The module describes him as huge and terrifying, with some built-in shock whip tentacles taking up one of his arms. Sadly the module is non-descript about his fate, suggesting his body is found in a trunk, skin flensed and missing an arm, so the Acolytes are never intended to take on Jackal Mask at any point. I thought that was a bit disappointing, as knowing my players, they’re desperate to exact revenge.
The project brief was quite open ended: build a big lad that could reasonably be the head of the Beast House operations, to make for an interesting foe in Dark Heresy and as a potential gang boss in Necromunda.
Building the beast
I picked up a cheap Lord of Plagues from an opportune swap and figured the massive frame would be an ideal starting point for my powerful lad. I wasn’t enthusiastic about keeping the two-handed weapon so I had a bit of a delve through the bits box to see what I could find.
Goliath arms fit perfectly! A Chain Glaive/grenade launcher combo is suitably gruesome for a boss – deadly both at range and close up. It’ll give me (the GM) some tactical flexibility for challenging the players too, as I can alternate between gas and frag grenades to keep them from bunching up too much in the pitched battle I have planned.
I covered up most of the cankers and sores (including the open belly wound) with greenstuff, as although I wanted him to be gross, I didn’t want him to be dead-man-walking praise-grandfather-nurgle type gross. Armour on the arms helped bulk him out a bit, leaving the belly open so he can remain aerodynamic when he fights.
I added a few large scars across the body to cover up the rough GS work I’d done. I figure someone who had a long career in capturing and torturing dangerous creatures might have a few nicks and scratches to show for it.
Final touch was the mask itself, one of the last things I put together. After deliberating the best way forwards, I decided that scratch-building was going to give me the closest thing I wanted. But then what – sculpt it from green stuff? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Luckily I have a bounty of Beastman heads in my bits box and jackals have a much sharper, thinner snout than the goat/dog skulls the Beastmen are – meaning I can shave one down to get the look I want. Result!
I added two cyclinders cut from a spear shaft to look like rebreather filters and added some ears made from carved plasticard. I’d learned a lot from my work on Hare Mask, so this part was much easier than I’d anticipated.
All done, time to prime!
Painting the jackal
Jackal Mask followed the same basic painting techniques as the Beast House slavers with only a handful of differences.
There was much more skin on show here, so more time was spent on that (but not a whole lot more – finished, not perfect!) with extra attention around the scars, surrounding them with a light crimson glaze to make them look inflamed and not healed properly.
The mask was simply painted black (to cover up the mistakes from all the drybrushing and stippling I’d done), edge highlighted and washed with Nuln Oil to give it a matte look. The eyes then had a little dab of gloss varnish to make them look more like visors.
The armour had an extra wash of Carroburg Crimson to give it a slightly reddish tinge rather than the usual brown. I think it makes it stand out much better!
The roar of the crowds is electricity in your bones and the air is heavy with the smell of blood and recycled sweat.
You are in a private balcony overlooking the main Bazaar arena, a wide sandy pit several hundred metres across. High above is a great plexiglass dome, through which the statue of the god-emperor is haloed by the rippling fury of the Telos star.
The crowd encircling the arena is cheering on a cybernetically-enhanced gladiator as he twists the head off an Ambull, holding it up for all to see.
Chief Wrecker Davit holds up a hand at the spectacle and grins at you with golden teeth. A boy in silk pours more wine into your goblets.
”So what do you say? Do you want to play a game to win your ship parts, or perhaps you’re looking to sell? The arenas are always looking out for new and exotic attractions.”
Previously we left our intrepid heroes in the Mercy Bazaar Arenas to do battle over.. uh.. an arena. A Resolution Arena ship upgrade for the Unbroken Resolve, to be precise, and without the funds to acquire it at present, they agreed to do battle in one of the most infamous blood sport arenas outside of Imperial Space.
We open with Von Gunn, Gil and Freeman back-to-back in the sandy arena to the sounds of crowds baying for blood. They were facing three Chrono-gladiators of the Deathclocks Guild, and they had particularly nasty statlines…
Chrono-gladiators of the Deathclocks Guild
Skills: Awareness, Intimidate +10
Talents: Ambidextrous and two-weapon talents, Autosanguine, Crushing Blow, Fearless, Swift Attack
Electro-flails: 1d10+12 I, Pen 0, Flexible, Shocking
Pneu-mattocks: 2d10+10 I, Pen 0, Primitive, Unbalanced, Unwieldy
Chain axes: 1d10+14 R, Pen 2, Tearing
Cutting claws: 1d10+10 R, Pen 0, Fast
Ticking clock: If a Chrono-gladiator kills, they gain +1 Unnatural Strength and become immune to Fatigue for d5 rounds. Any further kills increase the duration by d5 rounds. If after 5 rounds it does not kill again, it takes 1 level of Fatigue and d5 Explosive damage to the body ignoring Toughness and Armour. This happens every 5 rounds.
on with the show
Our heroes make the first move, with the Chrono-gladiators trailing in the initiative roll. A combination of Von Gunn’s bolt pistol prowess and Gil’s psychic guidance of his plasma pistol sees off the chrono-gladiator with the shield before it even takes a step forward. It drops to its knees, a smoking stump where its head should be.
Explorator Freeman makes a mad dash at the gladiator with chainsaws for hands, and everyone is stricken with a sense of awful deja-vu.
They exchange blows, parrying and rolling under each other’s deadly swings, but Freeman is caught across the face by one of the biting blades and drops to -2 Critical Damage.
While his combat-heavy comrades are distracted with their own problems, our Astropath is charged by the net-wielding gladiator. The combination of shock net and poison talons drops Gil to -2 Critical Damage. Unfortunately for the gladiator, that isn’t enough to stop him…
Gil unleashes a devastating psychic attack, overwhelming what little is left of net-guy’s brain and gaining total psychic domination over him. He forces him to run as far away from Gil as possible, and Von Gunn heroically plugs him in the back of the head with a twin shot from his bolt pistols. Go long!
Things don’t go quite so well for Freeman. He loses his battle with the Señor Chainsword as its whirling teeth pull two of his four legs clean from their sockets. He falls to the arena floor, burning a Fate Point to avoid death but is definitely out for the fight.
For those at the back keeping count, Freeman has now officially lost the most limbs in the party (3 in total).
As Chainsword Hands raises his arms to deliver the killing blow, Von Gunn explosively separates his arms from his shoulders with clinical precision. The final Chrono-gladiator falls to the ground and the crowd is beside itself with excitement.
After a quick patch-job on Freemen (he has a box of legs on the ship), Chief Wrecker Davit thanks for them for entertainment, and promises to uphold his end of the bargain. The Resolution Arena will be installed on the Unbroken Resolve.
Returning to Espin
You take a short shuttle ride from Mercy to Brother Espin’s vessel – a bloated, gilded pilgrim transport ship twinkling in the light of Telos. It looks like a hunchback baron cradling a hoard of gold.
Cathedral spires extend from its spine and every inch is covered in stained glass, ornate gothic pillars and hand-carved statues of every Saint in the Imperial Creed. Shuttles scurry about like insects feeding their queen .
The hangar bay stinks with the raw musk of human existence – there are sleeping cubbies set into the walls, hammocks hang from the gantries high above your heads, and canvas shanties exist around the peripherals, despite the constant roar of shuttles dropping off pilgrims and supplies. You have no doubts the rest of the ship is in a similar situation
An old man in rags and a long, scraggly white beard is sitting in a circle of cushions on the hangar floor, pouring tea. Half his head is metal plate, and votive symbols are braided into his beard. You know him as Brother Espin.
Brother Espin was thankful for their efforts, and payment was presented as promised for clearing out the space port on Cilice. The Captain had alternate plans – he negotiated for free rights to use the space port instead of payment, something that will sting their bottom line in the short term but will keep their hands free for gin-related shenanigans in the long run. Very cunning!
Espin also offered some new ship components. They could pick two from:
Good Quality Barracks (-1 Space, +1 Morale)
Good Quality Voidsman’s quarters (Raider size, -1 space, +1 Morale)
Best Quality Temple-shrine (+D5 Morale)
They opt for the Barracks and the Quarters, estimating two days to fit their fancy new digs. They beg their leave of the Brother and return to Mercy proper to begin the refit. The crew are particularly thankful to no longer be topping and tailing.
Dabbling in the background
I had learned from my mistakes regarding the Endeavours system in Rogue Trader – less is more. Please let me know in the comments below if you’ve had it work for your own groups, but it wasn’t a good fit for ours.
I still had another idea to try – Background Endeavours from Into the Storm. A formalisation of the Profit Factor acquisition process, but something that can be done once and forgotten about so the players can get on with the adventuring and swashbuckling while the proles do the legwork.
This was a perfect opportunity, the players wanted to rebuild the Cilice Gin distillery from afar and reap the rewards in the future. Time for some numbers!
Background endeavours are split into two parts: the Captain yells at some hirelings to do a job, and the GM calculating how well the job went. Broadly speaking, the players make a few dice rolls and forget about the Endeavour until the GM tells them enough time has passed for the project to have passed or failed.
The Endeavour is outlined by players and GM – what resources they’ll need and the quality of peon needed to perform the job. They already had the resources they needed (most of an abandoned distillery) and just needed a crew – they acquired Good Quality Hirelings, in this case Tavish Contractors.
The GM comes up with a rough time estimate – about 2 months in this case.
Players contribute supporting skills. Freeman provided a chemical analysis of samples found on Cilice (with a Chem Use test) to avoid the fairly obvious horrendous side effects and adds +3 Degrees of Success (DoS) to the Captain’s Command check. Zilla provided fly-by records of the valleys and space port, adding +1 DoS. Lyoness gave a stirring (if somewhat threatening) speech with an Intimidate test, adding +4 DoS to the overall pool.
The Captain makes a Command check to see how well the hirelings perform. He gets a bonus for all the skills his crew have contributed. He (unsurprisingly) succeeds with 8 Degrees of Success.
Retire and enjoy a glass of (currently) the last Cilice Gin in the universe.
Make a Success roll. This is a flat 50/50 chance, modified +/- by the Degrees of Success/failure of the Captain’s command roll and the quality of Hirelings. These rolls are done between games and noted down to bring up at a future session when Success or Failure can be reaped. In this case, I rolled a 10 (super success!).
Check how long it takes. Regardless of success or failure, you roll on a ‘time taken’ table to see how long it’s taken your hirelings to do the job. Sometimes successful endeavours can take much longer than estimated, while failed endeavours can be over very quickly. I rolled 73, meaning it took 125% of the estimated time. 75 days for the job to get done!
That’s it! When the time is up (day 216 shipboard time) I’ll let them know and they can add +2 Profit Factor to their character sheets.
The intention is to keep the story moving forwards while earning money in the background. We’ll come back to this in about.. ohh.. ten episodes time or so.
Auction on the horizon
Last time we also discovered the latest hot topic: an auction being held by the Obsidian Emporial for a rare class of light cruiser in a few months’ time. They had three bits of concrete intel:
Up for grabs was a Secutor-class Monitor Cruiser. A substantial upgrade from the current ship – oodles of space, plenty of weapon hard points and a good blend of defense and manoeuvrability. Perfect for longer, more dangerous voyages into the unknown!
The Obsidian Emporial auction house will not accept money alone, they are looking for something unique or priceless to win their interests.
There will be a number of other rivals vying for the ship – determining who they are and what they have to offer will help the team greatly in their run-up to the auction.
Whatever you want, Leo Getz
With the Auction at the forefront of their minds, the crew wanted some more intelligence on other organisations attending. Time to lean on their old pal, Leo Getz.
After another chastisement from filling their astropathic relay with reams of garbage, Astropath Gil finally gets the message through to Leo. It’s not his Juniors’ job to sift through his manic mountain of thoughts – edit them down!
Brain still aching from mental castigation, Leo comes up with the goods. Two Rivals, both with printed out contact cards so the party can keep some vague centralised notes on the myriad NPCs they’re encountering, and some additional information about them.
Each contact has some generic intelligence about their organisation, their reason for attending, what they intend to offer at the Auction, and additional (sometimes scandalous) information.
Each session I’ll be offering an opportunity for Leo to siphon a bit more for current or new contacts, drip-feeding the information rather than dumping it all at once.
Lord-Admiral Bastille VIII of the Bastille Dynasty
“A martial man, conducting the affairs of his House as though it were a private navy. There are dozens of sour rumours swirling around the circumstances of his inheritance of Warrant of Trade and his poor relationship with the Imperial Navy. “
The Herald of Fane, Fane Disciples
“Intensely secretive and uncommunicative sect of Adeptus Mechanicus, devoted to the works and discoveries of Magos-Illuminate Zeriander Fane.”
Next stop: Nowhere
We had a mission: Gather something unique for the auction.
We had a time frame: Several months.
We didn’t have a heading. The Captain addressed all the potential plot leads from previous sessions and decreed them to all be equally worthy, therefore unworthy of a unique offering to the Obsidian Emporial.
The Captain cast his gaze across a map of the Nomads. So many worlds already discovered.
He stabbed his finger in the centre, a minor warp storm called the Void Sea. He asked “What’s here?”. I referred to my notes – I had only written one line:
“Here there be monsters.”
That was enough for the Captain. He ordered an immediate survey to find an unexplored system of interest in the Void Sea and to chart a course to it. We had a heading!
The only thing remaining was to pick up any last-minute essentials from Mercy-mart for the voyage. The Captain acquired a Bullpup Cyber Mastiff (from Dark Heresy’s Book of Judgement) which is a bigger, meaner version of a cyber mastiff. Zilla acquired a single-shot grenade launcher to help deal with Really Big Problems.
Morale is high, plunder is in sight and with only one day to the warp point, everything seems to be going the Crew’s way! Nothing can dampen their spirits! All they need to do is a cheeky short hop to Gallionic, just a mere three days in warp, what could go wrong?
After putting together some slaver leadership, I wanted the Beast House project to have a bit of muscle. During our Dark Heresy campaign finale of the Red Cages, the module describes a butcher armed with a chain axe and chunks of animal. Some kind of bodyguard or armed thug to protect Hare Mask was exactly what the doctor ordered, and luckily I had exactly the mini!
I’d picked up this Ogre Kingdoms Butcher (I’ll be dead in the ground before I recognise ‘Ogors’) to use in our games of Inquisitor many, many years ago and it had languished half-finished in my box for nearly a decade. I hadn’t done anything particularly crazy to convert him to 54mm except give him a chainsword in his left hand. A quick snip resolved that.
I had a spare harpoon gun from my Orlock tech-gang and I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a perfect fit. Not only would this meaty lad have a ranged weapon to harass my players from afar, but totally fits the kind of requirements the Beast House would have of him. Sometimes you just have to harpoon unruly animals to calm them down, you know?
It was pinned to the underside of the arm and some darning thread from my sewing box was used to lash around the arm and harpoon. Some superglue kept it in place, and with a bone-coloured undercoat and a splash of Agrax it even looked intentional!
I was also pleasantly surprised to find that he was 90% painted when I pulled him out of the box. Doubly-so when I realised he’d been painted during the Brown Ink era – pre Devlan Mud and pre Agrax Earthshade! Naturally I gave him a few light glazes to tie the colours back together and get rid of the horrid shine that Brown Ink left behind.
Some light crimson glazes were added around the scars and piercings to make them look bloody and swollen.
And in-keeping with the rest of the Beast House colour scheme, he got liberal dousings of Typhus Corrosion and Blood for the Blood God to keep up the grimy, blood-slick look. Blood spatter cures all ails!
Very happy with this big lad. It helps that he was 90% finished when I “found” him, but getting a model this size “finished” in an evening really helps with motivation! Plus that’s one fewer mini in the Box of Shame…
Just a head honcho to go and I think we’re good for a family photo!
The Beast House project for our Dark Heresy campaign is going well. I’ve got the House part sorted, now I just need the Beasts. Time to hit the thrift shop!
Boyes is one of my favourite shops – it’s a big homeware/haberdashery place filled with all kinds of strange and wondrous things. It’s great for craft and cosplay and you can pick up tinnies of spray paint for a fiver. It also has a toy section, which often has gems that spark joy…
I want dinosaurs in all my games, but I don’t fancy shelling out £40+ for a GW carnosaur (even though they’re super pretty), so £1 per big dino seemed very reasonable. I could justify a big spend if it was the centrepiece of an army, but for a one-off battle or two, this was way better value for money.
I bought the three big lads at the back for £1 a pop, and a handful of smaller pack hunters for 50p each, the whole lot setting me back the price of a southern pint. Very reasonable!
they do move in herds
The club-tailed fellow was used first for Rogue Trader in a very elaborate conversion, hopefully I’ll get that one written up when I catch up on Orthesian Herald. For Dark Heresy I needed some more reasonably-sized dinos though, so those allosaurs were first.
The paint job leaves much to be desired, but I was repainting them anyway so I wasn’t overly fussed. I was pleasantly surprised at how much detail the sculpts had though, which would lend itself quite pleasingly to washes and drybrushes later on.
The plastic is quite rubbery, you get a good bit o’ flex in these lads, and the mold lines took quite a bit to remove. They were 50p each though, and I got far greater quality than I expected for so little money.
It was only after pinning them to their bases I realised just quite how large they were compared to regular humans…
I was going for a gladiatorial arena-style base, so sandy with splashes of gore. A liberal helping of textured paint went on the bases and a quick blast with some red primer and they were ready to paint!
Red ones go faster
They looked better than I could have imagined after their initial paint job was covered over.
This is just a once over with some red car primer from Boyes again. They actually looked like real models!
I wanted a striking look, so a lighter tummy and dark stripes along the back. Who knows what kind of strange world they herald from where this is their natural camouflage, but sure as hell looks cool!
I started with a light red drybrush over the skin, then a crimson wash over the top. A much lighter reddy orange drybrush on the extremities picked out the details. The stripes were a dark grey, washed black and drybrushed with a lighter grey along the spine.
The claws and teeth were picked out with a bone colour and a light sepia wash, and a sandy hue applied to the base. The best part was a liberal application of Blood for the Blood God technical paint, which is swiftly becoming my most relied-upon paint for the Beast House project!
These guys were really good fun to paint – it’s been a while since I’ve just painted an animal, and the texture of the minis really took to the washes and drybrush so all four were done over the course of two short evenings.
Last time I’d finished up some slavers for my Beast House project in our ongoing Dark Heresy campaign, and as our players were nearing the end of their time in the Red Cages, it was time to up the ante.
The players had been stripped naked and thrown in a pit, and after a few sessions of Saw-style hammer house of horror, they had scraped together enough ragged armour and rusty blades to take on the final boss of the Red Cages – Hare Mask.
The module alludes to members of the Beast House wearing different animal masks as a grotesque parody of the riotous carnival going on overhead, so I wanted to take it further by having a different animal mask representing a different boss of the three levels.
The lowest level was guarded by Rat Mask (represented by one of the whippy slavers), who had two pet rats and a tent made of rat skins (surprise, surprise!). As they worked their way up the facility, it was time to face the final lieutenant – Hare Mask.
I didn’t have much in the way of a brief for Hare Mask, other than they needed to be a fairly commanding presence with even halfway-decent armour (ie not just bloodied chunks of animal stapled to you). They were going to have an imposing set of weapons, with at least one of them being a signature weapon stolen from the players to make it even more obvious that this person needs taking down.
Time for a rifle through the bits box!
building the bunny
My preference was for Hare to be another female slaver, and I just happened to have one spare Escher body left from the Necromunda core box set. The big battle boots, animal trinkets and slightly raggedy appearance would make a great start to a Beast House lieutenant.
At the end of our last campaign (before stripping the team naked and leaving them in a pit) I asked them what their favourite/least favourite equipment was. There was little context beyond me trying to get a flavour of what the team have and what they might like more of.
Being an Utter Bastard(tm) this was in fact just a way of me working out what tools to drip feed them. In their first mission, the only equipment they could scavenge was whatever they had told me was their least used/least favourite equipment. It made for some incredibly resourceful moments of creating disguises and distracting guards with bags of spices.
The other less-bastardy intention was to work out what equipment I could use as a reward – something to help them feel less like I’d deleted their character sheets and more emphasis on progression to reclaim what is rightfully yours. The baddies have your stuff – go shiv them in the neck and take it back!
Our preacher’s combat shotgun was the perfect choice – iconic and deadly, and a reminder of just how powerful some weapons can be in the wrong hands. It’ll also give the slavers an opportunity to put out some hurt of their own – the crappy disposable pistols they’ve been threatening the players with so far have been fun, but their threat is limited. Time to burn some fate points.
I needed something slaver-y for a melee weapon that wasn’t another whip, so I went for a shock maul from the Genestealer Cult Neophyte set. It also comes attached to the user’s wrist with a length of chain, which was a nice touch. Stops those pesky slaves trying to disarm you.
With some extra animal gubbins and some fur sculpted around the shoulders to give her a more impressive silhouette, all that was needed was a mask itself. I went to a lot of effort to find anything I could use as a mask that would involve zero effort to employ. In my hubris, I just had to come to terms with the fact I’d need to scratch build it.
The mask was a strip of plasticard cut to shape with a sharp hobby knife and VERY carefully bent around the handle of a paint brush to give it a more natural curve. The details were painstakingly carved out with the end of a knife. It didn’t matter if it looked rough – it would add to the effect!
It did need to look like a hare though, and rather than use an actual animal for reference, I figured I’d borrow from the best…
And it was time to undercoat!
That girl with five colours in her hare
I tried to stick to the colour scheme I had trialled (surprisingly successfully) with the previous slavers. Light drybrushes, washes and copious use of Typhus Corrosion and Blood for the Blood God to finish off.
All in all I’m very pleased with how she came out. She will make a fine mini-boss, and her statline suggests she’ll be light on her feet and much harder to hit than the usual lumbering slavers (hence her patron animal). Hopefully it’ll give the players a run for their money (and Fate Points).
In the Dark Heresy adventure, the slavers running the creature-smuggling ring are described as bloodied brutes, covered in gore-soaked leathers and wearing iron pig masks. The mask I used for this guy was perfect, and the ideas flowed from there!
Polearm to meet you
Everything was undercoated in Army Painter Tan Leather spray from my FLGS, Asgard Wargames (support your local!). From there, it would all be completed with washes and drybrushing.
It was the first time I’d attempted to do so many in so little time. Luckily, the nature of the grime-encrusted subject meant nothing needed to be neat, and it would work better if it didn’t!
I have a Bone to pick with you
What came from necessity was a series of really useful techniques I’ve since applied to many projects since, such as not being ashamed to drybrush huge chunks of models (there’s no prize for wet-blending everything) and getting a fantastic metal effect for drybrushing metallic colours overa matt brown base.
The liberal application of Typhus Corrosion and Blood for the Blood God as a final step was particularly enjoyable!
I’ve been very impressed with how effective the ‘splash blood effect on everything’ technique has been across different sections of the models. I wanted the bases to look like the slavers were standing in a vat of something, perhaps on a gantry above a sluice of ground-up gladiators.
I used some mesh and plasticard for the effect, drybrushed it silver and applied a healthy coat of Blood for the Blood God, wiping away excess with my finger.
This double-barreled chap was originally a test model for a genestealer cult from a Feudal World that I never particularly liked. Fortunately the headswap was perfect for the Beast House project, but unfortunately he was already based on something that didn’t fit the theme. The old Bretonnian kits are made of a much softer plastic to modern sprues, and I was worried about the damage it would do to his wee feet if I tried to rebase him.
Luckily some additional scraps of mesh strewn about and a healthy dollop of blood and grim was all that was needed to make him fit right in.
I also stumbled upon a flesh recipe I really like – Pallid Wych Flesh with a Sepia wash over the top, with a very light-touch highlight of Pallid Wych Flesh on the super-raised areas (like knuckles). Definitely one to be using again when I need to batch-paint some more goons!
Through the fire and the flames
Painting fire is harrrrrrd QnQ
This is maybe my fourth(?) attempt at open flame in my ~20 years of hobbying and it’s definitely getting better. Annoyingly, this was my quickest and (I thought) sloppiest attempt using exclusively drybrushing techniques, and is easily the best I’ve produced so far. I think it needs to darken to orange a lot more at the top to take into account the actual heat source of the top of the stick, but otherwise I’m very happy with it.
I’m very happy with how these guys came out – for a cheap and cheerful one-night paint job they’ve ended out more effective (imo) than some of the paint schemes I’ve agonised over for days on end.
They’ll definitely be getting extras added to them over the coming weeks – beasts aplenty and some leadership is in order I think. Plus with the new Necromunda Book of Judgement out, I might have to start thinking how I can work these into a gang…
Our long-running Dark Heresy campaign has deposited our mid-high tier characters naked and unarmed in a pit of despair, deep in the bowels of a steel labyrinth. The ‘facility’ is inhabited by pig-masked psychopathic brutes – operatives of the shady xenos-smuggling ring ‘The Beast House‘.
The campaign called for some low-level scrubs armed with a variety of enslaving equipment. It’s a cliché trope to have your characters wake up missing all their weapons and armour, but I firmly believed that if done well, it could add a fresh new perspective on the game. After consulting with some peers, the trope can work if:
In medias res – don’t dwell on how they were captured, and definitely don’t play out an unwinnable capture scenario. You’re in a pit, naked, with only rocks and bones, and something wicked is howling down a tunnel towards you. Fight or die. Figure it out later.
It’s only temporary – assure them their equipment is safe and recoverable. In this case, I seeded some choice equipment from their character sheets among sub-bosses responsible for their capture, and they discovered the rest is in a lockup held by the end-game boss. They’ll get it all back eventually, but for now – improvise.
Started at the bottom – acquisition of new kit comes quite quickly if you’re cunning. By the end of our second session, every character had some patchwork armour, a useful melee weapon, at least one ranged weapon and a few bits of gear or tools.
So the Beast House operatives needed to be low-level thugs who relied on their charming demeanor and powerful musk to get their way, relying little on complex or deadly weapons and more on tools designed to hurt, entrap, ensnare and enslave.
Snipping the Man-at-arms bodies off at the waist gave me more possibilities for leg and body swaps. I wanted them to look part butcher, part slaver – a huge hooked cleaver and a cloak made from flayed skin would complete this particularly dashing look.
Kill the beast
No group of beast herders would be complete without whips and torches, and I’m always looking for an excuse to use the lit torch from the Empire flagellants kit. A barbed whip from the dark eldar wyches sprue helped round off this guy.
Changing with the times
This guy was actually assembled almost a year before, originally with a Genestealer Cult head. Looking for something to do with all those Bretonnian bodies I hadn’t used, I toyed with the idea of a Genestealer Cult on a feudal world, but it never really got off the ground.
When I was sketching ideas together for the Beast House, a simple headswap was all I needed to give me the inspiration for the rest I had thought about swapping the hands out for something less claw-like, but figured that even the Beast House wouldn’t be that fussed about mutation so long as you were strong, cruel and got the job done.
At some point, the Beast House needed to escalate their efforts to contain the problem the players will inevitably become – that’s when they break out the automatic weapons. I didn’t my players getting their hands on an autogun too early, but they’re too great a staple for any low-life thug kill-squad that I couldn’t resist including them. This guy is also a little better amoured than his co-woerkers, and the bag of bones and body bits on his back keeps him themed with the others.
Crack that whip
Changing up the body parts, this little lady used an Empire flagellant as a base and a pair of dark eldar arms. I wanted a second whipper and that part was easy to source, but the only right arm that fit with the theme was another Dark Eldar one. Cue hacking apart a splinter rifle arm to fit a stub revolver to it. I had a mad plan to keep the stock and have a weird stubby revolver rifle thing and I think it worked quite well.
Add another flayed skin cloak, some severed heads and a pony tail and the freaky look is complete!
Can’t have slavers without a flail guy! I got a load of random Anvil bits a while back when they were selling bits bags, one of those bits was a set of running legs. Empire flagellant arms and a Neophyte Hybrid autopistol rounds this lad off nicely, with a miscellaneous shoulder pad to hide a particularly ugly join.
Polearm to meet you
The Man-at-arms sprue has lots of exciting-looking polearms with various hooky bits for pulling knights off their horses, or in this case enslaving alien beasts, but I wasn’t enthusiastic about the pose they come in. A quick root round found a set of Empire cannon-loader arms – replace the wadding with the end of a billhook and we’re away! One of the simpler conversions but I think it really adds to the overall feel that these guys regularly tackle stuff bigger and stronger than them as a day job.
Overall I’m very pleased with how the squad came out, and I’ll inevitably be adding to them as the campaign unfolds. They definitely need some kind of leadership or tame beasts, and with the release of the new Necromunda Book of Judgement, there are a WHOLE load of options for using these guys as criminal allies too. It’s never been a better day to be a slaver!
Last week I’d put together the last few pieces – a gang relic and a genestealer-flavoured stand-in for the Ogryn-Servitor Brute. Now, with both of them painted up, it was a great opportunity to get a whole family photo as well.
I’m unlikely to add any more to the gang in the near future – I’m very happy with how they’ve come out and I don’t have the time or resources to keep adding bits here and there. Perhaps if they release new Brutes, pets or vehicles I could be tempted to add some more, but the foot soldiers are finished and I can move on to other projects.
Quick and dirty! This fella was completed in two evenings with judicious use of washes and drybrushing. The colour scheme was no different from previous ‘stealers in the gang so I didn’t have to come up with a palette, so the hardest part for me was already done.
Which reminds me, I really should start writing down recipes for guys I paint…
Somebody’s watered the poison hole
Straightforward paint job with this piece – lots of browns, washes and drybrushing and liberal amounts of Typhus Corrosion. I obviously wanted to continue the running gag and replaced ‘spawning hole’ with ‘watering hole’ on the sign – despite the “well” being obviously unfit for human consumption.
It also gave me a chance to play around with another of my favourite paints – Tamiya Clear Green. It smells like death, but it it produces one of the most exciting radioactive green goop colours I’ve ever seen.
I’ve had a smashing time building up this motley crew and getting them onto the table. Playing games with an outrageous cowboy accent and playing the moustache-twirling villain has made it even more fun. I’ve talked before about how Genestealer Cults in Necromunda are at their best when played campy and hammy, and I like to think I’ve camped and hammed these guys to their full potential.
I’m very much looking forward to my next campaign with them (fully painted models for every game, living the dream) as some of the later-wave lads didn’t even get an outing. I’ve even got some terrible plans for running a short campaign set on an arid western-themed penal world, the finale being an elaborate four-way vehicular heist.
Last time I’d pretty much rounded off the gang in terms of fighters – I’d used up all the bodies and legs on the sprues I had and was pretty satisfied I had enough variation in fighters to play the gang again in a new campaign. I just needed one or two bits to round off the gang…
Home is where the hole is
Every gang needs home turf, and Hive Noon are no different. I’ve had all sorts of mad and wonderful ideas about making some elaborate scenery and set pieces, but I think that’ll wait for another time (I can’t shake the idea of a train heist scenario called The Great Strain Robbery). I did need something a little more universal – a Gang Relic.
Gang Relics are used in certain scenarios and when you have Home Turf Advantage – essentially they’re a little standard or icon that you plonk down on the table and they provide certain buffs to any nearby fighters, and in some cases can be used as objectives themselves.
I had a couple of ideas including a damsel tied to some train tracks for maximum moustache-twirling Machiavellianism, but settled on the idea of a spawning watering hole because, well.. I’d just watched Toy Story recently and I couldn’t shake the soundbite of Woody shouting “somebody’s poisoned the water hole”.
I had the perfect signpost that had been rattling around in my bits box for a decade, extended with a little plasticard so I can paint on the necessary words to reassure people that it’s a real watering hole. The bucket was assembled from a nubbin from a Russian biochemical factory kit, now sadly quite difficult to get hold of, and a bent paper clip. I’m sure it’ll serve my gang well.
Mungo like candy
The final piece of the puzzle was a heavy. Genestealer Cults (at time of writing) don’t get access to house-specific Brutes so have to settle for one of the generic ones, either an Ogryn Servitor or the Am-Bot. I’d already built an Ogryn Servitor and I have an Am-Bot on the way, so I didn’t feel like using a generic one. I wanted something a little more… alien.
Out of the two, the Am-Bot had a neater set of rules for ‘big angry frenzy thing that tears stuff up’ which sat well in my head for some big Genestealer Brute, but I wasn’t excited about the special rule that allowed other gangs to capture it and ‘reprogram’ it for their use. Although unlikely, it would have been weird if it came up. Ogryn it is!
A classic Carnifex crushing claw fit perfectly into the socket of a Chaos Spawn body, and I knew whatever I made was going to use that as a base. I was still figuring things out at this point – a pair of claws looked unwieldy and I wanted it to be equipped with something that could reasonably be described as a melee weapon with the blaze trait to emulate the arc-welder rules. Luckily, I had just the random assortment of bits…
After much fiddling and sculpting, I was happy with the finished product. The left arm was eventually donated by a plastic Lord of the Rings Troll and the head came from a GSC aberrant. I wanted to maintain the semi-human look of the regular-sized aberrants and make him appear as an overgrown mutant rather than a big Genestealer, which was my first thought.
He’s also a pain in the ass to photograph, I can’t seem to work out where the golden angle is…
There’s an upgrade to give the Ogryn Servitor furnace plate, which increases their armour save from the front arc. I couldn’t quite figure out how to make that look natural, so I added a few bullet holes into the huge armour plates on his arm and reasoned that he would cover his body with is as he advanced. Handwavium!
Very chuffed with my arc welder solution – I used a monstrous creature adrenal gland and a couple of pipes from a barbed strangler (I think) to create a long tube to the claw. Add a few more adrenal glands and paint them in bright colours, and I figure it can be some kind of hyper-acid. Hellfire acid shotgun shells already use the Blaze trait to represent acid damage, so why not here?
The green stuff work was a little sloppy in places – I was making him during the penultimate week of the campaign and I was really ill – I wanted to get him finished and onto the tabletop before the campaign ended. I’d loved to have spent weeks lovingly crafting him into the perfect hybrid, but in the end I’m happy I didn’t. Finished, not perfect!
Last time we looked at the second wave of gangers added to Hive Noon and vaguely ruminated on the reasoning behind each assembly. This time, we’ve got them all gussied up ready for photo day, plus a couple of extras that didn’t make the cut last week. Let’s take a look!
This fella didn’t get a lot of action in the campaign – he was picked up in the last few weeks, by which time he was looked over in favour of heavy hitters or fighters with equipment more suited to the scenario. He’ll definitely be an early purchase for the next campaign!
Puny Owens anD Tiny Oakley
After the outrageous success of Baby Face Fanglayson (the familiar attached to Baron Clint Von Beastwood) I had to pick up more familiars. They’re 25 credits, available from the House list and give your extremely squishy Acolytes a fighting chance to get into combat. Anybody looking for one piece of wisdom to take away for their own GSC gangs: buy all three familiars.
These two were from the Deathwatch: Overkill set that I picked up crazy cheap from ebay. One had a broken hand, so I replaced it with one from the Acolytes kit with a wedge of metal as a makeshift club.
The Maw With No Name
Another star player in the campaign, despite being picked up about halfway through. Cheap to field and versatile on the game board, he kept plenty of people behind cover and away from my advancing hordes.
The only extra kit he picked up was an infrascope – good for popping people behind cover who think they’re safe from his Overwatch skill and useful when all the lights go out.
The Lone Render
Look at that shit-eating grin. He knows what he did. Absolute #Lad. If you’re playing GSC and you haven’t taken advantage of a) the Infiltrate skill b) cheap demolition charges or c) both at once, you’re missing a trick. Sure, he gets killed pretty quickly (and often) if you position him poorly, but the mayhem he causes is worth it.
He was usually accompanied by a familiar to keep him alive a little longer, and acquired smoke grenades and a chainsword for versatility and a fighting chance in close combat when he’s inevitably charged.
I’m overwhelmed by how well this guy fits in with everyone else. I know it seems like a minor thing, but I was very concerned the one model that inspired the gang wouldn’t actually fit into the gang once assembled and painted up.
As it happens, he was a great combatant too – I wrote about why last week – and the three pistols were also terrifyingly effective in close combat when you could bring all of them to bear.
I had a really tough time with this guy. I couldn’t get the blend between pale flesh and blue carapace right and I must have redone those arm/leg sections two or three times. Also, painting between all those chains I added proved to be far trickier than I’d anticipated, and I ended up filling in a lot of dead space with washes just to avoid having to try and paint them. Still, despite all those problems, it ended up coming out rather nicely, and adding the splashes of red to the weapons was good fun and rounded off the figure nicely.
Another ganger I’m likely to pick up earlier in the campaign when I play these guys next. The extra pistol combo with the hand flamer is particularly tricksy as you can shoot it at the same target as your hand flamer, so long as the flamer template is centred on the target. If you line your guy up correctly, you can still hit a few people with that teardrop template.
This poor fella never even made it into the roster before the campaign was over. A simple loadout of shotgun and bombs (kept ambiguous so it could be either a frag grenade or blasting charges depending on the gang’s wallet) but late on in the campaign such a loadout was never called for – they were too busy saving up for the big guns! Shame really – the shotgun/dynamite combination was one I sketched together early on because of the obvious western aesthetic, but there was always something more important to spend the creds on. Another to pick up early next time perhaps?
The second wave is now (obviously) completed, but as much as I’d have liked them to be done and dusted for the campaign, many of them had a few games half-painted or blue-tacked together before getting their final lick of paint. I like to think it added to their charm…
There’s certainly a few slight tweaks I’d do to them before sending them back out again – I’ll likely pop a chainsword on the Lone Render’s belt as it’s a strong addition to his lineup, and I think I’ll be swapping the power pick from Billy the Nid with a shock whip. It’s cheaper, more effective against most targets (power pick only really excels at high wound/armour targets) and gets him into combat faster.
Otherwise I’m very happy with this lot and I can’t wait to use them again in the future! I’d be lying to myself if I said I wouldn’t be adding more guys to the gang, but for now I’ve run out of bodies and legs, so unless they bring out some Necromunda rules for bikes or vehicles, I think all my foot soldiers are done for now. (That is, of course, until the next GSC update…)