Salutations, Scummers! Today, we’re taking a brief pause from blathering on about Alliances and Retinues to instead spend a bit of time doing our favorite thing – actually playing some games!
Necromunda’s newest scenario, The Hunt, is also the first of its kind, designed to be run entirely for a single gang by a single player. We’ve been dying to get a game in lately, so we gave it the old college try to see how it’d go. Is there a reasonable chance of victory? Do the rules make sense? Is it fun enough to play it more than once?
As it turns out, thankfully, yes!
So What’s the Deal?
There have been reports of an Ambot that has shed its cranial governors somewhere in the Underhive. The player’s gang has been tasked with hunting it down and killing it. It won’t be an easy task, though, as the creature that an Ambot is built upon, the dreaded Ambull, if fierce, strong, enormous, and enormously strong (in a fierce way). This particular Ambot is reverting back to its terrifying Ambull origins, and you can be sure that it’s no easy prey
The player sets up their gang within 3” of the middle of the board, and begins their search for the rogue Ambot. The Ambot, however, does not start the game on the battlefield. Instead, it is in the shadows, hiding and waiting for the opportune time to strike. While the Ambot hides, fighters can only move or take one of two new actions:
- Search Area: The fighter makes an Intelligence check to attempt to suss out the Ambot. If it succeeds, add 1 to any subsequent “It Came From the Shadows” rolls. If it fails, reduce any such rolls by 1. The effects are meant to be cumulative here, as the gangers tighten their net.
- Give Cover: This action allows fighters to participate in the reaction fire bits of the “It Came From the Shadows” rolls.
Every time a Search Area action is done, a roll on the “It Came From the Shadows” table is made. We don’t want to spoil the entire table here, but you’d ideally want to roll high. Depending on the roll, the Ambot may appear. When it does, it’s an absolute wrecking ball. It has enhanced stats due to its lack of cranial governors, and it gets to activate after every member of the player’s gang activates. It must, however, act in a specific way, and can return to the shadows if no gangers are nearby for it to snack on. If your crew can manage to bring this thing down, they’ll get some decent rewards: Experience, credits, and Reputation, if you’re using this in as campaign game, but trust us when we say this is no easy task!
Now, we could probably spend the rest of this article pontificating about the various mechanics of this scenario and all of the little things we’d do to make it play better (Helmawr knows, we’ve done that a couple times here and there), but this is a Solo Mission! It’s a whole new type of thing! We’ll mix it up, and we’re both going to play the scenario out in front of you folks, battle report-style.
…and then we’ll start laying into the tweaks, because quite frankly we just can’t help ourselves!
Merton: The Great Ogryn Hunt
Wait, an Ogryn? Merton here, speaking in the rare singular, with an embarrassing confession: I don’t own an Ambot! Luckily, I’m at no loss for lumbering weirdos on 40mm bases so I proxied in an old converted Chaos Ogryn that I’d been using in my Ork Digganob 40k army. Stats were kept identical to the Ambot, and I think it really added to the sense of lurking dread I got while playing this scenario!
In a disused corner of a forgotten collapsed dome, Cold Traders import their wares through an unguarded bulkhead door. Recently, transit has been disrupted by the presence of a Rogue Doc’s even Rogue-r Ogryn Servitor, which has thrown off its Inhibitors and is now randomly attacking the smugglers.
If the Cold Traders can’t sell, your gang can’t get their cut! It’s time to prove you’re worthy of all those protection credits, so get in there and take that servitor down!
Crew and Deployment
The Agents of R.I.M.E - click to expand If you look at this crack team of commandos and think “Wait, those guys really don’t seem terribly well-suited to take on stealthy kitted-out Ogryn,” you’d be right! I ran this scenario using models from my last campaign’s founding gang, where I relied heavily on Delaque shenanigans and shunned the straight-up fight. Still, with typical overconfidence, I figured that we’d be fine. I even took Blood Debt as my Tactic to boost hit rolls on the slim chance that one of my fighters took some damage. After all, how tough could one measly monster possibly be? Terrain was set up in the Sector Mechanicus 3D style in a 24” square, to represent the ruins of a collapsed dome. Arguably, I could have gone a lot denser and more elaborate with the scenery, but there’s officially not a lot of incentive to explore every nook and cranny in this scenario as written. Crew members were deployed in the center of the board to begin their pursuit.
If you look at this crack team of commandos and think “Wait, those guys really don’t seem terribly well-suited to take on stealthy kitted-out Ogryn,” you’d be right! I ran this scenario using models from my last campaign’s founding gang, where I relied heavily on Delaque shenanigans and shunned the straight-up fight. Still, with typical overconfidence, I figured that we’d be fine. I even took Blood Debt as my Tactic to boost hit rolls on the slim chance that one of my fighters took some damage. After all, how tough could one measly monster possibly be?
Terrain was set up in the Sector Mechanicus 3D style in a 24” square, to represent the ruins of a collapsed dome. Arguably, I could have gone a lot denser and more elaborate with the scenery, but there’s officially not a lot of incentive to explore every nook and cranny in this scenario as written. Crew members were deployed in the center of the board to begin their pursuit.
The Search is On!
Hot on the trail of their quarry, the Agents set off to investigate the last known location of the Ogryn servitor, a decaying bunker once used as an access point to the Sump. Vladimir hangs back, instead climbing up on a storage container to provide overwatch with his Long Rifle.
While the rest of the crew gives cover, Vivian begins to search through the debris. She’s clever enough to succeed, but not clever enough to notice the Ogryn, which appears out of the shadows directly behind the group!
Off in the distance, Vladimir takes a shot with his Long Rifle and misses entirely, though thankfully the Ogryn is far enough away from the rest of the Agents to prevent friendly fire. Everyone else misses out on their chance to react to the monster behind them – they were expecting a frontal assault!
The Ogryn charges Vergil and eviscerates the hapless ganger before he can even turn around, dropping him with a half-dozen Serious Injuries and a Coup de Grace. Unbelievably, he escapes permanent injury and is only knocked Out Cold. Vaughn, champion and supposed team leader, fails his Nerve test and immediately begins to flee.
All this in a single turn, and it’s the last activation of the round for the Agents. Turning over control to the Ogryn, the servitor charges again and begins its assault upon Vivian and Vitaly.
Vivian fares even worse than her teammate, her spinal column liquefied by the Ogryn’s Melta-Powered claw. The claw jams irrevocably in the process, but Vivian is taken Out of Action with a Critical Injury and is now permanently Hobbled.
Finally, Vitally turns to react, the first Agent in the group able to take action to stop the servitor. He’s been entrusted with a set of Stiletto Knives, able to cut through the Ogryn’s ponderous bulk and bring it to heel with a particularly robust flavor of poison. All he needs is a single lucky slice. Can he do it?
Nope. Not even close! Even with the accuracy bonus granted by Blood Debt (activated in response to Vergil’s Injury), Vitaly’s single knife attack whiffs harmlessly in thin air.The Ogryn hesitates, finally exhausted, and the round ends.
With the Ogryn servitor still on the table, the next round begins with all remaining Agents able to activate as if in a normal game. Vladmir takes aim and places a round squarely into the Ogryn’s shoulder, dealing the first Wound of the battle! The Ogryn howls, fades back into the shadows, and Vitaly lets out a relieved breath. The ruins are quiet again.
For the next several rounds, the Agents regroup and fall back on the collapsed dome’s bulkhead door. With their backs to the wall, they’ll be able to prevent another ambush from the rear.
Reduced to the edge of pure panic, the remaining crew scan the darkness for signs of the servitor, failing and shooting at nothing but shadows multiple times. Vitaly’s Autogun jams in the process, and Vladimir’s Long Rifle runs fully out of ammunition.
A round later, one of those shadows moves as Vitaly gazes into the abyss, appearing out of nowhere right in base-to-base contact in the middle of the Agents. (Note: That “Ooops…” result is particularly nasty!) The Ogryn attacks.
Thankfully, Vitaly’s luck takes a turn for the better, and interference on behalf of his gangmates cause the servitor to fail to deal a single bit of damage! Capitalizing on the opportunity, Vladimir counters with a buttstock to the Ogryn’s face, dealing another Wound’s worth of damage and causing it to swiftly vanish again.
Almost immediately after, with a cry of “There It Is!,” Vladimir spots the Ogryn again, barreling towards the Agents from 6” away. Vaughn, the only member of the crew who still has ammo (and who has done nothing all game except run away), fires his Web Pistol at the creature.
It’s a hit! ( It’s a Template weapon, obviously.) More importantly, it wounds, and the Ogryn goes down, webbed!
The servitor activates and struggles, with even odds of simply brushing the webs aside and standing normally. It fails, and rolls once more in the End Phase on an Injury Die to possibly recover that way.
It fails again with a Serious Injury! The Ogryn servitor is down!
The final round plays out as expected. Vladimir steps forward and subdues the servitor with a Coup de Grace, sending it Out of Action and ending the game. A full capture of the Ogryn was attempted, but it had become too unstable for Delaque reprogramming and was lost.
The Agents were awarded 80 credits for succeeding in their mission, though it bears mentioning that Vivian’s doc visit wound up costing 90. Grand total: a smattering of experience and Reputation, another permanently crippled ganger, and a net loss of 10 credits. Necromunda!
Merton’s After-Action Review
Man, that was a blast! I’ll be the first to admit, I got super lucky and had zero business winning that mission. I started out woefully under-equipped and even though I thought I had a handle on what the Ogryn was capable of, it kept popping up out of nowhere and absolutely wrecking my dudes. The creature’s mechanics and instinctive behaviors were brutal, but they play well enough that it felt organic without taking up too much game time constantly figuring out how it’d react.
Aaaalso, I may have accidentally set the difficulty level a bit higher than intended, since I somehow didn’t realize that the scenario calls for Custom Selection rather than Random crews. Things worked out well enough in the end, but maybe it could have been a bit smoother if my leader Valencia had been around to lend a hand (and her trusty Plasma Pistol)!
Dan: Catastrophe, Thy Name is Ambot
Sometimes, pictures do a better job of telling a story than words do. So with only minor amounts of context, here is a sequence of images that define what happened in my brief attempt at this scenario. See if you can figure it out!
Dan’s After-Action Review
Spoiler alert, I lost hard.
My first It Came From the Shadows! roll was a 2, but since my leader failed his intelligence check for his Search Area (Basic) action (pictured above in the dice box), he immediately got charged by the Ambot, who was none too pleased to discover intruders in its lair. Then, the furious Ambot ripped apart three of the other four fighters, with my Plasma-toting champ able to run around a corner and get away.
The Ambot followed, tanked a round of Plasma shots, and then retreated to the shadows, only to shortly return and mulch my final fighter. For his bravery, my Plasma champ was rewarded with a Critical Injury. Total play time, around ten minutes.
Even though my poor Orlocks didn’t fare well, I actually did have a ton of fun playing the game. It was nice to roll some dice! I played a Blood Bowl game against myself like 2 months ago; my dice-throwing times have been seriously contraindicated. Can’t say I don’t miss hanging with some pals and chuckin’ some dice around.
Solo play almost scratches this itch for me, but I commend GW for doing something to help those of us going through withdrawals!
Thoughts and Tweaks
A minor quibble that both of us had on this scenario is that there is really no incentive to move to different areas and search! Sure, it makes sense to spread out to avoid having the Ambot being in range to chain-charge your gang, as both of us found out, but there’s no benefit to actually going out and searching anywhere beyond the same patch of ground you deploy into.
This is one area where The Hunt’s spiritual predecessor, Monster Hunt, offered something a bit more mechanically interesting in the form of Lair markers that would show up and have to be destroyed before the true creature would appear. The Hunt lends itself to a less destructive, more methodical approach, so if you’re looking to encourage exploration in this mission we’d suggest implementing something like this:
- Added to BATTLEFIELD: “…In addition, place 2-4 terrain markers on the battlefield, at least 6” away from each other and no more than 6” from a board edge. These markers can be anything, but preferably take the form of distinctive terrain features where the Ambot may have left signs of its presence.”
- New Rule: If a fighter performs a Search Area (Basic) action within 1” of a terrain marker and is successful, the following and all subsequent rolls on the Shadows Table will receive a +1 bonus. These bonuses are cumulative, but may only be granted once per terrain marker.
It’s not game-breakingly powerful and it won’t do low Intelligence gangs any favors, but it’ll certainly encourage crews to actually get out there and look around!
This scenario is built to be run as a one-off scenario, and when GW says Skirmish we’re thinking that they meant the Official Skirmish Rules with a 1250-2000 credit gang. If you’re bringing a founding gang with the standard 1000 credit budget, you’re going to have a rough time if the Ambot’s your first fight. That’s not to say you can’t use it in a campaign ever, though!
We’d feel comfortable as Arbitrators assigning this mission (or a variation thereof) to any of our players mid-campaign, as a way for them to keep pace with the competition on weeks where they’re not able to meet up and play normally for some reason. The only change we’d suggest there, and this is just a flavor thing, is to remove the Reputation loss if they Bottle.
After all, if the gang doesn’t talk and there aren’t any witnesses, nobody ever needs to find out about their shame!
It’s a hell of a scenario, folks, and even if you’re not stuck home by yourself it’s worth a shot. We initially had some reservations on pacing with the single move/search per fighter each round, but when it’s just you and the rounds are unlimited it goes by pretty quickly! Plus, it was kinda nice being able to finish any given turn and then take a break for however long and not have to worry about anything or anybody.
All in all, we think it is a pretty good scenario, an excellent way to get a little bit of that Necromunda goodness back in our lives, and we’d love to see more of these sort of missions in the future.
As always, hit us up on Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or thoughts on absolutely anything necro-related. Have you run the Hunt yet? How’d it go? Let us know! We’ll be back next week for another thrilling installment of our Alliances series as we take stock of the Recidivists, so check in on Monday and we’ll see you then!