All excellent stuff, but constantly replying to your own thread is not helping to promote your game. The majority of readers here are looking for social gaming, not solo gaming. So they won't be constantly reading these replies.
"This is my timey wimey detector. Goes ding when there's stuff."
All excellent stuff, but constantly replying to your own thread is not helping to promote your game. The majority of readers here are looking for social gaming, not solo gaming. So they won't be constantly reading these replies.
Sorry, but I beg to differ judging by the number of reads the thread is getting.
Besides, I'm not hurting anyone here, just promoting the game whilst not clogging up other threads.
Having said that, if you have other ideas for promoting - I'm all ears...
I know that this is a site for social RPG but looking at the constant delays by C7, this game might become a viable alternative!
I thought I'd post a session report of playing the newly -released 'End of Time' expansion.
Playing a lonely Tenth Doctor gives you the bonus of starting with both a sonic screwdriver AND psychic paper but it's very hard to get a Companion to help you along.
So instead of 'Waters of Mars' (as it was Mars where I ended up) I present 'Mashed Up on Mars' (as boy, did I get a hammering!)
It all started quietly with me exploring the red surface of the planet until found some kind of lost tomb. The entrance was blocked and I didn't have the strength to shift the rocks. Just as well as around the corner came... 2 Ice warriors - and they were led by an Ice lord to boot!
My bureaucratic skills clearly lacking as they proceeded to ignore me and were intent on opening the tomb for some reason..
I decide that I hadn't better press them so instead started exploring more of the area and find some tracks that lead me to a crashed starship next to a remote Human military base. deciding to check the base I make a very nasty discovery about the base personnel - they're all dead - killed by some unknown force.
Shaken a litle, I venture into the ship and find that it had been sabotaged - hence the crash... I start to repair some of the systems, seeing if I can find a ship's log, but accidentaly reactivate security robots that chase me from the ship.
Knowing I'm not wanted, I decide to go and find information in the base. Checking the computer logs, I discover a last message that identify the Ice warriors as the killers who want to prevent the atmosphere of Mars changing due to solar flare activity. My hearts sink - the atmosphere of Mars doesn't change - history records this - it must be a fixed moment in Time. Not much I can do...but still...
I see if I can invent some device to stop the Warriors as I'm a touch angry about the massacre of the base personnel. It's looking fairly futile and I'm caught up again with the advance of the reactivated security-bot. Then the Ice warriors come a calling and although I manage to bluff my way out of trouble (they aren't that bright without an Ice lord around) several times as I research my fantastic gadget, I'm just out of time.
The warriors open the tomb and manage to reach the atmospheric manipulation device that was contained within.
Caught in the blast, and totally out of luck, I am forced to regenerate...!
I'm attempting another campaign using Adventures that mirror the current Doctor on television.
So my Eleventh Doctor is Brains 12, Brawn 5, Bravery 9 (Aware, Charisma, Computers, Gloating, Pilot, Running, Science, Thief)
He starts with a sonic screwdriver and his first Adventure was a426 - a rural earth village (like Leadworth in 'Eleventh Hour') but I'm changing it to Post modern Era 2010 and the automatic Character/Companion event will, naturally, be Amy Pond.
I'm giving Amy Brains 5, Brawn 4, Bravery 6 (Aware, Charisma, Running, Thief) and like Rose and Martha before her will automatically become a Companion when encountered and garners you 2 Luck points plus a chance for a Plot event.
Anyway, after a false start of a few turns when I landed, met Amy and got TOTALLY thrashed by some Weeping Angels (how appropriate!) who stole my TARDIS for good measure, I finally managed a whole and successful Adventure.
Landing in the village after my regeneration, I decided to relax a little. But being just totally full of regeneration energy I quickly got bored and starting casting about looking for trouble.
I certainly found it with the discovery of a dead body in the cemetery. Checking for clues on how the poor soul dies I tried investigating and encountered the Jassra.
(The Jassra is an original creation of my own as an Enemy)
This embodiement of evil just cackled a bleak prophecy at me before vanishing in a cloud of vapour. 'Bleak Prophecy' is a real stinker of an event starting off. I lost 3 Luck points straight away and gained Victim! This regeneration could be over befor it begins...
I decided to seek some infornation by using the computer in the library and found out that several crpses had gone missing - the Jassra was using dead bodies to house itself (The Dead Shall Walk)
I decide to take a brief soujorn in the local pub but a scream from outside lets me find Amy pond in front of the Jassra!
(This is a new tweak - if you get e002 on your first Adventure without a Companion then you get e002d - Someone in Danger. This mirrors how you usually meet a Companion (see Rose etc) when they are running from something nasty!
Anyway, Amy proves to be brave and resist the Jassra's advances. back to researching on the computer and we find some more information on the Jassra that could help us defeat it. Whilst there we also encounter local teacher Louisa James who helps us out and becomes our Ally.
A sudden crash through the window reveals 2 Jassran ghouls - nasty undead creatures that the Jassra wants to create...we decide to leg it!
A deadly game of hide and seek around the village follows as we try to evade the ghouls yet find out more information on our foe.
We do manage to hide from some ghouls and follow them to the cemetery where we observe a secret 'becoming' ceremony. Things are looking decidedly nasty...
Avoiding more ghouls, Amy gets separated from Louisa and I, and I know we are running out of time... to make matters worse night falls..
In the nick of time, I pull a cunning plan out of the bag and we defeat the Jassra!
Amy joins me in the TARDIS (hopefully for some snogging...) as we depart for our next Adventure!
(Incidentally, stats and cards used for Doctor 11 and Amy are on the Ally Labels 2 Play Aid... )
The closest Adventure I think to 'The Best Below' in terms of location and feel would be a423, the station that featured in 'The Long Game', so that's where we went next.
So starting off to explore, I gain a Luck point for Amy's Adventurous personality! We don't find anything except some surveillance cameras.
Not liking to be spied on, the Doctor opts (successfully) to spend the turn disabling them whilst Amy strikes out on her own and finds some clues to a location..The Doctor encounters an old, grizzled scientist who becomes an Ally and tells him of a plot to sow disinformation.
The Doctor seeks some information on the station computer with the help of the scientist whilst Amy discovers an enemy base! The Doctor encounters a businessman although learns nothing whilst Amy narrowly avoids the security system in the base.
The Doctor successfully finds more information about the enemy and Amy, thinking that it might be too dangerous in the base, rejoins the Doctor. they encountere the sinister businessman again, but just like last time, nothing further happens.
Now with Amy's information, the Doctor decides to Investigate the base and not only reveals the villain as Max Capricorn with 4 Host robots but also, with a bit of bluffing, his goal. Capricorn is on the run and trying to escape justice! Leaving capricorn in a hurry, we meet up with Cathica who decides, on the spur of the moment, to become a Companion!
It's research time, and now with all this Computers speciality I manage to have a breakthrough and have enough Computers, Pilot and brains to redirect a missile to destroy Capricorn
although this doesn't score me any Luck points for Defeating him, I still think it's worth the win.
I fail the Companion leaving roll, but opt to spend some Luck to avoid me losing Amy quite so soon!
So now with 2 lovely Companions, I spend a bit of my Luck on gaining History as a Trait and it's back to the TARDIS!
Next Time: 1941 Earth matches 'Victory of the Daleks' quite well..
Watching 'Cold Blood' on Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised by my 'Silurian City' encounter that I wrote a few months back - especially the 'Audience with Elder' bit - almost prophetic!
Check it out:
ye05. Silurian City (Location) You have discovered an enormous and incredible Silurian city carved within the rocks. If the Silurians are already revealed as the Enemy here, take a -1DM and roll 1D6: 1-2: Enemy encounter; 3-4: yv04a; 5-6: e061.
If the Silurans are not the Enemy here, then you encounter a group of 1D3 Silurians each Brains 4, Brawn 8, Bravery 5 (Creature, Running, Thief, Tracking, Troop). Due to race fear, all Humans in your group are -1 to all Qualities in encounters here. Choose from the options below:
Fight: Combat occurs but if the Silurians have greater total Brawn than you have total Bravery, one Human in your group with less than 6 Bravery is scared to death. If you wish to surrender, see below with -1 to the roll. If you later wish to escape the combat, see option below. Surrender: Roll 1D6: 1-2: The Silurians’ third eyes begin to glow red as they attack! 3-6: See e058. If you escape see e217 immediately. Evade: The Silurians know all the passages in their city so you must make Running 8 rolls to escape. If you fail, or choose not to escape, you must choose another option. Hide: You must make Thief 9 rolls before combat starts and before any other option. If you fail, you must choose another option. Talk: You try to communicate with the Silurians. Make a Charisma roll: 2-5: The Silurians attack you. 6-9: The Silurians regard suspiciously and escort you from the city. 10+: The Silurians take you to their leader – see ye05a below.
ye05a. Audience with Silurian Elder You are brought before the Silurian Elder. Roll 1D6 adding any Bureaucrat Traits: 1-2: Unfortunately the Silurian Elder is a vengeful tyrant and you are immediately seized and imprisoned – see e058 with a -1 to the roll. If there is no current Enemy, then the Silurians become the Enemy (yv04). Any Silurian leader encountered there is instead Brains 5, Brawn 9, Bravery 8. Any Talk options have a -2 penalty when he is present. 3: The Silurian Elder listens politely and maybe able to offer some advice. Roll 1D6 and if the result is 3+, then roll for a Plot event. You are then escorted from the city. 4-5: The Elder listens with interest and offers some advice – roll for a Plot event. You are also free to explore the Silurian city. Gain a +1 to Planning or Research Actions here. If any Character in your group has both Science and History, they may spend a turn exploring Silurian culture and gain 1 point. 6: The Elder decides to help. Roll for a Plot event and gain 1D3 Silurians (see above for Qualities and Traits) as allies. 7: The Elder declares you a friend to the Silurians - roll for a Plot event. You are free to explore the Silurian city. Gain a +1 to Planning or Research Actions here. If any Character in your group has both Science and History, they may spend a turn exploring Silurian culture and gain 1 point. The Elder also becomes your Ally – Brains 8; Brawn 7; Bravery 7 (Bureaucrat, Computers, Creature, History, Laser, Science, Victim).
Just add names - Restakk, Eldane etc - and off you go!
Another session report from my 11th Doctor campaign where I'm trying to get a semblence of adventures from the current series.
Episode 3: A Family At War
Amy, Cathica and the Doctor land in the middle of London during the Second World War and the height of the Blitz. Setting out to explore we find out that an enemy is gathering its forces in secret and then who should we encounter but Captain Jack himself!
Searching historical records to find out information we discover that the Family of Blood are in Londo - and they're on a Time Lord Hunt!
Suddenly an air-raid siren sounds and cathica is captured by local soldiers, suspicious of her poking her nose in.
The Doctor, Amy and Jack try to recue her but to no avail. they do however encounter a friendly old scientist and his young protege. Deciding to split their forces, the Doctor, Amy and Jack rescue Cathica whilst the scientist and his protege start researching into some scientific way they can stop the Family finding the Doctor.
The roar of engines overhead signals a Nazi attack and the old scientist, to the horror of his young friend, is trapped under rubble as a bomb is dropped on the building. The young scientist goes off to find help.
Fortunately the Doctor and co arrive to pull the old scientist free - but no sooner are tehy out of danger then the entire Family of Blood show up after...well, blood. Their already formidable strength backed up by a scarecrow, the Doctor has no choice but to try a bluff - and fortunately his gift of the gab is still good.
The young scientist finds help with another scientist, but she proves to be a traitor - converted by the Family. But now, with the research from the scientist and clues from the Family themselves, the Doctor knows how to defeat them.
With an heroic act of bravery from Amy Pond and by destroying hi sonic screwdriver, the Doctor defeats the Family.
Cathica opts to leave the Doctor - she's fallen for Jack and they both leave with a wave and a grin. There's another grin from the Doctor as he's found another sonic screwdriver in the TARDIS - 'thanks dear!'
So another adventure over. No Churchill or Daleks, or even 'Are you my Mummy'! but still a nice adventure in WW2
“There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things. Things which act against everything we believe in. They must be fought.”
(The Doctor – ‘The Moonbase’)
The Doctor Who Solitaire Story Game goes back in time to the Classic series in this latest expansion that allows players to recreate the era of the second Doctor. Whether you’re stalked by Yeti in the remote mountains of the Himalayas or fighting Cybermen on the Wheel in Space, it’s time to play your recorder...
Continuing in my Eleventh Doctor season and we get to the best episode so far in ‘Time of Angels’. This would be very easy to recreate in DWSSG with the Angels themselves, Professor River Song, some soldiers, caves and a crashed spaceship. There’s even a mechanism to simulate a 2 part story, but I didn’t want to be too prescriptive, so I just opted for the Adventure location that mirrored the planet in the episode and chose a424 – Birostris Prime with its alien beach.
(This image incidentally comes from the start of the ‘Army of Ghosts’ episode and still remains one of my favourite alien landscapes the series has produced – it just looks incredible).
The adventure starts out, as usual, with a bit of exploring but straight away the Doctor and Amy split up. Whilst Amy finds clues that lead her to a location, the Doctor encounters some mercenaries. Fortunately he manages to hide in time, but Amy stumbles across them as well and is captured.
With a little help from the sonic screwdriver, the Doctor frees Amy and they discover an ancient ruin within the cliff face. It’s not long however before they hear an alien hissing sound and from the shadows emerges a Zygon!
(These aliens with their one-only appearance against the 4th Doctor still remain one of my favourites and I was determined to include them in the base game, even though they haven’t made a reappearance in the New Series – but there’s still time..)
The Doctor manages to bluff their way out of danger and escaping from the Zygon they investigate the ruins further and discover a Zygon ship crashed beneath the cliffs. Managing to overcome any fear at investigating further, the Doctor and Amy find that the Zygons wish to change the atmosphere of the planet so that their pet Skarasens can breed more effectively. The Doctor realises that unless they act quickly, the Zygons are going to get an awful lot tougher!
With a bit of luck however, he now knows enough to defeat them and encountering a Zygon warlord manages to convince the alien that they had better leave before they are ‘stopped’ more drastically – ‘basically, run!’
Another session report in my 11th Doctor season...
'Facsimiles of Florence'
(Can you see what I did there...?) ;D
One of the things I’m most proud about in the game (and I’ve said this often enough) is its ability to generate a coherent storyline and play like a ‘real’ TV episode. That was one of the design objectives when I set out with the project and I think I made it the priority actually.
Anyway, with no Venice to have encounters with Vampires (not yet, anyway) I decide to go to Florence 1508 from the ‘Adventures in History’ expansion – it’s a little earlier than 1580, but the same era (Renaissance) and the same country – so there!
Of course, Florence would have been a fabulous place for a vacation, so the Doctor and Amy decide to relax and spend the day touring the city in an open topped carriage (no doubt accompanied by some jaunty Murray Gold music). At the end of the tour they encounter a young aristocrat – Lady Julianne – and her retainers. Julianne is exactly the type of bored, pretty young girl who can’t resist the excitement a life with the Doctor and becomes a Companion!
Julianne shows the Doctor and Amy the luxuries of her house (she lives with her merchant uncle – absent now on business) and treats them to a wonderful meal of pheasant, washed down with local wines. This is indeed the fine life and the Doctor and Amy spend a restful night at the house.
Morning breaks and Florence sunshine fills their rooms, but Amy (as with all companions) is starting to get a bit bored with all this relaxing, she wants to explore a bit of Florence. Julianne agrees to accompany them and smiles as she knows the perfect person to take them to meet – none other than Leonardo de Vinci!
Leonardo is more than happy to talk to Julianne and her new friends – especially as he has a puzzle... he shows the Doctor, who he recognises as a man of intelligence, a strange artefact he has found the Doctor’s eyes widen in worry – this doesn’t look like this should be here, now.
Leaving the Doctor with Leonardo to puzzle over the artefact, Amy and Julianne team up to seek out more information where it was found (see, I told you Julianne was perfect Companion material and her Personality was ‘resourceful’ which teams up nicely with Amy’s quick thinking). Some winning smiles later from the girls leads them to the sewers...
The Doctor and Leonardo, after a bit of tweaking, discover the artefact to be a sonic blaster of advanced design. The Doctor is decidedly worried – although not as worried as Amy and Julianne who discover a Clockwork robot in the sewers. Fortunately with Julianne’s retainers, the clockwork robot realises it is outmatched and disappears in a haze of golden light.
The Doctor and Leonardo (after finding a note from the girls) decide to investigate the sewers, they find a Time Portal. They are joined by the girls and Amy tells the Doctor about the robot. With stern resolution, the Doctor, Amy, Julianne and Leonardo (he refuses to be left behind) enter the Time Portal only to find themselves far in the future and on the oceanic world of Lemeria. More investigation takes place and the group discover the robot base of operations – they are harvesting organs from the past.
The Doctor immediately puts starts to sabotage the clockwork mechanism controlling the robots and with a cheery wave as 2 Clockwork robots appear, he and all his friends disappear back to Florence.
It’s time to say goodbye to Leonardo as the Doctor, Amy and new friend Julianne, make their way back to the TARDIS.
Although this episode is short on danger and the robots were easily defeated, the reason it was so enjoyable to play was that I could imagine the Doctor and Amy enjoying themselves around Florence, meeting up with a new friend in Julianne, and having great fun in meeting Leonardo da Vinci (who would not doubt want to paint Amy but she swaps herself for a rather dour girl called Mona at the last moment).
A really lovely review of the game from BGG (reproduced with permission freom reviewer):
Recently, I gave 'Doctor Who: The Solitaire Story Game' a try. It took a trial game or two before I felt I had really gotten the hang of the system, but it was a short, pleasant learning curve. The game is engrossing and highly playable, requiring nothing more than copies of the four core booklets and a pair of six-sided dice. Personally, I’ve left the books in the form of PDFs on my laptop and have been using a dice simulator on my phone, allowing me to take the game anywhere and play it during lunch and so forth. It is not a brain-burner, but rather something really more akin to a simulation; the fun is largely to be had in watching the story unfold in response to your choices as a player.
Mechanically, the game uses a system of Actions and Events to tell the story. The Actions are the player-selected choices of activity, and they include such options as Relax (for when you find yourself on a nice holiday world), Seek Information (for when you know something is going on but don’t yet know what), and Defeat Enemy (for when you’re ready for the final confrontation and wish to seek out the Enemy directly). There are many other Actions as well, most if not all of which have some logical strictures on when they can be undertaken.
The Events are numbered paragraphs detailing what is happening to the characters, similar to those found in games like Barbarian Prince and Star Smuggler, the two games sited by the developer as influences. They are sometimes triggered by Actions but there is also a chance for random Events in each turn. They form the core of the narrative, the Actions being more chiefly used to guide the characters into (hopefully) beneficial Events based upon their efforts.
The core game components are contained in four PDF volumes: the Rules, Events, Enemy, and Adventure booklets. There have also been several expansions released, such as the sourcebooks for the first two Doctors (ones for the rest of the Doctor’s reincarnations are expected) but these are, strictly speaking, purely optional.
The Rules booklet is self-explanatory: it contains the rules and general play information. It consists of 21 pages, but 9 of these are appendices with optional rules, a quick reference section, and so forth. The rest of the book contains the system’s core rules and details on the various Actions that the player may perform. These rules are well presented and logical enough to absorb with a single read-through.
The Adventure booklet contains a collection of numbered sections, each one of which details a possible setting for an adventure. These can be selected at random or aimed for (to a certain degree) by passing a die roll at the beginning of the session. The sections provide a description of the setting, plus a number of specialized tables used to determine the exact nature of any Events that occur within that setting. For example, a character encountering a Location Event will roll on a table of possible locations specific for that time and place, making sure that one does not, for example, stumble across a UNIT base while exploring ancient Rome. There are typically only six options for each type of Event at each of these Adventure settings, and many Events are repeated across Adventures, but as a typical game does not invoke any specific type of Event that frequently, the Events stay reasonably fresh even after multiple plays. It also helps that many of these Events lead to variable sub-events that further diversify game play.
Details for the various Events are found within the Events booklet. It contains the paragraphs describing the nature and effects of the Events summoned up during play. These include not only the Events specific to the location but also Events specific to the Enemy faced by the player in the current adventure. The Events range from generic ‘toolbox’ Events that can happen anywhere, such as players getting lost or imprisoned, to very specific Events that are tied to particular times and places, such as encounters with various personages from the Doctor Who universe.
The nature of the Events book means that it sees some heavy flipping back and forth, and I have found it quite handy to make a note of which Events I have encountered during play, especially as many have continuing effects and might require later reference. For example, many Location Events will have special tables that temporarily replace the main ones for the Adventure for specific Event types that the characters encounter while at that Location. That means that each turn at, say, a Castle will have the player potentially flipping back to that paragraph to resolve any such Events that might occur.
The final core section, the Enemy booklet, contains specifications on the various foes that the Doctor and his companions might face on their adventures. As with the other events, Enemy selection is based upon tables contained within the Adventure paragraphs, so the game is constrained to enemies that should make some sense for the current setting. Enemies have varying ways to manifest themselves during Adventures; many have minions or other such lesser evils to precede them, while some prefer the direct approach. Typically, the exact nature of an encounter with an Enemy is determined on a table contained within the Enemy description. Most of these are geared with turn- or situation-based bonuses that will steer the encounters toward the big face-to-face confrontations towards the end of the game.
When starting a new campaign, the player’s first job, unless using the suggested stats for an incarnation of the Doctor from the TV series, is to establish an incarnation of their own to play with. All characters in Doctor Who: The Solitaire Story Game consist of two core types of statistics: Qualities and Traits. There are just three Qualities: Brains, Brawn, and Bravery. These are key attributes that are used for die rolls throughout the game. Traits, on the other hand, are categories of knowledge or, in some cases, special flags that mark a character in some fashion. Instead of directly providing target numbers for rolling against, Traits provide bonuses (or, more rarely, penalties) for those rolls.
For example, an event may call for the Doctor to make a History (9) roll. This means the player will have to roll a 9 or above on 2 dice to succeed. Each Trait of History present in the Doctor’s party will add 1 to the roll. Another event might call for a Brains roll to uncover a valuable clue. The player will again roll 2 dice, but this time is attempting to roll under or equal to the target number. Sometime Traits will be used as modifiers for these rolls as well, adding to the target number instead of the roll. This slight bit of inconsistency led to some rulebook double-checking at first, but soon became easy enough to remember if still slightly erratic feeling.
When generating a new incarnation for the Doctor, the player starts with set base numbers for the three Qualities, but is also given a few points with which to customize them. Then, the player selects eight Traits for the Doctor from a list of appropriate candidates. Traits may eventually reach a second or even third level of effect, but these starting choices are limited to the first level; additional mastery must be acquired during play.
It is worth noting here that Companions may possess another type of stat not available to the Doctor: Personality Types. These optional (but recommended) attributes give the Companions special bonuses or handicaps that kick in at appropriate times. Some examples include Appealing, which gives a +1 Charisma bonus to dealing with the opposite sex, and Curious, which gives a bonus to investigating without the aid of the Doctor. A less desirable example would be Brash, which requires the Companion to make a Brains check to avoid giving -1 on all Charisma rolls made by the group. These quirks do a lot to help set the Companions apart as individuals and to give them flavor, which is particularly important in a game that focuses so strongly on story-telling.
Each game starts by checking for an event in the Vortex before arrival at the final destination. When these occur, they range from finding new equipment (such as a sonic screwdriver, or a floppy hat and long scarf!) to trouble with the TARDIS. A few determine the nature of the adventure to follow, but most are not so far-reaching.
After this possible twist is resolved, the player may either have the Doctor attempt to set coordinates for a specific time period, or the TARDIS can be allowed to find its own destination with a random set of coordinates. Either way, an appropriate section in the Adventure booklet is determined and the game starts in earnest.
By default, a game lasts a maximum of 12 turns. Each turn consists of the player selecting an Action for each character or group of characters in the Doctor’s entourage. The Rules booklet contains details on the various Actions possible, many of which are not available all the time. Some require the Adventure to have progressed to a certain point or for the setting to have a specific trait. Events will sometimes allow Actions when they might not otherwise be allowed. This is another item that took a bit of flipping back and forth at first: the conditions under which the various Actions become allowed and disallowed are quite logical, but there is a sufficient number of Actions that a bit of referring to the rules might be required at first.
Actions typically require a roll of some sort to be made, and a table consulted for the final results. Often these results include the triggering off of an Event of one type or another.
After the Actions for the turn are completed, a check is made for each group of characters under the player’s control to see if they have a random Event that turn. These Events grow more likely as the game progresses, and become more likely to include the Enemy as the player moves closer to victory.
Events, both random and Action-triggered, fall into several categories: Location, representing the discovery of permanent places that the characters may visit and/or return to later; Character, meaning a person or persons of some importance have been encountered; Enemy, for encounters with the Enemy in whatever form; Event (1) and Event (2), for more generic events; and Plot events, which are a special category meant to represent early plot developments. There are also Goal events, one time only events that reveal/determine the purpose behind the Enemy’s activities.
This Event structure forms the basic framework of the game’s storytelling ability. Early in the story, Plot events may occur, giving hints and foreshadowing of what is to occur. Sooner or later, there is an Enemy event, as which point the Enemy is revealed. This is when the player actually rolls on the Adventure’s Enemy table to find out the foe for this go-around. (The Enemy may be revealed in other ways as well, such as the Enemy Revealed event, but an Enemy event is the most typical method.) It is still a mystery at this point what exactly the Enemy’s goal is; it will require a Goal event for the player to roll on the Enemy’s table to find out exactly what they are up to. After the Enemy is revealed, Plot events automatically become Goal events, plus Goal events are sometimes specifically called for. In this case, the Enemy is revealed if it hasn’t already been so. Any further Plot or Goal events that pop up after both the Enemy and Goal are known become automatic progress for the player towards defeating the Enemy.
This system very naturally produces a good narrative structure, in which the Doctor is drawn in by Plot events, only to discover the Enemy activity, and then (normally after some investigation) figures out what they are up to. After that, the focus is on making whatever preparations are needed to defeat the specific goal, and then it is time for the big showdown and, hopefully, victory!
The Doctor’s progress towards victory is measuring by a Defeat Modifier. The higher it gets, the closer the Enemy is to defeat. The Goal established for the Enemy will list a target number; if the Doctor’s DM reaches or exceeds that Goal, it becomes possible for the Doctor to Oppose the Enemy during confrontations. Unless the Doctor can Oppose, final victory is normally impossible, so a key goal for the player is to get that DM as high as possible.
The various Goals also detail ways to earn DM bonuses by achieving certain prerequisites, normally combinations of various Qualities and Traits among the Doctor and his group. One specific Action, Plan, allows the player to temporarily bestow Traits and increases to Qualities on the characters successfully undertaking the Action. A common path towards victory is to begin Planning once the Goal is achieved in order to build whatever grouping of prerequisites is needed to earn the DM bonus.
These bonus Traits and Qualities vanish at the end of the mission, but do a nice job of representing a feeling of the party becoming better informed and/or entrenched in the situation. It also allows the player to tune the party a bit better if, for example, they find themselves short on Brawn against an Enemy that is likely to get physical.
Other actions, such as Research, allow boosting the DM directly. Actions might also led to other ways to boost the DM, such as encountering new allies, whose stats might be enough of a bonus to meet the Goal’s DM bonus requisites.
The DM mechanism is rather abstract, but it works well as an ongoing measurement of the Doctor’s progress. There are also ways of achieving victory without using DM to beat the Goal, but they are unreliable, requiring specific random rolls to trigger and (often) luck to survive.
As mentioned above, the normal path to victory is to Oppose once the player’s DM has reached the appropriate heights. This is done through confronting the Enemy, which can occur as part of a normal Enemy event or as a result of the Defeat Enemy Action. Each Enemy has a different method through which they are Opposed, some of which are more elaborately diverse than others. Many Enemies allow the Doctor to simply ‘talk them out of it’ when he becomes able to Oppose, which is both a good and a bad thing. It is nice to see the game striving to match the source material’s emphasis on brains over brawn and the “thinking man’s victory”, but sometimes this can be a little anti-climatic.
Throughout the game, the Doctor will gain (and lose) Luck points. These serve two purposes: firstly, the expenditure of a Luck point will allow the player to completely reroll a die roll, no matter how many dice were involved. This can be vital to success in a game where one or two bad rolls can spell disaster. The second use for Luck is as a currency for advancement. At the end of an Adventure, the player may spend Luck to increase the Qualities of his characters, gain new Traits for them, find new equipment, recruit allies as permanent Companions, and so forth.
This dual purposing creates some interesting tension. It is often tempting to use Luck point for rerolls on less critical matters, but then you won’t be able to develop as fast.
As I mentioned above, the game does an excellent job of mimicking a traditional storytelling pattern. The Events are also written in such a way as to help the evolving story feel like a Doctor Who story. Companions will wander off, get captured, and so forth; the Doctor will outsmart his enemies, rather than outshoot them; and old friends like Sarah Jane Smith will pop up to join in the fun.
As somebody who grew up watching Tom Baker, I have been happy to see the recent expansions focusing on the classic series. As of this writing, only the first two Doctors have been released, but these two expansions have contained a nice amount of material specific to those incarnations. Other expansions have focused on such topics as the recent End of Time sequence in the new series. Other supporting items, such as cards meant to help select and illustrate the Adventure locations, have also been steadily released.
Overall, the work behind Doctor Who: The Solitaire Story Game is impressive. The designer definitely knows his source material, and his enthusiasm for the good Doctor is obvious. The game is an impressive achievement, and even more so considering it is the work of one person who is undoubtedly, given the fact the game is free, burdened with a day job. If I were the BBC, I would serious consider subsidizing these efforts and making the game an official licensed property. In fact, I’ve played few, if any, actual licensed efforts that I’ve enjoyed this much. Hopefully, this is only the beginning for the product!
The next expansion for the Doctor Who Solitaire Story Game comes out next week, and is an original work called 'Legends'
'The Doctor Who Solitaire Story Game takes you to strange and mysterious places from the legends of the Universe. Explore the ruins of Alkator, visit the floating space-city of the Wisumi or encounter the ancient Prometheans. Dangers and incredible creatures await you, secret knowledge could be yours. Dare you explore?'
For my next session report of using the 11th Doctor’s recent series as inspiration, I can’t yet use ‘The Dream Lord’ as he hasn’t been designed for the game yet. But Leadworth village has in readiness for ‘The Eleventh Hour’ expansion that is released in September and covers half of Matt Smith’s first season – upto and including ‘Vampires’.
So I’m going with the premise that Amy (a little bit miffed by Julianne’s sudden arrival and the Doctor’s sudden need to impress her) has decided to go back and visit Leadworth and give her boyfriend Rory a call – hence ‘Amy’s Choice’ as a title! Fortunately Rory has also been designed, and for an Enemy I thought I would trial the newly-created Mr Moon from the competition within the Yahoo group.
So here goes...
The TARDIS lands in Leadworth and while the Doctor takes Julianne on a relaxing walk around Leadworth to see the (pretty unremarkable) sights, Amy wastes no time in giving Rory a quick call and a reunion.
Although Julianne is amazed at travelling into the future, the Doctor quickly gets bored with the traditional ‘pub-church-village green’ tour and decides to explore a little outside the village – with a sigh Julianne goes with him. It’s not long before walking across the country however, she slips and falls down a steep gulley. Finding it impossible to get Julianne out on his own, the Doctor is forced to retrace his steps back to Leadworth and find Amy and Rory
Meanwhile, Rory, glad to see Amy again, decides on a truly romantic gesture – and buys her some chips from the local takeaway! Munching on them and catching up with each other’s adventures (Amy obviously beats Rory hands down), the pair wander through the churchyard. To their surprise, they notice one of the tomb doors to be slightly open and find a secret passage beyond. Summoning all their courage (especially Rory) they venture inside and discover a strange bracelet. Just then a deep voice booms out and challenges their presence!
It’s the Doctor who has now found them and with a cheeky grin on his face. After being scolded by Amy, the Doctor looks at the artefact and determines it to be a broken Vortex Manipulator – with the inscription of a crescent moon on the bracelet...
The Doctor pockets the manipulator and explains Julianne’s situation to Amy and Rory. They hurry to the local pub to borrow some rope and then out to the gulley where they pull up Julianne. On returning to Leadworth, they are met by a local reporter, Cath Douglas, who has been following their moves in the village.
A meeting in the pub lets the Doctor find out what Cath knows – and she knows plenty. She introduces him to Louisa James, a local teacher whose husband (and Cath’s brother) has vanished. Louisa knows that a mysterious stranger called Moon has been experimenting on villagers – turning them into spies and assassins. The Doctor decides to find a little bit more about the plan and visits the local chemist shop where Moon has been prescribing the drugs – they find more information but also the body of Louisa’s husband!
Whilst Amy and Rory comfort a sobbing Louisa, the Doctor examines the body and finds more clues – but not enough to try to stop Moon’s terrible plan. They decide to get back to Louisa’s home so that they can do more online research of the drugs that moon has used.
An hour later and with a breakthrough – they know enough about the conditioning to try and stop Moon’s plan.
The Doctor is triumphant but when he looks up from the screen and around the room, he suddenly realises that Amy has gone – bored with the computer research, Amy has wandered off and got herself captured by Moon’s waiting minions.
The Doctor and his gang race back to the church where Moon is just about to subject Amy to his hypnotic power. But the Doctor appeals to what is left of Moon’s humanity and amazingly Moon falters and Rory pulls Amy to safety. With a cold stare at the Doctor, Moon twists the dial of his Vortex manipulator and vanishes in a swirl of energy. But the Doctor knows he will return...
Julianne has had enough of her time travelling and opts to be taken back to her native Florence in the 16th century, but Amy asks the Doctor if they can take Rory instead – with a scowl then a grin, the Doctor agrees.
Coming this weekend over at the Yahoo group will be the next Classic Doctor expansion - The Third Doctor:
The Doctor Who Solitaire Story Game returns to the Classic series and into the colourful era of the dashing Third Doctor. From exile on Earth with UNIT and Liz Shaw to braving the stormy stone walls of Castle Peladon with Jo Grant, it’s time to get into Bessie, confront the Master and continue the journey of a lifetime. games.groups.yahoo.com/group/DW-SSG/
I thought I'd try to share some of the developments in the game - so here's my 'to do' list to start us off...
A busy month for me with the Doctor Who Solitaire Story Game:.
I'm planning on:
1. Releasing the Classic Third Doctor Expansion - imminent now, all done, just waiting on a cover art.
2. Re-editing and releasing the 'Silurians' and 'Adventures in History' as one bumper and expanded expansion. Quite a lot of cool new stuff and enhancements including 3 new Adventures.
3. Finishing off 'The Eleventh Hour' Expansion for September. This will be covering the first half (upto and including 'Vampires of Venice') from Matt Smith's first season as the Doctor. Just about all done, with only 2 Enemies to tidy up - Paradigm Daleks and Weeping Angels (much tougher than the ones in 'Blink')
4. Doing some more of my card releases as playaids - Allies and Locations
5.Re-editing and with new material, the 4 core books - Rules (new Appendices, new rules), Enemies (tweaks), Adventures (tweaks and more 'flavour') and events (tweaks and clarifications). These have all been done now.
It’s been a while (for various reasons, including some revisions of the game that meant I’ve actually played 2 other adventures where the location has now disappeared from the game and been replaced by another one. I can see it now – the lost stories – just as well a soundtrack exists... ;)) but I finally got around to another story in my Eleventh Doctor season.
For this one, I wanted a definite Enemy – the Silurians. Not the ones from ‘Hungry Earth’ (haven’t got to that yet) so it’s the Classic versions here.
The new Adventure location is also based around a Big Finish play – ‘Bloodtide’ as I wanted to get Charles Darwin in there – alas on this adventure, we never got to meet him.
So what DID happen?
Heading to Rio, the gang (the Doctor, Amy and Rory) arrive instead on the Galapgos Islands in 1835. The Doctor is delighted – Amy less so. As he goes off exploring and after the flora and fauna, they slip away for some ‘couple’ time and he hardly notices them gone. Not long after though, he does find himself lost and retracing his steps bumps into a lone Silurian.
Managing to talk his way out of trouble, the Doctor thinks it’s time to find his errant companions (why DO they wander off SO much?) but instead finds a temple in the heart of the jungle. As he does so, on another part of the island, Amy and Rory discover some caves. You can guess what lives in there, can’t you...
The Doctor sneaks into the temple and converses with the High Priest learning that the Silurians wish to purify the Earth – hardly a peaceful race after all. Inside the caves, Rory and Amy discover the Silurian base and overhear their planning. They try to make their escape and warn the Doctor, but Rory is captured by them.
The Doctor tries to enlist the help of the monks but they are reticent to help (using the new Seek Help Action here, folks). Overcoming her fears, Amy tries to retrace her steps and rescue Rory but gets lost in the maze of twisting tunnels. Rory meanwhile, gets interrogated by the Silurians. Fortunately, he’s made of sterner stuff than he looks and they eventually give up and throw him in a cell.
The Doctor gives a stirring speech to the monks and this time the High priest realises the danger and allows 8 monks to join him on his mission to stop the Silurian plan. They start out towards the centre of the island and encountering 3 angry Silurians on the way. But the Doctor isn’t ready for a confrontation yet and throws them off with a cunning ruse. Amy finds herself back into tunnels that she recognises but runs into a ferocious dinosaur that the Silurians keep as a pet. Fortunately, she manages to out-run it in the dark caves. Poor old Rory, bruised but still alive, rests in his cell.
The Doctor reaches the caves with his troops and again encounters Silurians, but tricks his way past – he needs to see the leader... Amy manages to rescue Rory and they start out of the caves.
Nearing the Silurian base in the caves, the Doctor and his monks defeat and kill 2 Silurian guards that cannot be convinced to leave peacefully before they are reunited with Rory and Amy.
Finally, they reach the Silurian nerve centre and confront the Silurian leader and his 3 Silurian guards. It’s a big and bloody battle, but eventually the Doctor and his allies are victorious.
A sad Doctor and his friends make it back to the TARDIS and leave...