Okay, now we’ve had brief chat about how the gangs (or kabals or whatever) could be constructed; the next step is to think about the reasons why these gangs would be fighting. Now, as anyone who knows anything about Commorragh can tell you, it’s a very dangerous place. Fights happen and casual murder abounds. However, it’s not completely lawless. Such a society could not exist. That’s not to say that there’s any kind of central constitution or set of rules or anything. Actually, thinking about it, it’s not really law. It’s order. There’s a distinct difference between the two. Order seems to be kept by faction and by individual. After the aristocracy fell, organised gangs (kabals) rose from the anarchy and now keep order in the areas that they control. This provides a ripe canvas for conflict, as all these kabals would be trying to screw each other over for gain, be it territory, resource, favour from another faction, you name it. However, such machinations must be planned carefully or a full-on war between kabals could erupt, disrupting the order of the area and (more often than not) weakening both sides regardless of who one. This environment favours the smaller-sized conflicts with distinct objectives to be achieved and strict parameters for failure. This is very good for the type of game I want to do.
However, that’s just the kabals. They’re only one faction in Dark Eldar society (although they are broadly speaking the most powerful and generalist). You also have Wych Cults, Haemonculi Covens, Hellion Gangs,
, Mandrakes, Alien Mercenaries and the vast multitudes of Slaves knocking about. However, some of these things are just going to be too specialised to be a full playable faction in the game. Incubi are a good example to illustrate what I mean. They have a very strict role and a (sort of) code of ethics to them, and I just don’t see them being involved in these kind of gang war on their own. I can see them being hired as shock troops and bodyguards though, just not a faction in their own right. Same for the alien mercenaries. They wouldn’t be organised enough or well supported enough to participate in and of themselves. Hired, no problem. Mandrakes as well. God knows what they're up to. Incubi Temples
Now, in games like Necromunda, you had your distinct gangs (Orlocks, Van Saar, Escher, Goliath et al) and you played strictly to that gang’s layout and quirks. Van Saar ran highly tech-based, so would have relevant skills and equipment for that theme, Goliath were brute-force close range fighters and so on. There were some mercenary choices, but it was broadly you having your one gang choice and playing to that. Gorkamorka was simpler. You had Gorkers and Morkers. They weren’t so much gangs as schools of thought (cunning or brute force) and only governed what skills you had available to you. I see this game as being different from both on that front.
Even in that short list of factions I made, there are a number that would work as hirelings rather than full factions and this would lend itself to a far more varied hodgepodge of gang make ups, as I see people wanting to go for a variety of different gang makeup from all the hired forces. In some ways this is a good thing, but might end up with the opposing forces being too indistinct and losing character. How could this be combated? One possibility is a favour system. The more you hire, say Incubi, the more they would favour you as a regular employer. You would gain (if not trust) then at least a little extra consideration. Yet, at the same time, the other mercenary factions wouldn’t care much for you and you would gain any favour with them. In fact, up against another gang who had hired wych cultists, your rampant slaughter of them (maybe) would cause you to be seen as an enemy or at least an antagonist and they would be far less likely to work for you.
This system, I’ve realised, potentially falls into the trap to people throwing their lot in with one mercenary faction and endlessly taking advantage of cheaper rates and better equipment, making it feel less like a Kabal and more like a
on the march, which I said earlier was incongruous to the logic of Temple . There should be risk involved in the act of hiring on guys like this. So I’m thinking of something like a penalty if too many of your hirelings die in a conflict. After all, the Temples isn’t going to think highly of you if you keep getting their members killed, regardless of how often you hire them… Temple
Okay, that’s the discussion for today, but this section is definitely going to need more thought.
In a good way, of course. There’s a lot of potential here that needs to be explored. As ever, any comments or ideas are appreciated.
PS Thanks to you anonymous guys (not sure if you were one or two) for linking me to similar projects. When time allows I’ll definitely have a look through and see if there’s any insight I can glean from them. Fingers’ crossed!