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Copyright 1996 by Mitchell Schwartz
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CONVOY ESCORT: a Merc:2000 Adventure

Government agencies and corporate bigwigs are not the only potential employers for your mercenary group. Other organizations have reason to be in dangerous parts of the world. Many of these organizations are not equipped to provide their own security and subcontract that function out to mercenary organizations (you know, PCs).

Among the types of groups interested in such services are humanitarian relief agencies. Yes, even in the age of Merc:2000, there are still humanitarian relief agencies providing relief to innocents caught in the violent spots on the globe. These agencies are not government services, but separate entities that attempt to operate in difficult areas regardless of political persuasion. They cooperate with the United Nations, when the UN is available. However, as the 1990s wore on, the UN deployed peace-keeping troops less and less often. As nations down-sized their militaries, they down-sized the troop contingents offered to the United Nations, which could not afford to hire mercenary armies of its own. So, relief agencies have been turning to merc organizations to provide smaller scale protection for their operations.

These assignments can take place wherever famine, disease, or war torture the lives of non-combatants. Pick a favorite or unfavorite terrain, country, or climate.

Providing protection is not for every group. It requires riding on a potential target waiting for trouble to occur. Sometimes, merely the presence of protection deters trouble-makers. If you are lucky, nothing sticky happens, and your team gets paid for a milk run. On the other hand, if your patron expected a milk run, they would not have bothered to hire you, right?

Relief Agencies as Employers:

Relief agencies are not terribly comfortable hiring mercs. Relief agencies are not the richest of clients either. They tend to offer 60-80% of the usual rate - they are charity organizations, after all. However, working for a relief agency gives the mercs a chance to do a "nice" thing, a mission with a positive effect. And it is possible that the mercs can get a milk run (always remind the PCs of that).

Introducing the mission through a non-military or non-intelligence contact of a PC will usually get the PCs to accept the mission, even at a lower rate of pay.

Relief agencies can usually provide transportation to the location and can help get equipment through customs (generally by putting the mercs aboard a relief flight), but will never supply weapons or ammunition. They can also provide small amounts of non-military equipment - clothing, rations, tents, radios, papers, transit passes, etc. They can usually supply the mercs with unarmored transport vehicles (trucks, jeeps, land rovers, civilian hummers), but military vehicles are usually not available through them. It is possible that the mercs can obtain one at the location, but that is left to the discretion of the referee. Note, however, that military vehicles tend to be treated as military targets and relief agencies do not always welcome such company.

Convoy describes one such job.

Mission Briefing

Background: The PCs are hired to ride shotgun for a small truck convoy carrying relief supplies to a mountain town in eastern Baluchistan (Pakistan) called Zidi (see map). Zidi and the surrounding villages are not ethnic Baluchis and have remained loyal to the Pakistani government. However, the Zidi pocket is within Baluchi territory and has been besieged for almost two years. The siege has disrupted local farming efforts, causing famine in pockets like Zidi. The Baluchis lack the military strength to take the pockets by direct assault. So, they interdict supplies, hoping to force the pockets to surrender in exchange for evacuation.

The Baluchi government has only recently permitted a coalition of relief agencies to bring in humanitarian supplies. However, civil order has broken down in the Pakistan. Recent aid convoys have been raided by deserters, brigands, pro-Pakistani guerrillas, Pakistani and Baluchi villagers along the route, and even soldiers from both sides tired of short rations. WHuP believes that if this convoy succeeds, the next convoys will have an easier time.

One of the PCs is contacted by either a contact or someone from World Hunger Prevention given a reference from a solid contact. World Hunger Prevention (WHuP) is an organization that coordinates charitable food distribution at troubled spots around the globe. WHuP wants to hire the mercs to escort a convoy into Zidi. The convoy should take one day to reach Zidi, operate a medical clinic for a day, and return on the third day. WHuP will pay the mercs extra in the event of delays they do not cause.

Arrival: The PCs fly into Karachi by WHuP transport aircraft and meet up with the convoy. They may bring with them any reasonable personal weapons and equipment, up to a light machine-gun or man-portable support weapon. Limit PCs to one long weapon and one support weapon, and no more equipment and ammunition than they can carry.

The PCs are met by their contact (if appropriate) and William Jenkins, a white-haired Irishman in his fifties. Jenkins, a tired but cheery man, is managing this convoy. He reports that now that the PCs are here, the convoy can leave tomorrow. He promises that WHuP will provide a security briefing before the convoy leaves. If the PCs wish, they can inspect the vehicles.

WHuP provides cots in a dormitory room of their coordination center as crash space. If the PCs want more plush or more private surroundings, they can select from any number of hotels, crude to luxury, as long as they pay for it. PCs who wish entertainment can go visit the night bazaar of Karachi. Any such encounters are left to the GM. However, the convoy is scheduled to marshal at 0500 hrs and leave Karachi by 0600 hrs the next morning.

The Convoy:

The convoy consists of

Each vehicle carries 2 spare tires and has a Wear value of 1. WHuP provides drivers for each vehicle, including the Land Rover if desired. The drivers are young idealistic Europeans without military background, unarmed, but with Initiative 3 and a Wheeled Vehicle asset of 10. Five of the drivers have a Mechanic asset of 8.

Convoy Order of March: The mercs decide the convoy's order of march, including where Jenkins rides (they are the security officials, after all).

The Route: Although Zidi is barely inside Baluchi territory, the only access for laden trucks runs almost completely in Baluchistan. Jenkins outlines the selected route for the convoy:

The Security Brief: The WHuP briefing officer (a consulting merc) tells the mercs the following:

The party is reminded that the situation in Pakistan is quite fluid.

Return to the top.


Running the Convoy

Running the convoy is pretty straightforward. Check once an hour for an encounter, which will occur on a roll of 6 on 1D6. Move along the highway from checkpoint to checkpoint. If the convoy moves faster than safe speed of the slowest vehicle, make Wheeled Vehicle skill test rolls to avoid road incidents. If no encounter occurs, simply note the distance traveled and check for the next hour. If an encounter occurs, resolve the encounter, note the amount of time spent and continue. When more fuel is needed, the efficient drivers draw containers and a funnel from the supply truck and refuel in 10-15 minutes. It may be desirable to ignore the delay. It also might be an inconvenient time for a bandit attack.

Checkpoints or Military:

Each checkpoint briefly searches the vehicles. As long as the convoy is not carrying crated arms or munitions, this will not cause a noticeable delay. Getting through a checkpoint is an Average: Persuasion task, with the following DMs:

Pakistani checkpoint or unit
Negotiator speaks Hindi
On Return Trip
Militia checkpoint or unit
Caught with human contraband
Caught without documentation
Caught with military contraband
Opposing Military
+1 difficulty level

If the first task fails, the convoy may try a second Persuasion task at one level higher or a Bribe task is at the same level, using food or fuel for the bribe. Either task was the same DMs us the first roll. Jenkins is willing to provide up to 100 Kg in food or 10 Kg in fuel at a checkpoint if he must. A simple failure at the second task means that the convoy will not be allowed to pass the checkpoint for 1D6 hours while Jenkins argues up the chain of command. A catastrophic failure at either roll means the unit starts shooting, starting with the negotiators.

Travel at Night:

Travel at night is possible along the main road to Khuzdar. However, after dark (1800 hrs more or less), have a random encounter occur on a 5+, but treat beggar, traffic, or checkpoint encounters as No Encounter. Only those strong enough to bother an armed group will do so.

Staying Overnight:

The alternative to traveling at night is to stop and continue in the morning. The convoy can camp in the open, stay in a village, or stay in a town.

If the convoy camps in the open, continue rolling encounters every four hours as described under Travel at Night. The convoy is equipped with sufficient gear to camp comfortably. The mercs can organize the camp as they see fit.

Villages appear every 20 kilometers or so. If the convoy stays overnight in a village, skip rolling for random encounters that night, but they will have a mandatory Beggars encounter in the morning.

If the convoy stays in a town, they will have no random encounters, but may have a food riot in the morning (or see Thief or For Added Spice).

Over the Pass to Zidi:

The general run of the convoy should have been fairly quiet up to now. Bad luck may have put the convoy behind schedule. It is a Difficult: Wheeled Vehicle task for each vehicle to drive over the pass at night. The safer alternative is to stay overnight in Khuzdar.

Harassment: Just to let the convoy know they have been noticed, the besieging Baluchis fire a few desultory sniping shots. These are not aimed at people, but are just meant to hit the trucks so the convoy will know they are the target. A roll of 1 on 1D10 means they hit a tire or wounded a person by accident. (Roll 1D6: odd = person determined randomly; even = tire.) If the Baluchis hit a tire, they lazily fire another few shots (roll 1D10 again).

If the convoy was involved in a shooting incident at Khuzdar, they will be attacked when they enter the valley by small arms, machine-gun and mortar fire instead of mere harassment.

In Zidi:

Zidi is a dusty stone and brick town set in the a narrow valley. Zidi has a population of about 2000, and its surrounding villages about 800 between them. Both the town and the villages have been partially fortified with bunkers and fieldworks. The convoy passes a couple of outlying villages on their way to town.

The convoy pulls into the town square and a large crowd gathers immediately to cheer. Jenkins gets out to talk to the town headman for a few minutes. The convoy is directed to an open plot beside an empty house the convoy team can sleep in. Jenkins tells the mercs to guard the trucks while he works out a distribution procedure with the head man. The medical truck sets up in the town square and begins operations immediately.

The Zidi valley militia number about 300, with about 50 on duty at any given time. The militia needs 2 hours to muster the full force. They are armed with 50 assault rifles, 10 SMGs, 250 medium to heavy sporting rifles (mostly .30-06 Lee-Enfields), 3 LMGs, 1 60 mm mortar. The militia leader is a retired company commander from the Pakistani Army.

Thief: Some time during the night, four men (1 Veteran, 3 Experienced), unarmed, attempt to steal either some of the food, fuel, or a full truck. The men are have good stealth skills and AGL (assets of 12, 11, 11, 10). They will surrender if one of them is dropped. (Shooting these men will not entail bad relations with the town if at least one is captured alive. Survivors will confess to robbery or will be recognized as thieves. But don't tell the players that until after they are asked to explain why they were shooting.)

A Day in Town:

The day spent in Zidi is rather dull. The PCs have little to do except to guard the trucks as they are unloaded and distributed to the Pakistanis and the medical clinic sees a steady stream of patients.

The town militia commander asks the merc leader (if there is one; otherwise select a merc at random) if the mercs are willing to sell some of their small arms or support weapons (if any) and ammo to the town. He will pay up to 150% of the weapon's value in Pakistani rupees.

The convoy have vehicles repaired (if needed) at 200% of the usual charge (parts are hard to get in Zidi).

For Added Spice:

Any of the following situations is possible. Resolving the situations is left to the referee:

Return Trip:

Assuming there is adequate fuel for the vehicles, the return trip is run back along the same route starting at daybreak. Jenkins will abandon trucks (except the medical truck) he cannot fuel in Zidi. The process is the same as for the trip in. Remember the DM +2 for return trip. (Empty trucks are not worth as much bother as loaded ones.)

With a little bit of luck, the mercs have gotten paid for a milk run.


Once returned to Karachi, Jenkins thanks the mercs, offers medical care if needed, pays them, and offers seats on a returning aid flight to Europe or the US, unless further adventures in the area are desired. Jenkins can be used a patron or contact either here in the near east or elsewhere in the world (6 months or a year later).

This mission can serve as an introduction to the region, setting the team up for further missions. For example:


Road Encounter Table:
Roll 1D10 to determine the nature of the encounter.
Roll Encounter
Beggars or Villagers
Beggars or Villagers
Checkpoint (roll on Checkpoint Table)
Opposing Military

Beggars: A crowd of villagers who claim to lack food stops the convoy in or just outside a village. Jenkins, being kind-hearted and eager to continue, provides 500 Kg of rations. Lose a half hour of travel.

Traffic: The convoy is stuck behind slow civilian traffic, covering only 5 km this hour.

Bandits: 3D6 armed bandits (half military weapons, half with civilian small arms) ambush the convoy. The bandits desist if 1D6 of them are killed or seriously wounded. If the mercs negotiate with the bandits, they will allow the convoy to pass for a price - food, fuel, ammo, weapons, up to a truck, depending on the success of the ambush.

Checkpoint: The convoy comes upon a checkpoint not listed on their map. Roll 1D6 on the Checkpoint Table. Alternatively, the checkpoint can be a set up by bandits to shake down travelers for goods.

Military: The convoy meets a platoon-strength military unit belonging to this zone's government. Determine the unit on the Military Unit Table.

Opposing Military: The convoy meets a raiding military unit belonging to the opposition, inclined to shoot first and ask questions later. Bargain or Persuasion tasks are 1 level more difficult. Determine the unit type on the Military Unit Table.

Military Unit Table:
Roll 1D10 to determine the type of unit encountered:
Roll Pakistani Unit Type Roll Baluchi Unit Type
1-3 Foot Infantry 1-6 Foot Infantry
4-6 Motorized Infantry 7-8 Motorized Infantry
7 Artillery 9 Horse Cavalry
8-9 Mechanized Infantry 10 Mechanized Infantry
10 Armor

See the Merc:2000 Gazetteer for detail on the make up of these units. All Baluchi units except Mechanized Infantry are Militia on a roll of 3+ on 1D6.

Checkpoint Table: Roll 1D6 to determine the make up of the Baluchi checkpoint:
Roll Checkpoint Force
1 2 men armed with pistols standing in road by sign that says "Checkpoint" in Hindi.
2 3 men at wooden barrier armed with 1 assault rifle, 2 hunting rifles (.30-06, 7.62N, or larger).
3 5 men with assault rifles at wooden barrier, supported by an LMG and assault rifle on a flank.
4 8 men with 1 SMG, 1 grenade launcher, and assault rifles at steel barrier, supported by 4 men on a flank with 1 LMG and assault rifles.
5 Platoon strength: 10 men at checkpoint supported by 20 more in trenches on both flanks (10 each side), with 1 LMG. Barrier is truck or land rover with LMG in the weapons mount.
6 Platoon strength: 10 men in sight supported by 20 more in earthworks or bunkers on both flanks (10 each side), with 2 LMGs, 1 MMG, 1 RPG. Barrier is armored car, APC, or tank.


William Jenkins:
is the WHuP field director in charge of this convoy. A florid-faced, white-haired, paunchy gentleman in his fifties, Jenkins has a lot field experience in humanitarian relief operations, including during the increasingly difficult last decade of the 20th century. Jenkins is generally cheerful and friendly (good Charisma), but is tired from his high stress job. Jenkins makes intelligent decisions under stress and prefers negotiation to combat, but he will turn the PCs loose if fired upon. If badly wounded, Jenkins will make a deeply-moving speech about the importance of the mercs getting the supplies through.

Veteran. Initiative: 4. Language assets: English, Gaelic: native, French, Spanish: 11, Hindi: 7. Major assets: Persuasion 13, Willpower 12, Observation 11, Willpower 12.

High Heart: Jenkins is a compassionate man who believes in his mission of delivering humanitarian relief. He is kindly to those in need. Low Club: While not a user of violence, Jenkins is not swayed by threats of violence. He prefers to talk rather than fight, but will not hesitate unleashing the PCs once fired upon.

Medical Staff
The medical Staff for the Zidi mission is composed of 2 doctors and 5 nurses from various nations across the globe. All have Initiative 2 (except one nurse with Initiative 5 - the quiet, competent one). The doctors have Medical assets of 18 and 15; the nurses have Medical assets of 8-12 (yes, the 12 is for the quiet, competent nurse). While not panicky or foolish, none of these personnel have any militarily useful skills.

The drivers are young idealistic Europeans without military background, unarmed, but with Initiative 3 and a Wheeled Vehicle asset of 10. Five of the drivers have a Mechanic asset of 8.

Use the generic Militia and Soldiers from Twilight:2000 (or another system of your devising) for Baluchi and Pakistani soldiers.