Thursday, August 16, 2012
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
This post bleeds over a little into the Elites and Heavy Gear ones because this focuses upon the role of the unit within the army as opposed to its skill and equipment. Oftentimes forces are Elite or Heavy Gear and serve one specific purpose, others they are all-comers and can work in a multitude of situations and accomplish several jobs at once (or at least in different situations). Specialists are those that are intended to serve one or maybe two purposes and that is it. An example of this would be Fire Dragons from the Eldar codex are specifically anti-vehicle, Tau pathfinders support the army with markerlights, space marine rhinos are strictly transports (that can also be used for blocking and tank shocking I guess). They are not assault terminators or paladins that can kill anything they look at regardless of the situation or score or block enemy forces.
With that definition out of the way we can get to the good part and talk about how to draft their creation. The first piece to go through is how it is how they gained that role. This is a question of skill or equipment. In the case of Space Marines they are generally given the equipment and act the role they are given, such as in the case of Devastators or Assault marines. Just like in the Elites versus Heavy Gear posts looking at the stat line might help you out here. From a strictly story-based setting you might decide how it was that this group of individuals became what they were. Some of them could be naturally gifted at sharp shooting, others have spent years attaining their abilities, and some might have bionic implants or equipment that puts them on the same level as the others. Depending on the amount of work that you want to put into them you could detail each member individually so that the entire group is unique and interesting, with a tail that you could tell over time, perhaps focusing on one or another each time. I always refer to Dan Abnett's Gaunts Ghosts series for examples because I love his writing, plus I don't have much experience with other books yet (though I'm working on the Horus Heresy and the Path of the Warrior/Seer/Outcast series waiting for the last). He has a plethora of characters that are all interesting that he continually develops throughout it and informs us of further bits of their history. For instance Mkvenner (I think that’s how its spelled, last of these books I read was about 6 months ago)… I just realized that you all wouldn't appreciate any spoilers. Suffice it to say that his mysterious history and patronage is developed somewhere in the second collection I think. Even those people that he kills off are referred back to and given a clear spotlight at times because of how other characters discuss them. Try and remember that just because you do kill off one of your characters that doesn't mean that you have to leave them to collect figurative dust as they are.
As with the other units you probably want to provide some sort of event that they pulled out ahead and narrowly avoided a crisis or saved the day because of their abilities or actions. Another piece that I don't believe that I mentioned before in other posts is you might want to have some outlining parameters for how they interact with each other. This doesn't have to be a set in stone diagram or history, but establishing a few guidelines can help with the consistency of the whole thing while also showing you where you have opportunities to develop those people. Ways that you can decide how they generally interact with each other are numerous, but the two that I personally like are as follows: determine individual personalities and draw logical conclusions based on that; create a small history between the two of maybe 4 or 5 events that would drive their feelings for the other in one direction or another;
The final piece of Specialists is to determine why they are there. Why is it that they were given that specific task (aside from the obvious that is their forte/equipment/training) and why is it that the army needed a group or individual like them and couldn't fill the need for someone to accomplish the task from elsewhere in the ranks.
*NOTE* Sorry that this is a day late (I hope its just a day late) the hotel that I was at last night didn't have free wifi so hopefully I can post this tonight as well as the next post that I'm going to write today.