Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space
|Adventures in Time and Space|
Cover of the 2009 edition
|Designer(s)||David F. Chapman, Alasdair Stuart|
|Website||Doctor Who RPG|
Based on the characters from the very popular BBC television series, Doctor Who: Adventures in Time And Space is a roleplaying game by UK games publisher, Cubicle 7 Entertainment. It allows roleplayers to adopt the role of characters from the very popular BBC science fiction television programme Doctor Who.
The first edition of the game focuses on the David Tennant era of the show (December 2005 – January 2010), although supplements are said to be in the works to cover other incarnations of the world's most popular time traveller, as well as a rebranded and revised core rules box set for the Matt Smith era (2010–2013).
The core rules box set was released to critical acclaim in the fall of 2009. It has gone on to win two awards including the Grog d'Or for Best Roleplaying Game 2010 and the UK Game Expo Best Roleplaying Game 2010. It was also nominated for the Origins Best Roleplaying Game 2010, the ENnies Product of the Year 2010, the Golden Geek Game of the Year 2010, and the Golden Geek Best Artwork & Presentation 2010.
The core rules box set includes the following content:
- Player's Guide
- Gamemaster's Guide
- Adventure Book
- Quick Start Guide
- Character sheets, including pre-generated characters for the series cast
- Gadget cards
- Story Point tokens
- 6 six-sided dice
The mechanics of the game are difficulty based. Characters have attributes (such as Strength and Ingenuity) and skills (such as Fighting and Technology) which they typically add together and then further add the results of two six-sided results. The result is compared to a difficulty number normally set by the gamesmaster. Both success and failure are gradiated, so that matching, or else exceeding the difficulty by only a small amount, indicates a successful action, but not a complete success. Exceeding the difficulty by a larger amount indicates complete success and exceeding it by a very great amount indicates success with an additional beneficial outcome. For example, if attempting to disguise oneself to get past some guards, the lowest level of success would get the character past the guards, but they would be suspicious and perhaps mention it to their superior later. A simple success would simply get the character past the guards but the highest level of success might, for example, indicate that the guard radios ahead to let other guards know that they're legitimate visitors. Conversely, failure is also graded. In the previous example, the least degree of failure might merely result in the guard telling the character to go back and get their identification. A full failure and the guard will certainly realise he is being tricked and the greatest degree of failure could result in the character accidentally revealing who they really are, for example.
In addition to the normal mechanics of the game, players acquire Story Point tokens throughout the game, which they can spend to adjust both the results of their characters' actions, and to influence the world around them. The greater the effect, the more Story Points need to spent to achieve it. For example, to adjust their level of success or failure up or down a level, a player can spend one Story Point. Or a Story Point could be spent to achieve some small change to the game world, such as keys being left in a car or a Cyberman's gun jamming for a moment. Greater amounts can be spent for correspondingly greater effects, for example if five points were spent, maybe the villain would fall in love with one of the characters or a group of UNIT soldiers show up to rescue the PCs.
Story Points are awarded by the gamesmaster for cleverness, good role-playing, heroism and, interestingly, for deliberate failure. For example, if the players allowed their characters to be captured, the gamesmaster might award them each a few Story Points for making the game more interesting. These Story Points may well be used in escaping later. Thus Story Points preserve a kind of credit-balance allowing players to participate in guiding the overall arc of the story without undermining the gamesmaster. Note that NPCs and monsters also have Story Points in relation to their plot significance. The gamesmaster is at liberty to spend these points on the NPCs behalf and they act as a gauge to determine how much adjusting of the world should be permitted for the NPC. For example, a lowly alien guard will have very few story points. If the PCs had tied the guard up earlier, perhaps the guard has just enough that can be spent to escape and sound the alarm. Whereas a major villain such as Davros will have many Story Points – enough to mysteriously escape a crashing spaceship by finding an escape pod.
Although the game does not forbid PCs from violence, violent solutions to problems are discouraged in a number of ways by the game. The most obvious method by which this is achieved is the Initiative system in which characters proceed according to the type of action they wish to take. In the game, this is called: "Talkers, Runners, Doers, Fighters". So if a player wishes their character's action to be trying to persuade people not to shoot at her, then that action takes place first. If another character wishes to run away, then that action takes place next. If a third character wishes to shoot out the lights so that their attackers can't see them, then that action takes place next (even though the action is a shooting action, it's not a 'Fighting' action). Finally, any characters wishing to fight the enemies (as well as the enemies that are shooting), take their turns. This system not only gives precedence to non-violent actions, but mirrors very closely what occurs in the Doctor Who show itself, where the Doctor frequently talks his way past enemies or, almost as often, runs away from them.
The second mechanical method by which violence is discouraged is simply the deadliness of combat in the game. Whilst Story Points act as a buffer helping prevent the actual deaths of a character, combat in the Doctor Who game tends to be swift and brutal, with many alien weapons simply doing "Lethal" damage, rather than a damage number. Characters that seek violent solutions to problems are at grave risk of injury, with damage being removed directly from character attributes.
Finally, the premise of Doctor Who makes many problems simply unsolvable by personal scale violence. Foiling an invading army of Cybermen cannot be done by individual fighting. Similarly, many alien threats are simply overwhelmingly powerful for humans to deal with. For example, there is no weapon in the core rule books that can actually damage a Dalek by the stats that are given for it.
Previous Doctor Who role playing games include "Doctor Who: the roleplaying game" by FASA (1985) and "Doctor Who: Time Lord" by Virgin Publishing (1991):
- Doctor Who RPG, another Doctor Who RPG
- Time Lord, another Doctor Who RPG
- Doctor Who: Solitaire Story Game, a paragraph based board game/RPG based on Barbarian Prince.
- "Game". Cubicle 7. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- "Awards". UK Games Expo. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
- "Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space Core Set + PDF Bundle". shop.cubicle7store.com. Cubicle 7 Entertainment Web Store. Retrieved 9 January 2012.