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Subject: The Empty Child (A sample Game Session) rss

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Stuart Millward
United Kingdom
Stourbridge
West Midlands
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Hello everyone,

I hadn't played the game in a while due to this chrimbo-looming malarky we have to endure but I managed to find time to give it a go. As I played the game I typed it up and put in as much detail (narrative and rules) as much as possible.

I used the Doctor I played in my two previous gaming sessions I wrote up (Key to Time and Victorian Underground)

The Docs stats are:

Brains: 12
Brawn: 6
Bravery: 8

Traits: Aware, Charisma, Domination, Computers, Gloating, Running, Science, Thief

Abilities: Arrogant, Keen Intellect

Equipment: None (His sonic screwdriver must have been eaten by a giant were-hedgehog from Venables-III. Maybe)

His Companion is Louisa

Brains: 7
Brawn: 4
Bravery: 7 (was given a TARDIS key in another adventure which raised her Bravery)

Traits: Charisma, History, Running, Screamer (2 Luck Points have been spent to gradually remove this)

Personality: Curious

I guess you could say this Doc is a 'Alternative' 9th Doctor. Especially after this adventure..............


The Empty Child


Turn 1: (Using the new Companion rules, I decide to use c007e Meddle. Simply for the +3 bonus I receive. The Doctor has Aware Louisa has History. Louisa is also Curious and so I get a +1 Bonus for that as well. I roll a 9 so get a 12! I get +1DM but also have to roll for an Enemy Event. I roll a 2 so encounter the Empty Child, quite fitting really! It’s Turn 1 so the Empty Child is accompanied by one other Zombie. I chose the Talk action and roll a 10, phew that was lucky! Gain +1DM and encounter ends) The Doctor and Louisa sought shelter in a nearby ruined warehouse as a German bomber whizzed overhead. It was cold and miserable in the warehouse but the Doctor assured Louisa the current raid wouldn’t last too long. The Doctor began rooting around when a sudden sound made him turn around. Standing in front of him was a small child wearing a gas mask, ‘Are you my Mommy?’ the child asked. ‘Hmmm’, The Doctor had a think about this, ‘There’s a chance I suppose but the set of circumstances would have to be extreme, a full bodily regeneration in the future followed by a gender transfiguration during the process and then meeting a nice man.....’
The boy lurched forward, ‘Are you my Mommny?’ it asked again.
Louisa let out a shriek, a man wearing a gas mask lurched out the gloom and whispered at Louisa ‘Are you my Mommy?’
The Doctor realised something was very amiss, in his panic he raised his voice angrily, ‘Stop this!’ Amazingly the boy stopped. It seemed to react to his anger! ‘Go to your room,’ he bellowed at the boy. The boy and the man trudged sadly away.
Louisa and to a lesser degree the Doctor calmed down. ‘What the devil was all that about?’ The Doctor pondered. He was determined to get to the bottom of all this. (Roll a 6 for an encounter so do not receive one)

Turn 2: (Louisa and the Doctor use their combined Charisma score to Seek Information, I roll a measly 3 so that makes 4, I cannot Seek Information with this Trait again)
Louisa and the Doctor quickly knocked on nearby houses and local businesses but no-one would answer their doors. A few windows were opened and the odd women with her hair in curlers and grumpy greasy looking men would tell them to ‘bleedin clear off’ and that’s as far as they got in seeking out answers to who the boy was.
(Roll a two so no encounter)

Turn 3: (I decide to Seek Information using Louisa’s History trait top get a +1 Bonus. I roll an 8 so that’s a 9, Plot Event! I know the Enemy so we discover the Goal. It’s e172 Purification! I get a +1DM if I beat the Enemy in a Fight, but I must remember to take a -1DM at Turn 6)
Louisa suddenly recognised one of the houses, ‘That’s Auntie Jeans house!’ she declared. ‘I recognise it from an old photo Jean has on her mantelpiece back inn the sixties!’ The Doctor wondered wherever to stop Louisa from looking further. Temporal paradoxes and all that but decided to let her do so. Louisa knocked on the door and a woman answered, ‘What do you want?’ she snapped, ‘Auntie Jean!’ whispered Louisa.
‘Aye what did you say? My name is Jean but you’re no niece of mine, my sister has just given birth to a lovely daughter called Louisa but I have no idea who you are!’ she declared.
Louisa was stunned but the Doctor pushed her to one side.
‘Ahem my dear madam one apologises most profusely for awakening one and such’ The Doctor’s attempt to charm kind of worked. But in a more stunned way than charming. Jean was baffled and shut her mouth at this oddball greeting. Especially when the Doctor raised her hand to his lips and kissed it.
‘We’re merely seeking information about a small boy in the area. Wears a gasmask, keeps asking people if they’re his Mommy, do you know who I mean.’
At this Jean crossed herself. ‘Get away whoever you are! That boy touched one of the neighbours Albert! The thing I saw then would chill you to your soul. Albert fell to the floor screaming in pain, he started gibbering saying he would help purify this world and make others like him till he found his Mommy! Then a gas mask just appeared on his face. The mask was his face! Now go away you disturb me, be off with you!’ With that she slammed the door shut in their faces.
The Doctor led Louisa away grimly saying they were in trouble. ‘The boy clearly has alien DNA in his system that is struggling to comprehend it’s surroundings for some reason, at a touch it spreads. This is alarming, a deadly epidemic indeed!’
Louisa however was staring back at the house. The net curtains in one window twitched and Jean looked out briefly before slamming the curtains shut. The Doctor was mildly irritated. ‘You got us the info we needed but at risk to the continuum, leave her alone Louisa! In your time she probably now has memories of a strange idiot and his raven haired companion but that’s about it. If she learns any more we put this world at risk!’ he led the stunned Louisa away.

(Roll a 5 so no encounter)

Turn 4: (I decide to Seek Help to get some muscle to fight off Zombies, Luckily I roll a 12! I get to roll 1D6 on the Police line. I roll a four so four Police Officers join as Allies. Luckily they each have Troop. I only need 3 Troop to get the +2DM bonus as listed in the Goal, so now I have +4DM. Just one short of getting to my Goal of 5).
The Doctor and Louisa headed to the nearest Police Station. ‘We’re looking for a lost child, er, our child’ the Doctor explained grabbing Louisa’s hand which caused her a bit of alarm! ‘And I’m er, very upset.’
‘Yes,’ said Louisa, ‘He’s stunned with grief aren’t you? Dear.’ She added quickly.
The Police Officer behind the desk looked at them with doubt. But agreed to help them ‘look for a child. And he came out the station with three of his best men in tow.
‘Doctor,’ hissed Louisa, ‘You’re using these men! You’re putting them in danger!’
The Doctor winced, ‘ I know Louisa but what choice do we have? We need to find this boy quick before he spreads his virus and with more of us we stand a better chance!’
Louisa didn’t look too convinced but agreed to go along with the plan.

(Roll a 10 for an encounter, roll a 1 for an Enemy Event! Choose Talk again as now there are 4 zombies with the Empty Child, rolled a 5 success as i needed a 9 or less. Gain +1DM Encounter ends)

The Doctor realised he needed to b more careful what he wished for when they stumbled across the boy with now four other zombies. ‘Oh look he’s ‘made’ some friends, how lucky for us.’ The Doctor muttered. Their new found allies looked quite alarmed when all five zombies lurched forward asking the officers if they were all ‘Mummies’.
‘Ere, what’s this?’ Their Sarge bellowed, ‘Have all you been drinking, what’s all this tomfoolery’. The Doctor noticed they zombies hesitated!.
‘You do have a voice rich with authority Sergeant!’ The Doctor exclaimed, ‘Be a good sort and shout at them to leave hey?’
The Sergeant looked doubtful but yelled at the top of his voice, ‘Roight you orrible lot CLEAR OFF!’ Amazingly the Zombies backed away and shuffled off.
‘Ha ha!’ Good work!’ the Doctor yelled, ‘Now quickly lets follow them!’ The group began to follow the zombies as they stumbled away into the night.

Turn 5: (I get a -1DM penalty for the Goal next turn but I can Oppose so decide to try to Defeat the Enemy, I roll a 3 +5DM so get an 8! Failure. I decide to spend a Luck as each turn means more Zombies. Re-roll and get an 8. Plus 5 is a 13, roll for Enemy Event and I can oppose. It has to be a Fight as I can’t make the Charisma roll nor have the Traits to ‘Cure Plague’)
The zombies had shuffled off to a wreckage of a temporal pod. ‘Chula design’ the Doctor declared, ‘Now it makes sense, medical nanogenes have escaped, they must have found this boy badly hurt, even dying and rebuilt him. They built him incorrectly though!
‘Never mind that Doctor look!’ Louisa screamed. Five gas masked zombies were lurching towards them!
‘Hold them off! the Doctor declared, ‘I need to get to that crashed pod!’
Louisa and the police struggled with the zombies as the Doctor darted towards the Chula Pod. The Empty Child moved after him. ‘Rats’ said the Doctor noticing this. He quickly activated a control panel in the pod as the boy got closer. ‘Rats again’ he cursed.
He activated the controls and analysed the alien data that came forth on the screen. The colour drained from his face, ‘I can deactivate the genes but at such a cost, I can’t do it.’ He breathed. They boy was near him now.
‘Doctor!’ yelled Louisa, the fight didn’t go well as the Doctor watched, Louisa screamed as one of the police officers collapsed at a touch by a zombie and a gas mask erupted on the former officers face.
The Empty Child was close now. ‘Louisa’, whispered the Doctor. He stared at the boy as he loomed close. ‘Are you my Mommy?’ it asked as it reached out a hand.
‘No.’ The Doctor replied, ‘And I’m so sorry.’ He stabbed at a button and the Chula pod deactivated. The boy and the other zombies collapsed in the dirt.

(Only one round of Combat was fought. I took a gamble and had the Doctor ‘Fight’ the Empty Child. A swift Serious Wound to the Empty Child I knew would take him out the Fight as he only had 3 Brawn. I rolled a 4 making a 10 The Empty Child only rolled a 1, Serious Wound so he was ‘killed’. He had been Defeated. Louisa was stunned in combat with one Zombie, One Officer was Wounded and became one, the other three drew or were Stunned).

It was over nearly. Louisa came over as the Doctor came out of the pod. ‘Doctor?’ She enquired.
‘There was no other way’ he said hoarsely. Louisa knelt down and cradled the boy who was now like a normal boy. No gas mask but wounded it seemed by shrapnel. ‘I deactivated all the Nanogenes’ but that meant stopping what was keeping him alive. If I hadn’t it would have spread.’ The Doctor said quietly.
‘The boy looked up at Louisa. ‘Are you my Mommy?’ he asked.
‘Yes sweetheart I am,’ She relied now quietly sobbing, ‘Now hush and don’t worry.’ Louisa held the boy close as he silently slipped away. The remaining officers dipped their heads in respect.
‘We’ll find out who he was and give him a decent funeral’ The Sergeant declared. The Doctor nodded numbly and stared off into the distance.

It was with a heavy heart later Louisa and the Doctor entered the TARDIS. The Doctor had been quiet on their journey back.
‘You didn’t kill him Doctor, he was already dead’ she told him.
The Doctor suddenly slammed his fist into the TARDIS console, ‘There should have been a better way!’ He roared. He then winced in pain and held his hand close.
Louisa took it from him and tended to it. ‘Sometimes you know, you act all mysterious and alien but I think you’re more human than all of us put together.’
The Doctor looked sharply at her before his gaze softened. ‘What a wretched thought’ he said. The comment relaxed the tension.
‘Now I really do need a holiday. Lemeria?’ he asked and he moved back to the console. Louisa smiled softly and nodded as he set the TARDIS controls and the ancient craft departed.

(I would have gained 5 Luck but took a penalty of losing 3 Luck Points by Killing the Empty Child. I spent one in the Adventure and use one at the end to remove Louisa’s Screamer trait, this is the third point spent in this way, so it’s removed. I end up with 8 Luck Points, which is what is started with!)
It was an odd and interesting game to play. I was hoping to get a female ally early on to get a +5 bonus in Defeating the Empty Child with a Charisma roll, but no encounters meant not a single rolled Character Event. I could of I suppose rolled the gender of my Police Officer Allies but it felt like ‘cheating’. Plus as far as I’m aware there would be no female police officers in 1942, but perhaps I’m wrong? There was no way I could Cure the Plague as I lacked three required Traits! So killing the Empty Child was my only option. It didn’t feel very Doctor Who’ish to ‘snap’ a child’s neck in combat So I used my imagination to how possibly it would have turned out. I enjoyed using the new Meddle rule and got a good result on it. It could be said encountering the Enemy early on caused me not to have any Character Events but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles! Hope any readers enjoyed it).

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Joseph Hayden
United States
Amelia
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Great session report, keep them coming.
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Badger
England
London
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Brief history of female policing suggests that there would have been some, but not many. No idea how WWII would have affected their numbers.

http://www.met.police.uk/history/women_police.htm
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Stuart Millward
United Kingdom
Stourbridge
West Midlands
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Cheers for the info Steve. I did wonder when playing.

I stupidly forgot to write at the start of the session that I rolled to land at A435 Lemeria and failed and then rolled for no events in the Vortex. Rolling on the random destination chart landed me at A408 Earth 1941.
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simon cogan
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Great session report Stu - thanks for posting.
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