: Your character spends 2 discipline to increase xir bid by 1.

As an example, your character wants to make a bid of 10. Normally, xi would have 0 advantages and disadvantages to xir bid, so xi would spend 10 discipline to make xir bid of 10.

However, if xi has more advantages than disadvantages on the bid, even if it’s just 1 more, then xi only needs to spend 5 discipline to make a bid of 10. Conversely, if xi has more disadvantages than advantages on the bid – again, even if it’s just 1 more – then xi needs to spend 20 discipline to make a bid of 10.


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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