Notes on Gallifrey and the Time War.   Posted by GM BadCatMan.Group: 0
GM BadCatMan
 GM, 4 posts
Sat 17 Jan 2015
at 11:06
Notes on Gallifrey and the Time War
Here I'll post information about Gallifrey, the Time Lords, and the Time War for reference, as they come up. I'll largely be taking lore from the TV series, the novels, and the comics, and trying to merge the different depictions into a smoother account. A few things will be my own creations.

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:03, Fri 06 Mar 2015.

GM BadCatMan
 GM, 5 posts
Sat 17 Jan 2015
at 11:19
Terminology & Slang
Things you probably don't already know.

Great House: At their most basic level, the Time Lord nobility are divided up among the Great Houses. These are the noble families, comprised of Time Lords and high-class Gallifreyans who are related by blood or at least by shared genetics. Each have their own traditions, quirks, and secrets. A Great House is also the home they live in, a vast sentient structure that takes care of all their needs. Each House contains a Loom for spinning new family members, though it need not be used. The Doctor came from the House of Lungbarrow, Romana from Heartshaven, and the Master from Oakdown.

Chapterhouse: Academy students and successful Time Lords are separated into the different Chapterhouses, representing colleges and shared philosophical views, research interests, and political leanings. Each was founded by a different great hero of Gallifreyan history. The Great Houses are affiliated to the various Chapterhouses, but Time Lords can shift their allegiances between them. There are at least six; the big three are Prydon, Arcalian, and Patrex.

Here are some terms commonly used in waging the Time War. Many of these were created by the Doctor's TV-obsessed friend Destrii, so will be familiar to fandom. Others descend from former or non-existent time wars. (And mostly my own creations.)

Continuity: A recorded history has continuity if there are clear recorded connections between events, people, and places, from past to future and to other locations. These range from minor references to full sequels, prequels, and so on that use the same elements. Something with no continuity whatsoever should be treated with care...

Rep: In the aborted Second War in Heaven, the long-unidentified Enemy operated through other factions and species, called Reps for "representatives", or possibly "reptiles". No one's quite sure. In this war, the Daleks employed enslaved nations, puppet species, duped agents, and even those who've dared ally with them, all now dubbed "Reps".

History: History is written by the winners, literally so in the case of the Time War. Both sides studied the historical records to find weak points in their own history and that of the enemy, as well as evidence of changes and retcons. They then tried to attack or retcon key points in history, in an attempt to rewrite that history, control it, or change the enemy's time-line.

Reboot: If a timeline was destroyed or undone, then events could restart at the beginning and carry on again in a different way. At least, one hoped.

Retcon: You can't change history, not one line, but you can reinterpret it. A retcon, for "retroactive continuity", is a covert op in which actions take place under the cover of an existing historical event, or the meaning of an event is revised. These don't break the time-line if the historical record isn't changed or if watching enemies notice nothing amiss. Examples include spying on events without altering them; disguising agents as aliens to carry out some additional task that can't be traced back; and even re-enacting historical events to ensure a disrupted timeline carries on as normal. This may be why the Master spent so long in disguise even when there was no one around to see. In the Time War, key events were retconned multiple times by one side or the other before continuity became far too complex.

Skaro Degradations: The Time Lords made various attempts to alter the evolution of the Daleks, to revise them to be less aggressive or dangerous, to delay their development, or eliminate them altogether. The Daleks did the same to strengthen themselves as well as to mutate themselves further. These resulted in the Skaro Degradations, mutated Daleks from alternate time-lines. Some of these Dalek breeds warred over their purity, others allied. These included aquatic Daleks that operated underwater, hovering Gliders, Spider Daleks that strode on six or eight legs, and a variety of Special Weapons Daleks. They could be very unpredictable with unique designs and features.

This message was last edited by the GM at 12:29, Fri 06 Mar 2015.

GM BadCatMan
 GM, 6 posts
Sat 17 Jan 2015
at 12:28
Legend has it that in the Old Times, the last Pythia the leader of the seers who dominated Gallifrey but had been overthrown by Rassilon cursed the Gallifreyan people to sterility before killing herself. Diseases arising from the end of Gallifrey's ice age and the wholesale technological enhancement of Gallifreyans into Time Lords may be more prosaic explanations; fertility declined but was not eliminated entirely.

To solve the problem, Rassilon instigated the creation of the Looms, machines that would assemble new life from genetic codes. Social division grew, a conflict between those with belly buttons and those without. As Rassilon favoured the Loomborn over the Wombborn, the Loomborn formed the basis of the elite, the Time Lords, while the Wombborn formed the lower or plebeian class, the Shobogans, and the Outsiders, who had more fun. Regardless, with the limited output of the Looms, Gallifreyan population declined anyway, though without the inevitable social disaster. Conveniently, this also prevented the inevitable population explosion that would have resulted from a nigh-immortal population, so it may have been by Rassilon's design.

Every Great House is equipped with a Loom to spin new family members, the so-called "Time Tots". Some manufacture full-grown adults, who are raised with extra-large furniture in extra-large rooms to make them feel small. Without mothers or fathers, they refer to each other only as "Cousin", and tend to be very strange. Some members choose to spin babies or children, depending on how much child-rearing one feels up for. A few members of the Great Houses even managed to have Wombborn children with the lower-classes or aliens, but their natural birth was covered up and a source of great scandal. The Doctor was one example, though he also claimed to remember being Loomed, an impossibility. It remained possible, albeit rarely, for Wombborn of the plebeian class to rise and become Time Lords. However, those with belly buttons in the Academy must endure nicknames like "wormhole" and "snail". In general, children were to be neither seen nor heard.

When Leela came to Gallifrey, she livened the place up in more ways than one. She made no secret of having a Wombborn child, despite the sterility of Andred (or, perhaps, Rodan). Having sex and Wombborn children became popular once more, a cure was found, the Pythia's curse was said to be lifted, and the sterility problem was largely alleviated. Looms remained in use for old-time Houses, but also for homosexual couples and those for whom regeneration led to an inconvenient change in sex. In any case, Gallifrey came to know children and life again in the generation prior to the Time War.

Jenny, a half-human "daughter" of the Doctor manufactured by a progenation machine on Messaline, can be said to have been loomed.

Looms were introduced in the New Adventures novels over twenty years ago, to depict the sterile, dispassionate, and technologically focused Time Lords as being literally so, assembled on machines without parents or sex or childhood. This was portrayed as a bad thing. However, they have been decidedly controversial among fans ever since. Mentions and appearances of Gallifreyan children in the TV series have since appeared to contradict them. I don't have anything against Looms myself, but as some players may, I've constructed the above explanation of what Looms are and attempted to merge the two depictions of Gallifreyan society. Honestly, this doesn't even contradict the novels or the TV series. The Looms concept allowed so many loopholes and never contradicted the idea of the Doctor having a more traditional childhood or relationships.

A Time Lord PC can be Loomed or Wombed, as they like.

This message was last edited by the GM at 12:54, Fri 06 Mar 2015.

GM BadCatMan
 GM, 12 posts
Sun 18 Jan 2015
at 07:27
Wars that never happened
The Second War in Heaven, or simply "the War", was the other last great time war fought by the Time Lords, also resulting in the destruction of Gallifrey. At some point, Gallifrey resumed existing again, just in time for the next last great time war. This bears some explaining.

The War was discovered when the Eighth Doctor encountered traces of a future war fought between Gallifrey and an unknown Enemy, a conflict that turned the Time Lords into monsters, resulting in Gallifrey's defeat and the Doctor's own death. The War came closer and culminated in the Doctor destroying Gallifrey to save it, in the process completely undoing the War before it had started. Apparently traumatised, he went through another bout of amnesia, only to eventually discover he'd removed his own memories in order to download the Matrix. This gave him the opportunity to some day recreate Gallifrey. It seems he did so, though exactly how remains unclear.

Other time wars that never happened occurred at around the same relative time. These include the conflict against the Ferutu, aka the All-High Gods, the lords of time from another universe outside the Time Lords' own. Another was fought against an invading human army led by vengeful Solarians, who once inhabited the star exploded by Omega to power time travel. This last war and its alternate time-line was undone by the Third Doctor and a well-placed potato.

In the Time War against the Daleks, the Time Lords observed these defunct timelines looking for new weaponry, tactics, clues as to the nature of the war, and bolt-holes by which they might escape the Daleks. However, in every major alternate timeline discovered, Gallifrey fought a time war against some terrible enemy, leading to their corruption and ultimate destruction (and secret survival elsewhere). Gallifrey appeared doomed to have always fought the time war, and their real enemy may have been War itself...

The first story arc occurred in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels, beginning with Alien Bodies, climaxing in The Ancestor Cell, and finally being concluded and retconned in The Gallifrey Chronicles. The whole arc and themes of the War are very similar to the Last Great Time War of the new series, which was clearly inspired by it. For a long time, it seemed possible that they were in fact the same time war. However, with "The Day of the Doctors" showing the final end in a very different way, it's now clear they can't be. So, the War never happened, twice over. (Given The Ancestor Cell, this may be for the best.)

Still, the arc had a lot of good ideas for fighting a time war and the evolution of Gallifreyan society in war-time. We've seen the same things happen in the war against the Daleks. So I'll be borrowing heavily from these novels, and adapting them to the Time War. That includes terminology, tactics, technology, weapons, and some key events and locations. That war seems inevitable may even be significant.

The Ferutu/Gods war was an obscure story arc in the New Adventures novels, with and without the Doctor. The Solarians are from the short story "Prisoners of the Sun" in the Decalog anthology. And yes, the Doctor threw a potato at them and defeated them, so they can't have been that dangerous.

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:03, Fri 06 Mar 2015.