Twilight 2000: episode 7 – Aiming for Brzeg

Five NATO soldiers have been left to find their own way home after the last – and failed – allied push against the Soviets in the fields of Poland in World War III. After fighting a group of marauders, they are restocked on ammo and carry a bit of fuel and must now find a way across the mighty Oder River to get to… home? To Safety? To semi-intact NATO formations?

This is the seventh episode of my solo-game of Free League’s Twilight: 2000 4th edition post-apocalyptic roleplaying game. If you are new to the game/story, I suggest you start from the very beginning.

You can also read a description of the main characters and see their stats.

Short recap:

After being disbanded at Kalisz, the group drives west in their camouflaged pick-up truck, which runs out of fuel near Syców. They try to find fuel or parts for a still in the town, but discover the ambushed remains of US troops, where they rescue the wounded private Lee. They meet a local leader, who will aid them against the ambushers, if they share the loot with him. After a daring and successful dawn assault, they defeat the marauders with no casualties. But as the man they work with is dangerous and untrustworthy, with a lot of armed men at hand. They cut a quick deal, and hurry away with what they can carry, but a lot less than half the spoils.

From a game mechanical perspective, the group’s unit morale has increased one level to A from B, but none of the characters gain personal CUF.

Further, King buys the survival skill at D-level and Kelly pays for mobility D (see last episode).

Continuing Day 6

The group hurries to where they hid the pickup and refuel it. They agree to drive for one shift, hopefully finding somewhere they can hole up for at least 24 hours to rest and repair. Looking at their map, they decide to drive south, as they consider the ruins of Wroclaw a difficult and dangerous place to cross the massive Oder River in their truck. 

The open terrain and country roads prove no obstacle to Lee (who worked in logistics), but King is unable to find the right road to where they need to go (Miles succeeds in his driving roll, but Charlie fails the navigation check to exit the second hex)

The group ends up going NW before going south, wasting fuel, before finding a place to camp.

In the evening shift, they make a great camp, although King finds it difficult to conceal it, stressing over finding foliage and moss to hide them (pushes survival, gains 1 stress).

Perez struggles through the edge of the forest they’ve camped at (pushing survival), and he manages to track a deer. With two well placed shots he bags dinner for the next couple of days.

While hunting, Perez hears an explosion not too far away and see black smoke rising (random encounter). He lays down the deer on the forest floor and investigates. Three Soviet soldiers lie dying in the wreckage of a UAZ-469 Jeep hit by a roadside bomb.

The pleading and mangled young Russian scouts are too much for Perez, and he runs back into the woods, where he picks up the deer and hurries back to camp (fails CUF, gains 1 stress).  

There is much praise in the camp, when he returns though, and they settle in for – what turns out to be – an uneventful night. He says nothing of the blown Soviet 4×4.

Lee is on watch during the night. King trusts him, but the rest assumes he gets the job because he is the FNG. 

The UAZ might have had fuel, but a failed CUF roll prevents Perez investigating the jeep.

Day 7

The next day the group can take stock and plan:

  • They have acquired a good supply of weapons and ammo, although they would dearly like another anti-tank weapon. 
  • They have water and food, and the nice big deer should sustain them all for an additional two days – if cooked properly… 
  • They are all healthy, and even Lee should be fully recovered the day after the next (his critical wounds to the arms will have healed). 

They decide to spend the entire day in camp, resting, foraging, and doing on maintenance of their weapons, gear and the truck. The next day they plan to spend the last fuel to get close to the Brzeg bridge, and then see what they can see, and cross the river any way they can. They may not need to worry about fuel, if they can’t get the car across anyway. 

During the first shift, Lee does maintenance on the pick-up. He struggles with the unfamiliar vehicle, but gets the job done (pushes for success). 

They also do gun care (which several fail, but that isn’t a problem yet. Optimally, the best tech person should do it, but isn’t it more realistic that they do it individually?). 

The Polish landscape around Brzeg is flat farmlands and a big national forest.

King succeeds at cooking the deer. It turns out succulent and tasty, with Kelly’s help. The two men have a grand time making a good, concealed fire with a high enough temperature.  

Zielinski forages enough water to fill their canteens, and everyone feasts for lunch.

In the afternoon it turns cloudy, and Zielinski, King and Kelly go scrounging in the area. 

The trio come upon a small farm in a copse of trees. Untended fields full of weeds surround the farm and a window looks broken. King surveys the area with his binoculars, and when he sees nothing move, they approach.

Kelly takes point and creep tests the front door. It is open. He knocks. No answer. Kelly opens the door, and his nostrils are assaulted by the stench of rotting corpses. Moving in, he finds the corpse of a man, half his head blown all over a the yellow wallpaper, a shotgun lying at his feet.

Behind him King retches and Zielinski mumbles a prayer in Polish.

“Clear the rest,” says King.

Kelly nods, and they go through the rest of the house.

In the bedrooms, they find three more bodies: a woman and two kids. On a dresser there is an open box of shells.

“Jesus. He shot them all. How…” says King.

“Guess they were out of chow. Out of options. The Russians coming. Tough break,” says Kelly.

Zielinski swears long and vehemently in Polish, then says: “Can we burry them.” Her voice trembles.

“I’m sorry, my friend. We don’t have the time, even if we found the right tools. I’m really very sorry,” King says.

She wants to say something, wants to refuse, then she nods, sniffs.

“Ok, Captain. I’m going out for my last cigarette,” she says.

Kelly picks up the shells and the shotgun. It is a double barrel 12 gauge. He breaks it open, takes out the two spent shells and attaches the gun to his backpack. They also find some instant coffee in a cabinet and a radio (one electronic part).

They return to camp, just as it starts pouring down, but their camp was well made, and everyone keeps dry and warm.  

The second night there passes uneventfully. 

Day 8

The weather has turned from pouring rain into low grey clouds, when the group strikes camp. They enjoy a hot cup of Joe in the morning, which generates many sighs of contentment. Then they load up the truck and head southwest through the woods. Lee is the only one with slight damage, the remains of his wounded arm still hindering him with rifles. 

Perez is on watch, Lee drives, while King is co-pilot with the map. Zielinski and Kelly rest in the back.

This time, King reads the map correctly and puts them on a forest road leading south. Lee must make two driving rolls as he is driving off road into a forest area. (I believe I made a mistake here, as technically the hex is a road hex, but coming from the north, I still consider it a forest hex).

The young man expertly handles the pick-up (ace driving on first roll. 2 successes).

Further into the woods, he almost hits a deer but manages to dodge and avoid crashing into a tree (had to push the roll but made the second attempt). 

Later in the afternoon, driving on a logging trail, close to the main road, Perez spot 10 Soviet soldiers herding 35 local prisoners east along the road 300 meters away (random encounter), despite being in a vehicle and the Soviets being on foot.

Referees Note: The Soviet soldiers are from the under-strength 11th tank division, which has crossed the bridge, taken Grodków and are holding the bridge at Brzeg. They are facing the US 29th and 34th infantry divisions, heavily depleted, which are likely to be outfought due to their lack of vehicles. The civilians are political prisoners, as well as suspected saboteurs (the characters don’t know this yet). 

Lee quickly parks the vehicle behind a ridge out of sight and Perez and King creep up to have a look.  

King returns to the rest of the team and looks at each of them in turn.

“We’ve got a quick decision to make. Do we step in or stay low and let them pass?” he says.

“We must save. If not, those Russian dogs will kill them all, or worse,” Zielinski says in her accented English. 

Perez slides back down from the small ridge and rejoins them.

“They haven’t sniffed us. I count ten Soviets with AKs. No heavy guns. Let’s not push our luck. We can wait here and let them pass. That’s twice our number, and the kid still can’t hold a rifle,” he says.

Lee looks annoyed at him but says nothing.

“Lee?” King asks.

“I follow you, Captain. You say go; we go. If you say fight, I’ll happily fight them.”

King thinks a moment.

“I promised to lead you out of here. But we also came all the way here to do some good. Saving three dozen locals, might not change the war, but it will mean something. Kelly?”

The big Irish-man spits.

“I say fuck those commie fuckers. Dragging us all the way here for this bullshit. I’ll give them a taste of 7.62.”

“Alright, fuck it,” says Perez, and that settles it.

Unfortunately, the M-60 will live up to its reputation.

See how their ambush turns out in episode 8 in a couple of weeks…