Tuesday 11 August 2020

GRIMLITE Horrors in Action

With GRIMLITE's new focus on Horrors I wanted to do a quick battle report to show how they work in action and show how the rules work in a little more detail.

As such this might end up being quite a long post, so buckle up. 

So let's start from the beginning. Forget the Sample Warbands, we're making two from scratch.


The twisted and warped arm of humanity that believe we need to fundamentally change our biology in order to survive this new world. 

While the four factions were initially designed to cover broad modelling concepts (humans, mutants, cyborgs, aliens) and inspire kitbashing, they've picked up more mechanical identity along the way. Splicers have some really cheap Initiates they can hire to bulk out numbers and have some of the more interesting big-gun options for their Leaders and Initiates. As you'd expect they also have much more Skill flexibility than other factions, able to morph their form to whatever needs you have.

But back to reality, I'm going to base my purchases almost entirely on the models I want to bring to the table. I have a couple of Engineer guys that I'd like to bring to bear, so let's keep the Leader cheap to maximise the points we have to spend on them.

We'll keep our Leader relatively lean, a Host (3+) with a nice cheap Shotgun (2x1). We can choose any Skill, so we'll take Elusive to give them the best chance to grab Trophies without getting shot down. They bring the Polymorph tactic that, one per Round, lets us permanently change that Skill, so we can always adapt if things turn ugly.

That leaves us with 14pts, enough to take our two Engineers and give each of them a full 3pt weapon. We take one with a Grav Warper and one with a Storm Cannon. 

So we've got a very small warband with a fast, lightly armed but flexible leader and two heavy gunners. Lots of points tied up in very few models, so let's see how that works out on the table.

Lucida - Host (Elusive 3+) [6pts]

Shotgun (R2x1)
Tactic - Polymorph: Permanently swap one of your leader’s Skills for any other.

Neutron - Engineer (Precise 4+) [7pts]
Grav Warper (R1x5. On a hit, move the target)

Reaper - Engineer (Precise 4+) [7pts]
Storm Cannon (R3x1. Shoot Twice if you do nothing else this turn)


Well since I made an elite warband from the faction with the cheapest options, let's see if I can make a more numerous list from the most highly priced faction. The Exiles had the weakest identity for a while, initially trying to cover all bases as a stand-in for multiple alien forces. Now they're more focused on the warrior-hunter angle. They feel more like they don't belong back in the more civilised parts of the galaxy they once called home. My personal canon is that they all have dramatic superhero/villain names too, just to further inflate egos.

So despite aiming for a larger warband, Exiles are all pretty expensive but come with some very nice perks. Looking at the Leaders I like the sound of the Mercy tactic that the Veteran gets, so we'll take a Veteran kitted out with a nice fusion gun to take down any tough targets.

Now we know that we want numbers, so let's take two Hounds to pad things out. I've kept the unit names vague so that you've got maximum flexibility to interpret them to suit your models. When I wrote the Hounds I was picturing literal alien dogs, but it also works for any sort of mindless swarm, so we'll use a couple of these clawed monstrosities.

6pts remaining means we can grab an Agent. I've been wanting to try out the Synergy Rifle, so let's get a Predator armed with one of them.

So we have our Exile Band.

The Faceless - Veteran (Grim 3+) [8pts]

Fusion Gun (R3x1, Targets resist at QL5+)
Tactic - Mercy: One of your units makes a free Shoot/Fight action against a Downed Enemy.

The Inevitable - Predator (Elusive, Precise 4+) [6pts]
Synergy Rifle (R2x1, x2 Damage if an Ally can also see the target)

The Starved - 2 Hounds (Nimble 5+) [6pts]
Claws (T2x1)

Keen followers of GRIMLITE will notice some models here have previously been used for other factions. Well that's the beauty of not caring at all about canon. One week you're a Splicer that's been mutated too far from humanity, the next you're an Exiled predator, the next you're an irredeemable Horror only good for trophies. We make efficient use of every mini here! 

Likewise you'll see that The Faceless has a Whip that isn't reflected in her profile, but as every character can make a standard Touch attack (T1x1) we'll just assume that it's mostly for show and no more effective than just putting the boot in.

Now the fun part, selecting the Horrors. We won't be using any fancy battlefields or twists for this, just keeping things simple for now. Looking over my limited miniature options I'm drawn to these beauties that I found in my parents basement and finally painted after 25 years. 

They get some nasty claws and soporific pheromones that make them dangerous to be near. Any resemblance to certain Fiends from that other game is purely coincidental.

As they're worth 2 Trophies each we need another 2 Trophies worth of Horrors. We'll take 2 Enforcers to fill our the Horror Roster. 

Now these are obviously inspired by those old Necromunda scenarios I previously wrote about, where Adeptus Arbites would rain fire down on the gangs as they fought each other. But Rules-As-Written in GRIMLITE all Horrors are considered allies to each other. So really we have two options when faced with a team-up of vigilante Enforcers and inhuman Fiends.

  • Apply narrative common-sense and say that they consider each other enemies.
  • Apply narrative creativity and invent a reason for them to be allied.
So of course we'll take the second. These particular enforcers have trained the clawed fiends to hunt down their prey, like demonic police-dogs. We'll even deploy them in pairs, one enforcer and one fiend. 

For this battlefield I've kept things vertically limited to make it easier to capture what's happening in the overhead photographs. All surfaces are assumed to be climbable and all buildings are open-topped.

So we're ready to go!


I'll write Round One in some detail to give a feel of the flow of play and then keep things to the highlights for later rounds.

Splicers win the roll-off and get to act first. With so many big-guns they'd normally scramble for high-ground but this is a much more maze-like battlefield, so things are a touch trickier. Reaper uses his Move to get just-about line of sight to both a Fiend and an Enforcer, but they'd definitely both benefit from cover. 

Regardless, he fires his Storm cannon at the Enforcer. His QL is 4+ but the Cover knocks that down to 5+, rolling 3 attacks from his 3x1 weapon. He uses his Precise skill to reroll misses, ending up with just a single one-damage hit on the Enforcer. The Enforcer rolls to resist against their QL5+ and fails, they're Down!

Rolling on the Shock table the Enforcer scores a 2: Staggered. They move in a random direction before going down. A great opportunity to break out my vintage Scatter Die. The Enforcer slumps down next to the wall, but still not in a great position to avoid further fire. 

With his one remaining action, Reaper tries to move into a better fire position for next turn. They roll a 6 for their Move roll, meaning they reach their destination safely. Reaper is marked as Exhausted and play passes to the Exiles.

The Inevitable considers moving to fire at the now-exposed Reaper, but we should really get an ally to have eyes on them first to make most of the Synergy Rifle's special ability. Let's get our brave Leader up to a vantage point.

Our first move takes Faceless up to the ladder, then she'll roll for her second move to the top of the ladder. A 6 means she makes it and now has a final action to use. 

Does she do the honourable thing and attack the Horrors that both warbands are hunting? Or does she eliminate the competition first? Let's start off with good intentions and fire at the Fiend with her Fusion Gun (3x1, target resist at QL5+). She rolls two hits for one damage each. The Fiend resists at 5+ rather than their actual QL4+ because of the Fusion Gun's special rule. They resist one, leaving one wound remaining. They're Down.

The Shock roll is a 4: Last Gasp. With no ranged weapons unfortunately the Fiend won't get a chance to use that free retaliation against their attacker, and they go down as normal. 

The Faceless is now Exhausted and play passes back to the Splicers.

Moving back to this side of the table I'm afraid I can see a golden opportunity to mess with the Exiles, so let the cease-fire end here.

Neutron hops up onto an air-con unit allowing him to get a distant but clear shot on Faceless on her exposed high-ground. He unleashes the Grav Warper (R1x5. On a hit, move the target), scoring a hit. 

Before the Damage is resolved we get the chance to Move the target, so naturally we'll pull her down into the room with the Enforcer and Fiend. She'll suffer d6 damage from the fall (3) before we even get to the weapon damage. She manages to resist all of the fall damage, but only Resists 4 of the Grav Warper's damage, taking her Down. Not great, but could have been much worse.

She rolls her Shock, scoring a 4: Last Gasp. Would have been great to return fire but she's now been pulled out of sight of Neutron, so he cackles safely in the distance.

Getting quite cramped in that little room.

Neutron has one action left to tries to run towards the other main building. He succeeds and gets there safely. Back to the Exiles.

Well that scuppered my plan for the Synergy Rifle, but at least everybody is still alive. Let's try and get some help over to Faceless to help out when she Recovers. A Hound moves over to the barricade with their first Move, then succeeds on their second move to get near to their brave leader. They don't want to get too close to the Fiend, so they'll end their turn there.

Back to the Splicers for their final turn this Round.

Lucida is keeping her eyes on the prize. Killing your opponents is all good fun, but we're here for Trophies. She sprints up the left flank of the battlefield and fires her shotgun off at the remaining Enforcer. Both attacker hit, but the Enforcer Resists both. She ducks back into cover to avoid retaliation 

Back to the Exiles who have two units remaining. As the Splicers are all exhausted they'll get to act one after the other. There might be a chance to show some teamwork yet.

First the remaining Hound sprints up the allyeway, using their Nimble skill to get in charging-range of Reaper next turn, but also making themselves into a very easy target.

But... we have a plan! The Inevitable moves up to the stairway and hopes they can make their second move to get to the top. They make it, giving themselves a clear shot on Reaper AND as an Ally has eyes on the target the Synergy Rifle will do double damage (now 2x2).

Naturally, both rolls miss, but using the Precise skill we can reroll both. More bad rolling, but they score one hit at least, causing 2 Damage to Reaper. They roll to Resist, succeeding on both. A good plan, but the dice were against us here. 

With all of the units now exhausted we move to the Horrors.

Our downed Enforcer successfully recovers, scoring Focused (Shoot at QL2+ this turn) on their Trauma roll! Not good news for Faceless, who's the nearest target. He unloads his Flash Gun, scoring three hits for one damage each. Luckily she resists all three.

Now the downed Fiend also Recovers, but rolls 1 on their Trauma roll, Shaken (act at QL6+ this turn). Things are still looking bad for Faceless, as she's the nearest target again. Only one Tearing Claw (T2x2, x2 Damage on a 6) hits, but rolls a 6 for double damage, giving a total of 4 damage. She Resists all but one point of Damage, but as she's already Down that's enough to take her out of the battle. She's placed off-board as a casualty. With their final action the Fiend moves into contact with the Hound that came to rescue Faceless. Not going so well. 

On the other side of the board the Fiend can't see any targets, so moves randomly. It slithers out of the doorway and now has eyes on Lucida. It uses its second Move to make contact with her, and uses its final action to Fight. Just the one hit, but it's a 6 for double damage. Lucida fails to Resist two of the damage, so she's also taken out of the fight! Both sides have now lost their Leaders. With its final action the Fiend moves into contact with Neutron.

The Enforcer moves out of the other doorway, flanking Neutron and making his shot. Despite their Precise skill only one hit is scored, which Neutron Resists.

Oof. The Horrors are really living up to their name in this game.


So both sides have lost their Leaders, and the Horrors are on a total rampage. Might be time to refocus on the main objective here rather than fighting each other. For now, at least.

We'll zoom out here to for the sake of brevity.

Splicers win the roll for first-turn. Reaper has an obscured shot on the Fiend that's now attacking Neutron, so he uses his Storm Cannon's ability to fire twice if he does nothing else this turn. First volley kills the Fiend dead! He uses the second volley to target the Enforcer, who's in cover but still eats two hits and fails to resist both. Double-kill from Reaper! Shows how quickly things can turn around in this game.

Exiles face another choice. With two Horrors down is it time to start eliminating the competition? Certainly it seems like Neutron is in too good a position where he is, surrounded by trophies. Inevitable runs down the flank but not quick enough to get a shot off this turn. 

Splicers have Neutron gather up some Trophies and duck into cover. He's in a good position to be able to withdraw safely later on. 

Exiles have a Hound in contact with a Fiend, so are able to Fight twice, killing the Fiend against the odds! Finally, a tactical retreat into cover before the Enforcer gets a chance to avenge his fallen pet. The second hound sweeps behind Reaper and unleashes more claws. The first attack takes Reaper down, staggering him back and preventing a follow-up attack. 

Horrors are reduced to a lone Enforcer now. They duck out of the building and line up a shot against one of the Hounds, taking them out in a single Flashgun blast. 


Exiles win the roll off. The remaining Hound runs to collect the Trophies from the dead Fiend, also getting eyes on the remaining Enforcer.

Splicers have Reaper recover, staggering to his feet. His Trauma roll is Injured, so he will go Down at the end of this turn. He takes a precautionary shot against the Inevitable, scoring a single hit that's easily resisted, before ducking into cover and hitting the ground. 

Exiles have Inevitable use their Synergy Rifle, with the Hound acting as spotter. Just one hit on the Enforcer but it's enough to take them out of the fight. With their remaining action the Inevitable moves over to the Trophy, close but not able to pick it up yet.

Splicers have Neutron pick up the final Trophy and move to the edge of the board.

Horrors are all dead, so no action there.

The Splicers declare that they are Withdrawing from battle. Neutron is removed safely, as he's already on the edge of the board, taking three trophies with him. Nobody else is touching the table edge, so they all get one final Round to act before the battle ends.


So this is really about the Exiles trying to secure the remaining Trophies without the Splicers interfering. Of course it never hurts to get a parting shot in on your rivals, as it might weaken their numbers for the next time you clash.

Exiles win the roll off. Inevitable grabs a trophy and moves into cover with the remaining Hound. Taking a shot at Reaper just isn't worth it here, as he'd be able to return fire with the full force of his Storm Cannon.

Splicers roll for Reaper to recover and fail. He stays face down in the dirt as the battle ends.


So both sides managed to secure three trophies, but took casualties. Let's deal with the bad news first.


Splicers took one casualty, but it was their leader Lucida. They roll on the casualty table and score a 4: MIA. Next time they fight the Exiles will get to deploy Lucida right in the heart of danger. Ouch.

Exiles lost their Leader and a Hound. The Hound rolls 6: Experience. They gain the Elusive skill which should help to keep them alive next time. Meanwhile, Lucida rolls a 2: Critical, she needs to pass a roll or else die permanently. Luckily she rolls a 6 and lives to fight again. 


Now for the good stuff! Two trophies can be traded in for a d66 roll on the Trading table. Each side has enough to roll once, banking the spare Trophy for next time.

Splicers roll 25. They can recruit an Agent from another faction with 2pts of gear to fight with them for the next battle only. They could certainly use the numbers and a melee option, so they take a Welder Errant (4+) with an Electro Blade and Shield. Sounds like he's coming along for the next mission to rescue Lucida. 

Exiles roll a 16. On the next battle they can place a Bounty on one of their enemies, meaning they'll drop 3 Trophies when killed. The obvious thing is to put it on Lucida, but that feels a little too straightforward with her MIA result. Instead they'll put that Bounty on Reaper, as he was a little scary to face in this battle, so taking him out would be a nice goal.


Very happy with how this report went. The last time I played the Horrors were a touch flimsy, but here they struck a nice balance. They were still manageable to take out once the Warbands focused fire (with some lucky rolls) but on their own turns they were truly terrifying to deal with. 

Losing both Leaders so early meant I wasn't able to test the Tactics, but other than that it felt like I was able to cover a bit of everything. I still constantly forget to roll Trauma when a unit recovers. Feels like I'm so excited to get the unit back into action that I never remember to make the roll, even though it's often beneficial to the unit. Not sure how to hammer that into my brain.

Enjoying the long-term potential of these games, as the casualty and trading rolls really left some hooks in place for a follow up battle. The Splicers have a temporary recruit and a mission to rescue their Leader, and the Exiles have a bounty to claim on a dangerous opponent. Not to mention the prospect of facing a new batch of Horrors.

I hope that gives you an insight into how the game actually plays. As you can see it runs fast and somewhat swingy, which works for my narrative tastes but certainly throws in some unexpected results. Come to it prepared to be surprised.


  1. Love that BattleSystems terrain :)

    1. It's been great for this game! Can definitely reccomend.

  2. Maybe somehow include the Trauma roll when the unit drops, rather than when they recover. The trading and casualty sounds really cool, do you expect to play multiple games of this back to back? How long did it take?

    1. Think once I get it into my mental-muscle-memory it'll be fine. Don't want to have the roll before Recovery as that would introduce an element of tracking back into the game! Don't want any sort of game-state that you can't see from looking at the board.

      Dummy games have lasted around 30-45 mins, so I think you could comfortably do three games in 2-3 hours if you both know what you're doing, like a mini campaign.

    2. Ah I see your "stateless" requirement in the next post along. What about marking units as exhausted?

    3. Exhausted is my one compromise when it comes to tracking, as I can't really see another way to do it while keeping alternate activation.

      You could mark the unit as exhausted off-board on your roster, but I think it's useful to be able to see which of your opponents units are Exhausted at a glance.

  3. That was a really fun read, going to be keeping my eye on this.