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Old 06-16-2022, 01:46 PM
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Default 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.


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Author of Twilight 2000 adventure module, Rook's Gambit, the campaign sourcebook, Korean Peninsula, and co-author of Tara Romaneasca, a campaign sourcebook for Romania, all available for purchase on DriveThruRPG:

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...--Rooks-Gambit
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...ula-Sourcebook
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