YEAR WITHOUT SUMMER, PART 2

01The Inspector and Phillipa had good reason to wear the warm clothes they’d worn in ‘Forever Twilight’ and at first thought the TARDIS instruments were faulty because it said they’d arrived in July but snow was thick on the ground of New York.

A preacher prophesised the end of the world and two work men grumbled about the grim news that was coming from other countries. The time travellers were concerned about these strange weather conditions and decided to investigate.

They made enquires about any scientist or scholar who lived nearby, who they hoped could shed some light on what was happening. I hadn’t anticipated this but had them pointed in the direction of a Benjamin Potter, an eccentric chemist and inventor.

On the way to his house they happened upon Caitlin. She was initially reluctant to talk to them, worried she would be in trouble for breaking into the warehouse but they won her over after Phillipa offered to treat her wounds and the Inspector offered her hot bovril from his silver flask. The Inspector’s player had decided that bovril would be his version of jelly babies.

Upon hearing about her encounter in the warehouse the Inspector decided to look into it himself while Phillipa took Caitlin to Ben Potter’s house. The inventor was at first perplexed why Phillipa and the child were there but was keen to share his theory about the bad weather.

On a map he drew out where volcanoes had recently erupted, putting forward the idea that their ash was blocking the sun. Phillipa examined the map and realised that their arrangement formed a circle, with New York the only point of the curve not yet to have volcano.

Ben Potter proved to be a useful character. He could provide scientific information, was able to look after Caitlin and basically serve as a base of operations while the player characters were in the city. It only required a few characteristics (grey hair that pointed upwards, small glasses and an absent-minded nature) to get across he was an archetypical eccentric scientist.

At the warehouse the Inspector found a recently filled in hole and signs that large technology had been recently placed around it but there was no trace of Nicholas’s body. At this point the Inspector was wondering if this was the work of the silurians since it involved digging, green skin and sonic weapons. Unfortunately he spectacularly failed on his awareness roll so completely missed the tracks leading from the warehouse.

Back at Ben Potter’s house Caitlin was proving to be a good lab assistant. Caught up as she was in science she still spotted Charlie and the stolen fob watch, which she pointed out to Phillipa.

The time travelling ambulance woman raced out after Charlie, after a quick read through of the chase rules. Charlie took an early lead with Phillipa falling behind but in the next turn she managed to close the gap as they reached stables full of cows that had been brought inside due to the snow.

Charlie attempted a stunt, climbing across the back of the animals but fell. Phillipa caught up with him and twisted his ear, forcing him to show her where he’d found the watch. This led to Nicholas’s body.

Using her medical skills Phillipa was able to tell the young boy was killed with a sonic weapon. She noted that the cotton mill was nearby but her priorities were dealing with the body. Phillipa summoned a city marshal. I allowed her to spend a story point to have currency appropriate to the era to pay Charlie to return to Potter’s shop and summon the inspector.

At the inventors house the Inspector arrived and introduced himself to Ben. Ben showed him the map and the Inspector came to the same conclusion as Phillipa. Ben was just explaining how Phillipa had chased Charlie when the young pick pocket turned up at the door, receiving another twisted ear from the Inspector before he could pass on Phillipa’s message.

At the pond the Inspector met with Phillipa and they compared notes. The Inspector correctly concluded that the Ice Warriors were involved, giving his companion an explanation of them, although he admitted to not having met them personally.

They returned to Potter’s house, waiting until night fall.  At the shop they found that Caitlin had forgiven Charlie for the theft, understanding how poverty makes you do things you wouldn’t otherwise do. While they waited they explained their theory to Ben who asked where the Ice Warriors were.

“Somewhere in New York!” Proclaimed the Inspector.

This was agreed to be a good cliff hanger and led to a short break. Its fun when you can bring the format of the tv show into your game. It also led to speculation that the adventure was called ‘Ice Warriors in Manhattan.’

Deciding that the mill was the best place to start their investigation and learnt from the night watchmen that Colonel White was having his party. Wasting no time they headed there, first trying to get inside by pretending to be wealthy noblemen before resorting to sending a note to Colonel White implying they knew about his connection to the bad weather.

Invited inside Colonel White engaged the time travellers in conversation while his guests ate fine food around a bonfire in his garden, attempting to work out how much they knew. The Inspector told the Colonel of the Ice Warriors plan, believing that the plantation owner was unaware of what they intended to do.

When the Inspector said that the Colonel and his guests would die when the volcano was activated the Colonel said they clearly didn’t know everything or they’d realise why he had so many wealthy southern gentlemen assembled at his mansion on that particular night.

Working out that an Ice Warrior was upstairs thanks to the open windows, the Colonel frequent glances upstairs and noticing a servant taking salad upstairs (the Ice Warriors being herbivores) the duo attempted to dart up the stairs.

A servant grabbed the Inspector but Phillipa raced up and saw Lord Kizack speaking with his soldiers on a communication device. They also reported that the Red Death had been released to eliminate Caitlin!

To be Continued…

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3 Responses to YEAR WITHOUT SUMMER, PART 2

  1. Sounds exciting. Do you find that the rules work well to capture the feel of the show?

  2. etheruk1 says:

    I think so. There is a big emphasis on modelling how the plot of a Dr Who story develops rather than trying to be a simulation. This is helped by success and failure affecting the story with the addition of an ‘and’ or ‘but’ to the result.

    The story points give the players more control. Not only can they use them to ensure they succeed at an important dice roll they can also use them to make sure they have the items they want to hand or get a clue if they get stuck.

    In this particular game we used the Chase rules, a traditional part of the series. This is always difficult to model in a roleplaying game but the system handled it so well that we’ve used it several times since and it has been exciting everytime, whether they’re running after someone or running away.

    Unlike many rpg games combat isn’t the way to solve problems which is refreshing. I don’t think we’ve had any game that has concluded in a fight. The day is usually saved by making the right choices and being smart. In that respect it captures the feel of the show.

    • Sounds like fun. I used to have and played the old FASA Doctor Who RPG way back, but never found it that satisfying (possibly due to a diet of D&D and hack’n’slash adventuring), but it sounds like this version has been much better made.

      Thanks.

      Simon

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