Continuing the detailed analysis of the different factions present in the Brave New World setting, this book looks at The Covenant, the organisation set up by the Catholic Church in response to the delta issue.
As usual the first half of the book is devoted to detailed in-character information delivered in a web-page format (well, as near as you can on paper, anyway!), narrated by a priest who is also a delta. He starts off by introducing himself and tells of how he became first priest and then a delta. He then proceeds to the history of the Covenant and explores the ways in which people become members thereof, before talking about their sacred mission and discussing the structure and organisation under which they work.
Viewing their delta powers as gifts from God, Covenant deltas are saints in the making. You see, to become a saint you need to work miracles and be a virtuous person. Delta powers are pretty miraculous, so all they need to work on is their virtue... and then wait to be dead, the third requirement for sainthood! Those Catholics who are not in holy orders when they become deltas are fast-tracked into being at least a monk or nun when they join the Covenant.
Oh, and we are introduced to vampires who are, you guessed it, another particularly malign form of delta. They show all the classic signs of vampirism, though, and can be dealt with by sunlight, holy symbols, garlic, etc.
One good thing is the way in which theological debate has been woven through the account, the writer of the webpages did say that he'd studied under Jesuit teachers and it comes over well!
The mainstream Covenant works in accord with the American government, members not being required to register and serve in the same way as other deltas - something that causes a deal of resentment amongst deltas of other faiths. There's been a schism, too, within the ranks with some siding (openly or otherwise) with Defiance or at least going their own way... and yet the Covenant itself is covertly in favour of Defiance, or at least opposed to the martial rule and other measures promulgated by President Kennedy... and in time, fell out with the Kennedy administration and became outlawed, their privileges revoked.
The player section looks at what's needed to build a Covenant character. There's an array of special weapons that they can use, and a whistlestop tour of Catholic belief for players who don't know anything about it. There are two orders connected with the Covenant, with different approaches (and styles of dress). And then we come to the power package, which is basically the same for everyone who becomes a Covenant delta and are based around faith and traditions. This section ends with several archetypes.
The Guide's Handbook section, as always, gives the lowdown on what's really happening in the Covenant, and also includes a full adventure called 'For Goodness Sake' as well as some opposition such as the stats for vampires.
The Author's Afterword lets the cat out of the bag: he himself was raised Catholic. This leads to an interesting discussion of the relationship between religion and role-playing. (And here I too confess: I am both Christian and a role-player... not Catholic, though, I'm a Mormon.)
This is an excellent book with plenty of material to spawn ideas for your game. Indeed, when the local group first started playing Brave New World, my character was a 'tent evanglist' whose delta powers involved healing... and he too was convinced that they came from God!
[5 of 5 Stars!]