Character knowledge of the Vaylen threat from the beginning

I’m GMing a new game and I’m new to BE, not new to BW. The infection mechanic is really cool! Totally excited to play against the humans.

So my question is: how do you get your PCs involved with the theme of the game from the infiltration phase? Do you guys usually let the characters figure out eventually that there is a Vaylen presence on the world? Do you start the PCs tipped off to there presence somehow at the start of the game? How have your campaigns started out? Did it coincide with planetary attitude?

I’m just a little apprehensive. Probably because my players haven’t finished there characters yet, I don’t have relationships, beliefs or instincts yet. I’ll probably come up with some thing when I get that stuff and do the planetary web thing.

Depends on the planetary attitude.
But in general, I like to start with serious misdirection and then let the players discover the vaylen themselves in play.

It’s lots of fun when they accuse someone of being vaylen who clearly isn’t!

first of all, it’s really hard to start players new to BE in the infiltration phase. the subtleties are often too subtle to get a good momentum going AND learn the rules. i usually start new players in usurpation phase. if you’re dead-set on starting from infiltration, the ‘vaylen reveal’ is usually best for the climactic scene in the last few maneuvers. the final goal inherent in the infiltration phase is to get the vaylen on the planet, so don’t come out the door swinging with vaylen. maybe their whispered about. more likely they’re off the radar until the final maneuver.

i think the phase is as important as the planetary attitude for how you approach ‘knowledge of the vaylen’

for instance, indifferent in the usurpation phase is completely different than indifferent during the invasion phase. during usurpation, the indifference makes hulling pretty easy at first cuz no one really cares either way, and then the players may or may not realize their relationship/circle, etc. has been hulled, creating really dramatic play. in the invasion phase, many of the major players have already been hulled, and once shit starts blowing up the indifference can be played as indifference to the actual worm, but nobody is indifferent to their space station being attacked.

also remember, the planetary attitude is a character trait that players can choose to play or not…

In our BE game, I didn’t even have any Vaylen GMFoNs. They were all human! The Infiltration phase was based around planetary politics, with a would-be Forged Lord (and if he couldn’t be, prepared to secede/rebel) and his political allies (including a wealthy business magnate, the lord’s vassal, a former black-ops fixer and a Kerrn populist) working to deal with problems in the region: Kerrn rioting and violence, weapons smuggling and organized crime. They cared about those things precisely because the planet was Paranoid of the vaylen threat. At the close of the Infiltration phase, the Vaylen struck, hulling the FoN in charge of the smuggling operation and converting it to a naiven-smuggling plot!

I think if I were to do it again, though, I’d have one FoN be vaylen from the start, if only to save myself the trouble of having to work with one hand tied behind my back. It was a pain using scenes to hull my FoN just to get the vaylen involved, and if I’d botched the hulling, things would’ve been really hard on me!


That Idea of the Vaylen reveal at the end of the Infiltration phase is good stuff, I think I’ll use that if the players beat don’t beat me to it. They finished there characters yesterday and now I’ve got a good feel of how to tell this story. Anybody else have any novel Vaylen reveal approaches under there belt?

What about something involving the Department of Parasitology at a research hospital? Or the CDC equivalent.