Saturday, December 12, 2015


Last weekend was Dragonmeet 2015, another great convention where I had chance to mingle with incredibly cool people, chat about games and see what's awesome and hot in gaming.

Oooooh, look at the shiny!!
There was about an hour where I stood behind the Cubicle 7 stand while Dom went off to host the "what's coming from C7" seminar where I got to plug the new edition of the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game (no longer "Adventures in Time and Space"). Super shiny it is too. Every time a new edition comes out I'm just blown away by how gorgeous these books are...

But while I was on the stand, a chap came up to me and started talking about the Doctor Who RPG (sorry, I didn't get your name!) and asked "How do I run a game with 5+ players?"

Interesting question. My initial reaction was to run something without the Doctor or a Time Lord altogether - a Torchwood team, or a UNIT squad or something. Or look to the Fifth Doctor era when he had the most companions at once! 

But travelling back on the train that night I couldn't help but ponder over the question and how to actually run a Doctor Who campaign with a large group. My gaming groups are usually only three players and a GM max, but I used to run a Vampire game with eleven players - though not all of them at the same time...

It was the typical control-freak in me wanting to have a huge setting and lots of players. There was a group of players in my home town, and another load where I was at University (as it is now) studying, so rather than run two different games, I ran them all as one big setting. Two groups whose actions would affect each other.

It kinda got out of hand when the Vampire game spawned a brief Werewolf: The Apocalypse game, still in the same universe, and then a Mage: The Ascension game... of course, while the other games faded in time, the Mage game continued.

But actually running a group that big was more of a case of having a big enough setting, one that I was familiar with and knew what was going on, and leaving the players to it. It's the equivalent of open-world videogaming. Imagine all of your players are in GTAV... they can go wherever they like, and engage in missions when they fancy. Things happen to pull them into action, but there's no railroading or forcing them on their way...


Oh Pond... I miss Amy Pond...
So, how could that work with Doctor Who?

For a group of about 5 or 6, I'd stick with my earlier suggestion and have no Time Lord player character. It could be a mundane Earth-bound game of investigation and defence. My old Dr Who game (we're talking old FASA RPG) run by our rather awesome Cthulhu Keeper, John, had the Time Lord (The Collector) absent a lot of the time as the player was one of the least frequent to attend (sorry, Gladys, but it's true. You hardly ever turned up).

This meant John could run Doctor Who like his Cthulhu games. Very Tom Baker - Hinchcliffe and Holmes era - dark, spooky and gothic with lots of sneaking around and stumbling upon alien plots. The Time Lord would almost drop them places to investigate and then bugger off somewhere.

This could be very like the upcoming spin-off series, Class. Where the Doctor isn't present at all (or makes a brief cameo) and the kids at the school do all the investigating. Of course, this does mean the characters can get into trouble more, but the guest starring Time Lord can appear as an NPC when needed to save them. Though that could get old, fast...

If you don't want them Earth-bound, have one of them have access to a found Vortex manipulator, or have them find technology to allow them to hitch-hike their way across the galaxy. Now that sounds like an idea for book. Or maybe a radio series...


I'll probably come back to this topic in future, but I hope this helps.

Do check out the new version of the Dr Who RPG, it's very cool.

Love those credits!