Pronouns in Covenant

Covenant Game Design - Pronouns in Covenant

(Be sure to tune in to the latest episode of the podcast!)

Sean here again. So, we’ve learned that alien sexual cues may be incomprehensible and downright repulsive to other species. This has some surprising consequences, and it forces us to take a side on a contentious, real-life subject.

Dealing with aliens on a regular basis is more stressful than you think. That’s because you can never be sure of the gender of the alien to whom you’re talking. You can learn their sexual cues eventually, but in the mean time you’ll be pissing off a lot of people and possibly starting a lot of fights.

Now, add in aliens that can change their gender like the calerre, sequential hermaphrodites like the thk’kok, and all the posthuman madness that comes from genetic engineering, cybernetics, and body-jumping artificial intelligences.

To avoid these problems, Covenant citizens use genderless pronouns, at least until everyone knows what pronouns everyone prefers. These pronouns are ze and hir, and they are used this way:

Instead Of:Use:
“He flew away in his ship.” “Ze flew away in hir ship.”
“I tried to yell at him, but he was gone.” “I tried to yell at hir, but ze was gone.”
“He seemed pretty satisfied with himself.” “Ze seemed pretty satisfied with hirself.”
“He knew the day was his.” “Ze knew the day was hirs.”

We’re going to use these pronouns, too, in the game and on this blog.

It’s not just because we want to be respectful and polite. Covenant is to some extent not just a game about the Covenant, but a game from the Covenant. It carries some of the Covenant’s values with it, values that we hope to explore in future blog posts and podcast episodes.

We’re not saying that you should use these pronouns in everyday life. We don’t. Covenant as a game is filled with suggestions, not rules. You are welcome to use the suggestions that fit your gaming group’s play style and discard the rest.

These pronouns aren’t hard to learn, though. If you feel confused, don’t worry. We’ll include a link here to every blog post we write from now on.

We hope you’ll indulge us in this, and we thank you for your patience with us.

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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