Necromunday: Lost Zone Arbitrator Suggestions

An article by    Gaming Narrative Play Necromunda        0

All right, Scummers! You’ve made it to what is (for now) the last in our series of Lost Zone articles. We hope you’ve enjoyed looking through our eyes at our favorite sci-fi skirmish game. In our last missive, we’ll give you just a few parting ideas to take into your campaigns, then it’s a kiss on the head and a kick out the door as we set our beloved Lost Zone free!

Necromunda owns. Unlike pretty much every other GW product, the modding scene for Necro is thriving. House rules for 40k? GTFO. A fan-made team of frogmen in Blood Bowl? Dan will literally fight you. But in Necro, players and Arbitrators tweak the rules all the time. It’s expected that each playgroup has their own way of doing things, and the prevailing thought is that if you don’t like a rule: change it!

With that spirit in mind, we took a shot at building a Necromunda that more closely adheres to how we like to play it. You all will ultimately be the judges of whether or not we did a good job, and hopefully our vision is clear. Hard-scrabble groups of desperate survivors, violently clashing underneath a world that doesn’t even notice them is what we want from this game, and we sincerely hope that the Lost Zone can deliver on this vision.

 

We’ve got a few more suggestions for Arbitrators out there. These ideas didn’t warrant an entire article, so we decided to throw ‘em in this one so we wouldn’t lose track. First, let’s check in with Fowler and his ideas for Wyrd powers:

Wyrd Powers

Fowler: Howdy, scummers. Fowler here with a few words about Wyrd Powers. Here at Goonhammer HQ, we feel that underhive magic could use a bit of a boost. While a Chaos Cult might be tempted to take a Savant skill on their witch – isn’t it cooler to fly or shoot fire? Here are some suggestions for encouraging psyker shenanigans:

  • Maintaining a power is a free bonus action. This makes a number of skills much more feasible as you are not burning actions to sustain flight / super strength, shields & so on.
  • Balance powerful skills with perils of the warp risk. While we don’t feel that there are skills that should be proactively nerfed, this is a helpful tool to have in your back pocket… just in case. If you foresee abuse of GSC mind control, tack the ability to peril the (now free) roll to maintain.
  • Use the “good” Scouring. This means that it should be a single action, instantaneous attack.
  • Consider letting a Wyrd take a free “wild magic” skill – meaning that they choose a target and then randomly roll on their available psychic primaries table to see which ability gets used. This will inevitably end poorly, but it’s fun as hell.

Thanks, Fowler! These are great suggestions to make Wyrds a bit more viable!

 

Stringing Together Narrative Games

So we’ve talked about how to string together games. The system is meant for people to generate games with their friends without having an overarching narrative reason to do so. We think it’s a good system, but in some cases it can lack a certain oomph.

As an Arbitrator, you ought to pay attention to your players’ games. In this example, let’s say that player A loses a game, their leader gets Injured, and a Champion and a Ganger kick the bucket. This stinks! The aggrieved gang is going to want to get even. So, let them! Give player A the option to take it to their opponent with an unbalanced game. Not every mission is set up to be fair, and giving a player with a beat up gang the opportunity to get even will be fun for them, and potentially good for the entire campaign as it will slow down the advancement of the gang that caused all the casualties.

Some good (because they’re completely unbalanced) scenarios to use in this example are:

  • Ambush: The attacker gets to use their whole gang, while the defender can only use Random (d3+5). The defender does not get reinforcements. This game heavily favors the attacker.
  • Smash & Grab: Hoo boy. The Attacker gets Custom Selection (10) and the defender gets Random Selection (d6+3) and NO reinforcements. This game heavily favors the attacker.
  • Last Stand: This scenario is built to be unbalanced. It is a Last Stand in both name and mechanics. Unsurprisingly, the attacker is heavily favored here.
  • The Hit: Completely unbalanced, it’s going to be a slaughter of the defending team. Attackers’ crews are Custom (d3x5), while defenders have the same amount but randomly chosen.
  • Show of Force: This is not a balanced mission. This is a meat-grinder.
  • Hit & Run: Custom Selection and non-restrictive deployment options give Attackers an overwhelming advantage.

Again, in this case you’re trying to give the gang that lost some members an advantage at evening the score. This kind of action should only be played in the same campaign week or the very next one, as you want the revenge to happen quickly. Also, it will help take the sting out of the game if the attacking gang isn’t at full strength.

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to set up some fun set pieces for your players. Like, if one of your players has a Chaos-corrupted gang, throw in a Blood Rites or Meat Harvest! Have fun with it!

 

Build Your Own Town

It’s easy to build a narrative around a geographical location. In that vein, build yourself your own little settlement out at the edge of the Underhive. As the Arbitrator, you can take the place of the corrupt mayor, hiring gangs to do your dirty work. Maybe you even have an Enforcer gang that can do the dirty work as an NPC gang. Maybe create some locations that act as gang territories. The town’s tavern can be a Drinking Hole that the local Orlocks run. There’s an Escher-controlled Narco Den a couple of hab blocks away. And don’t forget the Van Saar gang skulking around the nearby Ancient Ruins looking for ancient tech to exploit! This way, players can link their experiences to places on the map and have a visual aid to see where their battles are taking place. And, if you have the artistic chops, build your players a map! Let them see exactly where they are in your little dirtbag town!

 

For Pete’s Sake, Use the Book of Peril

Listen, we’ve talked about the Book of Peril before. The Lost Zones are meant to be nearly-uninhabitable parts of the Underhive. There is a ton of fun stuff in the Book of Peril, and most players don’t even know it! Perhaps the Ancient Ruins mentioned above are untouched because they have been submerged in the Sump Sea for generations. The only reason those plucky Van Saar can go ransack them is because, for whatever reason, the Sump Sea has ebbed. But the mysterious tides that plague the ruins aren’t completely gone, and when the Van Saar are called to defend their territory, they find that the tide’s coming in!

There’s so many ways to customize your players’ campaign experience out there. Take a swing with the Book of Peril, your players will love you for it.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for now, Scummers. We’ll surely have to update the Lost Zone as new content emerges for Necromunda, but we’ve reached our present level of completion. We sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed reading our little campaign module, and we’d love to read your feedback, so drop us a line at necromunday@goonhammer.com. Maybe throw in a few pictures of your gangs while you’re at it.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be focusing on some more aspects of the hobby, as well as putting out our coverage of the House of Faith, whenever that drops. We hope to see you back here, checking out our content every week! Be well and stay healthy, Scummers! See you next week!

 

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