The Other Side reviews: Paternoster Investigations (for Doctor Who)
Review: Special Edition – Paternoster Investigations
I imagine that one day in the not too distant past, like 2015 or some exotic time like that Andrew Peregrine (Victoriana 2nd ed) and Walt Ciechanowski (Victoriana 3rd ed) were sitting on tops of the mounds of money that Cubicle 7 makes and discussing how they could get in on some of the Doctor Who fun. They spoke to Dave Chapman (who was sitting on top of an equally obscene pile of cash) and convinced him to let them do a Victorian era book for the Doctor Who game.
The result is Doctor Who – Paternoster Investigations.
This book is a source guide to the Doctor Who universe’s Victorian England. The Doctor has been here many times and he is seriously running the risk of running into himself more often here than in 21st Century England.
The book is 128 pages, full color and done in the new “12th Doctor” trade dress. The main conceit of the book revolves around the Paternoster Gang which includes Silurian warrior, Madame Vastra, her maid turned lover turned wife Jenny Flint, and Sontaran Commander turned nurse turned man-servant Strax. I have featured Vastra and Jenny many times on my blog and worked out my own stats for them for the Doctor Who RPG and for Ghosts of Albion. I have not bothered to see if my stats and the official stats are similar though.
This is a GREAT book, not just for the Doctor Who game but for Victorian games in general.
You will not see the depth of talking about Victorian times here as you would with the author’s Victoriana books, but there is still plenty here.
The book breaks down into expected sections.
First, we have a chapter on the Victorian world and how it works. This includes a bit of history, culture and important happenings. There is also a section on how this all exist in the Doctor Who universe.
The second chapter/section is devoted to the specifics of the Doctor Who version of this time. This features a “driving” geography of London (useful for any game) and some personalities that can be interacted with. A pause while I point out how pleased I am to see “Alice Shield” AKA Ashildr AKA “Me” from the ninth season of Doctor Who. No, we never saw her in Victorian times, but we know from her accounts that she was there. We even get a first generation version of Torchwood.
A++ to both Gentlemen Authors for putting together such a fun chapter for the game.
Third, we get to Victorian Adventures which is exactly what is says on the tin. So many great ideas here. I could not help but feel a little Victoriana entering here. The jewels in this chapter are of course the descriptions of the Paternoster Investigations Gang, the “Further Adventures of Jackson Lake” (the Man Who Would Be Lord) and my absolute favorite, Jago and Litefoot Investigations. Right there is worth the price of the book alone.
The fourth section moves into what they call the Paternoster Campaign.
Ok let’s push pause for a sec. One of the big issues of Doctor Who, any Doctor Who RPG, is playing without the Doctor or Other Timelords. UNIT helps this a little, Torchwood does it a little better, but the Paternoster Gang does it the best. With this structure you may never need, or even may never want, to use a Time Lord in your game again. This details setting up and running your investigative teams or using one of the ones from the book.
The final chapter, “A Study in Flax” is an adventure for your Victorian investigative team.
The final pages are various characters from different Victorian episodes of Doctor Who. Included are Vastra, Jenny, Strax, Jackson Lake, Rosita “Rose” Farisi, Henry Gordon Jago (!), Prof. Litefoot (!), another version of Clara, and Victoria Waterfield.
Who should get this? Everyone!
Seriously though, if you enjoyed the Vastra/Jenny episodes of the 11th and 12th Doctors, the 4th Doctor classic “Talons of Weng-Chiang” or it’s spin off “Jago and Litefoot”, then this is for you.
If you love Victorian games, then this is for you.
If you love the Doctor Who game, then this is for you.
Just buy it. You’ll love it.