So I was starting to think about running a Burning Empires game, and one thing that I wanted to ask about was the FON for the Vaylen side. From what I have picked up, you can have the Vaylen side be made up completely of non-Vaylen characters. They might not even know they are helping the Vaylen. In fact, they might be a collection of revolutionaries, which are out for their own ends and it happens to create an opening for the Vaylen. In reality, the Vaylen aren’t even part of the process. Am I understanding this correctly, or am I completely bonkers?
This is precisely how I’m running my game. The three starting GMFONs are human, but their flaws and hubris are weakening the world in such a way as to make usurpation easy.
Within my own game, the plan is to hull at least one of my FONs so they are, in fact, Vaylen NPCs as they go into the second phase.
One issue I came up with in this method is, given the limitations on creating new FONs, it’s really hard to rationalize certain kinds of Vaylen characters. I can introduce a badass Usurper-type Vaylen admiral for the Invasion, but he won’t be a Figure of Note. On the human PC side this doesn’t matter because any PC can make a Maneuver roll; on the Vaylen GM side, only FONs can make, or help, Maneuver rolls. Ouch.
So what’s going to end up happening is, I’m going to introduce a couple Vaylen advisors sometime soonish, those advisors are going to hull one or two of my GMFONs, and then those GMFONs are going to have to continue to be the centerpieces of my story.
I think that, if you want to run a game that features well-established Vaylen as FONs, you maybe should start somewhere besides the Infiltration.
I’m using a similar approach. Two of the three GM FONs are humans whose policies will help the Vaylen infiltrate – and the FONs are unaware that this is the case. Nor are the FONs acting under the control or with instructions from Vaylen ‘handlers’. They’re simply pursuing their own interests. What’s happened so far in the game is that the PCs have been in conflicts with NPCs that are actually opposing the GMFONs. As the phase progresses, and the PCs realize what’s happening, different alliances and agreements take precedence over earlier plans.