Monday, 22 December 2014

DW Companions as PCs: Peri Brown

Tegan leaves part way through the twenty-first season. Her player hasn't quite given up on the idea of playing a colonial, instead of yet another Brit, but evidently feels that her next character should do a lot more screaming and a lot less of anything useful, bringing back some of the flavour of the campaign's early days.

The result, on the basis of what someone has assured her is an entirely typical name in the US, is American college student Perpugilliam "Peri" Brown.

In the actual show, Peri's primary functions are to look pretty and scream at the monsters. Neither, it has to be said, is a really sound basis for a player character. Indeed, with the recent departure of Turlough, we're back once again to the "Doctor plus one female companion" model, which also doesn't fit wel with the metaphor of an RPG. It's a model that the show will stick with, more or less, from here on in, but for our purposes, we're going to brush that aside and try to look at Peri as she might fit into a more typical group.

This isn't easy, not least because if the writers had any clear concept of her personality traits beyond "she's American", they made a poor job of fleshing them out. Granted, this is more of a concept than they had with Dodo, but that's damning with faint praise.

To be honest, Peri isn't a very proactive character, and she's often getting lost (she certainly doesn't have Sense of Direction), getting captured, failing to run away from things, and so on. Presumably, she's gaining Story Points from this, retreading the 'Peril Monkey' role of '60s companions like Victoria. To make her more than that we have to, as we did with some of those characters, look at what she's supposed to be good at, rather than what skills she effectively demonstrates on screen.

Monday, 8 December 2014

DWAITAS 6th Doctor Sourcebook

Okay, it's confession time: the Sixth Doctor's era is my least favourite in all of Doctor Who.

Nor am I alone in this. While the Sixth Doctor does have his fans, they aren't terribly numerous. His run of stories are generally reckoned to be amongst the weakest in the show's history, rising to the level of mediocrity once or twice, but more often falling short of such a target. Indeed, while I am sure there are those who will disagree, I'd argue that they're the only two seasons in the entire run that haven't included even one story I could honestly call 'good'. For that matter, by popular acclaim, the single worst Doctor Who story ever broadcast is the Sixth Doctor's debut, The Twin Dilemma.

I am, of course, compelled by the Sacred and Unwritten Rules of Fandom, on pain of being banished to the Planet of the Ming-Mongs, or some such, to follow that up with "...but he's a lot better in the audios." That caveat is, it seems, as mandatory as it is true, but, sadly it's not relevant here. Since, of course, Cubicle 7's license doesn't extend beyond the TV series itself, and the best they can do is make oblique references to the spin-off material. (Which they do, for example, on p.22)

At any rate, I wasn't exactly bursting with excitement to read this particular instalment of the DWAITAS Sourcebooks. Yet, when you think about it, this book does have two advantages that it's predecessors didn't. Perhaps the more obvious of these is that the Sixth Doctor only has eleven televised stories. With Cubicle 7 insisting that every book in the series has to have at least 160 pages, you should at least have space for a pretty detailed discussion of every one of them. The downside of this, though, is that you're in danger of resorting to spurious padding to try and fill the page count up.