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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

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.

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