It is 2012 and the Doctor, Roz and Chris are on the trail of a psionic brotherhood they encountered in ‘Sleepy’. What they discover is a gynoid, an impossible alien species that breaks down reality around it.
A rift in time sends Roz back to 1799 New York with the Doctor in hot pursuit and Chris trapped in the TARDIS. The Shadow Directory, dedicated to investigating paranormal events, are on the hunt and they know the Doctor well.
It isn’t only Christmas that is approaching but the Carnival Queen. Should she be released the universe will dissolve into pure magic and chaos. Ultimately everything comes down to to Chris and a simple question. Does he trust the Doctor?
I’m a big fan of Lawrence Miles and his first Doctor Who book shows his strengths. The story is steeped in Doctor Who references, supposedly there are links to every single Doctor Who television adventure.
This is why this is a great illustration of how to weave the mythology of the Doctor Who universe into a story. There is such a wealth of references that every adventure can have ties to Doctor Who’s past and future.
Many new concepts are introduced, including the Shadow Directory, Faction Paradox and Father Paradox. The latter two concepts were strong enough to continue into the BBC 8th Doctor series and Big Finish audios and books.
With Bernice off enjoying her honeymoon the two new companions get a chance to shine. Roz shows her tenacity, surviving as a black woman in 18th century New York, tempted to kill someone just to get the Doctor’s attention.
At the same time Chris finds himself out of his depth and confronted with an entity that could change the universe or destroy it. Without the guidance of his partner or the Doctor it is a chance for him to make decisions for himself.
The Doctor’s interaction with the Shadow Directory foreshadows Torchwood. Both are organisations dedicated to protecting the world from alien entities and both view the Doctor as an enemy.
With the New Adventures rushing towards its end this is another fine addition to the line.
Just as earlier books have suggested that the Time Lords fixed the web in time, crystallising events, here it is indicated that they also eradicated magic. They established what could and couldn’t happen.
The Carnival Queen is a remnant of this state and there could be more like here. This is a way to introduce magical and mythical creatures into the Doctor Who universe. Around them Reason breaks down.
Mind Shift [Special Good Trait – Prerequisite: Time Lord]
A Gallifreyan mind is different from a human mind, they think differently. It is possible for a Time Lord to shift how they think, seeing things how humans do, living in only three dimensions and thinking of time as linear.
This has the benefit of making them blend in better. Even a psychic would think the character is a human, albeit an eccentric one. The only drawback is that when the character restores their mind to normal they can be a bit confused and absent minded for a short time.
This trait costs 1 character point.
When activated it is impossible for anyone to identify the character as an alien from just watching their behaviour. A psychic or any technology that reads minds will perceive the character as human. During this time they may not access the Feel the Turn of the Universe or the Vortex trait.
Returning their mind to normal results in d16x10 minutes where the character is confused and suffers a -2 to all Ingenuity checks.
Shadow Directory [Special Good Trait]
Before Torchwood there was the Shadow Directory. Established as early as the 17th century and operating into the early 21st century they defended England and it’s colonies from Outsiders, beings from other planets and times.
They act in secret, eliminating threats that others can scarcely comprehended and placing any evidence of these incursions in their secret museums and vaults. Recruits come from all walks of life, from secret agents to scholars to criminals. Anyone who has the ability to locate, identify and eliminate inhuman threats are an asset to the organisation.
The one thing that the Shadow Directory has no use for is morality. They can not concern themselves with right and wrong when the world is at stake. To this end they will kill anyone who gets in their way, innocent or not.
This trait costs 1 character point and 1 story point.
A Shadow Directory agent is trained to deal with alien threats. They can expend 1 story point to nullify 1 trait possessed by an alien for one scene. In effect they know a tactic or trick that makes that trait useless when used against the Shadow Directory agent.
As a Shadow Directory agent a character will have access to a large archive and storage houses of alien artefacts. They must operate in secret and any fraternising with aliens will be frowned upon by the characters superiors unless it can be shown that the characters actions will protect Britain in the long run.
Tech level: 10
A Gallifreyan device, resembling a football sized orb, that is designed to repair damaged areas of space. This was useful during construction of the Eye of Harmony when black holes were created. If the device detects extreme gravitational distortions it teleports its user to safety.
Amaranths are rare now, only a few stellar engineers still retain them. Every thousand year one or two surface on distant worlds, washed up after being lost in the vortex.
Stabilise [Major Gadget Trait]
The local area (no more than 1 mile) is restored to it’s normal state, nullifying any reality warping or gravitation fluctuation.