Monday, July 9, 2012

Primeval RPG

Primeval is the latest game from the fine folks at Cubicle 7, the same that gave us the excellent Doctor Who RPG.

There is an absolute ton to like about this game.  First, things first, yes. It is the same system as C7's fantastic Doctor Who game.  That end and of itself is enough to merit it a good review.  The system is simple and gets out of the way to allow you to just play the game they way you like.  Secondly let's talk about the art and layout.  Plenty of stills from the series, but the layout is still top notch and the text is easy to read.

So what is Primeval? Well if you have not watched the series in England (or on BBC America here State-side) then you are missing out on some fun.  Basic premise: Anomalies in Time are opening up allowing all sorts of creatures from the past and the future to walk through, whether it is a Dodo or gigangantic Giga-Rex. The team at the Anomaly Research Center have to deal with it.  Which means of course now YOU have to deal with it.  Of course maybe your cast is not with the ARC, instead you could be independent.  Frankly I can't wait to run a game with an investigate news team seeking out anomalies to get them on the news or net.

Like many games, you have basic Attributes.  In this case six of them that are ranked 1 to 6.  These are all point buys, so choose wisely. You also have skills, whit general skills and areas of expertise.  You could be great with Technology, but your specialty is Computer Hacking or Surveillance Systems.  These are also ranked 1 to 6.

The basic rule is Attribute + Skill + 2d6 vs. some Target number.   Simple as it can get really.

You also have various Good and Bad traits that can be bought.  Sometimes these add to your roll, but could subtract from others. These help define who you are.

You character is then topped off with Story Points, which can be used in play.

After all the character creation rules we get a nice bit on Group Creation where you can also buy some Group Traits.

This is followed by the official cast stats including the human adversaries.  We also get some tips on playing ARC-related games.  This is followed by something completely different and we given tips on how to play a "Dinosaur Hunter" style game.  So two campaign models for the price of one.

We get into the basic rules section, including combat and chases.   You spend a lot of time running away from things in Primeval.  There is a nice overview of gadgets and equipment.

Next up descriptions of the various epochs of time.
And the Monsters.  The Monsters of course are the real treat of this book.  Plenty of examples are given and advice on how to create your own beastie from the past, or future.

A Gamemastering section is included on how to run the games. Followed by chapters on Adventures and Conspiracies.

A look into the Future is up next.  Primeval tends to focus mostly on Dinos, I think because Dinosaurs are cool.  But the creatures from the future are also very interesting.

Primeval is a fantastic game that should give a creative GM many, many sessions of adventure.  While there is certain emphasis on dinos coming in from the anomalies, there is no reason to limit it to that.  What about Neanderthals? or worse a victim of the Black Plague wanders into modern London?  The possibilities are endless really.

Now of course I have to mention that the game is compatible with Doctor Who.  It opens up an exponentially growing amount of stories when the two games are combined.  The game becomes worth it for the dinos alone for Doctor Who, or the creatures in Who for Primeval.  Honestly there is no way to go wrong here.

Interestingly enough my original playtest for Doctor Who was called "The Ghost Tower of Inverness, Illinois".  The premise was that there was a Time Beacon in Inverness, IL (which is next door to my town) that malfunctioned and pulled in characters from all over time.  They had to get into the Tower (which looked like a Light House) and fix it.
That playtest would have worked just as well for Primeval.  In fact I might even run it again one day.

If you are a fan of the Doctor Who then get this.


Gareth Hanrahan said...

Thanks for the review!

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Thanks for writing an awesome game!

Jeffrywith1e said...

I was thinking about picking it up for the system. Does it offer a lot of additional resources you wouldn't have with just the Doctor Who set?

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Oh yes!
Dinos, guns, vehicles, more character options.
Its fantastic.