Updated: Jun 15
The firefight at the burning farmstead continued between the party and a band of marauders, most likely from the “College”. Having been sent into disarray by the surprising assault by the unknown forces of the party, the marauders tried to bring their vacant vehicle mounted machine gun to bear. Unluckily for them, though, after getting off only a single burst which nearly caught Axel, the combined marksmanship of Blanco, Minka, and Axel began to take its deadly toll. One by one, the marauders were incapacitated, caught out in the open as they were. In the midst of the firefight, a motorcycle and second truck, already loaded with marauders and then-unknown cargo, raced off, abandoning their comrades in arms. As the rest of the marauders sought potential safety of the remaining truck, Minka succeeded in disabling the intended driver as he mounted the vehicle, a job finished by Blanco.
View of the battle map at the farm at the start of the episode - via Roll20 Virtual Table Top
Blanco lived up to his name as a ghost, as the marauders fired and fired at him, but failed to land a single round. Away from the truck and behind the burning farmhouse, one of the marauders even got the drop on Gunnery Sergeant Mason, keeping him pinned with a steady stream of fire. Pavlov, seeking to assist, ran forward and recovered an M-4 assault rifle dropped by a marauder Sgt. Mason had killed. He turned and let loose a burst of fire on the one pinning Mason, scoring a couple of lucky hits that wounded the man, giving Mason a chance to get up and finish the job.
In the end, all save two of the marauders, excluding those who escaped on the motorcycle and truck, lay dead. Of the two living opponents, both clad in an assemblage of military-issue camouflage, one had his hand in ruins, and the other with a likely terminal wound to his abdomen. Mason began to interrogate the prisoners, asking the fate and whereabouts of the farmers, and they told Mason that while the woman and children had been taken, some were still in the burning farm buildings. Against the party’s concerns, Axel rushed in to see if anyone was still alive, but only came out with one very dead farmer. While Mason began to interrogate the prisoners, with Minka watching for any returning marauders from the safety of a thicket of trees, Blanco and Axel went back to get Zofi and the Humvee.
View of the battle map at the farm and the end of the battle - via Roll20 VTT
The marauders told Mason that their leader had been asking questions about something that he was looking for, but they did not know what that something was. They also told Mason that the children had been loaded up and taken on the truck that the players had seen drive off as the shooting started. Mason was thoroughly disgusted with both of them and what they represented. Mason asked Minka what their fate should be, whether interest would be served returning them to be captives of the previous homestead, but Minka pointed out that, should the ruthless band seek out spoils from that farm in the future and witness these two in their custody, it would likely mean a death sentence for them, and Minka did not wish to put people simply wishing to survive on their own terms, such as they may be, to further risk. After giving it some thought and applying the only real law he knew, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, he executed them for desertion and war crimes. Stoically, Minka and Pavlov stood by silently, then began recovering the discarded supplies left by the dead, booby trapped the truck, and awaited the return of the Humvee.
So we wrapped up our first combat. We were a little faster this time around but we had some new challenges to work through. The big one we learned about was suppression. So even if someone misses their target, if they get a success on one of their ammo dice, the target must make a Coolness Under Fire (CUF) roll or be suppressed. Getting suppressed sucks, and if you have a low CUF, like most of us in the group, it can be really hard to get unsuppressed. Even with a good set of dice, fate can sometimes play against you. Mason was suppressed for two rounds of combat even though he has the best combination in the group. Just bad dice, but a huge combat changer to have your #1 killer out of the fight. This means that even poorly trained shooters with a weapon with a high rate of fire (ROF) can still have a decent chance of suppressing someone.
The other thing that began to dawn on the players was how lethal the game is. We had good dice luck, but at any second that luck could have changed. As the players began scoring critical hits and reading out the gruesome results it was all too clear that at any moment this could be one of our characters. In some ways our thorough trouncing of this group of marauders was a real wake up call to not get too attached to our characters. This is going to be a grueling game.
Day 2 Supplies Gained - None
Day Shift - Travel and combat.