Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Two Celebrity Historicals In One

Mark Twain visiting Nikolai Teslas laboratory.

Which reminded me of awesome people hanging out together. Scroll down far enough and youll find (a) Andy Warhol met everybody and (b) moments like Theodore Roosevelt hill walking in Yosemite with John Muir and the surprising sight of Amelia Earhart admiring Harpo Marxs costume on the set of Horse Feathers.

And perhaps the ultimate scientific example, the Solway Conference.

Generally one historical celebrity (or one group generally thought of going together, like a political movement or an artistic or musical group) is enough and provides plenty of characterisation, so a further guest star might just complicate matters unnecessarily, but a meeting could be the cause of the adventure, or a gag made in passing. Ive used the Shelleys and Byron at the Villa Diodati before (as have Big Finish and Doctor Who Adventures) but which other intersections of history could attract the attentions of time travellers and alien invaders?

Monday, 26 November 2012

Friday, 23 November 2012

Happy Birthday, Doctor Who!

io9’s complete list of anniversary specials is impressively thorough - it covers The Dark Dimension and even Dimensions In Time.

I think the DWM strips count as well, though, if you’re including books and the like, so nyer.

Meanwhile, SFX suggests 49 ways to celebrate the anniversary. Not sure they’d all be viable. I think number 40 should definitely happen, though.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Is there life on MAAAAAAAAARS?

Or a conceited walrus?

Or as Paul Cornell worries: "I hope NASA's announcement about life on Mars tonight isn't just that they preferred the first season."

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Episode Two: 8,000 BC

Scottish dig unearths '10,000-year-old home' at Echline in South Queensferry in preparation for the Forth Replacement Crossing. Which is quite a ways earlier than our previous earliest discovered settlement.

Roast hazelnut, anyone?

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Right then!

The Children In Need trailer

And the minisode.


Clara's called Clara then.

And we see the monsters, and they are... interesting...?

Favorite meta bit:

"Will anyone be able to persuade the Doctor to save the day?"

Friday, 16 November 2012

Fear Of The Cybermen

Neil Gaiman on making the Cybermen scary again by emphasising how quiet they are... how they can creep up on you. A simple, practical sort of fear, not the conceptual fear of identities wiped out or the visceral fear of bits being cut off.

(In related news, I may have to buy this book.)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Trope, Cliché, Classic and Tradition

Ten Episodes That Every Sci-Fi Show Must Have (if they last long enough) naturally includes quite a few that the Doctor has faced.

Christmas every year since 2005 (and that one time back in the day), alternate universes, important characters dying, flashbacks (which the characters can visit), time loops, betrayals and Blink.

Always room for more, though.

And what would you want in a Doctor Who Hallowe’en special? Hmm...

Saturday, 10 November 2012

We have been upgraded.

A new look for the Cybermen with some cues from Iron Man and a less generally brutalist style.

Be warned, Natty Longshoe!

Seeing yourself in the past

Amy and Rory spotted in 1950s painting?

Probably just a coincidence, but...

Seeing yourself in an old picture or other representation, particularly a very old one, is one of the classic “whoa...” moments in stories about time travel.

Of course it would be more surprising in a game that doesn’t star the crew of a time machine...

It happened to Ace in Silver Nemesis but then her arc was curtailed before we saw the reason, and happened in The Stone Rose to, well, you can probably guess.

(Back To The Future loves this, even on top of the fading photos caused by paradoxes. The closest Primeval went was a news report with no photo - I may use it for an episode hook.)

It’s a moment of a fixed point in time, something you then have to do... or do you? Do you have to go to that time and place, dress as you’re shown... participate in the events depicted?

What if it shows you doing something you’d rather not do? Like waving from the Titanic, or standing bravely in front of a firing squad?

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Doctor Who / Star Trek artist in art sale after hurricane damage.

Neil Gaiman's episode features...

Matt Smith avoids saying:

“I think it will be a fan’s favourite because, well, without giving anything away, it just will be, because there’s something in it.”

But if you click on or even hover over this link it tells you.

And also Warwick Davis, Tamzin Outhwaite and Jason Watkins as “a band of misfits on a mysterious planet”...

Monday, 5 November 2012

You too can interview Gar Hanrahan!

Via Dan Davenport: #rpgnet welcomes Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan (Doctor Who, The One Ring, Laundry Files, Primeval) 11/5 19:00 CST / 11/6 01:00 GMT!

To join #rpgnet chat: go to http://www.magicstar.net/chat2/ , select your nick, log in, and type "/join #rpgnet"."

As Gar himself puts it:
I'm doing a chat on the rpgnet channel this evening. Well, this unearthly hour of the night, more accurately. Come ask me questions and/or watch me fall asleep on Mr. Keyboard.
For reference, see the link to Nathaniel Torson and Dave Chapman's DWAITAS-related chat logs.

Edit: the link did not work for me, so I missed it. The log is here.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A very special episode

A fan production of a Doctor Who musical prompted this fairly thorough examination of why we haven’t actually had a full-on musical episode of the show, including noting that we have in the audios... and the comics...

It’s a difficult thing to do, and even harder to do well. The Buffy The Vampire Slayer musical episode Once More With Feeling, while not unique in going all-out and having all original songs, still stands out eleven years on - Kate Nash and friends performed it live this Hallowe’en.

It was a singular example of Buffy’s regular-ish format-schmormat episodes.

What similarly singular ideas could work in Doctor Who?

Going past the format-bender and totally beyond the format, for one night only...

We’ve had episodes with the Doctor and companions almost absent, animated specials, the almost-legendary Eastenders crossover which is not canon for either show - no it’s not, la la la not listening...

Century House would have been another example - a show-within-a-show crossover with a to-camera documentary series, two genre-bending notions in one.

A “live” episode with the Doctor and companions saving the day during a special event? This is actually easier to do in an RPG, as it’s “live” by default and you can improvise all kinds of things. By way of example, we’ve had the 2012 Olympics twice now - it would have been thrice but something in the opening ceremony went wibbly-wobbly.

One idea I may have mentioned before, a possible convention adventure avoiding the “who gets to play the Doctor” issue - an alien MacGuffin splits the Doctor into (number of PCs) different aspects, each played by a different British actor, and they have to work together to recombine into one being.

What about a silent episode, like Hush, the flipside of Once More With Feeling? The DWM comics did something like this during Ten and Majenta’s run, visiting a world where a constant psychic broadcast prevents speech and finding it was infested by sound effects that were alive... and hungry. However, in a verbal medium like tabletop RPGs, a silent episode could be difficult - the players and GM can describe everything as normal, so it would have a hazier distinction from a normal session and might be hard to keep up.

One related and possibly more workable suggestion would be to make everyone communicate differently - like the limited vocabularies of cavemen in Robin D. Laws’s RPG Og, as caused by a translation circuit failure.

Consider a non-standard form of storytelling for the show, and acknowledge that it’s unusual.

Like an animated special where someone says “hang on, we’re cartoons!” perhaps caused by being linked to a computer simulation, and the characters use their cartoon-ish-ness to save the day.

Or an old storyteller recounting the legend of the strange travellers who arrived centuries ago in a blue box - and comparing the exaggerated story with the real adventure as you play it out.

Likewise, consider a session using a non-standard rules system.

What would a game be like if you hand everyone a few of RM Bailey’s Doctor Who plot point cards instead of their character sheets?

Or the idea of the storyteller above, based on James Wallis’s adaptation of Baron Munchausen - the game of competitive storytelling, exaggeration and lying? So now everyone is throwing in plot developments which might well get their own characters into more and more trouble...

Friday, 2 November 2012

Hurricane relief download bundle

Red Cross Hurricane Sandy relief RPG bundle on DrivethruRPG.

$20 for $438.64 of downloads. Complete list and link in the RPGnet thread which also links to direct donations and other charities DriveThru supports.

Adventures, sourcebooks, novels, floorplans, map packs, and entire RPGs.

Contains three things I’ve actually heard of, including Cakebread & Walton’s Clockwork & Chivalry for a C7 connection, but I’m sure we can find something useful or interesting in there. Among other things, four adventure-hook-y planets for Traveller and two horror adventures illustrated by Storn Cook.

Also available: a smaller bundle from Point Of Insanity Games