Each ship handles villains differently. On most ships, they are simply NPCs or PNPCs that the writers create when they feel it appropriate or when asked by command. On the USS Victory however, while villains can and are created in this fashion, every big mission the ship goes on plays host to Mission Specific Personal-Non-Playing-Characters… or MSPNPCs.
A Mission Specific Player Non-Playing Character, or MSPNPC, is an NPC assigned to a specific player for the duration of a mission. They are usually antagonists, and are simmed using an anonymous e-mail address.
At the beginning of a mission, the CO takes volunteers for people to play these roles, and assigns them each to an anonymous e-mail accounts. During the mission, no one knows who is playing which MSPNPC, including the other MSPNPCS. We have found that this adds to the suspension of disbelief, removes expectations from the MSPNPCs, and makes the game more enjoyable. At the end of the mission, identities are usually revealed. Some writers make a game of privately trying to guess the MSPNPC’s writers just before the big reveal, which is always fun!
MSPNPCs are simmed just like any PNPC, except sims are sent through the anonymous e-mail address and are not signed with the name of the writer or their character. Obviously, writers of MSPNPCs are advised to avoid including information that would reveal their identity. Simming an MSPNPC is a great chance to try something new or challenging with a character, since they are designed to be temporary.
Any member of the crew can apply for an MSPNPC role. The call is sent out during shore leave, and writers are expected to maintain their sim rate, as well as write for the extra character. The extra character does not need to be simmed the standard three times a week, but as needed for the plot.
Interested in simming a MSPNPC, or using the idea on your own ship? Ask someone on the Victory to tell you all about them!