Necromunday: Reputation in the Lost Zone

Necromunday

Welcome, Scummers, to another edition of Necromunday! This week, we’re expanding our Lost Zone module to include the under-emphasized Reputation campaign resource. If you’re curious about the rest of our Lost Zone content, go HERE to check it all out.

Reputation. Frankly, it’s pretty much meaningless after a point in current Necromunda. If you’ve got enough to have a Rogue Doc and an Ambot, then it’s a waste of time to worry about getting more. This is unfortunate because having a hard-as-nails Rep in the real world can open a lot of doors for a gang or criminal organization! Think of the Yakuza and how legendarily tough and ruthless they are. We feel that Reputation should function in a similar fashion in the Lost Zones: gangs can use it to open otherwise closed doors and enhance their revenue stream, hired help, and campaign experience. Building up Rep in regular Necromunda is merely tangential to a gang’s success, but in the Lost Zone, earning and spending Reputation can be integral to a gang’s progression.

So how do we go about doing this? Well, we need to fundamentally change how Reputation is used. Instead of a gang-tracking stat, in a Lost Zone campaign, Reputation is a spendable resource. Like credits, Reputation can be spent on upgrades, but instead of individual fighter upgrades, it’s spent on gang upgrades. Once Reputation is spent, it is removed from the gang’s roster, just like credits or components.

What can Reputation be spent on?

Reputation in the Lost Zone can be spent on the following 4 things:

  • Unlock a Hanger-On roster spot (3 Reputation)
  • Unlock a Brute Roster spot (7 Reputation)
  • Upgrade a Territory (5 Reputation)
  • The Arbitrator’s Special (cost varies)

Hangers-On

A bit of a ret-con here. In an earlier Lost Zone article, we said that gangs may treat hiring Hangers-On as normal. We’re changing this up a bit to come in line with our expectations for Reputation. After a battle, a player may spend Reputation to do the following:

  • Unlock Hanger-On roster spot: This action costs 3 Reputation, and may be performed 3 times. The gang has accrued enough of a rep to entice outside help, and may hire one available Hanger-On. The hiring fee must be paid in credits, and the Reputation paid is removed from the gang’s roster. After this step, the Hanger-On is treated normally as written in the Necromunda rulebooks.

So, In the Lost Zones, skilled Hangers-On aren’t just waiting around to be hired. The Lost Zones don’t have enough infrastructure to support idle specialists. Hangers-On come and go as they drift through the forgotten domes and tunnels of the Lost Zones.

Some Arbitrators may want to introduce some scarcity in available Hangers-On, so we went and made another randomly-generated tool to make it easy for Arbitrators to choose what Hangers-On are available for players to hire:

Lost Zone Unemployment Office

How to use the Unemployment Office

Just like our Trading Post and Black Market tool, once per campaign week, the Arbitrator can generate a list of available job-seekers. Players can then hire Hangers-On from the available list. We recommend that the Arbitrator generate between 3 and 7 Hangers-On per week, though if it’s a really big campaign, you might need to generate more.

Some Arbitrators may want to further introduce scarcity and create a first come/first serve situation where only one of the types of Hangers-On may be hired per week. For example, if a Rogue Doc is available at the Unemployment Office, then the first gang to hire her gets to do so, but after, she is scratched from the list and everyone else is S.O.L. This is, of course, optional (along with everything else in this entire project!).

Changes to Hangers-On

Because of the Lost Zone’s mechanics, some Hangers-On don’t really work the way they’re written anymore. But have no fear, we’ve written out some changes to keep them relevant. Additionally, we’ve removed a few from the list completely, as they’re campaign-specific and don’t really make sense within the framework of the Lost Zone. These removed Hangers-On are: Fixers, ‘Narkers, and Proxies. Don’t sweat their removal, Scummers, they didn’t do anything anyways.

All right, let’s get into the changes.

  • Bullet Merchant
    • Change the 1st sentence of the High Calibre Hook-Up rule to read: “Once per Campaign Week, a gang who employs a Bullet Merchant may buy a single instance of Special Ammo from the Trading Post or Black Market even if it is not present in the randomly generated stock lists.”
  • Cadaver Merchant
    • Remove the second paragraph of the Cadaver Merchant rule and replace it with this: “A Cadaver Merchant can also acquire “meat” for the gang, enhancing their constitution. The gang can pay d3x10 credits to the Cadaver Merchant before the battle, and if they do, all members of the gang can ignore the first Flesh Wound they suffer. At the end of the battle, roll a d6 for each fighter that took part in the battle. On a roll of 1, the fighter succumbs to Kuru and must miss the next battle. Place that fighter in Recovery.”
  • Chem Dealer
    • Change the 1st sentence of the Abundant Supply rule to read: “Once per Campaign Week, a gang who employs a Chem Dealer may buy a single instance of a Chem from the Trading Post or Black Market even if it is not present in the randomly generated stock lists.”
  • Dome Runner
    • Add the following to the Dome Runner rule: “Additionally, when a player who’s gang employs a Dome Runner rolls for the number of components found in Loot Caskets after the battle, they may re-roll 1 of the dice each time they roll for components. They must accept the result of the re-roll, even if it is worse.
  • Tech-merchant
    • Replace the text of the Techno-baubles rule to read: “Once per Campaign Week, the gang who employs a Tech-merchant may roll 2d6, adding 2 to the result. After determining the result, the gang may then purchase one item from the Trading Post or Black Market with a Rarity or Illegality that is less than or equal to the determined result, even if it is not listed on the randomly generated stock lists.

Brutes

Like with Hangers-On, after a battle, a player may spend Reputation to do the following:

  • Unlock Brute roster spot: This action costs 7 Reputation and may only be performed once. It’s big boi season, and the player may hire one available Brute. The hiring fee must be paid in credits, and the Reputation paid is removed from the gang’s roster. After this step, the Brute is treated normally as written in the Necromunda rulebooks.

In our minds, Brutes should be a rare occurrence in a Lost Zone campaign. They’re extremely powerful, and can be huge game-changers that will swing the balance of power in a campaign. In other words, they ought to be used sparingly. So, we want to leave it up to the Arbitrator to decide when and which Brutes are available, but we have a few suggestions:

  • Use a custom, multiplayer scenario. Say an wandering Ambot has been located in the Lost Zone. The gangs must send out a search party to try and capture it for their use! They should tread lightly, though, because the dome it’s haunting has been abandoned for generations and doesn’t look too stable…
  • Use Brutes as a catch-up Mechanic. Access to a Brute is a great way to give a struggling gang a leg (or claw, or augmetic fist) up.

The takeaway here is that Brutes ought to be rare in Lost Zone campaigns, as they can easily take a gang from “barely surviving in the leftover refuse of the hive” to “the 2003-2010 Cleveland Cavaliers”.

Territory Upgrades

We hate to do it to you, but this is where this article becomes a two-parter. The territory and rackets system that the Dominion and Law & Misrule campaigns brought us are…not great. So, we’ve decided to create our own system that we’ll use to replace them in Lost Zone campaigns. However, that is, in and of itself, a whole-ass article. We’ll be putting it out (hopefully) next week, so watch this space!

The Arbitrator’s Special

Reputation can be used in many ways. We’re sure that creative Arbitrators out there will find novel ways to use it in a ton of cool manners. Here are some suggestions to get your brains kick-started:

  • Put certain lucrative or difficult missions behind a Reputation gate to make sure the right gangs are doing the cool things.
  • Deputize a gang with a ton of Rep to act as security for your Borderland town. Just don’t let the Enforcers know that another gang’s been taking bites from their apple!
  • Let gangs spend Rep to jump the line if you’re running an auction-style Trading Post or Black Market.
  • Send Bounty Hunters after gangs with too much unspent Rep. They can’t be trusted!

The possibilities are limitless!

Final Thoughts

Reputation in regular Necromunda is an unfortunate afterthought. We’re hoping that in the Lost Zone it can make a real and important impact on your campaigns. As always, we would love to read your feedback, so drop us a line over at necromunday@goonhammer.com and let us know what you think!

We’re not done with Reputation yet, Scummers! Join us next week when we unveil our new plans for upgradable and customizable Territories! Thanks for reading, and be well!