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.

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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.

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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…

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“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.

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“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.

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“The time engine isn’t in the flat, the time engine is the flat. Someone’s attempt to build a TARDIS.”

silencetardisIn ‘The Lodger’ the Doctor discovers a mysterious time machine, using a perception filter to disguise itself as the top floor of a flat. While we don’t learn who owned the time machine in this episode it is suggested in ‘The Day of The Moon’ that it belonged to the Silence.

By the time of ‘The Time Of The Doctor’ we know that the Silence were time travelling into the Doctor’s past. The real question is whether the time machine in ‘The Lodger’ is the same one the Doctor encountered in 1960s America or if it is just the same model.

The Doctor seems to think that it is the same machine, as he believes he is about to find out how it came to be abandoned. At the end of ‘The Day of The Moon’ the Silence have unwittingly caused humanity to rise up against them.

This combined with River Song shooting them could have resulted in the death of the Silence crew. It could be that after they died the AI managed to fly the ship to the UK (probably not long before the events of ‘The Lodger’) or that one of the Silence lived long enough to put the ship in motion but died causing it to crash.

We do know that the ship in ‘The Lodger’ did crash, the AI states as much. It states that the crew is dead and it is seeking a new pilot. The fact that it crashed strongly suggests that it didn’t mean to be in this time and place. If it isn’t the same time machine form ‘The Day of The Moon’ where was it heading?

You may wish to develop the backstory of the time machine, possibly having the PCs be responsible for its crash. Did the crew die or did they manage to escape? It could be that the PCs were protecting the Doctor from another attempt to meddle in his past.

The control orbs and resulting electricity effect of the time machine fit with members of the Silence being the crew. The ship was looking for people who wanted to escape to enable it to leave (to where?). This could suggest that other examples of Silence technology use telepathy.

The Doctor’s statement that someone was ‘trying’ to build a TARDIS suggests an amateurish attempt of imitation. While it is possible that the Silence were trying to copy the greatest weapon of the Doctor, his time machine, it doesn’t match what we see of their technology.

The Church apparently have extremely efficient time machines, able to go when and where they like. Was this time machine a prototype? The crash and death of the crew would certainly suggest that this is its first flight.

It is also suggested that the Time Engine will destroy the planet if it takes off with a new pilot and could destroy the solar system if the Doctor is the chosen pilot. This would work against the human-founded church so this is either a flaw they were unaware of or the Silence have rebelled and don’t care about the fate of humanity (possibly still upset about the events of ‘The Day of The Moon’).

The ability of the Time Engine to use a perception filter could make the Silence and the Kovarian chapter much more dangerous. This allows them to conduct covert operations, using time machines that don’t just camouflage themselves but convince people that they were always there.

The AI is able to come up with a plan to replace the pilot, using its holographic display to lure people upstairs. While single-minded in pursuit of its goal, the Doctor suggests it would work its way through over 6 billion people which seems a bit far-fetched, this does show some imagination.

We haven’t seen any other evidence of the Kovarian chapter or the Silence using such advanced AI, although it does make sense since they were an off shoot of the Papal mainframe.

It would also make sense for the Silence to make use of machine intelligence which won’t forget them. It could be that they used artificial intelligence constructs after they dissolved their links with the human members of the Kovarian chapter.

If the Time Engine had been able to leave with a pilot where would it have gone? It may have returned to the Kovarian chapter. If it had caused the devastation the Doctor predicted they’d need to find a way to repair the damage. Would they have been forced to alter the Doctor’s timeline so the events of ‘The Lodger’ occurred or would they turn to the PCs?

If the Doctor failed to stop the Time Engine would Amy have been sent hurtling into the vortex in the TARDIS? This could lead her to bumping into the PCs (possibly inflight) and needing their help to set things right. It is also possible the out of control TARDIS crashes and explodes on her wedding day, creating the original reason for the cracks in time.

Did the Silence of the Kovarian chapter investigate what happened to the Time Engine? This could lead to another adventure with Craig and explain why he moved between ‘The Lodger’ and ‘Closing Time’.

If the Kovarian Chapter are still out there (unaware of the conclusion of ‘The Time Of The Doctor’) they could continue to perfect the Time Engine. Might they actually be able to perfect their own form of TARDIS? Could this put them in the position to fill the place of the Time Lords?

PCs could encounter other Time Engines, hiding in the most unexpected places. If the ship’s original crew did die then others might have found it. This could place it in the hands of UNIT, Torchwood or less reputable collectors.

This could also be a way to put a time machine in the hands of a group of PCs without a Time Lord. They could find that the flat above them is actually a time machine (or the mysterious cupboard in their place of work or even a garden shed). As long as it doesn’t destroy the planet when they take off they should be able to operate it using the telepathic interface and the ship’s AI.

If things go terribly wrong it could be that their Time Engine is the one encountered by the Doctor in ‘The Lodger’.

Posted in 11th Doctor, Day of the Moon, Lodger, Time Of The Doctor | Leave a comment

“She’s in a pocket universe. A distorted echo of our own. They happen sometimes but never last for long.”

pocketuniverseIn ‘Hide’ the Doctor discovers the source of ghostly sightings is a pocket dimension, where a stranded time traveller is struggling to get home. The Doctor is not surprised at its existence, stating that they just happen.

He clarifies to Clara that it is not a parallel dimension. The very fact it is a pocket dimension indicates that it is ‘within’ our own dimension possibly existing as folded space like a tesseract. There does appear to be some form of ‘overlay’ as images from the pocket dimension are projected into our own.

The Doctor’s definition that it is a distorted echo could suggest that it attempts to mirror or copy our universe. Certainly the forest the Doctor finds himself in appears similar to those that could be found in the surrounding area.

Time within this particular pocket dimension moves much slower than in the real world. Several billion years pass in our dimension (the entire life of the planet) while the trapped time traveller, Hila Tacorian, has been there for only 3 minutes (although the Doctor is guessing).

It is probably safe to say that being inside a pocket dimension when it does collapse isn’t a good idea. The Doctor ends up rescuing the monsters, promising to take them somewhere safe.

It is unknown if the monsters encountered within are native to the pocket dimension (which would indicate enough time for some form of evolution to occur) or stranded like Hila.

We also don’t know if all pocket dimensions experience the same distortion in time. It could be that other dimensions have a faster flow of time or one that is equal to our own. We also can’t say how big they are. The one shown here appears to be at least large enough for an expanse of forest and open sky.

If the TARDIS entered the pocket dimension entropy would drain its power source, trapping it. If it was there when the dimension collapsed it would have to wait until the whole universe collapsed into quantum foam before it could get free.

Presumably during this time the TARDIS would survive but as part of the universe, unable to return to the vortex or normal space. The Doctor is unwilling to wait for this to happen so choices not to bring the TARDIS into the dimension (at least until his second rescue effort).

There is nothing to indicate that such pocket dimensions are unnatural or any exploration of what created it. It has existed since the beginning of Earth and will be there at its end. From what the Doctor says there could be plenty of other pocket dimensions on our world and others.

While time travellers could certainly blunder into them it is possible that other portals could come into existence or that random people might stumble in or out of them. When the barriers are thin those on either side might be able to see each other.

A pocket dimension is therefore something that can be encountered by the crew of a TARDIS or members of UNIT or Torchwood. You could even centre a campaign on a group who do nothing but seek out pocket dimensions and solve the problems they cause (something along the lines of ‘Sapphire and Steel’.)

Adventures involving pocket dimensions could require PCs to rescue those trapped within. They could be the source of horrible monsters or twisted reflections of our world. They might emit radiation or exert a strong gravitational pull threatening to swallow up everything around it. PCs could study them for scientific data, exploring their interior and trying to escape before they collapse.

The difference in the flow of time could allow PCs to use a pocket dimension as a time machine, along as they are only interested in going forward. If they become trapped in the past without a time machine this could be a clever way to skip forward until they are reunited with their TARDIS.

If they find a pocket dimension whose flow of time is backwards then they can also travel into the past. They need only work out the difference in the flow to time their entrance and exit and make the journey to a pocket dimension flowing forward to return to their present.

They could act as prisons, safe havens or used for storage. Having a secret base within a pocket dimension would certainly help conceal it from the outside world and the PCs enemies.

There is a clear example of a paradox in this episode in that the Doctor removes Hila from the dimension in 1974 yet earlier took photos of her far into the future, still trapped within. The Doctor states that these paradoxes resolve themselves, so pocket dimensions could act as a buff to prevent destructive energy from being released. PCs might find this useful if they absolutely have to create a paradox.

It is suggested that the experience of investigating this haunting is what brings Emma and Palmer together and that Hila is a distant descendant. In this case the pocket dimension is responsible for creating a paradox, in that Hila is only born because she is trapped within the pocket dimension. Without that her ancestors don’t get together.

This could be an aspect of a pocket dimensions, rewriting our reality with similar ontological paradoxes. They bring things into existence, creating loops of causality. One or two might not make a difference but numerous pocket dimensions could cause a Time Lord quite a headache.

Posted in 11th Doctor, Hide | Leave a comment

“Rory and Amy, I know where to find your daughter, and on my life, she will be safe. River, get them all home.”

abandonedAt the end of ‘A Good Man Goes To War’ the Doctor sets off to find the stolen Melody Pond, leaving the rest of his friends on the space station, Demon’s Run. He leaves the responsibility of getting everyone home to River Song.

The next time we see the Ponds is ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ but there is plenty to explore after the TARDIS dematerializes.

Presumably River will be using her vortex manipulator. Previously the Doctor dismissed the technology as being rubbish. The only reason that he was able to use it with any accuracy in ‘The Big Bang’ was because the universe was much smaller. Yet here he expects her to get several groups back to different time periods.

It is possible that she is using some other form of time travel device, maybe even borrowing the TARDIS from a past or future Doctor. This would make things easier but still might cause problems.

River does seem to be able to navigate through time but there is plenty of potential for problems along the way. There is also the question of whether they’ll be returning Vastra, Jenny and Strax to Victorian London or the Ponds to 21st century Earth first.

This has a bearing on the duration the group spends travelling together. They are an interesting selection of characters and have great potential for interaction as they attempt to reach their respective destinations.

The biggest fall-out of this episode is the revelation that River is Amy and Rory’s daughter. While she might not reveal any details about her early life (‘spoilers’) she might be able to speak about the emotional consequences of what her parents are going through.

Amy and Rory would have to deal with the reality of the situation, having just lost their child and discovered her again as an adult. Their relationship with River has just drastically changed so how do they address that?

They might also put together what the Doctor realised, that the child in the spacesuit they encountered in ‘The Impossible Astronaut/Day of The Moon’ is a young River. This in turn could make them suspect she is the one who will shoot him at Lake Silencio.

Knowing this could there be an issue of trust? They know she is keeping things from them and after being tricked several times already might they believe that she has always been an agent of the Church of Silence and could still be working for them?

The journey to Victorian London might be a chance for Strax to adjust to the idea of living with Vastra and Jenny. If the group get into trouble on the way it would be chance for him to use his warrior skills to save the others.

There would also be further opportunities to explore his connection with Rory. Their brushes with death and their role as nurses give them plenty in common. Not to mention the comic potential of the pairing.

Vastra and Jenny could talk with the Ponds about being a couple. They might even find time for a double date, leaving River Song and Strax out in the cold. Both have faced troubles and it would be interesting to see what advice they can give each other.

River is put in the position of playing the role of the Doctor. She has a lot of responsibility, having to get everyone home safely. At the same time she is dealing with the emotional consequence of her revelation.

Being from their future River knows that they’ll shortly learn that she is their friend from school, Mel. Knowing that they’ll see her at her worst, when she was following her programming as an assassin, how does she behave? Does she try to prepare them, keep her distance or just try to establish a strong emotional connection so that they believe she can be a better person?

If they do end up in trouble is River Song’s priority to escape with the others or does she live up to the Doctor’s example and try to solve the problems that they encounter along the way?

The group could still be in danger from the Church of Silence. If the organisation is aware that the Doctor has left their company this could be a perfect time to attack. They obviously have their own time travel technology and can not only pursue them but disrupt their journey.

Players could take the roles of this group of characters in a short mini-arc that details their exploits on the way home. Each character is unique with a diverse set of skills. With distinct roles there should be something to appeal to each player.

If they are using a vortex manipulator it might only be able to move them in short, inaccurate jumps before having to recharge. This recharge period should be just long enough for an adventure to take place in. They have to stay close together when they’re ready to leave, so they can’t go until they are all reunited. This setup is similar to ‘Sliders’.

The group could also be encountered by the PCs when their paths cross. They could then help them get to their destination, even helping them make the final trip in their TARDIS. This would mean that the Doctor would owe them a favour in the future.

Even after everyone reaches their destination the journey could have formed strong bonds between them. We know that River Song will occasionally visit her parents and we know that Lady Vastra and company can communicate with others through dreams.

This creates the possibility that the group might reunite, in the gaps when the Ponds aren’t travelling with the Doctor. They could have their own adventures they never share with the Time Lord or simply meet up to compare notes.

Since the Doctor had faith enough in River to get his companions home he might ask her to do something similar again, either with future companions or to visit those he left behind (Vicki, Steven Taylor, Peri and Mel to name but a few) and see she can get them home.

This could result in another group of mixed characters on an epic journey through space and time.

Posted in 11th Doctor, A Good Man Goes To War | Leave a comment

“Something drew the Tardis to this particular date, and blew it up. Why? And why now?”

DateWhile ‘Time Of The Doctor’ answered many questions there is one that still remains. Why did this happen on the 26th of June 2010? The Doctor seems to think there is some significance to this at the end of ‘The Big Bang’.

Why would the date be significant to the Kovarian chapter? Whether the TARDIS was detonated remotely or whether it was done by a brainwashed River Song it appears that the TARDIS was targeted for destruction at this exact point.

We know that this was the date of Amy and Rory’s wedding. What we see after the universe is rebooted in ‘The Big Bang’ is probably the closest we get to the original timeline, before the cracks started to change things (such as remove Amy’s parents).

We know that River Song is the result of this union and that the Kovarian chapter would later use her as an assassin. Why then would they wish to prevent this? The answer could be that they had already learnt about the events of ‘Silence In The Library/Forest of the Dead’.

Recorded history would show that River Song is responsible for saving the 10th Doctor. The Kovarian chapter might know only this when they defected, without knowing anything about the rest of her history.

Possibly the Kovarian chapter could use genetic testing to establish who her parents were and blow up the TARDIS in the hope of not only killing the Doctor but also wiping out the River Song. Without her being born the 10th Doctor would die in the library. This works best if they didn’t expect River Song to be onboard the TARDIS (and thus favours the theory that they destroyed the time machine remotely).

When this failed (and the Kovarian chapter might not know why) they then decide to corrupt the Doctor’s saviour, turning River Song into their assassin. They were still caught within the Destiny Trap and their actions unwittingly created the very person who would save the 10th Doctor.

If there is a an outside ‘pull’ to this location and date it could be that the TARDIS was on its way there in ‘The 11th Hour’. With its engine failing it lands far too early, allowing the Doctor to encounter Amelia.

When the Doctor de-materialises he intends to return after 5 minutes but instead is pulled forward 12 years. When he de-materialises the TARDIS is supposed to just go to the moon and back, not travel in time yet it again jumps forward, this time 2 years. It arrives the day before the date of the explosion.

At the time this was taken to just being an example of the Doctor not being able to hit the date that he is aiming for, just as the 9th Doctor accidentally returned Rose home a year too late.

It would now appear that there was something dragging the TARDIS to that date and that location. The location would appear to be important, as the TARDIS is still able to travel elsewhere. Only when it heads to Leadworth does it fall into the trap.

It could be that the TARDIS never completely escaped its grasp, that it was always being pulled back. When River Song enters the TARDIS to get equipment her nature (coming from a timeline that doesn’t exist yet) might have been too much for the ship to endure and it began to automatically snap back to that date.

If this is correct then once again the Kovarian Chapter are responsible for creating elements that would save the Doctor (encountering Amy and Rory) and thus put him on the path to Trenzalore. Without that pull the 11th Doctor might never have met them.

If there is something exerting an outside influence what was it? Where was it placed and when was it removed? Could similar devices be used to pull a TARDIS off course or even prevent it from leaving a particular date?

It could be that the date is only significant because that is the date that the TARDIS exploded. This could be the equivalent to a fixed point in time, with the TARDIS compelled to go to when it is destined to explode. It can delay the final moment but not prevent it.

There could be another event on this date that makes it significant. If it is pulling the TARDIS off-course the Doctor might have originally been elsewhere, doing something important. Knowing where and when the Doctor was going to be the Church of Silence placed the trap.

With the timeline now changed it could be up to the PCs to step into his shoes and ensure that the day is still saved. This could be related to Trenzalore or the return of the Time Lords, which is why the Kovarian Chapter hoped to erase it.

It could be revealed later that a future incarnation of the Doctor had a hand in picking this date. It could be that the TARDIS was always going to explode at a certain point within its own lifespan. The Doctor just ensured that it was ‘this’ time and place, so that he could control the outcome.

River Song suggests that the ship is being flown remotely. The Doctor is one of the best candidates to do this, especially an older, more experienced Doctor. He might even be flying it using his own TARDIS.

The 11th Doctor also suggests that River is doing something wrong when she is trying to control the TARDIS. She retorts that it was the Doctor who taught her. Since this was a later Doctor it could be that he gave her instructions that would lead her to this date, just as he would give her a sonic screwdriver that would download her memory at the end of her life.

The mysterious voice that River hears just before the TARDIS explodes could belong to this future Doctor. If River Song is brainwashed ‘Silence will fall’ could be a trigger to release her.

All of the above could also be instigated by PCs. A whole adventure could be based around the idea that they are trying to save the Doctor and the TARDIS. Alternatively they might need the exploding TARDIS at his particular date to help defeat an opponent or solve their own problem. Since they don’t want to destroy their own TARDIS they are just making use of a TARDIS that they know was going to explode anyway (hopefully knowing that the Doctor was going to fix everything later).

Posted in 11th Doctor, Big Bang | Leave a comment