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

Review: Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space

Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space
The first decade of the 2000s gave us a new series of Doctor Who starting in 2005. The 9th Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, was, in his own favorite word, fantastic. He re-introduced the character to both new and old audiences. It can be argued that the show, and new fandom, really took off with David Tennent's 10th Doctor. In 2009 British RPG publisher Cubicle 7 released its first Doctor Who game. Like the show it was based on, it was a huge success.

A couple of points I want to clarify first.

I am reviewing my boxed set here AND the PDF from DriveThruRPG. There will be differences, so I will point these out.

I was on the playtest for this game as I have mentioned in the past. Plus Dave Chapman and a fe of the Cubicle 7 guys were also play testers for my Ghosts of Albion game. We communicated often in the time Doctor Who, Ghosts, and Chapman's other RPG Conspiracy X was being developed by Eden Studios. 

Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space

262+ pages. Full-color interior and covers. Print: soft-cover books in a boxed set. Digital: Seven PDFs in a Zip file.

This is the first of many printings of the C7 Doctor Who game. A good way to differentiate from one to the other is by which Doctor appears on the cover. This is the Tenth Doctor's cover.

The Boxed set features two softcover books; a Player's Guide and a Gamemaster's Guide. Several cardboard "story point" tokens, a "Read Me First" booklet, several character sheets, and gadget sheets. All of these are also present in PDF form. The Boxed set additionally has a set of six d6 dice to use in the game. The dice are also available separately.

Doctor Who RPG Box CoverDoctor Who RPG Box Cover

Player's and Gamemaster's Books

Read This First - How To Play

This four-page booklet covers the really basic basics. It is written with the Doctor Who fan in mind and not the average role-player. So we cover questions like "where is the board?" and "how do I play?"

Inside the 10th Doctor's character sheet is broken down. It is recommended that starting players use one of the pre-made characters in the box, but there is nothing saying you can't use your own characters. 

The "Basic Rule" is covered here. 

            Attribute + Skill (+Trait) + 2d6 = Result; Compare result to a Task Difficulty.

That is the guiding principle for the entire game and it works really, really well.  Your average Difficulty is 12 but it can be as low a 3 (super easy) or 30+ (near impossible). Contested rolls are introduced and the all-important Story Points (the little cardboard counters).

You are directed next to the Adventures Book.

Adventures Book (and Characters)

This is a 32-page book of easy to start with adventures. They include "Arrowdown" with some monster form Autons (very clever), "Judoom" a short adventure inside a Judoon cruiser, and a bunch of adventure seeds to give you some starting points. All the rules needed to run these adventures are self-contained. 

For these adventures, it is recommended that you use the provided characters. These include The 10th Doctor, K-9, Sarah Jane Smith, Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Donna Noble, Mikey Smith, and Capt. Jack Harkness. Additionally, there are some "pre-gens" for players to customize on their own. These include a Medical Doctor, a Musician, a Student, a UNIT Soldier, a Torchwood Operative, a Scientist/Inventor, and a Journalist. There are also six blank character sheets for your own creations.  The "named" sheets are printed on slightly heavier stock than the pre-gens or the blank sheets.  

There are also gadget sheets, both filled out and blank.

Character Sheets

Character Sheets

Character Sheets

Gadget Sheets

Doctor Who RPG the Player's Guide
The Player's Guide

These are the rules of the game proper. This is a 86-page soft-cover perfect bound book. Mine is getting on so the binding is coming loose, but nothing that I didn't expect for a book that is nearly 14 years old (which is old for a Sontaran!). 

Chapter One: The Trip of a Lifetime

This chapter begins with some set-up fiction. Only two pages. We get another recap on the basics; Who is the Doctor, what is roleplaying, what is a Gamemaster, and the like. As well as how to use this book in the game.

This chapter sets up the game rather well. Imagine going anywhere, anytime, past, present, or future. 

Chapter Two: The Children of Time

This covers the characters of the game. From playing your own to games with no Time Lords at all! We start with detailing the Attributes of the character, or the qualities of a character that are typically fixed. These are Awareness, Coordination, Ingenuity, Presence, Resolve, and Strength. Similar to the "Basic 6" of many RPGs.  All these are scored from 1 to 6 with 1 being the human minimum, 6 the human maximum, and 3 being the average. Time Lords and other aliens can go beyond these.  These are bought on a point-buy system.

Traits are the qualities of a character, good or ill. There are Minor Traits (Animal Friendship, Attractive), Major Traits (Boffin, Fast Healing), and Special Traits (Alien, Cyborg, Time Lord). Like Attributes, you spend Character Points to buy these. Some can be good or bad traits, and some can be Minor, Major or Special depending on how they are "bought" in character creation. "Friends" can be minor or major depending on the friend in question. "Hypnosis" can be minor, major or special depending on how powerful it is. 

Skills are also purchased with Points. There are only 12 skills, unlike modern D&D and more like Unisystem, skills can be combined with any attribute as appropriate. 

Chapter Three: Allons-y!

This takes us back to our basic rule and expands on it. It gives us some details on the Task Difficulties; 3 for Really, Really Easy, 12 for Average, and 30 for Nearly Impossible. Additionally, there are thresholds if you roll above or below the set difficulty levels. So, for example, if you score 9 points above the roll needed, something special can happen, like extra damage or something.  Likewise, if you roll poorly, something bad can happen.

The rolls, much like in Unisystem, become easier with practice, and soon you won't need any guides at all. 

Contested rolls, rolls where your character is being prevented from success are also covered. The biggest example of this is combat.  Example situations are given and which skills can or should be used. This is a good way to rule these since Doctor Who is not really about combat. "Combat with words" is more important and can even stop physical combat. Though there are weapons detailed here and how deadly they are. Afterall no one can talk a Dalek out of being a Dalek. 

Chapter Four: Two Worlds Will Collide

This covers the ins and outs of good Roleplaying. There is also another character sheet here to copy (print) or print out (pdf).

Doctor Who RPG the Gamemaster's Guide
The Gamemaster's Guide

This book is for the Gamemasters naturally. Not that Players can't read it. This book is also a full-color, perfect-bound softcover book. It is 140 pages.

The first four chapters here parallel the four chapters of the Player's book. 

Chapter One: Next Stop, Everywhere!

A brief recap of the basics and what this book is for.

Chapter Two: The Stuff of Legend

Covers character creation from a Gamemaster point of view. This includes different types of groups (Doctor and Companions, Unit or Torchwood Groups, and more). We also get some details on how the various Attributes work with examples of seven levels (1-6 for humans, 7+ for others). 

Traits are likewise discussed since they provide the most differences between characters and character types. All the traits are covered again, but in briefer, "rules only" formats. Same with skills.

We also get some "Technology Levels" TL. I will have to go back and see how well these map onto other RPGs, in particular the FASA Doctor Who and Traveller. For the record Earth of Doctor Who is TL 5, we are closer to TL 4.75 I think.

Chapter Three: The Long Game

Covers running a game. This includes when to roll (and when not too) and how to judge rolls and difficulty levels.  While not a combat-focused game there is lot of text dedicated to it since that is the place where rolls will happen the most. 

We get a section on using and regaining Story Points and experience. 

Some equipment is also covered here. 

Chapter Four: A Big Ball of Timey-Whimey Stuff

Covers not just roleplaying, but roleplaying in Time Travel games. Here we get a lot of advice on how, well, to keep gamers from being gamers and avoiding paradoxes. 

We get some background on Time Lords and TARDISes. Not encyclopedic details mind you, but enough to keep players and gamemasters happy. 

Chapter Five: All the Strange, Strange Creatures

Ahh. Here is our chapter on all the Aliens. While some are certainly foes to be fought (Daleks, Cybermen) there is a lot here that run the spectrum of friend to fiend.  Creatures use the same stats as characters. So it is expected that there are some "Alien Traits" here as well. These work just like Character Traits, but are typically not bought by characters. 

Chapter Six: You Are Not Alone

This covers the role of the Gamemaster and what they do in the game. There are some resources shared here for gamemaster including other Doctor Who books out at that time. 

Chapter Seven: The Oncoming Storm

This chapter covers running adventures. This includes where (and when) to set them and a basic 5-act adventure formula. Other tips and tricks covered are personal story arcs (thin Donna or Clara), cliffhangers, two (or three) part stories, and more.

It is a great starting point for all GMs.

Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space really is a wonderful game and the best Doctor Who game to date. It is easy to see why it has had such staying power. The rules are simple, easy to understand, but infinitely flexible. They emulate the genre very well and can be used to in a variety of situations. 

The rule system is such that it could be powering other games as well.  It did, for a while, with games like Primeval (no longer available) but I am not sure if it is used elsewhere now. 

Honestly, it is one of my favorite games.

#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. 

Friday, May 19, 2023

Kickstart Your Weekend: Flashback to 1983!

We have a bunch of new Kickstarters this week to make you feel like you are back in 1983. So let's get going.

The Mosidian Temple: an OSRIC/1E Adventure

The Mosidian Temple: an OSRIC/1E Adventure


A chance find by author David Flor and DarkLight Interactive will bring this 40 year old treasure to life.

Already funded, they are now headed into the stretch goals. This one will be an absolute treat to see.

Now I have said you can never have too many Monster books, so here are two more!

Devilry For Old-School Essentials

Devilry For Old-School Essentials


This is a companion piece to the Demon book they Kickstarted last year.  For OSE, it will give us a bunch of devils. So you know I am already all over it.

Tome of Essential Horrors

Tome of Essential Horrors


Necromancer Games is back and this time with another update to their Tome of Horrors line. This time for OSE.  I am expecting some overlap with this and the Devilry book above and that is OK in my mind.

I rather liked all the Tome of Horrors books and have them all.


#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 5, Room 19

 Going back to the central corridor and now taking the middle passageway on the right it leads to a series of rooms.

Room 19

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

Room 19a: Four dead bodies. These bodies are more mummified and can be seen for what they are, snake people.
Room 19b, 19c: Empty
Room 19d: This room is home to an Ophidian Spectre. The Spectre attacks anyone who comes in.
Room 19e, 19f: Empty
Room 19g: Two mummified bodies
Room 19h: Two mummified bodies and 1 Ophidian Zombie. The Zombie attacks.


There are no treasures in these rooms. All the items are made of plastic or other synthetic materials.