Showing posts with label sci-fi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sci-fi. Show all posts

Friday, December 29, 2023

Friday Night Videos: Songs of Thirteen Parsecs

Nothing puts me in the mood for working on a campaign or writing new material quite like a good playlist.

So while we are working on Thirteen Parsecs, Jason has put together a new sci-fi themed playlist for your enjoyment.

Don't forget to sign up to learn more about this project.


Kickstart your Future! Thirteen Parsecs

It's the end of the week, the end of the month and the end of the year. So lets look to the future!

Thirteen Parsecs

13 Parsecs

Thirteen Parsecs: Adventures Beyond the Solar Frontier is the latest tabletop role-playing game project from Elf Lair Games, producers of Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars and Wasted Lands: The Dreaming Age. It forms the third of our trilogy of core games - we've given you modern and fantasy, and now we bring sci-fi to the forefront with the same rules, completely customizable and ready for you to build exactly the type of science fiction gaming you want. As always, it's your game your way when it's Powered by O.G.R.E.S.!

I am so excited for this.  I have been dying to work on a solid sci-fi game since forever.

What is Thirteen Parsecs?

Like our other games, NIGHT SHIFT and Wasted Lands, Thirteen Parsecs is an O.G.R.E.S.-powered game. So if you have played a classic RPG then you know how to play this one already.

Also like NIGHT SHIFT, Thirteen Parsecs will be a "toolbox game."  We are going to give you the basic rules and structure for all sorts of Science Fiction style role-playing. So whether you want to play heroic characters in an epic space opera, explore strange new world with a group of explorers, battle alien threats, deal with a post-apocalyptic hellscape, or tackle humankind's first leap to the stars, then this game is for you.

BUT that is not all. Like NIGHT SHIFT we will encourage you to make your own worlds and setting to make it the sci-fi game YOU want. 

I have been talking for years, decades even, on how there has not been a sci-fi game that connects with me. Thirteen Parsecs will change that for me. Here are the worlds I am planning to bring you as my contribution in one form or another.

Space Truckers

This one began as a bit of joke and I have tried in different systems. It is "Smokey and the Bandit" meets "Blake's 7" with a dash of "Red Dwarf" and "Quark."  It is supposed to be silly fun about the lives of long-haul "truckers" on the edge of the Solar Frontier. The Colonies need their light beer too. I am planning on designing this to work with any of the other settings we have.

Dark Star (formerly BlackStar)

I have talked about this one a lot, my "Star Trek meets Cthulhu." The deal here is that Jason also has one he wants to do and so does our other member Derek. So it is very likely they will all get combined somehow into something new and better.  The basic idea here is "In Space, the stars are always right."

Völlig Losgelöst

My love letter to 80s sci-fi horror. This one might appear later due to space (heh) issues. If you enjoyed movies like "Lifeforce," "Galaxy of Terror," and "Xtro" then you will find a lot to love here. This one is explicitly a NIGHT SHIFT/Thirteen Parsecs crossover game, so I might wait until after the core rules are published. Essentially I want to create the future as we saw it from the mid-1980s. 

I have more ideas and these are only mine. Jason and Derek have a ton as well. 

So please sign up and watch for more details!

Want to know more? Just ask!

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Coming in 2024: Thirteen Parsecs

 You know how I have lamented how I never have found the perfect sci-fi RPG?  Well. That all might be changing.

Thirteen Parsecs

13 Parsecs

Thirteen Parsecs: Adventures Beyond the Solar Frontier is the latest tabletop role-playing game project from Elf Lair Games, producers of Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars and Wasted Lands: The Dreaming Age. It forms the third of our trilogy of core games - we've given you modern and fantasy, and now we bring sci-fi to the forefront with the same rules, completely customizable and ready for you to build exactly the type of science fiction gaming you want. As always, it's your game your way when it's Powered by O.G.R.E.S.!

I am so excited for this.  I have been dying to work on a solid sci-fi game since forever.

A bit of background, I think I have mentioned in the past that prior to switching gears to become a psychologist I had actually started out in physics, and astrophysics in particular. I got to a point in calculus where I just stopped understanding it, so I had to switch. BTW this makes my former Actuary (with degrees in math) wife laugh her ass off all the time. 

So it will be wonderful to put all this knowledge I have about astronomy, space, and science to good use.

Launch is not till later in the year, but Jason is already working out all sorts of great things. I hope to resurrect Space Truckers, get some more mileage out of Dark Star (formerly BlackStar), and more.

So please sign up and watch for more details!

Friday, November 24, 2023

Doctor Who RPG: The Lost Children of Time

 A couple of weeks back, I took a bit of a break to talk about some SciFi ideas I had.  Well, it must have nestled into my brain and laid eggs that hatched because I now have a bunch more ideas. Or maybe because Doctor Who has been on my mind a lot lately since yesterday was the 60th Anniversary of the show and tomorrow is the premier of the 60th Anniversary special.  One of those ideas was something I was calling "The Lost Children of Time."  The idea was half-baked, at best, but that ended today.


Doctor Who RPG: The Lost Children of Time

Now to be fair this doesn't have to be used with the Doctor Who RPG. But I think the feel of the 2nd Edition game might fit this the best. Plus I think I would run this as a one-shot.  So who are the characters? The eponymous Lost Children of Time?  Well, they are the reason I put this together to start with so let us see who they are.

  • Jonas Kahnwald (Dark) - Age 20, he ceases to exist when his world timeline is destroyed.
  • Martha Nielsen (Dark) - Age 20, from a parallel world/timeline. Her timeline is also destroyed when Jonas' is to make room for a third (or original) timeline where they do not exist.
  • Cal Stone (Manifest) - Age 22. The older version of the Cal Stone that was temporarily displaced on Flight 828. When the time was reset Cal was returned as age 11. This is 22-year-old Cal.
  • DC Iris Maplewood (Bodies) - Age ??. From an alternate future (2053) where England is under near fascist rule. She is sent back in time to 1890, 1941, and 2023.  For reasons unknown, her 2023 counterpart survives the collapse of her timeline.

The characters all bring something to the table. Jonas is our everyday guy. Martha is already used to fighting and dealing with strange things. Cal has a sixth sense and visions (Callings), and Iris is a cop. All have time-travel experience. 

But who is it they are after? Well, that came to me today.

They are fighting a time and space displaced Jack the Ripper.

How is that possible? Easy. Let's take another time travel movie, Time After Time from 1979. It features Malcolm McDowell as H.G. Wells and David Warner as Jack the Ripper. Both who have solid sci-fi credits to their name including parts in various Star Trek movies and series.   In this movie H.G. Wells builds a working time machine, but it is stolen by his friend Stevenson, aka Jack the Ripper. He travels to 1979 where he picks up his killings anew. Wells follows him when his time machine returns.  While in 1979 Jack attempts to escape but Wells removes the "vaporizing equalizer" from the machine. This causes the time machine to remain, but send Jack to "oblivion" according to Wells. We assume he is dead.

But if he wasn't?

Que the Second Season Star Trek episode "Wolf in the Fold."  In this episode (note: it really doesn't hold up well despite being a good horror episode written by Robert Bloch) we meet Redjac, a non-corporeal entity that murders women to feed on their fear. Spock's reasoning aside I am going to go back on to my tried true explanation of psychic ability is a sex-linked trait on the X chromosome. People with XX chromosomes are more likely to have psychic abilities than people with XY. This is what Redjac feeds on. Everyone feels fear, but people with greater psychic potential are a better meal to it.

Redjac in the episode is believed to have been the cause of Jack the Ripper. But what if it was the other way around? What if H.G. Wells sending Stevenson/Jack to "oblivion" only freed it from its corporeal form and sent out into Time and Space to hunt anew?

I would need to figure out how this group comes together. How they find the clues and then how they solve the mystery of the Ripper-like murders of women in 2023.

Easiest of course would be to have Jonas and Martha in London where they get into Iris' cab/Uber. Cal is easy, he has a vision and goes there.  There is my plot twist too. Redjac normally only murders women because of their greater psychic potential, but Cal with his callings is a much tastier target. 

How do they defeat the Ripper/Redjac? 

No idea yet. But it will involve some time travel to be sure. 

The key here was David Warner. He was amazing as Stevenson/Jack the Ripper in "Time After Time." He has played no less than three separate characters in Star Trek and a character in Doctor Who. He was also in an Outer Limits episode about Jack the Ripper that uses a similar idea. 

Also is Redjac/Jack content to travel in time or does he have a greater purpose? 

It sounds like a lot of fun and I can't wait to try it out.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Jenny, Larina and Valerie for the Doctor Who RPG Second Edition

So it is June, and historically June has been D&D month around here. Though I have to admit I have not been in a D&D mood all year.  I do have some things that fill that space certainly and will get to them.

Today though feels more like May 32nd. So I am going to do a little bit more with my Doctor Who posts and move on to other things.  And a good place to do that is to compare the three characters that I have been using for all my Doctor Who posts; Larina, Jenny Everywhere, and Valerie. 

The biggest difference between the 1st Edition and 2nd Edition Doctor Who RPGs is predominantly in character creation. Since I have three characters here that are a bit outside of the norm they make good test subjects for the new Distinctions.

Three Time Travelers meet in a bar

Who Are You?

So I have a public domain "shifter," an immortal from the 16th Century, and a witch vaguely aware of all her past lives. How do these three get together in a bar in Soho?

Thankfully I already have good ideas about who these characters are in the Doctor Who universe. I just need to get them to jell together.  Using the Shared Background Experiences table on p. 33 helps. 

  • Jenny has met other versions of Larina but sees that, unlike her, Larina is only vaguely aware of them. Larina wants to know what Jenny knows.
  • Jenny has come across Valerie in the past. Val thought Jenny was immortal, Jenny (never Jen) thought Val was another shifter. 
  • Val and Larina have known each other for years. Val has also interacted with Larina's past lives.
  • Jenny goes to Larina for a Tarot reading, and despite all the shuffling, all the cards when flipped over are blank. The same thing happens again with Valerie. 
  • This is the big one. All three try to avoid each other. Larina says they have strange auras, and not the same sort of strange. Jenny says the other two "buzz" and it gives her a headache. Val says that when they are together weirder than average shit happens. When it is all three the wierdness increases.

So when a chance meeting in a bar in Westminster one cold November night, things got weird.

Going back to the characters now and build them by the new rules. 

Jenny Everywhere

I have mentioned Jenny a lot. She is a great character for the Doctor Who game and maybe even a better character for this newer version.

As always, I must include her license:

"The character of Jenny Everywhere is available for use by anyone, with only one condition. This paragraph must be included in any publication involving Jenny Everywhere, in order that others may use this property as they wish. All rights reversed."

Concept: Shifter in time and space.

What does that mean? Well she can sense changes in time flow, she can move about realities, she knows things that she otherwise would not know or not be capable of knowing. This new edition is explicit on the fact that the Time War changed history and the future and what we thought happened didn't or happened differently. Jenny can sense that.

Focus: Adventure

Jenny is nothing if not about adventure. She doesn't bemoan her abilities or lot in life, she embraces them.

Distinction: Shifter

This is what she is. It defines her. Since this is a major one her Story Points are reduced per page 47.

Jenny Everywhere for the Doctor Who RPG 2nd Edition

Valerie Beaumont

To paraphrase the Doctor, she is not my character but I have put a lot of work into her. Valerie is an immortal and she is always search for others like her, somewhat out of companionship and kinship but mostly to discover why she is the way she is. 

Concept: Immortal seeker of knowledge

Everything about Val revolves around her desire to learn more about who she is and her place in this cosmos. 

Focus: Discovery

Val is cautious not to let people know who she is until she knows who they are first. But when it comes to a mystery or discovering something new she jumps in feet first and then figures out how she will land on the way down.

Distinctions: Immortal, striking appearance

This one was easy, and the examples are given in the book. She also takes a minor reduction in Story Points.

Valerie Beaumont for the Doctor Who RPG 2nd Edition for the Doctor Who RPG 2nd Edition

Larina Nichols

Ah. Now this girl. We go way back. 

She is a witch. Regardless what that means in any given world that is who she is. If anything she lives by the quote "A witch is not what you do it is who you are." Sounds like a Concept to me.

Concept: Modern Witch

She believes in magic, in the power of crystals and more. She does not view these as "paranormal" just "extra normal." Certainly in the universe of Doctor Who she can be justified.

Focus: Curiosity

Larina wants to know things just for the sake of knowing them. Her curiosity is insatiable and it gets her into trouble. A lot.

Distinctions: Psychic, striking appearance

Ah, now here is where the Distinctions work better than traits. In the First Edition, I had to buy a lot of traits to get her the powers I wanted, even if in a small bit. Here she takes a Major Distinction, Psychic and I work out with my GM ( and figure out what she has when. So she is telepathic and empathic and can have visions of the future (precognitive) when needed.  There are plenty of examples of these sorts of humans in Doctor Who, well traveling with this bunch has turned her abilities up. Turned up so much that they might even become dangerous. 

The balance here is do I reduce her Story Points OR as the GM use her as a plot device?  Both sound appealing. 

Larina "Nix" Nichols for the Doctor Who RPG 2nd Edition for the Doctor Who RPG 2nd Edition

I have to admit. I rather love these. I knew with the new 2nd Edition system, things like my group of weirdos here would work so much better.

Right now the only thing keeping me in the First Edition game is inertia, but if I had too I could switch over to the Second Edition with no looking back.

We are the Weirdos Doctor.

I'll reiterate this with more clarity.

If you are new to RPGs and/or new to Doctor Who, then this is the version of the game to get.  Get to your FLGS (preferably) or Amazon (if you must) and grab a copy. Or if you are a Save the Trees type (good for you!) then head over to DriveThruRPG and grab a copy in PDF. It has everything you need except dice.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Review: Doctor Who: The Roleplaying Game Second Edition

Doctor Who: The Roleplaying Game Second Edition
Earlier today, I covered the Starter Set for the new Doctor Who The Roleplaying Game Second Edition. Now I want to cover the full core book.

I will do a full review, but also I want to cast an eye toward the differences in the game from the previous First Editon(s).

Doctor Who: The Roleplaying Game Second Edition

PDFs and Hardcover book. Full color. 256 pages.

PDF is broken down into Core rules, Doctor, Companions, and Pregen charactersheets, and a blank character sheet.

As always, I am considering the PDFs from DriveThruRPG as well as the Core Rules book from my FLGS. 

New Doctor means new trade dress and rules from Cubicle 7. But this time C7 goes the extra step and gives us an all new rule book with new (ish) system. What's inside? Let's have a look.

The layout of the book is very similar to the previous hardcovers, so if you are moving to this game from the First Edition then things will be easy for you to find.

The table of contents is up first and immediately you get the idea that this edition is courting new players. Each chapter for example has a brief sentence describing what it is for starters. 

Chapter One: Let's Get a Shift On

Upfront, just like the previous versions, this book focuses on the then-current Doctor, the 13th, played by Jodie Whitaker and her companions. Though the other Doctors are not forgotten here. 

Doctor Who Second Edition

This is our introduction chapter and it orientates the reader on who the Doctor is, what RPGs are and this one in particular. There is some bits about using the metric system (the USA really needs to get with the rest of the world here) and if you have round, round down. 

We end with an example of play.

If you are coming to this game from either the previous edition or the Starter Set then this chapter is familiar territory. 

Chapter Two: Travellers in the Fourth Dimension

As with previous editions, this is our Character Creation chapter with new rules ahead.  We start with a character concept in the form of "Who are you?" not a backstory but rather an idea of who your character is. There is a discussion about the tone of your game and how do the characters all get along. We get everything from the extended "fam" of the 13th Doctor to the group of UNIT operatives. 

Note: The text here, while similar to previous editions, does not feel "copied and pasted" from other editions/versions. This does read like a new game, albeit one with some familiarity. 

Doctor Who Second Edition

The game starts with your Concept. That is who this character is. So for a companion like Yaz she is a "Probationary Police Officer." Leela would be a "Primitive tribe member."  This helps us figure out what our characters are. 

Next we get to our Focus. From the rulebook: "Where a character’s Concept is ‘who they are’, their Focus is more of ‘what makes them tick?’" That is a good summary. A Focus has a benefit (adds a +1d6) and a flaw, which is just a restriction on what sort of actions you take. Continuing with the Yaz example her Focus could be "The Law" meaning she can get a bonus when acting with authority but maybe she wont want to participate in a little B&E.  Now depending on the intensity of your Focus it could be a +1d6 or +2d6 or even a solid +6 to any roll. 

Experiences cover things the character could have done already. Yaz has some experience with the Law due to her education and she has experience as the daughter of an immigrant family and so on.  Don't have anything in mind? No worries there is a 1d6x1d6 grid to help you find out. Likewise there is one for shared background experiences. This is great since so many of the companions of the Doctor had these shared experiences. Ian and Barbara were both teachers at the same school, Teegan and Nyssa both had family members killed by the Master.

Once you have these then we get into your point buy Attributes. This is largely the same as the previous edition (and most point-buy games). These are still Awareness, Coordination, Ingenuity, Presence, Resolve, and Strength. Skills are also largely the same with 12 skills. Previous combat-related skills have been merged into the Conflict skill. There is a new "Intuition" skill now.  

Distinctions are also new and these largely replace the Traits of the previous version. These are mostly things like "Time Lord" or "Cyberman" or "Sontaran." Taking these usually result in fewer Story Points. Humans get 12, a Sontaran might get 8, and an experienced Time Lord also 8.

Fill in some more background information, set your home Tech Level and you are ready to go. Once you play a bit you will collect experience points.  The end of this chapter covers spending experience points. 

Chapter Three: Sorting Out Fair Play Throughout the Universe

This chapter covers running a game. The basic rule is still pretty much the same.


(try to match or beat the Difficulty of the task)

So now Distinctions can alter these rolls, but the basic gameplay is still the same. This includes the Success and Failure levels associated with the rolls. 

This also covers spending (and regaining) Story Points.

Plenty of examples are given on how the rules manifest in game play but really this is one of those games where the rules seamlessly move into the background while you are playing. 

One such example of this are contested rolls and the example is combat. Again, Doctor Who is not a "kill all the monsters and take their stuff" sort of game, but every so often there will be creatures that want you dead.  

Along with this some weapons are detailed along with other equipment and vehicles. 

Special care is given to gadgets which are now less regulated by the rules. Essentially they do what they need to do.  

Chapter Four: A Big Ball of Timey-Wimey Stuff

This covers the basic of traveling in Time and Space with some details about how the TARDIS works and so on. There are other means mentioned, but the TARDIS is our state-of-the-art means. TARDISes in the game are built a lot like characters are. This was always part of the rules, but it is more front and center in this edition. 

This chapter also covers the various issues with Time Travel. 

Doctor Who Second Edition

Chapter Five: Hold Tight and Pretend It’s a Plan

This is our Gamemaster section. It covers how to run a game. From designing your first group of travelers to the big wide universe they live in. It covers how to set up a game and a series of adventures (a campaign). This material is very similar to previous editions. This is expected since the advice in those editions was great and spot on, no need to over do it or redo it. 

This also covers dealing more and more with the companions lives and families. Companions took a more central role in the story of the Doctor with the updated series. Their job is not so much to scream, get captured, and ask "what is it Doctor?" Now they drive key elements of the story and the adventures. 

Chapter Six: A Brief History of Space and Time

This covers the setting of the Doctor Who RPG which is at present all of Time and Space. So yeah fairly inclusive of everything. Special attention is paid to the Doctor's favorite planet, Earth. Which is good since that is the one the authors also know the most about. 

This chapter covers a few monsters/creatures/aliens for you to encounter and more background on Time Lords and Gallifreyans. Attention is given here to the Master in all their incarnations. 

We get details on the "big ones" of course, Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Silurians, and Ice Warriors. Good mix of both Classic Who beasties and NuWho ones. 

Doctor Who Second Edition

Appendix: Remember All the People You Used to Be

This covers converting your Doctor Who 1st Edition Characters over to the new Second Edition. Not a difficult process at all really. About the same as moving from say any edition to Call of Cthulhu to another. Less complicated than moving from 1st Edition AD&D to 2nd Ed AD&D to be sure.

We also get character sheets for the 13th Doctor, Graham, Yasmin "Yaz", and Ryan. There is a blank sheet, and a good Index.

Doctor Who Second Edition

Who is this Game For?

If you are new to RPGs and are a fan of Doctor Who then this is the game for you.

If you are not new to RPGs but new to Doctor Who then this game is also good. But that is not the real question is it.

Should I Switch/Upgrade?

If you have the First Edition Doctor Who RPG, any version, and you really love it I would say stick with that. Reading 2nd Edition books with a First Edition mindset is not difficult ad I pointed out with the Doctor Who Sourcebooks

If you want to keep up with all the Doctor Who books, then yeah, this is a fine edition of the rules.

The trade-off between Traits (1st Ed) and Distinctions (2nd Ed) is largely one of taste. Traits are little crunchier and Distinctions require more buy-in from the Players and Gamemaster. 

Honestly, I can see a game where Traits and Distinctions can co-exist and can be played in the same game. Traits are just a bit more codified.

The book itself is gorgeous with plenty of color photos from the show (and even some black & white ones) and while the 13th Doctor and her "fam" are predominate, all Doctors are represented here at least once. 

For me? Well, let's build some characters and see if I can get what I want.

Review: Doctor Who Second Edition Starter Set

Doctor Who Second Edition Starter Set
Running a little behind schedule this week. I took yesterday off of work and here. But back it!

Another new decade (2020s), another new actress to play the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker in 2018) and yes, a new edition of the Doctor Who role-playing game from Cubicle 7.  Now this time, it is a proper Second Edition. I teased this the other day with the 13th Doctor Sourcebook, but now time to get into the game proper. 

Doctor Who Second Edition Starter Set

For this review I am considering both the PDFs from DriveThruRPG and the physical boxed set from my FLGS.

The PDF contains the following files: 

  • 2-page Read This First file which covers the really basic basics of an RPG.
  • The Timeless Library Adventure Book. This 48-page Adventure as an Introduction covers a bunch of human characters looking for the Doctor. IT's not a bad introductory adventure and covers all sorts of different aspects of the game. I'll get into details in a moment.
  • The Echo Chamber is set up as a campaign guide building off of the adventure in the Timeless Library.  This 65-page book expands on the game-play ideas and shows how the game can be expanded. This one is of more use to new Gamemasters.
  • Character sheets 10 pages of 5 new characters to use for this set. No black sheets or companions from the show just yet.
  • There is a 4-page Reference sheet.
  • A file of Story Point tokens.
  • Box lid with some references.

The physical boxed set has all of these as well, with the addition of a set of d6s. I am now in the market for a new Doctor Who-themed dice bag.

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed SetDoctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

The box for this is extremely sturdy. It will last a long time.

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

This set is great for someone, or a group, that has never played an RPG before or has minimal exposure to them. Fans of the show would also enjoy this.

If you have the First Edition, this is a good introduction to the minor changes (and some major ones) to the Doctor Who RPG. Though players of the First Edition and gamers, in general, can skip right to the hardcover rules.

This set, though, is quite attractive and the same level of design I have come to associate with C7 is still here. 

If I were starting a new group with the Doctor Who RPG I would go to this first likely. It is very much the "Basic Set" the hardcover's "Advanced" rules. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 5, Room 30

 With the Mummy/Captain dead, the dias rises up into a large opening in the ceiling of this vast metal structure.  The party can now see how long it is and how much of it must be buried under more stone and earth.

Room 30

The structure they are on is made of smooth metal and it has a curve to it. So a successful DEX check is needed or the players will slide off and hit the rocks below for 4d6 hp of damage.

A rope (50') is needed to descend to the cave floor.

The cave is completely filled by the metal structure.   Ahead is an open cave mouth.

There are the bones of several animals here. It the party stays longer than 1 hour they will feel the effects of the necromantic magics that are concentrated here. They will begin to loose 1 hp every hour they remain. These hp only can be regained by magical healing. The healing "wands" will not be effective.


The ship is not an impediment when the Vampire Queen was active. There are a series of small tubes and tunnels she could use in gaseous form or as a bat to ascend to the surface.

Monday, May 29, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 5, Room 29

 This is the command center of the whole level (ship) this is obvious to anyone.  There are "windows" on the walls and they show scenes of rooms that the players have already been too and they should easily recognize them.

Room 29

Sitting in a throne-like chair is a dedicated mummy of an Ophidian. 

The mummy gets up and approached the party. It tells the party, in a language they know, that it has been watching them and now needs them to leave its prison.  Though, it adds, it really only needs one of them.

At this point, a ray fires out from a spot on the ceiling at the party.  Everyone must save vs Death Ray. Any that fail will be held fast. They will lose 1 point of WIS per round. When they hit zero the Mummy will possess them.

The beam emitter is AC 0 (19) and can be hit with a missile weapon or spell-like magic-missile. The emitter has 20 hp. 

Attacking the mummy will keep it from possessing the characters, as will killing it. The mummy has no minions since pretty much everyone else is dead.  The mummy is so old it has 7 HD but no disease attack.

What If No One Saves? 

This is possible. But I have another six months of the dungeon to write and do. So allow at least one character to save. 


This mummy is the former captain, but that was so long ago that they don't remember much of their time before the accident. 

Sunday, May 28, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 5, Room 28

This room opens up to a large chamber. There are 

Room 27

There are lots of chairs here arranged at long metal "desks" with some blinking lights. There are occasional blips of light, some sounds, but nothing living is seen. Part of this room is embedded in the rock of the cavern. It does not look like it crashed here but rather "phased" into it. Metal and even skeletons of the snake people are stuck in it. Some of the skeletons are even stuck in the metal floor. 

Above the center of the room is a floating dias if the characters approach it then find themselves floating up.

Treasure: These skeletons wear a uniform of some sort. There are badges and what looks like medals on some of the tattered remains. These are worth about 50 gp each. The party can find 1d8+8 of these.


This is the commander center. The floating dias is the bridge.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 5, Room 27

Just outside this corridor to the left there is a deformed area where the metal and rock merge. Outside of the metal area, there is a spiral staircase going up.

Room 27

These stairs look like they are the manufacture of the Necromancers (or more to the point, their slaves) that had lived here.

These stairs ascend to Room 15 on Level 4

If the players did not defeat the ghouls in that room they will try to meet the characters half-way. The Ghouls however will not enter level 5, bot even to avoid being killed by the party. They react in fear to anything on level 5.

If the characters use one of the "heat wands" the ghouls will try to run away as fast as they can as if "Turned" by a Cleric. 


The strange necrotic energies here are enough to scare away other undead. 

Friday, May 26, 2023

Jenny, Larina and Valerie for Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space

Time to put it all together now.  Over the course of my reviews of the various Doctor Who RPGs I have looked at some characters with the express purpose of comparing them across different versions. 

Today I want to take three characters and have a go at building them in the 1st Edition of the Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space RPG. The three are: 

For this group, let's say they are all traveling together. The game gives us a lot of options on "Games without Time Lords," so this would be a good place to test it all out. Either Jenny or Val have a vortex manipulator, but I also like the idea that Jenny can travel in time and space (to a limited degree) all on her own without needing gadgets. 

In all three cases I stuck as close as I could to the point-buy budgets for character creation. Though in all three I did go over. That is not a big deal in my mind since Val has already had some adventures (The Ghost Tower of Inverness, Illinois), and Jenny, well I can use nearly anything to justify her stats. But in all cases I tried to stay close to what I had done in other games.

Jenny Everywhere

Jenny, as I have mentioned in previous posts, is a "shifter" she can shift between realities and times and even interact with her own alternates. She is expressly a public domain character that everyone can use, so for my tests, she is the perfect stand-in for a Time Lord. In previous versions of the Doctor Who RPG, this was a conceit since there were other Time Lords, but in the "new" game, there is only the Doctor.

Here she has some of the qualities/traits of a Time Lord, but not the ability to regenerate as River Song did.

As always, I must include her license:

"The character of Jenny Everywhere is available for use by anyone, with only one condition. This paragraph must be included in any publication involving Jenny Everywhere, in order that others may use this property as they wish. All rights reversed."

Jenny Everywhere
Jenny Everywhere

"The Shifter"
Story Points: 12

Awareness 4
Coordination 3
Ingenuity 4
Presence 3
Resolve 4
Strength 3

Athletics 1
Convince 2
Fighting 1
Knowledge 4
Marksman 1
Science 3
Subterfuge 2
Survival 1
Technology 3
Transport 1

Brave, Charming, Lucky, Time Traveller (Minor), Eccentric (-1)

Special Traits
Shifter, Feel the Turn of the Universe

Various gadgets

Home Tech Level: 6 (Jenny has some solid tech)

Larina Nichols

Larina of course is my witch that I use everywhere. She is my experiment to see if I can do a witch in any game, Rule as Writen. So far I have come up with some very interesting versions of her. Unlike Jenny she is only vaguely aware of her other selves in different realities, usually images that appear to her in dreams. She knows what they are but she has no control over them.  

In the Doctor Who universe her "magick" appears as advanced psychic powers. Humans in this game have a bit more psychic abilities than assumed in previous games. Indeed in the new series of Doctor Who we have seen actual witches.  Larina though is human and not a Carrionite. Though I am not ruling out that human witches might not have Carrionite blood/DNA in them.

Larina Nichols
Larina Nichols

"The Witch"
Story Points: 12

Awareness 4
Coordination 3
Ingenuity 4
Presence 4
Resolve 6
Strength 3

Convince 1
Craft 2
Fighting 1
Knowledge 4
Marksman 1
Medicine 2
Science 1
Subterfuge 1
Survival 2
Technology 2
Transport 1

Attractive, Empathic, Psychic Training, Insatiable Curiosity, Obsession (learn more about magic)

Special Traits
Psychic (Package)
 - Clairvoyant 1
 - Precognition 1
 - Telekinesis 1
 - Telepath 1

Book of Shadows (on her phone), Tarot Cards.

Home Tech Level: 5

I have this funny notion that Jenny goes to Larina for a Tarot reading about her and despite all the shuffling all the cards when flipped over are blank. The same thing happens again with Valerie. 

That seems like a fun hook.

Valerie Beaumont

Val is an immortal who was born in England in 1569. She came with a family to the new colonies (America) to be the nanny of Virginia Dare, the first child to be born of European parents in an American colony. Both she and Virginia are immortals and have a Doctor/Master style relationship.

She is not my character per se, she is the character of one of my good friends Greg, though she does appear as an NPC in many of my games.

Valerie Beaumont
Valerie Beaumont

"The Immortal"
Story Points: 12

Awareness 4
Coordination 5
Ingenuity 5
Presence 5
Resolve 4
Strength 3

Athletics 2
Convince 1
Fighting 3
Knowledge 5
Marksman 2
Medicine 1
Science 1
Subterfuge 2
Survival 3
Technology 1

Attractive, Brave, Quick Reflexes, Tough, Adversary (Virginia Dare), Dark Secret (is Immortal)

Special Traits
Immortal (2), Fast Healing (2)

Sword cane

Home Tech Level: 4 (she was born in 1569)


In truth I am rather happy with these. I altered some of Valerie's skills from her play test file. 

I can easily see a series of adventures with these three. Likely running into Madam Vastra and Jenny in Victorian times (and whom Valerie has dealt with before), Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in a modern London (gotta figure out how that works!), and of course fellow witches Willow and Tara

It's a weird and wonderful universe out there, and this is the game to explore it!

character sheets

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 5, Room 26

 The hallway/corridor opens to a larger corridor.  A large room can be seen at that very end. 

Room 26

The necromantic forces feel stronger here, like they did on previous levels.

As the characters move down the hall, they are attacked by Zombie Ophidians.

There are 1d8+4 zombies of the snake men. They have no weapons and attack with claws and bites. Their poison bite is all used up so they only do 1d4 hp damage per bite.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Reviews: Doctor Who RPG supplements

 A few quick ones now. I grabbed these to review because I wanted some of the Cubicle 7 books I knew would be good in emulating a FASA Doctor Who like game. So more UNIT, more CIA (Celestial Intervention Agency), and more aliens.

In all cases here I am reviewing the PDFs

Doctor Who: Aliens and Creatures
Doctor Who: Aliens and Creatures

Six PDFs in one ZIP file. 220+ pages total.

From the 10th Doctor era. What grabbed me first about this book was how well it looks with other Doctor Who books from other sources. This is due to the BBC mandated trade dress. While it means every era of Doctor Who will give us a different look (and core book) it also means that the books my kids were buying at school book fairs (wow, that was a long time ago!) will look great on the shelves next the RPG books. 

This package includes:

  • 138 page rulebook detailing many of the creatures faced in the Doctor's adventures, including the Cybermen, Cult of Skaro, Davros, the Weeping Angels and the Hath, additional rules for creating your own creatures both as enemies or as playable characters, and a system for creating new worlds for your adventures to take place on
  • 32 page Adventure book, featuring a whole new ready-to-play adventure and many ideas for additional stories
  • New gadget cards
  • Additional Story Point Counters
  • Detailed Creature Cards for easy reference

All to work with your 10th Doctor boxed set. The same level of art, design and layout given to the core game is here, making it one of the more attractive games out these days. Perfect for the Doctor Who gamer and the Doctor Who fan alike. And an excellent source of new things to run away from! 

This is a great product, full of all sorts of monsters, aliens, and other creatures primarily from the new version of Doctor Who (but some old favorites are still there). It was nice to have writeups for various Daleks, Cybermen, Catkind, Sontarans, and more. There are even more Traits and pre-built Trait packages given to aliens.  Along with aliens come their worlds, we have more detail on these as well. So you don't have to stick to Earth!

The adventure book (32 pages) has two ready-to-go adventures using these new creatures; and plenty of ideas on how to use the others. 

Some printing will be required for the cards and story point counters, but that is minimal. 

Despite the "trade dress" this can be used with any version of the Doctor Who RPG from Cubicle 7.

Defending the Earth: The UNIT Sourcebook
Defending the Earth: The UNIT Sourcebook

PDF. 160 pages.

This book comes to us from the Matt Smith/11th Doctor era but it has call back to the 3rd, 4th, 7th, 10th, and more Doctors. Even the cover features UNIT officers from those periods.

Like all the Who books, this one is full color. While it skews more to the new Who series, there is a lot of Classic Who material here including stats for the 3rd Doctor (Jon Pertwee).

The UNIT (United Intelligence Taskforce) is tasked by the UN with protecting the Earth from Alien threats. This book allows you to create UNIT bases, and personal and comes with two sample adventures.

In many ways, a UNIT-based game can be more interesting than a Doctor-based one. In this, everyone can have a nicely defined role. You have field scientists, soldiers of all sorts, and even civilians.

Among the features of this book are the expanded firearms and mass combat rules. The History of UNIT. Personnel includes plenty of new traits for the military, science, and civilians. And two UNIT-based adventures.

This is one of my favorite sourcebooks for DW so far. Not just because of the limitless possibilities, but also because there is more attention paid to the older series than other books (note I am not saying this is a flaw of the other books, but it is a nice feature of this one).

I also see this as one of the more flexible books. You can set up a small UNIT command base and let the wackiness ensue. In fact, my own playtest adventures with DW could easily be converted into a UNIT game. Think back to the 3rd Doctor's adventures; these were mostly Earth based with UNIT. All of those are great ideas for a game. Or even the Sarah Jane Adventures.

As with all books in this line, it is full color, well laid out, and full of stills from the show.

Doctor Who - The Time Traveller's Companion
Doctor Who - The Time Traveller's Companion

PDF 242 pages.

Again from the Matt Smtih/11th Doctor Era.

Now here is a book we would have LOVED to have had back in the FASA Doctor Who era. Everything we know about Gallifrey to date ( the date of this publication).

This product, like other supplements, is a bit freer with its use of material and image from the Classic series. So while the "trade dress" is the 11th Doctor, all the Doctors are featured here.

This book covers Gallifrey. It's history, it's culture, and of course, the Time Lords. This history by the way is great. We get deep cuts like "The Dark Times" and Morbius. Though only brief mentions of the Racnoss, the Great Vampires and the Carrionites in the Time Lord history. Interesting aside. All these early enemies of the Time Lords; spiders, vampires and witches respectively, all feature into the fears and horror tales of humans. Coincidence? 

There is even a little bit on the Time War here. 

Essentially if there is a Doctor Episode that featured Gallifrey or Time Lords it has representation here.  

We get updates/expansions on Time Lord Character creation. This includes character creation based on which of the great academies the Time Lord comes from. Nice touch. There are even expanded regeneration rules here that predict how the War Doctor would be. 

A brief overview of Time Travel is next. We get a good (ok better) explanations of the Blinovich Limitation Effect, or, "Why You Can't Cross Your Own Time Stream" and the Time Differential. Though the time differential is a good way to help explain how the Doctor never really knows how old he is. 

There is coverage on Vortex Manipulators, Time Corridors, Time Scoops, Time Dams, even "primitive" time travel machines. 

Updated information on TARDISes, including how to build your own in the game. Here things like the "Symbiotic Nuclei " of the Two Doctors episode is explained in 11th-Doctor-era terms and ideas. 

Several TARDIS templates are given from Ancient (Type 1 to 29) to Decommissioned (Type 30 to 59, The Doctor's TARDIS is Type 40), Modern (Type 60 - 89, used by The Rani and the main TARDISes of the Time War), and Advanced (Type 90+).  Like Characters, TARDISes have attributes and traits. 

Lastly, there is a Gamemaster section, divided into four chapters.

This covers not only running a game, but things the GM needs to know that the players should not. These are details like what tyrant the Great Rassilon was, how Omega survived, how Morbius escaped Time Lord justice, the War Chief, and the workings of the CIA. 

There are the hidden files about the weapons of the Time War (the Moment had not been created in the show just yet) and other monstrosities. 

We get some other Time Lord Renegades from the show, Drax, The Monk (separate now), the Rani, Romana, and even the new regeneration cycle of the Master.

More details on travelling in time and how to deal with players being...well, players in this. 

There is even a TARDIS controls diagram that reminds me of the 1980s Doctor Who Technical Manual which also works as a TARDIS character sheet.


These books are not required but certainly ad a LOT to your Doctor Who games. If your goal is to build a game that is more akin to what we used to do with the old FASA Doctor Who games, then these are the best places to start.

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 5, Room 25

 Moving down the corridor, there is one last room on the left. Lawful (Good) Clerics (and Paladins if they are being used) can feel a growing aura of evil. Magic-users and witches can sense a growing aura of necromantic magics.

Room 25

This room is different than the previous ones. There is no furniture, only metal panels with many flickering lights. Moving between these lights, going from panel to panel, is the ghost of an Ophidian.

This creature is a Greater Spectre. It has 8HD and attacks as soon as the characters enter.  

It can be turned as a Vampire.


This room is the computer core. The spectre is a high-ranking officer that died in this room. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 5, Room 24

Continuing on, there is another room on the left. This room appears to be another set of crew quarters.

Room 24

Inside are two Spectres, former officers.

They cannot move more than 100 feet away from their bodies embedded in the bulkhead on the other side of the room's wall. 

The specters will not speak to the PCs and will attack as soon as they enter the room.  There is a closet with the bones of former victims. 

Due to their age and inability to leave this room, they have double the regular treasure (E x4 for two specters).

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 5, Room 23

 Edited to add: Post did not auto-post this morning. 

The next door to the right appears to be some sort of small room. Prying the doors open is no easy feat and requires a combined strength of 30 to open. (A Knock spell will also work). 

Room 23

Looking inside there is floor some 5 feet down. The top of this shaft/room extends many feet above. The tunnel appears to be partially embedded into the rock of the cave system here. 

Going down is not difficult, there is a very thin ladder on the side that appears to run up and down the sides of the shaft. There is a trap door on the floor. Inside is a very small circular room, about 12' diameter. The floor is made of stone and there is a skeleton stuck in it about waist deep. Given how low the top of this room is from the stone "floor" the skeleton must have been standing on the true floor when the stone came into this room.

If the party climbs up, they will find that the metal material of this level is fused with the rock of the cave system. There are even partially fused bodies (skeletons) in the rock.  Some look like they were frozen where they stood.

In this area the party will encounter a Xorn (a type of Earth Elemental). It is intelligent and does not attack. It gestures to a pile of "Heat Wands" it has collected and points one of it's three arms to them and then to the party.  It then backs off. All the while saying "take" in Dwarvish.

The xorn is not interested in the party and only wants to continue gorging itself on the rare minerals of the this ship. 

If the party chooses to talk to the Xorn to find out more please offer them 1,000 XP for the idea and another 2,000 afterwards. 

The Xorn knows the following.

  • This strange structure seems to be fused into the rock. Phased though, like how it travles through rock.
  • There are areas of the fused rock/metal that even it can't move through.
  • There are all sorts of (dead) creatures trapped in the rock and have been there for centuries.
  • Some of the rocks taste really good.
  • There are strange magics all over this area and most fleshy things avoid it.
If the party instead (or later) tries to attack the xorn they get no XP bonus and the xorn just phases through a wall. 

The small room is a lift.  The lower levels of the starship are phased into the rock. Most of the upper level is as well. 

Monday, May 22, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 5, Room 22

 The next room on the left also appears to be some sort of quarters.

Room 22

In this room is its former and current inhabitant.  An Ancient Ophidian Mummy.

This mummy is ancient, really ancient. The necromantic forces that are natural to this area affected this ophidian officer. He is powerful but quite insane. In this room, he is powerful (8 HD) but once he leaves he drops to 5 HD, if he leaves the ship he drops to 3 HD. So for the last few centuries he has been sulking here.

As an Ophidian Mummy, he does not have the Mummy disease as do standard mummies, but he does have a poisonous bite. It causes 1d4 hp damage, but victims have to save vs. Death or take 4d8 hp damage (save for half).

Sunday, May 21, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 5, Room 21

 Going back to the corridor, taking the last remaining hallway, this one is wider and longer. 

There are doors on the left-hand side and a door at the end of the hall. 

Room 21

The first door on the left is room 21. These appear to be more sleeping quarters, but only one bed per and they seem to have more amenities. 

Within this room is another "heat wand" with 1d6+1 charges.  If one of the lighted "tables" (panels) is touched a voice speaking in ophidian will come over speakers. The recording is just an officer's log, but it sounds sinister to the character's ears; like some sort of spell or incantation. They will not be able to translate it, magic won't work on this.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 5, Room 20

 This series of rooms follow after the previous 8. They are modified, but still appear to be barracks or sleeping quarters of some sort.

Room 20

There are 8 (a to h) rooms here. These rooms each have 4 beds. 

20a-d: Empty. Various nicknacks of silver to amount to 6 gp value in each room.
20e: Dead (skeleton) Ophidian
20f: Dead (mummified) Ophidian
20g: Empty, no tresure
20h: Empty, but there is a curious device here. It looks like a metal wand about 10" long. One end is open and a red crystal can be seen inside. There is a small depression near the middle. If press a ray of heat will shoot out causing 1d6+1 damage (Death Ray save for half) to a distance of 50'.

The wand has 1d6+4 charges remaining.


The wand is a heat ray, but a weak one. Damage to an Ophidian would only be 1d4+1.