Friday, March 24th, 2007
The group of characters, consisting of Tim (SteveR), Gwen (Tammy), Jimmy (Douglas), Jennifer (GM NPC), Alex (GM NPC), Corporal Denby and three SAS soldiers (Hardy, Drew, and Brown) set off in a pair of land rovers. As the characters bounce along in the vehicle, Jennifer convinces the player characters to go after the herd of Pachyrhinosaurus, so as to study them and determine how they can be lured back to the Anomaly. When the characters arrive, they discuss the possibility of splitting up the group to cover more ground. While Gwen, Jimmy, and Tim are initially against the idea, knowing what the raptor-like dinosaurs are capable of, Jennifer eventually wins Gwen over by appealing to her curiousity.
By the time they reach the herd, it's decided that Jennifer, Gwen, Jimmy, and Denby will seek out the dinosaur predators, while Alex, Tim, and the three SAS soldiers will take the second land rover and try to find the Anomaly. The arrival of the land rover has already made the herd of Pachyrhinosaurus uneasy, and when Tim tries to take a reading with the portable magnetometer, the herd doesn't like the noise. Tim asks Gwen where she saw the light that might have been the Anomaly, and as she points that out, Jennifer and the two of them hear the predators moving in the forest near the herd.
The herd of Pachyrhinosaurus start to stampede at a 90o angle from where Gwen saw the light, but the others are unaware as Jennifer slips into the woods to get closer to the predatory dinosaurs. Alex notices that Jennifer is missing, but Gwen just catches a glimpse of her disappearing into the forest. Jimmy heads over to where Gwen is, but Denby is conflicted as Jimmy and Gwen go after Jennifer, but Tim tells the corporal to go after them, as he knows what the rest of them have to do.
With Gwen, Jimmy, and Denby in pursuit of Jennifer, Tim, Alex, and the three SAS soldiers take the remaining land rover to the edge of the woods, and proceed into the depths of the forest on foot. The magnetometer picks up fluctations in the magnetic field, and as the characters follow the readings, they find the hulking body of a dead Pachyrhinosaurus. They hear movement in the woods, at least two predators. Alex spots the light of the Anomaly, but as Brown attempts to radio in a report, he is attacked and killed by one of the raptor-like dinosaurs. After some discussion, Alex, Tim, and the two SAS soldiers decide to head for the light and find the Anomaly. There is also a nest (with at least eight eggs and two more of the theropod dinosaurs). The characters move a safe distance away and find a path (likely created by a Pachyrhinosaurus), but need to travel all the way back to the land rover to get a radio signal. Tim and Alex decide they need to find the others, and Hardy has to hotwire the rover (as Brown had the keys). Tim drives the vehicle back towards the others. Two of the theropod dinosaurs chase the land rover, but give up after they outrun them.
Meanwhile, Gwen finds Jennifer's tracks, as the palaeontologist is making no effort to hide her trail, and follows them into the forest. Gwen comes upon Jennifer, observing two of the predators feasting on a deer. Gwen and Jimmy sneak up on Jennifer, and watch the two dinosaurs, while Jennifer writes and sketches in her notebook. Another dinosaur enters the small clearing and barks at them, but it is a male, and they ignore it, and continue eating. Based on the evidence and what she knows, Jennifer tells them that she can't identify the creatures yet. Denby's radio squawks momentarily, then goes silent. The dinosaurs ignore the noise. Jennifer and Gwen whisper their varied observations about the creatures, while Jimmy is just struck with disbelief at the two womens' scientific observations while these dangerous creatures are present. At another barking sound from elsewhere, the three theropods run off after taking last bites of chunks out of the deer carcass.
Jennifer moves into the clearing cautiously, making sure that the creatures have left. Gwen goes over to the deer carcass and checks the wounds. When Jennifer shows her the sketches she made, she updates them. They discuss the wounds further, and Gwen finds the tooth, which she gives to Jennifer. Jimmy and Denby are both flabbergasted at the womens' actions. Jennifer gets a better handle on what the creatures are - Dromeosaurs, Cretaceous, Pack hunters, Crests on head. She thinks they may be an unknown genus or perhaps Paronychodons. Two females, one male, and the others were juveniles. Jennifer says that to get the Paronychodons back through the Anomaly, they need to draw them out. The best way to do this is to use the juveniles, females or eggs to do so. Jimmy is totally against this, saying that Jennifer and Gwen just don't realise how dangerous these creatures are as the two women haven't had to fight them.
The group are interrupted by the sound of barking dinosaur, close by. A head pops out of the foliage, and a Paronychodon emerges. Denby freezes in place at the sight of the creature, but Jimmy steps forward, and Jennifer moves behind the carcass while Gwen grabs Denby and hauls him none too gently behind the deer carcass as well. The Paronychodon attacks Jimmy, biting him, as he had moved up so it could not attempt to rake him with its claw. Jimmy deflects the attack with his cricket bat. Gwen notices there are two more Paronychodons [one of them being the Paronychodon that had caught Jimmy's
"flavour" earlier]. Jimmy jumps back, and joins the others by the carcass. Denby recovers his senses at this point, and opens fire wounding the Paronychodon that had attacked Jimmy early somewhat, as well as striking the other two. In pain, the three Paronychodons flee/move off into the forest. Without any hesitation, the characters look at each other, and then race for the land rover and safety from the forest.
Tim, Alex, and the SAS soldiers regroup with Gwen, Jimmy, Jennifer and Denby. They start discussing a plan for getting the herd of Pachyrhinosaurus and the Paronychodons back to the Anomaly. Jennifer suggests that they kidnap one of the Pachyrhinosaurus juveniles to use as bait, but Tim points out that it won't fit in the land rover. He suggests, instead, that they use the land rover to chase one of the juveniles to the Anomaly, but Alex points out that they would be heading straight for the predators' nest. Gwen and Jennifer come up with the plan finally to lure the juvenile using the foliage that she had discovered it liked, and that should get the herd moving.
With Jennifer's help, Gwen manages to bring the food foliage into the herd and entices a couple of the Pachyrhinosauruses, but two of the mares become alarmed and this brings the bull running to their assistance. The characters start one of the land rovers, and hurtle with it towards the Anomaly, with Denby driving and the other characters as passengers. Gwen and Jennifer jump into the land rover as the vehicle hurtles past, with the herd of the ceratopsids in hot pursuit. As the vehicle races along, it is rammed from the rear by the bull, and from the right by one of the Paronychodons, who have taken up the chase as well, ostensibly after the ceratopsids. It is only Denby's amazing driving skill that keeps the characters from certain death. Tim points out the route they must take, and they drive right through the Paronychodon nest, smashing eggs as they go. Denby asks if they want him to drive through the Anomaly, and Gwen says, "Yes!". Tim spots the Anomaly fluctuating as they approach it, and warns everyone that he thinks that it's closing. The characters jump out of the land rover as it plunges through the Anomaly, all of them taking some minor scrapes and bruises, except for Tim who slams into a tree, severely injuring himself.
The herd of Pachyrhinosaurus charges through the flickering Anomaly, pursued by the pack of Paronychodons - all except one of the dromaeosaurids, the one that has taken an interest in Jimmy. Meanwhile, the Anomaly flickers one more time and then closes. Jimmy is able to flip the creature with his sheer strength, and it breaks its neck on landing. Jimmy and Jennifer take photos of the creature and the remains of the nest using Jimmy's phone, as Tim's mobile was shattered during his impact with the tree. Corporal Denby calls in for medics for the injured, and for thermite to dispose of the dead animals and the remains of the other evidence.
Two days later, Gwen, Tim, and Jimmy are summoned to the Home Office, and find themselves in the office of Sir James Lester. After going over the incident report and their past encounters with Anomalies, Lester decides to take the player characters on as a "B Team" to Nick Cutter's team to investigate Anomalies. Lester tells them that he'll make arrangements for their firing/termination from their current jobs and positions. Furthermore, he decides that given that he's got enough problems handling Nick Cutter's team, he'll assign them a handler. When Franklin Cartwright enters the room and introduces himself as their handler, Gwen is less than impressed. Pointing out that Cartwright's office is "over there", Lester shoos them out of his domain. In the corridor, Jimmy is accosted by Jennifer, who is upset that the camera part of Jimmy's phone was broken, and that they have no evidence of what they had found.
And so the Sunday group's adventure at the conference came to an end in grand style. This scenario for the Primeval RPG worked out really well, and is one of the scenarios that I wrote for conventions but also works quite nicely for campaign play. The amount of danger in this adventure is such that there's plenty for characters of all types to do, and a solid plan is a necessity to "winning out" in the end. As the Sunday player characters discovered to their chagrin at a couple of points.
The players had a pretty good time of it, I think, based on their reactions to the adventure and the situations they found themselves in. Tammy was a bit miffed at Doug's character being able to whack dinosaurs over the head and hurt them. This is what happens when the player gives the character a Strength of 5! She and spross are finally gettting a hang for their characters, though SteveR is struggling a bit at times with the whole geology thing. Doug's character still doesn't fit the Primevalverse too well, and there are times where he doesn't seem to know what he's doing with the character, and there's no consistency to the character. I have no idea how his character will fit the Home Office/ARC team as yet, but hope that will come about somehow once I continue the game.