Monday, May 19, 2014

Stealing from Doctor Who (Keys of Marinus)


There's free time (sweet, sweet free time) and there's work... or just stuff that one has to do.  In the middle, there are grey areas where one has a certain amount of freedom.  My limited liberty appears in the form of early morning TV/movies/DVD watching.

Our 18 month old gets up about an hour and a half earlier than anyone else in the family.  Since my wife gets up in the middle of the night to breastfeed, I pick up the slack at the day's start.  There's a lot I can't do when she's running around the living room - computer and reading are out (she's a grabber), but having an old-timey scifi show on in the background is doable.

Anyways, I was watching The Keys of Marinus this morning, and discovered there were several aspects which could be awesome in a science-fantasy RPG.  The story itself is spread over 6 (nearly) half-hour episodes.  For those who grew up in the 21st century, watching it from beginning to end might be tedious.  It's a little slow even for me.  It's also in black and white.

Without further ado, let me mention some cool stuff...

Eye-stalk brains in large glass domes!  It's creepy, weird, mysterious, and gamers have seen it enough times to visualize it easily.  Even though these things don't show up until a bit later, the picture is in color!  That's why it's showcased at the top of the post.

Grotesque demon statue/idol with humanoid hands!  Why isn't this in my living room?  Oh yeah, I'm married.  :(  Now, you don't have to emphasize the fleshy arms that jut out of this sinister horror's sleeves.  Just seeing this thing should make half the party crap their imaginary pants.  In the Who episode, the statue grabbed people and then swiveled with a blank wall on the opposite side.  So, GMs could use that feature if they were so inclined.

The 12-sided, glass, high-tech instrument which sets everything in motion.  Cool idea - it's supposed to morally judge everyone and everything and guide the planet's population into making the right choices.  Unfortunately, it could also fall into the wrong hands which could turn the whole world into the kind of hell where Sam Neill's eyes are sewn shut, his head's shaved, and his blood-drenched visage simply laughs into the darkness.

The keys themselves are micro-circuits.  They look cool and it's something the adventurers can collect in order to save the day or control everyone's mind, depending on alignment.

There's a sea of acid, beach of glass, and ominous looking temple in the distance.  Who wouldn't want to check that out?  Want to navigate those acidic waters?  Pictured are some one-man submersibles.  Just to be on the safe side... WEAR A WET-SUIT WITHOUT ANY HOLES!!!

Last but definitely not least, there's an ice cave containing a block of ice surrounded by frozen knights.  Within the block is one of the keys, although pretty much anything could be substituted - a magical ring, perhaps?  When the ice is melted (the episode used a volcanic spring faucet), the knights come alive and start attacking everyone in sight.

Visual aids help both players and GMs.  Hopefully, this blog post whets your appetite.  I'll be posting more stolen Doctor Who elements in the months to come.  If you find any of this useful, let me know.  If you actually use some of this in a game, let me know.  If you want me to feature a specific story (must be vintage Who!), let me know.  Basically, I'm looking for some motherloving feedback, y'all!  ;)


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