Update for the Week of October 22, 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 held our fourth playtesting session and finished organizing our notes for the Archimedean Confederation (more or less). Find out more below the fold.

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

  • The results of our fourth playtesting session!
  • The Archimedean Confederation
  • The game mechanic of the week, burning traits
  • How to become a playtester

PLAYTESTING

We held our fourth second playtesting session on Sunday!

Right now, we have:

  • A risu fugitive from the Terran Federation with mysterious powers to control electronics
  • A bunny aco running from her owners in the Terran Federation
  • A human Terran Federation pilot who’s an expert at low-profile refugee extractions
  • A human Terran Federation diplomatic attaché with a hidden agenda
  • A valka fighter who specializes in refugee rescues

The risu, aco, and human pilot characters finally made to the Covenant. They landed in the commonwealth of Sanesse on Second Sister, located in the Three Sisters system. They were greeted by the Sanesse Aco Union, a “local aco commune” who offered to help the PCs. We also introduced our valka at the Flameout Tavern, a rough place attached to Dymon valka hive in Sanesse, and our human diplomatic attaché.

We didn’t make a single bid the entire session, but we did learn a lot about how to run a game of Covenant. All of them center around getting the players more involved in the game’s storytelling, including letting the Force Majeure step aside and let them describe whole chunks of the game world themselves.

Like we said last week, it seems to increase player engagement. We are doing the playtest over Discord chat, with long stretches of nothing to do as the players type what they’re doing, but no one said that they were bored during the game.

We have another session scheduled for Sunday. We’ll let you know that goes next Friday.

ARCHIMEDEAN CONFEDERATION

We finished organizing our notes today, more or less. They’re all labeled, and we’ve grouped some of them together into sections and subesctions. We just have to finish the work.

Unfortunately, Sean has to edit his novel Crossing the Line for his editor this weekend. However, we should still be able to finish organizing our notes in time to start writing up the Archimedean Confederation’s summary on Monday.

We’ll release Covenant’s domain summaries to the public when we finish all of them. However, if you become a patron, then we’ll send each one to you as we finish it!

GAME MECHANIC OF THE WEEK: RULE MODS

Tabletop roleplaying games have been house-ruled since the original Dungeons & Dragons. At first, it was to make games playable because the writing in their rulebooks left something to be desired. Soon, though, it became a way to customize games and either add or remove what each group thought were common-sense changes.

For instance, when was the last time you tracked encumbrance in a Dungeons & Dragons game? A lot of players will respond, “Never.” That’s because their game groups house-ruled out rules that they felt made the game more complicated or less fun.

Covenant is just formalizing house rules with “rule mods”.

There’s the basic rules – discipline, ties, traits, and so forth – that fit on both sides of a single sheet of paper. Then there’s the rule mods that you can add to those rules. The final rulebook will include numerous rule mods, including failing forward, burning traits, and so on. As long as everyone in your game group agrees to them, you can slot them in and out at the start of each chapter or story.

BECOMING A PLAYTESTER

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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