Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How would you write an adventure for Dr Who?

We recently playtested an adventure that Morgue's writing for the Dr Who role-playing game. After our game, I gave a little bit of thought to how Dr Who stories work. Here are the tropes I've identified - can you think of anything else?


A Threat (or Threatening Situation): ala 'Midnight', where you're stuck in a frozen train with a monster, or 'Blink'.

A Plot: where you have a bunch of ideas for a cool sequence of events (basically a railroad/tunnel of fun scenario).

A Mystery: where you have to get to the bottom of something weird. 'The Girl in the Fireplace' would be a good example of this.

A Relationship Web: there's a whole bunch of complicated inter-personal stuff going on, that the Doctor et al stumble in to (I'm thinking of 'Vengeance on Varos' or your adventure, Morgue). This is often related to ...

... A Moral Crime: Like 'Vengeance on Varos' again, there is something unconscionable (by our standards) happening, and it will permanently remain this way unless someone intervenes. These moral crimes have 'People in Power', 'Victims', and (possibly) a 'Resistance'. All the people involved will want the Doctor or the companions to do something (much like in Dogs in the Vineyard).


When I thought about it, Dr Who stories seem to be set in one of these arenas:

- Earth's past (with or without an alien component)
- Earth's present (usually with an alien component)
- Humanity's future (either on Earth or off-world, usually with an alien component)
- An alien environment (it usually doesn't matter *when* this is set)

Jenni wrote more about our game, here: Playing established characters.

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