“I’ve Set The TARDIS To Adventure Setting.”

goodasgoldGood as Gold’ is a mini episode written by the children of Ashdene school. After Amy reads that they should have an adventure every week the Doctor sets the TARDIS to adventure setting and lands them 2012 Olympics where a torch bearer is pursued by a Weeping Angel.

This episode was aired between ‘The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe’ and ‘Asylum of the Daleks’. Since Amy says they haven’t had an adventure for ages it is unlikely that it occurs when the Doctor was visiting the Ponds to whisk them away for adventures (the implication is that she and the Doctor have been travelling without anything eventful occurring for a while).

It is possible that this might take place during ‘The Power of Three’ and Rory was just too busy at the hospital to go with the Doctor. It might happen before ‘Vampires of Venice’ since Amy is reading a book on what space travellers are expected to do.

It is more likely that it takes place after ‘Cold Blood’, after Rory was erased from history. If memories of her adventures with her husband were lost entirely (rather than just edited to remove his presence) she might believe that nothing has happened. The Doctor might also be avoiding stressful situations to try and protect her.

It is difficult to know whether the TARDIS really does have an adventure setting or whether the Doctor is just being flippant. Certainly the TARDIS does not react well to whatever the Doctor has done as it is forced to make an emergency landing, apparently materialising in the air before landing with a thud.

The torch bearer is able to enter the TARDIS with ease, suggesting either the doors aren’t always locked when the TARDIS appears or this is because of systems failing. The torch bearer says that he didn’t see the ship, which he attributes to the fact he was being chased but it could also indicate that the ship was cloaked (which might be for the best since a stadium full of people would have seen it otherwise).

The existence of the torch bearer leads to continuity problems in that it was the 10th Doctor who supposedly made the final leg of the journey. This story could be a lot more interesting if he had carried it into the 11th Doctors TARDIS.

It is possible that due to the technical difficulties (particularly an unauthorised bearer taking the torch) that the flame was carried again. It is also possible that the events of ‘Fear Her’ were erased by the cracks in time.

We also only have the Doctor’s observations that indicate the torch bearer is from the 2012 Olympics. While the torch bearer doesn’t contradict him he is distracted. He might also have reason to hide his true identity.

We learn that the torch bearer was being chased by a Weeping Angel, which also enters the TARDIS. The Doctor claims that it wants to steal the flame to destroy the spirit of excellence and friendship that it represents.

This wouldn’t really fit the usual methods or goals of the Weeping Angels. They’ve always been presented as only being driven to feed (and possibly multiply). Since it is never confirmed that this is what the Weeping Angel is doing this theory could be incorrect (it wouldn’t be the first time that the Doctor is wrong).

Yet ‘Time of the Angels/Flesh and Stone’ revealed that the Weeping Angels can be sadistic. Using the absorbed consciousness of the soldier Bob they taunt the Doctor, attempting to demoralise him.

It could be that Weeping Angels, once their hunger is sated, just enjoy torturing other species. Corrupting their values or simply ruining major events like this could be how they enjoy themselves. This can help give this particular monster larger goals.

Another possible motive is that the Weeping Angels can infect and convert anyone who witnesses them. It could be that this Weeping Angel is alone (particularly after the rest of its species were consumed by cracks in time) and is hoping to using the televised event to quickly replicate.

Given that a roaring crowd can be heard outside the TARDIS it does raise the question of just how the Weeping Angel was able to move without being quantum locked. One possible answer is that these events occur at the same moment in ‘Fear Her’ when those within the stadium vanished. This could give the Weeping Angel a small window of opportunity, with the sound of the crowd just being an echo.

The Doctor is able to despatch the Weeping Angel with relative ease using the sonic screwdriver. Since he has never used this tactic before or since this could be special situation. One reason for this might be that the Weeping Angel has entered the TARDIS. Its special nature with time could be weakened or eliminated here (meaning that an Angel couldn’t send someone into the past of the TARDIS interior).

The unresolved cliff hanger of the episode is the Weeping Angel reforming. This fits with the otherwise indestructible nature of the species. Even if the PCs believe that they’ve destroy an Angel there is the possibility that it could come back.

This opens the way for a future adventure following the events of this mini-episode. Does the Weeping Angel attack immediately or hide somewhere in the TARDIS? If this story does take place before ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ this could be the mysterious figure that many claim to see in the console room.

As a reward for saving the day the torch bearer gives the Doctor a gold medal. Putting aside the unlikelihood that a torch bearer would have such a medal to give out this memento could come back in a later story if the Doctor ever needs a source of gold to fight off a Cyberman.

At the resolution of the story the Doctor believes that they are still looking for adventure. Therefore he believes that the TARDIS didn’t purposely pick this moment to fulfil that criteria.

This allows you to set an adventure following these events. What would the Doctor consider an adventure? Amy seems to be happy that they are about to try again but considering that they were almost killed by a Weeping Angel might she not want something safer?

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DREAM LORD TEASERS

brilliantbookThe ‘Doctor Who – Brilliant Book 2011’ certainly lived up to its name, as did the 2012 edition, and it is a shame that we didn’t get one for 2013. In addition to behind the scene information there were nice little pieces of fiction that fleshed out the first season of the 11th Doctor.

One of these sections was a page full of teasers for the future of the Doctor, delivered by the Dream Lord. Some of these hints came to pass, including the first instance of the words ‘the only water in the forest is the river’ which hinted at River Song’s true identity.

Not all of these hints did occur, at least not yet. This means they are rich in material that can be mined for your own campaign. Here are a few of the best:

Find The Lady Before She Finds You

This could refer to the card game, also known as three card monte. Players must keep track of the Queen of Hearts as three playing cards are shuffled. It is frequently part of a confidence trick, using sleight of hand and misdirection to ensure that the player can never select the correct card.

This might suggest an adventure in a deadly version of this game, with the PCs lives at stake. Alternatively they could goad the opposition into taking part in a game, with the fate of the world at stake.

It could also suggest an adventure in which the PCs are being hunted by the Lady, with deadly consequences if she catches them. Since the PCs are challenged to find her there must be some benefit to finding her first.

You could bring time travel into it, with the PCs hunting down a younger version of the lady. It could be that if they find this version they can prevent her from becoming a menace in the future.

“I Won’t Take Calls From THAT Prime Minister”

This probably refers to the Doctors habit of taking calls for help, so presumably this quote comes from him. We know this can’t be Winston Churchill so who might the Doctor not want to talk to?

This might refer to Harriet Jones, another prominent Prime Minister in the Doctor Who universe. Would the 11th Doctor still hold a grudge for her actions in ‘The Christmas Invasion’, especially after her sacrifice in ‘Journey’s End’?

It might also be Harold Saxon aka The Master. It could be that after being elected the Master found that as Prime Minister he had access to the Doctor’s phone line. He may not be able aware that it is the 11th incarnation that he is contacting.

Combined with the line “Margaret! Come Back!” this could suggest the call is from Margaret Thatcher. She would a controversial choice but 1980s London could be good time period to explore.

This could link with the line ‘4 August 1982 – Happy Birthday Ma’am’. The Queen Mother was born 4th of August so could indicate that she is also involved in the same adventure. This wouldn’t be the first time that the Royal family have been included in a Doctor Who adventure.

Regardless of who it is there is mileage to be gained from exploring why the Prime Minister is calling and what the consequences are of the Doctor refusing to listen to them.

“12 Years On And Rory’s Still Terrified of Granny Grainger”

This could add some much needed back story to Rory (who usually is only ever seen in context to Amy). Who was Granny Grainger and what did she do that terrified him? Why is this relevant now?

The simple route could be to have a monster that feeds on fear assume the form of Granny Grainger.

It could also be that Granny Grainger was unnatural, just as Ace sensed that there was something evil at Gabriel Chase. An adventure could be based around either encounter Granny again or travelling into the past to deal with her while Rory was young.

The Shuddering Brethren, They’ll Stick In Your Mind

An evocative line for a new race that you can introduce into your game. They could be the polar opposite of the Silence, a race that you can’t stop thinking about. This could take the form of obsession, worship or a form of infection (not unlike the Weeping Angels ability to convert others).

This could be linked to the line ‘“If I saw them walking down the high street what would I think?””I don’t think you’d think anything at all Amy.”’ This might mean that the Shuddering Brethren can prevent people thinking altogether.

The Bones Of The TARDIS

We have seen the heart of the TARDIS but what about its bones? This could refer to the structure of the ship, which would relate to its transcendental nature. While heart can relate to a things nature or motivation its bones usually relates to its fundamental basis.

Bones usually conjures to mind concepts of death. Finding the bones of the TARDIS could be something akin to finding its grave. What we see in ‘The Name of the Doctor’ is its outer shell meaning we might find the rest of its interior at some later point.

What Awaits The TARDIS At The Zero Point?

This is ominous and suggests that whatever is at the Zero Point it will have consequences for the TARDIS. This could be a good question for the PCs to learn ahead of time. It can lead them to speculate what Zero Point might be.

It could be when a major historical event occurs that causes huge changes (the zero point of that chain of events) or it could be a physical place (maybe the centre of the universe) or another dimension. It is so flexible it could be the name of trending night club.

PCs could either seek out the location to try and answer the riddle or try to avoid it (only to find that the words keep appearing where ever they go).

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“A space loop. Nothing can enter or leave this ship ever again.”

isthatwhatilooklikeBroadcast as part of Red Nose Day 2011 and later released as part of the 6th series box sets ‘Space/Time’ is an entertaining mini-episode that captures a lot of the themes of the 11th Doctor era.

Airing between ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ this doesn’t necessarily mean that it occurs between those two points. All we know that this is a point at which both Amy and Rory are travelling with the Doctor.

The episode begins with Amy asking the Doctor if they can talk. The Doctor prevents this by calling for Rory, leaving us to wonder what exactly she wanted to speak to him about. She could have been about to talk to him about her pregnancy, concerned what effect the TARDIS might have had on it or if this occurs after ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ she might have wanted to talk about seeing him die.

Learning that Rory is beneath the glass floor, interacting with the TARDIS console Amy asks if he is helping the Doctor fly it. Given that both the Doctor and Rory are making adjustments, rather than touching the controls it is more likely that they are carrying out repairs or maintenance.

It has already been establish that Rory has a fairly good understanding of scientific principles, if not any practical experience. It shows a great deal of trust for the Doctor (and the TARDIS) to allow Rory to take part in these procedures.

During this process the TARDIS enters conceptual space (causing the ship to hum). Conceptual space is traditionally where concepts (colour, taste, weight, etc) can be compared.

This could be a layer of reality where abstract concepts and ideas might exist. It could also be similar to the Land of Fiction, where unreal things can exist. Since the TARDIS is unable to make an emergency landing anywhere else but itself it could mean that conceptual space is empty (at least no physical safe place for the TARDIS to materialize).

When Rory drops a thermo-coupling the TARDIS makes an emergency landing, within itself. This is similar to ‘Logopolis’ when the Master envelopes the Doctor’s TARDIS trapping it in a recursive loop.

Presumably the TARDIS is enclosed entirely within its own pocket dimension. It can’t re-materialize in normal space because it can’t leave its own enclosure. The Doctor initially believes that nothing with be able to enter or leave ever again.

This situation could happen to any set of PCs that have their own TARDIS. There are many reasons why their ship might be forced to make an emergency landing and there could be dire circumstances in which it ends up landing inside itself.

If they do learn how to get out again this could be a good defensive manoeuvre, since not only would the TARDIS vanish from reality but nothing can get in. It is possible that there are other Time Lords who ended up in the same situation during the Time War and are just waiting for someone to get themselves out of the trap.

Their isolation is quickly ended when an Amy from the future arrives. This foreshadows the multiple Amy’s in ‘The Girl Who Waited’ not to mention future Amy’s first words echo her introduction in ‘The Big Bang’.

It is interesting that Amy is attracted to herself. Not only is she complimenting her own appearance the Doctor himself identifies that she is flirting. Yet she is offended when Rory considers the possibilities of having two Amy’s around.

The Girl Who Waited’ plays with this notion, with Rory being fought over by ‘present day’ Amy and ‘future’ Amy. It is also worth noting that the Doctor doesn’t raise the issue here that two Amy’s can’t co-exist (although he is keen to get ‘present’ Amy into the past).

Future Amy explains that the exterior of the TARDIS (which is currently in the console room) has slipped forward in time, so that if you step inside you’ll end up a few minutes in the past in the console room.

This drift could have interesting consequences in other scenarios. If the exterior drifts ahead those inside the TARDIS could use the scanners to witness themselves leave the box or observe events that are about to occur.

It could also mean that future incarnations or other creatures could enter the TARDIS exterior and arrive in the TARDIS interiors past. While the time difference is short here the same principle could mean beings from days, months or years in the future could enter the TARDIS. This could get confusing fast.

As with ‘Time Crash’ the distortion in time causes information to materialise from nowhere. Here future Amy explains the situation but only by remember what she herself said. This could be another example of time using such paradoxes to communicate.

This ties into themes of pre-destination, which will eventually come to a head in ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ and end the relationship between the Doctor and the Ponds.

The Doctor is focused on making sure that Amy enters the TARDIS exterior at exactly the right point to stop the time line collapsing. Amy also checks with her future incarnation what her first line is. In contrast future Rory is able to convey a lot of information without memorising it, stating that it just happens.

This shows two different approaches to pre-destination. One in which time travellers artificially make things happen as they experienced them and one where the traveller allows it to happen naturally.

The Doctor manages to free them from the TARDIS with a controlled temporal implosion, resetting the ship. His only problem is that he doesn’t know which lever will control it and prevent them from dying.

He gets this information from a future Doctor who instructs him to pull the Wibbley lever. Since the Doctor pulls the lever and then dashes into the TARDIS exterior (to give himself the information) we can assume that if he’d pulled the wrong lever death would have been instantaneous (thus no future incarnation could have entered).

We might be witnessing an elimination of possible futures. In each version where the Doctor pulls the wrong lever  he and the Ponds die but in their near past only the Doctor who choose correctly appears. Therefore it only appears as if he is creating a paradox by giving himself that information (when in truth it was a process of elimination).

From the perspective of those in the console room the TARDIS exterior dematerialises. The implosion is not noticeable at all (possibly used to fuel its escape). The fact that it was temporal implosion could be mean that the time differential was consumed.

Another option to escape a similar situation could be to brutally sacrifice one version of the TARDIS control room (and its crew). Since the problem is that the TARDIS has landed in itself, removing its surroundings could allow it move on.

In short, if either the present or future TARDIS were destroyed its counter-part could escape. PCs could have to make a tough decision about which version gets to live. True, with only a few minutes to separate them the difference is meaningless but that will be small comfort to those who are about to die.

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“Oh, Davros, I am far more than just another Time Lord.”

tauntingdavrosIn ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ Davros attempts to belittle the Doctor by stating that he is just another Time Lord. The Doctor retorts that he is far more. There are several ways this can be interpreted, which can impact upon your own campaign.

The Cartmel Masterplan

The easiest way to take this is how it was probably intended, as part of the Cartmel Masterplan. I’ve discussed this here but in short this was an attempt to restore some mystery to the Doctor.

Lungbarrow’ eventually revealed that the Doctor was the reincarnation of The Other, a mysterious figure from early Time Lord history. This scene and a cut scene from ‘Survival’ were supposed to hint at this.

The cannonity of this is in doubt, so you are free to ignore it if you wish. Its only real impact is to give the Doctor a previous life that extends before his 1st incarnation, giving you much more history to explore.

An encounter between the Doctor and the Other could make for a good adventure, a way to explore his true origin. The Doctor might also come across the consequences of the Others actions or have to recall his past life.

An Experienced Time Lord

The Doctor’s confidence could simply come from his experience. Indeed, the thrust of his conversation with Davros is that he has defeated him every time they have met. The Doctor is simply pointing out that he has done far more than any other Time Lord.

We already know how capable the Doctor is but this interpretation casts a different light on his people. It suggests that no other Time Lord could hope to equal what the Doctor has done.

This could very well be true, given that when the Doctor dies the stars blink out off existence but when his people are erased by the Time War the rest of the universe doesn’t notice.

PC Time Lords are the exception to this, or at least they should aspire to be. If this is the way you interpret the Doctor’s words the PCs should always feel like they are special, that no one else can do what they are doing.

The Elite

The Doctor began his message to Davros by announcing his titles, including being President Elect, Defender of the Laws of Time and Protector of Gallifrey. The Doctor could therefore just reiterating that he isn’t a common Time Lord but a higher social class.

While the Doctor never seems too concerned about status it obviously has a place within the culture he grew up in and certain incarnations certainly think they are better than the common man.

If this interpretation is correct then the Doctor thinks that his status entitles him to interfere in affairs of others and people like Davros should know their place. This can be a subtle bit of motivation for those playing the Doctor.

You could take it further either in another incarnation of the Doctor or another Time Lord who puts a lot of emphasis on his title. If the Time Lords exist in your campaign then a PC could be motivated to curry favour and increase his standing.

Servant Of The Guardians

Having worked for the White Guardian in his 4th incarnation the Doctor could believe that this elevates his above being a Time Lord. The novels also suggest a close connection with the gods of Gallifrey, such as Time. This is a Doctor who works for higher powers.

The Doctor does spend his 7th incarnation vanquishing gods or godlike beings (from Fenric to the gods of Ragnarok to Light). Compared to them someone like Davros is beneath him. The Doctor’s retort could be his way of making his old enemy know that he has outgrown him.

This approach could be a good way to signify that the Doctor is ascending. No longer on the back foot or forced to perform damage control here the 7th Doctor manipulates Davros into destroying his own planet, as if it was a game.

Later incarnations of the Doctor or PC Time Lords might go through a similar character growth (especially if they’ve improved their character during the course a campaign). They are now ready to deal with bigger threats, as long as they don’t become one themselves.

The Man Who Saved Gallifrey

If any Doctor is likely to remember the events of ‘The Day of the Doctor’ it is the 7th. Every instance of his foreknowledge and manipulative nature could originate from his encounter with his future selves and knowledge of what will happen (possibly telepathically linking minds or stealing data from their TARDIS).

This knowledge could have been lost once he regenerates, his 8th incarnation personal time stream delinking from his future incarnations. For the moment though the Doctor knows just how important he is.

This can add another layer to the 7th Doctor’s background. He has access to all this knowledge about what is going to happen but knows that he only has a brief time to do anything about it.

Far More…

Time Lords are far more advanced than a human. They are near immortal, vastly more intelligent and have mastered space and time. The Doctor could be indicating that he has exceeded his own people.

We are never shown exactly how these advancements might manifest. A clue might lie in two extraordinary abilities displayed in this very story, namely teleporting in the van so he can switch places with Ace and later healing her with a touch.

If these are not common abilities of Time Lords the Doctor this could just be the tip of the iceberg. Is this the result of his years of time travel, a gift bestowed by a higher being, an indicator that he is from the Time Lords future (and thus further along their evolutionary track) or that he was never a Gallifreyan to begin with?

Do later incarnations of the Doctor possess these same advanced abilities? Might they have been reset when the 11th Doctor was granted a new cycle of regenerations?

Time Lord PCs might similarly discover they are becoming far more than a Time Lord. How do they react to this and do they reveal their new capabilities?

Posted in 7th Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks, Setting | Leave a comment

The 50th Anniversary Trailer: Part 4

The 10th Doctor

10thdoctorruinAway from the conflict surrounding his previous incarnations is the 10th Doctor. In front of him is what could be a younger War Doctor.

Has the 10th Doctor stumbled across this moment, is he coming to the rescue or is he standing here to hold back the enemy forces?

If it is War Doctor before him and this prior to ‘The Day of The Doctor’ his cold gaze could be because he is encountering an incarnation of himself he has tried to forget. All of this could be an unwelcome reminder of the Time War.

The 10th Doctor seems to be surrounded by the ruins of London, including St Paul’s Cathedral and the Shard. Earlier in this sequence there were shots of Big Ben, with Dalek ships overhead.

It could be that this battlefield has caused massive damage to London (which would have lasting consequences) or that this sequence occurs during the Dalek’s occupation of Earth. Either scenario has potential.

To the 10th Doctor’s right is Bessie. Could this be how the 10th Doctor arrived here. Possibly he obtained this from UNIT, suggesting that he might have conferred with them before heading into the fight.

It might also mean that the 10th Doctor has already met with the 3rd Doctor. While the 3rd Doctor dealt with the Master in the TARDIS the 10th Doctor borrowed his old car to get to where he was needed.

The presence of the 9th Doctor leads to the potential of he and the 10th Doctor meeting. How would the 9th Doctor react to those who would follow him? While it is unlikely we’ll ever have this shown on screen this could be good to play through in your own adventure and might explain his acceptance of his regeneration in ‘Parting of The Ways’.

11th Doctor

11thdoctorstand

Even more distanced than the 10th Doctor is the 11th Doctor, standing atop a peculiar stone edifice inscribed with a symbol in high gallifreyan. The stone itself reminds me of the Aztecs.

What is this structure? Is it part of the reshaped London landscape or is it elsewhere, a perch from which the 11th Doctor is watching the crisis?

Behind the 11th Doctor we see the Golden Gate bridge, which is located in San Francisco. Not only is the city where the 8th Doctor was born (and thus might be vulnerable to attack) but where the universe almost ended.

The incident could have weakened reality or left a scar, not unlike the rift in Cardiff was caused by the events of ‘Boom Town’. This might allow the 11th Doctor to see events occurring in different eras.

San Francisco is also where the Master was pulled into the TARDIS eye of harmony. We never learn how exactly the Time Lords were able to resurrect him after this demise. It could be that their efforts to free him caused these events or at least put events in motion.

If the disembodied Master was alive within the TARDIS could he move back through its time stream and contact his earlier self. Might this explain the Master’s presence in the 3rd Doctor’s TARDIS?

Once again segments of the key to time are very prominent in this sequence. It could be that the 11th Doctor has finally managed to gather them all, to deal with the situation, just as in ‘Day of the Doctor’ he spends all his lives solving the problem here he is the culmination of his past incarnations efforts.

Most importantly it is the 11th Doctor that finally moves, as if the whole universe was holding his breath waiting to see how he would act.

“Our future depends on one single moment of one impossible day. The day I’ve been running from all my life.”

The 11th Doctor narrates the trailer and it is easy to see how the dialogue could refer to what occurred during the Time War and how using the Moment to save Gallifrey will affect his future.

In the context of the images in the trailer it could mean something quite different. Firstly when he refers to ‘’our future’ is he talking generally or specifically about the future of the various Doctors?

When we see him act at the end of the trailer is this the moment that he refers to? It seems quite likely that this is the climax of the story, his choice of the sonic screwdriver an act that will save all versions of himself.

If this was a television episode I would have the majority of the trailer at the start of the story and then flashback to reveal how this situation was arrived at before revealing exactly what the 11th Doctor was aiming at, high above him.

The Doctor calls this an impossible day which might suggest a 24 hour framework for the adventure. It could also mean that there is only one day in the whole of time that could allow these circumstances.

The fact he has been running from this moment his whole life could indicate that all the Doctor’s have retained knowledge that this was going to happen. That each incarnation knows there will be a moment where they will be caught up in these terrible events.

It could be that they don’t know how the 11th Doctor saves the day, or whether he is only able to return them to their own time stream. It could be a continual concern that they get ever closer to the incarnation that will have to save them all.

If you do choose to base an adventure around the trailer then this can give the players some respite. Rather than running the adventure in one go you can have each incarnation return to their own life, pondering how things will turn out.

This can allow you to have overlapping scenes, which can reveal more information from the perspective of the other Doctors. By the time you reach the 11th Doctor they should have good idea about what is happening and how to resolve it.

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The 50th Anniversary Trailer: Part 3

5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Doctor

7thdoctorweepingangelThe next scene in the trailer is harder to analyse as we are presented with a chaotic battlefield, upon which the various Doctor’s are surrounded by their enemies.

There are two ways we can interpret this. Firstly this could be symbolic. Just as there isn’t a tunnel leading from Foreman’s junkyard to the Himalayas the battlefield represents individual battles taking part in different time periods.

Secondly that the various Doctors are on the same battlefield. This could take place once they have worked out that someone is attacking their earlier incarnations and managed to gather together to face their enemies.

The 7th Doctor is being pursued by a Weeping Angel. This could be where he first learns of them, explaining how the 10th Doctor knew so much about them. Does this Weeping Angel plan to kill the Doctor, infect him or transport him in time? Might the manipulative 7th Doctor already have a plan?

The 5th Doctor is throwing a cricket ball. Is he attacking an enemy or using the ball to activate a device? Could he have been snatched through time during a cricket match? He is apparently oblivious to a lightening blast that is coming from either a Silence or possibly Davros.

The 6th Doctor is either shocked by something or possibly holding up his arms to stop the 9th Doctor, who is looking back towards the other incarnations. The clash of egos between the 6th and 9th Doctor would certainly be entertaining.

The 8th Doctor seems to be out of harms way, with none of the monsters directly focused on him (aside from the Racnoss lurking in the background.) This is a pre-Time War version of this Doctor so the impact of encountering the War Doctor could be great.

The Companions

8thdoctorautonThroughout this sequence we see numerous companions, although alot less visible than the Doctors. We open with Sarah Jane Smith, K9 and Clara but Rose and Amy Pond are also there. There is a definite bias towards New Who in this selection.

Just when each companion originates from raises some interesting questions. As we’ve already discussed whether Sarah Jane Smith has witnessed the Doctor regenerate creates many possibilities.

Similarly what version of Clara is this? It could be the version that recently travelled with the 11th Doctor or one of the many versions that splintered through time. If it is the latter this strengthens the possibility that this is all a consequence of the Great Intelligence trying to attack him throughout time.

Did Rose come here with the 9th or 10th Doctor? If this is post ‘School Reunion’ she might have some questions about why Sarah Jane Smith didn’t mention they met before (possibly suggesting that these events won’t be remembered). It’ll also be a chance for her to meet Sarah Jane in her prime.

This could also be Rose after she left the Doctor’s company. Whatever crisis has occurred could once again have weakened the barriers between realities, allowing her to cross over. Potentially she could also have brought the half human clone of the 10th Doctor along.

Of course this might not be Rose at all but a manifestation of the Moment. Could she be invisible to everyone but the War Doctor again or will she take part in events? She appeared to have some awareness of future timelines and this chaos could be disrupting that ability.

Amy Pond could be from several distinct periods in her life. She could be accompanying the Doctor when they first began travelling. If she still has strong feelings for the Doctor how will she react to meeting other incarnations of him.

If Rose also is in love with him at this point then there could be conflict between her and Amy. Both have shown to themselves to be jealous. Rose in particular found it hard to take that there had been other women in his life before her. How will she react when she finds there are women after her?

If this Amy during those early years the cracks in time that she is partially responsible for could have created or exasperated the current situation. This could be a good way to link that story arc into this epic multi-Doctor story.

Set after ‘The Pandorica Opens’ and/or ‘The God Complex’ the absence of Rory is troubling. Was he simply not caught up in events or is he in trouble somewhere? Might he be about to arrive to rescue his wife?

What if this was Amy post ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’? This could be a reunion for her and the Doctor. It also creates the potential risk that if he can’t return her to New York the city will be destroyed by the paradox.

With so many past companions why don’t we see more of them? Especially since most of the companions present travelled with the 9th, 10th and 11th Doctors. This opens the possibility that rest are either captured or on a mission of their own.

It could be that the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Doctors have sent their companions to rescue their earlier incarnations. They could have divided into several groups to rescue the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th incarnation.

This gives you a wide range of companions to mix and match. Who will be selected to lead each group? Who will rebel? Who will cause trouble? If Turlough is present is he still under the sway of the Black Guardian and a potential traitor?

This could be a real chance to have the companions save the Doctor for once. If the Doctor is the target of everything that is happening it is possible that the mastermind behind it all has overlooked the companions, giving them a real chance to exploit this oversight.

Posted in 5th Doctor, 6th Doctor, 7th Doctor, 8th Doctor, 9th Doctor, day of the doctor | Leave a comment

The 50th Anniversary Trailer: Part 2

We continue our look at the 50th Anniversary trailer and already the many options available to us present a way to tie everything together.

The 3rd Doctor

3rddoctorglobeHere we have the 3rd Doctor in a sword fight with the Master around the console of the TARDIS. This is an exciting image and would be a great scene for an adventure. Just how did we get into this situation?

If the TARDIS is in-flight we can presume that this takes place post ‘The Three Doctors’. If it takes place before possibly the Doctor was working with the Master to try to escape his exile.

It could also be that if there is threat to time the two might have allied. The Master would have no interest in letting the universe be destroyed before he has had a chance to rule over it.

Possibly the Master was able to smuggle himself on board or land his own TARDIS inside the Doctor’s (as he did in ‘Logopolis’). Has he allied himself with whatever force is targeting the Doctor?

The sword fight could be a result of the Master betraying the Doctor but we’ve seen in ‘The Five Doctors’ that the 3rd Doctor doesn’t trust him. The Master could legitimately be trying to help the Doctor only for his old foe to draw his sword.

The fact that they are in the TARDIS means that they can be on their way from and to anywhere you want in your adventure. At any moment the 3rd Doctor’s TARDIS might appear near the PCs.

Another powerful image in this sequence is Sarah Jane watching the conflict in a crystal ball. Considering that she is accompanied by K9 it is likely that this is at a point in her life where she has already witnessed the 3rd Doctor transform into the 4th Doctor. This would therefore be a sweet reunion.

Yet she looks younger than she appeared in ‘K9 and Company’ so this could just another mix of two different eras. This could be a chance to have her meet the 4th Doctor before ‘Planet of The Spiders’.

Either sequence could allow Sarah Jane to pass along information to the 3rd Doctor about what his future incarnation looks like, explaining his reaction in ‘The Five Doctors’.

The crystal ball is another intriguing element. What is it and how is it showing the 3rd Doctor? We know that the Great Intelligence makes use of spheres and he could be using a device such as this to spy on his enemy, particularly as the 1st and 2nd Doctor suggest his involvement. Sarah Jane just happens to have found it.

Having such a crystal ball can be important when events are happening in different locations and time zones. If the PCs have it they can check in to find out what is happening with the others. It can also make a good transition, allowing the players to indicate when they want to change focus to another group of characters.

The 4th Doctor

4thdoctorjellybabiesTrapped in even greater peril is the 4th Doctor. We see him floating in space, his beloved jelly babies and sonic screw driver floating around him.

How did he get here?

Could it be that he was thrown into space? That the TARDIS dematerialised around him while travelling through the void? Did the Time Ring send him here between ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ and ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’?

While it possible the 4th Doctor might be able to get himself out of this situation (possibly by using his scarf to snare the sonic screwdriver) it could be the goal of the PCs to save him. Maybe they use the same crystal ball that Sarah Jane has to learn that he is in trouble and rush to his rescue.

Just as the 4th Doctor became trapped in vortex during ‘The Five Doctors’ something similar might have happened here. It could be that this particular incarnation is very difficult to time scoop. If this is the case there might be something special about this version of the Doctor (possibly linked to the existence of the Curator).

The presence of K9 with Sarah Jane could indicate that the 4th Doctor has already met her (maybe reunited after ‘The Invisible Enemy’ from the Doctor’s perspective). He could have left K9 to protect her.

Linking to the larger plot if the Key to Time is an important part of what is happening it is the 4th Doctor that spent a whole season collecting it. It could be due to his experience with the artefact that someone took the extreme step of depositing him in deep space.

Once the 4th Doctor had assembled the Key to Time in ‘The Armageddon Factor’ he briefly frightened Romana by pretending he’d gone power mad. Is it possible that in that brief moment, with the power to control all of existence, that he did use the Key to Time?

This then might be the cause of the chaos. Either deliberately or by accident the Doctor destabilises time and endangers his other selves. It could be that he has a well meaning agenda but realised that his other incarnations would try to stop him (including the earlier 4th incarnation) and either tried to eliminate them or imprison them.

During ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ he does try to commit genocide. It is is not unimaginable that the frequently unstable 4th Doctor might try to eliminate his enemies again. This could cause them to join forces against him. This could explain the army of the Doctor’s various enemies.

This could present an interesting enemy for a multi-Doctor adventure, with all his incarnations battling a power mad 4th Doctor. If you don’t wish the Doctor to be truly evil you can always suggest that the Key to Time has corrupted him in some way.

Eventually everything could be reset, using the Key to Time. This could even be a function of the artefact, just as the Moment gave the War Doctor a vision of his future. Here the Key to Time shows the 4th Doctor what would happen if he misused its power, in only a few seconds.

Posted in 3rd Doctor, 4th Doctor, day of the doctor | 1 Comment

The 50th Anniversary Trailer: Part 1

The excitement for the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who episode ‘Day Of The Doctor’ began with the release of a fantastic trailer. All 11 Doctors were shown, frozen in time at a moment of crisis.

When the episode itself aired it turned out that this trailer didn’t have anything to do with the story itself. Presumably it was more symbolic but there are so many intriguing images that it can serve as a basis for your own multi-Doctor adventure.

The 1st Doctor

1stdoctordalekWe are first introduced to the 1st Doctor entering Foreman’s Junkyard, surprised to see a Dalek exterminating a UNIT soldier. This is vague enough that it could occur at any time period pre or post ‘An Unearthly Child’ for the Doctor. The presence of the UNIT soldier indicates that it is during or after ‘The Invasion’.

Only the Doctor is shown here, so we don’t know if he is travelling alone or whether his companions are in the TARDIS (or elsewhere). This gives you a lot of room to include the PCs that you want to include.

The junkyard is filled with artefacts from the Doctor’s travels including a Time Lord psychic cube, a sonic screwdriver, a Dalek computer, the Cloven Hoof pub sign (from ‘The Daemons’) and many more.

Did the Doctor place them here and if so how and why? Does he know the significance of them to his future?

The presence of the UNIT soldier indicates that this might be a UNIT facility. If the organisation knew of its link to the Doctor they might have purchased it and used it as a storage facility before establishing the Black Archive.

The presence of pieces of the TARDIS and the collection of objects from different time periods could indicate some form of temporal collapse. It could be that there is a hole in time, causing all of these objects to fall here, possibly due to the fact the TARDIS was here in ‘An Unearthly Child’.

Amongst the collection of items there is also the Key to Time. We see this artefact in several different timeframes. It could be that this powerful item could be responsible for the chaos depicted.

Did the Dalek come here to obtain something or was it itself an artefact? Whoever placed it there could have thought it was dead, only to find out that it was hibernating. Its close proximity to a Dalek computer could indicate that it is this which reawakened it.

We see the TARDIS in the yard but this doesn’t mean that it is the 1st Doctors. A TARDIS console is nearby so this could simply be a place that all time machines are being stored. The Doctor might have detected its presence and come to investigate.

Clearly the Doctor is in peril here. Has the Dalek come to kill him or will it attempt to capture him. If it succeeds in either of these goals it would have huge consequences for the later Doctors. Saving the 1st Doctor could be an important goal for the any other Doctor featured in the adventure.

The Doctor could find a way to defend himself or escape. There are numerous items that could be useful to him in the junkyard. In particular it would be interesting to see the 1st Doctor make use of the sonic screwdriver.

When all else fails it is possible he might be able to escape into the nearby TARDIS. If he is able to get away he can begin to try and work out what is happening and how best to deal with the situation.

The death of the UNIT solider also brings in that organisation. How do they respond to the threat? Will they be able to defeat the Dalek? Will they alert the Doctor?

If this is set during the Doctor’s exile then he might be asked to investigate. This could bring the 3rd Doctor in contact with his 1st incarnation. We know from later in the trailer that the 3rd Doctor does seem to be involved in these events.

There are plenty of options for you to choose from. Beginning your adventure where the first episode of Doctor Who began is appropriate for a celebration of the show. If you decide that this evidence of time breaking down this could be a clear way to show that continuity is being altered and players can’t depend on anything being canon.

The 2nd Doctor

2nddoctorfluteIn comparison the 2nd Doctor sequence is positively peaceful. He is playing his recorder, with the Himalayas in the background. Just behind him is a collection of wreckage, that looks very similar to that seen in ‘Night of the Doctor’.

The Doctor of course went to the Himalayas in ‘The Abominable Snowmen’. The presence of a Yeti sculpture in the junkyard could suggest that the Great Intelligence is a connecting factor. We already know that he has made one attempt to destroy the Doctor in all of his lives.

The Doctor could be in the Himalayas prior that episode, as it is established in ‘The Abominable Snowmen’ he’d been there before. Alternatively it could during or after the televised adventure.

Could it be that the wreckage belonged to a spaceship or the TARDIS itself? If it is the former it could be the reason the Doctor is investigating and if it is the latter he could find himself stranded (if it is his TARDIS).

The 2nd Doctor is framed in what appears to be a tunnel. We can assume this is an artistic flourish but what if there really is a tunnel that links the junk yard to the Himalayas? Such links through space and time could be the reason for the chaos (or another side effect).

If the 2nd Doctor is stranded it could be that his recorder playing is not just a display of whimsy but an attempt to summon rescue, just as he was able to whistle for the TARDIS in ‘The Two Doctors’.

This could be a depiction of Time Corridor technology. It could be that the 2nd Doctor is employing this technique to rescue the 1st Doctor from the junk yard. This could be a way to have the two Doctors join forces. All they have to make sure is that the Dalek doesn’t follow them.

To Be Continued…

Posted in 1st Doctor, 2nd Doctor, day of the doctor | Leave a comment

“Do you really think he’s back there, trying to wave to us, out of history books?”

waveWith the 11th Doctor routinely dropping off his companions there is a wealth of material for additional adventures, set between the episodes. ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ begins with Amy reading a history book which details a few of these.

Charles II

We first see the Doctor, hiding naked beneath the dress of Matilda, King Charles II daughter, having been the subject of one of her paintings. For this he was imprisoned in the tower of London (not the first or last time this happens) before escaping on a magical sphere, two days later.

Did the Doctor just come to the 17th century so that he could be painted by Matilda. He might have hoped that Amy would eventually see this, his way of waving at her. The fact that he was nude wouldn’t bother him, as his behaviour in ‘Time of The Doctor’ shows.

It is equally possible that there was something else going on in the court that the Doctor had to investigate. Posing for the painting might have been the only way for him to gain Matilda’s help or valuable information.

King Charles II is aware of the Doctor and seems to suspect he is up to no good. Might he been already hunting the Doctor, seeking to imprison him, before he discovered him under his daughter’s dress? This could have been the reason the Doctor was looking for somewhere to hide.

During his stay in the tower (and two days seems a long time for the Doctor to be imprisoned) did he notice the scratches his future self left in the 16th century during ‘The Day Of The Doctor’?

Is the magical sphere, twenty feet across, a hot air balloon or something advanced aircraft (possibly a UFO). Whatever it was who was piloting it? Who helped rescue the Doctor? Was it another companion, Matilda or the PCs?

Did they leave immediately or was there a threat that needed to be dealt with? Did he leave Matilda’s painting of him (and if so did it end up in the under gallery) or did he take it with him?

POW Camp

Next the 11th Doctor is leading some British prisoners to freedom via a tunnel, only to emerge in the commandant’s office, where the alarm is raised. This is a great cliff hanger that goes unresolved.

We can presume that the Doctor doesn’t have his TARDIS with him, otherwise escape would be much easier. So is it nearby or has it been captured by the Germans. This could lead to an exciting adventure to get it back.

Did the 11th Doctor deliberately allow himself to be captured or was he caught while in the time period? Was his goal to free the prisoners (and if so why has he chosen to change history here) or was joining the escape committee his best chance of getting free?

How did the Doctor escape once the alarm was raised? Did he manage to get anyone else out with him? A freed WWII prisoner could make for a interesting companion for the Doctor, equipped with valuable skills to survive his adventures.

Amy suggests that the Doctor is deliberately trying to be ridiculous to get their attention. Escaping the POW camp doesn’t, in itself, appear to be ridiculous nor is it obvious why this would be in a history book (unless the book is specifically about mentions of the Doctor).

It might be then that his means of escape once the alarm was raised was done in a ridiculous way. We don’t see who guards and the commandant were so there is possibility they weren’t human (whether the history book reveals that is another matter).

Laurel and Hardy

The most obvious example of the Doctor waving to the Ponds is where he does just that in a Laurel and Hardy film that Rory is watching (although he misses it). Presumably this isn’t the first time he has seen the movie so unless this is a special cut of the film then why didn’t Rory recognise the 11th Doctor before?

The film in question is ‘The Flying Deuces’ in which Laurel and Hardy join the Foreign Legion. It features them coming into conflict with a commandant and the duo escaping via a tunnel. This could be why the Doctor chose to appear in the film, after his adventures at the POW camp.

Further the reason that the main characters join the Foreign Legion is so Hardy can forget a failed romance. This is appropriate as this episode introduces the Silence, who make people forget.

At the end of ‘The Flying Deuces’ (SPOILERS!) Hardy dies and is reincarnated as a horse. The Doctor is also someone who can die and return in a new body, although he hasn’t come back as a horse yet. Potentially he could and might explain his ability to communicate with Susan in ‘A Town Called Mercy’.

The film was made in 1939 and it would be interesting to explore how the Doctor became involved and how he persuaded the director and the stars of the film for him to steal the limelight in the scene we see (he could possibly be in other parts of the movie). Did he have input into the script?

The director, A. Edward Sutherland, said he’d rather eat a tarantula than work with Laurel and Hardy again. Could this possibly be because of something the Doctor did? How did the Time Lord get on with the two actors?

WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN FOR THE DOCTOR?

For Amy and Rory it has been two months since they saw the Doctor. These events could occur during his absence or prior to ‘Closing Time’. It is equally possible that this could happen after ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ either when the Doctor is travelling alone or with Clara. This gives you the freedom to decide what works best for your group.

This can also serve as a way for PCs to keep track of what the Time Lord PC is up to when they aren’t travelling together. They could stumble across records of his adventures while he is away.

When they meet the Time Lord again they might accidentally reveal foreknowledge of an adventure he hasn’t had yet. This could take them into the very adventure they were just reading about in the history books.

Posted in 11th Doctor, Impossible Astronaut | Leave a comment

“But it’s 1869. How can I die now?”

trappedIn ‘The Unquiet Dead’ Rose ponders how she could die in the past, before she is born. This illustrates the difficulty that some people have with the concept of time travel. This is Rose’s first trip into the past and she is obviously struggling with the concept of what is happening.

Does she imagine that this akin to ‘A Christmas Carol’ and she is not actually there? While she can sense the 19th century and interact with those around her does she believe that she is just a projection and that her physical body is still in the 21st century?

She also suggests that her objection is based on the illogic of her dying before she is born. Does she believe that ‘time’ or some other entity just won’t permit this confusing state of affairs?

To her credit Rose doesn’t act as if she believes she is invulnerable prior to this scene. She is probably just trying to rationalise her way out of the situation, trying to find a logical explanation for how she will get out of this unharmed.

It could be amusing for a player character, new to time travel, to have this belief. They might be incredibly bold and risk great danger because they think they can’t be hurt. They are in for a nasty shock when they are injured for the first time.

The Doctor’s explanation that time can be twisted into new shapes is similar to the 10th Doctor’s discussion in ‘Blink’ that time isn’t strictly a linear series of events.  Time in this context is Roses’ life. In particular that the date of her birth and death don’t necessarily have to occur in that order.

Within the Doctor Who universe time is often treated as a ‘place’. The TARDIS can remove people from one location, whether that be a planet or time period, and deposit them in another. Here time is more of an abstract concept.

Part of how time is presented is that the viewer follows the main characters in their travels, thus we have a sense of continuity. They might be going backwards and forwards in time but we still know in which order those adventures happen to our heroes.

An outsider would have different perspective here and this might be what Rose is referring to. Anyone observing or recording those events is going to have difficult time explaining how Rose dies before her birth, especially if they aren’t aware of the TARDIS or what it does.

This can be seen in discussions of the time travel film ‘Primer’ where people will often refer to the time machine producing ‘duplicates’. This isn’t what the machine is doing. It isn’t creating people but transporting the same person up and down the time stream. Yet because these viewers perceive there to be two (or more) of the same person then one must be the original and the other duplicates. A similar discussion occurs in the Spanish film ‘Time Crimes’.

Perceiving time travel in a different way, especially from the point of view not familiar with the mechanics can inform our knowledge of how NPCs will act and behave. Their observations may be terribly wrong but they will still act on those conclusions.

Adventures can be developed based around how people react to incidents of time travel they’ve experienced or learn of. This could be a good way to have sequel to the PCs or the Doctor’s adventures, with people trying to puzzle out what happened and reacting accordingly.

Mysteries can also be developed for PCs to investigate that turn out to be time travel. This can be particularly effective if your campaign focuses on those with little to no experience with it, such as a UNIT or Torchwood campaign.

While we know Rose is wrong in her belief that she can’t die what if she was right? This removes the element of physical danger to a campaign, with PCs unable to be die before the date of their birth or after the date of their death.

This can help encourage players to send their characters into dangerous situations. It also adds to their mystic, as this will make them appear inhuman to others. Their enemies will fear these unstoppable beings who appear from nowhere to stop them.

You may wish them to demonstrate other evidence of their disconnection from the current time. It could be that they are also immune to extremes of temperature, unable to feel the cold or heat. They might not need food or water nor require rest.

This could be how the Time Lords acquired their reputation for being god-like beings. In their native time period they are the ordinary beings we see in episodes set on Gallifrey but when they travel to other eras they can not be harmed or stopped.

If this is how time travel works them travellers would have a section of time, the duration of their life, which they must avoid or be made vulnerable. Mysterious beings like the Doctor could have this period in the distant past or future, while for most companions this is the 20th or 21st century.

There are still opportunities for peril. Time travellers might not have any great physical strength and so risk being captured. Such travellers could be imprisoned indefinitely, especially if they don’t require sustenance. 

If the time travellers are projections then their presence in other time periods could require concentration. Anything that frightens them or causes them to believe that they would die can cause them to return to their own time period.

You could reduce the PCs ability to interact with the past or future. It could be that they aren’t actually there and so can only observe. If they are able to interact it isn’t real and when they return to their own time period they find that any changes they made aren’t reflected there (this could mean that changes create divergent timelines).

Within your own campaign you are free to decide how time travel will work. Equally PCs and NPCs can come up with their own interpretation. Scenes like this from ‘The Unquiet Dead’ can allow characters to discuss what they think is happening.

Posted in 9th Doctor, Unquiet Dead | Leave a comment