N18 Exotic Beasts Questions

Sarkazym

Ganger
Mar 14, 2024
74
23
8
So I'm still relatively new to the current Necromunda ruleset and haven't been this excited to play a GW game since 40k rules got sent down the Heat Sink Shaft. Since I have chosen Delaque, I have quite a few questions regarding Exotic Beasts. I'm only 2 games in, but I have been watching quite a few batreps and what I'm seeing is conflicting with how I am reading the rules. So I'm looking for some clarification because I'm trying to make sure I'm playing it correctly. From what I've seen, Pets players seem to be cherry picking the rules, not for any intentional exploit, but just to simplify the game because it's how it should work narratively

1 - The rule says that Exotic Beasts must stay within 3" of their handler. This is the BIGGEST one that just rubs me the wrong way when I'm watching Batreps. One way to read this is that Beasts can never leave their Handler when activating, effectively putting an 3" leash on an Exotic Pets activation. This would mean that the handler would have activate first during it's Group Activation so that the Pets have a 3" bubble they can go to be effective. I'm not seeing this in the Batreps. I don't believe that Pets HAVE to stay in 3" because the rule also says that if a Pet is outside of 3" at the end of their activation, they must make a nerve test or become broken. Group Activations are not simultaneous and must be completely resolved before the next member of the group activates. Wouldn't this mean that as each pet activates and moves, they would have to test after it has performed it's actions before it's handler activates as part of a group activation? I'm not seeing this in Batreps either which is why I'm confused. Is there some rule I am missing, or is it just a commonly accepted house rule to check at the end of a group activation?

2 - During the Rally step, do Pets get to roll to Rally? Do they get the bonus if there is another model within 3", including other Pets? I'm going to assume this one is a Yes to both. The Exotic Pets rule only covers what to do differently when it is Broken at the start of it's activation, which is different to how a Broken fighter behaves. I'm genuinely curious here since I haven't seen this at all, probably because I haven't seen any players rolling Nerve tests after their individual Pets activate. Not a true exploit, but if this is how it's supposed to be done then wouldn't the pets get the XP for rallying on their own? The potential is there if you have to test and get +1 for the handler in addition to any other models/pets in range at the end of every turn. This creates one situation where you can have Readied Pets outside of the 3".

3 - Exotic pets can only be activated as part of a Group Activation. Group activations are done at the start of a handlers activation, so you can't even move then Group activate to try and trigger the pets activation. Which to me causes more problems and makes quite a few of the Pets rules irrelevant. Why have a pet take a Nerve test if he can't ever activate? If he is Broken, when is he going to activate to do the Run for Cover action? If 2 is what happens, then you have a fighter with a ready token who can't activate anyways, so he is potentially worse off than a Broken Pet since he won't even force move depending on how that's resolved. This isn't just a 'make sure you keep your pets' close. There are several in game effects, like knockback/falling, or there a few psychic powers that also separate handlers from pets. I've seen a few effects where friendly models get treated as enemy models. This could also shut down Pets activating in their various states. Seems like a lot of stuff in print with the intent to explain what should happen when there is no mechanic to allow it to happen in the first place.

4 - Chain Group Activation. This is a simple one. I'm aware that normal Chain Group Activations are specifically not allowed, and that Pet Activations are always allowed to chain, that's not the question. The question is does the Pet Activation join the Pool of Group Activations, or does it create a bubble of Activations within the Group Activation. ie. Do I have to Activate the Pet when I activate it's handler (or Vice Versa)? Or can I activate the handler/pet then resolve the other Group members, then come back to the readied handler/pet? More Delaque related, and is very situational but it has already happened in one game. The Wyrm Activated, moved into a position to cover two separate targets as a node, then the leader activated to take down the closest enemy model. The plan was if I failed to take down the nearest threat with my leader, then attempt to lock him down using a Power. If I did lock him down with the leader, then I could use the power to lock up the other non-threat enemy. My opponent simply asked if I needed to activate both the handler and pet at the same time and I didn't have an answer.

** None of it made a difference but I'd like to know. The Leader failed to even hit the threat, then the Power failed to pin the threat after 2x attempts. It was only then we realised that the order in which I resolved the actions wouldn't have made a difference. I could've started with the Leader, then activate the Wyrm to do what I needed to anyways with the handler activating right after for the exact same effect. I could've made a smarter decision and not expose the Wyrm and turn the non-threat model into a threat, but I was trying to take advantage of the burrowing rule to get at the model my Leader was going after. It was only then I foundd out that I didn't need to do that because LoS wasn't required on the power.


5 - If it is possible to have a Broken Pet within 3" of it's handler (based on 1 and 2), then the Pet should be limited to the Run for Cover(D) action. They don't have to Run for Cover if they are within 3" of their handler, but wouldn't be able to do anything else since they're treated as broken. Since they don't rally until the end of their activation, this should create a scenario similar to above where the handler is forced to activate first to give the pets a model to run toward or risk remaining broken. Again haven't seen this in any Batreps because the check to see if pets are within 3" appears to be done at the end of each Group Activation, and not at any other stage.

6 - I don't see ANY restriction that states that Pets HAVE to be deployed within 3" of their handler, but it just makes sense to do so. The test to break isn't done until the end of their activations so they could start protecting a different Gang member at the start of the game. They just won't be able to activate until in range of their Handler, which means they'll never have to take Nerve Tests. I'm NOT trying to break the game, or looking for exploits here, but I'm sure there are. I'm just trying to find different options. Spektors for example, have 'Watchdog' that isn't tied to being within 3" of the handler. Might be more inclined to take them if I can at least plant them in a Sentries mission providing a challenge for my opponent. I can't be the only one with pets that do stuff outside of their handlers range, but just looking for what's allowed at this point.

7 - (Tied to 6) I've read the discussion in several places on how Pets interact with 'Infiltrate', and I'm inclined to agree that both handler and pet needs to have Infiltrate to benefit from it. (Though the thought of the Handler being sneaky while carrying his pet as a funny argument to allow it!). Unless there is an outside effect, there doesn't appear to be a way for Pets to acquire 'Infiltrate'. This is more Delaque specific since I am unaware of other pets that might have more than 3", but Psychoteric Wyrms are 12" instead of 3". If I, or anyone who wants to really, want the handler to 'Infiltrate', I don't see any restriction from using it because of the Pet. I am fully aware that Delaque have a much easier time giving Infiltrate to the Pet than all of the other gangs. It's quite easy for the Handler to 'Infiltrate' and keep the Wyrm inside 12" so I can still activate him. I know the reverse is true for Van Saar and the Spiders. Not sure if they follow the rules for Pets, but the Spiders can have 'Infiltrate' and their handler doesn't.

TIA for reading. I do plan on keeping my pets in range as often as possible like I've been seeing in the batreps. I'm just trying to see if the benefits of having pets outweigh the risks, and what exactly all the risks could be/are to judge when to take them or not.
 
1 - The rule says that Exotic Beasts must stay within 3" of their handler. This is the BIGGEST one that just rubs me the wrong way when I'm watching Batreps. One way to read this is that Beasts can never leave their Handler when activating, effectively putting an 3" leash on an Exotic Pets activation. This would mean that the handler would have activate first during it's Group Activation so that the Pets have a 3" bubble they can go to be effective. I'm not seeing this in the Batreps. I don't believe that Pets HAVE to stay in 3" because the rule also says that if a Pet is outside of 3" at the end of their activation, they must make a nerve test or become broken. Group Activations are not simultaneous and must be completely resolved before the next member of the group activates. Wouldn't this mean that as each pet activates and moves, they would have to test after it has performed it's actions before it's handler activates as part of a group activation? I'm not seeing this in Batreps either which is why I'm confused. Is there some rule I am missing, or is it just a commonly accepted house rule to check at the end of a group activation?
It is my understanding the leash range is checked at the end of the pet's activation (not the groups). They are welcome to be out of leash range, but if they end their activation outside of it, then they need to make a cool check or become broken. This typically means order of moving in the group activation matters.

Like all things talk to your arbiter and come on a consensus 😀.
 
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2 - During the Rally step, do Pets get to roll to Rally? Do they get the bonus if there is another model within 3", including other Pets? I'm going to assume this one is a Yes to both. The Exotic Pets rule only covers what to do differently when it is Broken at the start of it's activation, which is different to how a Broken fighter behaves. I'm genuinely curious here since I haven't seen this at all, probably because I haven't seen any players rolling Nerve tests after their individual Pets activate. Not a true exploit, but if this is how it's supposed to be done then wouldn't the pets get the XP for rallying on their own? The potential is there if you have to test and get +1 for the handler in addition to any other models/pets in range at the end of every turn. This creates one situation where you can have Readied Pets outside of the 3".
I don't have the book in front of me right now, but I believe they auto rally if they are back in leash range (they don't get an xp though). They will remain broken until they are back in leash range.
 
3 - Exotic pets can only be activated as part of a Group Activation. Group activations are done at the start of a handlers activation, so you can't even move then Group activate to try and trigger the pets activation. Which to me causes more problems and makes quite a few of the Pets rules irrelevant. Why have a pet take a Nerve test if he can't ever activate? If he is Broken, when is he going to activate to do the Run for Cover action? If 2 is what happens, then you have a fighter with a ready token who can't activate anyways, so he is potentially worse off than a Broken Pet since he won't even force move depending on how that's resolved. This isn't just a 'make sure you keep your pets' close. There are several in game effects, like knockback/falling, or there a few psychic powers that also separate handlers from pets. I've seen a few effects where friendly models get treated as enemy models. This could also shut down Pets activating in their various states. Seems like a lot of stuff in print with the intent to explain what should happen when there is no mechanic to allow it to happen in the first place.
there are probably a lot of edge cases with some of the psychic powers, but in general when the pet owner activates the pets also activate (they are wargear that happens to have a physical model).

Pets do not need to be in leash range to activate, so separating them from their owner doesn't do a whole lot to stop them from activating.

I'd imagine the power that makes the pet an enemy to everyone and says they can't be part of group activations would stop a pet from activating. But moving a pet out of leash range would not, as they only break at the end of their activation if they are out of leash range.

I don't believe pets "run for cover". They always run back to their owner is my understanding.
 
4 - Chain Group Activation. This is a simple one. I'm aware that normal Chain Group Activations are specifically not allowed, and that Pet Activations are always allowed to chain, that's not the question. The question is does the Pet Activation join the Pool of Group Activations, or does it create a bubble of Activations within the Group Activation. ie. Do I have to Activate the Pet when I activate it's handler (or Vice Versa)? Or can I activate the handler/pet then resolve the other Group members, then come back to the readied handler/pet? More Delaque related, and is very situational but it has already happened in one game. The Wyrm Activated, moved into a position to cover two separate targets as a node, then the leader activated to take down the closest enemy model. The plan was if I failed to take down the nearest threat with my leader, then attempt to lock him down using a Power. If I did lock him down with the leader, then I could use the power to lock up the other non-threat enemy. My opponent simply asked if I needed to activate both the handler and pet at the same time and I didn't have an answer.
you activate the pet when it's time to activate it's owner (in whatever order you want. pet -> owner or owner -> pet. They must move sequentially.
 
5 - If it is possible to have a Broken Pet within 3" of it's handler (based on 1 and 2), then the Pet should be limited to the Run for Cover(D) action. They don't have to Run for Cover if they are within 3" of their handler, but wouldn't be able to do anything else since they're treated as broken. Since they don't rally until the end of their activation, this should create a scenario similar to above where the handler is forced to activate first to give the pets a model to run toward or risk remaining broken. Again haven't seen this in any Batreps because the check to see if pets are within 3" appears to be done at the end of each Group Activation, and not at any other stage.
pets auto rally at the end of their activation if they are back in leash range, but they don't get the xp for rallying.
 
6 - I don't see ANY restriction that states that Pets HAVE to be deployed within 3" of their handler, but it just makes sense to do so. The test to break isn't done until the end of their activations so they could start protecting a different Gang member at the start of the game. They just won't be able to activate until in range of their Handler, which means they'll never have to take Nerve Tests. I'm NOT trying to break the game, or looking for exploits here, but I'm sure there are. I'm just trying to find different options. Spektors for example, have 'Watchdog' that isn't tied to being within 3" of the handler. Might be more inclined to take them if I can at least plant them in a Sentries mission providing a challenge for my opponent. I can't be the only one with pets that do stuff outside of their handlers range, but just looking for what's allowed at this point.
I'm not sure what the official stance on deploying pets is (or even how it works with infiltrate). But I imagine you could deploy them anywhere within your deployment area and it'd be kind of "not great" to deploy them much further than the owner cold walk to get them back into leash range.

This is something your arbiter would need to rule on. I'd say the "best practice" would to be to deploy them within leash range of their owner respecting the constraints of the deployment area you have.
 
7 - (Tied to 6) I've read the discussion in several places on how Pets interact with 'Infiltrate', and I'm inclined to agree that both handler and pet needs to have Infiltrate to benefit from it. (Though the thought of the Handler being sneaky while carrying his pet as a funny argument to allow it!). Unless there is an outside effect, there doesn't appear to be a way for Pets to acquire 'Infiltrate'. This is more Delaque specific since I am unaware of other pets that might have more than 3", but Psychoteric Wyrms are 12" instead of 3". If I, or anyone who wants to really, want the handler to 'Infiltrate', I don't see any restriction from using it because of the Pet. I am fully aware that Delaque have a much easier time giving Infiltrate to the Pet than all of the other gangs. It's quite easy for the Handler to 'Infiltrate' and keep the Wyrm inside 12" so I can still activate him. I know the reverse is true for Van Saar and the Spiders. Not sure if they follow the rules for Pets, but the Spiders can have 'Infiltrate' and their handler doesn't.
Pets are limited to a subset of skills and infiltrate isn't one of them. See page 86 in the Core Rulebook.

Pets are wargear, I'd be inclined to let them infiltrate if the owner has it.
 
TIA for reading. I do plan on keeping my pets in range as often as possible like I've been seeing in the batreps. I'm just trying to see if the benefits of having pets outweigh the risks, and what exactly all the risks could be/are to judge when to take them or not.
Generally speaking pets are kind of "meh" at best. They delaque wyrm being the exception as they are critical to making delaque whispers usable.
 
1 - It is my understanding the leash range is checked at the end of the pet's activation (not the groups). They are welcome to be out of leash range, but if they end their activation outside of it, then they need to make a cool check or become broken. This typically means order of moving in the group activation matters.
This is one of the small points I'm asking for clarification on. I've been watching various Batreps, mostly MGM because he cuts out all of the banter making it easy to watch, and isn't afraid to correct himself. Most of them do the Group Activation move the pets, then follow up with the handler. Most of the Pet use I've seen is Escher with their cats because they also aren't limited to 3". He never tests for the Cats. With the Wyrm, unless you're using a Continuous Effect, you kind of have to move it before the Gheist to use it as a Node effectively. If I went off the Batreps, then I could move the Wyrm WAY out to where I need him to be, then just make sure that he was within 12" at the end of the Gheist activation. The way I read it though, it still works this way, but the Wyrm would have to take the test before the Gheist activates. Pass or Fail, the Wyrm is going to sit there. He's going to be in range at the end of the Gheist activation because it's the same range needed for the power, and being Broken doesn't limit the Wyrm from being a node.

It matters in the next round though, where having a Broken Pet in leash range is possible. The only action a 'Broken' model can take is 'Run for Cover', but it goes straight toward it's handler when it activates, even if it's standing right next to him. That's the only exception I can see, so all of the other requirements are still there. The handler can move first, which will force the Pet to run toward him. He still won't rally until the end of it's own activation. It limits what they Wyrm, and all pets, can do where they are possibly bouncing back to the handler every other round.

2 - I don't have the book in front of me right now, but I believe they auto rally if they are back in leash range (they don't get an xp though). They will remain broken until they are back in leash range.
I believe you've missed the question based on the answer. In the END PHASE of each round players may attempt to Rally any Broken Fighters getting +1 for any friendly model within 3". It would be easier and make much more sense if the Pets auto-rally at this stage, but it's not the end of their activation, so the auto-rally doesn't apply. Do they still get to make their own Rally roll? Do they benefit from and grant a +1 for each model in 3"? Do they get XP for rallying on their own, not because of the leash? The rule only seems to restrict the XP from auto-rally. Since we're treating Pets as individual fighters at this stage, the bonus leash range (if any) would also not apply.

3 - Pets do not need to be in leash range to activate, so separating them from their owner doesn't do a whole lot to stop them from activating.

I'd imagine the power that makes the pet an enemy to everyone and says they can't be part of group activations would stop a pet from activating. But moving a pet out of leash range would not, as they only break at the end of their activation if they are out of leash range.
This is the first I'm hearing of this possibility. In both N23 and HoS, it says that both models activate as part of a 'Group Activation'. So naturally I went to see how Group Activations worked first and built off of that. When you get back to your book, let me know what you find on this. I'm not seeing it.

When a model uses Group Activation, all models must be within 3" in order to activate. When I translated this over to Pets, I just assumed the 3" still applied when a Handler does it because there is no exemption to it listed under Exotic Beasts. From there it made sense that any leash extensions also applied to this as well. Things do make sense if they activate regardless of range. Being out of leash range would mean that Broken Pets would function as expected, but would also means that non-leashed pets that aren't Broken would still be able to activate using the normal available orders. Goliaths letting Crocs off their Leash would make them much more appealing instead of nipping at the heels of their Handler.

4 - You activate the pet when it's time to activate it's owner (in whatever order you want. pet -> owner or owner -> pet. They must move sequentially.
Again, I think you missed the question. I'll refer to my game. Leader, Gheist, and Specialist are all in 3" of the Leader, staring down the Goliath Threat. I could've activated another model not involved in the scenario to try and force my opponent to activate the Threat. The leader was the only one who could've gotten a CLEAR shot at the Goliath after a move. I decided to try and neutralize the threat using my Leader to Group Activate, only selecting himself and the Gheist for the Group Activation. I chose not to activate the Specialist and leave him ready for whatever happened.

So now there are 2 models in the Group Activation. The Leader and the Gheist. I activated the Gheist, so he now does a legal Chain Group Activation with the Wyrm. I Pop the Wyrm to the otherside of the Bulkhead so that I could attempt to Pin him down with 'Spatial Psychosis'. I had a 13" range from the Specialist boosting the Ghiest, that I was able to position the Wyrm to Pin 2 different models. I didn't want the Goliath threat to be pinned before I shot him, so I then activated the Leader next. It was at this step my opponent asked if I could even do that thinking that the Gheist HAD to be next. In this case we realized the order didn't matter. All I needed to do was activate the Leader, attempt to shoot him (which failed), then activate the Wyrm and pop him under the wall. I probably wouldn't have popped the Wyrm under the wall if the Leader had worked so we carried on. I'm asking because I can see situations where splitting the handler and pets activations could affect decisions. Out of Game is the best place to have the conversation.

5/6/7 - I'm not sure what the official stance on deploying pets is (or even how it works with infiltrate). But I imagine you could deploy them anywhere within your deployment area and it'd be kind of "not great" to deploy them much further than the owner cold walk to get them back into leash range.

Pets are wargear, I'd be inclined to let them infiltrate if the owner has it.
There isn't one, but breaking it down it's not hard to lean toward Pets can't 'Infiltrate' even if the Handler can. I read somewhere that Van Saar Spiders can get 'Infiltrate', so that supports needing it in order to be able to do it. Delaque can grant it with 'Mass Infiltration', which is something I'm exploring, but with it's 6" move and Burrow, it can start in Leash range of the Gheist before it's first activation as long as the Gheist Infiltrates near enough to it. At the end of the first activation, it's possible to have both the Gheist and Wyrm right next to each other in a position that is much more useful than it having to walk from the Deployment Zone like one of those other houses.

Now if I don't need to be in leash range to activate the Pet like you suggested above, this makes any Infiltrate/Pet combo much more interesting and easier to take. The Gheist/Wyrm combo would become extremely flexible for getting nodes around to where they are needed. I also thinks this makes them incredibly good at getting Powers around and might make people hate them, despite needing 8's to get powers off in the first place. Just thinking at this stage, but I'm REALLY curious now.

Like all things talk to your arbiter and come on a consensus
They'll have the final say, but since they've managed to recruit several new players, myself included, we're playing 1-offs to learn the rules. I'm going to use this time to try these mechanics in game, which is what they want to see how it plays out before making a decision.

Wanting to know how others interpret it, play it, or would rule it if it came up before it gets to the final decision time.
 
Pass or Fail, the Wyrm is going to sit there.
if the wyrm fails it's cool check it's going to immediately break and run towards it's owner (before the owner gets to activate).

You might get lucky and it won't run far enough to be out of range to use the power you want. But odds are low with how short range the powers are.
 
I believe you've missed the question based on the answer. In the END PHASE of each round players may attempt to Rally any Broken Fighters getting +1 for any friendly model within 3". It would be easier and make much more sense if the Pets auto-rally at this stage, but it's not the end of their activation, so the auto-rally doesn't apply. Do they still get to make their own Rally roll? Do they benefit from and grant a +1 for each model in 3"? Do they get XP for rallying on their own, not because of the leash? The rule only seems to restrict the XP from auto-rally. Since we're treating Pets as individual fighters at this stage, the bonus leash range (if any) would also not apply.
"An exotic beast that has become broken automatically rallies if it ends an activation within 3" of its owner" Page 47 House of Shadows.

I don't see why they wouldn't get to make their own rally roll if they are not within 3" of their owner. I would say they get the xp if they rally on their own.
 
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This is the first I'm hearing of this possibility. In both N23 and HoS, it says that both models activate as part of a 'Group Activation'. So naturally I went to see how Group Activations worked first and built off of that. When you get back to your book, let me know what you find on this. I'm not seeing it.
The "group activation" for pets is a different action.

"Group Activation (exotic beast): when a fighter with this special rule is activated, their controlling player must activate all exotic beasts belonging to this fighter as well, as part of a 'group activation'." Page 87 Core Rulebook

You activate all your pets. "Group activation" in this context means you are activating more than one model.
 
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I didn't want the Goliath threat to be pinned before I shot him, so I then activated the Leader next
If you activated the gheist you need to fully complete the pet group activation. I.e. your leader won't get to activate until both the gheist and wyrm have finished.
 
I think the source of a lot of the confusion is that pets are not independent models, they are wargear that happens to have a model.

They don't have their own ready marker.

They cannot exist without their owner.

They always activate with their owner (no range limit).
 
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I think the source of a lot of the confusion is that pets are not independent models, they are wargear that happens to have a model.

They don't have their own ready marker.

They cannot exist without their owner.

They always activate with their owner (no range limit).
Are you sure about that? Haven't looked too closely lately, but I imagined them a hybrid. Wargear on the roster but effectively a fighter in the battle. Stuff that messes up activations like Blind, Insanity and Blaze should affect pets like normal fighters. Probably doesn't make sense to have ready markers as you say since they always activate as part of the owner's group activaiton. But they still activate in order individually, in the same turn as the owner.
 
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These questions are great as they pinpoint a lot of problems that occur in normal game play with loosely written rules. I don't have any good answers at the moment unfortunately, but in general I would apply a hefty dose of common sense and ignore parts of the rules. All of which requires discussions with other players as normal. For example the "always stay within range" part makes it kinda silly, it would be better to check this range after the full group activation. Otherwise, a owner and a pet couldn't charge an enemy at a normal distance beyond the leash range without the pet becoming broken, regardless of who activates first. And the "must stay within leash range" I think is more of a guideline, or possibly a restriction on voluntary movement. But certainly it can't stop enemies or involuntary effects to move them apart (knockback, insanity etc). These detailed questions made me think about other weird situations, like how how sentry (sneak attack) works with pets.
 
yeah unfortunately the rules are pretty scuffed here. You should talk to your group/arbiter and come up with something that makes sense.

I can def see the leash range being checked after everyone has activated as a valid interpretation. I would say go with this as it simplifies things greatly.
 
Are you sure about that? Haven't looked too closely lately, but I imagined them a hybrid. Wargear on the roster but effectively a fighter in the battle. Stuff that messes up activations like Blind, Insanity and Blaze should affect pets like normal fighters. Probably doesn't make sense to have ready markers as you say since they always activate as part of the owner's group activaiton. But they still activate in order individually, in the same turn as the owner.
these are good points.

Probably best to treat them as a fighter (with an imaginary ready token for things like blind) that always activates with its owner.

Yeah at the top of page 87 in the Core Rulebook it says:
Exotic Beasts follow all the normal rules for a fighter, with the following exceptions...
 
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Otherwise, a owner and a pet couldn't charge an enemy at a normal distance beyond the leash range without the pet becoming broken, regardless of who activates first.
In theory if the owner charged/did whatever first, then the pets did whatever they were going to do afterward they could end their activation within leash range and not be subject to the cool check. Since the pets check at the end of their activation, not the owners.