Necromunda – Brutes, Hangers-On, & Hired Guns

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If you head to the Forge World store, and check under the Necromunda section you’ll find some of the most amazing miniatures that Games Workshop has ever made. Getting those models onto the table however, is kinda tricky. In this video, I’m going to look at the models outside of the core gang and see how you can get them on the table.

These models are split into a couple of different groups.

The first we’ll look at today are the Brutes and Hangers-on.

In a campaign, you can’t start with any, but can recruit them at the end of a battle. In the Dominion campaign you could put aside some credits and pick up a Brute or Hanger-on at the end of the first battle, but Cinderak Burning changes this by removing any unspent credits, so you have to earn some credits first.

In a campaign the total combined number of Hangers on and Brutes you have is limited by the amount of reputation you have. You start with 1 reputation, which allows you to take either 1 hanger-on or 1 brute. Each time your reputation hits a multiple of 5 you get an extra 1. So if you’re at 20 reputation, you can have at most a combination of 5 hangers-on and brutes. Be careful though, as can you can lose rep, so make sure you leave a buffer as if you drop a bracket you have to trim to the new level.

Brutes are your big guys. Apart from the reputation limit they’re the exact same as any other fighter you have. These typically are dangerous and tough to take down if you don’t have the right tools. A melta gun will deal with a Brute, but if you don’t have something to get through their armour and wounds, they can make mincemeat of a gang. 

This goes both ways though, they are a big investment you have to save for and if they get killed or captured you’re out a chunk. In many games they’ll just end up a bullet magnet as the enemy gang keeps pumping rounds into it trying to keep it pinned each turn.

Along with the faction only Brutes there are two of particular note that anyone can take.

The Ambot is generally considered one of the better Brute options. Ambulls are a tunnelling xenos and sticking their brain into a robotic version is great for working the mines and with some minor modifications, murder.

It’s got infiltrate so you can quickly get it up close to the enemy, Turning safe mode off, increases the number of melee attacks turning this into something truly fearsome, but keep your friendlies out of melee range. There is an option for a Grav-fist but at 70 credits it is quite expensive for what it does. Hilariously, if it ends up captured and the owning gang doesn’t manage to rescue it, then the capturing gang can reprogram the Ambot and add it to their list for free.

The Ogryn are similar cost, but you get more options. They start with two Augmetic Fists but can replace either one for an arc wielder, spud-jacker, or Storm Welder. Personally I think they’re much cooler, but they end up being more expensive and often less effective than the abbot.

Both the Ambot and the Ogryn have boxes you can pick up from the GW store. This Iron Automata is a little different. This represents a strange man like machine sometimes found in the ash wastes or deeper hive bottom, heavily hinting as a man of iron from the dark age of technology. UR-025 from the Blackstone Fortress box is perfect for this. It has a fantastic Assault Cannon, but will on occasion go insane, try to kill you, and disappear into the tunnels never to be seen again. That leaves you out the credits and probably leaves a few gangers bleeding to death.

Another option are the exotic beasts, these are the pets and critters. 

I mention them as the models are often thematically similar to the brutes, just smaller.

They are actually considered to be equipment and follow normal equipment rules. So if you get a Cyber Mastiff it is assigned to a gang member and the exotic beast model appears on the board while that gang member is on the board. They always stay within 3 inches of their owner and are activated at the same time as the owner with group activation. They do actually gain experience and injuries 

The alternative to Brutes, are the hangers-on. While you’ll want to get your Brutes into battles, you’re getting the Hangers on for their abilities. 

At last count there were around 10 generic hangers-on that anyone could take and another 2 or 3 specific to each gang. While there are models for the the various hangers-on, they cannot be fielded normally unless they have a special rule. 

If you’re defending your home territory however, there is a 50/50 chance at the start of the game that the Hangers On will have been unlucky and will end up in the fight where they could potentially be captured or killed.

The options GW have models for are.

The Rogue Doc, who gives you one free medical escort each battle, they cost 50 credits so quickly they’ll earn their money back.

The Gang Look Out gives you a bonus if you have to roll to see who is attacker or defender, and during a sneak attack scenario gives your sentries a bonus to spot the attackers.

We mentioned Rogue Doc’s earlier, this is Doctor Arachnos, rather than 50 credits he costs 100, but does have the Part of the Crew so you can get him out into a battle. 

Next up we have the Scabber and the Slopper.

The Scabber is actually an outlaw hanger-on, and helps you buy and sell illegal equipment.

The Slopper helps get your fighters out of recovery, it’s only a 1 in 6 chance but for 20 credits it’s better than nothing.

Bigby Crumb is the special character Slopper and like Doc Arachnos will get stuck in during a fight.

The Dome Runner will let you reroll loot caskets, while the Ammo Jack lets your gang reroll failed ammo tests if the roll is a 1, if you have more ammo jacks that will increase the number up to a max of retooling 3 or less.

Ragnir Gunnstein doubles the price, but will get in on the action and also deploys a few ammo caches onto the table.

This is the Propagandist and the Agitator. When you win a battle, the Propagandist will make sure people know about it, getting you an additional D3 rep, unfortunately when you lose this means you also lose an extra rep. He also gives you a 1 in 6 chance of getting an extra Juve when you hire one. The agitator is outlaw only, applies the same rep changes but instead of a chance of a free Juve he lets you roll twice and choose when recruiting free fighters.

Last up, we have some recently announced hangers on.

The first is a Brute Handler who will turn up to battles. Keep him close to your Brute and the Brute will get Nerces of Steel along with mental rerolls. It’ll also give you a chance to gain some extra exp for your Brute. 

The second is a Chem Dealer who makes getting chems easier and will front you for a dose at the start of a battle as long as you pay for it by the end.

Then we have the Underhive Traders of which three different models have been announced. Each have a different type of bonus connected to the trading post, the relic monger gives a 6+ to ignore seriously injured or out of action, the beast wrangler gives +1 exp to a pet per cycle, while the gun Smyth lets you upgrade a new gun to masterwork for free. This will all look great in the Market place scenery set.

That’s all the models I could find so far. There are a few other generic Hangers-On with each of the big houses having 2 or 3 themselves. GW have announced this Shivver and Clan Chymist for House Escher, so we can expect more in the future.

Having the models are fun, but most of the time they aren’t going to see the table. Having a few generic Hive Scum models will work fine.

Next we have Hired Guns, they have a cost just like normal gangers, but they only stick around for one battle. On the plus side, you’re not too bothered if they die but they can end up quite expensive. At cheapest, you can get a Hive Scum for 30 credits, but that’s without gear, and you have to pay for any gear they have.

 So for 40 credits you can get a Hive Scum with a reclaimed autogun, pretty much bottom of the barrel. An Escher gang sister with a las gun is a bargain 55 credits. So what’s the advantage if you only get the Hive Scum for one fight?

Well you add them in after you’ve picked your crew. So if the scenario says random 5, you randomly select 5 of your gangers and then you add in the Hired Guns. You can have up to 5 Hive Scum which even with reclaimed autoguns would be a big advantage.

There is a Hive Scum sprue which will make 4 scummer’s, it’s got a pretty good selection of options, especially heads so each model will look distinct. The range of weapons is also pretty good, but doesn’t have any duplicates.

In addition to the generic hive scum that you can tailor to your own needs, there are also some character scum that you can recruit as part of the 5. Here we have the siblings Gaen and Vunder Gurvos. This will count as part of your 5 hive scum, they are costing significantly more with both of them combined coming in just under 300

The next level up is a Bounty Hunter, of which you can have only 1. These cost 80 credits and have better stats with 3 different profiles so you can fine tune your bounty hunter as required. You can gear them up with up to 150 credits from your leaders gear list and they also get either 3 random skills or 1 selected skill and 1 random skill.

Like the Hive Scum they don’t get added to your gang and are added to your crew after crew selection. They do have two rules that can get you some credits, if you manage to kill an enemy fighter you may use the Bounty Hunter’s Dead Not Alive special rule to claim a reward from the authorities and splitting it with the gang which gets half the cost of the dead fighter.

If the gang manages to capture an enemy fighter, on a 3+ roll the Bounty Hunter recognises the captive as a wanted individual and splits the reward, with the gang getting a total of d6x10 credits.

If at the end of the battle, neither of the abilities are used then the Bounty Hunter will stick around for one more, and only one more fight. If one ability was used, then they’ll stick around on a 4+, and if both are used then they’ve got what they wanted and they take their credits and leave. As the abilities are a ‘may’ not a must, you could take a bounty hunter and guarantee you’ll have them for the next two games. That could be great value for the last two games of the campaign.

There aren’t any specific models for generic bounty hunters, here I’ve used the pictures of two named bounty hunters, Grendel Grendelson and Belladonna, both of who have their own stats and special abilities. This is the perfect opportunity to custom build your own bounty hunter and if you’re in a campaign you should be able to reliably have them turn up for the last two games.

Just like with the Hive Scum, there are named bounty hunters with their own cards. Here we have the infamous Kal Jericho along with his trusty side kick Scabs who is actually a Hive Scum. If you hire Kal though, you have the option to hire Scabs for half price and then Scabs counts as a bounty hunter as well rather than a Hive Scum, with the pair counting as your one bounty hunter choice.

There are a ton of character bounty hunters and they make up the majority of the models available on Forge World. The book of Peril does have rules for a Venator gang, a group of Bounty Hunters that have teamed up, but you don’t get to use the special characters. Obviously, you can use the models without the special rules, and that’s the case for any gang as long as your opponent knows what’s going on.

Next up again are the House Agents. You can’t just choose to hire a house agent, instead you give up your chance to roll for House Favours and get to roll for your agent instead. The House Favours table appears in the Arbitrator tools section of the rulebook, so it is considered an optional rule. When rolling on the favours table you get bonuses if other players are ahead you in the campaign, so it’s a bit of a catch up mechanic. Although not specifically stated, presumably House Agents are also an optional rule as you have to choose between them or house favours. The roll is a d6+rep, and you want to roll low. 1-5 means you get the agent for 40 credits, a total bargain. 6-10 means it costs 80, 11+ and your petition is denied.

These are similar in some ways to the Bounty Hunter, but they lose the bounty rules and instead get Gang Hierarchy and Group Activation rules. Crucially, they bring their own 150 credit worth of equipment with them, so you are actually getting a good bargain.

Along with the generic versions, there are also some pre-stated and equipped fighters. Some of these adjust the cost to 100 and 200 but you’re presumably getting a lot more bang for your buck. 

Another optional rule is to include alliances. These are various factions within the game that can lend their aid and support to the gang. these also take up your house favours roll, so presumably you can’t have house agent and an alliance. One of the perks of these alliances is that they provide additional fighters who come from the alliance faction. So they are very flavourful and as you aren’t paying credits for them can be very powerful. Of course nothing is ever free and rather than paying credits, you end up trading favours. 

As an example, House Grim are the most military of the noble houses in Necromunda. If you’re in an alliance with them, they will make sure your fighters have the best ammunition, allowing them to preroll ammo checks. They will also provide a military atache which includes a Kreig Master with bolt pistol, power sword, and light carapace armour along with a Jagerkin bodyguard who has a combat shotgun and mesh armour.

It’s not all good though, at the start of each battle before crews are selected, a random fighter is selected, they were seconded to the militia and have to roll on the injury table. This happens again if you lose a battle. During the post-battle sequence all your Juves have to roll and on a 1 the get drafted and you never see them again. 

Getting support from a Fallen House will get you a Rebel Lord of your own design, or Lady Creedo who features heavily in the new Cinderak Burning campaign. As part of the Rebellion you will get bonus credits for defeating law abiding gangs, enforcer gangs, or any gang allied with the guilds or a noble house.

You will need to fufill your oaths to the fallen house however, providing them D3x10 credits after each battle.

Rather than worrying about the noble houses, you could look for support from one of the Guilds. Access to clean water gives you an effective slopper, or boosts one you already have to 5+.  The Water guild comes with a fantastic looking delegation which includes the Brute like Subnautican Bodyguard which is similar to an Ambot. In classic creepy Necromunda style, these will increase the chance of capturing an enemy fighter but they get sold to the water guild immediately, presumably draining them of all their fluids!

As a drawback, the Water guild will reduce winnings each battle by d3x10, taking their cut.

Similar to the Water Guild we have the Slave Guild. They bring weapon training, letting you add a primary skill to one of your champions or your leader for the duration of the battle. The Slavers Entourage is full of melee goodness and can be quite deadly. For their drawback, they claim all captured fighters for themselves, which shouldn’t bother you too much, beyond maybe moral qualms. They also have a special rule where if one of your gangers or Juves took someone out in melee or performed a coup de grace, roll a d6 on a 6 the slave lord is impressed and rewards the gang with D3x10 credits but on a 1 the Slave lord is very impressed and takes the fighter for a career in the fighting pits essentially deleting them from the gang.

Those are the only alliances with models right now, but there are plenty of others that you could put together custom models for. While the standard way to use these models is to have a gang ally with them, the Book of the Outcast also added an option to start a gang using a delegation. So for example, you could start with a Kreigmaster as your leader and a Jagerkin as a ganger. You don’t get to take additional models from the delegation, but you can use it as a core for your outcast gang.

Okay. Those are all the different ways you can get models on the table.

Brutes and Exotic Beasts are relatively simple and you’ll get to use them as much as you like. The Hangers-On are a little hit and miss. Really you’re taking them for the ability, and as they cost credits and compete with brutes they need to be worth it. Typically, players seem to take the hangers-on that will have a good return on investment, essentially spending credits on hangers on to make more credits long term. The Rogue Doc is a perfect example of this. Unfortunately, as fantastic as the models are in many campaigns you’ll never get to use them which is a real shame.

On the other hand we have the Hired Guns who only stick around for one battle. The real question here is how much a fighter is worth for a single battle, and through the years GW have struggled with this question resulting in multiple different approaches. Most Hired Guns are over costed for what they do, but being able to take them as a bonus to a starting crew is a massive boost. Unfortunately, this means that rather than a catch up mechanic for an under strength gang, they end up as extra insurance for a powerful gang overflowing with credits. Hive Scum are extra bodies which is what counts the most. Bounty Hunters have the weird quirk where they will stick around for 2 battles which helps improve their value. Then we have the House Agents, who will work for cheap for low reputation gangs, but maybe those gangs should be spending the credits on a ganger instead.

All variations on the same theme.

Alliances, bring is to the natural extreme as you essentially get fighters for free. There are drawbacks but the advantages are so great that it’s unlikely you’ll worry about them. I suspect the majority of campaigns will not allow alliances, they feel like a step too far.

Also following the free approach, the Cinderak Burning campaign that recently came out gives the players the option of supporting the Imperial House, Lady Creedo’s Rebellion, or staying unaligned. At the start of each battle there’s a 4+ chance you’ll get to use one of the special characters aligned to that faction for free. It’s a great way to get the story into the game, but definitely feels bad when your opponent rolls high and you don’t.

As with all things in Necromunda, the rule of cool is the one rule that matters. If you’re putting together a one off game, some of these models are perfect for a really fun encounter.

These can also be used as blunt force catch up mechanics. If an Arbitor wants to keep things interesting they can always assign an alliance or Bounty Hunter for free to a gang that’s taken a bit of a mauling in the first half of the campaign. This should give them a nice boost to catch up and keep the games interesting.

The rules as written often are problematic, and rare is the campaign where there aren’t some house rules to patch over the gaps. One option that appeared in White Dwarf May 2019 was to use the difference in credits between starting crews, and rather than just getting an extra tactics card for 100 points as usual, the underdog gang has the option to spend that on Hired Guns. 

This is definitely a house rule I like, not only because it’s a great excuse to pick up some of these fantastic models but also because it’s similar to Blood Bowls inducements which have are a great balancing tool.

It is a little unfortunate that the rules as written don’t really encourage playing these miniatures, for the Brutes typically one Ambot is plenty, hangers-on don’t want to be on the battlefield, and the varieties of hired guns are usually credits better spent gearing up your gang. Luckily, Necromunda is more of a mood than a strict game and the rules are at best guidelines. So take some time to look through the range and pick out something that speaks to you, I’m not sure how, but if you paint it up it will see play. And you’ll have a story of how that model became a legend of the underhive or got blown away on their first appearance. 

If you have any comments or feedback please post them in the comments section below. Check us out on the Optimal Game State website, Mastodon, and YouTube channel for more discussion about the Games Workshop Specialist Games.

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