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I'm going to be running a Dr Who campaign using BRP, and have a question over balance of characters.

Some players wish to be human, some super human e.g a vampire or cyborg.

Any suggestions on how to keep a balance, whilst allowing the PC's to play the kind of character they want?

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I'm going to be running a Dr Who campaign using BRP, and have a question over balance of characters.

Some players wish to be human, some super human e.g a vampire or cyborg.

Any suggestions on how to keep a balance, whilst allowing the PC's to play the kind of character they want?

Two thoughts occur: firstly, mechanical balance is going to be VERY hard to achieve without heavily augmenting the humans. Secondly, it's very much in the spirit of the show to have some sort of story / hero point mechanic, so I'd steal an idea from C7's Dr Who RPG and give "normal" humans significantly MORE such story / hero points than time lords / super powered aliens etc. It's not an exact solution, but its very in-genre and works reasonably well in play in my limited experience and from most accounts I've read.

Cheers,

Nick

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Secondly, it's very much in the spirit of the show to have some sort of story / hero point mechanic, ...

You could also steal a page from FATE (and C7's DWAiTaS) and fuel some or all superpowers with Story Points. On one level it doesn't matter whether a character dodges a Dalek death ray due to cybernetically augmented reflexes, precognitive abilities, or a fortuitously placed steel cabinet. Sure, it may violate common sense that a 21st-century human survives death rays as well as a 29th-century cyborg -- "where are my steel cabinets" the cyborg cries -- but it's as genre-appropriate for the plucky human to survive by luck as it is the superhuman to encounter a glitch or weakness at exactly the wrong time. ("And suddenly, the BBC practical effects supervisor suffers a heart attack!")

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Thanks for the suggestions. Think I'll use a mix of genre tropes taken from the Timelord system e.g. Only normals get them, and using luck as a resource a la 7th edition Cthulhu, but giving normals a D20 to replenish spent luck. The replenish dice can be scaled down for timelords and those with super human abilities.

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We've had several threads mentioning Dr. Who and Daleks, and have Time Lord guidelines in the downloads section. But has anyone actually wrote up a Dalek or Cyberman in BRP?

Also, macamboy, it's been seven months. How did your BRP Dr. Who game go?

Personally, I liked the Who universe background info in both the FASA and the Timelord games but found the game systems presented wanting. FASA's Doctor Who RPG used a system similar to its Star Trek game, and I just didn't get it. Too complicated. Timelord's system, on the other hand, wasn't granular enough for me at the time. I know, I'm like Goldilocks sampling porridge. If I studied either game at this date, I'd probably react more kindly. Game balance was an issue that struck me immediately when skimming the FASA product. You had the super-smart, capable Time Lords ... and then their wimpy bumbling human companions. Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce Watson all over again. As others have mentioned, Timelord tried to address that issue.

Recently, however, I've had a chance to watch early 1963 Doctor Who story arcs starring William Hartnell -- and they didn't have that problem. The Doctor was a frail old man. An alien scientist with advanced technology, yes, but no stronger, wiser or more clever than his human associates. In fact, his reckless curiosity and selfishness got the group into trouble, and he'd have to bumble his way out (with the companions' help). He sneered at the humans for being arrogant primitives, but they'd be the ones saving his butt. Not the Doctor many of us have grown to appreciate, but a much more playable character. I think that it was during third Doctor Jon Pertwee's era, with it's James Bond-ish plots, that the Doctor gradually became superior to those around him.

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Funnily enough, I've just started my campaign.

I to have ran the Time Lord system, but this time I wanted a system close to Call of Cthulhu for familiartity to me and the players, who've all played CoC for nearly 30 years.

My party has one Timelord, a creation of the Celestial Toymaker ( a harlequin ), a Sontaran captive, and a Ronin. This is quite a mix, but seems to work well.

Their TARDIS is a "fixer" used by the Lungbarrow University on Gallifrey to educate young Timelords in TARDIS systems, use etc. It's working state is unknown to the players as components etc were in a state of semi repair / construction, all of which add to the flavour.

I ran "Time Trap", from Earth Bound Timelords (thanks guys), scenario as a starter, which has Daleks in it. I've not fully stat'ed any cannon enemies yet, but will do and post them on the forum in due course.

In my mind, the bench mark are the Daleks for toughness, combat damage etc, with everything else coming below that .

My main campaign is modelled on the story "Grass" by Sheri Tepper, with the odd "whoish" tweak here and there. Further stories are based on a number of Dr Who novells I've read for inspiration recently.

Edited by macamboy

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I converted a Dalek from FASA to BRP once, but I have no idea what did or what happened to my notes. I do remember 20 point Dalekanium Armor.

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We've had several threads mentioning Dr. Who and Daleks, and have Time Lord guidelines in the downloads section. But has anyone actually wrote up a Dalek or Cyberman in BRP?

Yeah, I believe I have. Both are a bit overwhelming in BRP. Yeah, high stats, great armor, nasty firepower, etc, but the main problem is that BRP's general tendency towards quick and brutal combat makes these things problematic as far as keeping PCs alive.

In the TV series, as well as in the various Doctor Who RPGs that have appeared over the years, things are run so that the PCs don't actually fight these things directly, and things are very forgiving when the PCs do encounter such beings. Most gamers are used to fighting in the RPG, and expect to confront the bad guys in some sort of skirmish. That sort of approach will usually get people killed in Doctor Who.

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To me, it's the armor that would be the problem. Daleks would be stronger than an average man (STR 16-21?) but not outrageously so. The First Doctor and his granddaughter together were able to shove a warrior around in "The Seven Doctors." Daleks are slow and deliberate as Christmas, DEX 10. CON in BRP is low even for massive critters, so 15-18? But that armor! 20 kinetic, plus similar protection for 3-4 energy types at least. It takes a hand-placed shaped charge to pierce it, requiring opponents to get up close and personal in order to succeed. The assorted energy rifles sported by humans and humanoids in Doctor Who don't seem to be able to do much against Dalek armor (even the Cybermen get clobbered), and of course the conventional rifles used by UNIT are even more useless.

The show's writing is spotty on how Daleks will react to non-combatants. In some story lines, you can talk and trick your way out of encounters, as The Doctor (or Captain Kirk) might tend to do. In others, if you halt when the Dalek guards command you to, they shoot you anyways. So you might as well go down swinging like Flash Gordon, or better, use some sort of sneaky, stealthy offense like Buck Rogers.

The actual weapon installed on Dalek warriors has varied quite a bit. In the original "The Daleks" story arc, it was a sort of nerve disruptor that could cause temporary paralysis in low doses, kill on higher power. In other tales, it is assorted types of ray gun, all equally nasty to unarmored freedom fighters and Time Lord companions. I'm thinking that in BRP terms it doesn't matter most of the time since on the show, characters rarely have energy-resistant armor. Player-characters, on the other hand, might well be able to get their grubby paws on some sort of armor that does them a bit of protection. It'll be Elephant Gun level energy damage.

Edited by seneschal

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As I recall, the game that i used the converted Dalek in, the characters ran and where terrified. They planted some explosives and the Dalek walked? rolled? floated through it with no problem. They were only able to defeat it by an npc loaning them a dalek killer gun. So it served more as a plot device, i had no intention of the PC's actually taking it on. Also this was a cthulhu game, so running in fear was totally appropriate.

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It strikes me that the best Dalek defense might not be a brawny action hero but the Three Stooges. Blind those eye stalks with cream pies and the brutes would be helpless. And the excess cream couldn't do their circuits and casters/thrusters any good, either. ;D

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To me, it's the armor that would be the problem. Daleks would be stronger than an average man (STR 16-21?) but not outrageously so. The First Doctor and his granddaughter together were able to shove a warrior around in "The Seven Doctors."

Uh, that would be in The Five Doctors. And earlier on there were similar situations.

Daleks are slow and deliberate as Christmas, DEX 10. CON in BRP is low even for massive critters, so 15-18? But that armor! 20 kinetic, plus similar protection for 3-4 energy types at least. It takes a hand-placed shaped charge to pierce it, requiring opponents to get up close and personal in order to succeed.

The assorted energy rifles sported by humans and humanoids in Doctor Who don't seem to be able to do much against Dalek armor (even the Cybermen get clobbered), and of course the conventional rifles used by UNIT are even more useless.

Not so. The energy rifles do well in the Classic series, as do the Cybermen. It is only the Daleks in the New Series that are immune to practically everything. Which kinda makes sense as these are the Daleks that we able to fight the Time Lords.

The show's writing is spotty on how Daleks will react to non-combatants. In some story lines, you can talk and trick your way out of encounters, as The Doctor (or Captain Kirk) might tend to do. In others, if you halt when the Dalek guards command you to, they shoot you anyways. So you might as well go down swinging like Flash Gordon, or better, use some sort of sneaky, stealthy offense like Buck Rogers.

I wouldn't say it was spotty. I think some of that is the typical "script immunity" that Sci-Fi heroes tend to enjoy, and which I think we need in BRP for a Doctor Who game, but some of that is that is depending on the Dalke motives and which Daleks one runs into. Early Daleks hated the Thals, and were either indifferent towards everyone else, or wanted to subjugate them. In their first appearance they don't seem to have any animosity towards the Doctor and his companions, but have no qualms about using and discarding them.

The actual weapon installed on Dalek warriors has varied quite a bit. In the original "The Daleks" story arc, it was a sort of nerve disruptor that could cause temporary paralysis in low doses, kill on higher power. In other tales, it is assorted types of ray gun, all equally nasty to unarmored freedom fighters and Time Lord companions. I'm thinking that in BRP terms it doesn't matter most of the time since on the show, characters rarely have energy-resistant armor. Player-characters, on the other hand, might well be able to get their grubby paws on some sort of armor that does them a bit of protection. It'll be Elephant Gun level energy damage.

The weaponry does advance, but that's okay. It also seems to be adjustable. The Daleks don't seem to use full power, probably becuase the overkill would be an illogical waste of energy. My point though is that in a Doctor Who game, you aren't supposed to attack the Daleks, and pretty much any other menace, head on. Doing so is counter tot he spirit of the series, and isn't good for BRP either. It would be like in the old AD&D days when the D&D mynckins went god hunting, killing off all the Deities in the Deities & Demigods book. Sure, you can do it, but that's not the way it's supposed to be handled.

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Yeah that is kinda the problem with Daleks in nuWho, as has been stated they are able to fight a Time War, something not done with conventional weapons. So in that sense they would have high armour, and either include absorption at whatever level will allow them to withstand various weapons.

The weaponry does advance, but that's okay. It also seems to be adjustable. The Daleks don't seem to use full power, probably becuase the overkill would be an illogical waste of energy.

They could actually vapourise humans but instead chose a lower setting to cause maximum pain or agony. They're dicks like that.

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Yeah that is kinda the problem with Daleks in nuWho, as has been stated they are able to fight a Time War, something not done with conventional weapons. So in that sense they would have high armour, and either include absorption at whatever level will allow them to withstand various weapons.

Yeah, they are supposed to be uber-Daleks.

They could actually vapourise humans but instead chose a lower setting to cause maximum pain or agony. They're dicks like that.

I don't think it is to cause more pain - Daleks aren't sadistic. They don't enjoy causing pain and suffering. It is just a byproduct of getting rid of vermin. I think the lower power settings are because that is what is needed to do the job. You don't use hand grenades to kill off mice.

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Does anyone remember the Special Weapons Dalek? It made me laugh at the time. As if Daleks needed to be more deadly. makes sense, though, when they meet something that is really hard to kill.

Yeah, or for dealing with thinks like tanks or battleships. There is bound to be a point where Daleks aren't just dealing with other lifeforms but with their combat machines.

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Does anyone remember the Special Weapons Dalek? It made me laugh at the time. As if Daleks needed to be more deadly. makes sense, though, when they meet something that is really hard to kill.

Remember, also, that other Daleks called it an "abomination", because it didn't look enough like a Dalek. (Or because radiation from its enhanced weapon drove it mad. It's been a while.)

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OK, here it is. Based on our discussion, a prototypical, non-specialized Dalek soldier. Feel free to throw suggestions, rocks, neutrino beams or whatever else you think appropriate. ;)

Classic Dalek Warrior

STR 18

CON 15

SIZ 21

INT 16

POW 8

DEX 10

APP 5

Move: 8

Hit Points: 18

Damage Bonus: +1D6

Armor: 20 (kinetic); 10 (electric, heat, magnetic, radiation)

Attacks: Grapple 35%, 1D3+1D6; Energy Gun 60%, 3D6+4

Skills: Drive (Air Sled) 30%, Hide 40%, Listen 35%, Repair (Mechanical) 40%, Repair (Electronic) 40%, Spot 35%, Stealth 45%

Notes: As per discussion in the Doctor Who thread, I figured STR, CON, INT would be better than average human level but not incredibly so. APP, POW and DEX are a little low, since alien cyborgs aren’t generally known for their charisma and spirituality and the Daleks tend to be slow and deliberate. I figured the tough alien alloy their battle suits are made of would lower Dalek mass a bit, settling on a SIZ around 400 pounds. Movement I lowered to 8 since Daleks tend to be steady and inexorable rather than fast. I drew their skills from the Soldier package, avoiding ones that were physically impossible for their robotic body type such as Jump, Climb, and Dodge. I didn't express their stats as die rolls since mass production would made members of a specific model type very much alike. Their lack of individuality is one of the traits that makes Daleks creepy.

Obviously in Doctor Who’s 51-year history there have been a lot of variations and upgrades in Dalek abilities, especially in the new series as special effects and show budgets have increased. However, what strikes me after seeing them in the new series and then in their original, first appearance is how much the same Daleks have stayed over the decades. The Doctor himself has gone through multiple personalities, skill sets, and levels of competence, as have his assorted Companions. But his implacable bio-mechanical foes are pretty much the sinister would-be conquerors they’ve always been.

Edited by seneschal

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The trouble is, Daleks are not robots. They are very small, weak, genetically engineered creatures who sit in a robotic suit.

That means, their SIZ, STR and CON should be very low (1D6), but their Mecha should be very tough indeed. Also, a hit on the Mecha should only affect the dalek itself if it is a hit location containing a dalek.

In my opinion, of course.

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Quite true. But Daleks so rarely leave their suits that the point is almost moot, at least in terms of their confronting the PCs in your campaign. They're like hermit crabs in that respect. We know that a hermit crab is not the shell -- or Coke can, or coffee mug -- it dwells in. But since it abandons its armor only to molt and then immediately finds a larger "house" as soon as it is strong enough, stats would almost always include its armor.

Dalek Sans Shell (without butter)

STR 3

CON 8

SIZ 1

INT 16

POW 8

DEX 10

APP 0

Move: 4

Hit Points: 2

Damage Bonus: -1D6

Armor: None (but see above write-up)

Attacks: Bite or Claw (old series vs. new series) 45%, 1D8-1D6

Skills: As above but add Climb 40%, Dodge 25%, Fine Manipulation 35%

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Daleks might be able to survive outside their shells, but probably only for a day or two at most. That shell isn't just an armor and weapon system -- it's a very sophisticated piece of life support technology that takes care of the digestive, respiratory, circulatory and other needs of the Dalek and enables it to survive and function almost anywhere -- including hard vacuum.

The question I would like to see answered is how Daleks reproduce. With their individuality trained out of them almost at the embryonic stage there would not be Dalek "families". I imagine that on Skaro, and on any other world the Daleks have established a permanent presence on, there would be some sort of system where Daleks come in at specified time to provide genetic material (perhaps from the vestiges of their reproductive systems) and then medical specialist Daleks make Dalek embryos which are grown in utero and then raised and educated in large groups until they develop enough phsycially and intellectually to get their casings and enlist in the glorious Dalek cause.

Daleks are probably miserable their entire lives. Especially when they don't have someone to bully.

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The question I would like to see answered is how Daleks reproduce.

IIRC they're grown in artificial wombs or vats. The first Daleks (in Genesis of the Daleks) were grown in a lab, and the Daleks who survived the Time War lost the technology to grow more of their kind ("The Daleks Take Manhattan"). The Dalek Emperor resorted to sifting through human tissue ("The Parting of the Ways"), and Davros engineered a new Dalek race from his own flesh ("The Stolen Earth"). In Victory of the Daleks the Davros lineage(?) had acquired a device to reproduce the original Dalek race, albeit in new color-coded travel machines.

It's never stated where the genetic material comes from. I always assumed it was some blend of cloning and genetic engineering.

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They're like cockroaches. No matter how many times you stamp them out or erase them from existence, Daleks always manage to come back. There's always some forgotten bunker or buried complex somewhere where a handful of them are dozing in stasis, waiting their chance for freedom and conquest. X(

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They're like cockroaches. No matter how many times you stamp them out or erase them from existence, Daleks always manage to come back. There's always some forgotten bunker or buried complex somewhere where a handful of them are dozing in stasis, waiting their chance for freedom and conquest. X(

And no base is ever truly abandoned when one of your hobbies is time travel....

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