It’s good to be back, Scummers! This week, we’re filling out our roster of all possible playable factions in Necromunda with the Book of Judgement’s Chaos-Corrupted House Gangs. If you’ve been hankering for a taste of the ruinous powers but would prefer to keep it, ah, recreational, this one’s for you!
Whereas the long-suffering Helot Cultists devote every aspect of their being to the worship of Chaos, there are many different degrees of veneration in the Underhive. Some clusters of House gang members, joined in common curiosity, are known to dabble in the dark whispers of Chaos.
Their first loyalty is to their House, of course, but who are we to question how they spend their time, off-duty?
Embracing the Dark Gods
A Chaos-Corrupted House gang is still a House gang, first and foremost. They’ll continue to use their current House Armories, have access to their traditional Tactics Cards, and accrue the appropriate Enhanced Boons on Territories in the Dominion Campaign.
They won’t have access to some of the more esoteric abilities of a full Helot Cult, like special Wyrd Powers or the ever-useful Chaos Familiars, but they get enough to make them stand out from their vanilla House brethren!
Inured to Insanity
While most of the talents and powers available to a Chaos-Corrupted gang are locked behind a successful Dark Ritual (or an unsuccessful one, if you’re looking to gain a Spawn), one ability is active automatically: All members of a Chaos-Corrupted gang are immune to the Insanity status, no matter what the source.
Even if Insanity isn’t the most common ailment in Necromunda (primarily the domain of certain Badzone Events, Uprising Scenarios, and Black Market items), being able to ignore the threat of automatically-Broken fighters and forced friendly fire is great to have when it comes up. This ability is even better for Corrupted gangs than it is for full Helots, as here it’s applied to all fighters rather than just the leader and champions.
Dark Rituals and Boons
Before you can gain the favor of the Dark Gods (and rack up some nifty bonuses in the process), you’re going to have to grab their attention with a little ol’ Dark Ritual. If you’re looking at the rules in the Book of Judgment, you’ll notice that all of these steps require a “Helot Cult Demagogue”, but we’re going to assume that it’s just as legitimate to use your regular leader in a Chaos-Corrupted gang, or else the whole process won’t work!
In the Post-Battle Phase, randomly choose a fighter from their gang to be the Ritual’s focus, aside from your leader. This is an action that your leader’ll need to perform personally, so in this respect Chaos-Corrupted gangs fall into the same difficult spot as full Helot Cultists: If your leader is injured or in Recovery, they won’t be able to perform a Dark Ritual. In addition, unlike Helot Cultists, Chaos-Corrupted gangs are locked into serving a single god. Once you’ve chosen your patron for the first time in a Campaign you’ll be stuck, so choose wisely!
There’s a laundry list of positive and negative modifiers that’ll impact your final result; if you’re holding a captive from a rival gang you can sacrifice them instead of using one of your own as the focus, for example. In the end, the magic number that you’ll be looking for is nine or more, upon which you’ll be blessed with the favors of your chosen god listed below, and the focus of the ritual, if they were a friendly fighter, will gain d6 XP for doing such a swell job of leading the prayer session.
On the other hand, on a natural or modified two or less, the ritual fails spectacularly and the fighter chosen to be the focus is deleted from your gang roster and replaced permanently with a Chaos Spawn. The Spawn is a potent wrecking ball, but this explosive mutation can be bittersweet if it comes at the cost of a lost champion, rather than some unfortunate ganger or juve!
Now, assuming you’ve succeeded, let’s see what fealty to each one of the gods gets you!
Nurgle, the Plague Lord
- Re-roll a single Recovery roll each End Phase.
- Chaos Spawn gain +1 Toughness.
- Gang leader gains +1 Wound.
Chaos Spawn start off pretty tough, but with Nurgle’s blessing they’ll be tougher than even those pesky Ogryn that’ve been running around recently! Leaders gain an additional Wound, allowing them to weather all sorts of injuries before having to worry about rolling the dice. Note that the Recovery re-roll does require you to take the second result, even if it’s worse than before. You’re more than welcome to try to re-roll a Serious Injury into a Flesh Wound, but you’ll only have yourself to blame when it flops over to Out of Action!
Khorne, the Blood God
- Re-roll a single failed Wound Roll each round.
- Chaos Spawn gain +1 Strength.
- Gang leader gains +1 base Attack.
Khorne’s Boons are going to be generally useful to most gangs, most of the time. We’re not the math guys, but we know that having even a single reroll at a key time can make all the difference, and Khorne helps you cheat in that critical bit of damage once every single round. Extra offense on your leader and Chaos Spawn isn’t too bad, either!
Slaanesh, the Dark Prince
- Once per round, can activate two fighters instead of one, regardless of Group Activation ability and distance apart.
- Chaos Spawn rolls two d6 for determining Movement, and chooses the highest.
- Gang leader gains +2” Movement.
Slaanesh’s boons center around movement, allowing your Spawn to lumber forth a bit more swiftly than usual and give a leader two extra inches of oomph for bothe regular moves and charges. This can be invaluable for melee-oriented leaders who aren’t quite as into Khorne’s whole blood motif. After all, extra attacks are nice and all, but they hardly matter if you can’t close the distance in the first place!
The ability to do a table-wide multiple activation can’t be discounted, either. This ability would be powerful in its own right with just two models and opens up a slew of possible dirty tactics, but we’ve checked the rules and can’t find anything that would prevent each of these two activated models from performing Group Activations of their own!
Tzeentch, the Architect of Fate
- Once per round, a fighter may ignore all negative modifiers when shooting.
- Chaos Spawn gains a 4+ Armor Save.
- Gang leader gains a random Wyrd Power.
Tzeentch’s ability to ignore all cover and cameleoline and any manner of negative hit modifiers is crucial for landing that one critical shot each round, especially if you’re banking on a fighter with a long-range precision weapon to put in work. The Chaos Spawn’s upgrade, a boatload of armor, will keep it alive and ticking even longer than Nurgle’s Toughness buff.
The Wyrd power gained through Tzeentch’s favor is, curiously, not generated from the same table available to Helot Cultists. Instead, it’s pulled from the Wyrd Powers found in the Ghast Harvest scenario in the Hardcover Rulebook. There’s a slightly better chance of lucking into a quality power with this table, but they’re still a pretty mixed bag, usability-wise.
Being a follower of the Dark Gods brings with it certain…instabilities. There is a chance that when a follower of Chaos becomes injured, their injury will instead be put aside and a Mutation will take its place. Mutations are functionally a type of Lasting Injury mitigation mechanic. Where Lasting Injuries may sideline a promising character, Mutations may actually end up making someone even more potent!
When a character takes a Lasting Injury, then the Chaos player must roll a d6 to see if the injury becomes a Mutation. A natural 6 will do it, but the dice roll can be increased by a few factors: if the injury came from a Chaos Corrupted or Chaos Cult source, if the fighter who got injured was possessed during that game, or if the fighter has any current mutations. On a successful roll, the Lasting Injury is replaced with the pertinent Mutation:
- Humiliated – Hungering Pride
- Head Injury – Dark Madness
- Eye Injury – Bestial Senses
- Hand Injury – Disturbing Appendage
- Hobbled – Warped Limbs
- Spinal Injury – Crooked Body
- Enfeebled – Twisted Flesh
We’re not going to divulge the effects of these Mutations here, but while there is a drawback to each one, each Mutation also brings with it substantial benefits! There is one ultimate obstacle, though: if the number of Mutations a fighter has ever equals their Toughness, then they are immediately turned into a Chaos Spawn! While some players might see this as an impediment, we figure that most Chaos players would welcome their large, angry, and amorphous fighter with open tentacles, claws, talons, or what have you.
Chaos Favors Table
Once Corrupted, a gang will roll on the special Chaos Favors table rather than on the House Favors as standard. The possibilities here are far more tailored to Chaos, offering up to three fresh gangers (who may, sadly, come pre-mutated), a free Wyrd Power from the Helot Cult’s unique list, and even a re-roll on the next Dark Ritual that seems tailor-made to encourage the creation of a Chaos Spawn. (It’s a re-roll, yes, but all doubles on it result in a Spawn, instead of just double ones.)
We’ll level with ya, some of the favors here aren’t the greatest, especially compared to the cut and dry “Free Credits, Experience, and Bodies” given out by the normal House Favors table. Chaos’ 13+ result, Eye of the Gods, is almost a no-prize, offering temporary stat bonuses (maybe) if the gang causes any enemies to go Out of Action in the next battle. Still, it’s extremely on-brand for Chaos, and chances are that if you’re here you’re looking for a gang that edges toward story-rich rather than outright powerful. If you wanted overpowered, you’d just go and play <Insert whichever gang is currently the Top Dog in your local Campaign here>!
The Chaos Spawn
Despite its regrettable randomness, the Chaos Spawn is still an extremely fearsome monster. It’s completely immune to pinning, and will wreak havoc during a Necromunda battle. The good thing about a Chaos Spawn is that they’re free during a campaign! The bad thing is that your gang will have to completely fail a Dark Ritual roll, and sacrifice a randomly determined fighter to get one. (Gangs can also gain a Chaos Spawn through injuries resulting in excessive mutations, but that’s a different story.)
If that sacrificed fighter is a regular ganger or juve, then whatever! Cool! But if you end up sacrificing a champion instead, this loss can really hurt, as there is a chance your brand new Spawn will simply run the hell away after a battle and never return. Having one of these monsters around is dangerous, and the Spawn might take it out on your gangers after a battle, too.
Despite all of this, there’s nothing a Chaos player wants more than a Chaos Spawn, and we can hardly blame them. Spawn are big, tough, mean, and durable, and a Chaos-godsend for any House gang that’s lacking in melee beat-sticks like Escher or Van Saar. They’re an immediate problem for your opponent, as it is nearly impossible to put one down. If you’re (un)lucky enough to have one, then we here at Necromunday are officially happy for you.
We’ve said it many times before, and we’ll say it again – Save yourself some aggravation, and make an agreement with your opponent that the Spawn shouldn’t be pinnable under any circumstances, even Seismic. The poor thing doesn’t know how to stand up.
Embracing the Dark Gods
Chaos-Corruption can be chosen to be applied when a gang is first created, and is the typical point of entry for players using the ruleset as an excuse to build a unique-looking House gang that may or may not be rocking a few extra tentacles. Officially, the Corruption is limited to the six Houses, although both of us would have no problem with any of our players looking to run most of the other factions as corrupted as well, provided they had a solid narrative hook for wanting to do so! (Note: Hard pass on Corrupted Corpse Grinders, though. Those guys don’t need the help.)
Alternatively, any normal House gang can choose to attempt to invite in a little bit of Chaos by attempting a Dark Ritual of their own in the Post-Battle Phase. All of the usual modifiers will apply to the dice roll, and if the Ritual either succeeds or fails so spectacularly that it results in a Spawn, they’re in!
If playing in a Law and Misrule Campaign, starting off as a Chaos-Corrupted gang or becoming one mid-Campaign will result in the gang becoming permanently Outlawed. Any actions that would normally cause their Alignment to change to Lawful will merely incur a 5 Reputation penalty, instead.
In an Uprising Campaign, curiously, a Chaos-Corrupted gang is freely able to declare itself an agent of Order. This does feel a bit weird, but there are plenty of stories of good upstanding people grappling with the temptations of Chaos, or not quite realizing the true sources of their powers.
Finally, regardless of the method and timing that a player uses to inject their House gang with a little bit of Chaos goodness, we’d like to take a moment to mention that it is absolutely okay to create a gang that’s in the thrall of Chaos-Corruption and Genestealer-Corruption at the same time. It’s in the lore! It’s endorsed by the developers! If you’re the sort of person crazy enough to willingly keep track of a whole extra level of sub-rules in your Necromunda gang, by all means go for it!
Who Should Join Up?
The best answer to this question is simple: anyone! Becoming corrupted is fun and cool! If you’ve played a few campaigns with your gang and you want a slightly different flavor, then Chaos Corruption is a great way to put a little spin on your old minis and have some fun in new and heretical ways.
There could also be a cool narrative reason to become corrupted. Maybe your leader got captured by a Helot Cult gang, and while they were taken they began to suffer from strange visions… The possibilities are limitless!
There really is no drawback to corrupting your own gang outside of possibly Outlaw status. Performing Dark Rituals might end up killing a Champion, the worst case scenario, but other than that, there’s no reason not to devote your gang to the dark gods at your earliest convenience!
It’s no secret that we found the “full” Chaos gang, the Helot Cultists, sorely lacking. The Dark Ritual and Spawn rules, when they worked, could be fun and engaging, but they were tacked on to a gang with very little pizazz and excitement outside of them.
In lifting those particular mechanics, along with a few others, and importing them onto an already lush House play-style like Goliath or Cawdor, Chaos finally has a chance to shine. Gangs can dabble lightly or delve deep into the Corruption, and fall back on their House’s fundamentals when they need an edge that the dark gods simply aren’t willing to provide for them.
It’s an entirely new set of meaningful decisions for players, and we feel that presently Chaos-Corrupted House gangs are the most fun way to experience Chaos in Necromunda. If you’ve ever been curious, or if you’ve been looking for a way to set your crew apart from the other folks playing the same gang as you in your Campaign, give the Ruinous Powers a call!
We’ve got our boring ol’ House gangs and a Green Stuff Roller ready to go, and we’d love to be pushed over the edge with a few of your stories! If you’ve been using a Chaos-Corrupted house gang, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook, or in the comments and let us know who you chose to devote yourself to and why! Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you all next Monday!