‘Asylum of the Daleks’ begins on Skaro, with some wonderful vistas of the rain lashed ruins and giant stone Dalek. Its current condition raises many questions. Firstly the fact that the Doctor is disappointed by its current state.
If this is post ‘The Daleks’ then he may be referencing the demise of the Thal. At one point it seemed like they had reclaimed their world from the Daleks. The still smoking ruins of the city could indicate that the Daleks returned and wiped them out, erecting a stone statue in their image as a warning.
It could also be that the city had already been recaptured by the Daleks, which would make it a prime target for anyone fighting against them. The Doctor could simply be expressing his distaste of senseless destruction, even if it is against the Daleks.
This would make it a great place for a supposed resistance fighter, as Darla was pretending to be. It would be both symbolic and a known Dalek-free location. Their shame would probably prevent them from returning to the site of their greatest defeat, especially as there would be little to gain.
Another scenario is that the Daleks did reclaim Skaro but have since abandoned it. The Doctor comment is simply a reflection of how the Daleks might leave all the planets they conquer. Once they’ve taken over a world they lose interest, leaving it to fall into a state of disrepair.
The destruction we see could be a result of the Time War, the Doctor filled with self-loathing at what his people have done. The Daleks would be unable to repair the damage because it has been Time Locked.
Along these lines the damage caused could be a result of the 7th Doctor tricking Davros into detonating Skaro’s sun. The planet could have been far enough away to survive the blast but result in the damage we see. So here the Doctor is being forced to look upon his own handiwork.
There is also the question of if this is the real Skaro. It was assumed destroyed in ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’, with the book ‘Birthright’ suggesting that they had colonised a planet to become New Skaro.
The Doctor’s comment that this was the original planet and his recognising the time-space co-ordinates in the prequel eliminate the possibility that this is anywhere other than the real Skaro.
If you wish to set this post ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ the book ‘War of the Daleks’ suggest that the Daleks created a decoy Skaro to trick Davros because they’d learnt that he would ultimately send the Hand of Omega into what he believed to be Skaro’s sun.
You might also decide that what we are shown here isn’t the real Skaro after all. In the past the Doctor has been wrong and he has also lied. If he suspected the true nature of Darla he could be playing along.
Answering these questions can give some insight into why the Daleks chose it as a meeting place. The stated goal is to intrigue the Doctor but they could also be sending a psychological message. Whether that be to illicit fear, shame or pride is up to you.
The stone Dalek is intriguing, as it seems out of character for the Daleks to build such monuments to themselves. Remember, such a construction would take time and resources that the Daleks would normally devote to their own expansion.
It may serve as a symbol, showing that the planet belongs to them. It could be that every planet they conquer has a similar structure, showing the natives who their new lords and masters are.
This could be a great surprise for PCs arriving on an alien planet or Earth, only to find a giant stone Dalek towering above them. It would immediately let the players know the scale of the problem they are facing.
Since it is hollow the statue might act as a base of operations. Symbolically this could represent that a Dalek is strong due to the many Daleks who work together. It could also reinforce the idea that Daleks are protected within their shell.
Such bases of operation would be difficult to deal with. Whether the PCs are trying to infiltrate the structure or destroy its outward appearance is enough to give a character pause.
In my previous article I discussed the possibility that the Daleks were developing a culture for the first time. The statues could be a reflection of this, expressing themselves through similar monuments across the universe.
A very strange idea would be if the Daleks were trying to construct giant versions of themselves. The statue might only appear to be stone from the outside, while it is in fact fully functioning.
This raises the question of if a similarly giant Dalek mutant would need to be housed inside or whether they would just network a host of normal sized mutants to operate it. Either way a Dalek of that size would be fearsome to deal with.
This could form the basis for a CyberKing vs Giant Dalek fight. Whoever wins the PCs lose so they’d have to ensure that both sides don’t survive the conflict. On an inhabited planet the death toll and collateral damage would be terrible to behold.
With the Daleks in control of large sections of the universe Skaro could be a thrilling place to set an adventure. The PCs might help establish a rebel base there or brave the rubble and hostile environment for clues to a weakness of the Daleks.
Skaro is their point of origin and there might still be secrets to expose. It would also have been a target during the Time War and there could be unexploded Time Bombs or other Time Lord weaponry to be found.
There could also be original Daleks kept in stasis. They may consider the current Dalek race an abomination, proposing a temporary alliance to wipe out these racial impurities. They could also be more sane than their descendants, having less extreme views about galactic domination.
These earlier Daleks would be no match for current versions but their insight might still give the PCs an edge. It would also be a tense alliance, since their Dalek allies might betray them at any moment.