Doctor Who RPG: Series 2

On the occasion of completing reviews on the 2006 series 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 Series 1.)

The GM
-Russell is doing two things at once over the course of this series. GMing it is one, of course, the other is slowly developing a secondary campaign about Torchwood, a group of alien hunters, tonally much darker and more adult. He wants this to be part of the campaign universe to start the ball rolling on possible crossovers between games sponsored by the RPG club. So Torchwood becomes a meme throughout the season. Otherwise, business as usual, flying by the seat of his pants by giving players a lot of leeway with what their Story Points can be used for, while engineering an epic finale built from components peppered throughout the season.

The Players
-David is the new Doctor. Very enthusiastic about the game (in a way Chris was not), he wants his Time Lord to be a romantic lead and action hero and puts lots of points in the proper Skills and Traits. He comes at it as a fan of the website, having for a long time dreamed of joining the main game after doing a few things online (he played a UNIT Brigadier in a short UNIT campaign, for example).
-Billie is back for another season, but soon realizes this will be her last because there's nowhere for her character to go but down. She's already been a goddess (and liking the relevant ideas so much, developed a Special Trait to keep it in play, see her Character Sheet for more), and proven her love to the Doctor. She's got to go before they wind up playing house together. Convinced Rose would think of herself as a veteran by now, she tries to emulate the Doctor as much as she can, taking things less than seriously, trading emotional moments for pure fun.
-Noel played a couple games with Mickey in Series 1, and still means to only comes to occasional games, but asks to be included in at least a couple of real TARDIS trips. The GM promises, and intrigued by the idea of a character going from zero to hero, gives him extra character creation points when he thinks sufficient time has passed for the Mickey character in between the Doctor and Rose's adventures.

The Christmas Invasion. Before the series starts proper, Russell proposes the players get together on the holidays for a special Christmas-themed session, during which they can let their hair down, have a little implausible fun with egg nog in hand, and introduce this new Doctor. All three players agree, and David gets used to the mechanics (and accumulates the Story Points he needs to carry off his "heroic" Doctor) by allowing his Doctor to start life in a virtual coma. It's how he's introduced to Rose's crazy family (including Harriet Jones, now Prime Minister), which becomes his own. Robot Santas, killer Christmas trees, voodoo-using alien warriors over London... finally the Doctor wakes up, and David brings considerable wit to the role, using his shallow knowledge of how to play the character to question and build his Doctor up right there at the table, LITERALLY putting the final touches on his character sheet as play proceeds. When he loses a hand in a sword fight, let's just say he's pretty happy he hoarded Story Points earlier.

New Earth. The GM brings Cassandra the bitchy trampoline back from the dead in a tale of a hospital run by amoral cat nuns, actually giving his players a shot at PLAYING the "last human" as she jumps from person to person. That's why he needed a secondary villain, since he planned to effectively give them control of his main antagonist.

Tooth and Claw. Russell's mentioned Torchwood before, but now he gives the organization its origin in a "cut scene" shared with the players though their characters are absent, at Queen Victoria's order. His scenario features warrior monks and an alien werewolf who wants to bite Queen Vic. He notes his players have already established a great chemistry.

QUEEN VICTORIA
Attributes: Awareness 4, Coordination 2, Ingenuity 4, Presence 5, Resolve 5, Strength 2
Skills: Convince 3, Craft 1, Knowledge 3, Marksman 2
Traits: Adversary (Enemies of the British Empire), Authority Figure, Brave, Charming, Epicurean Tastes, Indomitable, Obligation (to Empire), Voice of Authority. Story Points: 12
Home Tech Level: 4 (Equipment: Handgun, Koh-i-Noor)


School Reunion. Time to throw a wrench into the works. The GM contacts two old players to see if they want to come and play a round, and they accept! That's how Lis returns as Sarah Jane Smith and John as K-9, investigating strange happenings at a school, where they join David, Billie and Noel. Amusingly, the girls decide to play up the "old boyfriend" angle and fight over the Doctor, while Noel and John similarly compare notes as recurring but not main players. It's a grand old time, and Billie asks Lis to stick around, in-game, though she must refuse, for now. Maybe later, she lets slip in Russell's ear. Noel will stick around for a couple of trips though.

The Girl in the Fireplace. David gets a chance to play romantic lead, finally, when the Doctor meets Madame de Pompadour, in a story that jumps across the years in a rather incredible use of time travel. Meanwhile, Rose and Mickey explore a ship guarded by Clockwork Men, so Russell has to skip back and forth between the two halves of the party. An intricate adventures that proves this group is just as interested in doing high drama as the one the GM had for the previous season.

Rise of the Cybermen/Cold Steel. Having had great success with resurrecting the Daleks, the GM decides to give the Cybermen a similar treatment. They're reborn in an alternate universe where, not coincidentally (Russell has to play up Rose's goddess Trait), an alternate version of Pete Tyler exists, just to torture Rose a little. Mickey gets to meet his alternate self as well, and after the big action finale, chooses to stay behind and continue to fight the Cybermen there. There are a lot of protestations about the universe being closed off forever, but one look at the GM's grin and Noel knows Mickey hasn't necessarily reached the end of his story yet.

PETE TYLER ("GEMINI")
Attributes: Awareness 3, Coordination 3, Ingenuity 5, Presence 4, Resolve 3, Strength 3
Skills: Athletics 1, Convince 4, Craft 2, Fighting 1, Knowledge 2, Marksman 3, Medicine 1, Science 3, Subterfuge 4, Technology 4 (AoE: Computers), Transport 2
Traits: Adversary (Cybermen), Charming, Code Breaker, Cutting Edge Technology, Distinctive (on his own world, Face in the Crowd on ours), Friends (Major; Preachers, his world's Torchwood), Technically Adept. Story Points: 12
Home Tech Level: 5


The Idiot's Lantern. A scenario set in the 1950s, with a television creature absorbing people. After a very bad roll, Rose spends an inordinate amount of time trapped in a telly. It can happen.

The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit. An exciting paranoid horror thriller in space, Russell creates a large cast of NPCs, the better to kill or possess them and in an old school move, takes the TARDIS right out of the equation. His villain is the Devil himself. While the Doctor goes down into the center of an impossible planet orbiting a black hole (where David really shows he understands this stuff), Billie is allowed to take control of the remaining Torchwood Archive team, and rises to the challenge, orchestrating a complicated escape-and-defeat strategy against the Devil's forces, a new and very cool alien race called the Ood. Both players rock it out in one of their most legendary game sessions.

Love & Monsters.
Russell wants to try an experiment, which his players agree to. He invites two new players, Marc and Shirley, to come and play, but does not have them meet the Doctor and Rose exactly. They're playing Elton and Ursula, people obsessed with finding the Doctor and tracking his appearances through history as a hobby. The style of play is very loose. Marc is asked how he might have reacted to this or that threat played out in past games, gets to recount how he met Ursula, and the two of them role-play the creation of an organized group (LINDA) dedicated to finding the Doctor. The GM improvises a monster that, in human guise, disrupts the group's activities and sends Elton on a mission to find Rose (he finds Jackie instead) and only the Doctor's intervention at the end saves the two guest PCs from death. David and Billie mostly wait patiently and help the new players with the mechanics, though they do stage a strange battle against an alien that Elton can "witness", going really absurd (though rolling for real) on the premise that outsiders wouldn't understand what's going on. All of this driven by lots of music played off Russell's computer. Perhaps because it's improvised and the monster shoehorned in (Russell even adapts a little nephew's drawing), the climax is quite ridiculous, but nonetheless, the players thinks this kind of "Doctor-lite" scenario is worth doing again, if only to introduce potential players to the game.

ELTON POPE
Attributes: Awareness 4, Coordination 3, Ingenuity 3, Presence 3, Resolve 3, Strength 3
Skills: Athletics 2, Convince 3, Craft 2 (AoE: Music, Videos), Fighting 1, Knowledge 2, Subterfuge 2, Technology 1
Traits: Amnesia (Minor; why the Doctor was in his house that day), Attractive, Charming, Face in the Crowd, Friends (Major; LINDA), Impulsive, Insatiable Curiosity, Lucky, Obsession (find the Doctor), Run for Your Life! Story Points: 12
Home Tech Level: 5 (Equipment: Video camera with remote control zoom)


Fear Her. His use of a child's drawing in the previous adventure, inspires the GM to build a whole scenario from the concept, with a young girl somehow trapping people (and eventually, the Doctor) in her drawings. Props make a world of difference in this.

Army of Ghosts/Doomsday. The big finale must end with Rose leaving the table for good, so Billie does this whole flash-forward this about the day she died, but in the end, she doesn't need to because she's taken to the parallel Earth where Mickey now lives (its inclusion gives Noel a chance to come back for some Cyberman-killing action). Russell surprises everyone by resurrecting the Daleks again, making them the big bad on top of the Cybermen AND Torchwood, so this is epic. The two main players follow suit in their farewell scene, making themselves tear up and everything. Billie's sure she won't come back, really sure. Sure? Yes, she's sure. What's that twinkle in the GM's eye then? Maybe it's just the cliffhanger twist he throws at David at the very end. A woman in a wedding dress in the TARDIS? What?!

But what about that other game Russell is working on? Stay tuned!

1 comments:

Craig Oxbrow said...

This explanation of Love And Monsters makes a great deal of sense.

 

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