While wandering around the GenCon 2008 exhibit hall, one booth caught my eye: Cubicle 7 Entertainment, which had signs all over the booth advertising the upcoming Dr. Who RPG. I’m a huge fan of the new Dr. Who series, so I had to stop and ask about it. (I also remembered playing in a Dr. Who one-shot years ago at a convention run by DarthCthulhu that I really enjoyed.)
Anyway, I asked about the new Dr. Who RPG at the booth, and while it’s not yet available, they were running occasional demos and were able to describe in broad strokes what the game will be like. The idea is to allow any kind of game that you want to run, all under the same rules. While you can do the classic Doctor and companions, you can also have a group of companions, multiple Timelords, or a Timelord, Companion, and Tin Dog. All combination will be possible and balanced within the rules, through use of a FATE points system.
Like the show, combat is very rare: if you see a Dalek, you’re probably going to run away. It’s also designed to be non-gamer friendly, since they want to draw in viewers of the show who aren’t necessarily hardcore gamers. The game is set to be released next spring (because that’s when the Dr. Who series usually starts) and will be a boxed set.
While I was there, the designer of the game Starblazer Adventures was helping to explain Dr. Who, and took the chance to talk to me about Starblazer Adventures. It’s a science fiction RPG, based on a British comic series. The series itself is an anthology series, encompassing a wide variety of science fiction, so the RPG itself isn’t based on any specific story. It is designed as a toolkit to tell any kind of science fiction story you want (though it mostly sounded like “starship/exploration” style stories.)
One of the biggest draws of the system is the range of characters you can play. According to the designer, the same rules apply to interstellar empires to a lonely alien character (and all are playable as PCs.) In fact, he says you can mix and match some people playing empires and some people playing characters and still run a solid game. It’s quite a promise, that if it works, would be a great spin on the science fiction RPG genre.
The book is huge, and features lots of art from the series, including a number of artists who went on to do major comic series elsewhere. I only found out afterwards that they were offering an awesome deal, involving buying the softcover for cheap and getting the hardcover later included. I wish they had told me about the deal, or I would have picked one up on the spot (instead of totally forgetting about it on the last day of the con!)
Anyway, while I rarely get a chance to run campaigns of games like that, I love owning them, and having them available as a system for one-shots. I’ll definitely pick both of them up for my science fiction RPG needs.