One of my players is ready to pull the trigger on a trap they’ve laid for the unfriendly rival they started play with, and my inclination is to let them succeed because: they put in the work, the fiction supports their success, and players should have the freedom to be successful.
(And this isn’t even a situation where the rival can posthumously pester them as a ghost, because she’s already a ghost. We’re looking at a situation where her residual electroplasmic signature will be permanently disintegrated. RIP Nyryx.)
That said, I like the idea of crew members having personal nemeses, both because it opens up narrative options, and also because I don’t want this player’s success to kick off a murder spree on the part of his crewmates where they all start offing their enemies. So the obvious solution is to replace the defeated rival with a new one. But who, and how?
I’m trying to think of a way to approach this problem that sustains the tension of having a nemesis while still being fair to the player. Does anyone have suggestions?
Let the new enemy get made through play. Don’t feel like you have to create them. The game will make them.
There will be an entanglement or the crew will take turf from someone or a player will get an out-of-the-blue hate-on for an NPC.
Also worth looking at their downtime projects and looking over the directions the factions are working towards. Is any faction working against a project or trying to do the same thing?
Don’t feel like you have to make the fun.
One of the reasons I added extra blank lines in the Friends/Enemies sections of my custom playbooks is because I allow PCs to develop new friends using project clocks (I had a Slide whose hobby was basically collecting friends), and I also allow for them picking up new rivals/enemies based on their in-game actions.
If a new rival doesn’t appear organically, I would also consider a time-skip in between seasons, and have the player create a new rival for the new season (with that rivalry having developed off-screen). You pick a rival off a list at the start of the game; I don’t personally have a problem with simply picking a new rival a second time.