2013 will be the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who and we can only guess at what the BBC are planning. If you are running a campaign in that year will you be creating adventures to celebrate this event?
The great thing about being able to run a Doctor Who game is you can create the season you’d like to see. For the purposes of this article I’ll be looking at what I’d like to see in such a campaign arc.
The rules are that there will be a total of 12 adventures. If the original actors are still alive then their character can appear as a guest star, although in special circumstances a stand-in is acceptable.
The aim is to create a series of adventures that celebrate the entire 50 years of the series.
ADVENTURE 1: COAL HILL SCHOOL/FOREMAN JUNKYARD
The first adventure should take us back to where it all began. ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ does a good job doing this, providing a template for how this should be done. Taking us back to square one is a good way to remind newer viewers of the Doctor’s origins.
This adventure could focus on one of Susan’s few friends. In an attempt to establish a bond Susan gave the girl, let’s call her Becky, an alien communication device. When Susan abruptly vanished from school Becky was devastated, left with the keepsake which did little more than change colours.
In recent months, after the events of ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’, Becky has started picking up a plaintive calls from help, apparently from Susan. In an attempt to respond Becky has unwittingly contacted the devices counter-part.
The device was originally given to Susan by the Doctor, the other kept in the TARDIS. It was a way for an over-protective grandfather to keep in contact with his granddaughter. Susan claimed that she simply lost it and the Doctor thought no more about it, having no means to replace it.
Now the device on the TARDIS is picking up Becky’s messages, wondering if her friend is alright. The Doctor and his companions must travel to 1960s Coal Hill School, once again confronting his past and his relationship with Susan.
Becky should remind the Doctor of his granddaughter, being a similar age and posing a quirky nature. An outsider this is what created the friendship between the two young girls. Open minded with endless curiosity Becky could become a new companion.
The first challenge is making contact with Becky, in order to establish her relationship with Susan and recover the communication device. While the main characters are pondering how to do this or making the first tentative steps they witness an attempted abduction by some ominous bald men in overcoats, who attempt to bundle her into a waiting car.
Once rescued the grateful Becky says she has seen the same men hanging around the Foreman junkyard when she went looking for Susan. If they ask about the communication device she explains she kept in her bedroom, to keep it safe.
If they go to her house they find that there has been a break-in and the device has been stolen. This could lead to an awkward encounter with Becky’s parents and the police officer investigating the crime.
The Foreman junkyard should be obvious place to investigate and the Doctor and his companions find several of the mysterious men operating from the end of Trotters Lane. They seem to be scouring the area for any evidence of alien technology.
Just who they are is up to the games master. They could be Nestene, searching for Time Lord technology, seeking revenge for the events of the Time War and the loss of their planets.
They could be a human anti-alien organisation. They could be dedicated to removing the influence of alien intrusion to protect the course of Earth history and the development of technology.
These might be an on-going group of villains for this campaign arc. Perhaps they are the future of humanity, assuming the roles of Time Lords due to the absence of Gallifrey. Now they protect their own timeline and search for any remaining Time Lords who could threaten their position.
Their nature could be discovered when one of the mysterious men is fatally injured and regenerates or the group make use of a TARDIS. Any Time Lord character will innately know that despite appearances these aren’t his people, they are something new and frightening.
Whatever their nature and goals the main characters should try to get the stolen communication device back from them, in order to track the signal from Susan. Will they use stealth, distractions or an open assault?
Once they obtain the communication device you can ensure that Becky becomes a companion, if only temporarily, by revealing that prolonged use of the device has genetically bonded it to her. She is the only one who can make it work and show the path to Susan.
If you don’t want this to be an on-going storyline obtaining the communication device might simply allow the Doctor to speak to Susan. Separated by decades she explains that she will be going away soon, where he won’t be able to find her, and has one last chance to tell her grandfather that she loves him and that she forgives him for abandoning her.
In a group with original character the initial message from Becky could simply be picked up by their TARDIS. Post-Time War this serves as an opportunity to possibly locate another Time Lord, even without the personal attachment.
Alternatively what if the TARDIS arrives in the modern day to find that Susan is the headmistress of Coal Hill School? If this was a television episode Caroline Ann Ford could return to the role.
Susan explains that after ‘The Five Doctors’ she found herself deposited back on Earth. Contacting Ian and Barbara she was able to make a new life for herself as a teacher, specialising in history, before becoming headmistress.
The Doctor’s memories of what his 1st incarnation did after that adventure are hazy, as they always are after he meets past and future versions of himself. Why did he bring Susan back to this time period? What was his plan?
Susan only remembers that before her grandfather left for the final time he said ‘One day, I will return.’
While Susan believes that the Doctor has kept his word he has other suspicions. The 1st Doctor was the original rebel, the first to flee his own people. Given another chance at life would he so gladly step back into his normal time stream or would he go on the run again?
To find out the truth the Doctor, Susan and his companions must explore space and time to find the 1st Doctor and ensure that his existence is assured.
Brilliant writing…I enjoyed that…Talking of Alien technology….Ian may have the key of Marinus given to him by the Doctor as a parting gift (never used… as a fake key blew up the Conscience of marinus )This key could be activated to bring the retired teacher back into the story…
Yes, that would be great to bring back another original companion.