The War Chief was a renegade Time Lord who assisted the War Lords. After the failure of the War Lords, he regenerated and travelled back in time to use the Nazis as his agents. He was finally stopped by the Seventh Doctor.
Life on Gallifrey
Like all Time Lords, Magnus was taken from his family at the age of eight for the selection process in the Drylands. Staring into the Untempered Schism as part of a Time Lord initiation rite, Magnus was driven mad by what he saw in the Schism. (PROSE: A Brief History of Time Lords)
According to a nightmare the Fifth Doctor had under the control of the Celestial Toymaker, Magnus was the leader of the Academy clique known as the Deca. He had a particular interest in the construction of TARDISes and an obsession with a banished race who wanted to use time travel in their War Games. He had an attraction to Ushas, and was once warned away from her by Mortimus.
After the disappearance of Rallon and Millennia, Magnus was appointed to the scientific research department for the rest of his time at the Academy. He stood by the Doctor while he was held accountable for their disappearance. (PROSE: Divided Loyalties)
The Doctor once advised Magnus to reserve his regenerations, but Magnus did not listen as he was not concerned. (PROSE: Invasion of the Cat-People) He even mocked the First Doctor for "still hobbling about in [his] old body".
According to certain sources, Magnus was the same Magnus who became an ambitious and arrogant Time Lord with little time for "Theta Sigma". He took part in a scheme to provide Gallifrey with a new power source derived from a sphere of artron energy. He hoped to revitalise the decadent Gallifreyan society. The Doctor made himself an unwelcome observer of the experiment. He realised the sphere was a living being and that Magnus' actions were killing it. He sabotaged Magnus' equipment and freed the creature, for which the Time Lords commended him. This angered Magnus even more. The Doctor and Magnus were bitter enemies from that day on. (COMIC: Flashback)
Magnus soon began to rise rapidly in the Time Lord hierarchy, which caused Cardinal Borusa to see him as a threat to his own position of power, so he persuaded the Celestial Intervention Agency to manufacture evidence of treason against him. Believed to be a criminal, Magnus fled from Gallifrey, became a renegade, and swore revenge on the Time Lords. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus)
Ally of the War Lords
Now calling himself "the War Chief", he worked with the War Lords. They abducted soldiers from wars spread across Earth's history up though they didn't go too far because of the risk of humans' technological knowledge for simulated versions of the wars from which they came. Thinking humans the most vicious species in the galaxy, the aliens hoped to pit the survivors against each other and use them to conquer Mutter's Spiral once they had eliminated the weak and the cowards and were left with the hardier warriors.
The War Chief aided the War Lords by helping them build SIDRATs, TARDIS-like space-time machines. They used them to kidnap the human soldiers and travel between era-specific zones which they had created. The War Chief and the Second Doctor met and recognised each other. The War Chief solicited the Doctor's help to double-cross the War Lords and seize power for themselves. The Doctor pretended to accept the War Chief's offer.
The Security Chief of the operation distrusted the War Chief, believing he meant to call in the Time Lords. While the Security Chief was willing to accept the War Chief had upheld his part of the bargain and had been afforded every need, he had still refused to tell them how to construct the SIDRATS.
The two engaged in a series of machinations against each other which ended with the War Chief disgraced when the Security Chief recorded a condemning conversation between the War Chief and the Doctor, and he took it to his leader. The War Chief got his revenge when he shot his rival dead. Unable to resolve matters, nor return the soldiers to their own times, the Doctor summoned the Time Lords for aid, while the War Lords uncovered the War Chief's plans and executed him, though he tried to talk his way around it, claiming those plans had been faked, but he wasn't believed. (TV: The War Games) Unknown at the time, while the War Chief remained on the War Lords' ship, the War Chief did not die but, rather, underwent a faulty regeneration. His new form looked like two bodies fused together. He took to wearing cloaks and hoods to disguise the fact, eventually convincing the War Lords that his 'betrayal' of them was just a misunderstanding. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus)
Having helped the War Lords to break the time loop the Time Lords had erected around their world, the War Chief helped them travel to Nazi Germany. He served as an occult advisor to Adolf Hitler under the name "Doktor Felix Kriegslieter", hoping to change history with the Nazis as his agents, believing that they were so vicious that they barely needed the War Lords' conditioning. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus) One time, concerned with Hitler's health, Martin Bormann telephoned him. (PROSE: Players) The Seventh Doctor later confronted the War Chief, prompting him to try to take the Doctor's healthy body and his six remaining regenerations. However, his efforts to replace Hitler with Heinrich Himmler were thwarted by Himmler's devotion to his Führer. This allowed the Doctor to alert Hermann Goering to "Kriegslieter's" betrayal and destroy the War Chief's base by overloading its nuclear reactors, the brainwashed Nazis falling to the superior initiative of their mentally free opponents. In the final moments before Drachensburg castle collapsed, Ace looked down and saw the War Chief engulfed in flames, no longer malformed but appearing as his "young, tall, dark and satanically handsome" self. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus)
The War Chief was an ambitious and arrogant individual, cunning, and with great tactical abilities. He pretended to serve the War Lords loyally, while plotting to take control of them after they succeeded in their plans. He also made feuds easily which made it easy for his allies to turn against him. (TV: The War Games)
He was unconcerned about using up regenerations and never listened to the Doctor, who advised him not to waste them. Behind the War Chief's actions lay real idealism, tainted with power lust. (PROSE: Invasion of the Cat-People)
Behind the scenes
- The necklace prop the War Chief wears in The War Games is the same prop previously worn by Zephon in The Daleks' Master Plan.
Connection with the Master
- Although the character was never called anything but War Chief in his only televised story, there was no evidence that this was a regular moniker or modus operandi; during the story, the term "War Chief" was treated more as a title instead of a name. In The Dark Path, an early incarnation of the Master also didn't use the "Master" title.
- The novelisation Doctor Who and the Doomsday Weapon, written by Malcolm Hulke and edited by Terrance Dicks (the two co-writers of The War Games and co-creators of the War Chief), shows that when enquired about the Doctor and the Master, a senile Time Lord recounted the events of TV: The War Games. The book also established that the Doctor and the Master were the only two renegade Time Lords who had ever left Gallifrey, implying by process of elimination that the Master was the War Chief .
- Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons, written by Terrance Dicks, stated that "Master" was a new title, and that the Doctor had interfered with the Master's schemes in the past, but that the Master had escaped the Time Lords before his TARDIS could be deactivated. This prompted the Doctor to comment, "He was luckier than I was." It also nodded toward The War Games by mentioning that, had the Master not escaped, his lifestream would have been reversed, just like the execution of the War Lords. Dicks' later novelisation of The Three Doctors established that the Master and Omega were the only two Time Lords that the Doctor had ever fought.
- In 1992, COMIC: Flashback introduced the character Magnus as the First Doctor's close friend on Gallifrey who became his rival after a betrayal. The story hints that Magnus already had more than one body. The name "Magnus" means "great" and was popular among royal houses in the Middle Ages. Most readers immediately identified the character as a younger version of the Master, as the Master had previously been established to be the Doctor's Academy friend in TV: The Sea Devils, but DWM never responded to inquiries about the matter. Nevertheless, editor Gary Russell himself told that the story was originally meant with Magnus being the Master, and that he had deliberately chosen to retcon him into being the Master so as not to conflict with other versions of the Master's past.
- "Magnus" would later be referenced in the Second Doctor novel Invasion of the Cat-People as someone careless with his regenerations; the fact that the Master had quickly used up all his regenerations was an important plot element in The Deadly Assassin and The Keeper of Traken.
- Though Hulke's 1979 novelisation Doctor Who and the War Games stated that the War Chief was declared dead by the Time Lords, a post-War Games War Chief appeared in Dicks' Timewyrm: Exodus. That story specifies that the War Chief was forced to leave Gallifrey due to his political career; similar explanations were given for the Master's running away in Birth of a Renegade and Time and Relative. At the end of the novel, the War Chief regenerated into a body that resembled Roger Delgado: "young, tall, dark and satanically handsome".
- Though the distinction was never actually made clear in a story, Virgin Books' editorial policy was that the Master and the War Chief were two distinct characters. Gary Russell parodied this approach in his novel Divided Loyalties, where the Celestial Toymaker gives the Fifth Doctor nightmares about his time in the Academy. In the dreams, "Magnus" and "Koschei" are intentionally characterised as extremely similar; Magnus is obsessed with the War Lords, and Koschei looks up to Magnus. The Master's pseudonym "Koschei" originates from The Dark Path, but the Second Doctor didn't recognise it in that book, establishing the Doctor's dreams in Divided Loyalties to be definitely unreliable. Nonetheless, this novel established a distinction between the two characters that would be later cited in A Brief History of Time Lords and elsewhere.
- The Book of the War implies that the War King was both the War Chief and the Master. Craig Hinton and Chris McKeon's unlicensed novel Time's Champion similarly treated the War Chief and the Master as the same person.
The module Legions of Death in FASA's The Doctor Who Role Playing Game has the War Chief as a renegade distinct from, but a former ally of, the Master, who himself was also known as the Monk. However, the Role Playing Game is considered invalid by this wiki.