Covering the exploits of the Fifth Doctor (played by Peter Davison), this book begins with his regeneration - caused by the near-demise of the preceding regeneration at the hands of the Master - and covers his turbulent adventures where saving the universe features several times along with moments of high drama, athleticism, and intense emotion.
Chapter 1: Playing in the Fifth Doctor's Era contains a wealth of information to help get the right feel for this part of the Doctor's adventures, as well as a lot of detail to help you make it all come alive for your players. It starts by describing the nature of this version of the Doctor, who was curious and delighted in travelling space and time to see the sights and help the people that he encountered. He wasn't so good at navigating through time and space and often didn't end up remotely near where he wanted to be. This section ends with a character sheet.
Then we move on to companions. He tended to gather multiple companions, as opposed to other regenerations who generally had but one or two at a time. Sounds a bit more like a conventional role-playing group, doesn't it? Starting with Nyssa of Traken, we learn about Adric, Tegan Jovanka, and Vislor Turlough. Interestingly, they're nearly all aliens (apart from Tegan, who does come from Earth). Background notes and character sheets are provided. We also get character sheets (but no notes) for the metamorphic robot Kamelion and Peri Brown.
The remainder of the chapter concerns itself with the TARDIS and with the nuts and bolts of running games in this era - when the 'present day' was the 1980s. The universe seems to be a darker, colder place with more than one companion death during the course of the adventures, and some outright hostility with Adric tending to the argumentative, Tegan convinced she was the Doctor's equal and Turlough actually trying to kill him - albeit at the command of the Black Guardian (he eventually rebelled and refused the mission).
The remainder of the book, one giant chapter, consists of the adventures from the show, some twenty of them. Each is presented in the same way beginning with a synopsis of the adventure as it played out on TV. Then there's a section on 'Continuity' which puts the adventure in context, then notes on running the adventure 'as is' for your group. Here you will also find details on races or individuals that are encountered, notes on interesting technology and so on. Finally, there are suggestions for further adventures based on matters arising in the original. This provides a wealth of material which you can weave into your game in any way you like, a splendid resource.
Along with other books in this series, this book provides a delightful insight into one of the Doctor's regenerations, complete with detailed episode guides that should enthrall fans of the show as well as provide plenty of material for role-playing. It also shares the lack of photo captions common to all of Cubicle 7's Doctor Who books, as well as no indication of who any of the actors are - now I'm always more interested in characters than the actors playing them, but a lot of people are interested in actors so it's probably worth mentioning! Overall, however, another worthy resource to add to your collection!
Return to The Fifth Doctor Sourcebook page.
Reviewed: 15 January 2015