It’s been almost 2 months now since I last updated Crimson Dawn, due in part to the hectic schedules of the holidays making time to sit down and write a synopsis (or even run a game) hard to come by.
These real life obligations combined with a nasty case of food poisoning; conspired to keep me away from the keyboard and gaming table for far too long. Now with the New Year before us I hope to resume bi monthly updates to Crimson Dawn without further delays. Now without further ado, I present the next Installment of: Crimson Dawn
“There’s another reason they call it the chain of command you know.” –Riley, recalling his military training.
“Because they tie you in chains if you don’t obey it?” –Renee, taking a wild guess.
“Because the lives of everyone under your command weighs like a ball and chain around your neck.” –Riley, remembering the troops who looked to him for leadership in the war.
After a moments hesitation Riley sends an open inquiry across the radio, identifying himself as “Sergeant Riley,” and asking for identification of the unknown forces outside the building.
Seconds after his transmission the troops outside came to a dead stop as their commander crouched down near the front wheel well and keyed his ear mike, apparently taking orders from someone further away. A minute more of tense silence ensues before an commanding voice breaks across the radio, demanding Riley identify which unit he is part of and to give a current “sit rep.” (Situation Report)
A brief discussion ensues between the group as they debate what to tell the unknown forces outside, a second, more demanding inquiry putting a stop to their discussion as the group decided on telling the forces outside the truth. Keying the mic, Riley tells them his is a lone solider with four civilians who sought temporary shelter after a wild animal attacked one of them; and that they do not seek conflict with military forces.
A few more minutes of tense silence follows, as painfully Heather dresses herself and straps on her weapon belt, the group keeping a careful eye on the soldiers outside, two of the unknown militia having moved out of their sight around the sides of the building. Moving quietly Renee carefully moves from room to room, trying to get a better view of the soldiers from the second story windows, quietly reporting back they have taken up position at the rear door of the farm house.
A burst of static fills the radio for a heart beat before the same commanding voice informs Sergeant Riley he is now returned to active duty and part of Charlie Company effective immediately, and for him to instruct the civilians to lay down their weapons and exit the building at once for processing and return to base camp Bravo.
As the group sits in stunned silence the voice continues, informing them, the military vehicles outside the building have been rightfully repossessed by remnants of the US Army for military use, along with any other needed supplies to be determined after assessment by Commander Braddock. In the distance the group sees a M1 Bradley pulling away from the convoy and slowly down the dirt path towards them, followed by a cargo truck.
A heated argument immediately erupts among the group, who are reluctant to relinquish their transportation, as Riley suggests they may be able to convince the Army to assist them with the gang problem back in Ruthton. After Renee points out the military convoy may well take most of their supplies and leave them stuck at their compound, as well as taking Riley from his pregnant wife, the group agrees unanimously not to submit to military command.
(Gm note: I was expecting them to lay down their arms and submit, and had an adventure involving a splinter faction of the military at base camp, unhappy with their commander’s leadership going rogue with the groups help; but alas the side plot went unused and cut this session somewhat shorter then planned.)
Thinking quickly Riley told everyone to follow his lead and take turns with the only radio they had (They had smaller hand held sets but didn’t consider them having enough range for the military to get a clear signal) using a separate radio channel, and convince the approaching military forces they were about to be ambushed. (Which got a lot of confused looks around the table before everyone nodded in agreement)
Grabbing up the radio and setting it to a different channel Riley began to speak:
Riley: “This is Echo-Four to Spearhead, the recon force is parked right over the surprise package, and they got two more transports about to enter the KZ, (kill zone) are we cleared to proceed?”
Jessy taking the radio from Riley: “Hold fire until both transports are in the blast zone, we want this diversion to keep their attention.” A pause as Riley motions for him to keep talking. “Hammer and Anvil are you in position to hit the main force with the party favors?”
Renee, quickly snatching he radio from Jessy: “Hammer here, ready to pop the party favors on your go. Are you sure this stuff won’t take us out too if the wind shifts?
Riley Taking back the radio and giving her a thumbs up: (and making a Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Warfare skill check) “This is Echo-Four, risk from sarin exposure minimal in current atmospheric conditions, stand by to-“ He stops speaking as Heather slaps his shoulder to get his attention and points to the window.
Outside the group notices the approaching APC and cargo truck are quickly reversing course, with the convoy in the distance suddenly being covered by a smoke screen, obscuring the vehicles from view.
Down below the smaller force surrounding the hummer is quickly falling back as smoke grenades erupt around the hummer, the soldier manning the machine gun falling over the side of the vehicle in his haste to get away. Riley gives the group a thumbs up and mentions they need to keep selling it, tossing the radio to heather before running off down the stairs. (As Riley’s player passed me a short note with his plans, which I greeting with a smile and a note back telling him the requisite skill check and difficulty)
Heather on the Radio in a panicked voice: “This is Anvil, main target is a bust, I repeat, main target is a bust, they’re rabbiting, what are your orders?”
Jessy taking the radio back from Heather: “Spearhead to all engagement forces, go to radio silence and pursue convoy with MBT’s at distance, and wait for rogue element to update with convoys new position and status; I say again, maintain radio silence and pursue convoy with main battle tanks at range and wait for rogue element info.”
(The former bit of improv was pulled off surprisingly smoothly by the group, with them using a near by empty juice bottle as a prop for the in game radio; and playing off each others convos without a hitch once Riley’s player got things rolling.
I was originally going to call for a few knowledge: military etiquette or performance skill checks to see if their bluff worked, but with how well everyone did with this bit of unexpected bluffing I decided to let them succeed without a skill check.)
As Jessy moves to pass the radio to Renee, a loud explosion outside the building knocks them off their feet, several windows shattering form the concussion wave. As they pick themselves off the ground they notice the wrecker truck in flames just outside the garage, a coil of oily smoke erupting from the wreckage.
As Jessy, Renee, and Heather look at one another in bafflement they see Riley outside giving them a thumbs up next to the hummer, where they all quickly rejoin him. Riley grins and explains he used a welding tank from the garage and a little improvised demolitions (and demolitions skill check which he scored a critical success on) to make it appear from a distance their surprise package had taken out the hummer.
Their morale bolstered by the brilliant plan the group agrees not to stick around long enough for the military convoy to see through their diversion, and decide to abandon the damaged cargo truck in favor of the well maintained hummer the recon force was kind enough to leave behind in their haste to withdraw.
Wasting little time the group piles into the Hummer and undamaged cargo truck, (Dubbing the hummer “Hammer” and the cargo truck “Anvil”) Jessy taking a couple extra minutes to spark a cheery blaze inside the farmhouse, hoping the ensuing fire will further cover their retreat. As the group drives away in a south east angle through the cornfields, Heather makes a startling inquiry: “Anyone seen Thomas around since the military arrived?”
* * * * *
Will the groups newly acquired Hummer and .50 caliber machine gun prove helpful in their upcoming trials? Will Thomas’s whereabouts be revealed? Will Charlie Company find them again? Find out in the next adventure synopsis #23, coming soon!