Welcome to When You’re Going Through Hell, our Twilight 2000 RPG campaign log. Last time on War Is Hell, I started a review of Free League Publishing’s Twilight 2000 RPG; this series will expand upon that. Here is a chance to meet the motley crew that we rolled up using the Life Paths character generation system which I really liked. I’m not going to detail all of their stats but you get the idea from the backstories. So, without further ado…
Meet Our Crew
Kyle Van Schoen (Ice) as written and played by myself
Kyle Van Schoen is an American machine gunner. Kyle grew up in a wealthy family in the suburbs of Los Angeles, CA, USA. He learned Russian as a child to engage with his matriarchal grandmother who ruled the roost. And he went to college as expected. But he really wanted to do something more physical developing his strength. In college studying science, Kyle took up wrestling which became his passion. He developed a name for himself in the wrestling circuit while specializing in chemistry, and this attracted the attention of an influential gang expanding their meth market. The gang welcomed him as family and rewarded his physical prowess in ways his family never acknowledged. When close friend and gang leader Moondog, the brainiac of the operation so to speak, was shot by a rival gang in a bloody spectacle, the police became involved and quickly swept up the remaining gang members. Through his grandmother’s clout, Kyle was offered opportunity to join the Army to fight in the war in Europe rather than being hauled off to jail, court and prison, which would have smeared his birth family’s reputation. His incredible strength quickly cast him as a machine gunner. He nicknames his comrades under the premise that you should never reveal your true self because you don’t know who is listening.
Moral Code (quoted from Mal in Firefly, Serenity): I look out for me and mine.
Big Dream: He secretly wants to be reunited with his gang family and return to the streets of LA.
Nadya Wojcik (Nadi, nicknamed Wheelz by Kyle) as written and played by myself
Nadya Wojcik was born in Milicz to a Polish father and French mother and is much more at home under the hood of a car than engaging socially. Nadya was an only child, raised by her father after her mother died when she was only 3 years old. She took on her father’s affinity for cars and helped him out in the garage from an early age. As she gained skills as a mechanic, she became fascinated with how things worked and dabbled in gunsmithing, locksmithing, blacksmithing and finally improvised munitions as the world began to fall into upheaval. Her father was killed and their garage was destroyed when the Russians took over Milicz, and Nadya fled the city in her pickup truck. She began to learn some quartermaster skills, developing her ability to set up camp wherever she went looking for work, until she was recruited by the US Army to help with vehicle repairs after losing most of its internal logistical support.
Moral code: Fix it right the first time dammit!
Big Dream: To someday set up an auto body shop in her father’s memory.
Roger Smith (nicknamed Maestro by Kyle) as written and played by myself
Roger Smith is an African-American 1st lieutenant who comes across as a very courteous and polished man of impeccable moral character. Roger grew up in small town Alabama in the US and enjoyed deer hunting every season with his cousins, learning to handle a rifle on their isolated property away from judgmental eyes. He had wanted to make a name for himself in rock-n-roll but, in college, he soon realized that his dream of becoming a big name musician was out of reach – he was just too clean-cut for the popular scene at the time. So he went into the military to find another way to get out of the small town. His musical background and liberal arts education led him to want to inspire others and he quickly wound up on the officers’ track. Although he had only spent two terms in the military before the war broke out, he excelled at tactical training and was named a 1st lieutenant before being sent to Europe.
Moral Code: We’re all in this together.
Big Dream: To fulfill his duty to his country and then return home to his family having seen what is left of this decaying world.
Aleksy Sowka (Alek, nicknamed Scope by Kyle) as written & played by V
Aleksy (means defender of man) Sowka (means owl), Alek’s grandfather grew up in Poland. He liked to go hunting with his father. When he turned 12, his father told him he was to hunt on his own, as a rite of passage. When he was on his way home, with 3 small rabbits, he saw militants in his village. They were burning houses, killing adults and rounding up children to be sold as sex slaves. He saw his sister being raped by militants. Knowing he couldn’t change the situation, he used his rifle to shoot her in the head so she would be spared the horrors to come. Afterwards, he scavenged the village for money and supplies and made his way to the United States.
Alek grew up in a military family. His father was a Non-Com officer and ruled with an iron – but not abusive – hand. His father taught him to hunt and told him the story about his grandfather many times. Alek enjoyed using a rifle and became adept at hunting. He also learned the art of stealth, and was all that more successful because of it. He day-dreamed about saving innocent people from oppression and being the hero in a movie. As soon as he could, he enlisted in the military and thrived under the structure and discipline which accompanied military life. He eagerly learned as much as he could about ranged combat, scoped weapons, stealth, recon and combat awareness. He went into special ops as soon as he qualified. Now, as 1st Sergeant at the age of 33, he learned medical aid and command training. He was even second in command in the aftermath of a nuclear strike so has a working knowledge of radiation sickness.
Moral Code (a quote from Mahatma Gandhi): “Though violence is not lawful, when it is offered in self-defense or for defense of the defenseless, it is an act of bravery far better than cowardly submission.”
Big Dream: An idealist, he wishes to live in a community without oppression.
Patricia Smith (Trisha, nicknamed Doc by Kyle) as written & played by V
“Trisha” grew up in rural Kentucky. Her father was a farrier – a trained specialist who cares for horse’s feet. It combines the skills of blacksmith and veterinarian to trim and balance horses’ hooves, craft & maintain horseshoes and apply them to horses’ feet. Her mother was a home health aide. As a child, she loved to go with her father around the countryside. Initially, she wanted to be a veterinarian for horses. But then her father developed the tremors and shuffling gait of Parkinson’s disease. The area was so rural that there wasn’t a doctor for 200 miles. So she watched her father deteriorate. He died when she was 17. When she graduated from high school, she made a promise to herself that she would become a rural doctor. In college, she developed a fascination for and proficiency with chemicals… and discovered she threw up when she saw blood. Realizing this would make being a general practitioner difficult, she revised her goal. She decided to go into research. No blood there! But getting there would be a challenge. First, she had to earn her way up the ladder of skills – field surgeon, treating diseases, chemical poisons and antidotes, radiation sickness, etc. To her dismay, just as she was applying for that research position at John’s Hopkins University, she was drafted.
Moral Code: 1st – Don’t throw up. 2nd – Do no harm.
Big Dream: To find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease and be lead researcher at John’s Hopkins University.
Jack Max (nicknamed Brick by Kyle) as written & played by V
Jack grew up in a small house in urban Detroit. Both of his parents worked in the automobile factory and made a decent living. Jack had a little sister, 2 years younger than he. His father frequently became drunk. And when that happened, he was abusive to Jack, his sister and his mother. Jack became fiercely protective of his mother and sister, and would antagonize his father to distract him from hurting them. Unknown to him, Jack’s sister started using drugs. When she was 16, she died from an overdose of heroin. Not able to deal with the trauma of her daughter’s death, Jack’s mother hanged herself. When he graduated from high school, he was hired by a construction company and learned many useful skills. He had a good work ethic and developed an aversion to alcohol and drugs. He also became adept at scrounging for parts to fix things around his house. His short stature, however, resulted in him being bullied and picked-on by the older workers. He had to quickly learn to defend himself and gain the upper hand in order to avoid injury, or worse. Out of necessity, he developed skills in all methods of combat. Soon, his first reaction was to fight. He definitely was not a team player. With the money he earned and the skills he learned, he developed a side job fixing houses for others in the neighborhood.
When he was 25, he heard about the military’s need for recruits due to the increasingly precarious situation in Eastern Europe. Rather than getting drafted, Jack enlisted. He liked the idea of getting to fight and not get into trouble for it!
Moral Code: Every man for himself.
Big Dream: Not to have to rely on ANYBODY.