Monday, 21 October 2013

DWAITAS: 3rd Doctor Sourcebook

With the third in the series of past Doctor sourcebooks, we reach an era that is, perhaps, one of the most distinctive, quite different in many ways from those that preceded and followed it. It's also, and for much the same reason, rather controversial. For many fans, especially those who were watching in the early '70s, the Third Doctor is their favourite, yet, for many others, the nature of the stories in this era is just too different to really enjoy in the same way as those that came later.

From the point of view of a sourcebook, this is actually something of an advantage. Because the era is unique, there's quite a lot to say about it. It may also help that much of what makes the Third Doctor's tenure different also makes it closer to traditional roleplaying games. It's perhaps easier, for instance, to see how Spearhead from Space could be made into a straightforward roleplaying adventure than more character-driven tales such as The Girl Who Waited.

The most obvious thing that stands out about the era is that over half of the stories are set primarily in the present day, perhaps with a brief excursion elsewhere for a couple of episodes. But there's more to it than that. The Doctor is, in most of these present day stories, backed up by UNIT, a military organisation, and - while he argues with them frequently - he is broadly content to work alongside them. It's hard to imagine the Doctor of Power of Three remaining on Earth for quite so long without going stir crazy.