20 Aug 2000 0530H

Adam has the Wisla Krolowa (“The Vistula Queen”) moored downriver near Nowa Huta, 8 klicks to the east of Krakow proper. Nowa Huta – considered to be a district of Krakow – was a mining and rail hub. When they say Krakow wasn’t nuked, GDW was being a bitnuke blast literal. Nowa Huta was hit with three 20kt blasts. The good citizens of Krakow must have been horrified at their front row seat.

The Wisla Krolowa is hidden on the shore of the Vistula, among the ruins of a small collection of docks and boats once used by the communist elite, not far from the also-ruined Mogiła Abbey. A small group of civilians live here, counting on radiation fears of nearby ruins of Nowa Huta to keep marauders away. Adam has his crew here.

Krakow local mapA refugee from Niepolomice (approx. 20km downriver) shows up, “Nycz”, telling that their town of 100 souls is being held captive by a small band of 5 Russian deserters. They’ve got the Mayor, his wife, and daughter hostage to the town’s good behavior; meanwhile their own behavior is barbaric.

Pirates of the VistulaAt this point we’re transitioning into Pirates of the Vistula. The module covers a lot of area, taking the party from Krakow to Warsaw.

1985 … William H. Keith, Jr. 40 pages + centerfold charts/map … GDW 502

PDF available at DriveThruRPG

Major Volkhov had a meeting with the few remaining members of his Spetsnaz team, and they voted to drop their vengeance on Cutler. More of them could die in the process, and Cutler is likely to be found in a ditch somewhere anyway when the Guz no longer finds him useful.

Volkhov had mentioned to Maks his wish to find a town nearby where they could serve as a security cadre in exchange for room and board for the winter. He wanted it far enough from Krakow to have a buffer, but also close enough to utilize the city’s resources. The citizens of Niepolomice and the Spetsnaz team seem a good fit if Maks  wishes to share this intel. If so, Volkhov should speak with this fellow Nycz.

My brother replied,

I think this is a wise move, revenge is usually impractical. We will divulge intel and also offer to assist him on this Niepolomice goodwill mission with observation, overwatch, sniping, radio intel, forward observer, etc if he will be willing to offer whatever advice he might have related to aspects of travel through Russian controlled territory (particularly through these riverine/coastal areas).

Regarding the newcomers to the group

Lucja is morose, and barely communicative. She does tasks assigned to her, and that’s it. She had a good job and dashing boyfriend, and now she’s a fugitive.

Elizka, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. She wants to prove herself to the team, and immediately volunteers for any duty that is dangerous.

The Wisla Krolowa

Krolowa deckplans 1

Krolowa deckplans 2

Boat preparations

Adam seems to have really come alive, busying himself readying the tug. He spent most of the remainder of his savings buying 50 Krakow-made bicycles as trade goods.

He’s been preparing the boat defensively in earnest. His trip last spring to Warsaw to find his family was a disaster; a pirate attack sank his boat, and he nearly died. So that burned in real deep. He is eager for any advice Maks may have.

He mentions one thing they lack is demolitions and somebody with the know-how. It would make dealing with obstructions in the river, like say a fallen bridge, more workable.

My brother replied,

He might be less thrilled with us if/when he learns about our special cargo. He (and all other party members) will be accorded a fair stake in whatever profit there is to be had from this Reset Device if we can find a sane buyer (kind of leaning towards talking with CIA or DIA about handing this over in exchange for serious gold and/or trans-oceanic travel support). We will also entertain any suggestions that involve getting rid of the device in a non-lethal manner (detonate in a deep underground mine, pitch overboard deep in ocean, dismantle safely, etc).

We will insist on protecting the engineer Josef Grzyech from combat to whatever extent practical. Our mechanic will start attempting to befriend him. If gunfire erupts he will be herded below decks to the safest area possible.

To start with we’ll focus on constructing sheltered fighting positions on the barge. In particular we’ll want armored bunkers for our vehicles (sandbags, construction debris, metal plates, etc). Also we’ll work on protected infantry fighting positions to allow us to move around under fire.

We can certainly help with combat engineering. We’ll also work on ramps that allow our amphibious trucks to drive directly off of the barge and into the water as emergency lifeboat arrangements or to respond to combat situations. We’ll also be on the lookout for any opportunities to trade for any high-speed, small-profile water scouting vehicles (Sea-doos, or high-stealth watercraft like canoes, inflatables, etc).

Under the circumstances I don’t see much good in returning to the city. Probably more trouble than its worth. I think we’ve stirred up enough trouble, best to get moving I think. We could make a hail-mary pass at selling off the Reset device but that would depend on incoming intel.

…and the grim news

Out here, even in Nowa Huta, Krakow has no presence. They have almost no power projection outside the city, kinda like Constantinople in its final iteration. Very unlikely the group will be spotted and connected with recent events, assuming they don’t linger here. But the flip side of safety is being intel-starved about the current situation in the city.

However, Volkhov and his crew left Krakow after the PCs. Word now on the street is that the Guz’s building fire came with some grim side effects. ORMO had cordoned off several blocks around, and implemented a quarantine. Seemed a bit overkill at the time for a fire, but people at first shrugged it off (Maybe ORMO was checking neighboring houses?).

Rumor now is that a number of nearby residents and ORMO personnel fell ill, and several died. ORMO tried to quash the news, but word inevitably leaked out. Yet another reason the atmosphere in the city is so charged right now.

Russian chemical artillery shellsMaks doesn’t know this, but in the module series, the Guz was in the process of fulfilling his end of a deal with Baron Czarny (of Warsaw), for 25 howitzer shells, specials, with blood agent. I decided that the Guz would want such precious things under his own eyesight. And that same building was gutted by the fire set as the group was retreating from their raid.

I didn’t see a lot of guidance online about how these would react to a typical fire. Chemical rounds are disposed of by incineration, but a structure fire wouldn’t have the concentrated and consistent heat necessary to accomplish this. So I figured some gas leaked when the shells were dropped by the collapsing 3rd floor. Some gas remained in the shells, some was neutralized by the fire on release, and enough escaped to release into the surrounding city block.