First collaborative post for the Trading Post blog network. Today's topic is the role of fluff in your army.
Personally, the background story of a force is what drives me to collect and paint my armies. I pick up and paint random models here and there, but for the armies that I actively collect and play with the fluff drives everything for me. Of course there are always going to be "uber-units" but I really try to stay away from them, unless they fit the theme of my army. If they do fit the theme then I will try to tone them down (unless I am playing against one or two people at the club). Generally though I can't get motivated to paint unless I am really excited about the background.
The two armies that I'm building up right now are my dwarves and my Space Wolves. For both of them I've tried to create the theme for the army and then build around that. My dwarves are based around the idea that the lord of Karak Hirn is leading some of the veterans from the throng into the lower levels to reclaim them from the grobi and rat-men that have overtaken them. Ironbreakers and longbeards feature prominently in the force, I have tried to minimize the number of gunpowder weapons in the list with the belief that all that smoke would really make tunnel fighting incredibly difficult. This theme is partly based around some of the neat artwork and stories in the army book, but mostly it's because I love the Ironbreaker models and the chance to keep adding more to my force is alluring. I'm still fleshing out the background for my wolves, I'm kind of leaning towards a force led by Logan and including lots of Wolf Guard and Long Fangs to represent the 13th company. As I said in the last post I love the wulfen models from the Eye of Terror campaign so any chance to use those is a plus.
As far as gaming goes I try to incorporate some story into the battle. It doesn't get me too excited to look at something and say "x points vs. y points, GO!". In my head I'll try to come up with some reason for why the two sides are fighting. As the battle goes on I'll try to remember particularly heroic (or cowardly) units and then add to them later on to represent their glories (maybe a shield from a Chaos Warrior on the base of an Ironbreaker champion).
Background for armies gets me excited about painting and playing and really keeps the hobby from getting too stagnant for me.
Another Death Guard Rhino
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