Necromunda House Goliath Review
Updated: Jan 16
Greeting one and all,
Today we’re going to journey into the hellishly hot and loud forges of House Goliath to see what makes this house of former slaves one of Nercomundas most powerful.
The members that would become house Goliath started as a project to restore Necromundas productivity. House Van Saar and Escher were commissioned to create a new kind of slave worker together by the ruling house of the hive, and after decades of work (and lots of backstabbing and sabotage), the Goliaths walked out of the gene vats. Bred for strength and endurance and with their intelligence and lifespans greatly reduced, they were the perfect workers for the soul crushing industries of Nercomunda. Unfortunately for the two houses that had created them though, the Goliaths solved neither of their own problems. For Van Saar, the Goliaths were too short lived to harvest organs from, while for the Escher, the fact that the Goliaths were nearly all sterile made them worthless for acquiring genetic material.
With the completion of the Goliath project, House Van Saar and Escher went their separate ways, but each house continued to work on the Goliath project on their own. The Van Saar increased the lifespan of the Goliaths, while the Escher went on to breed the first Goliath females. At the same time however, the intelligence of the Goliaths began to grow. They learned to count and developed a language of their own and with all these factors combined, it provided the former slaves a chance to rise up and claim their freedom from their creators.
With the Goliaths particular skill set they had been granted vast swaths of Nercomundas forges and over time, they peacefully (well as peaceful as an uprising could be) took control of these areas. They swore loyalty to the Imperial House of Necromunda, which at the time was ruled by Lady Jenus Helmawr. When learning of the Goliath's uprisings, she is reported to have said “if the Goliaths want to govern themselves then let them prove their worth.” With these words, House Goliath was born.
The House has a near monopoly on the forges of Necromunda; these places are the second most important places to the House after the vat chambers in which they are created and experience their ‘birth’, and hold a near spiritual significance for them. They are also heavily involved in weapons production, slaves (ironically), chems, and rogue docs. All of this means that the various gangs rely on House Goliath for something, be it raw materials, workers, or simply entertainment as pit fighters.
The gangs of House Goliath are nearly always ruled over by the biggest, meanest Goliath in the gang (and having some smarts helps too). The members of gangs tend to be those that either want more than the hard labour of the forges, or that were too violent for even Goliath society and so their skills are put to better use elsewhere.
Goliath Forge Tyrant
These are the leaders of the gang, normally the biggest of the lot and with an unusual amount of brains. They rule their gangs through a mixture of brute violence and respect. Being the one in charge, Tyrants have access to the most kit and also have the highest ballistic skill of the gang, so giving them a range weapon isn’t a waste of credits. That said, they are still suited to being close combat monsters if they need to be. A Tyrant gives the player a host of possibilities that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Goliath Forge Boss
These act as the Forge Tyrant’s second in command. As such, they get access to a large amount of equipment. Unlike the Tyrant, the Forge Boss is far better suited to melee combat than range with a +3 weapon skill. That said, if given template weapons, the +4 ballistic skill isn’t too detrimental. Overall a solid model that gives a wide range of opportunities.
It’s a fact that in order to survive, Goliaths need sablisting drugs. It’s just how most of them were created. Stimmers though, are what happens when a Goliath takes waaayyyy too many drugs. These guys are close combat monsters with a +2 weapon skill and the ability to take paired pulverizers or spud-jackers, giving them 5 attacks on the charge and leaving nothing but a pile of bits afterwards. If this wasn’t enough, their combat chem stash can give them an extra D3 attacks (for those times to have to kill everyone in the room as fast as possible). Even their +4 ballistic skill isn’t too bad as they can be given twin linked assault grenade launchers, resulting in throwing the frag templates everywhere. These guys are terrifyingly effective.
The meat of any Goliath gang, the Bruisers have the same toughness and strength 4 as the other Goliaths making them hard for other gangs to take down. And while they do lack in ballistic skills (hopefully you’re seeing a theme here), they make up for it with the guns they do have doing a shed load of damage when they hit. All this though doesn’t take into account the fact that they are great in close combat, wounding most other models on a +3. They are a really dependable bulk unit for any Goliath gang.
These promising up and comers are the future leaders of the house, and as such are thrown into dangerous situations in order to prove themselves. They are the fastest members of the gang with a movement of 5 (Goliaths normally only have movement 4), and once they have achieved 5 advancements they can become a Goliath Boss or Stimmer. That said, most older Goliaths expect these guys and gals to be short lived and so when one gets wasted, the other Goliaths won’t be put off.
The fresh meat of Goliath gangs, bullies live short and violent lives. They have a very limited equipment list but do benefit from the fast learner trait, meaning they do not pay the extra 2XP to improve a characteristic passed the first time. They can also become a specialist once they reach 5 advancements. Bullies represent the potential within a Goliath gang.
Alongside the core members of the gang, House Goliath also has its own unique hanger-on: the ‘Pit Trainer’. These fellas can train up to 3 fighters between battles who aren’t in recovery. They gain a random skill from their primary or secondary skill lists for the next battle, however this is only a temporary skill. Furthermore, there is always the chance that the fighter is injured in the training, so this hanger-on could end up a double-edged sword if luck isn’t on your side.
As well as this, House Goliath also has a preferred ‘pet’. Though, I’m not sure that I would refer to an angry mutated crocodile as a pet, but that’s just me. High ranking Goliath gang members can sometimes be seen with what is called a Sumpkroc in tow, which among members of the gang act as status symbols as well as being vicious enough to tear apart anyone that gets too close to its master (though, i’m sure the title ‘food giver’ would be more actuate in it’s case).
Lastly, remember the Stimmer and how I said they took waaayyyy too many drugs? Well, I’d like to introduce you to the Zerker, who laughs at the Stimmers pathetic drug habits. These guys are so far off the deep end that most of their ability to think is gone and has been replaced with so much muscle, they barely even resemble humans anymore. When angered, they become nearly unstoppable kill machines that shrug off damage that would kill even the most resilient Goliath.
Muscle Skills and Gene Smithing
Goliath leaders and champions get access to a special set of skills, and there are 6 individual skills in this set like all the other gangs. For the Goliaths, these focus on bodily perfections and physical dominance, in the forms of; Fists of Steel, Iron Man, Immovable Stance, NAAARGAH, Unleash the Beast, and Walk it Off. These skills can make an already incredibly tough ganger nearly superhuman, able to take blows that should kill them by rights, or dish out the kind of damage that would knock out an ambull.
As a created lifeform, Goliaths can be edited at birth, or even afterwards, through the process called ‘Gene-Smithing’. Firstly, you have to decide if your Goliath is going to be the standard vatborn (created artificially), natborn (born the standard way via a female Goliath), or an unborn (a person born human, who becomes a Goliath through various means). After that you can select a number of upgrades, but simply calling them ‘upgrades’ is a little more complicated than it seems on the surface. Each type of Goliath has the potential for different upgrades depending on the circumstances of their ‘birth’, but while upgrades usually means in a positive sense, not all the upgrades for the Goliaths give positive effects to your gang members. These upgrades are gained by spending credits or taking flaws, and they mark a permanent change to the gang members stats for the rest of the campaign. These changes for some may seem minor, but they can change the whole makeup of your gang entirely, for better or for worse.
Gene-Smithing upgrades that can benefit your gang members include; Dermal Hardening, giving a vatborn +1 to their toughness (making them toughness 5), Alpha’s Lineage, giving natborn access to the leadership skills and group activations, or Scar Tissue, reducing damage by 1 for unborn Goliaths. Upgrades like these can greatly improve some of your gang's stats and open up further opportunities for you during play, but the flaws available shouldn’t be dismissed quite so quickly. Flaws cover a variety of negatives, such as Doc’s Failure, in which unborn select 2 of either movement, strength, toughness, or wounds, and reduce the stat by 1. Tyrant's Pride on the other hand, which can only be given to a natborn Forge Tyrant, means that the gang cannot have any champions within the gang because of the ego the Forge Tyrant possesses. While it seems like a bad decision to take flaws such as these, for each of these ‘upgrades’ you take you gain a number of credits back. You can then use these credits to spend on your Goliaths, giving you more opportunities to take even more positive upgrades or kit them out with powerful weapons and armour. So flaws they may be, but it could be a small price to pay to get your hands on something really snacky.
From Gamesworkshop itself, the Goliath has two boxes of models available and one weapon and upgrade set. The first box has nearly everything you might need to build a basic gang, consisting of a leader, two champions, gangers, and juves. The second box contains all the parts to build Stimmers and Forge Born, so a necessary purchase if you want these models in your gang. Gameworkshops upgrade set contains a vast amount of weapons and heads to equip your Goliaths with and really personalise your gang. Lastly, there are two nice Forgeworld kits available, giving you access to the Zerker and Sumpkroc.
Overall, House Goliath gangs are a great gang to run if you're wanting to get up close and personal. They’re tough, they’re meaty, and the unique skills in Gene-Smithing gives you the ability to really customise each member of your gang, tailoring them to particular roles that gives you an unheard of level of flexibility that other houses don’t get. If you're facing one of these gangs, I’d suggest you break out the heavy weapons cause nothing less will bring the Goliaths down.
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