“Clara, be my pal. Tell me, am I a good man?”

goodmanInto the Dalek’, written by Phil Ford and Steven Moffat, continues to explore the nature of the 12th Doctor via his enemies. In this case the story revolves around whether the fundamental nature of a Dalek can be changed. Can they be good?

It is a dark, brutal story in which people die and there is a pervading sense of futility. This ensures that it is a tense, exciting tale that shows once again why the Daleks are one of the greatest foes within the series.

SPOILERS FROM HERE ON IN!

The story starts with a shot not unlike that of ‘Star Wars’ with a tiny rebel ship fleeing a huge Dalek ship. The Doctor saves the pilot, Journey Blue, but not her brother. He makes no apology for this, telling her to stop crying and thank him.

This establishes, for this story at least, that this Doctor doesn’t mourn the deaths of those he can’t help. He is done dwelling on what more he could have done and expects people to be thankful for what he did do. He is practical and cold.

Taking Journey Blue to her hidden rebel ship  (after she says please) the Doctor is introduced to the rebels prisoner, a Dalek. The twist being that this Dalek is so damaged that it apparently become good.

The central concept of the episode is one that the series has explored time and time again, dating right back to ‘The Power of the Daleks’. ‘Dalek’ explored the notion that they could rebel against their own nature and ‘Victory of Daleks’ had them act as eager to please servants until the Doctor revealed it was just a ruse. The excellent 8th Doctor audio ‘Dark Eyes’ also has an extended sequence that explores this wonderfully.

The Doctor’s need to discover if there can truly be a good Dalek stems from his own doubts about his current nature. Picking Clara up from Coal Hill school he asks whether she thinks he is good, only for her to be unable to give him a definitive answer. The real question being whether he’d still have helped the Dalek if she’d been able to give him an answer.

In a plot development that they acknowledge is taken from ‘Fantastic Voyage’ (in itself already referenced in ‘The Invisible Enemy’) the Doctor, Clara, Journey and two other soldiers (Gretchen and Ross) are shrunk down and injected into the Dalek (the title isn’t a metaphor, you see).

Their transition through the blue membrane of the eye stalk is wonderfully trippy. It is only a shame that despite the Doctor’s assurance, we see nothing further within the Dalek that rivals this visual.

Being inside a Dalek is no less dangerous than being outside of one, as Ross soon learns. Having accidentally damaged the interior he is swarmed by floating antibodies (similar to the security drones in ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’).

This allows another demonstration of the Doctor’s nature. He throws a pill to Ross to swallow, who clearly hopes that this will save him. Instead he is disintegrated and the Doctor reveals that the pill he swallowed was radioactive and they can now track where his remains would be taken. The Doctor never intended to save him and instead uses the mans death to benefit himself.

The others confront the Doctor with this, as they subsequently find themselves in a chamber filled with liquidised dead. He makes jokes and tells them how the deaths of these people is a good thing (for them). For him so many people have died that one more doesn’t affect him.

Finding that the Daleks altered morality is due to a radiation leak the Doctor undoes the damage while the Dalek, now nicknamed Rusty, explains how seeing a star being born made it realise that for all the death his race has caused life would continue to be created. It was futile to resist life.

With the damage undone the Dalek reverts to its true nature, breaking free. Exterminating rebels it signals the Dalek mothership, revealing the location of the rebels. Once again the hopes of the Doctor have been dashed, the Daleks will always be evil.

Except Clara disagrees, slapping the Doctor for giving up hope. As the Daleks storm the rebels ship, exterminating everything in their path the Doctor and his companions make a perilous journey to reignite the spark that inspired Rusty to change sides.

This requires the sacrifice of Gretchen, something she does on the condition that something good come from her death. Tellingly this time the Doctor can’t bear to stay to watch her die.

The ill-fated Gretchen finds herself in heaven, greeted by Missy. In combination with the fate of the Half Face Man from ‘Deep Breath’ this further deepens the mystery of what is happening here. Is Missy collecting everyone that the Doctor is directly or indirectly responsible for killing?

With a plan made up on the fly Clara is able to successfully reactive the repressed memories from Rusty’s databanks as the Doctor gets up close and personal with the mutant, sharing his mind.

He hopes to show it the beauty of the universe but instead it hones in on his unending hatred for the Daleks. Influenced by the Time Lord it goes on a rampage, wiping out the invading Dalek horde.

The rebels have been saved but the Doctor isn’t happy, much to Rusty’s confusion. It looked within the Doctor and all it saw was hatred. This began with the Doctor trying to discover what type of man he is and he isn’t happy with the answer.

Despondent the Doctor returns Clara to Coal Hill school, 30 seconds after she left. Before she leaves she says that she doesn’t know if the Doctor is a good man, but that he tries and that is probably the point.

The message is that the Doctor isn’t perfect. There are many things that he does that could be considered bad and there are obviously great darkness within him him but unlike a Dalek he can decide for himself what he wants to be.

Capaldi and Coleman continue to impress. Peter Capaldi has the difficult job of having the Doctor being outright unlikeable in scenes but still shows his vulnerability (biting his thumb nervously as Gretchen asks him to justify her death) and Jenna Coleman bring patience and understanding to the role of Clara.

The supporting cast are also excellent. Zawe Ashton as Journey Blue takes us on an emotional rollercoaster, as her character looses a brother and is given no time to mourn before she is thrown into a dangerous mission in which her fellow soldiers are slain before her. At the climax she has to defy orders and put her faith in the unstable and callous Doctor.

It is shame that the Doctor doesn’t agree to take her with him at the end, based entirely on the fact that he wish she hadn’t been a soldier. The fact that Journey Blue is a rebel would suggest that she had no choice. It was either that or be a slave to the Daleks. Once again this Doctor decides what’s best for himself and not others.

The other actors playing soldiers are equally good. Colonel Morgan Blue, played by Michael Smiley, has ruthlessness to rival that of Capaldi’s Doctor. Ben Crompton as Ross and Laura dos Santos as Gretchen are minor characters but have enough of a presence that their characters deaths feel like they mean something.

This story introduces Danny Pink, played by Samuel Anderson, an ex-soldier and new teacher at Coal Hill school. He is an intriguing character, obviously tormented by his actions as soldier, shedding a tear when questioned if he had killed anyone who wasn’t a soldier.

I enjoyed the cutting back and fore between past and present as Danny beats himself up about what he should have said to Clara. It’ll be interesting to see what happens if he joins the TARDIS crew and actually does have the ability to revisit the past.

His introduction fits the larger theme of soldiers within the episode and that fact that Clara chooses him, knowing full well that the Doctor would reject him because of his background. It is only unfortunate that after an exciting start to the episode these sequences at Coal Hill school are rather slow, draining the momentum.

There were some problems with the episode. The central premise, that the Dalek was good, wasn’t really established for me. It still wanted to kill, just members of its own race. Even if they had established that it was good there was little they could do with it and even the knowledge that Daleks could be swayed wouldn’t do the rebels a lot of good in the short term.

Overall this was strong episode of self-examination. While there wasn’t much new introduced to the mythology of the Daleks they were well served in the story. The most important element introduced being that the Doctor began to define himself as an antithesis to them following their first encounter on Skaro.

I’m glad that this season hasn’t gone for any easy answers. The Doctor shouldn’t be perfect. A flawed character is much more interesting and makes the challenges he faces more real.

Is the Doctor a good man? We’ll have to see.

Posted in 12th Doctor, First Thoughts, Into The Dalek | Leave a comment

“You might say I’ve been doing this all my lives.”

allmylifeThe exciting climax of ‘The Day of The Doctor’ sees the Doctor recruiting his past and future incarnations in an effort to save Gallifrey. This continues the theme throughout the episode of planting a seed in the Doctor’s past so that it can reach its conclusion in the 11th Doctor’s present.

This time it is performing the calculations need to preserve the entire planet, which begins with the 1st Doctor. Not only are they doing the calculations but all 13th TARDISes are shown flying around the planet.

Such a gathering must be an extreme rare occurrence, if not unique. The laws of time would normally prohibit this but it must be more than that as since it is possible why did the Time Lords, in the midst of the Time War, not do something similar since it could potentially increase their forces by a factor of 12?

The obvious answer is that bringing your past incarnations into the conflict is a bad idea, since if they die you’ll die as well. It would also be disheartening for a Time Lord to try and recruit his future incarnations only to find he has none (since he is going to die in the war).

It could be that the Doctor is the first Time Lord to think of doing this. It could be such a social taboo, as dangerous, that no one has ever contemplated passing information back along their own timeline or tried recruiting their other selves.

The Doctors conversation in the Tower of London indicates that having the same Time Lord in close proximity runs the risk of a nasty paradox. From ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ we know that a paradox can be physically destructive to the surrounding area.

Having each Doctor in their respective TARDISes could reduce that potential for paradox. While the TARDIS has shown a reluctance to be near itself the distances shown here could be far enough apart to allow them to co-operate.

The Five Doctors’ show an example of how trying to have the same Time Lord in the same place can lead to destabilisation. If not for the efforts of Gallifrey the Doctor could have faded away completely.

The fact that the Doctor’s time stream is already in flux helps makes this possible, maybe in conjunction with the Moment. The 7th Doctor mentions crossing the boundaries that divide one universe from another so they might be slightly out of phases with each other.

In any case once the Doctor’s return to their proper place in their own time stream in all likelihood they would forget what had transpired. This is important to preserve their own personal history.

This still leaves how they were recruited by the other Doctors. This is something that can be used as a framework for a series of linked adventures featuring all the previous Doctors. Like the comic ‘Prisoners of Time’ each adventure could be a different Doctor and their own adventure, ending with them being contacted. Instead you might focus on the War Doctor, 10th and 11th Doctor seeking out their earlier versions.

Just how would the previous Doctors react to their future selves asking them to do something so dangerous? How would they feel about saving Gallifrey?

The 1st and 2nd Doctor were on the run from their own people. What could their future incarnations say to convince them to now help them? How would the 9th Doctor react to learning that there was a chance to undo the destruction of his world, since that guilt still burnt within him?

There is also a question of at what point in their personal timelines they are recruited. Since the 3rd Doctor is able to fly his TARDIS this must be at some point after ‘The Three Doctors’.

Someone must have given the 1st Doctor some guidance as he was never able to fly the TARDIS with such a degree of finesse (and the 2nd Doctor struggled on occasion). It could be that by linking minds they improved their piloting skills or that one of the other Doctors is remotely flying them.

The fact that the 7th Doctor changes back and fore between clips from the television series and the tv movie is either something we should overlook as the viewer or evidence that the Doctors were experience a collapse of the time differential.

The lack of companions in the images shown could indicate either that they are in another part of the TARDIS or they were left somewhere safe (after all, no need to drag them into the Time War as well). Still, it is a shame that the 4th Doctor didn’t have Romana aiding him. Her skills with the TARDIS could have come in very handy.

It is possible that the various Doctors met beforehand to discuss their plan. This could be the misty world that Clara finds herself in at the end of ‘The Name of The Doctor’. The 11th Doctor might just have mistaken them for ghosts, when in fact this was an event in his future and the previous versions were just trying to get away before he arrived and learnt too much about what was in store for him.

We don’t see the end of this assembly of Doctors either. The War Doctor, 10th and 11th Doctor are allowed their goodbyes and hints at the future. It could be that before this scene the other Doctors were present, each leaving one by one.

What would the Doctors ask about their future and what would they tell their past selves? What would they want to say to say to earlier incarnations now they have the chance? Which incarnation is each Doctor’s favourite?

You could use this rare occurrence to fit in more multi-Doctor adventures. It could be that they were dealing with something very important when they were called away and in return for helping their future selves they might want them to return the favour.

There could also be complications with each Doctor returning to their time streams. Different incarnations might end up going on an adventure together before they return home or one or more could simply go missing, forcing the others to go looking for them.

While this all centres on the Doctor and should not be an option for other Time Lord PCs you might allow them one very special occasion to do something similar. This is best done when you at least have an idea about what form each of their incarnations take.

Posted in 11th Doctor, day of the doctor | Leave a comment

“He trusted you. Are you judging him?”

deepbreathDeep Breath’, written by Steven Moffat, tackles the tricky post-regeneration story by focusing on both Clara and the Doctor attempting to understand who this new incarnation is.

Madame Vestra, Jenny and Strax are on hand to aide the transition with a Victorian adventure involving lost dinosaurs, clockwork robots and an intriguing setup for the rest of this series.

While I found some of the comedy moments misplaced (particularly a jarring cartoon sound effect) there is plenty of magic to be found in the new relationship between Clara and the Doctor, with some very creepy moments.

SPOILERS FROM HERE ON IN!

We’d long suspected that Peter Capaldi’s Doctor would be dark (if based on nothing more than those glaring eyes in ‘The Day Of The Doctor’). His initial scenes, confused and disoriented, had an edge of menace as he fails to recognise his friends recalling Colin Baker’s first scenes in ‘The Twin Dilemma’.

This establishes Clara’s own dilemma throughout the episode. She doesn’t know who this man is and, despite the reassurance of the Paternoster Gang, can’t accept that he is the Doctor.

The audience goes through the same process whenever a new actor steps into the role of the Doctor. Will we like them and by extension the show? Can they be different but still be the Doctor?

The new Doctor is put through his paces as the dinosaur he accidentally brought to Victorian London is burnt alive and the race is on to discover the culprit. During these early scenes the two time travellers are mostly separated, as the Doctor plunges into the Thames to solve the mystery on his own.

We see something of the Doctors turmoil, grappling to accept his new features. The fact that he won’t let a poor tramp go while he rants shows that he still dependent on having a companion to listen to him. We also see a ruthless streak that’ll resurface later as he demands the tramp give him his coat. He knows that whoever is without the coat will be cold but he doesn’t see why that person should have to be him.

Meanwhile Clara is interrogated by Vastra, where the Silurian accuses Clara of judging by appearances. Jenna Coleman plays the scene well, putting fire into her performance as she defends herself and points out Vastra’s own hypocrisy.

By the time the Doctor and Clara are reunited at the restaurant Mancinis they have more confidence in their own identity to stand their ground, airing their grievances with each other and both accusing the other of being egotistical.

This humorous scene neatly becomes very creepy when the penny drops and they both realise that neither of them sent the invitation that led them to the restaurant. The other diners are flesh covered robots, blocking their every move to escape on the chess board floor.

Beneath the facade of the restaurant is a crashed spaceship, containing the clockwork robots from ‘The Girl In The Fireplace’ (which the Doctor continually fails to recall). There are real elements of body horror here as it is revealed that they’ve spent centuries killing others for replacement parts.

Just when Clara needs the Doctor most, he abandons her, reasoning that there is no reason they should both be captured. Here we are introduced to another monster who has a rule you must follow in order to survive (much as not blinking will protect you from a Weeping Angel), namely that by not breathing you can fool the robots into thinking you are one of them.

This leads to an incredibly tense sequence in which Clara takes the titular deep breath and attempts to make her way past numerous flesh covered robots. She doesn’t make it and is soon dragged before their leader, the Half-Face Man (played by Peter Ferdinado).

The interrogation is a highlight of the episode. You can see the Half-Face Man calculating his next move even without the visual of the clockwork computer in his skull. Clara is terrified but uses her own experience dealing with an unruly class (an indicator that her home life isn’t perfect) to undermine the villain and extract valuable information.

Just as she proves how vital she is to the Doctor he rewards her faith by revealing he’d been with her the whole time, disguised as one of the robots. The fact that he had willingly worn the face stolen from another man speaks volumes about the lengths he will go to.

The Paternoster Gang (literally) drop in to save the time travellers, which the Half-Face Man makes a quick exit, only to find that the Doctor has followed him for the final showdown.

Here we see the personality of this new Doctor, finally stabilised. Capaldi is riveting, filled with anger, rage and a dread at what he has become. He knows that it has to end in the villains death but it is not something he relishes.

This scene sums up the crisis of the Doctor, as he uses the analogue of replacing the brush and handle of a broom so many times it is no longer the same broom and realises that it applies equally to him as it does the droid.

They are both the same but different, as the droid finds the big picture beautiful (as they float above London in a balloon made of skin) while the Doctor finds the beauty in the detail, the people.

It is deliberately left unclear whether the droid jumped (sparing Clara and the others from a gory death) or whether he was pushed. The steely visage of the Doctor gives nothing away.

With the menace averted Clara’s joy is shattered when she finds that the Doctor has left without her. There is still uncertainty in their relationship and it feels like he could leave her. After all she would be in safe hands of the Paternoster Gang and it wouldn’t be the first time the Doctor has abandoned a companion.

Thankfully the Doctor does return, in his new costume and redecorated TARDIS. Taking her back to the modern day Clara is still unable to reconcile her memory of her Doctor and this new version. That is until she receives a phone call from the 11th Doctor.

This delightful and emotional cameo from Matt Smith helps ease the transition. Both versions of the Doctor are worried about who this new incarnation is. The 11th Doctor, Clara’s friend, asks her to look after this new Doctor because he knows he will be scared.

Their relationship has changed and both are still trying to establish who and what they mean to each other. For the moment Clara will help the Doctor find that out in the memory of the man he was.

This reminds us that while this is a new chapter it is still part of a larger story. Dangling plot elements from the past are yet to be resolved, such as who gave Clara the Doctors number and who put the ad in the paper that drew them to the restaurant.

Part of this is hinted at as we find the Half-Face Man awakening in the promised land of Paradise that he hoped to reach, greeted by the mysterious Missy (played by Michelle Gomez).

This sinister, vaguely Mary Poppins-esque, character claims the Doctor is her boyfriend (shades of River Song) but there is something very unsettling about her introducing a villain into what she claims is heaven. This is an intriguing mystery to explore in the coming season.

There are missteps along the way (primarily early cartoonish comedy) and some scenes that could have been trimmed or removed (such as Strax’s medical exam whose purpose only seems to be to setup a similar examination at the restaurant).

While the Paternoster Gang might be overstaying their welcome, particularly when they belittle Clara or seem more familiar with the Doctor than the viewer, they have enough redeeming features to justify their presence.

Peter Capaldi does a great job in the role. He makes this Doctor his own (although I frequently saw traces of the 6th Doctor in the characterisation). We feel his compassion and guilt when the dinosaur dies. We see his intelligence, anger and darkness but also his vulnerability.

This was also a much stronger episode for Jenna Coleman and I liked this version of Clara more. She felt more fleshed out and realistic. Clara is stronger and can now take more of a lead in her relationship with the Doctor.

Moffat keeps the plot moving and is still able to juggle tonal shifts. While drawing heavily on elements from the past it still feels exciting. The strongest part of this is the uncertainty.

This Doctor is still unpredictable. That makes me want to see what happens next week even more.

Posted in 12th Doctor, Deep Breath, First Thoughts | Leave a comment

“You were just talking to me, I know. I’m a time traveller, figure it out.”

figureitoutThe Doctors need to get in the Black Archive but it is TARDIS proof. How do they do it? In ‘The Day of the Doctor’ the War Doctor realises they don’t actually need to land. They just need the ‘Gallifrey Falls’ painting to be in there so they can emerge from it, just as the Zygons did in the National Gallery.

In order to make sure that it is there they contact McGilliop by telephone and ask him to move it there, an example of the Doctor crossing over his own timeline.

Time travel fiction frequently does this, showing an event and then revealing that it was the characters future self that was responsible. The film ‘Time Crimes’ is probably the best example of this.

Doctor Who does it much less frequently. ‘The Big Bang’ has the most examples, with the future Doctor engineering his own escape from the Pandorica and again crossing his own path later so he can pretend to die and get into the Pandorica again when everyone is distracted. This was shown to be a special situation due to the collapse of time.

It could be that the presence of three Doctors created similar conditions but such actions are probably achievable normally.

The important thing is why the Doctor does it. He has no other option but to go back in time. Similarly PCs should only resort to this use of time travel if they simply run out of time in the ‘present’.

For example the PCs might have tried their best to counter a threat (and may have succeeded in stopping part of it) only to find out there was something they didn’t know about or that the there is a backup plan. They will not now have time to prevent the threat from happening.

Note that the Doctor didn’t change anything by his actions. We had already seen the phone conversation earlier in the episode. Everything that we saw happened still happened the same way. We just didn’t know that some time between that conversation and the Zygon attack McGilliop arranged for the transport of ‘Gallifrey Falls’.

If you do allow this type of action in your own adventures it should only be possible if the PCs don’t affect their own past or present. They can only use it to prevent something that happened, not change it.

The Doctors have the advantage of already being in their TARDIS when they decide they need to travel into the past (before the countdown reaches 0). If the PCs aren’t in their own time machine they will need to race to get there before the event they are trying to prevent occurs (or at least ensure they don’t know that it has happened).

This condition can require them to use stealth and can lead to amusing incidents where they are trying to keep outside the awareness of their previous incarnations. This is best done if they are interacting events that previous happened off screen. As long as nothing happens to contradict anything that happened on screen then the plot will still make sense.

In this way the PCs can revisit the events of the same adventure. To those around them the time travellers appear as if they are in multiple places at once. ‘Back To The Future 2’ has some good examples of how to revisit the same story but from a new perspective.

The PCs might be revealed to be responsible for things they experienced the first time round. The person an NPC is speaking to on the phone is their future selves, they are responsible for parking a car across a road to prevent the bad guys escaping or they are the ones who will sabotage the aliens doomsday weapon.

PCs could spend plot point to make this happen, making a note that they need to ensure this happens by travelling into their past. Taking to far and this could turn into the farce of ‘Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death’.

Such occurrences could arise naturally during play, with coincidence or luck affecting the narrative. The PCs don’t need to make sure they happen but if they find themselves in the past they could be revealed as being the source. The games master might even give a plot point reward for help close these plot holes.

When things go wrong the PCs might change their own past, or worse meet their earlier incarnations. There are ways around this, for example allowing history to be re-written, having one incarnation vanish (as in ‘Father’s Day’) or simply having the incarnations forget the encounter.

Something to avoid is the PCs creating a paradox. That is they shouldn’t bring something into the past to give to their earlier incarnations to eventually bring back into the past to give their younger self, whether that something be information or an item. In both cases it comes from nothing, existing only because of the loop.

Things get very complex when this type of time travel is used, which can be part of the fun. Care should be taken to make sure everyone keeps track of where various incarnations are and what actually happened.

What it can do is to give an adventure more scope. Rather than just one run through the PCs have to make two or more passes to ensure that everything is resolved to their satisfaction. Only a time traveller could achieve what they’ve done. This can make an adventure and their actions in it all the more special.

You don’t need to do this immediately either. You might return to the same adventure much later, revealing that there was a whole other side that they didn’t know about until know.

While this can complicate things further, as the players might not have  clear memory of what happened the first time, it could be an excuse to revisit earlier versions of a character, especially if the Time Lord PC has already regenerated.

For a good Doctor Who example of the Doctor crossing his own timeline read ‘The Festival of Death’. The audio ‘Flip Flop’ explores a similar idea with its own twist with the 7th Doctor experiencing events he has put in motion, although not the way you would think.

Posted in 11th Doctor, day of the doctor | Leave a comment

“The Black Archive. Highest security rating on the planet.”

vortexThe Black Archive, shown for the first time in ‘The Day Of The Doctor’, is mentioned on page 24 of ‘Defending The Earth: The UNIT sourcebook’. There it says it is situated at an undisclosed location in Central London. We now know that it is beneath the Tower of London.

A single security guard waits at the end of the tunnel to let visitors in but there could be more security checkpoints that we don’t see. It uses a lock and key rather than electronics, designed to keep the Doctor out (presumably to prevent the use of his sonic screwdriver).

The staff has their memories wiped at the end of every shift, so that a security guard that has worked there for 10 years believes that it is his first day. This is said to be done through a memory filter, implying that only specific memories are removed (so that they can continue to have private lives without fear of erasure).

This would only make sense if it is done to the staff responsible for protecting and maintaining the Black Archive, rather than UNIT scientists who come to study the devices stored there. Otherwise UNIT would never know what was stored there or be able to make any progress in studying the alien technology.

A key plot point is that the whole of the Tower of London (and not just the Black Archive) is TARDIS proof. The Doctor says that this is possible with alien technology and human stupidity.

This raises the possibility of other locations being impossible for a TARDIS to land in, not just on Earth but elsewhere in the universe. The perfect excuses to prevent players short circuiting the plot by simply materialising the TARDIS where you don’t want them to go.

The big question is how it does this. How do you stop the TARDIS from emerging from the vortex in a specific location? There must be some way to manipulate space-time or possibly find a way to make them a fixed point where the TARDIS didn’t appear.

Much of their security is to prevent the Doctor finding out about the Black Archive and getting in. Kate Stewart believes that the Doctor would not approve of their collection. Yet he is aware of certain things they do have, such as the Vortex manipulator and the Space-Time telegraph. All three incarnations of the Doctor (the War Doctor, 10th and 11th) confirm as much when Clara mentions it.

Either the Doctor isn’t as against UNIT having alien technology as they thought or they have something that he doesn’t know about that would make him very unhappy. What could be worse that the weapons of mass destruction and time travel device they already have?

Buried 20 feet beneath the Black Archive is a nuclear warhead, powerful enough to destroy the Archive, its contents and London. It was to be activated in the case of an alien incursion. Kate seems to do this manually but there maybe a way to do this remotely. It is unknown whether the 5 minute countdown is a default or if the time can be changed.

The contents of Archive are considered to be so dangerous with a Zygon estimating that with its contents they could conquer the world in a day. This gives us an idea of how powerful these items are, although UNIT scientists might not yet know how to operate them all.

Amongst their collection they do have some rather mundane items such as River Song’s shoes and Amy Pond’s windmill toy. It is hard to know why these would deem important enough to be placed in the Black Archive (or how they obtained footwear from the future).

The Vortex Manipulator is given as an example of something that not even their allies can know they have. It is unclear if Kate is talking about allies of UNIT or allies of Britain. They fear that if America got hold the Vortex Manipulator they would alter history (the implication being they would make themselves responsible for every great deed).

Since we know that there is an American branch of UNIT it is conceivable that the UK branch is keeping information from the rest of the organisation. One has to wonder what the consequences would be if they found out.

When Torchwood existed how did the two organisations deal with their shared desire to collect alien technology? Torchwood was dedicated to protecting the country but UNIT has a responsibility to the world. This could lead to some conflict between the two organisations which could be explored in an adventure.

Following the Battle of Canary Wharf did UNIT recover Torchwoods collection for the Black Archive? This could result in several UNIT themed adventures with PCs despatched to recover technology from other shutdown Torchwood facilities.

The Black Archive can be used in a variety of ways in your campaign. It can simply be a safe place for alien technology to go at the end of an adventure. The PCs can leave it to UNIT to clean up after them.

It can serve as a resource. If the PCs are in 21st century London and need some heavy fire power or advanced technology to take down the enemy they could requisition it from the Black Archive. UNIT may require a favour in return.

The PCs could work for the Black Archive, either as part of UNIT or freelance. They could be tasked with obtaining an alien artefact and ensuring it is safely transported to the Black Archive or they could be called in to study an new acquisition.

They could find themselves in opposition to the Black Archive, if they have alien technology that the PCs feel they shouldn’t have. This can lead to an elaborate heist as they try to overcome its security.

Enemy forces (alien or otherwise) could target the Black Archive. If they can get in and disable the nuclear warhead the whole world could be at stake. Are the PCs trapped on the inside or are they inside when the facility is captured?

In a worst case scenario the Black Archive could be haven or an ideal place to make a last stand if the city is overrun. The PCs would have to quickly work out what the technology does in order to defend themselves and possible repel the threat.

The destruction of the Black Archive (and London with it) can be a good way to establish how dire things are in a dystopian future. A massive crater, surrounded by ash and ruin, is a stark image. Can the PCs prevent this from happening?

The existence of the Black Archive can be something that the PCs discover during an adventure or something they retro-actively knew about. They might also find that they’ve been there before but had their memory filtered.

Posted in 11th Doctor, day of the doctor | Leave a comment

“It’s funny, isn’t it? If I’m Zygon then my clothes must be Zygon to, so what happens if I loose a shoe or something?”

whoiswhoIn ‘The Day of The Doctor’ the Zygons and the humans they are impersonating can’t remember who is the original and who is the copy. This isn’t the first time that ‘Doctor Who’ has explored the concept.

Most notably ‘The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People’ revealed that the Doctor and his ganger had swapped places, to test how others reacted. That same story also revealed that Amy was actually a ganger (although one remotely controlled by the real Amy).

Rory struggled with his identity in ‘The Pandorica Opens’ when he was resurrected as an auton. Despite his best efforts he was unable to prevent himself from shooting Amy. Not dissimilar to how some of the Cylon sleeper agents in the new ‘Battlestar Galatica’ were unable to fight their own programming.

These uses of identity work for the viewer because we are an observer. We aren’t in those character’s shoes and we can be tricked by appearances. Would we feel the same if we were inside their head?

In a roleplaying game a player assumes the role of a character. Their expectation is that they know who that character is. That they have all the knowledge that their character does in order to make informed decisions.

Revealing that they aren’t who they thought they were can have even more of an impact but must be treated carefully. The last thing you want is for the player to feel like they’ve been tricked.

This works best where their double doesn’t know they aren’t real. In this scenario the player shouldn’t be playing their character any differently than normal. When the truth is reveal the player and their character should be shocked.

If the double is a sleeper agent they might act completely normal until a key moment, in which case the games master takes over as it is unfair to expect a player to do something they disagree with. The player could resume control of their original character or they might take back control of the shape shifter once the personality they are copying returns.

The double might be just very good at impersonating others, while still retaining their own mind. In which case having a player take that role demonstrates just how good the double is. This is where players can feel they’ve been betrayed and that they’ve put others in danger because of information they didn’t have.

It is important to think about what your purpose was in having a player take the role of a double.

In ‘The Day of The Doctor’ it is about putting a character in the position of another,  because they don’t know who they are. They must believe that their double (whether it is the original or the copy) feels and thinks the same way.

This can give players a greater appreciation of those that they face. They might be alien but they are people (‘different casing, same software’). Going forward this might alter how they deal with others (looking for peaceful solutions rather than resorting to violence).

In ‘The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People’ it is about how people react to the double. What does it feel like to be treated differently because you’re an alien, synthetic or copy even if  you are? What does it feel like to treat someone else like that, even if they’re not?

This can challenge preconceptions. It can make a player character (and the player) realise that they do judge people on what they are, rather than who. It could also make them realise the hostility that their enemies usually feel.

The Pandorica Opens’ uses the change in identity for the purposes of horror. Rory is trapped in a nightmarish situation where he knows that he will kill the woman he loves and there is nothing he can do about it.

This can be a tense situation to put the player characters. If they know they will hurt others or do something that is repellent what will they do to stop themselves? Do they believe they have the willpower to overcome their programming or will they try to destroy themselves? Will their true nature let them?

Having a double assume the personality of the player character can be a tale of redemption. Could their influence change the double for the better, dissuading them from their evil plan or letting them overcome their instincts?

You should think at what point does the player assume control of the double. If your adventure starts in medias res, with the switch already taking place. By closing over the point at which the double began thinking they were the original you keep it hidden for the players.

The change might happen at some point during the adventure. This is more likely to catch the player by surprise. You just need to find a point for the switch to happen, such as between scenes.

If the player characters are already aware that doubles are involved in an adventure then the switch could happen when there is some confusion. Whether it be a temporary memory wipe or a blackout, you open up the possibility that characters have switched places and even the players can’t be sure who they are. This can increase the level of paranoia if the doubles have been shown to be hostile in intent.

Players will want to resume control of their original player character going forward. This is usually a good idea, unless you want to have something really shocking like killing the original and having the double continue in their place (which works best if there is very little difference between the two).

You should think about what happens to the double, which will primarily be determined by the players actions. Is their double destroyed, left behind to live in peace or could it join them in their travels?

You could leave their fate more open ended, so that the player characters don’t know what happened to them. They could return in the future (maybe the PCs hear about things they’ve done but don’t remember and have to wonder if their double or something they’ll do in their future) or act a replacement should a character die (always good to have a spare copy around).

At the end of the adventure the player might still not know if they are now playing the original player character or their double. This question of identity could be an ongoing character arc.

There are plenty of alien races that this would work with. Zygons are the obvious inspiration but also autons, faceless ones, Sontarran clones, Rutans, gangers. You can also create a new species or automaton capable of copying others.

Surprising players by having them take the role of doubles can be powerful but must be used sparingly. More than once and players will constantly be questioning just who it is they are playing.

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“Peace in our time.”

peacetreatyThe Day Of The Doctor’ could be an example of the first successful alliance with an alien race, thanks to the Doctor engineering it so both parties were concerned with making the best deal for all involved (because they didn’t know what side they were on).

The Doctor seems pretty convinced that this will work (and it is presented as being the conclusion of that particular plot thread), at least in the short term. This should be incorporated into any adventure set after this point so we should think about what form this alliance takes place.

The Zygons’ main priority is obtaining a new home but also a degree of comfort. Their placement in stasis was quite a gamble, as they had no way to anticipate how Earth technology would develop. It might have never achieved the level of advancement they needed or it might have become too powerful to overcome. They were lucky that they gained access to a stockpile of alien artefacts.

The concern voiced during the treaty is that the humans could destroy the Zygons, just as they did with the Sycorax in ‘The Christmas Invasion.’ For once it is the humans that aren’t perceived as trustworthy.

The British (and by extension the rest of humanity) would be concerned with whether they could support the introduction of the Zygon population. There does not seem to be too many Zygons within the paintings (since they are all empty and were able to hide by destroying a few statues) but there could be others in stasis elsewhere or aboard a refugee fleet (although how would they know when to arrive?).

They’d of course worry about an attack from a warlike species, especially as this contact was initiated through an invasion. Luckily the Zygons practice of keeping their human doubles alive will reduce the possible casualties already inflicted.

The key to this was the Zygons desire for comfort. If they have no desire for conflict (due to their experiences in the Time War) then it only matters that Earth provides an environment suitable to their needs. Their decision to emerge in the 21st century suggests that it is and they don’t need to alter it further (as they have attempted in the past).

The Zygons’ ability to shape shift would help maintain secrecy, as they could mix with humanity without being noticed. They already display the ability to assume the form of another without a captive. It is possible that they can assume a human form long enough when out in public, returning to their natural form when in private.

Alternatively they could assume the forms of those in comas or who are on life support (their biotechnology might actually help the patient). People could volunteer to ‘rent’ their form for a limited time.

Possibly a Zygon could learn to create their own original human form. This would remove the need to have a template to copy. Surely the Doctor could show them a thing or two about taking a convincing human shape.

From what we hear of the treaty (under Clara’s conversation with the War Doctor) it appears that the Zygons will share their biotechnology with the humans. Thus the humans can’t get rid of the Zygons without loosing the secrets of their science.

This could lead to a new wave of biological technology, used firstly by UNIT but which might eventually be used in the public sector. This creates exciting possibilities for the near future.

Adventures set in the mid to late 21st century might feature biological implants of all types (bio-punk rather than cyber-punk), computers with organic intelligence and living vessels (taking us a step closer to a TARDIS). Not to mention advances in genetics that could resurrect extinct species.

Whatever form the treaty takes it has to be so good that when both sides remember whether they are Zygon or human they still abide by it. If we assume that it is peace would be a fragile thing. There would need to be safeguards in place to ensure it is upheld.

The first step would be finding a place for the Zygons’ to live. With the current housing crisis this could be tricky, complicated further by a need to prevent people finding out the truth about them.

Due to their amphibious nature the Zygons could find homes in sections of water perhaps within their organic spaceships. The question would be whether they would find this comfortable enough.

There would need to be an agency policing affairs between Zygons and humans, ideally with agents from both sides. If Zygon is injured or murdered this agency could be assigned to investigate, to establish if it is was a violent attack and to punish the guilty.

This could be the basis for a buddy cop adventure or campaign. The victim could have been killed just for being an alien, they could have been killed by another Zygon (maybe hoping to stir up discontent between the races), killed by someone who didn’t know they were alien (maybe it was a robbery that went wrong) or it could be an accident.

The same agency might also be responsible for ensuring that the integration is working, checking up on those Zygons who have been placed in human society. Not only must they make sure they are maintaining their cover but they’d have to deal with tricky situations like what happens if a Zygon falls in love with a human who doesn’t know they’re an alien.

If the treaty did begin to breakdown both sides might resort to the same methods to restore peace, wiping the memories of those negotiating. Memory wipes could also be used to fully integrate a Zygon into a new human persona.

Adventures could be based around the development of new biotechnology. Can the humans use it responsibly? Would they become impatient with the rate in which were releasing the knowledge? Might the humans decide that they no longer needed the Zygons to advance their biotechnology, threatening a linchpin of the treaty?

As long as the peace treaty remains in the place the Zygons become a new potential race for the players to choose. A TARDIS crew with a friendly shape shifter onboard could be a real advantage, able to infiltrate the enemy or impersonate historical figures to ensure that history goes according to plan.

A UNIT campaign might introduce Zygon soldiers. They’d have their own natural weaponry and their shape shifting would be a real advantage for espionage. Zygons could also find themselves ideally suited for protecting targets, even assuming their form to act as a decoy.

It is up to you how long this peace does last. It might last forever or it might break down at some point resulting in a conflict (which you can centre an adventure around). Of course the Zygons might eventually find another world to settle on and call home once more.

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“Some day you could just walk past a fez.”

cybermenpictureUpon entering the Under Gallery the Doctor is so distracted by acquiring a new fez that he fails to notice a painting depicting cybermen. While he might have walked right past it, the day will never come that I will ignore such a interesting background detail.

The painting is clearly modelled on ‘The Raft of Medusa’ by Théodore Géricault in 1818 to 1819. The original depicts survivors of a shipwreck that occurred in 1816. The similarity between the two would indicate that within the Doctor Who universe that this was produced by the same artist (and either this is the original painting which Théodore was forced to repaint or ‘The Raft of Medusa’ doesn’t exist in this universe.)

The shipwreck occurred when the French frigate Méduse overtook three other ships in its convoy in attempt to make good time but ended up going off course by 100 miles and ran aground.

The ship held 400 people but only enough boats to hold 250. Around 146 men and one woman were forced to board a hastily assembled raft. They spent 13 days, parched, starving and driven to madness and cannibalism. A harrowing occurrence to be sure.

Géricault didn’t experience these events first hand but was so intrigued he set out to speak with those who survived. His research extended to studying dead bodies and having a detailed scale model of the raft built. It is clear that his painting was intended to capture the truth of what happened.

The version of ‘The Raft of Medusa’ puts the cybermen in place of the survivors. Their design suggests that they are the most recent version depicted in ‘Nightmare in Silver’. Just how did they end up in the 19th century in this pitiful position?

The only possible answer is time travel. This could be via the void (similar to the events of ‘The Next Doctor’), through their own time travel technology or possibly by stowing away on a TARDIS (their cybermites seem small enough to escape detection and capable upgrading people in the past).

Their presence on the ship could simply be one of opportunity (this is where their journey through time brought them) or it could be deliberate. The frigate was on its way to accept the British return of Senegal, with the French appointed governor on board.

The cybermen could have been there to disrupt this historic event (but making history occur much as it did in our reality) by preventing the Méduse from reaching its destination.

The blame for the ship running aground was placed upon it’s captain, Viscount Hugues Duroy de Chaumerey. Although lacking in sailing experience he’d been given the position due to politics.

It could be that other factors were actually responsible, such as having cybermen onboard. If the raft in the painting does depict roughly 147 cybermen then it could be that they were converted from amongst the 400 members of crew.

This could be the source of a tense game, with the PCs on the ship as a mysterious illness sweeps through those on board and people start to go missing (difficult on such a cramped ship). They discover that there aren’t rats on the ship spreading a plague but cybermats and cybermites.

The cybermen could take the ship deck by deck, adding more people to their numbers. Given how advanced these versions are there would be little to defeat them and desperate measures could be taken.

The ship captain could have deliberately had the ship run aground in the hopes of sending the cybermen to the bottom of the ocean. Little did he anticipate that the cybermen would be able to build a raft in time to affect an escape. Alternatively in the chaos of the cybermen attack the ship just went off course and crashed.

Were all those upon the raft cybermen or were there those left unconverted? This would be a very tense situation, akin to sharing a boat with a hungry tiger as shown in ‘Life of Pi’.

In this version of events the cannibalism attributed to the survivors could actually be reference to the cyber conversions or possibly the cybermen turning on each other to salvage parts to make sure that at least some of them survive (their main motivation).

If the painting is an accurate representation the cybermen are in a dire situation. This can be an interesting situation as the PCs might be able to speak to them without fear, since they are so close to dying. Defeat by the elements would the cybermen realise the error of their ways or would they be defiant to the end?

By the time the survivors of the raft were picked up by the ship Argus only 15 were left alive. That is still enough for the cybermen to be a danger. Would that be enough to pose a threat or would the crew of the Argus be able to defeat the weakened aliens?

Were all the cybermen lost at sea or was there a cover up? In either case the PCs could explore 19th century France to recover and eliminate any remaining evidence of the cyber invasion.

An adventure could centre on Théodore Géricault. The PCs could join the artist who sets out to produce a painting of survivors of a ship wreck only to discover that metal giants were involved.

If there was a coverup there could be forces who work against Théodore to prevent the truth from getting out. The PCs could protect him to ensure that his work is completed, at least so that the Under Gallery can come and put it safely away.

Géricault made a choice to paint an actual event that was considered a national embarrassment. He may have refused to hide the truth or paint something he knew was a lie.

In which case, if ‘The Raft of Medusa’ does exist in the Doctor Who universe, a forger would need to copy his style to provide the sanitised version of events. The same forger might have done other paintings and PCs might eventually recognise his style, putting them on the trail of other famous paintings they realise how been similarly sanitised.

You can explore both angles (the events on the ship and the production of the painting) by having the PCs discover that they were also present on the Méduse and must travel back to 1816 to ensure that the cybermen don’t succeed in their plan.

This is just one example of how you can take an actual painting and create an adventure by introducing aliens into the subject matter. This is even easier if the painting depicts an historic event.

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‘Welcome to the Under Gallery’

undergalleryIn ‘The Day Of The Doctor’ we are introduced to a secret location beneath the London National Gallery, the Under Gallery. The cover story is that it where Elizabeth the 1st stored all art deemed too dangerous for public consumption.

Later we learn that the primary purpose was to house the 3D paintings that contained the zygons and the ‘Fall of Arcadia’. We know that there are plenty of other pieces of art as well, including statues and a painting depicting cybermen.

This building serves as as another stockpile of potential adventures. The artwork, gathered over the centuries, depicted events from different eras for the player characters to investigate and some of the art might still be dangerous, as the zygons showed.

We only know that the criteria for an piece of art to placed in the Under Gallery was that it was ‘dangerous’ but the above examples show that they fall into two categories; that the art is dangerous in itself or that it depicts things that the public shouldn’t know about (like cybermen).

PCs sent to collect a piece of art might not know initially which category it falls into. Is that just a painting of a demonic alien or is it a prison for that entity? Is that surrealist landscape or a weapon to drive those who view it mad?

Certain aliens would blend in well within the museum. The Weeping Angels are the obvious example (particularly as I thought it was going to be them that had escaped the paintings when I watched the episode the first time) but so would the Silence (was Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ an attempt to depict them).

We know that the Under Gallery is looked after by the Curator (who may very well be a future incarnation of the Doctor) but what is the history of the building?

The National Gallery was founded in 1824 but they didn’t move to the current site until 1834 with construction being completed by 1838, so it was either built over the hidden Under Gallery, or like its counter part it was moved there from a previous location.

In contrast to similar museums in Europe the National Gallery wasn’t making existing Royal collections of art. Instead the British government purchased art specifically to be shown in the Gallery. While this made their collection much smaller it allowed them to draw from a wider range of artists.

It is unusual then that the Under Gallery began as a Royal collection and that it is now merged (or shares the same space) as art purchased by the government. This suggests that there has always been those within the government that have been privy to the on going agenda of the Royal family.

The National Gallery was already being criticised for having little room, since workhouses and barracks behind the building prevented it from expanding too far. They were also sharing the building with the Royal Academy until 1868 so fitting in another, hidden section, doesn’t seem feasible.

Much more likely then that the Under Gallery was a later addition. It would be much easier to explain the purchase and storage of paintings if this was done using the cover of the National Gallery. Presumably they used they sought out these art works from across the world.

The question of course is where was the Under Gallery for over two hundred years before the National Gallery? The most likely answer is that they were kept in secure locations owned by the Royal family.

We know that the Gallery contained more than just the Zygon pictures but did it grow before or after its move to the National Gallery? This allows the possibility of PCs encountering art collectors from the Under Gallery from the 16th century onwards.

Following the events of ‘Tooth and Claw’ was the Under Gallery affected by Queen Victoria’s dislike of the 10th Doctor and the formation of Torchwood. She couldn’t fail to notice the Doctor’s presence in the picture with Queen Elizabeth I.

There could have been a behind the scenes power struggle as Torchwood tried to gain access to the wealth of information the Under Gallery held about the Doctor and other aliens. They could have tried to take control and maybe they did, only relinquishing it when the organisation was all but shut down following the Battle of Canary Wharf.

During World War II paintings were evacuated from the National Gallery and taken to various locations in Wales. Unless the Under Gallery was very secure it is likely that they were similarly taken to other places.

Not only does this make them vulnerable to theft or damage during transport but there is an increased chance that members of the public could be exposed to them. This could happen by accident or when someone takes this opportunity to steal art from the Gallery and gets more than they planned for.

Churchill opposed the suggestion of taking them abroad (Canada was suggested) and they were appropriately (for Doctor Who) stored in a quarry. Since the Under Gallery could be outside of the authority of the Prime Minister (who might not have known of its existence) these dangerous pieces of art could find themselves smuggled to regions not affected by the conflict. Given Churchill’s knowledge of the Doctor it could be that he was all to aware of the Under Gallery and its importance, which could have affected his decision.

An unexpected advancement for the National Gallery was that the Keeper, Martin Davies, had the time to compile a catalogue of the works collected (since they weren’t on display and so he could easily reference them all).

A similar situation could occur with the Under Gallery. Until then it acted more as a prison, locking the art away. For the first time someone might actually be studying them and recording exactly what they have gathered.

This would be a very exciting time for the PCs to be around. Terrible secrets could be uncovered and great discoveries made. There is also the potential that will lower security and with all the pieces of art in close proximity something could be unleashed.

Amongst the long history of the Under Gallery we have the biggest mystery of all. Just where did the Curator find the ‘Fall of Arcadia’?

That is a story for another time.

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“It’s the fall of Arcadia, Gallifrey’s second city.”

arcadiaWhat we know about Gallifrey was expanded in ‘The Day Of The Doctor’ with the introduction of Arcadia. It offered a glimpse of life for Gallifreyans beyond the walls of the capital.

This can add background detail to the past of a Time Lord (who may have spent time in Arcadia), used to flesh out the culture of Gallifrey or as a setting for a pre-Time War or post-return of Gallifrey campaign.

We are shown not only Arcadia during the war but some idyllic times before (as the Doctor remembers the children playing). Both make it clear that the people who live there aren’t the usual high collared Time Lords that we are used to seeing.

Arcadia would therefore appear to be where the non-Time Lord population live, particularly since their children haven’t taken to the academy. Their woollen clothes and fabric hats all suggest a completely different culture.

We see a child with a rabbit doll, indicating that toys are part of their culture. It is unclear whether rabbits are native to Gallifrey or if the Gallifreyans are just aware of them and thought it would make a good doll.

The fact that there are so many children is hard to reconcile with Looms introduced in the Virgin range of books, along with the idea that in exchange for an ability to regenerate the Time Lords became sterile.

This could be explained if the average Gallifreyan is very similar to humans, having but a single life and having children normally. This would create a greater division between the Time Lords and the rest of the population.

It raises questions about how easy it is for a Gallifreyan to become a Time Lord. It could be that the Time Lords use looms to create new members of their House, preventing outsiders from joining their ranks.

If a Gallifreyan has an average lifespan then Time Lords have even more of an advantage, since they can live for hundreds of years. The planet would be ruled by an upper class that never changes while the rest of the population is prevented from changing. Stagnation would be inevitable.

sigilWe also see citizens with a Gallifreyan sigil on their necks. Do the Time Lords place these on the rest of the population to show who owns them?

It could be that each House or Chapter forces those Gallifreyans who work for them to display this mark. This could be important if there is political intrigue within the capital, to make sure that the person you were speaking to was loyal to you.

If there is a degree of ownership of the lower classes then Time Lords might be responsible for the actions of those beneath them. This can add further complications to the life of a Time Lord PC.

Having two very distinct classes of Gallifreyans, could explain the difference between the Doctor and his granddaughter Susan. He might have rescued her from Arcadia (possibly after the death of her parents). There could have been a social taboo or law that prevent different classes from socialising so they were forced to flee the planet altogether.

For all of this the War Doctor has memories of children smiling so the situation couldn’t have been terrible. The Gallifreyans were still living on the most powerful planet in the entire universe, protected by virtually god-like beings. They might have accepted everything else for the happiness it brought them.

The Last Day’ mini episode shows that the walls of the city is well defended, so the city is important. Quite possibly the city is responsible for all of the day to day running of the planet while the High Council in the capital concern themselves with galatic affairs.

It is in Arcadia that the War Doctor leaves his message of ‘No More’ but why did he come here? Why was this the place to leave such a message?

That all depends on whether the Time Vaults are in Arcadia or the capital. One would imagine that the Time Lords would keep the vault close to them but maybe that would be too obvious and so they keep them it in Arcadia. It could also be that you’d need to be a Time Lord to get in and so placing it amongst simple Gallifreyans decreases the chances of unauthorised personnel getting in. The more cynically minded might also suggest that since the Omega Arsenal contains weapons of mass destruction they’d want to keep it far away from them.

If it is in Arcadia then this explains why the War Doctor was there, leaving his message before or after he obtained the Moment. He left it in Arcadia simply because it was most convenient.

If the Time Vault is in the capital then the situation is more puzzling. If it is before the War Doctor stole the Moment it seems an unnecessary delay (unless it is a distraction). If it is afterwards then the Doctor might be taking one final look before killing everyone, which could mean that the place was important to him.

The city must have had some level of strategic value as the Daleks were throwing a lot of forces against it. If the capital was the only important part (and eliminating the Time Lords would pretty much end the war) then this would be a waste of resources.

Could it be that Arcadia is where TARDIS’ were grown? Since they are living things which grow then a non-Time Lord could be tasked with ensuring they provided the nutrients they needed and watched over. This could take several lifetimes for a Gallifreyan, which would be a blink of an eye for a Time Lord.

This all makes Arcadia a way to explore another side of what life was like on Gallifrey. As only its second city there are plenty more spaces on the map to create other locations that can reveal further facets of the Doctor’s home world.

Posted in 11th Doctor, day of the doctor | 4 Comments