4 December 2000 0700H. Taj Mahal Hotel Tower, Atlantic City, NJ.
In the 1st floor stairwell, Maks snorted softly at the ridiculousness of his group in this moment.
Trusty Wojciech had been there for him since Poland.
“Bloody Hammer” Linda had joined them upstairs. She wasn’t quite right in the head, but seemed to trust Maks.
Abel the Ethiopian had joined them in the stairwell, and Maks still wasn’t sure what his story was; Abel’s English was terrible. He had the air of an accountant or somesuch who’d been assigned to porter duties. He was unarmed.
They were about to emerge on the casino floor, from what little he remembered. But they’d been taken in a different stairwell when captured, so his sense of direction was unreliable. They couldn’t linger here, as the hotel stairwells were well-trafficked, given that the elevators didn’t work in this dungeon. Indeed, a group of The Indian‘s men had just exited through that door as the party arrived.
Maks was an atheist, but crossed himself anyway as he reached for the door handle. Old habit from his Catholic upbringing. He pushed the door open slightly to get a quick look.
The casino floor was a beehive of activity. No surprise. MilGov was assaulting The Indian’s holdings in Atlantic City, and Maks and company were stuck in the boss’ headquarters.
In the distance, he could see the double doors, and morning sunlight streaming through them. Between him and the exit of this accursed building were a dozen of The Indian’s men, and probably dozens more he couldn’t see. Their ranks were easy to determine, based on the quality of their business suits. The mid-ranked gunmen manned positions behind barricades of whatever rubble and furniture was available. Two of the Indian’s lieutenants were sitting at a table near the entrance.
And right past the stairwell door was a gunman, talking with the porters who’d just left the stairwell, reviewing their assignments.
He glanced at Maks through the open door, and returned to talking with the porters. Well, they were in it now. Maks pushed the door open all the way, and he and his party stepped out onto the casino floor.
There’d been another guard out of sight who blocked their way now. For the moment the gunman assumed they, too, were porters. The party had hidden their weapons as much as possible; Wojciech [“Voy-check”] had unscrewed the suppressor from his Ingram M10, reducing its profile considerably.
This was not great. Maks had little understanding of how this organization functioned, and even if they successfully posed as porters, they were almost certainly going to be sent back upstairs again. He decided to take a gamble.
Maks told the guard they’d heard gunfire near the 10th floor.
The guard wasn’t impressed. “You know we have gun positions on the upper floors.”
Maks persisted, “No, I heard the gunfire in the hallway.”
The gunman whistled for attention from one of The Indian’s lieutenants over at the table. “Frank” was his name, and he in turn called over a couple more guards, and they all stepped out of the line of traffic, adjacent to a bank of slot machines.
Nasty, Brutish, and Short
While Frank the gang boss was grilling him for the specifics of the shooting incident, Maks had already decided to rock-n-roll. Frank knew of a stairwell gunfight and was asking pointed questions. Maks saw where this conversation was going to end. He inserted a previously-established code word into his replies to Frank.
Wojciech caught the between-the-lines command, and opened fire with his Ingram, squeezing off single shots, trying to conserve his dwindling ammo.
My brother asked what the guards were armed with. Wanting to keep things simple, I just picked a single weapon type for all three gunmen from a list of weapons I made, common to the region. M3A1 “Grease Gun”. And Frank had an M1911 pistol. Well, now my brother was greedily eyeing their weapons, which shared the same .45 ACP round as their own guns.
Wojciech goes first at his Initiative level of 7, then Maks at 6, then the rest from there. Plus Wojciech and Maks get to go again at Initiative level 3 (See “High Initiative Characters,” page 194 of the Twilight 2000 v2.2 rulebook).
This fight was in essentially contact range, which doesn’t come up often in Twilight 2000 fights. I thought to experiment with a house rule that point blank shots are Average rolls, instead of the usual Difficult.
I bungled this one up pretty good. Wojciech and Maks hit with every shot, and I “realized” that all involved would – I erroneously believed in game – only miss on a 20.
Today, in writing this session report, I looked up “Automatic Success or Failure” on page 134. Yes, skill rolls automatically fail on a roll of 20. However, Direct Fire Combat rolls automatically fail on a 17-20.
All these years playing, and I somehow never noticed that rule. Yeesh. To add to my shame, the rule is repeated again on page 202. So my point blank range house rule might be viable after all…
Anyhow, thinking that this was going to be a ridiculous fight with everybody hitting with every shot, I jettisoned the house rule after Wojciech and Maks’ fire, writing it off to catching everybody off-guard.
This is a good time to talk about NPC stats. The guards were Experienced NPCs, which isn’t as impressive as it sounds. Frank was a Veteran.
This handy NPC Stats table is on page 139. Oddly enough, one of the most useful tables in the book never made it to the charts in the back of the rulebook, or the T2000 Referee’s Screen, which is my primary reference every game.
“Asset” here is the NPC’s primary combat stats. “Damage” is the NPC’s unarmed combat damage on a successful strike.
Wojciech fired his Ingram at Frank and one of the guards, wounding them and sending them sprawling to the floor [Knockdown].
Maks fired his .380 pistol at the two remaining guards, wounding both. One fell to the ground.
Guard still standing fired his M3A1 at Maks, hitting him once in the leg and knocking him down.
Hammer-wielding Linda screams and bludgeons the downed guard nearest her, hitting once. [I allowed her two armed strikes as a special NPC.]
Abel flees toward the double doors leading outside.
Wojciech fires again at Frank and a guard, wounding Frank grievously, and slaying the guard. Maks misses his “half-turn” due to KD.
The rest of the people in the casino are surprised this turn as a gunbattle erupts in the middle of their HQ while they’re preoccupied with the war outside.
Wojciech finishes off two more guards, and pushes past to get at least nominal cover behind the slot machines.
Characters may walk (8m) while firing, with a penalty of -1 STR for recoil calculations. See “Movement and Fire,” page 203. This is a relatively mild penalty and Walking Fire is often forgotten as a combat tactic.
Maks grabs Linda’s arm as he fires two shots into the surviving guard, killing him, and also pushing through past the slot machines.
Timely action on their part, as this was the point in the turn order when other gunmen in the casino would begin targeting the party.
To be continued. Short session, as my brother and I had been chatting it up for the first hour.