Thursday Night Primeval

This past Thursday, Manu had committed to running his homebrew Hollows &  Hobgoblins game.  But with a lot of people saying they’d show up, I prepared a backup game based loosely on the British TV show Primeval in Risus.  It turned out to be a good idea, as we had ten players total.  I took five (four plus me) for my game.  At my table was Rolfe, Sarah, John, and Laura.

The Setting

It’s the modern day, and there are temporal anomalies opening up all throughout Seattle, and bad things are coming through.  The Department of Homeland Security has set up the Anomaly Research Center (ARC) to deal with the problem.

There are two teams:

The science team, which is studying and trying to find a solution to the problem of temporal anomalies; and the security team, which is supposed to deal with the immediate effects of the anomalies.  Our players were the security team.

The security team’s goals are thus:

  1. Protect Civilians

  2. Get the prehistorics back through their anomalies to protect history, before the anomalies close.

  3. Close the anomalies behind the prehistorics

  4. Attract as little attention as possible to avoid a general panic

Encounter #1: The Trouble With Trilobites

They had just learned that there were, in fact, the third security team formed.  The first team didn’t know what they were doing yet and all got eaten.  The second team went through an anomaly into the past and it closed up behind them.

They had just finished their briefing with Special Agent In Charge Carter Jackson, when the ARC’s anomaly detector went off.  An anomaly had opened in the vicinity of Pike Place Market.  Ross Faulkner (John R) a badass security guy, drove them to the site at ludicrous speed, and executed a perfect drifting slide into a parking space, completely ignoring rule #4.  Max (a Steve Irwin meets Crocodile Dundee type played by Rolfe) told him to stay above ground and buy fish bait.  BetsyJane (Sarah) the PR woman, led the rest of the group (which included Emma – a high tech gadgeteer with a low-tech crossbow- played by Laura) below ground with the aid of her portable anomaly detector.

The anomaly appeared to be near the comic book shop.  Cautiously, the group made it inside to discover a grisly mess behind the sales counter:   Three human legs.  There was a one-meter wide 20cm tall hole in the hardwood floor.  About this time, Ross showed up with some fish, which Max dangled over the hole to see what would come out.  He was expecting some small, cute little reptile, but instead, insectoid tentacles reached out and grabbed his arm.  He was very nearly pulled into a hole that would not have comfortably accommodated his size.  The tentacles turned out to be the antennae of large trilobites.

By now, BetsyJane had determined the anomaly was actually outside the store on the walkway to the bay, and there was another little hole in the wall by which the trilobites had entered the store.  Emma rigged up a trilobite herding robot using a toy car, a flashlight, and an improvised pepper spray and chased the nasties out and (mostly) back through the anomaly.  Their departure was hastened with the help of a few flashbangs from Ross.  A few, however, took off down the walk towards the waterfront.

BetsyJane tried to herd them into the anomaly, but only managed to get herself knocked over the side, clinging for dear life from the handrails until Ross could rescue her.  Emma speared one with a tranq dart from her crossbow, and Max used his amazing parkour skills to get ahead of the other two and flipped them over on their backs.

Encounter #2: The Loch Union Monster

They had just gotten back to the ARC and were congratulating themselves, when the anomaly detector alarm went off again, this time indicating something happening in the middle of Lake Union.  Off they raced to the waterfront after grabbing some SCUBA gear just in case.  They arrived on the scene and BetsyJane promptly commandeered a DUKW.

Out on Lake Union, they spied a barge and its tug, moving very slowly.  With binoculars, it was determined that the tug had no crew aboard.  They plunged the DUKW into the water and set off towards it.

As they approached the barge, Ross parkour-leaped over to survey the situation and found blood in the tug’s pilot house.  Their arrival must have irritated the prehistoric visitor, because it reared its small head high above the water on its long slender neck, revealing itself to be an apatosaurus.

They were able to irritate the apatosaurus by driving the DUKW around in circles (Ross scoring well with his badass driving skill), honking its annoying quack-horn and and get it to follow the DUKW over the top of the anomaly, which was under the water.  Max dove in and got it to chase him using his shiny hunting knife and threw the knife through the anomaly.  The apatosaurus followed.

Note:  I think I erred when I made the apatosaurus aquatic.  So this means that a previously unknown species of semi-aquatic sauropod was discovered.

(I had two other encounters scoped out, a triceratops at Macy’s and mastodons on the 520 bridge, but it was getting late so I skipped forward to the end game)

Encounter #3: The Scientists That Time Forgot

After a few days’ rest, they were informed of some good news and some bad news.  The good news:  The science team had discovered an futuristic artifact that had been abandoned or lost in the recent past that could be employed to stop or control the anomalies.  The bad news:  The science team that went back to get it haven’t been heard from in over six days.

So the ARC had decided to send them back in the hopes of recovering the artifact, and possibly the scientists too.

The anomaly they used was a semi-permanent one that was being studied inside a metal warehouse type building at Boeing Field.  They were given four hours to complete their mission, and all the supplies they’d need to survive a while in case they got stuck, and some ATV’s for transportation.

Ross was the first one through, and found himself in the ice age, on a wide savannah, smack in the middle of a herd of a previously unknown species of small horse.  Probably related to eohippus, but bigger, almost pony sized.  The neohippuses scattered noisily.

The others came through.  They also spotted some smilodons (sabre-tooths) watching the horses from a distance.

Ross got on his radio, to see if the scientists were transmitting, and heard only faint beeping noises.  Emma rigged up a radio range finder to home in on the signal, and off they went, to the west.

On the way there, they came over a ridge and looked down in the depression below to see a herd of mammoths milling about.  On the other side of the depression was another ridge, and what looked like a campsite.

They were trying to decide the best way to tiptoe through the mammoths, when the herd suddenly stampeded, leaving behind a young, and apparently injured one.  That’s about when they realized that the two beasts approaching the youngster through the grasses were actually humans wearing skins.  They rode wide around the mammoth and avoided the humans.

At the campsite, they discovered a fire pit, a lean-to, a small radio transmitting from under some branches, an open can of beans, and lots of footprints heading west.  Some of the footprints were booted.  Most were barefoot.  They followed the trail until they came to a primitive village.

At first, upon hearing the ATV’s approach, the villagers were quite agitated.  The women grabbed up the children and hid in their hogans.  The men got out their spears and pointed them menacingly.  BetsyJane was able to calm them using her PR skills, by being non-aggressive, and offering them some food.  Their chief led them to a circle in the center of the village, where the men did a strange ritual dance and song around them for a while.  When that was done, the men all pointed their spears directly at them, and the chief engaged them in dialog.

Max gave his vest to the chief, and the chief liked it, and gave his mammoth hide cloak to Max in return.  BetsyJane was able to convey that they wanted the scientists back, and was able to trade a book of matches for one.  BetsyJane then traded her athletic headbands and wristbands to the chief, hoping to get another scientist, but the chief was no fool and a good barterer, and gave her his necklace and bone bracelets instead.  Clearly, he wanted something more valuable for the other scientists.

Max handed over a metal knife, and the second scientist came out.

Smiling cleverly, the chief made “vroom” noises.  He was telling them he wanted one of their ATVs!  Of course, there’s no way they would trade one to him.  The impasse started to get tense, when Emma pulled out her crossbow, and after a short demonstration, won the chief over.

The last scientist came out, and he had the artifact with him!  The mission was saved.


Later, it would be theorized that the sudden and massive extinction of mammoths in North America were due to an unexpected and rapid improvement in the hunting prowess of early man.


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