So, we all sat down & had ourselves a little game of Doctor Who: Adventures In Time And Space last night. I actually wrote the adventure this time.
I decided to write up something of a narrative to recap the session. I hope you enjoy. This is a little long, the recap is twice the word count of what I had wrote up for the adventure! =D Time will tell if this the beginning of a "season" or not, I do have plans to run more, so we'll see what the players want.
Episode 1: The Mountain
Joe Williamson, career politician of 20th century Earth, played by G.
The Dude, amnesiac savant recently rescued from MK Ultra shit in 1960’s, played by D.
River Song, neo-Time Lady Archaeology Professor & wife of the Doctor, played by V.
*cue theme music*
Scene opens with the Doctor & companions Joe Williamson, Dude, & River Song in the Tardis, conversing. Joe, who had come to meet the Doctor some weeks prior during one of the Doctor’s investigations of weirdness in the 20th century, seemed to be paying close attention to the conversation.
The group had just recently rescued the Dude from some rather inhumane military experimentation occurring in the United States of the 1960’s. This was being undertaken in a secret military base that was secretly under control of some Aliens! They dosed him with mind altering drugs & extreme conditions & radiations. From what the Doctor could gather of the strange aliens’ notes, their goal involved trying to create their own sort of Time Lord. Things got too hot & heavy for anything more to be discovered, but the problem was dealt with & the Dude was now on the Tardis. When asked his name, the Dude simply replied, “I forget my name. Whenever they talked about me they just called me the dude. Wheel in the dude, strap down the dude. I guess just call me Dude.”
The Doctor is not 100% comfortable with this man, mostly due to the experiments that were done on him, which resulted in the Dude being able to Feel the Turn of the Universe. Still, the Doctor felt safer with him close than on his own. So the tall, long-haired, shoeless man is for now a companion of the Time Lord.
As the party deliberated about their next course of action, a distress call sounded from the Tardis’s console. The Doctor read it as originating from a Tech Level 2 planet. It was vague, yet something about the signal seemed familiar to the Doctor. River argues, saying that it’s probably not serious, “What would warrant our intervention on such a primitive planet?”
The Doctor argues back, ultimately setting a course & flying to the source of the call. It’s a rough ride, & the Tardis seems to be actively fighting against landing on this world. River seems to know how to speak to the time-space-ship, though, & calms the Tardis.
Near-immediately after stepping foot on this new world the party encounters the natives: canine humanoids. They are civilized enough, & even after the Dude attempts to steal one of their blades, take them to their village, all the while muttering something about The Mountain. Indeed, not too far off in the distance a rather conspicuous mountain can be seen. It doesn’t quite fit the natural mountain range nearby, & a scan from River’s sonic screwdriver reveals a perception filter, showing that the mountain isn’t actually a mountain.
At the canine people’s village, the party speaks to Chief Astivan, who insists that they go back home to the mountain & to not bring any more sickness upon his people. Upon further questioning, the Chief believes the group when they say they are not from the mountain & so explains that there are folk of similar breed, if not color that come from within the mountain. He also relates he had a friend named Kharim who ventured into the mountain’s cave, & returned quite mad.
The group wastes little time in the village, making a direct route to the mountain. Joe does some minor investigating, turning up the chief’s former friend, commonly referred to as “Mad Kharim.” The Dude speaks to Kharim, gaining some insight into the goings on in the mountain. Apparently the mountain people can perform magic with special crystals, one of which Kharim wears as a pendant. Here, outside the mountain, though, the crystal does not work. Dude manages to convince Mad Kharim to let him have the crystal, to take to the mountain & fix for him. River scans the crystal, her screwdriver tells her it is of Gallifreyan origin. She mentions this to no one, but gives the Doctor a look, who returns it with a worried, sad, “I-know-what’s-going-on-here-&-it-won’t-end-well” expression of his own.
A footpath leads up the mountain side to the cave, an archway in the mountain. The grass & other vegetation continue to grow within. River scans the entryway, with odd results, which indicate this doorway is the doorway of a Tardis. The Doctor says nothing & passes into the cave without hesitation. The Dude’s innate senses tell him things are a little off.
“This doesn’t feel natural, guys. I don’t feel right,” he says.
The cave inside is a circular, seemingly sunlit chamber in the center of which is an ancient-looking stone altar, hexagonal in shape, with a broken stone cylinder standing on top. There is a large archway across from the entrance, leading out into what looks like an outdoor forest of pine, oak, & maple-looking trees. The Dude shows the Doctor Kharim’s crystal, which the Doctor snatches from his hand. He then uses the crystal & his sonic to fiddle around with the altar, after which the entire environment seems to lurch, shift, & dim. The central stone shifts into an old Tardis console with a damaged central pillar & a Gallifreyan symbol is projected in the air:
At this point it has become quite clear that they are dealing with a Tardis, River realizes that this one is dying & belonged to, according to the symbol, one called Seeker. The Doctor looks stressed. Humanoids with grey & green-hued skin enter the cave from the opposite arch, one dropping to his knee, the other confused. They make mention of the gods, & urge them to come to their town. After a bit of a walk, they come to a meadow surrounded by trees. In the middle of the meadow is a small town, perhaps of Tech Level 3. With a slight feeling of déjà vu, they are brought to the king of these people.
The king, Odsfirth, is pleased to meet them, making mention that they must have come to visit the Seeker, as the party is clearly a group of “Gallifreyan Lords,” heralds of the gods. This Seeker, a deific lord, had helped their people throughout generations, occasionally with different faces, but always the same entity. Clearly these people do not understand their world is inside a ship & partially artificial.
After speaking with the King it is discovered that these people have been using things the Doctor calls “Vector Crystals,” which are crystalline chunks identical to the one Dude received from Kharim. The people are using these, which are in reality pieces of the Tardis, to interact with the rendered environment of their world to perform magical acts. At this point the Doctor makes it clear to the party that this place is, in fact, inside a Tardis; a Tardis that is dying & in fact he estimates they only have about 8 hours before everything shuts down & goes “pop,” effectively destroying this population & the outside planet. Part of this rapid deterioration is due to all the “magic” being done with the crystals. Quickly the Dude & Joe convince the king to ban the use of the crystals & he sends out men to collect them. The party asks about anything this Seeker may have left behind, they are shown to a back chamber in which an ancient set of Gallifreyan regalia sits in a glass case.
Meanwhile, River rushes back to the console room to see what she can figure. There isn’t much life left in this thing, a jump start might be possible with the Doctor’s Tardis, in order to make a final journey into the vortex, but it’s a long shot. Further jiggery-pokery gets some choppy videos of the Seeker’s journal. Apparently these people were caught in the crossfire of the Time War & the Seeker had a soft spot for them. The final clip River gets is the Seeker simply saying, “I’m done, I can’t do it, I’m done.” She rushes back to meet the Doctor & others. River proposes an insane solution: create a rip in space time to push the dying Tardis into so that it may perish in the vortex.
While this is happening a group of “sorcerers” appear in town & begin causing havoc with their vector crystals. The rendered world lurches & flickers as the deterioration is exponentially increased by such activity. They are not happy with the king’s sudden ban on magic. Joe tries to use his oratory skills to calm the mini-riot, but it does little good. Dude, seemingly overwhelmed, begins jogging away towards the console cave. River & the Doctor catch up to Joe & tell them of their plan to rig as many crystals as possible to the Doctor’s Tardis & then rig that to this dying Tardis to create a rip in space time. Joe has a flash of inspiration, & pulls out his psychic paper, calling on these people to bring all their crystals to the “sacred cave” & to stop the “sorcerers” & begin evacuating through the cave, for their world was in immediate peril. Unbeknownst to Joe, the psychic paper declared him to be the newest incarnation of the Seeker! Instantly the town went into action, bringing piles of the crystals to the cave & forcibly taking the ones from the would-be sorcerers. The king bestows the Gallifreyan regalia upon Joe Williamson, who now realizes what has happened.
River meanwhile has run back to the Tardis, finding none other than the Dude, lounging about in the console room smoking a cigarette. She simply looks at him disdainfully & pilots the Tardis to the cave entrance. Quickly she & the doctor rig up cables & crystals from his Tardis to the dying one. Time is running out as people rush through the cave, making to escape their dying world. The illusion of the meadow is fading, the vegetation is looking sickly. Evacuating civilians slow River down as she attaches crystals to cables & console.
With minutes remaining, the last of the Tardis-dwellers make it through the cave with Joe “the Seeker” aiding them. With everyone out, & Joe in the Doctor’s Tardis, the Doctor hits the switch to activate the contraption & rip open space time. Chaos ensues, then, the sounds of metal ripping, lightning crashing, wind roaring, & odd popping screams through the cave. River barely rolls through the Tardis doors as they make to take off, but the Doctor barely makes it, clinging to the edge with his fingertips as all kinds of temporal insanity is made manifest inside the dying Tardis. Joe heroically helps to pull him in & cut the line so they may escape, but it takes him seconds too long. As Joe & the Doctor roll into the Tardis, the doors close, & great explosions rock the ship. They dissipate quickly, as the course was plotted to leave the planet already. The Dude still sits nonchalantly smoking cigarettes.
The consequences of pushed luck are quickly made evident. The Doctor is rolling in pain, skin blackened, & Joe’s arms are withered & black. Not burned, just jet black, almost as if the surface was a bottomless pit. As regeneration energy begins to swirl around the Doctor, he tells River, “We have to make sure it worked, we have to go back & make sure it worked!” He then crawls his way to the side of the chamber, grunting & clenching his teeth.
“My arms!” Joe screams, in pain, apparently unable to move his arms.
River takes a quick scan. The prognosis isn’t good. It’s negative temporal infection & is liable to spread. Making a quick decision, River feigns to set the course the Doctor requested, but instead takes the ship to New-New-New-New-New-New-New York on New Earth in the 51st century. The Doctor is regenerating across the room, but River doesn’t hesitate in taking Joe out.
Joe spends only four days in hospital. Miraculously, somehow, they managed to cure the condition, but his arms are permanently withered. He will never have the same strength in them again.
As he re-enters the Tardis, a newly regenerated Doctor stands at the console, apparently moments away from hitting the switch to disembark. He has a more muscular frame, a more square jaw & prominent chin. His eyes gleam as he simply throws a lever, taking the group to time & place unknown!
lol, Joe's player just happened to blurt out, "Now he looks like Patrick Swayze!" & it instantly became canon. RIP, Mr Swayze, absolutely no disrespect.