Over at the Collective Endeavour site, I’m starting to post a few details about my “new” project, Enlightenment & Entropy. It’s a setting intense story game, that meshes together influences from what I see as the best of the fantasy city sub-genre. So it’s the kind of thing you’ll like if you’re a fan of Michael Morecock, China Mieville, Mary Gentle or Gene Wolf. It’s a game about characters pushed too far by greater powers and conniving factions, thematically it has a lot in common with Film Noir.
This project has actually been ongoing for some time, I had an abortive draft for play test in 2007 that didn’t work. I’ve heavily reworked it since then, and it’s really starting to feel like it’s own thing now. Anyhow, take a look over at The CE
There are some new previews of Covenant : A story game of failing conspiracies available on the downloads page. These include the group cell creation process, taken from the chapter “Preparing for play”, and the game’s introductory text taken from “The end of the world never happened”.
Also, if you haven’t already checked it out, there’s an example of play available. This shows how the conflict system works, it’s a social arena example, showing how the system integrates with roleplay.
Covenant is now all done bar the shouting. I’m just awaiting the final proof copies before I put it live for sale on Lulu.com. Special thanks go to Keith Senkowski, for working tirelessly on the layout.
So, given that layout is done, I can show you the various play sheets that are used in the game:
Each of these sheets contributes to the game in a slightly different way. The cell sheet is for the whole group, including the Director, and its content relates back to the earlier preview, Preparing for Play
The character sheet contains all that a player needs for their protagonist (rules included). Other characters are written in the crucible in the middle, to show how their agendas affect the protagonist. It’s a great tool for helping set good scenes.
The antagonist sheet is for the Director to record details of antagonists created during the game. It’s not a taxing job coming up with these, since the players provide suggestions on the important people part of the cell sheet and the crucible on their character sheet.
This is the front art from chapter four, “Scenes and Narration.”
I wanted an image that captured the essence of the game’s approach to scenes. In Covenant each scene must be described with reference to the following criteria:
- An emotional connection between a protagonist and the events
- A conflict to be resolved
The scene in question was inspired by one of the opening scenes from the demo I ran at Conpulsion. Our female protagonist arrives, her friend lies near death on the floor, and the perpetrator has just left… What does she do now?
This snippet comes from the third chapter of Covenant, “Preparing for Play.”
The first stage in preparing a Covenant game is a discussion between the players about the game’s themes, approach and how it is likely to flow. The purpose of this is to brainstorm details of the cell to which the player’s characters will belong, define the areas that interest you in the setting and avoid conflicts of expectation later on. Details are filled in on the cell playsheet (there is one at the end of the book) and should include:
- A list of elements you want to see in the game’s fiction, divided into conventions and motifs
- The cell’s former purpose
- The cell’s name and location
- People important to the cell
Conventions and motifs are a great part of the game. The group uses them to agree the ground rules, both in terms of how the fictional world works and the recurring elements that describe it. However, you don’t just brainstorm them and then file them away, they become an intrinsic part of the resolution system.