|The Handheld War|
|Main Enemy:||General Maxil/Time Lords|
|Main Setting:||Meat Station Alpha|
|Release Dates:||2019-05-22 - 2019-06-05|
|Total Running Time:||126 minutes|
|Following Story:||Devils From The Deep|
The Handheld War is the fourth serial in the first season of The Game of Rassilon. It briefly touches on Travis and his Game Boy Pocket, while also revealing the identity of the unknown observer and his relationship to the Doctor.
In addition to this, the serial is notable for revealing part of the primary arc of the podcast - the identity of who the Doctor is running from is revealed.
The Doctor has coffee with an old friend. Millie tries to make sense of a bizarre bazaar. Travis discovers that aliens appreciate the classics.
Upon arriving at the station, the Doctor receives a message on her psychic paper that says "coffee, ten minutes." She goes to T'zim-Shawtons where she meets the unknown observer who has been tracking her activities. The observer reveals himself to be Roman, speaks of the plan, and reveals that the Time Lords are closing in. They are then pursued by General Maxil and a squad of Time Lord soldiers, prompting the Doctor to flee to the TARDIS.
Meanwhile, Millie and Travis explore Meat Station Alpha. Millie buys a replacement jacket. Travis is approached by Hammikeer Schlemarr, the purveyor of a technology-focused pawn shop, and offers an exceptional amount of money in exchange for his Game Boy Pocket. When Travis declines, they are pursued by mercenaries.
The two groups meet at the TARDIS, but discover it is shrouded in a forcefield. Maxil fires his Staser at the Doctor...
...but nothing happens, as Roman had tampered with the device earlier. Team TARDIS flee to Bave & Dusters, an arcade, where Roman is waiting for them. As the Time Lords approach, the Doctor and Millie grab fake guns from nearby light-gun machines while Travis steals tokens Roman had accumulated to purchase himself a Super Soaker. THey use the fake guns to trick the Time Lords, escaping and locking the Time Lords in Bave & Dusters by activating the shutters.
The mercenaries and Hammikeer Schlemarr attempt to pressure Travis into giving them the Game Boy Pocket, which the Doctor realizes is used for illegal activities in the future. This culminates in a Pokémon battle between Travis and Hammikeer, which Travis wins. As a victory prize he gains Hammikeer's Game Boy Pocket and his copy of Pokémon Yellow, which he gives to Millie. He also wins 1,000 teeth, which he throws into the air to distract the mercenaries while they make their escape.
Maxil intercepts the group back at the TARDIS and reveals to the Doctor that the Time Lords need her. Millie and Travis shut down the force field. Roman prevents Maxil from shooting the Doctor, who then uses her TARDIS randomiser to force all TARDISes in the area to also randomise their materialization location.
After the Doctor's TARDIS dematerializes, Roman shoots Maxil, prompting him to regenerate. Roman escapes, and as Maxil regenerates he is filled with the desire to find and kill the Doctor.
- The Doctor - Riley Silverman
- Travis - Dan Peck
- Millie - Melinda-Catherine Gross
- Engineer, Roman - Michael Nixon
- Game Master, all other characters - Ben Paddon
- Editing and Sound Design - David King
- Theme music arrangement - Drew Krassowski
- Additional music - Luke Baldridge
- Story - Michael Nixon, Ben Paddon
- Producers - Melinda-Catherine Gross, Michael Nixon, Ben Paddon
- Hammikeer Schlemarr
- General Maxil
- Clothing and fabric store clerk
- T'zim-Shawtons barista
- Gallifreyan Corporals
- Human mercenary
- Saturnynian mercenary
- Judoon mercenary
- Mark Schlemarr
- The identity of the unknown observer is revealed - it's Roman, a male incarnation of Romana, a Time Lord and former traveling companion of the Fourth Doctor.
- Roman also states that he and the Doctor "used to date."
- The Doctor refers to Roman's previous run as President of Gallifrey. He has since been exiled, but has been tasked with pursuing the Doctor.
- Like the Doctor, has a Sonic Screwdriver of his own. It's long and thin with a red light on the end. Unlike the Doctor's Sonic, it "does do wood."
- The Doctor mentions, but dismisses, the possibility of Roman being the Master.
- Roman alludes to "the plan" and the Doctor's part in it:
- Roman claims that he helped the Doctor write the "run" note that was pinned to the Doctor after she regenerated into her present form.
- Roman is aware of the TARDIS randomiser. This makes sense - when Romana II traveled with the Fourth Doctor, they were using a randomiser so as to avoid manipulation by the Black Guardian.
- Roman warns the Doctor that the Time Lords are pursuing her, and they're getting closer. He think the Time Lords might be following him as well.
- Roman states that they are in "the running phase" of the plan.
- In part 2, Roman reveals that "things have gone horribly awry" with the plan.
- Roman is shocked to discover the Doctor traveling with Amelia Earhart.
- General Maxil arrives, having tracked Roman and the Doctor's location. Maxil previously served as a member of the Gallifreyan Chancellery Guard - the Doctor that he was promoted to General during the Time War.
- Though not discussed within the narrative, Maxil is described as a member of the Unchanging Changed - Time Lords who got through the entirety of the Time War without regenerating but who were nevertheless affected "psychologically if not physically" by the events of the war.
- Maxil first appeared in a classic Doctor Who serial, Arc of Infinity.
- Riley suggests, and the GM agrees, that Maxil should look as Colin Baker looks circa 2019.
- Maxil, alongside his Gallifreyan soldiers, are armed with Stasers and rifles.
- When the Doctor attempts to distract Maxil, she refers to a number of classic series adventures and explicitly names Borusa.
- Maxil states that the Time Lords "need" the Doctor.
- Maxil is shot by Roman, prompting a regeneration.
- The origins of Travis' Game Boy Pocket are touched upon - perhaps disappointingly, he saved up and bought it with money.
- The Game Boy Pocket is, it turns out, a highly desired item, to the point where Hammikeer Schlemarr knows the console's model number (MGB-001) and offers as much as 15,000 teeth for it. In part 2, it's revealed that the Game Boy Pocket "tends to get used for nefarious purposes" by "criminals and terrorists." Dan compares it to a Casio calculator watch.
- Sought after games include Super Mario Land, Tetris, Wario Land 3, and Kirby's Adventure. In reality, Kirby's Adventure was a game for the NES. Kirby's Dream Land and Kirby's Dream Land 2 were the only Game Boy titles released.
- Travis' Game Boy Pocket is also used as a communication device, receiving a message for Millie and Travis from the Doctor.
- The Doctor receives a message on the Psychic Paper. This had previously happened in TV stories including "New Earth" and "Silence in the Library".
- Millie replaces her flying jacket. She had previously left her original jacket at the museum in The Cost of Progress.
- The Doctor has currency for the station upon her person already. It's teeth.
- The coffee chain, originally named as Canadian chain Tim Horton's, is later renamed T'zim-Shawtons after the villain who appears in "The Woman Who Fell to Earth" and "The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos".
- Roman is quite fond of T'zim-Shawtons, stating that "only T'zim-Shawtons respects the bean."
- There is an arcade on Meat Base Alpha called Bave & Dusters. Teeth are still used as currency in the arcade. Games include skeeball, basketball, Whack-a-Mole, Flappy Bird, and a Brexit-themed Deal, No Deal, or No No Deal. There is also a ball pit, and at least two light-gun based games.
- The arcade also has a prize counter, which may include disguises but definitely includes a Super Soaker (and also a Detective Pikachu).
- The shutters for the entrance to the arcade are described as resembling a rib cage.
- Team TARDIS decides, for the second serial in a row, to try a disguise, though they do not this time actually put on a disguise.
- The Doctor says she will fire on a Time Lord General "if given the option," which may be a reference to "Hell Bent".
- The Doctor describes herself as "a representative of the Shadow Proclamation." The Shadow Proclamation were first referenced in "Rose" and would later appear in "The Stolen Earth" and "The Magician's Apprentice".
- Hammikeer Schlemarr says that the Shadow Proclamation doesn't have any juristiction aboard Meat Base Alpha.
- Travis challenges Hammikeer Schlemarr to a Pokémon battle, which Schlemarr naturally cheats at. The rules are:
- No Legendary Pokémon.
- No Revives.
- The battle takes place in the Schlemarr Tech Shack with the Doctor's link cable.
- No hacks.
- Hammikeer's team is Kangaskhan, Aerodactyl, and the glitch Pokémon Missingno.
- Travis' team starts withJolteon, who was undefeated. The rest of his team was not seen in-game, but according to Dan Peck's Instagram the remaining two Pokémon would have been Gyrados and Gengar.
- The Doctor explicitly mentions that she is avoiding mentioning which incarnation she is.
- The Doctor explains the basics of regeneration to Travis and Millie, as well as what she reccalls ofd her regeneration.
- In the future, Star Wars: A New Hope has been remade.
- By the end of this episode, Millie has a Game Boy Pocket of her own with a copy of Pokémon Yellow.
- For the second serial in a row, the first episode does not begin with a recap - Luke Baldridge is again not credited for additional music.
- This is the first serial since The Cost of Progress Part 4 not to feature music by Kevin MacLeod.
- Ben's speech is noticably slurred in places during this serial. This would suggest that the episodes were recorded during March of 2019, during which time Ben was afflicted with Bell's palsy.
- Part 2 is unusual in that time is spent explaining exactly who General Maxil and Roman are for those who may not know the characters from the classic series (which includes Dan Peck).
- Melinda, who is a fan of the classic series, entirely missed who Roman was in the moment, and only realized during this explanation in part 2.
- What is presumably a continuation of this discussion is placed at the end of the episode, with the discussion veering into the topic of the classic Doctor Who fandom.
- Ben is occasionally echoed in the first episode, and his mic is of a noticeably different quality. In a tweet, he revealed this was because he'd recorded using a separate mic for this session, resulting in the audio effect. Initially, it was stated that this issue might persist for "the next three episodes," but the echo is largely missing from the second and final part of the story (though Michael's mic does occasionally echo in part 2).
- Ben's statement could be taken as implication that The Handheld War may last four episodes. If so, it would be the first serial to do so since The Cost of Progress.
- The reveal that Maxil has been tracking the Doctor and Roman appears to come as a surprise even to Michael Nixon, who has a very visceral reaction to the character's appearance. The reverse occurs when Roman shoots Maxil, prompting a shocked response from Ben.
- This suggests that parts of the story arc have been developed independently of each other, though the specifics of this are not yet known.
- The Tetris theme appears once again in part 1, having previously appeared in part 4 of The Cost of Progress.
- This is the first time that the Chase mechanic from the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game appears in the podcast.
- Ben utters the phrase "does not golf" in reference to a failed dice roll. This appears to be a reference to the McElroy Family YouTube series Monster Factory.
- The phrase "do a do" appears. A similar phrase, "do the do", had appeared in a previous episode.
- The group briefly discuss the various iterations of the aborted classic series story Shada (which leads to a reference to The Five Doctors).
- As Riley is trying to find something appropriate in the Doctor's pocket to cut some guns off of an arcade machine, Ben quotes the YouTube meme video "Crazy Kid Runs Around With a Knife!!!!".
- About halfway through part 2, Ben begins mispronuncing Hammikeer Schlemarr's last name as "Schlameer".
- Riley references the Donkey Kong killscreen moment from the documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.
- For the Pokémon battle, Ben borrows the advantage/disadvantage mechanic from the Powered by the Apocalypse system - players roll three D6 instead of two, with advantage picking the highest two and disadvantage picking the lowest two. This is the same advantage/disadvantage system used by the Amnesty arc in The Adventure Zone.
- Part 2 of this arc marks the first known occasion of Story Point usage by an antagonist NPC.
- Part 2 also includes the single largest Story Point expendature in the show to date, with Riley spending 8 Story Points to extend the TARDIS' state of temporal grace, preventing Maxil from shooting and killing the Doctor with his Staser.
- The film Hot Fuzz is referenced in the climax when Roman and, in turn, the players refer to "the greater good."
- Both episodes recorded back-to-back at Geeky Teas & Games in Burbank, California.
- Dark Delicacies, another store near Geeky Teas, is also namedropped in part 1.