Excessive/overfocused advancement? (a.k.a. Infiltration Phase Summary)

Coming from here.

So, where to begin. I’ll try making it short.

The planet is a slave/mukhadish-exporting Fief in the Core Worlds; with rugged islands spread among the vast sea. There’s the Psychologist Foundation, the Slaves and the Indigenous Life Forms (the mukhadish), a Rebel Line (in a miniature image of the Darikhan vs Gonzagin stuff in the region), the powerful Church (which controlled the military) and the very absent Kerrn (nobody noticed them until the last game of the Inf, so we retconned as if they had just arrived in between the Phases).
The FoNs were/are (V vs. H):
INF: The Forged Lord, who wanted to decrease quarantine to improve the genetics of the cattle (with help from a vaylen “geneticist”) vs. the Anvil Lord with a claim to the throne (Rebel Line)
USU: The ArchCotar who is a zealot and wants his (infected) church-moles everywhere vs. the (now former) Foundation’s First Speaker
INV: A fred slave, terrorist/freedom-fighter, who’s willing to accept the worm if they promise him they take down the nobility vs. a powerful Anvil Lord (who’s now climbed to be the Cotar Fomas himself)
Plus an unbound player: his PC was a vaylen traitor that tried to help the humans in order to be the only worm in the planet. He first got to find and kill the worm-vector (the geneticist connected to the FL), so I used my ArchCotar’s points to create a Mundus Inquisitor that is secretly a vaylen; and he got to kill the treasonous PC worm. That player’s new PC is a Kerrn.

So, a lot has happened during the Infiltration.
Ever since the vaylen traitor revealed himself around the 7th or 8th maneuver the game felt like an Usurpation (at least what I think it should be); the First Speaker was kicked out of the Foundation and the Foundation itself was ordered to join the Hammer’s Space Stations as screeners (which they dis-respectfully declined to do), the military Lord succesfully merged the sodalites with the smaller anvil/hammer forces and later climbed to being Cotar Fomas, and the Rebel-Liner first threw dirt on his opponent, then almost went to war but garnered a last-minute truce at the news of the vaylen threat, by marrying his son with the FL’s niece (a character first created as the middle of a love triangle between the worm and the other lord).
In the end my Inquisitor finally hulled the Forged Lord, but word got around and, after the humans thought they were sort of winning against the Infiltration, in the last maneuver they restarted the hostilities and came knocking on the palace doors with 100 tanks, looking to take a thorough look at the Forged Lord’s foramen. They won the battle (we only had two other ICHASIF-firefights before that one; both for the vaylen-on-vaylen action), so they captured him and told the world the Forged Lord was a vaylen, then killed him (the world, by the way, is still “Indifferent” so people thought of this simply as another battle amongst the nobles). Finally, the Rebel Lord got set as the head of the Hammer forces; and his son (created as mere color, to provide a way of marrying the houses; which I discussedin another thread) inherited the Forged throne.

That’s where the phase ended. In Infection terms I didn’t played very well (for a while I kept pulling my punches a little, but after they killed my worm I went all in) and had awful luck on the last, defining check; so the humans won with a major concession to me. They got to nullify my next FoN’s roll, so in the fiction the ArchCotar had a “Pope Benedict” moment and quit his “Arch” duties, staying as Cotar alone; there won’t be a new one elected until we do so in-game (we bluffed some sort of ritual that had to be done at a precise astronomical time… ).
For my concession, I got to sort-of-almost-win the phase by declaring the Vaylen did in fact infected the planet during the turmoil, but after some (down)time of chaos as the planet’s Hammer digested the news and the newcomer took the reins of it, the opening would shut and no more vaylen would be able to enter without proper screening. Luckily for me they only dragged 1 point into the next phase and, pending their FoN’s roll, they are still 7 points down (which they’ll probably get: that Psychologist is a die-toting monster).

We thought all this in an extra session we had, to tie the loose ends and create a proper epilogue after the results of the maneuver rolls: one of the players couldn’t be there but was ok with the results, the other three argued about the Downtime length: one wanted a year and the other two wanted like 5 years or something like that. They settled in 3 years. Knowing I had a lot of book-keeping to do, I made thedowntime spreadsheetI posted at another thread.

So far we had like 13 sessions or so: the world and character creation, 10 maneuvers with the last one taking two sessions, and this epilogue one; spread throughout the year. The game was supposed to be every other saturday, but that was very hard to pull with our so-called-adult lives, schedules, couples, and so.

Well, I wanted to keep it short, but failed…
I hope somewhere inside there is the answer to what you were looking for. If not (or didn’t wanted to read such a block of text) ask again…

Well, after only three maneuvers; our campaign has reached the end.

The PCs made a succesful Assess, Gambit’d my Flak; then took Action vs. my Go to Ground; and fueled by their gained Deeds points, rolled massive amount of dice on both attacks. Since the Vaylen were already down on points for the Invasion, and with such a huge rollover victory, we decided they realized the planet wasn’t ready (yet!) to be invaded, and packed their ships and went home.

Inside the maneuver, the rolls felt pretty much the same; I might have gotten lucky choosing well my DoW actions, but on any versus test they usually had 3-5 more dice than me. Honestly, we were having a great time before the Infiltration ended, but this last sessions the game fell flat for us on account of this.

I’d really like to discuss how to avoid this outcome when we pick this game up again sometime in the future… (Which I think we will: overall, its awesome).

That’s crazy. Can’t even imagine how that’s possible but I guess it is. We’re doing our third session (not adding World Burning) and I’m trying to get everyone to commit to two maneuvers. So far the first two have been slow going (unsuccessful Observes.)

Couldn’t the Vaylen return and try other means?

May be after some generations have gone by; but not now, definitely. Both the fiction and the Infection mechanics are heavily against them after the Usurpation: a dead FoN and two other fleeting from their power, a world with Personal Experience; and like a 20 points advantage in the Disposition… It’s ok. We worms can wait.

Edit: ¿the reason? Some bad luck/bad choices in the first phase, then an excessive amount of Downtime in between; plus judicious use of their Deeds points after…