Monday, 31 December 2012

I bring you ideas!

Also from RPGnet, only the registered can read the play-by-post boards, so I asked to repost this plot hook by Gleaming Terrier on a Doctor Who PBP recruitment thread:

Oh, and as for a Christmas special, if I ever get to run a campaign, I'm having the players arrive on the planet of Raskatchewaron, on the eve of their Great Awakening, a singularity-type event which ushers in the Golden Millennium, as the computer creates scientific wonders and leaves the people free to create art the likes have never been seen in all of existence. Of course, the Time Lord forgot that the beginning didn't go off quite as planned: the computer decided that those detrimental to society were going to be removed, to allow everyone else to flourish. Of course, such genocide can't be allowed to proceed...

"Making a List, Checking it Twice..."

Happy Hogmanay! Or for those in the future, Happy New Year!

Ten Thoughts

Bleeding Cool looks at The Snowmen and partially reviews the episode but also points out connections. I hadn't made the link to the Dalek Asylum being snowy...

Happy Hogmanay!

A new Google Doodle links to the year's Google Doodles and shows what looks like a fun party in the non-time of The Big Bang.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

The Doctor Who New Year Special

SFX’s Jayne Nelson imagines a Doctor Who New Year special partying with the Doctor chez Pond among other genre communities, like the Serenity crew in Firefly if you hit “Previously” or Bag End if you hit “Next”.

In reality we’ve only had one New Year special, the mostly lacking in festive cheer The End Of Time Part Two which was actually set on Boxing Day. Classic Hogmanay or New Year’s Day premieres include the one after The Feast Of Steven which was nearly a New Year special but had a bit of the Dalek plan plot. Aside from that we have The Highlanders, and the opening episodes of Day Of The Daleks and The Face Of Evil. None of them festive, per se, although the Third Doctor got stuck into the wine and cheese...

So what might a New Year special be like? The “midnight kiss” plotline Jayne suggested certainly works and sounds like it could make for a fun adventure, chasing all around the world being pursued by monsters from Christmas Island to Midway via Sydney, London and New York.

And of course, there’s always the countdown leading to something apocalyptic - see the Eighth Doctor’s entire canonical tenure, aka Enemy Within.

I’d be tempted to throw in a reference to Gregorian versus Julian calendars and the eleven missing days (I believe this features in the New Adventures books) and how the modern Western human calendar is both arbitrary and important...

Terror Of The RPGnet Links

Nathaniel Torson does a Q&A on the Time Traveller’s Companion.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Stamps Of The Doctor

A big gallery of the Doctor Who anniversary stamps.

They’re all first class stamps, in case you’re wondering why it starts with Hartnell marked “1st” but then Troughton isn’t 2nd...

Oculus

And for those missing Karen Gillan... a first photo from Oculus.

Which is about an evil mirror. And by the creator of Oculus: The Man With The Plan, a thirty-minute short I saw years ago. If so... we’re in for a scary treat.

Orphan Black

BBC America's first homebrew genre show, on the way in March. Wonder when BBC Not America gets to see it...

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The Dalek Project

The Dalek Project

Second of BBC Books’ original graphic novels, it was going to be the first (starring the Tenth Doctor) but a particular episode got in the way. So now it stars the Eleventh Doctor and directly references the episode in question.

Past here, we enter the realm of spoilers...


Tuesday, 25 December 2012

I've mentioned a stop-motion episode before...

So I’ll just link to Alisa Stern’s How The Doctor Puppet Saved Christmas here.

A happy Christmas to all of you at home!

"I never know why, only... who."

The Snowmen

Well, that there was a whole proper episode. And then a “what? what? what?!” type of an ending. I enjoyed it, and look forward to understanding it in a few months' time...

(If you want specifics, SFX have got your back. And Bleeding Cool got your preview. New Cybermen! More Victorian adventures! Celia Imrie! Liam Cunningham! And Bigger On The Inside has your thorough analysis!)

And the musical leitmotif as the Doctor went undercover... hmm...

Very trippy new titles too - complete with slit-scan diamond tunnel effect and faint-but-spottable Doctor face in one of the vortex clouds.
Merry Christmas (if applicable in your spatio-temporal coordinates)!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Devil In The Smoke

The Lizard Woman, The Troll and The Parlour Maid get their spinoff, at least in book form...

A bigger review from Adam Tinworth.

(Hmm... since we have a detective story featuring a Sontaran among the investigators, will the classic “knocked out with a single strike from behind” bit happen to him?)

Also: Sontaran Carols.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Time!

The Time Traveller’s Companion is up for pre-order and I’m linking to the RPGnet announcement because, scroll down...

“Yep. The 50th anniversary is around the corner and the game line is under full steam to get all 11 Doctor books out next year. I’m doing a final proof on the First Doctor this week, actually.”

Edit: TTC PDF downloadable.

Dagnabbit

I see from the latest trailer for The Snowmen that another of my monster ideas has been taken. Oh well, it's validation it was a good idea...

The new TARDIS interior...

In the most detail yet!

Apart from the Doctor standing in front of the console.

(Which looks a lot like the Mike Tucker 1990 “hanging console” redesign that was only ever made as a miniature...)

Multi-platform-y, a bit dingy at the back and more blue-green, a bit more towards the 2005 version but a more metallic version? Actually oddly a bit like the Nth Doctor’s from t’RPGnet PBP I ran, designed by the Doctor’s player RM Bailey...

(And some kissing, But then, one expects kissing.)

Monday, 17 December 2012

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Houdini And The Space Cuckoos

Quoting the Doctor Who page...

"Earlier this year we asked who you would like to see the Doctor meet in a future adventure. We were delighted by the huge number of responses and the enormous breadth of your suggestions.

The most popular ‘nominees’ ranged from Florence Nightingale to Nikola Tesla with writers, scientists and soldiers all having their champions. We were forced to discount characters who were fictional, so Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson had to be left in Baker Street and similarly, people we’ve already seen the Doctor encounter were eliminated, which meant figures like Shakespeare were barred.

In the end, Doctor Who’s Executive Producer Caro Skinner sifted through the most popular suggestions and picked the person from history whom the Time Lord would meet in our seasonal short story… It’s the master escapologist, Harry Houdini!

And so in the 2012 Adventure Calendar’s festive tale the Doctor will encounter Houdini… The short story was written by Joseph Lidster and is called Doctor Who: Houdini and The Space Cuckoos. It’s available to download and read, exclusively from this site, starting tomorrow!"

And that was yesterday. Therefore, click here for the pdf of part one.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Future

Steven Moffat Teases Next Year’s Doctor Who.

Not much to go on yet, apart from Neil Gaiman on Cybermen, and knowing the Mark Gatiss episode is a return to a specific period and possibly a specific group of characters...

Doctor Who: The Child Of Time

DWM’s first collection of Eleventh Doctor comics has arrived.

(With the news that the second Seventh Doctor book is on the way. Hooray!)

Written entirely (barring some edits) by Jonathan Morris and illustrated by lots of folks, this collection reprinting twenty-one issues’ stories includes standalones, almost-standalones with an arc attached, Big Two-Parters (here four-parters as the comics have that much less elbow room), comedy, horror, and a big apocalyptic super-crazy ending.

In the commentary section at the back, he notes that some ideas overlap a bit closely with the TV series at the time and other things had to change because he accidentally stepped on future episodes. I know how that feels, since in this one book he managed to hit two Celebrity Historicals I’ve suggested in this very blog, three I considered but didn’t include as they were a bit close to someone else, and one I’ve included there and featured in The Door In Time, as well as a classical reference for a monster name. (eerie music plays)

Anwyays, plenty of exciting, creepy, odd and funny ideas here...


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

"Cybermen?" "Miranda!"

Not such a terrifying notion really...

(It would also appear that Rob Brydon and Sarah Alexander are the controllers of the universe. I’m okay with that...)

The Shalka Doctor Versus Santa

The Shalkaverse gets a Christmas Special, two weeks before Richard E Grant appears in The Snowmen, courtesy of creator Paul Cornell’s Twelve Blogs Of Christmas, written by Chicks Unravel Time writer/editor L M Myles.

Both a viable adventure plot and an examination of this Doctor and companions’ particular quirks and foibles.

You Are In Charge...

What do you do? What do you do?!

I will answer this at some point...

Okay, now I have.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Need some female celebrity historicals?

There are a whole lot in the linked articles, as well as modern heroes and remarkable people of all colours and religions.

Before you know the rest of the story...

IDW have relaunched and renumbered their Doctor Who comics again with the second Issue 1 of the Eleventh Doctor era after the previous run only got to 16 (you’re never going to get to issue 450 like that, you know!) and Hypothetical Gentleman, which addresses Amy and Rory’s first anniversary, just months after losing Melody - an emotional gut-punch that the series never really addressed.

I only have the first issue (picked up in Forbidden Planet London as it was signed by artist Mark Buckingham) so I have half the story, a cliffhanger, and the significance given to that dating to go on. Issue 2 seems to be out, but I haven’t seen it, so having half a story I inevitably wonder what happens next...

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Want to go to the Moon in 2020?

Do you have 1.5 billion dollars spare?

No you don't. Still, nice thought while it lasted...

Where were you in '05?

Doctors of Futures Past is a “Where I Watch” thread for the 2005 series. It looks to be a non-fan perspective, as it doesn’t mention the classic series at all in the intro.

Some consistent trends are already starting to emerge. From Rose:

“I still love the Doctor’s approach to dealing with people during a crisis, giving them rapid fire information while keeping them moving so they don't have time to panic.”

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Coming Soon: a couple hours sooner than expected

The Snowmen will be shown on Christmas Day at 5.15. The original slot for Doctor Who.

I look forward to complaints from parents' groups about it being too dark and scary for the timeslot...

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.

So...

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?"
"Yes."

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

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

"Can I be very cryptic?"

Happy Hallowe’en!

To celebrate in a completely unconnected way, SFX spoke to Matt Smith (and friends) about the Doctor Who Experience, Jenna-Louise Coleman, and his dream anniversary episode.

“I would fly the crew to somewhere exotic! Do an episode in Peru going on the Inca trails. And there’d be some brilliant, exotic monster... and we’d shoot for six weeks... And I don’t know what the story would be, but it would involve another trip to, ooh, Australia, and involve... possibly Atlantis, the lost city.”

Some of that answer might be wanting a working holiday, I think. But The Inca trails and Atlantis? We could do that...

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Russell T Davies on Wizards Vs Aliens

SFX talks to RTD about WvA

Including who he would have cast as the Rani (Ruthie Henshall, who we get to see in WvA so we can see what he had in mind) and why they dropped a time travel episode.

Happy birthday, Doctor

The Doctor is thirty! ... Wait, only thirty? I thought he was a thousand!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Warren Ellis, Doctor Who Idea Factory

Since the comments here I have been considering this.

I am a Warren Ellis fan and I want a Warren Ellis episode of Doctor Who. This is rooted in his SF and adventure stories more than his superhero work, which still has plenty of spare ideas. His dialogue would be an added bonus, I think, but it’s the ideas that really work.

A lot of it straddles the line of cyberpunk and transhumanism, very much depending on what people have done to them and how they feel about it. That doesn’t fit the Whoniverse very well so what else would? (The Cybermen don’t work with it, and there isn’t much transhumanism on display aside from throwaway lines in Utopia: “Oh, you might have spent a million years evolving into clouds of gas and another million as downloads, but you always revert to the same basic shape. The fundamental human. End of the universe and here you are...”)

Individual issues of Transmetropolitan contain the kind of mad societies that would suit a single episode of the Doctor and companions solving their core problem. The Revivals, an underclass of people brought back from cryogenic suspension and then abandoned to go mad in a future they can’t deal with. The Reservations - experimental archaeology taken to its ultimate extreme, entire cultures recreated in isolation to see how they work, and including some for creating possible futures.

Planetary, likewise, could fuel episodes with oneshots like a group breaking quarantine to enter Monster Island, or the secret history of cannon-based space travel in the 1850s. Or the final issue’s concerns about turning on humanity’s first time machine and it being the earliest point time travellers could come back to and uncertainty becoming certain and the room therefore filling up with them immediately...

Roughly every other issue of Global Frequency (probably not the one about the massacre or the Simon Bisley one) contains an idea that would unpack neatly into a Who or Torchwood episode. A Cold War psychic spy whose powers are breaking down. A sound that makes people serve it. A bomb on the wrong side of the city in rush hour. A database that contains every secret.

Orbiter, where a space shuttle disappears... and returns ten years later loaded with alien technology.

Ocean, with the discovery of stasis pods in the waters of Europa, and a corporate space station run by people whose minds run on company software for the duration of their contracts.

Frankenstein’s Womb (which directly influenced the Mary Shelley episode of The Door In Time) has Mary enter Frankenstein Castle on her way to the Villa Diodati and there see the Creature, her own future and the future her writings create.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Alphabet Of Fear

The new Doctor Who Magazine is out!

(Which is not normally newsworthy, as it’s lovely and reliable, but the issue before last was a week late and the last issue didn’t turn up in many places and it was all a bit worrying, especially as I really wanted to see the comic as I wanted to see Amy and Rory having another adventure...)

Anyway, a few things worth chatting about. A nice big interview with Karen Gillan, and another retrospectively with Mary Tamm. A feature about Wizards Vs. Aliens. A “Battle Of Wits” debate about the Doctor using violence, mostly triggered by Solomon and Kahler-Jex in the last few weeks.

And The A To Z Of Dread, an alphabetical-ish list of scary Who things. Alphabetical-ish because it follows things like “D is for Daleks” with “E is for Evil” - and then “O is for Oh Dear God, Those Eyes”, which I think could have been E.

Still, flicking through it is liable to give a Whovian GM ideas. I’ve barely touched on Automatons or Possession, or Oh Dear God, Those Eyes for that matter...

Okay, letter at random...

“X Is For X Factor”.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Whose Who’s Stories

The full writer and almost full director list of the 2013 Smith and Coleman majority of the current series is online, including Neil Gaiman’s new episode.

Almost everything is filmed, it seems, except Mr. M’s finale, episode two, and Mr. G’s penultimate one which we know next to nothing else about.

The new name on the list of writers, with two episodes, is Neil Cross, creator of Luther as well as writing for Spooks and The Fixer. Whether this means his episodes will be over-the-top conspiracy thrillers set in rainy moodily-lit London is another matter. Luther was in its own ways as absurdist as Doctor Who...

Hopefully neither of them will be an “evil gamers” episode...

Alpha Centauri 1

An Earth-sized planet orbiting our next nearest star, Alpha Centauri.

Don’t pack your suitcases just yet, it’s too close to its sun to support life, but where there’s one there are often more...

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Happy Ada Lovelace Day! Have some quotes.

Toy Compression Eliminator

News has reached me that Doctor Who figures will be 3 3/4” scale from now on. The Classic line will apparently remain at 5".

So we’ll get Jenna-Louise in Star Wars scale rather than the scale used by the Who line since 2005.

Argh.

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Planet With Four Suns

Discovered by ‘armchair’ astronomers.

The bright new world, almost 5,000 light years away, is believed to be six times the size of Earth. It orbits one pair of stars and is in turn circled by a second pair, meaning four stars light up its skies.

That’s one more than the planet in Pitch Black!

In Dreams

Today’s Google Doodle is a huge beautifully animated pastiche of Little Nemo In Slumberland.

A much-loved early masterpiece of comics art, it’s also an example of the topsy-turvy logic of dreams and surreal flights of fancy, as one might see in the Land of Fiction or the Celestial Toyshop.

And a lot of falling.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Doctor Who: Century House

Century House trailer

We never finished episode three of the Doctor Who Series A play-by-post RPG, but this was the next episode in the queue, based on an unmade script by Tom MacRae for Ten and Donna in 2008.

The Doctor goes live with a ghost-hunting TV show to solve the mystery of the haunting...

Doctor Who Down Under

Australian MP launches an online campaign to make it happen!

Where else should the TARDIS go?

Peter Jackson has already said he’d be happy to help make or even direct one in New Zealand...

Sunday, 7 October 2012

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 127th birthday of Niels Bohr, a major quantum physicist, contemporary and friend of Einstein, who I must admit I am aware of only by reputation. I do like his quotes though. Some of them are decidedly Doctor-y.

“We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct.”

Adventure hooks? Possibly... fleeing the Nazis and working on the Manhattan Project seem like good places to start.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Hide Your Eyes

I saw someone in town today wearing a “Keep Calm And Don’t Blink” T-shirt, and briefly considered doing a Weeping Angel mime. I decided against it as that’s rather intrusive, but it got me thinking...

What if people started acting like Weeping Angels? Still, silent, hands over their faces? What might that mean in the Whoniverse? Are they holding the image of an Angel, or trying to avoid their attentions, or...?

(And what was the little girl doing covering her face at Winter Quay..?)

Five rounds rapid!

Defending The Earth: The UNIT Sourcebook preorder

Now the DWAITAS line’s first sourcebook instead of a box set.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

It Was Fifty Years Ago Today

We’ve done the Beatles, right? It’s the 50th anniversary of their first single.

I had them in the background of an episode of The Door which you’ll get to read one of these years...

SteveD included them in his Kinks-inspired adventure brainstorm (threatened by Carrionites as lyrical genii tend to be) and it would be easy to go a lot further. A title-based adventure hook brainstorm, for one.

Monday, 1 October 2012

So therefore...?

John Seavey at MightyGodKing considers The Angels Take Manhattan.

He asks the obvious first question, and comes up with a reasonable answer.

He asks the episode’s last question, and comes up with an answer which is rather interesting and plotty.

But I mostly draw your attention because of the middle question, which I hadn’t worried about, and comes up with an answer which is hilarious.

(Probably not in keeping with the tone of the episode, but still.)

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Toys!

The Rory figure for the Doctor Who toy range has finally gone on sale - just over 48 hours before his final episode. Still, lovely to have him.

Photos here.

And thanks to Escher at DWAITAS for reporting The Brigadier and Jo figures!

And a Shoggoth Gel Guard since it’s apparently The Three Doctors set despite having three figures and no Doctors. If I were going to have Alistair and Jo and one monster it would be Boc. But never mind, it’s a very nice Shoggoth. I particularly like the Brig’s “really, Doctor...” expression.

The Little Essentials Of Life

Today’s Google Doodle is about the 14th birthday of... Google.

Still, considering what an effect it has every day, this straightforward search engine page is worth noting. I didn’t get online until 1999 and it was already ubiquitous and essential, coming from nowhere.

Which inevitably has me thinking of ubiquitous and essential things coming from nowhere, and who might be behind them, and to what end. Google has lasted because it’s (mostly) neutral about passing out information accurately, but imagine something redirecting such an everyday essential to its own ends. What if an indispensable became an inescapable? That’s how ATMOS worked and Cybus Industries got started...

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Think of the going out before you enter.

10 Best Doctor Who Companion Departures (And 5 Worst) from SFX.

Some great examples to follow, and some... less so.

DWAITAS discusses the end of a character’s run, giving it more thought than many RPGs, reflecting its importance (sometimes properly addressed, sometimes not) in the series.

The Bad Trait “Unadventurous” in its Major form is expressly designed to write characters out, which may be a bit much but certainly reflects some of these departures.

Otherwise, the general advice is to make a departing PC’s (and particularly a departing player’s) last adventure as big a deal as you can (depending on how much warning you get, of course) and that’s advice worth taking to other games.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Review Of Depth

Thanks to Siskoid's look at The Daemons this week, I looked up the recent review for DWM and discovered it and many more by Gary Gillatt are on his Wordpress page. Huge, thorough, opinionated and often hilarious.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Friday, 21 September 2012

Time Lords and no companions?

From this DWAITAS thread about a game where the players are all Time Lords:

In rules terms, this shouldn't be a problem. The characters might feel a bit samey, as they all have much the same superhuman abilities (regeneration, boosted Ingenuity) but different opinions, styles and gadgets should counter this.

An alternative would be to have all the characters be remarkable in different ways - so there's a Time Lord, an unkillable man from the future, a Nestene duplicate with a human soul, a Victorian Silurian ninja detective...

One thing you could lose in character terms is the sense of wonder and surprise about travelling in time and space. Time Lords (even less experienced ones) can be blasé about meeting alien races, seeing the birth and death of stars and planets and the like. It could feel very different from regular Doctor Who.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

RTD on the creation of Wizards Vs Aliens

PIRATES! again

I mentioned International Talk Like A Pirate Day (that really needs to be shortened) on the main gaming blog that you should also be reading (ahem). With links to free PDFs and everything!

I discussed classic PIRATES! last year when covering The Curse Of The Black Spot. But of course the Doctor has also met that space opera classic Space Pirates, and more recently sort-of Zombie Pirates (also in space) and once hung out with a Time Lord/Lady who called him/herself the Corsair and sometimes kept a parrot. So there be room for plenty o’ piratical action within or beyond the Golden Age of the Spanish Main.

(See also Grace O’Malley.)

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Quality Of Mercy

500th post! I wish it could be something constructive, but still posting from work.

Still, while I’m online, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill on life after the TARDIS.

A Town Called Mercy (aka The Gunslinger)

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Please Stand By...

We are experiencing technical difficulties.

As you may have seen on my general blog (go see my general blog!!!!1111one) I am currently sans internet at home.

So in the meantime, here are some RPGnetters' ideas for Doctor Who episodes.

More soon, hopefully.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Sun Of Death

So a friend on a social media site commented that this and last week’s episode concepts could be the result of choosing elements at random.

So I linked to The Vortex Oracle...

and got this:

The Sun of Death

A powerful man and his revenge for an ancient wrong.
An archaeological dig.
A busy port.
A run-down shelter.

Just noting it here for future reference.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Dinosaurs On A Spaceship

Hrm. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood.

Liked the asides - Brian, Nefertiti, Tricie, the ISA - didn’t like the central conflict or the resolution. It just felt rather... off, a bum note instead of a character turn, especially in an episode that otherwise felt particularly kid-friendly. A bit where I’d ask the player “are you sure you want to do that?” And the Story Point cost for the solution must have been quite high...

(Oh well, here’s mini-Confidential. The Triceratops was lovely.)

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Smell Of Doom

A current deodorant advert (which I won’t link to due to evil) takes another deodorant’s old “men can’t help acting on it” idea a long way past its logical conclusion. It shows people so overwhelmed by lust for random passersby that they tear off their clothes in broad daylight, crash their cars, a nurse lets the wheelchair she’s pushing roll into the street, and it ends with sirens wailing, emergency service helicopters flying in, and the city on fire.

“Yes folks,” it says, “our new product will destroy civilisation.”

Which really doesn’t work for me as an advert...

But it does absolutely work as a Torchwood plot.

The main question is who dosed the city and why?

(The final DWM Eighth Doctor comic strip The Flood had the Cybermen do the same thing with fear and anger, as a way of softening humanity up for conversion.)

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Aww, Rory!

Den Of Geek points out a detail I missed during Pond Life:

Rory has a Roman Centurion lunchbox!
"Which is brilliant. Do you think the other nurses laugh at him though?"

Recycling in action!

Nice to see the rather nice robots from Mission 2110 getting work in Dinosaurs On A Spaceship rather than going to waste.

I was totally going to use them as robots in a Door In Time episode some time, too...

Monday, 3 September 2012

Updates

Steven Moffat discusses writing for the new companion.

“In these five episodes the Doctor is practically the adopted son of Amy and Rory. He’s gone from being the wonderful man from space – Space Gandalf, as he wants to be – to being that troublesome kid that they try and keep under control. They even talked about getting babysitters for him in one unfortunately cut scene. They love him, but they know he’s a big kid, they know they have to look out for him, check he eats and all that. Whereas with the new companion he’s back to being the mysterious spacefarer.”

And this prequel is late!

And The Doctor’s Wife won the Hugo, and Neil Gaiman’s acceptance speech included saying “... Only a fool or a madman would try to do it again... so I’m on the third draft.

Which according to Hugo-winning io9 poster Charlie Jane Anders, is true!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Ooooh.

Big Chief's reveals of their 12" scale Fourth and Tenth Doctor figures, and Fez and Stetson (and Ganger?!) Eleven and... a Weeping Angel. eeeee.

To Be Continued

Via Siskoid, Twelve Brilliant Doctor Who Cliffhangers.

Includes undue swears and a rather harsh analysis of the Fifth Doctor, but I can't really argue with the cliffhangers themselves. Except that I would have included The Stolen Earth, where for a week afterwards we were telling ourselves "they couldn't have... not really..."

The Life And Death Of The Corsair

From the 2012 Brilliant Book, as written by Neil Gaiman.

Apart from the note at the end about the parrot. Maybe it isn't that the chap with the parrot is the Corsair... it's that the parrot is the Corsair's parrot... and really is the one in charge.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

"What do you know of the Dalek Asylum?"

Right then. Where do we begin?

Spoilers. Obvs. Enorms ones.

And a reference to an old fake Serenity spoiler:

The Daleks are made of chocolate!

Interviews!

Karen Gillan talks to The Mary Sue about, among other things, visiting a distant future to see if humans are so lazy our bodies end up being pretty much useless.

And then Caro Skinner about, among other things, the accuracy of historical episodes and the scale of The Daleks Take Manhattan.

And then Matt Smith about... well, hopefully not too many spoilers, but also about how cool New York is.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Coming Soon To A Screen Near You

Each episode this year now was to be pitched like a movie poster...

Each episode this year now has a movie poster.

So that's something else for GMs with Photoshop to try and replicate before sessions?

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Asylum Of The Daleks

We were sworn to secrecy (well, more asked nicely not to drop big secrets - “London kept the secret, I would hate for Scotland to break the line!”) so I’ll just say...

He certainly kept one of his pre-series promises. I won’t say which one just yet.

OMG that happened!

Yes, changes to credits.

A certain new development (a) really quite creepy and (b) so going to be a cosplay thing.

More hands for “would still watch if the Doctor became a woman” that “wouldn’t” - prompted by someone asking in the Q&A, in case you were wondering.

And from the youngest Q&A questioner: “Do Cybermen get rusty in the rain? No, cos they’re made of plastic... Actually, they have to be well rainproofed in Wales. But then there was a rather rusty looking on in the Pandorica, and I wrote that, so get it right! Yes, they get rusty, but not quickly.”

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Sarah Jane Adventures: And the story goes on... forever.

Due to the sudden loss of Elisabeth Sladen, the final volume of DWM’s Sarah Jane Companion only has three televised stories to talk about, so it turns most of its pages over to what might have been, as well as the general interest of unmade episodes.

So for GMs looking for Whoniverse adventures that were almost made, what could we turn into adventures to dedicate to Ms Sladen?

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

deviantArt, visual sourcebook

Since that blatant dA self-promotion I’ve picked up three followers, some with familiar handles.

Well, while I’m on the subject, I do a “popular in the last 24 hours” search for Doctor Who every day, more or less, to see what’s relevant and impressive in the first couple pages.

And unscientifically looking back over the month or two I’ve been doing that, Ten is still the most popular subject. Then Eleven, unless he gets a boost because there’s a new episode on. Then Nine, then Whooves (the My Little Pony with an hourglass), then Sherlock, then Four, then Eight and down from there...

It’s also a good place to find variant sonic screwdrivers like these minimalist examples suitable for less flamboyant Time Lords.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The first Ask The Execs video, featuring the origin of the Weeping Angels.

Doctor Who And The Thing From Your Miniatures Collection

I belatedly got round to putting my photos of painted Dalek and not-Doctor-and-Amy miniatures on deviantArt, and got favourited by an admirer of miniatures in general.

And of course that got me thinking, that would be a way to come up with odd crossovers if you have a collection of unusual miniatures. Pick one and make it a major visual for an episode.

Not that I use miniatures, but every now and then bringing out a figure and going “you see this!” can be very effective.

And just looking at that list of favourites, I can easily see the Doctor meeting these guys or this chap or this fella...

Monday, 20 August 2012

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Come All You Monsters

The Doctor’s top ten villains according to the Observer.

Agree? Disagree? Think the Sontarans were robbed?

Nothing controversial to begin with - Daleks, Cybermen, the Master - then it shifts to the one-classic-appearance likes of Scaroth, the Zygons and the Beast.

I was particularly pleased to see the Time Lords being included considering how much trouble they’ve caused over the decades.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

TARDIS Systems Failure

One bit of discussion in Nathaniel Torson’s Time Traveller’s Companion chat was about TARDIS systems, what the Chameleon Circuit might get stuck on and the like.

But of course there are other systems that could also go wrong, temporarily or semi-permanently. This is covered in the TTC in detail, but here’s a random selection of adventure-friendly inconveniences...

Doctor Who episodes from the titles of...

David Bowie

By Kammerice

I resisted the temptation to title this “David Bowie Is The Doctor”...