23 November, 2013

50 Years of Dr Who

This kind of stuff is all over Facebook and Google+ at the moment, but maybe that's just due to my circles of friends in both social networks (one of the girls at work was complaining today that all she ever sees on Facebook these days is pictures of penises and other forms of porn).

I'm a fan of well told stories, and Dr Who has its share or great stories...it has also had its fair share of bad stories, but for a show that's survived 50 years that's to be expected.

We're running through a marathon of the most recent season as I write this, in preparation for the 50th anniversary special. It makes me think of the elements necessary to a good Dr. Who story, it needs genre elements from two sources (from the Dr. Who mythos, and from the setting currently being explored by the Doctor and his companion), these genre elements need to come into conflict early in the story and then they need to combine into an elegant solution as the story reveals its inner workings. The other important factor is that the Doctor always wins, the world might suffer dramatically as a result of his victory, it might change in unexpected ways if things go awry, there might be collateral damage in order to achieve the victory, but the Doctor always wins.

Naturally, this leads me to think that this would make a good game. But not in the way it's been presented in RPGs so far...I don't just want stat blocks for Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Slytheen, Adipose, or the Master...sure, those are the elements from the Doctor's Mythos that make the story distinct, but there needs to be something about the inherent danger and timeline transformation, the way the world changes when the Doctor wins.

In this style of story, the Doctor is not a playable character, he is a force of nature. Instead the players are companions, trying to channel the doctors will in a direction that will cause the least devastation. They try to pick up the pieces of the world once the Doctor has won. They provide the Doctor with his conscience, they give him the clues necessary to make logical leaps, they are instrumental in the achievements, they provide focus.

+Nathan Russell's Space Rat, might be a good place to start when developing a Dr. Who games that sits more closely with the genre material. I've thought this before (and may have even posted about it). I must get around to working this out some day.
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