“We have ruled your lives since your lives began.”

silencetardisLearning that the Silence weren’t an invading alien force but an occupying one opened the possibilities for some very strange historical adventures. Now, whenever they are on Earth prior to the 1960s the Silence will be watching.

They’ve probably already met them, their memories quickly fading. With all the excitement they probably didn’t give another thought to the mysterious few minutes they lost or the sensation that something else was there.

The presence of the Silence shouldn’t be a big concern unless you want them to be the focus of an adventure. They won’t interfere with the player characters unless their plans are affected. It is also likely they’d avoid the kind of trouble the player characters investigate.

When you do want the Silence to be central to the plot their presence will take a long time to be felt. They are an alien species who no one can witness. They can kill a man in a crowded room and no one will remember seeing them doing it. They can walk into restricted areas and leave unchallenged. For those around them they might as well be ghosts.

You can increase the tension by choosing when you want to let the players know they are dealing with the Silence. In the first act of the adventure you can have characters inexplicably feeling afraid, finding objects have moved or they have a weapon to hand. Only later do they realise that something is wrong with their memory.

Roleplaying the memory erasing effect on their characters can be difficult for players. Once you’ve played out direct interaction with the player characters  you must ensure that they don’t use information that they shouldn’t have once they’ve turned away from the Silence.

Once they’ve resisted the hypnotic suggestion long enough to know that they’re there they can’t know how many are there or what their positions are. Make sure to describe how the very memory of what they looked like is slipping away until it is complete blank.

Facing the Silence can be intimidating. Not only are they present in great number but they can’t be completely defeated, that doesn’t happen until ‘Day of the Moon.’ Therefore any adventure featuring them must be achievable without destroying the Silence.

We know that the Silence have influenced human history but the important thing is that they haven’t changed anything. We must assume that in the world of Dr Who Earth’s timeline is exactly the way it should be, thanks to the manipulation of the Silence.

This would put an interesting spin on any visit to witness a important moment in human history. Finding out that the Silence are the reason that the event is going to occur puts the time travellers in a quandary, once they learn of their presence.

Normally alien interference in human history is bad but here those events have to happen. For example player characters might visit Thomas Edison and discover that his work on light bulbs are due to the influence of the Silence, wanting to ensure that humanity adopts electricity in every home.  Even though it makes the Silence stronger the time travellers must ensure it happens.

If a native to the time period becomes aware of the Silence their attempt to eliminate the aliens could put human history in jeopardy. The time travellers could initially side with the local and help investigate his claims of alien invasion.

Once they find out that it is the Silence, and understand their importance, they would need to dissuade their ally from continuing his crusade. They might even find themselves aiding the Silence in order to ensure events play out as they should.

One possible way to allow the player characters to have a victory against the Silence is not to reveal how wide spread the Silence are. The players might know but their characters don’t. They could think that by defeating the five Silence they’ve encountered they’ve dealt with the aliens, blissfully unaware that once they leave the rest of the Silence will simply finish the job.

The Silence could also be involved in an adventure, not as the source of the problem, but as an ally. Anything that affects the Earth at large would affect them. Several Doctor Who stories have featured the world in peril and it is interesting to think what the Silence were doing during that period.

In the process of dealing with an invasion of Cybermen, Daleks or yeti the player characters might be surprised to be approached by the Silence who have vital intelligence about the invaders plans.

Used sparingly this is an interesting way to feed the players information if they get stuck. Afterwards their character might not even remember where the help had come from. In this situation the player characters and the Silence had a common enemy, defeating them wasn’t the point.

It is also interesting to think about the limits of the Silence’s occupation, particularly if they do feed off electricity. There is no need for them to be in areas without humans and without power.

So what happened during those points in history when humanity started to expand out into inhospitable places? Did the Silence accompany the first colonists into America, did they travel with explorers into the heart of the Amazon?

Interesting scenarios could be created by placing a small number of Silence in an isolated location where they discover a terrible danger. Imagine that the time travellers arrive at the north pole to find explorers have discovered an immense alien artefact.

Although plagued with power failures and rapidly draining batteries the explorers are hard at work trying to dig it up.  The Silence make their presence known to the time travellers. They know that the alien artefact contains a great evil, it must not be unearthed.

They’ve tried to dissuade the explorers using their hypnotic powers but the humans seem enthralled by whatever is inside the artefact. The player characters appear to have some resistance but that might not last for long. Will they work with the Silence to stop the explorers?

The parasitic nature of the Silence could make time travellers a tempting target. If they gain access to the player characters TARDIS they could try to hijack it. Could the player characters get rid of the intruders when they can’t remember them being there.

This could lead to a variation of ‘The Edge of Destruction’, with the TARDIS trying to warn its crew about the Silence using cryptic messages. Would they be able to interpret them in time or think the time ship had gone insane?

Stow-away Silence could also use the player characters TARDIS to expand to other worlds. Taking advantage of the spacious interior hundreds of the alien race could hide on-board until they reach a suitable world.

Player characters might return to a previously visited world to find their culture has radically changed, only to find this is due to the influence of the Silence who they unwittingly brought there.

Encountering the Silence on other worlds does give player characters the opportunity to defeat them completely. They could find them when they have just arrived or after they’ve been ruling for centuries, depending on how much of a challenge you want to give the players.

This entry was posted in Day of the Moon, Impossible Astronaut. Bookmark the permalink.

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