Love the overall direction.
First thing that really stood out to me was that Escher get simultaneously hit by 3 nerfs:
Leaders, Champs and Juves get their Iniative reduced to 3+ (affecting battlefield mobility as much as the desired outcome of reducing Spring Up).
Lasguns have a price increase to 10creds, which does not at all balance the price reduction in Laspistols.
Multiple Needle Rifle/Pistol/Combi-Needler builds are nerfed.
What actual problem are you trying to address?
* Needle Weapons in Escher are one of the few ways to get reasonably priced 'high Damage' weapons given the comparative expense of GLs, Combat Shotguns and similar 'regular' weapons. As Scarce weapons they're already hardly game breaking.
* Compare a 5+ save Lasgun Escher Ganger (70 credw) with a 5+ Save Autogun Orlock (70creds), as much as it's annoying how cheap Escher Lasguns appear to be gangers are relatively balanced (well except VS gangers...)
* Spring Up is an issue because of how few other skills are useful.
Second, Hired Guns are hit by 2 massive buffs:
They are always in your starting crew and only cost 1/4 of their value.
If they're always in the starting crew perhaps a 1/2 cost is more appropriate?
These are good crits, thank you for them. We will be trying out the rules so it might indeed be too much of a nerf to Escher, but I'd say every gang gets a nerf, esp. to do with weapons, but it was an understanding that 2+ starting stats were too powerful. It both prevents a need to advance and leads to superhuman/better than elite actvities.
For Escher, we did find them quite deadly due to not just spring up but also jumping improbably wide 5'' to 7'' gaps. The 2+ spring up just became too deadly, models were easy to pin, yes, but that didn't stop champions or leaders from reaching you almost automatically as they stood up ran pinned stood up ran etc. 3+ is still excellent, better than average, but also stops automatically passing jumping actions that boggle the mind.
The weapon family idea isn't meant to specifically hinder Escher, but that's a good critique. However, it became a general consensus that we wanted to stop over use of advanced weapon families by any and all gangs (plasma especially but the other groups too). As for high level weapons, Escher can purchase plasma, melta and gas from their hwls, as well as acid on shotguns (the basic version I'd argue is better than a combat shotgun), and since it is common, easily purchase hotshot for las. Each of these allow options against various high T targets, and ensure players don't just spam a single weapon type in a manner that feels unrealistic for a gang
Ultimately, in our minds gangs were too elite - too well equipped - and we wanted more of the poverty of past editions as well as preventing the kind of spam of weapon types you are suggesting, which the current hwls really enable. The 5+to-6+-to-scarce and scarce-to-unstable additions were a fluffy way to add in the idea of weapons being unreliable, kept by gangers without advanced technical knowledge and each drawing on a set limited amount of ammo and weapon parts - and hence giving more worth to ammo jacks and munitioneers. That Escher gang with a taste for needle just needs to prioritise the right hired gun or territories. But it has other weapon options too.
As you'll note, gangers will get more exp, so hopefully they will be compensated for their less effective weapons
ofc players aren't choosing their upgrades anymore, but that's something I hope will again balance everyone by preventing the rush for toughness and nerves of steel.
As for hired guns, they needed any reason to be taken - they just don't work as costed, esp the fluffy non-optimized earlier Dramatis personae. So I looked at old 'mundas, where hired guns were a fifth of gang rating cost - 15 creds for scum and pitslaves, 35 for bounty hunters, etc. That system did work really well, and saw people use them. but I wanted to balance out both generic and named guns, originally thinking a randomised fee but saw a quarter in the discussion here. Half feels too expensive still - a bounty hunter at 150 or 100 credits is still not a good model to take. But 75 or 50 id think it is worth it - the campaign cost of a bounty hunter is you don't get experience for the more effective model's kills, taking away from your gang's progress while eating at your income.
i guess I should make clear that the hired guns count for gang rating using true cost and this affect tactics cards and house patronage
Again thanks for this - I'll report back how it goes when we start back up
What do you think of the experience changes, new brawn chart and revisions to territories?