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Tabletop Game / Time Lord

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Time Lord is a Tabletop RPG based on the television series Doctor Who. It was created by Ian Marsh and Peter Darvill-Evans, both alumni of Games Workshop, and published in 1991 by Virgin Publishing, where Darvill-Evans was overseeing the Doctor Who New Adventures.

A revised edition was released free on the internet in 1996, with a new sample adventure and several new appendices discussing the game's design philosophy and offering advice on character creation (something lacking from the original edition, which emphasised using existing characters from the TV series).

No official supplements were ever released, but fan-made supplements and adventures exist. Nathaniel Torson's Journies (sic) supplement includes additional tools for character generation, rules covering regenerating Time Lord characters, and a system of Dramatic Effects allowing characters to bend the rules in the service of Drama (for example, a character who is too far away from a bomb that's about to explode and kill everyone may spend a Drama Point in order to reach the bomb in the Nick of Time).


The core rulebook provides examples of:

  • Bond Villain Stupidity: The sample character sheets gave most of the villains a negative "Gloating" skill, which would automatically be rolled against if they captured a player character and, if they "succeeded", force them to waste time monologuing.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The "Curse of the Cyclops" sample adventure specifies that if the entire Player Character party is captured and there is no-one to rescue them, the guards will demonstrate their usual stupidity and allow the prisoners to fool them and escape.
  • Percussive Maintenance: The "Bench-Thumping" skill allows a character to do this.
  • Pocket Protector: The Advanced Character Creation appendix in the 1996 edition includes an example bit of equipment called the "Bullet-proof pocket watch", which will automatically stop the first bullet that would otherwise have hit the character possessing it.
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  • Tap on the Head: The "Curse of the Cyclops" sample adventure specifies that if the player characters are captured they can be rescued by someone sneaking up behind the guards and knocking them out by hitting them on the back of the head.

Third-party add-ons provide examples of:

  • Almost Dead Guy: The "Li H'sen Chang Effect", one of the Dramatic Effects in the Journies supplement, ensures that a fatally wounded Non-Player Character with vital information to impart stays alive just long enough to pass it on.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: The "Master Effect", one of the Dramatic Effects in the Journies supplement, causes a villain who has the hero at his mercy to gloat about his plan and stick the hero in an unsupervised, slow-working Death Trap instead of killing him outright.
  • For Want of a Nail: The "Curse of the Conqueror" adventure by Marcus Rowland revolves around history being massively changed because of John Wayne not being able to find a parking space.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The "Daft Guard Effect", one of the Dramatic Effects in the Journies supplement, allows the player character to make a clean getaway thanks to a distraction, no matter how many guards there are or how small the distraction.
  • Just in Time: The "Nick of Time Effect", one of the Dramatic Effects in the Journies supplement, guarantees that the player character will complete their vital task with seconds to spare.
  • Richard Nixon, the Used Car Salesman: In the altered timeline in the "Curse of the Conqueror" adventure by Marcus Rowland, John Wayne became President of the United States instead of Ronald Reagan.
  • A Year and a Day: In the Journies supplement, the sample companion Antonio Garcia was challenged to a card game by the Time Lord "The Professor". If Antonio won he would receive The Professor's emerald ring. If he lost he would owe The Professor his servitude for a year and a day.