Greetings Fellow Generals!
One of the better parts of this niche hobby of ours is the fact that each miniature you own (and hopefully, paint) is part of a greater army and that each army has its own history of wins and losses, Victories and defeats, Heroes and cowards. That army is uniquely your own, no other person on the planet has that exact same army that you put on the battlefield time and again, sure he might have the same minis and copy the exact army list but that’s the superficial. What makes a tabletop army, An Army, is it’s back story (or as some call it: “fluff”).
Fluff is the back ground story of the army that you make up.
Now this is optional of course, you don’t have to, but by making a back ground story of the army you are working on, it will push you to fight harder for it’s heroes and roll better dice (really! its scientifically proven!) than a bland and generic army without a back story (made even worse by not painting any part of it… bad juju will happen, you have been warned!).
You don’t even really have to work hard at creating a back story; naming it’s general or unit can do the trick. Heck, sometimes that back story comes to life as you test your army’s mettle in the field of battle. It’s General or unit gaining a reputation as battle after battle rages.
I, myself might have a bit of an obsession with this aspect of the hobby, it must come from my old D&D days of Dungeon Mastering and naming each and every town, store, and NPC….
but I digress,
I usually put some thought into my army’s back story every time I paint one up; whether it’s a High Elf army that was left behind when all high elves were called back to Ulthuan by the Phoenix King during the Dwarven wars. The army will incorporate as many “normal” troops as possible with very few special elite troops… and definitely no Dragon Princes! They wouldn’t be caught dead seen in the old world
a Chaos Space Marine army mislead by the Chaos Gods into thinking they have been redeemed and is trying to get back into the Imperium. (the Chaos Gods did this to sow discord and confuse the Imperium of Man… also it seems like fun!) using the Dark Angels as the fluff template and because the Dark Angels have their Fallen, this ties in perfectly with what I wanted: a Chaos Space Marine army with no Daemons, no Daemon Engines, no outward indication of chaotic corruption only using the Marks of Chaos on units to differentiate my marines with normal marines. Oh, I did give myself one concession; my General is a Chaos Daemon Prince but in the form of a (delusional) Heroic Space Marine Captain with Dark Angelic wings, is unusually tough vs illnesses and is also bloodthirsty in close combat (yup, covered all 4 Gods! mighty expensive points wise but oh so very fluffy).
A ragtag mercenary army of Free People who claim they are descendants of what was once a proud city named Altdorf. It’s old general (Obergeneral Steffan Dekk) is in possession of a book from the Time Before containing military insights, giving him strategic brilliance and a mighty sword that he claims is a family heirloom (items stolen from somewhere, no doubt). He leads the Desperates, an army of men with an accompanying retinue of war machines containing two ancient cannons dubbed “the voice of Sigmar” (this allows me to shout “Sigmar has spoken” whenever the cannon kills something ehehehe) and “money shot”, he has also acquired the services of a mage (Marvin the Great) and a master engineer (Brakon Hesselhof). Together they go from city state to city state, lending themselves to the highest bidder.
My Pirates of the Broken Coast, lead by Captain Phinneus Shae and his “merry” band of cut thoats, such as his lovely but deadly first mate Hawk or his financier, the dwarf Lord Rockbottom (baaaad name for a guy doing all the money stuff), his medic Doc Killingsworth who is so bad at his job, the pirates would rather NOT admit they got a wound and just keep fighting (you probably live longer that way). This army would field a large number of Pirates, representing the pirate crew with maaaaybe 2 or 3 warjacks as back up.
My latest; which is a Retribution of Scyrah army based on the Dawn Guard. The army will be primarily white and yellow in color scheme, lead by Vyros, Incissar of the Dawnguard, the one eyed, veteran general of the Retribution whose animal companion (a hawk) allows him and his Warjacks to see thru forests. This army will rely on Warjacks more than infantry. My thinking is that Elves wouldn’t be able to muster a large number infantry cause, as we all know, Elves are a forever dying race… (thank you Tolkien)
Well, anyway that’s it for “Fluff”, I hope this article gives you inspiration and brightens up your gaming experience and also helps you achieve that to which all mortals strive to achieve: a Legacy.
Until next time,
“The object of war is not to die for your county but to make the other bastard die for his” – George S. Patton