“Life’s like that. Best thing is just to get on with it.”

st--7h15The Doctor makes mistakes and people die as a consequence. Just as in ‘Family of Blood’, if the Doctor had not set events in motion then people wouldn’t have died. In this case it was because he hid the Hand of Omega in 1960s London.

This leads to the scene in the cafe where the Doctor asks John what affect his choices have. Being a time traveller he is more aware than most how decisions can change people lives in unforeseen ways.

A good roleplaying game should be about choices. Events should be resolved drastically differently than if the player characters hadn’t been involved, whether for good or bad. With this in mind, when writing an adventure have decision points, where the player characters actions set things on a new path.

A series of small decision can have just a big effect as a major decision, over time. This is more than just how they deal with the main villain but also the effect they have on the NPCs, who they help and who they hinder.

Many computer roleplaying games embrace this idea, although the choices are usually clearly defined as good or bad.  You don’t have to be so black and white in the decisions you offer during play but they are a good guide. When they reach the end of the adventure they should see evidence of their decision all around them and know that it is a consequence of their actions.

Examples would be deciding if the military or an independent scientist should come into possession of alien technology, helping someone decide whether to escape a loveless marriage or try and make things work or giving a captive alien his freedom or letting scientists extract the alien enzymes that will save thousands of lives.

Inevitably player characters will regret the decisions they make and may even begin hesitating when given a choice, fearful of what the result might be. This is exactly the crisis that the Doctor undergoes.

John advises him to simply get on with it. Player characters should come to realise that not making a decision also has a result, but one that they didn’t influence. Doing nothing should always be the worst choice.

Some players do like to plan everything out. The problem with this is that it would make a very dull game if everything ran smoothly. Just like the Doctor they can miscalculate and be surprised  by new turn of events.

The Doctor planned for the Hand of Omega to fall into the hands of the Daleks but he didn’t anticipate two factions. There are two consequences of this. Firstly the two groups will fight over its possession, resulting in the needless deaths of those caught in the cross fire, and secondly he has to make sure that the ancient artefact falls into the right hands.

When creating complications to foil the player characters plan you should ensure that the basics of their idea remain in place. If they plan to steal something from a building the complication should be unexpected obstacles in their way, not that the prize is somewhere else.

If the complication renders their plan completely unworkable then they’ve wasted their time in the planning phase, or rather you did. Each complication should just require them to do a little extra work or improvisation to get things back on track.

The use of two factions of Daleks is an interesting twist on the, by now, familiar alien race.  Although this conflict also occurred during ‘Revelation of the Daleks’ that was between kaled Daleks and those made from human tissue.

Creating factions can make for a more interesting encounter with Dr Who monsters, whether encountered on their own or in conflict with other members of their species. It makes their appearance less uniform and gives them deeper motivation.

Our own planet, small as it is, has thousands of factions who disagree on everything from religion, politics to which television program is best. ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ makes this even more evident with the Ratcliffe being a nazi sympathiser and the Daleks telling him he will be on the right side of the coming conflict.

One could easily imagine different factions developing within Silurian or Ice Warriors culture, arguing how best to deal with the problem of humans. Opinion could range of genocide, enslavement to peaceful co-existence.

Just as the Imperial and Renegade Daleks differences have occurred due to the genetic mutation between them the Cybermen could start an internal conflict over their design. Certainly their appearance and function has altered over the years and factions could disagree over which upgrade is the most effective, leading to violence.

st--7h16This puts the player characters in an interesting position. They could exploit these internal conflicts for their own benefit or they could try siding with one group, in the hopes of shaping that alien races culture. Although they might not agree with either faction they could find it advantageous to help the lesser of two evils.

The advantage of this being a game about time travel is that the player characters can see the long term effects of their decision. For example they could give alien technology to a young scientist and later travel forward a few hundred years to see that same technology have been used to help humanity reach the stars or they could encourage someone to follow their dream of becoming a doctor and that learn they were instrumental in find a cure for a deadly plague.

This could even be the start of the new adventure, especially if their choices led to something terrible. They might find themselves have to correct a mistake, such as bringing down a dictator they helped come to power.

This entry was posted in 7th Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s