Doug GMed Cubicle 7‘s Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space RPG for Irfan and I for the first time and it was an enjoyable night. For Irfan this was the first time someone other than me was the gamemaster.
We played Fox and Olujimi just as they were stranded on the planet Klaris in the far future after hunting and failing to detain the big game hunter Breybrooke who was driven insane, corrupted by alien technology he had unearthed in Kenya in the year 1977.
The game began as the duo was dining with their impromptu host Hermis, a Klarisian who served them haphis, a floating and slowly-spinning ball of edible mass that replenished itself as it was being scooped by cutlery. Olujimi thought it would taste more like cheese but it did not. Fox just ate away in silence.
Stranded on Klaris
City guards knocked on Hermis’ door, and the guard leaded, a woman named Hollis, insisted that the newcomers who helped fight off Breybrooke be brought before their leaders. The guards were heavily hooded and gazed only at the floor. Hollis took them through the Klarisian city with domed buildings, columns and floating light globes. Olujimi and Fox were brought to a tall chamber with alien sculptures that floated and appeared to slightly move. Obus, a hooded man wearing elaborate robes and a tall collar awaited them there.
The terse Obus questioned them, asking them their origins and how they knew of the alien-tech grafted Breybrooke’s massacre on Klaris. Olujimi gruffly introduced themselves. Obus wondered about the stethoscope around Olujimi’s neck. When the function of the device was explained, the Klarisian expressed disgust at their using tools to measure health.
The Olujimi said sarcastically, “Ah, you do not use medical tools? Perhaps we are more advanced than you are.”
“We’ll see,” sneered Obus.
In the meantime, the duo was sent to a room to rest for the night. Olujimi expected to see a lavish and comfortable hotel room and that was what he walked into. However, Fox the amnesiac walked into the same room but only saw a bare and stark room with cold, hard slabs for bed. As Olujimi was singing praise for the room, Fox thought the doctor was being a wacky old coot and ignored him as he mimed opening door and attempted to use the shower in mid-air. Fox lay down on a slab, turned away before Olujimi disrobed before falling asleep.
The next morning, Olujimi woke up seemingly back in his bedroom in Kenya at his house beside his clinic. Fox was also present. He was happy that the Klarisians had sent them home and prepared for breakfast. The door opened and to Olujimi’s annoyed disappointment Hollis and her guards stood outside; and “outside” was the Klarisian palace corridor. They were still Klaris-bound. She said Obus had sent for them.
This time Obus was more hostile than before, insisting they reveal the location of Earth lest they be banished to the Blue Deserts outside the city where they would waste away into nothingness. Olujimi said, (upon me succeeding at an Awareness+Subterfuge roll) “If you had a map I can show you where it is.” He suspected Obus had an ulterior motive.
When asked what machines they had used to follow Breybrooke, Olujimi gave him his stethoscope and winked at Fox, “If you can figure out how this device tracks and sends us through time and space, please let me know.” Obus flung the stethoscope in anger and ordered the hooded guards to banish the duo.
That was when Olujimi said to Fox, “RUN!” and they ran. (We both succeeded at Coordination+Athletics.) With the guards in pursuit, they fled the palace and into the city. Hooded city folk calmly turned to them as they passed and whispered things like, “You are running out of breath” and other medical diagnoses.
Then, they found themselves trapped at a dead end. That was when they heard a repetitive whooshing noise and a blue box with a POLICE BOX sign appeared out of thin air before them.
“The British seem to go at great length to make their presence felt even on other planets!” remarked Olujimi with amusement.
A blond, 12-year old girl came out of the box, followed by a elderly gentleman with white, combed-back hair and both hands clutching his jacket lapels. They identified themselves as Cindy and the Doctor.
“Doctor?” said Olujimi. “I’m a doctor too, Doctor.”
“Pleased to meet another doctor, Doctor,” said the Doctor.
“Great,” said Cindy, half-annoyed. “Now there are two of them.”
After introducing Fox as a Robot Mechanic from the year 3027, the guards arrived to detain all of them. As they were herded back to the palace, Olujimi told the Doctor that they were on the hostile planet of Klaris, but the Doctor seemed delighted being there. He lauded the dozen times he had been there previously. Olujimi also told him that the Klarisan leader was insistent on knowing the location of Earth.
They defied Obus one more time, pretending to all be the Doctor’s Companions from before. This time they noticed that Obus was taking orders and speaking to someone else. Someone yet unseen. Then they were back in their bedroom, locked up. Now it appeared as Fox perceived it the previous night. Olujimi said, “Oh, that’s why you shut your eyes last night as I tried to take a bath.”
The Doctor explained that they will wait until the Klarisians’ siesta time (a reference to Mexico which Fox somehow knew despite his amnesia but Olujimi did not, thanks to dice rolls) during which they would break out and attempt to solve the mystery of the hostile Klarisians. The Doctor told them that Klarisians had an all-encompassing health monitoring system which detected the life energy of living beings through touch sensors in the floor – which was why Klarisians went barefooted. Fox pried open a floor panel to confirm this, but the technology was beyond even him.
The Doctor took a nap to Cindy’s bemusement. Fox failed to pry open the door during the Doctor’s nap. When he awoke, the Doctor gave Fox a sonic screwdriver with which he succeeded in opening the mechanized sliding door (also by spending 3 Story Points, because failed by that much.) Outside, strangely-menacing guards with their hoods completely covering their features stood waiting outside and brutishly told them to remain in their room until called for. They had never seen these guards before on Klaris.
The Doctor used the sonic screwdriver to trigger a loud, flashy alarm that confused the guards and told everyone,”RUN!” (The Run For Your Life! trait is a good trait to pick when generating your character in this game.)
As they fled, other regular-looking guards calmly told them, “There is no one chasing you!” and tried to halt them. Olujimi and Fox punched a couple and they all ran down the palace back into the city. Along a street, they saw Hollis and four other guards blocking their way. Olujimi tried to punch Hollis, but (thanks to a botched Coordination+Fighting roll) she pivoted and slammed him into a nearby wall. Olujimi told Fox to explain to Hollis that Obus was under a malicious external influence and there was strangeness afoot in the palace. The Doctor implored them not to employ violence. Hollis began to believe Fox’s words (thanks to Irfan’s Charming trait aiding the Presence+Convince roll).
That was when the new heavily-hooded guards appeared around the corner, garmented arm outstrecthed. Olujimi noticed that their feet were wrapped in cloth but thumped heavily as they strode. The Doctor warned, “HIT THE FLOOR!” The party, including Hollis, ducked. Energy beams flew and the four guards fell dead onto the street. They ran with Hollis grieving for her fallen comrades. “I cannot feel their health any longer!”
Hollis took them up to an incense-filled meditation chamber at the top of a ziggurat, filled with large pillows. Fox immediately discovered a listening device hidden under the floor, looking out of place amongst Klarisian technology. The Doctor spoke out loud of a plan to rush down from the meditation chamber, while he gestured a plan to slide down the building using the vines that grow all the way to the street below from under the room’s window. Fox cobbled together a gripping apparatus for everyone from things found in the room, then everyone slid down on the vine as the Doctor threw a pillow out the door. As they slid, they saw the pillow rolling down to the bottom of the stairs at the side of the ziggurat when waiting heavily-hooded guards blasted it to fiery pieces with energy beams. Their escape went unnoticed.
They spilt up. The Doctor and Hollis would try to activate the city’s Bio Defence Systems while Olujimi, Fox and Cindy were tasked with unmasking the menacing guards.
Fox scrounged up parts to build a snare in an alley and a hooked pole for Cindy to use as an unmasking device. When everything was set, Olujimi looked for a nearby guard, who fired at him as he ran for the trap. Hidden out of sight, Fox triggered the snare as the hooded guard ran over it. The guard was jerked upward and suspended upside down. Cindy used her equipment to tear down the robes and hood.
It was not a living being. It was a silver-armoured, bipedal robot. Being a Robot Mechanic, Fox tried to hotwire the machine but was unable to find any exposed cables or wires. Cindy appeared to be describing the robot to the Doctor via an unseen ear communicator and then asked, “Why haven’t you mentioned this to me before? What’s a Cyberman, Doctor?”
Cindy told them all to run. As they ran, they heard the snare snapping and freeing the Cyberman behind them. She said that she had lost contact with the Doctor who told her to “let the city register their health so it would not attack them”. Cindy did not know what that meant. Power was being visibly drained from the city. Lights were dimming. Around the corner came a phalanx of five Cybermen, all disrobed and in full battle mode. They droned mechanically, “Do not resist. You will be converted.”
Then it struck Olujimi. He exclaimed, “The city senses health of living beings through their feet! Everyone take off your shoes!”
As they did, tendrils shot out from walls and floors at the Cyberman who was about to shoot them. They looped around their torsos, arms and legs and pulled. The Cybermen were being ripped to pieces by them! There were reports of Cybermen being destroyed from all over the city.
As they returned to the palace, they saw Obus screaming in pain with his hood drawn back to reveal a previously-concealed Cyberman apparatus wrapped around the back of his head. Olujimi’s medical and Fox’s robot technology skills helped determine a way to remove the gear safely from Obus.
When the Doctor and Hollis arrived, Obus embraced Hollis who was his daughter. They thanked the Doctor, Cindy, Fox and Olujimi for saving their lives and their city from the Cybermen.
The barefooted Doctor and his Companions, old and new, enjoyed a feast in their honour. Olujimi thanked Hermis for initially welcoming them to Klaris and helped himself to more haphis. The Doctor intended to help Fox and Olujimi stop Breybrooke who was on his big game hunt through time and space. Wherever he went, he would leave a trail across time that, for one example, attracted the Cybermen to Klaris. This anomaly must be stopped. And how did the alien tech arrive on Earth in the first place? What other things had previously occurred there unawares?
After the feast, they said their farewell to the Klarisians. the Doctor and Cindy led Fox and Olujimi to the blue box – which he dubbed the TARDIS – still parked where it had first appeared. He invited them in. They entered and discovered an amazing thing.
“It’s bigger- ” said Olujimi. (I stared at Irfan to prompt him!)
“-on the inside!” Fox finished the sentence for him.
“I’ve heard that remark before,” smiled the Doctor.