New Year, New Game: Primeval

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DriveThru RPG kicked off one of their biggest sales of the year today. “New Year, New Game” can offer discounts up to 40% and you can score another 15% if you use Geek Native’s extra code of happynyng2013.

One of the new core rulebooks in the sale is Cubicle 7’s Primeval RPG Core Rulebook.


Geek Native reached out to author Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, the man who wrote the book, to find out whether you should spend any of your “New Year, New Game” money on the RPG.

Primeval front cover

How would you describe Primeval RPG Core Rulebook to experienced gamers?

Dinosaurs! Time travel! Conspiracies! All in one big book!

For those not familiar with the Primeval tv series, here’s the quick version. Anomalies – holes in time – start opening across the world, connecting the present day to points in the distant past or future. The Anomaly Research Centre’s job is to investigate these Anomalies and deal with any creatures – like dinosaurs – that blunder through into the modern world, and over the course of the series, they discover that there are sinister conspiracies intent on using the Anomalies for their own ends.

The game has a big emphasis on campaign play. For example, you create your group structure before you create your player characters. You can be part of the Anomaly Research Centre, or make up your own group investigating the Anomalies. Maybe you’re all Victorian dinosaur hunters on temporal safari. Maybe some criminal organisation discovered a stable Anomaly and are using it to hide criminals in prehistory, and you’re part of a secret FBI unit dedicated to hunting them down across time. At its heart, Primeval’s about time breaking and what that means for the world, and there are lots of ways to explore that.

The roleplaying game uses the same rules as Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space, so both games are compatible if you want to add elements from one to the other.

How would you describe the game to groups new to the hobby?

Primeval’s a great game for new players and new gamesmasters. The rules are simple but cover everything you need in one book, and the setup of Primeval gives you a clear structure for your games. “Anomaly opens, dinosaurs invade an office block, go stop them” works just as well as “there’s a dungeon, there are monsters, go take their stuff”. The game has various subsystems, like Temporal Damage, that build ramifications into each adventure. If you make a mistake when dealing with the dinosaurs – say, by shooting one dead instead of returning it to its proper time – you build up Temporal Damage, and that can cause more problems later in the campaign. One adventure plants seeds for the next.

The book’s also crammed with advice and examples for players and GMs, covering tactics, ways to play, adventure design, campaign management and all sorts of other fun stuff, like creating new monsters.

Why is Primeval RPG Core Rulebook a good choice for a “New Year, New Game” buy?

It’s shiny.

It’s got dinosaurs.

It’s got future predators that post-date the extinction of humanity who are coming back in time to kill us all.

It’s up to you to stop them.

What’s your favourite thing about Primeval RPG Core Rulebook?

The Threat Rules. As the player characters spend a lot of their time battling dinosaurs and other animals, we developed a set of rules to model animal behaviour. If a dinosaur feels threatened, or hungry, or confined, it gains Threat. If its Threat crosses a certain threshold, it attacks or tries to escape. Each creature has special abilities fuelled by its Threat, and there are various ways – like the Animal Handling skill – to reduce Threat. It’s a simple set of rules that produces distinct patterns of behaviour for different types of animal.


Which music would you recommend groups play in the background of a game or for inspiration?

Well, there’s the Primeval soundtrack, which has all the music from the series. I’d also look to movie soundtracks (Jurassic Park, anyone), and mix in a few tunes from other tv shows. (Primeval’s the spiritual descendant of 80s tv action.)

Are there are any books, movies or TV shows that are a good match for Primeval RPG

Beyond the Primeval tv series (and the spin-off, Primeval: New World), I’d also look at Terra Nova. There’s also the Walking with Dinosaurs documentary series.

Is there a Pinterest board, or similar, which is a good visual match for the game?

Take a look at the Primeval wiki ( which has a great visual guide for the series.

Are there any supplements or accessories you’d recommend for gamers who decide they want more of the game?

The Primeval Companion (more creatures! more conspiracies! more stuff!) is in the works right now, and expands on the material in the core rulebook.

Also, Primeval’s compatible with Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space, so you can borrow material from that game too.

Which forums, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or blogs should gamers keep an eye on for news about Primeval RPG?

We’ll be putting primeval-related news up on the Cubicle 7 webpage (, and there’s a primeval section on the Cubicle 7 forums. On twitter, we’re @cubicle7, and the line developer is @mytholder On Facebook we can be found at: which is our new company page for 2013!

There’s also a “sell me on Primeval” thread on that discusses reasons to get into the game.

Is there anything new for Primeval RPG Core Rulebook coming out this year?

In addition to the Companion, we’ve got a guide to series 4 and 5 coming out. The core rulebook covers series 1-3 (The Nick Cutter Years), and the Series 4/5 guide covers New Dawn, the second ARC, and the new characters like Matt Anderson and Philip Burton. There’s also an adventure anthology under development.


The Primeval RPG Core Rulebook is on sale at DriveThru RPG until Monday the 14th. Use the coupon happynyng2013 for an extra 15% off.

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