It was recently announced that IDW Publishing will be releasing a Doctor Who/Star Trek crossover comic. I think this would be a good opportunity to discuss other crossovers that could take place during a roleplaying campaign, especially as I touched upon this very subject during my look at ‘White Darkness’.
Rivalling the Doctor for the most iconic modern British fictional character their two worlds can easily be combined. It is even suggested in the BBC Doctor Who book ‘Bullet Time’ that James Bond is a Time Lord.
This makes a certain amount of sense. He has undergone several changes in appearance and while his character might change he is still essentially the same man. It is therefore completely credible.
Therefore could James Bond be an exiled Time Lord, assigned to protect the planet in much the same way as the 3rd Doctor? He could have his memory altered to convince him that he is human, that he tragically lost his family so there is no one to corroborate his memories of his fictional childhood.
This conditioning could even extend to ignoring the fact that has been a secret agent since the 1960s and that he regenerates. MI6 would of course no his true origins, concealing the truth from their most valued agent by altering records and having handlers only use code names such as Q and M.
‘The Enemy of the World’, ‘The Seeds of Doom’ and ‘The Robot’ are all examples of Doctor Who adventures that could easily have starred James Bond. ‘The Planet of Spiders’ has an extended vehicle chase scene that would be right at home in a Roger Moore Bond film.
Both deal with megalomaniacs and plots to take over the world. If they did co-exist then it is inevitable that they’d cross paths and even end up working together. The Doctor would disapprove of Bond’s violent actions while Bond would recognise the wealth of information the Doctor had but be frustrated by his enigmatic nature.
Introducing James Bond into an adventure does require a suspension of disbelief from the players. They have to work on the basis that their characters don’t know the character and can’t make any references to the books or films.
If they aren’t able to do this then you can just have a character who is inspired by Bond (and in the Dr Who universe is the source of those stories). All that matters is they are dealing with a larger than life spy.
James Bond often works alone, which is a perfect excuse to have him go off and do his own thing while the player characters tackle the threat from a different angle. This prevents him dominating the plot while still giving opportunities for the player characters to rescue or be rescued by him and exchange information.
If they encounter him more than once then they can begin to uncover his true nature. They might meet him in 1970 and then again in 1987. He looks different but recognises the player characters. If they try to point out the change in his appearance Bond might think they’re just commenting on his aging.
They could even witness Bond apparently being killed, only for him to regenerate in front of them. In his confused state they might have chance of breaking the mind locks placed on him by Time Lords.
MI6 would try to bring Bond in to be debriefed and his conditioning restored. Would the player characters let him go or try to free him. If you wanted to make MI6 the bad guys you could reveal that Bond was captured and brainwashed by them, rather than his own people.
Rather than an occasional cross-over a whole campaign could be ‘based on the concept of combining the two worlds. The player characters would all be agents working for MI6. Most would be human while the others could be Time Lords, with the rest of the team assigned to making sure he doesn’t discover his true nature.
This would be quite similar to a UNIT campaign but with the emphasis on espionage. This is a world where the bad guys have access to advanced alien technology, where terrorist cells aren’t planting WMD’s beneath major cities but Cybermen and rogue scientists threaten to unleash sentient killer sea weed.
PCs might not even be aware of the existence of aliens and time travel before their missions. Once they know then MI6 would likely debrief them, explaining the true nature of UNIT, Torchwood and the UK’s previous encounters with extra-terrestrials. From then on any otherworldly missions would be assigned to the PCs.
Such campaigns can take PCs all over the world. Exotic locations are a substitute for travelling to different planets, demonstrating that there many exciting places to visit on Earth.
Their opponents can be individual mad scientists, criminal masterminds or even shadowy organisations. Such figures will either be funded or backed by alien beings or the opponent will be exploiting such beings and their technology.
To even the odds the PCs might be provided with captured alien technology by Q branch. Whatever the era the campaign is set in the stolen technology will give them an edge. In the 1960s this could be access to mobile phones or handheld computers while in the 21st century this might be cloaking devices or personal teleporters.
Such campaigns can take place in a wide variety of distinct periods from the cold war obsessed 1960s to the war on terror campaigns on the 21st century. Events can be low-key, in the shadows or outrageous action movie antics in broad daylight.
All of this advice applies equally to other staples of British cult spy shows such as ‘The Avengers’, ‘The Champions’, ‘Department S’ and ‘Jason King’.