DWAITAS: Episode 0

Our first character is Constable Bob Hawkins:

October 3rd 1889, Blackfriars.
Tonight has been slow. Apart from cuffing the ear of some pickpockets, Blackfriars has never been so quiet. It’s like the night is expecting something to happen. You roust a prostitute and her John out of an alleyway and then you notice…a silver door.

The Silver Door

It’s roughly hewn and seems unreal, superimposed on the dank reality of Victorian London. As you draw near you can tell it’s cold, colder than the air on this smoggy London night, colder than the chill from the Thames.

You reach out, conscious of the chill emanating from the plain silver metal and the door opens, sliding almost imperceptibly into the brickwork. Darkness beckons beyond and one step later, you’re inside.

tardisint_secondary

There’s a low hum emanating from the very walls of the room itself.

Control Room Hum (MP3)

The door opposite you flashes and standing suddenly is a lithe figure in a form fitting uniform – it looks like a young woman with some sort of dark paint over her naked body! Scandalous! The figure is wearing some sort of ball on her head and wheels on her feet. Her hands seem to be replaced with spiky, nasty weapons. Your right hand drops to your nightstick and your left grasps your whistle.

You take a step back and blow on the whistle but your back hits the door, which had silently closed behind you.

Our second character is Zanna Hughes, a late 21st Century Murderball player:

It’s the top of the innings and Caligary, top player in the Eastern League is bearing down on a lone player, unsupported by her team but holding the ball, a silvery and slipper globe with a suspension field. He readies his chainsword and primes his illegal taser upgrade. A flick of his wrist and the taser fires at the fleeing figure. Missed! He’s got fourteen seconds before she’s even in the score zone and they’re about to enter the Maze. All sorts of bad things can happen in the Maze.

The walls of the Maze close in – a chicane-like tunnel with holes and loops from which an opponent can leap. Zanna ducks and weaves from tunnel to tunnel trying to stay ahead – one false move and she could wipe out on the slippery surface or receive a horrible injury from a chainsword slash. The ball feels light in her hand so she grips it tighter. A dark tunnel ahead and she speeds towards it and through… into a strange bronze control room…and it takes a real effort to not crash into the console in the middle. Coming out of the door opposite is a stocky man in a black coat – he reaches for a hefty stick and blows a whistle…

Meanwhile, a dimension away Caligary slams into a silver door which materialised in a tunnel. He dislocates his shoulder, cracks four ribs and loses the match.

and finally, our Time Lord, The Lords Marshal.

Awake. A comforting low hum (with an equally comforting clank) emanates from the floor of the room. Your cheek is wet, your tongue confirms it is the coppery tang of blood. Pain. A throbbing pain in your right temple is likely the source of the blood.

You’re in a room walled by roundels, everything is a bronze colour. The room you’re in is empty other than you and a doorway.

You hear a high pitched whistle from the doorway. You instinctively reach for the book. The book.

This will be followed by “Episode 1: The Thief of Never”

TARDIS

The Doctor uses an “old” Type 40 TARDIS. IT travels in space and time. It’s bigger on the inside than the outside. It has a broken Chameleon Circuit which means it’s stuck in the form of a police box.

Doctor Who, like Star Trek, has it’s own sort of technobabble.

From the Whoniverse

The bulk of a TARDIS is made up of Block-Transfer Mathematics. This form of Distributed Cluster Algebra was first developed by the people of the planet Logopolis. It is based on the idea that the essence of matter is structure and the essence of structure is mathematics. Using the hexadecimal notations of Block-Transfer it is possible to create Space-Time Events through pure calculation. An event or object can be described by thinking the correct Block-Transfer equations and it will instantly become reality.

These calculations are powered by raw Artron Energy. Block-Transfer Mathematics can only be computed with an organic brain because the mathematics alter the nature of reality. This would cause a traditional computer to malfunction. The original equations can however be recorded in traditional non-organic storage media such as bubble memory

When I was reading a lot about Doctor Who (around the time of the FASA RPG) it was made plain to me that the inside of a TARDIS is a completely different dimension to the outside of a TARDIS and that indeed, the outside of a TARDIS was nothing but a doorway to the TARDIS. Which is why it can materialise and dematerialise – it’s just a mathematical construct. This also explains why a TARDIS is functionally indestructible and it’s doors impenetrable.

So, the question remains, how far can you push a TARDIS?

How big can the inside be?

How many doors to the outside can there be?

This is all leading up to a game I’m prepping for Graham, Jim and Rory. They’ll encounter a TARDIS which is planetary in size, with a million doors.

DWAITAS

I’ve been reading a lot of Doctor Who stuff recently since receiving the Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space (DWAITAS) RPG. I haven’t actually been reading the RPG though. I figure that the rules are secondary to the creation of compelling adventures.

I finished Tom Baker’s “Robot” and “The Ark in Space” as well as the entire first series of the Doctor Who reboot (The Eccleston series). And I’ve been spending an indecent amount of time on the DWAITAS forums.

In the first episode of the Torchwood TV series, it’s stated that Torchwood Four went missing some time ago. (It’s a sly reference to Babylon 4, from the Babylon 5 TV series as it also ‘disappeared’). My plan is to use the missing Torchwood Four team as the start of the adventure. Sure – they went missing – but it’s where they went that is interesting.

Kage Baker writes about The Company. A future organisation that recruits people in the past and gets them to steal and hide items of famous antiquity which are then sold. This has similarities to the Warheads who move between dimensions and time periods stealing technology and valuables for their employer, Mys-Tech. Another inspiration is Gatecrasher and the Technet who ventured to 14th Century Peru to steal a unique mathematical model of the universe carved from rock crystal which was fated to be destroyed in an earthquake.

Clause 374 of the Shadow Proclamation stated that “theft of an artefact of great cultural value legitimises the use of lethal force to ensure the artefact’s recovery”.

So – where does Torchood Four fit in? The Torchwood team, obviously removed from Earth somehow, find themselves without resources, without money, without ammunition, on an alien world. They do what they can but in order to find their way back to Earth and also in order to survive, they have to resort to selling their services; services which include a pretty good knowledge of history and mythology.

So, the team, rag-tag, beaten but not down, missing a few but gaining a few, battles on to get passage back to Earth.

OK, this means the GM has to apply some hefty Deus Ex Machina to keep them from hijacking the first time-machine they come across and travelling back to 2 minutes after they left. This could be handled easily by having their time-transporters be similar to prisoner monitoring bracelets. They might be indestructable, they might be keyed together, they might be able to channel ‘motivation’ from their unseen masters. Hopefully, though, the players won’t decide to just return home – they’ll embrace the freedom and get to play through the concept of the galactic government of the Shadow Proclamation – if there’s government, then there’s trade. And some of these places might be good to start.

The Doctor has arrived!

The new Dr Who RPG from Cubicle 7
The new Dr Who RPG from Cubicle 7

It arrived. And I’ve been preparing.

I’ved watched five episodes of Torchwood (the Children of Earth miniseries) as well as four episodes of Tom Baker’s Doctor (Robot) and a few episodes of Tennant’s Doctor (Silence in the Library, Stolen Earth). I’ve got plans to watch all of Eccleston’s Doctor over the weekend. I’d avoided most of the Doctor Who new stuff – having been soured of the Doctor by successively Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann and to be honest I’d never really warmed to David Tennant’s portrayal – it just seemed a little madcap, a little too camp.

So, it’s looking like Delta Green may be on hold for a while due to the holidays and some folks personal situations so I’m kinda keen to see what the fuss is all about.

I may have also ordered a copy of the Dr Who Technical Manual from Noble Knight Games. I already own a copy somewhere in the depths of my parents house – which, interestingly enough, I won when I was a kid from a competition which ran in the Daily Mail. It’s the sort of fanboi hardback that every kid in the world should have. It even included things I’d never heard of – Movellans, CyberMats and other things from earlier in the many series that make up the canon. With over seven hundred episodes out there – it’s a lot for anyone to take in and I’d previously only really watched part of Tom Baker, most of Peter Davidson and part of Colin Baker’s runs on the role. But you can also view the contents of it right here:

The Doctor Who Technical Manual

Places to go for extra fun?

How about the Official Cubicle 7 Dr Who: Adventures in Time and Space online forum? There’s already heaps of adventure seeds, character and kit writeups and discussions of campaigns that could be run.

Or maybe the Vortex Oracle for quick generation of Dr Who adventure seeds?