I’ll start by saying that this post is quite different from my usual painting log, so apologies for anyone hoping to see the last of my Orlocks, but I took a break from painting this week and I still wanted to share something, so I hope it’s at least interesting, and we’ll be back to normal programming next week.
The four of us here on the blog have got an AoS Skirmish weekend coming up at the end of May that I’m really looking forward to doing, and also blogging about. I finished off my Skirmish warband a while back though and I’ve been painting my Necro gang as a little diversion in the mean time. I’ve been playing a good bit of Necromunda 2017 (N17) recently, and my mind’s been wandering into Inq28 territory as well. Thinking about characters and stories and settings and that sort of stuff; reading a lot of blogs but not committing to anything solid, and just enjoying the variety of others’ hobby activities. I discovered this excellent post by Big Boss Red Skullz outlining his methods for creating a narrative for his own Inq28 system Age of Munda – a mashup of Age of Sigmar and old Necro, as far as I understand it. We got talking in the comments, and it has spurred me to write down some experimental rules that I’ve had rattling around my head for a while now.
Tabletop war-games are all about combat, with the narrative happening between games, in the background, in the books. If something’s not shooting or swinging a sword, it’s probably not going to be doing much. Tabletop roleplaying games, in the majority, expand their rules to allow players to use all sorts of interactions to solve the problems that they are presented with, and large periods of role-playing can involve no combat at all, as players attempt to talk their way out of sticky situations, or use their wits and intelligence to solve puzzles. Inquisitor, when it was released, attempted to bridge the gap between these two styles of gaming, introducing staples of tabletop roleplaying into something that a lot of people thought was a standard miniature wargame. A lot of people think it didn’t take off because GW found it hard to get this across, and I certainly took part in many an Inquisitor pick up game at my (then local) GW that completely didn’t work and left all involved very dissatisfied, simply because a lot of the wargamers didn’t understand conventions that a role-player might be more comfortable with. Trying to explain to the player with the Callidus Assassin that while he can use all eight actions to sprint to the other end of the table and charge the Space Marine in turn one, his character may favour a more cautious approach seeing as she doesn’t know what’s down there, even if he might.
Inquisitor certainly wasn’t the first game to do this; there are plenty of folks out there who have been playing Dungeons & Dragons with miniatures and terrain for decades. But since Inq’s demise, it’s daring young protégé, Inq28, has risen to ascendancy. We probably all know what Inq28 is by now, but incase you don’t, it’s a blanket term for a movement in the 40K community that focuses on telling stories through intricate miniature conversions, often with gaming involved, using a myriad of home-brewed rules amalgamated from Inquisitor, Necromunda, Age of Sigmar, 40k, and many others. Some are incredibly basic frameworks to hang a story off of, others are more similar to a typical wargame. The new Necromunda rules seem to be wading into Inq28 territory and becoming the closest thing to GW’s official follow-up to Inquisitor. Recently they’ve released the Venator gang rules in White Dwarf, which Andy Hoare, on the Inquisitorum Facebook group, said were designed specifically to give Necro a few tricks to please the Inq28 crowd.
When I first read the new Necro rules, my mind immediately started racing with all the narrative possibilities that the new Actions system combined with the four “mental” characteristics would allow. Andy later also commented in one of the Necromunda Twitch streams on WHTV that they’re planning to add in actions and mechanics in future supplements that enable RPG-style interactions, so I was chuffed to discover that I’ve been thinking along the same lines as the Necro team. These following rules are, I suppose, my ideas of what sort of forms those rules might take, so if anything they’re just a fun thought exercise until the official set comes out. But maybe someone will get a chance to try them out and see if they’re any good. So, onto the rules proper.
RPG-style Actions for Necromunda ’17
What I’ve set out to do is create rules for common non-combat interactions that you might find in common roleplaying games like D&D. I also wanted to stick to the principles of new Necromunda and all the rest of GW’s recent games, and keep them fast, easy, and intuitive.
The one major caveat to these rules is that they are presented with the understanding that players are using them as an aid to storytelling, rather than a combat bonus or something to immediately one-up your opponent. They don’t do anything, mechanically speaking. They use characteristic checks to inform players about how a character might respond to an interaction with an unpredictable outcome, but it is up to the players to fill the shoes of their characters and act as their characters would in the situation.
Obviously, these are made to work in N17, so if you’re playing a version of Inq28 with some other rules, you might need to tweak them if you want to use them.
I’ve created four new actions that can be performed in the Action Phase in addition to the regular actions available in the N17 rulebook. To facilitate these rules, there is a new type of check called an ‘opposed characteristic check’.
Opposed Characteristic Checks
To make an opposed characteristic check, both players make a standard characteristic check for the characteristic listed in the chosen action. A player wins the opposed check if they pass their characteristic check and if they beat their opponent’s score. If neither player passes their characteristic check, there is no effect. If the result is a draw, the player with the higher base characteristic wins. If the characteristics are the same, there is no effect.
In the actions below, I allow for a model to choose a group of models to target. They may be trying to influence a gang, or a pair of characters, for example. In this instance you should either choose the characteristic of the leader of the group, or use an average or majority value, as is appropriate to the group. You will also notice there is no range stipulated for these actions. Use common sense in this regard. If the character is speaking over a tannoy, he might be able to target several characters spread out over a wide area, whereas if they have only their speaking voice their range may be limited to 6″ or less.
You may also want to apply modifiers to the opposed roll for either or both parties. A Space Marine would not be easily intimidated by a mere mortal, who suffers a -1 modifier, whereas an angry mob could be readily persuaded by a fiery demagogue, who would gain a +2 to their roll.
These actions may be performed by Active fighters. If players agree, they could be used by Pinned or Engaged fighters in appropriate circumstances; a frantic “Don’t shoot!” in the middle of a fire fight, or a tirade of enraging taunts during a frenetic melee.
Choose a target model or group of models and make an opposed Leadership check against them. The loser is swayed by the winner’s persuasive words, and should act accordingly until something happens that would cause them to question their decision. For example: Inquisitor Glavian is trying to persuade some native underhivers to lead him to a hidden dome. He wins the opposed roll, and so the hivers acquiesce. When they later realise that he intends to destroy the archeotech within, they quickly abandon him.
Choose a target model or group of models and make an opposed Cool check against them. The loser is fooled by the winner’s deception, and should act accordingly until something happens that would reveal the deception. For example: Rogue Trader Kell is trying to convince Interrogator Vorrus that he is not armed. He makes a successful Deceive action, and so Vorrus must act as though Kell is not armed. Next turn, Kell shoots at Vorrus, and so the deception is broken and Vorrus may return fire.
Choose a target model or group of models and make an opposed Willpower check against them. The loser is intimidated by the winner’s word or actions, and should act accordingly until something happens that would dispel the intimidation. For example: Sergeant Hassan tries to intimidate a Chaos ritualist by pointing his weapon at him, but he loses the opposed check, and so is cowed by the ritualist’s boasts that the dark gods will soon be summoned. When the ritual fails however, Sergeant Hassan’s bravery returns, and he may act normally.
Choose a target model or group of models and make an opposed Intelligence check against them. The loser is suitably impressed by the winner’s performance, and should act accordingly until something happens that would cause them to disregard the performance. For example: Governor Karios gives a powerful speech to his subjects. He wins the opposed roll, and so impresses the local populace. But when it is later revealed that Karios has been embezzling mining profits to line his own pockets, he quickly loses favour with the mob.
As you’ve no doubt noticed, I’ve create an action to correspond with each of the “mental” stats available in N17, so that whatever kind of character you create, they should have a chance at at least one of the actions. But that of course depends on who they try to pull it on! With the opposed characteristic check, a character may well end up suffering at the hands of their own action. Trying to reason with a charging ogryn probably won’t go the way a character expects, no matter how eloquent they are!
Expanding these rules
If you wanted to use these rules for more of a straight wargame like regular Necromunda, you could replace the “act accordingly” clause with a direct buff or limitation applied to the winner or loser. For example, you might decide that the winner of an Intimidate action counts as having the Fearsome skill when targeted by the loser.
I also toyed with the idea of having psychic powers as ways to apply modifiers to checks, but that’s a whole other thing. Psychic powers have been introduced with the Genestealer Cultists and Chaos Cultist gang lists, and they act much in the way skills do. So you could come up with a ‘dread gaze’ psychic power/skill that gives a bonus to the Intimidate action, or a ‘mind scan’ power that imposes a negative modifier on a character trying to use the Deceive action.
Whew, and I thought my last post was long! This is coming up on 2000 words. If you’ve got this far, I appreciate your visit, and I’d love to know what you think of the rules. I don’t even know if I’ll get a chance to use them myself, but it’d be interesting to see if they play out.
Till next time.