Diary of the Doctor Who Role-Playing Games #2 - 4 Months in the Making

That's how long it took before a second issue of the 'zine came out, but its editors made good use of that time. The issue is twice the length of the first (and yet still not the length it would eventually settle with) and has articles signed by multiple contributors. Here, then, is my overview of its contents to better help the potential reader navigate which issues has the things they're looking for.Issue 2 PDF - September 4th 2010

If you're new to role-playing, and because the Doctor Who RPG makes an excellent gateway drug, you may well be, the Diary's first few issues will speak to you directly. Its decision to act as a primer of sorts for new players and GMs means it will better evolve with its reader, and since each issue is available on the web indefinitely, anyone can start at the beginning. In this issue, for example, we're given a list of internet AND real world resources where you can find/buy material for your games. There are also two articles on gamer etiquette, one from the GM's perspective, the other from the player's. Some redundancy there, and we could have had only one and been fine (perhaps having the writers collaborate?).

The best article in the zine for me was the on adapting adventure scenarios from other games to your Doctor Who campaign. I was already sold on the concept, of course. That's what happens when you only ever run games that have very little published material. So over the course of the years, I've become quite the expert. Still, some sound advice in that direction, and most interestingly, a list of interesting suggestions for scenarios that might convert well to Doctor Who, each with their own paragraph and suggestions. There are more than 30 entries, mostly leaning to the old school (the 80s) but no less interesting. In fact, come back to the blog tomorrow for my OWN list. The SBG's own sequel to this article.

The zine review the then-new Doctor Who RPG GameMaster's screen in depth, and I agree with everything that's said. And the "Retro-Review" looks at the old computer game Destiny of the Doctors, of which I knew very little. The live-action elements starring the Ainley Master are all on one of the DVDs, but I had no idea of the gameplay. The review goes into plenty of detail about how the various references to Doctor Who are ill-used (sort of like the TV Movie, eh?), and goes the extra mile to entertain by offering what might have been better solutions to the various puzzles. Fun (in a way the game itself apparently is not), and with plenty of screenshots.
The Diary also features its own adventure scenarios, of course, two of them this ish. Neither have any stats, but it should be easy enough to write them up in your system of choice (one of the three Who games or your other fave).
-He110: An attempt at a "bottle show" that takes place in the TARDIS, along the lines of "The Edge of Destruction". Readers of this blog may know I bear little love for Edge and some of the episodes (usually Part 1s) that have gone that route, but He110 has a potentially fun final act that will turn your evening into a party game. I'll say no more, but I think results may vary.
-The Final Frontier: One thing the Diary will do a LOT of is crafting scenarios that cross over (or remake) other genre properties. This one is a Star Trek (TNG movie era) story inspired by the Rabittooth's Trek-ized celebrity photos (included). While there are nice touches, like putting a Doctor Who race in a Starfleet uniform, I'm afraid the adventure had too much technobabble for me. In that way, it focuses on the wrong things about Trek. The idea and characters remain good ones, and it may be fun just to have Whovians walking the halls of a Federation starship (à la Assimilation2), but it needs a plot worthy more of classic Trek than of Voyager. If you know what I mean.

And more
There's a high page count given over to a field trip - or rather pilgrimage - to various Wisconsin locations important to role-playing history, the former offices of TSR and all the GenCon convention halls, complete with pictures and Google maps so you too can make the trip. I thought it would be rather dull, but I soon got into the writer's enthusiasm, though it did overstay its welcome a bit (it's a lot of looking at buildings, really). Certainly a good piece for people who like to make such road trips, but at 13 pages, it's the bit you might not want to print out. Worth a look though.

The issue also has an editorial piece defending old school gaming as opposed to video game role-playing, which I not only agree with, but think it could have been taken much farther. As an essay on tabletop RPGs' virtues, it works. I'd love to see a follow-up about how video gaming has changed tabletop games' design and at-table behavior though. That's where things get complicated and controversial. The issue ends as they usually end, with the results of a survey and a UNIT cartoon. Fun fluff for the whole family.

As usual, you can find the entire collection HERE, but I'll be back later with a review of issue 3 (and tomorrow, for a sequel to one of the articles described above).



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