AFTER THE DOCTOR

By spacey

Having read through the books, I'm a little sceptical of running an adventure with the Doctor and his companions, as I think the game play would be unbalanced. The books themselves try to stick up for the companions by saying that they often play such 'vital' roles as 'stopping the Doctor when he goes too far', but in a gaming context I think everyone wants to have a chance at an equal role without it being painfully obvious that the GM is compensating for them through plot devices. And of course there is the issue of some players having less knowledge of either/or Old and New Doctor Who, letting those who recognise certain story elements to meta-game their way ahead in the story.

So it occurs to me that perhaps I should instead remove the Doctor and a degree of the familiarity of the Whoniverse by setting the game "after" the Doctor has either died (run out of regenerations) or disappeared, and the abandoned TARDIS is discovered by a disparate group of individuals, who of course cannot be described clearly because only one of the players has written up a character.

In this universe, still lacking in Time Lords and Gallifrey, the timelines have shifted a great deal due in part to the actions of what remaining time travellers there are. And as it turns out, by the actions of a shadowy figure who has been trying to erase evidence of the Time Lords' (and hence the Doctor's) existence, changing the flow of events across the universe dramatically such that the fabric of reality is in danger of becoming unstable.

The adventure starts with a group of prisoners on a Judoon criminal transport ship who by the end of the first adventure (pirates attack, explosions, who knows?) have sort of banded together for survival, and either on the ship or on the planet they crash on, discover a blue police box. Two things happen:

1) The TARDIS seems to "come to life" from a long-held dormant state in reaction to the presence of one of the characters (who I will attempt to link/relate to one of the Doctor's previous companions) as if in recognition.

2) Another one of the characters is suddenly compelled to open a fob watch he had retrieved amongst the confiscated belongings on the ship, and is restored to being a Time Lord. But one barely out of the Academy, and the equivalent of an Arts/Humanities student, with the trait "technically inept" and only barely able to pilot the TARDIS because it is such an old model. His specialty is historical knowledge, and realising when events aren't the way they "should be". He was one of a number of Time Lord "youth" who were hidden throughout the galaxy just before the Time War was locked away, to restore the Gallifreyan race afterwards should it be in danger of extinction. However, no one survived who knew about the project and presumably none of them were restored until now.

Interestingly, the TARDIS seems to "bond" with the first character, and any attempt to leave without them will lock the Time Coordinates (so as to allow people to go get something from elsewhere to rescue them, but no more, so the Time Lord character isn't too powerful and can't steal the TARDIS).

As a group, their eventual goal (whether they realise or not) is to find out who is behind the changes in time and stop them, and to find out who the Doctor is and where he is -- except that I think I'm going to assume they can't, because I don't think the TARDIS could travel into it's own past like that. Plus I want the Doctor to exist as this legendary figure who has reached mythical status throughout time, yet his actual imprint on it has faded after his death. Much like what the comic "Fray" did to the Buffy universe, if you've read it.

In any case, this kind of set up seems a bit more egalitarian and mysterious, plus allows one to make many changes to historical events and make them part of the new correct time stream. Clearly these ideas aren't fully formed, which is where more character backgrounds would come in handy.