The Time Lords were inhabitants of the planet Gallifrey, who were most famous for the creation and attempted monopolisation of time travel technology.
Faction Name Etymology
They are lords... of time
The Time Lords held absolute power for some ten million years. Finally, it appeared, and was assumed by the Doctor for a time, that the Last Great Time War all but wiped out the race. However, intervention by "all thirteen" incarnations of the Doctor placed the Time Lords into a pocket universe. They later attempted to get the Doctor to release them on Trenzalore and while he did not, due to the threat of a new time war breaking out, the Time Lords saved him from what would have been his thirteenth and final death by granting him a new cycle of regenerations. Under Rassilon, they eventually unfroze Gallifrey and moved it to the end of the universe for protection, at the same time locking the Twelfth Doctor in his confession dial to learn about the Hybrid. The Doctor eventually escaped, overthrew Rassilon, and used Time Lord technology to save Clara Oswald before fleeing Gallifrey once more in another stolen TARDIS.
The Time Lords ruled from the planet Gallifrey, where they would watch the workings of the universe. Though they once had a mighty empire during the Dark Time, the empire collapsed after the fall of the Pythia.
Time Lords were originally flexible about manipulating the outcome of certain moments in history. However, they eventually came to fear the consequences of their meddling, noticing how dangerously a change to time could backfire. It became clear that the race had been too reckless when the Time Lords helped the Minyans evolve faster, but found the results disastrous; this led to their non-interference policy.
The Time Lords were said to have control over much of the structure of the universe. They had set up the Web of Time and controlled the entire Spiral Politic, up until the edge of their noosphere at the frontier in time. They fixed paradoxes and allowed travel between parallel universes. After the near-extinction of the Time Lords during the Last Great Time War, these processes were in flux.
The Time Lords were led by the High Council. The Council consisted of the Lord or Lady President, the Lord or Lady Chancellor, the Castellan and Lords Cardinal. Collectively, the Lord President and his or her closest associates from the ruling Houses were called "the Presidency".
The Inner Council consisted of the three most powerful members of the High Council. The Lord President was the most powerful member of the Council and had near absolute authority, and used a link to the Matrix, a vast computer network containing the knowledge and experiences of all past generations of Time Lords, to set Time Lord policy and remain alert to potential threats from lesser civilisations. The Lord or Lady Chancellor was next in power and handled many of the government functions. The Castellan controlled the Chancellery Guard and therefore the safety of Gallifrey.
The rest of the High Council was made up of the Lords Cardinal, which represented the various Gallifreyan Chapters.
During the Last Great Time War, the Visionary was also a member of the council. She acted as a prophet, recording the future, but only with vague predictions written on paper.
During the War in Heaven, the War Council seemingly replaced the High Council, debating plans for House Military advances under the supervision of the War King. In the Last Great Time War, the War Council, also known as Gallifrey High Command, were a separate entity from the High Council; the General ignored the High Council's plans to save Gallifrey. They also possessed the ability to give "all thirteen" Doctors the go-ahead to freeze Gallifrey in a pocket universe.
During the War in Heaven, Gallifreyan civil servants were all equipped with a psychic tripwire to prevent them from revealing confidential information. Should any of this information be revealed, the tripwire was triggered leading to the civil servant suffering psychic seizure leading to eventual death.
It was indicated by the Master that if the Tenth Doctor killed Rassilon, the Lord President at the time, he would become Lord President himself. When the Twelfth Doctor later overthrew Rassilon with the help of Gallifrey's military, he did indeed become Lord President. As Lord President, he had the power to banish both Rassilon and the High Council despite the High Council's status on Gallifrey.
The protection of the Time Lords was carried out by the Chancellery Guard. They protected the Capitol, investigated crimes and captured criminals. More secretive or questionable matters were handled by the Celestial Intervention Agency, which was created to be a covert arm of the High Council to safeguard the Time Lords' interests. Much of what they did went against the non-interference policy, leading them to use agents they could easily deny sending (like the Doctor) to protect their secrets.
Tens of thousands of years before the Doctor's time, criminals were trapped in Shada, with the intent being that they would be kept there until a suitable punishment could be decided. By the Doctor's time, this method had been phased out and replaced with disintegration. Morbius was executed this way, but managed to survive as just a brain.
There were two forms of illegal intervention, both punishable by vaporisation. A Class One was affecting the material properties of a planet, such as axial rotation. A Class Two was when a Time Lord claimed themselves to be a god on a planet.
The punishments used for crimes varied in severity.
- For his breaking of the non-interference policy, the Second Doctor was forced to regenerate and was exiled to Earth with a non-functioning TARDIS.
- Committing genocide would lead to the removal of any remaining regenerations a Time Lord had; artificial species were not considered alive, thus genocide was impossible.
- After the Imperator led his army of followers and mercenaries on a crusade against hundreds of cultures around the Spiral Politic, he was tried and publicly executed.
- For the various crimes the Master committed, his punishment would have been the reversal of his time stream, such that he had never existed. A similar punishment was carried out on the War Lord for his interference in human history which led to the deaths of thousands; he (and several of his guards) were dematerialised out of existence. The War Lord homeworld had a force field placed around it.
- When the Doctor was framed for assassinating the Time Lord President, he would have been vaporised if found guilty.
Time Lords appreciated music, as indicated by such artefacts as the Harp of Rassilon. They also appreciated art, although painting on Gallifrey was done by computer. Time Lord art, known as stasis cubes, were unique in that they were in 3D, as they acted as snapshots of a single moment in time. This meant that they could be used as rudimentary time travel, by freezing a person inside a painting and then letting them out at the required point in time.
By the time of the Doctor the Patrexes Chapter specialised in art and aesthetics.
One of the major institutions of the Time Lords was the Time Lord Academy. It was split up into Chapters, each of which was identified by its distinctive colours. The subjects at the academy ranged from the study of cosmic science to Veteran and Vintage Vehicles to Gallifreyan flutterwings.
Children began instruction at the Time Lord Academy, at the age of 8, in a special ceremony. The Gallifreyans would be forced to look into the Untempered Schism, which showed the entirety of the Time Vortex and the power that the Time Lords had. The Gallifreyans subjected to its terrifying effects would react differently: "Some would be inspired, some would run away, and some would go mad." They would then spend "centuries" studying at the Academy.
Time Lords took a variety of classes at the Time Lord Academy of which one was recreational mathematics, which included the study of Happy prime numbers.
For reasons unknown to Time Lords, a mammoth that fell on and killed a Cro-Magnon became a fixed point. Videos of the event were played for young Time Lords "as a sort of learning experience."
Food and Sustenance
Gallifreyan physiology provided for a diet similar to the human one, including fruit and flesh, but the Time Lords had long lost the habit of feeding with raw or complex food by the time of the presidency of the Fourth Doctor. Freeze-dried pills were employed instead. Fruit and meat would be eaten on formal occasions, such as holidays, Name Days of Family and Death Days. Such food included fish, Trumpberries, Magenta Fruits and Pig Rats. A Time Lord's tastes - similar to their appearance and mannerisms - were greatly influenced by their regeneration, altering which food and drink they preferred and even which ones they could no longer tolerate. With an enhanced sense of one's internal state and advanced knowledge of chemistry, a Time Lord could - via smell and taste - identify chemical substances and even what chemicals were needed in the body to alter a physical condition.
At events like the resignation of a Lord President, Time Lords who attended wore long robes in bright colours. The different colours signified where on Gallifrey each Time Lord had come from: for example, Prydonians wore robes of scarlet and orange, Arcalians wore green, Patrexes wore heliotrope, Scendles wore dull tan colours, Dromiens wore grey, black and silver, and Ceruleans wore subdued blue colours. In addition, most high-ranking Time Lords donned a decorative headdress and crest, complete with a scarlet cap.
In the Time War, Gallifreyan residents of the Capitol and Arcadia, including children and the military, wore red clothes. This was mimicked in the scarlet dress of military and government officers.
The Doctor repeatedly stated that he disliked Time Lords' hats, calling them "funny" and "dreadful". He also said that Time Lords had "no dress sense" and considered them a "stiff-necked lot" (AUDIO: Living Legend)
Of those Time Lords seen repeatedly visiting other worlds, such as the Doctor and Romana, they tended to adopt the local dress of their preferred destination - in the Doctor's case, that of Earth - that mixed well with the locals, though Romana adopted the same largely to mimic him.
During and after the War in Heaven, Time Lord dress appeared to hold significant ritualistic value. Agents of the enemy, or possibly even the enemy themselves, wore Time Lord regalia in parody of their adversaries. In the Post-War universe, the Onihr treated the collars, skullcaps, and robes as relics necessary to achieve mastery of time. Mysterious alien creatures in Mestizer's manor dressed in the collars and robes when she planned to use the Doctor's "cabinet of light".
Due to the fact that a Time Lord could unwillingly swap genders with regeneration, the Time Lords were less concerned about gender roles, despite still calling themselves Lords. Missy once explained that Time Lords were not like animals which were obsessed with sex and mating. The Twelfth Doctor admitted he had a "man crush" on the Master back during their academy days because of how wonderful he was.
Young Time Tots were known to keep rovies as pets. Stories of the Shakri were told to the young ones to keep them fearful of doing anything that might get their species eliminated. They were also told fairy tales involving a mythical race known as the Toclafane.
Academy students sometimes played a dangerous game called "Eighth Man Bound". The multidimensional game of Perigosto, played with a ball and a specialised Perigosto stick, was also a favourite, as was a complicated board game called Sepulchasm.
During a darker, more barbarous time in the planet's past, Time Lords enjoyed watching time-displaced individuals fight to the death in a dedicated area called the Death Zone, but that practice had been entirely abandoned by the Doctor's day.