Highlights of some between-sessions emails between my brother and I.

First him:

Elizka Makes Her Move

Just trying to survive this incredibly intense firefight had kept her distracted from a lot of higher thinking. Survival is always the first order of business. As the crescendo of automatic, aimed shots and explosions tapers to an end Elizka will quickly shift to triage and damage control thinking. She will still be in a bit of shock from hearing about the Reset nuke. Does she really still want to go back? For what its worth this guy Maks had been pretty clear from the start that she is basically a captive yet on the honor system. Things soon shifted a bit, she was trusted to move about armed. But they never actually did promise to tell her everything. Perhaps things had been getting to a point where such a conversation was warranted, but it hadn’t happened yet. What had happened instead was their abduction…by Doruk. Why oh why hadn’t they been more cautious? She knew Doruk was in the area. She should have insisted on more guards. Instead she was just focused on getting these cursed shopping trips to an end so they can untether that whale and get moving again. She had figured they were headed into what the Americans kept referring to as “Indian Country” anyway. Anywhere outside of the Guz’ sphere of influence would have pleased her. Instead she has had no end to their tendrils.

And the Reset device! It was staggering to learn that this crew was actually rolling around with a portable nuclear weapon. Does it really work? How powerful is it? What were they planning to do with it? That fact is insane enough on its own. But this also happens to be the same device that has caused her such intense personal trouble, none of which she had really sought out. You could say that working for the Guz felt menacing, yet things had been relatively calm for her in that position. She was effective, her role was kept compartmentalized so she faced little blame for outside problems. Up until she started hearing more and more about this Reset device her life had become somewhat easy. But then her fate had became crossed with these “Fire Knights”. Since then she had been wounded twice and captured twice. Her crime lord ex-employer wants to get his claws on her and nothing but pain can result from that. This Maks does seem odd and surprisingly dangerous. Yet so far he has lived up to his word and his crew has seemed surprisingly ethical given the state of the world.

She’s rather educated and also intellectually bright. She was also a lieutenant, her American and Hungarian allies were simply NCOs. I see her being well-positioned, motivated and capable of making a move to exert leadership over her two allies. In her judgement GDW and Aron are in way over their heads. They are exceedingly capable soldiers and they are great NCOs at combat purposes.

When the situation is adequately stable Elizka will call together Doruk, GDW (Grant Derek William) and Barna Aron. She encourages them to take their agreement a step further. She proposes that they each return to their respective bosses with a request for parlay. They’ve been fighting over this thing for weeks. Maybe its time to talk. She stipulates that she is in no position make any guarantees how Maks will respond. Likewise Doruk cannot assure any particular result with the Guz. But the proposal they will each pitch to their bosses is that a meeting take place. The Guz is a businessman and Maks seems bent on some personal mission. Perhaps these two groups can find a common ground, somehow agree on a tolerable buyer or think of an acceptable outcome for such a device.

In her mind she will be thinking that putting together this opportunity might further dissuade Doruk from any last minute change of heart on their little arrangement to leave in peace. And she knows that the plan to parlay may be ultimately doomed to failure but it represents real opportunities to gather intel and establish lines of communication which will be viewed favorably by Maks. She still needs protection from the Guz and at the moment the best candidate is Maks. And she knows it’ll be hard for him to blame any of this on her since she never claimed to be a combat ninja and they kept her in the dark about Reset. This is her moment to really establish her value to the party.

Other random thoughts:

  • If we can grab Butz and stabilize him we will do so. He could become a fountain of knowledge.
  • In the hurry I think we made no discussion of the vehicles and loot split if we survive (or did we?). It would seem obvious that the BTR will remain in Doruk’s possession. If Doruk doesn’t interfere then our people will claim the HMMWV (if it still is operational) and at least some of the gear that the Americans were carrying. I’m trying to recall if there were any other meaningful vehicles in play? Just some box truck right?
  • I’m trying to remember if Elizka/Barna/GDW would have known/heard anything about the radio contact between Doruk and Maks?
  • Its safe to say that not a soul there will mourn Cutler. I feel like we should perform an autopsy to verify that he is truly dead. Starting to think he was like Rasputin or something. Hopefully the poor man he gunned down might survive? What are civvie survivors going to do? Do they go with Doruk?

…and my reply:
Nightfall, 5 September 2000.

The Weather. For the past couple of months, y’all have become accustomed to the typical Polish late Summer. Comfortable evenings. Warm, muggy days, with occasional rains and thundershowers in the afternoon.
Today was different. You hadn’t noticed in all the excitement, but as things are winding down, it suddenly occurs to Elizka that today was unseasonably clear and cold. As the sun goes down, you can see your breath condensing in the air…

Winter is Coming. The party has been occupied with day-to-day matters. The long-term goal has been to make their way to America. Mother Nature will remind the players that they are running on a schedule.

For Poland weather, I’ve been using using this historical weather database.

You can plug in whatever date you wish, and you’ll get hour-by-hour weather conditions for that day in Warsaw. World War III ought to have changed this, and this allows the GM to hand-wave custom weather.

The HMMWV. Is attempting to get away. We’ll need to game that out. Also, at least a half-dozen Americans in the Baron’s employ are fleeing in every direction. Some will surely escape unless you move heaven and Earth to run each of them down. In the dark.

Other vehicles. Doruk has the BTR, as well as a Pact 2½-ton truck, and a motorcycle.
The 2nd Free Company had brought the HMMWV of course, as well as a re-purposed delivery truck.
GDW spots two Americans, one slower (wounded?), darting among the derelict vehicles in the parking lot, probably heading for the delivery truck. We’ll also play that next session.

The Wounded. It’s a bit overwhelming. They’re everywhere. Doruk’s team got shot up pretty bad. Some of the factory workers are hurt. You will have at least a dozen American prisoners: Some have only minor wounds, others will die without expert care, and some are in between. [I’ll come up with names and precise numbers if it matters.]

Butz. You will find him unconscious, and unable to awaken him at this time. Only a trained doctor can assess his prognosis.

The Baron’s intentions. Was this team acting on his orders, or their own initiative? Do they need to radio in? Are more coming?

The factory. Despite the fighting, the facilities seem in good condition at first blush. The actual fabrication area wasn’t involved in the battle.

And there are hundreds of brand-new small arms.

Maks. What has he been doing in the meantime? [As a side note, did he take up Sandomierz ORMO on their offer to trade for the T-72 tank?]

It will be very challenging to approach Warsaw by river without tangling with the Korsarz, the river pirates, who crew dozens of small boats. And you know next to nothing about the situation in the ruins of the capital.

Doruk. His first priority is to assess his men. His streak of bad luck is continuing, as his medic is mortally wounded. At the same time he needs to address the chaotic situation.

Cutler. Is dead. His corpse is going ashen already. [But is it really Cutler? After all, it’s the first time you’ve seen him. …mua, ha haaa…]

Elizka. “She’s rather educated and also intellectually bright. She was also a lieutenant, her American and Hungarian allies were simply NCOs. I see her being well-positioned, motivated and capable of making a move to exert leadership over her two allies. In her judgement GDW and Aron are in way over their heads. They are exceedingly capable soldiers and they are great NCOs at combat purposes.”

You’re right, this is her moment. It’s a mess, with a lot of moving parts and intangibles.
The Parley idea is excellent. But there are some headstrong people involved. And can the Guz be trusted to keep to any deal?

The whole situation is on a pivot.