Really, I think the rules as they are work really well, and are nicely balanced. A little went a really long way - any changes I would suggest would be slight tweaks. The beauty is in the simplicity, and that really needs to be preserved.
That said, here are the lessons learned and possible improvements:
1) Relatively simple map based campaign rules can add a huge amount of strategic depth to a campaign. I mean a huge amount. I don't think I could ever go back to one without proper turns and a map.
2) At first I thought have each player's home hex as "uncapturable" was limiting, but I think it's almost essential to getting the balance right.
3) Encouraging interaction of players to build alliances, especially using WhatsApp, was inspired. The number of backstabbing, conniving, conversations which were going on was phenomenal. It started to take over my life. Here is a typical excerpt from my own secret WhatsApp negotiations with Scavvy King Croop, reknowned eater of my juve twins way back in turn 1, to discuss rescue/ransom terms for my ganger he captured in turn 10:
Croop: I tell you what, you can have her. And her equipment. For free Me: Saw my stummers? Croop: I want just one thing Me: Yep... Croop: Her fingers Me: For f**k's sake [realname] Croop: She gets a hand wound, but she lives Me: Not this shit again. No way! They're the worst Croop: That's my final offer. Drummers suck ****. Stummers suck **** Me: Drummers also Croop: Her eyeball? What about a foot and an eyeball?
... and so on. I endured literally thousands of messages like this over the course of the campaign.
4) The right amount of narrative direction adds a lot to the campaign. The genestealer cult reveal in this campaign, for me, was on a par with the Flood reveal in Halo for impact (as mentioned before). The fact that we had all been subtly guided by the GM from the start with this in mind was awesome.
5) Building in a mechanic which allows the GM's hat to pass between active players would be good. There are loads of ways to do this - maybe setting up a shared email account for the campaign to which player submits their move, with the password being reset each week by players taking it in turns, so each week one person acts as GM (and gets the drop on their opponents ). It's just a shame this doesn't work well with the guiding narrative approach. @ineptmule was an awesome GM, but he missed out by not playing in his own campaign .
6) Turn based campaigns could use a mechanic which means models not committed to a game are allowed to fight in another 'free' game that turn (in our terms, a second "friendly" game which would have no consequences for the map). This happened in one turn of this campaign, but wasn't used overall, and lead to full gang scenarios being chosen more than usual to avoid unused fighters falling behind in experience. Not exactly a problem, but a shame if some scenarios aren't getting picked just because they don't use the full gang.
7) If we did it again, I would suggest having outlaw gangs at the start being the only outlaws throughout the entire campaign. If a regular gang gets "outlawed" on the outlaw table they maybe just lose all income for a turn rather than losing all their acquired hexes? The empire building/defending/destroying element was hugely enjoyable, so it's nice to keep those empires intact. It also means the outlaws retain their special status and strategic advantage.
8) Map cards and event cards might be an easy way to add a bit more to the campaign with almost zero extra complexity. Maybe each turn one player picks one Map card (e.g. "Tunnel system discovered - randomly select one neutral hex on the map. The first player to annex this hex may add a Tunnels to their list of territories"), and one Event card (e.g. "Goliath under suspicion by the Guild! - for the purposes of capturing and killing, this turn all Goliath fighters are treated as Outlaws following the standard rules in the OCE").
9) Finally, and this is probably most important - commitment. I think we were very lucky in that everyone involved more or less always turned up unless they were on holiday or working, which takes a lot of effort. Without this it would have fallen apart very early.
Overall, an awesome and incredibly enjoyable campaign. A big well done and thanks to @ineptmule and all the players!
I would agree with what @enyoss has said about the campaign. Not sure about his suggestions (not saying I agree or disagree just that I need time to think about them).
Even though I had to bow out at the end due to work commitments big props to @ineptmule for designing and running such a fun and immersive campaign. I'd happily play it again with the same rules. It actually got to me that I missed all the exciting end game stuff and I withdrew from the Whatsapp group because it would have been too depressing. Maybe I'm over reacting but I genuinely feel sad when I hear how good the Genestealer reveal was etc
I don't think it added tactics as such, more politics and shenanigans, which was well worth it. - Submitting moves in secret and waiting for the map to be revealed was a great way to add tension and get people excited about the coming games.
It was a good size and quickly lead to conflict, without hindering peoples plans.
it forced certain scenarios to be played which helped change things up a bit.
we should have posted the map in this thread as that added a lot to the story
players leaving has an impact
Some leave, which is inevitable, or have to miss games due to other commitments etc. The GM stepped in a few times early on, and Alobar took over for two players sequentially towards the end to cover holidays, which stopped leavers being a critical problem here, but with the numbers we had leave it easily could have been. It helped that our group is fine to leave models with other people, so wont always be possible for different gaming groups. - I'd have a mechanic to enable leaving gangs to be replaced/taken over by new players. If you have a large group i'd have one play a gang that is a campaign mechanic, enforcer, spyrers etc, so they don't play all the time and can be a ready substitute when required. Sound people out in advance for who cant commit now but can join in later. figure out if you would just straight up use the same models, substitute, or replace the gang with one that is of equal value, structure and injuries.
having the campaign essentially boil down to two sides in the end helped counter-act people leaving
If the group is new, plan for a high-drop-out rate as there is less incentive to stay and its all too easy to suddenly be in a crap position in this game, and it takes a lot of effort to participate so its easy to see why people through in a loosing hand. Strangely not everyone likes necromunda, be aware who knows the game and who is just trying it out, as they are likely to be the first victims.
1 turn a week is intense, but adds to the banter. If it was once a month the chat wouldn't necessarily have developed as much. that said it is hard to commit to, depends on the group really.
Was hard to do write-ups and games weekly, but that's irrelevant to most groups. the writing up did however force people to have some kind of background, which helps tie it all together and keep it going.
for those who dont get a fight, perhaps add a mechanic to fight a random gang from an outsider campaign.
Are a necessity. you should get the group to all interact else whats the point. One of the best bits was a big game early on when one teammate turned on another, one was really paranoid that others were about to go for him, which hindered the whole team, and i would have turned traitor if the other one hadn't have gone first and created so much chaos already - figured i'd take the win rather than extra carnage.
Don't take entire gangs, or set a time limit per turn, else its a struggle to complete.
Don't split gangs up starting locations, give each one one task, and one deployment - keep it simple and so quick(er). e.g. one gang is entirely reinforcements.
It works better to keep the table square, but bigger, so 5x5 etc, rather than a long table
keep the emergency services on speed dial in case of injury
when you bring in a new enemy as the protagonist keep it simple - you haven't had time to learn each of the minions character traits as they develop from game to game, so make them all the same except for one or two, so its easy for all. e.g. they're all gangers, armed with wysiwyg, expect leader is xyz skills.
Drugs (in game)
added a lot to it i think, made people more random, albeit probably too deadly in some cases.
Beardy's Pearls of ... well, let's just call 'em pearls.
1. The 1 game per week/map based whatsapp diplomacy set the pace and sorted the committed from the non-commital. I agree with Fluff that GM gangs (run by peripheral members of the group) are good stand ins for those who leave.
2. The Hired Gun pool was a great addition, the blind bidding less so (rarely used) the addition of "found" hired guns from the vault (Preacher/Crazy Doc, etc) were very welcome.
3. Never lend enyoss a shotgun ...
4. Thoughts on the map being of little strategic value. Aside from a moderate pre-wash addition of income, there was rarely any need to hold hexes. Something could be added to give these more weight/clout/strategic value.
I think scattering a small number of "neutral" territories in the uncontrolled hexes is one way of achieving an extra strategic element to the map, especially if players can only work territories in hexes which are connected to their home hex through other friendly hexes.
This could even pave the way for friendly alliances where player one might allow player two to join a stranded territory to their home hex, by connecting through player one's hexes... for a fee or a favour, of course.
EDIT: Oh, and that shotgun was a gift @BeardLegend. I'm hurt that you want it back . I suppose I did at least return the ammo to you .
I'd keep it simple, something like if you own three hexes next to one another you get another territory (outlaws get extra 5 income). then you have a reason to not only target specific people, but specific hexes, and multiple people might do so, creating bigger fights.
OR, add in certain hexes that give hired guns bonuses, like its 5 creds cheaper to sign them on, (for one particular type per hex), or you can re-roll one skill when you create them.
certain hexes could give bonuses to certain matching territory types, so for eg. if you own the friendly doc hex, and you have the friendly doc territory too, rather than get 1D6 x 10 creds, you get 1d6 x 12 - that way all those with friendly docs will fight over it for the bonus.
nothing game changing, or that require much learning, just influencing mechanics. and bung all such hexes in the middle to require moving towards them.
I like that last suggestion, would maybe broaden it further to Habitation/commercial/industrial/mining (which our campaign had!), with territories being lumped into those groups (or similar, you know what I mean).
That way it's more likely that several players will own territories which benefit from the advantages one hex brings, which means more fighting over the spoils .
A LAGGNOG campaign *** Would you like to know more? *** Dust Falls: a sprawling frontier city situated on the shores of the Silver Sea and The Abyss. Home to all houses, run by the gangs, at the mercy of the Guild. BadDome: ancient Dome which legend locates beneath Dust Falls. Badskin...
Post your updates, battle reports, and gang fluff here. Campaign rules will be posted in this placeholder (eventually!).
*** Would you like to know more? ***
Dust Falls: a sprawling frontier city situated on the shores of the Silver Sea and The Abyss. Home to all houses, run by the gangs, at the mercy of the Guild.
BadDome: ancient Dome which legend locates beneath Dust Falls.
Badskin Brotherhood: outlaw band of fervent Ratskin Renegades. Their activity has spiked recently in Dust Falls.
Deepdowners: reclusive tribe of Ratskins. Legend has it that they originate in the BadDome. Never known to speak in the presence of uphivers or other Ratskins.
Coldharbour Cabal: rumoured gang of unstable Psycher Brats, wanted by the Guilds.
Hab Zone Alpha, Beta, Gamma: productive zones full of happy workers.
Hab Zone Delta: ruined during recent hive quake activity. Rendered impenetrable with no survivors.
The Abyss: yawning chasm at the centre of Dust Falls, into which an endless mist of dust cascades.
Silver Sea: enormous artificial harbour on whose shores Dust Falls sits. Derives its name from the photo-phosphorescent Silversun algae which are unique to its polluted ecosystem. Connected to the sump seas via a cyclopean lock system which descends into the Abyss.
Dockers Riot of ‘27: so named for its occurrence during the 27th cycle of the Necromundan year. Violent spontaneous uprising on the Silver Sea quays in which the Greysons of House Orlock took control of the docks and locks.
Rylarhotep eyed his captive curiously. He had surfaced in Dust Falls as the Puppet Master, and so far the strings had been tugging quite nicely.
Dust Falls – The Gateway to the Underhive. The place to be, so it seemed.
That riches flowed through this town was no secret. The yawning chasm of the Abyss, and its endless mist of fine dust cascading from the upper levels, had long been a conduit for goods and contraband from the underhive into the hive city. As was the Silver Sea on whose shores Dust Falls perched, an enormous artificial harbour with its cyclopean lock system descending gradually into the deep and uncharted waterways of the hive bottom.
So why now, pondered the Puppet Master?
There were whispers in the dusty air. And the the Puppet Master liked whispers.
The whispers spoke of hive quakes which, while never rare, had become more common. And more severe. Severe enough to collapse Hab Zone Delta – rendered impenetrable and with no survivors, or so they said.
But the whispers also spoke of the Guilds. The Guilds ruled Dust Falls. And the Guilds had found something. Something known only as the deep down bad domes. Something that legend placed beneath Dust Falls ever since the first hive quakes had bored the Abyss.
The Puppet Master liked whispers.
His thoughts were interrupted by a gentle sobbing from the corner. Rylarhotep turned to the brat cabalist Guto Wu, his whimpering muffled within a newly encased helm. ‘Dearest Wu’, he said in his faint voice , ‘yours is the role of The Sufferer. But that useful mind of yours… I have plans for you. Such lovely plans’.
Vasheroth, The Promiser, emerged unseen from the darkness to lead The Sufferer away.
The Puppet Master liked whispers. He smiled his thin, reptilian smile.
‘I think, my dearest Vasheroth, we shall find it quite lovely here’,
The Ion Guard, a Van Saar gang, and a nod to the power rangers - my kids love them, as did I 30 yrs ago when I was little...
Led by Zordon, a mysterious possible Xeno who acts as their trainer/father/spirit guide.... One of our starting territories is a Drinking Hole, which I've called Arry's Bar of Laggnog fame, albeit a smaller off-shoot franchise of the proper one. The Ion Guard have set up camp in the backroom. I've not played as Van Saar in the new rules and wasn't sure whether I would enjoy it. I'll have to adapt my usual playstyle which is pretty close-combat heavy. Sitting back and shooting expensive wpns isn't what I'm used to. I also plan to test some other things in terms of gang development. And I've kitbashed an Arachnirig thing that I'm really proud of that i'll have to save up for as early as poss (oh, and a lascannon!)
A fluffy beginning
Jason’s mind is off again. He’s sat in the backroom of the bar with the rest of the squad, listening to the Mighty Zordon droning on and on and on about some boring nonsense, as usual. Usually something about how the all-conquering House Van Saar make the best of everything – weapons, sights, even food…
“The standard House Van Saar Lasgun. 590mil length, 30mil barrel, 400 volt charge. Single shot weapon capable of firing every second for 10 minutes without overheating.” Blah blah blah.
Zordon’s voice is robotic, devoid of any emotion or character, or humour. He’s just so dull. Jason struggles to keep awake in his company, yet he’s supposed to be inspired by him and follow him to their probable death? Madness.
Jason thinks back to happier times, in the academy, when all he had to worry about was essays due in umpteen weeks time, and which girls he would be taking out at the weekend. But now, they’re either patrolling some desolate corner of the hive, engaging in fire-fights with crazed maniacs from the other Houses, or stuck in the ‘training room’ at the back of the bar listening to Zordon drone on and on and on…
Jason is half day-dreaming and half listening. Zordon’s talking about a plasmagun now.
“Liquid hydrogen enters the chamber, becomes energised and turns into plasma. Magnetic fields dilate open and eject an electromagnetic superheated bolt of plasma from the barrel.”
It’s all just so dull. He sighs heavily and closes his eyes. Just for a few seconds, what harm can it do…
“Jason Scott! Wake up you insolent worm!” A shout and a hard slap and Jason springs to attention.
“Jason! As the Red Ranger you are destined to take over as leader of this group. But right now you are not fit to lead a turd to the toilet bowl. You’re almost possibly the worst ranger recruit I’ve ever had. I’ve half a mind to demote you for Tommy. Now he’s someone I could get behind.”
“I bet you could…” Jason smirks instinctively, not realising he’s said it out loud. Zordon goes bright red and looks unable to speak. He’s almost steaming like a kettle, fit to burst. It’s hard for the other rangers not to laugh, and soon the whole team is in fits. Zordon storms out. Jason hasn’t heard the last of this…
Hours later, Zordon returns. Jason is alone at the bar, with the usual bottle of Best Mate.
“Jason, gather the team. We’re heading on a mission. If you can’t learn in the classroom then you’ll learn in the hive. We’re going deep-down. Deep deep down. Maybe you’ll find whatever it is you need to find to make yourself the ranger I know you can be. Follow me, watch me, observe how a real leader behaves.”
Jason just nods and takes another pull of his beer…
Battle Report #1
3-WAY MULTIPLAYER, ARCHEO-HUNTERS
Versus the Hot Tub Fukkers and a Genestealer Cult (name: classified)
Goliaths set up first in one corner. Ambots in the centre on 2 sides of the table
It’s a 3x4 table, and I set up next to the Goliaths on the short side
We made a non-aggression pact to last until the crates were opened, though I understood that as soon as the vault was open the Goliaths would go for me
GSC set up opposite the Goliaths. 3 of them on top of a tower, on the very edge, looking directly at the Goliath leader and boltgunner who are also on the top of a tower, but at least in cover
After deployment, before start of the battle
GSC play 2 tactics cards. Their 3 models on the top of the tower can shoot. They all aim at the Goliath boss, but are a couple of inches out of range! Disaster
I also play 2 tactics cards. 1 to allow my twin-pistol ganger (Kimberley) to auto-pass all intelligence checks, and another that gives a range and St boost to my champ’s las-plas weapon (Jason Scott, the red ranger)
Goliaths get priority. Their leader has a heavy bolter and tears apart the 3 idiots on the top of the tower. 2 go out of action immediately. Another goliath with a boltgun takes out another cultist on the top of the towert. The rest of the Hot Tub Fukkers edge forward in cover, castling under a tower, looking at my Van Saar and the Ambots…
GSC lose 3 in their first turn.. Their leader, familiar, a cultist and aberrant survive and sprint towards the ambot on their side
Van saar send Tommy and Jason (2 las-plas hip-shooting champs) sprinting towards the GSC. Kimberley moves into base contact with the Ambot, prepared to move it towards the door
GSC activate the Ambot on their side and move it towards the vault door. Their remaining cultist gets gunned down by a Goliath bolt-round
Goliaths creep into a deep, dark castle on a single tower, covering the ground, middle and top floors with angles and weaponry. Looking menacing. The hvy bolter takes 4 wounds off the Ambot that the GSC leader is activating
Van Saar activate the Ambot on their side and make it to the door, it’ll be ready to open the next turn
Goliaths prematurely start firing at the Van Saar, flesh wounding Kimberley. They also shoot at Koda and knock him off the middle floor of a tower, failing to wound. He falls right next to Zordon, his leader, who also gets pinned
GSC are now down to 2 members. The leader gets hit by Jason’s plasma, it fails to wound, and Tommy’s misses.
Van Saar fire pot shots at the Goliaths and the GSC. 3 shots fail to hit, rolling a 1. 1 shot hits the goliath leader and pins him – that’ll save us from getting a hvy bolter shot in the next round. The vault is opened! 3 Deepdowners (ratskin juves) are hiding inside, terrified, offering no resistance
Goliaths take a load of shots against the Ion Guard. Zack is on the top of a tower and gets hit, falls 6 inches, but remains unharmed. Zordon is pinned again. Kimberley cowers behind a corner, takes a flesh wound again.
GSC activate the Ambot and send it after Jason. Shoots point blank, wounds, but Jason saves it on a 6! The leader uses mind control on Jason who shoots at Tommy, and fails to hit!
The Ion Guard fight back. Koda and Zordon shoot and miss at Goliaths. Both on 1s. Jason shoots at the GSC leader, and misses on a 1. Tommy shoots at the Ambot, hits, wounds, but it passes the armour roll
Some ratskins come on. 1 is placed right behind the Ion Guard leader who is cowering behind cover with Zack the black ranger. The other is placed near the goliath champs
Goliaths race in and kill the ratskin near them. They also take out Koda (blue ranger) with a heavy bolter (after he had taken down the ratskin). They activate an Ambot who shoots at Zack (black ranger) point blank and takes him ooa
Jason shoots his las-plas and takes out both the Aberrant and the GSC leader in one salvo. The familiar disappears as well, meaning their whole gang is gone. Elsewhere, the Ion Guard fail to hit any targets, yet again. They move the other Ambot towards the Goliaths
Jason and Tommy are still on the other side of the table, having finished off the GSC, and are out of sight and range of the Goliaths. Koda and Zack are down, meaning there’s only Kimberley and Zordon left to fight 6 Goliaths. We bravely fight on, Kimberley hiding, Zordon firing and missing. In reply, Zordon is pinned, as is Kimberley, but nothing else happens. We bottle – agreeing to split the prize in the vault – 2 thirds to the Goliaths, 1 third to the Ion Guard
This was a great first game for a campaign. We had to work together in the hope of very decent rewards. As usual, any alliance was temporary and very testy – the Goliaths could not be trusted for a second, and true to form, they started shooting first.
I did well to keep them at arms length, preventing the charges and the hvy bolter shooting at my leader or champs. I did lose 2 gangers but on both occasions I knew they could be shot and was prepared for it
Sending both my champs after the GSC was fruitless. I effectively split my forces to deal with 2 enemies. The Goliaths did not do this, and it paid off for them in the end. They just sat in their castle, ready to charge anyone who was foolish enough to come too close, and ready to use their significant firepower at range to take out 6 enemy (2 of mine, 4 of the GSC). They won the game through their superior firepower and by not splitting their forces. Good play
So I learned a bit from their play, and from my own mistakes. And none of my gang died. Plus I got some decent income. So it’s a good result!
I earned 110 credits from the loot and my territories, which was higher than the average I could have expected. I had 90 in the stash and sold Zordon’s las-plas for 65. This gave me a total of 265 which was exactly what I was after
I used this to buy Zordon a Lascannon and Suspensors!
With the remaining 50 I chose a Rogue-Doc. This is essential for risk mitigation. I don’t want to lose a leader or champ to death if it could be avoided with a simply 50 creds insurance policy
My plans from now on are to slowly improve the gang. I want 2 more members – Trini, the yellow ranger, and Troy, the orange ranger
The next few fights are critical – it’s the takeover phase where we can both gain and lose territories. I’ll be aiming to get as many new territories as I can without losing my best ones on the way…
I have had 5 more fights after this, battle reports to follow if anyone is interested. Have also written more fluff but I reckon there'll be fewer takers for that!