Wednesday, 18 November 2009

What's Fluff Got To Do With It?

As found on The Trading Post

I reckon that the majority of Fantasy players have a theme or background for their army. I think only the real hardcore tourney players might be excluded from this. We all theme our armies to some degree, it might not be a conscious effort but we may just put in units the we like the look or background of even though they’re not necessarily the most superior battlefield option.

Others may take this to the next step. We might consciously limit our army choices to help build a theme or background to our force. This might mean playing a mono-god Chaos army, a Khainite Dark Elf force, a Savage Orc horde or selecting troops for a provincial Empire army. Of course the added hobby bonuses really start to kick in at this point. Conversions start to present themselves as you change minis to better fit your theme or if you’re especially creative you might go all out and scratch build them! On the painting side, things can become interesting; an army theme gives you a great starting point for coming up with a unified colour scheme. Once you start playing games with your themed army you’ll have lots of fun. Your victories are dedicated to the glory of Slaanesh or to defend the city of Middenheim etc. this really adds to the background story going on in your head if nowhere else!

The next step along the fluffy-brick-road is an actual background story. This doesn’t necessarily have to be written down but you might have an idea in your head. This could be anything from; “The army is a band of mercenaries under the rogue general Rutger Koppenweld.” Or it could be anything up to a full blown story explaining Koppenweld’s deeds that have lead to him being the leader of a grizzled mercenary army. How his former home was sacked by roving Green skin hordes and his desire to exact his vengeance. Now this is the sort of stuff that I personally love. My Warriors of Chaos army now has quite an extensive back story and I’ve added to it with my minis, especially characters as they are the real heroes and villains of the Warhammer world. Inspiring men to great or terrible deeds or crushing their enemies with sorcerous powers. Characters provide a really rich opportunity to theme your army and enhance your gaming and hobby experience. A battle becomes so much more meaningful as you witness Rutger Koppenweld leading a cavalry charge into the heart of an Orc horde, screaming an anger-fuelled war-cry and slaughtering his sworn foes mercilessly. Equally entertaining is watching him get knocked from his horse by the cunning of the malicious Night Goblins and their Warboss’ rather ‘tricksy’ magic weapon! When you next add a character to your army make sure to come up with a name for him. If you’re feeling more daring, create a back story for him. It’ll make building the mini even more fun and you can try to convert something that really captures the characteristics your back story highlighted.

I’m going to leave the subject of characters there as I plan on going into more depth on this another time. The army theme subject though leads nicely into all sorts of other topics; campaigns, conversions, painting, fluff and army composition to name a few. If you have something to say on any of these get writing!


noeste said...

A well-written post Elazar! I understood it so that you're going to write one dedicated to characters and unique fluff later?

Looks like I have to start planning characters for my list soon, heh.

Elazar The Glorified said...

Thanks Noeste :) There will indeed be a character one written soon. I plan on running a competition too but that's all very top secret at the minute... :D