Doctor Who: The Demise of Forever

From Milton Keynes RPG Club
Jump to: navigation, search

Synopsis

All of time and space, everything that ever happened or ever will. Anywhere you want, any time you want. One condition: it has to be amazing.

Current scientific theories regarding the heat death of the universe posit that the beginning of the 'dark era' of the universe, where entropy has effectively ended and (as one notable physicist put it) "Nothing happens and it keeps on not happening forever", should occur around 10100 years from now.

Of course, modern scientists don't have the knowledge of temporal physics that the time lords of Gallifrey possessed. If they did they would be absolutely terrified right now.

It is Friday, September 13th 2013, and time itself is dying. Clocks are going wild, steam trains are pulling into London's mainline stations, tea clippers are turning up at the West India Docks, doodlebugs are hitting the East End, and airliners from the 1950s are attempting to land at Croydon Airport.

People are vanishing, never to have been born, as the world fills with Meanwhiles and Neverweres. Time is unravelling in London, past and present colliding to cause chaos.

As time and space burns, and all of Creation is slowly reduced to ash as the fabric of space/time collapses, a small group of strangers find their way to Trafalgar Square, only to discover an invisible black monolith ... a monolith that sings with power.

Who or what could be causing this nightmare? It's up to a small bunch of Londoners to cross time and space to prevent the unexpectedly early end of the Universe.

Player Characters

Alberta Forthington-Smythe (Andrew Nicholson)

Attributes
Awareness 4 Coordination 4 Ingenuity 3 Presence 4 Resolve 4 Strength 2
Skills
Athletics 3, Convince 4, Knowledge 1 (Languages), Subterfuge 4, Survival 1, Technology 1
Traits
Attractive, Brave, Charming, Keen Senses (Major), Quick Reflexes, Voice of Authority, Insatiable Curiousity, Minor Obsession (Wealth), Impulsive, Argumentative.
Personal Goal
Fortune & Glory!

Alberta is a adventuress from the late Victorian time period. Formerly touring the continent and Africa, she was returning home by sea to visit her family when the adventure begins ...

Andrea Woodruff (Lisa St. John)

Attributes
Awareness 3 Coordination 4 Ingenuity 5 Presence 2 Resolve 3 Strength 3
Skills
Craft 3, Knowledge 2, Science 3, Survival 3, Technology 4 (Electronics, Gadgetry)
Traits
Boffin (Major), Technically Adept, Resourceful Pockets, Sense of Direction, Run For Your Life!, Cowardly, Insatiable Curiousity

'Stuff

Rucksack with various bits and pieces of wire and electronic components
Personal Goal
Find/create the gadget that will make me famous!

Andrea is a engineering student from modern London with an affinity for building electronic gadgetry. She dropped out of university, and now is homeless/living with friends until such time as she invents the perfect gadget. It's just a matter of time ...

'Professor Darius Drake' (Alex Barrett)

Attributes
Awareness 5 Coordination 2 Ingenuity 8 Presence 6 Resolve 3 Strength 1
Skills
Convince 6, Knowledge 5, Marksman 1, Science 3, Technology 6, Transport 5
Traits
Timelord, Experienced Timelord, Voice of Authority, Eccentric (Minor), Amnesia (Major), Code of Conduct, Feel the turn of the Universe, Vortex, Time traveller (Industrial Revolution, Renaissance), Resourceful Pockets
Stuff
Sonic scanner (major gadget)
Personal Goal
Who am I?

'Professor Darius Drake' has no idea who he is, what he is, where he came from, or even if 'Professor Darius Drake' is his real name. All he knows is he's fairly certain he's not human.

Episodes

Episode 1 (11 September 2012)

London, 1897 - Alberta Forthington-Smythe, fresh from an expedition to deepest, darkest, Africa is returning home. The ship she purchased passage on sails up the Thames toward the Royal Victoria Dock, and already the familiar skyline of London can be made out. The sky is (for once) blue, the sun is shining, and Alberta, up on deck, is not looking forward to seeing her family again as they thoroughly disapprove of her flighty and decidedly non-ladylike desire to see the world solo. Feeling inexplicably faint for a moment Alberta sees the the sky shivers as if from heat-haze. In the blink of an eye London is transformed. Gone are the grimy warehouses and customs-houses, to be replaced by glittering towers of steel and glass that seem to loom taller than she could ever have imagined to be possible. Inexplicably there are ships on the river that are travelling without benefit of sail or steam. The passengers and crew alike are panicked, and Alberta rushes below decks for her carpet bag.

A curious siren-like sound is heard from the river and a small boat approaches with the words 'POLICE' on it, but this is like no Police launch Alberta has ever seen. She decides to make her way to shore, but is unable to launch the large lifeboats by herself. Impulsively, she dives overboard - not considering that the bulky Victorian skirts she is wearing may not be conducive to effective swimming. Drawing upon her experience swimming the Nile Alberta successfully drags herself to shore, where she finds the streets of London much changed from the streets she's used to. She resolves to head off to her Father's home, and sets off in search of a cab ...

London, Friday September 13th 2013 - just after lunchtime. Andrea is staying with friends (and overstaying her welcome), and goes out for an afternoon dumpster diving and looking for bits and pieces for her latest project. As she leaves she overhears a Radio 1 news report stating that an unusual ship has been found on the river, and (with nothing all that better to do) resolves to check it out. At that moment she feels faint, and the world seems to whirl ... as a Black horse-drawn Hansom cab pulls into the street. The driver demands to know if Andrea has ordered a cab, and seems annoyed when Andrea says she has not. Whipping out a cell phone, he begins to berate his dispatcher for sending him on another wild-goose chase and begins to drive off ...

In the wake of the Hansom the parked cars begin to devolve, modern Fords turning into Ford Cortinas, Ford Anglias, and even a Model-T. Andrea decides to follow the cab ... Meanwhile, a man awakes in what appears to be a small brightly-lit locked room, with no recollection of how he came to be there. Examining the white-tiled room, and observing the bright blue plastic mattress, the fact there's no door handle on the large black iron door, and the small CCTV camera in the shielded alcove he sighs. 'A cell, a cell,where have I in been on one of those before ... ?'

Taking stock of his situation, he is appalled to discover that his sonic scanner, hat, cravat, belt, and shoe-laces are all missing. 'How frightful! I must have a bow-tie in here somewhere ...' he mutters, frantically searching his pockets. He knocks on the door, causing a hatch to open and a friendly-looking face to appear. 'Are you alright mate? Have you slept it off properly?'

'Who are you? Who am I? What have you done with my bowtie?'

The man, who identifies himself to the police as 'Professor Drake', is eventually released after passing a breathalyzer test. Initially one of the constables wants to hold him for further psychiatric tests but the custody sergeant overrides him, pointing out that they'll probably need the cell-space due to the big match later that day ...

As Professor Drake leaves the police station he observes a black Hansom cab being persuaded by a young lady. He waves at her, and asks her for the year. A bemused Andrea considers the strange question as Drake asks her if the cars on the streets should be changing ...

'Out of my way! Out of my way!'

Andrea and Professor Drake are pushed aside as a young lady dressed in water-soaked Victorian garb pursues the cab. Stopping her, Andrea explains to a bemused Alberta about automobiles and taxis. Again, Drake asks for the year.

'2013!' says Andrea.

'1897!' says Alberta.

As Alberta is about to take her leave of the two lunatics on the street a strange klaxon is heard and two ARP wardens burst out of the Police Station, instructing everyone to 'Get under cover! Air raid!'

Overhead a strange grey aircraft can be seen flying barely above the rooftops. Alberta is surprised to see anything flying, Andrea is surprised by the unusual aircraft. Neither recognises a V1 flying bomb. As the panicked crowd heads for shelter, Professor Drake suggests the Underground just after the engine cuts out, the V1 begins to fall, and it all goes worryingly quiet ...

Alberta marvels at the strange ticket barriers and steel escalators, though Andrea is unimpressed. Reaching a platform, they are surprised to see several hundred people huddled together dressed in very strange clothing. Andrea wonders if something is being filmed, as they all appear to be dressed as extras from a 1940s film, and several are in military uniform. Looking closer, the electronic displays Andrea are used to are missing, and the light is a lot yellower than she's accustomed to. Seconds later there is a tremendous shudder and the tunnel shakes, plaster dust falling from the ceiling. 'Gawd help us! They've hit someplace nearby!' somebody cries.

Professor Drake corners a man in military uniform. 'Excuse me, sir, what year is this?'

'Year? Blimey, mate, are you drunk or something? 1945!'

'Ah, makes sense. The height of the second world war, I think. Or it could be the third, they're both in 45 ...'

Alberta looks at Drake as if he were insane. 'I am in a station full of madmen! I don't know which is worse, the explosions outside or the crazy people in here!'

'It could be worse,' remarks Drake as he examines a tube map on the wall. 'It could be rush hour!'

'I'm sure I shouldn't be down here,' mutters a bemused Andrea, 'Obviously they must be filming or something. There's something strange going on ...'

Alberta corners somebody who looks like he might be in charge and adopts her very best tone of authority. 'You! I demand to know what's going on! What have you done to the Underground? Where have all these big buildings come from? And what are those explosions outside? Which station is this?'

The station supervisor is unable to answer the first few questions, but is able to tell Alberta that the station is Whitechapel, and the Germans are attacking.

'Ah, Germans,' muses Drake. 'Then it must be the second world war ... or the first.'

'First, sir? What're you on about?' asks the station supervisor.

'He seems to be quite addled,' says Alberta, 'A blow to the head, perhaps.'

'Oh, blimey, that's all I need. Loonies in the middle of a war. Shell-shocked, were you sir?'

Drake asks if anybody has a mirror, and Alberta briefly looks on with interest as Andrea offers Drake her mobile phone (with front-facing camera ...) before grabbing a dry change of clothes from her voluminous carpet bag.

'I've changed again,' mutters Drake upon not recognising his face in the phone screen.

Alberta wanders off to find a ladies room to change into her new clothes, and finds that the platform exit corridor has been blocked by rubble.

'Blitz! That's the word for it, blitz!" suddenly exclaims Drake.

'Bullets?' says Alberta, reaching into her carpet bag, 'I have some bullets.'

'Ah ... no. Blitz, from the German meaning ... blitz,' explains the professor.

'But ... that was 70 years ago,' says Andrea.

'So are we,' mutters Drake.

'No! We're sealed in! We're doomed! We're doomed! We're all going to die!' screams one woman, as the rest of the people on the platform notice the rubble blocking the corridor.

'Fortunately the Underground goes to other places,' says Drake. 'I'd go so far as to say that's its function.'

'Yes, get a grip on yourself, my dear,' says Alberta to the woman, 'We can simply walk down the tracks to another station.'

'But ... isn't that dangerous?' asks one of the other people on the platform.

'The Germans are bombing us. I don't think there are trains running.' says the Professor.

'You wait until you've been charged by a Rhino. Now that's dangerous!' exclaims Alberta.

Andrea is able to determine, thanks to an excellent sense of direction, the direction to travel ('that way!') and they set off down the tracks, ever careful of the middle rail (as Professor Drake uses his sonic gizmo to determine the current is still live)

Emerging from the darkness of the tunnel, blinking into the light, the three companions are surprised to find themselves back in a modern station, with absolutely no sign of the people who were supposed to be following them. The platform is more or less empty, with only a few people in modern garb looking on and yelling 'Get off the track! There's a train coming!' Accosted by the transport police, Alberta once again uses the persuasive tone of authority that comes so naturally to her to overwhelm the officer's concerns.

'I believe we're dealing with some sort of rift,' says Drake, 'And as soon as I know what that means ... I'll let you know.'

'Quite,' says Alberta.

Back up on the street Andrea is relieved to see everything looks normal (for her), but Alberta is overwhelmed by the bright lights and noises and brightly coloured shop fronts that she's not experienced before.

'Back in 2013, I'd say,' says Drake.

'What do you mean "back in"?' asks Andrea,'It is 2013."

'Yes, but back there it wasn't. We walked down the steps and travelled back quite a considerable distance. Now we're coming back up, out of the tube, and we're back in your own time ... and I wish I knew why.'

Alberta and Drake get into a brief discussion of the fantasies of HG Wells as Andrea uses her smart phone to try and figure out if there's been any filming scheduled for the Underground. There hasn't been. There is a scream from behind them, and they whirl to find one of the women from World War II looking aghast on the street.

'What is this? What? Where's my Albert? What is this?!' she cries.

'Madam, I believe you've been thrown forward in time seventy years. Don't panic, it's perfectly normal. Well ... maybe not perfectly normal.'

'What? Who are you? What are you talking about?'

'Professor Drake. Darius Drake.'

The woman turns from the professor to Andrea. 'Who's he? Where's my Albert? He was with me in the tunnel.'

'Look, you're obviously very deep in character,' says Andrea, 'You need to get out of it. You're not playing a part any more.'

'I don't think she's a re-enactor, Andrea,' says Drake, 'There are gaps in time and we are stumbling through them.'

Before the companions very eyes the woman begins to change. She begins to age, getting older and older, as her clothes change with her, going from the fashion of the forties to the fifties to the sixties to the seventies ... before winding up as a ninety-year old woman dressed as a contemporary teenager. Oddly, she doesn't seem to notice her transformation.

'This is just too weird,' comments Andrea.

'You can say that again,' says Drake, 'Something must be causing this, and I suggest we find out what.'

'That's the first sensible thing you've said all day, madman!' interjects Alberta.

Again the woman changes, her features and shape ebbing and flowing, vibrating at high speed and transmogrifying ... until the ninety-year old woman becomes a twenty-year old man. He looks at them strangely. 'What?' he asks, somewhat belligerently.

'You changed,' says Drake.

'Changed? No mate, don't think so.'

Andrea pokes him on the chest to see if he's real, and the young man becomes aggressive. Alberta defuses the situation by hitting him in the crotch with her umbrella and lifting his wallet. Andrea films the whole thing for later uploading to Youtube. Alberta is bewildered by the money, which is unlike anything she has seen and appears to have the wrong queen on it.

Alberta suggests they retire to her father's house at Kensington, although Drake thinks they may be 116 years too late for that. Still, he's keen on Kensington ... museums!

Not wishing to risk the Underground again they resolve to walk, and Alberta is astonished to see the London of modern times up close and personal, with a cacophony of noises and nearly everybody appears to be dressed in a very disreputable fashion. Alberta declares that she's not particularly shocked by the way some people are dressed ... though her mother probably would be.

As they travel, Alberta decides to question Drake. 'So, tell me, friendly madman ... what's going on then?'

'I suspect that rifts are opening in the fabric of the space-time continuum and that things are being drawn through from one era into another. You from the nineteenth century, our World War II friends from ...'

'So far I understood the words "rifts" and "nineteenth-century".'

'... yes. Essentially, think of time as a river. It flows along and sometimes it branches when a specific event could go one way or another, and history is like a boat on that river taking one course rather than the other. Now in this specific case those branches have got kind of mashed together a bit like a delta and bits of the river ...'

'So we're in the marshy boggy bit?'

'Actually, forget I said delta. It's more like an ox-bow lake. The part of the river that you would be on in your boat has meandered, and has wound up touching the part of the river that Andrea lives on ...'

As Alberta and Professor Drake engage in an apparently nonsensical conversation, Andrea notices that both of them appear to have changed appearance. Drake's hat has changed colour, and Alberta's now wearing another dress. Andrea points this out, initially to disbelief, although once it is brought to Drake's attention he seems to become slowly aware of it. And it is at that point that Drake begins to hear something, the slow deep sonorous toiling of a bell from far away … a bell only he can hear.

'That sounded remarkably like a cloister bell!' exclaims Drake, 'And if I knew what a cloister bell was ...'

'A cloister bell? So, you're a monk?' asks Alberta, but Drake is not sure.

The bell is coming from a specific direction, and Drake begins to follow it. His companions, unsure, shrug and follow the madman with the bell in his head. Drake is increasingly drawn toward the bell, and he begins to speed up, leading the three of them back toward central London … After about an hour's walk Alberta and Andrea realise that they're coming up on Trafalgar Square, and Alberta ponders if they're heading toward the National Gallery.

Entering Trafalgar Square Alberta is surprised to see so many people in the square at this time of the early evening, but Andrea remarks this is perfectly normal.

Drake heads toward a specific point in the teeming square, and Andrea and Alberta are surprised to see that there appears to be a … gap … in the crowd. As if the crowd were staying away from something that cannot be seen.

Professor Drake can see it, clear as day. A large, irregularly shaped, monolith made of some manner of black volcanic rock. 'Can you see it?' asks Drake, but Andrea and Alberta can see nothing. Concentrating, they receive the distinct impression that there's something there, something black and vaguely monolithy, but their eyes seem to slide off and refuse to register anything. Drake reaches out to touch the object, to find it thrumming with power, warm to the touch and alive …

'I think this is what we came here for ...' he muses.

After a few moments Andrea and Alberta are shocked to discover that they are slowly becoming aware that something is there. They have the sensation of stone, but nothing their minds will settle on. Their brains are simultaneously telling them two different, conflicting, things: they are standing in front of a large black irregularly-shaped stone monolith, and they are standing in front of nothing at all.

'What are you?' muses Drake as he continues to look at the monolith, fascinated. Reaching out, he takes Andrea and Alberta's hands, and places them on the monolith. Slowly, they become more aware of the object and the confusion in their minds begins to pass. They receive a distinct large black rocky object sensation.

'There's a rock … and it's telling me not to see it,' a bemused Alberta remarks.

For no apparent reason he can think of, Drake feels the desire to click his fingers … and the rocky surface beneath his hand begins to soften, becoming increasingly ethereal. The stone beneath his hands is still there, but he walks through as if there was nothing there. Looking at each other, Alberta and Andrea shrug and step through the rock themselves …

From the twilight of Trafalgar Square they emerge into darkness. A faint glow from far away is the only thing breaking the darkness, and the three companions are overwhelmed by the strangest sensation … as if being physically struck by the sensation of being in the presence of something truly and profoundly ancient, as if time has taken on substance and is bearing down with tremendous pressure. The light slowly begins to rise, and they find themselves in what appears to be a basin of precisely engineered volcanic black rock and surrounded by huge ancient glass-faced bookshelves rising to the sky, filled with millions of books. The impression is that of a huge cathedral of books …

'So you're telling me there's an invisible library in the middle of Trafalgar Square?' asks Alberta.

At that point the bell tolls once more, and this time all three of the companions can hear it.

'I don't know why, but I think we're in very, very, very, big deep trouble,' remarks Drake.

Walking past the bookshelves, which appear to be the length of a football pitch, the companions head toward the original glow, and find themselves in a central clearing. In the centre stands a huge column of amethyst crystal stretching up to the ceiling several hundred feet above them. Approaching closer, they're surprised to see they appear to be walking on what appears to be a glass substance, a clear floor that flows and ebbs like water. Through the floor it can be seen that the column stretches down deep into the depths, and around the column is an obsidian featureless hexagonal collar suspended just above waist-height.

Drake reaches out, and tentatively touches the hexagon …

Immediately the cavern is filled with a blazing white light, and a twelve-foot tall golden shimmering image of Professor Drake appears in front of their surprised eyes.

'This is emergency programme Four-Alpha-Two. If you are seeing this programme the Universe is about to end …'

Episode 2 (18 September 2012)

(Annoyingly, I forgot to put the memory card in my audio recorder. As such, with my dreadful memory, there’s no way I’m going to be able to do a write-up as detailed as the first one. Here’s roughly what happened …)

  • Drake, Alberta, and Andrea discover that the universe is ending – the TARDIS reports that the entire structure of space-time is collapsing, the vortex is dying, and it’s all basically going to end very, very, badly. On a flowing holographic map of London they spot random black motes of … something … ‘attacking’ people and places, leaving them … changed. When these black motes attack the TARDIS the Hostile Action Displacement System (HADS) kicks in, randomly displacing them onto a barge on the Thames. They then decide to see if they can find anything out about Drake, so they return (via TARDIS) to the police station he woke up in …
  • Only to find that, upon entering the station, they appear to have travelled back in time to a Victorian police station. Finding nothing of any importance they leave … to find the street is also Victorian, and there’s no sign of the TARDIS. Stranded in Victorian times!
  • They discover that the ship Alberta arrived in modern times in is (somehow) still in Victorian times, and has exploded! Reaching the river, they survey the wreckage and survivors to discover that many of the passengers Alberta knew are dead … but somehow different. Changes in dress, hair, etc. Much to their surprise they also discover the body of Alberta … but slightly different. There they discover the sobbing form of Alberta’s father, who (upon seeing Alberta) suddenly notices that the dead body is not that of Alberta, but of her twin sister Samantha. Only one problem … Alberta has never had a twin sister! Alberta and Professor Drake are confronted by her father, who demands she returns home at once. They put it off, but give their word they will return in several hours …
  • Deciding they must return to the present they decide to visit HG Wells, who has a time machine (obviously … ?). Wells reveals that he does indeed have a time machine (obviously … ?) but that it doesn’t work. Scanning it with his sonic gizmo, Drake discovers that it appears to have very advanced technological components (unknown to him, timelord technology) and that it could be made to work. Wells reveals that a young man dropped off the components as part of a wager, but although he’d had some progress making it work, it hadn’t really. Drake thinks he can do better …
  • Having repaired the machine, Alberta, Andrea and the Professor all pile on, set the controls for 2013, and pull the lever … and the machine and Drake vanish, leaving Alberta and Andrea stranded! Drake surmises it must be some kind of safety feature, to protect people from the vortex.
  • Drake briefly appears in 1945, but then continues on to 2013 … but the machine grinds to a halt in 2012, a year earlier, for some reason. *Drake decides to wait the year out, and takes on a couple of jobs … one, a university lecturer and the other at MacDonalds. He winds up promoted to an assistant manager position.
  • Meanwhile, back in 1897 Alberta and Andrea end up fleeing from a bunch of spectral folk who cry ‘Give us the timelord’, and transform everything they touch into … something else. Usually Ford Mondeos.