“Nobody human has anything to say to me today!”

DW_5x02_The_Beast_Below_404Amy and the Doctor’s relationship is badly damaged in ‘Beast Below’ and could potentially have been the end of their adventures together. Like Adam she would have been ceremonially dropped back home having failed to meet the standard that he expects in a companion.

The reason for this is that she chose to forget the information about space whale, deciding that he didn’t need to know. As far as the Doctor is concerned she should never hold back information. It is a question of trust for him.

While the Doctor makes it look easy saving the day he knows that often it will come down to whether he has key information or not. Over his long life and many adventures it has often been one of his companions that has provided him with the detail that he needed to succeed.  If they don’t do that people might die.

In a roleplaying game it is not so easy to reject travelling companions. Unless the group has access to a good source of replacement players most must make do with those members they have.

It is then an issue of having complementary playing styles. Having one member of the group who constantly starts fights with npcs when the other players prefer diplomatic solutions or loners who prefer to go off and do their own thing rather than co-operating with others can lead to trouble.

If speaking directly to the player doesn’t fix the problem you can look at the player character they have chosen.  Having a character that they enjoy playing but naturally complements the playing style of the rest of the group can stop problems early on.

Story point awards can be given for roleplaying in character. Establish that their character doesn’t engage in the negative behaviour the player exhibits and give them a point when they negotiate with npcs rather than attacking or when they help out another player will result in positive reinforcement.  Soon it won’t even be necessary to give them a reward, they will roleplay in character naturally.

Not that there isn’t room for inter-party conflict. It can add tension and result in interesting story lines. If you have written the adventure so there are different solutions to the problem each player character might favour a different approach. This might lead to disagreements but as long as they achieve the aim of the adventure they can forgive each other.

In the case of this particular story Amy redeems herself in the Doctor’s eyes by following his instructions and putting everything together, saving him from doing something terrible. This highlights why people should play in groups, they can see things they can’t, catch things they miss.

It doesn’t hurt that in seeing that the Doctor and space whale are the same, both the last of their race and that age has made them wise and kind, she is complementing the Doctor.

DW_5x02_The_Beast_Below_212Amy keeps asking why she would make the choice to forget. When she does learn the truth she is able to bear it so why did she make the choice to forget? When Amy hit the button she didn’t know too much about the ship, hadn’t encountered Liz 10 and most importantly still didn’t totally trust the Doctor.

At that moment in the booth, with an offer to forget and no obvious plan to solving the situation this seemed like the easy option. In the little time she had Amy believed that her future self would listen to her message, persuade the Doctor and they’d leave, letting the people on starship UK live with the guilt.

The plan failed because the moment her memory was erased her motivation to get him off the ship went as well. It was only the horror of knowing the truth that made her make that choice.

In many ways she has become a different person from the Amy that pressed the forget button. Learning from ones and mistakes brings growth and wisdom. This is good reason for player characters to forgive each other. Although they might have made a bad decision in the past they will hopefully not repeat the same mistake again.

When the Doctor is preparing to lobotomise the space whale he says that he’ll have to change his name because he won’t be able to call himself the Doctor any more. In affect he is saying that this single action will ruin the character he has created for himself.

This can occur in game. Players create their characters with a specific concept in mind. During play they may be put in a situation where they are required to do something that forever destroys the ideals they have lived by.

The most obvious example would be a pacifist that kills. Their player might no longer want to play that character, since they’ll never be able to portray them in the way they had, with everyone knowing what they did. In effect this the same the death of the character and will often see them retired from play.

If a player feels strongly about this then there should be ways to avoid the action they oppose so much. Story points are a good tool for this since they can be used to get a hint about how else a situation can be solved.

DW_5x02_The_Beast_Below_451Sometimes a player will choose to carry out the action anyway. The drama and guilt this brings can be developed in further adventures. Can they come to terms with what has happened? Can they redeem themselves or can they use the trauma to transform their character into something else?

This can be an opportunity to remove good or bad traits. For example a character who gets someone killed because of their insatiable curiosity, obsession or cowardice might drop those traits, replacing them with a code of conduct, dark secret or obligation.

In the long run this change can be healthy. It marks the growth of the character, for good or bad, showing that their adventures do affect them, even if they take place in their distant future or on alien worlds.

Player characters can support each other and no matter what they face they know that in the end they face it together. 

This entry was posted in 11th Doctor, Beast Below. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “Nobody human has anything to say to me today!”

  1. Simon says:

    I just stumbled across this when I saw the quote from “The Beast Below”. A blog combining two of my favourite things, Doctor Who and RPGs. I’ve added it to my list of blogs to read. Thanks.

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