Category: Necromunda

Necromunda: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Hi folks,

Neil here again. No maths today, but a review of my favourite game of all time, Necromunda!

I started in 1996, or maybe 97, with my Escher gang. During the last 15 years since the last official update, I’ve just kept on playing. I’ve played dozens of campaigns, I’ve owned almost every gang at some point (although I’m currently down to just Escher, Van Saar and Ratskins). Like many groups, we play with a kludged together amalgamation of house rules and the best bits from every rulebook from over the years. We’ve played with all sorts of variant rules, custom gangs, custom scenarios, arbitrator & map campaigns. I’ve read the fiction, I’ve played every scenario I can get my hands on (I think my favourite was the one where your dudes go out on little boats to harvest gemstone eyes from giant spiders). I even have all the magazines! I was super excited about Shadow War: Armageddon, and I’ve played it extensively – in fact, I haven’t played 40k in months, only SWA. (And we’ve started mashing SWA up with old Necromunda gangs, too).

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Meet the Gang! (Ward Eight, Part 2)

Time for the next installment of my Necromunda gang, which will have some pics of other gangs and battles as a special bonus feature at the bottom as well as a quick blurb on where we’ve gotten so far.

Name: Smilin’ Charlie
Position: Gang Member
Equipment: Autogun, Gelignite Cream Pie (Frag Grenades)

Smilin’ Charlie is a real laugh riot- that is to say, he is the sort of person who enjoys laughing at riots. Dressed in bright, happy colors and carrying the customary tools of his trade, he travels about the Underhive bringing cheer and mirth to all who live there, whether they want it or not. His repertoire is endless- dead puppy jokes, dead baby jokes, dead mother jokes- Charlie knows them all and more. Not only that, but he is a master of physical comedy and the art of the practical joke as well- nothing sets a man’s face alight like discovering that his “glass of water” actually contains highly flammable alcohol compounds! Ho-ho, what a jest!

Despite all rumors to the contrary, he is in no way related to Richard Nixon. The eerie similarity of their faces is just a trick of the light. It’s just a trick of the light.

Name: Roxy
Position: N/A (not currently part of gang; will be a Heavy later)
Equipment: Missile Launcher, Frag Missiles

(Roxy is not actually a member of my gang at the current time, since I did not have enough starting cash to afford her in addition to the eleven other gang members I was fielding. However, luck willing, I intend to save up some credits and add her to the gang in the near future; my luck in rolling an Archaeotech Horde for one of my territories helps this immensely.)

Roxy, like most of the young folks recruited to the gang, isn’t nearly as insane as the founding members- that isn’t to say she’s entirely normal, as she willingly plays with unstable packages of high-explosive death each the size of her head, but she lacks the outright lunacy that characterizes the elder members of the gang. Unlike many of the other juveniles who joined, she did so with few illusions as to who and what she was allying herself with; it was less than a day from her initiation before she had to deal with… “overtures” from Mr. Giggles, for which she was entirely prepared. Roxy considers there mere fact that she carries her trusty DAW Personal Anti-Tank Missile Launcher to be a warning shot, and so anyone who attempts to coerce or intimidate her is given no second chances.

Still, at the end of the day it’s better than being stuck in the Progenium being bored out of her skull, innit?

Name: Handbanana
Position: Juve
Equipment: Autopistol, Banana (Knife)

Where Roxy is one end of the spectrum in terms of the gang’s new recruits, Handbanana is somewhere at the other. His reasons for joining the gang were simple: he was hungry. His methods were likewise fairly simple: observe what the others did, copy them. Unfortunately for Hand, his powers of deduction are… limited at best, so he wound up coming to the conclusion that the gang was some sort of costume-themed one and he prepared himself accordingly with the only costume he was able to steal, assuming that he would later be able to change into a better one.

Things didn’t go as planned. While he was welcomed into the gang, his every attempt to switch identities has been met with varying degrees of ostracization and mockery; it seems that Mad Dog, Pigskin, and Mr. Giggles are all infatuated with the prospect of a 4’8″ human banana dashing from cover to cover and taking potshots at the enemy alongside them. Poor Handbanana is thus stuck in his “temporary” garb, as even Dogwelder has decreed (in his own way) that it is to stay. Even though he has downed several enemies and grown into a real tough guy in the last few months, he is still treated like an amusing nephew or family pet.

But one day he’ll show them. He’ll show them all…

Name: Luke
Position: Juve
Equipment: Autopistol, Sword, Knife

Name: Fat Pony
Position: Pony
Equipment: Fatness

As inseperable and timeless as Lassie and Timmy, Luke and Fat Pony are a dynamic duo that…

What? No, of course it’s not a regular pony. Don’t you ever read any of the fluff for this game, you WAAC asshole? It’s a well-known fact that the Shetland Underhive breed is perfectly adapted to live in the shadowy ruins of the lower city. Like mountain goats, they can scale even near-vertical surfaces (such as ladders) with ease and their compact, flabby bodies more easily absorb the impact of falls and flying debris in this dangerous realm. Having lived on Necromunda for thousands of years, they are a perfect example of micro-adaptation to a climate, requiring less food and water and being more resistant to the various toxins. If ever there was a perfect mount for the city-bound Necromundan, truly it is the Shetland Underhive.

Where was I? Oh, right. Luke and his faithful Fat Pony are two stupid, stupid creatures whose main instinct is to charge directly into the source of any danger, adventure, or excitement they can find. Their continued existence is sometimes used as a counter-argument for Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Also, a preview of the remaining members of my gang:

(From left to right: Mr. Giggles, Bunny Boy, The King of the Underhive, Safe Susie and Padre Violence.)

Fatty With a Shotgun and his juve buddy take cover behind some monotone ruins.

A lazy Sunday massacre; Ward Eight takes on the Masque of the Red Death. An enemy Heavy (top center) keeps everyone on their toes as Bunny Boy and The King try to sneak by (bottom left.) Dog Welder and Smilin’ Charlie (bottom center) prepare to make a break for it as Safe Susie and Mad Dog (above them) provide covering fire from the walkways. Doctor Jerusalem and Pigskin (bottom right) move around to flank, unaware of Fatty With a Shotgun and his friends who are doing the same (not visible.)

Advancements Thus Far
We’ve had some pretty crazy rolls on the table so far; for example, Prospero, leader of the Masque of the Red Death, managed to roll up +1 Movement, Sprint, and Leap already and is thus crazy fast. Our other player (playing a Biblical-themed gang of Delaques painted like neon 80s street toughs) got unlucky and rolled up three Leg Wounds in his first battle, but is otherwise limping (hurr) along pretty well- having a pair of Heavies, one with Stubber and one with H.Bolter certainly doesn’t hurt things any.

My own heavy, Mr. Giggles, has managed to get something of a perfect storm of advancements (partly due to getting at least two wounding hits every battle) and is now BS5 and two Wounds, which makes him a prime target for Ambushes from now on. Doctor Jerusalem has managed to get lucky and roll up Medic off an Any Skill result, which I was rather happy with. (Chemist being the other one he would try for on that list.) Pigskin has, unfortunately, been the brunt of a lot of enemy fire and now suffers from an Old Battle Wound and a Head Wound (which really likes rolling Frenzy), but picked up +1 Attack (meaning he’s six attacks on the charge when Frenzied- yikes!) and Hard as Nails, so he’s now toting around Mesh Armor for a 4+ save. Safe Susie has not only picked up a small arsenal of weapons for Padre Violence (Boltgun, Laspistol, Hand Flamer) but also acquired a Grav Chute to make any hop from an upper floor as gentle as a baby’s kiss. Because what’s the point in having a floating machinegun robot if it doesn’t actually float?

Bunny Boy has managed to get himself up to BS4 and proper ganger status, so he was granted a Shotgun, but the cigars he smokes have taken a toll, alongside the smoggy air of the underhive, and he also lives with an Old Battle Wound. Handbana is apparently gunning to become my next Gang Leader and is Ld8 and I4 along with Mv5- he has gotten lucky with a number of shots against other big kahunas in enemy gangs. Last but not least, Luke and Fat Pony (my last remaining actual Juve) have toughened themselves up to a ridiculous three wounds one for Luke, one for the Pony, and one for… the fatness? They’ve made several suicide dives since them while carrying Loot tokens or aiming for enemy gangers.

The campaign, while it hasn’t had a lot of battles so far, has been tons of fun and we’re slowly getting some more folks recruited into it. If you’re in the Corvallis, Oregon area and are looking for a cheap, amusing game to start up, I would highly encourage you to give Necromunda a shot, as it’s a real blast.

Email in: Yet Another Necron List at 1,500

“Hi Kirby!

First of all, thank you for the first army list critique you did for me back when I was playing primarily with the Space Marine codex. I disagreed with a few choices for stylistic reasons, but it pointed me in the right direction. It’s safe to say it changed the way I built lists for the better, and allowed me to become a much more competitive player.

But now, we have awakened, and I can finally return to my true army, the Necrons. Can you please have a stab at the list below for me? This is the list I’m currently using, though it’s still fairly malleable.

Overlord, Warscythe, Sempiternal Weave, Catacomb Command Barge
2 Harbingers of Destruction, Solar Pulse

Fast Attack
3 Canoptek Wraiths, all with Whip Coils
5 Scarabs
5 Scarabs

9 Warriors, Ghost Ark
9 Warriors, Ghost Ark
10 Immortals, Tesla Carbines

Heavy Support
2 Canoptek Spyders, Gloom Prism
Annihilation Barge, Tesla Cannon
Annihilation Barge, Tesla Cannon

Total: 1499 points

A few notes:
Released models only where possible, please. I can kitbash Crypteks and similar, but I’m not up to kitbashing a Stalker or a Scythe.
My club and the other groups I play with are of the opinion that taking two Crypteks in a given unit via the “only one model from this unit” is wishful thinking, so a two Overlord, double-lance Ghost Ark setup isn’t possible.
I’m considering dropping the two Spyders as they aren’t too difficult to remove, usually only get two bases of Scarabs out before the Scarabs have run off and are generally aren’t threatening. In their place I’m considering another Annihilation Barge, dropping some upgrades and putting a Transmogrification Cryptek with a Harp of Dissonance in the Immortal unit.

Usually the Arks move forward aggressively with the Wraiths, Scarabs and Overlord being on the front line. The Overlord does what damage he can then usually spends himself in combat with a choice unit once his Barge is shot out from under him. The Spyders support this first wave as best they can, with the Barges providing the fire support. The Immortals sit on an objective or push forward as appropriate, filling in holes where I need mobile firepower but can’t spare a Barge to do the job.


I think the general list is fine but needs a few tweaks. Only three scoring options – I’d be looking to make this at least four which can be done by splitting the Immortals up though this makes them weaker overall. If you are able to find points to make these 2x7x strong or so though, you’d be sitting prettier on that front. Anti-tank is something else which is just a bit lacking – dropping the Immortals to two squads and kitbashing two extra Crypteks would get you another 2 S8 shots which could help out here. Making one of these a Harp Cryptek isn’t a bad idea either – I’m quite partial to the Harp myself ^^.

Otherwise – weave isn’t really need on the Overlord, too expensive. Wraith squad is too small – a lucky missile barrage will make this unit little metal particles. Six strong or go home and in this case, I simply wouldn’t take them (which frees up points for the extra Immortals + Crypteks). The Scarabs + Spyders are fine though if you wanted to roll 3x Barges + Scarabs that works as well. I think this really comes down to personal preference in what you want as both combinations are workable.

Meet the Gang! (Ward Eight, Part 1)

Having finished the first few models of my Necromunda gang, Ward Eight, and gotten ahold of a halfway-decent camera to get some pictures with, I think it’s high time I finally posted some actual models of mine for people. And thus: an introduction to the members of my gang.

Position: Gang Leader
Armament: Plasma Welding Torch (Plasma Pistol), Dead Dog (Sword), Knife

Dogwelder is the heroic captain of Ward Eight, the man who lead the rebellion against the psychiatrists and doctors that had imprisoned them in the world above and brought them down to the depths of the Underhive. A silent and imposing man, he never speaks a word, making his will known only by gestures and actions- for which his underlings only respect them all the more. He is a force of justice in the savage settlements and unexplored hives, laying his wrath upon any who would violate his strict codes of conduct. And in the Court of Dogwelder, there is only one punishment, no matter the crime- to have a dead dog spot-welded to one’s face, though he may show small mercy to a repenant or underage criminal and merely weld the dog to their arm or torso. When he strikes, he strikes silently from the shadows, applying his unique brand of justice before fading back into the shattered ferrocrete blocks and crumbling structure that lie everywhere, only the screams of his target and the faintly nauseating smell of charred fur and flesh left hanging in the air.

It is also possible that Dogwelder is just a crazy autistic man who hates canines and humans with equal fervor.

Position: Gang Member
Armament: Chain, Cleaver (Sword), Knife

Pigskin is a bad, bad man- his momma always told him so. Working on the processed meat combine all day long, little Pigskin saw a lot of accidents with the machines- boys and men who got chopped up, crushed, flensed, eviscerated, and all sorts of other nasty fates. Work always had to stop when it happened and everyone would gather around and shake their heads at the sadness of it all, but not little Pigskin; he knew that the people who got fed into the machines got eaten up because they were weak and stupid. When the techpriests came around to fix things- the metal men served the giant machines, because they were half flesh, and thus still prone to imperfection. The weak, mewling masses served as only food for the machines, because there was nothing else they could offer. Little Pigskin knew the secret: he could become like the machines if he, too fed on the flesh of the weak.

It took them a long time to catch him and send him to the sanitarium, and by that time he had grown big and strong. Not as strong as the machines, maybe, but he knew that day would come. He’s eaten a lot of weak, stupid people, but there’s still room for plenty more, and maybe someday soon he’ll get to start stepping beyond the weaknesses of flesh.

Doctor Jerusalem
Position: Gang Member
Armament: Autopistol, Frag Grenades, Smoke Grenades, Knife

It is okay for Doctor Jerusalem prescribe drugs for people because he is a doctor- that’s what they do. Even if the drugs are for him, that’s okay. In fact, that’s much more than okay, that is wonderful. So wonderful that he prescribes all of the drugs he can find right into himself immediately. You might think this would be bad for him, but you would be wrong- his journalistic powers allow him to take in every iota of what is happening to his body and write it down. People tell him that Journalism doctorate does not give him the authority to give medicine to patients, much less himself, but Doctor Jerusalem beats these people to death with his meat gun.

His meat gun is not the pistol he carries with him; it’s the other meat gun.

(The meat gun is his penis.)

Doctor Jerusalem stays with Ward Eight because he shares a mutual loathing of dogs with Dogwelder and because if you’re going to get fucked up on drugs, you might as well hang around crazy people while you do it, because they’re the only ones who aren’t going to kvetch and whine about the way you act afterwards.

Mad Dog
Position: Gang Member
Armament: Autogun, Axe, Knife

While most of the members of Ward Eight can lay claim to various forms of madness, Mad Dog stands out from the rest in his own special way. After all, when your companions are escape mental patients, it takes a special kind of weirdness to get a nickname that starts with “mad.” And mad he is, in both senses of the word- furious that the Serpentum Primus of Hive Omega is stealing his lesbian cake recipes, supremely confident that his lucky magic underwear will protect him from any harm, and liable to forget either of these things (and any other facet of his madness) at any given moment.

Although he is usually regarded as a source of amusement for the gang, even the more sociopathic members are leery of provoking him, as Mad Dog is as likely to throw down his weapons and try and bite his opponent to death as he is to snap off two dead-center sots from his rifle. His unpredictability makes him an excellent distraction during fights, especially combined with the loud rants he usually throws at the enemy.

So those are the first four of my gang members (with seven more still to be painted.) There are a number of small details that need going-over and touching-up; Jerusalem’s tattoos could probably use a highlight, his and Mad Dog’s bases need the water effects applied in the “sewer” side of them, I’m still not happy with the way Dogwelder’s faceplate came out, etc. However, they are at least presentable right now and, in general, I’m fairly happy with the way they’ve come out. I also need to add rust stains to the bases, but I’m waiting to do that en masse, as all of the gang will need it and I’ll be doing a bunch of terrain pieces at the same time.

For those interested, Pigskin is from Armorcast’s Spinespur line (though I can’t seem to find his model available anymore), Jerusalem is from the Wasteland Desperadoes line from Copplestone Castings, and Mad Dog and Dogwelder are both from Hasslefree.

It’s Necromunda time! (Part 2: Skills)

(Pictured: not my gang, but only barely.)

Likely the most problematic section of the Necromunda rules are the skill lists; even the designers have as much as admitted that they are atrocious, releasing several semi-official changes to them that help some, but still leave them with some fundamental problems. The most obvious of these is simply balance- some of the trees (Techno) are far better than the others (Muscle), with the latter in particular being basically complete trash.

Worse, most of the trees have at least one or two skills that are amazingly narrow- Escape Artist (from Agility) is a good example of this; the skill does absolutely nothing for you unless you first go down and then out of action and then roll a particular, non-common result on the Serious Injury chart, in which case you… get to pretend the whole thing didn’t happen. Yeah, uh, that’s totally worth it.

No, the skill charts in Necromunda are far and away its most problematic section and, even if I hadn’t done anything else, they would have required fixing. With that said, many of the fixes others have written (or that the designers have offered) help a lot, so quite a bit of my work was already done for me.

The first change, for those that haven’t seen the add-on lists, was to create the Leadership and Heavy skill groups, which served to siphon off all of the “____-only” skills and allow us to create some type-specific results without ending up with a skill table that was, realistically, only four or fewer long for some gang members.

I also chose to tweak the advancement table itself slightly, resulting in this:

2 New Skill- Any (Roll a random skill from one skill table of your choice; only Leaders may take Leadership and Heavies Heavy.)
3 New Skill- Gang (Roll a random skill from one of the tables normally available to that gang member.)

4 Characteristic Increase. Roll a d6:
1-3 Initiative 4-6 Movement

5 Characteristic Increase. Roll a d6:
1-3 Toughness 4-6 Strength

6 Characteristic Increase. Roll a d6:
1-3 Weapon Skill 4-6 Ballistic Skill

7 New Skill- Gang (Roll a random skill from one of the tables normally available to that gang member.)

8 Characteristic Increase. Roll a d6:
1-3 Weapon Skill 4-6 Ballistic Skill

9 Characteristic Increase. Roll a d6:
1-3 Wounds 4-6 Leadership

10 Characteristic Increase. Roll a d6:
1-3 Attacks 4-6 Player’s choice

11 New Skill- Gang (Roll a random skill from one of the tables normally available to that gang member.)

12 New Skill- Any (Roll a random skill from one skill table of your choice; only Leaders may take Leadership and Heavies Heavy.)

The main issue was the center result on the old table giving you Leadership and Initiative, which we didn’t feel was particularly appropriate or interesting. By shuffling the numbers around, we maintained the same overall number of skill results (1/3 of the table, both in the old and the new) and percentage of gang skills vs. others, but spread out the stats a little bit. Weapon and Ballistic Skill remain the most common, with all the others (except the aforementioned Ld/Ini) being roughly the same. Also notable is the addition of Movement and Player’s Choice results for stats- since a conscious decision was made to avoid giving bonuses to any of the characteristics in the Skill lists (something Mr. Case had experimented with in his version and I found interesting, but the others didn’t particularly like), I wanted all of the stats to have at least some kind of option for increasing.


1. Catfall: Any time a fighter with this skill falls, they may make an initiative test; if succeeded, they have managed to roll out, go limp, grab something, or otherwise slow their descent- no damage is suffered from the fall and the model is not pinned (unless the fall was caused by being shot). A fall of 12″ or more will still take the fighter out of action as normal.

2. Dodge: The model has a 6+ invulnerable saving throw against damage from melee and shooting attacks, representing their uncanny ability to get out of the way of danger. If the model is hit by a blast or template weapon and succeeds this save, move them up to 2″ to try and escape the attack; if they can move completely out from under the template using their movement, they escape unharmed; otherwise, they are struck as normal and the dodge save provides no benefit.

3. Evade: Enemies shooting at the ganger from long range suffer a -1 to-hit penalty, and those at short range suffer a -2 penalty. If the model is in cover, either apply this modifier or the modifier for cover, whichever is greater.

4. Leap: Either before or after their normal movement in the Movement Phase the model may elect to leap, moving up to d6″ and passing over obstacles and models of up to man height; this movement can also carry the ganger over gaps, but the attempt to leap must be declared before the roll is made, and if insufficient distance is rolled they will fall. A model may not hide or assault in a turn in which it uses Leap.

5. Gecko Crawl: As long as it doesn’t carry a heavy weapon or otherwise encumber itself, the ganger can scale right up the side of otherwise-impassible walls! Count such movement as across difficult terrain (1/2 speed); it will generally be impossible to actually place the model in the appropriate spot, but a note should be made of its height so that it may be suitably “suspended” to check if enemies can draw LOS to it, etc. A model may not shoot or charge while climbing, but may Run.

6. Sprint: When running, the ganger moves three times their movement characteristic rather than just double.

Agility was one of the easiest trees to modify- many of its abilities were just fine as they were and just needed a little cleaning up in the language or small tweaks to make them work properly. Evade was moved here from the Stealth tree for flavor reasons and Gecko Crawl was added to allow one additional “mode” of movement. I had concerns about Leap, since I felt it was potentially too good, allowing a ganger to effectively Run every turn without losing their ability to shoot, but others felt it was fine, so we left is more or less as it was. Most of the Agility skills were pulled either from the errata or from some of the house rules I had found floating around.


1. Combat Master: The ganger’s prowess in a fight is such that they will always hit enemy models on a 3+ in close combat. Additionally, if involved in a multiple combat, instead of having to divide their attacks between opponents, they make their full allotment against each enemy.

2. Disarm: At the beginning of the first round of combat, before any blows are struck, roll a die for each model they are engaged with; on a 4+, the model knocks one of the enemy’s weapons away (this does not have to be a melee weapon) and it may no longer be used for the remainder of the battle.

3. Dirty Fighter: Each round of melee combat, you may reroll one missed attack or failed wound.

4. Furious Charge: When the ganger charges, they benefit from +1Str and +1Ini for the first turn of combat.

5. Rampage: Each time this model downs an enemy in close combat, they gain a culmulative +1 bonus to their Attacks and Wounds characteristics; these bonuses last only until the end of the battle.

6. Step Aside: The model has a 4+ invulnerable save against all attacks made against it in close combat.

More so than any other tree, Combat required rewriting because of the changes we made to the game system, as most of its abilities simply didn’t function without 2E-style melee combat. I also wanted to follow the course others had taken and steer away from melee combat being an “all parries all the time” thing, which the Combat tree only reinforced. Combat’s big schtick is that it lets you win fights, not get into fights; you need other skills for that. Most of the skills are fairly simple in what they do, but I feel they significantly swing the fight in the favor of their possessor in most cases. A few of them (Disarm, Step Aside) were kept more or less intact from their original versions, but the majority were rewritten entirely.


1. Tough Luck: The ganger can force a single die per battle to be rerolled, so long it is one of their own hit or wound rolls or such a roll made by an opponent against them the ganger.

2. Hard As Nails: The ganger is so tough and resistant that they are entitled to a 6+ armor save; if they wear armor, this instead increases the value of that armor by one (6+ to 5+, etc.)

3. Impetuous: The model’s charge range and follow-up moves are increased by 2″ each, so normally movement + 2″ for the former and 4″ for the latter.

4. Killer Reputation: The ganger has a terrifying rep that paints him or her as one of the most vicious foes in the underhive. They benefit from Fear, as described in the rulebook, and the first time each enemy model tries to shoot at them during a game, they must make a Leadership check; if they fail, they are too terrified to attack the fighter and only quail instead!

5. Nerves of Steel: The model may attempt to escape from Pinning at the beginning of their turn even if there is not a friendly model nearby; if they were otherwise allowed to do so (because they are a Leader, because there was another model present) they may reroll a failed check.

6. True Grit: The first time this model rolls an Out of Action result while down, instead treat it as a Flesh Wound. (If this reduces their WS or BS to zero, this will still take them out as normal.)

The Ferocity tree before was a bit confused about what it was trying to do, but there was a good start to a theme going on there and it had several very worthwhile skills. I kept a good chunk of these as well, though most all of them with tweaks of one kind or another, with Tough Luck being the only really “new” skill. The new Ferocity tree is basically defensive in nature, but does so in ways that encourage the ganger to play aggressively- it’s sort of the complement to the Combat tree, helping keep you alive to do things.


1. Body Slam: The model can, during either Movement, Assault, or both, choose make a “rush” move instead of moving normally. A “rush” moves the model d6″ (or movement + d6″, if it chooses to run) in a straight line, ignoring obstacles, difficult and very difficult terrain, and even walls- the ganger crashes right through them! The model must move the full distance rolled, and so should be careful of ledges and dangerous terrain, lest they hurtle just a little bit too far.

2. Iron Man: The ganger’s tough physique lets him shrug off all but the most powerful of blows. Any melee or shooting attack that hits him is resolved at -1 Str. (Armor modifiers remain unchanged.)

3. Crushing Blow: The ganger can, before any blows are struck, choose to trade his normal attacks in for Crushing Blows. A Crushing Blow attack is always resolved at Initiative 1, but strikes as though his strength were two higher than normal (which can be increased by weapons as normal) and may not be parried.

4. Bulging Biceps: The ganger’s prodigious strength allows him to carry far more than any normal person could hope to. The model is never considered encumbered for carrying a heavy weapon (although they are still limited to having only one) and may wield two-handed weapons in one hand (and thus get bonus attacks from having a second weapon, are not limited to only having one, etc.)

5. Hurl Opponent: At the end of any round of melee, the ganger may choose one model in base contact to throw- move this model d6″ in a direction of your choosing, and they suffer a hit with Str equal to half (round up) the distance rolled on the die. The model will stop if they contact any obstacle, solid object, or another model, but in such a case both will suffer damage as if thrown. You may even choose for the ganger to “hurl” one of your own models, if they are in base-to-base contact; treat this exactly the same as above, but reduce the strength of the hit by -1.

6. Relentless: The ganger can charge after firing Special and Basic weapons and his bulk allows him to reroll failed Initiative tests to avoid being knocked off an edge.

Oh god Muscle. By far the worst tree before, most of Muscle’s abilities were things that only helped in specific melee combat circumstances (giving you “break even” choices that were no better than what you already were doing, in most cases) or limited in who could have them. To make matters worse, the theme for the group is rather limiting and does not lend itself well to ideas, at least in my opinion. We managed to salvage several of the old Muscle skills, however, and add what I felt were several new ones worth taking. I still think it’s one of the worse trees overall, but with a couple standouts (Iron Man, Body Slam) that make it potentially worthwhile.


1. Marksman: The character may ignore the normal requirement to shoot at the closest target, instead being able to pick any target they can see. In addition, all Pistol and Basic weapons the ganger uses have their maximum range extended by 50%- so a weapon that could normally shoot to 24″ can shoot 36″, etc; this extension is part of the weapon’s long range.

2. Gunfighter: The ganger can wield (and use) one Pistol weapon in each hand, shooting with both of them simultaneously at the same target. He cannot do so, however, if one of his hands is occupied carrying another weapon. If involved in a Fast Draw, the model can also double its initiative for purposes of those rules.

3. Rapid Fire: If they stand still, the ganger can fire any one Pistol or Basic weapon carried twice during the shooting phase. A ganger that fired a Pistol weapon in this way may not charge.

4. Hip Shooting: The ganger can ignore the normal restriction against shooting in a turn in which they ran, but suffers a -1 to-hit penalty and may not use any weapon sights when doing so. Note that this does not alleviate the restrictions on move-or-fire weapons.

5. Spray and Pray: Once per battle during the shooting phase, the model may choose to fire one of their weapons as if it had an extra die of sustained fire. (If it normally does not have any, this will give it one.) Once the attack is resolved, make an ammo check for the gun in addition to any it had to make for the results of its to-hit dice.

6. Crack Shot: When a ganger downed by one of this model’s shooting attacks makes a recovery roll, they treat rolls of 5-6 as “out of action” instead of the normal results. (If the weapon would use a special table for downed targets, instead increase the top category in size by one.)

Shooting was mostly a good tree, handicapped by a couple of weird issues (stacking abilities, stat-dependent skills) to fix. As such, a lot of the skills were kept as they were, with only a few changes to make the tree more viable for everyone. I’m not entirely happy with Crack Shot, since it ends up being a “screw the enemy” skill, not a “help your gang” skill somewhat, but we were unable to agree on a better version, so this is where it stands.


1. Ambush: The ganger may hide and go into overwatch in the same turn, instead of having to expend their entire turn to enter overwatch as normal.

2. Dive: The ganger is allowed to hide after running.

3. Escape Artist: At the end of any round of combat where this model is still engaged with the enemy, they may “leap back” d6″ in any direction, passing over man-sized obstacles and enemy models. If this movement is sufficient to take them out of base contact with all enemies, they are no longer engaged and may act freely; enemies do not get to make follow-up moves. If this model rolls a “Captured” result on the serious injury table, instead treat it as “Survives Against the Odds.”

4. Concealment: Whenever the model is in cover, increase the cover penalty to hit by an additional -1. (Weapons which ignore cover penalties will still ignore this modifier.)

5. Infiltrate: When deploying on the table, the model can always be placed last, after all other gang members from both sides, and may be anywhere on the table out of line of sight of the enemy gang. If both players have models with Infiltrate, roll off to determine who places theirs first.

6. Scout: After all players have deployed all their models (including infiltrators) but before the game starts, the ganger can make one free move as though during the movement phase, including Running or using other special movements. Additionally, when sentries attempt to spot this model (in scenarios where those rules are used), they halve all distances to do so.

Stealth, like Agility, had several well-designed skills that were elegant and functional and several complete trash skills that you dreaded rolling up. Unsurprisingly, we kept the former and got rid of the latter; as with Muscle, filling in new skills was tricky, but we eventually settled on some relatively simple choices. Notice that several of the skills secretly have some of the old skill rolled into them as a one-line rider ability.


1. Chemist: After each battle, roll a d6; on a 6, the ganger has created a small stache of useful drugs. Each successful roll with this skill will create d3 doses of a random drug; roll randomly amongst the “Drug” results on the trading post chart.

2. Cartographer: After each battle, roll a d6; on a 6, the ganger has discovered an unclaimed section of the underhive for his gang to take over- roll on the territories chart to see what it is. Your gang is still limited to a maximum of seven territories, as normal.

3. Inventor: After each battle, roll a d6; on a 6, the ganger manages to cobble together some sort of unusual device. Roll on the trading post chart to generate the random item; if you get a Drugs result, roll again, and if you get a Weapon Surplus result you may choose any one common weapon. If you pay 10% of the item’s cost, the invention is successful and you add the item to your stache; if you do not or cannot pay, the invention is a failure.

4. Medic: After a battle when rolling for serious injuries, you may have a Medic aid one other ganger and reroll any result on the chart. If you have multiple gangers with this skill they may each aid a character once (granting additional rerolls), but the final result always stands, and each Medic can only aid a single gang member each battle.

5. Specialist: The model gains the ability to use Special weapons (and Basic weapons, if they are a Juve.) If the model could already do so (due to being a Heavy, Leader, or Gang Hero), they instead may reroll all failed wounds with Special weapons.

6. Weaponsmith: Whenever the model rolls a failed ammo check (or explosion), roll a die; on a 4+, it is ignored.

Techno, in its previous incarnations, pretty much just blew all of the other skill groups away by virtue of having multiple good skills and only one trashy one. Fixing it didn’t actually mean significant nerfs to any of its abilities but rather making everything else more worthwhile to bring them on par. I also wanted to avoid making it too much the “I’m the best at ammo checks” skill group, and as such agreed with the removal of Armourer to the Heavy skill group. Techno is a very random group, as many of its abilities only function on a six after a battle, but we felt this was okay, as it fits with Necromundas overall flavor and wackiness. Specialist is still rather strong, but we didn’t want anyone to be able to roll a “dead” skill on any of the charts, so we chose to give it a secondary bonus despite that.


1. Scorched Earth: The heavy’s talent with area of effect weapons is legendary. Weapons that use a blast marker scatter half the normal distance; weapons that use the flamer template automatically hit all targets even partially underneath it.

2. Long Shot: No one can line up a bead like the heavy can. So long as they only fire one shot from a heavy weapon, they gain a +1 to-hit bonus.

3. Walking Fire: When using sustained fire to shoot at several models, additional targets need only be within 6″ (instead of 4″) of the original target.

4. Big Man: The model may move and shoot a heavy weapon, but suffers a -1 to-hit penalty when doing so.

5. Covering Fire: If the heavy shoots at an enemy model, one friendly gang member he can see gets +1Mv on their next turn.

6. Armorer: The heavy tunes and checks up all of the gang’s weapons before each battle, allowing every gang member to add +1 to all ammo rolls (including rolls to see if a weapon explodes) made during the battle. A result of ‘1’ will still fail, and weapons that automatically fail ammo rolls are unaffected.

Stealing the idea from the expanded Necromunda rules, a chart specifically only for Heavies was added, giving them another option to pick from. Three of them are designed to nudge the heavy towards using specific types of weapons, while the others are mostly just ports of existing heavy-only abilities. Covering Fire is something of a placeholder and I’m not entirely happy with it, but lacking any better ideas it is what it is.


1. Trash Talk: at the end of their own movement phase, the model may “talk trash” at the enemy by succeeding a Leadership roll. If they do, any enemy which can see them and chooses to shoot must choose them as the target, even if there are closer enemies or easier shots, unless this model is pinned, down, or hiding. If they wish to continue trash talking in their subsequent turns, a new Leadership roll is required each time.

2. Iron Will: You may reroll the first failed bottle check you are required to make, so long as this model is not down or out of action.

3. Fence: The leader always seems to know a guy who knows a guy. Any search rolls to find a rare item are made with 2d6+2 instead of the normal 2d6, and the random cost for any rare item (except those with no fixed component) is automatically the minimum.

4. Mentor: Other gangers, juves and heavies may reroll all results on the advancement table, but must accept the results of the second roll.

5. Informant: If you choose, your leader may visit his informant instead of searching or browsing the trading post (and thus will not get to roll for rare items unless you send one or more gangers to do so.) If you do, you may make a Leadership test for them- success means you add or subtract two from the roll to determine what scenario is played during the next game.

6. Inspirational: Gang members may use the fighter’s Leadership value if they are within 12″ instead of within 6″, as normal, but they must be able to draw LOS to the Leader to do so.

Also stolen from the expanded rules, Leadership is mostly intended to be a “meta” tree that benefits the gang in a variety of indirect ways, rather than just making your Leader more fighty, etc. Mentor and Iron Will (even despite the nerf) are both quite good and look to be potential standouts, but lacking any experience with the tree, we’re going to give things a try before making any further changes to it.

So there you have it, the skill trees. I know there are many other people who have come up with solutions of their own to the problems with the skills; in many cases I drew on their suggestions or outright stole their work when writing these.

It’s Necromunda time! (Part 1: The Armory)


It’s a good game, playing much more like the older editions of 40K in many respects, since it’s skirmish-sized and requires a rather small up-front investment of models. (Terrain, on the other hand, can be a pain, but that’s a story for another day.) Also unlike 40K it is continuing, with what occurred in the previous battles being relevant to what happens in the later ones; your gangers might get injured or gain experience, get a windfall of cash or go broke and have to eat the new recruit, “Lunch.” Poor guy. Because it’s very much aimed at being a casual game, it leaves itself open to many of the strange and wacky happening that don’t function as well in something that is designed to be a properly-balanced gaming system.

In short, it’s a very different experience from 40K, and one I haven’t gotten to try out nearly as much as I’d like. Thus it was that I decided that I would run a Necromunda campaign for folks down at our local shop, hopefully attracting a decent crowd and letting me play out some interesting campaign ideas I’ve had laying around for a while. However, before doing that, both I and the people I talked about the subject to decided that the system needed some significant revamps, because while the game was playable in its unmodified form, it could benefit greatly from some updates.

Thus, over the next several articles here I’m going to detail some of what I did and why as well as open it up to comments and questions from the rest of the 3++ folks; while I’ve had the advisement of a couple other veteran players, more ideas and thoughts would certainly be helpful, both to give me ideas and to force me to defend the choices I’ve made here.

I’ll start things off with the new equipment table; keep in mind this isn’t the entirety of things, as it’s missing all of the “miscellaneous” stuff from the Trading Post, which I’ll go over in a later bit.

Hopefully that’s readable for most everyone. Most everything is basically the same, but with one important addendum that’s worth mentioning here: rather than simply being rare or common, most rare items have a rarity value; when going to the trading post, one can either choose to roll normally on the table (which will net you some kind of item for sure, but who knows what) or search for a specific item, in which case the player rolls 2d6 and must equal or beat the rarity value of the item in question. If they roll below that, the search is unsuccessful and that trade attempt is wasted. (As usual, a Leader gets d3 such attempts and gangers can be brought along to get another one each.) I’ll go over this system some more once we get to that part, but I wanted to at least explain what was going on with regards to that.

Hand-to-Hand Weapons
Most everything here is pretty much the same; the addition of the Monosword (which can be slightly better than the Chainsword if you have good stats) and a tweak to make the Massive Weapon a bit more useful are all I really did, although the Chain/Flail entry was also altered slightly. Major changes to the combat system should mean that Parry is less overwhelming than it was before. Power Weapons end up being rather expensive, all in all, and are mostly good for chopping through opponents with armor or high toughness; making them slightly more available (okay, more than slightly) gives melee-focused gangs more of a chance.

Pistol Weapons
Stub Gun and Plasma Pistol are the standouts here; the former was made cheaper and had its penalty to hit removed, but it’s still the worst gun in the game, just now it might almost be worth maybe throwing at a Juve as a backup or something. The Plasma Pistol was brought slightly more in line with the other pistols in terms of stats (particularly range) and also made slightly more expensive to compensate, since it isn’t something that I wanted to see getting tossed on every Juve.

Basic Weapons
Here is where a lot of the bigger changes start to creep in; in an attempt to see armor be a little less worthless, save modifiers of many weapons were decreased across the board- for example, the Lasgun became -0 instead of -1, as did the Laspistol. Effectively I/we considered S4 to be the “standard” for where guns would be allowed to start having negative save modifiers, although some exceptions were made. Lasguns were also made a little more expensive to make them less ubiquitous; it is now less a case that the Lasgun is better in every way than the Autogun and now more that it is a sort of “step up” from the Autogun, being more expensive but also more reliable. The Crossbow was added as a super-shoddy basic weapon that Juves could potentially wield, if you hated them, and the Exterminator was ported over from some of the older source material as a bolt-on addition to a basic gun; the Underbarrel Grenade Launcher was cast in the same mold, though not specifically drawn from anywhere. Consideration was made for adding another basic weapon to pick from, to add some variety, but in the end it was decided that could be problematic and the issue was left to other mechanics to solve.

Special Weapons
We get deeper into a lot of the changes here. The Flamer had its ammo roll improved because, frankly, it was awful before. The Grenade Launcher, being even worse, had Move-or-Fire dropped and had its cost decreased significantly, although its range also fell. The Meltagun was given the ability to ignore cover modifiers to shooting, under the reasoning that such a weapon could cut right through any cover that might be present in Necromunda. (Also it needed something going for it compared to the other special weapons.) The Plasmagun and Needle Rifle were left mostly alone, since both of them were usable weapons in their own right. Special weapons still end up being a largely inferior choice to heavy weapons, but are at least worth considering with these modifications.

Heavy Weapons
Under the original Necromunda rules, there realistically was only one heavy weapon choice: the Heavy Stubber. The long-range high-strength guns that were useful for cracking tanks and bypassing armor in 40K were utterly purposeless in Necromunda, and the Autocannon and Heavy Bolter, though possessing some limited advantages, were mostly poor substitutes for the Stubber. I tried to shift this somewhat without blatantly changing things about the guns or their statlines, instead giving them some more subtle bonuses. The Autocannon notably gained Knockback and to-hit bonuses, while the Missile Launcher gained the large blast on its frag missiles (which, oddly, it did not have, though frag grenades did). Though the Stubber will still tend to be the cheaper, default option for many gangs, once again, at least the other options are worth thinking about now.

Here is the last of the major shifts to the armory; armor was made easier to get (due to the trading post system) and more effective (by having fewer weapons penalize it.) While there was, and still is, some concern about the proliferation of armor through the game, we reasoned that 5+ saves (probably the default) are simply not reliable enough and would be expensive enough that it would not be an easy “buy one for everybody” option. Should the experiment fail, we can always revert things back or otherwise re-balance the system to fit, but I believe that as it stands it shouldn’t be problematic.

House Weapon Lists
These were interesting because they were a (relatively) recent introduction to the game, not being present in the older editions (or so I’m told.) Not only did this rankle some players, but the lists are also clearly imbalanced, with very strange items being present- or missing- from different lists. Since I also was pushing to allow players to customize their gangs or create them from whole cloth, we eventually decided to take a fairly bold step with regards to these and simply cast them out of the game. Players would be allowed to buy anything from the above armory list (except the armors) with their starting funds, though beyond that they would be bound by the common/rare distinction and their visits to the Trading Post.


So, that’s the start of the rules changes. In the next post I’ll put up my alterations to the basic rules, including close combat, advancement, and most especially the Trading Post and skill tables. As everything gets built and we move towards starting the game (current plan is for 3rd of December) I’ll also try and get some pictures of our terrain and gangs for everyone as well as after-action reports.

Roland Does: Specialty Games

I’ve decided to add a new little subsection here into the 3++ Realm and begin discussing two of my favorite Specialist games out there: Necromunda and Infinity. The Specialty Game series will go through the ins and outs of the games, Army Lists I’m tinkering with, and some background. Hopefully by the end of the series I’ll may have sparked some interest amongst you all in checking out some of these other games. They both offer very different game mechanics from 40K and and can be more tactical for different reasons. Plus, they offer a break from large and long (2+ hour) games as at most they’ll have less than 15 models (usually) games go by quickly allowing more to games to be played on a given game night. Also the fewer the models the quicker and easier painting and converting becomes as you have less to work with, and more time to spend on each model.

So the first part in this series will be on Necromunda. I’ll point out GWvsJohns posts in Part 1 of the Necromunda guide, but to hold you over until then…check out my gang as it slowly forms!

The photo above is of SGT Apone with Flamer and Chainsword. And here are some more:

The first photo above is just a generic Sniper I’ve done some light conversions too. I like autoguns so I’ve tweaked his Long Las rifle to be a Sniper Autogun. My next Sniper conversion I’m going to use the bolt pistol magazine instead so it looks more like a small box magazine akin to what the Barret .50cal Sniper Rifle uses, as opposed to the more assault rifle look on this one. The next two photos are two looks at Hudson. I wanted to pose him from the scene in the movie when he gets dragged under the floor boards by the Xenomorphs, ergo the talon through his foot dragging him down, and the massive one through his chest.

The two photos above are of the Juve Wierzbowski. His autopistol is converted from a laspistol, a bolt pistol barrel, and a bolt pistol mag with some minor adjustments. And finally, the full squad:

The two photos above are supposed to be in a semi-diorama set up. I’m trying to figure out placement for a potential display board for next years NOVA…

From Left to Right- Hudson, Hicks, Apone (in background), Frosty, and Bozski.

Oh and because I love my Sniper 🙂

The one lesson I learned from the conversions that I realized aggravated me was the fact that FW models are smaller than regular GW IG models. Apone and Bowski’s heads seem…off due to the fact that the Elysian models are more thin and lithe than normal IG models. Upside was the weapons conversions were real simple – cut off the hands on both models and glue them together and voila! Perfect fit. As for using these guys outside of Necro…I may use some of the regular guys in my normal IG/Elysian lists as a “showcase” squad. Otherwise they’ll just be a diorama squad.

Now to just do Vasquez, Drake, and Gorman.

Oh and to buy $1200 worth of Elysian models….ugh


Sooooo I’m in the midst of doing my NOVA write up (Gramps hit up most of my “Good, Bad, and Ugly” points in his article so my first article will go over Battle 1 and touch on a few things I have in addition to what Gramps said. In the interim though, my gaming group and I have decided to take the next few month or so off of competitive 40K and start a fun and relaxing Necromunda Campaign. What is Necromunda you ask? Well GWvsJohn wrote some excellent basic intro article earlier linked here, here, here, and here. Basic gist of it is a 40K “skirmish” game where you control a “gang” of anywhere between 3 and 12+ Gang members. Like the 5th Ed Battle Missions scenario “Kill Team”, every model you have is basically an independent character – they move by themselves, don’t need to maintain coherency, and can shoot whatever they want. Since most gangs are between (usually) 8-12 gang members, games go by quickly, with the average game lasting maybe 90 minutes.

With all that said, I’ve decided to use the upcoming table top Necromunda campaign as an excuse to start building my Elysians and to really let out my modeling/creative side. Since I only need 10-12 models for Necro, it means I can really convert and give life to one of my Elysians squads, who will just happen to be my Necro gang. As for my gang (both in real life and in the Vassal Necro Campaign we’re starting) my gang is an Orlock gang called “The Bug Hunters”. Here’s their breakdown:

SGT Al Apone (Gang Leader) – Flamer, Chainsword, Knife – 185
PVT Mark Drake (Heavy) – Heavy Stubber, Autopistol, Knife – 195
PVT Jeanette Vasquez (Heavy) – Heavy Stubber, Autopistol, Knife – 195
Corporal Dwayne Hicks (Ganger) – Shotgun, Man-Stopper Rounds, Autopistol, Knife – 90
PVT Will Hudson (Ganger) – Autogun, Autopistol, Knife – 85
PVT Will Ricco Frost (Ganger) – Autogun, Autopistol, Knife – 85
PVT Trevor Wierzbowski (Juve) – Autopistol, Maul, Knife – 50
LT Will Gorman (Juve) – Autopistol, Maul, Knife – 50

Total Cred: 935

+10 Cool Points to whoever identifies the theme first. Anyway, here’s the first two models. Lemme know what ya think!

And last but not least:

The guy on the left running with the shotgun is CPL Hicks. The guy crouching on the right with the Xenomorph coming out of the floor is Frosty. I accidentally broke the barrel off of his autogun/bullpup lasgun, but I realized the broken barrel version looks much more like the M41A Pulse Rifle used by the Colonial Marines soooo I let it slide. I actually might break all the barrels off the guys in this squad to give it that feel. Eventually they’ll become just a souped up converted squad in my Elysian army list, but until then….they’re THE BUG HUNTERS!

GWvsJohn talks Necromunda, Part 2: Building your gang

Ok, so you’ve chosen your House (this article is only about House gangs, sorry to all you Outlanders out there), now it’s time to start putting your crew together. While Necromunda is all about having fun and looking cool, it still helps to put a little thought into your choices. This article is going to assume you want to build the best gang possible.
The first thing you want to think about is numbers. The income table has a few “sweet spots” where you can maximize both the numbers of models in your gang and the amount of credits you earn in the post game. The brackets break every 3, so gangs of 1-3 models earn, the same, 4-6, 7-9, etc. Since gangs of 10 and 12 models earn the same, and (all other thing big equal) a gang of 12 models is more likely to win a game, you’d much rather have 12 (or 6 or 15…) models than 10. For a House gang 6 models is just too few to have a realistic shot of winning. As we start buying and equipping gangers, you’ll see that 12 models is just too many to actually have effective men. So, really, for a starting gang, your plan should be to recruit 9 members in your gang. Now, how are we going to divide those 9, and how are we going to equip them?

Leader: every gang needs a leader, so, congrats, you now have 1 man down. Your leader is your best shot (at BS 4) and fighter (at WS and I 4), he has the best LD, which you use for bottle tests while he’s alive and anyone in 6″ can use and he can break pins by himself. Your leader is basically an all-around beast and you should probably equip him as such. I think a chainsword is almost mandatory for every leader. S 4 and a parry in CC is very useful and you can pass it down to a ganger or juve when you eventually get better equipment to replace it. I think a solid pistol is a very good companion to your chainsword. Plasma pistol if you can get it, or a simple bolt pistol give your leader a deadly shooting attack to use his high BS. Even with the Bolt Pistols ammo roll of 6 and the possible recharge time of the high power plasma pistol, I don’t think a backup weapon is needed for the leader. Leaders can also get special weapons, but I’d probably save those options for a high theme or specialized gang.
Heavy: some places might advise you to only start with 1 heavy, but to me that’s crazy. Recruitment is the only time you’re going to have guaranteed cash to spend and heavy weapons are pricey. I think every gang needs 2 heavies. For the vast majority of starting gangs, the heavy stubber is a no-brainer. Huge range, S 4, sustained 2,… the stubber can really dominate the table. Even at BS 3 your heavy stubber will be taking a few enemies down every game. For the second heavy, you have a few options. A second stubber is a very good idea, but it’s also expensive at 120 credits. The plasma gun is a good option too. Decent range, high impact, sustained 1 and can move and fire. A stubber/plasma gun combo provides a powerful shooty base for a new gang. Finally the flamer is a good option for a gang that plans to get up close in the vast majority of games. A S 4 flamer template in Necromunda is very, very scary. Outside of those 3 weapons, I don’t think there’s any other good options for a new gang. The autocannon, heavy plasma gun and lascannon are just too expensive to be a realistic option. The heavy bolter is a very nice gun, and reasonably priced at 180 credits. However, I think it’s more of an upgrade option once your heavies start getting some techno skills. Sustained 2 and 6+ ammo just won’t fly without weaponsmith. The frag missile launcher isn’t terrible but you’re paying over 200 credits for S 4 hits you can get with the stubber. For specials, the meltagun is decent, but I just don’t think it’s 25 credits better than a plasma gun. Like the heavy bolter, I think it’s a weapon that might find a place in a more experienced gang. Move-or-fire make the grenade launcher almost worthless when compared to a stubber. However, if you start getting some of the crazier grenades (plasma anyone) the GL starts to become a possibility. I think heavies need a backup weapon, especially to start , because you WILL fail ammo rolls. I tend to go with autoguns for stubber and plasma heavies (the 5 point savings over a lasgun outweighs the ammo roll for a backup weapon) and autopistols for flamer heavies (here, the 5 point upgrade over a stub gun is worth it)
Gangers: the heart of your gang (did the name give it away?) You need these guys to work territory to get income. Since you start with 5 territories, I think you need 5 gangers to start. Credits are tight for even very experienced gangs; throwing them away because you don’t have enough gangers is foolish. For equipment, I like to keep it simple and cheap, which means no bolters or bolt pistols. I try to bring gangers in 3 varieties, long range, medium and CC. Long range guys get lasguns (save mod and ammo roll are worth 5 points over the autogun) and usually baby sit my heavies. Ideally they sit near the heavy, but 5″ away and closer. Medium gangers get shotguns (manstopper is basically +1 to hit for 5 points, yes please). They tend to screen my CC teams and end up taking a lot of wounds. CC gangers get autopistols (no -1 at long range >> better ammo roll) and, if you’re Escher, swords. In fact, for Escher. I’d give everyone without a heavy weapon a sword. For other Houses, non-sword CC weapons just aren’t worth it. Suck it up with knives and waste some rare rolls the first few games to get swords for anyone who plans to be in CC.
Juves: with a Leader, 2 Heavies and 5 Gangers, that leaves 1 Juve if we’re going to hit our target of 9 models. Juves are bad at everything to start, so keep them cheap and expendable. I’d go with autopistols and that’s it (+2 to hit at short is worth 5 points over a stub gun, even for a Juve). Once they start advancing you can expand their equipment. If you play it really tight in the rest of your gang (no backup weapons, autopistol on leader, no manstopper, etc) you might be able to afford 3 or 4 Juves. I’d say 11 models isn’t terrible (leader, 2 heavy, 5 ganger, 3 juve), but I would never bring 10 (leader, 2 heavy, 5 ganger, 2 juve).
So there’s my quick guide to a starting gang. If you have any questions or a have a specific topic you’d like me to address, shoot me an email or post it as a comment.

GWvsJohn talks Necromunda, Part 1: Choosing your gang

So the Vassalmunda campaign is well under way. I’ve gotten 6 games in so far and others (cough, professor curly, cough) seem to play 6 a day.
For those who don’t know, our google group is here and the Necromunda rules are here. If you haven’t joined yet, well, what are you waiting for?
By no means am I a Necromunda expert, but my gang is 6-0 so far and I’m starting to get a feel for the rules and flow of a game and an entire campaign. I’ll be writing this series as a guide to help (mostly) new players get their feet wet with Necromunda.
The first article will be on choosing your gang. I’ll be talking about the House Gangs and Spyrers in (some) depth, then the other outlaw gang quickly, because I haven’t played with or against them yet.
House Gangs: all the House Gangs are fairly similar. They all have leaders, heavies, gangers and juves. They have access to the same territores, advances and rare items. The differences lie in the house weapon lists and house skills. For those not familiar, you can only buy from your house list when your gang starts, and you can buy any weapon from your house list at any time during the post game. If you want a common weapon that’s not on your list, you need to “spend” one of your d3 rare item rolls. For skills, a skill advance is about 75% going to restricted to your house list and 25% from any list. So the differences while seemingly small, have a serious effect. Skills matter most to Juves and Gangers, as they will be getting the most advances, Leaders can access almost any list and Heavies will be going 100% Techno (which they can all access) until they max it.
Let’s look at each house.
Goliath: commonly considered the worst House, and with good reason. They don’t have lasguns (arguably the best basic weapon) or plasma guns (arguably the best special weapon) on their house weapon list. Plasma guns can be compensated, but lasguns are a significant loss. It only gets worse with skills. Muscle is a poor skill list and it’s the primary for Goliath. You’ll probably need to try for an unorthodox shotgun and CC gang with Goliath, but they don’t get easy access to Stealth skills that would really help.
Orlock: pretty standard weapon list. No plasma gun, but the meltagun is an interesting option for a leader. Same for skills. Shooting and Combat are both decent options. The Orlocks look like a very run of the mill gang and they will probably play that way. You’ll have a mix of shooting and combat, and be good, but not great at both. A solid gang for a beginner.
Van Saar: my house, and as I get into the game more, I think it’s the best option. Weapon list is nice, with plasma guns in special and plasma pistols as an excellent choice for a shooty/CC combo leader (as most tend to be). No boltgun anywhere is a bit of a pain, but is less of an issue when you see the skill list. Techno for everyone. I’ll go into more detail in my skill article, but Techno is probably the best skill list. Gangers and Juves with Techno can lead to a lot of special weapons floating around (no boltgun? Buy a plasma gun. BS 2? Buy a flamer) If your goal is to dominate a league, Van Saar is an excellent choice.
Cawdor: as written, the best gang in the book, hands down. A single shot flamer than can be swapped out for CC? For everyone? Yikes. Give your whole gang that and an autopistol and roll your campaign with ease. If you houserule Hand Flamers (our league disallows them for now), their weapon list is still decent. Non-sword CC weapons aren’t great, so no loss there and bolt pistols and bolters for everyone is nice. For skills, Ferocity/Combat/Agility has good synergy, so it’s pretty good. Overall, plan to build an up-close gang that might do best starting with 2 flamers (heavy and leader). Probably not the best choice for beginners, but looks to be a fun, competitive gang.
Delaque: another solid weapon list like Orlock. The grenade launcher for plasma gun swap is a good one if you ask me, and the Delaque leader can get both types of bolt weapons. It’s probably the best list so far (depending on your views of the plasma pistol on Van Saar vs. the Bolter on Delaque). The Delaque skill list is nice as well. Stealth is one of the better skills list IMO, and it work with both CC and ranged gangers. You can build a wide variety of effective Delaque gangs. A great choice for a beginner.
Escher: the best weapon list, and I don’t even think it’s close. It has every good weapon mentioned so far (both plasma, flamer, bolter) except for the bolt pistol. But most importantly, unlike every other list, it has the sword. A quick read of the CC rules and parries should show why the sword is the only good “basic” CC weapon. At a measly 10 points, I’d probably give one to every member of the gang except maybe heavies with stubbers. The skill list is good. Stealth and Combat are a very nice combo (especially when everyone has swords). The girls make the best CC gang, but with lasguns and plasmaguns, they can shoot too (unlike Goliath). A solid choice for a beginner or a vet looking for a CC gang.
If I had to rank the House Gangs (assuming no Hand Flamers), I think I’d do it this way:
Van Saar
In reality, I think Van Saar and Escher are superior, Delaque, Orlock and Cawdor are standard and Goliath is inferior.
Now the Outlaws.
Spyrers: are you feeling lucky? In most games the gang will be outnumbered, often more than 2:1, but then there’s the Mom and Pop. The Matriarch and Patriarch each show up for 1 game per “hunt” and when they do, lookout. If you’re facing Spyrers when either is around, hope for the best and enjoy your underdog bonus XP. Outside of those 2 games, the Spyrers need an experienced hand to be used properly. From what I’ve seen and read, the Yeld seems to be the best option, with the tough Jakara second. This gang is for someone who wants to run a small, elite gang with crazy rules. Spyrers leave little room for error. Not for beginners.
Scavvies: the “horde” gang. Sorta like the opposite of Spyrers. A mass of poorly equipped dregs hoping for the best. Another gang for a vet who wants a challenge. The “followers” rule where your leader attracts a pack of ghouls, zombies or rabid dogs each game might be the coolest rule in all of Necromunda.
Ratskins: I’m not that familiar with this gang to be honest (other than using the pdf to find the outlaw trade rules when researching Scavvies). From what I’ve read they’re waaaay underpowered and should only be used if you want a challenge.
Redemptionists: another gang I don’t know much about. The general consensus is that their “official” pdf is extremely overpowered (we don’t allow it in our group). There are some well-regarded fan lists that I’m going to look into soon.
So that’s a quick intro to the gangs of Necromunda from a rules standpoint (you can read the fluff on your own). Hopefully this might help you choose what gang to run, or encourage you to join the group in the first place 🙂
Next time we’ll look at actually building a roster.