This is a report of a quick solo roleplaying game session run in the Twilight:2000 universe.
The setting is war-torn Western Europe, recovering after a limited nuclear exchange. Most of Europe is sheltering, hoping for recovery, finding simple ways to subsist.
An element of the semi-independent UK overseas government has announced that it will host the first international post-nuclear scientific conference in Turks and Caicos. Representatives from all nations are invited. Invitations are sent out via radio, hand-delivered mail, local network links in educated communes, and visual morse code from ship to ship.
And that's where we come in. Team North America.
We have a scientist to deliver: Dr. Aimee Goyette, an American with a specialist's experience in atmospheric science. She recently arrived in Hamburg via Denmark, from Oslo. She has been taking measurements and compiling data since before war broke out, and her attendance is anticipated by many.
Our mission is to escort Dr. Goyette from Hamburg to Bremerhaven. A journey of three to four days through gang and marauder country. We'll stay off the roads and keep things low-key.
Once we arrive at Bremerhaven, we are told that an international
flight can be arranged like so: A fishing boat can get Dr. Goyette
from Butjadingen to Flugplatz Wangerooge,
an airport found on nearby Wangerooge in the Frisian Islands.
From there it will be possible to fly to Sandown Airport on the Isle of Wight. The RAF is planning to establish flights between Sandown and Turks and Caicos.
Dr. Goyette has been asked to arrive at Bremerhaven with 4 days' rations, about 7200 kcal. It was very hard to scrounge up this food, and she'll be eating some really weird combinations (have you eaten 1960s fish from a can? None of us have), but we pulled it off.
She's also carrying computer disks, documents, and some correspondence from her colleagues to be exchanged with other scientists.
There's a major complication to the mission: Roving gangs between Hamburg and Bremerhaven. Our strategy is to move quickly and stay off main roads. We don't have much support. Well--maybe we have a bit of an air support ace up our sleeve, but maybe not.
There are four of us:
Dr. Aimee Goyette, Civilian Atmospheric Scientist
Pvt. Lea Turner, Canadian Infantry. Crack Shot.
Maj. Alyson Thiel, American Army. Concealment Specialist.
Col. Devyn Roberts, Canadian Army. Recon background. RAF Liaison.
Dr. Aimee Goyette, F. Civilian scientist. American, Washington State.
Atmospheric science specialist.
PVT Lea Turner, F. Inexperienced but skilled. Canadian, Vancouver B.C.
Very good rifle shot: Nearly received the Queen's Medal for Champion Shot.
Arms: M16A2 rifle, 4x scoped (Mags: 30r x 2ct., 22/30r x 1ct.), sidearm, bayonet, grenades 4, LAW, smoke 3.
MAJ Alyson Thiel, F. Veteran experience. Air defense. American, Georgia.
Extreme sports background.
Arms: M16A2 rifle (4 rounds); sidearm; bayonet, grenades 2.
COL Devyn Roberts, M. Canadian, Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Halifax Rifles (RCAC))
Veteran experience, Staff mgmt. Prior recon background.
Arms: M16A2 rifle (4 rounds); sidearm; grenades 4.
Physically we're in good shape. Dr. Goyette isn't an athlete, but she can run and she loves to hike.
Private Turner is a champion runner and competitive shooter. So we gave her all the bullets we could spare. Major Thiel and Col. Roberts have four rifle rounds each. Private Turner has nearly 3 magazines of ammunition. She also carries the LAW, not that she's an expert with it, but Thiel and Roberts haven't fired one in more than 4 years and are not expert shots in general.
Major Thiel is Dr. Goyette's official escort from the American forces. The two became fast friends. The Major is into extreme sports and knows a lot about camouflage and concealment due to her training in air defense.
Colonel Roberts is heading the team as a liaison with the RAF. He will remain in contact with the RAF to apprise them of the mission status.
Thiel and Roberts will be packing most of the weight including rations, radios, shelter and other gear, allowing Pvt. Turner more speed and agility for combat engagement.
Word of Dr. Goyette's special journey brought an offer from French forces in the Hamburg area. They have offered standby crew and support from their AS565 Panther Helicopter based outside of Kleve. While it's a long shot, it's an offer we aren't going to turn down if we really need it.
About the Air Support
AS565 Panther. 20mm cannon, 2x rockets, 2x Mistral AAM.
Bad luck. Hosts tell the team they have to leave earlier than expected. They are low on rest, a major complication.
They are escorted just outside the HIZ (Hamburg Interior Zone) by a team of eight. A minor skirmish occurs as they are leaving the HIZ. A party of about 12 members attempts to chase them into what may be an ambush. They are able to scare off the party with accurate return fire.
The escorting team wisely urged the four to conserve ammunition and hold fire during this exchange.
Day 1 ends. The team is approximately 1/3 of the way to Bremerhaven.
At this pace they estimate that they will arrive on the morning of Day 4.
They sleep in shelter, in a forested area near a church. No one gets much sleep; the team members rest and take turns in watches through the night.
The concealment strategy pays off; the team avoids contact and is able to eat an evening meal at a safe house location. Several neighbors insist on throwing a small party. Spirits are high.
During the party, one of the neighbors tunes into an American broadcast and urges Major Thiel to listen with them. She learns that her home town is likely now within the domain of CIVGOV. This smarts a bit, as she is now feeling pressure to find her own side of the broader division in the US.
Day 3 holds several encounters in store for the team members.
The first occurs as the team takes a cautious path through an old railyard. They are spotted from concealment and shouted at. They do not immediately return fire but rather move out in a hurry. Several shots are fired at them by two individuals, who begin to chase. It becomes clear that the best strategy is probably a quick engagement to discourage the individuals from following.
Protecting Dr. Goyette, the Major and Colonel assist her in taking cover behind logs while Pvt. Turner returns fire. One of the enemy appears to be wounded. The team takes advantage of the resulting momentary stall to put distance between them. This works well.
Some time later, the team is discovered by another 2 marauders in a large truck as they cross a road. The marauders disembark while the team takes cover. Scattered shots come in the team's direction, but no injuries occur.
Pvt. Turner again steps into her role. An amazing shot from good cover injures the hand of one of the attackers...they return to the truck and drive away.
The team hurries on. Dr. Goyette seems more withdrawn than usual. Pvt. Turner tries to lift her spirits by sharing a funny experience, but it doesn't seem to hold her attention.
Just before evening, the team is engaged by a sniper from a nearby residential area. The sniper first aims at Major Thiel, missing.
The team tries a stealth response, running between structures in a low crouch. This doesn't work well, in part because the setting sun is casting long shadows of each movement. The sniper takes aim at Dr. Goyette and nicks her ear. The other team members quickly get her to temporary shelter and bandage the wound.
The sniper is well hidden and their location unknown, but the terrain offers the team ample cover when they stay still. The next run toward cover goes well, with the sniper taking only a few wild shots.
Unfortunately, Dr. Goyette is now effectively in shock. She is running slowly and haphazardly while attempting to hold back tears.
The sniper is able to get in another good shot. This shot rips a hole in her backpack. Fortunately there is no other damage, though Pvt. Turner notices the scientist's spirits drop even further after she points out the hole.
The sniper gets off another shot at Col. Roberts, who had rushed out to assist Dr. Goyette. The shot is wild, and Col. Roberts decides to look toward the sniper while encouraging Dr. Goyette. In doing so he observes the sniper's location.
After a moment of instruction from Col. Roberts, Pvt. Turner finds cover and returns fire. The sniper is hit and clearly wounded. The team does not take additional fire, but they leave the area as quickly as possible.
It is nearly 7 p.m. The Dr.'s low spirits weigh on the entire team. During a quick discussion, Col. Roberts and Maj. Thiel decide to push through and aim to arrive at Bremerhaven this evening rather than wait until tomorrow morning. There is some risk due to marauder and biker activity being more common in the evening, but the proximity to assistance is a deciding factor.
The team makes contact via 2m radio at a distance of 7 km. They are met and escorted by a 28-man security group which is split into three groups of 8 and a rear guard of 4. The group takes note of the sniper location (marked by Col. Roberts on the map) and apologizes for a lack of resources in the direction from which the team has traveled.
The team arrives at a guest house in Bremerhaven. Dr. Goyette is sobbing, shattered. She collapses on the steps of the guest house and is comforted by Major Thiel, who eventually urges her to take an anxiolytic; only diphenhydramine is available but it seems to help her get to sleep.
Colonel Roberts radios his contact in Hamburg: Things are OK. They respond that conditions are worse in the vicinity now; the team got out just in time. Word got around fast, attracting additional interest.
Day 4 is spent in relative tranquility, with the next fishing boat leaving in the evening. The owner of the boat visits and reports that conditions are perfect, and as far as he has seen and heard, there are no current issues along the route to Wangerooge island.
The fisherman does note several times, however, that he can't be sure about air travel...
What I learned:
The characters' four-letter personality type codes helped me to visualize psychological roles and interactions. This group had a certain Si-Ne innocence to it. This put an interesting, "stabilizing" spin on the Twilight:2000 universe for me. In my mind, this gave the session a feel somewhere in between post-apocalyptic realism and a typical episode of Fireman Sam. A bit tongue in cheek, but really it was intriguing to me--undoubtedly some more-construtive, stabilization-oriented types will be found whenever there's a crisis. They will attempt to bring forward traditions and comforts of their past, like taking care of one another and keeping one's chin up. In this case I had a team made up of nothing but members with that kind of sensibility.
I set this up similar to a solo dungeon crawl, but I let a single daily dice roll determine whether any skirmishes happened. This made the mission easier than it could have been, had I simply rolled up separate encounters and played it out turn by detailed turn. However this also allowed me to finish playing by bedtime. :)
I didn't establish or identify any specific groups of marauders or marauder territories. I think next time I'd like to identify a specifically mapped-out sub-scenario and get a bit more detailed.
Overall though, this was enough to develop a narrative. Things went well enough. I enjoyed playing.
2020-06-15 Finished and prepped for publishing online.
Marc Carson - https://www.friendlyskies.net/
Character photos from thispersondoesnotexist.com