Journey to Transylvania

Playlist: Journey to Transylvania (from Van Helsing)

Biggen Hill, England, 3rd February 1942, 09:31

Keeper Note: This is a side campaign, using some of the mini-adventures Modiphius have created for A!C 2d20. The system - well, never mind - but the adventures convert quite well. It includes the players who can't make the table group and runs in Roll20.

It had been three months since the terrifying expedition to the zombie-haunted USSR, and the agents had been granted some much-needed leave. Francoise had summed up their sensations when she said that half of them had never felt quite warm since, and half of them didn't seem to feel the cold any more.

Marcus and Cyril had disappeared on an expedition to somewhere with libraries, while Joe was back with the army, co-ordinating between Section M and the regulars. Jimmy's whereabouts were currently unknown to the others, though they were pretty sure Alec knew.

Call to Duty

Birapeer, Anné and Francoise were drawn from their relaxation with a bump when each receieved a telegram from their new handler, "Hunter". Even Viscount Towton couldn't cope with everything any more, and he'd recruited some new Intellegence specialists to co-ordinate his teams.

The next morning, an unremarkable but powerful car collected them all along with their equipment and drove them - at speed - to Biggin Hill airfield.

There they were met by an anxious-looking Hunter. He directed them into a small, dilapidated hanger on the outskirts of the airfield. It was full of crates, spare aeroplane parts and other junk but an area had been cleared to contain a table, chairs and two large noticeboards containing maps of Europe, marked with many pins and notes.

Archibald Strang

After offering the agents a nice cup of tea, Hunter apologised for the urgency of the summons before handing around photographs showing a large airship in various stages of launch and one of a burning wreck crashing to the ground.

“Zeppelins,” he said in his soft Edinburgh brogue. “According to some people they were going to be the future of air travel. Massive great balloons that could sail through the skies, taking people across oceans and continents in luxury. However, when the Hindenburg went down in a great ball of flame in ’37 those in charge rather lost their taste for them and the remaining vessels were scrapped. Or so we thought. I received this yesterday from a trusted source.”

Hunter produced another photograph. Blurry, taken in poor light, showing a Zeppelin silhouetted against a dark sky. Details were difficult to make out but there were several glows studding the length of the balloon and a faint web of blue lines around and along it. The blue was ominously familiar to the agents...

“We now believe that the Nachtwölfe have got their hands on the scrapped Zeppelins and are using them for goodness knows what. But the odd thing is where the picture was taken.”

He turned and makes a stabbing motion with his pipe at a map on the board behind him.


It is February 1942 and for the past month, Germany has continued to build up Luftwaffe forces and airfields in Romania in preparation for the invasion of Greece. Following a coup in the Autumn of 1940, which left the country a dictatorship under fascist leader Mareșal Ion Antonescu, Romania officially became a member of the Axis powers in November of 1940. Britain would break off diplomatic relations with the country due to the presence of 500,000 German personal and would, a few days later, declare it “territory under enemy occupation” regarding the country as an “enemy destination for contraband purposes.”

The Zeppelins possessed by Germany before the war were LZ 127 “Graf Zeppelin”, LZ 129 “The Hindenburg” and LZ 130 “Graf Zeppelin II”. The Hindenburg was destroyed in an accident on May 6th 1937, which killed thirty-five passengers and crew. After the accident LZ 127 was grounded and turned into a museum. LZ130 was outfitted with electronic scanning equipment and was used in August 1939 on an unsuccessful reconnaissance mission to determine the air detection capabilities of the radio towers along Britain’s south coast.

Following the outbreak of the second world war, the Luftwaffe moved the remaining Zeppelins to a hanger near Frankfurt, where the incomplete skeleton of the even larger LZ 131 was also stored. In March of 1940, Herman Göring ordered that the Zeppelins be scrapped and on May 6th of that year, the hangers were demolished

“Romania.” He continued; “The last reliable report we have is that it was somewhere in the foothills of the Mures mountains in Transylvania, near the village of Zaltna. Now, we do know that the Germans have forces in Romania but, as far as I’m aware, they are mostly around the borders building airfields. Anyway, the terrain in the mountains is entirely unsuitable for an airfield and too far from anywhere to be a useful base for land forces. It’s about as close to the middle of nowhere as you can get.”

He turned back to the team with a sly smile and a twinkle in his eye.

Oops. Why Zeppelins were discontinued

“So we’re sending ye on a wee holiday to see what ye can see. The old man would be delighted to see some photographs of your trip but I’m thinking you can do a bit better than that. Have a poke around in that mine and see what they are up down there, talk to the locals, speak to any indentured workers, gather every bit of intelligence you can. Then get aboard that Zeppelin find out what they’re doing up to, disable it, destroy it, or best case, commandeer it and bring it back to us. I leave that to your discretion.”

Leaving them to digest that, Hunter went on to explain that there was a plane waiting on the tarmac to take the team to Belgrade, in Yugoslavia, via Greece. They were to be met at the airport by Georgi, a smuggler working for Section M, who would help get them across the border and into Romania. His call-sign was “Parcel”. Relations had become diplomatically difficult with Romania, so the team were advised to remain covert. Equipment and papers were waiting for them on the plane so that they could use the flight to familiarise themselves with them.

“I know it’s short notice and I know you’ll be on your own out there, but we need to know what this thing can do and what the Nachtwölfe are doing with it. Wheels up in twenty minutes, so you’ve time to finish your tea at least. Good luck.”

Their plane turned out to be a de Havilland Albatross DH.91 named ‘Fortuna’, bearing the livery of the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). The pilot, William Frout, informed the agents that the expected journey time was ten hours, plus time on the ground at Lisbon and Athens. The team would not be disembarking at either of these destinations, but the landings needed to take place to maintain the aircraft’s cover as a BOAC passenger service - and let the real passengers off.

de Haviland DH.91 Albatross

The team were been provided with the following equipment:

The flight was uneventful, and the agents studied their documents and napped, as well as practicing their Romanian, acquired in a quick crash course.

Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 4th February 1942, 00:07

Fortuna touched down in Belgrade a little after midnight. The airfield was poorly lit and only the two main runways were fully tarmacked. Hangers ringed the landing fields and the plane taxied towards one before stopping with the exit ramp facing the hanger, concealing it from casual view.

Georgi Vasilie
"No Problem"

Beside the hanger, next to a decrepit lorry stood a short, dark-haired man with a wide grin smoking a cigar. As the agents disembarked, he grinned at Birapeer and introduced himself as Georgi, validated with a whisper of “Parcel”. On hearing their own callsigns, he suggested that the group stowed their gear in the truck as quickly as possible before presenting themselves at the arrivals office.

It was late and there was only a single, tired-looking worker at passport control, who waved the team through with barely a glance at their paperwork. As the agents exited the airport office onto the street outside, Georgi was waiting across the road at the wheel of the lorry with the engine running.

“All aboard, no problem. Two in front, everyone else in back, no problem,” he said, still grinning widely. “Welcome to Belgrade.”

Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 4th February 1942, 00:42

After half an hour driving through the dark streets of Belgrade Georgi pulled the lorry into a large brick warehouse. He explained that they would not be able to cross the border until the morning when it was busiest, between 7:30 am and 9:00 am. Several camp beds were erected at the rear of the warehouse; Georgi told the agents that he would be back at 5:00 am to load up.

Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 5th February 1942, 05:01

Bright and early next day, Georgi returned, bringing coffee and a large bag of warm bread rolls filled with bacon. As Birapeer and Francoise traded bacon for bread to cater for the Sikh's religious strictures, he explained that they would need to conceal any "suspicious" items in the lorry's hidden smuggling compartments. Combining that with Anné 's occult handbag, it was quite easy to pack away all the gear to avoid all but an extremely thorough search.


Anné and Francoise joined Georgi in the cab, while Birapeer climbed into the rear, where a rough wooden bench was attached to the frame along the passenger side. The lorry had been loaded with vehicle parts, tyres and assorted junk in large, open, wooden crates secured via ropes to rings set in the floor and sides - and sitting on top of the smuggling compartments. If challenged, they would be posing as scrap metal merchants on their way back from a collection job and that Birapeer was amigrant worker returning home, to whom Georgi had offered a lift. The nature of the junk meant that items can be concealed within the mess for easier access, and Birapeer tucked his Tulwar amongst it, keeping his kirpan on his belt.

Motorcycle and Sidecar

After an hour and a half driving along a tarmacked but poorly maintained road Georgi indicated that they were approaching the border. A short line of traffic was strung out on the approach to a barrier across the road between two wooden shelters. A larger shed with a large awning appeared to be an office/inspection area. As Georgi joined the end of the queue of traffic his face pales briefly. The border post was manned by six uniformed Romanian guards (three in each direction of travel), as Georgi expected, but with them were two soldiers in German uniform. Two motorcycles with sidecars bearing Heer markings were parked just behind the inspection office. Georgi reasoned that if the Germans have established a new airfield close to this border crossing, then they may simply have assigned additional guards as standard procedure, but he didn't look happy. He glanced at the agents in the cab for their opinion on what to do. Anné and Francoise nodded slightly forward, and he swallowed and put the lorry into gear.

Romanian Soldier

As each vehicle pulled up to the barrier the two Romanian guards approached, one to each side, and the guard on the driver’s side held out a hand to the driver, briefly examining the documents before before waving to the third guard at the barrier, to raise it and let the vehicle through. Two cars and a motorbike passed through in this manner, followed by a small farming truck. Everyone began to relax a bit. A new black town car was next, and now they were closer, Anné noticed the guard open the documents handed to him, remove several folded notes and slips them into a pocket, before immediately handing back the papers.

The next vehicle was an open-topped wagon containing barrels stacked two high. Upon presentation of papers, the guard spoke with the driver before pointing to the inspection area. The wagon was driven under the awning at the side of the office where two more Romanian guards emerged from a door and climbed into the back of the wagon to perform a search. Meanwhile, another car was waved through, followed by two motorbikes. Throughout this the two German guards have remained at the shelter, observing proceedings.

The guard waved Georgi’s lorry forward and approached the cab. Georgi wound down the window and presents his and the passengers’ papers. He spoke in rapid Romanian, indicating the presence of the passenger in the rear. The first guard passed this information to the second who walked around to the back of the vehicle to open the doors.

Birapeer, feigning sleep on the bench, looked up as the light poured in and a bored voice said "Bună dimineața, vă rugăm să prezentați pașaportul și documentele de identitate". He grappled for the meaning, but it eluded him. Making a guess, he handed over his faked documents, and the man squinted at them, glancing back and forth to compare the photographs. Eventually he passed them back, muttering "În ordine; mulțumesc" and closed the doors.

A few minutes later, they were rattling through the check point and into Romania.

Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 5th February 1942, 06:56

Once across the border Georgi relaxed and outlined the rest of the route. They'd be taking the main road as far as the town of Deva, about 200 miles away. From there, however, the team would have to hike as the truck is not suitable for the tracks into the mountains leading to Zaltna. The aged truck can maintain a speed of approximately 40mph on the rough road, which would see the team arriving in Deva by late afternoon, probably too late to begin the 20-mile hike to the village of Zaltna.

The weather was cold and overcast as the team continue to bump and jolt along the road. The only traffic to be seen was the occasional farm lorry, carrying bales of hay or animal feed. After an hour of driving a German staff car flanked by two motorbike outriders came into view, rapidly overhauling them from behind. Nervous of pursuit, they pulled the lorry off the side and breathed a sigh of relief as it swept past without glancing at them. It was a relief, but Georgi was visibly upset at seeing German forces so active on Romanian soil.

Opel Blitz

About a quarter of an hour later, the team noticed a turning on the left. A simple barrier of painted white wood had been placed across the turning and a German Opel Blitz lorry was parked just off the road behind the barrier. Three men in German army uniforms leaned against the barrier, sharing a cigarette. Anné's eyes narrowed; the road surface of the turn off was much newer than that of the main road. As she looked beyond, she also noticed a further guard apparently asleep in the cab of the truck. As they came up, one of the guards stepped into the road and held up a hand to stop them. Looking frightened, Georgi glanced at the agents, then stopped as directed when Francoise nodded slightly.

Wehrmacht Soldier

"Ihre Papiere, bitte," said the German in a bored tone which somehow seemed out of place. They handed them out, and he studied them for a few moments before he looked up and said, "Es gibt ein Problem mit diesen Dokumenten. Raus aus dem Truck – wir durchsuchen ihn."

50-leu note

The other guards at the barriers had their K.98 rifles held in a more ready posture, and the agents opened the doors. As they did so, it dawned on Francoise what the oddness in their approach was. This wasn't a military stop and search; it was a scam, a shakedown. She slipped some Romanian leu rather clumsily into her documents. Stepping closer to the first guard, she handed her pasport.

"What is this?" the guard said, with slightly knowing grins exchanged with his compatriots. "A very small amount of money?" Francoise coloured, feeling the other soldiers' eyes on her tall and shapely form. "You dropped it, sir," she said humbly. "Here's the rest of it." From the corner of her eye, she could see Georgi almost ready to drop with fear. This isn't going so well she thought frantically.

Meanwhile, Birapeer had slipped out of the back of the lorry and along the far side from where the Germans were. In his hand was a respectably size steel bar from the scrap metal. He readied himsef for something to go wrong.


There was a heart-stopping pause, and then the German evidently concluded that this was the most he was going to get out of these scruffs. Sliding the money into his pocket, he waved impatiently up the road. "Machen Sie weiter und tun Sie es nicht noch einmal. Gehen!" Georgi scrambled back into the cab and started the engine, popping the clutch almost before the three were back aboard.

As the lorry passed the turn-off, Anné noticed that an MG34 was mounted on the far side of the cab, which would have changed the equation a bit had they elected to fight!

Session Date: 4th September 2022- in CyberSpace!