Greetings once again, Scummers! We’re back on Alliances, now that we’ve had the chance to figure out all the things that make them tick over the course of the past couple weeks. They’re a load of fun, but how can we keep them from causing an immediate and irreversible power spike in our campaigns? We’ve talked it out, and chatted with some other members in the community, and we think we’ve got a few ideas!
The System is Down
Alliances offer players a ton of power. From special rules to the use of their entourages, Alliances are an obvious way to increase your gang’s profile in your campaign. Thing is, there’s no real downside to having an Alliance. In fact, Alliances are so good, that it makes sense to have them from the very beginning of a campaign, and since there is no extant mechanic that stops players from using Alliances from the word go, many players indeed do this.
We have two main issues with this. First, it is an inherently unbalanced system. Some Alliances are far more able combatants than others, and some Alliance special rules are far more useful than others. If you’re playing your first game in a campaign with a 1,000-credit gang, and your opponent has a 775-credit Corpse Harvesting party with their gang, you’re more than likely going to get hosed. Alliances are fun, but this kind of unbalanced gameplay isn’t fun.
Second, a 1,000-credit gang is a bunch of nobodies! A green crew isn’t going to impress a merchant guild or criminal organization enough to earn their support! That’s ridiculous! A gang ought to have to catch the eye of the organization they want to ally with, and then prove their worth in some manner before they have earned enough trust to get help in battle.
So after compiling a mechanical reason and a narrative reason to call the Alliance rules into question, we’ve come up with a narrative mechanic of our own to solve our problems. We’re calling it…
The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle (v1.0)
We’ve developed a two-step process to gaining Alliances in Necromunda. The gang will first have to capture the attention of the organization they’re attempting to ally with, the Razzle, and then will have to prove their worth, the Dazzle. Now, these conditions are purely based in Narrative Reckoning: what we feel would be interesting to each organization.
This framework is not meant to be hard and fast rules, but more guidelines for Arbitrators that feel the same way we do. If you think you’ve got a better handle on what the Psi-Syndica wants out of its prospective allies, then switch it up! These ideas are more intended to slow the proliferation of Alliances, and cause players to make choices to earn their assistance.
There are two conditions to meet before an Alliance can be made. In most cases this will mean no Alliances are possible until the third game in a campaign. In some cases, we are going to present a fringe case option for something that is so unlikely a guild or criminal organization would immediately want to ally with the gang in question. For some factions, we’ve included a required scenario to be played, occasionally with special requirements or stipulations to be achieved during.
The last question we get a lot is, “What to do about crew rating?” We both personally prefer close-fought games in our campaigns, and we love using the House Patronage inducement system. However, having a narrative hook to Alliance use may convince some Arbitrators that adding an Alliance’s entourage to a gang does not necessitate raising that gang’s crew rating. This is fine! Since these rules are basically fancy house rules, change them to fit the theme of your campaign. We won’t be hurt!
The Water Guild knows that the greatest source of potable nourishment in the hive is, well, the hivers. Show them that you can give them what they want, and help them protect their interests, and their resources are yours, too.
- Razzle: Sell a captive fighter to the Guilders as a Post-Battle Action.
- Dazzle: Participate in a Caravan Heist or Escort Mission game as the defender..
Babysitting Duty: If a gang pays to use Eros Slagmyst in a game, they may immediately enter into an alliance with the Water Guild in the post-battle sequence.
- When the Syphoning Delegation is used during a battle, the controlling gang’s crew rating will be raised by 585 credits for the duration of the fight.
The Pyrocaen Lords control the power, and delight in seeing it gout forth from the barrel of the gun. Employ the tools of their trade to the fullest, and they may come knocking.
- Razzle: Purchase a Blaze or Plasma weapon from the Trading Post, Black Market, or House List in the post-battle sequence.
- Dazzle: Cause an enemy fighter to go Out of Action while afflicted with the Blaze condition, OR from damage resulting from an attack using a Plasma weapon’s Unstable profile.
Infrastructure Week: If a gang is able to destroy the objective in a Sabotage scenario and Take Flight without any crew members going Out of Action elsewise, they may immediately enter into an alliance with the Promethium Guild in the post-battle sequence.
- When the Pyromantic Conclave is used during a battle, the controlling gang’s crew rating will be raised by 635 credits for the duration of the fight.
The Corpse Guild cares not from where the bodies flow, only that the starch-vats stay full. Your first offering had a gammy leg, but you’ll have some prime specimens soon enough.
- Razzle: Delete a dead fighter from your own gang roster.
- Dazzle: Harvest at least four Hivers as the attacker in a Meat Harvest scenario.
When the Corpse Harvesting Party is used during a battle, the controlling gang’s crew rating will be raised by 775 credits for the duration of the fight.
They’re more than happy to accept a new recruit from anyone, but it’ll take a bit of showmanship before the Slavers are willing to gamble on the next potential Pitfight Superstar.
- Razzle: Sell a captive fighter to the Guilders as a Post-Battle Action.
- Dazzle: Cause at least three enemies to go Out of Action in a single game in Close Combat, OR win as the defender in a Rescue or Public Execution scenario.
Star Power: If a gang is victorious in a Pitfight scenario, they may immediately enter into an alliance with the Slave Guild in the post-battle sequence.
- When the Slaver Entourage is used during a battle, the controlling gang’s crew rating will be raised by 765 credits for the duration of the fight.
Guild of Coin
Prove to the guild that you can hold your ground, and you’ll earn the right to collect on someone else’s land.
- Razzle: Defend against a challenge and retain control of the Territory or Racket.
- Dazzle: In a Toll Bridge scenario, have more enemy fighters fall into the Toxic River than members of your own crew.
When the Toll Collectors are used during a battle, the controlling gang’s crew rating will be raised by 590 credits for the duration of the fight.
There’s an artistry to the gun, a beauty to the bullet. Treat your weapons as instruments rather than mere tools, and the Iron Guild will show you how to make them sing.
- Razzle: Purchase a Master-Crafted ranged weapon or any Special Ammunition from the Trading Post, Black Market, or House List in the post-battle sequence.
- Dazzle: Cause an enemy to go Out of Action from a shot from a Master-Crafted ranged weapon or any weapon using a Special Ammunition profile.
Unofficial Audit: If a gang opens at least two loot caskets in a single game, neither of which are discovered to have been booby trapped, they may immediately enter into an alliance with the Iron Guild in the post-battle sequence.
- When any Wandering Scum are used during a battle, the controlling gang’s crew rating will be raised by 90 credits for each Scummer used for the duration of the fight.
Cold traders care about one thing and one thing only: credits. If you can prove to them that a relationship with your gang will help them line their wallets, then you’ll get all the Xenos tech you desire.
- Razzle: Purchase a Xenos weapon or piece of Xenos wargear from the Black Market as a post-game action.
- Dazzle: Earn credits as a reward from one of the following scenarios: Looters, Forgotten Riches, Caravan Heist, or Archaeotech Hunters.
When the Smuggler Shore Party is used during a battle, the controlling gang’s crew rating will be raised by 655 credits for the duration of the fight.
Identity is everything to the Imperial Imposters. Take out a high-value target, and the Imposters have “them” back on the street in the same day.
- Razzle: Purchase a non-Mastercrafted Status Item or a Displacer Field from the Trading Post.
- Dazzle: Win an Escort Mission as the attacker.
When the Master Charlatan is used during a battle, the controlling gang’s crew rating will be raised by 485 credits for the duration of the fight.
To get these would-be Magos’ help, you’ll have to get them what they want: tech.
- Razzle: Buy an Imperial weapon from the Trading Post.
- Dazzle: Take part in one of the following scenarios as the attacker (if applicable): Smash & Grab, Archaeo Hunters, or Murder Cyborg.
No Scabs!: If an opposing gang’s Hanger-On is taken Out of Action during a battle, the player may immediately form an Alliance with the Rogue Factoria in the post-battle sequence.
- When the Factoria Work Gang is used during a battle, the controlling gang’s crew rating will be raised by 415 credits for the duration of the fight.
Narco Lords want to spread their poison to every level of the hive. Prove you’re not an Enforcer, and they might cut you in.
- Razzle: Buy Chems at the Black Market or Trading Post.
- Dazzle: Use the Chems you bought in a game on a member of your crew. The fighter who used the drugs must survive.
The Pusher Man: If a player manages to get a fighter from another gang addicted to Chems, then that player may immediately form an Alliance with the Narco Lords in the post-battle sequence.
- When any Narco Scum are used during a battle, the controlling gang’s crew rating will be raised by 90 credits per Scummer for the duration of the fight.
The tainted nobility of the Fallen Houses care for only one thing: revenge. Slake their bitter thirst, and you’ll have friends in formerly high places.
- Razzle: Kill a Leader or Champion from a House gang.
- Dazzle: Win a The Trap or Ambush mission where the opponent is a House gang.
Settle the Score: If a gang causes an enemy-controlled Dramatis Personae to go Out of Action, they may immediately form an Alliance with the Fallen Houses in the post-battle sequence.
- When the Rebel Lord is used during a battle, the controlling gang’s crew rating will be raised by 435 credits for the duration of the fight.
The most terrifying organization of them all, the Psi-Syndica deals in psychically gifted Wyrds. They want to spread the use of Ghast throughout the hive to see how many latent psychic abilities they can produce. Help them with this, and you’ll ensure the services of this deeply entrenched criminal organization.
- Razzle: Buy Ghast from the Black Market.
- Dazzle: Use Ghast on at least one fighter during a battle. That fighter must survive the battle.
When the Mind-Locked Wyrd is used during a battle, the controlling gang’s crew rating will be raised by 120 credits for the duration of the fight.
We’ll be using the ol’ Razzle Dazzle to help our players look at their potential allied partners as a goal to be attained in our campaigns, as valued partners rather than automatic goodie bags topped with free buffs and bodies. Unlike some of our other house ruled system replacements, however, we can’t quite tell you how this one will work in practice just yet. Neither one of us is running an active campaign right now!
We’ll be revisiting this article in the future once we have the opportunity to put it to the test, to make sure that it stays updated with lessons learned and any possible improvements offered from any source. If you think we’re on the right track, give our system a shot, and be sure to let us know what worked for you and what didn’t!
Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, in the comments below, or on Facebook, and let us now what we got right, wrong, or how you’d change it up! While you’re there drop off some pics of whatever you’re working on, because we’d love to promote your models in our articles!