Radical YCE: Campaign organisation

JawRippa

Gang Hero
Mar 31, 2017
1,716
2,583
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Saint-Petersburg, Russia
My group has been testing a pseudo 'eternal' campaign system for a few campaigns by now and I wanted to share what we came up with. Sadly I did not have the time to put up a proper document due to time constraints, but I wanted to share key features and ask your opinion on them.
The goal of the campaign was to put as little burden on the arbitrator, or being able to play without an arbitrator entirely. Our group lives on different sides of a large city and we do not have a constant gaming club as a gathering place, so the campaign system has been designed to be as robust as possible, as it can be hard to keep game schedule consistent. It is based on Dominion campaign.

Cycle and Downtime.
Cycle is a time period when players battle with one another. The 'pause' between each battle when a gang can hire fighters, buy weapons and do other non-combat activities is called a downtime. A recommended length of a cycle is 2 weeks, but you can adjust it depending on your group.

Main battles and Side battles.
To prevent players with too much free time from having an advantage, there is a distinction between types of battles. You can play as many side battles as you want, however you can only collect income from territories and heal fighters in recovery during the Downtime of a main battle. Each cycle has limited ammount of main battles. The recommended number is 2 main battles per standard cycle, but you can adjust it depending on your group activity. This means that should a very active player able to keep a winning streak, they should be able to benefit from side battles (to let them enjoy playing), yet they won't snowball out of control early in the campaign due to superior number of played games and increased income.

Fighters in recovery and captured fighters.
I'm not a fan of how punishing fighter recovery can be, so essentially only doctor operation can send your fighter into recovery. Fighters cannot be captured in a normal way - essentially it is a one result on table injury called 'A fate worse than death'. It works exactly like 'Memorable death', but the enemy gets small ammount of cash for selling fighter to slavers. We are not fans of possible endless cycle of 'capture-free the captured', since it brings unexpected games and can mess with your planned gaming schedule.

Territories.
We've drastically reworked territories, to make general income more tame. Territories are split into 'income' and 'buff' types. Also each player has a Gang hideout territory which can never be lost; this territory provides D6x10 income, which can be rerolled once per downtime. The rest of territores have a static income, since excessive post-battle rolling can be annoying.
When generating territores, players can have repeating territories between themselves - this is so you do not have to constantly refer to arbitrator territory list, to see which ones are taken or not. Players cannot own dublicates of a territory though.
Each gang has up to 3 territories and a gang hideout (depending on a desired power growth in your campaign, you can change this number). Should a gang somehow go above or below territory limit, they play one main battle and then have to discard or generate territories, so they get back to the territory limit. Rare territories cannot be rolled when creating a gang or generating lost territory; they can only be generated when spending reputation to search for the territory.
D66​
Territory name​
Income and Boons​
11-12Toxic dump10 cr.

Up to 3 fighters gain choke gas grenades before the fight - these are free and do not affect rating. In addition, you can reroll ammo checks for "Toxin" and "Gas" weapons
13-14Iron slag20 cr.
Whenever you collect income from this terrritory, you can send one fighter to work it. This fighter cannot put down weapons or equipment into stash before working the terriory.
Pass a strength check - if successful, collect income twice. Should you roll a 6, fighter goes into recovery.
15-16Bone shrine10 cr.
Before the fight, one selected crew fighter gains a 4++ special save, however this save stops working should you roll 1 or 6.
21-22Promethium stash10 cr.
Up to 3 fighters gain incendiary grenades before the fight - these are free and do not affect rating. In addition, you can reroll ammo checks for "Blaze" weapons
23-24Old ruins20 cr.
Whenever you collect income from this terrritory, you can send one fighter to work it. This fighter cannot put down weapons or equipment into stash before working the terriory.
Pass an initiative check - if successful, collect income twice. Should you roll a 1, fighter goes into recovery.
25-26Water still10 cr.
Whenever one of your fighters should get a flesh wound, roll a d6: on a 5+, they do not gain the marker.
31-32Stinger Mould batch10 cr.
Once per downtime, whenever your fighter would gain a permament injury, you may reroll on the injury table, counting 'memorable death' and 'fate worse than death' as full recovery results.
33-34Corpse farm20 cr.
If during your last battle any of the attending fighters got a permament injury, collect the income twice from this territory. If any fighters has permamently died, collect the income three times instead.
35-36Ventilation10cr.
Up to three fighters gain Infiltration skill.
41-42Fighting pits10cr.
During the main battle downtime, you can send up to three fighters into the pits; pass a Weapon Skill with each fighter sent. Should they succeed, they gain 2XP. Should they roll a natural 1, they start the next battle with a flesh wound. Should they roll a natural 6, in addition you won a bet placed on them and gain 5 credits.
43-44Drug den20 cr.
Whenever you collect income from this terrritory, you can send one fighter to work it. This fighter cannot put down weapons or equipment into stash before working the terriory.
Pass an intellect check - if successful, collect income twice. Should you roll a double, fighter goes into recovery.
45-46Road block10 cr.
Your gang can add or subtract 1 from their priority rolls. Make the decision before the roll.
51-52Synth-station10 cr.
Before the battle up to two fighters from your crew can gain either Bio-booster or Stimm-slug stash equipment. these are free and do not affect rating.
53-54Hab block20 cr.
Whenever you collect income from this terrritory, you can send one fighter to work it. This fighter cannot put down weapons or equipment into stash before working the terriory.
Pass a leadership check - if successful, collect income twice. Should you roll a double, fighter goes into recovery.
55-56Weapon workshop10 cr.
Before the battle select one weapon from your starting crew and roll a D6. You can't slect weapon with Gas or Smoke traits. If the weapon costs less than 50 cr, roll twice and apply both results. Reroll same results. The effect lasts until the end of battle.
1. Concussion
2. Seismic
3. Rending (reroll if the weapon has Toxin)
4. Shock (reroll if the weapon has Toxin)
5. Rad-phage (if the weapon already had it, it is improved; reroll Rad-phage whenever you hit an enemy to see if the effect triggers)
6. Blaze (if the weapon already had it, it is improved; reroll Blaze whenever you hit an enemy to see if the effect triggers)
61Gambling den (Rare territory)3d6x5 cr.
Should you roll a triple, give all gained money to the poorest gang in the campaign (unless that is somehow your gang).
62Slave market (Rare territory)30 cr.
Whenever you sell enemy into slavery, gain additional 15cr. In addition, all territories which require characteristic check to collect double income, give your double income without the need to check, as you are using slave labour.
63Guild contact (Rare territory)30 cr.
Whenever you collect income from the territory, gain 1 reputation.
64Mine (Rare territory)3d6x5 cr.
Should you roll a triple, one of your fighters rolls on an injury table, counting first die as automatic 5.
65Drinking hole (Rare territory)20 cr.
Select up to two fighters from enemy crew; They have to pass a willpower check with -2. Should they fail, they count as having a -1 penalty to any characteristic checks they make except for cool until the end of battle.
66Techno BazaarD6x5 cr.
Instead of collecting income from the territory, you can add the roll to your rarity roll when looking for items on the trading post.

Territory takeover.
Once per cycle, after meeting with another player for a game, you can choose their terrory and announce that your gang will try to take over it. Should you win in the following scenario, you gain control over it. An enemy can announce that they will try to take over your terrritory in return. If the enemy gang has less rating than you, you have to stake 1 reputation per 250 difference in rating; should you lose, the enemy will gain this reputation.

You cannot try to take over enemy territory if:
  • They currently have less territories than territory limit allows (in other words, they haven't recovered from losing a territory).
  • You've tried to take over the territory of this player in the previous cycle.
Whenever a territory is taken over, two things happen:
  • The winning gang can collect income and use boons from it in the next main battle, but immediately has to choose and discard a territory to return to the usual limit.
  • The losing gang immediately generates a new territory instead of the lost one; however it'll gain control over it at the start of the downtime following the next main battle.
Chirurgeon and Rogue Doc.
It is hard to attach to fighters, if your game heavily motivates you to let them die instead of sending them to the doctor.
Chirurgeon returns half of your money back, if the operation was unsuccessful.
Alternatively, you can send fighters to the rogue doc for free, however on 1-3 the fighter dies and on 4-6 the fighter gains one random permament injury and goes into recovery. So now even the poor juve has chance to stick around after getting mauled.

Reputation.
Instead of vague victory points, reputation becomes a resource which ideall should be helping weaker gangs to get back in the fight.
  • 1 reputation: roll 3 times on the territory table; you may exchange one of your territories for the new one. Can only be used once per downtime.
  • 1 reputation: halve the cost of operation at chirurgeon; the operation roll gets a -1 modifier.
  • 1 reputation: if your gang rating is not bigger than starting rating +50%, then you can get half of your fighter's items in credits, should they die on the battlefield.
  • X reputation: spend any ammount of reputation, you get 100 credits per reputation spent. You can only do this if your gang rating is lower than starting rating by 100 or more credits. Items bought with this money cannot be sent to stash. You cannot exceed starting gang rating with these credits. After the downtime all remaining credits gained this way are gone.
Giant Killer (Underdog bonus).
There are two types of Underdog bonuses. Giant killer is designed to let weaker gangs compete in the long run. If your defeat was a 'worthy' one, then you gain boons for losing from the table below. A defeat is worthy if any of the below conditions were met:
  • You didn't bottle out voluntarily the first time you had the opportunity.
  • You injured or sent at least one enemy out of action.
  • You've managed to get within 3" of the objective, unless it was within your deployment zone.
  • You've managed to evacuate at least one item objective off the battlefield.
Rating differenceAdditional rewards for winningAdditional rewards for having a 'worthy' defeat
100-145 cr.10 cr.-
150-195 cr.20 cr. and 1 reputation10 cr.
200-245 cr.30 cr. and 1 reputation15 cr. and 1 reputation
250-295 cr.50 cr. and 1 reputation25 cr. and 1 reputation
300-345 cr.60 cr. and 2 reputation30 cr. and 1 reputation
350-395 cr.70 cr. and 2 reputation35 cr. and 1 reputation
400-445 cr.80 cr. and 2 reputation40 cr. and 2 reputation
450-495 cr.90 cr. and 3 reputation45 cr. and 2 reputation
500+ cr.100 cr. and 3 reputation50 cr. and 2 reputation

Equaliser (Underdog bonus).
There are two types of Underdog bonuses. Equaliser is designed to let weaker gang have a shot at winning when crews are mismatched in terms of credit cost. Sometimes a gang with higher rating can benefit from it, should their crew be lower in total cost than the enemy.
Before the start of the game, calculate the difference in crew costs, including reinforcements. 'Spend' these credits to gain any of the following boons until the end of battle. Same boon cannot be repeated more than once, unless the rule says so.

CostBoon
50-200 cr.You can only select this option, if the difference between crews is equal or smaller than 200 cr. Gain a random tactic card for each 50 cr. difference.
100 cr.You can purchase this option any times you want. For each 100 cr. spent your fighters gain an extra 1XP for taking enemies out of action or doing scenario objectives.
100 cr.Select up to 2 enemy fighters after deployment; they start with a flesh wound.
100 cr.Select 1 enemy fighter after deployment. They do not gain ready marker during the first round.
100 cr.Your gang can add or subtract 1 from priority rolls. Make the decision before making the roll.
100 cr.As long as there is only one friendly fighter left on the battlefield, they can only be taken out of action with "Out of action" and ignore all other injury dice. They also pass Cool checks automatically.
100 cr.Your fighters roll 3D6 whenever they make a leadership or cool checks.
250 cr.Select one fighter from your crew. Whenever they activate, they gain 3 actions instead of the usual 2.
up to 200 cr.Add fighters from your gang to the starting crew by 'paying' their costs. You can exceed starting crew fighter ammount this way.
 
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I generally like these changes, but to go through in a bit more detail:
- It's implied, but not actually stated, that everyone starts with Settlement +3 territories (Like the Old Kingdoms campaign); is that correct? Or is there still an occupation phase before this Eternal phase?
- Calling the between-battle pause Downtime means that Juves on 5 advancements can promote after any given battle. I like that, and it feels necessary in this format.
- How have Side Battles worked out for you? Because we tried the 'No territory income from side battles' in two campaigns now and it's resulted in precisely one side battle ever taking place... A couple of guys tried it, concluded that the risk to your fighters was not worth the reward, and no-one ever wanted to do them again.
- I'm ambivalent on the Recovery change. If you want to get rid of it, fine, but I don't really understand the 'get rid of it but still have it' mechanic you've got here.
- Also a little unclear on the Rogue Doc mentioned; is this the Hanger on? Because that was free anyway. If it's not, and this is another post-battle action then might need some reworking of the Hanger on
- I like the idea behind restricting territory income, but in a lot of cases you've increased the credit gain. For example, Promethium Cache now gives 100+ credits of equipment, rerolls on that equipment, and now gives 10 credits too. The 'Income' territories grant you 20 credits, with a bonus 20 if you're willing to risk a fighter. I don't think the 'Boon' territories should grant income, so there's more of an opportunity cost.
- I do like the mechanism of the Income territories, though. Do you risk sending a fighter with better stats for a better chance of money? And it means less useful stats like Int and Ld get a small boost. Cleverly done.

- With Territory Takeovers, can you choose to have a main battle without trying to take over a territory? Because there would have been a lot of times in my last campaign where I really wouldn't have wanted to stake multiple reputation on a fight for one of my opponents' territories. Particularly if I already had territories I liked. It also occurs to me that in the early stages of our campaign there would have been one player who would have been unable to challenge anyone; he rolled insanely well on House Favours but lost his first two battles, so he had absolute minimum Reputation but had a higher gang rating than most players. I was within 250, but he fought me first so wouldn't be able to challenge me.

Given all the permutations of scenario rewards and Reputation sources I can't get a good feel for how that plays out for sure, but I'd certainly be wary of situations where people are banned from fighting.

Also, if non-Territory main battles are allowed the rules here don't prevent two people from repeatedly fighting each other; it only bans repeated territory fights.

I feel like I'm missing some context for the Rep spends: You get all a dead fighter's gear anyway, for example. I like the territory one though; good way to get Rare Territories into the mix.

I have a kind of overarching concern about attrition, though. You've removed Recovery, which is all well and good. But in my experience the main source of attrition wasn't actual death, it was people firing their fighters after they got a particularly crippling Lasting Injury. Even if you use the Doc you've got about a 40% chance of getting an injury that cripples your fighter, and then your only recourse is Bionics which cost as much as a ganger and are hard to find. Or Stinger Mould which is even more expensive, but at least it doesn't add to the Gang Rating once you use it.

So if you're looking to create a campaign in which Gangers and Juves can progress all the way to Champions, you need to think about ways to deal with Lasting Injuries so that it isn't simply more cost-effective to just hire a new fighter.

With the Underdog bonuses, I like the first 6. I find the Leadership and Cool one a bit daunting; a lot of battles end through bottling and paying 100c to be essentially immune to it is impactful. Especially as 100c gang rating difference is pretty minor.

The three action one is strong; any melee character could Move + Charge, for example. Powerful ranged fighters can move out of cover, shoot, move back into full cover. That said, it is expensive... how does it play out in your games?

Extra fighters for up to 200c I would simply pick first in every game I possibly could. I would be very confident in beating someone with a 200c gang rating difference if I got to bring along additional well-equipped Gangers. Early on, before rating bloat sets in, 200c would cover almost any of my Champions as well. It's even stronger with smaller differences in the early game where things like Escher Lasgun Gangers are cheap and effective. That's a strong effect and I'd suggest restricting it only to battles where there's a difference of, say, 500c or more.

I like the Giant Killer Bonuses, although a 'Worthy' defeat still seems slightly exploitable. For example, if I managed to ping a single enemy with a Long Rifle and cause an injury (I assume this means Serious Injury given the distinction with Out of Action) I am then free to just run away and claim it? I like the intent, but the conditions could do with tightening.
 
- It's implied, but not actually stated, that everyone starts with Settlement +3 territories (Like the Old Kingdoms campaign); is that correct? Or is there still an occupation phase before this Eternal phase?
Yes, you start at max limit of territories, there is no occupation phase. Although, if the arbitrator wants a really slow start, campaign could start with occupation phase.
- Calling the between-battle pause Downtime means that Juves on 5 advancements can promote after any given battle. I like that, and it feels necessary in this format.
Experience system works differently. This downtime does not have anything to do with downtime in GW campaign, I just prefer the name over "post-battle phase". It sounds gamey and ruins atmosphere in my opinion.
- How have Side Battles worked out for you? Because we tried the 'No territory income from side battles' in two campaigns now and it's resulted in precisely one side battle ever taking place... A couple of guys tried it, concluded that the risk to your fighters was not worth the reward, and no-one ever wanted to do them again.
Some players say exactly this, the risk to fighters makes it not worth it. In practice we do not have overly active players, so noone has actually played more than 1 sidebattle per cycle, even if they wanted to. I was thinking about letting a side battle count as a main battle if one of the players haven't played all of their possible main games and could not find a partner who also hasn't played all main games. This motivates active players to help out less active players.
Perhaps giving 1 temporary reputation for the following downtime after a sidebattle only could help mitigate losses. Or additional XP. All in all, I'd prefer sidebattles to be on the "not worth it" side rather than leaving the possibility to break campaign economy if some players have too much free time.
- Also a little unclear on the Rogue Doc mentioned; is this the Hanger on? Because that was free anyway. If it's not, and this is another post-battle action then might need some reworking of the Hanger on
I liked the name of rogue doc and kinda forgot that he is a hanger-on as well; in this version he is alternative to chirugeon, free but low quality. Essentially his job is to ensure that gangers and juves have a chance to stick around. Vnilla post-battle actions are straight out removed.
- With Territory Takeovers, can you choose to have a main battle without trying to take over a territory? Because there would have been a lot of times in my last campaign where I really wouldn't have wanted to stake multiple reputation on a fight for one of my opponents' territories. Particularly if I already had territories I liked. It also occurs to me that in the early stages of our campaign there would have been one player who would have been unable to challenge anyone; he rolled insanely well on House Favours but lost his first two battles, so he had absolute minimum Reputation but had a higher gang rating than most players. I was within 250, but he fought me first so wouldn't be able to challenge me.
You do not have to go for a territory takeover attemp if you do not want to. In this case if you win, you only gain scenario rewards as usual. The reputation stakeout is to punish greedy players who target weaker gangs in a way that fits narrative; should they go for weaker ganger territory and lose, the weaker gang gets reputation while the bigger gang loses reputation. So there is never a situation when someone would be banned from fighting. It is almost always a good idea to go for a territory steal attempt, since it temporary bumps you above territory max limit.
I feel like I'm missing some context for the Rep spends: You get all a dead fighter's gear anyway, for example. I like the territory one though; good way to get Rare Territories into the mix.
Pg 93 2018 Rulebook, if your fighter dies on the battlefield and no friendlies are present at the end of the battle, their equipment is lost. I also was thinking about tying some gangs mechanics to Rep spending. For example chaos ritual, or ratskins baiting opponents into favorable badzone fight, etc. Unfair scenarios (like ambush) for underdogs to get a shot at the big league, bought with carefully hoarded reputation.
I have a kind of overarching concern about attrition, though. You've removed Recovery, which is all well and good. But in my experience the main source of attrition wasn't actual death, it was people firing their fighters after they got a particularly crippling Lasting Injury. Even if you use the Doc you've got about a 40% chance of getting an injury that cripples your fighter, and then your only recourse is Bionics which cost as much as a ganger and are hard to find. Or Stinger Mould which is even more expensive, but at least it doesn't add to the Gang Rating once you use it.

So if you're looking to create a campaign in which Gangers and Juves can progress all the way to Champions, you need to think about ways to deal with Lasting Injuries so that it isn't simply more cost-effective to just hire a new fighter.
I've made recovery similar to old necromunda; it is rare, but can affect you and sometimes makes your stronger fighters miss a game, forcing you to switch tactics. I really don't like how recovery works in modern necromunda, since we had situations when one gang would have 1/3 of their fighters NOT in recovery, while the other was full. This does not make for a fun game, even with equalizer.

Advancement system levels up fighters waaaay quicker than in GW. To compensate, 63+ results on injury table kills your fighter for good. 66 captures them and sells them to slavery instantly. If your fighter died from 2 or more OOA injury rolls, it counts as a critical injury; rolling any doubles on injury table is death.
Our group quickly agreed that it is more awesome to see your guys instantly and brutally die rather than see them becomming a cripple.
As for injuries, bionics are cheaper and do not increase fighter's cost.
With the Underdog bonuses, I like the first 6. I find the Leadership and Cool one a bit daunting; a lot of battles end through bottling and paying 100c to be essentially immune to it is impactful. Especially as 100c gang rating difference is pretty minor.

The three action one is strong; any melee character could Move + Charge, for example. Powerful ranged fighters can move out of cover, shoot, move back into full cover. That said, it is expensive... how does it play out in your games?
Exactly like you've described. Players have said that it does give a powerful boost, but you'd rather have extra bodies from that 250 difference rather than one "super-charged" champion. I think that it is probably fine, perhaps it could "cost" 300 cr.
Extra fighters for up to 200c I would simply pick first in every game I possibly could. I would be very confident in beating someone with a 200c gang rating difference if I got to bring along additional well-equipped Gangers. Early on, before rating bloat sets in, 200c would cover almost any of my Champions as well. It's even stronger with smaller differences in the early game where things like Escher Lasgun Gangers are cheap and effective. That's a strong effect and I'd suggest restricting it only to battles where there's a difference of, say, 500c or more.
Perhaps. Sometimes it does not help, since you could deploy your entire gang and still have an inferior crew cost.
I like the Giant Killer Bonuses, although a 'Worthy' defeat still seems slightly exploitable. For example, if I managed to ping a single enemy with a Long Rifle and cause an injury (I assume this means Serious Injury given the distinction with Out of Action) I am then free to just run away and claim it? I like the intent, but the conditions could do with tightening.
Thats exactly what underdogs should do, hit and run tactics, nothing wrong with that. The problem with running away is that you need to take casualties to bottle out voluntarily. And if you bottle out voluntarily right away, you don't get a worthy defeat.
So a stronger opponent will have plenty of opportunity to spank a weaker gang.
 
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The problem with running away is that you need to take casualties to bottle out voluntarily. And if you bottle out voluntarily right away, you don't get a worthy defeat.
This isn't quite what you've written; "A defeat is worthy if any of the below conditions were met" (emphasis mine). So as long as someone got within 3" of an objective, or caused an injury, then it doesn't matter if you voluntarily bottle at the first opportunity. You have met the requirement of 'any' of the conditions.

There's other ways to game it too, like sending out one sacrificial lamb and having everyone else just hide for an extra round. If your opponent OoAs them, fantastic, you get Giant Killer. If they don't, fantastic, shoot something or go stand vaguely near an objective and you get Giant Killer.

You might be better off by saying you can't get them if you voluntarily bottle at all, but if the gang naturally bottles, then they could choose to all flee the battlefield without penalty. That incentivises the underdog to stay and put up a bit of a fight, but doesn't force them to hang around once the numbers go against them.

Another thing to consider is that you have a bonus for winning as the underdog, combined with a bonus that helps the underdog win. So you're giving them a reward for playing with a handicap whilst also acting to remove the handicap.

Not saying that this is necessarily a problem, but if the balance is a bit off on the underdog bonuses you can find yourself in a situation where the Underdog is actually in a stronger position. So I'd keep an eye on it and see how often the Underdogs are winning.

(A good example of this is Blood Bowl inducements, where some are strong enough that you'll see coaches in leagues fire players and remove rerolls to keep their team value low enough to avoid giving those inducements to their opponents)
 
This isn't quite what you've written; "A defeat is worthy if any of the below conditions were met" (emphasis mine). So as long as someone got within 3" of an objective, or caused an injury, then it doesn't matter if you voluntarily bottle at the first opportunity. You have met the requirement of 'any' of the conditions.

There's other ways to game it too, like sending out one sacrificial lamb and having everyone else just hide for an extra round. If your opponent OoAs them, fantastic, you get Giant Killer. If they don't, fantastic, shoot something or go stand vaguely near an objective and you get Giant Killer.

You might be better off by saying you can't get them if you voluntarily bottle at all, but if the gang naturally bottles, then they could choose to all flee the battlefield without penalty. That incentivises the underdog to stay and put up a bit of a fight, but doesn't force them to hang around once the numbers go against them.
To be honest with the nerf to infiltration, it can be hard to get close to objectives in a cheesy way. (You can use infiltration at any time of the battle, but only place fighters within 12" of friendlies; they also can't activate until every other fighter from your crew has no ready markers). In general, I'd prefer underdog to have an easier time, to motivate players who'se gangs are lagging behind to continue playing. As for sacrificial lambs, I think that it is a fine tactic, even though it is gamey. If you are sacrificing lambs, then the enemy is still comming on top, since they get scenario rewards + credits for uncontested loot cases + possibly one of your territories.

Last campaign we had a player who lost 3 champions in 2 games back-to-back and due to "spend reputation to refill your gang back to starting gang rating", he didn't have to disband his gang. By the end of the campaign he ended up being somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of gang rating and he described his experience as "You always feel like you can actually make it back if you keep trying. If I was playing the original rules, I'd just quit after suffering such crippling losses at the start".

Another thing to consider is that you have a bonus for winning as the underdog, combined with a bonus that helps the underdog win. So you're giving them a reward for playing with a handicap whilst also acting to remove the handicap.

(A good example of this is Blood Bowl inducements, where some are strong enough that you'll see coaches in leagues fire players and remove rerolls to keep their team value low enough to avoid giving those inducements to their opponents)

So far we didn't experience anything like this, but I agree that if this tactic became the norm, then nerfs to underdog would be needed.
In general combining Giant Killer and Equalizer means that campaign can't really be "eternal", since eventually all gangs will get to ridiculous ratings and the game will become unplayable (gang's rating growth is steady and guaranteed, while rating reduction depends on fighters dying, so a random injury table roll). But I think it is fine, since old necromunda had the same problem - the campaign should simply delay that moment for players with low income on the territories.
 
After thinking about territory takeover, it is probably a bad idea to forbid attempting taking enemy territory over, if they are below their territory limit, as it creates a weird logistical challenge for the players, which isn't fun. However, if the same player could lose multiple territories during the cycle, then it could lead to some serious death spiral, should they keep losing.
So I think that you should be able to challenge for territory even a gang below their territory limit, however instead of taking over their territory, you generate a random non-rare territory to take over should you win. Narratively this represents your gang occupying territory that the losing gang has been eyeing over.