Monday, 19 January 2015

DW Companions as PCs: Melanie Bush

Peri leaves part way through the twenty-third season. Her player is getting a bit tired of the GM having NPCs drool over her character, and decides to create a new PC that does just as much screaming, but doesn't have the Attractive advantage.

After a rather weird dream in which she turns up to the next game session only for the GM to hand her a character sheet with a talking penguin on it, she instead creates uptight scream queen Melanie Bush, better known simply as 'Mel'. The character's surname is, incidentally, never mentioned on screen, but it's been confirmed pretty conclusively by her real-world creator, so, as with Polly in the '60s, I'll stick with it.

Along with Adric, Mel is, unfortunately, one of the two prime contenders for "least popular companion ever." Not everyone agrees, of course, and even less agree as to which one should actually come bottom, but that's the broad fan consensus. As with Adric, though, her character sheet isn't actually all that bad. In her case, however, we do have to rather work at it for that to be the case. The problem being that, like Peri before her, Mel's only real function on screen is to scream at the monsters and get into trouble.

Monday, 5 January 2015

DWAITAS: 7th Doctor Sourcebook

And so, with this sourcebook, we reach the end of the classic era of Doctor Who. The broad fan consensus on this era is that, at least in its last two seasons, it marked a significant improvement over the era that preceded it. While, for some, that might be merely damning with faint praise, there are many who regard it as a true return to form, albeit one that came far too late to stave off the threat of cancellation. Because, frankly, by this point, most of the audience had already left.

But with a sourcebook like this, published so long after the fact, that's no longer an issue. A more significant problem, perhaps, is one that this volume shares with the Sixth Doctor Sourcebook, and, looking ahead, with that for the Ninth: the Seventh Doctor only has twelve stories, just one more than his immediate predecessor. Which makes it tougher to find enough to say to fill the book out.

And, yes, as we might expect, the entries on the individual stories are considerably longer than they were in volumes prior to #6 - about twice as long, on average, as those in the first three volumes. However, on the positive side, it also means that this book has room for quite a lot of discussion on the general themes of the era, and for the background to what's going on in these last dozen stories.

The book begins, as usual, with descriptions of the Doctor and his companions. Somewhat oddly, Sabalom Glitz is in this chapter alongside the genuine companions. It's true enough that he fills a somewhat companion-like role in his one adventure with the Seventh Doctor, but, still, it is only one, and he was in two with the Sixth Doctor. Anyway, players should note that this is a proper PC version of the character, not the NPC one from the previous book - a difference marked largely by a full set of Story Points, although there are some other improvements, too.