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On the Precipice.


Gang Hero
Mar 29, 2016
Halifax, NS, Canada
Ahoy, all.

In another thread on this board, chatting about bringing Necromunda Gangers into Blackstone Fortress as characters, I was reminded that Precipice [from BSF] might make an excellent setting to blend both ORB Necromunda and Shadow War: Armageddon.

It is not a military combat zone, but there are "gang" territory fights in its layered corridors and gantries. There would be no supply chain support for gangs/warbands/kill teams, as they would be semi-official [or unofficial] teams acting largely off the books. Most of the galaxy's sapient species seem to be represented on the massive station, and have a reason to want access to the Fortress that looms as the horizon. It has much of the Wild West Prospecting Town feel that characterizes Necromunda as a setting, but isn't human-specific.

It would necessitate re-naming or re-fluffing the various Necomunda House gangs, as those would likely represent gangs "native" to Precipice instead, were they to appear, but pretty near all of the SW:A kill teams would make sense outside Tyranids proper [though GSC gangs would make sense] and Necrons [because trade and control seem anithetical to their methods]. A pretty inclusive, wide-ranging setting.

Thoughts? Ideas? Inspirations?

Edit: Apparently, I have been mulling this possibility for a little while:
Ha! So true. At some point, these two likely moved in the same circles? Perhaps they met on Precipice?

[Edit: in the Shadow War: Armageddon 'Gangs Of Precipice' expansion....]
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Gang Hero
Mar 29, 2016
Halifax, NS, Canada

That's GW's introductory video about Precipice.

Here's a look at 'location,' out in the Segmentum Pacificus.
And the author interview for the marketing-tied novella:
Most of the action takes place in Precipice, a kind of Wild West shantytown in orbit around the Blackstone Fortress, and on the fortress itself. [...] In Precipice, there’s a wonderful and unique situation where mutually antagonistic races are forced to live side-by-side and even work together. That was a great opportunity to show a situation that doesn’t usually occur elsewhere in the galaxy. [...] I think it would be great if Black Library turned Blackstone Fortress and Precipice into a regular setting for their fiction. It seems to me that it could treated in the same way as something like Necromunda, with a whole host of authors having fun with this quirky part of the 40k lore.
Fiction excerpts:
Ratling fiction:
A spike of pain burned in Raus’ left knee as he stumbled and hit the ground hard. He felt the black obsidian vibrating as soon as his hands touched it and realised the Fortress was about to shift again.
The Stygian Aperture was ahead. He could see the landing platform and the junk freighter, Long Hauler Gamma-3-ß, anchored to it, waiting for them.
‘Rein!’ he cried out.
His brother turned, a scowl on his scruffy round face, and doubled back. He huffed, blowing out his cheeks as he hefted the sniper rifle slung over his right shoulder. He was diminutive, barefoot and wearing olive-green fatigues, almost the exact reflection of his twin. A ratling. Raus was getting to his knees as Rein grabbed the collar of his grubby Militarum uniform.
‘You’re supposed to be the one who’s light on his feet, Raus,’ he snapped. ‘Tell me you haven’t dropped it.’
‘I haven’t dropped it,’ said Raus, and then patted his kitbag to confirm that he actually hadn’t dropped it. ‘Why are we running so fast, Rein?’ he asked, as they got moving again.
‘Well…’ Rein huffed, red-faced and out of breath. ‘Just best to get a shift on, eh?’
‘You got him though, right? Shot that pointy-eared sadist. You said he went over the edge, Rein. The edge, right?’
Rein made a face as if he were weighing up tabac-leaf but hadn’t quite got the portions right.
Raus let the silence last for a few seconds, their flat feet slapping noisily against the obsidian deck of the Fortress. The Stygian Aperture was almost within reach.
‘He’s dead – you told me, Rein.’
‘He might not be dead.’
Raus spat, grabbing Rein’s uniform and half strangling him while they ran. ‘What?!’
‘Ruddy Throne, Raus! Let go,’ he said, struggling to prise his brother’s fingers from around his neck. ‘You’ll send us both rump over crown.’
‘I’m light on my feet, remember,’ said Raus. ‘Reckon I’ll be just fine.’ He let go.
‘He’s probably dead. I mean… I definitely hit him. He was fast. Scary, scary fast, but I definitely got him.’
Rein frowned, nonplussed. ‘Here? In the Fortress. When we found the archeotech dump.’
‘No, you berk. Where?’
Rein’s face brightened. ‘Oh… I’d say… hmm, the shoulder…’
‘The ruddy shoulder! Not exactly a kill-shot is it? Was it a good hit?’
‘Definitely glanced him.’
‘A glance! Murlock’s hairy arse, Rein. He could be running around right now. I’m surprised we haven’t had a knife in the back already!’
‘Ah, yeah, but I knackered his rebreather too. Nicked the tube, you see. It’s been bleeding out ever since we ditched him. And by the time he reaches that vacuum chamber…’
Raus grinned, a charming and pearly white scythe of teeth that had found as much trouble as it had spared him.
‘Oh, Rein…’
‘Was that good?’ asked Rein, a knowing look in his eyes.
The Stygian Aperture loomed and the two ratlings bolted straight through it as it began to close up and reform behind them.
‘It was very, very good.’
The Long Hauler beckoned.
‘Now then, Raus,’ said Rein as the boarding ramp cranked down, ‘shall we get back to Precipice and become as rich as Roboute Guilliman?’
Raus patted his kitbag and felt the hard, unyielding metal of the box he had stuffed inside. ‘I think that would be a ruddy fine plan, Rein.’
‘After you, dear brother,’ said Rein as he reached the edge of the ramp, ushering in Raus with an unnecessarily flamboyant flourish.
‘I don’t mind if I do, brother,’ he said, a feral glint in his beady eye. ‘I don’t mind if I do.’
As the junk freighter boosted its engines, slowly turning in the heavy gravity well of the Fortress, a lone figure, panting and half-dead, staggered onto the landing platform. He had barely made it through the Aperture. He watched as the ship pulled away, ignorant of his presence.
Akrahel Drek glared at the junk freighter’s gradually diminishing silhouette. His fingers tightened around the bone hilt of the venom blade in his right hand. He slowly caught his breath, the flesh-knit fashioned into his armour working to repair his broken body. His ship, the Hatchethand, waited nearby. Its sharp, byzantium and segmented contours pleasingly matched Akrahel’s kabalite warsuit. The mutants hadn’t thought to scuttle it. They obviously believed they had killed him. Either that, or they were in a rush.
The communication device in his armour still worked, and he activated it now.
‘I’m coming back…’ he said coldly. ‘No, I didn’t get it. But I know who did.’
He cut the connection. Like his quarry, he could not linger but managed a smile as he watched the other ship disappear into the wreckage field.
‘We’ll meet again soon…’ he purred, wiping the blood off his lip and revelling in the hot, metallic taste of it. ‘And when we do, pray that I don’t take you alive."
You do it,’ said Raus.
‘But it’s your bloody turn!’ said Rein.
Rein’s twin looked at the bone dice meaningfully, then grinned meanly at his brother. ‘We don’t do it by turns, we do it by dice, Rein. You lost, so you’ve got to do it. Those are the rules.’
‘Your rules, Raus,’ moaned Rein. ‘The game is fixed.’
‘If I fixed them, why would you agree to them?’
‘Did I agree or did I not, Raus?’
‘You agreed, Rein, you agreed.’
Rein pulled a face. ‘I did not.’
‘It’d be different if you’d won and I’d lost.’
A swipe of a small, fat hand, and the dice vanished back into Raus’ pouch.
‘I’d say I was suspicious, because it’s always my turn,’ said Rein.
‘Is it my fault you’re lousy at dice?’ Raus nodded at the monitor. A low quality image, bent by lens distortion, depicted a small coterie of tech-priests waiting in Long Hauler Gamma-3-ß’s main airlock. ‘Go on, they’re waiting. I don’t like the look of them. I especially don’t like the look of that.’ He pointed at the heavy combat model automaton guarding them. ‘If we don’t hurry up there could be trouble, and I don’t want trouble, so go and wake him up. They obviously want him, not us.’
‘But how can you tell?’ said Rein, who was still sulking.
Raus rolled his eyes. ‘They’re tech-priests! We live with an enormous robot – they’re not here for your cooking, Rein.’
‘I don’t like waking him up. Let him deal with them.’
‘They might get on board if we wait,’ said Raus. ‘This was a Mechanicus ship,’ he said meaningfully.
‘It still is a Mechanicus ship, Raus.’
‘Exactly,’ said Raus.
Rein deflated. ‘I don’t like it down there.’
‘Neither do I, brother, or we wouldn’t be having this argument, would we?’ said Raus. He patted his brother on the shoulder. ‘Now get on with it.’
The 3-ß’s hangar was crammed with so much junk that only a ratling could have made his way through the larger part of it. In most places detritus filled the space completely: a compacted mass of wrecked machines, garbage, old supplies, clothes, gewgaws, scrap and every other conceivable type of human rubbish, held together by webs of cabling that time and motion had bound into impenetrable knots. The route the machine used to make its way to and from its nest at the middle was clear, but because the robot used those spaces Raus felt exposed in them, and no self-respecting ratling let himself get caught on the hop, so he crawled and shimmied his way through tiny holes rather than taking the easy route. It was this kind of thinking that kept a ratling alive.
Rein and Raus had made a complex run of burrows through the junk. For all that neither of them liked the hangar very much, there was too much valuable stuff buried in there for them to stay away for long.
Rein emerged from a greasy crawlspace into the open area the robot called its home. He stopped at the edge, eyes darting around. Ratlings had a preternatural sense for danger, and Rein’s was wailing hard.

A Rogue Trader's view of Precipice:
Draik climbed through an access hatch and up onto a gantry. He could see most of Precipice from here. It looked like just another ugly wreck, drifting through the wandering stars, but this collision of mooring spars and walkways had drawn a feeding frenzy. Ships from every corner of the galaxy were huddled at its anchorage points, scorched and hungry, their captains all busy chasing the same alluring nightmare. Looming over the ships was the Dromeplatz, a mangled, bloody eye glaring down at its congregation of landers and skiffs.
Lights flared overhead as the rogue trader’s ship clipped a drifting fuselage. It maintained its trajectory for a few more seconds, then dissolved into a thunderhead, embers and smoke raining down on Precipice, howling over the void screen like a ghost.
urther down, beneath Isola’s scrambling limbs, was the main route through the Skeins – a jury-rigged transitway, welded together from the superstructures of flayed ships. The road was crowded with debris, mechanical and human, all robed in darkness. The glow-globes and lumen-strips had been smashed long ago, so the only light came from the distant glare of the Dromeplatz, a ceaseless sunset, rippling on the horizon and turning the Skeins into a carmine hell. The air beneath the void screen was tormented by engine fumes and recycling turbines. It stung the eyes, burned the throat and drowned everything in a thick, toxic fug. Precipice was a forest of salvaged spires, smouldering and ephemeral, like a half-remembered fire.
Beyond Precipice’s jumble of crooked walkways and brume-shrouded ships, the revolutions of the heavens had ceased, consumed by a wall of nothing. There were few who could hold its gaze. The Unfathomable. The Abyss. The Deep. The Blackstone Fortress.
Draik stared into the monolithic dark, trying to discern something solid – something real. His eyes slipped across angles and shadows, unable to find purchase, glimpsing hints and suggestions but nothing he could recall for more than an instant. The Blackstone glared back, malign and unknowable. Mocking him. The star fort was the size of a small planet, with Precipice as its ramshackle moon, but even those brave souls clinging to Precipice would never claim to understand the Blackstone.
He gripped a handrail and slid down it onto a lower gantry, dropping into a crouch and staring through the pipework, drawing the rapier that hung at his belt.
There were men swaggering down the transitway, kicking rubbish and bellowing with laughter. Even through the rolling smog, Draik could see how dishevelled and filthy they were. They were shouting and belching as they approached, waving machetes and pistols.
He grabbed a dangling cable and slid down to street level for a better view. A long, rangy shape was scrabbling ahead of them, limping and low to the ground. Some kind of injured animal. They were hurling junk at it, jeering and snorting as it tried to drag itself away.
‘Captain,’ warned Isola from up on the gantry, but she was too late. Draik had already walked out to face them.
The gang halted. Their laughter faded and they backed away, weapons raised, as Draik strode towards them through the crimson gloom.
‘What’s this?’ growled a man with a mohawk, frowning and swinging his head from side to side, like a dog on a scent.
Despite the gruffness of the man’s voice, it was clear Draik had unnerved him. Draik marched through the rubble, imperious and grim, examining the men down the length of his long, regal nose. He grimaced at their filthy rags, as though studying a grub that had crawled from his breakfast. The lights of the Dromeplatz flashed along his rapier and glinted in his augmetic eye. Draik was clearly not from the Skeins. He was dressed in a luxurious military dress coat trimmed with gold piping. His starched breeches were immaculate, and his cuffs were embroidered with fine silver thread. But Draik would have cut an aristocratic figure even in rags. He had the face of an Imperial statue: leonine, flinty and proud, with a hard, sword-slash mouth and a thick waxed moustache.
‘Captain Draik,’ he said with a stiff bow.
The gang stared at him for a moment, surprised by his clipped, formal manner of speech. Then they burst into laughter.
‘It’s Guilliman ’is bloody self,’ snorted the man with the mohawk, marching across the road and squaring up to Draik. He was massive; a round-shouldered ape, a foot taller than Draik and clutching a ratchet as long as his arm that he had sharpened into a mace.

A Redemptionist's view of Precipice:
The air inside the drinking hole was thick with lho smoke, sweat and alcohol fumes. More than that, it was thick with the stench of heresy. Wherever Taddeus looked he saw miscreants, xenos scum and blasphemers against the God-Emperor. Revelry not in celebration of the God-Emperor’s victories was an affront to the sacrifices of the Thronelord and there was much revelry amid the stink of ‘Looter’s Den’.
His arrival did not go unmarked. Chairs scraped across the bare boards of the floor and conversations faltered into silence. From behind a bar of stacked ammunition crates, the vendor scowled. The skinny, scar-faced man reached behind the improvised counter, no doubt for a weapon. Elsewhere blades slid from sheaths, powercells whined on activation and several autoweapons clicked and crunched as hammers were drawn back and safeties released.
The reassuring buzz of Taddeus’ servo-stubber sounded close to his right ear as the self-determining anti-grav skull ascended into view. As it steadily panned back and forth the barrel of its gun tracked slowly across the denizens of the establishment, red targeting beams pulsing from its eye sockets.
‘This ain’t your pulpit, Ecclesiarchy man,’ growled a treasure hunter leaning on the bar, her face half-hidden beneath the broad brim of her hat. One hand held a small glass of yellow liquid; the other was hooked into her belt close to a holstered laspistol.
Hostile eyes regarded the preacher from all directions: many human, some insectoid, one pair just points of ochre light.
‘And I’m not here to preach,’ Taddeus replied, his gaze scanning the room. He smoothed his hands down the front of his vestments, wiping away the settling dust and ash of the drinking hole.
‘Everyone can relax,’ said a rakish man from the far corner, his chair leaning back against the wall, booted feet on the tabletop before him. His garb was of an Imperial noble, frock coat and mock-military stylings. The hide of a xenos beast trailed across his shoulders. A neatly trimmed moustache and oiled hair completed an image of privilege at odds with the unwashed and unkempt denizens that made up the remaining patrons. Almost unseen, he held a long-barrelled duelling pistol in his lap, its muzzle pointing towards the barman.
‘No trouble, not in my cantina,’ the man said, placing both his hands back on the counter, empty.
The servo-stubber lowered, its eyes returning to their dark green dormant state. A few patrons remained with weapons directed at the newcomer.
‘And a round of drinks on my tab!’ Draik declared.
Eyes followed Taddeus as he weaved through the close tables, but the low conversations, glug of drinks poured and clink of glasses slowly resumed as he reached the chair opposite Janus Draik, the rogue trader he had come to meet.
Draik dragged his feet from the table and invited Taddeus to sit with a glance. The rogue trader pushed a glass towards the priest and lifted a clay jug in offer. Taddeus’ lip curled in reply.
‘It’s water,’ said Draik, topping up his own glass. ‘Fresh, not filtered. A shipment arrived this morning, nearly two thousand pints.’
‘It is still a luxury, a weakness,’ said Taddeus, though his tongue could almost taste the untainted liquid, free from the acrid hint of recycling that marred all the water piped through the chambers of Precipice.
‘Perhaps you could bless some of the filtered water, make it taste good,’ said Draik with a half-smile. ‘You call yourself the Purifier, yes?’
Taddeus sat down and did not dignify the poor joke with a reply.
‘Not the talkative type, I see,’ the rogue trader continued, assuming a more businesslike air. ‘Fair enough, I can appreciate that.’
‘Your missive said that you needed my assistance.’
‘It did, and I do.’ Draik leaned closer, voice dropping to a conspiratorial level, his eyes darting to the left and right before he continued. ‘I have pieced together one of the routes to the hidden vault we are all seeking.’
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Gang Hero
Mar 29, 2016
Halifax, NS, Canada
So to return to this idea, with N18 hinting an eventual look at a setting expansion of the space station above Necromunda, here's the frame-up:

Precipice as a setting is a moon-sized space station in "orbit" around an unclaimed Blackstone Fortress, in the Segmentum Pacificus. The principal industry is archaeotech/xenotech hunting expeditions into the fortress-planet below, pillaging the remains of previous expeditions into the same. The Precipice station is built out of a combination of wreckage and debris, and those 'small' space ships that were abandoned by unsuccessful [killed] expeditions who never returned.

A large section of Precipice is called the Skeins - a "hive" of gantries, small encampments, functional-but-abandoned spaceships - over which various 'gangs' fight for territorial control. Effectively, an "underhive."

There is a ruling cabal of powerful individuals called the 'Proctors,' who rule the station overall, with Enforcers to control docking and departure, and to keep the peace in select areas of the station. They seem to equate to the "Nobles" of Necromunda, or the "rail barons" of a Western.

There is one massive principal marketplace, the Dromeplatz, which serves as both "market" and "black market," though there are hints of secondary black markets also existing elsewhere. There are any number of drinking establishments, whether in the Dromeplatz district or elsewhere, even down in the Skeins. There does not appear to be much violence in the Dromeplatz even between differing species [see the Enforcers and the Proctors note], though the potential is implied. Again, frontier mining town, high noon.

Outside the Dromeplatz, specifically given an example down in the Skeins, violence is rampant, and those who engage in it don't seem concerned with the Proctors or their Enforcers there. Gangs are explicitly called "gangs," and one example gang in the Skeins seems to be very much a parallel to the Goliaths on Necromunda [bulky, male, mohawk haircuts, massive contruction tools repurposed as weapons]. Mutants and abhumans are explicitly mentioned. Eldar and Dark eldar, kroot, orks, are also explicitly mentioned.

Most ORB Necromunda scenarios would appear to be appropriate to this setting. Most ORB 'core' gangs would also appear to be appropriate, with a re-naming or a re-fluff [for example, House Orlock perhaps rebranded as Merchant Naval crew]. Most SW:A 'gangs' would also be appropriate, with minor caveats and exceptions [a whole crew of Harlequins might seem... a bit obscure to be fighting over Precipice, though they might not seem out of place within the Blackstone itself; some Chapters of Space Marines - Dark Angels or Blood Ravens, say - would be more likely to send a small team of scouts quietly to Precipice outside a military engagement; orks would generally be Freebooterz; etc]. Necromunda terrain as stands would suit a lot of Precipice. The rare trade tables could also be entirely suitable, with merely the aesthetics of various items differing, though expanding them to include various xenos weapons and wargear from the various SW:A gangs would be warranted.

Additionally, some scenarios could be built or adapted to take place, instead of within the hive-like setting of Precipice, instead in the maze of the Blackstone Fortress itself [using BSF board tiles for a purely horizontal game] or within the various docked spaceships [using either Kill Team deck plans, or Space Hulk board sections, also for a purely horizontal game].

Strange and unique BSF setting characters [such as UR-025] could warrant being written as Special Characters [not regular Hired Guns, but unique Special Characters, like Clovis the Redeemer, say].


Anyhow. After reading much of the novel, and with a collection of short stories still on the way later this year, it really does look as though the idea of Precipice as a SW:A/NM setting really does hold up to some scrutiny. And with BSF still being supported at least in the short term, support for the setting as a setting is not likely to vanish entirely for a while yet.

Space Truckin

Gang Hero
Dec 16, 2015
Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI
Yes so glad I'm using Necro bases for all of by BSF minis. Loads of potential for a mashup

The author did an excellent job making Precipice feel like a sandbox and it's own setting for adventures. Perfect for more RPG elements.
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Gang Hero
Mar 29, 2016
Halifax, NS, Canada
The author did an excellent job making Precipice feel like a sandbox and it's own setting for adventures.
Yeah, reading through the novel, it really does seem an almost deliberate match to a Necromunda-style setting. The biggest difference I have found so far is that the Proctors' "Enforcers" are [almost?] universally ogryn, so not a good match for any SW:A/NM/GM group, though potentially fun [if costly] to model up as an Arbitrator-use force in a campaign.

Also, to amend: one fight DOES break out in the Dromeplatz marketplace. It is put down quickly and brutally by ogryn enforcers with heavy guns and riot armour.

Hoping for more both in the upcoming late-this-year bigger expansion, and also in the later-this-year collection of short stories.
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