So to bring a close to the saga of my review and ongoing campaign log for Free League Publishing’s Twilight 2000 RPG, we met for our second session in late April. Here’s what happened since you tuned in the last time.
The continuing story as told by Kyle Van Schoen (Ice)…
It didn’t take long to wear out our welcome, and it seems the villagers got tired of feeding our asses. So they put us to work to earn our keep. Doc (Trish) went to help the local medic. Wheelz (Nadya) managed to get Maestro (Roger) to stay and watch our stuff while she worked on the car like she’d promised. Brick (Jack), Scope (Aleksy), and I were dragged off by Copper D to some nowhere on the outskirts of town to help clear land to farm. There, we found a family in wait and, after much gesturing, we began hauling rocks and rubble out of the way.
It didn’t take too long before I noticed that Brick and I had an audience; the farmer’s daughter, a sheepish young woman, was watching us intently. Brick either didn’t notice or didn’t care, too intent on what he was smoking and muttering something about this not being his job. So I did what anyone in my position would do, I gave her a nod and a wink and picked up a second rock, ‘cause you just gotta make it look effortless despite doing twice the work and then you can reel ‘em in. Before too long I had her undivided attention, until I walked into the disapproving gaze of her father, who shouted something at me and Brick in Polish and gesticulated something about just doing the job. He sent the womenfolk away, and so there was no more need to get flashy anyway. It evened out as Brick picked up the pace, and we worked through the rest of the day uneventfully.
When we got back, we learned that the car Wheelz was working on was worse for wear than we thought and she had to raid the other spare part we’d salvaged to get it going. Oh well, at least we still got the still out of the deal. After dinner, town leader Hirek strongly suggested we get on our way. Maestro was eager to reconnect with US troops before we got too isolated so we decided to hit the road then and there and take advantage of the cover of night. We’d learned something about a bunch of religious fanatics called the Shepherd’s Flock and didn’t want to stick around another week until Easter to see what that was about. Best not to let moss grow under our feet anyway…
I was sleeping in the truck when Wheelz and Maestro took us off road, so I had no idea where we were when we set up camp. Something about a roadblock. No bother, I have no idea where we are anyway – just that it’s sure as Hell not L.A. I was keeping watch while Scope set up camp and Wheelz and Doc slept. Brick was drumming up some shit for the still when he cried wolf, but apparently he just wanted someone to sing his praises after he cut its heart out because by the time we took note it was stone cold dead. Whatever. Brick dragged its carcass back to camp and unceremoniously dropped it at our feet for breakfast, like we were supposed to get our bitch asses in the kitchen and cook him up his grub. Scope complied and set to skinning, butchering and cooking the mongrel after he finished setting up camp.
We were just laying low for a bit when later on in the day, Maestro hailed a small hunting party – perhaps he wanted to talk trash about the Ruskies or something and I guess they seemed harmless enough. No one had anything to barter, but they stayed to cook some meat over our fire and gossip-gab for a bit so it wasn’t all bad. No sign of our troops, and the sheeple-cultists are apparently all over. Time to pack up camp and go. We drove through the rest of Palm Sunday uneventfully, but the tide turned as we dawned on Monday morning.
Maestro was driving so Wheelz could sleep, and barely along the road, the truck sputtered and gasped one last heaving cough before it passed out in the path. Scope spotted some Ruskie off atop a hill and we poured out of the truck at the ready right before the first blast hit. It was like a star fell from the sky and landed right beside us. I know it was a howitzer blast, but still – it was far bigger than any scrap Moondog and us had ever gotten into back home. So here I was, skirting death and taking cover in the trees as we scattered. Maestro and Scope headed out of sight towards the far side of the blast radius after Scope took a pot shot at the dude he’d first seen on the far hill. Brick joined me diving behind a big rock. Wheelz refused to leave the truck despite the continuous blasting while Doc erupted out of there as if she were on fire and took off for the nearest trees.
It was pandelerium… We could’ve been killed or even worse. The trees erupted in gunfire at anyone caught with their pants at their ankles out in the open and the howitzer kept blasting away at the truck from God only knows where. The trees murmured in Russian, I caught something about radioing in directions amidst swearing that would have made my grandmother pale. In the midst of the fray, I pushed my SAW too far to try to shoot at some movement in the trees when it seized up. Brick was shot and was down and out. I don’t remember much after that except someone nearly shot my fool head off and I was taken back to California, but not in a good way, more of a West Side Story vibe. Yeah I switched to the carbine and got a few shots off, but nothing really solid.
Wheelz was obviously pissed about the truck and was taking on the world redneck style, crouched behind a rock with a shotgun. She just needed a good jug of moonshine and she’d have been set. She did manage to take out someone in the trees though, and ran off to follow up on the guys who’d been shooting at Brick and me. I have no idea what Doc, Scope and Maestro were up to – they were off in another part of Hell from all that I could tell. Hopefully things were going better over there but I doubt it. When the sky opened up and the last howitzer-flung star finally took out the truck, I thought Wheelz was going to come unhinged. Things grew quiet and we emerged from the wreckage to assess the damage.
The truck was no more. The stuff we’d stashed in the truck was no more. Everyone was pissy. Wheelz stole off to get some sleep. Brick was spread flat on his back unable to move. He seemed better with Doc’s expert assistance once she regained her composure from seeing him downed. She flat out refused to leave him for all that he probably would have wanted it that way or done the same for any of us. I took off to see what the Ruskies had on them since no one else seemed to want to get on it. They’re cold dead, or most of them anyway, like seriously it’s time to take their stuff. #thuglifeforever… Anyway, there wasn’t much worth taking except some food and water, though I did take Wheelz a clean-ish blanket.
After all that, Scope worked on getting a stretcher together to haul Brick’s ass outta there while Doc slept. Maestro kept watch for all that he seemed to be dozing on and off. Wheelz mourned the death of her truck, digging around its burnt metal carcass to haul out a couple of souvenirs. I got my SAW unjammed and tied up the last of the Ruskies, an efreitor or some kind of corporal, with a torn-up fallen comrade’s blood-soaked blanket. I asked him a bit about their group and the howitzer. He was more or less cooperative and said that he and his comrades were everywhere and the howitzer was in the far woods north of where we had passed through. I took most of his stuff but tossed him his blanket and 1 days’ food and water, and told him to get outta my sight, cause it’s not worth having some fool’s revenge wrath on your head later and he was just doing his job like the rest of us. He thanked me and obliged.
Wheelz packed up a bunch of stuff, I’m not really sure what all, shouted a string of what could only be profanities in Polish at Maestro pointing to where the truck had been, and stormed off alone. We watched her go in silence before we began rummaging through all the crap I’d looted to pick out a couple of things and hit the road ourselves. It was a quiet trek to the west for the rest of the afternoon with Scope and I hauling Brick’s ass on the stretcher and Maestro limping along with Doc. The evening greeted us with a scream in the near distance and smoke rising through a gap in the trees. Must be Americans; no one else around these parts typically screams in English, and Doc and Maestro were biting at the bit to check it out.
Turns out a pretty solid group of US soldiers had been ambushed by bandits and had fallen to some sort of roadside bomb. Most of them were dead already but three were still moving, and Doc grabbed Scope and rushed in to assist. Doc insisted on staying so I nabbed the blanket and snuck off to catch some shuteye after the long day. I wasn’t in the mood to help a bunch of nobodys; I was cold and tired and it was late. Maestro muttered something about it was gonna be alright, he was getting the fire going, but I was done and just clutched the blanket closer and shut out what remained of the Hellscape we were thrust into.
I woke to more gunfire. Seems another Russian patrol had caught us with our pants down at our ankles. Again. Scope had been off in La La Land looking for his gun instead of keeping watch and they’d closed in on him. The leader sent up a flare; it was only a matter of time until more Hell rained down on us in some form or another and we couldn’t afford to stick around to find out what.
But we couldn’t get away fast enough. I tried to SAW a couple of guys in the woods at the back and pushed it too far, my gun locked up with a resounding thud as if something had snapped inside of it. Scope took out a couple of dudes with some amazing slick shots to the arms but the rest of them were on us like shit on a shingle before we knew it. Bayonet kept knocking me down and trying to stab me after he’d downed Doc. And the others chased down Scope and Maestro like the dogs we all were. We were captured and hauled off to some God-forsaken corner of The Universe, wherever-the-Hell we are now.