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Raellus 06-14-2022 04:15 PM

Diamonds in the Rough: Escape from Kalisz (4e Rules, v1 Timeline)
What follows is a log/narrative for my 4e solo campaign.

The cast of characters (so far) is:

Capt. Drea Walker (specialties: logistician, psy ops, quartermaster)
SFC Don "Sarge" McNulty (specialties: tactician, scout, navigator)
CPL Carter "Bird" DeLong (specialties: sniper, scout, hunter)
SPC Pete “P.R.” Randall (specialties: rifleman, communications, linguist [Polish])
SPC Dontrell "Grease" Willis (specialties: racer, mechanic, scrounger)
Chaplain Assistant Robert "Deacon" Hooker (specialties: counselor, runner, musician)
PFC Ethan "Honeybear" Porter (specialties: machinegunner, load carrier, cook)
PFC Lisandra “Sandy” Vasquez (specialties: grenadier, rifleman)

Party vehicle is an OT-64/SKOT-1, “Pole Position”

Ref's Notes: It's a big party, but I wanted to cover as many skills as possible and provide opportunities for character development through interaction. I used the archetype char-gen method, including Spartan's house rule (every skill rank C and higher receives a specialty) so that every PC started with 3 specialties.


Raellus 06-14-2022 04:19 PM

Encounter 1
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." -Confucius

July 18th, 2000
Somewhere southeast of Kalisz, Poland

“Stop!” Bird shouts, his normally flat Wyoming twang pitched slightly higher than usual.

Standing in the SKOT commander’s position, the team marksman points out an olive drab disc, about the size of a pie plate, nestled snuggly in a pothole less than 10m from the blunt nose of the former Polish Army 8x APC.

“Shit,” Grease mutters from the driver’s seat, the expletive steeped in a briny mix of frustration and relief.

Pole Position, the afore mentioned SKOT-1, six months in the service of the US 5th Infantry Division, Mechanized (aka, the Red Diamond), had been rolling roughly southeast along on a two-lane hard top when the team’s best lookout (Bird) spotted the first mine.

“Dismount,” Sarge orders. “Form a perimeter and WATCH. YOUR. STEP.” The grizzled former US Army Ranger knows that proper anti-tank minefields always include a smattering of anti-personnel mines to make it harder on the opposition's combat engineers.

The dismounts scan the surrounds, a small, shelled-out light industrial complex, roughly 25 klicks southeast of Kalisz, Poland, looking for enemy positions. As Sarge has explained before, minefields are only truly effective obstacles if covered by fire. It’s only pedantic if it doesn't save your life.

“Looks like Ivan set it and forget it,” Honeybear quips, breaking the tension. There’s no sign of enemy troops still in the area.

“Forward or back?” Sarge asks. The crackle and pop of gunfire can be heard over the SKOT’s idling engine. It sounds like its coming from somewhere off to the northwest, the way they’ve just come, and it’s a bit louder now than it was the last time anyone stopped to think about it.

“What do you think?” Captain Walker asks. Six months ago, she was still in the rear with the gear.

“I think Ivan’s stretched pretty thin. They can’t cover all the roads, so they left these mines here and set up shop someplace else,” Sarge answers. The grey stubble on his chin and the Ranger tab perched over the subdued 5th ID diamond on his left shoulder indicate that he's got a good idea what he's talking about.

Captain Walker's quiet for a few seconds. "Okay, let's keep moving."

The dismounts walk ahead of Pole Position sweeping for mines. Grease does an expert job of moving around those that are spotted. Those that can’t be avoided are carefully lifted and moved out of the way. It’s slow going and nerve-wracking work. Fortunately, the minefield is only about 30m deep. Clear of the danger, the dismounts climb back aboard their armored bus and Pole Position picks up speed.

Ref Notes:

This was the Watch Your Step encounter from the random encounter deck. I need to push once during the transit of the minefield. No rolls were pushed. I forgot to roll for the day's weather.


Raellus 06-15-2022 02:37 PM

Encounter 2
“How long they been dead?” Honeybear asks.

In spontaneous, unspoken consensus, everyone defers to Deacon, the de facto team medic.

The chaplain assistant shrugs, answers, “Uh, I’d say about a year, give or take,”

Three shriveled bodies, dressed for sleep in bedclothes splotched with rust-colored stains, lie in repose on a large brass bed in the master bedroom. The corpse in the middle is adult-sized; those on either side are smaller- a mother and her two children. Next to the bed, a nearly headless man slumps back in his chair, a double-barreled shotgun leading against one out-splayed leg. It’s been long enough since the act for everything to have dried out, the smell of death faded to a general, stale mustiness.

“Guess they just couldn’t take it anymore.” Honeybear continues, his tone not unsympathetic.

“Should we bury ‘em?” Vasquez asks.

“No. Let them rest in peace.” Cap replies.

“Be kinda creepy, sleeping in the same house with a buncha skeletons.” Vasquez says.

“We’ll leave a nightlight on for you.” Randal teases.

The party had turned off the cracked and cratered highway shortly after successfully navigating the minefield, thereafter spending most of the afternoon blindly following back roads. In forest clearing, they’d stumbled upon a lonely farmhouse, seemingly abandoned. It was, and it wasn’t.

“Might be a good place to hole up for a couple of days, wait for the reds to wear themselves out.” Bird opines.

Those not assigned to watch help Grease rummage around the place. The only food uncovered is a crate of desiccated potatoes, rock hard and most likely inedible. The evening's big haul is a manual typewriter (its ribbon, sadly, dried out), a broken wristwatch, playing cards, and a box of fireworks. There’s some reluctance to relieve the homeowner of his shotgun, but he’s not going to need it anymore and it could come in handy for hunting weapon small game. The weapon’s new owner will only have three shells with which to do so.

Bird climbs into the farmhouse attic, kicks out some shingles to create ersatz viewports on each side of the rectangular structure. This dim, dusty aerie provides particularly good views of the northern and eastern approaches.

The sun sets, the curtains are pulled, and a fire is lit in the fireplace. For the first time in several days, gunfire is neither close nor frequent enough to keep people awake. Everyone gets a solid chunk of much-needed sleep.

Ref Notes:
This was the Final Rest random encounter from the deck. Scrounging rolls were successful; results are from the table in the ref's manual.


Raellus 06-15-2022 03:38 PM

Encounter 3
July 19, 2000

Dawn breaks cool and clear. The soldiers rise, groggy, and achy from bunking down on the floor. Still tired, empty bellies grumbling in protest, they move about the complex, poking around some more and setting up the still. Grease gives Pole Position some TLC.

It’s midmorning when the party’s PRC-77 radio crackles to life. Bird’s laconic drawl fills the airwaves,

“Got a Russian patrol just come out of the trees on the north side of the clearing. Don’t think they’ve seen us. Looks like they’re checkin’ out the other homestead. Over.”

The nearest neighbor is nearly 400m away.

Sarge orders everyone out of sight. It’s a long shot, but the hope is that the Soviet patrol assumes that this particular farmhouse is likewise abandoned and moves along without investigating. The fireplace has been cold for a couple of hours, so there’s been no smoke since before dawn. After about ten minutes or so, Bird issues another report,

“They’re comin’ this way. Nine of ‘em. One RPK, one grenade launcher, one radio.”

“Hold your fire. Maybe they’ll turn around.” Cap replies into the radio handset.

Sarge and Cap peek through cracks in the curtains. The Soviet patrol is still coming.

“They’re not gonna stop,” Cap opines. Sarge nods in agreement.

The senior noncom quickly briefs the group, “Alright people. They get to within 100m, we’re gonna to hit ‘em. Bird will zap their officer. When he does, the rest of us’ll move into firing positions. Honeybear, set up outside, northeast corner. I’ll be with you. Vasquez, you set up at the northwest corner. Randall, you and the Captain will stay here. Grease, get Pole Position warmed up and ready to roll. Deacon, stay in cover- you’re on call if anyone gets hit. Everyone good?”

Sarge transmits the Cliff's Notes version of the plan to Bird who's lying prone just overhead in the attic.

At about 80m, Bird kicks things off. A muffled crack splits the tension. Betrayed by his binoculars and map case, the Soviet officer takes one lurching half-step backwards before collapsing in a heap on the road. The other Soviet soldiers scatter, dropping prone in the drainage ditches alongside the road or rushing 20m or so towards a shallow irrigation ditch running perpendicular to it. Bird curses himself for waiting for them to get close enough to make it cover in a single sprint.

The other Americans scramble into position. The enemy patrol starts blasting away at the farmhouse with automatic fire. It’s likely they don’t know exactly where the shots came from, but they put enough lead into the building to suppress the American sniper. Bird is showered with dust and splinters as the attic is pelted with fire. Nearly horizontal, 5.45mm-around shafts of light appear suddenly all around, as incoming rounds punch holes in the roofing. It’s almost like the bad guys are shooting at him with lasers.

Lying prone near the northeast corner of the farmhouse, Honeybear cuts loose with several controlled bursts of MG fire. One of the enemy troops on the right pitches forward into the ditch.

At the opposite corner, Vasquez sends a 40mm grenade in a shallow arc towards a clump of Russians on the left (the enemy’s right flank). It bursts in a puff of dust and white smoke close to the aim point, and two Russians go silent (although it’s unclear if they were actually killed or wounded by the small blast).

Enemy fire has so far been heavy, but ineffective. A Soviet 40mm grenade explodes well wide of the farmhouse. The sturdy brick structure stops most of the incoming Soviet bullets.

The Americans continue to pour rounds into the Soviet patrol. Honeybear gets another one with a head shot. Sarge adds to the tally with one of his own. The amount of incoming fire has decreased to the point where Bird can reengage. The narksman picks off the RPK gunner with a single, well-placed round.

Honeybear’s head snaps backwards, then slumps forward. Sarge grabs the big machinegunner’s boots, drags him back around the corner of the farmhouse.

“Medic!” Sarge bellows. Deacon comes running. As they roll him over on to his back, Honeybear comes to. “What happened?” he asks with a casualness so absurd under the circumstance that it’s amusing. The torn camouflage cover and furrow running along the crown of his Kelvar K-Pot helmet provides the answer.

Meanwhile, Cap and Randall each take another enemy out of the fight. Another Soviet grenade explodes, this one short, but close enough to chase the two Americans away from the windows for a few seconds.

One of the remaining Soviets tosses a cylinder out of the ditch. It spews forth a rapidly expanding cloud of pinkish red smoke.

"Cease fire! Cease fire!" Sarge roars over the din. Outgoing fire peters out; incoming fire has stopped completely.

"Bird, whattaya see?" Cap calls up to the attic.

"Uh, looks like they're runnin'," the sniper reports calmly on the platoon net.

"You get a shot, take it."

"Somethin's wrong with my scope," Bird replies, disappointedly.

All the team sniper can do is watch as three enemy soldiers emerge about 40m beyond the smoke, sprinting towards the far side of the clearing (they've got about 200m to go before reaching the tree line). None are carrying a visible weapon.

"Time to go," Cap says flatly, unable to hide the disappointment in her tone.

"Let me take Randall and Deacon, grab any intel," Sarge asks.

Captain Walker hesitates for a few seconds, answers, "We're leaving in five."

Sarge cautiously leads the small clearing team towards the kill zone, with Bird maintaining over-watch from the attic aerie. The trio recovers a pair of binoculars, leather map case, R-392A radio, an RPK, and two AK-74s.

Pole Position rolls out of the barn and turns on to the road.

"Let's go!" Cap calls from the air guard hatch.

Ref Notes:
This was the Shoot On Sight random encounter from the deck. I used the simplified Crit rules for NPCs (critical hits automatically incapacitate/kill hostile NPCs), but rolled CUF for each individual enemy soldier. I ruled that, once the patrol commander was eliminated, the radioman didn't have the skill to call in artillery fire (he was able, however, to call in the contact). I got really lucky rolling hits for the good guys and even luckier with hit location rolls (multiple head shots). Only Honeybear got hit, in the head no less, but his K-Pot saved his life (he only took one damage). The party burned up a lot of ammo during the engagement, as I rolled 3-6 ammo dice on almost every roll (except for Bird's M21, which, with Dam 3, Crit 3, turned out to be a critical hit machine). It was worth it, though, as I rolled numerous sixes, adding damage to hits, and suppression to misses. I pushed a couple of rolls, to good effect, but Bird's M21 lost 1 reliability point on the lone failed push. I learned that 40mm HE grenades don't do much damage on hits to targeted hexes. Next time, I think I'll take the -2 penalty to target an individual so that, on a hit, the target takes at least the weapon's listed direct damage.


kcdusk 06-15-2022 05:07 PM

I'm about to get to grenades and their effects in my own solo game.

Good read so far, looking forward to more.

I've found using ammo dice has simulated "spray and pray" well so far in limited use. It burns through lots of ammo, but can provide the occasional extra hit/suppression. Its not efficient, but can be effective.

Raellus 06-15-2022 08:30 PM

Thanks, KC. Your recent posts in this sub-forum inspired me to write up my sessions in pseudo-narrative form and share them.

I agree completely with your assessment of ammo dice. There's definitely a trade off- ammo for effects- and the PCs are going to start running low soon if they keep opting for high volume fire.

P.S. Stay tuned for my first experience with 4e hand grenades.


kcdusk 06-15-2022 10:42 PM


Originally Posted by Raellus (Post 92310)

P.S. Stay tuned for my first experience with 4e hand grenades.


My solo game is 80% drawn from the random encounters, 20% me steering the game towards certain sections of the game deliberately to trial specific rules.

I started with HTH, then a pistol, then SMGs .... slowly ramping it up. Spoiler alert, weather, travel, camping and heavy weapons & vehicles are in the pipeline!

Raellus 06-16-2022 02:46 PM

Encounters 4 and 5
“Think they’re full?” Randall whispers.

“Why would Ivan be sending empty tanker trucks to the front lines?” Vasquez answers.

“Good point.”

The Soviet fuel convoy (a ZIL-131 gun truck with improvised armor on point, three Zil tanker trucks, and a UAZ with a pintle-mounted PKM bringing up the rear) rumbles past, apparently unaware of the Americans lurking just inside the woods bordering the road.

After leaving the scene of carnage, both old and new, at the farmhouse, the party attempted to traverse a veritable maze of unpaved back roads and farm tracks, intending to exit the area whilst staying off the beaten path. Their two maps of the area, however, lack detail- like back roads and farm tracks- so accurately orientating themselves proved nearly impossible. Essentially, they’d more or less been traveling in circles while morning matured into early afternoon. Tired and frustrated, they’d given up and taken the first paved road they ran into, hoping to finally orient themselves and move away from the area. Said blacktop was passing through a patch of woods when Bird, once again acting as team lookout, spotted the Soviet convoy approaching on a closing course. His warning prompted Grease to execute a hard right turn. The Polish-made APC left the tarmac and rolled into a copse of saplings, stopping roughly 10 meters into the thicket. Everyone but the vehicle crew (Grease at the wheel and Honeybear behind the DShK HMG in the gunner’s cupola) dismounted and dispersed in the nearby woods.

With an amalgam of relief and regret, he party watches the convoy roll away.

“We could’ve really hurt ‘em,” Sarge says, practically scowling, “Put the brakes on their pursuit, helped some of our people escape.”

“Yes, we could have,” Cap concedes. “And we could probably outrun the survivors, but we won’t outrun their radios,” she sagely points out.

“I know, I just…” Sarge trails off.

“I know, Sergeant,” Walker says, sympathetically.


A few minutes after the convoy moves out of sight, Pole Position rolls back out of the brush, leaving a few mangled saplings in its wake. Concluding that this particular stretch of blacktop is currently serving as a Soviet MSR, the group exits on to the next unpaved road they find. At a small hamlet they’d passed through earlier that day (from a different direction), they take a new road- an overgrown track, really- that disappears into a thickly wooded area to the west. The party follows this track for some ways, until it becomes clear that it’s entered a proper forest. A few klicks in, it’s decided to stop and make camp. Pole Position has burned a significant quantity of meth over the past 48 hours or so, and the party’s food is starting to run low. Camp is set up about 30m off the path; a decent amount of time and effort is spent trying to conceal it. Grease assembles the still, while Bird departs on a solo hunting expedition (after persuading Cap and Sarge to let him go alone). The Wyomingite spots a rabbit, sneaks to within 20 meters of the hapless rodent, and kills it with a blast of birdshot (from the shotgun scrounged at the murder-suicide farm). He returns to camp with the prize and Honeybear cheerfully prepares it for roasting. The party is sitting down to eat when they hear Vasquez, posted on watch near the track, shouting. Sarge, Cap, Honeybear and Randall grab their weapons rush to the grenadier’s aid, to find her confronted by nearly two dozen filthy, ragged, and increasingly surly refugees who’ve somehow managed to find the hidden camp. With Randle translating, Cap tries to persuade the highly agitated group to leave…

P.R.’s dispassionate delivery contrasts with the increasingly shrill tone of the refugee group’s apparent leader, a rail-thin man with a peeling bald pate and several days worth of scraggly growth on his face.

“This isn’t your country. You come here uninvited, kill our people, destroy our homes. We’re starving to death and it’s your fault. You must give us food.”

“Tell him we’re sorry, but we don’t have enough food to share,” Walker says evenly.

“You lie! I can smell it!” Randall translates.

“I’m sorry, but…” Captain Walker stammers.

“Chodźmy!” the man shouts.

Like a human wave, the refugees rush the Americans, most flowing through or around the weak cordon and breaking hard towards the camp. Walker grabs the leader by the arm as he shoulders past her, but the scrawny civilian shakes loose. When she grabs him again, this time by the back of his shirt, he spins around and sticks a butcher knife into her belly. Vasquez butt-strokes the leader’s arm, and he drops the knife. Honeybear shoves another refugee into a tree, knocking him down. Sarge absorbs a painful blow from a metal pipe with his left arm, punches his assailant square in the face. Walker gingerly pats her belly, feeling for a wound. She’d relieved to find that the Kevlar of her PAGST vest stopped the knife point from penetrating.

Back at camp, Bird, Grease, and Deacon are surprised by the sudden surge of grasping refugees. Bird grabs the shotgun, fires a blast of birdshot over the swarming fugees' heads, to no apparent effect. The assailants go after food and supplies. A woman takes hold of the spited rabbit; Grease grabs the other end of the spit and a sloppy tug-of-war ensues. A man tries to brain the team driver with a hatchet. Grease narrowly sidesteps the killing blow. Bird takes aim at the hatchet wielder’s legs and lets fly with the last of the 12-gauge shells. The close-range blast of birdshot nearby blows the man’s foot off at the ankle. His agonized screams seem to shock the other refugees into quiescence. With the rest of the Americans' guns drawn and trained, the refugees flee, carrying whatever small items they’d managed to grab (mostly empty ration packaging) but leaving their screaming companion behind. Aside from a few bumps and bruises, everyone in the party is OK.

The campsite is secured an a quick inventory is taken. Only Sarge's pack is missing, but it contained the party’s only night optical device. The sun has just gone down and it's growing increasingly dark beneath the trees. Two debates arise (punctuated by the wounded man's anguished cries): first, whether to move on and try to find another campsite in the dark (without NGVs), or to stay put. Second, what to do with the wounded 'fugee? After some pretty intense back-and-forth, it's decided to stay put and double the watch; Deacon begins treatment on the wounded man's mangled foot. The medic successfully stops the bleeding and eases his patient's agony a bit with a dose of painkillers. The refugee literally smells like shit. Deacon determines he's ill- probably dysentery or cholera, given the stained, crusty condition of his trousers. With Randall translating, Cap tries to get some useful information out of the "prisoner" but the interrogation only yields inane rambling sprinkled with passionate curses, stressing Walker close to the breaking point.

The watch is doubled and the party spends a largely restless night in the woods. Although there are no more interruptions, no one sleeps long or particularly well, getting only enough to stave off exhaustion for another day of flight. The party leaves the wounded, shit-covered refugee by the side of the forest track with a full canteen and drives west. Although no one was badly hurt, the encounter was costly in terms of supplies.

Ref's Notes:
Encounter 4 was generated using the appropriate tables in the ref's manual. #5 is Hungry & Angry from the random encounter deck. Bird made use of the called shot rules to incapacitate hatchet guy. Captain Walker took a point of stress from a failed persuasion roll during the attempted interrogation of the wounded 'fugee. She even had help! This particular encounter really highlighted the survival aspect of 4e rules. Despite Bird's successful hunting foray, the party is now down to just a couple of rations and full canteens each, so finding food and water has just become a top priority.


kcdusk 06-16-2022 07:16 PM

I would have stayed put over night too.

I would let the refugee go in the morning, no doubt the group will move off anyway, and he can try and find his "tribe".

I haven't got to stress points yet.

How did you determine that only Sarges backpack was missing, with the NVG. Some sort of random roll?

Raellus 06-16-2022 07:34 PM


Originally Posted by kcdusk (Post 92317)
How did you determine that only Sarges backpack was missing, with the NVG. Some sort of random roll?

Yes. I assigned each party member and then rolled a d8 to determine whose pack was stolen. The NVGs were part of Sarge's starting equipment (included in the Operator archetype starting kit list). All of his rations and 1 of his canteens were in the lost pack as well.


Raellus 06-17-2022 04:08 PM

Encounter 6
July 20, 2000

Pole Position rolls to the western edge of the woods. There's a small village about a klick to the southwest, across farm fields. The approaches slowly, cautiously, observe the settlement from a safe distance. They determine that it is inhabited, but not occupied by enemy forces. Walker and Sarge decide to take a risk and speak with the locals in an effort to get a fix on the unit's position and attempt to trade for some food and fresh water. Contact is made. The party learns that they are in REDACTED, approximately 30km south-southwest of Kalisz. The villagers are a bit standoffish at first, but seem to warm up to the Americans fairly quickly. They let the unit refill its canteens from a hand-pumped well, free of charge, and agree to trade two chickens or one piglet for two AK-74s (the party opts for the chickens). In speaking with the locals, the party learns that there are PolCom troops in the area, reportedly concentrated around Kepno, to the south.

Unbeknownst to the Lost Diamonds, the village elders are in disagreement regarding what to do about their American visitors. Some want to conclude the deal and send the foreign soldiers on their way; others are afraid that if the PolCom or Soviet troops in the area find out that the villagers aided and abetted the enemy, there will be dire consequences for the village (or at least its erstwhile leaders). After some vigorous debate, it's decided to inform nearby Polish troops of the US soldiers' presence; a boy is sent on a bicycle to the nearest patrol base, (a town about 7km to the west) with a message.

Meanwhile, a few of the Red Diamonds have made friends with some of the village children. Randall breaks the ice with some card tricks (using the deck scrounged from the murder-suicide farmhouse). He rewards a young volunteer helper with the broken wristwatch scrounged from the murder-suicide farmstead. The shamefaced recipient sheepishly confesses that his older brother is on his way to tell Polish soldiers that American are in town. Randall immediately shares this intel with Sarge and Cap. Feeling hurt by the villager's duplicity, the unit mounts up and rolls out of town, heading east-southeast (although they intend to make for some woods to the south).

The rest of the morning is spent the same way as the previous one was- driving around on unpaved country roads, trying to keep a generally southeasterly bearing.

Ref's Notes:
This encounter was generated using tables in the Ref's Manual. Pulled card for settlement. Then pulled card for its problem: "divided". Decided that meant the inhabitants didn't know what to do with a party of Americans. Some wanted friendly relations, others wanted to turn them in to gov't forces. Pulled another card (Oracle) and it was black. The elders decide to inform the Polish army.


Raellus 06-17-2022 04:18 PM

Encounter 7
A tremendous explosion rocks Pole Position. Vasquez is slammed face-first into the open port-side air guard hatch and falls, dazed, into the troop compartment. Instead of following SOP and continuing to drive through what is likely a kill zone, Grease brakes hard, freezing up from the shock of the blast; Honeybear (in the gunners cupola) also seem stunned. Dust and smoke fill the air.

Ref's Notes:
This Death from Below, from the random encounter deck. The shaped-charge IED fails to penetrate the SKOT's armor. What?!? Yeah, the IED is damage 4 and the SKOT's side armor is 4. No penetration. I roll the hit location die and consult the non-penetration damage table. The result is ricochet. So, basically, everyone riding exposed must roll CUF (2/4 succeed). I roll blast damage B and only one PC is injured (2 points damage). The SKOT isn't damaged at all. Thanks rules? I start the clock on the marauder force, They'll be arriving in 5 minutes.

“Dismount!” Sarge yells. Those that can, do. Deacon stays behind to attend to Vasquez.

Lying the shallow drainage ditch at the side of the road, the Diamonds face outwards, squinting as they try to pierce through the haze, searching for their attackers. Seconds pass. Aside from the ringing in their ears, it’s quiet. No incoming fire, no movement. The dust settles.

“Landmine?” Cap asks.

Sarge glances back at the APC. There’s a large scorch mark on the right rear quarter, but none of the wheels appear damaged, not even a flat tire. There’s no crater in the road either, just a smoldering bare patch just off the right shoulder, grass and other ground cover blasted away.

“Directional mine, maybe. Or IED,” Sarge answers.

A couple of minutes pass. No attack materializes. Having regained his composure, Grease inspects Pole Position for damage. He can't quite believe it, but the Polish-made PC appears to have escaped relatively unscathed. As for its human passengers, miraculously, aside from a few bumps and bruises, everyone is okay. Vasquez got the worst of it- a bloody nose and bruised ribs, but she can still fight, if need be.

“Somethin’s comin’!” Bird says, urgency clear in his tone.

Sure enough, looking up the road, the Diamonds see a slab-nosed truck, a heavy machine gun on a tall AA pintle mount poking up from behind the crew cab. It’s maybe 100m away and closing fast. Gear heads would recognize the vehicle as a GAZ-66 4x, or the Polish knock off.

Ref’s Notes:
The encounter card says PCx2 in a pickup truck technical. The pickup truck only seats a total of 6, though [did the designers assume PC parties of 3?], so I upgraded their ride to a GAZ-66 (13 passengers; leaving 3 marauders behind at their base). The marauders fail their recon role, so they assume they are approaching a soft-killed AFV and proceed with incaution.

There’s no time to discuss the next course of action. Sarge shouts, “Honeybear, hit it!”

Pole Position’s A gunner brings the vehicle’s DShK to bear and opens fire. The big gun hammers out rounds; tracers streak away and disappear into the truck’s crew cab and engine compartment. The GAZ drifts to its right (the party’s left) and crashes to a halt in the shallow drainage ditch. The rest of the Diamonds open fire, pumping rounds downrange. The unarmored truck stops very few of these and casualties quickly mount.

Ref’s Notes:
I learned that I don't want the PCs to ride in an unarmored vehicle. The GAZ is rated at armor 1 (all sides). The DShK does 4 damage. I rolled all six ammo dice. Long story short, with 22 rounds, HB kills the commander and driver and damages the engine. I roll deviation dice and determine that the out of control GAZ swerves (not sharply) right and stops abruptly in the ditch. I rule that all passengers take falling damage (the minimum possible, so 1) as inertia throws them violently forward in the truck bed. The PCs emerge from the lee of the SKOT and pour rapid fire (3-6 ammo dice) into the crashed GAZ. In short order, two passengers in the bed, including the HMG gunner, are killed (one of them slowly, after his arm is blown off). Vasquez misses 10m long with a 40mm HE round. In v2.2, this would still do some damage. In 4e, it does not- the latter is probably the more realistic outcome. As the OPFOR continue to fail CUF rolls (caused by close calls or stress from seeing their buddies killed in front of them), or spend slow actions to un-ass the crippled GAZ, the PCs continue to blast away. The engine block is pulverized by another long burst of HMG fire. Small arms rounds blow out tires and puncture the fuel tank (but the leaking meth doesn't ignite, per the rules). Another passenger cowering in the bed is killed.

Bird and Vasquez set up over-watch on the front and rear of the truck, respectively. The Diamonds pause to reload and come up with a tactical plan to finish the enemy. Sarge swaps weapons with Cap (his M16A2 for her M4 carbine), collars Randle, and pulls Honeybear off the SKOT's HMG (replacing him with Grease), thus forming a 3-man assault team. The plan is simple, but not without risk: cross the road, advance to within hand grenade range, and assault the covered side of the truck. With the others providing covering fire, the assault team sprints across the road into the drainage ditch. Lying in wait, Bird and Vasquez both shoot and kill marauder riflemen that appear at either end of the GAZ. The assault team starts to advance along the ditch towards the GAZ. The high volume and accuracy of covering fire, and the geometry of truck, ditch, and opposing forces, conspire to keep the assault team largely out of the enemy’s line of sight for most of the advance.

Ref’s Notes:
At this point in the firefight, I'm kind of struggling with what the six surviving marauders would do. I'm not even sure what I would do if I was in their shoes, tactically speaking. They’re pinned down and taking casualties every round. Almost all of the survivors have failed at least one CUF roll. I remember to use the Oracle. I draw a red 6 (mild boon). What does that mean? I decide that it means that some of the marauders try to retreat. I roll a d6: two is the result. Two marauders pull a runner. After playing with Google maps, any retreating OPFOR would have maybe a 10m lane where the PCs wouldn't have LOS, but then I thought about the HMG on the SKOT. It's elevated about 2m off the ground and the flatbed GAZ is in a ditch, so I decided it's likely the SKOT gunner would be able to see over the truck once any runners were 20-30m removed. I ruled that the runners’ upper bodies would be visible starting at 100m (SKOT and GAZ are 80m apart).

From his elevated perch in Pole Position’s gunner’s cupola, Grease spots two figures running away from the fight. They’re trying to use the truck to screen their flight, but at about 120m, their upper bodies are unmasked. The team driver/mechanic takes aim and squeezes the trigger. Tracers reach out towards the runners. Both targets are knocked down and out of sight by the long burst. Grease is about 90% sure he hit them.

Ref's Notes:
Grease engaged at about 120m (short range for the DShK is 150m) and rolled multiple hits. Hit location was arms for both and, since they only had 3HP each and the DShK does 4 dam (Crits!), they were both killed.

The three-man assault team closes to within 30m of the crippled GAZ. PR and Sarge prep hand grenades, while Honeybear covers them with his MAG. The Diamonds' throws are dead-on. Both frags explode close-in on the sheltered side of the truck. Honeybear swings out wide left and drops prone behind his gun while Sarge and PR rush forward to follow up the grenade attack. There's no one left to finish (in sight). Four bodies lie in various contorted positions along the starboard side of the ravaged Gaz.

Only the interior of the truck bed and the space behind the tailgate are not visible.

“Tell them to surrender,” Sarge pants.

“Poddać się! To twoja ostatnia szansa! Wyjdź z podniesionymi rękami!”

After a pregnant pause, two men emerge from behind the tailgate, hands raised, eyes filled with terror. The firefight is over.

Ref’s Notes:
I learned that hand grenades are more deadly than 40mm grenades. PR rollis a D12 and a D6, Sarge just a D6. Both hit! Roll the 2 d8s for Blast C. Half the dice hit. That's 4 damage, enough to kill both the marauders near the nose of the GAZ.

The results of the combat were great. None of the PCs were injured (after the IED). The victory did cost a lot of ammo (56 rounds of 12.7mm, alone) but the party will be able to recover 200 rounds from the unfired enemy DShK, 1/4 tank of meth, and a bunch of AKMs (with one reload each). Next up, interrogating the two prisoners...


kcdusk 06-17-2022 07:29 PM

Encounter 6: good job with interacting with a village. I know in my own games, combat happens and is easy enough to work out. But i've struggled gaming out social interactions. V4.0 seems to make it easier for me, and i've noted in my own game i intend to game out more social interactions. So good to read your own example.

kcdusk 06-17-2022 10:22 PM


Originally Posted by Raellus (Post 92322)

Ref’s Notes:
At this point in the firefight, I'm kind of struggling with what the six surviving marauders would do. I'm not even sure what I would do if I was in their shoes, tactically speaking. They’re pinned down and taking casualties every round. Almost all of the survivors have failed at least one CUF roll. ).


At this point i think they'd surrender. I'll have to reread v4.0 to see if it mentions % of squad losses leading to panic or surrender (or maybe that was another set of rules i was reading). Or i'd make up a random table for their decision, from surrender, retreat/escape, fight on ....

Raellus 06-18-2022 03:22 PM


Originally Posted by kcdusk (Post 92328)
At this point i think they'd surrender. I'll have to reread v4.0 to see if it mentions % of squad losses leading to panic or surrender.

I also remember seeing something about that in one of the rulebooks but I couldn't find it. A couple of the REC's specifically mention that the OPFOR retreats after taking 50% casualties, so maybe that's what we're remembering. Anyway, I would have had the marauders retreat once 7/13 had been killed, but there wasn't a safe egress route. I reckon the vast majority of people in a similar situation (pinned down behind cover 80m from the enemy with no other cover nearby) would stay behind cover rather than break and run essentially into the open whilst under heavy fire. It all worked out, in the end, though. But I definitely had to give the situation some thought.


Raellus 06-18-2022 03:35 PM

Encounter 8
The two prisoners are secured, separated. Cap and PR handle interrogations, while Sarge supervises the collection of weapons and ammo from the dead. The GAZ is effectively destroyed, but its carcass yields ¼ of a tank of methanol, a DShKA heavy machinegun, and 200 rounds of 12.7mm ammunition.

The first prisoner, literally shaking in his boots, sings like a bird. He tells his captors everything. Thirteen Polish deserters took control of a nearby hamlet about a month ago, and have been waylaying unwary passersby ever since. The villagers do not willingly support their activities; they are, however, forced to feed the deserters. The frightened prisoner tells the Americans which houses in the hamlet his comrades currently occupy. There are no perimeter defenses of any kind. The party’s APC rolled over a pressure plate-activated shaped-charge IED- the marauders' attempt to work smarter, not harder. Luckily for the Diamonds, the charge was not particularly well made or employed. So much for "smarter".

The second prisoner is a little less forthcoming, but he confirms everything reported by his comrade.

The Diamonds decide to send the second marauder into the village with a message: leave town or face the consequences. And answer confirming imminent compliance is expected within 30 minutes. He’s hurried on his way by a burst of AK fire.

Meanwhile, in addition to the fuel and ammo from the wrecked truck, the party recovers two 5.45mm Tantal rifles, ten Polish-made AKMs, a PM-84 submachine gun, and an FB-64 pistol.

After about 30 minutes, a villager approaches at a jog. She tells the Diamonds that the marauders have agreed to leave the village, but intend to take a couple of hostages along with them to assure that they are not attacked during their evacuation. The hostages will be released once the marauders feel reasonably safe. The Diamonds don’t like the counter-offer, but agree that the concession- as long as it isn’t some sort of ruse- will result in fewer civilian and friendly casualties than storming the marauder’s compound. They send the villager back with the second prisoner and a message: “If the hostages aren’t back home within two hours, we’ll hunt you down and, this time, no quarter will be given.”

The Diamonds load their loot aboard Pole Position and mount up. After another 30 minutes pass, they drive towards the hamlet. When they arrive, they’re confronted by a distraught mother, whose daughter was taken hostage. The Diamonds assure the middle-aged woman that if her daughters not back in 1.5 hours, they’ll go after her, and won’t return until she’s back home. This only calms the mother down a little. Other villagers trickle out of their homes, curious to see the Americans that have rid them of their unwanted guests, and wondering if they’re any different than the Poles they just displaced.

A few minutes after the deadline passes, just before the Diamonds' SKOT is about to depart on the promised rescue mission, the two hostages return.

The villagers are relieved; some express gratitude, others are understandably wary. The marauders were a hungry bunch and had been growing fat on the village’s produce. The residents are reluctant to let the Americans stay for more than a few hours, lest they become too comfortable and decide to stay for a month. The Diamonds want to spend at least one night in the village. They figure it’s a relatively safe place in which to do so, being as the Polish deserters/marauders weren’t bothered by PACT forces for the last month or so. After some negotiation, a deal is struck. The Americans will stay in the village for no more than 24 hours. In exchange for food and hospitality, the Diamonds agree to part with most of the small arms captured from the bandits, and train the villagers to use them. The villagers like the idea of being able to defend themselves, especially since the four surviving bandits might return when the Americans leave.

By dawn of the next day, everyone but Vasquez and Honeybear has fallen ill, with some combination of fever, cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea. At first, some suspect they've been poisoned by yet another band of duplicitous Polish villagers, but Deacon quickly concludes that's unlikely. The team medic suspects the sick have contracted whatever the desperate refugees who stormed the Diamonds’ forest camp two nights ago had- either dysentery or cholera, most likely. Employing some herbal folk remedies, a helpful villager (one of the hostages) nurses the infirm Americans. On day two, Grease and Deacon recover. Deacon teams up with the village “nurse” to care for the sick- on day 3 everyone but Bird recovers. He is sick for two more days, nearly dying.

During this time, Sarge teaches a few villagers how to handle the marauders' small arms- loading/unloading, field stripping, and dry-firing them. They want to actually fire the weapons, but he's reluctant to allow it, lest the noise attract attention. The group is going to have to stay put for at least a couple more days until the wrung-out team marksman is back on his feet. Also, during these last 5 days, some of the villagers dig a shallow mass grave for the dead marauders who were stinking up outskirts of the settlement. The Diamonds would have pitched in (after all, they made the mess), if they weren't recovering from illness.

Ref’s Notes:
For the interrogation, Cap, with PR helping, rolled three targets on a Persuasion/interrogation roll so the prisoner told her everything. She rolled one target for the second prisoner, so he simply confirmed what the first had told her, adding little.

This wasn't a true encounter per se, but more of a natural continuation of the previous one. Still, I pulled a card for the villagers' attitude and the result was "Curious" (as in, about the newcomers).

Disease rules came into play for the first time. Even rolling two d12, Deacon failed to heal Bird until day 5, after he'd reached 0 HP. What a way to go, that would have been.

Fortunately, I only pulled repeat or inapplicable RECs for the 5 days the Diamonds were stuck in town, so there were no encounters to deal with. I only rolled once per day, instead of once per shift, given the isolated nature of the ville. I figure the sick wouldn't be eating a lot, but on Day 3 HB preps the second (and last) chicken. They didn’t have to eat any of their own rations while staying in the ville (as per the agreement), and all canteens were refilled.

The unit expended a lot of ammo destroying the marauders, so Sarge swapped his M16A2 for an AKM (for which 17 mags were recovered) and distributed his remaining mags/5.56mm rounds among his teammates.


Raellus 06-19-2022 06:21 PM

Encounter 9, Part 1
July 26, 2000

Dawn breaks soggy, heavy showers dousing the village and its surrounding fields throughout the morning. The rain stops shortly before noon, but heavy clouds remain overhead, threatening another downpour before the day is done. A Humvee cargo/troop carrier (M1038A1) arrives at the northern outskirts of the village. Contact is made. On board are eight survivors of 5ID, although the Diamonds don’t recognize any of the newcomers.

“Cpl. Matt Townes,” their spokesman identifies himself; he neglects to share his unit designation. “I’m guess I’m kinda the guy in charge of this little outfit.”

Unusual for a junior non-com, Townes carries an M4 carbine and wears a pistol on his ALICE belt.

“Captain Walker. This is Platoon Sergeant McNulty.”

While the respective unit commanders confer, some of the other Diamonds approach the Humvee, strike up conversations with the newcomers.

“We’ve been in the suck for- what day is it?- at least a week, I guess. Looks like you guys have seen some action recently?”

“Ran off some Polish army deserters off a few days ago. You probably passed their vehicle on the way here.”

“Yeah, saw that. Looks like you shot the shit out of ‘em.”

One of the strangers has a leg wound (a bullet wound in the calf); two others appear ill.

“Our medic will take a look at your guys,” Captain Walker informs Townes, less an offer than a declaration.

“Yeah, that would be good. Appreciate it.” Townes replies.

By now, a few villagers have arrived on the scene, including members of the nascent town militia (armed with weapons provided by the Diamonds). Their leader pulls PR aside, expresses dismay at the thought of feeding yet more American soldiers. The translator tries to reassure them, but he can’t make any assurances at this point. PR passes the villagers' concerns along to Sarge and Walker.

A quarter of an hour later, Deacon approaches Sarge, explains,

“The two sick ones- I think it’s typhus. They’ve got lice bites all over; symptoms line up too.”

“Hell,” Sarge almost sighs. He sidebars Walker. They come up with a hasty course of action

“I’m afraid you're going to have to go into quarantine for a bit,” Walker explains to the newcomer’s leader.

Townes frowns, asks, “What the… What does that mean?”

“It means you and your men will be confined to quarters until your sick recover. You’ll be cared for- comfortable shelter, food, water, medicine. Our medic says it's typhus- highly contagious, potentially fatal. It's for everyone's safety.”

There’s an uncomfortable pause. Townes frowns, shifts his weight from one foot to the other.

Sarge breaks the silence, says sternly, “Consider that an order, Corporal."

It’s almost too quick to catch, but Townes flashes Sarge a venomous look.

“Yeah, OK. I mean, yes, sir.” Townes finally replies.

The newcomers are directed to move into the ersatz isolation ward, a little compound on the west side of the village’s main road that the Diamonds had been occupying since forcing its previous tenants- the marauders- to leave town. Townes demeanor improves sharply. The Diamonds move their gear (and Pole Position) across the road to another empty house (also used previously used by the bandits), split their dinner rations with their counterparts before turning in for the evening.

Ref's Notes:
I'm not going to reveal which Random Encounter card this is yet. So far, this episode has emphasized a lot of social interaction, involving a number of Persuasion rolls, some opposed. Fortunately, Capt. Walker is pretty persuasive (and the modifiers were always to her advantage).


Raellus 06-21-2022 03:36 PM

Encounter 9, Part 2
Over dinner, the Diamonds discuss their experiences with the newcomers.

"Something's off. That Townes, he's pretty squirrelly," Walker opines.

“One of the sick guys- Branson, I think it was- dropped a bandana full of jewelry when I was looking him over,” Deacon starts, “Pretty sure I saw a West Point class ring in there. He noticed I saw it, said it belonged to a friend who died.”

“Guy I was talking to said his CO got fragged right after Kalisz,” Honeybear chimed in. “Said it was 'his time to go'.”

“Yeah, these guys are trouble,” Sarge says. “We need to keep a close eye on them. Two on watch tonight.”

The sun goes down, darkness falls…

Bird and Captain Walker are on second watch. Bird hears a scraping noise coming from the quarantine compound (aka the guest house), looks north spots a flash of movement in the road. He lifts his rifle, scopes the area, sees a second figure, crouched over, carrying a rifle, running across the road towards an overgrown lot to the north of the Diamond’s current residence. He pans left, sees dark shapes- human- against the white-painted exterior of a building. Then another figure starts creeping across the road, this one clearly armed.

“Don’t take any chances with these guys,” Sarge had said, “You see something off, shoot first, ask questions later. I'll take full responsibility.”

[Round 1]

Bird fixes the third figure in his crosshairs, squeezes the trigger. The M21 bucks, the target stumbles and falls in the road.

[The first two figures make it to the overgrown lot and drop prone behind some thick brush.]

A muzzle flash erupts from the south-facing window of the guesthouse. Bird is knocked backwards by what feels like a flying kick to the chest. He drops to the ground, gasping for breath.

The sleeping Diamonds are jolted awake by the spasm of gunfire. They scramble for weapons and body armor, start moving to their posts.

Shouting for everyone to stand to, Captain Walker moves down an alley between two buildings to get eyes on the north. She takes a knee at the corner, scans for threats.

Something explodes about 20m short of the open-sided garage structure on the north side of the Diamonds’ compound.

[Round 2]

Captain Walker hears movement in the underbrush 20m north of the compound. She takes aim at a clump of bushes and waits…

The enemy SAW gunner spots the Diamond CO, takes a shot at her, but the burst goes wide.

Sarge and PR join the fight. They each take aim at the muzzle flash and open fire, driving the enemy SAW gunner away from the window. Deacon rushes to Bird’s aid, drags the wounded sniper behind cover. Grease takes Bird’s place at the front (west, facing the road) of the compound; Honeybear joins Cap on the northeast side.

[Round 3]

Deacon open’s Bird’s PAGST vest, finds the wound. Fortunately, Bird’s Kevlar body armor kept the bullet from penetrating deeply. Part of the jacketed round protrudes from the sniper’s left pec. Deacon squeezes the slug out like a blackhead and slaps a field dressing on the flesh wound. [Successful Medical Aid Roll- all damage healed]. Bird can rejoin the fight.

Walker sees a rifle barrel protrude from the brush, just 30m away from her position. She squeezes the trigger of her M4A1 twice, but the second 3-round burst is cut short by a stoppage [Pushed roll results in jam!]. Sandy spots a figure rise up from the road and start running west towards the quarantine compound. After firing off 15 rounds, she too experiences a jam. The team grenadier did, however, force her target to dive prone in the road again, short of reaching cover. Unfortunately, the Diamond’s firepower is now reduced by a quarter.

The two hostiles in the brush open fire. The one on the left empties his mag at Sandy. Despite being only 20m way, the shooter doesn’t score a single hit! His counterpart is a better shot (or just luckier), hitting PR in the helmet with a shorter burst. The team radioman/translator drops into full cover behind a stack of old tractor tires.

The enemy SAW is silent, but two M16s start spitting rounds at the Diamonds from behind a wooden fence that encircles the quarantine compound’s back lot. Sarge appears to be their target, but both shooters miss badly. Grease and Sarge return fire and drive one of his antagonists away from the fence.

Honeybear, prone next to Cap, sends a long burst into the underbrush, producing an anguished yelp from his target.

[Round 4]

Captain Walker clears her jam quickly; Sandy, however, struggles to clear hers. Bird takes aim, waits for his prey to break cover.

A 40mm HE round sails long, exploding against a long storage shed at the back of the Diamond’s compound. The tormented runner in the road finally makes it to cover. The shooter behind the fence has another go at Sarge but misses again. Grease and Sarge both return fire, tearing up the fence and knocking the man down. Both Diamonds are confident that they hit their target.

Honeybear follows up his first burst with another, tracers disappearing into the dark shape of his target. It's almost certainly a kill.

[Round 5]

The enemy SAW gunner reappears in the guesthouse window; Bird is waiting. He squeezes the trigger, notes a puff of brick dust just below the windowsill. The SAW gunner returns fire, hitting Sarge in the left arm and knocking him down. Grease avenges the Diamond’s senior noncom, hitting the SAW gunner with a burst of fire before his weapon jams. The window is once again vacated.

Walker fires at the second shooter in the brush, producing a cry of pain. PR, having recovered his wits, takes aim and fires several bursts (15 rounds) at the same target, likely scoring at least a couple hits before his weapon jams. The brush is still and silent.

Honeybear takes aim at a figure leaning out from behind the northeast corner of the guesthouse, knocks the target down with a 16-round burst.

[Round 6]

There’s some indistinct shouting coming from the quarantine compound, but no more visible movement or gunfire. Sandy calls for Deacon, on behalf of Sergeant McNulty. The team medic bandages the senior noncom’s wounded arm. [Another successful Medical Aid roll, this one healing 2/2 damage; Sarge is good to go.] Grease wrestles with the borrowed M16A2 (Sarge’s old weapon), trying to clear the jam. The rest of the Diamonds remain vigilant, enemy compound in their sights. After a minute or so, they hear the sound of an engine coughing to life.

The visitor’s Humvee exits the north end of the quarantine compound, engine sounds rising in pitch as it accelerates sharply. Only Bird has LOS and a functioning weapon. He takes aim and sends a parting shot after the speeding vehicle.

Four of the village's freshly minted militia have congregated at the crossroads in the middle of town. They open fire on the fast-approaching Humvee but their marksmanship isn’t up to snuff. The Humvee speeds away.

Ref's Notes:
This was the logical conclusion of the random encounter, Murderous Bastards, which began in the previous post. Although the engagement was 8 v 8, this firefight didn't go nearly as well as the Diamonds' previous two. Darkness imparted a -2 penalty to all direct fire. Rolled direct fire hits yielded very few multiple successes, and the 3 ammo dice I rolled for every assault rifle burst turned up very few sixes. The OPFOR, being US soldiers, all wore body armor, so the lack of multiple successes and/or sixes on ammo die meant that hits didn't do enough damage to Crit. Nearly every pushed direct fire roll resulted in a jam. All three PCs hit by enemy fire failed their CUF rolls. Body armor really helped the party, again. I find myself rooting for torso or head hits because of this. Deacon did great on Medical Aid rolls, so all WIA PCs were able to return to the fire with full HP, and no one took any lingering damage.


Raellus 06-23-2022 04:34 PM

Episode 9 Denouement
A few minutes pass. There’s no sound, no sign of movement in or around the quarantine compound. A couple of curious militiamen arrive from the south end of town. This prompts PR to call out a warning to any militiamen who might be approaching from the north.

Sarge details Bird and Honeybear with over-watch, Captain Walker remaining behind to supervise. Moving in staggered pairs, the senior noncom leads PR, Sandy, Grease, and Deacon towards the lot north of the Diamonds’ residence. They find two bodies, lying prone in the brush.

From there the clearing team crosses the road and enters the quarantine compound. They clear the buildings, finding three more bodies, one inside the guest house, one at the northeast [exterior] corner of same, and the last behind the fence in the backyard. Apparently, three of the ‘guests’ managed to escape in their Humvee. With less than half a tank of meth, they’re probably not going to get too far.

During the sweep of the guest compound, three M16A2s, one M16A2 and M203 GL combo, and one M249 SAW are recovered, along with 6 full STANAG magazines, one half-empty 200 box of linked 5.56mm, two M67 hand grenades (fragmentation), and a number of large knives of mixed military and civilian make. Helmets, vests, and boots are also salvaged (Deacon insists that they all be deloused before use). The Diamonds make out slightly better off, in terms of ammunition, than they were before the fight.

For the rest of the night, no one sleeps particularly well. It rains again for a few hours. A double-watch rotation is maintained until stand-to at dawn. After a spartan breakfast, the Diamonds dig five shallow graves in the empty lot next door. Sarge pockets the casualties’ dog tags. They may have been criminals, but their families deserve to know they won't be coming home. Deacon conducts a brief, poorly attended funeral service.

July 27, 2000

After lunch, a small group of locals arrives at the Diamonds’ residence. It’s the village’s ersatz governing council. They appear nervous.

“Basically, they said, ‘Thanks for your help, but it’s time for you to leave’,” PR translates. “We’re welcome to stay the night tonight. They’ll give us some provisions for the road.”

“Tell them thanks for their hospitality. We’re grateful for any supplies that they can spare. We’ll pack up and be ready to go after breakfast tomorrow.” Walker answers.

The dignitaries are visibly relieved at the Americans’ response to what amounts to an eviction notice. A couple of them even seem to regret their decision, but they leave it alone.

This night passes uneventfully.

July 28, 2000

The Diamonds wake well-rested. The villagers provide a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, and fried potatoes. As promised, they also supply the Diamonds with some provisions for the road (a couple loaves of bread, a few carrots and potatoes, a cabbage, and 2.5 kilos of summer sausage). PR

The Diamonds say their goodbyes (both Bird and Deacon were sweet on the young woman who nursed the Americans back to heath during their bouts cholera) and Pole Position rolls south, into the unknown.

They’ve been on the road for a couple of hours when the sharp-eyed Bird spots a roadblock up ahead in the distance. Through scopes and binoculars, the Diamonds study the dug-in MBT posted at a crossroads. It appears to be manned by at least a dozen Polish army troops.

Ref's Notes:
The Diamonds fired off 52 rounds of 5.56mm, 60 rounds 7.62mmN, and 30 rounds 7.62mmS during the fight with the murderous bastards, but ended up recovering more 5.56mm than they expended. They also picked up a few 40mm HE rounds, and a couple of hand grenades.

I wasn't sure what do about the PCs stay in the ville. Staying put didn't really advance the plot at all, although I would like to play with the Base Building rules at some point. I consulted the oracle and resulting card was black, so I decided that meant the villagers decided to ask the Americans to leave. Relations between the two parties were good (the Diamonds armed, and Sarge trained, their seminal militia) so the parting was amicable. I threw in a couple of days worth of rations.


kcdusk 06-24-2022 08:01 PM

Good decision to move on. Early days, so keep the party and the story moving.

Noted re base building rules. Once the Diamonds have moved away from immediate threats and decided on a long term goal, there maybe the opportunity to build a base later.

Raellus 07-15-2022 12:14 AM

Episode 10.1
The roadblock is easily avoided, although doing so entails more backtracking. The Diamonds have put a lot of miles on Pole Position over the past 10 days, but haven’t put much distance between themselves and Kalisz.

It’s while trying a different path through the forest that a bedraggled figure steps out of the underbrush and flags down the SKOT.

“They’re about 30 of us left,” the man says. His woodland pattern BDUs are torn, filthy.

His name is Mick Daniels, an American soldier from the 5th ID, captured by Soviet forces 9 days ago and subsequently interned in an ad hoc POW camp (a walled poultry farm) about a mile south-southeast of the town of Grabow. Ivan’s been using the prisoners as forced labor. Daniels’ party was assigned to assist a squad of Soviet engineers in repairing a couple of badly damaged bridges over the Prosna and Mlynowka rivers, just east of the town.

”There was more than twice as many, but a work party went out a couple days ago, never came back. I figured, after the bridge is finished, we’re next.”

Daniels made a break for it, was shot in the arm, but managed to get away. He’s been wandering the forest, dodging patrols and growing weaker from blood loss and hunger, for the last 24 hours or so.

“I thought I was done. Saw the diamonds on your APC, recognized your K-pots, took a chance. Thank God I did.”

Deacon attends to Daniels’ bullet wound (-1 PMK) while the escapee recounts his travails, describes the POW camp.

It’s a rectangular compound, 110m long and 60m wide. A wall, 2-3m high, encloses an open courtyard and three buildings, two long henhouses (along the north and south sides) and a storage shed (west). To act as ersatz watchtowers, the Soviets have parked a 4x4 farm trailer just outside the back (east) wall, and a ZIL-175 truck outside the front wall, each manned by a two-man machinegun team. The crews are primarily focused on the interior of the compound. Sentries walk the exterior of the northern and southern walls. There are about 10 guards in total, at the moment. Those not on duty bunk in a small residence just southwest of the "prison".

“We can’t just leave them,” Sarge says.

“Look, I know how you feel right now," Walker replies. "I feel it too. But we’ve been lucky so far. Very lucky. A rescue mission? We’re not all Rangers, Sergeant.”

“But we’re still soldiers… aren’t we, Captain?” Sergeant McNulty asks pointedly. “And so are they. American soldiers. What if the tables were turned and we were the ones locked up and running out of time?”

A rescue op is planned. The Diamonds will hit the camp at dusk, after the bridge work party has returned to the camp. Sarge, Bird, and PR will infiltrate a patch of woods just over 200m east of the camp to observe and report. Once work detail has returned to the camp, the scout team will call it in. The others, in Pole Position will roll up on the front of the camp, stopping about 100 from the front gate and engaging the “guard tower” near the main entrance to the compound with HMG fire. Bird will engage the machinegun team on the wagon at the back. This should eliminate any danger to the prisoners inside.

To be continued...


Raellus 07-15-2022 05:12 PM

Episode 10.2
Bird, PR, and Sarge successfully infiltrate the wooded patch 200m east of the camp. They observe the returning work party arrive by truck and the sentries casually moving to their posts. PR calls it in, and Pole Position rolls out of concealment and towards the camp at close to maximum road speed.

As the Diamonds’ SKOT APC nears the compound, the scout team opens fire. Bird and PR each hit their targets, eliminating the machinegun team in the wagon. Sarge engages the sentry outside the northern wall, but misses. His target runs west and drops from sight.

Grease stops Pole Position, quickly but smoothly, 100m north of the main gate. Alerted by the gunfire at the back of the compound, the machinegun team in the ZIL out front spits out rounds at the strange APC. The fire is heavy and accurate, and one round manages to punch a hole in the gun shield protecting the SKOT’s HMG. Although the bullet bounces harmlessly off the gunner’s PAGST vest, Honeybear involuntarily ducks down into the troop compartment (failed CUF roll).

Unbeknownst to the Diamonds, the camp guard’s CO radios the engineer platoon in Grabow, demanding immediate assistance. Two guards emerge from the detached dormitory south-southwest of the prison and prepare to engage the attackers…

Sandy dismounts right and goes prone in some underbrush just east of the road. Captain walker dismounts left (west side). Deacon stays behind just long enough to make sure that Honeybear is okay.

With bird staying put on over-watch, PR and Sarge leave the tree line and start running west across a fallow field towards the prison camp.

The Soviet machinegun team continues to pour fire at the intruding APC, peppering its armored hull with rounds. The assistant gunner empties an entire mag at Sandy. A few close calls force her to hug the earth (failed CUF roll).

A horizontal plume of dust and white smoke from the yard of the guard’s residence announces the launch of an RPG-18 anti-tank rocket. The projectile bores into the dirt road and explodes well short of its target- so short, in fact, that the SKOT’s gunner doesn’t register the threat. The rocketeer’s partner empties an entire mag in the direction of the APC doing nothing but making a lot of noise and scratching the paint.

Honeybear is back up in the gunner’s cupola. He takes aim at the PKM gunner in the bed of the ZIL just north of the main gate and squeezes off a long burst. This shatters the truck’s windshield and knocks the enemy gunner down. Deacon exits the SKOT and goes prone next to Cap.

For the next six rounds, PR and Sarge run across the field. (Imagine the running scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)

The Soviet rocketeer drops the empty RPG launch tube and readies his rifle; his partner is busy reloading his own.

Another rifleman opens up on the SKOT from the shadow of the ZIL. Honeybear continues to pour fire into the truck’s cab, exploding the Soviet machinegunner’s head like a overripe melon and forcing his assistant to take cover.

Sandy’s regained her composure and takes aim at the two soldiers kneeling in the front yard of the guard’s residence with her M203. With a loud BLOOP, the 40mm HE round arcs towards its target, landing close enough that the ensuing explosion knocks both Ivans down.

With Pole Position obstructing their LOS to the enemy in and around the ZIL, Walker and Deacon both take aim at the settling cloud of dust and vaporized explosive to the south.

Since PR and Sarge are drifting across his LOS, Bird displaces, moving 20m north along the tree line before going prone again facing the camp.

The shooter in the shadow of the ZIL looses a burst, hitting Sandy in the chest. The American grenadier’s PAGST does its job, absorbing most of the projectile’s kinetic energy. Still, the impact knocks the wind out of her lungs, and pain radiates through her chest (torso -1 HP, failed CUF roll).

The dust from Sandy’s 40mm HE round has settled, revealing that both targets are still in the fight. Before they can open fire at the Diamonds, Walker and Deacon beat them to the punch. Most of the Americans' combined 26 rounds strike home, messily eliminating both targets.

Bird spots the northern sentry lying prone behind an AK and facing Pole Position. The Wyomingite fires a single round, sees a puff of dust geyser up from the target’s right kidney region through his rifle scope. The target’s head flops forward and he lies motionless- another probable kill.

A lone figure breaks from the shot-up ZIL, disappears behind the southwest corner of the compound wall before any of the Diamonds can engage.

Recovering her breath, Sandy calls for a medic. With Captain Walker and Honeybear covering, Deacon sprints across the road, behind Pole Position, and arrives on scene to render aid.

Suddenly, the battlefield is quiet. There are no targets in sight. The firefight lasted less than a minute-and-a-half, but the Diamonds know that the help for the guards is probably on the way. They don’t have much time to spring the prisoners.

Walker returns to the SKOT’s troop compartment, calls PR on the radio. The radioman replies, breathlessly, than he and Sarge are less than 50m from the back wall of the prison. Deacon helps Sandy into the APC. Walker instructs Grease to move Pole Position up to the front gate…

Ref's Notes:
I wanted to try my hand at attacking in combat, so I created this encounter from scratch. Since I've learned through experience that in 4e, the defending force has an advantage, I kept the OPFOR at 1x PC. The scenario justified this: a Soviet motor rifles squad consists of 9 soldiers, and I figured that 30 or so overworked, underfed prisoners didn't require more than 9 guards.

During attack, mobility is important. After taking out the MG team at the back of the compound, PR (AGL A, Mobility D) and Sarge (AGL B, Mobility D) spent the next six turns* crossing 200m+ of open ground. In effect, this essentially made the remainder of the firefight 6 PCs v. 7 OPFOR. This is what I get for underestimating how long it would take the scouts to reach the prison compound. Due to the random results of mobility rolls- several pushed- PR opened an early lead, but the older, slower Sarge eventually caught up and passed him, arriving at the back wall first (but straining a calf muscle towards the end). I'm seriously considering prioritizing Mobility during future Skill Improvement (I already had, for a couple of PCs).

*After an initial successful Driving roll, poor Grease also didn't do anything interesting for 6 consecutive turns. I figured it would be unrealistic for him to open his driver's hatch and join in on the firefight because, if he were hit, Pole Position would be effectively immobilized. So he stayed buttoned up for the entirety of the scrap.

I'm glad no one else was playing PR, Sarge, or Grease during this encounter, because they would have been bored AF.


kcdusk 07-16-2022 05:50 PM

1 v1 generally favours the defender. So even playing roughly even numbers, as the attacker you were maybe underdogs.

Did the OT-64 turn the tide for the attackers? I forget what its armed with.

Did the defenders take advantage of cover? It reads a little bit like they were fired at, and hit regularly.

In old T2K our characters ran 30m, trotted 20m, jogged 10m and crawled 2m automatically! Every PC was essentially the same movement wise. In V4.0 mobility adds another variable, which i think is good. Some PCs will be mobile, others will be cumbersomely slow. Perhaps V4.0 having a war-game like bent, with gridded maps, helps us as Refs, plot PCs on a map and that opens up visually the importance of movement more than V1.0 did for example - which puts further emphasis on mobility.

How did you find running so many characters solo in an extended fight go for you? Easy/hard, long, methodical ....

6 or 7 enemy were downed. One PC took a hit. Was this just due to the difference in skill levels (D6s v D10 or D12s)?

Raellus 07-17-2022 02:52 PM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by kcdusk (Post 92539)
1 v1 generally favours the defender. So even playing roughly even numbers, as the attacker you were maybe underdogs.

That's what I was thinking as I set up the scenario.


Originally Posted by kcdusk (Post 92539)
Did the OT-64 turn the tide for the attackers? I forget what its armed with.

It helped, but not as much as I thought it would, especially when the gunner (DShK HMG) was suppressed in the first round. He also didn't roll very well. He was rolling two D12s and every single ammo die and didn't produce extra damage or hits until his final round of combat.


Originally Posted by kcdusk (Post 92539)
Did the defenders take advantage of cover? It reads a little bit like they were fired at, and hit regularly.

A couple of them were.

The MG team in the ZIL were standing in the bed, behind the cab. The cab only had an armor value of 1, but it stopped the DShK (Dam 4) from getting any crits during its first two bursts). Honeybear eventually both the A and B gunners in the torso, but neither were killed outright. The A gunner was finished off by a head shot, but the B gunner got away (temporarily).

On that note, I'm not sure how to RP getting hit in the chest by a 12.7mm round, losing 4/5 HP, and surviving.


Originally Posted by kcdusk (Post 92539)
In old T2K our characters ran 30m, trotted 20m, jogged 10m and crawled 2m automatically! Every PC was essentially the same movement wise. In V4.0 mobility adds another variable, which i think is good. Some PCs will be mobile, others will be cumbersomely slow. Perhaps V4.0 having a war-game like bent, with gridded maps, helps us as Refs, plot PCs on a map and that opens up visually the importance of movement more than V1.0 did for example - which puts further emphasis on mobility.

I agree. I like the Mobility mechanic. I just underestimated how long it would take to cross 200m (if I'd done some basic arithmetic, this would have been obvious; instead I assumed, "It's not that far,"). Lesson learned.


Originally Posted by kcdusk (Post 92539)
How did you find running so many characters solo in an extended fight go for you? Easy/hard, long, methodical ....

During the first couple of firefights I ran, I used a sheet of notebook paper to "track" everything but it got sloppy pretty quickly and didn't work very well- I kept missing things or getting them mixed up. So, after the last fight, I made a simple Word doc tracking sheet and it helped a lot. 9 v 9 was no trouble at all to run. I attached it. In the main boxes, I recorded the character's action and the result. If a character failed a CUF roll, I wrote CUF X in their next turn box.

I was really disappointed that none of my PCs passed a CUF roll because I want the chance to roll to improve their CUF score.


Originally Posted by kcdusk (Post 92539)
6 or 7 enemy were downed. One PC took a hit. Was this just due to the difference in skill levels (D6s v D10 or D12s)?

Yes, and a successful group ambush (the scout team) at the outset. They eliminated 2/9 enemy in the very first round.

But having PCs with better combat skills (A/B, in some cases, v C/C) definitely helped a lot. The Diamonds possessing the only AFV in the fight did also.


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