Regular readers and followers on Twitter will know that I’ve been playing around with the idea of a Necromunda campaign based around the premise of gangs being abducted and forced to take part in an illegal reality TV show called The Slaughter House. Trapped within a closed off section of the Underhive the gangs must fight one another for survival and in so doing win favour with their captor.
Rather than being map based like the Mordheim campaign I wrote was I kept it as simple as possible. So the usual campaign rules apply with one addition which is Ratings Points. Put simply, the more violence and carnage the higher the ratings. So gangs are rewarded for acts of violence of death-defying feats. Equally any acts of stupidity or just being boring causes a dip in the ratings. The end result is each gang, at the end of every game, will have a Ratings Share in the positive or minus. Positive means rewards, minuses penalties.
Below is the cover story for your enjoyment…
Welcome, frag fans, to the seventeenth season of The Slaughter House. Six gangs, the limitless nightmare of the badzones and unimaginable slaughter! I’m your host; Pycon and I’ll be with you every step of the way as our contestants slice and dice their way to freedom! Now let’s meet them…’
The spikey haired maniac was drowned out by hundreds of thousands of voices baying for blood. It was like a las-cutter through Hagan’s mind. He groaned as his eyes ﬂ uttered open and he stared up at the vidscreen. He let out a groan as his mind registered the familiar logo oscillating in the top left of the screen. By the Emperor’s bones, not The Slaughter House. Hagan pushed himself upright, swaying unsteadily as the back of his head throbbed. He stared at the fuzzy image on the picter above his head as he ﬁngered the clotted mess
at the back of his head where the cosh had almost fractured his skull. He muttered a curse as he saw his mug shot, presumably clept’ from a local Enforcer house wanted board, alongside a pale, sickly, looking Delaque, an attractive but fearsome Escher, a the stimm tweaked muscle-bound Goliath, a deranged Cawdor and a spooky looking Ratskin chief.
The Escher, Cawdor and Ratskin were unknowns but the Delaque he’d run into before. Actually, that was an understatement. Hagan and his Death Jacks had raided their settlement about 6 months prior; stole a cache of supplies and then burnt the place right down. It was his ﬁrst real heist since taking command of the rag-tag crew. The Goliath too he’d had dealings with. Mainly selling on the arms he’d stolen from the Delaque. All was going well until someone got greedy and Hagan had to make an example of him courtesy of a hired gun lurking in the shadows with a long-las. Needless to say, the whole deal went South and his crew had to shoot their way out.
Obviously it had caught the attention of more than just the local law enforcement. The Slaughter House was an illegal pictcast that been broadcasting for years with a simple premise – no
holes barred violence for the gratification of the masses. Each season between four and eight gangs would be abducted and left in a sealed off part of the badzones.
With miles and miles of domes, tunnels and shafts available to them the organisers were free to event a series of challenges, increasing in complexity and lethality, that the gangs had to compete against one another to achieve and to the winner the spoils. The spoils being survival and fresh equipment and supplies to keep the gang ﬁghting ﬁt. After all, a healthy gang made for better ratings.
Disobedience or attempts to escape the House were always met with a grim and heavily broadcasted end. Slaughter House seasons, depending on the skill and determination of the ‘contestants’ could last anything from a week to years. The longest Hagan was aware of was concluded in spectacular fashion by an Orlock gang by the name of the Steel Wolves who put down their ﬁnal opposition three years after the season started. So famous was their leader by the time he was released that he was able to buy his way into the Spire.
Looking away from the screen as the gibbering host detailed the fate that awaited Hagan and his Death Jacks he stared into the gloom. He could just make out the shapes of other prone ﬁgures and judging by the number his entire crew was in here with him. Even the hulking form of Alyce, his bad-tempered but highly capable heavy. Hagan allowed himself a smile at the thought of what he would do to those responsible for their abduction if they had taken away Vera, his beloved and highly customised heavy stubber.
As Hagan’ eyes grew accustomed, he was able to make out the familiar shapes of weapons mounted to racks along the walls of what looked like a heavy cargo container – the kind House Van Saar made for the Imperial Guard to ship supplies planet side for one of the Emperor’s wars. Reaching out he yanked free an older Necromundan pattern lasgun. The Cadian and Catachan patterns had long surpassed the Necromundan offering to the Imperial war effort, both having better accuracy and external power cells. The Necromundan pattern was more robust thanks to the internal, longer lasting, power supply that delivered a slightly more powerful charge, but if the cell ran dry it was effectively useless until it could be ﬁeld stripped which made it unreliable during extended deployments. Judging from the kill markings, or lack thereof, he knew this riﬂe belonged to Washburne.
Hagan thumbed the activation stud and was rewarded with the hum of life. He checked the power read out and was pleased to see it was reading full. Expertly hefting the riﬂe, an instinctual hangover from his days as a platoon leader in the Imperial Guard, before all but he and his command staff were wiped out and he was relieved of duty, he made from what
looked like the container’s hatch.
Above him The Slaughter House had taken a break. In its place was a sermon coming from somewhere deep within House Cawdor demanding all true and loyal citizens of the Imperium to cast out the mutant. Which was all well and good but mutations were born to sixty percent of offspring in the lower levels of the Hive City. That number got a lot higher in the Underhive.
Taking a step back he levelled the weapon and clicked off the safety. Screwing his eyes shut he depressed the ﬁring stud.
‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you.’ The voice boomed through the compartment from a dozen concealed speakers. Hagan immediately recognised the voice of the shows host.
‘Why not?’ Hagan growled.
‘Because my hot-headed friend,’ Pycon chirped, ‘the door is magnetised and shooting it with a lasgun will most likely get you killed. And we wouldn’t want that. Yet.’
The compartment was ﬁlled with a blaring siren. As Hagan’s Death Jacks were snapped from their state of unconsciousness Pycon’s tone changed as the compartment doors wound open and light ﬂooded in.
‘Death Jacks! Arm yourselves!’ Hagan bellowed, his gang scrambling to their feet and grabbing for
‘Ladies, Gentlemen and miscellaneous!’ Pycon bellowed over the din of crowds. Hagan had no idea
if it were real crowds or just laid over the top to get all the low-lives in the various watering holes and obscura dens across the Underhive excited enough to lay wagers. ‘I give you your contestants! Your gladiators! Your victims!’ The crowd continued to embrace hysteria as Hagan adjusted his jacket and stepped out in to the light.
Any doubt Hagan had about the crowds being real or not was dispelled instantly as he and his gang stepped into a crater three hundred feet deep. Every ten feet balconies had been carved into expanse and every inch was ﬁlled with the baying faces of hundreds of thousands of humans and mutants. Every one of them roared incoherently but their intent was clear – they wanted blood. They didn’t care whose or how it was spilled as long as it ﬂowed and ﬂowed freely.All around him and the ﬁve other stunned gangs bobbed pict-thief servo-skulls, their gaping mouths ﬁlled with camera equipment, beaming their image upon holographs across the arena and to the hive beyond.
‘For your viewing pleasure,’ Pycon continued, ‘your six brave bands of warriors will pit their wits and baser instincts in the one place in the galaxy that even the Adeptus Astartes fear to tread…’ Hagan balked. He’d seen the Astartes in action on three separate occasions. Their capacity for war was unlike anything he could ever imagine. Blasphemy aside he was sure of one thing; the Astartes were afraid of nothing. Hagan drew his focus back on Pycon’s dirge. ‘…a place so horriﬁc the daemonic lurk in its darkest corners…I give you; The Slaughter House!’
The crowd went crazy. The chamber shook with stomping feet and the roars from hundreds of thousands of throats.
‘And now,’ Pycon screamed over the din, his eyes were ﬁlled with mania and saliva ﬂecked his lips, ‘It’s time to enter the House!’
Six doors ground open around the edge of the chamber. Each one was lit with a House badge. Hagan looked at the hatch and the darkness beyond and up at the capering Pycon high above him on a shielded dais. He pulled the slide ejecting one of the explosive rounds. Pulling his knife free from his hip he carefully scratched Pycon’s name into the casing before stowing it away in his chest pocket. Slinging his boltgun on his shoulder he signalled for his men to move out. Reaching the gateway he cast one last look over his shoulder at the baying crowds before stalking into the darkness, suddenly reminded of something he’d read as a boy about the fate that awaited participants in the gladiatorial arenas of Holy Terra in a long ago age…
Blood and glory.-