Designing the Goonhammer Open Narrative Event, Part 3: The Player Pack and the Missions

Welcome back, Dear Reader, to my ongoing blog detailing my designs and plans for the Narrative 40k event at this year’s US Goonhammer Open in August. Last time I wrote about the the backstory for the campaign and my plans to modify the Crusade rules for the event to make it work a bit better for a two-day event. If you missed that, you can find it here.

This week I’m going to talk about the final tweaks I made to the Crusade rules and put the player pack up for grabs. Then I’ll talk about the missions I’m planning to run and how players will determine the fate of the planet.

More Crusade Rules

Once I’d ironed out the basics of how players were going to accumulate XP in the event – and it’s certainly a kludge that will require some spot decisions day-of – there were a few wrinkles left to iron out. The biggest one was what I was going to do about Tau, Tyranids, and Genestealer Cults, each of which I expect to have in the campaign. Most factions have longform mechanics for their Crusades that are independent of a location; the Dark Angels just keep searching for Fallen no matter where they go, and those journeys are expected to be long. For these three Xenos factions however the idea is that you conquer a series of planets in your ongoing journey. So I wanted to incorporate their rules into the campaign in a believable way.

Designing Lenk

One thing I wanted to do was ensure there’s a semi-unified view of Lenk in the Crusade rules for these factions. Lenk is a Frontier World – its resources were stripped a long time ago – and it has become a hub for black market trade and all manner of passers-through. It has a limited Imperial military presence, and its primary defenses are run by a series of crime syndicates and trade guilds. Diplomatic conquest of the planet is difficult, as it has little to no centralized power; its Imperial planetary governor is little more than another crime boss.

Genestealer Cults

The big thing to note here is that Lenk is a single planet of import for the GSC and you can’t let the Day of Ascension happen too soon. So the addendum I made here is to force game 6 to be the Day of Ascension and to make the consequences a bit less brutal, since a player is unlikely to infiltrate more than 2 institutions during 6 games.

Otherwise Lenk has Community, Military, Religion, and Politics to infiltrate.


For the Genestealers’ sky-gods I needed to take a similar tack for Lenk, but I wanted to try and create some synergy between the two if I end up having players from both. Again, it’s unlikely a Tyranids player will be able to take down the planet or even get to stage 3 during the event, but being in Invasion and Predation seems right.

T’au Empire

Then there are the T’au. The big thing here is just setting up an attainable, useful reward for the planet. I set the marks here at 4 as the idea is that a player might need to win 4 out of their first five games to get the bonus in game 6. Tough to pull off, but with a decent bonus.

Planetstrike and Zone Mortalis

One thing I really wanted to do was have a variety of missions with an asymmetrical focus. So during the event I’m planning to use a modified version of the Planetstrike mission rules from the Containment mission pack, and a modified version of the Zone Mortalis rules I did back in 8th.


Because I’m using Planetstrike, we’ll need fortifications. Planetstrike missions are notable in that they allow the defender to bring free fortifications in their games, and in return the Attacker gets more Firestorm attacks – preliminary bombardments that can weaken the enemy position. That means we need updated datasheets for the fortifications we’re using – and I’ve included these in our event player pack – and fortifications for players to actually use. To that end, we’ve been working on a ton of fortifications for players to use during the event – Bastions, Walls of Martyrs, Bunkers, you name it – we even have some Fortresses of Redemption in the mix. Speaking of which, I’ve been working on some rules for firing at other tables, just to liven things up:

How this works: You choose a target on the next table over – they still have to be in range – and then fire off your shots. At the start of your ally’s next shooting phase, those shots all connect.

The Player Pack

All of this good stuff is in the player pack, which I finished and is being sent out to the players. If you’re interested in reading it, you can find it here:


The Missions

Finally, let’s talk about the missions. These are the aspect I’m going to be a bit secretive about, as I want them to be a bit of a surprise for the players. But the core of this is, there are two types of missions:

  • Primary Missions, which determine the overall flow of the campaign and the fate of the planet, and generally determine planetary control. Each round 9 of the 12 games being played are primary missions.
  • Secondary Missions, which represent key actions and battles undertaken to secure key locations. There are two types of these: Strategic Locations and Daring Raids.
    • Strategic Locations are the battles that take place over important locations on Lenk, such as the orbital defense cannon, the mountain fortress, or the ancient ritual site. Holding one of these locations gives your team a bonus in each round, but they can be taken from you!
    • Daring Raids represent important actions to cripple the opponent or try and obtain an advantage over them in the next round. These can be things like attacking the enemy supply lines, attempting to assassinate their leaders, or raiding an archaeotech vault.

Each round 6 of the games a team will play will be primary missions, while the remaining two will be secondary missions. Each round, teams will get a briefing for the primary mission and then the team in the lead will choose which daring raid or strategic location mission to play and the opposing team they want to play against. Then the second place and third place teams will choose their missions, though their opponents will be set based on player requirements.

Once all the missions have been picked, each team will have a few minutes to allocate players to those missions and finalize their rosters.

For the missions themselves, I’m using a mix of missions from the Core Book, Containment (Planetstrike), From the Ashes, Wars of Faith, and some homebrew ones I’m making to fill in the gaps where there isn’t an existing mission that does what I need.

Next Time: Zone Mortalis

That pretty much wraps up the public info I’m handing out for the event, but I’ll be back in a week or two with some more info on how I’m handling Zone Mortalis rules in the campaign and when and how they’ll be used. Until then, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at