Photo by Josh Burker.
Monday evening, I fell asleep still buzzing with excitement. Earlier in the evening, we newly-minted Scions of Time met to create characters for this campaign. As promised, I’m turning my thoughts into actions and finally getting a campaign off the ground.
The main gimmick of Scions of Time borrows from Ars Magica‘s troupe play model. There’s a pool of characters that are drawn from for individual story arcs. This way, every player has their own personalized incarnation of the Time Lord, as well as companion characters to play alongside other player’s Time Lord personas. Also coming from Ars Magica are the power level tiers: the Time Lord’s abilities and knowledge makes him analogous to magi. Then there are the competent companions, your Marthas and Captain Jacks. Then you’ve got your Mickeys and Jackies, who rough out to match grogs, the servants and comic relief in a Hermetic covenant. And yes, characters can move between the tiers. Mickey eventually became a very competent companion, once he socked away enough experience points. Donna broke through to the Time Lord tier, albeit temporarily.
So on Monday evening, we got together to make characters. We’d had some conversation online beforehand, as I wanted to make this as collective a process as possible. The players are going to share the lives of a Time Lord, so the basic essence of the character had to be something they all wanted to play; my own primary concern was that the character kept to the basic spirit of Doctor Who: having mad adventures and generally doing good.
After a lot of discussion and throwing ideas out on the table, the group landed on someone who escaped from Gallifrey during the few moments it hung in the sky over Earth during “The End of Time.” He’s some sort of veteran soldier or weapons researcher scarred by what he saw happen in the Time War, so he has a motivation to work to prevent any more atrocities like that. Specifically how he escaped or what he did in the war are questions we’ll let be answered through the course of play. His TARDIS is young and immature, taken straight from the creche. Still forming, it behaves unpredictably and lacks some of the abilities of a fully-cultured time ship. The idea reminds me of Talyn from Farscape, of all things. He struck me as an impetuous, hot-headed ship, though that might have been Crais’ influence as much as anything.
Our Time Lord’s going to be the traditional roving renegade, I think. The companions are a somewhat more varied lot. On Monday, everyone made two: a competent companion and a tin dog, as the slang emerged. Concepts included: a starfighter pilot, a 19th century physics professor, a post-apocalyptic junker, a Sudanese lost boy, a 50s rollerskating waitress, a hair metal wanna-be rock star, a 1920s rum runner and a game show host with exceptional hair. Additionally, I have some ideas for pick-up characters that I’ll create over the weekend, in case anyone wants to drop for a week and help those players who couldn’t make character creation catch up.
Next Monday is our big pilot episode, bringing together a number of disparate companions and a mysterious alien fleeing a world on fire, discovering that the universe isn’t like he remembers it at all.
This should be good! I’ll keep you updated as we play, natch.