This adventure, which is set loosely in the era of the Eleventh Doctor (at least, that's which Doctor is depicted on the cover), involves a visit to an abandoned and derelict hotel in 1980s Earth. It's suitable for just about any form of game, and suggestions are made for various groups - classic Doctor and companions, UNIT, or Torchwood - as to how they might get involved, with the delightful addition that if there's an Earth human of appropriate age in the group (extremely likely) a vulnerable youngster that they know and care about might have somehow ended up amongst the squatters who live there now.
The Introduction gives a brief overview of what is actually going on here. Next there's a description of the setting, quite atmospheric with quite a lot of the sort of detail that will help you set the scene for your players. Although abandoned there are some inhabitants, chiefly a bunch of feral cats - there are plenty of suggestions as to how to use their presence to effect - and a band of squatters who have moved in.
There's a big focus in this adventure on atmosphere, so even as the notes move on to what takes place when the party arrives there is still more commentary on things to highlight (drumming rain, darkness, the smell from the feral cats) as you tell your players what their characters are experiencing. The whole thing is very free-form: a situation has been defined and you, as Game Master, know what's going on whilst the party are free to poke around and talk to anyone they wish. Ideas for how people (and cats!) will respond to them are provided, along with the way that they will react to likely character actions. A couple of squatters are ill, and their comrades are likely to ask for assistance - this is the main way that the party will be able to begin investigating what's really going on... although there are other less obvious routes if they do not seem inclined to play ministering angels. Eventually all is revealed, as well as the way to deal with it... and put it this way, the party will probably end up herding cats! This should prove quite amusing, and may be played for a few laughs or seriously depending on your group's style.
A plan of the hotel is provided, and there's a single, brief mention of how the adventure could continue. One thing that occurs is how portable the core underpinning concept is. If for some reason a 1980s abandoned hotel on Earth doesn't appeal, you could take the concept and run it on a spacestation, in the past, on a different planet without much difficulty, it's clear which elements will need to be retained, even though you'll have to come up with your own atmosphere... the resources and descriptions provided here are excellent for making the setting atmospheric.
It's a neat little adventure suitable for a single session of play. Interaction and investigation are at the fore, with little if any combat - there again, the Doctor does not often use violence - and overall this one is fun to play. Enjoy herding cats!
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Reviewed: 28 January 2016