On the occasion of completing reviews on Class' 1st series, I should like to re-imagine it as a role-playing game campaign using Cubicle 7's Doctor Who RPG. (Go back one, to Doctor Who Series 9.)
Steven is taking a break and not using the club's gaming room so much, so he encourages his friend Patrick to run a game set in the club's shared universe. Patrick chooses Coal Hill School, a setting that's been a part of the campaign notes since the very beginning and lately where outgoing player Jenna had her character working. The fact that people keep disappearing from there due to space-time events gives him the idea of making the school a nexus for interdimensional rifts. Players are invited to make students and teachers (most pick students) and are informed the tone will be adult, sexy and violent. He hopes to explore themes associated with puberty, how everything is emotionally heightened, and encourages the players to give their PCs juicy traumas to explore, and prefab NPCs (family and friends) he plans to absolutely DESTROY to make his world's lethality come across.
-Greg's ambitious. He decides to make an alien Prince called Charlie, the sole survivor of his people (Patrick immediately decides the villains he's developing are responsible), hiding on Earth, a fish out of water at Coal Hill Academy, finding his way in our world while praying he can one day reincarnate his people using an artifact called the Cabinet of Souls, which could also serve as an extinction weapon. Over-powered? Patrick allows it because he has a dark idea.
-Sophie will play April, a "cheerleader" type with more depth than immediately apparent. She's a folk musician, a father in prison, and a mother in a wheelchair.
-Fady decides to be the jock of the group, a footballer, jokester, Sikh, and charmer. He's called Ram.
-Vivian plays Tanya, a brainy kid three years younger than everyone else and a whizz kid when it comes to science (though she doesn't take Boffin). She figures high Science skill will help in sci-fi setting. Her family is still reeling from her father's death a couple of years ago.
-Katherine is the only player to make a teacher, and she works with Greg to design Miss Quill, an alien from Charlie's planet but from an enemy species, a freedom fighter aligned against the royal family, punished with an "arn" in her head that keeps her from using weapons and forces her to serve the Prince. As a teacher, she is a growling, snarling maniac who simply hates being on Earth. She really goes for it too.
For Tonight We Might Die. The players start not really knowing each other, at the start of the year. Patrick introduces the Shadowkin, who destroyed Charlie and Quill's world and have found themselves on Earth. The stakes are spelled out very clearly during Fall Prom, as the Shadows kill Ram's girlfriend in front of him and hack off one of his legs (it'll get fixed, but Fady already has to put one rank of the Unadventurous Trait!). April is likewise maimed, her heart beating in two places, one of them the Shadow King's chest. To help put the group at ease, fix that leg, and give the players a campaign mission, Peter, the Doctor's player in the main campaign, sits in and shows up at the end. A notable NPC is born when Greg decides Charlie is either gay or doesn't understand the concept of gender, and asks a male Polish student called Matteusz to the prom. He and the GM will keep this relationship in the forefront until the last session of the "series".
CORAKINUS THE SHADOW KING
Attributes: Awareness 3, Coordination 3, Ingenuity 3, Presence 4, Resolve 4, Strength 5
Skills: Convince 3, Fighting 4, Knowledge 2, Subterfuge 5
Traits: Alien, Alien Appearance, Armor (5), Arrogant, Authority Figure (Shadow Kin), Clairvoyance (he is connected to April MacLean and can make Awareness+Resolve rolls to learn information from her), Code of Honor (Major: Shadow Kin), Dependency (Major: He shares a heart with April MacLean, so she cannot die lest he does), Fear Factor 2, Five Rounds Rapid, Immaterial (Shadow Kin can turn into shadow without substance, allow them to hide inside people's shadows, or turn into dark clouds), Natural Weapons (as dark clouds, the Shadow Kin can cause 4/L/L damage to any living being it touches), Special: Shadow stuff (Shadow Kin infect people with shadow that binds them to that Shadow; if the Shadow is killed, the bound shadow stuff will cause the host to die, or lose the use of the affected body part), Voice of Authority, Vortex (Shadow Kin can seep into other planes through interdimensional cracks), Weakness (Major: Bright light causes 4/8/12 damage to Shadow Kin each turn). Story Points: 6
Home Tech Level: 2 (Equipment: Swords, +3 Strength, can be summoned out of thin air from shadow and act as extensions of the Shadow Kin's powers)
The Coach with the Dragon Tattoo. The GM is happy to see the players get what he's trying to do when they decide to concentrate on their collective trauma following the events of the prom, Ram's especially. The team goes up against a killer tattoo living in the football coach's skin, and its mate. They handle the situation like they were shown by Peter in their first session, i.e. by making the best use of the game's initiative rules and TALKING the monsters to death. The school's headmaster is killed however to make way for a new idea Patrick has had, and he's already set things into motion by giving Quill a subplot about a robot inspector.
Nightvisiting. Patrick declares that this is the 2nd anniversary of Tanya's father's death and sends his "ghost" to talk to her. Or actually, an alien entity that mimics the souls of the dead at the end of its tentacles, trying to lure you into its embrace. Other PCs also get visits, but don't all react the same, and it's Vivian who essentially gets the kill shot.
Co-Owner of a Lonely Heart/Brave-ish Heart. It takes two sessions to resolve this major adventure scenario as on the one hand, April starts "feeling" the Shadow King on the day her father is released from prison, plot that ends with her going to the Underneath and defeating him so she can order them to never come to Earth (the GM wrangles his villain's survival, but just, as he has further plans for him), while on Earth, the new headmistress offers Quill a deal on behalf of a mysterious Board of Governors to get the arn out of her head if she helps destroy vampiric flowers threatening to make the human race extinct. A LOT happens, including the players making Ram and April an item, April getting Shadow powers with which she heals her mother, and Charlie is almost forced to use the Cabinet of Souls on the flowers and waste its power.
Attributes: Awareness 5, Coordination 2, Ingenuity 5, Presence 3, Resolve 3, Strength 2
Skills: Convince 4, Knowledge 7, Marksman 2, Science 3, Subterfuge 3, Technology 4, Transport 3
Traits: Authority Figure (Coal Hill Academy), Cutting Edge Technology, Dark Secret (who the Governors' benefactors are), Friends (Major: Board of Governors), Insatiable Curiosity, Menacing, Obligation (Major: Board of Governors), Photographic Memory, Voice of Authority. Story Points: 8
Home Tech Level: 5 (Equipment: Anything the Board of Governors decides she needs)
Detained. Katherine's different circumstances almost always force her to play scenes alone, so the GM arranges for the "kids" to play one session without her while she resolves her outstanding subplot/quest for freedom in another. To make it happen, they're given detention that turns the class room into a pocket dimension where their Resolve comes under assault by a mysterious Prisoner inside a glowing stone, and are forced to tell dark secrets about themselves to get enough clues to escape. The players are so in tune with their characters' personalities, they try to destroy their friendships on purpose, just to have something interesting to play!
The Metaphysical Engine, or What Quill Did. So Katherine has someone to bounce off of, the GM brings a one-shot player into her quest - Chiké will be playing Ballon, a shapeshifter frozen in human form and also on a freedom quest. Over the course of this session, which sees the PCs use a metaphysical engine to visit mythical realms (essentially heavens and hells), fight various gods, and end up inside the Cabinet of Souls itself. The chemistry between the players leads them to become lovers, which, along with Patrick's opinion that everything comes at a cost, including Quill's freedom, and some of the information Katherine has dropped about her species' reproduction cycle (he lets the aliens create their cultures with random references), makes him declare, with a smirk, that Quill got pregnant. Sadly, Ballon dies during the adventure, but he was more or less planning on it since he was not continuing with the game.
Attributes: Awareness 4, Coordination 5, Ingenuity 3, Presence 3, Resolve 3, Strength 5
Skills: Athletics 2, Convince 3, Fighting 4, Knowledge 3, Marksman 2, Medicine 4, Subterfuge 2, Survival 4
Traits: Alien, Distinctive, Eccentric (Minor: Shapeshifter's wisdom), Last of My Kind (Lorr), Quick Reflexes, Sense of Direction, Shapeshift (Major; does not start adventure with this Trait), Tough. Story Points: 8
Home Tech Level: 5
The Lost. Time for the series finale. The players feel a bit cheated when the Shadow King returns, citing loopholes and killing several members of their supporting cast. There's many a look of "Dude." around the table. This time, Charlie DOES use the Cabinet of Souls, though the GM's pile-up feels like he's been railroaded into it. To his surprise, his favored NPC Matteusz isn't one of the fallen, though April is! The game does allow you to return from death and become Unadventurous, but Patrick throws Sophie a curve ball by having her wake up in the Shadow King's body. And what about the Board of Governors? Patrick has definite plans about that which tie into one of the core campaign's most frequent enemies...
But will they play another series? The group disbands for the busy winter semester and most being at that age when you move away from home, whether for college or work, there is some trepidation on their parts. Patrick hopes to entice them back with his loose ends and cliffhangers, but he hasn't gotten a definite yes from them yet!