Home : Archive : TSV 31-40 : TSV 39 : Regular

Time Lord Game Additions

By Justin Reynolds


The Vardans are an arrogant, ambitious race of humanoids. Despite their human appearance, they are a very unusual species - they are sensitive to most broadcast wavelengths, and can actually transport themselves along such transmissions. This also gives them a degree of telepathic ability. They have a rigidly ordered society, in which discipline is brutally enforced. Vardans must present at least a facade of respect for anyone with higher rank, and are frequently contemptuous of those they consider to be inferior. The acquisition of status and power is the primary objective of most Vardans, though their ruthlessness in this pursuit is tempered by concern for how their actions will affect the status of various groups they are affiliated to.

The military has very high status in Vardan society. They maintain vast fleets of star cruisers, capable of devastating any planet that rebels against their rule. Unlike most warrior races, however, the Vardans have no interest in face to face combat. On their own world individual combat is rendered pointless by their inherent teleportation ability, so their traditional strategies concentrate more on destroying the homes and resources of their enemies, to weaken them to the point where they are no longer a threat. If soldiers are in serious danger, they usually teleport back to their ship and bombard the surface from orbit. The uniform of a Vardan soldier consists of a dull brown combat suit with armoured boots and gloves, and a visored helmet. Metallic harnesses hold assorted storage compartments, and the uniform has a number of large pockets. Vardan soldiers are always well equipped.

After an attempt to invade Gallifrey, the Vardan homeworld was placed in a time loop. This has cut most of the species off from the rest of the universe, leaving only a few isolated squadrons as the remnants of the great Vardan Armada. They are desperately seeking a way to restore their homeworld, or re-establish themselves on another world, with the long term goal of gaining revenge on the Time Lords.

Individual Vardans seldom need to carry weapons. While out of phase, they are capable of focusing deadly beams of radiation through their bodies. The intensity is variable, inflicting 1 - 6 wounds per action turn. They can maintain a beam for several turns.

Vardan helmets provide them with partial armour 6, but they do not feel any need for further protection. The helmets also shield the thoughts of the wearer, preventing other Vardans from detecting them.

It is possible to interfere with the wavelengths the Vardans are sensitive to - dense matter such as lead, for example, cannot be penetrated by them. They are not adept at dealing with physical activity, as their unusual abilities have enabled them to largely avoid such exercise.

Thought Scan [Awareness]
Their sensitivity to almost all wavelengths give the Vardans the ability to read minds. Only surface thoughts can be sensed; they cannot probe for information, so with effort it is possible to hide intentions from them. The difficulty of reading a person's thoughts is equal to their determination. It is possible to con a Vardan into believing that a thought scan has been successful, even though the person's true thoughts remain hidden.

Wave Transference [Move]
The Vardans can travel along most forms of broadcast wavelength, including the entire electromagnetic spectrum. This ability allows them to move virtually anywhere at the speed of light. It is also possible for them to remain out of phase with their environment, as indistinct shimmering images with no substance, rather than materialising fully. In this out of phase form they can project deadly energy beams, and are virtually immune to most attacks. Only a limited amount of extra mass can be transported with them.

[Vardan Game Sheet]

The Mandragora Helix

The Mandragora Helix is a mysterious region somewhere in the space-time vortex. Streams of energy continuously spiral out from its heart, where the intelligence controlling it dwells. Vessels foolish enough to stray within its range are sucked into its depths, and very few escape. The interior of the Helix is a strange black void, within which massive hunks of crystal float in concentric circles stretching out to infinity. The motivation of Mandragora is an enigma, though it is believed that for some reason it fears the human race as a potential rival to its power. The only certainty is that the Helix is far from benevolent.

The nature of the Helix intelligence is slightly clearer than its purpose. Mandragora is some kind of gestalt entity, a synthesis of all its constituent Helix Energy. Helix Energy is like a swarm of insects, constantly moving and splitting into separate groups. Any fragment of Helix Energy is a separate individual, with no mental link to the rest of Mandragora, but it retains the temperament and memories of the Helix as a whole, and can merge with any other Helix Energy. The more energy in any given fragment (which can be measured in units), the more intelligent and independent it is.

It is possible for Helix Energy to take over other life forms, if they do not resist the influence. This process changes their bodies into Helix Energy (and adds a few units to the total energy), though the physical shape can be maintained for some time afterwards. This enables Mandragora to use the body's Strength for itself. The mind of the victim is absorbed into the Helix, but if it is strong enough some of its personality and abilities may remain as long as Mandragora keeps the remnants of the body's form intact.

Direct contact with Helix Energy automatically inflicts 8 Wounds. The scorching is cumulative, burning another 8 Wounds for each action turn of contact. It can also emit bolts of energy which inflict 7 Wounds each or 3 Wounds if it only wishes to stun. In theory, each bolt weakens the Helix Energy, but unless it spreads itself very thin the effect is negligible. Contact with the Helix, or its use of an energy bolt, drains two units of energy.

Helix energy is completely unaffected by physical attacks - the most that will happen is the destruction of the weapon. Most energy attacks are similarly ineffective, passing straight through the Helix Energy without result. It is sometimes possible to destroy a body controlled by Helix Energy, so a servant of Mandragora may posses some kind of armour.

Some kinds of energy or radiation may interfere with Helix Energy, though nobody has discovered any as yet. The Helix is at its weakest when it spreads itself over a large number of bodies. These servants of Mandragora contain a strictly limited amount of Helix Energy, and correspondingly limited intelligence. All fragments of the Helix are separate entities, and must communicate with the rest of the Helix verbally or by physical contact. The Helix Energy can theoretically be grounded and dissipated, though this is seldom practical when dealing with any high concentration.

[Helix Energy Game Sheet]

This item appeared in TSV 39 (May 1994).

Index nodes: Time Lord Additions, Masque of Mandragora, The Invasion of Time