Friday, April 21, 2023

#AtoZChallenge2023: Doctor Who Role-Playing Games

Doctor Who RPGs
You didn't think I would do this whole A to Z and not mention RPGs?

My exposure to Doctor Who was coterminous with my exposure to RPGs and Dungeons & Dragons in particular. When I would go to bookstores, my goal was always a new D&D book and a new Doctor Who novel.  So when in the mid-80s I discovered that FASA (a company I knew of from their Star TrekRPG) had also done a Doctor Who RPG. Well, I had to get it. 

Well. Actually, my brother got it first. But I spent a lot of time reading it. 

FASA Doctor Who

I enjoyed the Star Trek RPG (and still do), and this one was a new experience for me. I had tried to play Traveller back then (I finally got around to it) and played Star Frontiers, but this was Doctor Who. It was an officially licensed game, and I loved it. 

The FASA Doctor Who game took some liberties with the Doctor Who cannon. It had to. Even in the 1980s, Doctor Who was 20 years old and had stories all over the place. Some were contradictory to each other, and some others had taken place in "the future," which was now in the past. It was always entertaining to read about something that was supposedly going on then. Reading in 1985 about the Cyberman Invasion of 1986 in the past tense was fun. 

Over the years I have collected the entire FASA Who series. It hasn't been cheap but it has been fun.

FASA Doctor Who RPG

FASA Doctor Who RPG

Given the closeness of the rules to their own Star Trek RPG I am still half-tempted (ok, more than half) to run a Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover.  Tom Baker era Who with TOS era Trek. 

Time Lord

Time Lord was another Doctor Who RPG. This one was written by Ian Marsh and Peter Darvill-Evans and published in 1991 by Virgin Publishing. I knew of it, but never played it. I also never owned a copy.

Much like the original release of the Indiana Jones RPG there were no character creation rules, just pre-gens of the Doctor and various companions. 

The game was released in paperback book form. This was not a surprise since the publisher, Virgin, was a book publisher and not a game publisher. Virgin had made their mark in Doctor Who fandom with  Target books novelizations of the classic Doctor Who episodes and the "New Adventures" product line of new stories featuring the Seventh Doctor at first and then moving into the Eighth and other Doctors. 

In 1996 the entire game with some unpublished supplements was released online.

Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space

The latest version of the Doctor Who RPG comes to us from Cubicle 7. If you have been a long-time reader here you know my fondness and history with this game. It is now currently in its Second Edition.

Doctor Who RPG

Doctor Who RPG

It is a fantastic game and has provided me an endless amount of fun. There has been a printing featuring in turn the 10th, 11th, War, 12th and 13th Doctors. I don't have them all since they had minor changes between each one, though I did get them on PDF.

Additionally, I have all the guides for the various Doctors. 

Doctor Who RPG books

Honestly, I could spend forever talking about these games.

Since I typically dedicate May to Sci-Fi RPGs maybe I'll spend my May going through all of these.

A to Z of Doctor Who

All images are used with permission from the BBC and are copyrighted 2023 by the BBC.


PT Dilloway said...

I think FASA also did BattleTech, which I read some of the books in the 90s and played the video games. Never really done paper RPGs though for any property. We didn't really have the room in my house growing up for that kind of thing and I didn't know anyone into that stuff.

Smileymiler said...

Likewise played the FASA back in the day, the DM was an old mate John Sewell whose knowledge of Dr Who is unparalleled. I also remember spending many evenings watching old episodes on VHS while drinking cheap cider. Joy. He ran the game with a depth, lightness of touch and sense of humour that made it great fun. He's not precious about the Who cannon as too many "serious" Whoies (Dweebs) can be. The FASA treatment was effective but lacked something somehow.
Another of the players around our dining table was Dave Chapman, Frankie as we always called him. Given this pedigree it's probably not surprising that Dave got the job at Cubicle 7 to write the 2nd Edition. John's in the credits too. Top job!