A Cursory Look at the Doctor Who RPG - Capaldi Edition

Still waiting for the hardcopy, but I do have the pdf of Cubicle 7's new edition of their award-winning Doctor Who RPG. I've had the original (Tennant) box since it came out, and played two whole seasons of the game, but didn't feel the need to "refresh" my books when the 11th Doctor edition came out. I got the pdf "update" for the extra adventures and stats, but that's it. Nor did I splurge on the 50th Anniversary Limited Edition release. The 12th Doctor edition, however, appears to be a major redraft (if compared with the original, of course, I think it's probably very close to the Limited Edition), incorporating elements that have cropped into the game in various sourcebooks, and even changes the game's name. Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space, or DWAITAS, is a mouthful, it's true. Does the streamlined name herald a streamlined game? Here are a few early reactions based on my cursory perusal of the new book.

1. The example of play is amusing because the players are named after the actors, but aren't playing their usual characters. Jenna is the Doctor, for example, and Samuel (so Danny Pink) is Clara, while Peter is the GameMaster. I thought that was clever.

2. Though the sections are similar and the rules haven't changed that I can see, all the titles and examples make use of Capaldoc's best lines from his first season. 90% of the images are likewise from there (and yet, it's the few pics from Classic Who that make me squee inside). Book looks gorgeous. The original box was a little heavy-handed, graphics-wise, and the game's become more elegant with each passing edition.

3. Many Traits (Gadget Traits and Alien Traits as well) designed for other sourcebooks have made it into the core rules, but there isn't anything completely new there. Of the ones excluded, I would have thought Inspiring Love would have been part of the book given Clara and Danny's relationship though.

4. There are very few new rules, and only optional ones at that, most notably discussion on the way Clara uses the TARDIS' telepathic circuits and an optional Drama Die rule suggested for those who don't like calculating levels of success and failure, but I wouldn't take on that kind of randomness. Overall, the rules are better laid out and easier to find, and that made me discover (or rediscover) bits I wasn't using, but kind of should.

5. Obviously, the threats from Capaldi's first season are the ones showcased in the book: The Clockwork Robots from Deep Breath, Cybermen and Daleks (but also Dalek Antibodies and Sleeper Agents), Missy, the Boneless, the Teller, Robot Knights, Silurians (by way of Madame Vastra, but squeeee classic Sea Devils as well), Skovox Blitzer, Sontarans, Spider Germs, and Weeping Angels (who do no appear in Season 8, but are in one of the new adventure scenarios presented). No Mummy or Christmas face huggers?

6. The two new adventures look fun. The first has original monsters, and the second uses good old standards. Both are much more detailed than things like Arrowdown and Judoom! and feel less like outlines than those original scenarios. They're making me want to start up my DWAITAS Doctor Who RPG campaign again!

7. The character sheets provided include the 12th Doctor, Clara, Danny Pink, Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint, Strax, Kate Stewart, Osgood, Saibra and Psi from Time Heist, Courtney Woods, Rigsy, Robin Hood, and Journey Blue. Quite a big load of companions and allies. Normally, I wouldn't be interested in Courtney (a real pain on the show), but a playtester told me he recommended one of MY ideas for her sheet and there it is!
"Obligation (Still at school)" is a mechanic I invented to model Sarah Jane's kids in my "Seasons of DWAITAS" write-ups on this very blog! Well. I feel like I've got a drop of royal blood, all of a sudden. ;-)

8. I'm not going to lie. I would have liked to see some broader changes or additions. Not changes, mind you, but expansions. Tech Levels, for example, still don't take into account how certain civilizations could have advanced expertise in genetics, while still not being space-faring. The case of Craft being much too all-encompassing isn't addressed, and I would have liked a sort of reverse-Area of Expertise there to specialize characters in certain facets of a skill to the exclusion of all else. I'm okay with the characters and monsters stated out, but Santa Claus might have been nice too.


Craig Oxbrow said...

You're famous!

Siskoid said...

Well, I think I was already this level of famous ;).

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Craig's right! You are internet famous now! You've almost convinced me to pick up this new edition. Are there significant differences between this new edition and the 50th Anniversary edition? I've been thinking of picking up that edition too, but don't want to get both. I'm more inclined to get an edition with Matt Smith & David Tennant, if they are really similar.

And if we're talking about contributions to the Doctor Who Role-playing game...

Still squeeing six years later..

Siskoid said...

From what I hear, they're very similar. They've changed chapter headings, monsters and character sheets, and the adventure scenarios, little else (a new gadget here, a new paragraph there, based on Capaldi's season). So if you'd rather have a Ten/Eleven/WarDoc book instead, one could hardly blame you. It was a limited release and out of print, but if you know where to get one... And Cubicle 7 always publishes pdfs containing the material unique to an edition, so either way, you're covered.

Anonymous said...

What I'm not keen on is that while DWAITAS works beautifully for running something like the Doctor or Sarah Jane style games, there's never been a mention on changing it up for running something more like a UNIT or Torchwood game, where talking is not always rule #1. sure it could be as simple as swapping the initiatives around. But I've never seen anything in print to back that up.

Any other folks here adjusted the encounter rules when it comes to something less Doctor-ish?

Siskoid said...

The UNIT sourcebooks did add the Five Rounds Rapid Trait which allows you to shoot first and ask questions later. I'd have to check, but C7's other "Vortex" system games are more combat heavy and probably have what you're looking for.

Primeval is most like Torchwood in set up (and not a bad monster sourcebook at that). It's initiative goes like this:
-Fast creatures
-Normal speed creatures (like humans)
-Slow creatures

And within each group, in order of highest to lowest Coordination. That's a pretty easy plug-in.


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