Original Sin

Overview

originalsinIn the late 30th century Adjudicators Roz Forrester and Chris Cwej have their hands full patrolling the Undercity on Earth, home to a variety of despised alien species. A series of murders and a wave of madness points towards recent arrivals, The Doctor and Bernice.

The Time Travellers have lost the TARDIS while following a warning of a great danger on Earth. Clearing their names and teaming up with Roz and Chris they find that there is corruption within the Adjudicators and an old enemy of the Doctor is behind the attacks.

This is another important book in the New Adventures range, introducing Roz and Chris. These new companions would last until nearly the end of the New Adventures range. Even though they shared a common background their personalities were very different.

Roz was much harder and by the books, with an ugly slice of xenophobia. Chris was much more relaxed, although a little naive. They dynamic they introduced helped revitalise the TARDIS crew relationships.

The story itself is a gripping science fiction story, with the Undercity being a very interesting setting. I enjoyed the details, especially the fad of ‘body bepple’, a form of body alteration that made Chris Cwej initially look like a giant teddy bear.

The revelation of the villain behind events in the book is handled well and harks back to the early days of Doctor Who. It shows that one of the advantages of the format is the ability to bring back even minor characters, without worrying if the same actor can be obtained.

Plot

The 30th century is an interesting setting for dystopian adventures on Earth. Over-crowding, displaced aliens victimised by the Earth Empire and genetic alterations as fashion. All watched over by the Adjudicators.

Whether you want to use this simply to show the cost of advancement in the future, have PCs stand up for aliens rights or mix a little bit of ‘Judge Dredd’ style law enforcement into your Doctor Who campaign this is the place to come.

The addition of Cwej and Roz is an example of introducing Doctor Who companions in pairs. This evident throughout the history of Doctor Who and it could be argued that this works very well to establish a steady dynamic between characters.

Of course Ian and Barbara are the original couple, being both teachers who were investigating the Doctor and Susan. Although Ben and Polly had less shared background they were from the same era and had just experienced the same adventure when they decided to board the TARDIS. Even in the modern day Amy and Rory were strong companions because of their shared past. 

The advantage is that when they are in intense and weird situations they have each other to comfort each other. Unlike the Doctor they’ll both know what the other person is going through and be able to cope with it together.

They also illustrate the importance of having player characters with different dispositions. Being able to react differently to the same situation isn’t disruptive, it encourages interesting roleplaying situations and offers new ideas and approaches that won’t occur if everyone thinks and acts the same way.

Rules

Adjudicator [Special Good Trait – Prerequisite: From mid-21st century to 30th century

A character with this trait is a member of the Adjudicator guild, a police force that governs all of Earth Colonies during the mid to late 21st century until the 30th century. It’s a difficult job, with many colonies wanting to establish their own laws and resenting the Earth Empire sending their own law men to pass judgement on what constitutes a crime.

Adjudicators are latter-day knights, travelling to the far regions of their kingdom, upholding justice and honour. New recruits are called squires and partnered with more experienced officers to teach them the ropes.

Being an Adjudicator means ensuring that the law is upheld where ever they go, no matter where they are in time or space.

Effects:

This trait costs 1 character point and 1 story point.

They receive a +2 to knowledge checks relating to planets within the Earth Empire in this time period and +3 to knowledge relating to the law during this era.

Being an Adjudicator in this time period gives the character authority and access to the legal system which is in place. Whether people respect them or not is another matter. A player can use a story point to positively affect peoples reactions or gain a story point by having them encounter those who are not happy with Adjudicators.

Regeneration Shift [Special Good Trait – Prerequisite: Time Lord]

In much the same way as some Time Lords can trigger and control their regenerations a character with this trait can temporarily alter their DNA.  They can even accurately impersonate the DNA of a target simply by standing in close proximity to them for a short time. Learning the DNA of a target is intuitive but difficult knowledge to retain, with no more than one target’s DNA being memorised at any one time. 

Outwardly the character retains their current appearance but advanced scans will read their altered DNA. This can be very useful when needing to pass security systems that use DNA scans.

Effects:

This trait costs 1 character point and 1 story point.

When they wish to use this trait the player makes a Resolve check  A ‘Yes but’ result indicates that they have succeeded in shifting their DNA  but have also taken on some of the targets traits. For example a Time Lord who shifts to Sontaran might become more warlike for a brief period.

A ‘Yes’ result indicates that they have succeeded in changing their DNA, although this lasts no longer than a single scene.  A‘Yes And’ result indicates that they can maintain their shifted DNA for an extended period. This can eliminate the need for further tests for several scenes.

A ‘No And’ result indicates that the Time Lord has triggered a full regeneration. They must immediately rest, seek medical assistance or retire to a TARDIS to prevent the transformation. If the regeneration does occur they may take on aspects of the species they were DNA shifting to.

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