Improvised Radio Theatre - With Dice

Improvised Radio Theatre - With Dice! is a podcast by Roger Bell_West and Michael Cule, in which we pontificate on role-playing games.

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The Time Lords are There to be Mysterious and Annoying 01 July 2015


This month, Mike and Roger improvise, rant, and consider the three faces of Doctor Who role-playing.

We mentioned Iron GM, Torrey Canyon, Mary Whitehouse, Bill Boaks (who died, in the end, after a road accident), Less Passion from Less Protein, Hamlet's Hit Points, Neverwinter Nights, Narcissist, Roger's Doctor Who re-watch, Doctor Who RPG, Buffy RPG, Time Lord) (Roger failed to mention that there was no actual character generation in the original version, and that it's freely available now), Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space, Quantum Leap, Andrew Rilstone's writing on Doctor Who and Roger's review of it.

Music by Kevin MacLeod at

  1. Posted by Phil Masters at 11:10am on 01 July 2015

    I think you have the date stamp wrong on this one...

  2. Posted by Owen Smith at 04:54pm on 01 July 2015

    Blog date for this podcast says 1 June 2015, I think you mean July.

  3. Posted by RogerBW at 06:29pm on 01 July 2015


    You cannot see the error here.

  4. Posted by Michael Cule at 09:32pm on 01 July 2015

    I could before. Fixed now.

  5. Posted by Owen Smith at 11:05pm on 01 July 2015

    Just to be sure you know, iTunes is confused as well and shows two copies of this episode and marking them as played doesn't work.

  6. Posted by Owen Smith at 04:44pm on 04 July 2015

    Step away from the timeline change, and leave Adric to his certain death. It's for everybody's good you know it is.

    Personally I have doubts about a Dr. Who role playing game. The number of companions would be higher than it was for most of the TV series, and the dynamic of one player playing the Doctor could be tricky.

  7. Posted by RogerBW at 05:48pm on 04 July 2015

    The timeline thing is a narrative problem: as a general rule, why don't they go back and stop people from getting killed in the first place? The show has given various solutions over the years, some more convincing than others, but the real answer is "because then it wouldn't look like a story that we recognise at all". (See previous comments on Continuum/Narcissist).

    Gaming groups are smaller than they used to be: one time lord and two or three companions is workable in TV plot terms. But in order to feel like the show, as opposed to a standard sort of RPG that happens to include time travel, I think you need to get away from the "look down my list of abilities/equipment and see what I can do with it" mindset and into a "come up with something completely barking which is nothing to do with my skills as previously established but fits my character" one. Which is something I find quite hard to do.

  8. Posted by Phil Masters at 10:18pm on 11 July 2015

    That's how the Doctor usually functions, but one could argue that the better-written companions have tended to demonstrate useful skill sets that they carry over from story to story. Though they tend to reduce to "Biff/blow up/stab/raygun those simpler problems which the Doctor is too enlightened to deal with sensibly".

    One might also bitch that the only skill demonstrated by modern-series companions is "Gaze at the Doctor with nebulous longing and occasionally remind him that he is loved". But then, I'm not sure that Jo or Sarah Jane did much else either. They were just slightly subtler about it.

  9. Posted by RogerBW at 04:16pm on 12 July 2015

    I think that as someone with fond memories of the old series I tend to remember the good bits and elide the not-so-good. This is one reason my re-watch of the whole thing has slowed down, as I've got closer to the long desert of the Not Very Good Years.

    So occasionally Sarah Jane would do something really impressive, once in a while she'd put up a good argument against the Doctor, but mostly she would just say "eek" and get hypnotised again. (And nobody could work out what to do with Leela at all, beyond the basic violence.)

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