This adventure is an indirect follow-up to ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’. At the end of that story several clockwork robots were left in 18th century France. This explores what happened to them, allowing the player characters to become involved in the consequences of one of the Doctor’s adventures.
This works with either the Doctor himself or another Time Lord and his companions. This still works in campaigns set Pre-Time War, if we allow that while Time Lords meet in sequence their adventures (past and future) are already part of the time line.
You could even run this with an earlier incarnation of the Doctor. Just where the robots from the future came from will be a dangling plot thread that only makes sense to him once he lives through ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’.
This adventure introduces the historical figure of Saint Germain. An enigma the real Saint Germain was either extraordinary talented or an incredible fraud. His background is intentionally kept a mystery, although he has lived a long time, perhaps as far as ancient Egypt.
He can act as your player characters River Song, a mysterious figure who has a past with their future. What does he know about them, was he friend or enemy, is he human or something more? These are all questions that can be answered in later adventures.
Historically there was a connection between Saint Germain and Madame de Pompadour. She used her influence with the king to have a lab built for Saint Germain. Just one of the great instances of fact and fiction combining to suggests a good story.
I’ve also included the Shadow Directory in this adventure, an organisation detailed in the Virgin Doctor Who book ‘Christmas on a Rational Planet’ by Lawrence Miles. They act to protect Britain from foreign agents, terrestrial or otherwise.
They make for an interesting group to pit the player characters against and their reach extends well into the 20th century. This allows them to be used in other adventures, covering a wide range of time periods.
1760, May 6th, England
Saint Germain, the adventurer, courtier, charlatan, inventor, alchemist, pianist, violinist and amateur composer, has been despatched by Madame Pompadour to London, carrying a very strange cargo. Two years ago her life was threatened by clockwork robots from the future and she was saved by the Doctor but while he left the clockwork robots remained. Most were destroyed by a few went missing and she fears that someone will miss use them.
To this end Saint Germain has taken the head of one of the robots to be seen by John Harrison, a renowned clock maker, who is working on a prototype of a marine chronometer that will revolutionise sea travel.
Jealous of the attention that Madam Pompadour lavished on him Duc de Choiseul has sent an imposter to discredit Saint Germain in England and hopefully get him arrested. Unfortunately for the imposter the Shadow Directory, the secret agency set up to protect the world from foreign agents introduced in ‘Christmas on a Rational Planet’, have heard of Saint Germain’s mission and despatched an agent to kill him.
As chance would have it the person who is responsible for stealing the missing robot parts is also in London. Jacques Montgallie was there the night that the robots from the future invaded the French court.
Having an interest in clocks he secretly arranged for a viewing of the deactivated robots. Here he found a solution to his failing health, he would simply replace his body with that of the robots.
Initially this seemed to work, although disfiguring the technology seemed well suited to working with organic components. There were some problems, parts behaved erratically and even jammed.
Realising that he need the help of someone who had greater expertise than himself he arranged passage to London. He took John Harrison hostage in his own home and forced him to help him on pain of death.
John Harrison, although terrified, was able to find the problem. The clockwork parts needed to be lubricated. Most lubricants would be toxic to Jacques once they entered his blood stream but Jacques found a solution.
Using his augmented skills Jacques has been hunting people within London. Using specially designed apparatus, powered by his clockwork implants, he drains his victims of their blood. He is a clockwork cyborg vampire, their life essence keeping him alive.
From contacts in France Jacques is aware that Saint Germain is bringing a robot head, the one part he was never able to study, to London. He has guessed that Saint Germain will come to see John Harrison and so is waiting for him to arrive.
He wants the robot head so he can give himself the mind of a machine, to think their thoughts. He hasn’t really realised that if he replaces his head with the robots then it won’t be his mind at all. He has gone quite mad.
Awareness: 3, Coordination: 2, Ingenuity: 4, Presence: 3, Resolve: 4, Strength: 5
Natural Weapons: He has a blade implant in one arm that he can extend. This gives him +2 to his strength when determining damage.
Armour: The metal implants from the robots give Jacques a certain amount of protection. Damage is reduced by 3 levels.
Climbing: Jacques has replaced both his legs and one arm with robot limbs. This allows him to grip surfaces with much greater strength. Using them he climb with a +4 bonus to coordination and athletics when climbing.
Weakness: Several sections of Jacques implants are exposed, their clockwork cogs carrying any substance put on them into his body. He has been using this to cover the cogs with blood, to lubricate his internal parts. This also acts as a weakness.
Poisons placed on the cogs will quickly prove lethal to Jacques, as they enter his body. If the aim is not to kill him then anything that will jam the cogs, such as glue, will bring paralyse him as the clockwork comes to a stop.
Skills: Athletics: 3, Fighting: 3, Science: 3, Technology: 4
Story Points: 4
If you wish to make Jacques more of a challenge he may have smuggled out some Clockwork Robots with him to London. They act has his henchmen, an implant allowing him to control them with his voice.
They can be sent on missions, act as bodyguards and can even be his undoing if the player characters are able to gain control of them or stop Jacques from commanding them (by preventing him from speaking).
To Be Continued…..