Doctor Who RPG: Season 11

On the occasion of completing reviews on the 1974 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 10.)

The GMs
Five seasons is a long time and to be frank, Terry is looking to stop GMing this campaign after this one. Splitting his free time between Doctor Who and a SF campaign about a moonbase, with a Resolve mechanic that can result in a character's suicide, he takes an apprentice on board. He's brainstormed ideas with his friend Bob before, and Bob's agreed to take over his duties for Season 12. He helps Terry plan out this season, and even shows up in the middle part of the season to run things when characters are separated.

The Characters
-Jon's also decided this would be his last season as the Doctor. Like Terry, his heart's not really in it anymore. Roger's death has weighed on the whole group, but him most of all. He still gives it his best, but that best is more tired, distracted, sometimes even out of character. But he makes it clear that it's not Lis' fault, the new player around the table, and he gets on with her very well.
-Lis has chosen to play an independent, feminist journalist who might investigate the same thing UNIT does and get into adventures that way. Once she gets to know the other characters, this Sarah Jane Smith will soften her attitude, but still retain her proactive inquisitiveness.
-The UNIT gang - Nick, John and Richard - are willing to show up on occasion as they've done for a while now, in 2 out of 5 scenarios, but Richard's asked Terry to write him out at some point. He's started GMing his own games lately, and wants to concentrate on that aspect of gaming.

The Time Warrior. Bob's given Terry a new alien race - the Sontarans - to use in the season opener (he was also responsible for the Autons which Terry used in previous games) and they're an immediate hit. Also "new" is the historical setting, which came about when the GM realized he had never really used one before (only fantastical Atlantis)! Lis quickly gets into the groove, playing AGAINST the Doctor until he's allowed to prove himself to her, and the two players develop a nice banter and chemistry that will last the whole of the season.

Attributes: Awareness 4, Coordination 4, Ingenuity 5, Presence 5, Resolve 4, Strength 6
Skills: Athletics 2, Convince 4, Craft 1, Fighting 5, Knowledge 2, Marksman 5, Medicine 1, Science 4, Subterfuge 2, Survival 4, Technology 4, Transport 3
Traits: Adversary (Rutans), Alien, Alien Appearance, Boffin, Brave, Tough, Voice of Authority; Clumsy, Eccentric/Arrogant, Eccentric/Bloodlust, Weakness (probic vent). Story Points: 12
Home Tech Level: 7 (Equipment: Armor[-5]; Sontaran Wand may be set to S[S/S/S], Hypnosis [as Special Trait], Telekinesis, or 8[6/8/10]; Translator)

Invasion of the Dinosaurs. Maybe bringing plastic dinosaurs from the Dollar Store as "gaming aids" wasn't such a good idea. There's a lot of "Guys, stop making the T Rex and Brontosaurus have sex" and bringing the table back to order. Of course, the real surprise is that Richard's Captain Yates betrays the UNIT team, something he developed with the GM as his exit strategy, a pretty shocking - and memorable! - one for all concerned.

Death to the Daleks.
Now that the Daleks are out of the toybox, the GM thinks to use them a third time. It's become an annual tradition. This time, a GMing tag team makes it hard to resolve all the plot elements thrown into the scenario, and the Daleks may be one element too many in an adventure that already includes human sacrifice, a space plague, a crashed crew, a living city that sucks energy and a puzzle-heavy dungeon crawl. Still, everyone seems happy to fight the evil pepperpots once again, especially guest player Arnold who is given a native Exxilon to play, the sweet subterranean Bellal. Had schedules been different, Arnold might even have stuck around longer.

Attributes: Awareness 3, Coordination 4, Ingenuity 2, Presence 2, Resolve 2, Strength 5 (Subterraneans are +1 Ingenuity and -2 Strength)
Skills: Athletics 2, Convince 1, Craft 3, Fighting 2, Knowledge 1, Marksman 2, Subterfuge 4, Survival 4, Technology 1
Traits: Alien, Alien Appearance, Alien Senses (Ultravision); Choose from Sense of Direction, Tough, Cowardly, Technically Inept. Story Points: 2-5
Home Tech Level: 1 (Equipment: Bow & Arrow 3[1/3/4])

The Monster of Peladon. When you've spent some time building a world, why not return to it again? That was the thinking behind bringing back Peladon, its society, sacred beast Aggedor, weird ambassador Alpha Centauri and the inevitable Ice Warriors (now back to being villains). At first, Terry toyed with making it a direct sequel, with King Peladon now married, etc. and maybe he should have. But he didn't want to lose Lis who had never been to Peladon, so he opted for something of a remake. Different plot (miner's strike manipulated by a terrorist cell), but many of the beats were the same. It's what happens when the GM is distracted by other things and cuts corners. By all accounts, a little dull, this one.

Attributes: Awareness 2, Coordination 4, Ingenuity 1, Presence 2, Resolve 2, Strength 7
Skills: Athletics 3, Fighting 4, Subterfuge 2, Survival 1
Traits: Alien, Alien Appearance, Alien Senses (Infravision, Tracking scent), Fear Factor (1; 2 to Pels), Natural Weapons/Teeth and claws (+2 Strength). Story Points: 5
Home Tech Level: N/A

Planet of the Spiders. Planning well ahead, the GM was going to do a big final battle between the Doctor and the Master, but the untimely passing of the latter's player meant it couldn't be used. Terry instead turned to the Metebelis crystal, an item he always wanted to bring back in a larger story (except the Doctor had given it to a departing character, oh well, time for a much-liked prop letter from "Jo"). He made the crystal a psychic focus for evil spiders intent on getting it back for their giant spider goddess, and realizing it had played a part in ordering Mike Yates' mind in The Green Death, asked Richard if he'd come back for one last hurrah. It was Jon's last adventure as the Doctor, after all, and his too. Richard said yes, and when asked where he thought Mike would be post-UNIT, he talked about finding himself at a Buddhist meditation center. With that, everything clicked for Terry. He remembered Jon's Doctor talking about a guru who taught him a zen parable back on Gallifrey, and added that element into the story, a Time Lord who had left the planet long ago to pursue a vocation as a Tibetan monk and who would guide the Doctor through his next regeneration. And because it was Jon's last handful of sessions, he gave him a lot of what he liked, a huge chase, some martial arts, etc. It was all a bit of a jumble in the execution - a hodgepodge of everything he wanted to do before handing the reigns over to a new GM - but it was all very sweet in the end, with a touching moment not unlike Katy's farewell the season before.

Attributes: Awareness 4, Coordination 2, Ingenuity 4, Presence 4, Resolve 4, Strength 1
Skills: Athletics 1, Convince 4, Craft 2, Fighting 1, Knowledge 3, Subterfuge 3, Survival 3
Traits: Alien, Alien Appearance, Additional Limbs (x4), Climbing, Fear Factor (3), Immaterial (while on Host), Invisible (while on Host, unless viewer makes Awareness+Resolve roll), Natural Weapons (Mental Bolt 4[S/4/6] which can be shared with Host), Networked, Possess, Psychic, Size/Tiny, Teleport (which can be shared with Host). Story Points: 3-6 (but may use Host's Story Points)
Home Tech Level: N/A

So that's Terry, Jon and Richard leaving for good, but Lis, Nick and John are all committed to the next season. They've found Bob to be quite funny and are looking forward to some laughs with a new Doctor. But who's this Tom that's been roped into shuffling the Time Lord's stats around..?


Toby'c said...

"though the Daleks play a bigger role than in last season's Day of the Daleks"

I'm frankly appalled that you seem to have forgotten Planet of the Daleks being in Season 10.

Also, I'm curious as to how Jon and Arnold reacted when Terry ended the third session with floor tiles, as well as how Terry managed to let slip that the Daleks' guns weren't working at the end of the first session.

Siskoid said...

That was a comment on how memorable Terry Nation's scripts are.

Very well, I flubbed. And adjusted the text. What can I say, I'm working through wisdom tooth removal pain here.


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