Happy Monday, Scummers! Welcome back to another edition of Necromunday here at Goonhammer! Last week, we talked about advances in our LOST ZONE module, and this week we’re diving into Necromunda’s more useless Skills! It’s a big job, so let’s get started!
We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about skills here at Necromunday. Before our somewhat… radical new advance table, they were in a rough spot when competing with stat increases for advancements. Sure, there were a couple of builds that needed multiple skills, but for the most part, folks would pick their starting skills on champs and leaders, and then quickly forget the rest of them. But with our increased focus on skills, we felt that we should do something more with them.
We’ve said in the past that randomly rolling skills is a terrible idea. But in the Lost Zone, you’re going to find that randomly rolling skills happens a lot more than “never”. So what if we tried to make all the skills in a skill set at least somewhat worthwhile? That’s the whole point of this article. And rather than focus on nerfing things that may be too good, we’re going to attempt to elevate the bad skills so that every skill has some sort of value. However, we are making two nerfs to skills that we feel are unfun. You’ll see.
What we’ve done is gone through each set of skills and evaluated them based on their usefulness. Skills with clear utility and value will remain unchanged. Skills that need some help will either have a feature added, removed, or changed. For the most part we’ve added to skills, but wherever we’ve seen the need for a change, we’ve tried to keep the changes thematically linked to the intent of the original skill. We think you’ll pick up on what we’re trying to do.
Obviously, some skill sets are a whole lot better than others! For a few of them, each skill has value and utility, so the entire skill set has remained unchanged. For the skills that we have changed, we’ll print the text of the skill with our changes in italics. If a skill is not mentioned, then we haven’t changed it. There’s a lot to look at, so let’s get started!
There are no changes to Agility skills. They’re all pretty good! A gang that manages to get multiple mobility skills on their key fighters is going to be a nightmare to deal with, in a really fun way.
- Big Brother: Whilst this fighter is Standing and Active, any friendly fighter with the Gang Fighter (X) special rule that is within 9” and line of sight of this fighter may use this fighter’s Cool characteristic for Nerve tests instead of their own. In addition, in the End Phase, this fighter may choose a friendly fighter with the Gang Fighter (X) special rule who is Prone and Seriously Injured within 9”. The selected fighter may roll one additional Injury dice during their Recovery test this phase.
- King Hit: When making an unarmed attack (see the Necromunda Rulebook), this fighter may choose to roll a single Attack dice, irrespective of their Attacks characteristic or any other bonuses. If they choose to do so, the attack gains the Knockback, Shock, Pulverise, and Concussion traits. If the fighter is successful in taking their target Out of Action or inflicting a Serious Injury, every enemy fighter within 6” must take a Nerve test or become Broken. In addition, until the End Phase of this turn, enemy fighters must first pass a Willpower check if they wish to make a Charge (double) action that would result in making any attacks against this fighter. If that check is failed, they cannot move and their activation ends immediately.
- Steady Hands: When this fighter is activated, before declaring their first action, this fighter may perform a Reload (simple) action for free. This does not prevent them from performing the same action twice more during their activation should they choose. In addition, if this fighter is Standing and Active and did not make a Move, Fall Back, Take Cover, or any other action that would result in any sort of movement, then this fighter counts as having taken a Take Aim (basic) action.
- Bulging Biceps: This fighter may wield an Unwieldy weapon in one hand rather than the usual two. Note that Unwieldy weapons still take up the space of two weapons with regards to how many a fighter can carry. When this fighter chooses to wield an Unwieldy weapon in two hands, the fighter may add 1 to their hit rolls and 1 to their Strength characteristic. In addition, this fighter may shoot Unwieldy ranged weapons with a basic action instead of a double action.
- Crushing Blow: The fighter may sacrifice one of their attack dice (to a minimum of 1) to give the rest of their attacks +1 to hit, +1 Strength, and +1 Damage. Weapons with the Sidearm trait may not be used in conjunction with this skill.
- Iron Jaw: This fighter’s Toughness is treated as being two higher than normal when another fighter makes unarmed attacks against them in close combat. Additionally, when this fighter suffers a Serious Injury as a result of a melee attack (including Versatile weapons), roll a d6. If the result of that roll is equal to or less than this Fighters current Toughness characteristic (taking into account any pieces of wargear like a Stimm-slug Stash or a Servo-harness), then that Serious Injury is downgraded to a Flesh Wound.
- Combat Master: This fighter never suffers penalties to their hit rolls for interference, and can always grant assists, regardless of how many enemy fighters they are engaged with. Additionally, this fighter can never be Disarmed, and may turn to face any direction for free before each round of combat begins without suffering any penalties to their hit rolls for the following round of combat.
- Counter Attack: When this fighter makes Reaction attacks in close combat, they roll one additional Attack dice for each of the attacker’s Attacks that failed to hit or wound (whether or not they were missed, parried, etc.)
- Escape Artist: When this fighter makes a Retreat (basic) action, it automatically succeeds and this fighter cannot be the target of any Reaction attacks. In addition, this fighter can never be captured. If they’ve been captured after the battle, it is assumed that they made some sort of masterful escape, and are returned to their gang with all of their equipment.
- Overwatch: If this fighter is Standing and Active, and has a Ready marker on them, they can interrupt a visible enemy fighter’s action as soon as it is declared, but before it is carried out. This fighter loses their Ready marker, then immediately makes a Shoot (Basic) action, targeting the enemy fighter whose action they have interrupted. If the enemy is Pinned or Seriously Injured as a result, their activation ends immediately – their action(s) are not made. Weapons with the Blast (X”) or Template traits may not be used to make Overwatch attacks.
Much like Agility skills, Finesse skills are all worth having. Way to go House Escher!
- Fearsome: If an enemy wishes to make a Charge (Double) action that would result in them making one or more close combat attacks against this fighter, they must make a Willpower check before moving. If the check is failed, they cannot move and their activation ends immediately. In addition, if this Fighter moves within base-to-base contact with any enemy fighters as a result of a Charge (double) action, those fighters must take a Cool check. If they fail, they become Broken.
- Impetuous: When this fighter consolidates at the end of a close combat, they can move up to 4’’, rather than the usual 2’’. If this fighter has made a Charge (double) action this turn and is no longer Engaged with a Standing and Active enemy fighter, then this fighter may Consolidate to a new combat if they are able to move into base-to-base contact with another enemy fighter. They may not make any more attacks this activation, but are considered to be Engaged with any enemy fighters they are in base-to-base contact with.
- Inspirational: If a friendly fighter within 6’’ of this fighter fails a Cool, Leadership, or Willpower check, make a Leadership check for this fighter. If the Leadership check is passed, then the failed check also counts as having been passed.
- Mentor: Make a Leadership check for this fighter each time another friendly fighter within 9” gains a point of Experience. If the check is passed, the other fighter gains two Experience instead of one.
- Overseer: If the fighter is Active, they can attempt to make the following action:
- Order (double): Choose a friendly fighter within 6’’. The fighter attempting the Order action must take a Leadership check. If passed, the selected fighter can immediately make two actions as though it were their turn to activate, even if they are not ready. If they are Ready, these actions do not remove their Ready marker.
- Regroup: If this fighter is Standing and Active at the end of their activation, the controlling player may make a Leadership check for them. If this check is passed, each friendly fighter that is currently subject to the Broken condition and within 12’’ immediately recovers from being Broken.
- Fists of Steel: Unarmed attacks made by this fighter count as being made with a set of weapons with the Paired trait that have a Strength 2 higher than normal and inflict 2 damage.
- Immovable Stance: This fighter may perform the Tank (basic) action during their activation:
- Tank (basic): Until the start of this fighter’s next activation, this fighter increases their armour save by 2 to a maximum of 2+ and cannot be moved from their current location by any skills such as Hurl or Overseer, or any weapon traits such as Knockback or Drag, nor can they be Pinned. A Tank (Basic) action can never be combined with any action that would cause the fighter to move in any way in the same turn.
- Unleash the Beast: This fighter may perform the Flex (simple) action while they are Active and Engaged:
- Flex (simple): All fighters (friend or foe) in base-to-base contact with this fighter must roll off with this fighter with 1d6. The Flexing fighter may add their Strength characteristic to the roll. If the Flexing fighter wins the roll off, the other fighter is moved d3” directly away from the Flexing fighter and is placed Prone. If the Flexing fighter loses this roll-off, then nothing happens. If there are multiple fighters being pushed, the player controlling this fighter chooses the order in which they are moved, but a roll-off must be made for each fighter being pushed.
- Non-Verbal Communication: If this fighter is Standing and Active, they can attempt to make the following action:
- Comms (basic): The fighter with this skill may take a Leadership check. If passed, pick a friendly fighter within 6”. That fighter may immediately make one of the following actions: Move (simple), Take Cover (basic), Operate Door (basic), Access Terminal (basic), or Force Door (basic).
- Restraint Protocols: Rather than perform a Coup de Grace, this fighter may instead perform a Restrain (simple) action:
- Restrain (simple): Rather than perform a Coup de Grace, this fighter may instead perform a Restrain (simple) action. This fighter is adept at shackling their opponents, even in the heat of battle. The enemy fighter is taken out of action, but each time this fighter performs this action, make a note that they have restrained an enemy fighter. During the Wrap-up, add 1 to the dice roll to determine if an enemy fighter has been Captured for each enemy fighter that has been restrained. The fighter that performed the Restrain (simple) action gains an additional point of XP.
- Avatar of Blood: For every unsaved wound this fighter inflicts on an enemy fighter with a weapon with the Melee trait, they may immediately regain 1 lost Wound they have suffered in this battle. If this fighter hasn’t lost any wounds or doesn’t have multiple wounds, then they may discard one Flesh Wound they have previously suffered.
- Ballistics Expert: When this fighter makes an Aim (Basic) action they gain an additional +1 modifier to their hit roll.
- Connected: This fighter can make a Trade action during the post-battle sequence, in addition to any other actions they make (meaning they could even make two Trade actions). They cannot do this if they are unable to make actions during the post-battle sequence. The fighter also gets access to either the Trading Post or Black Market’s special reserve inventory (mentioned in a previous article). When this skill is selected, the player must choose which shop they have connections with, and this skill only works for that shop. Mark this down on their fighter card. However, this skill can be taken more than once, as a ganger can become Connected with both the Black Market and Trading Post.
- Savvy Trader: When this fighter visits the Trading Post or Black Market as a post-battle action, the cost of one item may be reduced by 20 credits on this visit (to a minimum of 10 credits). Note that this means one item, not one type of item. A single power sword may be purchased for 30 credits, but a second power sword would still cost 50 credits.
In a move that will surprise no one, we’ve decided that the Shooting skills are fine as they are. No kidding, right?
- Cold and Calculating: This fighter may substitute their Intelligence characteristic for any and all Cool and Willpower checks they may be required to take.
- Mental Mastery: This fighter cannot become subject to the Insane or Broken conditions. In addition if this fighter is chosen as the target of a Wyrd Power, and is Standing and Active or Prone and Pinned, they may attempt to Disrupt the power as if they were a Psyker.
- Photonic Engineer: This fighter may apply a +1 modifier to the Strength characteristic of all las weapons used by them.
- Rad-Phaged: When this fighter is hit by a weapon with the Gas or Toxin traits, the opposing player must roll two d6 and discard the highest roll when rolling to see if this fighter is affected. In addition, should this fighter suffer a hit from a weapon with the Rad-phage trait, roll an additional d6 as normal. However, on a roll of 4 or higher, they do not suffer an additional Flesh Wound or any damage from the weapon. Instead the fighter may discard a Flesh Wound they have already suffered. Also, any fighters that end their activation within 3” of this fighter must take a Rad-phage test as if they were hit by a weapon with the Rad-phage trait. Finally, in any scenario that uses the Pitch Black rules, this fighter always counts as being Revealed.
Skills have always played second fiddle to stat increases in this edition of Necromunda. Not only is that too bad, but with our Lost Zone advancement framework, and its focus on skills over stat increases, it’s more important than ever to make sure skills are worth it. Hopefully, with these tweaks, we’ve gotten you excited to give our little experiment a shot! As always, let us know what you think, Scummers: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to read your takes on what we’ve got so far.
Thanks for reading, Scummers! We’ll be back next week with another edition of Necromunday. Until then, stay safe out there, and don’t drink anything a Delaque ganger gives you, ever!