Howdy Scummers! Today we’re continuing to create content for our Lost Zone module for Necromunda! A quick reminder: the Lost Zone module is a set of optional rules that Necromunda groups can use to enhance narrative and gradual play on the fringes of the Underhive. We’re releasing it in parts, so make sure to keep coming back every week to see what we’ve got in store for you! If you have any questions or comments about our system or anything Necromunda-related, feel free to drop us a line at email@example.com!
The Lost Zones exist on the fringes of the underhive, away from the more civilized areas of our favorite urban hellscape. Because of the isolation, gangs are often operating apart from their houses (or cults), and finding experienced fighters to fill out their rosters can prove difficult. That being said, gangs tend to prepare themselves more when undertaking a Lost Zone campaign. Let’s see what that means in practical terms:
Lost Zone Gang Composition
When starting a Lost Zone campaign, players will have 1,250 credits to hire and outfit their gang. Each gang must abide by the following restrictions, in addition to what the official rules say in each gang’s particular rules.
- 1 Leader: A gang may only ever have one leader.
- 0-1 Generic Champion: A gang may have up to one “generic” champion. Generic champions are the “old school” champs that everyone’s familiar with; not the champs that come with access to unique wargear and skills. Orlock Road Sergeants, Goliath Forge Bosses, Escher Gang Matriarchs, and Van Saar Augmeks are all examples of generic champs. So are Ogryn Underbosses, Enforcer Sergeants, and Corpse Grinder Cult Cutters.
- 0-1 Specialist Champion: A gang may have up to one “specialist” champion. These champions are generally the “new” champions that have seen releases starting in 2019 and later. They have access to special equipment and skills not generally seen in the rest of their gang. Orlock Arms Masters, Goliath Stimmers, Escher Death Maidens, and Van Saar Archaeoteks count as specialist champions. If a gang does not have access to a specialist champion, then they may take an additional generic champion.
- 0-2 Prospects: A gang may have up to two Prospects.
- Unlimited Gangers: There are no limits on how many gangers a gang may have. One of these gangers may be a Specialist.
- Unlimited Juves: There are no limits on how many juves a gang may have.
- Unlimited Exotic Beasts: There are no limits on how many Exotic Beasts may be included in a gang, except for the limits imposed on each fighter’s equipment list. For example, an Orlock gang may have any number of Cyber-mastiffs, but may not exceed the allotted amount described in each fighter’s equipment list.
Lost Zone Recruitment
Good help is hard to find, and is especially so in the Lost Zones. When a player wishes to hire more recruits for their gang, they may only hire Gangers (but not Specialists), Juves, and Exotic Beasts. For the purposes of a Lost Zone campaign, do not treat Exotic Beasts like the rest of the wargear purchased from fighter equipment lists. Instead of having to provide components at the Weaponsmith, Exotic Beasts can be purchased at any time.
In the Lost Zones, when a new fighter is hired, they may not draw equipment from their fighter’s equipment list. Gear in the Lost Zones is purchased through the Trading Post and Black Market or the Weaponsmith, or as rewards for missions or campaign events (more on that in future articles). The isolation from the rest of the Underhive means that gangs are stuck with what they can scrounge, and wonky gear/fighter combos will invariably happen, like a Goliath Brute using a lasgun or power sword!
So, why the moratorium on champs and prospects? Well, we think that in modern Necromunda campaigns, gangs tend to be able to hire too many champions too quickly, and thus detract from the importance of individual champions. While having lots of great fighters would be common in more habitable areas of the hive, in the Lost Zones, gangs will have to take what they can get!
But this doesn’t mean players can’t recruit champs and prospects when a campaign starts! We feel that the decision to allow for more champs and prospects should be placed in the hands of the campaign Arbitrator. We have a few suggestions, though:
Recruiting New Champions
While champions aren’t always hirable in a Lost Zone campaign, we have some suggestions for when the Arbitrator ought to give the green light.
- Replacing a dead champion: If a gang loses one of their champs, they ought to be given the opportunity to hire one.
- A catch-up mechanic: If a certain gang is lagging behind the others in your campaign, give them the opportunity to hire an additional champion. It might give them a leg-up in their next few battles and get them back on track.
- Underdog bonus: If a gang can beat an opponent with a gang rating difference of 300 or more, then they can increase one of their champion limits by one.
- Campaign events: We will touch on campaign events more in future articles, but the Arbitrator should schedule in a point at which champion limits increase. Your players are going to want to watch their gangs progress, and adding a champion at the halfway point of a campaign will add to their enjoyment with the campaign.
- Narrative reasons: Maybe the gang has taken out a renown gunslinger or infamous marauder and their fame is growing to the point where experienced fighters are seeking them out to join up! Arbitrators should always be thinking of fun ways to reward players, and extra champ capacity would be a great way to do it.
Recruiting New Prospects
Prospects aren’t nearly as game-breaking as champions, and players should be given greater access to them. That being said, this is still the Lost Zones, and talent and ambition are suitably rare here. Arbitrators should definitely be more free-handed with opportunities to hire more Prospects. Here are some suggestions:
- Replacing a dead Prospect: If a gang loses one of their Prospects, they ought to be given the opportunity to hire one.
- Winning streaks: If a gang can manage to win more than one game in a row, then their stock with local youths will certainly increase, leading to a better class of youngster ready to sign on.
- Back-filling promotions: If a player promotes a Prospect to a specialist champion, then the same player should be able to hire a replacement for their promoted Prospect.
- Campaign events: Same as above.
- Narrative reasons: Same as above.
Brutes are unsurprisingly rare in the Lost Zones. Ambulls, Ogryns, house brutes, and the like are powerful and valuable assets, and are suitably under-represented in the far reaches of the Underhive. A gang can only have one brute on their roster at any time, no matter how much Reputation they have. Arbitrators may want to restrict this access even more. Perhaps gangs can buy Brutes at the halfway point in the campaign, or they have to win specific missions to get access to them.
Some gangs rely on Hangers-On more than others, and we thought it might potentially be unfair to restrict their use. So, Hangers-On in a Lost Zone campaign work in the same manner as an official Necromunda campaign.
Hired Guns and Dramatis Personae
While we’re not recommending any rules changes for how these characters are hired, we would definitely like to see Lost Zone Arbitrators use them in a more narrative capacity. For instance, maybe every campaign week, a new clutch of Hired Guns and Dramatis Personae show up in town and are the only hirable characters this week. If a group has a large enough collective pool of Necromunda weirdos and gribblies, then these characters can be quite varied, indeed! Maybe an Outlaw gang is getting so powerful that the Arbitrator has assigned Bounty Hunters to their opponents to help take them down. Perhaps a Scummer liked working with a certain gang so much that they’ve offered to join up full time as a recruitable ganger! Arbitrators should definitely have as much fun as possible, here!
Unique Gang Malarkey
While some people out there might not be fans of malarkey, here at Necromunday, we’re all about it! We’re specifically referencing stuff like Gene-Smithing, Chem Alchemy, Legendary Names, and Cyberteknika. Players should feel free to use stuff like this as normal in a Lost Zone campaign. These systems are seminal to a House gang’s identity, and there’s really no reason why players shouldn’t have access to them.
More to Come
Our design philosophy with this framework is to slow advancement down a bit so that the more characterful aspects of running a gang can stand out. With fewer champs and Prospects in the mix, their survival becomes far more integral to a gang’s success, and this could force players to be more thoughtful with how they employ them. Also, as Arbitrators in our own right, some of us have experienced consternation at how quickly gangs can go from “just started” to “completely unbeatable” in a few short campaign weeks. Lost Zone campaigns progress a little more slowly than their official counterparts, and that’s by design!
Well, we hope you liked our recruitment framework for Lost Zone campaigns. If you want to give us any feedback, please feel free to do that at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you! Come back next week to see what we’ve cooked up! Until then, be well, Scummers!