This post continues to discuss the choices you can make that define the setting of the game you run. While they might seem minor or unimportant details, during the course of play they can have consequences.
Time Tots or Loom Born?
The Doctor says he spent some time in a maternity ward and refers to Time Tots. The Doctor Who books later suggest that the Time Lords became infertile, possibly as a side effect of regeneration, and so genetic looms would weave new members. An example of this can be seen in ‘The Doctor’s Daughter’ where his DNA is used to create a new being who is not a genetic clone but is still developed from his source material.
There is nothing to indicate that the two options aren’t compatible. People woven from the Loom don’t necessarily have to come out fully grown. They could emerge as infants, growing naturally and accounting for the 8 year olds that we see being exposed to the untempered schism.
The issue is whether the Time Lords are sterile. If not then they become more human., able to have relationships and have children naturally. This means that the Doctor had parents, had a partner who he had a child with and later a grand daughter named Susan.
If you go with this option then Time Lord player characters should think about their family. What kind of upbringing did they have to form their character and what do their relatives think of their gallivanting around the universe? Were they ever in love and did they have children? In a post-time war game did any survive?
The only problem with this option is the impact that regeneration would have on population numbers. We know the Doctor is over 900 hundred years and is only on his 11th incarnation. Now he lives a life much more dangerous than that off those Time Lords who remain on the home world.
It is safe to say that most Time Lords could live for several thousand years. During their life time they could have hundreds of children. Those who follow in their parents footsteps, becoming Time Lords and gaining their own regenerations, create hundreds of more children. Pretty soon Gallifrey would be bursting at the seems with old and young members.
The Loom option means that new Time Lords are only created when an older member passes away. Families have their own Looms, meaning that they share the same genetic code. As a result there are no mothers, fathers, brothers or sisters. Only cousins.
This can explain the stagnant, cold society that we see in Gallifrey. The amount of new blood, and the innovation fresh minds can bring, is controlled. Since birth is artificial there are no romantic relationships within the capital city. Just the kind of place that someone like the Doctor would find boring.
Choosing this option can give Time Lord player characters a more difficult time with social interaction. Family relationships are something they’ve only read about and never experienced first hand. Even love is an alien emotion.
This, That or the Other?
During the 7th Doctor’s last season the writers attempted to bring more mystery to the character. A slip of the tongue by the Doctor in ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ implied that he had something to do with Rassilon and Omega’s experiments with the Stellar Manipulator and a cut scene with Davros revealed he was much more than a mere Time Lord. Lady Peinfore in ‘Silver Nemesis’ claimed to know his dark secret and another cut scene with the Master in ‘Survival’ revealed that he’d become more than just a Gallifreyan.
In the Virgin Doctor Who books a mythology was established that there were three important figures that shaped Gallifreyan society, Rassilon, Omega and the mysterious Other.
The book ‘Lungbarrow’ explained all of this by revealing that the Other, either bored with life or despairing of Rassilon’s brutal actions, threw himself into a genetic loom. Centuries later this genetic material would recombine in the form of the Doctor, making him a reincarnation for the Other. The only indication of this origin was that the Doctor was born with a belly button, something absent in children grown from a Loom.
All of this might not seem relevant to your own game, especially if no one is playing the Doctor. The reason why it is important is that it affects the mythology of your game and establishes whether this kind of thing can happen.
There were quite a few stories that centred around Rassilon and Omega, whether it be an artefact they left behind, a trap they’d laid or even a personal appearance, they actions had long reaching consequences.
The Other is still a mysterious figure. He might have been reincarnated as the Doctor but we don’t know his origins or where he gained the knowledge that he used to advise Rassilon and Omega. Could he even be one of your player characters?
Similarly one of the player characters might be an important figure from Gallifreyan past. They could also be a reincarnation, taking from the Loom or, if you’re not using the Looms, they might be the original person.
‘Spearhead from Space’ showed that the Time Lords had the technology to suppress memories. Might one of the characters be some ancient power who has had their identity hidden, either voluntarily or against their will.
Of course they might know exactly who they are but not tell anyone else. This would certainly make a good secret.
The reason for doing this is the same reason that it was introduced in the television series, to put more mystery into the central character. After so many years we thought we knew everything about the character, only to discover there were still many unanswered questions.
A little mystery is good, as demonstrated by the Doctor’s horror that River Song knows his true name because there is only one time when he could tell anyone that secret. We want to know more and so are more engaged with the characters.
Having the secret connect to ancient history makes the mystery all the more epic. It makes the characters important and as a result everything they do becomes more significant.