The published Necromunda combat system is based on the oldest and most cumbersome version of Warhammer 40K. Since then, the 40K game itself has undergone two major transformations and has become a far faster and more intuitive system. These revised rules incorporate some elements from the latest (and best) version of 40k to improve the combat system for Necromunda in sympathy.

Any enemy model in range can be charged, but chargers may not pass within 2” of an unengaged enemy model. Move all charging models up to twice their normal move into base to base contact with an enemy. (Only models that can actually get into base to base contact can charge; otherwise, they may only make a normal move).

• Movement phase Shooting phase Hand to hand phase Recovery phase

Obstacles and climbing


In normal terrain, models move up to their Movement characteristic in inches. If running or charging an enemy, this maximum distance is doubled. Models subject to compulsory movement (such as ‘falling back’) are moved first followed by chargers and, finally, the rest of a player’s forces.

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Obstacles up to a model’s midheight can be vaulted over. They count as open terrain and do not affect movement. Higher obstacles must be climbed, in which case their height is included in the calculation of movement distance. Obstacles up to twice a model’s height can always be climbed while higher structures must have agreed means and locations for climbing (ladders, steps, girders, surfaces with handholds). There is no movement penalty for climbing, but a model must be able to complete a climb within the turn in order to start its ascent.

Difficult terrain


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A model may run at double its normal movement but a running model cannot move within 8” of an enemy. A model that runs in the Movement phase cannot shoot in the Shooting phase. A model that runs cannot ‘hide’ in cover that turn.

Zones of the battlefield such as sludge pools, rubble or tangled vegetation may be designated as difficult terrain. Each 1” of movement within difficult terrain counts as 2”.



If a model moves into or remains within cover from all enemies, then it can be declared ‘hidden’ (even though the actual, inflexible model is partially in sight e.g. standing behind a barricade). The enemy may know where a hidden model is but the fighter is considered to be


keeping his head down, presenting no target and may not be fired at. Place a marker to indicate hiding. A model is no longer hidden once it moves out of cover, fires or is exposed by an enemy which moves into a position which negates the cover. Hidden models may still be charged.

Choosing a target

Damage (a wound) is caused if you can successfully re-roll any dice which hit, against your target’s Toughness. The score you need varies with the Strength of the weapon used. Some more powerful weapons can cause more than one wound with a single hit. Check the individual weapon profiles under the ‘Damage’ heading.

Saving throws These are taken to represent factors which might just save the hit and damaged target from its fate, usually in the form of cover from terrain or protection from personal armour. Only one saving roll can be made per wound caused; the target chooses its best chance if more than one factor applies.

By default, models must target their nearest visible enemy, even if that enemy is in cover, pinned or falling back. Players may try to get their troops to fire at a different target by taking a Ld test for the firing model. If passed, they may fire at any visible enemy within the range of the weapon they are using.

Hitting the target

Cover from terrain applies against most weapons (flamers are an exception) but the Save varies with the sort of cover involved.

Roll 1D6 against the firing model’s ‘to hit’ score. The score needed varies with the model’s Ballistic Skill (and can easily be calculated by subtracting the BS from 7. e.g. BS3 needs a basic 4+ to hit).

The range at which the firer’s weapon is being used can modify the basic to hit score, short range usually making it easier to hit and long range more difficult (see individual weapon profiles).

Damaging the target

Personal armour also gives a measure of protection but some weapons can reduce its effectiveness or even punch clean through it as though it wasn’t there (the modifier for armour protection is given on the weapon’s profile).

Casualties and instant death


The number of wounds each character can take (usually 1) is given on their profile. When that many wounds have been suffered, the model is removed. Leader level characters may have 2 or more Wounds, enabling them to take damage and still carry on, but even they cannot realistically survive a damaging hit from the most powerful weapons. If a weapon’s Strength is twice a target’s Toughness, then a single damaging hit is enough to wipe out the target irrespective of its Wounds characteristic.

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Pinning and falling back

A model that is hit by shooting and survives must immediately test to see if it is too shaken to continue. Take a Ld test for that model (2D6 to score less than or equal to its Ld characteristic). Failing the test has one of two consequences: if the model is already in cover then it is pinned and immediately hides; if in the open, then it is forced to make an immediate fall back move of 1D6+3” towards the nearest cover where it could hide, hiding as soon as it gets there. (Use markers to record pinned and falling back models).

All models in base to base contact fight, irrespective of side. It is quite possible for models to be in base contact with more than one opponent. Each enemy is still fought as if in an individual duel. In your own turn, you pick the order of individual combats to be fought and resolve them one by one. In your opponent’s turn, he makes the choices. In each combat the participant with the highest Initiative hits first. Equal initiatives strike simultaneously. Charging a model in cover is disadvantageous to the attacker and in this situation the attacker strikes last on the turn that he charged, irrespective of Initiative. Fighters roll a number of D6 to try and score hits; potentially, one hit per D6 rolled. The Weapon Skill of the combatants determines the score required.

Ammo Rolls

The difficulty of maintaining a weapon in good order in the conditions of the Underhive is represented by the ammo roll. Each time a ‘to hit’ roll of a natural ‘6’ is thrown an ammo roll must be made for the firing weapon. If the roll equals or beats the number given in the weapon’s profile, then all is well. If the roll is below that value then it has jammed, overheated or run out of ammunition and may not be used for the rest of the game. Pistols which fail an ammo roll cannot be used in subsequent close combats.

Fighting hand to hand

The number of dice rolled is equal to the Attacks characteristic of the fighter. An extra D6 is rolled if the model is armed with an extra close combat weapon and yet another if it charged this turn. Models using swords may ‘parry’; that is, force their opponent to reroll their single, highest scoring dice. If both opponents can parry, the abilities cancel each other out and no re-rolls are made. Dice that ‘hit’ are re-rolled for damage on the same chart as used for shooting. Attacks have the Strength of the weapon used and are referenced against the Toughness of the defender.


Where fighters have more than one close combat weapon (e.g. knife and pistol) they must decide at the start of each new round of combat which weapon they will be using for their principle attack. That weapon’s Strength and any special features (e.g. parry) are used to work out the effects of all hits scored that round. Fighters gets their normal armour Save in close combat but some weapons modify the throw needed. (Cover saves do not apply in hand to hand fighting). Casualties are removed as they occur.

In the Recovery phase, test for any currently pinned or falling back models. Failing this recovery test means models will stay pinned or must fall back again at the start of their next turn. Pinned models do not shoot their weapons (wishing to stay hidden) but falling back models may shoot at the nearest enemy only in the Shooting phase. Pinned and falling back models may not charge, but if attacked in hand to hand combat, they defend themselves normally and revert immediately to combat status.

Follow-up moves • If a model of either side has all enemies in base to base contact with it removed as casualties then, once all other combats have been resolved, it may make a follow-up move of D6”. This move may be used to engage further enemy models but does not count as a charge and the new combat is not fought until the next Assault phase. If the model is left disengaged because a close combat opponent has successfully fallen back, then the maximum follow-up move is 3”.

The typical way for a skirmish to end is for one side to ‘bottle out’, melt away and tend to its wounded. Good leadership can, however, hold the entire skirmishing force together in a crisis as well as inspiring individual fighters to give their best when at the leader’s side. • All skirmishing forces should have a leader; the model with the highest Leadership characteristic. When another model is required to take a Ld test and is within 6” of the leader, the leader’s higher Ld value may be used. (This does not apply if the leader model is pinned or falling back). If, at the start of a turn a force has 50% or more of its number pinned, falling back or removed as casualties, then it must take a ‘bottle out’ test. This is taken against the highest leadership available at the time. The Ld of pinned or falling back models may not be used. Failing the test ends the skirmish and gives victory to the other side. A player can elect to fail any bottle out test voluntarily if they wish. In the post battle phase, roll for each casualty separately. On a 1-4 the fighter has survived with no real harm done; on a 5 or 6 you must roll again on the Serious Injuries table.

Voluntary falling back

If a combat has been indecisive then the fighters normally stay engaged until the next Hand to Hand phase but, once all combats have been fought, models of either side may voluntarily try to fall back rather than face the next round. The fleeing model and all enemy models engaged with it roll 1D6 and add their Initiative value. If the fleeing model’s total is the highest of them all, then it disengages and makes an immediate fall back move (1D6+3”). If any enemy model equals or beats the total, then the fleeing model is cut down and removed as a casualty. A model that succeeds in fleeing must subsequently test for recovery like any other falling back character.

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The special rules for using blast weapons, template weapons, sustained fire weapons, grenades etc. are given in the Necromunda rulebook.


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