What did you finally go with? Or are you still looking? One of the points you brought up I thought was interesting, using maps as additional pictures. With Klooge you add a picture to your current map, it is there as an icon, (Or a text doc or an HTML, sound, etc.) You can see the pic as a tooltip or actually double click it to see the full size version. I use it for information that the players have found or pictures that define the location, sometimes 3D views of where they are. You can also send pictures, text, and/or sounds directly.
As for Persistent NPCs. NPCs in Klooge work just like PC's Fill out their sheet and they are. Multiple icons, Multiple names, (And you get to choose those either before you place them or after.) So you can generate a bunch of generic NPC's give them all a long list of names and a series of pictures and the players won't notice that they have actually met Veteran Marine 1 20 times. Or that there are really only 3 different NPC's in the crowded bar they just walked into. You can also go the other route. Instead of having generic NPC's you can also make them singular (For the important NPCs, recurring friends, Recurring villans, etc.).
I have now played three sessions using FG, and been running my Campaign on Klooge for a year. The only really standout feature, from a player point of view, for FG, IMHO, is the dice, but that is definitely getting old. (I hate missing the chat box.
) I would rather have a handful of buttons for recurring rolls. And having to move the modifier to the box before rolling gets old as well. Let me bring up my dice panel and push a button, it speeds combat and lets us get on with the inportant business of roleplaying.
One other thing I noticed is you actually face the tokens, everything else I have messed with points an arrow in that direction and the token stays the same.) while it is a nice feature for combat, it really isn't all that vital for normal roleplaying. The GM get control of which Token you are using. In Klooge I can have multiple images and change between them as I please. (So if I am carrying a Long Sword, a Shield and a Dagger, I can have pictures of me with just the sword, just the dagger, the sword and the dagger, the sword and the shield, the dagger and the shield, or everything put away and can quickly choose between them. That way, with proper tokens my token can show how I am armed or armored, and even my general mood, if I so choose. (And if I really wanted to get fancy I suppose I could have the facing done that way as well but since I have the arrows it is redundant.)