Friday, January 31, 2014
Armchair Review: DWAITAS -- The 4th Doctor Sourcebook
Sourcebooks is out. It's the 4th Doctor -- portrayed by Tom Baker -- the longest running of all the Doctors so far, and arguably the most popular of the original series sequence.
Like the prior installments in this excellent series, DWAITAS - Fourth Doctor Sourcebook not only provides the predictable crunch (new traits, character sheets for the Doctor / Companions / acquaintances / enemies) and fluff (series and episode synposes), but also provides some thematic explorations and comparisons to the episodes and themes from prior incarnations. It even includes a synopsis of the lost episode "Shada", a must-have for die-hard Whovians.
I say, doesn't Skarga's sphere remind you of Rover, from The Prisoner?
Chapter One: Playing in the Fourth Doctor Era
Some really interesting insights here, as I'm used to thinking of the Doctor's older shows in episodic form, rather than as the grand sweep of a campaign arc. While many would cite the change in characterization as the most obvious change, I'd missed the fact that the Far Future of humanity is mapped out in this cycle of stories. Also, as pointed out in "The Demystification of the Time Lords", it's true that the mysterious Time Lords and Gallifrey are not only fleshed out more, they're also taken down a peg and portrayed as a decadent and decaying culture that possesses a great deal of power and influence in the multiverse -- a theme certainly worth exploring.
Chapter Two: The Fourth Doctor and Companions
The Two Companions that really jumped out at me here are -- surprise -- Romana and Romana. The first incarnation was not only beautiful, but had a distant and aloof aspect to her beauty; the second incarnation was more sweet and approachable in seeming, perhaps indicating the change in her personality after having been influenced by the traveling Doctor's ways (or maybe she just like Princess Astra's looks, just like she said). Of course, Leela and Sarah Jane Smith are also memorable, but the counterpoint of an equal Time Lord to the Doctor really shifted the dynamic for me in this era.
Chapter Three: The Fourth Doctor's Adventures + Shada in the Appendix
For those interested in canon, the complete run of the 4th Doctor's adventures, and adventure hooks and NPCs, opponents, and gadgets aplenty -- this section is a treasure trove of gaming delights.
The next installment can't come soon enough for me!