Question about Vaylen-free campaign

I’ve got an idea for a campaign, and I wanted to run it past the people here to see what you thought. Mostly I’m curious to see if it could work given the nature of the meta game rules and their relation to crafting the narrative thread that ties each phase together.

So, the FoNs don’t have to be Vaylen. That got me thinking, could you do a game of Burning Wheel that didn’t involve the Vaylen at all? One of the things I appreciated about the old Twilight Zone was their creative use of Deus Ex Machina. In simplest terms, the characters would be busy dealing with their own thing, immersed in the drama of their situation, and completely miss that the Big Bad Alien/Werewolf/Monster/Nanny had crept up on them at the end of the episode, bringing their whole world falling down.

My idea is this. What if the Vaylen never even touch the planet until the end of the game? I’m talking no spies, no influence, no nothing. You play out the game as you would normally, with the different factions squaring off against one another, just don’t involve any Vaylen. Then, after the Invasion phase draws to an end, the Vaylen finally show up. The Vaylen sweep down from the heavens in their mighty battle cruisers, setting all Hammer to flame and crushing all Anvil to dust. Or maybe the end of the game is just the start of the Vaylen infiltration, as the first black marketeer ships begin to dock at the spaceport, carrying their horrific cargo. Obviously this idea plays very strong in a setting where Humanity ultimately loses. However, I think there’s some cause for it to work in any situation. If most of the conflict occurred in the Infiltration phase, but Humanity won that phase, maybe the very last scene in the game is the denoument from the big conflict occuring on the planet (Finally, peace after years of constant internecine warfare!), where one of the PCs cracks open a smuggler’s ship to find the cargo of worms. The unspoken sentiment would be, “My god, how close did we come to losing it all?”

Really, my idea here is to create a sense that the Vaylen are a great spreading shadow, and that their presence in the galaxy at large is as destructive as their force as a culture. Such a game would be rife for cold war comparisons, mutual destruction, and any number of other themes of fear and obfuscation.

What do you think? Again, what I’m most hoping for is any commentary as to whether or not this is really feasible given how detailed the whole meta game structure is.


In fact, that’s an “as designed” feature!