In the RPG craze of the mid-80s, it was inevitable that a Dr. Who roleplaying game would release to (gamer-) fans of the BBC science fiction series. FASA Corporation got there first, securing the license to create an RPG based on the British TV show.
The Doctor Who: Adventures Through Time and Space game system was based on the Star Trek RPG (also from FASA), except being D6 based. Also similar to STRPG, the designers had to navigate a broadcast series filled with lore, and not a few internal contradictions.
Doctor Who Role Playing Game [BOX SET]
1985 … Michael P. Bledsoe & Wm John Wheeler & L. Ross Babcock III & Guy W. McLimore Jr … FASA 9001 … ISBN 0931787904
Box with 3 booklets
I’ve seen 3 printings of the DWRPG. They’re largely identical (though only the 1st print has the 6th Doctor bio). Also several sourcebooks and adventures were released. I’ve got all that info over at my RPG Reference Site page for Doctor Who.
Revisiting the rule books as an adult – and having run several GURPS sessions – it was much easier to wrap my head around the rules: the see what was there and what was not there… to see what rules were run-of-the-mill and which ones were wonky. One of the things that made it harder to parse through the was that the Player’s Manual is (as far as possible) written without any direct reference to the actual rules. And yet… occasionally there are crunchy, essential rules laid out there that are so important that you cannot understand the Game Operations Manual without them. This is hard to believe today that rules could be organized like that, but it must be understood that at the time of the development of the game, Gary Gygax’s AD&D hardbacks were pretty much state of the art for most people.Jeffro’s Space Gaming Blog: FASA’s Doctor Who Role Playing Game: On the Table
Game Operations Manual
Due to the complexity of working up a reasonable role-playing universe, I had to sift and sort through large quantities of Doctor Who material with a fine-tooth comb. There were quite a few good ideas that got left out. In fact, some of these ideas were terribly painful to drop, but they had to be sacrificed for brevity. Some, like the men of UNIT, will see publication at a later date.
In compiling the time lines, I had to sift through hundreds of dates and many publications to arrive at the ones I used.
In doing this, I discovered that the Earth Empire, the Federation, and the Galactic Congress all existed at the same time. This was easy to fix by incorporating the Galactic Congress into the Federation, and by fixing dates for the collapse of the Earth Empire and founding of the Federation.
The biggest problem came with the entire John Pertwee/UNIT era. The dating given in The Abominable Snowmen, The Web Of Fear, and The Invasion indicates that the UNIT stories occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Further-more, when asked what her home time was in Pyramids Of Mars, Sarah Jane Smith replied 1980; because she became The Doctor’s Companion in The Time Warrior, I have assumed that the episode occurred in 1980. The episode Mawdryn Undead completely negates this chronology by having The Brig retire in 1977. This was terrible, because it completely contradicted the references and times set up in the shows of the previous three Doctors, so I chose to ignore it. Correcting for this, I decided that Lethbridge-Stewart actually retired in 1988, and the Mawdryn Undead affair ended in 1994.
Another problem was the time line of Gallifrey. In an effort to explain why The Doctor always returned to Gallifrey in chronological sequence, certain strictures were placed on time travel, making Gallifrey the present. Although this was not too unreasonable, certain episodes, The Three Doctors, in particular, made this unlikely; because no TARDIS ever went past the Gallifreyan present in the series, it was decided that TARDIS units cannot do this. Furthermore, I mixed the legends of Omega and Rassilon, making these Time Lords contemporaries and allowing the contributions of both to be meaningful to Gallifreyan history.
Certain events and episodes were ignored completely, such as the fact that there are three different Atlantises.Michael P. Bledsoe, in the Designer’s Notes, explains the challenges of adapting to show to the game table
Sourcebook for Field Agents