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.


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine