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Exclusive: Primeval preview


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An exclusive preview of Cubicle 7's Primeval roleplaying game.

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Exclusive: Primeval preview

  2. 2. AME THE ROLE-PLAYING G Then, compare the number of the Result to a Difficulty the existence of a glowing portal into the past. He also metnumber set by the GM. If the Result is greater than or Claudia Brown, an official from the Home Office taskedequal to the Difficulty, you succeed. If the Result is less with investigating the creature sightings. As Cutter was thethan the Difficulty, the attempt fails. closest they had to an expert on the phenomenon, Brown convinced him to work with the Home Office to investigate Finally (and optionally), determine how well you succeeded these Anomalies. Cutter had his own reasons beyondor failed by working out the difference between the Difficulty scientific curiosity for pursuing the mystery—eight yearsand the Result. You don’t have to follow this step for every previously, his wife Helen Cutter disappeared in the sameroll, but it adds detail to important, dramatic rolls. area, and during their first expedition into the Anomaly, Cutter found a camera with photos of Helen. He also found a human skeleton—that of a male.A NOTE ON DICE Under the direction of James Lester, a ‘governmentSometimes, we’ll say something like an attack does 1 - 6 trouble-shooter,’ Cutter put together a team consistingdamage, or an event happens after 1 - 6 minutes. Just roll of himself, Stephen Hart (Cutter’s lab assistant, ana dice to find the actual number. You’ll also run into more experienced tracker), Connor Temple (a student with a ‘first-complex formula, like “2 dice +6”. Roll the listed number of class mind’) and Abby Maitland (a zoologist and reptiledice, add them up, and then apply any modifiers. expert). Together with military support from the Home Office, and with Claudia Brown working as field liaison, the team started investigating the Anomalies—and pursuingSETTING Helen Cutter, who they discovered is not only alive, but is using the Anomalies for her own mysterious ends.Primeval takes place in our world, right now. Anomalies aregateways in time, linking our present day with the distant The Anomalies continued to appear across England, eachpast—or future—of Earth. While there is evidence that one bringing new creatures and new dangers, like insectsAnomalies have opened before, the current outbreak is in the London Underground, mosasaurs exploding out ofunprecedented. swimming pools, mysterious mind-controlling parasites, pterosaurs and killer birds. Containing the Swarms of In Series 1 of Primeval, the sighting of a mysterious time-shifted creatures became a full-time job for thecreature in the Forest of Dean drew the attention of Dr. team—and all the while, Helen Cutter watched them. SheNick Cutter, a palaeontology lecturer. There, he discovered tried to convince her husband Nick and then her former 7
  3. 3. to deal with the media and to help cover up monster lover Stephen to join her, but both rejected her sightings. Her name was Jenny Lewis—she was advances. Nick found himself increasingly drawn physically identical to Claudia Brown, but possessing to Claudia Brown. a different personal history and personality. Finally, Helen warned the team about a new The team made progress in dealing with the threat—a predator not from the past, but from Anomalies when Connor developed the Anomaly the future. These Future Predators are faster Detector Device, a powerful computer, networked and more dangerous than any of the creatures to an array of radio receivers, that can locate new previously encountered by the team. Using the Anomalies the instant one opens. Using the ADD, homing instinct of one of the Predator’s young, the team tracked down Precambrian worms, the team discovered that the infant creature sabre-toothed tigers, Silurian scorpions and came out of a portal that leads to the Permian era other monsters. They also ran into a mysterious in the past. A portal from the future must connect mercenary team in the Silurian era. Connor to that era. Nick, Helen and a team of soldiers embarked on a relationship with a woman, Caroline travelled back to eliminate the future predators, Steel, who was secretly in the employ of Oliver Leek.THE BASICS but they were ambushed and scattered by the predators. Nick realised that they had travelled back The mystery of Helen’s goals deepened; it turned to a point before their first expedition. He had taken out that she too was working with Oliver Leek. the photos of Helen, and the skeletal corpses were The slimy bureaucrat intended to use mind-control those of the soldiers. technology from the future to command a horde of monsters; he’d then cause a reign of terror and Worse, when Nick escaped back to the present take over England. Helen didn’t care about his petty day, he discovered that history had changed. Some schemes—she wanted to learn how the Anomalies alteration of the past—perhaps the introduction could be used to alter time, and to recreate the of the future predators, perhaps the team’s own incident that changed Claudia Brown’s timeline. Leek presence—had changed the timeline. Claudia captured the ARC team and attacked the ARC facility Brown no longer existed. itself; Stephen Hart sacrificed his life to eliminate Leek’s army of monsters. Leek also died when his Series 2: The disappearance of Claudia Brown minions turned on him, but Helen escaped. was not the only change. Nick discovered that in this new timeline, the team isn’t an underfunded, In Series 3, the team discovered that this century ad hoc investigation—it’s a secret project run by isn’t the first time Anomalies have opened within the Home Office, with a large staff and a high-tech human history, when they found an Anomaly locked headquarters. Claudia Brown’s role on the team has inside an Egyptian monument. This opened up been taken by Oliver Leek, Lester’s right-hand man. several new routes of investigation—a historian, There was also a new member assigned to the team, Sarah Page, joined the team when Cutter reasoned that tales of mythological dragons and monsters 8
  4. 4. AME THE ROLE-PLAYING Gcould actually be descriptions of time-shifted creatures. looks like an old warehouse. The place is obviouslyUsing this extra informational vector, Cutter began work on long-abandoned, it’s all broken windows and graffiti-a ‘matrix’, a method of predicting Anomalies. tagged walls. There’s no sign of anyone. Meanwhile, a shadow war was being fought across the Adrian: Can we narrow down the location a bit, or dotimelines. Christine Johnson, a senior figure in British we have to search the whole place?Intelligence, had access to an Anomaly leading to the GM: Are you asking me, or are you saying that infuture. She was opposed by Helen Cutter, aided by cloned character as Nick?servants produced using more future technology. Theobject of their struggle was a future artefact that contained Adrian: Er, in character I guess. Putting on a terriblethe finished version of Nick Cutter’s matrix—a holographic attempt at a Scottish accent. Och, Connor, can ye naemap of the Anomalies throughout space and time. With this pin it down a wee bit?artefact, a time traveller could go anywhere and anywhen in Carol: To the other players Cutter’s obviously pining forEarth’s history. the highlands. Helen attacked the ARC, claiming that it is instrumental Bob: As Connor Sure thing, professor. To the GM Can Iin wiping out humanity in the future. Nick stopped her, pin it down?but at the cost of his own life. Jenny Lewis also left the GM: You can try. Roll Ingenuity + Technology after she discovered a photograph of Claudia Brown,proving that Nick’s wild theories about changing timelines Bob: Can I add my Technologically Adept Trait bonus?were true. The artefact from the future fell into the hands GM: Sure. You wave your Anomaly Detector about,of the ARC team. fiddle with the settings, swing it in a wide arc... Nick’s replacement was Danny Quinn, a police officer Bob: Ok... Ingenuity 5, Technology 3, +2 for Technicallywhose brother Patrick vanished into an Anomaly many Adept, and I rolled a 6... I get a total of 16.years previously. His approach was less cerebral and more GM: Ok, the Anomaly seems to be inside one of thedirect than Cutter’s, but the team managed to stay on top bigger warehouses, but there’s something odd aboutof the Anomalies, aided by Connor’s discovery of a method it. Normally, the radio signal from an Anomaly would befor ‘locking’ the time portals. a bit more erratic, with frequency spikes and so forth. This one’s a bit quieter than usual. The team rescued a mysterious woman from the future,Eve, and brought her back to the ARC. Eve was revealed Bob: What could cause that?to be Helen Cutter, using a holographic disguise. She stole GM: You’ve no idea.the artefact and travelled to the future, hotly pursued bythe team. Helen’s goal was to avert the nightmarish future Carol: Maybe it’s a really stable Anomaly. Or it’s alreadyera... by erasing humanity. She used the artefact and a locked. To the GM While Connor’s playing with his geekyfuture computer to calculate a route back through the toys, Abby peers out the window of the car. AnythingAnomalies that would bring her to the Rift Valley in Africa, unusual out there?four million years ago, the birthplace of humanity. A few GM: Roll Awareness +, er... I dunno. Survival ordeaths there would erase our entire species... Ingenuity, whichever you prefer. Danny Quinn stopped her from wiping out the Australo- Carol: Eck. I rolled a 3, plus Awareness, plus Ingenuity...pithecus hominids—but when the Anomaly back home a whole 9.closes he, Connor and Abby are all trapped in the past. GM: For a moment, you think you saw something move atop one of the buildings, but there’s nothing there now.EXAMPLE OF PLAY Carol: Just to be on the safe side, Abby takes her dart In this example of play, there’s a GM and three players; gun and checks that it’s loaded.Adrian, Bob and Carol. Adrian’s playing Nick Cutter, Bob’s GM: Cool. What are you all doing?playing Connor and Carol is playing Abby Maitland. The teamdetected an Anomaly on the outskirts of the city and are driving Adrian: Let’s check out this Anomaly. We’ll leave the to investigate. car and cautiously enter the warehouse. GM: You’re all going? GM: You’re getting closer to the Anomaly site now. It 9
  5. 5. Bob & Carol: Yes. GM: OK, you exit the car and make your way across the broken concrete towards the warehouse entrance. Inside, you find it’s a maze of old storage crates and debris. You’re getting closer to the Anomaly, according to the detector reading. Carol: But we can’t see it? GM: No. Give me Awareness + Survival rolls, everyone. Everyone rolls. Carol gets the highest result. GM: Abby notices a small animal corpse in one corner. It’s a rat. Carol: I point it out to the others.THE BASICS Adrian: As Nick. Rattus Norvegicus, common GM: Your hand feels slightly numb. There are no brown rat. I don’t think this is our incursion. To penalties to Coordination or anything....yet. the GM. What killed it? Bob: I look for the Ano... wait, those crates. GM: The corpse is rigid and twisted. Anything odd about them? Adrian: Poisoned, right? GM: Looking around, you find a power cable running under a tarpaulin. There’s something GM: Probably. electrical in use here. Adrian: Any puncture wounds? Bob: I pull off the tarpaulin. GM: How closely are you examining the dead GM: Underneath, there’s some sort of radio rat? transmitter. It looks home-made. Bob: As Connor. Guys, it’s a rat. Let’s get that Carol: Oh no! Anomaly. To the GM I keep going. Adrian: What? GM: Bob, your character comes around the corner of a row of crates. You should be right Carol: The weird Anomaly reading—that was on top of the Anomaly now, but there’s no sign because it’s not actually an Anomaly. It’s a fake of it, just more crates. Adrian, you’re examining signal. It’s a trap! the rat—give me an Awareness + Science roll. Bob: Who’d want to trap us? Carol, what are you doing? GM: Carol, Abby’s watching the ceiling, and Carol: I’m looking around warily. you see something big and cat-like moving up Adrian: I get a 12 on my roll. there. Actually, somethings—at least three of them. One of them hisses and makes this weird GM: Definitely poisoned. There’s no puncture gurgling sound. Little droplets of spittle spray wound, but the rat’s flesh is discoloured and the down from above, and where they touch your fur is matted, suggesting it was sprayed with skin, it stings... something toxic. Will Nick and the others escape the trap? What Adrian: Did I touch it? are those cat-like things with poisonous spittle? GM: Hmm... tell you what, I’ll give you a Story Is Nick already poisoned? If the Anomaly’s fake, Point if you agree you touched the matted fur. where did the monsters come from? Who faked an Anomaly? And why? The only way to find out Adrian: I’m going to regret this...ok, Nick the answers is to play... touched the rat with a bare hand. 10