Author Archives: Paul B

About Paul B

Gamer, reviewer, history buff and business analyst. Living in Manchester, in the UK. I work as a senior business analyst and manager. When I'm not at work, I: * Write tabletop game and book reviews, * Develop and market All Rolled Up dice bags with my wife, * Wallow in a library of Tudor history books, and (occasionally) * Write freelance RPG projects - like Paranoia, Maelstrom & Outlive Outdead

Electric Schemes

As if posting Renegade wasn’t sufficient for minimalist time travel gaming, I present Electric Schemes. Intended to emulate TV series like Stranger Things or stories like Tales from the Loop, it could probably handle Sarah Jane Adventures-style games where Sane Jane happens to be out of the picture for the length of the investigation.

You can download the Pocketmod core rules for Electric Schemes, as well as a character sheet.


Recently I have got into the simple side of roleplaying, keen to spend more time playing games than learning them. In the first quarter of 2018, I discovered minimald6 by Norbert G. Matausch – and I created a simple version of my favourite dark fantasy game Symbaroum in the PocketMod form of Davokar.

On the same basis, I plan to do the same for Doctor Who with the release of Renegade.

It isn’t polished, it’s a work in progress. And, for that reason, it will sit here on this web site for a while in text format before I turn it into something more permanent and portable.

I’ll open access to the base document as a Page on this site (soon after the posting of this update). I welcome comments and feedback.

Sarah Jane Smith: Comeback

After all those years away from the TARDIS, only to find herself mixed up with the Tenth Doctor and Rose in the events of Reunion, you might have wondered what plucky reporter Sarah Jane Smith had been up to. Inevitably, she’d stuck to her roots and continued her efforts as an investigative reporter with a special perspective on the world. And Big Finish, in 2002, kicked off a standalone series that offers an insight. Licensed from BBC Worldwide and written by the likes of Terrence Dicks, I guess this forms a little bit of canon from the shadowy years between appearances on TV.

In Comeback, Sarah Jane has most recently worked as an undercover investigative TV reporter for Planet 3 Broadcasting, but six months before the kick-off of the story a botched report has landed her in hot water and out of employment. Sarah Jane has no doubt that the so called facts of the case against her and Planet 3 were fabricated, but she cannot prove it – and she’s certain that the shadowy organisation behind it hasn’t finished with her yet.

Sarah Jane has taken to a life on the move, using false identities and living on edge – never knowing when she might have to up sticks and move again, losing anything good will or connections she might have built up in the meantime. To help her, she has Natalie Redfern, a genius with technology who continues to work for Planet 3; old friend Ellie Martin, a bit of an eco-warrior protester, usually to be found living out of a backpack and fighting against big business and uncaring politicians; and, finally, Josh Townsend – a bit of a rogue with a checkered past, who serves Sarah Janes key companion for most of the adventures.

Josh reminds me a little of Fitz Kreiner from the novelisations of the Eighth Doctor’s Adventures, published by the BBC in the late 90s and early Noughties. They’re all about the rogue, keen on the ladies and with a taste for a pint – indeed, Josh never seems to manage to get very far without giving the local bar or pub a brief visit.

The Comeback story squeezes introductions and a tale of odd goings on in a small village within the confines of a 75 minute running time. And, in truth, it does it very well. We have enough time to get a glimpse of all the major players and a hint of the shadowy organisation that will arc through the series. There’s enough time for a cover-up, an explosion, and some witty conversation between varied parties – and for what it is, Comeback does it well enough.

It might well be the case that the combination of Elizabeth Sladen, Terrance Dicks and Big Finish make it work, because they’re all old hands at what they do. Sarah Jane has the no-nonsense approach to get the job done, no matter the danger; Terrance keeps the story moving; and Big Finish have enough wherewithal to get the right amount of atmosphere.

I’m not sure what I expected – other than that I’d made my commitment by buying both Series of Sarah Jane Smith in one splat of a purchase. I’m happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed and Comeback made for an engaging start – alleviating the boredom of the morning commute!

Sarah Jane Smith: Comeback from Big Finish

Oh, Brilliant!

Yes. In the interest of making life more interesting and having somewhere specific to type up my thoughts about the new Doctor Who series due in the Autumn 2018, I have revived Renegade Timelord and updated the theme to match (somewhat) the new aesthetic of the series.

I’m certain to have things to type and likely to have ideas for gaming as well as matters TV and radio.

For example, at the moment I’m listening to the Sarah Jane Smith series released by Big Finish, back in the middle of the Noughties. It feels odd listening to Elizabeth Sladen’s voice again, hearing new stories while knowing that there will be no more. I’m also fascinated by the story lines that touch on the weird, strange and scientific, but never quite venture wholeheartedly into the territory where the Doctor would get involved.

I’m certain to ponder the new series, the new director, the new Doctor, and what that all might mean.

It’s exciting – and like the recently revival of Star Trek (both in Discovery and The Orville), I’m coming at the new era of Who as a happy lover of sci-fi.