Howdy scummers! This week we have have two Kevins in a dialogue about the New Necro book – Aranthan Succession: Cinderak Burning. We recently reviewed it, but we are back to talk about more stuff we liked!
We would also like to take this opportunity to warn that there will be some minor spoilers for the lore stuff contained in the book.
What is your overall impression of the book – where does it stand amongst the other Necromunda supplements?
Primaris Kevin: This is great. It moves the story forward in a really interesting way, provides a solid campaign that seems well balanced in terms of rewards but contains a strong narrative element, and has a bunch of really fun scenarios and cool gang content. In my opinion it’s probably one of the best books we’ve seen for modern Necromunda.
Fowler: Adding the Ash Wastes setting (and vehicles in general) was a refreshing change for Necro. Moving the narrative along feels like the next step in the journey. As an Arbitrator, this is an incredibly cool book – but it’s definitely not universally useful for everyone.
Cinderak Burning moves the story further ahead than any other expansion. Any favorite bits from the lore dump?
Primaris Kevin: I think my favorite part is the idea of what happens to an entire planet when something as fundamental and commonplace as power simply disappears. The darkest things can possibly get is clinical darkness; an absence of light so profound that you can’t even see your hand in front of you. Imagine an entire city plunged into such a state, and then ramp it up to eleven because the city in this case is a giant mountain of people. Now add rampant psykers, mutants, military grade weaponry, and a general lack of enthusiasm for the status quo and you get absolute chaos. The fact that you also get to play missions during that time period is just flat out awesome.
Fowler: We’ve peeked into some other hives in previous supplement lore, but the streak from the Ash Wastes onward has been pretty amazing. The standout for me is the story written from the POV of the murder servitor sent to attack Helmawr. It’s vivid and visceral… and incredibly Warhammer in general. It will be interesting to see if the Lord survives the attack and if anyone even acknowledges an attempt on his life (they won’t). Lady Credo having a much deeper connection to the history of Necromunda in general is pretty bonkers and I am looking forward to the next part
The new campaign has a lot to unpack – 4 dramatis personae pulling strings, much higher starting credits, and limited ability to reinforce at some points. What stands out to you?
Primaris Kevin: Overall I’m excited and want to get a campaign going soon. I like starting with 2400 credits, although I suspect this will benefit the House gangs more than the outsiders since they have access to more toys. Van Saar, for example, could potentially fit their heavy hitters with Ocular Alpha for 50 credits each and enjoy infra-vision on all of their guns. The different phases using drastically different rules will be very interesting, especially when combined with the limitations on purchasing House Equipment or recruiting. Since Hangers-On can’t be recruited in the first phase it might encourage people to hire one into their gang. Brutes for everyone!
Fowler: Starting with brutes is a fun change. With the gangs having a chance to start tooled-up and with vehicles anyhow, it makes a ton of sense and lets you put your toys on the table week 1!
Primaris Kevin: I think revenue generation should be pretty balanced and fair for everyone. For the most part the Sympathizers seem pretty balanced, although as an Arbitrator I would probably want to curate the deck. There are a few Sympathisers I’m not a fan of:
- Slave Guild lets you sell a captive for the full credit value, so long as the captured fighter’s gang has a chance to rescue them. Given how rare it is to capture fighters and how often I like to just ransom captured fighters back to the owner this seems like a pretty bad benefit.
- Cold Traders let you make a free Seek Illegal Equipment Trade action, but there’s no actual benefit here because the as-written rules are insane. The way the rules work is that each fighter can perform a Trade action (either Black Market Trade or Regular Trade) during the Post-Battle Actions step. The gang then performs the Seek Rare Equipment and Seek Illegal Equipment steps. All the Trade actions do is increase the chance of finding an item, and allow a gang to use the market normally restricted to them if they pass a test. In other words Cold Traders does nothing because Seek Illegal Equipment is already a free action, and the gang Leader or Champion would still have to pass an Intelligence check to buy items from the Black Market if they were Law-Abiding.
I might pull those two, which is fine given that there’s a total of 26 options but the max you can have is 24 with 8 players. If the Arbitrator is a crazy person who wants to add more people then they can double-up some cards, perhaps showing divided allegiances within some of the power groups.
Fowler: My group was so… so sick of rescue missions and we just worked out some different ways to houserule benefits and costs of captives. Playing the same gang twice is almost always a huge drag, and is likely to be a mismatch. As a largely non-playing arbitrator I am tempted to offer up a potential game against the slave guild itself in that case. Players who have tried out Lost Zone campaigns will be familiar with the special stocks available to a limited numbers of gangs. That type of benefit might be great for the Cold Trader – a subset of gear and weapons that are available just to those who are connected. You can check out our LZ Trading post generator here.
Primaris Kevin: I think the Dramatis Personae portion of the benefits of aligning with a particular side are particularly interesting. Will they show up in multiple games during the same week? What happens if both gangs roll the same character?
Fowler: I think this opens up some cool options to have an outside person (or arbitrator) dictating the outside actions of the major Succession factions. You could certainly roll it as loose alliances with similarly-aligned gangs, or as gunning for the top spot.
Primaris Kevin: It might be interesting to have an Arbitrator add more characters to represent the local scene of the rebellion, plus it lets people use other cool weirdos that they may have lying around.
Both Eschers and Goliaths got some new toys (and friends). Any favorites?
Primaris Kevin: The update confirms that every House is going to get their own crew with the Gang Fighter (Crew) option, which makes it even more obvious to me that an Arbitrator really should make sure something like that is available for everyone. It would suck to play Enforcers or Slave Ogryns and not have that flexibility. I’m not really sure what to make of the stats and relative costs, as things seem rather arbitrary. Is +1 Willpower and -1 Leadership worth 5 credits? How often are Crew going to be making Intelligence or Leadership checks anyway? I wouldn’t be surprised if GW continues their tradition of making Van Saar universally hated and gives their Crew a BS of 3+.
Fowler: I am wholeheartedly of the mind that remaining gangs should get a houseruled stopgap crew option. Crews are by no means OP and it’s a nice bit of QOL for gangs that haven’t gotten their vehicle book yet.
Primaris Kevin: The Escher definitely get something fun with their new ride. Putting something like a Death Maiden on a Cutter means she has a 2+ to ignore pinning, a hilariously improved Movement characteristic that is no longer limited by terrain, and she can leverage her 3+ BS with a pair of twin-linked grenade launchers or plasma guns. The downside of course is that you’re dumped an extra 160 to 285 credits into a piece of wargear that doesn’t make the rider any harder to kill.
Fowler: Deep down in my brain, I just want to do all-mounted gangs. Of course the Cutter is pricier than a dirtcycle by a lot, but the prospect of A tooled Up Death Maiden toting twin-linked plasma is extremely appealing to me.
Primaris Kevin: The Goliath Mauler is just fun. I can definitely see prioritizing extra armour to achieve a 6/5/5 Toughness profile, and addying tyre claws to get a Handling characteristic of 4+ seems fun. Paying 75 credits for a twin-linked grenade launcher is also great since those weapons are so flexible. The Mauler seems to hit the sweet spot in terms of price for performance without being absurd like the Ridgehauler. The Power Ram is also a lot of fun and really encourages you to slam into your opponent.
Fowler: I am very glad that the Goliath vehicle is tracked! The mayhem of Goliath initiative would not have boded well for doing… uh… just about anything
In the review, the consensus was that the new missions rule. What makes them great?
Primaris Kevin: The scenarios are a nice balance of Ash Wastes, Sector Mechanicus, and Zone Mortalis missions which could be inserted into a campaign pretty easily. It also features something I consider to be an essential element; both the loser and the winner receive credits.
Fowler: We touched on Assassin in the Spire in our review of Cinderak Burning. In short, the attacker sends in an action hero badass who gets an activation for every opposing ganger still on the board. This is a 1. Notably a sneak attack mission in Necromunda that is FUN and 2. A wonderful framework for making your own narrative scenarios as well. I would love to run some manner of “Vermintide but in Necromunda” nonsense with a sliding scale of activations and about a zillion bad guys.
But seriously, all the missions are fun!
Primaris Kevin: The missions are all fun and flavorful, and it’s clear that GW has taken the time to smooth out some of the oddball elements of other missions and produce something that’s both fun and novel.
Who is this book for?
Fowler: Arbitrators and lore nerds, but that isn’t a bad thing.
Primaris Kevin: In its entirety I would say this is not a beginner friendly book, simply due to the large amount of model investment required to get 2400 credits worth of gangers and vehicles. An Arbitrator could potentially mitigate that somewhat by either providing vehicles for Ash Wastes games or eliminating vehicle content entirely. It also adds a LOT of new stuff in the form of Dramatis Personae, restrictions to House Equipment and recruiting in the first phase, and environmental rules which might be a challenge for someone playing their first campaign. If you’re a dedicated Necromunda Weirdo like me, who currently has a kitbashed Van Saar custom vehicle in progress on his desk and enough backlogged gangers to fill out a Astra Militarum force, then this game will be perfect. I think the ideal application for this would be some kind of event at a store or convention, where the organizer can have vehicles and Dramatis Personae readily available.
Fowler: As much as I want to run a Succession Campaign Part 1 at my club, I feel like this is the perfect weekender ruleset. Tooled up, built in lean times, and some room for alliances (and more importantly – grudge matches) sounds like an excellent time to me.
Primaris Kevin: The fundamental Sympathizer mechanic almost feels like a more refined version of the earlier campaigns like Law & Misrule or Dominion, so there’s nothing stopping you from simply scrapping the story-specific content and focusing on a bunch of gangers vying for the support of various factions. In that sense the book is for Arbitrators looking for a solid foundation and plenty of inspiration.
Fowler: Seriously. This book gave me so many ideas for my next campaign!
Primaris Kevin: I think the coolest part of this book is the potential it offers. You can strip away the story content and just use the Sympathizers for a pretty balanced territory-based campaign, or you could take things to an extreme and make it your own. One idea I had was that it would be really cool if every player created an Outcast gang run by an extravagant personality, with players effectively making their own Dramatis Personae surrounded by well meaning but generally incompetent sycophants. No matter what your preference, there’s a lot to enjoy about this book.
Fowler: While I have opined about who this book is for, it also has a pretty unique sell – the wellspring of story that is dragging the Necro narrative with it! If you are running campaigns – this is a cool book to work from. If you don’t and also run a gang other than Escher and Goliath, at least borrow your arbitrator’s copy to read through the lore and stories.
And that’s it! We are all Arbitrators and lore weirdos around here, so folks in these parts are pretty jazzed on this book. Fowler is getting the urge to run a succession campaign as a weekender, so more info there as it develops. As always if you have any questions or suggestions for us, drop us a line at Contact@Goonhammer.com.