The Books What I Help Write: Victoriana-The Concert in Flame

This is the cover to Victoriana: The Concert in Flame. It’s a campaign for the Victoriana RPG, published by Cubicle 7 and written by Walt Ciechanowski, Chad Bowser, Lynne Hardy, Andi Newton and me. Illustrated by  Scott Purdy and fellow former Traveling Man Jon Hodgson it’s the story of a race across Europe to stop an elaborate plan to raise an ancient Death God. Victoriana‘s an amazingly pretty, fun game and this is exactly the sort of high density, idea-heavy stuff that it excels at. Here’s the inside, plus a cameo appearance by my fingers.

Thanks, fingers. You rule.

I’m really proud of my work on this and it was an honor working with such a kickass group of writers and artists.. It was also an interesting and valuable learning experience as a writer. A lot of my concepts and story beats are in here, but not as many of my actual words typed by my actual fingers (Including the ones in that photo) made it into the book. Given that my professional confidence meter is, for a variety of reasons, not high right now, that knocked me sideways for a couple of hours.

What turned me around was my friend Mur Lafferty. Mur is one of the smartest, most switched on people I know and she pointed out that while my disappointment was understandable it also wasn’t necessary. My work helped build the book, my ideas helped shape the book, I got paid for having worked on the book and now I can hold a copy of something I worked on, with my name on the front, spelt right. That’s four different shades of win however you cut it.

So, thanks Mur for not letting me kick my own ass on this one and realize I’m allowed to be pleased that I made an awesome thing. And it really is awesome; classic ‘head long sprint across Europe against impossible odds’ stuff. Plus there’s weaponized classic music and in particular a weaponized proscenium in there which remains one of my favorite ideas EVER. As for the steam organ that turned into a battle mech with steam throwers for hands?It’s day will come…


The Books What I Write: The 6th Doctor Sourcebook for the Doctor Who RPG

See that?


That’s a book.


About Doctor Who.




Have you ever been fistbumped by your inner 12 year old? Because if not you should it feels GREAT.


I keep looking at the thing and touching it, and opening its pages and reading the words I put there. It’s…lovely. Gareth Hanrahan and Andrew Kenrick, the line editors, did a great job and the thing looks and feels like…a thing. A real actual book that I could, and have, used to help write other books in the series.

It was huge fun to write too, and taught me a hell of a lot. How to strip an episode of something for useful material, how to lay things out, how to continue plot threads. RPG writing is a deeply weird profession and this was my biggest project to date but it’s like working in a machine shop for fiction. You get very good at popping the hood, checking the oil pressure and working out what works and what doesn’t. That certainly helped with the 10th Doctor sourcebook, that was more than twice the length, tried quite hard to kill me a couple of times of this year and was handed in a little while back.

Once that’s out, there’ll be another one of these posts. But, for now, it’s all about this ridiculous, beautiful little thing that fell out of my head.

Good job, book. Welcome to the world.

Now, off to write about evil nanotech facepaint.

There are days when I love my job:)

The Books What I Write: The Doctor Who RPG 6th Doctor Sourcebook

Eighteen months ago I wrote the 6th Doctor sourcebook for the official Doctor Who RPG. It was GREAT. I full-on Stockholm Syndrom’ed on 6th’s time in the TARDIS. So much so I now legitimately think he’s great and wrote a book to prove that. One I got paid for!

Plus, there’s an Appendix in there which was so much fun to write. It breaks down the 6th Doctor’s run as though the Time War were happening in the background, showing you how to use elements of each story to create a campaign based entirely in and around the Time War and it’s consequences whilst still featuring the 6th Doctor’s run in all it’s wonderful, ghastly ’80s splendour.

The page at Cubicle 7 is here and there’s a nice chunky preview at DriveThruRPG here.

Yes I am immensely excited.

The book retails for £23.99 in hardback or $19.99 in PDF and is out very soon.

Did I mention the excited?

If you’re an RPG podcast or a Who ‘cast and you’d like me on to chat about just how I stopped worrying and found a way to love TimeLash, ping me on twitter at @AlasdairStuart.

Also? Excited. See?


Where’s Al?-The Bigger on the Inside Edition Part 2


I filed my first story for a national newspaper this month. The Guardian are producing two ‘Guides to the Night’ at the end of October and the Guide editor, Phil Daoust, contacted me about writing a piece about telling ghost stories to live audiences.
It was massive fun to do, covering environment, story, audience and performance and it really helped me focus in on the mechanics of storytelling. The piece is scheduled for print on October 24th and I even get a photograph, hopefully looking moody standing in an archway. I suit archways.

I’ve also had two pieces published by SFX recently; the first covering the apparent discovery that the melanin in human hair could be used as a conductor in solar cells instead of silicone. It’s a dizzying claim that promises that solar cells could be produced for a quarter of their current cost and, in turn, offers up the possibility of cheap, affordable electricity for some of the world’s most inaccessible places. It’s a dizzying, beautiful concept which sounds too good to be true.

Which, unfortunately, it was. Not long after I filed the piece the student who’d made the discovery admitted it was a fraud. It’s a real shame too as it’s one of those ideas that should work.

My second pieces was much more successful, thanks largely to FantasyCon actually taking place instead of people just claiming it did. My Con report went live this week and includes details of books by Mike Shevdon and John Lenahan, my role in the BFS Awards ceremony and the news that Being Human novels are due next year. Parts of this piece are also scheduled to turn up in the magazine itself as part of their convention round-up.

More Twitter fiction, just a single one this time, sold to Jetse Devries’ excellent Outshine and published on September 10th. It’s a tiny little piece but I like it, and would I think, rather like to live in the city it describes.


With the game just a couple of months away, I can now announce that I’m one of the senior scenario writers on the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game. Or, to put it another way, two decades upstream? 12-year old Al is a very, very happy kid knowing he still has this gig to look forward to.

I’ve not just got to play in the official Doctor Who universe I’ve also got to shape it a little bit, expanding a couple of the lesser alien races and building an interesting little playground that should make a fun location for players to bounce off from time to time. I’ve had immense fun and the two scenarios I’ve got in the game are a nice combination of classic Who (Something nasty in the green and pleasant land, let’s solve things with science! Run! Run some more!) and my own unique style (Government conspiracies! Brave new world! Radio 4!). I’m both very excited and a little nervous about how they, and the adventure seeds I contributed, are going to be received. Not long to go now…


A few years ago, I contributed a story to Andrew Hook’s ‘The Alsiso Project’ anthology. It was a gloriously odd idea, taking a spelling mistake and using it as the starting point for twenty three completely unique stories. Mine was a lecture, delivered by someone who has discovered that Alsiso is the name for something we haven’t quite reached yet, a linguistic tenth planet of sorts.

It was also pretty much hated on release, which is fine, each to their own after all. However, CERN Zoo just put up a spectacularly good review of both the book and my story which I’ve linked to here. I always rather liked my Alsiso story and it’s a real pleasure to see someone else does too.

So there we go, a busy couple of months. Thanks for sticking with me and check back soon for more pop culture goodness.