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Old 06-14-2022, 03:15 PM
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Raellus Raellus is offline
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Default 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.

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

Last edited by Raellus; 06-20-2022 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 06-14-2022, 03:19 PM
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Default 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.

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Author of Twilight 2000 adventure module, Rook's Gambit, and the campaign sourcebooks, Korean Peninsula, and Tara Romaneasca (Romania), available-

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

Last edited by Raellus; 06-15-2022 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 06-15-2022, 01:37 PM
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Default 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.


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__________________
Author of Twilight 2000 adventure module, Rook's Gambit, and the campaign sourcebooks, Korean Peninsula, and Tara Romaneasca (Romania), available-

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

Last edited by Raellus; 06-15-2022 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 06-15-2022, 02:38 PM
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Default 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.


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Author of Twilight 2000 adventure module, Rook's Gambit, and the campaign sourcebooks, Korean Peninsula, and Tara Romaneasca (Romania), available-

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

Last edited by Raellus; 06-16-2022 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 06-15-2022, 04:07 PM
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Default

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.
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Old 06-15-2022, 07:30 PM
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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.

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