The Lost Companions – Sgt. Armstrong

January 16, 2018

Design Notes

When I decided to get down to making The Lost Companions, I knew there would be a UNIT companion.  “My” Doctor is the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, as that was the first Doctor Who that I saw. That era had him stranded on Earth working with UNIT for several seasons and included Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, a character that has been so endearing to the mythos of Doctor Who that his family continues to make a difference in the episodes to this day.

UNIT is an international Intelligence and Military organization that responds to extraterrestrial threats and has roots in the Second Doctor’s adventures but was prominently featured for seasons of the Third Doctor.  Since then, UNIT has made repeated appearances including through the 12th Doctor’s tenure and has been shown to try their best to protect the Earth even if they don’t always make the right choices. The Doctor is actually listed as an employee or advisor of UNIT in all his incarnations.

The Cubicle 7 sourcebook, Defending the Earth: The UNIT Sourcebook, includes an alternate character generation component for UNIT members – they have a few extra attribute points starting with 26 instead of 24 points to use for Attributes and Qualities.  As a soldier, I’m putting a priority on Coordination and Strength and putting both at a 4. Since I see him as not as respected or able to advance in UNIT, we will keep his Presence to a 2 and put the rest of his Attributes at 3.

For his positive Traits, we will start with a Minor Positive of Rank as a Sergeant in UNIT(1) and a Major Positive of Friends(2) as a way for him to invoke UNIT protocols even if outdated when he ends up on Earth. We will add the Minor Traits of Quick Reflexes(1), Brave(1), and Cutting Edge Technology(1) before turning to my favorite UNIT based Major Quality – Five Rounds, Rapid!(2) The Brigadier was never one to default to The Doctor’s ways and he often saw a solution from his military background.  This phrase, uttered with some regularity in the time of the Third Doctor is a positive quality that allows someone who is fighting (or shooting as the case may be) to go before they otherwise would in the initiative chart … but still after the Talkers. In Doctor Who, you always have a chance to talk your way out of the situation. This brings us to 8 points of positive traits that total 27 with attributes. We will need a few negative traits to balance this out.

For his negative Traits, we will start with the Minor Trait – Obligation(1) as Sergeant Armstrong is still a UNIT soldier and his sense of duty can sometimes override other things.  Furthermore, his Minor Trait By The Book(1) demonstrates his inflexibility and his overreliance on his training compared to some of this contemporaries, like Sgt. Benton. Lastly, he never seemed to be able to get ahead, so the Minor Trait of Unlucky(1) will get added.  We have a net of 2 points left, so I’ll increase his Presence to a 3 and keep the last extra point for skills.

For skills, UNIT characters have 18 points to spread around.  We will start with Marksman and Fighting at 4 ranks each and an Area of Expertise with Rifles for his Marksman skill.  Next, we will add 2 ranks each of Athletics, Survival, and Transport. With his UNIT training, we will add 1 rank for Knowledge, particularly military history and tactics, Subterfuge, and Technology.  Looking over his sheet, I’m going to stick that final point we rolled over from Attributes and Traits into Transport raising it to 3 because I love the idea of him driving an alien truck muttering under his breath while being chased by Autons.

 

Character Notes

Keith Armstrong certainly looked like he would be going places in the military.  Maybe that would be his break, finally. His football career had petered out when he managed to backheel the ball into his own goal two games in a row, his levels from school were fine, but didn’t guarantee a top-notch university education.  He had the bearing, the training, and the desire to follow orders that seemed to be what was required to rise up the ranks in the military. That would be the best way for someone like him to get ahead in this world.

Then UNIT came calling. After the Yeti invasion of the London Underground, a UNIT was formed and had a global reach but the U.K.’s branch is where Sgt. Armstrong’s story starts.  Because of his apparent abilities, he was recruited into UNIT training and briefed on the Yeti invasion involving The Great Intelligence and the Cybermen’s attempted infiltration of Earth.  He tried to learn as much as he could, as quickly as he could because this was something outside of his experiences.

While he was training with the likes of John Benton, it was his own misfortune, or possibly luck to stumble into a TARDIS and be whisked away before the Third Doctor arrived in UNIT’s timeline.  He recognized the TARDIS from the briefings, but he wasn’t sure what to make of this markedly different Time Lord at the helm. For now, he is trying to learn everything he can to carry it back to UNIT.  He knows that the more information he can bring back, the better for the Earth and the better for his career. He doesn’t always like the way Fen goes about solving problems, preferring to use a more direct approach, but he protects both of the other companions with a fierce loyalty that seems to be part of the human condition.

 

The Lost Companions Overview Here.

Sgt. Armstrong Sheet.

Fillable Character sheet by Michael Lewis available at RPGGeek.com  (Registration required)

BBC Logo © BBC 1996. Doctor Who logo © BBC 2004. Tardis image © BBC 1963. Dalek image © BBC/Terry Nation 1963. Cyberman image © BBC/Kit Pedlar/Gerry Davis 1963. Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space produced by Cubicle 7 under license by BBC Worldwide Limited. Seize the GM is a fan production. No claim of ownership or challenge to the copyrighted work is intended or implied.

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