Doctor Who RPG: Sarah Jane Adventures Series 2

On the occasion of completing reviews on Sarah Jane Adventures' second 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 4.)

The GM
Phil is taking over Gareth's duties, and the kids immediately take to him, which is really important when GMing for a pre-established group of young people. His approach is to bring back old enemies and keep building a strong rogues gallery. He treats Lis as a partner, both intent on giving young role-players the best possible experience, and will exploit her connections with former players to give the group the opportunity to meet veterans and reconnecting with old friends. His Mr. Smith is a little more personable than Gareth's was, but that was easy to explain thanks to Alan Jackson's hack from the previous series finale.

The Players
-Lis enjoys the new working relationship and mentions she'd like to explore Sarah Jane's origins, specifically why she was raised by an aunt, which Phil pounces on.
-Yasmin has decided to quit playing regularly to concentrate on her last year of school, which no one begrudges her, though they do convince her to play one last scenario with Maria.
-Tommy sees Maria's departure as fertile ground to give Luke a subplot. He intuits that his character has never known a time when he didn't know Yasmin's character so should be hardest hit.
-Daniel, inspired by Lis' mentions of her lost parents, also asks the GM to get Clyde's parents into a scenario, and provides a backstory to help Phil make it happen. He wants to give Clyde some new talent and puts a point in Craft (Drawing).
-To replace Yasmin, the group recruits Anjli, who creates Rani Chandra, the girl who moves in across the street in the Jackson house. She's to be a little more reckless than Maria was, a curious girl who wants to become a journalist and has all the qualities required to join the team. Her parents are a collaboration with the GM. They make her mother Gita a bubbly florist and her dad Haresh the school's new head teacher, which should give more of an incentive to set scenes at the school.

The Last Sontaran. The various groups operating in the club's shared universe share notes all the time, so players in one game have access to what happened in another. The GM uses the main campaign's Sontaran story as an excuse to design a Sontaran survivor who tries to get revenge on Earth but runs afoul of the PCs. This is to be Yasmin's last game who makes her character move to America with her dad. She's sad to go, and the group is sad to see her leave, which will really inform their characters in the sessions to come. Joseph who once came in to play Maria's dad Alan, returns so Yasmin's entire extended gaming family is present to say goodbye, and he gets to handle the former Mrs. Jackson and arrive on the scene in the nick of time.

Attributes: Awareness 3, Coordination 4, Ingenuity 4, Presence 4, Resolve 6, Strength 6
Skills: Athletics 2, Convince 3, Fighting 4, Knowledge 2, Marksman 3, Medicine 1, Science 4, Subterfuge 4, Survival 4 (AoE: Tracking), Technology 5, Transport 3
Traits: Adversary (Rutans, Sarah Jane Smith), Alien, Alien Appearance, Brave, Code of Conduct (Sontaran honor), Distinctive (Kaagh has an ugly scar that sets him apart from other Sontarans), Outcast, Tough, Weakness (probic vent). Story Points: 12
Home Tech Level: 7 (Equipment: Armour [5; Invisibility], Sontaran Pistol [4/L/L], Neural control implants [Control (Major)], Communicator [Scan, Transmit, can also recharge sonic weapons)])

The Day of the Clown. To introduce Anjli's Rani (none of them realizing this was the name of a main campaign recurring villain), the GM makes her one of the few characters (along with Clyde) with the ability to see a creepy clown, modern incarnation of the Pied Piper (adapting his Hamlin idea to the clown phobia Lis put on her sheet), abducting kids at the school. This gives her a perfect entry into the scenario, and a reason for the other players to seek her out and get involved as well. Lis and Tommy resist the inclusion of a new team member, exploiting their bond to Maria. Daniel decides Clyde would actually nurse a little crush on Rani instead.

Secrets of the Stars. Inspired by an old game Lis had played in - the one about an astrological entity called the Mandragora Helix - the GM started out writing a scenario with that very creature, but then thought better of it and made it an original alien (the Ancient Lights) so he could better make the details his own. Allowing the players to choose their own star signs, he then built his event map around those choices.

MARTIN TRUEMAN (possessed by Ancient Lights)
Attributes: Awareness 5, Coordination 2, Ingenuity 4, Presence 5, Resolve 3, Strength 3
Skills: Convince 5, Craft 2 (AoE: Stagecraft), Knowledge 3, Marksman 1, Subterfuge 2
Traits: By the Horoscope, Charming, Empathic, Hypnosis (Special), Natural Weapon/Starblasts [3/6/9], Obligation (to Ancient Lights), Precognition, Psychic. Story Points: 8
Home Tech Level: 5

The Mark of the Berserker.
As promised, Phil builds a module around Clyde's family, specifically the return of the father who abandoned their family five years before. In addition, he must juggle the inclusion of Yasmin who will be tuning in on Skype, to her old friends' delight. This is why you want a veteran player like Lis as a partner. To make sure the spotlight is on Clyde and that Maria has a strong role to play, she chooses to "leave town". Still gets a couple scenes chasing an alien slug, just to set the stage, but is really only at the table to support the efforts of the GM, run the Skype chat, and so on. And the kids prove to be resourceful enough that she doesn't really need to swoop in at the end!

Attributes: Coordination +2, Presence +1, Strength +2
Skills: Athletics +1, Fighting +2
Traits: Add Alien Appearance, Frenzy, Hypnosis (Special), Obsession (assembling an army). Story Points: No change.
Home Tech Level: No change (Equipment: Berserker pendant)

The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith. One of the villains Gareth introduced as GM was the Trickster, and Phil naturally wanted to bring him back. Perfect for doing a bit of time travel and solving the mystery of Sarah Jane's parents. Lis lets herself be tricked (Story Points ensue), which allows Phil to create an alternate timeline for the kids to run around in (and solve the puzzle from a different era). It gets pretty emotional as history must necessarily get back on track, which is always the mark of the best gaming sessions.

Enemy of the Bane. For his finale, Phil brings in two old foes. Kaagh the Sontaran, his own creation, and Mrs. Wormwood of the Bane from the very first game of the campaign team up to take control of the universe, but what's really special is that through Lis, he's invited and old player to sit in. It's Nick who's come to play the Brigadier one last time and share old stories with younger players. He lets them have most of the action and is quite content to participate in talking scenes and such. He and Lis played together all those years ago, something the kids find quite inspiring.

From Raxacoricofallapatorius with Love. Though the series is technically over, the RPG club sometimes asks players to demonstrate their characters and play style at open meetings and recruitment drives. It's in that context that the group plays a short scene in which a Slitheen "dressed" as comedian Ronnie Corbett shows up in the Attic and tries to steal K9. The tin dog's old player John is on hand to chime in, and everyone plays it for laughs, convincing other club members their junior campaign is doing quite well, thank you.

Phil is already hard at work on the next cycle of his campaign...



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