“And I name you The Boneless.”

DW 12 Ep9In ‘Flatline’ the Doctor encounter an alien race from a two dimensional plane. Until now the very existence of such a dimension was only a theory and this would appear to be the visit contact that anyone has made with such beings.

The Doctor eventually name them Boneless but there is much about them that is still a mystery. Through much of the episode there is a question of their motivation, with the Doctor hoping that they are just explorers who don’t realise the harm they are causing. By the end the Time Lord has come to the conclusion that they are monsters and banishes them.

The Boneless initially manifest as several flat creatures that slither along flat surfaces. We might assume that each line is an individual member of the species and that they hunt in packs but it could equally be hordes of small entities assembled in a line or one single organism.

By the time that the TARDIS arrives people appear to have been disappearing in Bristol for several weeks, enough time for makeshift memorial to be placed at the underpass and for people to think that the police were never going to investigate.

The first incident occurs at the home of Mr Heath. Later the disappearances are confined to the Estate. Mr Heath is the first person reported missing but that doesn’t mean there weren’t victims before him. The Boneless might have first made contact with animals before moving on to humans.

We know little about Mr Heath. Was he the first victim by chance or did he do something that attracted the attention of the Boneless? Could it be that he made contact with them first or deliberately brought them into a higher dimension.

There is no evidence to indicate that he was a victim of the Boneless, only that he is missing. Certainly there is no indication that he was dissected. This could lead to future encounters involving the mysterious Mr Heath and the other horrors he brings into our world.

After Mr Heath why did the Boneless turn their attention to the estate? Could it be that the higher population density of humans in the region was more suited to their needs? The cross section of humanity could have helped them understand how three dimensional beings live.

PC Forrest learnt to her peril that the Boneless were still infesting the home of Mr Heath. Could it be that they never left? This could mean that the Boneless at the Estate are a different group of explorers or that consuming Mr Heath allowed the Boneless to procreate, sending their new spawn to colonise a new area.

The Boneless don’t just kill people at the estate. They manifest what appears to be graffiti depicting tire traces and hand and foot prints. The Doctor later theorises that this was an attempt to communicate, since these tracks are how a two dimensional being would view our world.

If the Doctor is correct did the Boneless perceive these 2D symbols before or after they breached the 3D dimension? If it was before it is possible that the divide between worlds is thin, that the Boneless had seen these traces of our world for eons. If it was after it could be that their world is entirely separate from our reality.

Did the Boneless manifest these images before or after they began absorbing people? Could it be that they were testing to see if the humans were intelligent and when they didn’t get a response move on to an experimentation phase?

We know that Rigsby was at least one graffiti artist on the estate. What would the Boneless have made of his marks on the walls? Could this have been perceived as an attempt at communicating? Might the graffiti have been interpreted as a threat? Certainly those Boneless posing as a mural lash out when the community workers attempt to paint over them.

The mural in the underpass is revealed to actually be where the Boneless are gathering, wearing the shapes of those they have killed. It could be that the choose the underpass as a good place to watch the community come and go. It would be a good place to hunt but most of the kills we are shown occur in the victims home.

Initially all of the mural figures have their back turned to the viewer. Could this be how the Boneless perceived their victims, indicating that they were attacked while walking away or on their backs (with the Boneless absorbing them from the ground they lay on).

It might be that it is easier for them to imitate the back of their victims since they still have trouble with human features. Their later, juddering forms lack expression, indicating that they haven’t mastered this and so it is easier for them just to not show the face.

Once their presence has been revealed this flat figures do ‘turn’, showing that the Boneless have grasped some of the principles of perspective. At this stage each individual melts into a mass of transparent snake-like creatures that swarm forward.

The Doctor will later suggest that the Boneless were on a mission of infiltration. If the time travellers hadn’t arrived it is possible that with enough time to observe their targets they could manifest on their own in 3D, wearing the faces of the dead.

Since their victims are considered to be only missing, not dead, they might have been able to impersonate the departed. Their loving friends and relatives could have welcomed them with open arms, allowing the Boneless to gather more victims or learn more about Earth.

PCs could encounter a situation like this, where the Boneless have successfully achieve this stage of infiltration. They’ll need to work out what the Boneless plan next while working out how they are going to convince others that the missing haven’t returned after all.

To Be Continued…

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“There were many trains to take the name Orient Express, but only one in space.”

trainMummy on the Orient Express’ takes place at an unspecified time period. The impression given is that it is sometime in Earth’s future but the passengers need not be human.

Voyage of the Damned’ establishes that there is a race of human looking aliens elsewhere who have fascination for Earth and its history.  This could be a similar tour, this time emulating the experience of the Orient Express. In which case this adventure could take place in the early 21st century, the Doctor taking Clara on a trip through space not time (making her phone call to Danny less complicated).

The Orient Express itself travels through space on hyperspace ribbons. Hyperspace, a concept once dismissed as absurd by the 4th Doctor, typically is a different plane than normal space. Since the Orient Express does appear to be in normal space it could be that rails are the only thing in hyperspace, allowing it to move faster than the speed of light.

It isn’t clear if the train is generating the hyperspace ribbons itself and if it is whether it has to follow a set route or whether it can lay down new hyperspace ribbons to navigate. If the train doesn’t create the hyperspace ribbons did another party have to lay the route and are these rails regulated?

Quell indicates that anyone who spreads rumours about the deaths will be let off at the next station, indicating that the train does stop along its route. The writer revealed that in the original outline the train stopped at several wonders of the universe.

This is important if you want to set further adventures on the train. It gives you the opportunity to take the PCs to a variety of exciting locations, with a few hours to explore before the train takes them on to their next destination.

The passengers on the train all dress and act in the style of the 1920s. Either this is reflective of their culture or they are trying to stay in period to get the true Orient Express experience. If the latter were true they are certainly dedicated, staying in character even when people start dying.

Notably the passengers and crew all appear human. This would suggest either that this culture doesn’t mix with other species or they are not rich enough to afford passage on the train (and their presence as staff would lower the tone).

The culture does employ cybernetics and Mrs Pitt makes use of Excelsior Life Extender chair. The medical equipment revealed in the lab later is able to complete rapid and thorough medical scans. The fact that no one is surprised by its functions would indicate that it is an established piece of medical equipment.

While the lab equipment probably isn’t standard it would make sense for the train to have some medical facilities or at least one member of staff with medical training. There does appear to be a doctor to attend to Mrs Pitt but he could just be part of the group of experts that were assembled to study the Foretold.

Many of the crew and passengers were actually hard light holograms. This would suggest that they have a physical presence but were projections. Quell is surprised by this so this isn’t standard but if the technology is available it would make logistical sense to use it. It would mean that there could be staff on call 24 hours a day and they wouldn’t need to eat or sleep.

Most likely the hard light holograms could only be projected within the train itself. This would prevent a train from being entirely staffed by holograms, as carrying bags and supplies on and off the train would be necessary at their stops.

We can be reasonably sure that the kitchen staff were alive, since one falls victim to the Foretold and the rest are ejected into the cold of space. Why were they real when most of the other staff were holograms? Could it be that artificial creations lack the ability to cook?

Gus is an example of this cultures level of AI. It isn’t clear how much of the direction that he gives to the captured scientists and his methods to coheres them comes from his own programming and how much is being remotely instructed to him by his master.

When the deception is revealed Perkin suggests that the vanishing guests might have been taken by a teleporter. He might have been theorising but it sounds as if that technology does exist in this culture. Did the train have a teleporter in case someone fell off the train or the passengers needed to make an emergency escape?

Historically Quell indicates that there was a war, one in which his squad was bombed. The fact that he escaped without a scratch indicates that it wasn’t weapons of mass destruction that were used in this conflict. Given the 1920s feel of the era this war could be very similar to World War I. The injuries caused by the conflict could have led to the increased use of cybernetic technology.

The Orient Express and the culture provided allows for many 1920s style adventures but within the context of a science fiction setting. A campaign could be built around the adventures of the crew and passengers, with a rotating cast of NPCs.

Just as with the original Orient Express exciting events don’t just occur at where the train comes to a stop. Galactic events, such as further conflicts, could change or close routes that the train takes.

In addition to murder mystery plots, which ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’ sort of emulates, but it could be the good basis for a disaster adventure. Technical failure and sabotage could leave the train stranded, with dwindling life support.

An adventure could concentrate on the drama and tension resulting from a group of strangers forced to spend extended periods with strangers, even in the luxury of the Orient Express. Things can get very tense if two parties who have every reason to hate each other find themselves sharing a dining car with their enemy.

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“Can I talk about the planets now?”

blackholeDuring what is supposed to be their last adventure in ‘Mummy on the Orient Express the Doctor mentions various alien worlds. Clara isn’t very interested but they could serve as inspiration for your own adventures.

Magellan black hole

The Orient Express offers passengers a majestic view of the Magellan black hole. The dark centre is surrounded by a swirling cloud, which could be gas or the remains of planets. The Doctor remembers that region of space as having planets as far as the eye could see and calls the black hole a beast.

The Doctor could just making a joke but a solar system with a high number of planets that were eventually all destroyed by a black hole would make a good setting for several adventures, exploring each of the worlds and charting their history as they approach oblivion.

The black hole could have occurred naturally or it could have been artificially created. It might have been created as a weapon by one of the planets, dooming everyone else or it could have been used by an outside force. It could be that the planets created a strong alliance that had to be ended.

If we take the the Doctor’s comments literally then the black hole could be a creature that only resembles a black hole. Once it had consumed all that remains of the planets might it move on to other star systems?

All the planets the Doctor mentions could be the worlds that were destroyed. Certainly he describes them in the past tense and Maisie confirms that Thedian Four was destroyed thousands of years ago (although that would suggest that it orbited a star called Thedian).

Just as likely is that the Doctor has just gone on a tangent, just talking about random planets to either silence Clara or to entice her into continue travelling with him.

Obsidian

A planet of perpetual darkness. The lack of light could be due to a lack of bright star in the planet’s solar system or it could be that the sky is constantly covered by cloud. Obsidian is produced by lava flows so it could be that volcanic ash blotted out the sun.

It could be that the planet itself has a unique property to absorb light. This would mean that no matter what illumination is brought to its surface there would still be constant darkness.

If such a world was capable of sustaining life there several races might see the appeal of using Obsidian to make their home. The Vashta Nerada would find it an ideal environment to thrive in. It could be that Obsidian was covered in forests, the air thick with the Vashta Nerada swarm.

A lack of light would mean an inability to see, which would suit the Weeping Angels. If others were unable to see them then there would be no risk of being quantum locked. Even if other races brought artificial light sources the Angels have the ability to neutralise them.

The Silence might eventually decide that they don’t want to be forgotten any more. Only those who see the Silence forget them, so on a world where no one can see anything they might be remembered.

A world of perpetual darkness would be a good location for covert or military installations. It could be that the world not only absorbs light but other signals that could give its presence away.

It might also serve as a haven for those who are blind or who have disfigurements. Obsidian would allow them to exist in an environment where everyone is on equal footing, unable to see.

In the Doctor Who universe there could be diseases that make it dangerous to view the infected subject. This might be a disease that turns victims into gorgons, changing anyone who gazes upon them into stone. Obsidian might be the best place to hide such afflicted people away.

Shrub World

Shrubs are similar to trees, distinguished by their multiple stems and short height, so a world of shrubs is no stranger than the forest moon of Endor. Some shrubs are capable of growing into trees so the Doctor could just be amused that none of these plants do.

Thedian Four

The constant acid rain didn’t stop the Doctor from having a nice picnic here, although he did have to wear a gas mask. According to Maisie it was destroyed thousands of years ago and the Doctor doesn’t dispute this.

Acid rain is produced by emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, combing with water particles in the atmosphere. This can occur naturally through a combination of lightening strikes and volcanic eruptions. If this is the case on Thedian Four constant acid rain would such a planet with constant electrical storms and volcanic activity.

Pollution is much more commonly the cause of acid rain. This could mean that Thedian Four’s environment was ravaged by its native population or colonists. The environmental damage caused could be the basis for an adventure concentrating on the consequences of pollution.

Acid rain can poison and kill plant and animal life. It can wipe out fish and insect life which could further damage the planets eco-system. It can damage the composition of soil, making it more difficult for plants to grow, especially food crops.

PCs might have to save a race from extinction or help those who are starving. When their very environment is killing them what do the PCs do? They might attempt terraforming or move who they can to other worlds.

Acid rain can erode metal and stone structure, which means that Thedian Four could be a good place to oppose robots, cyborgs and beings made of stone (such as the Weeping Angels).

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“What’s the most interesting thing about the Foretold?”

mummyThe central threat in ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’ is the Foretold. This supposedly mythical being can only be seen by victims. Once it appears the victim has 66 seconds before the mummy-like being touches them, killing them instantly.

Ultimately the Doctor discovers that the Foretold is a soldier from a long-forgotten war 5,000 years ago. The Doctor believes that he was wounded but was filled with equipment to keep him going.

Specifically it has a state-of-the art phase camouflage. This is why it is invisible to everyone and can pass through solid objects. It stays ‘alive’ by similarly moving its victims energy out of phase, this takes 66 seconds and is why they can see it. This draining effect makes it painful for the victim to look at the Foretold.

Potentially, since the phase shifting of the energy occurs at a distance, the Foretold doesn’t actually need to touch the victim to make the transfer. This can’t be confirmed because the Foretold also has a personal teleporter, able to move right next to the victim at the crucial moment.

The immortality resulting from this energy drain would be valuable technology. The only downside is that it kills the energy donor but there is no reason that it needs to come from sentient races. It is easy to imagine that large livestock could provide the same sustenance. Even if it does requiring intelligent races to work there are many who wouldn’t have a problem with that.

A whole society could be transformed by such an implant. This would create a vampiric race, feeding on others for energy. If the Time Lords were still around this could lead to a new crusade against vampires.

The downside is that the Foretold can’t turn it off. It continues to drive him to feed on others, no matter how weary he is. This could be a problem for any society that adopts them. Turning the implant off could be akin to suicide and prevented by the government or the rules of decent society. This could allow an adventure that explores the issues of the right to die.

The teleporter would appear to compensate for the slow pace of the Foretold. Part of its injuries could be to its leg and rather than fix the damage they just gave it the ability to jump to where it needed to be.

Through examination of the victims chosen by the Foretold the Doctor comes to the conclusion that it is picking off the weak. This includes those who are psychological issues and physical trauma.

Part of its technology must therefore be scanning, both physically and mentally, nearby lifeforms to decide who is next. The Foretold appears to have limited intelligence as the Doctor is able to fool it into think he is Maisie by copying her mental trauma and injecting it into himself.

The real question is why this might be. The Foretold is a soldier, programmed to stop if its victims ‘surrender’ which indicates that it views them as an enemy force. If it can target anyone why pick the weak? Wouldn’t it make more sense for it to target the strongest, thus weakening the enemy?

Tactically wounded or weak soldiers drain resources. It could be that the race that designed the Foretold wanted to prolong combat or only face the best of the best in battle. Thus the Foretold was actually helping them.

The Foretold was anchored to what the Doctor believes is a flag. Could it be that this cloth material has some kind of beacon that the Foretold can follow. Did his creators use this to control where he went? Could it be that this is just the last remnant of his race that he just follows through time.

The Foretold similarity to a Mummy is due to being covered in tattered cloth. When it was first created he might have totally been covered. These bandages might have had some healing prosperities, helped preserve its body or provided protection from spending extended periods out of phase.

His body is covered in symbols that are similar to those that can be seen on the flag. These could be for decorative purposes, provide a name and rank for the solider, identify what the Foretold is or be part of its programming.

Physically the Foretold appears humanoid. It is 5,000 years old but the uncertain timeframe of the space Orient Express doesn’t rule out it being human. Could there have been an Egyptian themed empire that posed such powerful technology that was eventually forgotten?

While the Foretold is eliminated at the end of ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’ there could be more. The legends of the Foretold could be so prolific because there are many invisible, shambling corpses in various corners of the galaxy. Certainly an army with the capability to turn a wounded solider into a killing machine that can last thousands of years would have done it more than once.

Of course it could be a prototype. The conflict in which it was wounded could have eventually led to the demise of its people. It would be the only one of its kind, without anyone to dismiss it (until it met the Doctor).

Yet some of the legends were correct in that there was a way to bargain with the Foretold. When the Doctor does this it disintegrates shortly afterwards. This would suggest that this couldn’t happen more than once.

It is possible that the creators of the Foretold do or did exist long enough to spread some information about their creation. If it was bound to the flag they might have lost track of it and tried to advise other races what to do if they encountered it. After thousands of years those words of warning were turned into half remembered myths.

It could be that the only reason that the Foretold disintegrated was because the Doctor said it was relived. Possibly others did surrender to it and the Foretold then left, awaiting new enemies.

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“We’d stopped going into space. Nobody cared.”

shuttleIt is revealed in ‘Kill the Moon’ that it took 10 years for anyone to investigate the missing Mexican mining survey because there wasn’t a space program. The only shuttle they had to go to the moon was recovered from a museum.

This is a startling change to established Doctor Who history, which has generally seen a continued interest in space. Even if the public is some how not aware of the existence of aliens that doesn’t explain why governments and organisations such as UNIT wouldn’t see a need to expand into space.

The Sarah Jane Adventures episode ‘Death of the Doctor’ establishes that UNIT have a moon base in 2010 (where Liz Shaw is stationed). ‘AHistory’ argues that the colony on Vulcan shown in ‘The Power of the Daleks’ is in place by 2020. ‘Waters of Mars’ establishes that there is a healthy space program establishing Project Pit Stop and sending unmanned probes throughout the solar system.

The events of ‘Kill the Moon’ are put in motion by a Mexican mining survey in 2039. It would seem strange that Mexico were the only country to still have space technology, even if it only came from the private sector.

There are multiple reboots and rewrites of history during the 11th Doctor’s era that could explain this discontinuity. It could be that as a result the space program of various countries was seriously reduced.

This could explain why the British Space Program of the 3rd Doctor era isn’t represented in the 21st century setting. Similarly if the alien invasions encountered by the 9th and 10th Doctor never happened then the world might not see the urgency to reach beyond our world.

It might be that there were surveys of the moon that revealed there were no minerals there and thus not worth investigating. Only those without this information or who were desperate would bother to go through the trouble of launching a mission there.

Alternatively this could be a deliberate attempt to cripple humanities path into space. This could be the result of a malevolent time travellers (such as the Master or the Meddling Monk). It could also be the result of a time traveller from the future who has decided that space travel is a bad idea.

There are many alien races who might see the advantage in preventing humanity from developing space travel. Races like the Ice Warriors would certainly not want humanity to reach Mars, let alone the planets beyond.

Several races could band together to contain the human race within the solar system. It could be that humanity has gained a reputation just through their talent of repulsing alien invasions. Now the other races fear what will happen when the humans come to their worlds.

PCs could encounter aliens or time travellers sabotaging various countries space programs throughout the late 20th and 21st century. This could be a good opportunity to get the PCs to encounter important astronauts.

The change to history could be a result of the Doctors actions. One possible alteration could be the alliance with the Zygons in ‘The Day of the Doctor’. The exchange of technology could have diverted focus of space travel to concentrate on bio-tech and the colonisation of the sea floor.

Given the new attitude of the 12th Doctor this could be a deliberate attempt by the Time Lord to confine humanity to Earth. He might have decided that after thousands of years that humans only cause problems when they go to other planets. In his old age he might just be getting lazy and find it easier to visit his favourite species if they are just on one planet.

The Doctor indicates that after the moon dragon emerges there is a renewed interest in space travel that allows humanity to spread out and last until the end of time. One of the first things to be done is the exploration of the new moon.

This creates an exciting new period for the PCs to get involved in. It could be that all the previous Doctor Who stories set in the future have now been erased. It is completely new territory for the PCs to explore.

Now humanity is aware that their moon contains a living creature there would likely be debate about whether they should let it live, even if the last moon dragon proved harmless. They would still know that when it hatches it will cause a natural disaster but maybe the fact it won’t happen for millions of years would make that a low priority.

Study of the egg and the moon dragon could give humanity a better understanding about space and alien beings. Using biotechnology gained from the Zygons they could create living ships based off the basic design of the moon dragon.

Considering the sorry state of the space program, since they seem to be unable to build a new space shuttle in 10 years, they could turn to captured alien technology. UNIT and other organisations might share knowledge of this science to allow it to be used in new spaceships.

There would have to be a new recruitment drive for astronauts to crew these vessels. PCs could be part of this crew or have their TARDIS land on one of these vessels during their maiden voyage using experimental technology.

This could allow you to combine Doctor Who and Star Trek style adventures. During this era the PCs carry the flame for this renewed era of space travel. If they fail it could set back the space program and not making new discoveries could mean that people loose interest.

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“An innocent life versus the future of all mankind. We have 45 minutes to decide.”

decisiontimeThe crux of ‘Kill The Moon’ is the ethical decision whether to kill the moon dragon or let it hatch, possibly destroying the Earth.  This can provide drama and some interesting ethical discussion in an adventure.

The basic situation is that the main characters only have a choice between two possible outcomes. In this case either they nuke the moon or they don’t. It is the consequences of these actions that add weight to the decision.

Another element is the time limit imposed upon them. It is long enough for them to have some debate but not too long that they can delay making a decision. The longer they debate it the less time that they have.

Clara, Courtney and Lundvik don’t have all the facts makes the decision more difficult. They don’t know for sure that the moon dragon will adversely affect the Earth but they also don’t know that it won’t.

Such dilemmas can create feelings of guilt since those making the decision will determine who lives and who dies. In their minds they will be responsible for those deaths. In truth at least one option would happen anyway if they weren’t there.

In order to make the decision participants have to weigh up the pros and cons. They have to argue their case and try to convince others. When only PCs are involved in the decision making process such scenes should just be roleplaying. When NPCs are present Presence could be used to sway them, Ingenuity used to present clever solutions or Resolve to resist their own arguments.

Clara attempts to let Earth has a say in the decision, setting up a rudimentary voting system in which people can turn their lights on or off to show whether they want the moon dragon to die.

PCs might not want more people knowing about the decision, especially if it could cause panic. They’d have to make sure that if they do tell people that they are given accurate information. They could also find that answering questions takes up what precious time they have left.

As time ticks away those who feel that the wrong decision will be made can take drastic measures. If Lundvik had a different temperament she might have held the time travellers at gunpoint or just shot them if she felt strongly enough that the button should be pressed.

Clara decides to take matters into her own hands, ignoring Earth’s population, and shutting the countdown off. This shows that ultimately it might not matter what is said during the debate, only who gets to push the button.

Mindful PCs could take steps to stop such a decision arising. If those involved can’t be trusted to agree to a vote then they might agree to an arbiter or an impartial figure not affected by outcome.

There are many variations to the debate featured in ‘Kill The Moon’. Examples include:

  • There is only enough medical supplies for 1 of the 2 neighbouring space colonies. The PCs must decide who gets them. This could involve weighing up the qualities of each colony.
  • 2 alien species are stranded on a planet about to be bombarded with a solar flare. With their oxygen supplies running low only the PCs can save them but not only are the races hostile to each other they can’t share the same environment once brought on board. Only one group can be rescued. With the races of the aliens affect the PCs decision?
  • A TARDIS is discovered at the heart of a sun, orbited by a human colony. Inside the TARDIS is a trapped Time Lord, who could possibly free Gallifrey. Helping the TARDIS emerge from the sun would cause the star to explode, destroying the colony but if they don’t act in the next hour the TARDIS will be destroyed.

The quality and/or quantity of the lives saved or destroyed can be an important part of the debate. In ‘Kill The Moon’ it is the perceived innocence of the moon dragon as a baby (and the last of its kind) versus the whole of the human race.

In other scenarios it could be the value of a child’s life versus that of a surgeon, political leader or technical genius. The PCs could have to decide whether a young criminal deserves to be saved so he has a chance at redemption or if he should die to allow an old war hero to survive (for however long he has left).

There could be an investigative angle to the debate, with the PCs using what time they have to learn more of the facts before they make their decision. This could throw up all types of revelations about who they are trying to save and what the consequences of their actions will be.

PCs might decide that they aren’t the right people to make the decision. Clara argues that it should be the President of the United States that makes the decision but the Doctor points out that the President isn’t there, they are.

Not long after the Doctor departs because he doesn’t feel that he can make the decision. After all he isn’t human so what right does he have to determine the future of Earth? Interestingly he does let Clara and Courtney make this important decision even though they are time travellers potentially changing history.

If PCs do decide they can’t make the decision who do they give the responsibility to? This could lead to a race against time to find worthy candidates and brief them on the situation. They could also have to prevent the wrong people from making a decision before they can arrange this.

Having PCs make really important decisions can help them shape your campaign world. Further adventures could take them into the future they’ve created. This can help them explore whether they did make the right decision.

Once they have made a decision their adventures and problems aren’t over. There could be those, with hindsight and plenty of time on their hands, who think that they made the wrong decision. Worse the PCs could be viewed as monsters or criminals.

This can be part of the burden, knowing they had to make a tough decision when no one else could.

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“Clara, there are some moments in time that I simply can’t see.”

greyareasA reoccurring issue with time travel in Doctor Who is that the main characters should know how things turn out. Sarah Jane Smith in ‘Pyramids of Mars’ is confident that Sutekh won’t destroy the Earth in 1911 because she is from the 1980s and Ace wonders why she hasn’t heard about the Daleks invading London in the 1960s in ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’.

A similar situation arises in ‘Kill The Moon’ where Clara believes that the moon won’t be destroyed because they’ve visited the future and the moon is still there. Her suggestion is that they just leave because everything will work out.

The Doctor indicates that he doesn’t know what will happen and gives possible explanations of what the moon they’ve seen in the future was. He goes on to explain that he can’t tell what happens to the moon because that hasn’t been decided yet.

The impression given is that this is an embarrassing confession and also hints that the Doctor views time differently. Presumably all Time Lords experience the same phenomena, which could have an impact on your own campaign.

The Doctor describes this in terms of being able to see time. Specifically he states that ‘litte eye blinks’, that things don’t look the same as other things. They are fuzzy, unclear and grey.

Later, when the decision has been made, the Doctor closes his eye and is able to relate how these events lead humanity to spread across the universe. It is as if he is watching the new timeline unfold before him.

Previously we might have believed that the Doctor’s knowledge of history comes from experience or things he has learnt. This new information would indicate that rather he is ‘looking’ backwards or forwards. This could apply to his own personal timeline.

This might be why the Doctor suggests that the moon they’ve encountered in the future was a hologram or a picture despite the fact it couldn’t possibly be because his 2nd incarnation was on the surface of the moon after 2049 (just to cite one example). At this moment the Doctor doesn’t remember those events possibly because he never remembers anything, he only looks.

These blind spots could explain moments in which the Doctor doesn’t recall things he really should. For example he isn’t sure if the events of ‘Aliens of London’ is when humanity first makes contact.  At that moment history is in flux and he is incapable of remembering his past experiences of 21st history because his mind doesn’t work that way.

This could explain why in multi-Doctor adventures each incarnation doesn’t retain the memory of going through the experience as their younger self (with the exception of ‘Time Crash’). At those moments his ‘little eye’ has blinked and he can’t see his past or how things turn out. The talk of merging and untangling timelines is just to cover this mental flaw.

The TARDIS usually takes the Doctor to moments where his presence (or that of his companions) affects the outcome. Any knowledge the Doctor should have about those events is locked off to him until things are resolved. The reason he refuses to leave until this is done is not because of the web of time but because it would leave him blind to time.

The exception are fixed moments in time. These would be events which aren’t in flux unless history was massively rewritten. These would be akin to big landmarks, easy to from a distance. This explains why the Doctor retains his knowledge of how major historical events will play out even while they are still occurring around him.

The web of time is less an essential part of the structure of reality and more of a roadmap for Time Lords. They need fixed points to follow the paths history will take. If those thing are changed they become lost and confused.

We could interpret the collapse of history in ‘The Wedding of River Song’ as occurring almost entirely in the Doctor’s mind. The only real events are those at Lake Silencio when River changes a fixed point by refusing to shoot the Doctor.

When that happens the 11th Doctor’s ability to see past and future is disrupted to the point where he sees everything happening at once. This isn’t actually occurring, rather his brain can no longer interpret what is around him. Only by restoring that fixed point does his ability to perceive reality return.

It possible that a Time Lords can bring a future into focus while events are in flux the more likely it is they’ll exist. In ‘The Curse of Fenric’ the 7th Doctor is aware of the toxic world that the Haemovore will unleash but he doesn’t have to have visited it. At that moment, when Fenric was so close to succeeding, he could see that future ahead of them.

Similarly in ‘Pyramids of Mars’ the blasted wasteland that the 4th Doctor shows Sarah Jane Smith could be a projection from his mind, thanks to the TARDIS telepathic circuits, showing what he can see with his ‘little eye’.

The Doctor obviously has some awareness of when those events resolve, even when he isn’t present. The moment that Clara makes her decision not to detonate the nuclear weapons the Doctor arrives to rescue them in the TARDIS. Where ever he was his vision must have cleared to allow him to navigate to that moment.

This interpretation drastically changes how Time Lords should be perceived, making them far more alien. While they give the impression that they know things about the past or future they are actually reliant on what they can see, which can be affected by events around them.

Gameplay wise this could be justification for a Time Lord to be able to spend Story Points to be allowed some insight into what is going to happen based on current events. The GM can refuse, indicating that things are still in flux.

The difficulty of piloting the TARDIS can also be increased when events are in flux. This can persuade PCs to resolve a situation before they leave. It could also be an adventure hook, with the Time Lord finding that the path through the vortex is unclear until they’ve landed and resolved an important flux point.

It could be that the Doctor’s piloting skill didn’t increase. Rather once he actually started to get involved he was able to see more clearly, revealing new routes to take through history. Indeed the 3rd Doctor’s exile might actually have been a way for the Time Lords to map out the events of the 20th century, rather than just being a way to repel alien invasions.

This allows a campaign to be as much about exploration as it about defeating the bad guys. Each time they resolve a situation they discover a little more of history, making it easier to reach the next unexplored territory.

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“I think that it’s unique. I think that’s the only one of its kind in the universe.”

spacedragonKill The Moon’ reveals that the moon is actually an egg, containing a vast winged life form. This comes as a surprise to everyone, including the Time Lord. This knowledge could have an impact on your own campaign.

Firstly the Doctor believes that this species is unique and that in 2049 it is the last of its kind. The Doctor is probably basing this on the fact this is the first time (on television at least) that he has encountered a creature of such scale that it could be mistaken for a moon and since he is so well travelled if they were more common he should have encountered more by now.

This doesn’t necessarily have to be true, since it is a big universe. Indeed the Doctor is only just now finding out about these events but if they were part of the original timeline then it would be common knowledge and could have been discovered during any of his previous visits to any period after 2049. Just because the Doctor doesn’t about something shouldn’t automatically mean it is rare or obscure knowledge.

What we are presented with is a creature that takes a hundred million years to hatch, weighs 1.3 billion tonnes when it emerges and can lay another moon. This is pretty extraordinary and leaves lots of questions.

Harking back to the question of ‘what came first, the chicken or the egg?’ where did the first moon come from? Was there a moon 100 million years ago or did this one happen to come into orbit of our planet from elsewhere? Did the emergence of the previous moon dragon or the arrival of this one’s egg influence the Silurian’s decision to hibernate or the ejection of Mondas from our solar system?

The disaster on Earth is caused by the extra weight of the moon but if it has always been growing there why were the effects of its mass only felt in 2039? Eggs are a closed system and usually get lighter (as moisture evaporates) rather than gaining more weight as the baby is formed. What happens here isn’t normal.

It could be that growing space dragon is actually in another dimension, the moon just acting as its anchor point and eventual gateway. Thus until 2039 there is only the outer shell of the moon to exert an influence on the Earth.

The natural disaster occurred after a Mexican mining survey. It could be that in breaching the outer shell of the moon they caused the barrier between dimensions to breakdown, allowing the space dragon into our dimension. Only then does its mass cause an effect on Earth.

We might also question how the space dragon laid another egg. The implication is that this new moon will also eventually hatch which would require a form of asexual reproduction. Parthenogensis does occur in several species so isn’t impossible although it does obviously keep the genetic pool small.

As indicated above an egg is a closed system so the question remains where the space dragon got the mass to create another egg. Since it lays the egg after it hatched it is possible that part of it might be gained by recycling the disintegrating shell but that leaves a lot of mass unaccounted for.

The Doctor notes that the moon dragon is feeling the sun and getting warm after it has hatched. It is conceivable that it is converting that solar energy into mass and maybe that it was also able to gather solar rays through the shell of the egg. This still seems unlikely.

If the dragon does grow in another dimension it might mean that there is other mass there that can be converted. It could be that there are more moon dragons in the other dimension, along with planetoids. Rather than a new dragon growing it simply takes 100 million years for them to pass through the gateway, bringing with them the anchor for the next of its species to follow. In effect this would be a very slow invasion of our dimension.

The Earth is compared by the Doctor to a nest for the moon dragon. A nest is usually something constructed to protect eggs. Is the Doctor implying that the moon dragon or another species built or designed the Earth to protect the moon?

What protection could Earth have provided to the moon? It is possible that the Silurians, who were capable of space travel, might have been able to intercept any threat to the moon if they hadn’t hibernated but humanity wouldn’t until the late 20th century.

It is possible that Earth would act as a decoy? By placing the moon in close proximity to a more resource rich planet the hope is that it will be overlooked. This also means that when beings like the Doctor protected the developing world they were in turn protecting the moon egg.

A more horrible scenario is that the Doctor isn’t correct. It would be far more likely that the Earth would act as a food source. In a darker take on this story PCs could have to deal with a ravenous predator of unimaginable scale devouring billions before flying into space.

The status quo is just about restored at the end of ‘Kill The Moon’, with Earth having a new moon but what happens now to the moon dragon? Where would it go now and what would it do? Would it lay any more moons?

Such a beast could have enormous tactical value. Any number of species might try to capture and place it under their control. Certainly psionics or cybernetic technology could allow someone to control a moon dragon. PCs could be faced with the challenge of dealing with a moon dragon that has been turned into a biological weapon.

There is also the question of what happens when the moon dragon dies or is killed. PCs could encounter civilisations living within the hollowed our corpse of a moon dragon or looters stripping it for organic parts. Some species might convert it into a dragon shaped spaceship.

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“There’s no hurry you see.We have all the time in the world.”

James-Bonds-600x300 Back in 2012 I discussed crossing Doctor Who over with James Bond here and so I thought it was about time I added write-ups for a Time Lord Bond. Exiled to Earth the PCs can meet the incarnations in many different eras of the 20th and 21st century (not necessarily in order).

Needless to say there are spoilers for the various Bond films.

JAMES BOND (1st & 3rd)

STORY POINTS: 8

jamesbond-vi AWARENESS 4             PRESENCE 4

COORDINATION 4       RESOLVE 5

INGENUITY 4               STRENGTH 5

SKILLS

Athletics 2, Fighting 3, Knowledge (Espionage) 2, Marksman 4, Science 1, Subterfuge 4, Technology 2, Transport 3,

TRAITS

Charming, Lucky, Resourceful Pockets, Tough, Voice of Authority

Argumentative, Impulsive, Obligation (British government), 3rd Incarnation Only: Obsession (Get Revenge on Blofeld)

Time Lord

PERSONAL GOAL

Protect the UK and its interests.

PERSONALITY

Bond barely hides his disdain of those in power behind a mask of sophistication . He is equally comfortable in the casinos of Monte Carlo and gypsy settlements in Turkey.

Cruel and ruthless, he won’t hesitate to despatch an opponent with a witty quip.

Bond has an eye for attractive women and will use charm or force to get what he wants, marking him as something of a misogynist.

BACKGROUND

Exiled to Earth by the Time Lords James Bond was given the assignment of protecting Britain, and by extension the world, from a potential escalation in the Cold War. Creating a cover identity Bond was able to secure a position in MI6, becoming a 00 agent.

His alien nature was hidden until a SPECTRE assassin successfully injured him following an assignment to Japan. MI6 realised the asset they had and kept him on, using their resources to continue to hide his inhuman nature.

Following his short-lived 2nd Incarnation Bond regenerated into his old form. This 3rd Incarnation lived long enough to avenge the death of his wife before triggering a 4th regeneration.

In an alternative timeline this 3rd Incarnation stabilised but was soon retired, spending over a decade teaching new spies. He was eventually put back in the field where, due to the manipulation of time, he replayed the events of operation Thunderball in the 1980s.

JAMES BOND (2nd)

bondla STORY POINTS: 8

AWARENESS 3             PRESENCE 3

COORDINATION 4       RESOLVE 4

INGENUITY 3               STRENGTH 3

SKILLS

Athletics 3, Fighting (unarmed combat) 3, Knowledge (Espionage) 2, Marksman 3, Subterfuge (Disguise) 4, Technology 1, Transport 2,

TRAITS

Charming, Empathic, Friends (Major: MI6), Quick Reflexes, Run For Your Life!

Argumentative, Impulsive, Obligation (British government), Unlucky

Time Lord

PERSONAL GOAL

Bring down SPECTRE and Blofeld

PERSONALITY

One of the most human and vulnerable of the Bond incarnations, he never fully recovered from his brush with death. This makes him more empathic and able to form an actual connection with the objects of his affections.

This Bond is happier when adopting the identity of someone else, allowing him to play in the role. Once exposed his fear can get the better of him, pushing him into flight rather fight. He is given to occasional bouts of depression and self-deprecation.

BACKGROUND

Regenerating for the first time Bond was driven to find and eliminate Blofeld. This crusade was so all consuming that it almost drove him to resign from MI6. Instead he was given leave, which he used to continue the investigation on his own.

It was during this time that he met and fell in love with the beautiful Contessa Teresa ‘Tracy’ di Vicenzo. For the first time Bond felt he could have a permanent relationship with a human. Although foiling a diabolical plot to blackmail governments by Blofeld the mastermind returned to personally kill Bond’s bride.

Blinded by rage Bond recklessly chased Blofeld, rushing into danger. It was hardly a surprise that he was once again grievously injured, forcing a regeneration. Subconsciously this incarnation felt he never measured up to his predecessor and so his 3rd Incarnation was almost identical to the 1st.

JAMES BOND (4th)

STORY POINTS: 8

bondmoore AWARENESS 5         PRESENCE 5

COORDINATION 5   RESOLVE 4

INGENUITY 5           STRENGTH 3

SKILLS

Athletics 3, Convince (Seduction) 3, Fighting 4, Knowledge (Espionage) 5, Marksman 3, Science 2, Subterfuge 3, Survival 2, Technology 2, Transport 3

TRAITS

Charming, Friends (Major: MI6), Lucky, Quick Reflexes, Resourceful Pockets, Technically Adept

Insatiable Curiosity, Obligation (British government), Weakness (Women)

Time Lord

PERSONAL GOAL

Protect the World

PERSONALITY

This Bond uses humour to hide the loss he still feels for his wife and his fear. He appears more relaxed and is quick to tell a joke or make light of a situation. He feels that this gives him more humanity and distracts from the fact his job often requires him to kill.

Over time he becomes more confident, acting as if he is invulnerable.

BACKGROUND

After his unstable 3rd Incarnation forced him to regenerate again Bond tried to put his demons behind him, throwing himself into his work. No longer would he get close to anyone, settling only for brief, romantic liaisons.

During this era Bond was personally responsible for creating open dialogue between different nations. Thanks to his influence the superpowers were starting to see each other as neighbours on the planet, rather than rivals.

His career saw him deal with drug dealers, evil geniuses and rogue military forces. Bond found a renewed love for gadgets, using them extensively to vanquish his enemies. At the same time he developed an increasing distaste for cold-blooded murder.

Due to a number of factors Bond aged at the same rate as a human, staying in the field long beyond the typical age of retirement. As he approached his end Bond was caught in a time flux, briefly crossing paths with his 3rd Incarnation in a timeline where that form had stabilised. He took it as a portent that there is a time when you need to let go and move on.

Eventually his body could take the stress no longer, triggering his next regeneration.

JAMES BOND (5th)

STORY POINTS: 8

bonddalton AWARENESS 4         PRESENCE 4

COORDINATION 4    RESOLVE 4

INGENUITY 4            STRENGTH 4

SKILLS

Athletics 3, Convince (Intimidation) 3, Fighting 3, Knowledge (Espionage) 3, Marksman 4, Subterfuge 4, Survival 2, Technology 3, Transport 3

TRAITS

Attractive, Brave, Friends (Major: MI6), Lucky, Quick Reflexes, Technically Adept

Argumentative, Impulsive, Obligation (British government)

Time Lord

PERSONAL GOAL

Protect the UK

PERSONALITY

Dark and intense, this Bond rarely delivers his usual humours quips. Typically this Bond is much more focused on his mission. Even his relationships with women are more chaste, compared to that of his former Incarnations.

BACKGROUND

Compared to his predecessors career this Bond found himself in a much more uncertain world. The threat of nuclear war seemed an increasingly real and his missions often put into conflict with real forces of evil such as international drug smugglers.

He regularly made use of his license to kill, eliminating anyone who endangered the world or who had wronged his friends. While other Incarnations had been guardians and protectors he was an avenger, which often put him at odds with his superiors.

There are only a few records of this Bonds activities but this is because he plunged so deep into the shadows that most of his missions were never revealed. All that is known is that during an unofficial operation he was injured in the line of duty, requiring another regeneration.

One unsubstantiated rumour is that the Time Lords attempted to recruit this incarnation into the Time War. While he refuse his personality and form served as a template for the rebirth of Rassilon.

JAMES BOND (6th)

STORY POINTS: 8

bondpierce AWARENESS 5      PRESENCE 4

COORDINATION 3 RESOLVE 5

INGENUITY 4         STRENGTH 4

SKILLS

Athletics 3, Convince (Seduction) 3, Fighting 3, Knowledge (Espionage) 4, Marksman 4, Subterfuge 4, Survival 2, Technology 4, Transport 4

TRAITS

Attractive, Brave, Charming, Friends (Major: MI6), Lucky, Owed Favor (Major), Technically Adept, Voice of Authority

By The Book, Impulsive, Obligation (British government), Weakness (Women)

Time Lord

PERSONAL GOAL

Protect the World

PERSONALITY

Combining the intensity of his 5th incarnation with the wry humour of his 4th. Bond is charming until someone crosses him, at which point he shows little mercy. More content to work within the system and take advantage of his senior position.

BACKGROUND

This Incarnation dealt with the fallout from the end of the Cold War, primarily ensuring that weapons of mass destruction stayed out of the wrong hands. Increasingly the biggest threats came from criminal organisations and business moguls who thought they could buy the world.

Despite attempts to move with the times Bond was frequently accused of being a dinosaur. Drink and brief romances helped numb him to the guilt he had for everyone he couldn’t save. Cracks were beginning to show in his persona and Bond questioned whether the Earth still needed him.

It was during this period that he was drawn into the Time War. MI6 struggled without one of their best and longest serving agents, wondering if he would ever return. When he did they found he had once again regenerated but not without complications. This Bond had no recollection of his past.

JAMES BOND (7th)

STORY POINTS: 8

bondcraig AWARENESS 5       PRESENCE 4

COORDINATION 4 RESOLVE 5

INGENUITY 4         STRENGTH 4

SKILLS

Athletics 4, Fighting 4, Knowledge (Espionage) 3, Marksman 4, Subterfuge 4, Survival 3, Technology 4, Transport 4

TRAITS

Charming, Fast Healing (Minor), Indomitable, Lucky, Quick Reflexes, Resourceful Pockets, Run For Your Life!, Sense of Direction, Technically Adept

Amnesia (Major), Argumentative, Dark Secret (minor), Impulsive, Obligation (British government), Weakness (Women)

Time Lord

PERSONAL GOAL

Protect the UK

PERSONALITY

Brooding and ruthless. Bond has no illusions about what his job requires. Having been betrayed once he is slow to open himself up to new relationships. He is cynical about the motives of others and finds it difficult to trust his superiors.

BACKGROUND

Returned to Earth in the 21st century with no memory of who he was, beyond his name, Bond was discovered at an estate in the Scottish highlands that he had purchased in an earlier incarnation. He had no memory of his past career and believed his fake history to be true.

MI6 tentatively rehired him, treating him as a new agent and forcing him to re-qualify for his 00 status. They also took steps to conceal his past service record, not only to conceal his identity from the enemy but to prevent Bond himself from learning his nature.

This incarnation of Bond continues to question his identity and purpose. In the space of only a few years he has been through several traumatic experiences and it is believed that he will likely retire from the intelligence service.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: THE JUDGEMENT OF BONES

skeletonclothes My latest D&D adventure collection is available to buy here.

Five tales centred around moral dilemmas to challenge adventurers of any level. These can be introduced into any campaign in any order as stand-alone scenarios or combined into a single plot arc.

  • In Absolution the PCs pursue a wanted criminal to a village where everyone can find forgiveness, for a price.
  • In Devil’s Due the PCs must save the soul of warlock from the devil.
  • A young woman has a rendezvous with death in A Grave For Two.
  • Skeletons take over the land in Kingdom of Bones and only the PCs can find a cure, but should they?
  • In Skeletons In The Closet a bandit’s ability to seemingly vanish from pursuers is tied to a terrible secret.

Advice is given on how to customise the scenarios for different groups and provide maximum replayability.

If you enjoy the anthology of adventure please also see ‘The Long Night‘.

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