Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Army Lore 109 - Non-combatants

This post follows up the Major Conflicts post and concludes the Army Lore series, discussing incorporating into your roster individuals that are not represented on the battlefield.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Noltax Incident - Crab I

This post gets a story rolling, I was playing with a format for story telling, please let me know what you think of it.  I will go back to the Army Lore series tomorrow, I was just really eager to see what you guys thought of this as a medium for a story since there are no visuals.  Unfortunately at points I had to do something aside from just audio, but I stayed true to it as much as possible.  I have more of this story written and planned out, but I would like your feedback first before the rest is released in a few days (once the Army Lore series is entirely posted).

Army Lore 108 - Major Conflicts

This post is dedicated to adding to the history of your military force, specifically what battles and enemies it has been faced with.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Army Lore 107 - Founding

This post continues the advice series on designing the lore for your army focusing upon the origins of your armed contingent.


Just an update on an event with an editorial at the end, not the normal quality, apologies for that.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Army Lore 106 - Common Troopers

This post covers defining certain features of your average blokes in your army and how to make the interesting and unique to your personal force.

Army Lore 105 - Specialists

NOTE:  So sorry about the major delay, ended up not having internet or time to post things due to exhaustion or what have you for the last 2 and a half weeks, I have posts though, and so that you are all able to see them I will be posting about twice a day with them until I've caught up to what the posts should be.  I hate doing this to you all, but hopefully you enjoy what I was able to work on!

We return to our regularly scheduled program with a discussion of fleshing out those specialist forces in your army

Monday, July 23, 2012

Operation Iron Defense: Parts I-V

For those of you that wanted it, here is the full thing in one installment.  I'll put a link up on the side in case you want to read it again or show it to someone for easy access.

Operation Iron Defense: A peek behind the curtain - Part I of II

And here is the rundown of it whereas before was just the setup

Operation Iron Defense: A peek behind the curtain - Part I of II

A peek behind the curtain to see what actually happened on the table of the Battle Report

Friday, July 20, 2012

Operation Iron Defense: Conclusion

Enemies are closing in on both sides, casualties are high.  Is there any way for the Tau to triumph?

Monday, July 16, 2012

No Post #4

Here's a quick one.  Clearly there isn't an update to the Battle Report.  I'd given myself enough time.  I was going to start around 7:30 and have it finished between then and 11.  Plenty of time I thought.  But then at 6:45 I'm attacked by wild financial issues that I need to resolve, and hunt down and resolve.  So now its almost 11:30 and its just finally being wrapped up.  Suffice it to say that this shouldn't happen again, but no post tonight.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Operation Iron Defense Introduction

This week I think I'll actually do a post every day with the Battle Report I'm working on.  Read the Intro after the break.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Shas'o Dal'yth My'lok

Just thought I would post something for you guys that I did about a year ago for you to mull over while waiting for the Battle Report.  Hope you enjoy, keep in mind this was pre-blog (so probably not as good as it could be)

One of the last students of Puretide, My'lok was a member of the twelve last disciples of the great commander.  They were at his side when he finally died and this band is determined to bring glory to the T'au in the name of their tutor.  The death of their instructor signaled the end of their time being taught and so together this group of young T'au needed to decide what was to happen.

It was decided that they should split into four groups of three to accomplish as much as possible: one group would continue the teachings of Puretide as best they were able, compiling the greatest recorded lessons as possible and themselves teaching where none existed; another group would work to battle the Tyranid menace wherever it lurked, after the battles with Hive Fleet Gorgon splinter fleets kept popping up and new Tyranids were encroaching upon T'au space all the time, the empire needed all the help against these monsters they could muster; the third group would battle the Orks wherever they appeared; the final group (which My'lok is a part of) would deploy wherever they were needed most, fighting in the most dire of circumstances and acting as only pupils of Puretide could.

My'lok has seen the conclusion of two separate campaigns himself, the first against the now infamous Ork Waaagh!  Boom Blade, a grueling war that engulfed the Fi'rios sector.  Thousands of Tau and their allies lost their lives, but through the tactical brilliance and swift actions of My'lok upon his commanders' deaths the battles that were heading for catastrophic defeats became glorious victories with the capture of several Ork Warbosses that held vital information.  With these captives the whereabouts of the Ork forces and leaders were discerned and My'lok was able to bring about the decisive end to the conflict from Waaagh! Boom Blade.

He was given the title of Shas'o at the end of this conflict, immediately before he was called to do battle with the insidious Eldar corsairs of the Admiral Balykon.  This conflict centered around Tash'var as so many pirate forces' attacks do, but this was not a normal conflict.  The Eldar of Balykon were unusually strong and appeared out of nowhere, constantly attacking T'au forces wherever they were unexpected.  Huge swathes of land and many Tau were slaughtered in the futile efforts to stop the mysterious pirates, and this was what caused My'lok to be called to the front.

Upon his arrival the T'au army and fleet was severely demoralized because of their crushing defeats and the seemingly omnipotent enemy forces.  My'lok called up reports on the enemy tactics, the times between engagements, and the targets of these attacks.  Initially it seemed as if there was no reason for the attacks or their targets, no correlation between the times or occurrences beforehand.  Eventually after many weeks of study My'lok discovered that Admiral Balykon was not only attacking planets which at the time had just upgraded many of their defense and surveillance drones but also that the Eldar forces always seemed to be retreating in the same directions after their battles.  Upon closer examination the drones My'lok discovered were in fact relaying defense information as well as live video footage to the Eldar forces, informing the admiral of the weakest defenses.  Investigating further My'lok found that the Eldar themselves had introduced the technology for these upgrades to the T'au in a seemingly harmless manner and this was how the drones were incorporated into the T'au infrastructure.

When Shas'o Dal'yth My'lok took his fleet to one of the spots he had triangulated the Eldar to commonly retreat to he made a shocking discovery.  The Admiral was utilizing the webway to dash from one position of space to another.  He also made the groundbreaking discovery of how to access the webway entrances and utilize them with the help of Earth Caste scientist Fio'cat Bork'an Bar'thuul.  Soon the entire area of space near Tash'var was scanned for webway portals and these locations staked out.

The trap was sprung on Balykon when he went to attack a planet that was deemed the best area for ambush by the T'au, stripping it of the majority of its defenses an making it a most tempting target.  These forces were deployed nearby, but the reports entered into the planet's defense systems stated that they had gone several systems away to some planets that had recently been attacked.  When Balykon emerged and descended upon the planet a huge armada of ships encircled the Eldar fleet while they were on the planet and destroyed or captured the majority of the vessels, ending the threat of that particular Eldar force.

Of course even without a fleet the Admiral was a potent and very lethal force to be reckoned with and it took many months of tactical maneuvering and swift deployments to capture the Admiral and officially make him into a prisoner of war.

It must be noted that My'lok was not the only T'au who was a player in the fall of Admiral Balykon, several of his subordinates and soldiers were key as well.  Many of these have been promoted and have left his forces with a portion of his army and fleet.  Reduced to a tenth of the size it used to be his army has recently engaged in another crucial fight, but this one may change the entire Empire based on the fate of this conflict.

Over the course of the Third Phase expansion the fleets of the T'au have travelled in every direction.  This particular sector was formerly Imperial space, then abandoned for unknown reasons.  The T'au arrived and began colonizing, staking there claim when the Imperium of Man came back unexpectedly, attacking the T'au forces.  Almost instantaneously several Space Marine chapters showed up after requests for help after the initial combat against the T'au went poorly. The Necrons, having learned about a Tyranid fleet had themselves been following it and, when they assessed the situation in the system after dealing with the tiny Tyranid splinter fleet, deemed that the resources upon the planets were valuable enough to fight for.  Over time the conflict continued amongst these factions until a fleet of Eldar Corsairs began raiding supply lines between the various sides, only to stumble upon the destination of the vessels; quickly realizing a great profit was to be made as well as understanding that the risk of allowing the planets to fall to the lesser races was unacceptable the Eldar weighed in.  An Ork Warboss and his Waaagh!, on its way towards T'au space for what was rumored to be a proper fight, started to pass through the sector when it noticed all the shiny toys and the fightin' that was to be had on the planets below.  Of course the forces of Chaos, the original fight having started almost a year ago, had intercepted intelligence on the fight from various agents within the Imperial forces and so deployed several powerful warbands to make their claim on the goods that were to be had.  Up to this point things have not been going well for the T'au and so the shrunken forces of the Shas'o Dal'yth My'lok have been deployed to assist in the ever escalating war.

Ignoring all space around the sector itself there are four chief planets being fought over for one reason or another:

Chen'gau is a jungle planet rich with minerals and materials used for fuel and melta.  It id covered in high mountains and low valleys, every bit smothered by trees and local wildlife that is not only everywhere on the planet but very, very lethal.  Dozens of reports have been filed in regards to massive packs of cats swarming towns and devouring the inhabitants, or ambushing hunting parties.   Even army camps are not safe as these creatures appear able to burrow underneath walls and silently stalk their prey from among their midst or homes.  Vehicles are almost nonexistent on this planet due to the dense wilderness, close quarters fighting being the chief method of combat.

Frans'yl was once home to an alien race that either deserted their planet or were exterminated, but in any case there are no intelligent inhabitants of its city-like planetscape.  Massive structures and complex roads sprout up everywhere on the surface of seemingly industrialized planet.  Tons of artifacts and technological wonders are spread here, being the core reason for conflict in the region.  Small vehicles are just about the only things present here with the exception for one or two tanks or artillery clearing areas and bulldozing the buildings.

Laopo'on is a desert canyon world with deep gorges and steep cliffs throughout the entire planet.  Many pathways and trails intermingle on this planet, some ending in dead ends of cliff walls or huge drops thousands of feet down.  It is frustratingly easy to get lost on this planet even when it has been studied extensively. The very land appears to scheme against the inhabitants as inexplicable landslides or shifting earth causes the deaths of thousands of those who set foot or hoof on the surface.  Somewhere within the gorges a great temple full of dangerous secrets and psychic powers is hidden, guarded ferociously by the only people native to the planet.  The T'au were attempting to find a way in when the other races arrived, and now it is a race for all to find the temple secrets before the others do, but the conflict has seriously affected the abilities of any to accomplish this goal, especially since the temple's location mysteriously keeps changing… Powerful tanks and flyers are prevalent here, and the battle fronts are constantly shifting as new pathways are discovered, exploded into being, or old trails disappear.

Chill'on is an ice world, completely without terrain but for the flat landscape covered in snow and ice.  Massive fortresses have been constructed by the T'au and every other race here, for the only defenses are those erected by the armies themselves.  Deep beneath the surface of the planet, approaching its center, some great presence can be felt, mostly by the psychic Eldar, and least by the T'au, who are only there because they can't leave any more because of the perpetual blockade of enemy ships around the planet, dooming any attempted escape.  All the other psykers are pushing to discover what is down there, and great drills are digging into the outer crust so that the truth can be known.  Currently battles are fought to destroy enemy drill camps or fortresses for supplies.  Infantry are almost nonexistent due to the cold, at least not without vehicles for warmth and swift deployment to reduce exposure to the frosty climate.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Army Lore 104 - Vehicles

You know all of those awesome vehicles that you field in your army that do all sorts of things but you don't have a clue as to how to give them life when writing the background for your army?  Find out how in this post.

Army Lore 103 - Heavy Gear

This post focuses upon how to add background to those units of your army that have powerful gear that are clearly special, going into essential ideas that should be addressed when creating the lore for such units.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Army Lore 102: Elites

So here's to writing a blog post in about 10 minutes.  Lets see if it works out and remains at a high quality.  Don't forget to check out the awesome sites such as Graven Games, , the Shell Case, 40k Noob, and all the other links that are posted on the side or top.  Now moving on to the meat and potatoes.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Army Lore 101 - Commander

Do you want to start giving your army a detailed background that you can be proud of?  It all starts with the Commander, and you can find out more after the jump.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Battle Reportification Compendium

This is a collection of the links to the articles that were a part of the Battle Reportification Series for easy access.

Battle Reportification Part 15 - Connecting Storylines

The much anticipated conclusion to the Battle Reports series has arrived, and in it I will help explain how to connect your battles together into one coherent story.

Battle Reportification Part 14 - Explaining Oddities

Have you ever had one of those battles where the impossible happens and you have no idea how to explain it (or would) in a Battle Report?  Find out how in this post.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

No Post #3

Setting as today is a good enough day for the majority of the nation to take of,I elected to do the same. Happy fourth!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Battle Reportification Part 12 - Setting

This post will deal with why you should devote some of your Battle Report to the Setting and how to accomplish it.  More after the jump.

Battle Reportification Part 11 - Character Development

Do you want to know how to craft a scene specifically for Character Development?  Do you even know why you want it for that reason?  Find out here, right after the jump.


 This post is on crafting resolutions for the new edition of 40k

Friday, June 29, 2012

Battle Reportification Part 10 - Plot

Now we arrive at the first post about the different parts of your Battle Report, this one focusing upon why you want to decide if a scene focuses upon Plot and how to do it.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Battle Reportification Part 9 - Themes

There are all sorts f directions that you could take your Battle Report. You could make it into an uplifting story about the triumph against all the odds, it could be a depressing tale of the brave soldiers who gave all they could and died for their efforts. Or maybe your preference is for the sick tales of corrupt commanders more interested in numbers than in men and how it all played down, him not being phased when he won at the cost of millions for a few square miles of land - he only cared about if the final objective was achieved. The purpose of this post is to help you set up themes for the story you want to tell, why you want to pick a theme and how to do it. One of the reasons that you should pick a theme is that it sets a standard; a guideline is established which you will be able to follow fairly easily and you will be kept on track with your goals. A lot of times people get working on something that they love and they lose sight of the vision that had initially been there, swept away by what they were doing now. The expression that is commonly used is that you don't see the forest for the trees. You have immersed yourself in your project so completely that you can't find your way back to what was going to make it great. Having a theme in mind from the get-go will provide you with something to measure off of, to keep you from becoming too distracted and able to focus on what matters. I'm talking about your family. Just kidding, if you need tips on being a family person I'm not the one to go to. You're playing with toy soldiers for crying out loud (most of you - I suppose some people could read this and not play with them. I don't know why, but you could… hypothetically). So back to focusing on what matters, you want the theme to help you remember what moments you want to portray in your Battle Report. And for the 40,001th time (hee hee) this will give you another opportunity to find inspiration should you ever need it. With that explanation out of the way how do you choose your theme? This fits in with the significant events and the gritty details posts, what was it that you thought was important. What made you think this would be a good Battle Report? Maybe you chose an arbitrary battle to do it for, but it is my belief that every battle can be made into a spectacular story, but sometimes people aren't able to tell it because of their personal tendencies. Not everyone can write uplifting canon about the heroic last stand of the 2nd company of Ultramarines on Macragge against the Tyranids. Others would find themselves horribly out of their league as they struggle to narrate the fall of Malant'ai. Know what your abilities are. This is not a time to be humble about your abilities, nor is it the moment to be delusional. If you truly have no idea, or even if you have a belief that you can't do something just give it a try. After about 3 attempts then you can give up, but until you have some proper experience who are you to say know? Think of writing a story as creating an army list. Sure that unit of wolf scouts hasn't served you so well the past two games, but its entirely possible that its been because you were using them wrong or the enemy armies just weren't what is typical and just happened to be able to deal with them. Maybe you weren't setting up the right situations in order to tell that tale of the heart broken mother who watched her boy fight in the planetary militia and wept for his death, one among millions who died for her. I'm not sure if I actually answered how you choose your theme though (sorry about that tangent. I think it was good in any case). Back to the idea of significant events and gritty details, how I mentioned the important stuff that you want to illustrate or that make this a good story for that. Whether you won or lost shouldn't impact the story you're telling. Yes on the battle field you failed to drive the enemy back, but telling a story is more than just plot (though it is a serious factor. A bad plot begets bad stories). The important part of telling a story often has to do with what it is about, the tone that you are taking. Remember all those stupid english classes that you took where all you did was discuss the genius of Shakespeare and how he brought in all sorts of elements that made fun of things or pushed ideas of aristocracy or equality or education or whatever? Well you want to make some of your own themes along those lines, bigger ideas that you (or your characters) push, statements about this that or the other. Most people like to hear a "today I learned" or some big moral stance on something. I'm not saying that everyone does, and a lot of time people don't agree with it, but the good guys have to be the good guys for a reason. The good guys always win because they are inherently better and deserve to win (in stories at least. Always a pet peeve of mine that bad guys never win but this is not a discussion for this blog). You will see yourself become more successful if you take a theme and you use it to show what happened, why it happened, and what it means. That theme will give you something to push for your readers, something that you can check for as you read your own story and see if it ends up actually coming across to them.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Battle Reportification Part 8 - Gritty Details

I'm going to dive right into this article without any pretext. How is it that you give the proper amount of detail for your Battle Report? And how do you know where to put in the most effort? Well hopefully you will have a great amount of detail throughout it, but obviously you want to know where you should really put in the elbow grease and make it sparkle like the sunlight gleaming off of a vampire's pale white skin… oh wait we don't want to write anything ridiculous and absolutely idiotic, sorry about that. First we'll go into the where: what kind of story are you going to tell? I'm going to go into themes for your Battle Report next post, but for now lets work with what we have. Once you've decided on the themes that you want to be associated with your story and you've chosen the characters to narrate it and the setting you need to figure out what really pushes those ideas. What parts of the Battle or narrative that you had going on in your head lead you to that final decision? Which shoot outs or desperate dog fights brought out the best in your ideas? Those moments that brought you to your theme are the big ones that you want vividly portrayed because you want to show that it was what is actually important. Secondly you are going to want to divide up the events in your Battle Report (note that I said in your Battle Report and not your battle. Don't let the tabletop rule everything you want to do, use it as a guideline). Moments can be divided into a variety of categories, all of which I will go over later: plot; character development; setting; With those in mind you are going to decide what details in particular to focus on. Of course this will be discussed in future posts, the next four or so posts will all be related with this one and each other so it might be a little frustrating to read through this until you are able to put all of the pieces together at the end (its only four days after this one, you'll live). So the types of details that you center your efforts upon will be determined largely by the type of scene you are doing so we can skip that bit for now. What I don't need to do in those posts is provide you with a scale for effort. When you lay out what you want to include in your Battle Report scenes wise (you don't have to do all of this ahead of time though you may find it to be beneficial considering the format that I am presenting) you should make a conscious choice on how important each of these scenes is in terms of the category assigned to it. Just how much character development comes out of this scene between the narrator and an enemy soldier youth? Does it impact the audience's view of the narrator more than the scene where we see them hold their best friend as they die, or is it less important than the scene where we find out their favorite brand of caffeine? Once these decisions are made you will find everything else is much easier. Onto how you actually put in the detail. An exercise that you might find to be useful is imagine yourself as a storyteller. I know that sounds obvious, but see yourself actually telling your friend this story over the phone or while at a campfire. Does it have the necessary imagery to give them an actual sense of what is going on or to know how tense the moment is supposed to be? Can they picture it in their heads? Do they have a sense of attachment to the story, do you think they would be leaning in towards you to hear what you are saying better in order for them to fully embrace the experience so they don't miss a word? Can they tell what are the important moments? Of course you are going to have to be brutally honest with yourself, this is not the time to be exaggerative. Maybe you need to actually test it out on someone, but for the most part you can weed out the unnecessary stuff and find out what needs the most work to start with with this technique. The key to keep in mind is that you are ultimately telling a story, the entire thing has to be communicable through language. Your hand gestures will not be present when people are reading your stories, they cannot make those same leaps of the imagination and imagery that you are going to initially. Another technique that I will give you (and this will be brief) is that you should picture it in your head. What do you see? Now take every possible bit of it and put it into words. Describe it down to its absolute core so that if someone was there they would be startled as they noticed something that you picked out that they had not even noticed despite standing in that same spot as you. Both of those methods should serve you well along with the tidbit I gave you some post in the past about the feeling of the room (temperature, taste, sound, smell, etc.). Hope this was a good read, thanks for joining me!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Battle Reportification Part 7 - Significant Events

I'm not so sure about all of you, but sometimes it can be really difficult to tell what the turning point in the battle was. Was it one shooting phase that did it, or did one unit's heroic charge deal the death blow to the important character on the opposing side? How far can you narrow the critical moment down to? This post will try and show you how to narrow it down and also how to make multiple parts of the fight interesting and narratively important. I'm going to have to be very arbitrary because it is impossible to provide a concrete set of guidelines for determining the shift in the balance of the war, but I will do my best given the resources I have at my disposal. Let us examine what movies, books, and other mediums generally use to portray moments of intense import for the plot or character development. When do they have you cheering the victory or crying from depression? When the hero is incapacitated or the big bad has been knocked off his high seat, this generally signals the end. Of course it is not quite the same as the death of the villain is almost always at the end whereas the hero is taken down somewhere in the middle (only to rise again. Of course the hero could also be knocked out at the end and then in a few minutes be back on his feet but that is neither here nor there). Look at your battle and see when it was that your or the opponent's general died. It is entirely possible that both ended up dying, that just changes how you want to tell your story. With the death of the general comes the type of tale you can tell. If the general died in the beginning the story is one of the army fighting on without him, demoralized but grim in their resolution, digging in to fight to the end even as their comrades die around them (victory or defeat does not matter, the story could be the same). If they died in the middle of the battle, that is when the force starts falling apart or is driven to greater things to avenge the heroic death of their commander. If it was the end it could be a tragic death, something gut wrenching because of all that they had given to bring victory and yet they would never live to see it. On the other hand if their force had fallen apart earlier they could have died because they could not stand the shame of their defeat and leading their friends to their deaths or could have perished as a coward, cut down despite trying to use his friends as bullet bait. This is all determined - again - by the style of story and characters you want involved in your Battle Report. Where else could you look for significant events in your battle? At what point did the most models perish? When were your forces gunned down en-masse or did you cut through several units of troops with your valiant cavalry? Were you able to take out the majority of the enemy forces when you stormed their base of operations, or were you forced back by disciplined volleys? These are instances in time that you can go to town as a narrator, plucking at the heart strings of your audience as you try and capture the emotions that the characters must be feeling as everyone they have known and loved for 20+ years are gone in the blink of an eye or they liberate that town from the occupation of the heretical chaos influence, knowing that the people who had cowered in their homes for years would finally be able to see the light and live under the freedom given to them by the Emperor. Perhaps what you want most to look for when you seek out those significant events in your Battle Report to illustrate is try and figure out where can you convey the most life and detail, what will make an excellent scene and piece of writing that you would love to show your friends or the internet at large. I'm not sure if I mentioned this anywhere else but in my mind Battle Reportification should not be just a passing attempt, it is a serious effort to craft something that isn't seen anywhere else. Not quite as long as a short story, but with plenty of depth, plot, and character development that could be as good as many short stories. This isn't just about saying what happened in your battle, this is going the whole hog (I think that's the saying but I'm not sure) and putting in place all the elements that would make this Battle Report a piece of literature, not just fluff. This is the difference that I see in fluff and lore. Fluff is filler garbage that is eye candy, does not really satisfy, it just fills the time until we come across something better. Black library on the other hand is often lore because of the character development, serious themes and powerful character development. There are examples that are simply fluff because they aren't really works that aren't seen elsewhere and aren't really unique, but most of it does add something to how you view the 41st millenium and the Imperium or the other races. Giving someone something new to think about, that is what I think is one of the greatest achievements of doing good writing. That’s also how I look at blogs, if you have nothing different to say from other people or if you are just whining and not contributing then you don't need to have a blog. But I'm digressing and I apologize for that. I hope you enjoyed this post, always glad to write for you guys!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Battle Reportification Part 6 - Narrating Character

First I would like to make a call for everyone that reads this blog to go check out all of the different networks that I posted on the right side of the blog that have been there since the beginning, all of them have quite a few good blogs and you probably have noticed based on my list of blogs towards the bottom of the page that I read a lot of blogs, most of them having been found by following those links when I was first looking into the different networks. I would also like to thank wargaming tradecraft for accepting me into their network, and would advise you all to look at the blogs that are posted there (it is an old network that is moving, so hang in there, more blogs will be put up there with time as they are moved from the old list to the new). Once again thanks for the plug guys, and now on to the normal blog post. (btw Graven Games is still awesome. I love giving them shout outs lol) Again this post is involved with the previous one, so I will do my best to not repeat myself (though I think that last time I did a good job of not getting too off subject). The topic up for discussion today is designing your Narrating Character which you will use for your Battle Report (or most of it anyways). Now there is tons of stuff on character creation that I'm not going to go into, just the basic stuff that you can use to put in some work to make something awesome while not too much that you spend hours on just the character creation. Again you are going to want to examine how everything that happened in the battle fits together. Once you have that figured out you have to start hearing voices in your head. What attitude do you hear that would really help make the story you want to tell excel? What tone of voice will accentuate the best parts of what happened? Should it be snarky, quirky, humorous, sadistic, sarcastic, sassy, intelligent, depressed, who will do the best for you? Oftentimes the character should reflect your own personality as your personal tendencies will mean that you have a knack for doing a good job of that attitude, but don't be afraid to experiment! If nothing else take some inspiration from your friends, enemies, public figures, anywhere that you look! A second part of making this narrating character is that you want to have a small bit of background assigned to them. I don't mean totally defining every detail and part of their history, just enough for you to work with and refer to in your story and that you could use to craft their personality (or you could reverse engineer the history based on their attitude or vice versa). Sometimes depending on the lore for your army you will know where the character came from if they are a part of the army, sometimes you will have a wide assortment of options. For instance you may have an imperial guard army composed of a variety of companies or platoons that come from all sorts of backgrounds that change frequently, hence the reason that you don't know all the homes of all the people. This option provides some flexibility in your story telling and the background of your force. Another possibility is that you could utilize someone not even part of your army as a narrator, or a non-combatant that travels with it. A local that gets caught up in the action that goes down in their home hive or a city slummer that is fleeing the law crosses into a field and gets sucked into the battle with no way out. It does not have to be a role that is played out on the tabletop at all, you could make up everything about them just because you have an awesome vision in your head. This will allow you to make full use out of the work that you already put into the planet that you designed already. You could take someone that was from a completely different system or sector and insert them for some narrative flavor that contrasts the behavior and style that is evident in the rest of the army or conflict. The key to all of this is to use your imagination, run with anything that you think will work and that you can totally see happening on your battlefield. Whether it advances the plot because the character is an inquisitor investigating the army as it performs maneuvers in the name of the emperor or a child of a cook ran off of the ship and is now running under the wing of the imperial guard platoon commander is up to you, there are NO limits to who could be involved with the battle. As a final thought remember that it does not have to be someone that actually showed up on the tabletop, just make sure that you think they could do a good job of telling the amount of the battle that you think is appropriate to advancing the plot and the events that are surrounding the story that you are trying to tell.

Battle Reportification Part 5 - Detailed Explanatory Scene

Writing this blog is already changing how I'm playing. Yesterday when I was playing I was looking at everything in an entirely new light. Normally I think that when something completely against the odds happens I just think its cool. But yesterday when a ton of fantastical crap went down I was thinking of how it would look in a story, how I would explain it and write the scene involved in a Battle Report. It wasn't just cool, I was forging a narrative during the game. Of course I normally play competitively in tournaments but this time I kind of went a little crazy and did stuff that was not very… strategic. Rushing towards the Space Wolves is NOT a good idea for Tau, though it was hilarious to watch as my army then imploded. But enough about that, moving on to what this post is about. Now that you've determined all of your supporting details involving purpose and location it is time to get working on your actual Battle Report. This post and the next one will go hand in hand, so stick with me as I make some leaps about characters that will be delved into further tomorrow. So why bother creating a scene designed specifically to explain things to your audience in the first place? Just like I already said in the location post part of this is for setting the mood for your readers to tap into and expect from the rest of your Battle Report. If you provide a scene for explanation then they will know how things work. The second part about the explanation scene is that it is when you get the opportunity to have your imagination run wild and you get to decide all the cool details and tidbits that you want to be a part of your story. This is one of the defining moments for your Battle Report, this is where you can make your battle not just another game of 40k or warmachine, now you are starting to add tension and weight to everything that happened. The fate of the continent may have rested upon this battle, but the audience can only know this if you tell it to them! Furthermore explaining what is going on will remove some of the confusion (I'm sorry, I know its obvious but it still needed to be said) that might have been infused into your story if you did not take a moment to sort everything out so that details regarding characters, motivations, location, everything is told so that your audience does not need to do any thinking but can just sit back and enjoy the narrative that you have created (or at the moment are creating). So how do you get around to writing this detailed scene? Look at everything that you've already sorted out (the purpose, the location, and what actually happened in the battle). Based on these factors what could you reasonably tie together? What is the specific story that you want to tell, what is it that was important to this battle and how is the world or important plot pieces being changed by specific parts of the fight? Not everything has to be, or even should be important to the plot. Just as I said some posts back, if everything was detailed and important, there would be no sense of scale or weight - you'd lose what was actually important with what was just a cool fight that had no real significance in your narration. But back to piecing things together: look at what parts fit together, what was the purpose of this battle, what led up to the gauntlet being thrown and the two sides dukeing it out in this particular location. Decide what was the situation before the actual war was declared, what led to the escalating tension, what caused the final eruption, and what has happened between that moment and the start of the battle. All of that is exactly what you will be describing (maybe not all at once, you can take your time and explain it all throughout a variety of Battle Reports if you want to continue this saga that you are working on) and so now you should be able to see why this scene is important. If you didn't explain some of this than a large part of what will make your Battle Report cool and unique, an actual story and not just a bunch of figures moving around on a tabletop would have been left out and no one would have seen your abilities as a story teller! The second part to the detailed explanatory scene is the detail: when you read a book you will notice that the successful ones make sure to do a very good job of portraying what the place is like. How it looks, the temperature, the taste of the air, the flavor of the wind or dust, the sounds in the background, the texture of the walls, clothing, the floor or dirt, etc. Everything is given detail, or at least enough such that the audience could feel like they are in the room. You don't actually have to describe every little nook and cranny, you just have to provide the feeling that you have done that - what I mean is that you should have a solid amount of description and anything that you plan on having your characters interact with should either have been described or it should be something that you specifically are waiting to mention until it become important. By providing such details as temperature you can make yourself look really good by providing such moments as a character shivering in the cold or even hunching their shoulders to combat the blistering gale that was crashing through the fur cloaks of the local Feudal lord. It doesn't change the plot, but it looks really good and for a small amount of work will improve your standing in the eyes of those that are looking at your Report. Even if you don't show it to anyone, it will look really cool to you and make you feel accomplished and that your battle is unlike any other that you've played out on the tabletop. (sorry about not posting this last night, it seems that Sundays I have a problem with my internet so whatever, I guess Monday's or Saturday's I'll just post twice to make up for it. Expect another post today as I am going to start working on that one now since I had this one done yesterday)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Special Missions #3

Sorry, ran out of time after playing in a 40k tournament and got home late so was unable to come up with new stuff.  I'm working on creating these in advance so I have a pool of legitimate articles to post when they are needed, but until I am able to do that I will give you another special mission (I only have one other on hand that I can easily access, lets hope I don't miss another again ;-) )

Game Three
Deployment:       Pitched Battle
Set up:                  Seize Ground
Conditions:          Reinforcements?  Every turn starting with round 2 roll for reserves for one unit worth 100 points from your codex, created before the game begins and before you know who your opponent is.  This unit deepstrikes onto the field using the normal deepstrike rules.  The unit can be any type, vehicle, infantry, or otherwise even if it does not normally have the deepstrike rule.  Secret Objectives that list their weight in determining a victor of the game.
Extra Points (again for that battle points system I designed):
  • Only lose 2 units completely (partial losses are permissible) - 1 point
  • Destroy your enemy's reinforcements before it causes 100 victory points of damage to your army - 1 point
  • Destroy 200 victory points or more of your opponent's army with your reinforcements - 2 points

    Secret Objectives:

  1. Kill one enemy unit of at least 5 models or more down to only 1 model and keep it alive. (2 objectives)
  2. Hold at least 2 objectives for 4 consecutive turns (2 objectives)
  3. Have the most victory points in your opponent's deployment zone (1 objective)
  4. Keep your HQ alive the entire game and deliver the killing blow to at least one unit (2 objectives)
  5. Eliminate all of your enemy's Elites/Fast Attack/Heavy Support - must be the most filled section (2 objectives)
  6. Hold at least 2 objectives for 3 consecutive turns (1 objective)

Sorry about not having the story descriptions in here, pressed for time and REALLY want to go to bed.  Hope you guys like it, and I'll be back with Battle Reportification tomorrow!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Battle Reportification Part 4 - Location of Conflict

I know all of you are just dying with excitement to hear what I have to say about the Location of Conflict because its not like you have any other things to be psyched about, no upcoming releases of anything major in our worlds, just the same old.  I though that to fill the drudgery of your lives until finally someone decides to come out with new toys and things of that ilk that I would give your lives meaning.  With that sarcasm out of the way lets move on to the real reason I have this blog.

So now you have determined the purpose for the conflict that you are basing your Battle Report around.  This is a great point to decide where you want this fight to take place.  Sure you have a smidgeon of a clue from the reason for the fighting, but this is where you commit to the gritty details of the whole thing!  There is also a scale that you can grant this location, and how large or small you make it is up to you.

First we have the biggest scale (which only really applies to sci-fi games) which is what sector of space is this taking place.  This could be important if you plan on taking the story or campaign that you are discussing in your Battle Report into the future and want your different Reports to be connected.  Knowing the sector narrows down the sorts of battles and factions that are involved because you can then figure out who is there and why.  If you don't decide the sector then everything is much more open-ended and you have more flexibility, but you also might lose yourself in all the possibilities and spend too much effort creating reasons or facts that you could have spent on making a good story into a great one.  Knowing the sector also gives you common ground with your readers, if they know where you are then they instantly start adding their own knowledge of the background to your narration and you didn’t even have to do the heavy lifting, Black Library or the game company for your system already did that for you!

Second to the sector of space comes the system where it takes place.  Now you can make a decision:  how much effort do you want to put into this Battle Report?  Do you want to make a detailed story out of a series of battles or want to expand a story off of this one battle?  If that is the case it may be best to design the entire system using the methodology given to you by the Designing a Planet Series I wrote earlier (in case you missed that… hee hee its funny cause I don’t get new readers lol.  I still love you guys though).  If this is more of a one night stand then maybe you want to skip this detail altogether.  As always though, designing the system - no matter how little you end up doing - can give you inspiration and help you out later on with other stuff.

The next level is the planet.  I won't go into detail on this because that is what that entire bloody series I already alluded to was about.

Now you have what sort of continent or nation or geographical area that you want to set this battle in.  This is important because it can give you some nice flavor to allude to throughout the Report that would otherwise be missing.  Every battle report doesn't have to be in the middle of a ruins where no civilization exists and local governments have no say in the military's actions and surround geography doesn't determine why this engagement happened.  This could be the result of favors being called in by the government, maybe a political crap-fest erupted and now the generals have been forced to hand over control of the Imperial army (or at least a part of it) to the local politicians (who are idiots as it goes without saying despite my saying it).  Geography could have been used to pin down an enemy force into a fight they didn't want to engage in - a perfect example of this is in the Tau codex with how Farsight used the canyons to split up and pick apart the Orks.  If you ended up going into detail on the planet using the steps I gave you earlier that means that now you have a lot of options for who is involved in the war, its interests, who wants what, and all sorts of non-fighting plot pieces can come to light.  That is one of the things that could make your Battle Report extraordinary compared to other people's, that added detail and themes that go beyond just the basics of fighting and the reason for the fighting.

Finally the smallest scale involves the actual battlefield:  where in that nation/continent/etc. do you want this battle to take place?  Is it near the volcanic mountains of the eastern part of the continent, or are you fighting to defend the Imperial city from the heretics, holding out as long as you can to gain some time for the innocent civilians to safety (not like the Imperium ever does anything nice like that but you get the idea).  What could have happened on that battlefield in the past?  What was it like before war transformed it?  Were there farmers in the area, did religious pilgrims frequent paths through the woods that have since been torn up by the treads of tanks and explosions of artillery?  All of this stacks together until finally you get something incredibly detailed that you can be proud of.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Battle Reportification Part 3 - Purpose for Conflict

Now that you have a proper recording of the battle that you are planning on making into a Battle Report its time to get this puppy into gear and crank out that story that will be more awesome than any other Battle Report that has ever graced the interwebs.  But where should you begin with the story?  How any good book does… setting the scene.

What does setting the scene do you may ask?  It does a myriad of things, among them it sets expectations for what the rest of the narrative will be like.  Setting a detailed picture of what is going on will let the audience know what sort of story and writing that they can expect from your Battle Report.  Another thing it accomplishes is that, if done well, it will get your readers excited to keep reading and give them the motivation to keep reading.  Finally, as with anything that I write about, setting the scene gives you a foundation from which you can easily find inspiration for continuing your story.  By laying down the groundwork early on you have put in the amount of time and thought to make a reasonable story (reasonable in why the two parties are in conflict, what its over, and where) - suspension of disbelief can only go so far, and the more that you give your readers the more that they will be willing to give up themselves for the sake of a good story.  Finally setting the scene will help you define your own style of writing and narrative; if this is your first attempt at creating a detailed Battle Report that has depth and is not just a description than you want to know how you do things and what your strengths are and a lot of us don't know what we're good at until we try, so setting the scene will help get that battle out of the way.

The components needed for setting the scene are myriad:  purpose for conflict; location of conflict; detailed explanatory scene; deep and intelligent (not necessarily smart but descriptive) narrating character.  This particular post will focus mostly upon the purpose for conflict.

You can find reasons for a conflict between your faction and your opponent's from quite a few sources.  A good place to start is in the codexes/army books/ Forces of Warmahordes/etc. for each of your armies.  Was there any sort of war or crusade between them there?  You don't have to make this part of that bigger fight but more of a continuation of the standard canon as the two sides continued to have tense relations and they escalated until it came to arms again (for instance the Damocles Crusade ended, but maybe certain Marine chapters were tired of seeing the Tau taking Imperial worlds back in their 3rd sphere expansion and so they have started to battle the Tau again, more like resuming the Crusade than anything else).  If there is no such conflict look for what the lore included in the books is saying in regards to what the factions are doing; for instance certain Necron dynasties are trying to reunify the galaxy under their rule again.  This would obviously not be in the interests of the Inquisition and so the Grey Knights may have deployed to counter an invasion of Necron forces upon some agri-world or another.  This methodology is one of extrapolation and simple logic, figuring out where certain groups may have problems.  But lets say that relations between the two factions seem to be just fine according to the codexes (this could be something like the Tau and the Eldar who are known to work together frequently).  Extrapolation is no longer such an easy route and so you need to start making things up.  Figure out what the priorities of these factions are and now decide what event could bring these two normally tight buddies into snarling monsters at each others throats.  In the case of the Eldar and the Tau, some ally of the Tau could have gotten his hands upon some chaos artifact and fled into the Tau territory to be protected from the Eldar.  If the Eldar did not explain things to the Tau properly (they are not known to bother with common courtesies when dealing with what they consider to be inferior races) and the Tau chose to defend their ally that would have violent consequences and create a bloody crucible (I love that word).

Of course you aren't limited just to those books I listed to look for inspiration, you can find it anywhere that you want to look (or if you are just struck by something out of the blue that works too I guess).  Books, music, movies, tv, board games, friends, any of these are valid.  If there is time and you are friendly with your opponent you could even come up with a reason before, during, or after the battle itself!  This can always be an entertaining exercise, and often you will find that other people have good ideas too, and because they have had their army longer than you've seen it they might have an idea or two about why they have fought with other armies.

Thanks for reading, I will be posting a link up to CanHammer's blog/podcast since they were nice enough to give me a shout out on Twitter.  Remember that if you want a link up on this site you just have to do the same thing!  Toodles!

*Later Edit (about 5 seconds later) - I realize that I already posted a link on the side.  Check it out anyways guys, you'll like what they write about and talk about!*

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Battle Reportification Part 2 - Preparation

Just thought I'd give Graven Games another shout out, they have been posting some really nice articles on their blog (which you all should have seen if you have been keeping up with your homework, hmmmm?).  One that really caught my eye is their scratch-building the Tau Manta out of cardboard.  That puppy looks massive, complicated, and just plain awesome and I want to applaud them on their efforts with taking on such a massive undertaking for sheer fun and sharing their experiences with the rest of the community, so bravo to them (I have no idea how many people are involved with the blog) for expanding out community and helping it out in such a positive manner!

Now moving back on to my own blog.  Lets assume that you are going forward with a Battle Report in mind.  You've already created your list, but what are the ways that you can record the battle so that you can remember it later and write/create your detailed narrative later?  There is no way to do it.  And if you believed that… don't use the internet.  There are in fact a variety of different methods:  a common one that many people like to do (as you will see if you look on YouTube) is taking a video camera and either recording the entire battle as I do (though I don't post it to YouTube, its entirely for my own use) or make brief videos detailing what happened in a player turn and rerecording at the end of the next player turn, and so on.  What all of these do is first show off the two different armies that are on the table, the table itself, and the mission and deployment.  All of the specifics are necessary if you want your Battle Report to be as accurate as possible.  Even if you like to embellish, at least know where you are coming from so that if you ever want to change one of your later revisions you can remember what actually was the case.  What is good about taking a video is that it will give you a picture of what you were thinking at the time of the recording, predictions that you have can then be analyzed at the end of the Battle Report, also your insights could be used and seem very natural and realistic in your story version if a commander or so had similar thoughts to your own.  Recording the entire battle could also show what the dice were like and so maybe you could choose that set of shooting that you managed to make all but one of your saves to write a detailed account of how epic that unit was as it dodged and withstood nearly everything that was thrown their way, and then to pulverize the enemy in revenge for their fallen comrade etc. etc.

Another popular medium for Battle Reports is taking photos while the battle is progressing, this has a plethora of pros:  you can use any sort of camera you want, even your phones; it is unobtrusive and won't interrupt a turn very much (so long as you do it during your opponent's turn and very quickly on your own); you won't feel awkward about talking to a camera while other people are staring at you; there is no editing for still photos, video you have to sometimes reshoot or cut out some of the overly loud background noise.  People also are more willing to look at your battle report because for some reason people have an aversion to watching a battle report that is a ten minute video (longer ones do exist, and the avoidance of those ones is a perfectly understandable phenomena) when the same amount of time is spent reading a good battle report that is text based with a few pictures.  Finally taking just those pictures can set the scene for your battle and also keep everything in perspective as you tell the narrative; you avoid the trap of simply recounting what happened and not analyzing when you don't take a video because you have given yourself time to reflect and don't have to rely just on the video media to tell the story.

The final option is taking notes on what is going on in the battle (of course you can always just remember what happened, but as far as I know only one person in the world has an impervious memory and I'm pretty sure he doesn't play tabletop miniature war games).  You can take notes in any way that you prefer though I will present you with several different options (as is my place in the life of a blogger).  You could use good old fashioned BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD pencil and paper to help you remember what you want.  You could make brief voice notes in some sort of microphone or portable recording device.  I've never seen anyone do it, but if you have a quick hand and are more artistically inclined you could make fast sketches of important points in the battle as they happen or battle scenes that strike you that you could use for inspiration.  Be careful of this as you do have very limited time and also want to pay attention to what your opponent is doing so that you can plan your own turn out.

If anyone has any other way of preparing for making a Battle Report you can mention it in the comments below.  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Battle Reportification Part 1 - The Basics

So just for this Blog I've decided to make up a word: Reportification.  Seems cool enough, but what does it entail?  Well let me tell you exactly what it does.  It means putting your experience on the tabletop into a story format that is one of several things:  entertaining, educational, or inspiring (I tried to come up with 3 E's but failed).  This concept is very simple, its entertaining if someone finds it enjoyable to read and tells a good story or vivid details of the action.  The Battle Report is educational if it shows how to do something tactically or tries to introduce a new idea for use on the tabletop that is not commonly used (or is new or previously unknown to whomever happens to be writing the report).  The inspiring piece involves making an attempt to get other people to do a variety of things as a result from your report, whether that is play more games, expand on the story you've written, create missions or scenarios that directly involve what you did or the world that you wrote the report in, etc.  Those three things are everything that I believe is involved in Battle Reportification.  Otherwise it is boring or useless and you might as well have spent that time painting models rather than typing up (or recording by video or audio) a crummy record of how things went down.

But wait!  I can't talk about how to make a Battle Report educational tactically because this is a blog about adding fluff!  Well first of all go bugger yourself I can do whatever I want.  Secondly what I will talk about (in the future) is how to make it educational and still maintain a story and narrative.  The best Battle Reports are able to combine all three of those elements that I already stated, and it is now my goal to show you how I think you can achieve all three parts of Reportification in your future Battle Reports.  Now if I can just figure out how to do this stuff for my own reports…

I will go into further details on Battle Reportification in future posts, this one is simply putting aside all of the things that I think are fairly obvious but by stating them are putting us all on equal footing so we can understand the entire discussion without having miscommunication problems.  When you are going to write your Battle Report there are elements to it that you need to keep in mind while you are creating it so that you maintain a coherent and logical story that works with the actual events on the battlefield.  One of these elements is that your battle report does not have to consist of squad alpha fired at the infernal chaos Daemonettes, and seeing that they failed the righteous zeal of squad beta was unleashed upon them.  The survivors of their onslaught were then incinerated by the holy flamers blah blah blah.  You need to get it out of your head that the entire thing is turn based.  Notice how Black Library does it.  What is important to their battle scenes is how everything is happening at once, its all chaotic, and every person involved only knows what they know.  They are not omniscient, so if you take a perspective when writing your Battle Report (which I strongly suggest but more on that in the future) make sure that they don't suddenly know about a daemon prince that deep-struck onto the other side of the hill.  The character that you are narrating through could get reports of it, but they take time and so even if you are trying to stay true to the chronological order of the battle there can be a delay in how things unfold in the Report.  My own Battle Report that I gave you earlier tried to do this (though in my opinion I believe I failed, but more on that later) with the reports that she was hearing through the comm unit in her helmet.  The readers also don't need to know how things happen as they do, you can simply tell them what the result was.  You do not need to make every assault narrated in graphic detail with gritty combat flashing everywhere in your text.  Do some of those, certainly, but if every one of them is like that then there is no way to make an assault that really determined the outcome of the game seem important to your readers.  It will seem like every other combat and the audience will be confused when suddenly it seems that this one assault of many swung the battle for seemingly no reason.

Those are all of the basics of Battle Reportification that I will go over for now, the next blog post will be on preparing to write a Battle Report.  Hope you enjoyed this post, and as always I will gladly accept any feedback, whether in the comments, via twitter, or by shooting me an email.  You can always email me at if you have anything that you want to talk to me about in private.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Designing a Planet Compendium

    So this is the order with links to the order that I believe things should be done with.  Nothing more, nothing less. 

  1. Ecosystem -
  2. Geography -
  3. Surroundings -
  4. Purpose -
  5. History -
  6. Cultures -
  7. Factions -
  8. Nations -
  9. Economy -
  10. Concerns & Motives -
  11. Current Events -
  12. Future -