‘The Snowmen’ gives us another example of the Doctor auditioning a companion. In the past the people travelled with the Doctor due to circumstance but since the 9th Doctor only those worthy can join him in his adventures.
So what exactly makes someone worthy? The Doctor claims he doesn’t know why only who.
I would suggest that it is no coincidence that this episode is about carnivorous snow that reflects others. That the villain of the piece, Dr Simeon mistook the snow for an intelligent being when it was only repeating his own words back to him.
During this episode what the Doctor likes about Clara is that she is like him. She is able to able to use her wits to convince him not to wipe her memory, she grabs his hand when he usually performs that role and his final test is whether she can guess his plan by thinking like him.
Tellingly this final test makes it appear as if Clara would be capable of coming up with their escape plan herself. In fact she is only able to guess what he was going to do because he picked up an umbrella. It was his actions that allowed her to work out why they were on the roof.
Does the Doctor look for people in which he can see himself reflected. Evidence for his this is provided by his interactions with Amy. When he met her as a child he himself became equally childish. It could also be argued that he saw her as an orphan, just as he was alone in the universe.
Upon meeting her as an adult he saw that she had weathered adversity, capable of sarcasm and despite having a peaceful life in Leadworth was keen to run away and explore the universe.
In ‘The Beast Below’ he is ready to part company with Amy when she does something that he doesn’t believe he’d do, wipe her memory of what she saw without consulting him. He forgives her only when she finds a way to save the people on the ship and the life of the space whale. Saving lives is what he does.
It could also be key to his strong relationship with River Song. She is mysterious, witty, intelligent and knowledgeable about time travel. While he might disagree with her actions he has a strong admiration for her passion.
Even earlier than that we can see how the 4th Doctor’s personality changes, along with his companions. Whether it be the youthful enthusiasm and curiosity he displays with Sarah Jane Smith, the aloofness and scientific thirst he displays with Romana or the ready acceptance of violence and death with Leela.
It makes sense that the Doctor would work best with people who share similar personalities and interests. That is the way that most social bonds are formed. Our circle of friends are mostly composed of people who are in synch with us.
What is interesting here is that the Doctor, a higher being than we mere mortals, is judging these people. Not whether they share his interests but whether they are good. Therefore the more like the Doctor you are the more likely you’ll be able to travel with him.
It is shame that Kamelion was never fully utilised in the show. Having a shape shifting, mildly telepathic, robot would have been perfect for the Doctor. He literarily could be reflection of what the Doctor wanted, echoing his own thoughts and words back to him.
In the context of this episode it is notable that while the audition of Clara is seen as a joyous thing Dr Simeon is shown as an example of what happens when we create someone that only reflects our darkest aspects.
Within your own games characters sharing traits with the Time Lord PC can be essential. While diversity should be encouraged, so that each PC can shine in their own niche, having a common ground can make things more harmonious.
This can be a fun way to generate PCs, with their concept based around reflecting a particular trait or personality aspect of the Time Lord. Do they reflect the Time Lord’s interest in science, their curiosity or their sense of justice?
Having a character who challenges the Time Lord, like Turlough, Tegan or Adam, can lead to the Time Lord character questioning why they keep them as a companion. Either the companion needs to change their attitude or they’ll soon find themselves departing the TARDIS.
The question is whether this is right? This can be addressed within the campaign, especially if the Time Lord is not aware he is doing it. It could be that they just need to realise how egotistical it is to demand that those around you display aspects of your own personality.
Games Masters can keep this in mind when creating NPCs. They may well find NPCs who are similar to the Time Lord are trusted and liked while those who conflict with their personality are automatically seen as the enemy.
Having those beliefs confirmed or refuted can go along way to making the PC evaluate the value of the decisions they may, based on first impressions.