NCE Fluff Marines in Necromunda - rules & battle report


Apr 10, 2018
South Wales
Hey folks - not sure if this will be of any interest! Found this article that I had written for another site, I reckon probably going back 15 years or so. Its rules for 'Fluff Marines' (not Furry marines - which weren't a thing back in early 2000s) which are marines with rules to reflect how bad-ass they are in the background material. Obviously the rules were written for NCE but could probably be adapted for the new version pretty easily. Its reminded me how much bloody fun Necromunda can be. Anyway, its a bit long, but hopefully worth a read!

After a campaign lasting over 3 months and many games, and including such events as 'Thing from the Swamp', killer robots, a Genestealer uprising and 'Zombie Attack' (with modern 28 Days Later-style running zombies!), the campaign was getting to the point where several of the gangs (those that hadn't been forced to restart 3-4 times) were starting to resemble small Imperial Guard armies in terms of their size. I and the other participants were starting to feel that the campaign had passed its sell-by-date and needed to be drawn to a close. You know how this usually goes; less and less games are played, finally no-one can be bothered anymore and the campaign fades into obscurity. The rich and fattened up gangers sell their stockpiles of exotic weaponry and take up a life of retirement on the ranch, herding grox and spending their evenings on the front porch in a rocking chair bemoaning youth culture.

This was wrong! There were way too many scores to be settled and too much bad blood between gangs for any kind of 'Spielbergian' ending. There had to be a historic ending for the gangs involved, one that involved plenty of explosions, violent death and splatterings of B-movie drama!

After some discussion, the answer was quite simple and straightforward. We would introduce a 10-man squad of the Emperor's finest to the collective scum of the underhive! The battle would be set between the Space Marines and all of the surviving gangs, a collective gang rating of over 10,000, and utilising all of our terrain and then some (some old Victorian-style cottages in the underhive would have to be excused!) Hopefully, by the end of a blood-soaked Sunday afternoon, we would have a battle that would be scratched on the walls of underhive lavatories for generations to come!

In terms of narrative (lets just get the boring part out of the way) the now quite worried planetary governer of Necromunda, deeply fearful of what 80s horror movie plotline the hive was inline for next, has pleaded for help from the Imperial Fists Chapter. Amongst comments of "pesky humans" and "purge the unclean", they have begrudgingly sent a squad of ten marines to help quell the unrest.

But 'normal' marines would simply not do. Going against what essentially amounts to squads of Imperial Guard Heroic officers toting plasma and armour-piercing weaponry, and carrying a myriad of protective armours and exotic devices, poncy Warhammer 40,000 marines would be nothing but playthings for the battle-hardened underhive scum and would be quickly sent packing back to their fortress monastery like the big girl blouses that they are.

Something more 'final' was needed.

That something was the 'fluff' marine. Also known as 'movie marines' this concept refers to the true characteristics of Marines based on their background material, with a total disregard for any form of balanced game mechanics. Essentially it means that these marines can do all of the really cool stuff that you read about in the Black Library novels; such as rip peoples arms off, spit acid and eat their brain.

* Bear in mind that the 10-man squad is going to be taking on gangs with a massive combined rating, so might be better to refer to them as:
Fluff Marines of Smiting +1

4 6 6 5 5 3 5 3 10

Power Armour: 2+ save
Built in photo visor, infra-red, mono sight, telescopic sight (this is representing the systems within the marines helmet)
Marines are armed with frag & krak grenades and a knife as standard. They are armed with a mix of bolters, close combat weapons, flamers (they would be equipped for fighting in the underhive) and smoke, photon and plasma grenades. No special or close combat weapon restrictions here!
One of the marines in the squad will be equipped with a scanner.
Note 1: It's recommended that you go completely to town on the marines weaponry as it makes for a far more exciting game!
Note 2: The power armour does not restrict activity of the marine in any way in the same way that carapace armour does.

Counter attack, body slam, bulging biceps, nerves of steel, crack shot, hip-shooting, marksman, rapid fire, hurl opponent (add +1 to roll, +3 against Juves)
Space Marines cause Fear and never take bottle tests. Neither do the gangs fighting the marines - this is a battle to the death!

Special Rules:
Tough. When reduced to 0 wounds, marines suffer a flesh would on 1-3 and go out of action on a 6. Marines which are man down in close combat are not removed automatically, but instead fight with a WS of 0.
If a marine goes out of action, and is not man-down prior to this, he will continue to fight normally for a further d3+1 turns (this is to represent their machine-like constitution and ability to continue fighting until they literally fall apart!) If a marine suffers a further wound in this period remove him from the table.
Pinning. Marine are only pinned by strength 4 or above weapons. 7ft of hulking ceramite is not going to be phased by an autopistol round! They may also test for pinning if there are no other squad mates within 2".
Ammo rolls. Marines weapons are anointed and lovingly maintained by the chapter, they pass all ammo rolls on a 2+.
*Censored*. A marine may attempt to carry out a *censored* attack on one opponent. Substitute all of the marines attacks for a single one, adding +1 to the marines strength for each extra attack. If the marine wins the combat, roll a single 'to wound' roll (regardless of the actual number of hits) using the modified strength value. If the attack wounds, the target is automatically killed (dead! kaput! morte!). This is to represent the marine doing something unspeakable, such as ripping off the head or arms of his opponent, crushing them in a bear hug or cutting them from head to groin with a chainsword! Armour is simply no protection from the power of the attack.
Any subsequent attacks from other opponents receive +1 WS as the marine is quite vulnerable while he is ensuring the battle becomes unsuitable for minors. If the marine survives, any opposing units in the combat or within initiative distance must pass a LD test or fall back, so horrified are they! This attack may only be carried out by the marine once per close combat round.

The Battle Report, and end of our campaign
And the winner was? Drum roll please.. The marines, but only by the length of an Imperial Guardsman's insurance policy.

Divide and Conquer: Playing against a combined gang rating of over 10,000 meant that, had the underhive players controlling the gangs decided to work together and co-ordinate their attacks, then its very likely that the marines would have simply been overwhelmed.

However, never before had such levels of cowardice been witnessed in the underhive. Perhaps perturbed by the '+1 of smiting' bit in the marine description, most of the gangs hid and cried for their mothers like little children cowering from an angry and psychotic aunt.

One gang hadn't (or perhaps couldn't) read about what they were up against, and instead charged forward with reckless abandon. Attacking alone, their piecemeal autogun fire and misfiring grenade launchers saw a level of incompetence not usually seen outside the first week of 'x-factor'. The marines suffered not a scratch as the unfortunate leather-clad Goliaths, the hopeless gang in question, were vapourised by plasma, set on fire and finally ripped apart in close combat. A juve being thrown off a 10" roof and then somehow managing to survive to crawl and lie in a broken heap for the rest of the game was their only achievement! The now disgraced owner of the gang left the table, his knuckles dragging across the floor, and locked himself in a darkened room, his low brow furrowed and muttering about "what might have been".

Things improved slightly for the gang when a carelessly placed marine was vapourised by a Van Saar's heavy plasma gun. Marines trying to flank around a Delaque gang, who had by now dropped their plush toys and picked up their weaponry, lost a couple more of their number before they finally got in close enough to set their pervert-style jackets on fire.

Meanwhile, in a further and appalling display of cowardice, the surviving gangs were desperately fleeing to either end of the game board. Cries of "You attack him", "Don't be such a pussy" and "I can't, I've grown attached to my gang" were heard about the table.

Finally in a fine display of manliness the remaining Goliath gang (what is it about Goliath players?), perhaps with the interests of the Necromunda gene-pool at heart, surrounded and charged a marine who was down to a single wound. The marines was promptly reduced to 0 wounds, and the player who owned the gang proceeded to do his 'victory dance' around the table; One of the more detestable parts of the campaign, and fewer things more infuriating exist in this world. Prompty, there was a crowd of people around the rules sheet, rushing to inform him of the '0' wounds rule, whereby the marine would continue to fight. In a quite beautiful display of cosmic karma achieving harmony, the power-fist armed marine proceeded to plant one on the nose of each of the gangers over the next two turns before succumbing atop a pile of dead Goliaths. Perfect.

End of this report and a rules summary coming up the next post!


Apr 10, 2018
South Wales
Thanks guys! Rest of the report below...

As a finale in true Hollywood style, the now heavily wounded Marine Sergeant faced the ridiculously named Van Saar leader 'Woody Allen', most hated ganger and nemesis of autopistol-carrying Juves everywhere, in what promised to be a spectacular battle. But it wasn't. Perhaps unable to move due to the vast quantities of wargear he held ("he carries it all in his bag, anyway there are no rules against it so there") a roll of 'snake-eyes' saw the Sergeant opt for a *Censored* attack on the unfortunate ganger. Some around the table said he had been cleaved in two by the Sergeants Power Axe, others that he had been subjected to a WWF special move, and another wondered if he had been beaten to death by his own bag of wargear. All agreed that justice had been done.

Four marines remained, none were unmarked by the battle. Of the gangs, once masters of the Underhive, only a pulped juve and a ganger that had hilariously not been given any weapons, and had spent the game hiding in a crevice, remained. The Underhive was a safe tourist destination once more!

The end of the game and a fitting end to an entertaining campaign!

But that's not all.. the try it yourself bit! Some notes on which rules to use and adapting it for your campaign in the next bit.

I also hope to use this again at some point in and upcoming campaign so will post some updates to get these rules working in the NCE/N18 hybrid system we are using.
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Apr 10, 2018
South Wales
Wow.. how cool are those Undertaker! Yep I think they are something like that. Cheers for posting them (y)

The final piece of this article on using the Fluff Marines rules - hopefully people will get a chance to use them, any feedback or other cool ideas please let me know would love to give them a go!

By using the rules above I guarantee an extremely bloody and entertaining game to be had by all! But here are a few tips for anyone aspiring to such a finale:
1) Use your imagination! Feel free to come up with other special attacks and rules, or to equip the marines with different wargear. If the marines are up against some truly monstrous gangs, how about equipping the marines with terminator armour for instance, with a save of 3+ on 2D6? * However remember to give the gangs a sliver of a chance, however small, so that they don't get completely steam-rollered.
2) Varying the terrain makes the game easier or harder for the gangs. Against lower gang ratings I would suggest perhaps having the gangers behind fortifications to give them some way of focusing their fire. Cutting the marines down to a 5 or 6 man squad would also help keep some semblance of balance.
3) Finally, ensure that the player controlling the marines enjoys some drama! It will quickly become apparent that the marines can easily sit back and decimate the gangers with accurate bolter fire, leading to an exercise in tedium and lots of looks of righteous indignation by the gang players. Is this what marines do? No! Charging the marines in, firing flamers and throwing grenades and getting into close combat will give all players involved something to remember! If a marine is in position to pick up a juve and throw him into a ganger, knocking them both off of a ledge, even if its not the 'statistical' thing to do, then in the name of the Golden Throne do it!

Here are a few other ideas you can use, trying to make full use of the narrative surrounding the event:
Looking for new recruits.
If a juve manages to wound a marine, or performs some other form of incredible valour (this should be judged by a 3rd party) and somehow manages to survive, the marines present will be so impressed that he will be taken back to the Chapter Monastery to begin initiation. Who knows, perhaps one day he will become an Imperial Fist himself? (this is actually one of the coolest bits of real old-school lore, the novel Space Marine by Ian Watson, where gang members from rival gangs get inducted and end up become marines and brothers in arms - read it if you haven't already!)
"Take him to the Experimentation Module!"
If any ganger is captured alive they are taken back to the Monastery, there to be turned into a servitor by the chapter Techmarines. Again pretty pointless, but this should make it amusing when everyone's most hated "I can hit you with krak grenades on a 2+ even if you're in hard cover" ganger ends up being turned into an Imperial Fist-themed toilet roll dispenser!

That's it! Remember the beauty of Necromunda is the potential for customisation and player input. Although the rules listed above seem to work well for combined gang ratings of just over 10,000, I absolutely recommend that you see fit to adapt them to your heart's content! As someone very famous once said, rules are there to be broken. These are not cast in stone by lightning fired from the omnipresent finger of Rick Priestly!**

It's a total cliche but the best advice I can give is to 'have fun'. A table surrounded by sour-faced players wishing they were somewhere else is paramount to mission failure and the missing of a rare opportunity!

* Bloody hell that ages these rules and tells you how long ago they were written!
** Showing the age again then! Younger 40k players are no doubt saying "OMG who is Rick Priestly?!" 😄


Gang Hero
Oct 21, 2016
If it's the final game of the campaign, then there is no reason not to have the utmost fun at the expense of all your ganger's lives!

What kind of scenario did you play? Were the marines at one end of the table and the gangs at the other, or were the marines surrounded at the start?


Apr 10, 2018
South Wales
It was a long time ago now, but from memory think it was just a straight-up setup on the board with the 10 marines opposite all of the gangs. Had the gangs worked together they could have won I think, but there was too much animosity that had built over months of play and scores to settle. So people hiding from each other in case of 'friendly fire' incidents (although from memory I don't think actually anyone shot anyone on the same side - although there was a lot of joking about that happening). That let the marines fight the gangs piecemeal, by the time there was any kind of concerted response and people stopped hiding, it was too late.

Think there is a lot of room for more interesting scenarios though - marines attacking a settlement for instance, with some kind of armoured keep in the centre where the gang leaders are cowering. Would be a pretty cool thing to do if you had some themed terrain for it!