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Killer Shrike

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About Killer Shrike

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    HEROphile at large
  • Birthday 10/02/1974

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    http://www.killershrike.com

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    Contact me at KillerShrike@killershrike.com
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    Software Developer

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  1. Killer Shrike

    Denisty Increase Pricing (6e)

    I honestly don't remember what I was doing last month, so while it is plausible that I did participate in a discussion a decade ago around this topic, sadly I no longer recall. Hopefully I said interesting things and was less of an ass than usual. 😀 If you are comfortable, as you've said, with eliminating the lifting facet of strength, then your desire to solve for sizing in the Hero System is fulfilled. Each of the Body Alteration powers can be gotten rid of entirely and the idea of Body Alteration becomes SFX in the same way that having a "body" as such is cosmetic and therefore SFX. If you want to retain the idea of BA powers for retro compatibility issues or ease of use, they can be re-expressed by removing the no-longer-relevant physical size / density aspects. Problem solved?
  2. Killer Shrike

    Denisty Increase Pricing (6e)

    Scale systems can work as long as everyone agrees to ignore how illogical they are (as they are generally based upon arbitrary divisions), and how problematic they tend to be in play (at the very least, they are divisive unless all parties involved are operating at the same scale). You see this in effect in mecha games, and space games (where the scale of a starship vs the scale of people is problematic), and so on. You see it in the Hero System as well with "mega-scale" movement which was added to address the sheer cost of movement over large distances (and FTL before that), in campaigns where the Speed Force or a similar alternate action resolution subsystem outside of normal game time is allowed, and even with something as simple as the Mind Scan power which arbitrarily defines its own distance of effect. Most scaling systems are essentially a formalized hand wavium, attempting to work around a fundamental flaw in a game's foundation by tacking on things on top of a base that was not originally designed to operate at a larger scale. It can work as a shared compromise, but things get weird around the cusps between scales. If say a size category of "normal", "big", "bigger", "biggerest!" is in effect with formal definition for the floor and ceiling of each scale, and the differences in scale are meaningful (have game mechanics associated with them) vs just descriptive, then it gets very silly when dealing with someone who is -1 increment below the ceiling of one category and someone who is at the floor of the category above it. In the Hero System specifically, what's odd about trying to assign height and weight game mechanics impact is that it runs counter to the idea of separating SFX and effect. In a pure Hero abstraction, larger or smaller size and / or and / or greater or lesser weight and / or greater or lesser density should just be SFX. If a character buys the effect of greater Strength as a Power and their justification is "i grow really big, like Giant Man", then the size and presumably extra mass and thus increased weight involved should just be SFX for that Strength. But we run into a problem. Strength itself is (partially) defined as the effect of being able to lift weight. So, it's therefore necessary to define what everything weighs. Increasing one's own weight could be construed as having a game benefit in that it means other characters (vehicles, etc) must have a higher strength characteristic to lift or throw you. That has a combat application. It can also be problematic because in some cases it's a disadvantage in that you may want to be carried, whether by a vehicle such as a car, or a floor. A potential systemic paradox occurs, in that in the Hero System things that are beneficial are supposed to cost points, and things that are detrimental are supposed to reduce point costs. The "solution" in the current era is to apply a Physical Complication embedded in a Limitation and call it close enough. There's also related systemic issues in that the definition of the Strength effect states that lifting force doubles every 5 points of effect; cost is linear, effect is a multiple...that's exponential. As Growth gives increased Strength at predictable increments, a person that's twice as big is something like eight times as strong which is absurd even if one ignores the square cube law. And so on. The real issue, IMO, is that the growth and shrinking powers were included early on to model Ant-Man / Giant-Man and similar characters which occur pretty frequently in comics, particularly earlier comics. That then became the "way" to model all characters of larger or smaller size, in a game that's supposed to be modeling "cinematic reality". But supersize and shrinking are not realistic, at all, not even vaguely; such concepts are not truly appropriate to "cinematic reality"...they are a step a bit beyond that towards fantasy / science fantasy. Using the rules concepts for a fantastical ability as the basis to model a fundamental concept found in actual reality was an error if a desire towards some kind of realism was intended. To fix it, systemically, you would first have to delete the strength weight lifting table altogether. I know that a lot of people really like it, but it is a sacred cow of an earlier era of game design. Other stats are not rated in this way. Every 5 points of DEX is not twice as dexterous as the step before itself, every 5 points of EGO is not twice as stubborn or whatever. Instead of rating how much weight can be lifted in real terms such as pounds or tons, lifting resolutions would be resolved either by a skill modifier based on difficulty (my preference), or as a level of effect chart similar to Presence Attacks (I wouldn't care for it, but there is a precedent). The Hoist skill in Ultimate Skill could be re-purposed as a core everyman skill and rewritten a bit to interact with strength resolution as 3d6 roll under. This also has the advantage of working better across different genres, as the definition of "difficult" or "easy" can be interpreted by a GM relative to the tone and genre of their game. It also better models reality in that when a person is operating at the edge of their lifting strength in reality they may or may not be able to lift it, might suffer penalties for being tired or not having leverage, may fumble, etc. An example chart of suggested difficulty modifiers could be provided as guide, potentially even one for "heroic" and a different one for "superheroic". As a secondary benefit, this could help solve some of the Strength bloat issue found in supers where you need a 60-70 Strength to lift what the chart says a character like the Hulk should be able to lift which leads to all sorts of secondary wtf's. As soon as Strength lifting effect is no longer measured in weight but rather as offering a better 3d6 roll, you no longer have to care about weight systemically, it just becomes SFX interpretation. You no longer need a backassward Side Effect to apply a temporary Physical Limitation on Growth or DI. You no longer have to quantify exact weights for either; you can instead phrase it in terms of difficulty to move or lift in the form of 3d6 roll penalties or just leave it to sheer SFX in the same way that so many other powers do. The ripple effect on other mechanics affected by legacy Strength issues would need to be worked through if lifting effect were redefined in this way. I'm pretty confident in the aftermath each mechanic affected would either be functionally the same or better (systemically speaking).
  3. Killer Shrike

    Denisty Increase Pricing (6e)

    Anything can be modeled in a formal system with enough effort. Physics is the model dominantly used to describe our own reality. So, if one were to want more exactitude around matter, motion, and energy in a game system presumably one would start with physics. Physics has means to measure mass, physical dimensions, thrust, velocity, etc. Of course, doing physics at the gaming table is somewhat impractical, but a simplified approximation could be achieved. Many video games are constructed on a "physics engine" of some form, for instance. It would be a large effort, but certainly possible. For anything other than hard sci-fi, quantum mechanics would be unnecessary to delve into, leaving classical physics. That's still a very big ask. Simplifying further, you'd want a way to describe objects (or bodies as early physics tended to refer to them) and the motive forces necessary to cause them to move around which gets you into thermodynamics at the very least, which would also require you to define the space in which they move and how they move through it which gets you into calculus, answer questions regarding relative density, what occurs upon collision of two or more objects, which gets you into material science and chemistry...and so on. If you want to describe complex objects beyond abstract geometry you get into topology; if these objects represent living creatures as we understand the term today you'd have to drag in sufficient biology to describe them. If some of those biological objects have the ability to shoot lazers from their eyes...well crap, that requires us to step out of the established understood norms of biological entities and get creative with some theoreticals. If you wanted to build a game system to deal with a large variety of height, weight, and density, you'd first have to have a formal definition of solids, liquids, and gasses. You'd have to decide if all extreme abilities must have an explanation that is at least theoretically possible according to modern science, or if you are allowing the more superheroic elements of super-science and "rule of cool" or fantastical elements such as "magic" to just be asserted in contravention of physics. If you are asserting real world physics then you are going to have to observe things like the square cube law and the conservation of mass...and every other law of conservation for that matter. But just staying focused on the Body Alteration powers for now, mass must be decided upon first. Mass is measured in kilograms. In a point buy system, you'd presumably make character's buy their mass in kg. Next, you would determine the unit of force necessary to move 1 kg of solid mass some distance. Assuming were leaning on physics and not inventing new terms, you could lean on Newton's Second Law. 1 Newton (N) of force is sufficient to move 1kg 1 meter per second squared, in the abstract. If you use 1 meter hexes and change all movement to be per-Segment (which is 1 second) vs per-Phase, that sync's up well enough. If you are including earth-like gravity into the mix then you'd need to account for a little less than 10N/kg in additional F to overcome gravity; in space or a different planet different values may hold. This is all classical mechanics, mind you. In such a model you would redefine "strength" as the ability to generate some value of Newtons, and when a person or thing moved themselves around they would be applying their N to themselves (potentially with additional N from an external source). When you calculate things like punching stuff or lifting stuff its all done using Newtons of force and calculating from there. Similarly, attacks and collisions can all be reduced to elastic or inelastic collisions. Energy would be rated in presumably Joules for simplicity, and thus if you bought an energy blast you'd really be buying the ability to generate a certain # of joules. For full grit realism, you'd have to also contend with torque (think billiard ball like angular displacement vs straight line displacement). And so on. A useful foil to going down a path like this would be to recall the Principia Mathematica, specifically Bertrand Russel and Alfred Whitehead's laborious attempt to describe a complete axiomatic system for all of mathematics. It famously required several hundred pages of proof before stating 1+1 = 2. As exceptions continued to occur, the mathematicians responded by adding another layer of abstraction to create a container around the problematic exceptions in which those exceptions could exist without paradox or conflict with other parts of the formal system. This went on for a number of years and seems Quixotic in hindsight. But at the time it was fully and passionately believed by most STEM type folks that everything was completely explainable and that trying to arrive at a complete and consistent proof for all of mathematics was noble work and a solvable problem. Hilbert had proposed that it should be so, and thus it should be so. Eventually Kurt Gödel came along and proved that it isn't possible; all such attempts will eventually produce a system that is incomplete or inconsistent. I used to be very eager for simulation in roleplaying games, and the generally workable model offered by the Hero System to simulate some kind of semi-realistic outcomes is why I used the system so heavily for so long. In the end, I've come around the other way. Games of make believe can just be make believe; storytelling can be based on verisimilitude vs mechanics. It's why I've increasingly shifted towards looser narrative game systems. Some rules are good to avoid the classic problem of games of make believe ("Bang! I shot you, you're dead!"; "Nuh uh! You missed!"), but for me as soon as the rules start getting in the way of having fun they've exceeded their mandate.
  4. Killer Shrike

    Denisty Increase Pricing (6e)

    Indeed. The main issue for DI Man or Growth Man vs Burning Man is that Burning Man's powers are likely bought using fundamental mechanics like "do damage at range" i.e. EB or RKA, while DI and Growth are really what we would now today call compound powers, but they are provided as custom powers for legacy reasons. Also, size and physicality were obviously on Steve's minds when he did 6e; he fixed the very old problem of having to buy permanent levels of Growth, Shrinking, or DI for characters that are always bigger, smaller, or heavier, and he added five pages to the appendix to talk about mass and size templates, and considerations for large / small / heavy characters. The truth is, going back into earlier editions, the HERO System dealt with these concerns as an afterthought, applying powers to address the idea of bigger, smaller, heavier...showing its superhero roots where characters like ant-man and wasp are staples of the genre. Growing and shrinking things were a staple of scifi going back into the 50's...From the perspective of a golden / silver age superhero game it makes a certain kind of sense to solve these concepts in this way. But as the HERO System turned into more of a universal simulationist game engine with a "cinematic reality" baseline, basic things like physical size, mass, etc, should have been re-couched as fundamental concepts that other rules such as size alteration powers are built upon. Its a legacy issue. I think Steve did a pretty good job of attempting to bug fix it in 6e with a rules patch. Like most bug fixes it is not perfect, but the alternative is to make significant changes to the underlying game to incorporate physical sizing into the baseline mechanics of the game and then re-express powers that interact therein. And it's a slippery slope. Once you start trying to simulate things at that level you get into other issues. For instance, where in the rules does it state as a fundamental assumption that all characters must breath oxygen to live? To the best of my knowledge, it doesn't. However, there's many mentions of breathing in the Desolid power, very significantly Life Support, guidelines on underwater adventuring, obliquely in the rules for Recovery (which is actually the part that matters), and so on. Oxygen gets mentioned in conjunction with fire powers as examples of ways to deal with that particular SFX. And so on. But there is no fundamental assertion of, hey, the rules want to simulate the reality that carbon based lifeforms generally need to breath some kind of gaseous medium or else die after some period of time, we have an assumption that this is by default what we humans who play this game breath in the real world, and various other rules may interact with or alter this fundamental assertion in various ways. As it stands, it requires the GM to read between the lines and / or apply common sense and understand the unspoken intent to make sense of the various places in the rules where it starts talking about "suffocation" or "no need to breath" or "shadow cat rip off characters can't breath while hiding in a wall and will have to come out for air" and so on. The rules as written have a lot of unspoken assumptions of this nature, in some places encrusted with various rules barnacles that have been grafted on over the editions to model some concept or other. It may or may not be a problem to a given individual based upon where they sit between wanting to perfectly simulate reality on one end, vs wanting to run a collaborative social game with a small group of people with the shared purpose of having fun playing make believe together on the other.
  5. Killer Shrike

    Denisty Increase Pricing (6e)

    Back in the day, I exploited DI several times when I would play in pick up games; it was a cheesy way to make a even-more-cost-effective brick. A couple / few levels of DI were cheap, offered some KB, tended to slide under GM's damage cap radars as they often forgot to factor in the extra strength from when DI was on, was beneficial if an enemy tried to pick me up, and the extra weight was still manageable. ------------ In the Making Large Character's sidebar of 6e vol 1, there is an explicit discussion regarding the costing of Growth. The cost of Growth is approximated by applying the Limitations Costs Endurance (-½), Linked (-0), Side Effects (acquires a Physical Complication that makes him easier to hit and to perceive, and makes it harder for him to exist in the normal-sized world; -½), and Unified Power (-¼) to the abilities listed in each Size Template. Growth, Shrinking, and DI are all very similar in design, so I don't think its a stretch to assume that this basic rules template is where Steve's head was at when pricing DI. Now, personally, I would say that the SE impact of growth is twice as impactful as that of DI as you get both bigger and heavier (or as the rules treat it, the easier to hit and perceive portion of the SE is not applicable), so for DI call the SE lim -1/4 vs -1/2. Unified Power puts it over the top for a full -1 lim. ------- So by my math, in 6e terms, DI should cost 4.5 points per level (9 points of stats, Costs END -1/2, and a mild -1/4 lim for the density increase weight issues, -1/4 for Unified); rounded in the character's favor to 4 points. In the interests of ease of memory and consistency, I personally would have just left it at 5 points per level were I writing the rulebook. But I can live with it at 4 / level. Compared to buying the elements of the power directly / individually, every two levels of DI shaves 1 point. At low levels of play, this might matter. At say 150 points, buying 4 levels of DI and saving 2 points to buy something else with is attractive. At higher levels of play the mild point shaving is a drop in the well and not worth fussing over IMO.
  6. Killer Shrike

    Denisty Increase Pricing (6e)

    One of my players wanted to make a super with shrinking and DI back in 5e, so we worked up White Dwarf, who got denser as he shrank. He'd then superleap around at microsize, colliding with things like a hyperdense bullet. Interesting character, but a pain in the ass to deal with as the GM due to having to make snap judgments regarding the effect of such a small and hyperdense object on everything else in the game. The narrative intent / concept of the character was clear, but in a simulationist model like the HERO System, the overhead just wasn't worth the effort for us and the character was retired after a few sessions.
  7. Killer Shrike

    Most playable archetype

    For new players, brick or some kind of basic scrapper. For me, either a reality bending magic user of some kind, or if that's not on the table some kind of speedster.
  8. Killer Shrike

    How would you price this Limitation?

    Most likely; I've not been active for awhile. I wrapped up a contract job and am taking a little break before looking for my next gig, so I have a bit of time on my hands.
  9. Killer Shrike

    Quick question about Necromunda

    Gang War IV is out, and adds rules for the Cawdor. The majority of the book is made up of extended rules for skirmish (i.e. non-campaign) play, one and two day tournaments, and a high page count section offering an alternative campaign mode called Dominion that has different objectives than the Turf War campaign mode described in Gang War I. Despite being at least 85% the same, rather than print the difference between the new campaign mode and the extant campaign mode, the new campaign mode option has a full explanation and is thus mostly a re-print that you have to read very carefully to spot the differences in. I understand why they did this, to avoid complaints of having to own both books if they had only printed the delta, but the Gang War 1-6 splatbook approach they've taken does basically require you to have all the books...so...yeah. There's some other stuff in the book as well. There is a half-baked psionics rules section with promises of more to come which you can't really use yet aside from a pre-gen hired gun; it would have been far better to either put all the psionics into this one and make it an actually usable / complete system, or just hold the very small amount of content that involves psionics from this book and put it all into the next book. There are some more "Brutes" which are extra powerful hangers-on first introduced in GW3; personally I'm not a fan as these things are so uber that it takes attention away from the members of a gang, and for me Necromunda campaign play is all about seeing lowly gangers rise up to become competent bad asses. There are also a handful of new scenario types, which I haven't gone thru carefully yet...and for the most part need to be played to truly assess; but several of the new scenarios given in GW3 have proven to be flavorful but poorly balanced...lending themselves to casual or skirmish use but very risky to allow in a campaign as they can be extremely destructive to gangs in an unfair way (i.e. in some of them, one player or the other is at a significant and even lethal disadvantage). So, my default stance on the new scenarios given here is one of initial skepticism; I'm nervous to introduce them to our campaign without careful vetting. All in all, I was disappointed by Gang War IV; it felt more akin to GW2 in terms of utility, with a fair amount of mildly updated and re-printed material, and questionable new content. ---- Meanwhile, our campaign continues to roll along. A few of our gangs got up above the 2000 rating mark this past weekend after a flurry of battles, and are getting pretty big for their britches.
  10. Killer Shrike

    Luck...

    I allowed it as an option for many years in a variety of genres and it works very well in execution, at least in my opinion and that of the players in various games who used it. It makes its usefulness quantifiable and puts it entirely into the control of the player. It is direct probability manipulation as opposed to hand-wavium. Don't get me wrong, I think that the vague version of Luck in the HERO System offers something as well, as a sort of deus ex machina power. The Intervention ability in Here There Be Monsters is a direct re-casting of the by-the-book Luck power for instance. It's essentially a "miracle" power; roll the dice and hope for the best. However for most "lucky" sfx characters, the direct dice result manipulation version is more practical and gets less tiresome, again in my opinion. A good indication of it's efficacy is that in my experience back in the day players who knew what was up did not bother taking the standard Luck power in RAW, instead relying on skill bonuses or skill levels with the sfx of "lucky" and other such crab-wise attempts to model luck as succeeding more often than average at various tasks. The occasional newb might take Luck, but would invariably be disappointed with it in practice and regret taking it. I offered up the original version of the point based variant for a player wanting a probability manipulating super, and it worked out well and became available for later games. Players started to take it here and there...not so many as to indicate that it was too good and not so few as to indicate that it sucked...it sat nicely in the "goldilocks zone" of providing good value for the cost but not so much as to make it stupid to not take some.
  11. Killer Shrike

    How would you price this Limitation?

    Late to the party, and I didn't read the back half of posts, but I did want to say that I generally agree w/ Hugh and others who weigh in on the side that in a perfect world or ruleset, Charges would not combine 0 END within its effect. Separating the # of times per time unit subsystem of Charges from the END subsystem would result in a cleaner model. Over the many years when I was doing HERO stuff I'd often bump into the particular HERO-ism of Charges as they work in the rules as written. As a content creator and rules tinkerer I expended a fair amount of rules fu over the years working around or accommodating or exploiting that rules behavior in various power constructs, magic system designs, etc when trying to model certain concepts. From a fundamental perspective, early rpgs tended to put hard limits on how many times characters could use certain abilities, and it was generally arbitrary. Being charitable this can be seen primarily as a concern for game balance and a tool allowing for certain strong abilities to be attainable but not usable for every action; a hard limit of how many times the ability could be used prevented this. Without some kind of limiting factor, a player would typically choose to use their strongest ability whenever it was applicable for maximum effect. The HERO System and some other games that followed on from those earliest games offered alternatives, such as HERO Endurance costs, that allowed for powers to be used a limited number of times per fight, but to reset between encounters. In the case of HERO Endurance, it also put a lot of agency into the player's hands; as END is a shared resource used to pay for all of a character's abilities (by default) choosing which to pay for and when encounter to encounter is empowering to a player who wants that kind of control over their character. This makes a lot of sense mechanically for intrinsic abilities; particularly if you then add options for players who don't want to be bothered by tracking END costs or who don't want some or all of their abilities to be constrained in this way. Where the problems begin is when you get to dealing with extrinsic abilities. Tools, items, independent objects that are used by a character but not intrinsically part of the character. In my opinion, the source of many issues in the HERO system model stem from a failure to clearly separate intrinsic and extrinsic abilities at a fundamental level and treat them differently mechanically. There's a significant amount of rules cruft that drops away or comes under scrutiny if the rules instead just required an ability to be identified as either intrinsic or extrinsic, each with a different mechanism of limiting frequency of usage as their distinguishing characteristic. Going further it could even be argued that the default state of abilities could be NO LIMIT on frequency of usage, with an array of options for ways to limit frequency of usage defined by the rules (cool down, # per time unit, resource expenditure, self-injury, collateral damage, etc), and applying one or more of those options for limiting frequency to a given ability would offer a choice of a favorable trade off (lower point cost, increased effect, side grade, unlocking a modifier or secondary effect). But that would be a different game, or a pretty significant overhaul of the HERO System. A digression for another time, perhaps. As pertains to this discussion you get to modeling a tool like a gun, the limit of how many times the gun can be fired is not determined by END, and firing the gun does not appreciably tire the person shooting it. Its a short hop from wanting to model that type of limit on # of times of usage per unit of time to adding a mechanic to the game such as Charges. And when used in this way to model a gun or a scroll or a medkit or some other similar type of effect, Charges basically work as intended. But when Charges inevitably get applied to other kinds of effects, particularly effects that are meant to reflect innate abilities of a character...that's where the two different styles of limiting frequency of use (END, Charges) start to rub up against one another in uncomfortable ways. Working within the existing game and band-aiding / monkey patching it, a relatively clean option would be to just create one or more new Limitations that redefine the # of times per day idea, decoupled from and orthogonal to END. Variants like fuel, boostable, and continuing charges could be fully unpacked. More properly modeling how bullets and ammo clips work. And so on. Deconstructing the Charges Limitation into its composite parts and calibrating some of them and discarding others. A lot of officially published characters would be impacted. A few could be selected as test subjects / case studies to work out the details of such a systemic overhaul upon.
  12. Killer Shrike

    Name for superhero w/ fog powers

    Wanna get sued?
  13. Killer Shrike

    Easiest system game

    I disagree. Both FAE and Fate Core have something to offer. They are the same game with different dial settings that tailor them to different styles of play. Of the two, I find it easier to add things to Fate Accelerated than to remove things from Fate Core. These are some design notes from a FAE hack I did back in the day which was well received. It goes into some finer details on choosing one over the other for that particular project... http://www.killershrike.com/Fate/Fae/Pathfinder/meta/DesignNotes.aspx
  14. Killer Shrike

    Easiest system game

    Fate Accelerated. My son learned the game by himself at age 6 in less than an hour.
  15. Killer Shrike

    Quick question about Necromunda

    The OP is a few months old, but in case someone ends up on this thread via a search (as I did), I'll answer the questions for posterity. Necromunda 2017 comes in two basic forms: a big box core experience and ala carte supplements / terrain / and gang kits. The big box contains the basic rulebook, plastic sprues sufficient to make up to 10 Escher and 10 Goliath with enough of the new Necromunda bases which are much nicer than the old slotta-bases, blast and flamer templates, a set of yellow and a set of black dice including a special rapid fire / ammo die, an old-school GW scatter die (the die with arrows and a "hit" symbol) and custom Injury dice (1 Out of Action result, 3 Seriously Injured result (go face down but stay on the battlefield) and 2 Flesh Wound results (take a -1 Toughness modifier marker but remain able to fight on). It also has a stack of very nice quality double sided geomorphic tiles that are not quite a foot square each. There are some other miscellaneous chits and markers for various game states and effects. There are also plastic sprues with stand-up barricades, doors, and miscellaneous stuff like door unlock terminals and loot crates. A couple of cheat sheets and nice cardstock tactics cards and fighter cards are also included. The inside of the sturdy box is also usable as a large chamber in the underhive, having tile art printed on it. By default, the game gives rules for a version of the game it calls "Zone Mortalis" (ZM for short), played on the tiles. Though it evokes memories of Space Hulk for some, it's not. This is Necromunda, just without the verticality of original versions. However, despite my initial misgivings, I gave ZM a fair chance and I have to say it is a lot of fun. The rule book gives the core rules of the game for what it calls "Skirmish" mode, which is to say played more like a board game, some simplified rules, and simplified gang lists for Escher and Goliath to make gangs with using 1500 credits each. After a starter scenario, the rulebook goes on to add on more advanced rules which elevate it to proper Necromunda and some weak campaign guidance. You get a lot of value for the money out of the box if you want to play either Escher or Goliath, but if you aren't interested in either gang or the Zone Mortalis style of play, the money doesn't make a lot of sense. While you can get all the plastic sprues separately, and gang-branded dice packs, you can't get the rulebook as a standalone product or the core tileset. For a while, you could get stuff via eBay ala carte, but that has dried up. I was able to get a couple of extra tilesets in that way, for instance. You can get a copy of the rules unofficially with a little bit of googling around, and this has the advantage of collating the somewhat scattered rules into a single coherent and searchable document. Most people that I know of who play use that copy of the rules as their reference copy. Just saying. As a game product, the boxed set serves as a great intro to Necromunda and is a complete out of the box experience, minus glue to stick together the fighters. For old-school Necromunda fans however it is a bit jarring as the repackaging is not quite what you likely remember as "Necromunda" in the way of skirmishes across multi-level urban ruins. But it definitely is Necromunda at its heart, not just a name stamped on a box for a cash grab. The game mechanics are pretty similar to old Necromunda, but with some changes and expansion in the characteristics profiles. For instance WS and BS are now roll overs vs flat numbers, and instead of one stat "Leadership" there is Leadership, Cool, Willpower, and Intelligence. Unfortunately, the game overly favors Cool while Willpower and Intelligence have little utility aside from very niche situations, and Leadership is basically only used by the actual Leader and sometimes a Champion. This gives gangs like the Goliath who have a very good Cool stat a somewhat unfair advantage while gangs like the Escher with a poor Cool stat are very skittish. The game also inherits the GW practice of putting a lot of value on the Wounds stat, but unlike 40k for instance fighters do not automatically go out of action when they reach 0 Wounds...so the Wounds stats impact is diminished in actual usage. Similarly the game undervalues Movement but in the tight tactical skirmishes of Necromunda even 1'' of movement over or under average is very significant. But minor gripes aside, the game engine plays pretty smoothly and is one of the better GW rules systems I've played over the many years I've been at it. ------- Gang War I is a separate supplement (splatbook style) that adds on a few pages of rules to expand the flat tile based core experience to vertical terrain. By default the game assumes you are using the "Sector Mechanicus" line of terrain GW sells for use with Shadow War Armageddon, 40k, and now a new game called Kill Team which is basically Necromunda style play using 40k units (which is also what Shadow War: Armageddon was...remember, this is GW so it doesn't have to make sense). However the rules are loose and usable with whatever terrain you happen to have handy. Also included are proper campaign rules, and replacement Escher and Goliath gang lists meant to entirely replace the versions in the Core rules book, and intended to be started at 1000 credits. For the most part this feels like a "fix" but editing and / or play balance issues abound...for instance the price of Goliath Grenade Launchers dropped to 55 points which is absurdly cheap and unbalancing (many believe the intent was to buy the GL without ammo and buy the grenades separately, which numerically adds up properly, but that somehow got muddled in the design phase). All in all, the product is good but it feels a bit like a draft copy awaiting a post-playtest edit. This will be Necromunda as vets remember it, and it is good, but a bit wonky in places. Still only two gangs officially written up at this point, but a pdf for "legacy gangs" was posted that had basic rules for Orlocks, Delaque, Cawdor, and Van Saar. ----- Gang War II is another supplement released a few months later. It contains rules for the Orlock, and special rules for a the Bad Zone Delta tileset sold separately for use with the Zone Moralis style of play. It also introduces Hangers-On and Hired Guns such as Bounty Hunters and things like Rogue Docs and so on. The mechanics themselves are ok-ish, but the credit costs involved made people wonder if the person(s) making the rules had ever actually played the game. The costs are literally all over the place, ranging from remarkably economical (Rogue Doc) to absurdly expensive (Bounty Hunters). As anyone who has actually played Necromunda in campaign mode knows, credits are hard to come by. Again, the broad strokes are good, but some post-playtesting tweaking would have been ideal. The rest of the book is composed of reprinted material, attempts to fix some of the errors in the Core Book and Gang War I that were hampered by the introduction of new errors or unpopular changes such as nerfing the Bulging Biceps skill so hard as to make it basically useless. There was turnover going on at GW as apparently the main guy working on Necromunda quit somewhere in the mix and the product that was shipped, while usable, is not amazing. ___ Gang War III is a separate supplement that introduces the Van Saar, and a massive amount of new gear, new campaign options, a random events table, pets, and so on. I was pleasantly reminded of Rogue Trader era products, just lots of ideas crammed in here, some better than others, but oozing with flavor. The Van Saar are a bit on the strong side, having gained exclusive Radiation based weapons and some sweet gear, but they gave up some stuff too (lower average Movement being the most immediately obvious thing). All in all, this is a very good addition to the game and has people optimistic for Gang War IV which will re-introduce the Cawdor. ---- The new ranges of plastic miniatures are very nice, and have been well received. Each gang box comes with two copies of a sprue containing 5 fighters for 10 total fighters.The modularity of the kits allows for unique combinations up to a point, but the legs are generally fixed, so there's 5 distinct leg poses total no matter how you swap around bits. You can of course always chop and customize if you are a serious enough hobbyist, and the casual player probably doesn't care anyway, so its all good. The main issue is the range of weapon choices available on the sprues. There is a fair variety, but if you want all your guys to have the same good gun, or a more esoteric option not represented on the sprue, then you're out of luck. Forge World has been (slowly) releasing weapon kits that expand the range of available weapons, but in typical GW / Forge World fashion they can't seem to figure out how to have those ready for release in conjunction with the release of the plastic kit they are meant to go with. For instance, Van Saar came out a few months ago, and I'm still waiting for FW to release the Van Saar weapon kit before putting the gang together. Personally, I generally prefer some of the older metal figures, particularly the Escher because I'm an old grumpy bastard. But I like the new plastic Goliaths quite a lot, and the new Van Saar look MUCH better than the old metal models. The Orlocks I'm on the fence about, I like many of the old metals, but the new plastics are also legit. There's been a sort of renaissance of sorts on eBay for Necromunda models. I still had my old school Escher, Orlock, Spyrers, and Ratskins from back in the day, but I didn't want to mess with them so I bought new ones via eBay. I was even able to get a new in box Orlock set still in the shrink wrap and blisters from an old game store going out of business. Crazy that this stuff is still laying around after more than 20 years. ____ Anyway, in summary, this is a legitimate re-release by GW, not a one and done boxed set. The rules are, in time honored GW tradition, not 100% perfect but good enough to have many hours of fun playing with. I played Necromunda in its original version extensively and loved it to death. It was one of my all time favorite games and even many years later was referred back to. I can honestly say that this new iteration of the game is even better and I've had even more fun with it in the last 7 months.
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