What have others done in terms of introducing the Vaylen in play for the first time? Should one of the GM FoNs start off already under Vaylen control, so that there is a vector for the others to spread?
If I had my druthers, I’d start with none of the GM FoNs Vaylen. But one of them will probably get hulled, or threatened to get hulled, pretty quickly. The question is, where does the NPC that starts the infection come from? Is he Circled up, or does he just exist by GM fiat, or what?
You can have more NPCs/relationships than just the three FoN!
In my current game there are no FONs under Vaylen control. I greatly prefer it this way, for reasons I cover in my Wiki thing.
I intend to introduce the Vaylen into the game in two ways:
Through my as-yet-unspent Circles reserve and
By having one of my FONs die and replace him with a Vaylen operative in the next Phase.
So he exists by GM fiat? That’s what I thought, and what I’d planned to do.
Are there supposed to be any kind of limitations on what I can do when creating non-FoN NPCs?
Also, Luke, and others, how much time do you invest in burning up non-FoN NPCs? Are they full character burns, or just the pertinent skills, or what? I imagine it depends on the situation, but I’m curious to know how much prep time you put into a given NPC.
The unspent Circles reserve isn’t exactly “fiat” in the traditional sense, but yeah, it’s way more discretionary than what the players have.
I fully burn up my Vaylen characters so their LPs fall within the LP budget for my side, that is, within a couple LPs of the LP total on the human side. Full burning is super SUPER important, particularly well-considered Beliefs and Instincts. The only place I tend to skimp is in tracking my skill rolls for advancement purposes. It’s a lot to keep up with.
Non-FON NPCs really ought to come out of the Circles reserve if they’re named, recurring characters with important roles to play. Mooks and background color characters are discretionary.
I began ‘Burning Nautilus Prima’ with one of the GMFONs a Vaylen. I wanted to have one of the aliens on the planet at the start in order to provide a connection to future infiltrations. This character will be the GMFON for the Usurpation phase. What’s turned out to be cool about the guy is that he is the principal secretary for one of the PCs and the characters have no idea that he is a Vaylen. (The players all know, of course.) So, whenever the PC fails at something, the secretary says, ‘Shall I handle that for you, sir?’ and then takes care of the issue in his next scene–but twists the activity to help the Vaylen cause. For instance, when one PC couldn’t Circle up a crew of stevedores to move some cargo, the secretary contacted another PC–who possessed a ship–and coordinated to get the cargo moved using the second PC. The cargo was a shipment of arms, mostly, ordered by one of the PCs. But the PC had placed the order through the secretary, so he arranged to have Vaylen Naiven smuggled into the shipment. Anyway, the players groan, but they’re keeping track of what the Vaylen is doing so that once the cat’s out of the bag, they’ll have an idea what to do.