Monday, 31 January 2011

I don't use miniatures. But...

I have good reason to - they get in the way of dramatic actions, they distract from in-character activity, and hey, less stuff to carry.

But I still think they're neat.

So even though I don't like the New Dalek Paradigm, I bought the issue of Doctor Who Adventures with five miniatures-scale ones on the front. Three times, to be sure I had plenty.

Apparently next week might have fifteen of the bastard things. Grr.

But anyway, I finally persuaded Photobucket to show them:

Behold!

Size comparison with a Micro Universe 2005 Dalek and a Citadel Miniatures 80s Dalek.

And the 5" scale Doctor.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Hey, someone made a setting of my game!

Well, nearly.

"Don’t be deceived by its simple appearance. What looks like a strangely placed door or free-standing oddity is a gateway that leads to a hyper-dimensional machine whose single entry can be moved to any point of history in the universe. Step across its threshold and enter the impossible. Enter the door to infinity."

The Door To Infinity, a three page Who-with-the-numbers-filed-off setting for Mini Six.

Just for that, I'm going to use one of their adventure hooks. So there!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Minister Of Chance

The audio play Time Lord from Death Comes To Time to run free in podcast audio drama things with a really good cast.

Even if you're not interested, check out the fake newspaper handouts.

Attack Of The... Um... Somethings

Prompted by ugavine's inquiry on the DWAITAS board:

One for the players. Do you prefer existing Monsters? Or do you like the GM to come up with something new and original? Or a bit of both?

To which I responded:

I'll ask, but I'll note some tendencies.

Players who aren't big fans tend to prefer new monsters, since it puts them even with fan players. This can be partially allayed by using existing monsters in a new way, which is what most writers try to do anyway.

Fan players are more likely to get a kick out of facing the classics. Fan players whose characters have a lot of knowledge of the universe might like the chance to show off in-character. (Of course they can do that with new monsters as well, as their characters could still know all about them, but this requires more prompting from the GM.)

However, both kinds of players generally like surprises. A new monster, a classic monster used in a new way.

But if there's no Dalek episode in a whole series, fan players might feel shortchanged.

--

And on that last note, Siskoid collating ... Of The Daleks stories lead to the idea of an ... Of The Daleks story with no Daleks in it.

Fated Voyage, aka Ghost Ship, for sale online

Someone (who I cannot currently find) asked about the Traveller magazine adventure I reverse-engineered into episode three of The Door In Time S1. Turns out you can get the issue online, here. There's other fun stuff in there too, as well as a fair chunk of the adventure never having been used, and it's two dollars. Excuse me while I buy the other issue with an adventure by Michael R. Mikesh which I don't have.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Get to the TARDIS...es!

As a result of a Door series one player not having enough players to run his game last night, he created a cameo character for episode 3.02. Rather than someone from the adventure's setting era, he brought in another Time Lord. After the rather convoluted "he was in a different time warp when the lock closed and technically isn't from this universe" explanation for Kai, this one was handwaved. But as SteveD notes, "Also, this is Doctor Who: canon is the thing you leave wreckage of behind you as each new episode arrives."

He was designed to be a contrast to the eccentric enthusiastic occasionally moody Kai, a professional from the Gallifrey Battalions, purposely colourless. Having his own TARDIS means he can drop in and out of the game on a session-by-session basis.

His TARDIS was never shown on-screen - or it was, but its chameleon circuit works properly so it could look like anything. But while not an issue this session, it did raise the question of what to do in a game with multiple time machines available. It makes "get to the TARDIS!" solutions and escapes simpler, for one thing. "Splitting the party" could become more problematic if they're in different parts of the universe and different eras.

Of course, these days "universal roaming" means that people aeons apart can phone each other. At least, Rose and Martha could phone the days they were "supposed" to be at. As of series five the TARDIS phone can field calls from across time and space, so maybe that issue is confined to mobiles.

By comparison, having another Time Lord around is no big deal (apart from the continuity trauma, and what's Doctor Who without a little continuity trauma?) as he's far from Doctor-level, just a bloke with a temporal scanning gauntlet that may also contain a personal forcefield.

But yeah... a spare TARDIS floating about could be tricky.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Toys: A Kvetch

Character Options has produced a good line of toys for Doctor Who since Christmas 2005. And there's nothing like a good line of toys to make you think "this could be better" rather than just not thinking about it at all.

The Kvetch this week comes from the announcement of not one, but two new lines. Mego-style and Lego-style. So that's another company making eight-inch-scale figures with cloth costumes and disproportionate caricature heads, and Character making cute chibi build-a-figures, like the presumably cancelled cute chibi Time Squad line but probably not the same scale. Since Time Squad made it to, what, sixteen figures, I can't help but wonder how far these lines will go.

Of course, I'm still annoyed by the disappearance of the Micro Universe miniatures line. And the fact that of the thirty-odd characters made for it, the only one not available in the main 5" figure line was Madame de Pompadour. And if I really want to kvetch, I could list characters who don't have figures and I think should, and a few who do and shouldn't. And not just the company's refusal to make human(oid) characters, especially women - why no Cybershades or Tritovores, or Journey's End Caan?

And why no Tenth Doctor in dinner jacket and bow tie? He wore that in three episodes - and a Christmas special which got a big box set of otherwise new figures with him wearing it on the box art but a normal one of him in the box!

And where's Rory?!

... And relax.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Another of those Random Game Idea posts

This one caused by, of all things, a lawsuit. A two-degrees-of-Who-separation lawsuit as the plaintiff was Neil Gaiman. But the idea doesn't come from him. As he quotes in his journal, the judge noted that a historical Spawn introduced by MacFarlane was rather close to a historical Spawn created by Gaiman, both being knights from the same century among other things...

Anyway, here's the fun bit.

"If defendant really wanted to differentiate the new Hellspawn, why not make him a
Portuguese explorer in the 16th century; an officer of the Royal Navy in the 18th century, an idealistic recruit of Simon Bolivar in the 19th century, a companion of Odysseus on his voyages, a Roman gladiator, a younger brother of Emperor Nakamikado in the early 18th century, a Spanish conquistador, an aristocrat in the Qing dynasty, an American Indian warrior or a member of the court of Queen Elizabeth I?"

Now not only would I read the judge's Spawn comics, but that's a great group of characters for a Doctor Who adventure.

Monday, 17 January 2011

An extreme example of non-Who BBC genre output from my youth

Artemis 81. Sort of like The Seventh Seal versus Raiders Of The Lost Ark in the style of Logopolis. Watch and be amazed and/or perplexed. Most likely perplexed.

The Door In Time: The Complete Third Series

As noted elsewhere, I now have two or three players (one isn't sure) for another go in the TARDIS. One being Kai's player, it's now The Door In Time series three. (Series two featured young Effie and exists purely in theory at this time. HMV was missing the box set when you tried to get it to watch before S3 started.) The other hopefully-to-stick-around player hasn't actually watched Doctor Who but is generally aware of the concept, and "you travel in time and space, argue with monsters and run away when they attack" isn't hard to deal with, one hopes.

So Kai (new haircut, new coat) and an engineer from the 22nd century land in 1957 as two different groups of aliens invade the home of a young woman trapped in a loveless marriage...

Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Celebrity Historical revisited

Jon Seavey just posted his impractical Doctor Who story idea on MGK, a Celebrity Historical in which the Celebrity is notorious. Comments suggest other possible figures the Doctor might be less than keen to meet.

1001... well, okay... 30 space opera ideas

Steal with abandon. And check out other 1001 Things, and the less ambitious 101 Things threads too. The 40K ones are full of ideas for weird space relics and horrible dystopian futures.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Rage of the Daleks, Terror of the Cybermen, Sorrow of...?

An RPGnet thread talking about finding a Doctor Who character for each Lantern Corps reminded me... the Black Lantern Corps would have been much more interesting if their power was an emotion, like everyone else's. Unless Zombies! is an emotion now...

But yeah, imagine a universe-threatening force whose defining characteristic is Sorrow.

Their own world destroyed, their species all but extinct, they travel in rusted hulks of spacecraft, drifting into inhabited systems and destroying out of a nihilistic belief that nothing matters.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

"Who looks at a screwdriver and thinks 'Ooh, this could be a little more sonic'?"

Currently pondering started by Kit on DWAITAS: Major Gadgets that would suit a Time Lord PC and aren't Sonic.

The Seventh Doctor's pocket watch with digital insides is of course only one of several pocket watches to get screen time in the hands of various Doctors - it's a perfect "I'm connected to time, in an old-fashioned elegant steampunky kind of way" prop. The Eighth Doctor posed with one in his main set of publicity pics, and following the not-really-my-style Ninth Doctor, the Tenth Doctor spent two weeks with his essence hidden in one.

But anyway. New ideas too. I could see the portable Time Lock and the X-Ray Specs coming in handy quite often. Uses for teleportation and perfect mimicry should be fairly obvious.

I borrowed the pocket translator, not from Star Trek or indeed from the Tritovores, but from ROM: Spaceknight, since it was the third of three gadgets he came with and the other two were an "energy analyser" and his big gun. (Which I suppose is straight out of Star Trek now I think about it - communicator, tricorder, phaser.) To underscore my point about it maybe being a Minor Gadget, I think he only used it once.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Scuttling

So what's the premise, eh? It's on page 40 of the generous 66-page extract in The Writer's Tale site. It developed into something not unlike Planet Of The Dead in later pages before being shelved to make way for Partners In Crime, and then Steven Moffat took it and ran in a different direction in The Eleventh Hour in a way...

"An alien hunt. A creature is released - on purpose? Or is it a prison ship? has the creature run amok and killed the crew, and it's crash-landed here? Nasty alien, vicious... Fast and deadly. Probably CGI. make it able to climb on ceilings - that's always scary. scuttling. Words like scuttling become good and important. I like that."

So yes, scary scuttling alien, practical-costume-type aliens after it, and people stuck in the middle of it.

Possibly putting some of this into practice again

So I've offered to run Doctor Who at my local games society again for the new term, having missed the start of this academic year due to travelling around the world and thus missed the start-of-term Grab Players Day. I have an interested player (which is more than I got last term), Kai's player from The Door In Time, possibly playing Kai again depending on who else is interested, if anyone. It would have been nice to get more players back, but they have other games ongoing. I had also gotten it into my head to run a The Door In Time Christmas Special this weekend, but ironically enough it was snowed off.

Episodes currently pencilled in using a series-ful of plots include an Aliens Of London Series Opener with a central premise stolen from The Writer's Tale, a trip to the future which is currently a bit vague, a Celebrity Historical... Of The Cybermen, a potential Big Emotional Episode and a story that uses time travel as a central point. So yes, largely the usual.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Izzy

Since it turned out she didn't have one, I did a writeup for Izzy, the Eighth Doctor's longest-running companion.

And I had to do one for Destrii as well. Which is what really took the time.

Spoilers...

How New Who is DWAITAS?

And while I'm linking to stuff... discussion of whether DWAITAS is a good fit for a classic fan.

I suppose ultimately it depends what kind of classic fan you are. If you hate the new series it probably isn't going to work for you, at least until the Time Traveller's Companion and possibly the Doctor box sets come out.

Still, most of the heavy lifting has been done, Time Lord makes conversion a doddle, and check out these Classic and Eleven character sheets, they're rather lovely.

Voyagers!

Since Siskoid links to me on a weekly basis, I thought I'd link to him for a change.

Voyagers! was a time travel show about Fixing Time Gone Wrong with a proto-steampunk (from 1982) Verne-knockoff-as-Wells-would-be-too-obvious hero and a kid companion as it was an attempt - like the very beginnings of Doctor Who - to show kids history. Although according to his review of the DVD set, it wasn't much good at that. And apparently it never got around to saying why history was going wrong...

I was eight at the time, my memories are hazy and I think I'll keep them that way.

But y'know, it has an exclamation point in the title, so it can't be all bad.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

God, you're skinny! This wouldn't fit a rat!

Tor just ran From Bow Ties to Sneakers: Fashion Tips from the Doctor.

From a gaming perspective, check out Russell Bailey's thoughts on this and other stylistic issues.

Going further back, see the Time Lords in Citadel's 1985 Doctor Who miniatures range, most of whom seem to have escaped from Carnaby Street and/or the Globe Theatre.

So if creating a new Doctor or some other eccentric out-of-time type, even if it's for a regular tabletop game rather than a LARP, take a moment to consider the look.

The silhouette. The coat. An accessory, like a hat or a scarf. A signature prop, be it a new sonic, a fob watch or an umbrella.

MGK Should Write Doctor Who...

Happy New Year!

MightyGodKing seems to be on a minor Who jag at the moment.

Of course, if you want grabbable-for-Who ideas from there, check out I Should Write The Legion and I Should Write Dr. Strange for some dizzying high concepts for space opera and urban fantasy. Check out History Is A Gun, The Spoke, Finn (Again) (Begin Again) and Kind Hearts And Coronations for episodes waiting to happen.