Dr. Timothy Carson (SteveR) - Geologist
Gwendolyn Thorpe (Tammy) - Tour Guide
Dr. Jennifer Dorchester (GM/NPC) - Palaeontologist
Alexander Valentine (GM/NPC) - Media Specialist
Thursday, June 14th, 2007
Timothy Carson tells the others what he's learned about the geology of the area around Cheatham. The strata in Devon is primarily Permian and Triassic, but the area around Cheatham is markedly Eocene and Oligocene ball clay. He realises that this means there are no mines in the Cheatham area, and mentions this. Jennifer Dorchester explains about the time periods (Permian, Triassic) and epochs (Eocene, Oligocene) to the others in an almost lecture mode. With the conclusions they're able to draw, Gwendolyn Thorpe says that they should probably take some SCUBA gear, since she thinks they'll have to go into Cheatham Mere, but says that she won't be the one to use it. Consulting with Sergeant Denby, the player characters decide that he should take another couple of SAS soldiers with them. Denby points out that if they need any help afterwards, it'll be a good three hours away.
While Alexander Valentine and Jennifer go about some other business, Gwen, Timothy, and Denby go looking for assistance with the new tranquilliser weapons. They find Abby Maitland and Stephen Hart, and learn there's a strong possibility that the new tranq weapons won't work, and that if what they're dealing with is a crocodilian creature of some sort, won't penetrate the hide to deliver the tranq dose. Gwen points out that just because Lester told them to take the tranq weapons with them, it doesn't mean that they'll use them. They decide to take two tranq pistols, with Small (x4) doses and Medium (x4) doses of tranq with them. These will be kept with the rest of the SAS soldiers' weapons until needed.
The next morning, the 15th of June, the player characters along with Jennifer, Alexander, Sgt. Denby, and his two soldiers set off for Cheatham. The military personnel are in one vehicle, while the other characters are in the second one. Gwen asks the others how they're going to deal with any creatures if there's no Anomaly, but in the end, Jennifer tells her to be optimistic. Gwen talks about some interesting potential theories about the Anomalies, as they drive on.
The characters arrive in the small community of North Bovey, and stop at a small petrol station on the south side of the community for petrol and to stretch their legs. Gwen goes in to pay for the petrol and pick up some snack food, and meets the proprietor, Harry Simmonds. She introduces herself, and learns that the North Bovey Herald comes out at 3 pm. He tells her that as far as he knows, there's nothing new or of interest coming out in the paper. Harry asks why she and her friends are there, and she says they're here to make sure there's no danger still in Cheatham. He asks if they're reporters, and when Gwen says no, tells her that a reporter came through, heading for Cheatham. He tells her that his name was Robert Horvath, and he was asking questions about the mere, life in Cheatham, and if there were any lights in the swamps and bogs. Gwen recalls the reporter from the International Conference on Nature and Life Sciences (ICNLS) (see "Feast or Flight"). Henry tells her that in this locale, they call them "will 'o wisps". Apparently, he picked up the story about the poor lad who died in Cheatham. Gwen buys the crisps and drinks for everyone, and pays a bit of an exorbitant price (she figures she can call it a business expense), and asks Harry who filed the national story. He acts demurely, and says he can't remember. Harry asks her about the military men (since he served in the UK Army, he knows how they act), and Gwen denies that they're all working for the government, instead saying they're employed by an "interested party".
Gwen takes the snacks and drinks outside, and explains what happened with Harry Simmonds. Alexander is concerned that this might be a ploy to get the player characters to this area. They veto Alexander's plan to go to Exeter and track down the source of the national story. Denby tells them this is all fine and well, but they need to get back on the road for Cheatham. They all pile back into the two SUVs.
The SUVs continue on along the "road" to Cheatham, and Gwen (who is driving) has to keep her mind focused on the road. Timothy tells the characters what happened at the ICNLS conference as it relates to Robert Horvath. Jennifer shouts for Gwen to "Look out!". Gwen veers the SUV out of the path of...something that crosses the "road" - a dark, scuttling, 2 metres long, amphibian-seeming creature that doesn't seem to have sunk into the mud along the edge of the road. She brakes the SUV hard, swerving to a stop at the side of the road, and avoiding a serious accident [she spends 1 Story Point on the Transport roll].
Shaken (but not stirred), Gwen and the others get out of the vehicle, as the other SUV pulls up. She searches for tracks of the creature [spending another Story Point], and explains what she saw to the other characters and Denby. The sergeant tells his two men to get their kit. Alexander decides to stay with the vehicles [out of a sense of fashion], and Gwen and the rest of the characters set off to pursue the creature. Using a branch to measure the depth of the murky bog waters, Gwen takes a step in, sinking to her ankle in the muck, and is able to make out a wake in the water; the wake angles away, in the direction of what she tells the others is Cheatham. They decide not to pursue it any further, as they're already somewhat mired in the bog, and start to head back for the shore and the "road". Gwen spots two more wakes, and the various characters frantically try to flee, hampered by the muck. [Both Gwen and Jennifer spend a Story Point to force their escape.]
They return to the "road" where Gwen snaps a photo of the print and tracks left by the creature [earns 1 Exposure Point]. She shows the photo to Jennifer, who after some consideration says they don't have to worry about crocodiles. She says that she thinks what they have on their hands is a tetrapod, an amphibian temnospondyl, dating back to either the Carboniferous, Permian, or Triassic times. Judging from the tracks in the muck, she guesses the creature weighs about 100 kilos, concludes from a further imprint that might be a tail, guessing that the tail is 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 metres long. Gwen doesn't remember seeing the creature's head, but says she saw something under the wave pattern in the water that might have been shallow ridges. Jennifer posits a labyrinthodont, which would nail it down to the early Permian period. Gwen says that there were three wave patterns, suggesting three creatures, but she says that it's impossible to say if the other two patterns were from younger creatures or that they were just deeper. They discuss the area, and with Sgt. Denby's help, conclude that it's likely that the waterway connects to the lake at Cheatham.
They start to head back for the SUVs, but Timothy checks the other side of the"road" to see where the creature came from. He sees the swampy terrain, and spots what appear to be a series of overgrown structures. He sees what seems to be a stone structure with a grate or gate at it, but using a branch to measure the water depth, realises that it's too deep to access on foot. He returns to the SUVs and tells the others what he saw. They wonder if the structure is relevant, but Denby says there are old limestone Roman ruins and structures throughout the area.
Sunday afternoon's game session of the Primeval RPG went pretty well, and had a bit of something for both players. There was a bit of action, and both players seemed to have a good deal of fun with the session and their interactions with the other players, some NPCs (including two Primeval characters), and almost had some interaction with-- nah, that would be telling!
Overall, it was good afternoon of gaming, and I was still impressed with how simple the mechanics of the Primeval RPG are and how well the game plays. Looking forward to the next session of the game.