Saturday, November 26, 2016

Season 10, Episodes 14-15 (Finale)

So, we've played the last episode of our tenth season yesterday evening - and here are the blurbs of the two final stories.

Episode 14: A Time to Sow
Thanks to Lady Penelope’s command of the Hand of Morrolan, the temporal haven of Avalon has just escaped complete annihilation – and it is now time for its lords and guardians to learn from the past and look at the future. Can utopian dreams be preserved from the hard realities of power and responsibility? And if the Doctor does not rule over Avalon, who will?

Episode 15: The Gaze of Oblivion
Victory, survival and knowledge have something in common: they all come at a price. As the Medusa Cascade is turning into a self-aware, godlike cosmic force, Lady Penelope and the Doctor must now face the consequences of their choices and the aftermath of their actions. It is time for them to gaze into the abyss and put the final legacy of Rassilon at rest…

Since ten seasons is something of a milestone, I will soon post a recapitulation of ALL the episodes we've played so far (136, if I'm not mistaken).

Lastly, I've finally found a fitting title for this tenth season, considering the recurrence (and importance) of our dear (and now defunct) Sirens of Time, as well as numerous references to time storms, tidal waves, shipwrecks and the vortex-as-an-ocean: THE TIDES OF TIME.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Sirens of Time

Over the last episodes of Lady Penelope's Odyssey, I've had the occasion  to delve further into the origins of the SIRENS OF TIME, manipulative, time-sensitive creatures who feed off temporal divergences and similar phenomena. Although they were inspired by the eponymous (and famous) Big Finish multi-Doctor audiobook, I have developed my own interpretation and backstory for these beings (much like I did with the Lloigor and the Hounds of Tindalos after borrowing them from the Cthulhu Mythos but that's another story). Here is a short summary of the Sirens' origins...

(Warning: everything that follows is 100% apocryphal and non-canon)

The enigmatic Sirens of Time are the mutated offshots of ancient beings known as the Harpies of Rassilon, which were used by this almighty personage for purposes similar to the Reapers'... but where do the Harpies of Rassilon come from? Why do they always appear as as human-looking females?  Why do they often seem to be a single gestalt-like entity?  And why do they appear to have some mysterious, existential link to Time Lords?

The Harpies of Rassilon came into existence during the early times of Time Lord society, during the reign of Rassilon. Rassilon had a daughter named Alecta, who was completely devoted to him and who offered herself as the needed subject for one of her father's great experiments. He wanted to see if a Time Lord's twelve incarnations could be dissociated from one another and if the resultant being could live in twelve different parallel timelines while still retaining a form of individual awareness, i.e. a "higher single self" uniting the twelve dissociated personas into a single, gestalt-like entity (with, of course, the development of some trans-temporal powers as a result of this dissociation process). The experiment went terribly wrong - or perhaps worked "too well", resulting in the Harpies of Rassilon, twelve transtemporal "sister-selves" of the same entity - but with no trace left of Alecta's memories, identity and sense of self. And as "impossible beings" (or, if you will, "paradoxical" ones), they did have some worrying time-warping powers, as well as a ravening HUNGER for temporal energies - especially the ones resulting from paradoxes, chronological divergences and similar alterations.

At first, Rassilon managed to control "them" (or "her"?), using the Harpies as temporal "trackers" and "punishers", not unlike his personal pack of time-hounds. Then they faded into legend and oblivion, like many other secrets from Rassilon's first reign. Perhaps their creator / master / father had eventually imprisoned them into some form of time bubble or extra-temporal zone... and they were forgotten. But now that Gallifrey is no more (in my campaign, it genuinely HAS been destroyed during the Time War), they have found a way back in the time streams, haunting the great temporal ocean as the Sirens of Time...

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Season 10, Episodes 12-13


Episode 12: The Medusa Machine
Take an immense space-time rift and a planet that should not be there. Add a cosmic grand design and a time-shattering doomsday device. Mix twelve deluded Gallifreyan Monks with a demented time-sensitive Dalek - and voilà, instant apocalypse! Unless, of course, Lady Penelope and her allies manage to stop the Medusa Machine before it strikes midnight…

Episode 13: Deus Ex Medusa
As a Dalek Time War fleet surges out of the Medusa Cascade, the Time Lords of Avalon stand united to protect all of reality from Dalek Caan’s insane plans. With the power of the Hand of Morrolan at her command, Lady Penelope stands on the frontline of this cosmic battle, ready to destroy the Dalek kamikazes. But can she prevent the apotheosis of a mad demiurge?

These two episodes saw the climactic resolution of the whole "temporal anomalies" season theme - and also featured my own version of the Corsair (he looked like the 1980s neo-romantic popstar Adam Ant)... but the season is not over yet (still two episodes to go).    

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Season 10, Episodes 10-11

Episodes 10-11, also known informally as "the Sirens Diptych"...

Episode 10: Siren Song
Troubled by nostalgic visions of Lord Byron, Lady Penelope arrives in 1827 Florence, on the Ponte Vecchio – just in time to prevent the suicide of a young Englishman, lost in a labyrinth of distorted memories. Thus begins a tale of mystery, masquerade and melancholy, a minuet of deceptions, dilemmas and destinies, danced to the tune of the Time Sirens’ song…

Episode 11: Menaxa
Pursued by the Sirens of Time, Lady Penelope lands in the ruins of a sacred theatre, on the deserted world of Menaxa - a forgotten planet, with no history left to alter. The scene is set for the Time Lady’s final confrontation with the ravenous Sirens of Time. There, under the silent gaze of three mysterious watchers, comes the time for decision, ordeal and sacrifice. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Season 10, Episodes 7-9


Episode 7: Hellfire!
London, 1768. The Hellfire Club has risen from the ashes, England is ruled by a mad king and dark powers from below the earth are lurking in the shadows… At the secret request of Sir John Fielding, the blind beak of Bow Street, Lady Penelope and the Count of Saint-Germain (Yes! He’s back!) team up to foil the infernal designs of the Lloigor and their minions…

Episode 8: The Hermes Paradox
After reviving the Count of Saint-Germain with the Elixir of Life, Lady Penelope takes him to 3rd century BC Alexandria – in search (well, as far as the Count is concerned) of the fabled manuscripts of the great Hermes Trismegistus, father of all Hermetic knowledge. Places to go, people to see, books to read (or write?), paradoxes to avert (or embrace?).

Episode 9: The Cagliostro Caper
Just when she thought she was done with the Count of Saint-Germain, Lady Penelope embarks with the so-called Immortal Man of Mystery on yet another impromptu adventure, in search of the elusive Count Cagliostro - yes, that other so-called Immortal Man of Mystery. A tale of intrigue and imposture, with a touch of nostalgia and nevermore.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Season 10, Episodes 4-6

Time for a new batch of three episodes!

Episode 4: The Forever Day
Somewhere, on the border of Time, inside her magnificent palace, empress Jevane of the Khuvani is having a perfect day, over and over, awaiting the end of the Endless War. But when Penelope and Magnus become part of the supposedly immutable Order of Things, Eternity ends, heralding Oblivion. A play of Shapes and Secrets, of Otherness and Humanity.  

Episode 5: Warzone
Hit by a mysterious temporal turbulence, Penelope’s TARDIS crashes on the wrong side of the supposedly impassable barrier which isolates the Last Great Time War from the rest of the continuum. Captured by Gallifreyan forces, the Time Lady of Avalon and the former War Chief must face an unprecedented predicament – as well as their own differences…

Episode 6: The Hand of Morrolan
Following her harrowing experiences in the Warzone, Lady Penelope is back on Avalon for some R&R – as well as for some Q&A. It’s time for her to explore the unsolved mysteries and the deepest secrets of her legacy as the daughter and heir of Morrolan, Time Lord renegade, visionary dreamer and architect extraordinaire…  

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Season 10, Episodes 1-3 aka "The Parisian Trilogy"


Episode 1: Avant-Garde
Accompanied by a most unlikely temporal tourist, the reformed renegade Time Lord Magnus (formerly known as the War Chief), Lady Penelope returns to one of her favorite time spots: Paris during the 1920s (also known locally as les années folles)… Who knows what awaits them in the City of Lights, Champagne and Surrealist Soirées?

Episode 2: En Garde!
Penelope takes her new traveling companion Théo to the time of The Three Musketeers. Arriving, well, Twenty Years After, the Time Lady soon finds herself investigating the puzzling anachronism of Cardinal Mazarin’s plastic vacuum flask. Featuring swashbuckling swordsmen, crazy conspirators and, of course, murderous mannequins...

Episode 3: Force Majeure
On her way to 2226 Paris, Penelope’s TARDIS is hit by yet another echo from the mysterious temporal shockwave, landing 250 years before the intended destination – but as far as Théo is concerned, 1976 is still the future! What could possibly go wrong?  Well, Sontarans. And Rutans. Plus a terrible weapon from the Time War. C’est la vie!

NEXT: Having returned Dr. Théodore Reinhardt to the 1920s, Lady Penelope now embarks with Magnus on an exploratory journey through the depths of the Vortex, searching for the origin of the strange anomalies rippling through the Web of Time...

Monday, July 11, 2016

Season 10, Episode 1

Lady Penelope is back for a tenth season of her odyssey in time and space. We've just played the first episode...

Episode 1: Avant-Garde
Accompanied by a most unlikely temporal tourist, the reformed renegade Time Lord Magnus (formerly known as the War Chief), Lady Penelope returns to one of her favorite time spots: Paris during the 1920s (also known locally as les années folles)… Who knows what awaits them in the City of Lights, Champagne and Surrealist Soirées? 

No season title yet - well, I DO have one in mind but that would be telling, so I keep it in store for a few episodes... And now I go back in the vortex to work on Episode 10.2, which involves a new (and unexpected) companion, Dr. Theo Reinhardt, a psychiatrist from the 1920s with a strong interest in the uncanny - a NPC whom Penelope actually first met during one of her very first adventures, back in Season One... And now, more than 100 episodes and a few regenerations later, he joins her in the TARDIS - it wasn't really planned (I just wanted to re-use this NPC as some kind of amateur investigator of strange events in the context of Episode 10.1) but it came out naturally in play, as if it had been the idea all along, even giving us a very nice final scene... It's like in the vortex, you know: you've gotta go with the flow!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Season 9, Episodes 14-15 (Finale)

So here are the blurbs for the two final episodes of our ninth season (we played Episode 15 yesterday evening):

Episode 14: Thrall of the Rani
It is now time for Lady Penelope and Mortimus to return to N-Space and Avalon – with a prisoner (the Rani) and a potential ally (the War Chief). But the Rani has not played her last card yet. Imprisoned and helpless, Penelope and her companions must find a way to escape and free the regressed Tharils from the mysterious domination of the Rani…

Episode 15: The Trials of Time Lords
Lady Penelope has returned to Avalon – and now, the Rani and the War Chief must face the judgment of the new Lords of Time, with the Doctor acting as a reluctant supreme magistrate. One will be condemned, another will be spared – and a third one will sacrifice his life… Can past crimes be unwritten?  In the end, Time is the harshest judge of all. 

See you in a few temporal cycles for Season 10 of Lady Penelope's Odyssey!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Season 9, Episodes 11-13 + Season Update

So, we played Episode 13 yesterday evening - but it soon became evident (as I had more or less foreseen) that our Lords of E-Space sequence was not over yet, so we've decided to add a couple of episodes to this ninth season of Lady Penelope's Odyssey. And since we already did that for the previous season, it looks like each new season, from now on, will consist of fifteen episodes (as opposed to only thirteen) - which will allow me, as gamemaster, to always include at least one multi-episode story arc (not just the occasional two-parter but a sequence of three, four or even five directly-connected episodes) in each season.

Anyway, here are the blurbs for episodes 11-13. Episodes 12 and 13 formed a two-parter.

Episode 11: Keep of the Tharils
Long before the Time War, Lady Romana guided the Tharils on the paths of freedom and wisdom, making them the guardians of E-Space. As the War erupted, the Tharils began their long vigil, locked up in their cross-dimensional keep, waiting for a message from Gallifrey which never came. And now a new Time Lady is about to enter Warrior’s Gate…

Episode 12: Empire of the Three
As Tharil society wavers on the brink of civil war, the TARDIS takes Penelope and Mortimus to the Celestial Citadel, at the heart of the Empire of a Thousand Worlds which now rules over all E-Space. Here, they meet the young god-emperor Arius, his Mother (also known as the Rani) and his General (formerly known as the War Chief). To be continued…

Episode 13: Alea Jacta Est
Following her daring capture of the Rani, Lady Penelope returns to the Celestial Citadel to negotiate an unlikely but necessary status quo between the Tharils and the Empire of a Thousand Worlds. But how do you convince the godchild emperor of E-space and his Time Lord General to choose the way of peace and balance?  By improvising, of course!

Lastly, we've also agreed on a title for season 9: Time, Space & Beyond ("Beyond" as in E-space, alternate continuums etc.).   

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Season 9, Episode 9-10

It's been more than three months since our last update - but it's now time to resume the ongoing story of the ninth season of Lady Penelope's Odyssey, with a two-parter set in an alternate 17th century which our Time Lady hadn't visited since season four...

Episode 9: Should Old Acquaintance be Forgot
The Time Lady decides to catch up with her dear friends Christopher Marlowe and Louise-Athénée, whom she has not seen in ages - three regenerations, actually. With a nostalgic Lord Ulysses at her side, Penelope returns to the alternate timeline of Reconquista and Lord of Misrule. A tale of absent friends and old acquaintances.  To be continued, of course.

Episode 10: The Banquet of Ashes
1606, Marlowe's alternate timeline. Penelope and her companions prepare to enter the secret vaults of the Vatican where their friend Louise-Athénée is imprisoned. Who is the mysterious Red Monk? Why is the heretic Giordano Bruno still alive? What sinister force manipulates the mind of Pope Victor IV?  A tale of secrets and lies, of old friends and old foes.

Like season eight, season nine will be given a title in restrospect (cannot think of one yet) - but can already be broken down into three distinct tiers of variable length:

First Tier: Travels with Trevark

Lady Penelope travels through space and time accompanied by the Neo-Time Lord-in-training Trevark, to help him complete his apprenticeship. 

9.01: City of Sighs
9.02: Tinker, Time Lord, Soldier, Spy
9.03: Days of Empire
9.04: "I am a Gallifreyan"
9.05: Last of the Mentors
9.06: Interesting Times

Second Tier: Returns & Reunions

Each of the following episode features the return of (or a reunion with) former companions of either the Doctor or Lady Penelope herself.

9.07: Stolen Pasts
9.08: Saving Zoe
9.09: Should Old Acquaintance be Forgot
9.10: The Banquet of Ashes

The third and final tier will be called (spoilers!) Lords of E-Space. See you soon on the other side of a CVE!