Adventure: Gothic Horror, Eternals
Since the last few adventures have concentrated on science fiction let us look at another area that Doctor Who excels, Gothic Horror.
This adventure requires some time to have passed since the last adventure. When we last saw our heroes the new Lords of Time had made their presence known. They immediately begin hunting for the PCs, broadcasting their likenesses and encouraging the conquer Galactic Empire to find them for their own sake.
The PCs have been unable to use their TARDIS, the Lords of Time have found away to prevent it from accessing the vortex. Their allies, whether it be adjudicators or the enslaved alien races, have helped them get off world.
Their flight from the Lords of Time has led them to a remote planetoid, Byron. A small colony was established there many years ago but had to be abandoned after a series of disturbing incidents. It acts as a perfect hiding place, as the same time that the incidents occurred the planetoid became invisible to all sensor readings.
Preferably the adventure should begin with the PCs being flown by spaceship to Byron. If you think that you can seamlessly bring the PCs to the planet you can run them through the intervening moments, as they try to stay one step ahead of the Lords of Time.
If you are not using the previous adventures the mystery of the planet could be enough to draw them to investigate. In either case, as their ship enters the atmosphere they are buffeted by a savage storm.
Lightening strikes and the ship crashes. You could start the game here, as the PCs brace for impact or have them awake in medias res, stumbling out of the wreckage. Some NPCs could have survived or you might wish to have them die in the crash so the PCs are alone.
Their TARDIS, kept in the hold of the ship, will have survived but they’ll have to wait until the wreckage cools before they even think about trying to reach it. Instead they should explore their surroundings and seek shelter from the torrential rain.
The small planetoid has a breathable atmosphere and is covered in rain forest. Luckily the ship crashed near the abandoned colony. These pre-fab structures are falling apart but there are some electronic equipment that can be salvaged and even repaired.
During this phase the PCs should get a sense that things are not right. They hear whispers and when they’re not looking furniture tips over and objects fall on the ground. Feel free to have them find diaries and video logs left by the colonists that details strange encounters.
Not far away is a distinctly out of place English Stately home. Candle lights flicker in the windows, showing that someone is there. Approaching the building they’ll see that they are watched by owls in the trees and death head moths flitter between the branches.
The door is unlocked at the house, leading into a foyer with black and white tiled floor. There are painted portraits on the walls of the PCs. Give them a chance to explore the apparently empty building, finding evidence that they have just missed someone such as a cooling cup of tea or a smoking cigar resting in an ash tray.
The only area they can’t explore is the basement as the door is locked. Not even a Sonic Screwdriver can open it. PCs should feel a mounting sensation of dread when they approach.
During this section the PCs witnesses what at first appear to be ghosts. Eventually they’ll recognise them as the colonists, who will be spooked if the PCs attempt to interact with them.
As events continue they’ll witness former companions and NPCs amongst the ghosts and then historical figures. Phantoms of those through out space and time appear to be converging on the house.
Once the PCs have an idea about what is happening the only living person on the planet makes his appearance known. He has been down in the basement but now he has emerged feel free to have him suddenly appear behind a PC or casually sitting in the next room they enter.
This is the Major, a human in his late 60s. He is dressed in the manner of a 19th century gentlemen, although his clothes have seen better days. His skin is flaking and hair falls out as they watch. This doesn’t stop him drinking sherry or smoking rich cigars.
The Major explains that the PCs have been expected, explaining the paintings. Further more he reveals he was an Eternal, although he became mortal so he could dwell in their world and safeguard the last of his kind until this day. His fragile body doesn’t have long, but he has time to complete his mission.
He unlocks the basement door and leads them down a stone staircase. The major explains the ghosts they have witnessed is the first sign that time is collapsing, a result of the new Lords of Time’s actions. If they aren’t stopped reality crumble as everything thing in all of history happens at the same moment.
Reaching the basement the PCs find a shrine to the last Eternals, preserved in a sections of slow time. Impossibly powerful beings, frozen like statues in a glowing golden light. The Major explains that the current universe is toxic to them, that they can’t survive in it unless they become mortal.
The only remaining Eternals are Death, Pain and Time. If you have more PCs feel free to include some more, representing various aspects of the universe. Those versed in these beings might realise that they are responsible for the wildlife that was watching them.
In order to survive these Eternals must bond themselves with the PCs. In affect they will become the champion and avatar for the Eternals, able to access a small portion of their power. This might be just what they need to defeat the Lords of Time.
Reaching the end of his life the Major says they must choose wisely as the Lords of Time have tracked them to the planet. Anyone keeping watch outside will see one of their ships descend. The Major then collapses, quickly expiring.
This puts a time limit on the PCs decision. They might not want to bond with such powerful beings but they might worry about what the Lords of Time will do if they find them. The choice should not be taken lightly and the bonding process is extremely painful for all involved.
Once the bond is established it is time for the PCs to turn the tables. They can attempt to frighten the Lords of Time, before unleashing their power. Give the PCs a taste of what their Eternal patron can do, for example Time could allow a PC to move between seconds or age someone to death, Pain could inflict terrible anguish on a Lord of Time or Death could kill them out right. It should be frightening just how powerful they are, especially to those who didn’t bond with an Eternal.
Instead of the Lords of Time you might want to use another species, working in their service. It could be that Adjudicators have been sent to track them down, in the hope that their capture will appease the Lords of Time, or a formerly enslaved alien race might see this as a way to improve their station in life.
Once the PCs have defeated their pursuers their captured spaceship gives them a way off planet. It also provides valuable information about the Lords of Time, including their point of origin, the End of Time.