Connection to a Vaylen

The Psychologist in our game has a connection to one of the Vaylen FONs. Not sure if that’s a no-no in the first place, but we all thought it was cool.

If she leaves her host, is the connection broken? Is it restored if she re-enters the same host? Is the connection restored or broken if she enters a different host?

(I saw the thread on connected characters getting hulled, this seems like a different question to me.)

That’s an interesting question… I guess it depends on your philosophy of mind and ideas about how sentience and Psychology work.

Which option is more problematic/interesting for your game?

I think losing the connection and getting it back in the same hosts - but not in different hosts - would be the most interesting. Suddenly the Psychologist can’t see what she’s up to and then a few days later he can with a lot of missing time in there.

But I don’t want to screw the player over, so it would help if there were a school of though on this beyond myself and what my NPC would want to do. So this thread is kind of a bias check on me as well.

That works if the NPC is spending, oh, 75% or more of his/her time in that host. Otherwise you’re asking for a full-time reduction in Barrier for a half-time connection, which is lame. Moreover, there is literally no reason to give back a Connection die that only goes active when you’re using a less-favored host that you don’t want any more. You’re not in the host so you can’t be Hindered or Locked, there’s no temptation to use the die and risk it coming up 1, you can just keep it and hose the Psychologist’s Barrier forever. So I would suggest that if the Psychologist asks to break the connection while it is inactive, the answer is automatically “Yes.”

I’m tempted to say that the connection follows the worm.

Good point! In this case the Vaylen is likely to spend 95% of her time in her main body - that’s really who she is.

I think that would be a good rule. He wants to keep an eye on what she’s doing, so I doubt he’d ask for it back anyway.

So what happens when the worm is just swimming in a nutrient tank? How does the Psychologist perceive the connection with a less-than-sentient brain? That certainly wouldn’t be a bad way to go, just think through how to play it.

I’d say the connection follows the worm, too.

When it’s outside a host, it’s goals are described in terms of animalistic wants… “get to new host”… “Must eat”…

Flip side I don’t know that I’ve ever thought about before: Do Vaylen ever share host bodies?

If the Connection sticks to the host, then you might have all kinds of interesting shenanigans – which worm are you listening in on?


Another question that this brings up is what happens to the connection when a connected individual gets hulled?

There are three reasonable ways (that I can think of) that this would sort itself out: the connection is with the body so the Psychologist reads it like someone changing drivers, or the connection is with the hosts mind which would, at the moment of hulling, either cause the connection to break or instantly devolve into confusion and madness.

I personally like the last option best, since that both means that a connection would travel with the worm as it jumps bodies, but also that you couldn’t (easily) spy on a vaylen who hadn’t accepted a connection because of what hulling does to the host mind.

Colin - There was another thread on this, consensus is the Psychologist watches the hull until the naiven finishes threading the new host brain, then the Connection dies.

Paul - I don’t think they share exactly, though in rare circumstances I could imagine it. But they certainly trade off. I can’t imagine Vaylen sharing or swapping high-experience brains like humans or Makara. But one Vaylen hopping into another’s no-longer-needed Mukhadish or Shudra body, absolutely. I could picture a shared situation if you had very specialized bodies associated with fairly low-value brains, like Shudra adapted for a hostile environment.

From p189:

You may not “return to your old body.” It is recycled for use while you’re out.

That would strongly imply that they do share bodies. Also, if a Vaylen reaches the end of it’s natural lifespan while in a young human body they wouldn’t let that body go to waste. But culturally it seems like they don’t just say, “Hey, you gotta try this body out!” and swap.

So this brings up a more crazy questions: Do Vaylen fall in love with each other? Does it matter what host their significant other is in? Can a Vaylen fall in love with a human?

Do their Naiven state breeding patterns (indiscriminate) influence their behavior as Vaylen?

A lot of this comes down to, “Do we see them as monsters or competitors?”

Do Vaylen have beliefs that aren’t just about furthering their objectives in taking over the planet? Do you play the Vaylen in your game as having deep personal relationships or are they just manipulators?

Personally (putting my philosophy wank-hat on) I would argue that the “mind” of that particular Vaylen-entity ceases to exist when the naiven exits the host.

However, this does seem to be a “get out of connection free card” if the GMC regrets accepting a connection. I personally think that Vaylen accepting connections from PCs is crazy but opinions may differ…

I think that Aramis suggestion makes a lot of sense from a game point-of-view and it’s not too injurious to my philosophical pretensions.

Let’s be a little more consistent about terminology here. You’re using “share” to mean what I meant by “trade off” and also “swap” for what I meant by “share.” To be more specific, I’d call it sharing if the body is owned by worm A (or jointly by A and B) but both A and B take turns using it as a host. That is, if they are sharing the body like kids share a toy. On the other hand, bodies absolutely do transfer ownership, but it seems more like selling a car than sharing one, in most cases.

Trade-in now, and upgrade to the new model!
Car-Salesmen on “Human” LP worlds just got a lot more creepy…

That’s definitely one of things I wanted to make sure I’m being fair about. But in this case, he’s already asked for the die back and I refused!

I think die-stays-with-worm is more fair to the Psychologist but die stays with Vaylen+Host feels more true to the fiction (as interpreted through the game rules). I’ll be putting this up for a group vote next week and let you know how it goes.

I completely agree with your post - I don’t see joint host ownership as something they’re likely to do.

If Chris ever does another IE comic I’d love to see a Vaylen world explored - Used Human Dealers and all!

I could totally see a decadent Vaylen community where hosts were swapped around for the LOLs: for sex, for novel perspectives on human life (hey, I’m a baby! hey, I have no legs!), for purely practical reasons.

On that note, I like that any given worm+human = a unique persona, and that is the thing you’re connected to. So that means the worm could easily wriggle out of a connection, go do its thing in some other body, but when it returned to a given host then the connection kicks back in.

A riff: maybe the connection actually multiplies…like, when the worm splits off, now there’s a connection die on the host AND on the worm. When the worm enters a new body, there’s now a connection to that Vaylen. If a different Naiven enters the original body, there’s ALSO a connection with that one. Like a psychic virus of sorts.

Mostly I’m thinking through the murder mystery goodness of the whole thing. If Worm A + Host Y kill someone, and Worm A goes off to ride around in Host Z, who’s responsible? And can the Psychologist follow – or lose – the Naiven in question?

I know there are practical, mechanical considerations in playing this out that are different than the aesthetic considerations of a mystery writer. I still think it’s cool to think about.