Classes are only one part of a campaign set at the Time Academy. The player characters are living there and every day interact with a diverse social group of teachers and pupils. Many of the relationships forged in their school days will survive into adult hood, whether it be friends or enemies.
Just by look at the Doctor we can see that the Master, the Rani and possibly even the Meddling Monk were all first encountered during his time at the Academy. Borusa was one of his teachers and served both as an ally and enemy later in the Doctor’s life.
For a games master this is an excellent source of reoccurring characters. Aside from the main characters it can be difficult to cultivate a supporting cast, with the players characters able to move through time and space. Here you can create characters that will potentially have their own time machines or be on hand if the player characters should ever return to Gallifrey.
It would appear that most students are given nick names during their time at the Academy. ‘Lungbarrow’ suggests that they only receive a proper name upon graduation, which is why the rebels all have titles.
This makes it easy to have characters, once they have left the academy, pick titles that better suit them. During the Academy days they can pick latin, such as the Doctor being called Theta Sigma, or a nick name that reflects their current characteristics.
Each class is likely to be filled with students that the player characters are friends with or can’t stand. Regardless of how they feel about them they could find themselves paired up with them or forced to work on assignments with them.
Player characters should be grouped together as often as possible, possibly even establishing why they remain a group once they leave the academy, but matching them up with a NPC can take them out of their comfort zone.
Pupils can therefore be broken down into the following groups:
This student gets on with the player character, mostly likely sharing similar interests. They can prove to be an ally but will also expect the player character will help them when they are in trouble.
A friend can be a positive, possessing skills that benefit the player character but they can also be a bad influence, persuading them to do things they know they shouldn’t. They could also get themselves into trouble and require the player character to bail them out.
The player character looks up to this character. This most likely means that the player character wants to be like them and to be their friend. The character isn’t envious of the idols abilities, he just wants to be in the same social circle.
This can give the player character a goal of making them their friend. This could lead them to making a fool of themselves, changing their moral code to be liked or finding out that the idol isn’t as impressive as it would first appear.
While an idol is a character that the player character might want to be friends with the rival is a figure of hate. They are better than the player character and this makes them furious.
In this situation the player character will be motivated to prove they are better than the rival, or at least lower their standing. The situation could also be reversed, with another student viewing them as their rival.
Trying to prove your are better than someone else can push someone to go beyond their limits and in doing so put themselves in danger. None the less it is an excellent way to start an adventure is for a player character to find out that their rival is going to beat them unless they go one step further.
This student just doesn’t get on with the player character, they may even hate each other. Typically this is because their personalities are either too different or too similar. Tensions will increase when ever they come into proximity.
A player character can never completely relax. There enemy is always close by, waiting to makes things worse for them. The player character may never be able to vanquish them but they can certainly foil their plans.
This covers all the students that the player characters don’t have strong feelings for one way or the other and visa versa. These are the people who spend years with the player characters and never make a connection.
There represent the people that aren’t caught up in the player characters circle. They are off having their own adventures, socialising with their own friends or dealing with their own enemies.
This pool of people can be drawn up to introduce new characters, even after the player characters have spent several years at the academy. A chance encounter or unexpected pairing might lead them to making a new friend or enemy.
These broad bands of students are defined by their relationship with the player characters. It is their individual characteristics that make them unique. A player character could have several friends with one being known as the joker, another who is interested in engineering and third who has a talent for sport. Enemies could be muscle bound jocks or sadistic book worms.
These roles are also fluid, changing as the player characters get to know them or as a result of their actions. Friends can become enemies if the player characters betray them while enemies can become friends if they find that they’ve got more in common than they first thought.
You can also keep track of how NPCs relate to each other, the interactions becoming more complex the more player characters that are involved. For example PC 1 has a friend called Floran who is enemies with PC 2’s friend Castala. When the PCs are together their friends constantly bicker with each other.
Managing these relationships provide their own challenges and their own rewards. Plots can be spun out of a PCs attempts to impress an idol or to repair their reputation after their enemy spread a nasty rumour about them.
The actions of these other students also force the player characters to make ethical decisions. What do they do if they catch a friend cheating at an exam or find out someone is stealing from an enemy?
Their decisions will affect their time at the academy and the lives of everyone around them.
Next we’ll look at the academy itself and the adventures that can be had there.