Wednesday, June 13th, 2007
Harrison (David) raises his hands to protect himself, and Alexander (Tom) raises his weapon - as a large, black housecat launches itself past them, into the garden and then through the hedge! The two men regard each other for a moment, and then burst out laughing. Alexander comments that this has to remain between the two of them, and the others really don't need to ever know about this.
While Jenny (Joanne) checks out what she can on the internet and Jessica (Angela) talks to some contacts of her own, the two are distracted by shouting. Four of the locals have gathered out front, and are watching the SAS soldiers and the two women. One of them is rather furious at the attack on Henry Smith, and lays the blame on "the Beast". He's belligerent, red-faced, and waving a heavy cricket bat around. He marches over to the two women, and Hennessy tries to interpose between Jenny, Jessica, and the man. The man shouts at the women, and learning they are from Animal Control (sic), he accuses them of being negligent by letting his young nephew be mauled and maimed, and that the locals will have to take matters into their own hands. While Jenny is pretty scared of the man and his behaviour, Jessica summons up her powers of persuasion [she spends 3 Story Points] and convinces him that they're there to help. He confirms with Jessica that he's Roger, Susan Smith's brother, and seems to be mollified. He and his friends take off in their pick-up truck, but not before Hennessy tells them that he saw a shotgun in the back of the truck.
Back inside the house, David (Nick) and Amanda finish their check-up on the boy, Henry, and both agree that the paramedic can finish his work. David asks Amanda if he noticed the oddity about the boy - his pupils were dilated, and he was slurring his words, almost as if he were sedated or drugged. Yet there was nothing that either of them could find.
The player characters are reunited out by the 4x4s. The six characters compare notes, and Jenny says that she trusts her instincts - and there is something odd going on in the village of Westbury. Jessica says that they need to find out what it is before Roger Smith and his friends take action that might be dangerous for everyone.
The players decide to split their forces somewhat. Amanda, Harrison, and David will check out any form of trail that might have been left at the back of the Smith house, and will take Hennessy and two of the other SAS soldiers with them. Alexander, Jenny, and Jessica and the other three SAS soldiers will go and check out the GCL experimental farm facility. The two groups agree to meet back at the city hall in several hours.
Alexander, Jenny, and Jessica, along with their SAS escort arrive at the GCL farms. There are lots of plastic enclosures with monitored rows of cereal crops, the main farmhouse is surrounded by newly built laboratories, with windows through which can be seen white-coated scientists. When they get a meeting with her, the farm manager, Janet Thurber, accuses the player characters of being protestors and environmental activists, and being there to cause trouble. Once more, Jessica's diplomatic skills and their Animal Control IDs get her to cooperate. Thurber says that the farm takes steps to ensure that their plants never get loose in the wild. She mentions that they have a three-man survey team out in Westbury Forest, checking the woodlands out.
Meanwhile, Amanda, Harrison, David, Hennessy, and his pair of SAS soldiers go back to the garden, and Harrison shows them the tracks of the ornithopod that he and Alexander had found earlier. Amanda says they need to follow the tracks. The player characters, accompanied by the soldiers, commence to do so. Hennessy radios this information to Alexander, who warns him to stay alert and not let the "civilians" take any chances.
As the characters enter Westbury Forest, it's like entering another world. It's eerily quiet, with no sounds of other animal life than a few birds. The characters see that there are more of the purple ferns dotted around the wood, something that Harrison says he and Alexander saw in the Smith's garden as well. Following the tracks of the creature, the player characters go deeper into the woods. Harrison finds more tracks by the same type of creature - and then another set of tracks, made by something different and much larger. Harrison thinks there are two of the second creature, perhaps a larger one and a smaller one. Amanda notices that there is damage to the tree branches overhead, and brings it to the attention of the others. From the 2 metre height of the lowest branches, she and Harrison estimate the second creature is about six metres long, and possibly has spines or osteoderms on its back. A ceratopsid of some sort, Amanda theorises. The characters continue to follow the dinosaur tracks as they wind their way through the forest, when they hear a crashing sound, and a medium-sized dinosaur bursts out of the undergrowth ahead of them. It is obviously panicked, and is charging directly towards them!
After getting directions from Janet Thurber about where the GCL survey team should be, Alexander, Jessica, Jenny, and the three SAS soldier work their way in that direction, and come upon the campsite. The clearing is a scene of carnage and destruction, shredded remains of an orange tent, toppled containers, a smashed laptop, and other debris scattered around. Jenny says this was no ordinary campsite, as there was some sort of scientific work carried out here. Botany, she thinks. The square metre quadrat frames indicate there was a survey going on here, and in the middle of the campsite ruins are several purplish fern plants in styrofoam containers, obviously dug out of the ground and placed in the containers for transport. Alexander says that he and Harrison found very similar ferns in the Smith garden. One of the soldiers points out that one of the containers of ferns has been tipped over, spilling its contents on the ground. The ferns have been chewed.
Jenny and Jessica examine the remains of the camp, while Alexander looks around for tracks to see what he can determine happened here. The two women find lots of documents that show the scientists were working for GCL, a biotech company, surveying the forest to ensure that no plants from the farm had escaped into the wilderness. They ran across something odd - the purple ferns that are not part of the experimental crop and are certainly not natural to Westbury Forest. Alexander determines there was more than one human here, but the prints are overlaid with dinosaur tracks present as well. One set of human prints does lead from the clearing, and clearly indicates someone was running.
Alexander, Jenny, and Jessica determine to follow the tracks and set off on the trail, eventually coming across a scientist cowering in one of the trees in the nearby forest. He is terrified, clinging tightly to the upper branches of the large oak, eyes tightly closed. Jessica and Jenny coax him down eventually, and they meet Morris Carter, a botanical research assistant. He tells them of their survey, and the fact that they found lots of the purple ferns; they loaded many samples onto a pickup truck on an access road into the woods. One of his fellow researchers, Spencer, started acting strangely and wandered off into the forest. Morris returned to the camp, and found "giant lizards" eating the place up. Then some *thing* attacked the "giant lizards", and the next thing he knew he was up the tree. He describes the creature as being "a tyrannosaur, like out of Jurassic Park." Suddenly, a terrifying roar echoes out of the trees, and a fearsome monster stalks out of the woods before the characters' eyes - 1.5 metres tall, 4 metres long, definitely not an adult, its massive jaws caked with fresh blood, and its abdomen swollen with a recent feast...
Last night's gaming session with the Friday night group of the Primeval RPG went pretty well, and the group had a solid evening of investigation, running, a bit of fighting, and dealing with some of the stuff that I'm throwing at them. The players continue to enjoy themselves and are having a good time with this scenario out of the rulebook, though two of them have confessed to remembering most of what will/could happen in it. They mentioned that they're pursuing other, alternative actions just to see how those might resolve, but overall, the scenario isn't suffering for the players' knowledge of the adventure to a large degree.