I didn’t say much about Christmas. What can I say? Katherine Jenkins – beautiful. A talented singer and a feast for the eyes. Matt Smith – sublime as the Ghost of Christmas Past. Gambon – cumudgeonly and appropriately Scrooge like, an old man tortured by the mistakes of the past. As with previous Who, the Doctor’s efforts, for a time, seemed to make things worse rather than better – his interference serving to convolute and complicate the situation. However, in the end, the spirit of Christmas won through and the Time Lord managed to save the day. Rory and Amy – well, they didn’t figure at all. Excess to requirements, they spent their time imprisoned in a ‘sinking ship’, standing around wearing cast off costumes without a reasonable explanation why – except that they’d lost their luggage.
The peek at the future seemed promising, with an American adventure complete with Greys by the looks of things, some River excitement and more promising glimpses. I’m certain all Doctor Who fans will take a keen interest in the impact of the new format, with the season split in two.
So, with the new year ahead and the prospect of two semi-seasons of Who to come, I return to the old chestnut of wanting to play a little Doctor Who role-playing. For the first time, I might have the option of playing with a completely new group, as I’ve been contacted by someone seeking to set up a new gaming group in my area. On the other hand, I still haven’t got anything going at home. The combo of two groups should be a positive thing, giving me the opportunity to try out more than one game at a time; or, I could GM with one and play in the other. However, neither’s going anywhere just yet.
I’m haunted by the Ghost of Gaming Past and reminded that I once spent long summers doing nothing but role-playing, and many years engaged in endless evenings of play-by-mail refereeing. I have committed to endless gaming before – so, why the difficulty with getting anything going now.
Less than an hour until the first part of the Doctor Who finale, it occurred to me a couple of days ago that this feels like Lawrence Miles Alien Bodies. Sam and the Ninth Doctor stumble on an auction for some ultimate artefact that everyone seems to want to get their hands on, whatever the cost. The Pandorica seems to be comparable with this, an artefact that aliens from across the galaxy want to get into their grasp. Mind you, that time ship from the last episode got me in mind of other time travelling adversaries from the past… then ‘Next Time’ with Roman Centurions. Could this be the return of the War Lords?
I watched the clip from the first episode of the finale and saw River Song reading off the types of ship in orbit around Earth… Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen – and Zygons! Brilliant. I suspect we won’t get to see a Zygon, but I think it’s bloody brilliant that they get a mention.
I’m looking forward to it and hope that the explanation for the events of this season all hang together and provide a satisfying conclusion.
I’ve been thinking about connections, considering what might have caused certain events or points of focus.
Is it possible, for example, that one of the tears in reality, like that in Amy’s childhood bedroom, also caused the sun to go nova causing the grand exodus of Earth seen in “The Beast Below”?
Aside from the fact River Song seems to have spent a lot of time there, is the pull of the 51st century significant, given humanity harnessed the power of time travel during this period – seen in the despicable acts of the evil mad man Magnus Greel and the formation of the Time Agency, of which Jack Harkness was a member? I’m reasonably sure it isn’t connected, but Jack’s home in the Boeshane Peninsula suffered mass deaths from an unimaginable horror in this very century. A coincidence of continuity, but still…
Does the presence of Amy and Rory on the distant hilltop suggest more than just a passing interest in their earlier selves – and why is the Doctor somewhat blasé about it, considering the dangers? The events of Father’s Day resulted in his death and came about because Rose tampered with causality – is his memory so short?
Or, perhaps, memory has become a problem for everyone – with Amy forgetting the Daleks (and, for that matter, Van Statten not being aware of them either in 2012 as he struggled to engage with his silent Metaltron – in “Dalek”, despite the mass invasions of “Army of Ghosts”/”Doomsday” and “The Stolen Earth”/”Journey’s End” a few years earlier) and a strong reliance in recent episodes on perception filters keeping what is openly there out of sight and out of mind. Can we trust anything we’re seeing, given the Doctor’s own subconscious dark side can work against him with such murderous intent?
…and when it comes to persuading computers to do something that doesn’t make sense, well more suspension of disbelief comes into play.
PARANOIA featured a skill called Spurious Logic, which allowed you to engage artificial lifeforms in the sort of discussion that left them smouldering in confusion. Captain Kirk had a knack for doing this – with Landru in ‘The Return of the Archons’ and M5 in ‘The Ultimate Computer‘ – uttering some statement or puzzle that logically would not compute and led to much sparking/smoking of circuit boards. It seems that Amy and The Doctor, but the former particularly, managed to pull off a little of this with Bracewell when the Dalek’s initiated the Oblivion Continuum.
In DWAITAS, the standard test for handling spurious logic should be against Convince + Ingenuity – conveying a logical conceit in a manner than denotes absolute belief to anyone listening, artificial or not. To further enhance the prospect of success, a character might take the Trait Technobabble.
Technobabble (Minor Good Trait)
The character has a bewildering grasp of the esoteric nuisances of bleeding edge technologies and obscure scientific theorems. They might not always completely understand the nitty-gritty of the subject matter, but they appear convincingly assured in their grasp of the principles.
Effect: +2 bonus to any roll where the character seeks to assert authority in his grasp of obscure science or technology.
Note: Cannot be taken with the Technically Inept Bad Trait. However, the character’s grasp of the principles does not, in turn, provide any positive modifiers to actual attempts to understand, repair or override gadgets and devices – where the character would need Technology and/or Boffin.