Saturday, 31 December 2011

Making Our Own Whoness For 2012

We're all hoping that in 2012 the bottleneck will break and we'll see the Eleventh Doctor edition of the game, the UNIT set, the Time Travellers' Companion and more.

In the meantime, one will do what one can. You know, GMing, adventure hooks and rambling articles here, that sort of thing.

I also take requests.

--

The Last Day

"And then the Long Count ends and...?"
"You do know I've been to later than December 2012 and the world's still there, right?"
"That doesn't mean someone won't try and do something."

The 2012 Prophecies are pretty shaky all round, but considering what the 21st Century has been like so far in the Whoniverse, some people are probably pretty worried. And some other people see something like this and can't resist poking it with sticks. I wouldn't put it past the Master to engineer the arrival of a fake New Age, he's tried it with the Axons...

"Uh-oh. Rogue planet."

Borrowing the basic shell of Nibiru: Age Of Secrets let's have some people, working with secretly invading aliens, looking to overthrow society and create a new world authority, heading out into space, using an ancient alien weapon summoned from the edge of the solar system. Conspiracies, chases, betrayals, murders, and the possible extinction of humanity. Sounds like a decent start to a two-parter.
What do you mean there’s no more Doctor Who until the autumn? The Christmas Special was so light I expected there to be another this week. Have you checked behind the sofa?

Well fine, I’ll watch Sherlock, but don’t expect me to keep my elbows off the table!

... In the meantime, we shall proceed with making our own Whoness.

Happy New Year!

Friday, 30 December 2011

The Brilliant Book 2012

It’s back! So it is an annual. Jolly good!

(Sadly we didn’t also get a new graphic novel, although the DWM comic strip reprint books are returning, so the last Seven and Ten stories will be available as well as the Eleven run.)

Lots of nice behind-the-scenes stuff, but what is there for grabbing for adventure hooks and the like?

A code for a free audiobook download of Night Of The Humans at the back...

Pages of in-universe extra material, like Amy, Rory and River’s diaries from their months on the run investigating alien sightings that might be the Silence. Probably the most immediately hook-friendly, bringing in real UFO lore at its height.

Neil Gaiman provides the cut Planet Of The Rain Gods scene in comic form and the lives and death of the Corsair, who was apparently a member of the Fourth Universal Survey Expedition, as good an excuse for Time Lords to go a-roaming as any.

Besides that there’s a richly illustrated four-page history of Madame Vastra’s misadventures which might provide some inspiration, and the utter brainache of Charles Dickens’s Twitter feed.

Loads of nice stuff, all told, although less than last year (no short stories, let alone ones by Brian Aldiss) of GM-friendly use.

(And that leads me to imagine a DWAITAS Annual, with articles on GMing, a solo adventure, some new monsters, a couple full-length adventures to play and a series’ worth of hooks.)

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Doctor Who: Worlds In Time (Where Else Would They Be?)

The free MMO's preview play is up and we now know what it looks like. It's visibly For The Kids but has a supposed minimum play age of 13, and it's puzzle-based, and done in Flash, and WANTS YOUR MONEY hence the indirect link.

You're recruited (in your pyjamas) to help unstitch Time, which has gone wonky. You get a customisable look (with micropayments for more, BOO) and a customisable sonic screwdriver (hooray!) and bounce from era to era solving puzzles and running away from monsters.

Some of the eras are quite interesting to be fair.

In a bit of a cross-marketing fail, it's about as cutified as Character Building but not the same way. The rollout character types are human, Silurian, Catkind and Tree Of Cheem. Allow me to express my tutting disapproval on behalf of the Ood and Judoon.

Certainly it's not as off-model as other Who computer games but not as on-theme as The Adventure Games. And it WANTS YOUR MONEY. So proceed with caution.

GURPS Who's Who

Who?

Two books containing two-page spreads for over a hundred figures from history, from Alexander the Great to HP Lovecraft, Cleopatra to Sid Vicious, with suggestions for fantasy variants and, naturally, lots of ideas for time travel stories about them. The kind of books that Doctor Who GMs can dive into. It would be easy to pick one up, open it at random and run an adventure about...

Gráinne Ní Mháille, aka Grace O'Malley, Ireland's Pirate Queen. Okay, that's almost too easy. The obvious historical hinge point would be when she met Elizabeth the First and bargained for a pardon for herself and her family in exchange for sailing against the Spanish. All kinds of sinister powers would want to disrupt that meeting and provide a back door to attack Elizabethan England, and the PCs get to team up with a Pirate Queen to stop it in case you missed that bit.

Okay, let's try again.

Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox, about the only leading German officer to get much good press in World War II. Pivotal to the war in Africa, and involved in a plot to oust Hitler and try him for his crimes. Again, it's not going to be difficult mix him up with time travelling adventurers.

One more...

Catherine de' Medici, Italian noble, Queen of France, patron of the arts and generally terrifying. Probably not going to receive the kindest portrait in a Celebrity Historical.

Friday, 23 December 2011

"Haven't you ever wanted to visit everywhere?"

Lost Christmas is a BBC fantasy starring Eddie Izzard as a mysterious man arriving in modern Salford apparently from nowhere, with the strange ability to find lost things.

Who is he? Well, he's not the Doctor. Not quite. It's a rather quiet, low-key, gloomy tale all round, lit up by Izzard's off-kilter charm.

"Can I ask you a question?"
"That is a question."

But any mysterious man with strange abilities played by a British comedian and actor is going to show a bit of a family resemblance. His rattling off the collective nouns of everything is a good example, as is picking Jason Watkins's pocket, or indeed Geoffrey Palmer asking "who are you?" in that wondering, wary tone we so often hear.

(Speaking of resemblances, Primeval's Jason Flemyng isn't actually wearing the Ninth Doctor's jacket, this one has a zip.)

"Sometimes you have to go towards the things that make you want to run away."

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Doctor Who And The Lambton Worm

Ten British folklore and cryptozoology monsters.

The SFX Paranormal Special looks at the topic in Doctor Who as well, noting that there's been at least two explanations for Nessie in the Whoniverse, there are real Yeti and robot Yeti (who occasionally turn up in loos but not often in Northumberland) and the Cottingley Fairies already appeared in the good episode of Torchwood S1.

That still leaves Black Dogs, Alien Big Cats, the Great Grey Man of Ben MacDhui...

To take the last example, what is an insubstantial ghost or shadow creature doing halfway up a bleak Scottish mountain? Is it a psychic echo of where someone died? A living shadow protecting an alien wreck? A warning from the future?

Monday, 12 December 2011

Lost And Found

Apparently I’ve picked up another follower. Hello!

Two weeks before Christmas, and two more Doctor Who episodes - from the first and second Doctors.

Galaxy 4 and The Underwater Menace. Not complete stories, but still.

“Just one small question... why do you want to blow up the world?”

Thursday, 8 December 2011

On This Day...

Google Doodles for Diego Rivera's 125th birthday. See here for the time he, Frida Kahlo, the Eighth Doctor and Izzy saved Mexico. Taking a local custom and running with it resulted in a unique Celebrity Historical.

It's also "What The Hell Is That Thing Next To Mercury?" Day.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Smithereening

Sounds a bit risky, even for a Smith

A minute and 11 seconds of prelude (not prequel as they insist on calling it as it came out first) for The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe.

That's a rather large black hole.

Ten billion times the mass of our sun.

The centre of a galaxy. The gravitational point holding hundreds of solar systems together. And it wants to eat them.

The Time Lords chained one, at the beginning of Time as we know it. Where is it now? Who controls it? What might emerge from it?