Monday, September 28, 2009


Rient's ongoing Mutant Future campaign has me thinking about Negromundheim. Now before you get the wrong idea, the name isn't some kind of slur. It's a punning reference the the Games Workshop games Necromunda and Mordheim. However, instead of using the overpriced GW rules, the game uses Shockforce II.

Negromundheim is a war scarred, radiation soaked, mutant infested planet somewhere in the Galactic Empire. Think Gamma World in a space opera context. It was created by a group of French gamers to use as a setting for their tongue-in-cheek battles. It's an entertaining setting with a history that makes for a fun read.

The Shockforce rules themselves use the WarEngine system which can best be described as a simplified version of the D6 System adapted to wargaming. One significant change is the die rolling mechanic. Here's how the rules describe it:

"Many attributes like Attack Value and Defense use values like 2k2 or 4k3. The ‘k’ stands for ‘keep.’ You roll the number of dice before the ‘k’, but keep only the number of dice after the ‘k,’ usually the higher ones."

So if you have an AV of 4k2, you roll four dice but only count the two highest. It's a clever variation that fixes the glitch in the original D6 mechanic, but as you can imagine it leads to an uneven distribution of probabilities. (A much better implementation of the idea is EABA's mechanic where you keep the highest three dice rolled.)

Shockforce also included a simple set of point-build Special Powers that can give a model mutant abilities, which really gives them a Gamma World vibe. Unfortunately the point system used isn't very balanced -- kinda like BESM. All-in-all it's a fun game that makes for colorful skirmish battles. Plus you can get the rules for free on-line now, so what's not to like?

Negromundheim is a great example of how to make a (not-to-serious) post-catastrophe campaign setting. And by putting it in a space opera context you don't limit the players to being natives. They could be interstellar Travellers there after treasure, information, or just looking for repairs after a mishap. Who knows what they'll find...