Release Date: 3 April 2004
Characters: The Doctor, The Master, Alison
Adversaries: Psionic Vampire
Continuity: The only official short fiction to feature the Nth Doctor.
Synopsis: The TARDIS has been trapped on a dead, forgotten world, its arrival in a sealed subterranean cavern sending vibrations through the rock. The chamber is acting as a “stone tape,” the Doctor observes, preserving living shadows and eternal hunger. Exploring the cave, Alison is overwhelmed by psionic stimulation, wave after wave of emotional memories drowning out her consciousness. Caught in the grip of shadows that emerge from the darkness, she takes her place atop a blood-stained sacrificial altar. As the Doctor desperately struggles to release her, he discovers the terrible truth driving this ravenous force. There is a great evil that dwells within the TARDIS, too. The unrivalled hatred and malice in the soul of the Master has aroused the hunger of an insatiable psionic parasite. His very presence aboard the TARDIS may ensure its doom.
Release Date: 13 November 2003 to 18 December 2003 (6 Episodes)
Characters: The Doctor, The Master, Alison
Adversaries: The Shalka
Allies: The Royal Green Jackets
Time: 13-15 November 2003 CE
Space: Lancashire, England, Earth
Continuity: The only animated adventure to feature the Nth Doctor.
Synopsis: When the Doctor lands in the village of Lannet in Lancashire, he finds a community paralyzed by fear. The broken streets are empty and silent. Men, women, and children alike are keeping quiet and keeping to themselves. The Doctor senses that their dread is a response to an unspoken warning—a low and loathsome sound, persistently reverberating through the ground beneath their feet. Something hellish has taken up residence in the volcanic depths of the earth. The Shalka have decimated a hundred thousand worlds in their never-ending drive to expand across the universe. Now, the Earth is their home.
While the British Army launches a large scale evacuation and prepares for military action against the underground invaders, the Doctor finds an ally in bolshie barmaid Alison Cheney, but their combined efforts to get to the bottom of things serve only to precipitate an apocalyptic plot. Soon controlled populations across the planet have given voice to the inhuman scream of the Shalka, launching a sonic assault that will disrupt the Earth’s atmosphere and scorch its surface. As humanity has lost its voice and is powerless to resist the new order, it’s up to the Doctor and his newfound companion to stand up and make some noise.
Our recent “Day of the Doctor” marathon, designed to recreate the revelry of those celebrations surrounding Doctor Who‘s fiftieth anniversary, brought with it a bevy of themed food and drink as each television adventure was accompanied by its own hand-picked pick-me-up. We’ve been sharing a few of those recipes in the hopes that they might be reimagined as titillating refreshment for Doctor Who role-playing sessions. By the time that Matt Smith and David Tennant took to the screen in the latter half of the day, it seemed fitting that we found ourselves reaching for something a bit more saccharine. Fortunately, our drinks planner had a tipple for each of the Doctor’s many moods.
The Red Jelly Baby is a cocktail designed to capture all of the sweetness and familiar comfort of its namesake. Combining cherry vodka, triple sec, grenadine, peach schnapps, and a healthy dose of Sprite, it resembles various drink recipes inspired by Gummy Bears or similar sugar candies. What is most remarkable about the Red Jelly Baby is just how well it captures the strawberry flavor of biting into one of Bassett’s Brilliants. The drink is lush, fruity, and, above all, sweet. With a sip, you can hear the rich, playful tones of Tom Baker’s voice in your ear. Here is a drink that would serve to perfectly complement a role-playing session based on the Fourth Doctor Sourcebook. The Curator of the Undergallery would, no doubt, approve.
For complete and surprisingly specific instructions, be sure to study Alex Murphy and Nicole Beckerman’s recipe for the Red Jelly Baby—which details not only the constituent ingredients but also the precise order in which you should arrange your Jelly Baby garnish to best emulate that celebrated scarf!
In a fortnight’s time, Doctor Who will return to television for what looks to be a stunning new series on BBC One. Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor continues to prove full of surprises. (And the new series is accompanied, of course, by a brand new edition of the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game released by Cubicle 7!) Shortly after the show’s return, our own tabletop version of Doctor Who will have its latest series premiere, although there are some changes in the cards for these dice-driven misadventures in time and space.
The Dark Dimension campaign represents an alternate timeline to the new series of Doctor Who. Diverging from the established television continuity has allowed us to develop an original mythology, and the exciting second series of our role-playing game advanced that mythology by leaps and bounds. (Consider the image posted here as the box set cover for Series Two. Behold the manic grin that has greeted—and terrified—so many of the NPCs in our adventures!)
After failing in his desperate effort to eliminate the corrupting influence of the Divinity from the timestream, incurring their wrath as well as the judgment of the Time Lords, the Doctor found himself face-to-face with with his mortal enemies once more in “Divine Retribution.” His greatest fears were rendered reality. The resulting confrontation precipitated a seemingly inevitable betrayal as Selene pledged her loyalty to the Master, earning the Doctor’s ire and nearly costing him the TARDIS. The decisive “Planet of Ghosts” ended on a somber note as Mohana bid farewell to her predecessor in the Doctor’s stead, leaving Selene frozen in cryogenic stasis, bound for Earth, unaware of her fate.
When our campaign continues next month, we’ll fast-forward into a new era. One of the ways in which we hope to keep our campaign fresh is by regularly rotating roles. Each player will have the opportunity to serve as game master, and our campaign’s characters and mythology will sometime shift as a result. Soon a new game master will take charge, sharing a fresh take on these stories and introducing fresh player dynamics as well.
The upcoming series of adventures will focus on the Doctor (Richard E Grant), the Master (Derek Jacobi), and Alison Cheney (Sophie Okonedo) as they travel through time and space, their destinies dictated by the mysterious mandate of the Time Lords. While the events of our first two series serve as a prelude to “Scream of the Shalka” (2003), our next few stories will take place after the events of the animated BBCi webcast. The Episodes page here on the blog outlines the order of adventures and campaign continuity and will always be up-to-date with the latest installment.
If you’re looking for something to tide you over during the countdown to “The Magician’s Apprentice,” now is a fine time to pick up that copy of “Scream of the Shalka” on DVD. Spend an evening revisiting a memorable reinvention of our hero and have a glimpse at what might have been if the history of Doctor Who had jumped a time track and taken a different course. The story of that sophisticated, saturnine Doctor and his ominous trials and tribulations continues, right here, in the weeks to come.