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The Doctor Who Role Playing Game was the umbrella title of a line of tabletop roleplaying games published by American game company FASA in 1985. It included a "main", highly freeform game wherein which players were invented to create new plots wholesale for characters other than the Doctor and his televised companions as well as separately-published gamebooks which presented complete plots featuring the Doctor, but interspeded with "gaps" in the plot for gameplay and player-interactivity to occur.

FASA also published three "supplements". These were bundles of two pamphlets focusing on the Doctor's greatest enemies (the Daleks, the Cybermen and the Master). One of the two books in each bundle focused on gameplay mechanics and included advice on how to work the villain into an original RPG plot, while the other book was in actuality a work of standalone DWU fiction, presenting an in-universe history of the villain as allegedly compiled by the Celestial Intervention Agency.

Due to their interactive nature, most FASA Doctor Who books are not considered a part of the valid DWU as we on this Wiki define it.

Overview[]

"The Master has stolen a weapon that will give him the ultimate control of the universe and of time itself. The Daleks are invading Earth. The Cybermen are terrorising the space lanes. And the Sontarans and Rutans are battling to see who wins the galaxy. Only YOU, the Time Lords and Companions of the Celestial Intervention Agency, can stop these villains from changing the course of history. Your weapons are your wits and your TARDIS. To join the Doctor in his adventures to defeat the foes of the universe, you only need your imagination, a pencil, some paper, and this game!"Official solicitation


The game's mechanics were based on (though, not identical to) those of the Star Trek RPG which FASA had published previously.

Place in Doctor Who continuity[]

The game line reflected the established continuity of Doctor Who at the time of publication, though the rulebook introductions the authors admitted to have taken some liberties to make the history of the universe more consistent. It even tied in with non-televised works, with the backstory given for the Master on Gallifrey reflecting the revelations in the Radio Times short story Birth of a Renegade. However, in later years, certain non-television stories presented wildly different interpretations and explanations, making the FASA Role Playing Game retroactively look "discontinuous" to some (such as the claim, made both in the main sourcebook and in CIA File Extracts, that the Monk was an alias adopted by the Master's sixth incarnation, rather than a distinct time traveller). The rulebook backstory also "resolved" the UNIT dating controversy by flatly contradicting Mawdryn Undead, placing that story's "present day" sequence in the near future.

The Lords of Destiny, one of the gamebooks, also suggested that, rather than dying at the end of Earthshock, Adric was saved at the last minute by a Time Lord in a TARDIS of a more advanced make than the Doctor's, though this did not factor into the plot of the adventure. Numerous other stories attempted to show Adric's fate past the events of Earthshock.

History[]

The main game was released in three printings. The first used painted artwork of the Fourth Doctor and Leela as cover art, while the other two featured a collage including a publicity photo of the two characters. (At the time, Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor and his companions had greater recognition in the US than the Fifth or Sixth Doctors who had, by this time, replaced him.) The "painting" printing had interior rulebooks with slick white covers, while the first "photographic edition" first featured more textured, brown, Victorian-styled rulebooks, and the second had smooth, more-plainly designed brown rulebooks. The two photographic editions also had slight differences in their box art and text to differentiate them. [1]

Interestingly, the latter two editions removed information and photos of the Sixth Doctor and his companions, as apparently FASA had not initially secured the rights to use any information on Colin Baker's incarnation. In addition, none of the versions of the main game have photos of Roger Delgado's version of The Master--again, due to likeness rights--but they DO include information on his incarnation. The same is true of "THE MASTER" Sourcebooks described below.

2nd & 3rd Edition photographic cover

FASA also published two gamebooks of a different style, which worked much like the Doctor Who Make Your Own Adventure Books. The first, Doctor Who and the Vortex Crystal (1986) by William H. Keith, Jr., featured the Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan and the Daleks, set on the planet Gathwyr; the second, Doctor Who and the Rebel's Gamble (1986) by William H. Keith, Jr., featured the Sixth Doctor, Peri and Harry Sullivan, set during the American Civil War. Both of these paperback books were self-contained volumes, allowing the player to use a simplified version of the base game's mechanics without the need to own the base game itself. The player simply needed paper and pencil to keep track of their stats and progress in the game. Both also allowed play without needing dice, by randomly flipping to certain pages which revealed a number between 2 and 12 in their upper corners.

List of releases[]

Gamebooks[]

"Adventures"[]

  • The Iytean Menace
  • The Lords of Destiny
  • Countdown
  • The Hartlewick Horror
  • The Legions of Death
  • City of Gold
  • The Warrior's Code

Unproduced: The Six Doctors, The Forest Demons, The Mondas Factor, The Sands of Terror, The Invasion from Mars, The Valley of Dread

Standalone[]

Supplements[]

Sourcebooks[]

Unproduced: The Sontarans; Gallifrey

Prose fiction[]

External links[]

Footnotes[]