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.
I'm going to leave this note here just before I begin for those of you that have recently joined the blog: First of all thank you all for having an interest in what I have to say; Second you might want to check out some of the links I have on the right, for instance you might want to check out the series that I did of designing a planet or Battle Reportification since my statistics tell me that most people have never even looked at them, you might find them helpful or at the very least interesting.
With that out of the way you're going to want me to go on to the actual topic of this post. I suppose I'll oblige you all. For many people the common troopers are the easiest to define and develop in your army; after all they are the majority of your army and oftentimes you have a central idea or theme for your army laid out. For many others though they are complicated and difficult because people are different and you don't want them all to be identical; perhaps you want to put more thought into them because you want to make sure that your desired theme or principle for the army across.
I've mentioned theme several times in this post as oftentimes when creating an army you have some core idea or another behind it. The mechanized fast response force that reinforces positions wherever they are needed, or the heavy assaulting army that is designed to crash into enemy lines and obliterate them all while withstanding massive amounts of fire power and resistance. Maybe you have a more story based army. No that's not possible, no one does that. For those imaginary people that might do this you might have some ideas in mind that I will be covering later in this series, but some examples for right now could be an Eldar corsair army that specializes in stealth and swift maneuvers or an imperial guard force that is most often frequenting trench warfare battlegrounds. Perhaps the theme that you have in mind is more of a feeling and not a matter of composition, this could be something grim, or evil (grim would be an army that is made up of units that are designed to do their job for instance and do it because it is necessary despite the harm they are causing, evil would be total suffering or annihilation while perhaps enjoying it such as Dark Eldar that are supposed to enjoy what they do like Hellions or wyches, not really wracks or incubi because they have either no real emotions or are disciplined respectively. Of course wracks could be included depending on the type of evil you are going for in this case being necromancy and slaughtering, torturing, and enslaving unwilling subjects to other purposes. I won't go into any more of this now however). A lot of the time the troops are the best way to represent your ideas because they compose the most significant part of your army.
There are generally two orders for your story. One is that the story comes after you have written up your army list, the second is the other way around. They each have their pros and cons, the story coming second means that you have some guidelines for direction and can be inspired by that, however you might find that you are limited by what you an reasonably jump to thematically or you might end up with an army similar to someone else's if you are taking a common type of list. The theme coming first means that you can do anything you want and create something really personalized and unique, the problem is that you might need inspiration, you might find that you can't incorporate all of your ideas into the list because you have a points limitation or nothing really fits into that idea you had (of course that is just a problem of the book not having what you need, and in those situations you can just take some creative license and say that this represents that or just change what it is from the perspective of normality, for instance you want a space marine squad to be devoted to gathering the gene seed of the fallen comrades and the apothecary isn't enough in your mind, so you commandeer an assault marine squad to charge in and clear out enemy forces around the bodies of the fallen and then they gather up the gene seed, keeping the apothecary out of danger. These could in fact be vanguard veterans to represent their special training and experience in order to accomplish this task quickly, efficiently, and correctly. Army wise they would be vanguards, but story wise they would be a specialist force not seen in any other army).
I just realized that a bunch of this post was devoted to theme, but in any case it has a lot to do with the troops any ways so it is not too much of a waste. For the troops in specific you are often limited by your options, so that is why the theme is so important and what will make your force unique. Decide whether or not you want to detail the troops by unit, by platoon or an equivalent divider, by leaders of a group of squadrons, or some other method. With that in mind you can do what you did for the elites, heavy gear, or specialists in terms of events, how they got to be there, etc.