Necromunda Book of the Outcast Review, Underhive Market and Outcast Gang Unboxing
The Underhive is a dangerous place. We’ve travelled across Necromunda and met the various Houses and their various hangers on and allies. But now is the time to delve into a corner of the Underhive that we have not explored before, the dark underbelly where the outcast and forsaken dwell and plan their revenge on those that banished them! Today the Book of the Outcast is up for pre order alongside the new Zone Mortalis Underhive Market and the plastic Outcast Gang box – Massive thanks to Games Workshop for sending us copies of these to review, unbox and share with you all!
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Still with us? Excellent! Gather together your gang and prepare to head into the territories of the Outcasts…
Before we dig into the book itself, I first wanted to take a look at the two new plastic kits that are also up for pre order today – the Underhive Market and the Outcasts Gang!
Zone Mortalis: Underhive Market
Regular visitors will know that I am a massive fan of terrain kits – I find them so much fun to build and paint, and the Zone Mortalis range is among the best kits that Games Workshop have ever put out! So when I found out that GW had a Zone Mortalis compatible Underhive Market kit on the way, then I was more than a little excited!
Inside the box you get 2 duplicate frames that allow you to build between 2 and 4 market stalls plus an absolute stack of scatter terrain! The stalls go together in a really clever way where you can make them a “single” section that can then by placed flat against a Zone Mortalis Wall or Column, or you can build it as a larger double sided piece by using double the components – this allows you then to put a larger freestanding market stall as a centre piece of a market area. Rules wise a Necromunda Market should cover a 12″ tile area – and this is easily manageable with the contents of the box.
Over the last few days I’ve managed to get this painted up on a tile to show what it looks like! Except for the tile itself and the ZM walls and columns, everything else here is contained in a single Market box!
This set is well worth picking up if only to add some variety to your Necromunda boards and a lived-in feel with some low scatter terrain! Likewise this will also be great for adding some flavour to your 40k setups too!
Necromunda Underhive Outcasts Gang
The second plastic kit up for pre order today is the Underhive Outcasts Gang! Predominantly this is used to create gangs of Outcasts using the rules from within Book of the Outcast, however it can also be used to represent Hive Skum hired by any Necromunda gang
Inside the box you get 3 frames of 4 models each packed out with a load of different modular weapon options – just by following the instructions you can ensure that each model built from the box looks different, and if you want some specific loadouts then you get enough different weapons across the 3 frames to make for a nice mixed gang!
I suspect that Warhammer 40k Chaos players will be interested in this set as this is a great way of building up some varied Chaos Cultists! Lots of the parts have a Genestealer Cults aesthetic too, so there’s some great potential for kitbashing GSC gangs too! Stay tuned to our Twitter for some images of the gang when they are painted!
Book of the Outcast Review
The main attraction today however is Book of the Outcast, the latest supplement for Necromunda. Over the last couple of years we have seen Games Workshop working their way through the “House of” series as a way of bringing the core Necromunda gangs up to date with new rules, lore, options and models – something that has really breathed life into the new edition of the game and massively expanded the narrative ammunition we have available to bring the Underhive to life.
With the House of books finished we were wondering what direction Games Workshop might go in next. Might we see brand new gangs invented? Could we see books exploring different regions of the world and exciting new things to add into our games? With Book of the Outcast we get a little bit of both. A return to the “Book of” series that brought us rules for Bounty Hunter gangs, cults and new dangers in Necromunda, Book of the Outcast details those individuals who have fallen through the cracks are are no longer part of Necromuna society.
These Outcasts, for want of a better word, are the skum that has been flushed from the hives. Fallen gangers who have have been exiled from society, criminal gangs who operate in the shadows and against the law (Though as with everything on Necromunda sometimes Lord Helmawr will look the other way if it is in his favour…), dangerous bands of psykers who are hiding against sanctions and witch hunts, the dregs who are on the run from the authorities with a price on their heads and even those who live out in the ash wastes far away from civilisation. The book details all these various factions and how the lines between Outlaw, Outcast, Criminal and Outlander are blurred at best. As this book allows you to construct any of these different types of gang, the lore section does a great job detailing how they operate and their motivations. This has already seeded loads of ideas for gangs I would like to do, and luckily the rules give you the opportunity to create whatever out-there band of scum and villainy you can dream up!
Creating an Outcast Gang
As we have seen from the lore, the makeup of an Outcast Gang is a little different to the core house gangs – we have a wide range of different backgrounds and themes that can fit into the very wide bracket of “Outcast” and thankfully Book of the Outcast gives us a massive toolbox to construct some really interesting gangs!
From a gang construction point of view things are quite different than a normal gang – firstly, you have quite a lot of freedom in how you create your leader.
The first option is to simply use one of the Underhive Outcast Leader profiles from the book. As with Venator Bounty Hunter gangs we get a choice of stat blocks that can be picked from to represent the model and the background you have in mind for your leader. Want a stocky Squat crime lord who has gathered together a family of rejected individuals from across the galaxy? then go for the low movement, high toughness profile! Want an Eldar Pirate Queen who is on the run from the authorities? Then there’s a nice Movement 7 with 2+BS profile that might suit her!
Clocking in at 125 credits you get lots of freedom here in creating your perfect character! But that’s just the start, you also get to pick an affiliation for your new leader – this basically represents their background and and rules that the entire gang will get as a result of that affiliation.
We get a choice of 1 of 5 options here, each mixing things up in different ways:
Clanless – This is your generic Outcast, not allied with anyone and as such can be law abiding or outlaw as they please, they get no additional bonus weapons or equipment options and they can never form alliances as they are untrusted by the entirety of Necromunda
Clan House – This represents Outcasts that once came from one of the great houses, but have perhaps beeen exiled or banished from society. They retain the faction affiliation of their parent house for rules purposes, and also gain access to that gang’s weapons and wargear lists along with their exotic beasts. They can enter alliances with any faction their parent house would have a strong alliance with, but do not get the additional strong alliance benefits themselves. This is a nice way of being able to mix in some of the cool faction specific weapons and gear into your outcast gang.
Merchant Gang – Like with the Clan House, this represents members of Merchant Gangs who have gone rogue and set up their own organisation! You get to pick from any of the established guilds and get the benefit of being able to equip their gang members with any gear or weapons that are available to that guild, at the cost of only being able to make alliances with that chosen guild
Criminal Organisation – This works much the same way as the Merchant Gang with the gang able to equip itself with any gear that would be available to that organisation regardless of the rarity or legality (This is an area where the Arbitrator will need to dictate what gear they would have access to)
Noble House – Again, like with the last two options this allows you to be from any of the established Necromunda Noble Houses (Such as House Catallus or Ulanti) and again arm yourself in their manner at the expense of only being able to make alliances with that specific house.
The next step in creating a Leader is then selecting an “Archetype” – this essentially is a way of selecting what skills they have access to and is split out between Brawler, Gunslinger, Survivor, Mastermind and Wyrd (With Wyrds able to pick Wryd Powers from this book instead of a skill) – Again this adds quite a bit of customisation to your leader and lets you really craft something that fits the specific model you are using.
Finally you can equip them with anything from the trading post with a rarity of 9 or less!
Now, there are two other options for your leader.
You can choose to have the core of your gang be a Delegation gang! You know those cool delegations available from Forge World such as the Water Guild, the Slaver Guild or the Military Attache? (13 options are listed in the book representing every single entry from across all the House of books) Well now you can use those models as the core of your gang, have them earn experience and skills and operate just like any other gang in the game! This is massive as it massively increases the types of gangs we will see in the game and lets you do some really, really fun stuff! Each of the delegations has a points cost and details what each model represents in terms of gang rank (So for example a Chain Lord becomes your leader, the Shakleman is a champion and the 2 pitfighters are Gangers clocking in at a total of 710 credits) and you can use any remaining credits to purchase Outcast Fighters (The generic Ganger options available in the book) to fill out the rest of the gang. I absolutely love this and I’m already making plans to build a warband for each of these delegations to make the most of the gorgeous models available. Narrative players and converters alike will love the opportunity to be able to do something very very different to the established gangs and make something really fun! Like with a standard leader you still get to give them an affiliation and archetype to represent how they would fight.
The third option for your leader is to pick any Dramatis Personae out of any Necromunda book! You simply pay their cost, pick your Affiliation and Archetype and if you want to you can swap out the gear on their profile by buying any gear of rarity 9 or less from the trading post. Once created your Leader will gain XP and skills as any other member of your gang, you dont have to pay any ongoing costs or anything, you simply pay their base costs to have them lead the gang! Again, this is amazing and lets you do some really cool stuff such as Kal Jerico leading a bunch of scum, again giving the Outcast player loads of options! Now it is worth saying that the Arbitrator will just want to check over just what an Outcast player wants to do, as there is the potential for abuse here and some imbalanced gangs – but with a group playing in the correct spirit of things this gives you loads of new options for how you build a gang!
Unlike other Necromunda gangs, things go south fast when the leader dies – essentially you immediately create a new gang with a value of 75% of the previous gang to represent some people turning tail and drifting off, some casualties in the power vacuum and a charismatic leader stepping in to fill the gap – you are free to use existing gang members or add entirely new ones, the real penalty is that each time your leader is killed then your gang is going to become smaller as people start ditching at the first sign of trouble!
In the book we also get a profile for an Outcast Champion, these cost 60 credits and have a fairly standard Champ profile, but have the advantage of being to pick anything from the Trading Post with a rarity of 8 or less – just like with a leader you also get to pick an archetype for them too to set the skills you would like them to have access to.
Finally, at 30 credits each we get the Hive Scum, the ganger option for the Outcasts – these are a pretty average grunt unit with a basic equipment list to represent the general rabble of your gang. As this is essentially a gang made up of a couple of tooled up characters led by a pack of cannon fodder it works pretty well, whats also interesting is that we do not have a Juve equivalent, as from a narrative point of view anyone with a story interesting enough to elevate themselves above the generic scum would be better represented by a Champion. While you can only start out with 2 Champions, as the gang progresses you can take 1 for every 3 gangers.
Hangers on and Dramatis Personae
We also get a nice selection of Hangers on and Dramatis Personae (The later being brilliant options for acting as a leader of your gang) such as the Rebel Lord Lady Credo or a hooded gunslinger armed in battered enforcer armour known only as “The Stranger” for those who want to re-enact their favourite Western or Mandalorian dreams!
As for hangers on we only get one new option, the Underhive Trader. For 50 credits this gives you access to a choice of 4 different trader types from a Beastwrangler who gives your beasts +1xp each campaign week to Connected Trader who not only allows you to sell gear for twice the standard rate, but also allows you to trade with other gangs! The rules suggest that the Arbitrator is free to design their own Traders for their campaign such as someone who is able to do repairs or maybe has access to strange Archeotech… Again, this really pushes the point that this book is more a toolbox to the Arbitrator to add some interesting and new stuff to keep a campaign fresh and different.
We get a nice section in the book that contains not only the rules for the new Underhive Market (With some great concepts such as being able to look the stalls – it might have some interesting gear, but equally it might be boobytrapped!) but also the full rules for Gang Strongholds that had previously been included in the Gang Stronghold box – while anyone with a Stronghold already has these rules in the box, it is nice to see them included together here in this terrain section.
In another move that marks this as a supplement for players who want to expand the options available to them in their games, the book contains an expanded section detailing 7 Wyrd disciplines each with 6 powers along with rules for giving eligible Psykers additional powers from these lists. Biomancy, Chronomancy, Divination, Pyromancy, Technomancy, Telepathy and Telekinesis are covered here and will be a nice option for Outlaw gangs who lean heavily into the Wyrd side of things or Delaque players who want to expand their Psychic options.
The next big section of the book is an entirely new campaign that represents various Outcast gangs fighting over new territory and building up their settlements with new building and defensive structures over the first half of the campaign before turning on each other and tearing them down in the second half of the campaign!
This looks really fun and captures the vibe of something like the Fallout videogames where your small rag tag force works to gather resources to improve their fledgling outpost and surrounding territories before their rivals sweep in to take it for themselves!
While it is written around Outcasts on the frontiers of society, you can easily use any other Necromunda Gang in this as there is no reason why one of the houses wouldn’t want to take some of that territory for themselves!
This is a fully fledged campaign with XP charts, injury tables and structures that can be built between games and acts as a nice way of expanding the existing campaign options we have for the game, with the main unique gimmick being the starting choice of territory making it easier/harder to defend/gather resources/expand based on system of balance between three stats of Defence, Resources and Toxicity. This gives a kind of subgame within the campaign where you plan how you want to expand and better your settlement keeping in mind that everything is going to hell in the latter half of the campaign!
The campaign is accompanied by a series of scenarios that geared around the resource gathering half and also the more aggressive and offensive conclusion! We see some fun stuff here such as a fight in a market where either side cannot carry heavy weapons for fear of either getting themselves spotted prior to the ambush or not wanting to destroy their own precious Market! I can already picture the slow motion gunfights as gangers dive between storefronts and boxes of merchandise as the panicked market goers flee in all directions!
In addition to the usual Gang Tactics, weapon profiles and full equipment and gear rules, we also get an expanded Trading Post that finally gives us the full range of weapons available to our fighters along with costs and rarity – Now Games Workshop had previously said that this would be a free download on Warhammer Community, and I do hope that is still the case, however it is good to have this collected in a book for reference purposes.
So what do I think of Book of the Outcast? While the House of Series was almost like a Codex for that individual gang, the Book of the Outcast is almost half Outcast supplement and half Arbitrator’s Toolbox giving anyone who is running a Necromunda campaign a whole host of cool new things to add to your games. The campaign looks really run and I have plans on playing through this as soon as possible. The Outcast gang construction rules are great, almost like a refined version of the Venator Bounty Hunter list that allows you to create the Necromunda gang of your dreams by using whatever cool models you have to hand – whether this be plastic GW kits, the Forge World range or even your own conversions. The story and hobby side of the game is what appeals to me the most, so giving me the option to make a gang from whatever models I like from the entire range and dress this in whatever cutthroat and swashbuckling story I want gets a massive thumbs up from me!
Necromunda has gone from strength to strength and this is another worthy book in your collection!
The Book of the Outcast is up for pre order today and is released on the 4th of December.
Games Workshop sent Sprues & Brews a free copy of Book of the Outcast, Underhive Market and Outcast Gang for review purposes.