Today we played the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game from Cubicle 7 for the first time and we are happy to report that it was great fun. I wanted to dive straight in and decided to use the outline of Destiny of the Daleks, a fourth Doctor adventure, as the plot. In my view, it makes for an ideal role playing scenario, with numerous encounters and incidents that add up to role playing challenges and generous amount of dice rolling to keep the players amused. The initial part of Episode 1, for instance, contains physical challenges such as not falling off the ledge on which the TARDIS lands, scientific discoveries about the local geology, hiding from and sneaking after the burial party, investigative work with the dead Kantrian and so forth. Thankfully, my two junior players had no familiarity with this story, which meant all the plot twists were a total surprise.
|Hoping to make a homemade GamesMaster's Screen soon|
With no hint that the Daleks were involved in the adventure, the reveal, when it came, of them crashing through the wall was a great shock in the game. It soon became clear that when role playing Daleks, total commitment is required! “OBEY! OBEY!” and “SEEK! LOCATE! EXTERMINATE!” can be very effective in scaring players when delivered with the proper level of vigour. The tension and drama soon became very direct with their appearance. The Movellans made for a good side mystery element as well, especially as the players started to change their mind about them halfway through the adventure.
During our session, we got as far as the end of Episode 3 but there were a number of differences already between our adaptation and the original narrative. There were fewer visits to the Movellan ship, which makes sense as largely it acts as an arena for the Time Lords to confer with them, which can mostly be done “out in the field” instead, rather than wasting time wandering back to their ship regularly. Tyssan, whilst being the cause of the companion (in our case, none other than Freddie Mercury!) being captured by the Daleks, has made little appearance and his role may ultimately be taken up by David Yip’s character in our plot instead.
Extraordinary scenes in this session included Freddie trying to batter a Dalek with his microphone stand and the discovery that whilst the Doctor might be able to restart the lifts in the Kaled bunker after a few millenia, she was unable to protect them from the ensuing muzak. Upcoming game problems, it seems to me, include how, exactly, the Doctor works out the secret of the Movellans’ power packs.
|Freddie Mercury and the Thirteenth Doctor|
The game itself is great fun, having the right level of detail, yet supporting quick and fluid game play. We’re looking to conclude this adventure at our next session and then, we’re off to the Tomb of the Cybermen. With endless, glorious classic adventures to use as plots, there’s no end of scenarios to play, even without taking the published adventures into account.