January 8, 2014
Games Yet Played: Dr. Who: Adventures In Time And Space The Role-Playing Game
Just recently I was introduced to Dr. Who. I started with the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) who still remains my personal favorite, followed closely by David Tennant. The show is incredible, despite having many flaws, and has endeared itself to me greatly. And, as with all things geeky, there is a role-playing game based on it.
Enter Dr. Who: AITAS, or Adventures in Time and Space. Now, as you can discern from the title, I have not actually played this game and despite what you might think, I have no real overwhelming desire to. Sure, it is based on something I love, much like The Dresden Files RPG, but honestly I have had very little luck with games that force you to simply play as the subject matter they are based on. In Star Wars: Saga or the Dresden Files RPG, you are encouraged to play your own adventures, as your own heroes. You exist in the same cannon as the films/books the game is based on, but the world presented there is so vast there are many stories you can tell. You are not asked to play the part of Luke Skywalker or Harry Dresden, and that is what you are expected to do with AITAS. You can play as the Doctor himself or one of his Companions, and really that does not seem all that interesting to me. The game does include rules for building your own characters, but does not really give you many suggestions on what you can do with them unless they are to be the Doctor’s next Companion. I love Dr. Who, but that just does not sound all that fun to me. It is just too restrictive.
What does interest me about the game is its system, which seems to follow the method of the show very well. Initiative, in particular, seems incredibly interesting. Your order in a turn is mostly determined by your choice of what your character is doing. You go in terms of Talk, Run, Act, and Attack. Those who wish to talk go first, before anyone else. Then those who wish to run away. Then those who want to try and do something clever or sneaky. Finally, those who just want to shoot their guns and kill things (looking at you Daleks) act last. This fits the flavor of the show as fighting is always supposed to be a last resort and combat is incredibly lethal, especially when facing things like Daleks or Weeping Angels (shudder). Also like in the show, combat is lethal. There are many weapons that just have a damage value of “L,” for lethal. If you are hit by such an attack, guess what? You are dead. Forget hit points or saving throws. You die. Game over. Roll up a new character.
How much you are going to enjoy this game depends heavily on how much you really want to live out your fantasy of either being the Doctor or one of his Companions. For me, this game feels a little too in love with its source material – just like the shows current writers.
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