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Army Background?

Created your own background storyline for your army? Want to discuss the 40k history?

Army Background?

Postby killmaimburn » Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:34 pm

(I'm trying matt :wink: )
I've noticed a few tourneys require you to take a copy of your "army background"..I was just pondering about that
1) what do tournies (generally) expect from them can you actually lose anything more than a %softscore if you just have a bar mat that has "they are a grey knight successor legion who have lash of slannesh"
2) what do you as an opponent "expect" from one.. do you sit and read 3000 word stories+ separate batreps about how the chaplin lost his honour.. about why X is Y and why Y is Z..about the formation and training of each unit..Or just a sentence or two that ties together why an army is composed a certain way and why certain models might be counts-as. Do you actually read them pre game.. or just chat about them with friends in other environments..
3) When in an armies life span do you make it (if you don't have a pressing deadline like a tourney requirement).. I know that some folks write a fresh list every time.I assume they don't write a story every game..But I've only ever written 2-3 backgrounds (out of 6 races and about 70 lists) and they were nearly all for my purity above all lists (not exactly an easy port :(
4.What if anything do you expect different from those who use "pure" lists.. such as SMURFS, black legion. deathwing..thousand sons etc. would the background be implied by your obedience to existing fluff code.. must they as pure representations then fit all the criteria (shoulder decals right shade of yellow and everything 8) )
5. Anyone interested in a bit of to and fro on backgrounds..
(does ljundhammer still have those ninja links he had from a few years back on how to make the stuff up?) I’m thinking of shifting my emphasis for a while away from bat reps and towards the backgrounds of the stuff I’m using.(should only be 30,000words to do all the lists :oops: )
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Postby Ljundhammer » Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:09 pm

Army backgrounds always have been important to me. However, lately I've run out of time to it - being a grown up sucks!

Mine always ran on the Index Astartes lines (seeing as all my armies have been imperial until now). GW have given you the formula that way & you don't really need to think about how to structure it.

As long as you don't go overboard (in the way that GW seem to have done with SMurfs in the new codex - CalGAR IS maDE of TEH WINZZZ!) then pretty much anything is acceptable (if every army is TeH 733test it gets a bit dull & makes your background less believable) - it's a big universe out there. There are very few absolute no-no's, but if you've got a good reason there's no reason not to do it - remember it's YOUR hobby!

Other intersting awys to do the fluff is by blatent imperial propoganda - imagine Soviet Era propoganda pamphlets - this canwork well for Imperial armies.

As to using unique armies rules - well fluff round it. Using DeathWing is easy - it simply represents the first company. If you are using a GW chapter, then using the right iconography is good, but I expect it can be fluffed away by fighting in a certain campaign, or even at a strange time (the Age of Apopsty seemed to mess everthing up).

I'd get bored if it's more than a couple of sides of A4. Make sure you get your spell check on!
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Re: Army Background?

Postby ruffian4 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:27 pm

killmaimburn wrote:I've noticed a few tourneys require you to take a copy of your "army background"

Is the point, what must I do for this/that tourny???
If so, then the teapothammer has is sorted.

If not, then "do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."

If your not trying to satisfy someone else, then you already have the answer. :D

If it's a bit of both, why not write up whatever the hell you like (the novel), then distill it down for the consumption of others (the advertising "blurb" you find on the back of the novel).
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Re: Army Background?

Postby LordMalekTheRedKnight » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:20 pm

ive not played in a tourney for yonks, and that was just a shop thing. i dont really write background for my lists (except maybe when i post them here), but i do give a little speach before a game to set the scene. for example, when using my Tau, i say:

"my Tau were testing stealth technology aboard an experimental ship when they were forced to land on an Imperial planet. luckily, the stealth fields kept them from being detected (and shot out of the sky), but they are stuck there, fending for themselves while they repair their ship. there arent many crew as it was just a small ship, so they have fitted weapons to their drones to bulk up their numbers (as you can see, i use drones with rifles to represent Fire Warriors - these just use the normal rules though)..."

that sort of thing. with my Zombies i explain about the zombie plague, and how they are being controlled by an Alpha Psyker from behind the scenes etc, and tell them what C: CD unit everything counts as, and what rules it has.

i find a little bit of fluff helps break the ice while unpacking your models, and gives the game a bit of a backdrop. it also gives them a chance to ask any questions etc.

cheers :)

~ Tim
Last edited by LordMalekTheRedKnight on Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby mattjgilbert » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:01 pm

WLH is our fluff author who pens the fancy stuff around our batreps and stuff. He also has very specific themes he builds his armies around and likes to have background to them.

Me, I just like the general background of a race/army and the general models look and collect the lot without a true focus.

The Brighton Warlords here ask you produce no more than a side of A4 giving some background to your army for their tournaments. They want some thought put into it but not an attempt at war and peace. I've often wondered if they actually read them though what with running the games and everything else going on...
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Postby Angelwing » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:23 pm

I would have thought a couple of paragraphs at the most would be sufficient to set the scene and give your opponent an overview of your army. Any more and you risk boring them.

Eg: My tyranids are a Hive fleet Kraken splinter fleet that fled towards the galactic core after a defeat by Craftworld Iyaden.
The Ordos Xenos has designated it splinter fleet WH40KVN4 and requested the astartes chapter of the Deaths Head hunt it down and destroy it.


Or:
My orks are freebooter pirates lead by Boss Ripspleen. The force specialises in spaceship boarding actions accounting for the low numbers of wheeled vehicles and the high number of walkers. It has amazed Imperial spies that Boss Ripspleen has survived at the top for so long, as his body was replaced with cybernetics after an unfortunate escape pod accident that has left him markedly small for a warboss, combined with his tendency to retreat when the going gets tough.
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Postby Gymbol » Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:45 am

It is well known that the Eldar are a dying race that keep deep secrets. When they pass a lightly defended human world, they steal many, many children, who they raise to believe that they are Eldar by mutating their bodies and teaching them flower arranging.

These changelings are the forces of the Eldar in this sector, with only 1 true Eldar walking among them as their General, to accomplish his plans with the slaughter of their bodies and to promulgate the wrong impression that Eldar are so numerous that they can afford to field their breeders as the third cheapest troop choice in the universe.

There. My own version of Eldar fluff.
The rule of 40k is "most special rules winzzors (unless your grey knights)" so sayeth me.

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Postby timewizard » Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:52 am

Very well written! Plus it explains these! :lol:
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Postby killmaimburn » Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:37 am

Ok I've kind of started a prose version that will cover two of my armies.. (the matt-like and the shrikewing)
Matheus and Petrus had been raised in the shadow of the necropolis letharge and had wetted their blades on the ooze and puss visceral excretions of its occupants many times before they had realised what they were. It was just how things went.. They protected the village..as they grew up they saw the village change elders passed on, new blood rise but always Matheus and Petrus protected the town from the maggot ridden skum that rose from the sodden tainted soil..The decades came and went.. leaders came and went.. but matheus and petrus stayed locked in the stalemate against the unceasing slavering hordes of sickness and death that rose against the good town folk. The stalemate was delicate.. little else could take place other than survival and the status quo..
Then one day it all changed.. the heat that summer had been overwhelming .. and yet some how the moisture still clung to everything, making a mist that meant the bows and arrows were useless.Fevers ran through the village folk, as always the weak suffered the children the elderly those wounded in previous battles ..once the marks appeared there was some hope.. but it relied on the strength, nutrition, tree sap..all of which were in diminishing supply and then the healthy started to show symptoms..

The brothers decided radical action was required.. they had to push the foul things back..back to their graves..and find a way to make it permenant. They equipped themselves with what meagre defences the townspeople had left.. Matheus taking a large maul axe only he had the strength to wield with any true skill.. and Petrus took his gloves which he had made deadly through use of the ironmongers forge and an old pitch fork.

Its going to be a raven guard successor type..thing where the first stage of development is deathworld nurturing (like cathechans.. and the primarchs)
The records of these 2 will have been lost for reason X (ship that dropped them off was killed by an attack of preferred enemy Y)
They will be found by an arbites party investigating the contamination.. but who are not ready for the scale..I'm trying to work out whether it will be a sorcerer or a nurgle plague marine.. but basically the brothers join the arbites to over come him and are taken back to the imperium..
They are separated within the chapter.. but having spent more time in the field quickly rise to sergeants (one of an assault squad one of a bike squad.. they choose weapons that fit their memories of first battle (a relic blade and lightning claws..and raise to captains of their forces (through dead mans boots..(they are a needle point force before the spearheads.. so have a high relatively high astrates turnover)

So hit me with it..how much there is going to be smacked down by fluff nutters?(can it be changed to fit?)
Last edited by killmaimburn on Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:41 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Postby PaddyF » Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:59 am

John Stalvern waited. The lights above him blinked and sparked out of the air. There were demons in the base. He didn't see them, but had expected them now for years. His warnings to Cernel Joson were not listenend to and now it was too late. Far too late for now, anyway.
John was a space marine for fourteen years. When he was young he watched the spaceships and he said to dad "I want to be on the ships daddy."
Dad said "No! You will BE KILL BY DEMONS"
There was a time when he believed him. Then as he got oldered he stopped. But now in the space station base of the UAC he knew there were demons.
"This is Joson" the radio crackered. "You must fight the demons!"
So John gotted his palsma rifle and blew up the wall.
"HE GOING TO KILL US" said the demons
"I will shoot at him" said the cyberdemon and he fired the rocket missiles. John plasmaed at him and tried to blew him up. But then the ceiling fell and they were trapped and not able to kill.
"No! I must kill the demons" he shouted
The radio said "No, John. You are the demons"
And then John was a zombie.


No better place for this tbh.
Ork Kommando on Infiltrating:

Everybody else is like "we'z gotta strip down to be slippery like". Beakies do this, umies do this, even orkses do this, but Eldarz all like " You'z all stupid, dats why youz monkeys. Iz putting on 'eavier armor, iz gonna stomp through the jungle all sneaky like and chainsaw you stealthy like cuz Eldar's da best like dat. And if youz looks at me funny, dakka comes outta my face"
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Postby Ljundhammer » Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:27 am

killmaimburn wrote:Ok I've kind of started a prose version that will cover two of my armies.. (the matt-like and the shrikewing)


I like it, but it's difficult to make it ring true with 'normal' SM recruitment policies

killmaimburn wrote:Matheus and Petrus had been raised in the shadow of the necropolis letharge and had wetted their blades on the ooze and puss visceral excretions of its occupants many times before they had realised what they were. It was just how things went.. They protected the village..as they grew up they saw the village change elders passed on, new blood rise but always Matheus and Petrus protected the town from the maggot ridden skum that rose from the sodden tainted soil..The decades came and went.. leaders came and went.. but matheus and petrus stayed locked in the stalemate against the unceasing slavering hordes of sickness and death that rose against the good town folk. The stalemate was delicate.. little else could take place other than survival and the status quo..
Then one day it all changed.. the heat that summer had been overwhelming .. and yet some how the moisture still clung to everything, making a mist that meant the bows and arrows were useless.Fevers ran through the village folk, as always the weak suffered the children the elderly those wounded in previous battles ..once the marks appeared there was some hope.. but it relied on the strength, nutrition, tree sap..all of which were in diminishing supply and then the healthy started to show symptoms..


How old are these guys? SM recruitment occurs pre-puberty in (caveat: almost) all cases. During the Great Crusade, the Emperor had the ability to make men Space Marines, but that is now lost to the Chapters. The aspirants need to be that young for the drugs/hormone cocktail & hypno/psychotherapy to take.

Also, SM being the ludicrously ritualistic buggers - they tend to have set ways of inducting new troopers (Space Wolves do the whole chuck you out of the Fang in a Loincloth for a year, Blood Angels go for Ritual Combat on Baal - I can't remember any others off the top of my head)


killmaimburn wrote:The brothers decided radical action was required.. they had to push the foul things back..back to their graves..and find a way to make it permenant. They equipped themselves with what meagre defences the townspeople had left.. Matheus taking a large maul axe only he had the strength to wield with any true skill.. and Petrus took his gloves which he had made deadly through use of the ironmongers forge and an old pitch fork.


I like the story, and I like your prose. I've never been any good at stuff like that. :(

killmaimburn wrote:Its going to be a raven guard successor type..thing where the first stage of development is deathworld nurturing (like cathechans.. and the primarchs)
The records of these 2 will have been lost for reason X (ship that dropped them off was killed by an attack of preferred enemy Y)
They will be found by an arbites party investigating the contamination.. but who are not ready for the scale..I'm trying to work out whether it will be a sorcerer or a nurgle plague marine.. but basically the brothers join the arbites to over come him and are taken back to the imperium..


2 things - why would the brothers join the arbites? Arbites are crack soldiers, generally hand picked to join the Inquisitor's personal army from the best PDFs & standing armies in the world. It's not a problem, but you'll need fluff. Unless you have a broader interpretaion of arbite (in which case it may be better to get a different word?)
How do they get from the arbites to the space marines?

killmaimburn wrote:They are separated within the chapter.. but having spent more time in the field quickly rise to sergeants (one of an assault squad one of a bike squad.. they choose weapons that fit their memories of first battle (a relic blade and lightning claws..and raise to captains of their forces (through dead mans boots..(they are a needle point force before the spearheads.. so have a high relatively high astrates turnover)


Sounds good. There are 1000 Space marines (debatable) in a 'normal' chapter, and only 10 Captains (caveats apply). If you give them different ranks it could set up some interesting friction - although that seemed to happen in every legion during the heresy per the Horus Heresy sieres.

It's definately a good start.
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Postby LordMalekTheRedKnight » Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:34 am

@PaddF: ummm... nice pasta? :lol:

@KMB: sounds like a good start. cant see why a fluff nut would have a problem with it either. :)

@Ljundhammer: i think the idea is that they are SM who have been deserted on the planet for (many/hundreds of) years, and lost their memory.

~ Tim
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Postby ruffian4 » Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:48 am

I like it!!!

Re the brothers, you could always shoehorn in that they may already have been "interferred with" in their youth and have been lost, or possibly part of some experiment (going up against plague stuff???).

A forgotten/abandoned experiment to implant space marine stock in a population a la mini primarchs?
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Postby mortiferum » Thu Mar 19, 2009 9:56 am

If army background fluff is a requirement, who checks, ensures they are not plagiarised, reads and marks them all during a tourney?

I am bad and uninterested in fluff writing. I was wondering if there currently exists a basic 'cut n paste' template (or a series of race specific templates) that untalented / uninterested fluff writers could use in order to fulfil tournament requirements?
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Postby PaddyF » Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:51 am

LordMalekTheRedKnight wrote:@PaddF: ummm... nice pasta? :lol:


Pasta is good for you
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Everybody else is like "we'z gotta strip down to be slippery like". Beakies do this, umies do this, even orkses do this, but Eldarz all like " You'z all stupid, dats why youz monkeys. Iz putting on 'eavier armor, iz gonna stomp through the jungle all sneaky like and chainsaw you stealthy like cuz Eldar's da best like dat. And if youz looks at me funny, dakka comes outta my face"
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