Running for over 50 years, I wanted to give a few reasons why I think the universe of Dr Who has great potential for roleplaying in.
Dr Who roleplaying games have been tried before, and we’ve even had one or two on OngoingWorlds, but for some reason they’ve not lasted too long. I personally thing the reason for this is someone inevitably wants to play the Doctor, who is always going to be more knowledgeable, and powerful than any other character. How can any other character compete with that? In fact if you think about it really, the Doctor is the biggest Mary Sue there is – incredibly skillful, people instantly like him, he’s the perfect hero. If not a Mary Sue, then he’s definitely a god modder (or it’s very difficult to play his character without being one) because he’s been everywhere, knows everything. Probably not ideal roleplay material because severe differences in power and abilities between characters can really cause arguments between roleplayers. BUT there’s a massive world of characters and concepts that you can play without actually being the Doctor, or a timelord.
SEE ALSO: Roleplaying in the worlds of Doctor Who.
There’s an entire universe of places to visit
Over the course of the show (like I said it’s been going 50 years!) they’ve visited many alien worlds, spacestations, spaceships etc and introduced many interesting new concepts. Remember the city on the back of the starwhale? Or the planet of the deranged Daleks? Or a spacestation where they film TV series? Or as time travel is involved, any period of time in Earth’s past. Your characters could travel from place to place in spaceships. Or in their own TARDIS (which doesn’t have to look like a police box, it just looks like that because the chameleon circuit broke – it could look like anything!).
There’s loads of characters with unfinished stories
Every episode introduces at least one new character who you’ll likely never see again. Maybe they can be playable characters? Maybe they can be NPCs you also meet on your travels, who tell you about their time meeting the Doctor.
There’s loads of wildly interesting monsters/aliens/creatures
I could spend a long time writing out a list of all the amazingly bizarre and wonderful creatures concocted in Dr Who. As a writer it’s challenging to come up with a unique concept for a creature, but Dr Who has so many. Spider people, small creatures made of fat, statues that come to life when you’re not looking, aliens you instantly forget when you turn away, a robot dog, and the list goes on!
SEE ALSO: Infinite diversity in roleplay.
There’s a wealth of backstory
The show has been running for 50 years, so has more backstory than any other concept I can think of. Every episode introduces some new alien, world, concept or something new that can be expanded into a full story or as a starting point for your own ideas. If you don’t want to interfere with canon, watch some really old stories (the ideas are just as good) and expand them into a new game. Maybe a place they visited, or even just mentioned can be a setting for a new story.
Unlimited technology and unbelievable concepts
Think of an idea. Any idea. A completely crazy idea, and I can guarantee there’ll be a way you can fit it into a Dr Who story. The technology involved is often so advanced that often just seems like magic (see Clarke’s third law). Need a character to never die? Give them an overdose of TARDIS energy. Need to open a locked door? Use a sonic screwdriver. Need dinosaurs on a spaceship? Easy. Need the statue of Liberty to come to life? It’s an alien. There’ll be a way to explain any concept you can think of. Just think of a vaguely sciencey way of explaining something, or resort to the “wibbly wobbly timey wimey” explanation.
Move the Earth. Make the stars disappear. Drain the entire Thames river. Change history. Live an entire lifetime, then change something and live it again. Destroy the entire universe, then bring it back again. In the world of Dr Who, anything can happen.
There’s thousands of fans
This is the great thing, there’s looooads of Dr Who fans. Not all of them British either. It’s now popular worldwide, which means there’s loads of ideal candidates to join your new roleplaying game. The best thing about creating a game based on Dr Who (even if you never ever even need to meet the Doctor himself) is that you’ll easily be able to find other fans by visiting fan forums, Twitter, Tumblr etc.
Related: Here’s some other British TV series that would make good play-by-post roleplaying games.