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House of Chains - lite review

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Hey folks


just wanted to throw some of my thoughts down after having some time with the house of chains book, as well as the new stimmer and forge born kit.


it looks like the’ House of...’ series will play out similar to a codex for necromunda.   Definitely some good and some bad, depending on your point of view. 

off the bat, the book is gorgeous.  There are full color art plates, lots of new art and photos, and a ton of fluff - like 30 pages of the history of house Goliath.  Super evocative stuff.


There’s also a bunch of stealth rules tweaks that definitely speak towards what necromunda 2.0 looks like.   The language around Group Activations, having multiple equipment load outs and using leaders and Champs to pass tests related to bottling are all turned into special rules for specific models.   They’ve added a specialist champion type, and a new type of juve analogue (prospects).  Juves have a different progression tree than prospects, as well as stats and equipment options.  

It does look like they want primarily champs and leaders to be the ones taking rare weapons from the trading post or black market, which could be a bummer for some folks’ model ranges, (looking at you, delaque ganger with a  lascannon) but personally, I think it’s probably a good move for the health of the game.  There’s still ways to field the more esoteric models, etc.

They also help balance down special weapon use.   Only specialist gangers (along with leaders and champs) can take items from the special weapon category, instead of the somewhat nebulous ‘only buy one at the start.’  Each gang gets one ganger upgraded to specialist upon recruitment as well.


there is also a shift in how you can recruit models, juves, prospects and gangers all have the ‘gang fighter’ rule - this means they collectively have to make up 50% or more of your gang.   This does allow for easier recruitment of additional champions.  (I wonder if this helps nerf corpse grinders and enforcers who have a hard cap on the number of champs)


House of chains has specific equipment lists for leaders, the two champ types and the two juve types, as well as gangers.  This effectively gives you a little more access to rare equipment starting out, and seems like it’ll really make gangs differentiate once additional books are out.   And the Gangs of the Underhive list is always available if a campaign wants to cut way back on specialty equipment.  


Slave ogryn Gang looks awesome.   i mean, in game, they’ll be fairly terrible, and get pinned a lot, but.... ogryns

There’s a new list of muscle skills that are Goliath only.  they seem decently balanced, and pretty flavorful.  

the  rules for gene smithing is something I know I’ve heard concerns about.   Being able to custom tailor starting stat lines could be brutal in the wrong hands (hopefully necromunda has few enough of ‘that guy’, but still, don’t be that guy).   Any of your fighters can be vat-born, Nat-born (+20 creds) or unborn (+10 creds), representing the different castes in Goliath society.  Each of the three have slight starting stat tweaks, and unique lists of gene smithing upgrades, almost half of which actually decrease stats and the ganger’s cost.

there definitely could be room for abuse by min-max ing, by they’re also really evocative.  Theoretically since they’re all costed, you run the classic risk of toys vs boys, if you really go all out. 

( I may add some more when I hit my lunch break )

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I like the idea of codices, in the abstract, as it makes it easier to create a baseline for the game as a whole (the “big black book”) and then section off the exceptions or tweaks to that baseline in distinct groups (the codices).

The problem with the codex model, of course, is when a publisher decides to have 48 codices, 15 codex supplements, 8 campaign books, and so forth.

But can GW restrain themselves to House of X books for just the core gangs, that’s the question.

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  • 5 months later...

Taken from Dakka Dakka:


Page 69 & 117: Venom Claw is missing Melee trait in the armoury (weapons reference). It does have Melee on Necrana's fighter card. Comment: All weapons with range E always have Melee trait.
Page 33, 35, 37 & 46: Phyrr Cat is 120 credits on the fighter page and 130 credits in the house weapon lists. Comment: Original cost was 120. Not sure if the new cost 130 is en error or update.
Stun grenades cost 25. Comment: Is this increased price on purpose? Goliath book had 25 and 15 (depending on fighter). Delaque has 10, Enforcers 15 and Trading Post (Rare 😎 15.
Page 115: Boltgun Am 4+. Comment: This is Enforcer's Boltgun, not regular Boltgun (Am 6+).
Page 115: Throwing Knives Str S. Comment: This is a Toxin weapon with Str -.
Page 115: Wyld bow D '-'. Comment: This is NOT a Toxin weapon. Should have D1?
Page 117: Power knife has Str S+2, Ap -2, Disarm, Power. Comment: This is the profile for Power Axe (which Escher no longer has access to in House Equipment Lists). The actual profile for Power Knife should be Str +1, Ap -2, Backstab, Power.
Page 117: Two-handed axe has Acc modifier '-'. Comment: Should have -1 hit modifier.
Page 117: Two-handed hammer has Acc modifier '-'. Comment: Should have -1 hit modifier.
Page 33, 35, 37, 39: Chem-syth. Comment: Chem-synth.
Page 41: Smoke gas grenades. Comment: Smoke grenades (no such thing as smoke gas grenades).
Page 210: Ogryn (Hangers-on) have Augmetic Fists. Comment: The weapon profile is not listed in this book.
Page 112: Artwork of Escher specific Power Axe. Comment: Escher Equipment Lists no longer includes Power Axe. Yet the profile of Power Knife is actually the profile of a Power Axe.

Universal flaws applying to all "House of..." books:
House Agents: What happens when Petitioning for House Agent and the gang gets fined (2D6*10 credits), but can't pay? The fined result (16+) will never trigger because no gang with 10+ Reputation is going to roll for Petition. Since House Agents have a variable cost, what is their contribution to gang rating? Their Equipment rule state the free equipment you get for them should be accounted for when determining Gang Rating, but what is the base value of the House Agent? Generic has a rating of 40 or 80 credits? Special Character has rating of 100 or 200?
Bounty Hunter (Generic): Can equip items from the Trading Post, but does not specify any limitation in Rarity. The old (universal) generic Bounty Hunter could use items with rarity 10 or less.
Promotion: Specialist (Gangers) can be promoted to Champion, but refers to promotion old rules when only the single original Champion fighter type existed. It is unclear what types of Champions a Specialists can be promoted to now, since there are 2 types. Comparing promotion of prospects (new 'specialist' juve fighter), this varies depending on gang: Goliath: Prospect can be promoted to Champion or Stimmer. Escher: Prospect can be promoted to Champion only (not Death-maiden for obvious fluff reasons).

A few notes of exceptions:
Ulanti Noble Alliance: No Group Activations. The Courtier is originally labeled “Leader” but only have Leading By Example (6”) equivalent to a Champion (similar to Greim). The “Leader” does not have Overseer. Mirror Mask does not have a fighter type (does not have Bodyguard, Indentured Fighter etc.).

Changes and updates:
Water Guild: Now specifies how many fighters are part of the Nautican Syphoning Delegation: 1 Leader, 1 Champion and 1 Ganger. Comment: It was expected to have 1 ganger instead of 2 like most other alliances, since this fighter has very strong stats (similar to Ogryn).
Water Guild: Xenos Artefacts changed from -2 Legality for Xenos items (Black Market) to fixed prices for Sling gun (55) and Armourweave (20) to any fighter with Leading By Example (12"/6"). Also the Leader no longer receives a free Xenos weapon.
Cool tests for fleeing the battlefield is moved to End phase (described in the same way in Goliath book).


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Goonhammer might be more positive, but doesn't touch on any of the mistakes found in the book. They all seem to be proof reading errors. Even so, which cost do you use for the Phyrr Cat? Do you have Power Axes in your gang, even though they can't buy them? I guess Clan Escher raided an ammo bunker and that's why all their Bolters are now Ammo 4+? These are some serious issues for a Gang.

The fluff was good, artwork was good. Overall layout was good, but when it came to actual rules, GW really dropped the ball here. What do you do in a case like this? "Have a conversation with your opponent"? OK. What if your opponent is a brand new player, or maybe a player that knows nothing about House Escher? You can totally take 100% advantage of them. I mean, I'd be a little irked if all those power knives that cost half as many points as a power axe, suddenly have power axe stats! Not to mention using agent or bounty hunter. Just wow.

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22 hours ago, Tamwulf said:


The fluff was good, artwork was good. Overall layout was good, but when it came to actual rules, GW really dropped the ball here. What do you do in a case like this? "Have a conversation with your opponent"? OK. What if your opponent is a brand new player, or maybe a player that knows nothing about House Escher? You can totally take 100% advantage of them. I mean, I'd be a little irked if all those power knives that cost half as many points as a power axe, suddenly have power axe stats! Not to mention using agent or bounty hunter. Just wow.

I mean, my answer is don’t play necromunda if you’re okay with 100% taking advantage of your opponents.  I’m sure I’ve been guilty of not adhering to this occasionally, but I certainly try to check myself, frequently.

The ways in which the rules have changed for gang creation (adding rules to specialists, champs and leaders to make equipment sets and group activations super clear, the shift in cost and not starting wi armour, the general tone of equipment availability) give me a lot of hope for where the game is headed, especially in terms of tightening up the rule set.   That said, necromunda is never gonna be tight in the way kill team or warcry are.  It’s going to be the home of bloat, weird op equipment combos, and weird ass skills and terrain.  Honestly, campaigns are probably best played amongst 3-5 friends, but that isn’t necessarily a luxury Ordo affords.


the new codexes definitley put the game in a weird place.  Gangs with them definitley have an edge, raw.


im not sure whether we’ll get a campaign running in the near future, but my current thoughts are to stage it as a territory where Goliath and Escher are duking it out.   Other house gangs would have the option to declare an alliance, and be able to either use gene-smithing or use chem/stimm shenanigans depending on where they ally.

I also think the format from the gang raids pamphlet gives a really nice way to play smaller games as a rule, so that you don’t end up in a 2 hour long slog when you are on the wrong side of an asymmetric scenario.


Finding narrative ways to add story style objectives, unrelated to winning scenarios also seems like something that should be aimed for. 



all that said - I haven’t done much more than a skim of the HoB yet, but I’m looking forward to it once I get a hard copy in my hands (today 🤞). Always down for test games, so feel free to build up an op gang of power knife wielding ladies and I’m happy to be on the receiving end of learning just how broken it is.

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