Primeval RPG Rules

Feb 14, 2015 11:53 pm
Hullo, folks,

This thread is designed to do what it states on the tin.

This thread is for the posting of the game rules for the Primeval RPG and for discussion of said rules as necessary.
Feb 17, 2015 4:50 pm

Here are the basics that all players will need to know about Character Creation.

First off, all Characters begin with 42 Character Points. Each point spent buys a single point of an Attribute or Skill. You can also buy Traits.

You can spend no more than 24 points on Attributes.
Attributes must fall between 1 - 6.
Attribute level examples: (1) Significantly weak; (3) Average; (6) Incredibly talented. Most people only have 2s and 3s and maybe a single 4 in their Attributes. People with an Attribute of 5 are pretty exceptional, and those with an Attribute of 6 are especially talented. Just remember to balance out your exceptional stuff with your weaknesses. :)

Awareness: Used for being aware of your surroundings. Spotting dangers, noticing things out of place, avoiding surprises.
Coordination: Hand-eye coordination and dexterity. Dexterity, agility, dodging, climbing, accuracy.
Ingenuity: How clever you are. IQ, inventiveness, cleverness. Not necessarily how educated the character is. A character might be very clever, but poorly educated.
Presence: Charm and charisma. Personal charisma, likeability, charm.
Resolve: Measures your willpower. Determination, courage, willpower.
Strength: Physical strength. Physical strength and toughness.

If there is a Skill you would like your character to have that isn't on the list below, go ahead and make one up (subject to Moderator approval)! The Skills below are general skills.
Skill levels must fall between 1 - 6. Skill levels: (1) Broadly familiar; (3) Graduate degree in the field; (5) PhD; (6) Your name is synonymous with the field (ie, Stephen Hawking has a Science of 6). 6s in Skills are very rare.
Skills also have Areas of Expertise (AoE). Areas of Expertise add a +2 to your roll and can be purchased once you have three (3) points in a Skill (at a cost of one character point per Area of Expertise.) So, for example, if you wanted to have Athletics with an AoE in Running, you would have spent Athletics 3 + Running 1 = 4 Character Points. The Skill would be listed on the sheet or in short form as Athletics 3 (Running 5). If you need clarifications on any Skill, let me know.
The Skills File presents you with the summary of Skills for the game, as well as a short list of possible Areas of Expertise. Any new AoE that a player wishes to come up with for a Skill requires the Moderator's approval.

Animal Handling: Caring for animals, calming down ferocious monsters, commanding animals.
Athletics: Climbing over obstacles, running, fitness.
Convince: Persuading people, lying with conviction.
Craft: Creating (including art) and repairing.
Fighting: Brawling, punching, using melee weapons.
Knowledge: History, geography, cultural information, folklore, humanities.
Marksman: Using projectile weapons, from bows to assault rifles and pistols to tranquilliser guns.
Medicine: Everything from first aid to brain surgery.
Science: Research, experimentation, scientific knowledge.
Subterfuge: Sneaking, sleight of hand, hiding from monsters.
Survival: Outdoor survival, navigation, living rough.
Technology: Computer hacking, using gadgets.
Transport: Driving, flying, operating vehicles.

Traits are special talents, quirks, or foibles that make your character unique.
Major Traits cost 2 Characer Points, and Minor Traits cost 1 Character Point. Major Traits tend to be more useful than Minor Traits, hence the higher cost, and come into play more often than Minor Traits.
Traits come in two flavours. Good Traits cost Character Points and are beneficial in some way to your character. Bad Traits give you Character Points but will limit your character.
I would suggest no more than 6 points can be gained from Bad Traits.
Playing your Bad Traits can earn you Story Points in the game.
Only Traits marked with an asterisk (*) can be purchased multiple times.

Good Traits

Animal Friendship (Minor): +2 to Animal Handling when trying to tame or calm a creature
Anomaly Sense (Major): You can tell if there's an Anomaly nearby and have a rough idea of where it is.
Attractive (Minor): +2 to any rolls that involve your good looks.
Authority (Minor/Major): You're in a position of authority and power. Talk to me about the difference between the Minor and Major forms.
Brave (Major): +2 bonus to any Resolve roll to resist fear or spend a Story Point to resist automatically.
Breaking and Entering (Major): +2 bonus to Subterfuge when trying to get into a guarded building and you get to know the difficulty of the test before rolling.
Charming (Minor): +2 bonus to rolls when you're trying to convince people to do things.
Demon Driver: While driving a vehicle, increase speed by 2 or get a +2 bonus to Transport skill use when doing stunts.
Empathic (Minor): +2 bonus on any rolls when trying to empathize or read another person.
Face in the Crowd (Minor): People tend to overlook you. +2 to any Subterfuge roll to "blend in" to a crowd.
Fast Healer (Major): Roll a dice and heal that many points of lost Attributes per full night's rest.
Fast Runner (Minor): Increase your movement speed by 1 when sprinting or fleeing.
Favourite Gun/Gadget: Once per game session, this Trait gives you a free Story Point to spend on a roll or action related to this favourite item (which you've named, of course).
Friends:* People you can call on for information or help. Talk to me about the difference between the Minor and Major forms.
Future Tech (Minor/Major): Can only be taken with Moderator permission. Talk to me about the difference between the Minor and Major forms.
Hobby (Minor): This Trait gives you an Area of Expertise without having three points in that Skill. You can only take Areas of Expertise related to Athletics, Craft, Knowledge, Science, Technology, or Transport as hobbies.
Instinct (Minor):* You have a habit or trained response that happens before you even think about it. Select the Instinct when you choose the Trait. You always follow your instinct. And the Instinct happens at Fast speed.
Keen Senses (Minor/Major):* As a minor, choose one of your five senses; you have a +2 bonus to any Awareness rolls involving this sense. As a major, you always have +2 to all Awareness rolls.
Lucky (Minor/Major): As a minor trait, reroll if you roll double 1's. As a major, reroll double 1's and, once per game session, you can spend a Story Point to force the GM to reroll a skill check or attack that would hurt you in some way.
Martial Artist (Major): You must have a Fighting score of 3 or more and have an Area of Expertise (Martial Arts) to take this trait. You inflict +2 damage when you punch or kick someone, and you can use your Coordination instead of Strength to work out your unarmed damage.
Minions (Major):* Henchman. May only be taken with the approval of the Moderator. Talk to me about this.
Never Gives Up (Major): You aren't knocked out or incapacitated when one of your Attributes reaches zero. You can still act with one or two Attributes at zero, but you'll be groggy and slow.
Owed Favour (Minor/Major):* May only be taken with Moderator approval. Talk to me about the difference between the Minor and Major forms.
Pet (Minor):* May only be taken with Moderator approval. Talk to me about it.
Photographic Memory (Major): If you have stated that you are taking a few moments to memorize information, you do not need to roll to recall it. To automatically remember information you have not attempted to commit to memory, spend a Story Point.
Quick Reflexes (Major): Your Coordination counts as being two higher for initiative. If you spend a Story Point, you can act as though you were a Fast creature for one round.
Rumour Mill (Minor): You've got an ear to the ground, contacts in the media, or some other such thing. Once per adventure, you get a hint from the GM as if you'd spent a Story Point.
Sense of Direction (Minor): +2 to any rolls to find your way in unfamiliar terrain.
Sharpshooter (Minor): You can make an extra aiming action.
Technically Adept (Minor): +2 to any Technology roll to fix a broken device and to use complex gadgets and +1 Progress every time you try to build a new gadget.
Tough (Minor/Major): As a minor, reduce the amount of damage you take by 2. As a major, reduce damage by 3.
Tracker (Minor): +2 bonus to any rolls to follow tracks and animal trails.
Voice of Authority (Minor): +2 bonus to Presence and Convince rolls to get people to do as you want or to gain their trust.
Wealthy (Minor/Major): As a minor, you're comfortably wealthy and can pick up Uncommon items with no problem. As a major, you're stinking rich: you can buy Rare items.

Bad Traits

Adversary (Minor/Major): Just what it says on the tin. Talk to me about the difference between the Minor and Major forms.
Amnesia (Minor/Major): Can only be taken with permission of the Moderator. Talk to me about the difference between the Minor and Major forms.
Animal Lover (Minor): If you do nothing while an animal is being injured or in pain, you lose Story Points. You can still fight back to save innocents, but you must always try to find non-harmful solutions first.
By the Book (Minor): You follow proper protocols at all times. Gain a +2 to Resolve rolls to resist influences that might distract you from your duties. The downside is that you're a stickler for following written orders and official policy. If you disobey orders/policy, you lose Story Points.
Clumsy (Minor): In times of stress, you'll have to make additional Awareness and Coordination rolls to avoid knocking vital things over, dropping things, or tripping and landing on your face.
Code of Conduct (Minor/Major): As a minor trait, Code of Conduct means that the character tries to do good at most times and is unable to harm another being unless it is absolutely necessary for the greater good. As a major, their code limits their actions dramatically, meaning they strive to do their best at every moment, almost verging on saintly.
Cowardly (Minor): This trait reduces the character's chance to resist getting scared, suffering a -2 penalty to any Resolve rolls against fear.
Dark Secret (Minor/Major): If your dark secret is revealed, it could change the way people think about you. This can be a major or minor depending on severity.
Dependents (Minor/Major): You've got responsibilities, such as a boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, kids, or an aged parent to take care of. Must specify the dependents at the time you take the Trait.
Distinctive (Minor): If the character is trying to "blend in" to a crowd, they have a -2 penalty to the result, and it's easier for others to remember them after the event.
Dogsbody (Minor): You're at the bottom of the organisation totem pole. Suffer a penalty of -2 to attempts to order people around in your organisation. And always get the worst jobs.
Eccentric (Minor/Major): As a minor, you have an oddity that comes up so often -- you get tongue-tied around women, you hum loudly when nervous, etc. -- it's inconvenient but doesn't happen often. As a major, your eccentricities interfere with your life on a regular basis -- paranoia, addiction to alcohol, etc.. Must have the Moderator's permission to take the Eccentricity desired.
Emotional Complication (Minor/Major): You've got emotional baggage of some sort - bear a grudge, depression, love someone - that you can't ignore. If you override emotional issues, pay a Story Point to ignore it.
Forgetful (Minor): When you've got to recall something, you have to pay a Story Point to remember it in time.
Fresh Meat (Minor): Any attempts to use Subterfuge to hide from predators suffers a -2 penalty if they can smell you, and any hungry monster given a choice is going to want to snack on you instead of someone else nearby -- you're always Target Number One.
Hell on Wheels (Minor): Vehicles tend to crash, explode, or break down around you.
Impaired Senses (Minor/Major):* As a minor, the player chooses one of their five senses that is affected, such as no sense of smell, colour-blind, needing glasses or a hearing aid; without their glassses or hearing aid, Awareness rolls using these senses suffer a -2 penalty. As a major, the character completely loses a sense, such as becoming blind or deaf.
Impoverished (Minor): You're strapped for cash or living in poverty. If you spent more than a trivial amount, it costs you a Story Point.
Impulsive (Minor): If an opportunity arises to charge in without looking, you always take it! To stop to think, it costs you a Story Point.
Insatiable Curiosity (Minor): Your curiosity may put your life at risk, but it doesn't make you suicidal - you just take chances to find things out. If you ignore your curiosity, you may have to pay Story Points.
Maverick (Minor): You've got a problem with authority. You have to pay a Story Point to resist the compulsion to disobey orders.
Obligation (Minor/Major): You've got a duty to an organisation, debt to a friend, or sense of responsibility to a cause. Talk to me about the difference between the Minor and Major forms.
Obsession (Minor/Major): You're obsessed with something, and it consumes your life. You gain a +2 bonus to Resolve rolls for any Skill rolls related to accomplishing the obsession. Talk to me about the difference between the Minor and Major forms.
Owes Favour (Minor/Major):* May only be taken with the approval of the Moderator. Talk to me about the difference between the Minor and Major forms.
Phobia (Minor):* -2 penalty to Resolve checks to resist fear when you encounter your phobia.
Slow Reflexes (Major): You are last to go in combat situations.
Slow Runner (Minor): Reduces your speed by 1 when running. (Can't be taken if your Coordination is already only 1.)
Technically Inept (Minor): Technology is not your friend. You have a -2 penalty to any Technology-based rolls, and you have to spend a Story Point if you're trying to do anything beyond the most basic operation.
Time Shifted (Minor/Major): Can only be taken with the permission of the Moderator. Talk to me about the difference between the Minor and Major forms.
Unattractive (Minor): -2 penalty to bad rolls involving your less-than-good looks.
Unlucky (Minor or Major): As a minor trait, if you reroll doubles on your dice, you must reroll and take the second result. As a major, whenever the GM does something unexpected to your character, you DO NOT earn a Story Point as normal.

There is also a Special Trait, called Experienced. This is a Special Trait that costs Story Points, not Character Points. This Trait costs 3 Story Points to purchase, and provides the character with an additional 4 Character Points. This Trait can only be taken a maximum of 3 times, and means the character is an older, experienced character.
Feb 18, 2015 12:01 am

Okay, so you're working away at creating your player characters, but what are the game's Basic Rules? (Because there's nothing worse than making up an awesome character, and then finding out they're useless because no one explained the mechanics to you.)

Here's what you need to know...

The basic rule is that all actions in the Primeval RPG are based around this roll:


This result is compared to a Difficulty Number set by the Moderator. If the Result is greater than or equal to the Difficulty, you suceed. If the Result is less than the Difficulty, the attempt fails. The target number for an Average task is 9. There are also Degrees of success, six of them specifically: Disastrous (fail by -9 or lower), Bad (fail by -4 to -8), Failed (failed by -1 to -3 below the Difficulty), Normal (succeed by 0-3 over the Difficulty), Good (succeed by 4-8), and Fantastic (succeed by 9+).

Rolls are only made when there's some doubt as to whether you'll succeed at the task or there's pressure on you (such as a T. rex breathing down your neck)... and you won't always know the Difficulty number either, just to add some tension to things! :)

There are rules for Cooperation, Taking Time to do a task, and of course opposed/Contested Rolls. Not to mention various Complications like multiple opponents, surprise, lighting conditions, environmental conditions, and so forth, but don't worry about those. We'll discuss that in play as needed. And the situation(s) warrants, of course.

Just two other notes here:
Damage in the system is inflicted as three values on a weapon, for example, "Heavy Hunting Rifle 4/8/12". What this means is that the weapon inflicts 4 points of damage on a Normal success, 8 points of damage on a Good success, and 12 points of damage on a Fantastic success.

And damage to a target is done directly to the Attributes. In other words, your Attributes are your hit point equivalents. Suffice it to say, if three or more of your Attributes reach zero (0), your character is dead. And this ain't some of those sissy prehistoric/dinosaur movies, either. Creatures can kill, if you're not careful!

So how do you take back the night here, so to speak? Easy. Story Points!
Feb 18, 2015 11:47 pm

Story Points are awarded to the player characters for a variety of reasons, and are a means for the players to tweak the events and action in the game in their favour.

Note that each player character begins with 12 Story Points, though this value can be less or more, depending on whether the player has taken the Experienced or Inexperienced Special Traits and how many times they've taken said Traits. Story Point totals revert to the player character's default number at the beginning of each adventure.

They can be used for:

Clues: When you are stuck and don't know what to do, the Moderator can give you a nudge or a pointer in the right direction at a cost of 1 Story Point.
Bonus Dice: You may decide that your character needs some bonus dice. This costs 1 Story Point. If you spend the Story Point before the dice roll is made, you receive 2 bonus dice; if you spend the Story Point after the dice roll is made, you receive 1 bonus die. In either event, each additional Story Point after the first grants one (1) extra bonus die. You can spend no more than three (3) Story Points to receive bonus dice (thus granting 4 extra dice if you spend them all before the roll, and 3 extra dice if you spend them all after the roll).
Avoiding Failure: As soon as you know you've failed on the task in question, you may spend Story Points to improve the result by bumping it up one step. Thus, if you fail the task with a Failure result you can bump it up to a Success with the expenditure of a Story Point. A Disastrous failure can be bumped up to a Bad result by spending 1 Story Point, and up to a Success by spending two additional Story Points. No failure can be raised beyond a basic Success through this method.
Ignore Damage: If you spend one (1) Story Point, you ignore any damage taken for one (1) dice roll. Thus, any wounds to an Attribute being used are negated for the purpose of one single action.
Ignore Bad Traits: Certain Bad Traits, such as Forgetful or Impulsive, force the player's character to act in specific ways. You must spend one (1) Story Point if your character does not act in accordance with their Bad Traits.
Inspiring Others: You may donate Story Points to another character to help them through a particularly major moment or as an act of appreciation for an action taken by the other character.
Altering the Plot: You may spend one (1) Story Point or more to alter the plot or events unfolding in a non-direct fashion. For example, while fighting a creature in a dinosaur boneyard, your weapon shatters or your gun is trampled on. You ask to find a bone that is long enough and sharp that you can use as a spear. Or you could have help arrive in the nick of time or have something distract a hungry dinosaur before it eats you; have an NPC fall in love with your character; be mistaken for a new recruit by he villain's guards; have an Anomaly appear when you're stranded in the Permian. You cannot use Story Points to save the day or solve a problem directly. The cost in Story Points for altering the plot is up to the Moderator to determine.

How do you gain Story Points? The easiest way is by good Roleplaying, but you can also gain Story Points by embracing your character's Bad Traits, completing your Goals, and accepting Plot Twists that may or may not be beneficial to your character.
Mar 3, 2015 8:16 pm
Hullo, folks,

A bit of a rules clarification on Knowledge Skills, taken from the rulebook.


Keeping things simple and having a lower number of skills, does mean that some of them, especially Craft, Knowledge, Medicine and Science, require a little bit of adjudication on behalf of the GM.

For example, if the character is a lawyer, their Knowledge Skill will have an Area of Expertise that refers to their knowledge of all things legal and an archaeologist's Area of Expertise will reflect their years of education in history, geology and archaeology.

If your character is trying to use their skill for something that is obviously not their Area of Expertise - a classical guitarist trying to Craft a bow, or a quantum physicist trying to perform a medical procedure for example - the roll will incur some penalties to reflect this. (Even if a character doesn't have an Area of Expertise, the player should still have some idea of the sort of Knowledge, Science, Craft of Medicine his character knows.)
Mar 5, 2015 9:03 pm
Hullo, folks,


Taken directly from the Primeval RPG Rulebook:


GMs! Don't hide the Threat from the players! Put it right there on the table in front of you in a nice little pile of tokens. Drop more tokens onto the pile when the creature gains Threat. You want the players to know how angry and aggressive a creature appears to be - it'll help them make decisions and makes handling monsters more than just a series of dice rolls.

Threat's also a way of building tension. You should show the players mounting Threat even if the characters don't know the monster is there. You know the bits in the TV show where a character's exploring an abandoned building or forest and the camera shows us the monster lurking, but the character is oblivious to his impending doom? Threat has the same effect - the players know that [i]something's
out there and that they're about to get attacked, but they don't know exactly when or what's going to happen.[/i]

So, in the In Character threads for the game, when you see something like THREAT 13 or THREAT 3 in the top line of the post, it means that the Threat value for the creature you're up against has either gone up or down... Think of it as the background music showing an increase or decrease in tension of the scene.
Mar 5, 2015 9:08 pm
Hullo, folks,


Exposure measures how close the secret of the Anomalies is to being uncovered by the public. If the characters leave evidence of the existence of dinosaurs, prehistoric creatures or time portals, or if witnesses are not convinced to stay quiet, that creates Exposure Points. Too many Exposure Points and bad things happen.

Exposure Points measure how close the secret of the Anomalies is to being revealed. If you've no Exposure Points, then the cover-up is working perfectly and no one suspects a thing. If you have a lot of Exposure, then people have seen too much, there is physical evidence of the Anomalies and monsters on the loose, the media are on your tail and questions are being asked in Parliament.

Sources of Exposure
Witnesses, Victims, Physical Evidence, Photographs & Video, Investigators.

Each of these categories (if appropriate to the current scenario) will potentially add to the Exposure Point total, and if this gets too high then the team are at risk of the whole country becoming aware of the Anomaly phenomenon and widespread panic and public outcry will ensue - effectively meaning that life as we know it is over.

After all, if the public are aware that at any time a rip in time and space can open up and spew out prehistoric (or even future) predators into their back garden or local shopping centre, then I'm sure you'll agree that is a life changing discovery and not one people will be too happy with.

Part of the team's job is keeping things under wraps, and making sure anyone who could expose the existence of Anomalies etc. are persuaded they are mistaken or are warned off from doing so. You never know, some of these pesky reporters or conspiracy theorists could even be a useful addition to the team.

Unlike Threat, Exposure will not be visible during the game, though its effects will be apparent through things like news reports or the fact that you can't walk down the street without being followed by a half dozen reporters or being buzzed by a Sky News helicopter - which will make transporting that tranquilised triceratops that little bit more difficult.
Mar 6, 2015 5:01 pm
Hullo, folks,

Now the biggie...


As the rulebook points out...

As Nick Cutter learned tragically, time can be changed. Go through an Anomaly and alter something in the past, and that change can ripple through reality and shunt you onto a new timeline. It may look very like the world you came from. The differences may be so small as to be insignificant, but make no mistake - changing timelines makes you a stranger in a strange land. Change time, and you wash away one version of the universe and replace it with another - and there's no way to know for sure what will be changed by your actions. Even trivial actions can affect the timeline. It's the butterfly effect - step on an insect in the Jurassic, and you may have just erased the world you knew.

Fortunately, time's got a certain amount of resilience... or inertia. It can cope with minor damage to the past without triggering a change in the timeline. The temporal inertia is bigger the farther back you go. If you travel back two billion years ago, then any changes you make there are likely to be irrelevant compared to the vast weight of time between then and now - it's like trying to change the course of a river by kicking the mountain it flows down. However, if you make a change in, say, 1900, it's going to be very easy to unmake the world you know and replace it with somthing else.

Temporal Damage is a way of measuring damage to the timeline. If the player charactrs aren't careful when dealing with the Anomalies, they'll accrue Temporal Damage points. This doesn't work like normal damage. Instead of applying to one's character Attributes, it's applied to... well, all of reality.

Here's how it works. If you do something that might alter history, then the Temporal Damage score rises. If you undo whatever you changed, then points are taken away from the Temporal Damage score. You want to keep Temporal Damage as low as possible.

Sources of Temporal Damage
Killing or failing to return Time Shifted creatures.
Travelling to the past.
Leaving someone or something behind in the past.
Keeping future technology.
Deliberately altering the past.

So... 'nuff said. :)

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