Friday, April 27th, 2007
Gwendolyn (Tammy) whispers to get the others' attention, but only Timothy (SteveR) comes over. Gwen notices that there are no birds in the area whatever, and finds this odd. A small girl, Selena, overhears her talking to Tim, and Gwen assuages the girl's worries. (Selena doesn't believe her.) Tim says they should go aside, to the edge the path by the forest and talk, and they do so.
Alex sees them move off, and ends his conversation with Andrew Hardy, and joins Gwen and Tim. He comments on the lack of birds, saying that even he finds this odd, and he's not an outdoorsy type. Tim tells him and Gwen what happened to him and Jose when they went out into the forest. He is somewhat confused about how they ended up in Halfmile Wood without seeing any fences or crossing the roads. Gwen hears a few *sqwark!* sounds, and sees two of the Anurognathus in a tree less than 3 metres away. The creatures fly off. Gwen suggests that they send the children to safety. Alex sees another of the Anurognathus, and points it out. The creature attacks him, but misses, and Alex is
Gwen goes to tell the two counselors, Georgia Reed and Andrew Hardy, but is intercepted by Jennifer, who wants to know what's wrong. Gwen says that they are surrounded by the Anurognathus, and have to get the children to safety. Jennifer calls the two counselors over, and Gwen explains the situation. The counselors agree that it's too far to go back to the adventure camp, but there is a storage shed about 1 klick down the trail, actually just off it. Once the plan is agreed to, the counselors round up the children while the player characters, Jennifer, and Alex hang back to act as beastie bait. One of the Anurognathus attempts to go for the kids, but Jennifer intercepts it with a tree branch, knocking it out of the air, and then killing it by giving it several whacks with the tree limb she's using.
Gwen, Tim, Jennifer and Alex decide to follow the children at a distance. Gwen asks Tim if he can sense an Anomaly, and he pulls out "Helen" (his magnetometer), puts it on the ground, and turns it on. The magnetic field and noise generated by the device agitates the Anurognathus, and they attack the player characters.
Three of them go after Tim, one after Jennifer, and one after Alex. Tim manages to get out of the way of his attacker. Jennifer takes a scratch from the beak of one of the creatures [takes 2 damage], and the one attacking Alex misses. Gwen sees that one of the children has fallen behind, and there are two of the Anurognathus in a nearby tree. She puts on some speed and runs for the child. The other three characters are attacked again, and Tim is wounded once more. The Anurognathus don't attack the child, instead vanishing into the trees. The ones attacking Tim, Jennifer, and Alex seemingly flee, and without hesitating, the player characters go after the children and head for the shed. Tim picks up "Helen" and follows them.
Twenty minutes later, the player characters, counselors, and children are safely in the large woodsman's shed. It holds the typical tools (axes, hatchets, several spears), as well as firewood, and some basic fertilisers and the like. The player characters and counselors talk about what to do. It is 8 klicks from the camp, and the children are scared. They get the kids' minds off things by getting them to do some basic tasks and first aid. While Tim does first aid on Alex, Gwen takes Jennifer outside after checking that it's safe for the moment.
Albeit checking on the Anurognathus, the two women talk. They determine what to actually do. Gwen wants Sgt. Denby to get some covered vehicles to them to get the children out. Jennifer makes the call on the walkie-talkie. Denby tells her the military transports are too big for the trail they're on. He asks if they're dropping the cover story, but is told "No" by both Jennifer and Gwen. They are interrupted by the arrival of Douglas Parsons (the groundskeeper), who asks what they are doing there. Jennifer introduces Parsons to Gwen. Gwen asks him if there's anywhere to land a chopper in the area, but there isn't due to the canopy of trees. Gwen tells Parsons that the group was attacked by Anurognathus, and that the kids have taken cover in the woodsman's shed. They need to get them back to the camp. Parsons says that he knows things - the bright light ten years ago; that the birds first came through back then; where the current Anomaly is located; the group who took Abigail's body; the adventure camp management are working suspiciously with someone to cover things up; the camp management won't shut the camp down for the moment; believes/knows the player characters are working for the Home Office; he was at the Anomaly that appeared ten years ago. He knows that the air piranha first came through the Anomaly that appeared ten years ago, and that the Pteranodon (Jennifer corrects him on this) came through a second Anomaly some eight days ago. Gwen has Parsons mark the two Anomaly locations (past and present) on a copy of the map of the trails she has [paid 1 Story Point for it]. She notices that the back of the map has a stylised image of a comb sunburst. Jennifer and Gwen admit to being Home Office and that the marriages are a farce, but Parsons convinces them to handle the mess quietly, as he doesn't want the adventure camp closed. He mentions that there are two vehicles, pick- up trucks, at the end of the trail, some 10.3 klicks distant, that would work for getting the kids safely back to the adventure camp, but they'll need another driver. Jennifer calls Denby on the walkie-talkie, and tells him the situation is in hand and to stand by. They decide to get/volunteer Alex to go with Parsons. They see two more of the Anurognathus, and head stealthily and with despatch back to the shed.
After Tim tends to Alex's injuries, the PR man goes to reassure the children that things will be fine. Vanessa [Wandley] tends to Tim's injuries to the best that she can. He notices Gwen and Jennifer are gone, but Alex tells him that they went out while he [Tim] was tending to Alex's wounds. Alex reassures Tim that the two women are probably all right. Tim goes and checks out the shed to see what useful stuff there is, and also checks the hearth and flue to make sure it's closed (which it is).
Gwen, Jennifer, and Douglas Parsons go back to the shed, and meet up with Alex and Tim. The girls tell Alex he's been volunteered to go and get the trucks with Parsons. He tells them that he's an urbanite, not a wilderness person, but relents when they tell him that he's got the driving skill they'll need. Alex and Parson depart.
While they're gone, Gwen and Jennifer tell Tim what happened to Parsons. When Gwen shows him the map, Tim realises that the Anomalies are within 10 klicks of each other, but there's something nagging at him about the geological strata, the magnetic fields of the area, and the Anomalies. As they continue to talk, they hear the roar of the engines outside.
They emerge from the woodsman's shed to find two small covered pick-up trucks. The group of characters pile the children into the vehicles, and head back for the adventure camp. Gwen tells Jennifer and the others that she's banking on Parsons and the camp management to keep what's just happened quiet, since they seem determined to keep Dukeshouse Wood camp open.
It was a good afternoon of gaming. The players continued to play the Primeval RPG campaign that they are currently involved in, and seem to have had a pretty good time of it. The player characters had a little bit of combat, some good roleplaying opportunities, and found themselves having to deal with some serious questions about how they're handling the beasties involved in the scenario as well as the civilian innocents that are part and parcel of this adventure (but are an element that comes into play in pretty much most Primeval RPG scenarios).
It's been an interesting adventure so far, though I have to say that it's dragged out a bit too long and there's not been as much action as I had envisioned for this one. Part of that is due to the fact that with just two player characters (and a couple of central NPCs), it's very hard to get to lots of action scenes, especially given the lack of combat skills on the part of the characters. They usually spend more time running than fighting, which is a good thing, since while Primeval RPG is a game that has a modicum of physical conflict, given the presence of prehistoric beasts, dinosaurs, and creatures from the future, it's also about using one's wits and what one can find at hand to win the day (and the scary moments), though sometimes guns and the like are the only solution. That said, spross isn't all that creative and imaginative wit-wise, and Tammy prefers the non-violent solutions, so it's sometimes difficult to have too much combat in the games. But that leaves the other types of combat, social and psychological, and with just two players...
In any event, as I've already mentioned, the game session of Primeval went pretty well, and I think I can wrap the scenario up in another game session. Since both Tammy and spross said they enjoyed themselves, I'm quite happy with how things turned out.