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Thread: Dr Who

  1. #1
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    Default Dr Who

    I'm going to be running a Dr Who campaign using BRP, and have a question over balance of characters.
    Some players wish to be human, some super human e.g a vampire or cyborg.

    Any suggestions on how to keep a balance, whilst allowing the PC's to play the kind of character they want?

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    Quote Originally Posted by macamboy View Post
    I'm going to be running a Dr Who campaign using BRP, and have a question over balance of characters.
    Some players wish to be human, some super human e.g a vampire or cyborg.

    Any suggestions on how to keep a balance, whilst allowing the PC's to play the kind of character they want?
    Two thoughts occur: firstly, mechanical balance is going to be VERY hard to achieve without heavily augmenting the humans. Secondly, it's very much in the spirit of the show to have some sort of story / hero point mechanic, so I'd steal an idea from C7's Dr Who RPG and give "normal" humans significantly MORE such story / hero points than time lords / super powered aliens etc. It's not an exact solution, but its very in-genre and works reasonably well in play in my limited experience and from most accounts I've read.

    Cheers,

    Nick
    My friends and I walked the Coast to Coast last summer for Meningitis UK - thanks to everyone who donated, we raised 2,544.50
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickMiddleton View Post
    Secondly, it's very much in the spirit of the show to have some sort of story / hero point mechanic, ...
    You could also steal a page from FATE (and C7's DWAiTaS) and fuel some or all superpowers with Story Points. On one level it doesn't matter whether a character dodges a Dalek death ray due to cybernetically augmented reflexes, precognitive abilities, or a fortuitously placed steel cabinet. Sure, it may violate common sense that a 21st-century human survives death rays as well as a 29th-century cyborg -- "where are my steel cabinets" the cyborg cries -- but it's as genre-appropriate for the plucky human to survive by luck as it is the superhuman to encounter a glitch or weakness at exactly the wrong time. ("And suddenly, the BBC practical effects supervisor suffers a heart attack!")
    Frank
    "A hidden corridor! Fortunately it was labeled!" -- Sadie Doyle, "Beyond Belief: Sarcophagus Now", The Thrilling Adventure Hour

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    Thanks for the suggestions. Think I'll use a mix of genre tropes taken from the Timelord system e.g. Only normals get them, and using luck as a resource a la 7th edition Cthulhu, but giving normals a D20 to replenish spent luck. The replenish dice can be scaled down for timelords and those with super human abilities.

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    How does this compare to the original Who game by FASA?
    http://mattssuperheroes.blogspot.com/

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    We've had several threads mentioning Dr. Who and Daleks, and have Time Lord guidelines in the downloads section. But has anyone actually wrote up a Dalek or Cyberman in BRP?

    Also, macamboy, it's been seven months. How did your BRP Dr. Who game go?

    Personally, I liked the Who universe background info in both the FASA and the Timelord games but found the game systems presented wanting. FASA's Doctor Who RPG used a system similar to its Star Trek game, and I just didn't get it. Too complicated. Timelord's system, on the other hand, wasn't granular enough for me at the time. I know, I'm like Goldilocks sampling porridge. If I studied either game at this date, I'd probably react more kindly. Game balance was an issue that struck me immediately when skimming the FASA product. You had the super-smart, capable Time Lords ... and then their wimpy bumbling human companions. Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce Watson all over again. As others have mentioned, Timelord tried to address that issue.

    Recently, however, I've had a chance to watch early 1963 Doctor Who story arcs starring William Hartnell -- and they didn't have that problem. The Doctor was a frail old man. An alien scientist with advanced technology, yes, but no stronger, wiser or more clever than his human associates. In fact, his reckless curiosity and selfishness got the group into trouble, and he'd have to bumble his way out (with the companions' help). He sneered at the humans for being arrogant primitives, but they'd be the ones saving his butt. Not the Doctor many of us have grown to appreciate, but a much more playable character. I think that it was during third Doctor Jon Pertwee's era, with it's James Bond-ish plots, that the Doctor gradually became superior to those around him.

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    Funnily enough, I've just started my campaign.

    I to have ran the Time Lord system, but this time I wanted a system close to Call of Cthulhu for familiartity to me and the players, who've all played CoC for nearly 30 years.

    My party has one Timelord, a creation of the Celestial Toymaker ( a harlequin ), a Sontaran captive, and a Ronin. This is quite a mix, but seems to work well.
    Their TARDIS is a "fixer" used by the Lungbarrow University on Gallifrey to educate young Timelords in TARDIS systems, use etc. It's working state is unknown to the players as components etc were in a state of semi repair / construction, all of which add to the flavour.

    I ran "Time Trap", from Earth Bound Timelords (thanks guys), scenario as a starter, which has Daleks in it. I've not fully stat'ed any cannon enemies yet, but will do and post them on the forum in due course.
    In my mind, the bench mark are the Daleks for toughness, combat damage etc, with everything else coming below that .

    My main campaign is modelled on the story "Grass" by Sheri Tepper, with the odd "whoish" tweak here and there. Further stories are based on a number of Dr Who novells I've read for inspiration recently.
    Last edited by macamboy; February 13th, 2014 at 08:25.

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    I converted a Dalek from FASA to BRP once, but I have no idea what did or what happened to my notes. I do remember 20 point Dalekanium Armor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seneschal View Post
    We've had several threads mentioning Dr. Who and Daleks, and have Time Lord guidelines in the downloads section. But has anyone actually wrote up a Dalek or Cyberman in BRP?
    Yeah, I believe I have. Both are a bit overwhelming in BRP. Yeah, high stats, great armor, nasty firepower, etc, but the main problem is that BRP's general tendency towards quick and brutal combat makes these things problematic as far as keeping PCs alive.

    In the TV series, as well as in the various Doctor Who RPGs that have appeared over the years, things are run so that the PCs don't actually fight these things directly, and things are very forgiving when the PCs do encounter such beings. Most gamers are used to fighting in the RPG, and expect to confront the bad guys in some sort of skirmish. That sort of approach will usually get people killed in Doctor Who.
    Smiley when you say that.

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    To me, it's the armor that would be the problem. Daleks would be stronger than an average man (STR 16-21?) but not outrageously so. The First Doctor and his granddaughter together were able to shove a warrior around in "The Seven Doctors." Daleks are slow and deliberate as Christmas, DEX 10. CON in BRP is low even for massive critters, so 15-18? But that armor! 20 kinetic, plus similar protection for 3-4 energy types at least. It takes a hand-placed shaped charge to pierce it, requiring opponents to get up close and personal in order to succeed. The assorted energy rifles sported by humans and humanoids in Doctor Who don't seem to be able to do much against Dalek armor (even the Cybermen get clobbered), and of course the conventional rifles used by UNIT are even more useless.

    The show's writing is spotty on how Daleks will react to non-combatants. In some story lines, you can talk and trick your way out of encounters, as The Doctor (or Captain Kirk) might tend to do. In others, if you halt when the Dalek guards command you to, they shoot you anyways. So you might as well go down swinging like Flash Gordon, or better, use some sort of sneaky, stealthy offense like Buck Rogers.

    The actual weapon installed on Dalek warriors has varied quite a bit. In the original "The Daleks" story arc, it was a sort of nerve disruptor that could cause temporary paralysis in low doses, kill on higher power. In other tales, it is assorted types of ray gun, all equally nasty to unarmored freedom fighters and Time Lord companions. I'm thinking that in BRP terms it doesn't matter most of the time since on the show, characters rarely have energy-resistant armor. Player-characters, on the other hand, might well be able to get their grubby paws on some sort of armor that does them a bit of protection. It'll be Elephant Gun level energy damage.
    Last edited by seneschal; February 14th, 2014 at 19:27.

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