Example of Gameplay

This is a social conflict example for Covenant, taken from one of the taster sessions I ran at GenCon, you can download the PDF to see the raw materials used. It’s a typical Covenant scenario of personal and factional agendas coming into conflict, and everything kicking off.

Matt is the Director, Julia and Jeff are playing the protagonists. Julia is playing Alex Reilly, a smooth talking undercover operative and Jeff takes the role of Adam Reilly, an embittered antiquities dealer…

Rules information appears in these blocks.

Matt: OK, so the scene is a rooftop garden in a once pleasant, but now down at heal, neighbourhood. Alex arrives hot on the heals of the man who killed Overseer Chambers. Climbing a rickety ladder onto the roof she catches a glimpse of the culprit. It’s Adam.

Adam, you just killed the Overseer. You’re on your way to meet up with Helen, your lover, to deliver the book that you took.

This scene matches the three rules of scenes for Covenant: It’s got an emotional connection between a protagonist and the events. There’s a conflict to be resolved and there’s urgency.

Matt: What do you want to do with the scene?

Julia: I want to stop Adam from leaving!

Matt: That sounds like a conflict to me! What’s the end goal?

Julia: I’m going to try and convince him to stay!

Matt: To what end?

Julia: So that he’ll confess what happened. I’ll shout “Adam, wait! We’ve got to talk!”

Matt: That sounds like a social arena to me, roll your three dice. How are you going to respond to that, Jeff?

Jeff: My goal is to reach my meeting with Helen. I turn and in a rushed voice say, “Not now! We can talk later.”

Both roll, Julia gets 223 and Jeff 134. Jeff is winning on highest individual result, with the 4 versus the 3.

Matt: OK, so Julia, you’re currently losing this conflict. If you want to stay in, what are you going to say to modify it, and what edge is it based on?

Julia: “People listen to me”, so I say “Just tell me why you did it!?”

Julia roll and gets 5. She’s now winning 2235 vs Jeff’s 134.

Matt: Right, Jeff, what are you going with to stay in?

Jeff: I’m going to use my relationship will Alex. I say: “Look, I’m your brother, you’ll just have to trust me. This book is going to make it worth it. It explains it all. Chambers was keeping it from us!” I’ll also tag the “Operatives will do anything for hope” convention onto it, since I’m giving her hope that I did it for a good reason.

Jeff rolls a 1, but uses the convention to re-roll it to a 6. It’s now 2235 vs 1346

Matt:Julia?

Julia: I’ll use Adam’s consequence of “I think too much”. Saying “Look Adam, you’re over analysing this. That book won’t solve anything. You’ve got to stop searching for meaning where there is none!”

The consequence removes Jeff’s highest dice. It’s now 2235 vs 134.

Jeff: I’m quick of wit, so I’ll say “He’d been hiding things from us. I was told to take him out. If you had any honour you’d not interfere.”

Jeff rolls a 2, and re-rolls the 1 using the convention “honour is all things to the society” to a 5. It’s now 2235 b 2345. With the 5s cancelling, Jeff’s now winning 4 to 3.

Julia: “That’s harsh, even for you! I’m your sister, and you’re not going to tell me anything?”

Julia gets a dice for the relationship. She rolls a 4, it’s now 22345 vs 2345. She’s winning with a lone 2, due to the cancelling 2345.

Jeff: Right, time to be nasty. I’m going to use her doubt consequence against her. I say “You wouldn’t understand. You never paid that much attention to what went on. It’s not surprising nothing makes sense to you. Just leave me to do my job and come back when you have a clue!” And her doubt flashes across her face…

Jeff removes the 5, making it 2234 vs 2345. He’s winning 5 to 4.

Julia: Heh. But I’m “Smart when I need to be”. I can spot his manipulations! “Look, that’s not going to wash, Adam. Tell me the truth. You can’t go on like this.”

Julia rolls a lucky 6, making it 22346 vs 2345. She’s winning 6 to 5.

Jeff: Well, I’m going to bow out at that, cos that’s just a nice situation to continue from.

Matt: OK, Julia, first you get to assign a consequence from this conflict to Adam. You only won by one dice though, so it’s a temporary one.

Julia: I’ll give him “I trust my sister”, since I’ve convinced him!

Matt: Cool. Now you can describe your success based on your goal.

Julia: Adam sighs. He slumps just a little, as if all the his troubles have just hit him. He goes to sit down on the wall. “Ok, it’s like this,” he begins.

Matt: Anybody feel they made a choice regarding any of their truisms from that?

Jeff: Yeah, that ties nicely to my “You can’t trust emotions” truism. Adam really can’t trust his emotions, and he knows it! I’m going to resolve that and use it to cut to a new scene. We’re in an apartment and Helen’s taped to a chair…

And that’s how it works. The game stuff drives the roleplaying forward and takes it in interesting directions. Resolving truisms lets the players radically rework the situation or their characters.