RIDDELL STOOD agape at the open doors of the TARDIS, gazing out at the vast, colourful clouds of the nebulae arrayed below the time capsule as it hung suspended in space.
“Behold, John, the Medusa Cascade!” announced the Doctor, gleefully, as he joined his friend to take in the unparalleled view.
“It’s incredible,” gasped Riddell, awestruck.
“It certainly is that, John, it certainly is. Take a moment to appreciate its splendour! There’s so much I still have to show you; it feels like we’re making up for lost time,” the Doctor added, a little ruefully. He snapped himself straight back out of it, though, now taking on a professorial tone. “This place is utterly unique in the entire universe. I’ll have you know that Star Whales come here to raise their young.”
THE TARDIS wheezed and groaned reassuringly before landing with a resonant thud. The Doctor, cradling the console, beamed at his travelling companion.
“Now, wasn’t that something!” he proclaimed. “I’ve missed doing that.”
Riddell was unmoved. “And you’re quite sure we’re where you think we are?”
The Doctor looked hurt. “But of course! I know I’m a little out of practice navigating the old girl for myself, what with how long we were subjected to the randomiser, but”—he jabbed firmly at his forehead—“you don’t forget hundreds of years’ of navigational experience just like that.”
THE TARDIS control room was serene, bathed in a warm, pulsating glow and silent save for the gentle hum of its mysterious, timeless heartbeat.
The mood was shattered in an instant as the doors burst open and the Doctor and Riddell practically fell through them before turning and slamming them shut again. Breathlessly, they exchanged a nervous glance then laughed in relief.
“Y’know, you’d think the stewards would be more grateful that we’d helped them out,” Riddell complained.
“Absolutely,” agreed the Doctor, dusting himself down, regaining his composure, and stepping into the control room. “Having a Krynoid loose in Kew Gardens was a serious matter. It would have eaten the entire collection—not to mention their visitors! And it’s not like they can’t rebuild the Temperate House. I’ll be having a few sharp words with George next time I see him, I can assure you of that.”
When we’re not playing the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game, we are, of course, watching Doctor Who. Our most recent marathon was remarkably varied, a visual feast that featured screenings of everything from New Who webisodes to Torchwood installments to the bonkers Channel 5 telefilm Hotel! (2001), starring Paul McGann, Peter Capaldi, and Bradley Walsh. (That’s right. It has to be seen to be believed!) As is tradition, we also seized the opportunity to cook up a diverse selection of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres ranging from the simple to the elaborate, each of them celebrating our favorite series. These drinks and nibbles might be just the thing to serve up during your next RPG session, so, one-by-one, we’re sharing the recipes with you.
Today’s recipe is certainly on the simple side. Indeed, it barely qualifies as a recipe! You don’t have to be a master chef to prepare a platter of Doctor Who cheese and crackers. All you need is patience, a sharp knife, and a bit of imagination. With a keen eye and a little trial and error, a slice of sharp cheddar can be transformed into a Type 40 TARDIS with a broken chameleon circuit! Your favorite hard cheese can shapeshift into an Adipose, a Silent, or an Ice Lord’s helmet. Add some pepperoni or other garnish for a bit of contrast and serve it up on your favorite cracker. Consider the possibilities for the game table! Once your players acquire a taste for edible Story Points, there’s no going back.
Our thanks to Better Homes & Gardens for inspiring us with a plate of Halloween hors d’oeuvres prepared using cookie cutters. Have a look at their slideshow for more spooky party food ideas.
“YOU HAVE BEEN UPGRADED! THE DOCTOR IS IRRELEVANT AND WILL BE DELETED! THE CYBERIAD WILL RISE!”
The phrases thundered over and over again in Riddell’s head, and all he could do was regard his cold, pale, expressionless visage in the mirror in front of him. Robotic arms bearing gleaming tools leant in and started to peel the skin from his face with medical precision. He couldn’t move a muscle, was powerless to resist. Slowly, his features began to disappear and a gleaming silver skull was revealed as his flesh was torn away—
John Riddell woke with a scream, his head pounding. It took a moment for him to recognise his surroundings, his bedroom aboard the TARDIS, and he let his breathing and heart rate slowly return to normal. Ideally, he needed more rest to recover fully from his injuries, but—setting aside the visceral nightmare—his well-honed instincts told him that something else was wrong. He wrenched himself from his bed, staggered to his feet, and made his way out into the corridor towards the control room. En route, he was met by a discombobulated and similarly upset Flo.
THE STARK walls of the console room seemed to radiate a soft white light, creating a feeling of warmth in otherwise sterile surroundings. A hexagonal console stood in the centre of the room, stretching up to a bright ceiling almost entirely covered by a canopy of intertwining leafy branches. The light filtering through the greenery threw patterns of shadows across the white walls. From the distance, the faint wooden sound of wind chimes wound its way into the tranquil room. In a far corner, a man sat in meditation.
With a sound like ice cracking on the surface of a deep, frozen lake, a metallic whirring broke through the calm. The noise grew closer. The man opened one eye, breathed deeply, and closed it.
The clamour did not cease, and soon a series of beeps accompanied the whirring. There was a loud thunk as something rolled across the threshold into room. This time, the man opened both eyes. His metal canine companion trundled toward him.
“YOU CAN’T be serious.”
Ori stared at the Rani, who stared back with blazing, arrogant eyes. Though the ginger hair that framed her narrow face was a tangle and her lips bore a gamesome smile, there could be no doubt that the renegade Time Lady was, indeed, serious. Her fingers played coyly at the edge of the central console. The genie had been released from her bottle, and it wasn’t going to be easy to put her back in.
“Doctor!” Ori protested, a pained expression coming upon her ornately patterned face. “This is the mad woman whose poisoned Earth’s history. Yes? She poisoned history! The Romano-Egyptian Dominion? She enslaved an entire population just to get her hands on a console like that—” She reached over the brass rail and jabbed a finger at the six-sided structure at the centre of the control room. Its screens and dials were pulsing softly with muted colours, unresponsive to the power struggle that was unfolding around it. “Are you going to stand there and tell me that you’re seriously thinking of giving her the keys to your time machine?”