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GM-less Doctor Who Reboot Dogs in the Vineyard Variant

Get together with some friends.

Decide who will be the Doctor.

This is a reboot of Doctor Who. It keeps the premise of the original series, but the details are up for grabs. For example, there may or may not be Daleks, and they might be different from the TV series. The Doctor is (probably) a Timelord, but this might mean something different in your game than in the series.

Everyone takes a sheet of paper and makes up a character. The character may be a human, alien, companion, friend, or monster. Each person writes down a bunch of Dogs traits for their character. You can use the dice amounts listed in the DitV rules if you want. If you do, the Doctor gets +4d8.

The Doctor should have a trait that describes his clothes and one that mentions a sonic screwdriver.

Anyone who wants to can hold onto their character and make it their PC for this session. If they don’t they put it in the middle of the table.

Someone comes up with an episode title.

Each player takes a turn leading scene setting in collaboration with everyone at the table.

Play out the scene. Players without a character in the scene pick up an NPC to run.

When there’s a conflict, someone has to decide what sort of conflict it is and what the die size of the fallout is.


  • Just talking: d4

  • Fighting: d8

  • Nuclear war: d4

  • Guilt: d10

If the Doctor is in the scene, he/she decides one of these two things. The person who set the scene decides the other.

When someone escalates, they get to say what sort of conflict it is now and state a new die size (this must be bigger than the previous die size).

If the Doctor dies, write up a new (regenerated) Doctor.

When you’re done, re-write the characters. This is a group activity, not an individual one.

Next time you play, the same person or someone else may play The Doctor. It doesn’t matter who.

Settle everything else as if it were a social contract issue, writing down any good rules you come up with.

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Interesting. But I demand a situation generator of some kind, even if it's directed freeform.

Like, I don't watch Doctor Who. What does he do?

Yep, you're right, a situation generation would round this out nicely.

The Doctor comes in to town, finds a situation, judges it, and makes things right. No, really. That's why DitV is an inspired choice. Your two basic situations are: (1) some dumb human has a prideful idea - noble or selfish, it doesn't matter - that (a) creates a monster and (b) threatens humanity/the world/the universe; (2) some monster - the result of a past act of pride that wasn't stopped - appears on the scene determined to enslave/destroy humanity/the world/the universe, and the monster is probably helped by a misguided/selfish human. The Doctor arrives, uncovers what's wrong - what the threat to humanity/the world/the universe is - and puts a stop to it. He pontificates about why it's wrong, at least to his assistants if he doesn't get a chance to lecture the actual wrongdoers/monsters, but generally does get some opportunity to tell the wrongdoers off and give them a chance to repent/stop the wrongdoing. In the end though he'll make sure it stops, even if the guilty have to die.

When you put it that way, it wouldn't be hard at all to toss in a hierarchy of sins and town creation for a Doctor Who variant.

Wow. That's cool.

I think if you replace DitV's "demons" with "alien/robot monsters" you're probably good to go.

Oh, but this is important! Is the Doctor the only one who has the authority to judge? What about his assistants?

There's some precedent for the companions participating in the judgment. In the new series (at least), they also judge The Doctor to some extent. There's also a place for The Doctor's judgments to come back to haunt him, or to challenge him to make the same judgment again with steeper consequences.

The Doctor's relative degree of humanity is a pretty big theme in Doctor Who, and it varies from Doctor to Doctor. The eigth Doctor routinely calls human "Stupid Apes", and doesn't hesitate to torture a captured Dalek that has turned away from evil. It's the companion who tempers his character.

The ninth Doctor seems to have a more compassionate temperment (at least in the episodes I've seen so far).

Everything Tony says about who judges is correct, but it should be emphasized that in the end, it really is only the Doctor who has the authority to judge, because only the Doctor has the knowledge and experience to do so. Still, since the companions do have the right to question and challenge the Doctor's judgments - more so perhaps in the new series than the original - they are not left out of the process.

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