Friday, August 2, 2013

[RP Review] DWAITAS: The Time Traveller's Companion

After having it for about a month, I finally got around to reading The Time Traveller's Companion for Cubicle 7's Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space roleplaying game from cover to cover. Up until now, I only skimmed through certain chapters, which is a bad habit of mine when it comes to roleplaying books. But now, having read it to completion, I thought I'd give a review of it here on my blog.

I'll get straight to the point, there's a lot in this book that I love and almost nothing that I don't.

First of all, it's great just as a resource of information on the Whoniverse, specifically as regards time travel and the Time Lords. The book gives a concise, yet detailed account of the history and culture of Gallifrey and the Time Lords, with a seperate 'secret history' in the gamemaster's section of the book. This offers potential Time Lord players insight to help them get in the mindset of their character, as well as providing the GM with plenty of material to use in possible adventures. There's also a whole section detailing a variety of temporal phenomenon that have featured in the show's long history.

Second, it's useful for the mechanical options it offers both to players looking to play Time Lords or fly around space and time in their very own TARDIS, and to GMs who feel the need for some mechanical ways of dealing with all the wibbly wobbly timey-wimey crap they want to throw at their players (or that the players might try to throw at them). There's expanded Time Lord character creation and expanded regeneration systems, TARDIS creation rules, rules on how to navigate the space-time vortex, managing different TARDIS systems, what happens mechanically when the players try to change history, temporal backlash tables for when it goes horribly wrong, and so much more.

Third, there's some handy stats for generic Time Lord NPCs as well as more famous renegades like the Master, the Rani and the War Cheif, as well as gadget stats for specific temporal devices, new traits (Percussive Maintenance, which allows you to reroll repair attempts or temporarily fix mechanical issues by giving the offending device a good whack, being a personal favourite of mine) and a couple of new racial packages for those wanting to play an ordinary Gallifreyan or possibly a 'Neo-Time Lord' like River Song or (perhaps) Jenny.

Finally, it's just a great source of ideas for a struggling GM. From the background given for Gallifrey and the way various temporal phenomena work, to suggestions in the GM section on how to set games in different periods of Gallifrey's history, how to deal with regeneration and a generous helping of adventure and campaign seeds scattered throughout the GM section, you're bound to find something in here to inspire your campaign. I certainly did. Also, from a design perspective, fans of the classic series will be happy to find that this book features more images taken from the show's original run.

So, do I have anything bad to say about this book? Well, not really. There are a few typos and mistakes here and there, and I'm a little disappointed that the book only covers the Pratt and Simm incarnations of the Master, as I'd have liked to see Ainley's Master in there too. But I suppose other versions of the Master will be detailed in their respective Doctor's sourcebooks once those get released. I'd also have liked some more detail on designing non-TARDIS TTCs, but I suppose those can be created as gadgets using the core rules anyway. I need to inquire on the DWAITAS forum at some point how some of the temporal devices in this book are costed though, as they seem to be getting the Vortex trait very cheap, considering that the version the Vortex Manipulator in the core rules is built from costs 8 points.

For the most part though, I'm very pleased with my purchase of the Time Traveller's Companion, not just as a roleplaying sourcebook, but as a reference for fans on some of the history of the Whoniverse and the mechanics of time travel within this universe. If you're planning on running a Time and Space style of campaign using DWAITAS, this book is well worth the price tag.

Rating: 5

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