Adventure: The Land of Fiction, Doctor Who Books, Comics and Audio
Doctor Who is so much more than just the television series. This adventure celebrates that fact as we continue the 50th Anniversary Campaign. This is a chance to acknowledge the wonderful characters that many fans who only watch the show might be unaware of.
At the conclusion of the last adventure the PCs were caught in a blast as the universe were rewritten and found themselves in a white void. If you haven’t used the previous adventure then it is a simple matter for the PCs TARDIS to accidentally get sent to the same place.
If the Doctor is present, or the players are familiar with ‘The Mind Robbers’ they’ll recognise this as the Land of Fiction. For the moment their TARDIS is unable to dematerialise, its instruments showing that they are ‘nowhere’.
Whether they stay in the TARDIS or explore the white void they’ll come under assault by robot Roman Legionnaires. These come from the Doctor Who comic strip ‘The Iron Legion’ although the Doctor might not remember them. They originate from an alternative timeline where Rome never fell.
The PCs are rescued by a cyberman, wielding a staff and a young man wearing 1960s fashion and firing a silver laser gun. The Iron Legion retreat allowing their rescuers to introduce themselves. The Cyberman is Kroton, someone who retained their personality when converted. The young man is Fitz Kreiner, who will take a shine to any female PCs.
They explain they can take them to the safety of the village. Puzzlingly they say that the Doctor is waiting there to see them. If the Doctor is one of the PCs both Kroton and Fitz will be disappointed that he doesn’t remember them.
Following them they find the village is actually Stockbridge, first introduced in the 5th Doctor comic strips and revisited in the Big Finish audios recently. There they’ll witness many characters from the comics, books and audios, from Izzy to Charley to the Doctor’s grandchildren John and Gillian.
Their eventual destination is Smithwood Manor on Allen Road. Someone has vandalised the road sign so it now reads ‘Alien’. It appears that the whole road has been forced in amongst the other houses in the village.
Inside they find the 9th Doctor, as played by Richard E Grant in ‘Scream of Shalka’. He is pouring over a map of the Land of Fiction, which reveals the location of both the village and enemy forces. He works alongside his companion Alison and a robot version of the Master.
This is the time for the PCs to get some answers. The 9th Doctor is terse, having more important things to do than answer stupid questions. He will, however, reveal what is going on.
He explains that in his timeline the Time Lords won the Time War, although not without forcing the Doctor to regenerate into his 9th Incarnation. The Time Lords were so pleased with his service during the war that they wouldn’t let him off the leash just yet.
With the Time Lords more powerful than ever now they’d conquered their only potential rival the Doctor was unable to escape, not with the Master robot keeping an eye on him. For years they sent him on missions to do their dirty work.
Following the events of ‘Scream of Shalka’ he detected time reordering itself, shockwaves from the Time War. He realised that his timeline was about to be erased and had the TARDIS jump a time track.
He found himself in the Land of Fiction. With the help of the Master he was able to adjust the TARDIS so it no longer drew power from the Eye of Rassilon but from the energies of the Land of Fiction.
These energies allow people to survive, even after their past has been erased. By becoming ‘fictional’ they can survive forever. Unable to leave, since the TARDIS had to remain in the Land of Fiction to keep them alive, the Doctor created a version of the time scoop to save others close to him that would have been erased.
All is not well in the Land of Fiction. Faction Paradox used the Land of Fiction as an escape route. They’ve been recruiting dark forces that also faced erasure, while searching for a way out. The two sides have engaged in skirmishes ever since.
Now the PCs have arrived in their TARDIS there is potentially a way out. It can similarly be adapted to draw power from the Land of Fiction, but with the 9th Doctor’s TARDIS acting as a conduit, meaning that they can return to the rewritten timeline without fading away.
The problem is that Faction Paradox captured an alternate 1st Doctor (Peter Cushing’s version) and are trying to do the same thing with his TARDIS. In order to escape the PCs will need to recover parts from it.
They can assemble their team from the people in the village. This is a chance to pair them up with characters from the books, comics and audios, whether it be Hex, Frobisher, C’rizz or anyone else.
Similarly the mission against Faction Paradox should put them at odds with villains from the books and audios. This could include Threshold, The Enemy, Grel, Hooti or Beep the Meep. Anything that you feel would be amusing or exciting.
The challenge they face should be reflected in the opposition you choose for them to face and the allies they take with them. Where ever possible the PCs should work alongside their allies, so it doesn’t become a matter of watching the NPCs.
In addition to obtaining the part from the Earth built TARDIS this could be a rescue mission. The Faction Paradox could be holding the alternative 1st Doctor to find out more about his time line, along with any other Doctor Who companions from the books, comics and audios you haven’t yet introduced.
If the PCs are captured or come into contact with their opposition Faction Paradox attempt to charm them. They are offered a place within the organisation as a new brother or sister. They explain that they have a right to existence and are the best chance of keeping Gallifrey alive.
Ultimately, whoever they side with, the PCs should adapt their TARDIS. These final scenes can be particularly exciting if the two sides are engaged in combat and the PCs are working against time to escape.
When they do eventually leave they could take along with them some people from the Land of Fiction. This is a good way to add non-canonical characters to the on-going story line.
If you want to further surprise the PCs the 9th Doctor could have made their TARDIS the power source conduit, allowing him to escape in his own TARDIS. Now stranded they’ll need to find their own way to escape and make the 9th Doctor account for his betrayal.
During all of this the question might be raised whether any of this can be trusted, after all they are in the Land of Fiction. It could be revealed that this is all a massive deception, designed to allow an entity in the Land of Fiction to escape in their TARDIS.
The PCs might stumble upon this, discovering a room filled with pages from a book that detail the exact events they are living through, including their dialogue. Do they risk their plan to escape by revealing they know the truth?
If you’re using the rogue 1st Doctor storyline it could be revealed that he learned about the Land of Fiction from the 2nd Doctor in the meeting that Jamie recalled in ‘Eternal Fog’. The two of them worked out that they could use the energies from the Land of Fiction to maintain their existence, even after they regenerate.
This could lead to the discovery that all past Doctor’s eventually end up in the Land of Fiction, or at least maintain their existence from the power drawn from there. This gives a good explanation for the never-ending ‘missing’ adventures produced in all mediums.
The conclusion of the adventure is the PCs returning to the new timeline, kept alive by their TARDIS. What will they find there? Is there a way to restore things to the way they were?
Only time will tell.