Ardavion's EF cut-and-paste III: Stygia, Arctic Campaign Setting


Gang Hero
Nov 22, 2011
Third cut-and-paste job, a little more original this time; an all-ice world, based on a book called "The Ice Schooner":

Ice Worlds: If you can, read "The Ice Schooner" by Micheal Moorcock; it could be adapted to an arctic conditions version of Necromunda: the world has entered a new ice age, and people have forgotten the old ways and worship a deity called the ice mother, and believe everything will become cold - the embrace of the ice mother.

There are 8 cities on an ice plateau, and from these cities hunting parties are sent out on ships with huge ice runners (think boats with skis) to hunt landwhales and other such animals.

The book has several different kinds of people who could be classified as gang types:

the aristocrats that have plentiful access to funds and higher class equipment, but lack hunting ability,
the normal harpooners, who are suffering due to the ending of the ice age moving all the animals south,
the barbarians, who use ridden beasts instead of ships and worship a more primitive version of the ice mother,
the high tech second group with access to better equipment than the aristocrats (helicopters etc.) but they aren't fleshed out in the book.

There is plenty of scope for change, but this is just a basis for an arctic conditions setting.

It could allow for ice-ship creation, or you could change it so that there are numerous outposts between major cities, and people travel in herds between them for trade etc.

Wyrds could be revered or held in terror, there could even be a cryomancer wyrd type created.

New animals could be created (since some in necromunda might not handle the cold, or just wouldn't fit otherwise)

There could be high-tech, or low-tech with more powerful weapons being found as artifacts. There could be even a sort of mordheim-type mechanic where "parts" could be combined to create weapons, i.e. parts could equal 5 credits of a weapon's cost, or something.

shiver85 wrote:
are you trying to set it in our arctic (which probably doesn't exist in the 41st millenium), or a hoth style ice-world (i'm guessing thats what stygia is)?
Yes, I am thinking of a hoth-style world. Whole planet covered in ice and snow.

Skipping my action plan for a second, the fluff, paraphrased, is that a colony ship crash lands on an ice planet. due to wiping of astronomical records and the death of the navigator, the survivors try to survive whilst finding/making a way off the planet.

Some people try to remake the ship, and mine the planet for ores and minerals under the ice. Some try to send off distress signals, although since there are no sanctioned psychers on the planet this is done with electromagnetic waves such as radio signals. Others give up all hope and either begin a new life on the planet in civilisation, or wander off into the wilderness and live either in tribes or as hermits.

One main place would include the Crash Site, where the colony ship is used for storage and some habitation, but the main area of occupation is in the great gorge opened up by the ship's impact, where abodes are carved into the ice in levels, almost like a steep open cast mine. There are winch elevators to transport heavy goods, animals and people between levels, but there are also stone steps and ladders cut into the ice.

Due to the little geothermal energy on the planet, the lower levels are warmer and more hospitable than those nearer the surface, so as new levels are excavated the strata of society move down further, the rich and powerful further down and the poor often forcibly moved to the top.

This is good for those who need to go hunting or travelling to other settlements, as they know that most of the inhabitants on the top level have all the incentive to work for anything they can get, and some may have learned important skills before being moved topside. As well as this, it takes very little for those on the top level to group together into hunting parties or gangs of thieves, ready to make money, either legal or illegal.

Other places I'll need to flesh out will be some outlaw settlement (envisioned as a mountain with ?natural? tunnel networks), and highlight some of the research/communications outposts and the ever-moving nomad/barbarian settlements. Another possible is some sort of archeotech hoard place.

I know some of this sounds like Gorkamorka, but its the closest thing to my idea, I'm bound to be influenced.

The fauna and eventual flora I'm trying to make are based on arctic creatures that we know, since they're a good basis for what those animals might be like. As soon as I feel that I've got decent stats for my animals, I'll think of some better names and flesh out what they're like. At the moment the animals are called similar to their inspirations so people can relate.


Some of these would probably be better with less Earth-sounding names, but I'm working with animals that are present in arctic and antarctic conditions. Rules will be fleshed out as I feel more comfortable with them. I'm mainly using the beast creation rules from the SG website, but I'm personally not happy with the final ratings the creatures have: they don't seem right.

Snow wolf – pack wolf
93-33141-65enhanced senses, pack hunter

Snow wolf – lone wolf
94-44241-130enhanced senses, razor sharp fangs

polar bear
63-55222-140camoflauge, razor sharp fangs, fear, bear hug, stupidity, drag

Arctic hare
62-22141-30camoflauge, hit and run, dodge

shiver85 wrote:
it's been rumoured that the ash wastes stuff are getting a re-release

I'm working with the old version of the ash wastes rules as it is, in terms of looking at what I can translate ("steal") to apply here. Basing it purely around those rules doesn't feel completely right though.

Some of the campaign mechanics I thought of implementing were similar to mordheim, in that your gang is more wandering around, hunting, thieving, as they travel between habitable areas and civilisation.

shiver85 wrote:
sub zero survival equipment

I had ideas for:

thermal clothing - provides a reroll/immunity to treacherous conditions
snow boots - special save against slipping (taken from some mordheim rules on the net)
survival gear - probably a catch-all term, negates extra upkeep costs for your gang members; I'm thinking of whether your gang counts as having 3 more people for purposes of income, due to the harsh cold conditions. this survival gear (tents, etc.) negates that for some length of campaign time. Keeping track of water or a similar mechanic always felt clunky to me, and might not work in this setting anyway.
gloves - some benefits might include a bonus to climbing, recovering from a down result, etc.

I like the idea for camoflauge gear Evil Hypnotist.

I'll probably pilfer some things from mordheim and its kislev warband in particular (notice the bear, anyone?) as well.

shiver85 wrote:
treacherous conditions (thin ice, thick snow etc.). And you could work freezing to death and strange light conditions in as a new element.

I'm trying to put a treacherous conditions table together, I'm busy looking for a Gorkamorka "Da Perils of Da Desert" article that had one with a similar feeling to what I'd like, apart from it being in the desert.

shiver85 wrote:
After that you'd just need new gangs.

Gangs could be:

research station security (enforcers/mercenaries with access to good equipment)
Barbarians (ratskins)
Hunting parties (normal gangs)

Probably a few others, but at the moment I can't think of that many.

I've got some ideas for hired guns as well:
sappers - these people make new living areas and are experts with explosives;
hunters - lone hunters, or group hunters with prior experience who can lend a hand (underhive scum, could have hunting bonuses)

So far there's not much actual innovation in this setting, but I'm trying to make it more original as I go on.

shiver85 wrote:
But that would give you rules for vehicles (snow cats and skidoos rather than dune buggies and bikes) and creatures (like those beasts at the start of the Empire Strikes Back).

I had some ideas about wind-driven machines, since there aren't rules in ash wastes for that kind of motive power.

It would work via a simple scatter dice and 3D6 speed table to work out how wind vehicles can move per game turn, but the sails would be a weak point on the vehicle. I'm open to not using the scatter dice, but I don't have access to the Rebel Grot Cutta rules I'm basing this on.

shiver85 wrote:
I like your ideas and fluff atm (was the ship full of hairdressers and telephone sanitisers by any chance? :p )

No, but nice HHGTTG reference. There would be several skilled people, which is how the construction/excavation of the main habitation was built, and similar with the research/comms stations. Most of the rest would be literally unskilled labour, or would become involved with gangs due to intrigues and politics causing a fall from grace.

shiver85 wrote:
It would be good if there were temperate zones as well as glacial death-wastes on this planet, as this would mean people could use a variety of terrain

People can make their gangs fight in some of the settlements that are constructed, as there would be some areas that need to be heated in order for habitation, such as tracts of land for hydroponics and general plant growth. It could be that the planet has a thin temperate strip at the equator due to an orbiting star.

shiver85 wrote:
And i like your ideas for survival gear. But you should throw in some made up fluff words for flavour...

One of the big problems in writing this apart from reading through transcripts of arctic explorers and similar, theres very little in the way of arctic survival literature, which makes it difficult for me to base any fluff I write on believable stuff.

shiver85 wrote:
You'd be better off using a variant on the "solar winds" rule from BFG IMO. They're pretty simple

I'll look at them - I'm guessing they're in the main BFG rules, but I shouldn't take too long finding them.

shiver85 wrote:
And you should read "Absolution Gap" by alastair reynolds, its partly set on an ice world.

I'll read that too, but probably not for a little while. I've got tests coming up, so any actual book reading is best kept to textbooks atm.

shiver85 wrote:
And Explorators: something along the lines of the Hive Prospectors gang.

Most of my gang suggestions are basically ripping off other gang types as it is - they'll more than likely end up in here.

shiver85 wrote:
Oh, and out of interest, what models did you have in mind? There are various guard regiments who'd fit the bill, and van saar bodysuits could work fine as thermal gear. maybe delaques in their long coats as well. Any other ideas?

I'm not fussy as far as what models people would use in their gaming: Normal gangers would suffice for normal gangs. If people wanted to use specific models for things, then theres plenty of IG models I'd recommend. Basically anything in a thick coat, gas masks optional :)

I could be annoying and say all delaques must wear modelled santa hats - because they're bald, after all.

shiver85 wrote:
Another good alastair reynolds book is Chasm City; one of the intertwining plotlines is a colony ship, racing to reach the destination planet before its rivals, and it has some cool descriptions of the fledgling colony (although its on a planet more like catachan)

Again, I'll probably get round to reading it sometime soonish.

shiver85 wrote:
Arctic Survival Literature: look for english editions of books by Leif Hamre. The guy was norwegian airforce, and I know "Contact Lost" is about arctic survival (a chopper crew crash inside the arctic circle, and have to survive till the rescue planes can reach them). Also Ray Mears: "the real heroes of telemark;" norwegian freedom fighters have to subsist in the mountains during a norwegian winter, and blow up a chemical plant...

Again with the books! I'll read them soonish.

shiver85 wrote:
Solar Winds in summary: eldar ships have 3 speeds. you determine which way the solar wind are blowing at the start of the game, and depending on which way the ships are facing they move at different speeds (ie, if they are sailing into the wind, they move slower than if they had the wind behind them).

I personally don't like these rules, as it implies a constant "wind", which while its OK for stars which are pretty constant, the wind itself can ebb and literally flow, meaning that unless there are prevailing winds (treacherous condition idea!!) the motion can be different depending on the time, the place and the position of the sail.

The basic idea is to roll 2/3D6 (not sure how many D6s): the extreme values, e.g. 2 and 12 have up to 12"/18"? movement, and one turn/no turns, then change as you get closer to 7, which has 6" movement but 3 turns. I'll have to think about this one, maybe make it 3D6. I think this is similar to a Rebel Grot Kutta's movement, but again not sure.

shiver85 wrote:
I dunno what you're thinking atm, but wind powered skimmer ships would be awesome (Terry Brooks: Voyage of the Jerle Shannara) :D

Yes, that would indeed be cool. When you mentioned it, I personally had imagery of skimmer ships from Ergo Proxy (anime, you'll need to watch episode 6 and onwards for the ship, but obviously not a starring role), and The Matrix with the Nebuchadnezzar, since I haven't read the book in question, and I've forgotten the name of some other books with similar ships.

There's certainly justification - the power needed for skimmers to stay up is pretty high, according to some ash wastes fluff, so there's little in the way of horizontal movement power supplied to skimmers and people would probably want to power their skimmers as efficiently as possible.

Skimming ships would probably be high-cost, or maybe a repair/improvement on traditional runner-using ships/"wheeled ships". They'd have advantages of improving turning and negating difficult ground, but there might be balance issues with replacing slow movement with erratic but potentially better movement with no other downsides: Rebel Grot Kuttas were weak and flimsy, but had some of the best movement, iirc.

Runner ships, reminds me - have to look into giving rules about runners: they require a larger turning circle, but are more commonplace, easier to implement construction-wise and similarly easier to repair. They might also allow some weird hit and run attacks or something. Might not work, but it would be interesting if it did. It might also be covered by similar types of movement, e.g. tracks - needs investigating.

Some work on a wind-powered vehicle (despite me thinking I wouldn't make vehicle rules :) ), based on the previous ash wastes vehicle rules:

Sail-using vehicles (better name, people?)

Sizes allowed: single seater, up to five, transport (would have to investigate, see whether special rules would have to be brought in for the increasing size)
Armours allowed: bike, light, armoured.
cost changes: -25, +25, +75

Damage tables:

1: Driver/Pilot - armour value 8

The usual Driver Damage Table entry. If people need it I'll edit this post later.

2: Fixed Weapon - armour value 8

Same as above: I'll edit it in if people need it. If there is no fixed weapon the Wheels/Runners/Levitation System is hit instead.

3: Wheels/Runners/Levitation System

Treat as an appropriate Wheel/Track Damage Table entry.

4: Crew - armour value 8

The usual Crew Damage Table entry. If people need it I'll edit this post later. If there is no Crew, the Hull is hit instead.

5: Hull - armour value

6: Sail/Rigging - armour value 6

Roll a D6 to find out the damage:

1: Missed: the shot completely missed, no damage.
2: Sail perforated: reduce the maximum speed rolled each turn by 1". This result is cumulative.
3: Sail riddled with bullets/big hole punched in the sail: reduce the maximum speed rolled each turn by 2". This result is cumulative.
4:The sail has been destroyed: the vehicle is immobilised.
5: The mast has been toppled: the vehicle is immobilised, and in addition another area has been hit as though from a ramming attack.
6: The mast has been ripped from the vehicle: the vehicle is immobilised, and in addition another D3 areas have been hit as though from a ramming attack.

An idea for vehicle equipment/gubbins is an extra sail, which repairs the damage done by rolls of 2-4 if a crew member/passenger can roll 4+ in lieu of doing anything else that turn.


Movement is determined every game turn (affects both players' turns) by rolling 3D6 and consulting the following motion table:

3D6 result - maximum movement, maximum number of turns

3 - 12", 1 turn
4 - 11", 1 turn
5 - 10", 2 turns
6 - 9", 2 turns
7 - 8", 3 turns
8 - 7", 3 turns
9-12 - 6", 4 turns
13 - 7", 3 turns
14 - 8", 3 turns
15 - 9", 2 turns
16 - 10", 2 turns
17 - 11", 1 turn
18 - 12", 1 turn
As with previous topics, thoughts?


New Member
Jun 4, 2013
Sorry for the necro but i love this idea and thought maybe a terraformer can be used for isolated areas that heat up the zones of combat to discover spaceship debris or somesuch to make a unique scenario of scavanging recently discovered materials or loot.

Also i like the idea taken from the game lost planet 2 where heat is a form of comerce because of the enviromental suits worn so maybe have different qualities of suits eg:

No suit- toughness test every turn
Light unpowered suit - toughness test +1 every turn
Light powered suit - toughness test +1 every turn and 5+ save
Powered suit - no toughness test required and 5+ save

Failing the test would take a wound with no armour saves. What do you think? Im currently building a small scenario now using an ice world setup


Gang Hero
Nov 22, 2011
Thanks for the response; most of these C&Ps are mostly for posterity for me, but its good that its inspired you to flesh out some rules for yourself.

My main idea was similar to Gorkamorka's backstory, where the tech level wouldn't be as good as terraforming; people are trying to survive in a (moderately) stable way, and the elements, bandits, and politics between settlements stop any real progress.

By all means, your armour types could work; as your idea stands, the price ranges would probably be something like 10 credits for the unpowered suit, 25+2D6 (Mesh armour) for the light powered suit, and 45+2D6 for the powered suit.

As an alternative:

Normal rules -> Toughness (T) test every turn
Winter clothes -> no save, T test +1
Reinforced Clothing -> =flak armour, T test +1
Filament-woven/CryoMesh, unpowered -> =mesh armour
Filament-woven/CryoMesh, powered -> =mesh armour, T test +1
Environment Containment Suit, unpowered -> = carapace armour
Environment Containment Suit, powered -> = carapace armour, T test +1

Power: "power tap"/similar territories, scenario win perks could recharge 2D3/entire gang's suits for the next fight, "weapon reloads", dedicated power cells etc. could power individual suits for the next fight, or even have suits requiring a check/ammo roll to remain powered. Could also be an upkeep mechanic; pay # credits per gang member with a suit or they do their next fight unpowered.