Friday 13 August 2010

Battle Report using Book of the Arbitrator rules

We had a game the other day, using a player-created variation on the Necromunda rules called Book of the Arbitrator. This set is a collection of house rules and a huge amount of work’s gone into it. The writer Torben Kastbjerg explains his reasons for altering things, making them just the way he and his own gaming group like to play. As such a lot of work had gone into Book of the Arbitrator we decided to give it a go.

The main change from our point of view was the implementation of an initiative based integrated turn sequence. Obviously this changes the game a huge amount and this particular variant on the concept took us a while to get our heads around. I’ve seen this idea presented in quite a few different ways, and this came across as one of the more complex iterations as it required characters to be given two new Initiative scores. We found it a little over complex for the game (perhaps just alternating between each player’s characters might have been better for us).

Another change is the way that injuries work – there’s no Injury roll, but characters generally have a lot more Wounds (and suffer stats negatives when they lose a certain amount). I assume this is because the integrated turn sequence makes Recovery hard to implement, so I can see why it was done, but we really missed this staple of Necromunda.

Perhaps the part of the rules that caused the most debate for us was the way the rules regarding moving and shooting, and the modifiers that go along with these have changed. In some ways more movement is possible as you can move while firing more weapons, and do so on Overwatch (at half Movement). In other ways, the introduction of an Aim action to make your shots more accurate if you don’t move would seem to mitigate against this. I think most people would agree that the more things happening in a game the better, and this is as much down to the scenario victory conditions as it is to the mechanics – after all, its all very well sitting back a firing but if you have to capture an objective or get off the opposite table edge you generally don’t win by standing and shooting.

Character creation has seen a massive overhaul, and this is where this set of house rules really shines. Characters start off with a base profile defined by their race, and then apply various bonuses to this based on their archetype. These are simple roles to define fighter, marksman, sage and scout type characters. Furthermore, there’s a huge amount of skills that characters can utilise, each serving to define the character more – great stuff there.

Torben has provided a great range of campaign options, including an implementation of the Mordheim Exploration-based campaign. In my opinion, this style of campaign is much better for open-ended campaigns, though the territory system is better suited to those looking to play exclusively within the Necromunda setting. This set of rules isn’t tied to gang warfare in the Underhive, so the Exploration system provides a more open backdrop that any faction could get involved in.

In general, the rules are (in character at least) a hybrid between Necromunda and Inquisitor. As a group, our reactions were mixed – we liked some bits and didn’t like others. Some things made us think how we’d do them differently and others what we’d alone. In all, Torben should be commended for writing a set of rules tailor made for his own gaming group and for presenting them to a wide audience. Even if people don’t use them entirely as written (and there’s no obligation to!) he has put a huge amount of work into the project and that alone should show others wanting to write their own variant rules sets what can be done.

I’ll leave the other guys to throw in their comments, as I’m sure I’ve missed some of the points we discussed. In the meantime, here’s some shots from the game we played, which featured a Sensei Warband (with a xenos Piscean which we counted as a Kroot) vs a human defence force patrol.


  The field of battle - ready for the plunderin'

  One half of the Sensei warband.

 The other half...

 The defence force musters.

 The defenders close in on the intruders.

 A fire fight breaks out.

 Defence force reserves infiltrate closer.

 The Piscean seizes his prize.

 The Defence force hold the central temple and the game ends.


  1. Beutyfull sotry. Very interesting miniatures.
    The miniature of fish like alien looks familiar to me but I don't remember where I have seen it...
    What company makes it?

  2. Hi there! Wasn't much of a story but thanks anyway ;-)
    The fishman is a Piscean Warrior from the very frist Citadel Rogue Trader release. Its incredibly rare these days and is a nice miniature. Major Hazard did a really nice job painting it too.