I actually don’t feel we’ve gone too far off canon. The life form, while sentient, is not overtly sophisticated and would not be prone to technological development, even with the aid of others.
For a smidge of background: start off with an image of the “buggers” from Ender’s Game, a hive colony sharing a single mind, that of the “queen”. Individually, the creatures have no intelligence, beyond simple functions of gathering resources and defending their home. The queen on the other hand, is able to possess the body of any of her subjects and act through them. We’re going to use a slightly modified version of psychology with the queen to represent some of her mental capabilities.
The creatures are for the most part unknown, even to the majority of inhabitants of the planet. Some of the higher ups of various factions know of them, but who and how much hasn’t exactly been worked out. The “buggers” are both helpful and a hinderance. The primary resource of the planet is a byproduct of the bugs, but harvesting it also has negative consequences on them.
The backdrop of the infection is going to be a struggle over control of this resource, a crystal that is can be used to manufacture ansibles, a very powerful commodity. Since the bug’s are sentient and can produce such a valuable commodity, they will be directly involved in the power struggles of the planet, both human v. vaylen and human v. human.
One of the players is actually going to be one of the queens (we’ve determined there are multiple sentient “bugs” just not a high ratio) so we’ve had her basically burn the character as close to “normal” as we could. I was just curious if anyone else had had any experiences creating sentient life and how they’d dealt with it.