Day of the Master

The Master was not amused. Whilst en route to the scene of his next dastardly plot, a disruption in the Time Vortex has forced his TARDIS to materialise elsewhere. The TARDIS scanners have similarly been effected and the Master was forced to venture outside to discover where he was. Having noted that the chameleon circuit had reverted to the standard ‘factory setting’ on his TARDIS, the Master exited the structure he found himself in and was confronted by a red post box. 

Realising that he was on Earth, the Master decided to find a nearby newsagent to find out WHEN he was. Using his hypnotic powers, he deprived the newsagent of his will, a copy of the Times and several Mars bars – nefarious plotting always left him feeling a bit peckish.

Checking the banner, he noted that it was 1st April 1977. “How ironic,” he murmured, then folding the newspaper, he returned to the abandoned warehouse to continue his journey. 

However, the disruptions in the Time Vortex had continued and stranded four Cybermen, including a Cyber Controller, in the area. Drawn by the Artron energy generated by the TARDIS, the Cyber Controller is aware that a Timelord is in the vicinity and is planning on capturing him or her when they return, so that his troops can be transported back from whence they came.

Whilst armed with his Tissue Compression Eliminator, the Master realised he was ‘outgunned’, as his hypnotic powers would have no effect on the silver menace. However, as there was a nearby UNIT base and they were used to dealing with alien intruders, he decided to ‘recruit’ some help.

After all, he WAS the Master and they WOULD obey him…

Welcome to my first Doctor Who AAR, for which I used my own rules system, known as Way of the Crow. As the actual AAR would be far to long if I explained the entire rules as I went along, I will refer you all to the previous posts which detailed these rules, here, here and here. 

As this is a pretty straight-forward skirmish between the forces of UNIT and the Cybermen, the basic rules linked above are all you really need to know before reading the AAR, with a few exceptions, which will be noted as we go along.

So, the playing area was set up as follows:

So, 2′ square Mars Attacks Deluxe T-Junction mat for the base, with the abandoned warehouse containing the Master’s TARDIS and the Cybermen in the top left corner, with a van parked alongside and a post box on the corner.

On the other side of the road is the local branch of “Cupid Burgers”, purveyors of meat in a bun. And in the bottom half of the mat is ‘Rocket Comics’, next to which UNIT have deployed with “Colonel Masters”, having arrived in their black Landrover moments before.

And here are UNIT, all ready to investigate and eliminate the alien threat, with “Colonel Masters” leading…from the rear:

So, let’s take a look at their stats:

Unit Soldier – V4 A4 W4 Aw4 S3 – H8 #2 P8 – Abilities: Marksmanship +2, Rifle (V5/R10), Grenade x1 (V8/A2) – Cost: 52

So, above average in Vigour, Agility, Will and Awareness, a pretty good Stealth score and each soldier has 8 Health and 2 Actions each. Armed with Rifles with a Range of 10″ and the +2 Marksmanship means they know which end to point at the baddies. Each soldier also has a single Grenade, the range of which is based on the Vigour of the thrower, does base damage of 8 Vigour and has an Area of Effect of 2″.

The Master – V3 A4 W6 Aw5 S3 – H6 #2 P12 – Abilities: Bamboozle +3, Devise +3, Dominate +4, Leadership 3, Tissue Compression Eliminator (V10/R2) – Cost: 84

Whilst the Master has several Abilities over and above ‘standard’ troops, which explains his high cost, both Bamboozle and Devise weren’t used during the game. As the UNIT soldiers had been ‘Dominated’ prior to the start of the game, they were under the Master’s control. However, as soon as they were out of Line of Sight of the Master, there was a chance they could shake of his hypnosis and turn on him. But the Master does like to take risks, after all.

Leadership is a new Ability – a character can expend 1 of their Actions to activate up to their Leadership score of ‘friendly’ troops, effectively circumventing the usual Initiative rules and taking their turns immediately. As the Master has a Leadership of 3, he can activate 3 UNIT soldiers for each Action he uses. As there are 5 UNIT soldiers, this means if he wants to activate all five, he won’t have any Actions left to do anything himself.

The total cost of the Master and the 5 UNIT soldiers is 344 points.

And here are their cybernetic foes:

Cyberman – V6 A3 W8 Aw3 S0 – H15 #2 P16 – Abilities: Armour +1, Cybergun (V5/R10), Tough +3 – Cost: 65

So, the Cybermen have enhanced Vigour, normal Agility and Awareness, a really high Will (because they’re robots), but no Stealth. Additionally they are armed with Cyberguns and are lightly Armoured. The new ability here is ‘Tough’. For every point of Tough a character has, they add 1 additional point of Health. So whilst the Cybermen have a standard Health of twice their Vigour (i.e. 12), Tough +3 takes this up to a staggering 15!

Cyber Controller – V6 A3 W8 Aw5 S0 – H15 #2 P16 – Abilities: Armour +1, Cybergun (V5/R10), Tough +3, Leadership 5 – Cost: 130

Other than a slightly higher Awareness and a leadership score of 5, the Cyber Controller has the same stat line as the normal Cybermen.

The total cost of the Cyber faction, 3 standard Cybermen and 1 Cyber Controller is 325 points, 19 less than the UNIT faction. However, as the UNIT soldiers may turn on the Master at any point, I thought that this was relatively ‘even’.

Let the game begin…

On Turn 1, UNIT won the Initiative and the Master decided to use both his Actions to activate all 5 UNIT soldiers, who quick-marched across the street, intending to go through the restaurant and approach the warehouse from the rear.

“Go forth, my disposable minions…”

However, as I decided that unless the Cyberman stationed at the bottom right of the warehouse noticed the soldiers moving about (an Awareness vs Stealth roll), the Cybermen wouldn’t notice the solders and would do nothing. The Cyberman failed, so we moved on to…

Turn 2 – UNIT won Initiative again, and the Master used his two Actions to activate and move the UNIT soldiers. The first squad of three advanced through the restaurant towards the back door, whilst the two man squad crossed the road and entered the reataurant. However, this took all the soldiers out of Line of Sight of the Master, which meant that next Turn, they would be able to try to shake off his hypnosis.

Once again the Cybermen failed to notice the stealthy soldiers, so just stood around doing nothing.

Turn 3 – As the soldiers could no longer see the Master, they rolled their Will of 4 plus a d10, against his Will of 6 +4 for Dominate plus a d10. Unsurprisingly, they all remained under his control this turn.

UNIT won Initiative again and the Master moved the three man squad out the back door and started them across the road. The two man squad took up sniping positions in the window.

The Cybermen finally noticed something was going on and the Cyber Controller used his first Action to activate all three Cybermen. The first expended it  first Action opening the main doors of the warehouse, then moved. The second moved out of the front of the warehouse and took up position behind the van. The third burst out of the rear door of the warehouse and fired upon the leading UNIT soldier! Luckily, the Cyberman’s Agility of 3 plus its roll of 7 was not enough to beat the UNIT soldier’s Agility of 4 and roll of 10, so it was a miss.

However, the Cyber Controller then used his second Action to activate all three Cybermen again. The Cyberman who’d fired last turn fired again on its first Action, with a combined attack roll of 10 versus the UNIT soldier’s defence roll of 9, so a +1 modifier to the damage of the Cybergun (V5) meaning 6 points of damage, reduced to 2 after the UNIT soldier’s Vigour of 4 soaked the first 4 points. First blood to the silver menace! However, he then rolled a natural 1, meaning his gun had jammed. The Cyberman behind the van moved out and fired at the same soldier, hitting for 4 actual damage, taking the lead soldier down to 2 remaining Health points. The final Cyberman moved twice along the front of the warehouse to join the battle.

Turn 4 – Once again the UNIT troops made a Will role, with two succeeding! Ooops! The Master was in trouble now – as soon as the troops took care of the Cybermen shooting at them…

The Cybermen won Initiative finally! The Cyber Controller activated the three Cybermen again and the lead Cyberman used its first Action to unjam its gun, then fired once more, scoring a total of 1 point of actual damage, meaning the UNIT soldier was now down to its final Health point. The second Cybermen fired twice, hitting with its first shot and killing the lead Unit soldier. Its second shot missed. The final Cyberman moved out into the open and fired upon the second UNIT soldier, scoring a hit with 2 points of actual damage.

Then the Cyber Controller used its second Action to activate them again! The first Cyberman shot twice, scoring 2 points of damage on the first and missing on the second, The second Cyberman missed with both shots and the third Cyberman hit twice, killing the second UNIT soldier! This meant that both un-hypnotised soldiers were dead – luckily for the Master.

Two UNIT soldiers down and not a scratch on the Cybermen – things were not looking good.

As there were only three UNIT soldiers left, the Master used his first Action to activate them all. The UNIT soldier in the open used its first Action to throw its grenade, which was on target and exploded. The total modifier was +7, added to the damage of 8, meant 15 points of potential damage, reduced to 7 after the deduction of the Cyberman’s Vigour of 6 and the +1 for its armour. The Cyberman was still going! So the UNIT soldier ran away… and was now out of range *phew*

The two remaining UNIT soldiers opened fire from their partially hidden position in the restaurant, concentrating their fire on nearest Cyberman. The first soldier fired twice, scoring hits and damaging the Cyberman enough so that the second soldier’s first hit took him down! The second shot was fired at the next nearest Cyberman, hitting and damaging it and making it aware of where they were hiding.

The Master used his final action to advance towards the Landrover, as he wanted to be in a position to get to his TARDIS, once the Cybermen were distracted enough.

Turn 5 saw the remaining UNIT soldiers remaining under the hypnotic control of the Master, but the Cyber faction winning Initiative once more. The Cyber Controller activated the remaining two Cybermen, the first of which chased down the remaining UNIT soldier in the opened fire, scoring more damage. The other Cyberman moved along the road towards the front door of the restaurant, intending to enter and attack the two hidden soldiers, completely failing to notice the Master skulking behind the Landrover.

The Cyber Controller then used its second Action to activate both Cybermen again. The first shot twice at the remaining soldier in the open, missing the first time but managing to kill him on the second. The second Cyberman moved into the restaurant, and opened firs, scoring 4 points of actual damage on the nearest UNIT soldier.

The Master used his first Action to Activate the two UNIT soldiers, who both backed away from the Cyberman and then both grenaded him, blowing him up! Yay! Go UNIT!

The Master then used his final Action to scurry towards the warehouse, judging that the final Cyberman was too far away to shoot at him and the Cyber Controller he could deal with without any help.

Turn 6 saw both UNIT soldiers remaining under the Master’s control, but the Cyber faction winning Initiative, with both remaining Cybermen stalking closer to the Master.

The Master used one Action to activate the remaining two UNIT soldiers, moved them back to the window and firing on the last remaining standard Cyberman marching down the road towards him. Both scored hits and damaged it, but it still kept coming. The Master used his final Action to duck behind the postbox, figuring a large red hunk of metal might save him from getting shot.

Turn 7 saw UNIT still remain under the Master’s control and the Cyber faction winning Initiative once more. It was now getting rather tense.

The Cyber Controller moved forward into range and opened fire, but because the Master was in partial cover, due to being behind the post box, failed to hit him. The remaining standard Cyberman opened fire on the two UNIT soldiers in the restaurant, but also because of the partial cover rule, failed to hit anything other than the building!

Sensing victory and having a short-ranged weapon, the Master stepped out from behind the post box, strode forward whilst pulling out his TCE and fired upon the Cyber Controller. However, whilst he score a massive 12 points of actual damage, the Cyber Controller was still on its feet!

The eighth and final Turn…and it was all down to who won the Initiative. The dice were rolled and…the Master won! Using his both his Actions on movement, he sprinted the final 8 ” and ended his turn in base-to-base contact with his TARDIS. Victory was his!

“Curse you, Timelord!”

Whilst it had been quite tense near the end, the Master never really doubted that he would get away. Stepping through the doors of his TARDIS, he failed to see the figure in the shadows, who quickly struck him down from behind. As he lost consciousness, he heard a familiar voice say “No, don’t kill him – I need him alive….”

Roll credits…

And there we go. It was a fun game, which probably would have gone quicker if I hadn’t been making notes and taking pictures as I went along. The game was pretty straight-forward, without the Master having an opportunity to use his Bamboozle or Devise skills, but did get pretty tense near the end, as I wasn’t entirely sure who was going to win. Luckily, the Master managed to pull it out of the bag right at the end, having bravely sacrificed three members of UNIT.

That’s all for this instalment. The next couple of posts will probably feature the next set of figures for the second adventure, which WILL actually feature the Doctor this time and is likely to be set in a quarry on an alien planet.

Thanks for reading.


30 thoughts on “Day of the Master

  1. Highly enjoyable Jez.

    As I already have a copy of the rules printed out (and yes I have used them to play more than a few games of my own) I was able to follow along with the action nicely as it unfolded naturally in the game. This enhanced reading immeasurably and made it much more enjoyable for me.

    The game played like a dream didn’t it. The rules show themselves to be smooth and flexible, which is also my personal experience then using them as well. Ok let me state here and now that I am no Doctor Who fan, and yet (this is the amazing bit) this AAR very nearly converted me. As a game it looked exciting, snappy and fast paced, fluid and (dare I say) from what I can see, the rules worked as well as any professional ones out there on the market and gave just as good a game result. Only difference is, they`re FREE.

    I must say these are rapidly becoming my personal `go to` set of small scale rules. Best of all, they are very customisable and easy to adapt to any style and genre of game you with to try out.

    Excellent Jez.


    • Thanks Tarot – that means a lot. As I know these rules inside out (unsurprisingly), it does make for a pretty quick game. I tried to design them so there were reasonably uncomplicated, because being bogged down with tables and counters and the like just annoyed me, and prevents actually PLAYING the game. If I wanted extreme record keeping, I’d still be playing Battletech.
      As for other genres, keep watching. There will be AARs for both superheroes AND Oriental fantasy. And Ghostbusters. And possibly even zombies…


  2. Very very very very very very very enjoyable.

    That’s amazing, you actually got me interested in Doctor Who. First time anyone`s ever truly been able to do that. I think I will have to dig out my copy of these rules again. They obviously deserve a second checking out I think.


    • Thank you, Hils. Glad yoy enjoyed it. Obviously my enthusiasm for Doctor Who is slowly winning people over – and there are still three more ‘episodes’ to come! Of course, the battle could have been ‘reskinned’ as Terminators versus the human resistance just as easily. Because the rules are non-genre specific, you can use them for anything.


      • absolutely yes. I was skimming through our Zombie IGRADIC rules earlier and noted the same thing. It would be so easy to transpose zombie and botched beast and dog pack with a T600 or T2000 Terminator, or (if you go 40K) a pack of Trites.. aka.. Termigants. Good isn’t it when a self written set of rules are flexible enough to serve multi facet purposes.
        WotC does that nicely as well


  3. me too, I want to get WotC out and give them another, more thorough go. The game you played out ran so smoothly, it would almost be a sin not to give them another really good work out. Tell you what Jez, here`s a promise for you….. part 2 of the blog campaign to go up (In about a week`s time) will be played entirely, using YOUR rules.


    • Thanks Steve. I’m quite flattered that you’d be prepared to do this. I am planning on posting an appendix covering the rules introduced in this game in proper detail hopefully mid-week, but if there’s any specific abilities you need the rules for, let me know – they’re still mainly in my head, but I can ‘dig them out’ and send them over.


      • Terminators
        Automatic Hand Guns, Rifles and Shotguns
        Pulse Lasers
        Home Made Explosives (like grenades…. same difference?)
        Force Fields
        Electronic Neural Disrupters and Disruption Fields
        Vehicles (acceleration, deceleration, skidding and turns)


        • Hmm, the Terminators I can do, along with all the missile weapons (was that supposed to be minigun?) and explosives. Are you talking static or mobile forcefields? And is the purpose of the neural disruptor to (mentally) trap OR stun a character? And disruption fields – do these disable equipment or something else? Might be better to send your ‘shopping list’ via email. Lol


          • ooops sorry mate, I guess was a bit vague there. no, a midi as in midi-cannon is right (similar but not quite a mini-cannon). Midiguns were used in Vietnam. Best example of one in use is the black soldier guy (with the shaved head) firing into the forest when he got spooked and thought saw something move, in the first “Predator” film.
            Forcefield as in proximity (pass a spot and a pulse wave, like an energy grenade, is emitted). or static as in place point to point (like in a corridor) i.e. break that connection and an energy wall is activated… temporarily disrupting all EM and computer/tech functions, and an upgrade to allow it to disrupt equipment as well. Actually none of this needs to be specific, s the game host will have his/her own mental image of how this stuff all works and what it looks like. Just needs the basic functioning rules and leave the rest open, in the same way D&D handles this stuff.

            {{And is the purpose of the neural disruptor to (mentally) trap OR stun a character}}

            both would be cool.


          • Ah, the rotary-cannon thing…
            I have been thinking about this and ‘standard’ missile weapons are relatively simple, i.e. automatic pistols, SMGs and Assault Rifles. Area effect weapons, i.e. shotguns, flamethrowers and the mini-gun mentioned above, basically weapons that ‘spray’ an area I’ve got rules for too. The same with explosives, although weapons that launch explosives (like rocket launchers) I haven’t locked down yet. Forcefield generators – yep, and neural ‘snares’ – yep. What I’ll do is type these bits up, along with the stats for what I think the two types of Terminator should look like (T-800 and T-1000) and send them over. Feel free to test them out and let me know if they need any tweaking.


  4. ***deep satisfied sigh***

    I do love a good AAR and that was a good one. I know it’s a pain when you’re taking notes and pics but the game still looked fun. Lovely board, great figs and your own rule set meant that the game should have been a blast to play, it certainly was to read


    • Thank you very much, Andy. As I’ve been banging on about doing this for a while, I thought I ought to get at least one up before you did yours.
      What it did highlight was that I need a few more buildings and a bit more scatter scenery before I play another ‘urban’ game.


      • thats the trick isn’t it Jez, Urban games need that density of terrain whether it be buildings to create narrow alleyways and rooftops to provide all sorts of nefarious “goings on” and/or vehicles, wheeley-bins, skips, building sites, obligatory sofa in the front garden (or is that just where I live?) homeless dude sleeping in storefronts, benches, chainlink fences, wooden fences, random dogs ready to take a chunk out of passers by, rubbish, telegraph poles, streetlights…..the list goes on and on. Just a few of these enhances the visual aesthetic in a big way and (for me at least) makes the game more fun. However don’t get hung up on it and get playing the games which, lets face it is the point! add a couple of scatter pieces to your paint schedule each time you crack out the pots and minis and you’ll soon have a really nice looking board.

        ps i liked the board as it was and obviously “Cupid Burgers” was excellent


        • Cheers Andy. Good advice on the scatter terrain. I do have more ‘American’ scatter than English or generic – fire hydrants, mailboxes and dumpsters – but all I had for this one was the postbix and a couple of oil drums. I think I need some wooden fencing and as I have a lot of coffee stirrers, this might be the next mini-project.
          And the “Cupid Burgers” restaurant does need finishing off – it needs some doors, possibly some windows and the big sign, including the fibre-glass Eros which, luckily, I already have a figure for.


    • Thanks Michael. As the remaining ‘episodes’ hinged on the Master escaping (well, kind of escaping), I would have had to rethink the next parts, so I was relieved when he got away. He IS a tricksy individual though and I think I played his character well in the game. More to come – just have to finish painting the figures for the next ‘episode’. I’m glad you enjoyed it!


  5. >lifts round hat and scratches top of head –scratch, skitch.. skitch, scratch– “certainly not Ollie, certainly not.”


  6. goes around the room, dribbling, making little “poop poop” noises in his throat, occasionally inter-dispersed with little quavering sounds of “exterminate, exterminate”

    Then the boys come and wipe his chin and make sure the restraints are still nice and secure.


  7. Masterfully done, Jez ๐Ÿ˜‰ Its clear this took you a lot of time to post up, and was very much appreciated. I thought the Master hypnotising the UNIT soldiers was a great mechanic and kept things tense right from the start, even though the Cybermen didn’t notice the soldiers for a while. Very much looking forward to the next one ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Thanks Simon. The hypnotising of the UNIT soldiers seemed in character for the Master – why risk himself? When two of them shook off the hypnosis, I thought that he might be in trouble, but they were both killed by Cybermen that round, so a lucky escape there. And it got quite tense right up to final roll – if the dice had favoured the Cyber Controller, the Master would have probably been gunned down. But the Master always seems to escape, so it DID feel like an episode of Who.

      The ‘cast’ of the next episode need finishing off before it can be ‘aired’, but I can confirm it will feature the Doctor and some more iconic foes. Although, I will need to provide him with some companions.


  8. Love it! I’m not really all that familiar with Dr. Who (although I’ve heard the current series is quite good), but I love the AAR! Careful, Crow…They’re insidious. You post one and next thing you know, you’re hooked!


    • Thanks Keith. This is actually my third AAR – the previous two were a Scooby Doo-esque game back in October 2015 and a Star Trek-esque game in September of last year. The first used the same ‘Way of the Crow’ rules used for this one, whilst the latter used my ‘Final Frontier’ hex-based starship combat rules, which are still available to download from here under the post entitled “Final Frontier – The Rules”.
      And there will be more AARs to come – the current ‘adventure’ has three more episodes to play out, where we will discover the fate of the Master…amongst other things. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  9. Pingback: Companion Piece | Carrion Crow's Buffet

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