Tag Archives: River Song

Destination: Known

It’s noted in section 3.1 of Renegade, that characters don’t die – they tend to find themselves in a worse situation than the one faced before the conflict. Take, for example, the end of The Magician’s Apprentice (spoilers… spoilers… SPOILERS!), where both Missy and Clara succumb to the evil of the Daleks (as does the TARDIS for that matter) – destroyed even as the Doctor seeks to plead for their lives. That’s a good example of a hindrance – as Clara (as a player character) ends up separated from the Doctor and in the clutches of Missy. It makes the adventure harder for Clara, because she has to (a) depend on the unreliable assistance of Missy and (b) survive in the hostile wastelands (and sewers) of Skaro.

Of course, that’s not always the way. Sometimes companions do die. However, this is not an ordinary humdrum death – these tend to fall into Destination deaths. I would say Destiny, but somehow Destination seems more suitable for the likes of Susan or Tegan, who end up somewhere – whether they wanted to leave or not. Another example of a Destination would be the Library, for example – or maybe the Singing Towers of Darillium would be the better spot to describe River Song’s Destination – because the Library (as is her want) happens to be where she started rather than ended, dying before we had even got to known her properly.

Setting Your Destination

Destinations shouldn’t be commonplace – but, a player who chooses one will know they have a finite lifespan for their character. River Song might have had a fair run before she met her Destination – less so for Adam or Danny Pink.

In return for choosing a Destination, the character earns a Time Token at the start of any adventure, without needing to roll a triple fail; their finite destiny means that the end always looms.

To give an appropriate sense of what the end means to that character, the Player should lay down some rough details. It can be an absolute location – like ‘Heathrow Airport’ – or it might be more vague – like ‘Love is the Ultimate Sacrifice’ or ‘Helping Those Who Cannot Help Themselves’. Such a loose end point will be easier to pair off with a narrative conclusion, but when you have a TARDIS, T-Mats, Vortex Manipulators and other mechanisms of random transportation, an actual spot isn’t too tough to justify. Of course, saying farewell to friends and companions in the heart of an interstellar plague ship has more emotional resonance than just disappearing and never being seen again.

Arrival Time

When does the Destination arrive? If you want a manageable number of appearances before destiny steps in, separate a single suit of cards from a normal deck and shuffle. At the start of each adventure AFTER the end of the first, draw a card. If the card is an ACE, the character has reached their Destination and should narratively work with the Gamemaster to reach that conclusion before the close of the adventure. Given the selection of knowing what that Destination should be, the whole group might seek to find a way to satisfyingly find it without totally ripping up the adventure! The conclusion of The Angels Take Manhattan, for example, or Earthshock present skewed Destinations that don’t necessarily precisely fit the overall adventure. Think cracks in time, dimensional rifts, malfunctioning devices, narrow escape plans, or last ditch defences against an invincible foe.

If the player character removes any other card, set it aside – the pack should get smaller and smaller, the chances of pulling the Ace greater and greater. Characters like River Song and Tegan Jovanka were not around forever – they just packed a lot of time and adventures into their travels with the Doctor.