Updated: Jan 16
Greetings one and all
Necromunda seems like a lawless place, with everyone committing some type of crime just to survive. However, this isn’t really the case. In fact, the Imperial House has some of the most effective and brutal repression forces in the Imperium at its every beck and call. So, stick with me and you might learn how to avoid the long arm of the law as we take a look at the Palanite Enforcers.
Who Are They?
The Palanite Enforces are the law enforcement officers of the Imperial House, or at least how they are presented. In reality, they are the Imperial House Army of brutal repression, putting their arsenal of shotguns, grenade launchers and shock batons to good use, beating the daylights out of anyone who even looks like they might have had a bad thought about the Imperial House and the way things are done.
So, as these men and women have a level of violence that would sicken even Judge Dredd himself, what else would you need to know? Well as mentioned before, they are basically a military organisation and ergo, have a strict hierarchy with lowly Rookie Patrolmen at the bottom, then Patrolmen, Sergeants, Captains, Provost Marshals, and then finally Lord Helmawr himself. As such, the Lord of Necromunda is in complete control of his Enforcers and corruption within their ranks is nearly unheard of.
The Enforcers also serve another purpose in the way that it recruits new members. You see, Lord Helmawr doesn’t want an army of unthinking loyal slaves (he already has millions of those in the form of the Helots). No, he wants fighters capable of being harder than anything the Underhive can produce and that involves some room for initiative. As such, if you don’t choose to join them of your own volition to drag yourself out of whatever cesspit you’ve been born into, then the Enforcers will eventually round up any hivers deemed to have a strength of will and initiative above that of their peers. These people are taken away to Enforcement Training Camps where new recruits are broken again and again until they either become loyal members of the Enforces, or they’re left broken. Permanently. The Imperial House is fully aware that those people who have the best traits to become Enforcers also make rather good criminals, and so by rounding them up like this they’re removing a future problem for themselves, all the while strengthening their own position.
The Palanite Enforcers have a few rules that differentiate them from other gangs. When building your gang, the Leader must bring either 2 Palanite Patrolmen if he is a Palanite Captain, or 2 Subjugator Patrolmen if he is a Subjugator Captain. On top of this, Palanite Enforcer gangs can only ever have 2 Sergeants and they both have to be the same type, putting a hard limit on the number of Champions you can field as well as how you equip them at the outset.
The Leader of the gang (or I guess patrol?), the Captain is a bit of a wet blanket when compared to other leaders. For a shooting-based gang, they only have a +4 Ballistic Skill, which is rather poor. However, they do have a +3 Weapon Skill, making them your gang's go-to Melee fighter… That doesn't make them a good melee fighter, but it’s something. Like all Enforcers, they come pre-equipped with a Stub Gun, Flak Armour, Magnacles and an Armoured Undersuit, so they have a better than average armour save off the bat, and they can also pick any weapons from the Palanite weapon list.
For an extra 10 credits, you can upgrade your Palanite Captain to a Subjugator Captain. The stats don't change, but the equipment does. For a start, they get Layered Flak Armour over the Basic Flak Armour which gives a +5 Save and +4 vs Templet and Flame Weapons. This also grants them access to the Subjugator weapon list. By investing in the Subjugator you gain access to one of the nicer items for this gang, the Vigilance Assault Shield, which further buffs their Armour Saves from attacks originating from their front arc (+2 armour save in Melee anyone?). So all in all, you might as well pay for the upgrade cause at only 10 credits it's a steal in my opinion.
Following the mediocre Captain, the Sergeant is the runner-up in the worst Champion category (couldn't even be the best worse. What a disappointment). You might now be curious as to why I treat the Sergeant with such disdain. Well, it’s because their statline is in line with the common Ganger; +4 Blastic and Weapon Skill. Nearly every other Champion has at least a +3 in one of these that helps to dictate their strengths, but the Palanite Sergeant doesn’t, leaving it limping along without any sense of direction (and when even a Cawdor Champion has a better Ballistic Skill with a weapon put together with paper clips and string, it makes you wonder why they’re considered an army of the Elite) . Despite this though, these Sergeants do have some good points… Firstly, they have access to the Shooting Skills, so if I was going to build a Palanite Sergeant I would definitely give them a Boltgun and the Fast Shot Skill and watch them hammer out shots against the enemy (if they can hit one first that is). Secondly, they are still a Champion (if not a disappointing one) and so in a campaign, they get to perform actions between games. Lastly, they do get the Group Activation trait, so there. Another bonus. (Okay, I’ve run out of good things to say now…)
Moving on. Like the Captain, the Sergeant can be upgraded to a Subjugator Sergeant for 10 credits. They also come equipped with the standard Flak Armour replaced with Layered Flak Armour and access to the Subjugator Weapon lists, but unless your heart is set on arming him with one of those tasty Vigilance Assault Shields I wouldn't bother with this upgrade. The heavy weapons the Subjugators get are better used on the Patrolmen. Keep him a Palanite… Unless, that is, you’ve already upgraded your Captain…
With a base statline the same as the Sergeant, bar only having 1 Wound, these are okay Gangers, if not pricy at 70 credits each (that said, they do come ready equipped with a Stub Gun, Flak Armour, Magnacles and an Armoured Undersuit as standard, so kind of a bargain in some respects). Their strength comes from the flexibility of their ranged weapons. The Shotgun and Boltgun might seem expensive, and they are, but they give you a range of options that make you able to adapt to most opponents. Added to this is the amazing Concussion Carbine. This might look a tad underpowered but, no. With the Blast rule they can affect multiple models at once and with the Seismic rule, any target hit must be pinned. Nerves of Steel or other such rules be damned, you’re hitting the deck.
Like the other entries, the Patrolman can also be upgraded to a Subjugator Patrolman for 10 credits, gaining your troops that sweet Layered Flak Armour. A couple of these in your gang isn’t a bad idea, as they get access to the Subjugation Pattern Grenade Launcher which fires Frag and Stun Grenades (no Krak I'm afraid), as well as the one and only Vigilance Assault Shield. If armed with the Shield, these guys are great at being at the front of your gang body, blocking your longer ranged models while soaking up loads of damage… Until mid to late game, that is, when your opponent starts to bring higher AP weapons to your campaign and they start to just melt you Subjugator Patrolman into hot soup.
I do suggest you bring a mix of Palanite and Subjugator Patrolmen, which you are able to do with these gang members (unlike the Sergeant), but I’d make sure that you have a higher percentage of Palanite Patrolmen due to their more diverse and flexible weapon loadout.
Palanite Rookie Patrolman
Right. If you get a Rookie, they’re free, so good for you! However, this normally means you’ve lost a better member of your gang, and this is their replacement… You don’t choose when to pick up Rookies, you get 1 of them fresh from the academy when you lose any other members from your gang. So for example, if you’re unlucky enough to have 3 Patrolmen die in battle, you only get 1 Rookie to fill in those gaps. So, not so good for you… I think the best thing to do with them is either use them as meat shields to protect your paid-for gang members or give them a Shotgun to make use of that template to make up for their rubbish +5 Ballistic Skill. After all, these guys are so easily replaced.
Palanite Drill Skillls
As you’d expect, the skills designed for the Palanite Enforcers are all skills based around typical enforcement protocols. If you’ve watched any action movie then you’ll already be familiar with most of the terminology these skills refer to.
Got Your Six - This is a really nice skill, allowing you to interrupt an opponent's Charge Action with a Shot Action of your own. If you manage to Pin or Seriously Wound the charging model, their activation ends right away and the Charge Action isn’t made.
Helmawr’s Justice - Allows you to roll twice on the Lasting Injury table if you take out a fight with a Coup De Grace. This is a subpar skill at best, as it’s unlikely your shooting-based gang will be that close to perform a Coup De Grace. In the rare situation that you are though, there are just so many better skills, so why waste your pick on this one?
Non-Verbal Comms - Pick a friendly model to make a Cool Check. If they pass, they gain a 360 degree vision arc until the end of the round… Oh, and this is a Double Action for the model with this skill… I can't see a single situation where this would be helpful, so this one is a hard pass from me.
Restraint Protocols - This allows the bearer of this skill the chance to restrain a model instead of performing a Coup De Grace. At the end of the game you gain a +1 to the capture check for every opponent restrained in this way. This will only have use in a campaign, so for a stand-alone game it's useless. Even for a campaign though it’s a mixed bag, because as a shooting gang you’re unlikely to be in a position where you can perform a Coup De Grace. But it does give you the chance to gain some extra credits, which you’ll eventually need if you want to keep up with other gangs down the line. Personally I’d give this skill a pass, but it is rather thematic.
Teamwork - This basically works like the Leadership skill Commanding Presence, letting you Activate an extra model during a Group Activation. Group Activations at the right time can be really powerful, but it’s knowing when to use them that’s the trick as you don’t want to give your opponent free reign over the board because you’ve used all your activations at once. Also, your fighters need to be rather close to Activate with this skill, which leaves them open to templates.
Threat Response - This is basically the melee version of Got Your Six. If an opponent charges a friendly fighter you can immediately counter-charge them. It’s worth making sure that you can actually take whatever it is you are counter-charging first though; a Cawdor Bonepicker is a good idea, but any of the dedicated close combat Champions or Leaders might still give you a bit of trouble. Best just shoot them after they’ve minced your friend, it’ll be less of a headache in the end.
The Palanite Enforcers are well supported by Gamesworkshop, with both types of Enforcer having a box of models each in the form of the Palanite Subjugator Patrol and Palanite Enforcer Patrol. Forgeworld also has Scrutinator-Primus Servalen, which although it’s not an Enforcer model as such, it would still make a really cool looking Bounty Hunter or even a Captain or Sergeant.
The Palanite Enforcers are a bit of an anaemic gang. They don’t really stand out or do what they’re designed to do very well; gangs like the Van Saar or Orlocks will easily wipe the floor with them at range, while the Goliath or Corpse Grinder Cults will smash them easily in melee. For one-shot skirmish games they could be fun to play, but in campaigns they’re likely to be quickly overshadowed by almost any other gang. Top this off with the inability to earn credits from territories they control during a campaign and you can’t even upgrade and improve these guys to withstand the beatings they’re going to be experiencing. The amount of armour the Enforcers can get is one of their really strong points, and they get a few bonus points for having cool looking models, but I’d love to see these guys get an upgrade with the sort of support the main gangs get. At the moment though, I don't really see it in their future.
As my editor was going over this article she came up with an interesting idea that could potentially give this gang an interesting quirk compared to other gangs; Palanite Enforcers don’t earn credits by holding territories. So what if they could earn a Salary instead at the end of each game similar to reputation and experience? And to make capturing gang members hold a little more sway, what if Palanite Enforcer gangs who can prevent the rescue of other gang members they’ve captured could, instead of selling those captives on, send those captives to the academy instead? This could give your Palanite Enforcer gang the opportunity to purchase a new member of equivalent rank at maybe half their original cost, but they’ll need to make a roll on the Lasting Injury table to see whether the new “recruit” survives the training. It might balance out the lack of ability to buy Rookies outright, prevent the potential of plummeting losses in numbers for any players of Palanite Enforcers, and give players a chance to upgrade their gangs later on in campaigns in line with other players so they don’t suddenly end up so wholly out-numbered and out-matched.
An interesting idea, and one that wouldn’t seem too unorthodox considering how the Palanite Enforcers are known to recruit members and operate as an Army throughout the Underhive.
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