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The Doctor Who Roleplaying Game is an award-winning tabletop game first published by Cubicle 7 in on 30 November 2009. It was initially released under the title Adventures in Time and Space: The Roleplaying Game, but was rebranded to the simpler title in 2015, possibly to differentiate itself from the similarly-titled docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time.
Publisher summary Edit
Imagine you could go anywhere. This world or countless others, encountering strange alien races, new cultures or hostile environments. Now imagine you could travel to any time. Meet Queen Elizabeth I (and maybe marry her!), discover the secrets under the Tower of London, watch the Moon landing (from the Moon!) or travel into the far future as humanity spreads to the stars. Where would you go?
In the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game you and your friends take on the role of the Doctor (any one of his twelve incarnations!) and his companions (any one of them too – or you might make up your own) and embark on your own adventures across time and space.
Or you might decide to make up your own Time Lord and their own companions too, and see what happens when they set off in their own TARDIS, or create a rag-tag bunch of time agents lost in time, or a UNIT base tasked with protecting their corner of the Earth.
With the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game, the power is in your hands! You can go anywhere or anywhen in the universe. It's not going to be easy. It'll probably be dangerous. The universe is a hostile place, full of Daleks, Zygons, Sontarans, Weeping Angels, Cybermen, Silence, Silurians and worse. There will be fear, heartbreak and excitement, but above all, it'll be the trip of a lifetime.
The whole of time and space is out there, full of new places to see and adventures to be had – what are you waiting for?
Game mechanics Edit
The game requires a group of players - one player serves as the Gamemaster, telling the story and serving as the rulekeeper, while the other players create characters and roleplay through the scenarios. The game is open-ended, allowing for a group to play as the Doctor and his companions, a UNIT squadron, a Torchwood team or any other combination the players may conceive.
Doctor Who Roleplaying Game is powered by the "Vortex" game system, developed by David F. Chapman. Player characters apply Skills, Traits and Attributes to themselves - an Attribute such as "Strength" or "Coordination" will have a numerical value applied to it, as will Skills such as "Knowledge" or "Technology". Traits affect how a character may interact with characters or objects within the game world, and may be positive (e.g. "Brave", "Charming") or negative (e.g. "Cowardly", "Argumentative").
Most checks are performed by adding the relevant Skill and Attribute together, adding or subtracting for any Traits which might be relevant, then adding the roll two six-sided dice. For example, a player attempting to jump across a ravine might add the Coordination and Athletics Skill and Attribute, with a -1 for the Cowardly trait. This, with the addition of the two dice, would determine whether they succeed or not.
Unlike most tabletop RPG systems, which place emphasis on combat situations, Doctor Who Roleplaying Game focuses instead on problem-solving and thinking one's way out of a situation. Indeed, in an action scenario players who wish to talk their way out of a situation will always go first, followed by runners, "doers" - characters who wish to perform a non-combat action - and finally fighters.
Players also have a set number of Story Points which they can spend to increase their chances of success or augment the story to their favour in some way. Story Points can also be earned for ingenuity or, interestingly, for opting to turn a successful check to a failure instead. Story Points may also be required for certain narrative events to occur. For instance, a player taking the role of a Time Lord will need to spend Story Points in order to regenerate should their character suffer a fatal attack.
The Vortex System in other games Edit
The game system was originally devised for the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game but has since been put to use for other titles. The system was also used for Cubicle 7's RPG based on the TV series Primeval. At initial release in 2012, the Primeval RPG was marketed as being cross-compatible with the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game. As of 2016, the Primeval RPG and its expansions are out of print.
Cubicle 7 has used this system for Rocket Age, which is described as an "alternate history pulpy retro-sci-fi space opera planetary romance." This game is also no longer in print, and almost all mention of it has been scrubbed from Cubicle 7's website.
The Vortex system was also used for Pulp Fantastic, a roleplaying game by Battlefield Press, who licensed the system from Cubicle 7.
Editions / revisions Edit
To date, four editions of the game have been released. The content of releases are largely identical, with minimal changes to the ruleset - revisions are usually made only to reflect the current era of the show at time of release and to meet the requirements of the BBC's Doctor Who style guide, and so sourcebooks and additional content with branding from one edition of the game is fully compatible with the others.
Tenth Doctor Edition Edit
The first edition, released in 2009, was themed around the Tenth Doctor's era up to The Next Doctor, and included premade character sheets for Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Donna Noble, Sarah Jane Smith, K9, Mickey Smith, Jack Harkness, and the Tenth Doctor himself, as well as fill-in-the-blank "archetype" character sheets for players to create their own UNIT soldiers and Torchwood operatives. This set was released in a box containing the Player's Guide, Gamemaster's Guide, a booklet containing two sample adventures ("Arrowdown" and "Judoom!"), story tokens, Gadget cards, as well as a set of six-sided dice.
Eleventh Doctor Edition Edit
The second edition, released in 2012, was centred around the Eleventh Doctor and his travels with Amy Pond and Rory Williams up to the end of Series 5. This version includes premade character sheets for Amy Pond, Rory Williams, River Song, Craig Owens, as well as the Doctor and the aforementioned archetype templates. This was the second and final edition of the game to be released in a box, and contains the additional scenarios "Knight of the Comet" and "Ashes of the Daleks". "Arrowdown" was later reissued as a free campaign in PDF format, rewritten for the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond.
50th Anniversary Edition Edit
The third edition, released in 2014, was themed around the 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor and uses imagery from the special in its pages. This edition was released as a hardback book, and contains character sheets for the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors as well as the War Doctor, Clara Oswald, Amy Pond, Rory Williams, River Song, Rose Tyler, Sarah Jane Smith, K9, Alastair Lethbridge-Stewart, and Kate Stewart. "Archetype" character sheets are included for a UNIT soldier, a scientist, a rock star, and an adventuring archaeologist. For this edition, some Traits from deprecated or out-of-print sourcebooks were added to the core rulebook.
Twelfth Doctor Edition Edit
The fourth and, to date, current version was released in 2015. It's themed around the Twelfth Doctor and pulls from the show's eighth series. As with the previous edition, this was released as a hardback and includes character sheets for Clara Oswald, Danny Pink, Vastra, Jenny Flint, Strax, Kate Stewart, Osgood Saibra, Psi, Courtney Woods, Rigsy, Robin Hood and Journey Blue, as well as the Doctor and the four archetype character sheets seen in the previous edition. Additional background is provided for a number of Doctor Who enemies, with an emphasis on enemies from the eighth series including Missy, the Boneless, and the Skovox Blitzer.
As of the fourth edition, the core game is renamed Doctor Who Roleplaying Game, with the "Adventures in Time and Space" subtitle retained for legacy sourcebooks, though it remains in occasional use on Cubicle 7's website due to oversight. The forthcoming release of the Twelfth Doctor Sourcebook is expected to retain the subtitle, a well as using the anniversary version of the classic Doctor Who logo.
Later materials for this edition of the game, in particular the Gamemaster's Companion and The Black Archive, draw from the show's ninth series.
Additional material and sourcebooks Edit
To aid a Gamesmaster with material, additional sourcebooks containing game-compatible information from the show have also been released. Currently, the materials cover the show up to the end of Series 9. Sourcebooks from the various editions are cross-compatible.
As of March 2019, many of these books are out of print but may still be available from retailers.
Tenth Doctor Edition (2009-2010) Edit
The Tenth Doctor edition offered two sourcebooks and a GM screen. While the sourcebooks have gone on to either be reprinted or supplanted by later materials, Cubicle 7 have never reissued the GM screen.
- Gamesmaster screen (discontinued)
- Aliens and Creatures (discontinued, supplanted by later books)
- Defending the Earth: The UNIT Sourcebook (discontinued)
Eleventh Doctor Edition (2012) Edit
New material for the Eleventh Doctor era was limited to one new sourcebook and a series of campaigns in PDF format for gamesmasters to run for their players.
Books for this era feature the "Series 7 - Part 1" version of the logo, with the "DW" emblem to the side as opposed to the middle, but retaining the blue lighting and coloring. This differs from the logo for the core rulebook itself, which features the version of the logo used in series 5 and 6.
- Defending the Earth: The UNIT Sourcebook (reprint using the Eleventh Doctor style guide)
- The Time Traveller's Companion
- Cat's Eye (PDF only)
- Medicine Man (PDF only)
- The Ravens of Despair (PDF only)
- Arrowdown (PDF only, previously included with the Tenth Doctor edition core set)
50th Anniversary Sourcebooks (2013-2016) Edit
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the show, Cubicle 7 began publishing sourcebooks covering the televised adventures of the first eleven incarnations of the Doctor, with the First Doctor's sourcebook being published in June 2013 and the Eleventh Doctor's book in July 2016.
The spines of the eleven sourcebooks line up to reveal the 2013 version of the classic Doctor Who logo used through the show's anniversary year. Owing to a printing error, the Second Doctor's sourcebook does not feature its section of the logo resulting in the completed arrangement missing part of the D, the W, and the first B in the BBC logo.
- The First Doctor Sourcebook
- The Second Doctor Sourcebook
- The Third Doctor Sourcebook
- The Fourth Doctor Sourcebook
- The Fifth Doctor Sourcebook
- The Sixth Doctor Sourcebook
- The Seventh Doctor Sourcebook
- The Eighth Doctor Sourcebook1
- The Ninth Doctor Sourcebook
- The Tenth Doctor Sourcebook
- The Eleventh Doctor Sourcebook
- 1 As the sourcebooks only cover televised stories, this release only has information for the TV movie and "The Night of the Doctor". As a result, this book also contains plans for a full and unique campaign involving the Eighth Doctor's involvement in the Time War called "Doom of the Daleks".
Twelfth Doctor Edition (2015-2017) Edit
Not counting the 50th anniversary sourcebooks, this era is the most prolific in terms of additional material. Twelfth Doctor era books are identifiable by their red spines with the 2014-2017 version of the logo.
- The Silurian Age
- All of Time and Space - Volume 1
- All The Strange, Strange Creatures - Volume 1
- Gamemaster's Companion
- Paternoster Investigations
- The Black Archive
In addition, Cubicle 7 partnered with Q Workshop put out a set of six deluxe Doctor Who themed six-sided dice in October 2016.
Thirteenth Doctor Edition (2020) Edit
- The Twelfth Doctor Sourcebook - ETA 2020
Though the style of the book appears to mostly match the previous 50th anniversary sourcebooks, the logo on the announced cover is the stacked variant of the logo introduced in 2018. This is the first release in the series to feature this logo - no core rulebook has been announced.
Preorders for the Twelfth Doctor Sourcebook opened in October 2019, however as yet the book has not been released.
Awards and nominations Edit
In 2010, the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game (under its original title of Adventures in Time and Space) won the Grog d'Or for Best Roleplaying Game and Best Roleplaying Game at the UK Game Expo.
It was also nominated for the Origins Best Roleplaying Game 2010, the ENnies Product of the Year 2010, the Golden Geek Game of the Year 2010, and the Golden Geek Best Artwork & Presentation 2010.