Gradually the titles of the upcoming Doctor Who episodes are being released. With this information alone we can begin to speculate what the episode itself will actually be like. Some titles of evocative, some are generic and some are deliberately misleading.
For our purposes we want to look at the ideas that these titles generate. When thinking of an adventure this can be a good starting point. A title like ‘The Nightmare Kingdom’, ‘Empire of the Cybermen’ or ‘No Regrets’ can start the process of think about what kind of adventure would justify those names.
A title can suggest a focus, for example the name of villain or alien race in the title, or it can suggest a mood, such as words ‘Vengeance’ or ‘Fear’, or an action such as ‘Rise’, ‘Attack’ or ‘Revenge’.
Care must be taken to fulfil the promise of the title. Some simply can’t live up to the expectations. For example both ‘The Doctor’s Daughter’ and ‘The Next Doctor’ are exciting because they suggest they will explore the Doctor’s family or that the Doctor would encounter a future incarnation (one we hadn’t yet seen).
If your story would be more accurate if you add ‘Not’ to the title you should probably rethink your plot or at least change the title. Think hard about why you would want to deny the players the promise of the title.
It is up to you whether you reveal the title of the adventure to the players before or after they’ve run through events. If they don’t know then nothing will be spoiled but foreknowledge doesn’t necessarily mean there are no surprises. Just because the name ‘Dalek’ is in the title doesn’t mean that the players will know just when they’ll appear or what their motives are.
Titles that have been used in the Doctor Who can still spark new adventures. This doesn’t mean making your own version of the same story. You are starting with the same title and going in a new direction.
To avoid confusion, once you’ve come up with a new story you can give it a new title. Only you need to know where the adventure originated. Alternatively you can imagine that this is an alternative history for your PCs.
Here are some ideas for adventures taken from existing titles.
Death To The Daleks
The universe rejoices when the Daleks are afflicted by a terrible plague. Millions have died and before long they will be extinct. The PCs are the only ones to realise that the plague isn’t natural.
A sinister alien race created the deadly disease to remove their only rival for the conquest of the universe. To save the universe the PCs just might have to do the unthinkable,find a cure for the Daleks.
Doing so will pit them against the rest of the universe who demand ‘Death To The Daleks!’
Remembrance Of The Daleks
Hundreds of years after the last Dalek died they are still remembered. A group of scientists are working hard to create a new race of Daleks. Surely they can’t be as terrible as history says. With their advanced technology the scientists will be able to control their creations.
The PCs, the only ones with first hand experience with the Daleks, must convince the scientists to end their experiments. Can they convince them before they learn the terrible lesson that the Daleks can never be controlled.
Revelation of the Daleks
The PCs have arrived in the ancient past of Skaro, long before the war between the Thals and Kaleds. So why are there Daleks here? To their horror they discover the truth about the species.
A revelation that ties the past of Gallifrey and the future of Earth together. This knowledge will place them in grave danger and threaten their very sanity.
Pyramids of Mars
The PCs arrive on Mars, joining an expedition from Earth in its exploration of the mighty pyramids on the red planet. The technology required to build them is far beyond that possessed by the Martian race.
Devious traps and mind bending science protects the internal vault but the PCs and the scientists at last discover its secret. The pyramids were built by the Osirians, god-like beings that rival the Time Lords in power and mastery of time.
The pyramids are moving back in time from the end of history. The slumbering Osirians await a critical point in which they will awaken in the past and eradicate Gallifrey before the Time Lords realise what is happening. While they sleep they are watched over by the Ice Warriors, created in the distant future by the Osirians to be their servants.
Already time has moved the PCs and the scientists years into the past, leaving their spaceships and TARDIS in the future. Stranded the PCs must convince the Ice Warriors to rise up against their creators and find their own destiny before the stars align and the Osirians awaken.
The world trembles in the shadow of a little girl. None can stand against her. Even the most feared species in the galaxy dare not face her. The PCs arrive in this situation. They must discover who this girl is, why people are scared of her and what she wants.
Soon they will learn there is only one rule in this new world. Fear her.
Arc of Infinity
To avoid certain death in the vortex the TARDIS leaps a time track. The PCs are now trapped within the Arc of Infinity. The Time Lords spoke of it in hushed whispers. A terrible, limitless realm that never ends.
They will never age, they will never die, they will never escape. Can the PCs do the impossible and find a way to return home?
The Time Warrior
There was once a Time Lord who was Rassilon’s greatest soldier. His armour was impenetrable, he wore a time ring that allowed him to move anywhere in history and shape shifting weapons could kill anything.
For centuries he slayed monsters, vampires, demons and whole alien species. It is unknown how many times he regenerated as he never removed his helmet. His crusade kept him away from the Home World longer and longer until he stopped returning altogether and drifted into legend.
Now he has returned. The Time War has driven him mad. The PCs are the only ones who can stop his insane mission to wipe out all life in the universe at his hands. The Eternal Death has chosen him as her champion and he means to claim the PCs lives in her name.