Friday, March 30th, 2007 AD
The player characters begin the morning at the International Conference on Nature and Life Sciences (ICNLS). Taking place at Manderley House, some fifty kms north of London, near the swank town of Manderley, the conference has been going on since Monday the 26th. Amanda Tarrascon (Kathy) is there in her capacity as a zoologist, presenting a paper to the assemblage. David Bannister (Nick), the EMT and medic, is present as part of the contingent of Home Office personnel assigned to guard the facility during the conference. His normal partner on the job, Christine Foster, is also present. Captain Alexander Taylor (Tom), the SAS officer, is present with three squads (36) of men acting as guards for the conference on behalf of the Home Office. Jenny Hansford (Joanne), the computer technologist, is officially on holiday, but is working as a technical specialist at the conference as a favour to Archibald Lowrie. Jessica Ransome (Angela), the former diplomat working for BBC3 as a political analyst, is present at the conference as a guest of Dr. Margaret Hanrahan, a geophysicist friend of hers, who thought she'd be interested in it. She's also taping the conference, in the hopes of getting a story out of it. Finally, Harrison Williams (David), the wilderness guide, is there presenting a lecture on the tourism industry and its interference in the ways of nature and Her balance.
It is the Friday morning, and the conference finally ends on the Sunday, and most of the player characters are relieved. The characters, with the exception of Alexander, have enjoyed a good breakfast together, and are splitting up to undertake their day's activities. Amanda is free for most of this day, and she has been able to convince David and Christine, along with Jenny and Jessica, who are free for the day, to finally take a walk-cum-exercise trip with her and see the grounds of the Manderleys. Harrison asks them if they would mind if he joined them, and they are pleased to accept his company. The various characters agree to meet around 9:00 am at the main entrance of the Estate, and then head out together.
Elsewhere on the Manderley House grounds, Alexander has a morning meet with his security personnel, and learns that nothing unusual has occurred during the night. As he assigns day and night duties to his men, one of his squaddies, Davis, reports that there's a body been found at the rear of the estate, near the outdoor veranda that leads off the kitchens and staff areas. Alexander takes Hennessy and Thomas with him, along with Davis, and heads for the area. He asks another of his people to find the medic, David Bannister, and to bring him to the site of the body.
Amanda, Jessica, and Jenny wait patiently for the arrival of David and Christine at the main entrance of the Manderly House, but Christine arrives slightly late. She informs the three women that David won't be able to join them, as Captain Taylor required his assistance with something. Jessica senses that she's not telling them everything she knows, but lets it pass. The four women set off on a morning's exploration of the estate grounds, heading for the forest to the northwest, some six or so kilometres distant. They talk as they travel, comparing notes about the conference and sharing personal information. Amanda spots something off by a copse of trees after about forty minutes of walking, and the women go in that direction to see what she's seen.
As the characters reach the copse, Jessica and Jenny are upset to see what seems to be a corpse leaning up against the trees. The body appears to be partially eaten, and has been savagely killed. Amanda dispassionately examines the body along with Christine, and the two conclude that some sort of animal killed the man, one of the gardeners of the Manderly Estate, but that the claw marks are extreme and that he died within the last few hours, as there's no trace of decay and insects are only just beginning to swarm over the body. Looking around, Amanda is able to spot a series of tracks that lead directly towards the forest. When she tells the others that they need to find the animal that did this, Jenny points out they're not prepared for such an expedition. Amanda comments that it's all right, and that "We'll do what we always do in situations like these: we improvise."
Back at the Estate proper, David Bannister is preparing to descend down to the main floor with Christine Foster when he is intercepted by one of Captain Taylor's men, Jones. He learns that Captain Taylor wants to see him immediately, and that he is to bring his field medic kit. David is curious about the request, but complies, and asks Christine to convey his apologies to Amanda, Jessica, and Jenny.
Harrison Williams is in one of the conference auditoriums of the estate, presenting his lecture on the tourist industry to quite a few more people than he expected. He is not a people person to any extent, but the lecture goes down well, although several questioners at the end of the lecture ask about the role of environmentalism and environment awareness in areas frequented by tourists, and he comes across quite well, and is more passionate about this subject than he was about the lecture itself. After the lecture is over, he is approached by Dr. Margaret Hunter, a professor of environmental biology, who thanks him for the lecture. The two of them hit it off, and decide to go to the bar for a drink.
Meanwhile, Davis leads Alexander, Hennessy, and Thomas to a small antechamber off the main veranda, to where two soldiers are stationed, where the body was found. Alexander looks at the body, and sees that the man, Hiram White, was one of the serving staff, and was killed by some sort of large animal. He has huge claw and gouge marks, but was still able to drag himself off the veranda into the room. There is a knock at the room from inside the mansion, and David is escorted in by Jones. After engaging in brief pleasantries, David looks at the body. He reaches a similar conclusion to that of Alexander, but is able to add that the wounds might be due to a raking by something with large claws, or perhaps huge teeth bites, with the flesh torn out. He says that an expert on wildlife might be a good idea, but when Alexander thinks of getting Amanda on this, David tells him that she and some of the other women have gone off to check out the Estate grounds and take a pleasant walk. The two express their concerns for the women's safety, but David is not convinced that it might not be some very large wild animal. In the meantime, he suggests that Alexander bring Harrison Williams into the loop, as he might have an idea of what did this to the man. While Alexander dispatches some of his men to find Harrison, David calls Christine on his mobile to warn the women of potential danger out on the Manderly grounds.
This game session went very well, and to be honest, the players got back into the Primeval RPG mindset rather quickly. This was the continuation of the campaign, and I say "continued" rather than "started" because the Friday night gamers first started the campaign back in February and went through to early July, but decided they wanted to continue from where I had left off with the game. With a couple of minor changes to the characters to reflect the game rules as they stand in the (hopefully final) version, we started off the new adventure. I hadn't blogged about the running of the Primeval RPG back in February thru July of 2011 because I couldn't do so due to the NDA business (since the game was expected in May of 2011 at the time). The players enjoyed getting back to the game, and were easily able to slip back into their characters, and had a good time investigating a few things, talking to several NPCs at the conference, and wondering when the shite would hit the fan.