Saturday, 29 June 2013

Sir Bradley Wiggins IS The Doctor! (... Not really.)

But you can see it, can’t you?

The 100th Tour De France set off today, an event with a history of drama, tragedy, absurdity and of course cycling. It started in 1903 and carried on through a turbulent century, taking time off only for the World Wars. Sounds like the sort of thing a time traveller might want a good view of to me.

Favourite scandal: “In 1904 twelve riders, including winner Maurice Garin and all the stage winners, were disqualified for various reasons including illegal use of cars and trains.”

Friday, 28 June 2013

Whoniverse News Service 28/06/2013

Today, all over this small planet, we mark the fifth anniversary of the day the Earth was stolen from its orbit by the Daleks, invaders from the planet Skaro. We remember those who died in the invasion, and we offer our thanks to those brave souls who fought to banish them, and to return our world to its rightful place. UNIT representative Colonel Alan Mace spoke of the courage of the individual in the face of adversity. He would not be drawn on persistent rumours of “blue box” sightings.

Great fake trailer

Especially the final image. Yikes.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Birth Of The Character

So, today’s Google Doodle is... my birthday.

Okay, that’s cute.

As a horror show, Doctor Who tends not to welcome new births with glad tidings and cake. Amy was hit by a bunch of expectant mothers’ worst fears. Gwen didn’t have much luck on her wedding day in Torchwood either. Births on screen tend to be monsters hatching. About the best we’ve seen is Stormageddon, Dark Lord Of All - Alfie, who defeats the Cybermen with a well-timed bit of crying.

One notable exception is Luke (and later Sky) from The Sarah Jane Adventures, where parenthood is something heroic to be celebrated - and of course they’re teens pretty much as soon as they arrive. (Babies turning into young adults who can take on the role full-time at great speed is so practical that it’s all over fantasy and SF TV and you can find it outside of genres where it fits too!)

The Moffat years have been notably kid-friendly, from wee Amelia Pond to Stormageddon to Artie and Angie. If you want a distinctive Eleventh Doctor feel for a particular adventure, consider having a couple of kids among the characters who might act as temporary companions...

Birth itself could be a source of adventures too.

The predicted birth of a child destined to change the world? That might be a bit on-the-nose, but if the players wouldn’t mind a “guard mission”, the mother of an unborn Messiah or Antichrist (opinions vary) pursued by various forces would certainly make for an interesting one.

The mysterious deaths of everyone in the city born on a particular day, in the order they were born in. And one of the PCs was born late that night...

Monday, 24 June 2013

Doctor Who And The Cybermen - In Colour!

A knock-on effect of the EU collection - it covers Peter Cushing as Doctor Who as well as the First Doctor. Added to the DWM cover feature about the restored and rereleased Cushing movies, it got me thinking about that other series.

I’ve imagined what it would look like if they adapted later Doctors’ key adventures to the big screen before, but let’s say The Chase was adapted, with yet more Daleks. Would they at some point branch out to other noted monsters?

Considering the colourful Daleks we got, I can imagine cinematic Cybermen wouldn’t be all silver and steel - while on TV they’re still effectively a black and white monster to this day, give or take the odd blue light.

They’d probably base them on The Moonbase sleeker version rather than The Tenth Planet’s concertina carriers, avoiding the hints of medical body horror provided by exposed flesh and bandages. And they’d have glowing eyes. And maybe rank indicators in primary colours? Beware the blue mask of the Cyberleader...

The Hypothetical Doctors

Artist Paul Hanley is currently running a special offer on commissioned illustrations of the Doctor... as played by anyone.

So far we have Ruth Wilson, Dominic Monaghan (drat, so close to Billy Boyd!) and Jaime Murray (who he notes would also make a great Romana).

So who are these Doctors? What are their adventures like? Who do they travel with? And what are their Dalek stories called?
You almost certainly know this, but anyway, Siskoid presents the First Doctor Expanded Universe sourcebook.

Friday, 21 June 2013

On Location

What is your home town like in the Whoniverse?

Pretty much everywhere on Earth has some significant, interesting history that time travellers might want to check out.

For example, I come from Edinburgh - home to an extinct volcano with an Arthurian connection, a castle dating back centuries and a more recent palace, a national Parliament, a medieval university (where I run games), a royal dynasty, the creators of Holmes, Hyde and Potter, the Higgs Boson, the world’s biggest arts festival, and enough murder and treachery to sustain half a dozen ghost tours. If that’s not enough, I can get a city bus to Roslyn Chapel...

And how about places you’ve visited? The tourist snapshot POV might suit a single episode adventure well. I’ve spent a couple weeks in New Orleans, and could easily come up with an adventure involving Jean Lafitte or his ghost or the city’s role in the Revolutionary or Civil Wars or vampires or alligator-Silurians...

I’ve also spent time in London, but most adventures in London aren’t really about London. I’d be tempted to do the “pigeons in Trafalgar Square go berserk” bit as seen in The Core...

Thank YOU!

A message from Matt Smith

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The Nine Romanas

And finally, after Susan and the Master...

Only nine Romanas, as she was assigned by the Time Lords to watch the wayward Doctor so putting one in with the first two Doctors is a bit of a stretch...

The Third Romana would be the Mary Tamm version a Doctor early, joining him after the Omega incident - so she meets the First and Second Doctors as well - and being snooty and imperious across space and time.

The Fourth Romana, then, is the Lalla Ward version. She carries over to the gang of kids with the Fifth Doctor, acting like a disapproving big sister, but gives up a regeneration to defeat the Master and leaves with Nyssa in her new form.

The Sixth Romana makes a surprise appearance as the defence counsel in the trial. At least she doesn’t go full 80s.

Do not trust the Seventh Romana.

The Eighth Romana is a mystery appearing in a big two-parter during the American season - and a stuck-with-the-ex situation in the midst of his great romance for added screwball comedy.

The Ninth Romana gets a tragic flashback as she helps the Doctor escape from Gallifrey and is struck down by Rassilon.

The Tenth Romana appears in a single episode, a doomed romance across the realities before the pocket universe she was imprisoned in is sealed forever. Until the specials, anyway.

The Eleventh Romana is a throwback to the Fourth, a madcap childlike adventurer with a well-hidden core of darkness.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Doctor meets The Fantastic Four

Following this post about crossovers between different settings, I thought I’d add a Whovian addendum.

The Whoniverse can swallow entire settings whole and solve their central conflicts in one story. These are generally somewhat parodic examples with the serial numbers filed off, for obvious reasons.

But now and then, a crossover on an equal footing could be played straight. Sticking within the rules of the visited setting will give a different feel to running roughshod over a recognisable parody.

RTD wanted the Doctor to meet a real Star Trek crew - Enterprise would have been the most practical. Of course, godlike alien tricksters are pretty common in Trek’s continuities. Would they have run with the Cybermen/Borg comparison, as the IDW comics did?

The Seventh Doctor comics from Marvel UK lead to crossovers with various other characters, and had a major impact on the canon of Death’s Head, the Marvel UK imprint’s biggest star for some years to follow.

The Daleks nearly turned out to be Servalan’s employers in Blake’s Seven, before someone realised this was a bit rich.

There have been a lot of Sherlock Holmes jokes in the show over the years, and even more lately for, er, some reason, but one of the New Adventures played the meeting out.

The Land Of Fiction is a place people can go to - and escape from.

And, of course, twenty years ago, the classic Doctors and companions faced the ultimate challenge - EastEnders! Even though each of these BBC titans is canonically fictional in the other...

Care should be taken when considering the settings’ mood, rules and general weird level. As did not happen in the case of EastEnders. A funny-looking guy in a police box will probably wreck a game of Vampire played as intended, but a game of Adventure! will shrug the effect off.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

What will we find in the different Doctor sourcebooks?

Asked on RPGnet: what will the Doctor sourcebooks have, as the Doctors have highly variable numbers of individual adventures?

Answered by Gar:
I know the plan. It’s my plan. Respect the plan.

We’re doing one book per Doctor. Six, Seven and Nine have fewer adventures, but that lets us go into more detail.

The Eighth Doctor book will include a campaign that builds on all the other sourcebooks - one adventure per Doctor, in the style of that Doctor.

The Tenth Doctor may be expanded to the same bumper size as the Fourth Doctor book (240 pages instead of 160). Time will tell.

Oh, and we’re waiting until after the Christmas special before finishing off the writing of the Eleventh, so that’ll be in there too!

You were fantastic... so was I!

The Ninth Doctor regenerated eight years ago today...

Friday, 14 June 2013

We are lost

750th post here, so some history seems appropriate.

As it currently stands, over a hundred episodes of black and white Doctor Who are missing from the archives, and many are likely to remain so short of a strange man in a police box intervening. These include nine complete stories, starting with Marco Polo, and including the Second Doctor’s first full adventure, Power Of The Daleks. There are clips and pictures here and there, and unofficial audio recordings of whole lost stories, so they aren’t as lost as some famously lost works of art, but still.

So there’s room to pick them up and remake them... perhaps as adventures. They’re included in the Doctor sourcebooks, so some of the pieces are already there.

I’d be tempted to revise and modernise as well: 

Marco Polo presents the historical character as an adventurous explorer, but consider a version based on the idea that he was a fraud adapting other travellers’ tales - or a Pseudohistorical adventure that runs with the idea that he passed on stories of dog-headed people and other non-human species.

And Power Of The Daleks is the archetype for the “monsters acting nice” story type, which the Daleks pull fairly often among others. For one example, they tried it on Churchill...

Monday, 10 June 2013

The scariest foes

This RPGnet thread seeks something like the Silence or Angels. And an interesting note - they're scariest for messing with you, not killing you...

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Hitting a movie with the Doctor

In another example of an occasional series (see The Host) Rose Bailey notes:
Seeing ads for The Purge, in which the government prevents crime by allowing people to commit any and all acts of violence one day a year. 
Y’know, Kirk solved this problem in 45 minutes by talking a computer into suicide. 
With movies, I usually just think about how the Doctor would solve things.

Friday, 7 June 2013

None of this happened.

Fifty things that almost happened in the history of Doctor Who. People reading this blog will probably know rather a lot of these, but the attempt to adapt Marco Polo as a film was news to me, among others, like plans for a New Adventures novels regeneration and Ian returning in Mawdryn Undead instead of the suddenly-a-maths-teacher Brigadier.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The Eleven Masters

After imagining eleven different incarnations of Susan, reflecting or responding to each of the Doctors, who else could be next but the Master?

It should be noted that the Master is much better at regenerating consistently (and coming back from the dead) than the Doctor, so he might not change as wildly as the man he’s the shadowy reflection of. But he still has room to change pretty wildly...

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The Cabinet Of Doctor Who

So today’s Google Doodle marks the 295th birthday of Thomas Chippendale.

... No, me neither.

Unless you borrow that Doctor Who Storybook 2010 adventure where the alien invaders appear to be doors.

Monday, 3 June 2013

The Seventh Day

Thinking about regeneration reminded me of this DWM review for Time And The Rani, imagining if it had been as confident and ambitious as The Eleventh Hour (or Matt Smith had been shoved onto the stage in as big a mess). So I wondered what it might look like...

The resulting ideas being different enough to make an adventure hook is an added bonus.

“It begins with a classic pre-titles sequence: The TARDIS in flames and a new man emerging, roaring, from the wreckage. That’s how you do it.”

The TARDIS crashes down, all but destroyed after an attack inside the Vortex - which shouldn’t even be possible.

The Seventh Doctor emerges (in just the shirt, trousers and unbuttoned waistcoat of the Sixth Doctor, the coat being too big for him) followed by a companion we don’t recognise - who is secretly the Rani in disguise. They find themselves at the 1927 Solvay Conference of scientists attended by (among others) Einstein, Curie, Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Planck and Bohr. A key moment in humanity’s scientific development, and the perfect target for a mind thief looking for a new way to control time.

Highlights include the Doctor acquiring his new jacket from Einstein, coming back immediately after leaving because he found the equation for Special Relativity on a note in the pocket and guessed he might need it.

And (this borrowed from a convention adventure) the bit with the bat creatures flying after a moving train and trying to claw their way in is amazing.

Pity Andrew Cartmel...

Was Doctor Who rubbish in the 1980s? - the finger-on-the-button Newsnight report lead to him being placed in a dark room and made to watch special effects sequences of the era. Although to be fair, mostly the good ones. Apart from the rocks.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Hunters Of The Burning Stone

A year and a half of the DWM comic strip comes to an end with an Anniversary Special which is huge, mad, very cheeky, the sort of thing the strip does best, and rather heart-tugging as well. There are big reveals, some lovely new monsters and some unbelievable returning monsters, at least one totally gratuitous cliffhanger, a “can they really do that in a licensed comic?” continuity trick, a glorious “and cue I Am The Doctor on the soundtrack” moment in the finale - and it totally pays off the gobsmacking end of part one in insane style. I’ll remind you all when the collected book comes out, hopefully in time for November 23rd.

Rocket Age

Rocket Age

Following DWAITAS and Primeval, rumour has it that the Saturday Teatime Adventure System gets its first non-licensed and non-time-travelling game with Rocket Age, pulp SF action in a future that never was.