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Old 07-21-2023, 10:02 PM
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My own solo games generally follow a couple of different paths.

1. I have a long term goal in mind, and i use the random encounter cards to fill in the journey there. For example my "target" is 5 days march away. I travel for 5 days using the random encounter deck, then if i reach day 5, i engage my target (sniper shot, call in mortar rounds, some other task such as gather intel (for a non-combat roll)).

2. Day after day slog of random encounters, with the random encounters being gelled together to make an overarching story line as the cards are played.

3. Or i pull together 3 or 4 encounters i'd like to play against, and just game my PC through them. In this way, i am mostly just having fun doing the math and decision making of combat. Learning how weapon A might be better/worse than weapon B. Or testing results v armour. or Blast radius etc.

I understand how writers block or monotony can filter in though. Once the fun is gone, go do something else. I'll do a day hike, or camp in/sleep/camp out of a location to get a real world kind of T2K fix.

Or, i play Advance squad leader, harpoon or chess to change things up.
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  #62  
Old 07-26-2023, 06:21 PM
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Default August 9, 2000

The roads leading through the forest to the village are mined- partisan guides lead Pole Position on a short detour around an anti-tank mine belt. At first glance, the partisan camp looks like a run-of-the-mill Polish hamlet. Closer inspection reveals cunningly camouflaged bunkers and fighting positions scattered throughout the settlement.

The partisans call their band the “Lisi” (Foxes). Its leader is an ex-Polish paratroop officer named Kacper Boduch. The Lisi’s cadre* of ex-Polish army soldiers (and Topper) slipped behind the advancing Soviet army shortly after Poznan fell back into communist hands, eventually making its way east to Ruda. During its trek, the cadre managed to recruit a little over a dozen new fighters. One of those local recruits explains that Soviet cavalry troopers swept through the forest about three weeks ago, just prior to the arrival of the partisans, at which time they took all of the village’s horses (except for one old nag). This embittered the villagers which ultimately helped the partisans win them over.

After sharing a meal in the common mess, Walker, Sarge, Deacon, and PR meet with the partisan officers in a farmhouse that serves as the Lisi’s HQ building.

The guerillas have only fought a few inconclusive skirmishes with horse-mounted patrols. Instead of seeking out battle, the Lisi have spent the past two weeks or so trying to recruit and train new fighters, and gathering intelligence on Red Army operations in the region. They’ve had little success in the former endeavor, but the partisan’s de facto intelligence officer, Father Gregorz Marcin, has managed to learn quite a bit about local Soviet forces. The Soviet 89th Cavalry Division is responsible for operations in the region. This formation is a division only in name. Its current strength is estimated at 300 troopers, with a few trucks, no AFVs and only one artillery piece larger than 82mm (a 120mm mortar, based in Konin). Father Marcin shares the following intel at the meeting:

Turek
30 troopers detached from the squadron in Kolo; Turek’s citizens aren’t particularly fond of their Red Army guests, but they don’t want the war coming back to their town.

Konin
120 troopers; one 120mm mortar. The cavalrymen are helping the townspeople repair the highway bridge over the Warta.

Kolo
110 troopers; the detachment in Turek is from this squadron.

Sompolno
The rest of the 89th Cavalry division, including its HQ and support units, is located here.

The most intriguing morsel of intelligence regards reports of a Soviet armored train spotted traveling between Kutno and Kolo. Father Marcin hasn’t seen the train himself, but he heard it once, and locals living close to the rail line between the two small cities have reported seeing it about twice a week (once moving westbound, then again, eastbound) since around mid-July.

“We’ve been trying to build our strength but recruitment is going much more slowly than we’d hoped. The local people are tired of war, and don’t want to risk what little they still have to fight the occupiers. With your help, we’re strong enough to do something… significant. We aim to liberate Turek. Even if we only hold the town for 24 hours, it will send a message to the Russians. ‘You are not welcome here. You are weak, and we are strong’. Go home, before it’s too late for you. ”

Commander Boduch then lays out his plan.

“We’ve learned that the 30 Russians in Turek are running out of food. A resupply convoy is being sent from Kolo, the day after tomorrow.

“If we ambush the convoy here… (he points at a small patch of woods astride the road connecting Kolo to Turek, 18.5km south of former, 5.5km north of the latter) it should draw out the Turek garrison. A second partisan force, about 1500m to the south, will be set up to ambush the expected reaction force. Even if the Russians in Turek don’t take the bait, they won’t last much longer without food.

“Either way- sooner or later- we march into Turek, raise the flag of the Free Democratic Polish Republic and spread the word.

“Your force, and a couple of my men will make up the northern group. Once you’ve stopped the convoy, you will reinforce the southern group. Together, we will take control of Turek.”


NOTES:
I created several PC-level partisans using the archetypes (and Spartan’s house rule that each PC receives a second specialization at char-gen). The partisan leader succeeded at an opposed persuasion role, thereby convincing the Diamonds to help liberate Turek- I’m not sure what I would have done if he’d failed. The party’s job is basically to play out the random encounter, Outnumbered, which I’ve been sitting on for a couple of sessions. It now fits the regional situation that I’ve developed. The party successfully rolled to waylay the convoy. Spending a full shift to prep the ambush gave the party a +3 modifier (from one C to one B and one C); the enemy rolled to detect the ambush from a moving vehicle with a -2 modifier (from one C to one D). The firefight will be described in the next post.

*The Lisi Cadre
Kacper Boduch, ex-6th Pomeranian Parachute Division
Bill 'Topper' Hudnall, ex-BAOR Special Observation Post Troop
Father Gregorz Marcin, ex-Polish Army chaplain
Anton Schimanski, ex-NVA combat engineer
Vadym Dovhan, Cossack, ex-Red Army machine gunner
Witold and Jadwiga Dabrowska, a husband-and-wife sniper team (she's the better shot)
Grzegorz ‘Niedzwiedz’ [Bear] Rusiecki, ex-Polish Army tank gunner
Narcyz Cywinksi, ex-ZOMO

The remaining partisans use the Civilian NPC stat block.


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Author of Twilight 2000 adventure modules, Rook's Gambit and The Poisoned Chalice, 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
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...nia-Sourcebook
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Last edited by Raellus; 07-26-2023 at 06:38 PM.
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  #63  
Old 07-29-2023, 03:47 PM
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The Diamonds settle into position in a small wood overlooking the 470 highway (a two-lane, paved road connecting Kolo to Turek; they are strung out in a linear ambush formation on its east side). Pole Position is parked in a natural cut, about 60m east of the ambush line. There's a bit of a wait. A wise old soldier once described war as, "long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror." That will be the case today.

Unexpectedly, the Soviet convoy, when it arrives, is led by a BTR-70 (the Lisi had reported that the 89th CD didn't have any AFVs). Two 4x4 cargo trucks (GAZ-66) follow in the soviet APC's tire tracks. They contain another surprise- about a dozen soldiers per truck, riding in the open cargo beds. This was supposed to be a supply convoy! Instead of being up against a couple of truck drivers with minimal security, the Diamonds are about to pick a fight with a full platoon of Soviet infantry backed up by an APC and its 14.5mm autocannon. The party could allow the convoy to pass, but that would complicate things for their Lisi partisan allies waiting to the south. Against her better judgment, Captain Walker does not order an abort.

Fortunately, Ivan does not appear to be aware of the waiting ambush. Sandy kicks off the action as the BTR crosses in front of her position at the left end of the Diamonds' linear ambush. As soon as the Soviet APC fills the sight of her RPG-7, Sandy squeezes the trigger. With a jolt and puff of wispy white smoke, the rocket leaps at the target…

Faster than the eye can see, the PG-7VL HEAT round burrows through the side armor of the BTR, spewing a stream of molten copper and steel into the cramped troop compartment. All the Diamonds see is an orange fireball and a cloud of dust and smoke. Hidden from view Inside the BTR, one unlucky passenger is cut in half by the fiery jet and killed instantly. His neighbor’s near arm is badly burned. The rest of the passengers are buffeted by the blast, singed by the heat flash. For a few seconds, the survivors are all too shaken up to move. When they do, it’s to bail out of the stricken BTR in a panic. Everyone but the doughty gunner, that is. He trains his auto-cannon to the left, towards the threat…

The rest of the Diamonds join in, maximum ROF. The packed cargo trucks are the targets. Half a dozen Soviet infantrymen are killed or incapacitated in the initial fusillade. Several more are wounded. Damage to the trucks is minimal, mostly cosmetic.

The next 30 seconds are pure chaos. The truck drivers stop their vehicles and bail out. Some of the passengers are frozen in fear and shock, others scramble to dismount, stepping past bleeding comrades and over the bodies of the fallen, before leaping over the tailgate or lee side, desperate to reach the impression of safety given by the woods on the west side of the road. A trio of foolishly brave Soviet infantrymen pauses to return fire. Bird calmly picks one of them off.

The BTR’s KPV sends a searching burst into the western tree line. The gunner’s aim is high; severed boughs and branches rain down on a few of the Diamonds, but no one is hurt.

The Diamonds continue to pour on the fire. Several more Soviet infantrymen are cut down. The high ROF has another consequence. Nearly every Diamond experiences a stoppage. It must have something to do with the late-war manufactured ammunition they were issued prior to the doomed summer offensive.

Sandy reloads the RPG-7 with the party’s last rocket. She takes aim at the parked, smoking BTR, squeezes the trigger. The HEAT round strikes the APC just below its main gun, instantly silencing the weapon. For the next few seconds, 14.5mm rounds cook off inside the small gun turret, producing a hollow metallic banging with each sharp explosion. In rhythm with the banging, puffs of grey smoke leap from the open hatches, mingling with darker billows. The sound reminds Sandy a little of making Jiffy Pop popcorn on the stovetop as a kid. Funny what goes through a person’s mind during a firefight.

The numbers game begins to work against the Diamonds. With nearly all of the Americans trying to clear stoppages, fire superiority begins to rapidly shift in favor of the Soviets. Rounds buzz and whip-crack over the Americans’ heads, or thunk into the tree trunks they’re sheltering behind.

The Diamonds are now painfully certain that they bit off more than they can chew. Bird becomes the target of several Soviet riflemen at the back of the convoy. He’s hit first in the upper body, his PAGST vest absorbing most of the impact, then the leg- a graze. Pain bleeds through the adrenaline and he momentarily loses his cool (failed CUF check).

After clearing stoppages, the Diamonds attempt to regain fire superiority. Most of them don’t even bother to aim. Rounds go downrange, magazines are emptied- it doesn’t seem to help. The incoming fire doesn’t let up. Sarge takes a ricochet to the nose. He can tell immediately that it’s broken. Blood pours from the wound and down his throat (Critical Hit to the head: Nose Crushed; failed CUF check).

Captain Walker has enough combat experience to know that this fight is rapidly going downhill for her team. Surprised that Sarge hasn't already made the call (she's grown to rely on the grizzled veteran's tactical leadership under fire), she steps up and makes it herself.

“Pop smoke!” Walker shouts.

PR and Sandy are close enough to hear Walker’s command (enemy fire is much lighter on the left [south] side of the kill zone). Sandy is first to toss a smoke grenade- Goofy Grape (purple). PR follows suit (green). Sarge, meanwhile, has regained his wits, realizing that his facial wound, although painful and remarkably bloody, is not life-threatening. He pulls a smoke grenade (Mellow Yellow)* from his LBE and hucks it towards the road behind the trailing GAZ-66.

Just after the first of the canisters starts spewing its opaque payload, Honeybear is hit in the chest by a burst of machinegun fire. His PAGST vest stops one of the rounds, but not the other two (Critical hit to the torso: Internal Bleeding). The clock starts ticking…

A few meters away, Grease, reloading, sees his buddy get hit. “Medic!” he hollers.

Deacon, despite being wounded, slightly, himself, leaps up from the ground. Trailing leaf litter, he runs to the Diamond machine gunner’s position. Dropping to his knees, he rolls the big man on his back, tears open his protective vest. The entry wound is obvious, big and gushing blood. Deacon sticks his hand into the wound, somehow finds the severed artery on the first try, pinches it closed.

A split second later, Bird is hit again (Critical hit to the torso: Snapped collarbone). The cumulative pain is too much to take. He passes out (0/5 health points means he's incapacitated).

Captain Walker has no smoke grenades of her own to contribute; instead, on instinct, she empties a full mag into the GAZ-66 opposite her (the middle vehicle of the Soviet column). The hopeful fusillade pays off. The truck’s cargo bed erupts in a series of small explosions, adding to the visual and auditory chaos (+2 damage to Ammunition). Still popping off, the GAZ starts to burn.

A wall of sorts- three parts physical barrier (the burning BTR, the two abandoned trucks), three parts purely visual (clouds of colored smoke)- now separates the eight bloodied Diamonds in the trees on the east side of the road and at least twenty Soviet soldiers in the trees on the west side.

“Fall back!” Sarge shouts on the right. Walker echoes this command on the left.

Blood streaming from his shattered nose, Sarge crouch-runs over to and Honeybear and Deacon. Grease wants to stick around and help too, but he knows that Pole Position is the team’s only hope now- he springs up and sprints deeper into the woods, towards the Polish-made APC.

“We gotta move him,” Sarge says.

“I… uh… we can’t. I’m… uh… holding his artery closed,” Deacon stutters, staving off feelings of panic.

“Well keep holding it shut with that hand and grab his leg with the other. I’ll get his arms,” Sarge says, frustrated with the whole FUBAR situation, not the team’s amateur medic.

They hoist Honeybear up and start carrying him, slowly, into the woods. In their haste, they leave the machine gunner’s M240 behind. Priorities.

The Soviets seem content to let the ambushers go. They fire a few searching rounds into the smoke, but make no effort to press their advantage, even though an assault now would almost certainly overrun their opponents. What the Soviet soldiers know that the Americans do not is that the convoy has lost over half its strength (24 KIA), and several of the survivors are wounded.

Grease makes it to the SKOT, hops into the driver’s position. It’s risky, but the fastest way to his badly wounded companion is west, towards the kill zone, through a gap in the woods. The Diamond driver maneuvers the ungainly b-wheeled APC like it’s a Japanese sub-compact. He meets his withdrawing teammates half-way.

Seeing Honeybear unconscious, covered in blood, carried by Sarge (also covered in blood) and Deacon, the latter’s hand inside the team’s machine gunner, Walker shouts, “Everybody on board! Someone get on the big gun!”

“I’m on it!” Sandy shouts, dropping the RPG launcher on a fold-down bench before scrambling through the gunner's roof hatch.

“Where’s Bird?” PR calls out. Those not otherwise occupied look around. The team sniper is nowhere to be seen.

“Gawdammit!” Walker yells, frustration boiling over. “Everybody on board! We’ll go to him!", she shouts. Squeezing past a supine Honeybear, Deacon’s hand still inside his torso, Walker makes her way to the forward bulkhead. Practically punching the intercom talk button, she shouts, “Grease, take us north, to Bird’s position.”

“Guns left!” Sarge commands, his gruff baritone uncharacteristically nasal.

As Sandy trains the Dishka to bear on the enemy-held tree-line, Grease executes a tight right turn, drives 110m north just outside the forest verge. Leaving the concealment of the dissipating smoke, the team’s Grenadier squeezes off a long burst from the Dishka at the far right end of the Soviets’ firing line (the enemy’s left flank), eviscerating the rifleman occupying that spot.

Grease crosses the roughly 110m to Bird’s last known position like Dale Earnhardt, fishtailing to an abrupt halt in the grass just under the forest’s eaves. The expert maneuver leaves the SKOT facing the threat, its read passenger screened by the APC’s armored bulk. Incoming rounds PING against Pole Position’s nose and left-flank.

“I’ll go,” Sarge informs Walker. “PR, you’re with me.” Tugging Sandy’s trouser leg, he says, “Covering fire!”

With a stable firing platform, Sandy’s accuracy improves. With her second burst, she eliminates two more enemy riflemen in shockingly gory fashion. Incredibly, their nearby companions aren’t traumatized into quiescence.

Sarge and PR leap out of Pole Positions rear doors, into the woods. It takes them a few seconds to spot Bird, prone and well-camouflaged as he is. He’s unconscious but rouses when PR starts shouting his name. The usually stoic Bird cries in pain as his companions drag him to his feet. He half-walks, half lets himself be dragged the short distance back to the waiting SKOT. PR grabs the sniper's trusty M21.

Thick forest limits Grease’s options. He could execute a looping U-turn, try to flee across country, but the smoke from the grenade canisters is all but dissipated, and the slow, sweeping maneuver would have to occur in at least partial view of the enemy. North is also an option, but that would take the party towards Kolo, a major Soviet output, and away from their partisan allies. Going south will take the Diamonds back towards the Lisi, but it means driving past the entire enemy firing line while dodging burning obstacles. Ironically, the only sure way out of danger is south, through the ambush kill zone. This is all discussed on board while Sarge and PR retrieve Bird.

Keeping to the left shoulder of the road, Grease pushes the SKOT through the kill zone, Sandy laying down suppressive fire to the right (she rakes the lone undamaged GAZ with fire as the SKOT races past it, destroying the truck’s suspension and damaging its engine). Pole Position eats up the ground as Grease lays open the throttles. Shaken and feeling lucky to be alive, the bloodied Diamonds leave the battle behind.


NOTES:
Since the PCs were trying to establish fire superiority against a considerably larger force, I used the maximum allowed ammo dice for every PC attack roll (except the sniper, Bird’s) during the first couple of rounds. I was greedy and pushed all of the PC’s attack rolls during round 2 to up the odds of getting critical hits. Consequently, almost all of the PCs experienced a jam. Those pushed attack rolls did, however, result in several enemy KIA, so it was a trade off. I used a fast action to get each PC into full cover while they dealt with their stoppages. This meant that only the OPFOR was doing any shooting in Round 3. I considered having the PCs start a tactical withdrawal at this point, but I foolishly had them try to regain fire superiority instead. This meant that had to go back to partial cover (Fast Action), so all of their next attacks were carried out without the benefits of aiming. Not surprisingly, the hit rate went down. Also, because the PCs were going for maximum ROF, a couple of them went bingo on ammo.

Bird was crit’d in the torso (non-lethal) and incapacitated as a result on cumulative HP loss. Honeybear sustained a lethal crit to the torso (internal bleeding). Fortunately, Deacon was able to get to him quickly and the Medical Aid roll was successful, prolonging the machine gunner’s life for at least a stretch. Later, the Medical Aid roll to move Honeybear was also successful. I think he’s going to pull through, but he’ll be out of action for a significant spell of time.

During a couple of rounds, I forgot to roll CUF for characters in the same hex as someone suppressed or killed. I did, however, remember to apply the appropriate modifiers throughout the battle (e.g. -1 for firing into a forest hex, -2 for firing from a moving vehicle, etc.). I modified my combat tracker, adding a column for Stress. I kept track during the first 2-3 rounds and then I forgot. I'll go back over the tracker and update Stress for the PCs (there's no point doing so for the OFPOR now). I invested in a Ref screen and weapons cards a while ago and they’re paying off by saving me time (and wear on my Rulebook).

No rolls were fudged. I really thought for a while that this might end in a TPK. After Bird and Honeybear were knocked out of the fight, I contemplated having the remaining PCs surrender. I’d then draw a card from the Oracle to see if the Soviets would give quarter or not. If the party survived surrendering, I could then arrange a prisoner exchange between the partisans and the Soviets in Kolo for the PCs. Instead, I decided to fight on and attempt a withdrawal under fire. It proved to be a good call. The Dishka was deadly, racking up six kills with only three bursts. Fortunately, the Soviets’ RPG-18s all belonged to dead men (stuck on the trucks, no less) and the party made it away from the battlefield without suffering any more damage.

They wouldn’t know it yet (that would be metagaming), but the Diamonds’ ambush of the convoy was a clear-cut victory. They killed 3/4 of the Soviet force and destroyed or disabled all of its vehicles. The party did more than enough damage to allow the second phase of the plan to liberate Turek to proceed.

During the firefight, the party spent or lost six full M-16 magazines plus a few additional 5.56mm rounds, Honeybear's M240 and the remainder of his ammo belt (a total of 100 7.62x51mm rounds for the machinegun, plus 3 more fired by Bird), 63 12.7mm rounds, both of the party's RPG HEAT rounds, three smoke grenades, and numerous personal medkits.

Sadly (for me, at least), this will probably be the last campaign report from me for the foreseeable future. I head back to work full time next week, so I'll be preoccupied for a bit. Hopefully, I can get back to Diamonds in the Rough after things get settled.

*These three smoke grenades are half of the party’s total stock.


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__________________
Author of Twilight 2000 adventure modules, Rook's Gambit and The Poisoned Chalice, 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
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...nia-Sourcebook
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...liate_id=61048

Last edited by Raellus; 07-29-2023 at 07:25 PM.
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  #64  
Old 08-01-2023, 04:29 AM
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kcdusk kcdusk is offline
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Your AAR style has been different to mine. More of a story book style whereas mine is more the nuts and bolts.

Yours is likely a more enjoyable read, whereas mine might be more in the style of a long example in a book.

I've enjoyed it. you've knocked out some material. I'm also about to head off on a 5,600km driving holiday, all on dirt, through the bush. So i'll be out of contact in a few days time also. I prefer my winter travels, whereas your enjoying the end of your summer time i guess.

Looking forward to picking the dice and discussions up soon.
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