Doctor Who RPG: Season 4

On the occasion of completing reviews on the 1966-7 season of Doctor Who, I should like to re-imagine it as a role-playing game campaign using Cubicle 7's DWAITAS RPG. (Go back one, to Season 3)

The GM
Gerry's in it for the long haul and has plans for the entire season, but he does have a rather important challenge to overcome: Billy, the player handling the Doctor since the game began, has said he would leave after a couple of stories. So it's up to Gerry to recruit a new player who'll fit in well (not to say better) with his vision. That vision? Taking things away from the Lost in Time campaign style in favor of a more monster-based approach. As the season progresses, he'll trot out new enemies and use old ones, creating a cast of characters in each environment for the monsters to kill and for the Doctor to save. He think he's found the right guy to take over the Doctor role, a player known for his eccentric characters...

The Characters
-Billy is about ready to give up playing the Doctor after three long seasons, officially citing fatigue, but unofficially not liking the way the campaign is evolving. If he's stayed this long, it's because of the other players, but he hardly knows the new guys, Michael and Anneke, so it's as good a time as any to stop. Gerry's promised something with a nice scale to it to see the Doctor off.
-Pat will be replacing him, and using the regeneration rules in the rule book, he's agreed to continue the Doctor. Keeping the essential nature of the character as Billy developed it - a man of mystery with an insatiable curiosity, a sharp scientific mind and an eccentric absent-mindedness - but throwing in his own ideas as well. His younger Doctor will be frumpy where Billy's spoke to the establishment, and energetic where Billy's was more wizened. Basically, his idea is to make the Doctor into a disarming clown hiding his keen genius.
-Anneke is back to play Polly and after a single story under her belt, doesn't see why she should change anything about her portrayal of a the sassy, 60s secretary. For fun, she offers to make tea or coffee for the group whenever Polly does for the characters. After Story Points again, Anneke?
-Michael's Ben is in the same situation (minus the coffee), but he'll be the one itching to leave once another companion is introduced mid-season. Not that he and Frazer don't get along, but their similar skill sets means he feels less useful in the group.
-For Frazer's story and character, see The Highlanders, below.

The Smugglers. Gerry hasn't yet abandoned historicals, and sees the need for Polly and Ben's first trip to feel like time travel. And who doesn't love pirates? Michael and Anneke play the initial disbelief and dawning realization well enough, and Gerry shows his strength is in playing large casts of easily differentiable NPCs (even if some of the accents are over the top).

The Tenth Planet. Billy's last story, and still he manages to miss a couple sessions in the middle. His time really is done. But Gerry does fulfill his promise with an apocalyptic threat to Earth (in a near future far enough from Polly and Ben's time that they can't go home yet close enough they can feel the jeopardy), and a new monster called the Cybermen (as with the War Machines and Monoids, Gerry's designs leave a lot to be desired). Billy does come through in the end and not only plays an instrumental part in the defeat of the Cybermen, but also gives one hell of a performance in his final scene. He's always been good with others' goodbye scenes, but here's he breaks everybody's heart. As Gerry reads the description of the new Doctor developed by Pat (not present), he kind of chokes up and everything.

EARLY CYBERMAN
Attributes: Awareness 3, Coordination 3, Ingenuity 3, Presence 4, Resolve 4, Strength 7
Skills: Convince 3, Fighting 3, Knowledge 1, Marksman 1, Medicine 3, Science 3, Subterfuge 1, Technology 5, Transport 2
Traits: Cyborg; Armour (5), Dependency (Major - they are destroyed if Mondas is not in system range), Eccentric/No emotions, Fear Factor +2, Natural Weapon: Freeze Touch [No range, from hands; -/S/Paralysis] Natural Weapon: Heat Ray [on chest; 4/L/L], Natural Weapon: Stun Lamp [on head; -/S/S], Weakness (Major - Radiation has twice the usual effect). Story Points: 2-4
Home Tech Level: 6

The Power of the Daleks. Pat's first story and Gerry is determined to make it a memorable one. First, he brings back the Daleks which he is assured by other GMs is the best enemy the game every produced, but he gives them an unusual spin. Second, he doesn't inform Anneke and Michael about the regeneration rules, so they spend a fair bit of the first few sessions wondering if this new player is really the Doctor or what. Pat decides not to give them easy answers and in his eccentricities, is basically throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks - a fascination with funny hats, annoying recorder music (a prop he's brought himself), and an anarchic spirit that bounces off well against the authorities Gerry invariably puts in charge of his environments. Pat quickly finds a talent as the detective of the group and is quick to adopt false identities, fast talking himself into NPCs' good (or really, neutral) graces.

The Highlanders. Still following the mold crafted by previous GameMasters, Gerry alternates future stories with historicals, but he doesn't see why he has to. This will be his last, at least without a monster in it. Now, the role-playing club all these guys belong to has many players who like to slum it as guest stars, and GMs are usually more than happy to oblige. Frazer is a friend of Pat's who comes in to play such a role, that of Jamie a Highland piper, and he has so much fun, he soon asks Gerry if he can stick around as a regular. Not realizing this might impact Michael's character (designed at a time when he would be the only physically able character, but even the Doctor doesn't need as much help there), Gerry agrees and no one objects.

The Underwater Menace. The next story is a bit on the crazy side. Atlantis in the present day, with ancient cultists side by side with mad scientists and genetically-engineered fish people. It's an over-the-top pulp adventure that perhaps goes a little too far, but hey, everyone's having fun. Gerry's talent for accents comes in handy for playing...

ZAROFF
Attributes: Awareness 3, Coordination 2, Ingenuity 5, Presence 4, Resolve 4, Strength 3
Skills: Convince 3, Knowledge 2, Marksman 2, Medicine 2, Science 5 (+2 Food production, +2 Geothermics, +2 Mad Science), Subterfuge 1, Technology 4
Traits: Technically Adept, Voice of Authority; Dark Secret (seeking the Apocalypse), Eccentric/Megalomaniac, Eccentric/Nihilist, Eccentric/Totally insane!; Insatiable Curiosity; Obsession (Major - destroy the world just to say he can). Story Points: 12
Home Tech Level: 5, but Zaroff's scientific know-how is equivalent to TL 6 (Equipment: Handgun [2/5/7])

The Moonbase. The Cybermen are Gerry's babies and he's intent on bringing them back. However, he knows his drawings and voice for them were rather ridiculous, so he has another go. The setting is another of his internationally-manned bases (accents let you know which NPC is speaking!)... on the Moon! The plot is pretty straightforward, but the players do rather well with it, using what's in the environment (solvents, the graviton) to defeat the cyber-threat. Gerry's drawings of the Cybermen may have improved, but his base uniforms have finally created a hat Pat's Doctor doesn't want to try out.

The Macra Terror. Time for a little experimentation, so Gerry recorded some fascist little jingles to play regularly over his sessions in the Colony, a utopia highly influenced by 1984. Of course, he can't help putting monsters behind the Big Brother figure, giant mind-controlling crabs called the Macra. Pat really hits his stride as a force for anarchy in this one, which really encourages Gerry to play up bureaucratic impediments in the next game.

The Faceless Ones. He goes a bit too far however, and his pedantic bureaucrats frustrate the players more than charm them. Gerry doesn't score many points which his Chameleons either, whose trademark flat tones make them rather dull. After the first session, Michael announces he's leaving the group to concentrate on other things, and Anneke decides to leave with him out of loyalty. They really did come as a matching pair. In the short term, Gerry writes them out after only one other session, and they make a short return, mostly as observers, in the last part of the story to say their goodbyes. Another player, Pauline, makes a quick character called Samatha Briggs in the Polly mold, but at the end of the story, decides not to stick with it. It was fun, but she doesn't have the kind of time necessary to play on a regular basis.

TYPICAL CHAMELEON
Attributes: Awareness 2, Coordination 3, Ingenuity 3, Presence 2, Resolve 3, Strength 3
Skills: Convince 3, Marksman 2, Medicine 2, Science 4, Subterfuge 1, Technology 3, Transport 3
Traits in Alien form: Alien; Alien Appearance, Eccentric/Megalomaniac (Chameleons believe they are the most intelligent race in the universe), Fear Factor +1, Shapeshift (Minor - the process requires the help of technology, medical supervision, and the target human who must then be placed in stasis), Weakness (not meant to breathe Earth's atmosphere, they require "pressure treatments" to live here for a limited time)
Traits in human form: Dependency (if the device they wear to connect them to their "originals" is turned off, or if their "originals" are awakened, Chameleons are destroyed), Eccentric/Megalomaniac, Special: Chameleons gain all the memories of their "originals" (if their "original" has any Skill higher than the Chameleon's, raise that Skill to the "original"'s level) Story Points: 3-5
Home Tech Level: 7 (Equipment: Electric raygun [4/L/L], Freeze pen [No range; -/S/S])

The Evil of the Daleks. Still with no third player in sight, Pat and Frazer get to do everything in the last story of the season. Past seasons often ended with whatever story was conceived last, but GM Gerry believes in big, flashy season finales. Starting in the present with the theft of the TARDIS, he sends the players back to the Victorian era and then to a far future Skaro for a final confrontation with the Daleks. Pat and Frazer find the time to play-act conflict between their characters (because the Daleks strong-arm the Doctor into hiding information from Jamie) and the GM allows events to lead to the destruction of the Daleks. (Future GMs will accuse him of just wanting to push his Cybermen as the new big enemy of the campaign, but Pat will always defend the move require them to keep the Daleks out of the plans.) And what about Victoria? Well, there's this potential player called Debbie - who may have a flirtation with Frazer, if that explains anything - who comes over during this story just to observe. At the end of the season, she agrees to play, but no, she doesn't want to make her own character. That Victoria Waterfield NPC she "test-drove" for a session will do (she may well be a fan of Jane Austen).

But that's a story for the next season. Will Debbie fulfill her promise and join the group? Things seem to be solidifying between her and Frazer, so it's looking good.

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