Doctor Who RPG: Season 9

On the occasion of completing reviews on the 1972 season of Doctor Who, I should like to re-imagine it as a role-playing game campaign using Cubicle 7's Doctor Who RPG. (Go back one, to Season 8)

The GM
Now on his third season, Terry is the longest-serving GameMaster the campaign's ever seen, so the pressure's on to keep things fresh. Part of doing that is a mutual agreement with many of his players to sit things out for large swathes of time so that every threat need not be associated with the Master, or fought by UNIT. This frees him up to plot off-Earth stories and more control over those plots (which the Master's participation sometimes derailed). He also wants to build on how time travel and the TARDIS work, in preparation for when he ends the Doctor's exile, which he's really itching to do.

The Characters
-Jon's having a good time with the Doctor and sees no real reason to change his characterization, including his propensity to pay Story Points for the GM to add strangely available vehicles into scenarios. It's almost become an inside joke and tradition by now. Given the chance to spend points to improve the character, Jon's chosen to bring back the sonic screwdriver gadget. He also wants to keep tinkering with his Bessie gadget, and hopes Terry will let him similarly build new functions into the TARDIS now that he's using it more.
-Though Katy often rolls badly on Ingenuity and related skills, she truly believes Jo Grant to be smart and competent and hopes to prove it this season. She's put points in Fighting to help her do it.
-The UNIT gang (Nick, John and Richard) have only committed to two or three stories this season, probably not enough for Yates and Jo to get together. Sadly, one side effect of the on-again, off-again nature of their participation is that life gets in the way, and scheduled appearances are unfortunately disrupted. Because they don't have a routine weekly game, the UNIT players sometimes forget or find they've made other commitments (to other games) when the GameMaster comes a-calling.
-Roger and his Master are also "on call", though he and Terry aren't telling Jon and Katy just when the character might show up.

Day of the Daleks. Terry starts the new season off by bringing back old enemies from before he was GM. The Daleks are legendary among the people of the role-playing club, but since the second Doctor destroyed them at the end of Season 4, they were considered unusable. Terry means to change that, because after all, that all happened at the end of History. There are still Daleks in the intervening years AND they have time machines! Still, he doesn't want to overuse them, so he keeps them mostly in the background and gives them lots of toadies, including a servile race of goons called the Ogrons. He builds the whole story around a time loop, which impresses the players don't look too closely at it.

Attributes: Awareness 2, Coordination 4, Ingenuity 1, Presence 4, Resolve 3, Strength 5
Skills: Athletics 3, Fighting 3, Marksman 2, Subterfuge 1, Survival 2, Technology 1, Transport 1
Traits: Alien; Alien Appearance (Minor), Fear Factor 1, Tough. Story Points: 3-5
Home Tech Level: 6 (Equipment: Ultra Sonic Gun 4/L/L)

The Curse of Peladon. UNIT sit this one out as the Doctor and Jo are sent (by the Time Lords, the GM's usual excuse) to another planet where they take part in courtly intrigue and interstellar negotiations. The GM creates a nice and varied cast of characters, including some Ice Warrior good guys to confound player expectations, though he perhaps goes a bit far in doing some of the voices (the high-pitched Alpha Centauri becomes a knee-slapping favorite anyway). Both players fall into assumed roles smoothly, as if they'd just sat down for a completely different game, and Katy in particular thrives when given so much attention (2 players around the table instead of 5), getting to do action, mystery-solving and romance.

Attributes: Awareness 2, Coordination 1, Ingenuity 3, Presence 3, Resolve 2, Strength 2
Skills: Convince 2, Knowledge 2, Science 1, Technology 1, Transport 1
Traits: Alien; Additional Limbs (4), Alien Appearance (Major), Environmental (Amphibian); Screamer!; Cowardly; Eccentric (Judgmental of other races). Story Points: 12
Home Tech Level: 6

The Sea Devils. The first "UNIT dating" problem occurs. The GM was all set to do an Earth-bound story featuring the return of the Master, but the players aren't available. Terry makes a few adjustments and creates NPCs that would serve the same function, in the Navy instead of UNIT - a skeptical commander, his competent but undervalued adjutant, and a (submarine) captain that gets into the action. In this scenario, Terry puts  a spin on one of his original monsters, the Silurians, creating a marine version of Earth's former occupants. The game benefits from the coastal environment (plenty of vehicular opportunities for Jon's Doctor) and Roger, who hasn't played in a while, is in rare form.

Attributes: Awareness 3, Coordination 3, Ingenuity 3, Presence 3, Resolve 4, Strength 4
Skills: Athletics 2 (Swimming 4), Craft 1, Fighting 2, Knowledge 1, Marksman 2, Science 2, Subterfuge 2, Survival 2, Technology 1, Transport 1
Traits: Alien; Alien Appearance (Major), Environmental (Amphibious), Fear Factor 1, Tough; Weakness/Sonics (Minor). Story Points: 3-6
Home Tech Level: 6 (Equipment: Flash Guns 3/6/L)

The Mutants. Jo and the Doctor once again leave UNIT in the dust and visit a station orbiting a planet about to get its independence, one where the population is going through a strange mutation. Terry uses some classic science-fiction ideas, but fails to breathe real life into most of his characters. Solos is no Peladon. The justification for these "Time Lord missions" is also wearing a bit thin.

Attributes: Awareness 1, Coordination 2, Ingenuity 1, Presence 2, Resolve 2, Strength 5
Skills: Fighting 2, Subterfuge 1, Survival 2
Traits: Alien; Alien Appearance (Major), Armor (10), Fear Factor 1, Natural Weapon: Claws (+2 Strength); Frenzy. Story Points: 2-5
Home Tech Level: 1 (their humanoid form enjoys a Tech Level of 2)

The Time Monster. It's the season's finale and Terry's glad to have his whole gang around the table, even Roger (a surprise to the other players). In trying to create some fun for everyone, the story is a bit of a mess, but the GM can't be blamed for trying. Soldiers from across time, temporal anomalies, a TARDIS inside a TARDIS, time vortex ecology, and the truth about Atlantis too. The GM allows the two Time Lord players to toy with their TARDISes and use Story Points to reveal new functions, which leads to a unique duel and Terry filing a lot of notes for future GMs (and for himself, that story Jon told about a wise old man on Gallifrey gave him an idea for a future scenario). Unfortunately, UNIT dating strikes again. For some reason, Nick, Richard and John have to sit out the last two sessions. The GM abandons his plans to alternate between Atlantis and the present day and in the process, provides some of the best gaming opportunities for the other three players they've had in a long time. The cliffhanger that turned Benton into a baby and put the rest of UNIT in temporal molasses is resolved at the end without the benefit of their players' presence (they were told after the fact that they got better).

It does seem like the "UNIT era"'s days are counted, but everyone promises to return for another season, at about the same rate (so a couple of scenarios only for the UNIT and the Master). And Terry's well on his way to becoming the campaign's longest GameMaster!



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