Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Six (B) Doctors

I had developed this theory to explain the previously unknown John Hurt Doctor. Of course, with the release of the Night of the Doctor my idea completely falls apart. So instead I present it as a possible scenario for the game.

My idea was that John Hurt was definitely the Ninth Doctor, but the product of the Season 6B timeline.

Season 6B is that bit of continuity wiggle room in between the Second Doctor's last appearance in War Games, and the Third Doctor's first appearance in Spearhead from Space. Instead of exile on Earth as the Time Lords had decreed, the Doctor became their agent dealing with secret missions for the Time Lords. That apparently lasts quite a long time for the Second Doctor, who is visibly aged when he's seen in The Two Doctors alongside a much older Jamie McCrimmon.  Though eventually the Second Doctor either died in action, or failed the Time Lords in some manner. Either way they follow through with their decreed fate for him and he becomes the Third Doctor we see in Spearhead.

What if that was not the case?

Instead, the Doctor regenerates into a completely different person. This Other Third Doctor is forced to remain in the service of the Time Lords as an agent of the Celestial Intervention Agency. The Doctor has proven himself far too valuable, and the Time Lords are getting rumblings of dangerous things happening through time. They have already foreseen the threat the Daleks pose to the universe, and the Doctor is the most logical agent to try and deal with this.

So we have a series of adventures with a Doctor working  (if not necessarily willingly) directly for the Time Lords through the Celestial Intervention Agency.

It could be the Time War may have already begun. It might be the adversaries in War Games may have been part of the larger machinations of various parties in the Time War to raise an army that could fight against the Daleks. The Doctor realizes what is at stake and remains part of the Time War, and in the process giving up a number of lives in the name of trying to stop the Daleks.

For a Time War themed campaign, this does give you the option of recruiting any of the classic Doctors into the War. Or you could create a new alternate Doctor tailored to your campaign, and still claim continuity.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Resourceful Pockets Table

So, your heroes have been captured by the bad guys and they tell them to empty out their pockets. Naturally the character with the Resourceful Pockets trait will have a wide variety of junk on hand. The GM has discretion about how many times rolling is needed.

Once again you roll two dice. Reading each one separately.

1-1   A vacuum tube
1-2   Pocket watch (normal)
1-3   a sandwich wrapped in paper (roll 1 die, on an even number it's still edible)
1-4   An 8 track tape of Polka music
1-5   Oolon Colluphid's Origins of the Universe
1-6   A piece of charcoal

2-1   A ball of rubber bands
2-2   5 meters of rope
2-3   A very old cell phone (circa 1992)
2-4   The last hand held gadget the players built in an adventure
2-5   quarter kilo of unobtainium-127
        (totally useless right now, but there's a materials engineer somewhere    
         who would sell his mother for this!)
2-6   That pen you nicked off President Taft's desk

3-1   shoe polish
3-2   a DVD of whatever movie is currently in theaters
3-3   a stationary pad from the Europa Hilton
3-4   A 3 1/4" floppy drive marked "Skynet 0.0176 DO NOT USE!!!"
3-5   A miniature theremin
3-6  A Mouse
       (roll 1 die; 1-2: USB Computer, 3: Living, 4: Dead, 5-6: Rubber,)

4-1   An Etheric Beam Locator
4-2   A Lighter
4-3   A Slide Whistle
4-4   A wad of lint
4-5   2d6 Coins from different planets (none of which are legal tender where you are right now)
4-6   A hip flask
       (roll 1 die; 1: Whiskey, 2- Vodka 3: Janx Spirit, 4: Holy Water, 5: Grape juice, 6: Vinegar)

5-1   A Cricket Ball
5-2   A pirate treasure map.
5-3   A rather dubious Hungarian to English Phrasebook
5-4   A glass bottle of soda
5-5   A rubber balloon
5-6   A tin cup

6-1   A string of fire crackers
6-2   An invitation to the time traveller's convention at MIT
6-3   A ball of twine
6-4   A Credit Card (roll 1 die; odds: still useful, evens: won't work)
6-5   A Swiss Army Knife
6-6   A bag of Jelly Babies

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rich Morris' Doctor Who comics

Webcomic artist Rich Morris has made quite a name for himself in Doctor Who fandom for the numerous fan comics he's done for the show. His magnum opus The Ten Doctors started in 2007 and ran for around three years and almost 250 pages. The fact it included all ten of the Doctors, most of their companions, all of the classic villains, and featured a story that tied all of these elements together  and in a truly epic manner is quite an accomplishment.

After Rich finished with the Ten Doctors, he really started playing around with the possibilities for crossovers.  His second comic Forever Janette, featured the Paul McGann Eight Doctor running into the cast of the vampire police show Forever Knight. It was much more of a straightforward murder mystery (though it did involve bodies getting miniaturized via the Master's Tissue Compression Eliminator.)

His next story The Stalker of Norfolk, was written in conjunction with his wife Hilary Doda.  It plays as a straightforward historical, dealing with mysterious events in Elizabethan England. Rich set the story in that interim between Jo Grant leaving in The Green Death and Sarah Jane Smith arrival in The Time Warrior. He used that indefinite period to introduce an original character: Corporal Beverly Powell, UNIT Historian. The story starts with Beverly having a debate about Lord Robert Dudley, Queen Elizabeth's Master of Horse. Naturally the Doctor takes her on a trip in the TARDIS just to prove he's right. Beverly is a great character, she stands up well as a companion in her own right.

The last story Rich has completed is Outrage, which features another unlikely crossover. This time with Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor and the 80's cartoon Jem and the Holograms. Jem did have the advantage of being one of the more dramatically themed cartoons of the 80's, with ongoing plots through several episodes. Rich also shows some skill in making the often disregarded Sixth Doctor and making him an interesting character yet still the crass blowhard the fans know.

Beyond these completed works, he also has two other Doctor Who comic he's working on.  A Time To Kill is a James Bond crossover, with an added wrinkle regarding Bond's true nature. The other one focuses on the Daleks and their run in with the Xenomorphs of Aliens fame. It's simply titled Daleks vs. Aliens.

I definitely recommend a read through his archive when you have the opportunity.  His breadth of ideas and imagination is quite inspiring, especially to the gamers looking for possibilities.

Thinking of possibilities, on Rich's forum, back in 2010, I started the "This would be an Awesome Crossover!" Thread which has stayed active up up to this year. Everybody who reads the comic chimed in on their dream crossovers, and lots of spitballing with ideas. It's definitely worth a look just for some possible inspiration.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Weekend Write Ups: ALF

Here's another one of my oddball character write-ups. This time it's ALF from the 80's sitcom of the same name. The series focused on typical American family that has it's life turned upside down when an alien crash lands his ship in their garage. Keeping him out of sight of the authorities and the neighbors focus of a lot of the show, which was made more difficult by Alf's exceedingly difficult personality.  The series ran from 1986-1990, and in 1996 there was a follow-up TV movie titled Project ALF.

ALF (aka Gordon Shumway of Melmac)

Awareness 3      Coordination 2   Ingenuity  5
Presence 2         Resolve  4          Strength 2

Alien Organs (5 stomachs)
Immortal (major)
Keen Senses
Technically Adept


Alien Appearance
Last of My Kind
Tiny (minor)

Convince  3

Knowledge 3
Science 3
Subterfuge 3
Survival 2
Technology 4
Transport 4

Story Points: 12
Tech Level: 6

Gordon Shumway is an alien nicknamed ALF (an acronym for Alien Life Form) by the humans that took him in.  ALF's body is covered with fur and he has a rippled snout, facial moles and eight stomachs. His heart is apparently located in his head. He likes to burp and eat cats, and can whistle without opening his mouth. He was born on October 28, 1756 on the Lower East Side of the planet Melmac. Melmac was located six parsecs past the Hydra-Centaurus Supercluster, and had a green sky, blue grass and a purple sun.

ALF was gardener by profession back on his homeworld, but did serve as a reservist member of the Melmac Orbit Guard.  He was fortunate to be off planet at the time when nuclear disaster caused the destruction of his planet. Homeless with a damaged ship, he crash lands in the garage of the Tanner family when his ship locked in on HAM radio signal Willie Tanner was broadcasting. With nowhere to go the Tanner family took him in and helped him adjust to life of Earth and avoid the Air Force's Alien Task Force that was looking for him.

ALF lived with the Tanners for several years. When other survivors of his planet contacted him with information about their newly formed colony, he jumped at the chance to leave. But before he could escape the Alien Task Force caught up with him, and he found himself  a prisoner.

His captivity by the military was not kind to him, which did include various "experiments" on him that were little more than torture. While the senior officers and their pet scientists were downright xenophobic regarding ALF, his Airmen jailers were much more accommodating. They gave him many creature comforts and allowed to turn his cell into the center of a lot of illegal business on base. When one of the senior officers decided of his own accord to have ALF killed, two of the junior officers smuggled him off base.

ALF's fugitive status was relatively short lived, and when returned to the Air Force, the people responsible for his harsh captivity had been removed. He was further granted status of Ambassador to Earth, though after meeting ALF they  have reservations about how good an idea that really was.


In a UNIT campaign, the characters might be more inclined to run into ALF during his military captivity.  After the events in England with the Slitheen and Sycorax attacks, The US military might have to reveal ALF's existence as part of an information exchange. If he's been in their care since 1996 (the year the Project ALF movie was released) the US might end up foisting him upon UNIT just to be rid of him.

ALF's main role is obnoxious troublemaker, his impulsive nature makes him the one to push the big red button on the control panel, or to run off and try to do something on his own when he should be waiting on the rest of the group. His sarcastic nature sometimes gets the better of him, throwing out one of his quips at the most inopportune moments.

ALF does have his good side though, he is quite loyal to his friends and will try to make amends when he realizes he's gone too far. He is also quite the boffin, having created several gadgets over the years including converting Willie Tanner's HAM radio into a galactic communications system. Given the right motivation he could potentially be quite useful on the technical side.

Melmacians age so slowly they have for all practical purposes the Immortality trait. ALF is over two hundred years old, and likely to live for several more centuries. So it's likely the players could run into him on multiple occasions and points in history.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Cast of Dozens: UNIT Personnel

Need some UNIT personnel with a bit more character than just faceless minions in fatigues destined to get killed the second the monster shows up? Here's five folks from UNIT to help fill some blank spots.

UNIT Personnel

Captain Michael Greerson 
Oversexed Skirt Chasing Officer

Capt. Greer's a decent enough officer, he just can't keep it in his trousers. Any attractive female, human or otherwise, is fair game. He's acquired the nickname Captain Kirk due to his reputation for "conquering" a number of  visiting alien females. Though you don't want to ask him about the incident with the Vinvocci delegation.

Awareness  3      Coordination 4    Ingenuity  3        
Presence  4        Resolve  3           Strength  3

Good Traits
Attractive, Charming, Military Rank (Capitan), Lucky, Experienced

Bad Traits
Adversary-Various Angry Boyfriends/Husbands (minor), Obligation-UNIT (major) Obsession-Sex (minor)

Athletics 2,  Convince 3  Craft 1 , Fighting  3, Knowledge 2 , Marksman  3, Medicine 2, Subterfuge 2, Survival 2, Technology 2 , Transport 2

Story Points 9
Tech Level 5

Distinguishing Features: Recruiting poster good looks, fit and athletic. Lack of impulse control when it comes to women.


Dr. Allison Pettigrew 
Brilliant Scientific Advisor with the personality of a turnip

With a Doctorate in Quantum Physics and Mechanical Engineering, she's a valuable UNIT asset when it comes to dealing with alien technology and strange phenomena. Just don't try to talk to her in person. As long as she's isolated in her lab, or speaking by phone or webcam, she's fine. But put her in a room full of people she turns totally monosyllabic and starts to hyperventilate.

Awareness  3      Coordination 2     Ingenuity   5       
Presence  2        Resolve      2        Strength  3

Good Traits
Boffin, Photographic Memory, Run for Your Life!,  Technically Adept

Bad Traits
Insatiable Curiosity, Impaired Senses- Wears Glasses  Phobia-Social Anxiety (Minor)

Athletics 1, Convince 2 , Craft 1, Fighting  1, Knowledge  5, Marksman 1 , Medicine 1, Science 5, Technology 4, Transport 1 

Story Points 12
Tech Level 5

Distinguishing Features: Always wearing a lab coat. Multiple pencils stuck into her bun since she tends to forget about them.


Special Agent George Pendleton-Smith
Containment Officer

Ex-Torchwood, George has come over to UNIT and serves as the containment officer, aka the Cover-up Man. He learned a lot of tricks from his time in Torchwood, and applies that knowledge to keep UNIT out of the papers and the locals confused and uncertain about what really happened.

Awareness  4      Coordination 3    Ingenuity  5        
Presence  3        Resolve  3          Strength 3

Good Traits
Brave, Face in the Crowd, Friends- Torchwood Contacts, Voice of Authority

Bad Traits
By the Book, Obligation-UNIT

Convince 4, Fighting 2, Knowledge 3, Marksman 3, Subterfuge 4, Technology 2, Transport 2

Story Points 12
Tech Level 5

Distinguishing Features: Bland appearance, Stoic manner


Sergeant John McKenzie
Veteran UNIT NCO whose seen it all

 McKenzie has been in UNIT for over a decade and a half, and has seen more than his share of action. More than that, he's the most decorated soldier in UNIT and has become something of a legend in the agency.  He's taken down a Cyberman with a .22 rifle at thirty meters, head butted Weevils unconscious, and has been on the front line of UNIT's stickiest situations.

Awareness  3      Coordination 3
Ingenuity  4        Presence  3
Resolve  3          Strength 4

Good Traits
Brave, Crack Shot, Sharpshooter, Voice of Authority, UNIT Veteran, Military Rank (Sergeant), Tough
Bad Traits
Dependency-Tobacco (minor) Obligation-UNIT (major)

Athletics 2,  Convince 3, Fighting  4, Knowledge 2 , Marksman  4, Medicine 2, Subterfuge 2, Survival 2, Technology 2 , Transport 3
Story Points 12
Tech Level 5

Distinguishing Features: Large beefy man in fatigues. does the shouty drill sergeant routine quite well.


Corporal Ellie Wynant 
Young, Wide Eyed Company Clerk

Ellie signed up for military service out of school hoping to help pay for her university tuition. She knew she was no use as a front line soldier, but her organizational and computer skills were invaluable in command. She had expected getting stuck in some dingy base office in Afghanistan, so her UNIT posting was something of a surprise, even more so when she realised it what UNIT really entailed.

Awareness  4      Coordination 3
Ingenuity  3        Presence  3
Resolve  3          Strength 2

Good Traits
Attractive, Face in the Crowd, Photographic Memory

Bad Traits

Athletics 1, Convince 1, Fighting 2, Knowledge 5 (History+2), Marksman 3, Medicine 1, Subterfuge 1, Survival 1, Technology 4, Transport 2

Story Points 12
Tech Level 5

Distinguishing Features: Petite young woman, often has a clipboard and files in hand.

Friday, November 1, 2013

John Connor: Temporal War Criminal

Future John Connor from Terminator 2
The basic conceit of the Terminator franchise is that John Connor, leader of the human resistance is this great hero who is protecting humanity from Skynet. Even going as far as sending agents back in time to try and alter events to keep the Terminators from existing.

But is John Connor truly this great leader?  At least that's what the loyal resistance fighters of the future say about him. They have lived in a world of total war for years and John Connor seems to be the only glimmer of hope they have. As a result they are fanatically loyal and more than willing to lay down their lives for him. Kyle Reese's devotion to him is quite evident in his numerous monologues in the first Terminator movie.

All we have really ever seen of John Connor is younger man who finds himself propelled steadily closer to his eventual future. By a large degree, it is John Connor's future self that is manipulating events though his proxies in the first two movies. Even worse, in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chrocnicles it's clear the manipulations of both Skynet and the Resistance extend much farther than just John's existence. Both sides are engaging in a time active war against each other and it seems the more both sides change the past the more inevitable Judgement Day becomes.

By sending Reese and the second Terminator back in time, he pretty much ensures the very future of blood soaked death and destruction through predestined paradox. Without Kyle to impregnate Sarah, there is no John Connor, who never becomes the resistance leader Skynet must seek out before he is born, and thus their Terminator never falls into the hands of Cyberndyne Systems and the technology that creates Skynet never exists. The John Connor of the future must be aware of these facts when he arrives at the point where he must send Reese off to become his father.

Yet he chooses this path, and the world suffers for his decision. The war can be prevented by John Connor, if he chose to sacrifice his existence which was never meant to be.  More than a few writers have made Christ comparisons to John Connor,  but his future actions make it clear he is no savior of mankind. He is it's damnation by fire, and it is clearly a conscious action on the his part since he did it repeatedly.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Random NPC: Mavlor

Since it is close to Halloween, I thought at least one classic monster themed write up was in order. Since Doctor Who has already had multiple flavors of vampires, werewolves, mummies, and at least one Frankenstein's Monster, it seemed Universal's classic Creature from the Black Lagoon seemed like an appropriate addition.

Mavlor, the Gill Creature of the Dark Basin
Recently awoken Silurian

Mavlor is a member of a Silurian subspecies that was much more amphibious than most of their cousins (Sea Devils excepted.) They lived in and around swampy estuaries and deep river backwaters.

Like the rest of his people, Mavlor went into hibernation when the planetoid that would become the moon came close to the Earth, threatening their survival. When he awoken in the middle of the 20th century, he found he was the only one of his community to survive the millennia.Thinking himself alone, he resigned himself to a solitary life deep in the Amazon. He was aware that the ape creatures they used to keep had become these humans now roaming about. Mostly he's ignored them, the locals are fairly primitive and seem to fear him.

Though recently, some scientists from far away have come up the river looking for the so called "Fish Man". Mavlor is uncertain whether he should try and talk with these humans, or just try and frighten them off like the locals.

Awareness  4 Presence 4
Coordination 4  Resolve  4 
Ingenuity 3  Strength 5

Alien, Environmental (Amphibious), Natural Weapons (claws) , Alien Appearance [major], Weakness [minor-cold], Last of My Kind

 Athletics 4 (AoE: Swimming) Convince 1, Fighting 4, Knowledge 3, Medicine 2, Subterfuge 3, Survival 4, Technology 1