I suppose the first thing to think about when trying to design a game like this is wondering what form it should take. I’ve stated my inspiration for this as being gang-level skirmish campaign games like Necromunda and Mordheim. That seems like a natural starting point, as the gang violence is probably going to be the meat of the game. Assuming I take further ideas from those games, another question arises. In Necromunda, each one of your gang members, from juves to leaders, was their own character. You named them, equipped them and developed them all individually. Mordheim, by contrast worked by a different method. You had some individual characters, but you also had groups of Henchman; guys who were less individual than the named characters. Where the important characters rolled on dedicated injury tables whenever they got taken down in a fight, henchman got a single flat D6 roll to see whether or not they survived the wounds, representing their more expendable nature.
Another key difference between Henchmen and Characters was in experience and advancement. One of the most fulfilling things about Necromunda was having one of your juves (low-level gang members) grow over time and claw their way up the gang hierarchy and become more and more dangerous as time progressed. Henchmen had opportunity for advancement, but these were often less plentiful or developed than Characters, who had far greater opportunities for skills and stats. Equipment is another defining difference, with Henchmen having far less options for tweaked layouts and less flexibility and character as a result, especially seeing as they were hired on in groups rather than individuals.
That may have been sounding like I don’t like the Henchman system, but that’s not really the case. The Mordheim system may have sacrificed some of the depth of the Necromunda gang system on a strict model-by-model basis, but the game became streamlined as a result. It also helped you to get more attached to the characters you did have, as you would (by and large) prefer to have a henchman throw himself in the way to blunt an attack than one of your few characters, whereas you wouldn’t really get the choice in Necromunda. I also think that the more disposable nature of the Henchman system fits in better with the feel of Commorragh as whole. People would get thrown away wholesale if necessary with little to no remorse from the loss.
I think that, for the combat section of the game, the Henchman System of Mordheim is probably going to be a better fit overall, with a few more individual characters to act as lieutenants or important allies. This too conveys the extreme segregation of Commorragh society into the haves or have-nots as well as providing more scope for en masse gangs to develop without horrific amounts of paperwork to endure at the end of each engagement.
However, my decision is by now means set in stone. These Commorragh posts are really me having a conversation with myself and mulling over ideas. Well, that’s half true. They’re also serving as progress updates and discussion points for anyone who might be interested in joining in or giving ideas or criticism. At the very least have a look at some of the games I mentioned earlier (if you don’t know them already). They really are quite good.
Free (legal) downloadable rulebooks for the systems can be found through the following links: