Thursday, August 21, 2014

[#RPGaDay] Day 21 - Favourite Licensed RPG: Doctor Who (Cubicle 7)

The important thing about a licensed RPG is that it needs to emulate the feel of the property it is based on, not just in setting but in how the game is played.

Doctor Who is all about out-smarting opponents and finding a less-violent solution to whatever threat the heroes face from week to week. That's not to say that there isn't a little violence along the way, or that the end solution doesn't involve things exploding, but the Doctor never relies on weapons to solve his problems.

Which meant that, when designing this game, the developers had to come up with some way to reflect that in the rules - given how often roleplaying sessions can devolve into murder-death-kill-kill sprees - and they managed that very well. The initiative system gives priority to non-violent actions, meaning that fighters go last in any extended conflict sequence. Weapons damage is so lethal that it both reflects the one-shot kills seen in episodes of the show, and makes sure player characters want to avoid getting in a shooting match. Plus, there's a massive story point penalty for anyone who purposefully kills in cold blood.

To top all that off, the game is simple enough for newcomers to roleplaying games to pick up, making it an ideal gateway into the hobby for young Whovians, and it's well-supported, with a couple of good supplements already out, not to mention the series of sourcebooks they're releasing for each of the Doctors' runs so far.

Now, if only I could find somebody to run it for me instead of being the one behind the screen all the time...

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