22 Aug 2000 0600H. Niepolomice, Poland.

Krakow local mapThe last seven remaining members of the elite Spetsnaz team SSD-1109 had taken positions around the perimeter of the village of Niepolomice overnight.

At dawn the village came alive as residents began milking cows, checking chicken coops, and putting up laundry. Some were already in the fields; it was harvest time. But others came out of the houses as well. They were not of the village. They were once soldiers of the Soviet 38th Tank Division. But no longer. Now they held the village of Niepolomice captive.

Given a hundred guesses, never would they have imagined Russian special forces would be attacking them this day.

A change of pace.

A resident of this village, Nycz, found the PC group as they were prepping the tug Wisla Krolowa for its trip downriver. Nycz told of how Niepolomice was held captive by five marauders holding the mayor’s family hostage. Maks knew his erstwhile ally Major Volkhov was looking for a village such as this to trade security for a place to stay for the winter. So he had Nycz speak with the Spetsnaz leader.

So the players tonight set aside their usual characters, and played the Spetsnaz team on its hostage rescue mission. The troopers I assigned Elite NPC stats, and the 3 leaders a step above that. The players were amused as these guys had better stats than their usual characters.

The enlisted men had standard issue AK-74s, Gulashev an SVD, Fedorenko a .50 bolt-action anti-materiel rifle, and Volkhov an RPK-74.

The team members slowly filtered into the town as the sun came up. To them, these hostage-takers were no longer brothers-in-arms, but mad dogs to be put down.

They kept cover behind the hedges and buildings, quietly communicating with each other via headsets wired to radios. The challenge was to identify the marauders from the civilians. Volkhov had specified: Not a single civilian casualty.

I marked each person on the village map as a black dot initially, until positive ID could be made, and then the dot would be turned to blue for townsfolk, and red for marauders.

Spetsnaz hostage rescue

The team members patiently ID’d four of the five marauders. It wasn’t difficult once the person was in their view; villagers wouldn’t be armed. But one marauder remained unseen. Volkhov guessed he’d be inside the mayor’s house (the leader perhaps?) with a hostage, but couldn’t be certain.

Sgt NowakFedorenko and a Spetsnaz trooper up at the north end of town were moving across a road. One of the marauders saw the movement, but was unclear what he saw, and so began walking up the road to investigate. Hulking Fedorenko passed his rifle to his squadmate, circled around behind the bandit, using a house as cover. He stealthed up to the man walking up the road with a hedge between them, then burst out of the bushes near the marauder. They briefly grappled. Fedorenko slapped a huge hand in a vice grip around the man’s mouth, and drug him back through the bushes, stabbing him between the ribs. The man went limp and died. [Rolled under the number for Quick Kill.]

Major Steve WolfThat left four. Volkhov meanwhile had contacted a farmer working in a far-flung field, telling him their mission, and invoked the name of Nycz, the fellow villager. The villager readily agreed. (Other team members used this same strategy when they ran into villagers.)

Using his jacket and wheelbarrow, the villager helped disguise Volkhov and his two troopers, and walked them one by one to the bushes near the mayor’s house. Two marauders were nearby. Volkhov tasked his two troopers to a bandit apiece. The major watched the house.

Gulashev and one of his men approached from the northeast, converging near the mayor’s house as well. Crawling through the bushes to get eyes on the three figures standing at the crossroads, they saw one of the three was indeed a marauder. But they had made too much noise making their way through the brush.

Volkhov saw one of his bandits start walking in Gulashev’s direction to investigate. The major gave the “Go” order over the radio. His two men opened fire with aimed shots, dropped their targets, and Gulashev and his trooper shot their man dead as well.

A handful of shots had rang out around the house, and then silence. Little time passed before an armed man came out the front door of the mayor’s house, a teenage girl gripped closely, calling out to his men. Volkhov aimed, let his breath out, and fired. Head shot. The man collapsed, his dead arm releasing the girl, who stumbled away in shock.

Volkhov’s team ensured the town was secure, and asked all citizens to gather at the mayor’s house. They explained their proposal to trade security for room and board during the cold months, and perhaps beyond if all were amenable. The village unanimously agreed.

The Spetsnaz team had aced their job interview.