Happy ‘Munday, Scummers! This week we’ve decided to zag on ya, because GW up and released a big ol’ FAQ document without our say so. Rude as hell. Anyways, we’ve decided to push back part 2 of our Scenarios series by one week to accommodate all the changes from this new FAQ. Have no fear, though: We’ll be back at it with regularly scheduled content next week!
If you missed all the hullabaloo or just want to read along, you can find the FAQ right here. If you’re inclined to email Games Workshop directly with any Necromunda-related questions, their email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You should. Apparently they’re listening!
Well, well, well, Scummers. We honestly weren’t sure it would happen, but here we are! While this FAQ doesn’t answer all of our myriad questions, it does answer quite a few, and it certainly clears up a lot of rules discrepancies. We figure it’s big and important enough to devote a week of our column to it, so let’s dive in and talk about what we like, what we dislike, and what it all means!
Expanded Trading Post Access
Here it is, folks, the big one: Enforcers and Corpse Grinders can now use the Trading Post, all official-like. Some groups had already been playing it like that (as is their prerogative!), but we’d previously erred on the side of caution here at Necromunday.
Now, there’s invariably going to be a new volley of questions regarding whether Enforcers can actually equip all of the weapons they’re able to purchase, but for now we’re personally going to allow the free-for-all in our groups. If things get too nasty, you’ll all be the first to know!
Another win for Enforcers right off the bat, the previously-neglected Heavy Concussion Ram was upgraded to now count as a Blast (3”) weapon. It still costs more than two Concussion Carbines, but it’s now the longest-ranged Seismic weapon in the game, and capable of knocking down multiple targets even on a slight scatter. Becoming a Blast weapon doesn’t push it into Must Buy territory, but it’s definitely viable now and should be a serious consideration when outfitting your Subjugators.
Goliaths join in on the buff party too, as the iconic Brute Cleaver regains its +1 to accuracy in combat. Though more expensive than its Disarm-keyword cousin, the Axe, a trade-off between a 10 credit discount and +1 Strength versus +1 to hit and -1 AP is suddenly a much more meaningful choice. It’s a choice that favors the Cleaver over the Axe unless you’re expecting many Goliath on Goliath match-ups. The Brute Cleaver is now functionally identical to the basic Sword as well, only with Disarm instead of Parry.
All three weapons now exist in the same space, and your final choice can be dictated based on what’s best for your particular play-style. To us, that’s the hallmark of quality balance, and we’re looking forward to seeing more of it in the future!
A handful of Xenos & Corrupted Weapons also received a balance pass, some to correct some stat-line inconsistencies and fix up status effects that didn’t exactly play nice together.
- Folks who’d been hungering to deploy the power of the Withertouch Pistol will be pleased to note that it no longer has Toxin, meaning it’s capable of dealing the wounds required to ever trigger the Melta effect.
- The Neural Flayer is still in a janky place, unfortunately. Removing Fear from the Short Blast profile is all well and good, but it was the non-interaction between the injury-causing Gas effect and the injury-replacing Fear effect on the Full Blast that had been the issue.
- The Goredrinker Axe doubled in price, to better reflect the sheer devastation that thing can cause in close combat. (This is a fair adjustment, really. It never made much sense for an axe that swings one-handed and hits harder than a Renderizer to cost half as much, even if it is moderately Illegal.
In all honesty they probably could have taken a harder look at some of the weapons in the specialty bazaars over at the ol’ Black Market, but it’s okay. These guns tend to be even zanier than usual, so if your Arbitrator has seen fit to allow these silly fun-times weapons into your Underhive; go nuts!
In a long-awaited change, Stun grenades now come with a 3” blast marker! And not just thrown grenades, either, but in Grenade Launchers and Subjugator Grenade Launchers, too! This is important, because before this FAQ stun grenades were generally useless, and now they’re far better. They still need to be combined with other weapons to be truly useful, as Concussive on its own is just an Initiative debuff. However, a volley of Stun Grenades followed up by some photon flashes or some key knockbacks near drops looks mighty scary.
Exotic Beast Limits: Per Fighter
While we’re unsure if this is a clarification or a change, it’s been decreed that the [0-2] or [0-3] that looms on top of your favorite pet’s profile is a limit per fighter, rather than an overall limit for the entire gang. Cult gangs spring to mind immediately as beneficiaries of this change, now able to stack even more Familiars onto their champions as leaders. (Whether this will also trigger Omen of Fortune multiple times is debatable, but we’ll get into that in a bit.)
Other gangs are left a bit wanting in the Exotic Beast department, as most house pets are some unsavory combination of “too expensive” and “actively a liability”. In theory, Van Saar Cyber-arachnids are juuuust cheap and useful enough to be doled out liberally now, mid-campaign, but it’s unlikely that you’ll see more than that. Giant Rats are the other exception to the rule, but strangely enough they’re not limited in quantity-per-fighter at all, already.
It does strike us as odd that the FAQ would actively encourage players to run more pets, when the only Exotic Beast that’s come out in two years is our goofy friend the Sumpcroc. Release the Phyrr Cat already, Games Workshop. We double-dare you.
Common Sense Prevails
Rounding out the main gains from the FAQ are a series of changes and confirmations that clarify a couple aspects of the game that had either been presumed to already work that way, or had been such clear Rules as Written violation of Rules as Intended that they’d been almost universally house-ruled into compliance by most groups.
In that latter category, we have Smoke Grenades, which now have Blast in their profile, so they finally scatter on a miss instead of fizzling. Un-modified 1s are a failure to hit in both Melee and Ranged combat, which was formerly a baffling omission that almost everyone just hand-waved into existence anyway.
Finally, an amendment to the wording for the Pinned Status allows prone fighters targeted by a Versatile attack to stand up for free, same as if they had been targeted in melee while in base to base contact. We’re a huge fan of this change, since it’s not contingent on the Versatile attack actually hitting the target. There’s a chance that the now-standing would-be victim could activate in response and counter-charge, or choose to run away!
Bounty Hunters Take a Big Hit
According to the FAQ, players must now pay for Bounty Hunters’ weapons and wargear, even if they get one for free because of a racket or campaign event. It would be one thing if the FAQ entry said that Bounty Hunters cost their 80-credit hiring fee plus their weapons and wargear (which is how both of us play it), but the way they’ve worded it seems to make Bounty Hunters even more useless than they are now, and y’all, they’re useless.
This is stupid. Bounty Hunters are useful in that they can help balance out lower-rating gangs through House Patronage and they’re valuable for Outlaw gangs when they get a Guild Bond Racket in the Law & Misrule Campaign. Needlessly making it so a gang must supply their weapons and wargear is a bad move on the Necromunda designers’ part, and we suggest you houserule this in your campaigns.
- Our Suggestion: A Bounty Hunter’s cost is equal to 80 plus the cost of their weapons and wargear, and if a gang can use one for free, then the Bounty Hunter comes free along with up to 150 credits of weapons and wargear.
We honestly feel that the designers messed up in their attempt to communicate things here, because Bounty Hunters are such a cool piece of Necromundan lore. It doesn’t make sense that they would potentially completely invalidate them, but we have to go with what we’re given.
2019.12.23 Update: House Patronage benefits explicitly state the the Bounty Hunter’s gear is to be paid for by the gang’s house which is reflected in the difference in Crew Rating between the two gangs. This has not changed, but our wording was ambiguous, here.
Genestealers: Three Arms, Two Versions
In the Book of Ruin, Genestealer Cult Alphas, Hybrid Acolytes, and Hybrid Juves all have a rule called “Extra Arm”, but the Cult Alpha gets an extra line in there about shooting three Sidearms at once. The other Extra Arms are not capable of doing this. While we understand that Cult Alphas should be special, we feel that this merits a different rule name at least.
Twin Guns Blaze at the Same Time
This one almost slipped past us, as rolling for both hits simultaneously and then following down the rest of the steps to resolve wounds and armor for each seemed unnecessarily specific compared to just doing each shot in sequence. There is a difference, though! When shooting with twin pistols sequentially, if you were to neutralize your target on the first shot, there would be no reason to roll for your second weapon. Now, in requiring hits to be tallied up first, both guns also are forced to roll for Firepower, possibly triggering an Ammo roll and a dreaded Unstable check.
Is this technically “Bad”? No, not at all. It’s a net positive, bringing certain gangs that enjoy fielding way too many high-powered pistols back in line with their more upstanding brethren who only shoot a single gun, just like the good Emperor intended. Flechette Pistol Delaque and Plasma Pistol Van Saar are going to have to be a bit more judicious with their targets now.
The Scouring Does… What, Now?
It feels like the Necromunda designers just cannot get this one right. There are two versions of Scouring out there. One is good, it allows the fighter to make an attack immediately with the Scouring “weapon” profile. The other is bad, it equips the fighter with a weapon that the fighter can then use, in a subsequent action, to attack. The important bits are that the good power uses up one action to fire this weapon, and the bad power requires two. The worst part is that both versions of these powers are present in different entries in the Book of Ruin, and this power is generally inconsistent in other entries, too.
But who would we be if we didn’t suggest a house rule? We heartily endorse changing all Scouring power definitions to the good one, where it is manifested and then immediately fires. Go forth and Scour, why don’t ya?
Void-Born Scum are Still FREE OGRYNS
When we saw the entry for Smuggler Shore Party in the FAQ we thought, “Finally! They’ve re-balanced this bonkers-as-hell free alliance into something that resembles parity!” Scummers, we were way off. They re-balanced the Bosun to have a 4+ Weapon Skill, so they are 18% better at stabbing things with their fighting knife. The fact that the TWO FREE OGRYNS still exist as part of this alliance is mind-boggling.
Remember, these Alliances exist in many campaigns for free, and unlike Guild Allies, Cold Traders will gladly send a shore party to every fight that their allied gang gets into, no questions asked. So this “re-balance” is a tacit admission that yes, the designers meant for players to get TWO FREE OGRYNS whenever the hell they want.
We’re not going to get too into the weeds over some of the clear typos in the FAQ, like Magnacles being granted as baseline equipment to “Palanites and Enforcers”. There’s enough information available around those entries that we can make a reasonable deduction as to what the Rules as Intended are and go off of them.
However, in a perfect world a FAQ would lay out clear and concise answers that close down loopholes and ambiguities, allowing players to operate on the same system of rules without having to exchange laundry lists of expected house-adjustments before every single game. In certain situations, the FAQ fails at this task.
“…And Use Weapons”
The primary offender, as many will be undoubtedly debating over the coming months, is this passage:
“Q. Can an Enforcer buy and use weapons from the Trading Post and/or Black Market?”
“A. Yes. Enforcers can use the Trading Post like any other gang.”
Some players will focus on the specific wording of the answer, noting that “using the Trading Post” will add equipment to a gang’s stash without reservation, and only butts up against the Enforcers’ “Palanite/Subjugator Only” weapon requirements when equipment is distributed in Step 6D.
Other players will focus on the inclusion of “and use weapons” and “Yes”, interpreting this passage to indicate that Enforcers are no longer bound by the weapon restrictions listed in their profiles and can thusly arm themselves with anything from a Fighting Knife to a Grav Cannon.
Who’s right? Who knows! The entire thing is coached with a post-script that advises Arbitrator discretion, but c’mon, this is Necromunda. We know that already. We’re internally divided on this issue, with Merton taking the hard-line Equipment Only interpretation, but we’ve decided to allow both of our groups full un-restricted weapon access for the time being, like we mentioned earlier. We just wish it could have been a bit more clear-cut.
Blasts and Concealment
As per the FAQ, templates can be aimed into smoke clouds and freely while under Pitch Black conditions. Also as per the 2018 Rulebook, which had previously stated the exact same thing already. What’s new is the change that now, Blast weapons can be fired beyond line of sight through Pitch Black. This is where it gets tricky.
With this change, the rules team is apparently stating in both rules and fluff in that passage that it is their intent to allow blind fire of areas that are obscured. Therefore, it stands to reason that Blasts can also be fired blindly both into (and at elsewise visible points beyond) areas that conceal but do not cover, like smoke clouds. While not explicitly Rules as Written, it seems to us that as of now this is the Rules as Intended.
That said, if you are allowing these new blind fire adjustments, we’d recommend that if the target is out of line of sight that the round scatters even on a hit. You’ll still be in the neighborhood, but it’s not like you know the house’s address!
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Honestly, the real winners are Necromunda players everywhere. Just getting a FAQ is huge, but we’ll get specific anyways!
In the eternal battle between Cops and Robbers, this FAQ has definitely given Cops a leg up. Every Enforcer now gets Magnacles for free. While they’re not actually all that great, as actually using them requires the same wonky timing as Hurl and Headbutt, but they’re free, so who cares? Stun Grenades and the Heavy Concussion Ram gaining 3” Blast also gives them a tangential buff. Heavy Concussion Rams actually look pretty interesting with the addition of a 3” blast as they’re now one of the more reliable ways to deal damage at range with the Enforcers.
Before you get too wrapped up in all that stuff, Enforcers also now have explicit access to the Trading post and Black Market! This opens up their potential builds quite nicely, and gives them access to anything any other gang can have, which is, quite frankly, terrifying. Enforcers come up big in this FAQ, and I know anyone who bought Dark Uprising is probably thrilled!
Losers: Genestealer Cults (but not that much, so chill!)
The extremely confusing Extra Arm debacle does slightly hurt GSCs, as many Arbitrators had house ruled this to give the extra pistol shot to anyone with an Extra Arm. But, Rules as Written, nothing has changed unless you’re a GSC-Corrupted gang running Hybrids. Genestealers are still pretty darn strong.
Winners: Corpse Grinder Cults
Just like Enforcers, Corpse Grinders now have access to the Trading Post and Black Market, too. On one hand, selling gear to insane, murderous cannibals seems like a bad move, but on the other hand, capitalism?! Either way, this gives the Grinders a huge buff. Did someone say Frenzon Collars for everyone?
This is a good step in the right direction, but it shouldn’t end here. Even though Necromunda is Games Workshop’s not-as-serious, narrative sci-fi game, it would be nice if Arbitrators didn’t have to futz with the rules as much as we do. We definitely appreciate their hard work in this respect, but we’d love to see this process continue.
It would be fantastic if Games Workshop could do this on a book-by-book basis. We remember seeing in a Twitch stream that they always catch a few errors in the books right after they put them to print, so wouldn’t it be nice if they also put out a FAQ correcting these issues a few weeks later instead of just letting them build into a daunting tower of mistakes to be selectively addressed once a year? We think it would.
Instead of getting down on this effort, we are huge fans of what it represents. This document makes us feel that GW actually cares about their fans’ experience, instead of only caring that we drop a few hundred bucks on their products in a reliably cyclical schedule. Now, let’s hope we actually see some more of it.
Questions? Complaints? Just wanna say hi? Leave a comment below or shoot us a message at email@example.com, and we’ll try our best to get back to you when we can. We’ll be back next week with Scenarios Part Two, promise!
Shh! It’s Merton’s Community Corner
Nobody yelled at me last time so I’m doin’ it again, this is now officially a thing!
Editor’s Note: Dammit, Merton I already have too much to proofread on a weekly basis. This is… fine. Though reminder that we have an entire weekly Content We Liked post for stuff like this. Just sayin’.
I’ve been looking around for lore inspiration for own next campaign recently, and came across Matthew Darnell’s The Drained Seas of Marimoor. His blog isn’t just straight-up battle reports, but rather second-hand accounts from bystanders and witnesses to the fights. They’re dripping with flavor, and set in a Hive dripping (sometimes literally) with history and intrigue. They haven’t gotten into the thick of it just yet, but the stage is set and I’m ready for more.
The gorgeous models and 3D printed scenery helps, too!