12 December 2000 2000H. New York City. Empire State Building.
The convoy of the party and Rhonda Lowery’s crew travelled east, then SE down Broadway without incident.
The opposition had no personnel in the area, nor were there large gang factions, so I rolled random night encounters [“Dog” and “No event”].
The allies formed up another bivouac with their vehicles. Wojciech decided to join GDW and BA in the climb up the Empire State Building. They checked their gear – light loads for the climb – and set out on foot the few blocks to the skyscraper. Their intent was to climb to the observation deck on the 86th floor, and use it as a sniping platform to harass the Gurkhas, who were themselves harassing Lowery’s team from the Penn Tower.
We’re not too fussy about the Player Character loads, but this scenario calls for strict accounting of weight, given the team’s isolation.
The trio arrived at the foot of ESB, encountering nothing in the dark streets along the way.
The lobby was a mess. The team could see through the broken doors right inside. It was night, dark, and even darker inside the building. Wojciech knew they’d need to use active illumination on their nightvision goggles going forward, as there’d be no ambient light inside. The only risk was if opposition inside also had nightvision.
They pushed inside. Wojciech was startled when he flushed an animal hiding in the debris. BA noted a few bats hanging from the ceiling.
Remember: The “gray” overlay you see in the pics is black and not visible to the player!
They were intent on finding the stairwell. Wojciech saw a central hallway heading deeper inside. Seemed promising.
So far they were being stealthy, and heard little sound themselves. They passed closed doors. There was damage everywhere.
Rhonda had briefed Wojciech on what she knew of the Empire State Building. There was an open observation deck on the 86th floor. There was also a small observation tower room around the 100th floor, as she recalled. But the deck on fl86 was probably the best bet for the team.
Lowery had recalled that the ESB had hosted annual stair runs before the war. Competitive climbers would race up the stairs to the observation deck. The best could reach the top in ten minutes(!), which astounded the Pole. Wojciech was under no illusion that they’d make anywhere near that time in the dark, and ever-present danger of hostile inhabitants.
They located the elevators, which were useless of course. But surely the stairs had to be close by.
They were indeed close, but it took a bit more exploring and backtracking to locate the stairwell.
Now that he finally saw the stairwell, Wojciech’s heart sank. There was junk and debris littered everywhere, on the stairs, on the landings. Between the effort to remain stealthy, stopping and listening every floor, checking debris piles for traps… he estimated they’d be lucky to make 1 floor every two minutes. At that rate, it would take 3 hours to reach the top. It was ok, the night was new.
Wojciech sighed, remembering the last time they had to navigate a dark hi-rise stairwell. His friend Maks had been there with him.
He nodded at BA and GDW, ghostly-appearing in the nightvision. Wojciech motioned up the stairs. “I’ll take point.”
Another Vertical Dungeon
Wojciech scouted ahead, one floor above the other two. He was not going to let a door come between him and the others. No way.
I rolled random encounters for each floor, with a 1 on a 1d6 indicating an event. It could be Primitives, Animals, Heavy Debris (desks, copy machines, etc, etc) to get around, or Stuff. I have included all the results in a large table below.
The first encounter, however was not random…
Francis R. Kellogg
On the 6th floor landing, what Wojciech thought was a corpse under light debris turned out to be one Captain Francis R. Kellogg. He was dying, clutching a heavy object, which fell out of his weak grip. It was a chunk of gold the size of a large river rock.
Grant Derek William attempted to diagnose and provide medical aid, but his skill was minimal, and he could tell Wojciech little more than what the evident starvation and Kellogg’s general poor physical condition already revealed. His pulse was faint.
Wojciech was animated. This was a big break in what had been a frustrating and painful mission thus far. One of MilGov’s goals for the NYC op was to locate Kellogg, and ascertain the fate of the 78th MP Company and all the gold they’d been transporting.
Wojciech had decided to go out on the 6th floor and try to raise the full group at the bivouac by radio. Doc Schultz was an ace surgeon, and perhaps could save Kellogg. Alas, the unfortunate soul was slipping away. He reached out to the Pole, muttering “that filthy traitor Snyder … ask him about the gold. he knows.” Kellogg then breathed his last, and passed on to a better world.
The chunk of gold was about the mass of a gold bar, Wojciech figured. But he couldn’t explain its current state. Whatever. He briefly considered taking it with them, but it weighed 13 kilos, which was kinda ridiculous to add to their load. He stashed the gold chunk under debris, and covered Kellogg’s corpse as well.
[Exotic animals roam NYC. The group encountered an ocelot on floor 9. I said “it looks like a gigantic house cat”] The cat fled from the intruders in the dark stairwell.
Having had a nasty encounter with heavy debris around floor 8, when they again ran into heavy debris on floor 22, Wojciech had the trio set out across that floor, searching for a presumed second stairwell. They encountered nothing alive on fl22, but perhaps useful gear in the litter. They did locate the other stairwell, and began ascending once again.
Floor 28, Wojciech spotted a man looking like a primitive, armed with a makeshift spear. He was hiding, perhaps in ambush, relying on his hearing in the inky darkness. Wojciech could see his eyes darting about in fear and anticipation, probably unaware of nightvision technology.
The Pole whispered from the darkness – leaning on his accent for menace – that he had a gun pointed at him, and to get lost. The primitive scrambled away, disappearing through that floor’s access door.
Floor 47. [I rolled another exotic animal. A crocodile, which makes no sense on the 47th floor…] Another ocelot bounded away at the approaching sound and scent of 3 humans.
Floor 50. Wojciech spotted 3 more primitives bearing candles, coming down the stairs, but the team was easily able to avoid them. [Outstanding Success on the Observation roll, plus they are running dark, while the primitives are all lit up.]
Floor 74. The team ran into an impassable barrier, meticulously-crafted from steel plates, heavy furniture, and debris. It seemed the furniture could be removed by those above to allow passage, but was far too heavy and awkward to move from below.
Small gaps here and there could act as murder holes on anybody approaching up the stairs. A hammer hung on a loop nearby, and they could see impact marks on the metal from hammer strikes.
Was this the primitives… or somebody else?
Nobody seemed to be present on the other side. Wojciech considered using their claymore mine in an attempt to clear the obstruction. Or shoving a smoke grenade through one of the murder holes.
Instead, he decided they’d cross the floor, and try the other stairwell… [Next session!]
Empire State Building: Stairwell encounters by floor
|1||n||Taking “S” Stairwell||S||2000|
|6||leg showing from under newspapers and trash bags. Man moves slightly and groans.||Kellogg dies, but whispers Snyder message. Gold!||S||2010|
|8||heavy debris||~20 min delay. GDW bashes shin bloody (Catastrophic Failure: Climbing: +1 fatigue level). Something man-sized scurries away.||S||2030|
|22||heavy debris||Transit across the fl22 to bypass obstruction. Find makeshift axe. Firehose. Framing hammer. Located “T” Stairwell.||S|
|28||primitive||Hiding in dark, freezes. Woj tells him to get lost. Primitive flees.||T|
|29||wallet||$900 prewar dollars… worthless!||T|
|45||rare earth magnets||T|
|50||3 primitives carrying candles||T|
|74||Barrier/improvised checkpoint||Cross floor to try “S” Stairwell bypass.||T||2300|