Friday, July 12, 2019

Season 13, Episodes 8-10

Season 13 of Lady Penelope's Odyssey continues, with three new episodes:

Episode 8: The Gilded Age
New York, 1883. Following the departure of her travelling companion, Lady Penelope is taking a vacation in history, enjoying a glorious Indian summer in Manhattan, attending the inauguration of the Metropolitan Opera and mingling with the Whartonesque locals. And then Time Agent Cyrus Ward appeared out of nowhere, before being shot by a mysterious staser-totting assassin… The holidays are over – and the (temporal) game is afoot. 

Episode 9: Passing Ship
On her way back to Avalon, Lady Penelope intercepts a distress call from another TARDIS caught in the eye of a vortex storm created by the elusive, ubiquitous Dissonance. Rushing to the rescue, she manages to save the Corsair from certain annihilation – only to discover that the renegade Time Lord was actually chasing her on behalf of the new masters of Gallifrey. And then the Corsair starts to die, spinning the regeneration roulette once again…

Episode 10: Trial of a Time Lady
As the conflict between the two Eyes of Harmony escalates, Lady Penelope arrives on Gallifrey to face the Tribunal Supreme of the Time Lords on charges of Grand Conspiracy and Generally Being a Temporal Nuisance. Will the Time Lady and the disembodied Professor Chronotis uncover the identity of the mysterious Black Eminence before the final verdict? With the fate of Avalon hanging in the balance, it’s time for some serious courtroom drama…

(To be continued...)

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Season 13, Episode 7

Episode 7: Starvox
Welcome to Simak 9 space station and to the 3988 AD edition of the great interstellar Starvox song contest! As thousands of billions of hyperlinked viewers prepare to sing along, cheer, applaud and vote for their favorite contestant, the Earth Alliance candidate has just pulled out!  Enter the Time Lady - and her travelling companion, Dorian aka Miranda. The rest is (or will be) history. A tale of rivalry, empathy and fame (with some disco songs).

So, Lady Penelope's Odyssey is back for the second part of our thirteenth season!  

I borrowed the setting idea (Eurovision... in space!) from the Big Finish audiobook Bang-bang-a-boom featuring the Seventh Doctor and Mel - but with a completely different plot and cast of characters.

It was quite a tricky episode to run - and proved a joy to play. On one hand, it was deliberately kitsch (Eurovision in space...), with quite a lot of cheesy moments - and on the other hand, it had an extremely emotional ending, with the departure of Penelope's companion Dorian / Miranda (her only real companion in the classic DW sense since her early travels with Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart- those were the days and all that...). So the young nightclubbing guy-girl from 1982 left the TARDIS to become the new Hyperstar of the Earth Alliance, exchanging a life of adventure for interstellar fame - a dream come true, as well as a bittersweet (and very moving) farewell with Penelope. 

A bientôt !

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Season 13, Episode 6 / January Special

Episode 6: Wintertime
January 2019. The UK is caught in an unprecedented wave of cold, with snowfalls, ice storms, frozen rivers and the whole gamut of wintry weather phenomena, leaving experts baffled. Only the Torchwood Cardiff team knows the truth behind this aberrant climate shift: it came through the Rift, from a long, long time ago. Winter is coming - time to call the Time Lady!

So, despite what I announced last time (about “taking a break for a few months”), I couldn’t resist the lure of running my own New Year’s Day special (well, sort of, since this was played on the 5th of January) for Lady Penelope – an episode with some nostalgic echoes from the Russell T. Davies era (Torchwood, Cardiff, the Rift…).

And despite what the above blurb may suggest, most of the action took place in 1895 (but still in Cardiff), during another of Britain’s “great winters” – at a time where the Cardiff Rift already existed… but NOT the all-too convenient Rift Manipulator!

The main antagonist for this story was directly inspired by Kim Newman’s “Time and Relative” Telos novella: primeval, prehistoric Cold as a sentient entity trying to reclaim its lost dominion on our post-Ice Age planet. At first, I had contemplated using the Great Intelligence as my main villain (see HERE) but as I was working with this idea, I kept on ending up with something that felt like a remake of Steven Moffat’s “The Snowmen”, with no real extra element of interest. This episode also gave me a wonderful opportunity to reunite Penelope with her present-day friends at the Cardiff Torchwood Hub, including Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, one of her very first time-travelling companions…

The basic idea behind the whole Cold / Rift thing was as follows: the Cardiff Rift allowed the Cold from Earth’s Ice Age to “travel” (or disseminate itself) to various times in our history (including, for instance, the great winter of 1962-63), with January 1895 acting as its most potent “open window through time”. There, the Cold entity managed to possess and manipulate a naïve, pious Psychic, using her as an entry point and interface with reality. Of course, being blinded by faith, the poor soul thought that the visions and commands sent to her “from beyond” by some seemingly eternal, disembodied “whiteness” could only come from God, heralding His new divine reign on Earth. Through the powers invested in her, she even created the Angel of Frost, a terrifying, immaterial being embodying her “righteous wrath” against unbelievers and sinners… 

In the end, Penelope could only defeat / banish the Cold by calling on the supreme power of the Sun - yes, in our campaign, suns are actually sentient beings, as Penelope discovered a few lives ago, in the reign of pharaoh Akhenaten (back in Season 5)…