It isn’t just the Dalek that gets to enjoy Van Statten’s hospitality in ‘Dalek’. The Doctor is stripped, chained and examined. If not for the more pressing issue of the Dalek he might have ended up a permanent exhibit, locked for eternity in the bunker.
Alien PCs should bare this in mind when adventuring in pre-interstellar communities. Revealing their true nature could dramatically change how people react to them. Their very existence is proof alien life, which can shatter pre-conceptions of the universe.
In more superstitious societies this could make the PC intrinsically evil or, at the very least, blasphemous. Those associating with the alien will similarly be treated with mistrust, fear and even hatred.
Then there are those collectors, like Van Statten, who will want to own such a unique specimen. As long as there are such people there are also those who will be looking to capture aliens to sell to those collectors.
If a PC is obviously alien or reveals their true nature freely then that information will fall into the wrong hands. The PCs might not immediately be hunted, it might take a little time for the news to leak.
This means that the PCs could visit the same location over several years before their identity becomes common knowledge amongst alien hunter and collectors. Eventually when they arrive there will be people looking for them.
This can introduce an added complication to an adventure. The PCs might be in the middle of saving the world when they are suddenly captured. This can be particularly effective if they were just about to work out how to defeat the villain or build a vital gadget to prevent evil winning.
The hunters could play smart, getting close to the alien PC before they strike. This can be a wise move on their part if the PC is saving the world. Once they’ve done their part the hunter can strike. It can be shocking for a friendly NPC to suddenly kidnap one of the PCs.
Just how difficult it is to escape will greatly affect how much this impacts an adventure. If it is a minor sub-plot the captured PC should be able to escape quickly. If it is going to serve as a central plot point (and indeed the very focus of the adventure) the hunter should take steps to make sure that escape isn’t easy.
This could be as simple as removing any gadgets (such as the sonic screwdriver), drugging their victim or using technology specifically designed to foil the abilities of the alien. If the PC has visited the planet frequently there could be years of data that the hunter could draw upon.
Once captured the alien PC could be taken directly to the collector or placed in a storage facility, waiting to be sold. Hopefully there are those who are trying to find the alien PC so consider what clues will lead them to where their friend is being held.
If the alien PC is to be taken to an auction first of all the PCs have a chance to rescue them. They could use stealth or even bid on them. They could seek help from friendly agencies such as UNIT or Torchwood. They could also approach a collector they can trust (or can they?).
Security is likely to be much higher once they are in the hands of the collector. It is important to create the collector as a fully developed NPC. Understanding their character will dictate how they treat the alien PC and the resources they have available to them.
The alien PC could be treated just as an exhibit, with no consideration given to their rights as a living being. The collector might visit them in private or show them to guests. They could seek enlightenment or amusement in these audiences, punishing the PC if they don’t get what they want.
The collector could want the alien PC for their expertise. They could be required to identify other alien artefacts, provide knowledge of the universe or help build a spaceship. It doesn’t matter if the PC actually has the skills or the knowledge to do this. The collector will still expect results after the money they’ve spent.
A particularly charismatic or diplomatic collector could even make the PC feel that they are being treated well. In time the PC might even think they are an employee or friend of the collector. It is up to you whether the collector will ever give the alien PC their freedom.
The collector could introduce the plot hooks for another adventure. They might even present themselves as a patron, persuading the captured PC to enter into a mutually beneficial relationship.
In such a campaign framework there would always be two plots in each adventure. The A plot is the main threat that the PC is trying to stop on behalf of the collector. At the same time the B plot is the continual cat and mouse game that captive and captor play.
For a darker tone the collector could want the alien PC for their own sadistic pleasure. They could torment or torture the PC. They might be forced to fight other species (animal or alien) for the entertainment of the collector.
A collector’s menagerie of aliens could be the starting point for a whole campaign. Can the alien species work together to escape? If they do escape where will they go? Once they are free from the collector the rest of the population could still see them as monsters (and maybe they’re right). UNIT and Torchwood could be tricked into hunting them should they escape from the collector.
Not all of the PCs need be aliens. Some could be employees who work for the collector and have had a change of heart. They could help free the others and have to go on the run as well.
The ultimate goal of these aliens could be to reach a spaceship or TARDIS. If that isn’t possible they could live in the shadows of society, trying to build a life for themselves and keeping their true nature secret.
Remember that ‘alien’ is a subjective term and human PCs might experience all of the above on other worlds.