Warhammer Wednesday – Building a BackgroundJanuary 23, 2019
One of my great joys of Games Workshop gaming over historical is the sheer scope available when creating an army. A background brings your army to life. Here are a few questions to ask when making your army background…
What do you enjoy?
If mech suits are your thing go for it, don’t waste time on infantry if they don’t interest you. Fancy a numberless horde? Forget the elites and max out on fresh recruits. Ultimately your army should bring you joy so build it on that foundation. Games Workshop have been doing more to facilitate irregular army composition in matched play with Warscroll Battalions and Detachments; take advantage of this.
What colours would you like to paint?
An often overlooked aspect in building a story. When it comes to painting you can find the best laid narrative unravelling before you. My foray into Imperial Fists lasted all of one session painting yellow before I had to rethink my life choices. If you want to create an army of jungle fighting Orks in camouflage consider how to break up the colour palette. Grey skinned Orks look super cool and could be reflected in your army background as a result of the local atmosphere or diet. Likewise a cadre of Tau desert fighters may be perfect opportunity to practice weathered paint schemes.
What environment (if any) does the army excel in?
Famous Imperial Guard regiments such as the Valhallan Ice Warriors, Tallarn Desert Raiders and Catachan Jungle Fighters excel in specific environments. Even the standard issue Cadia pattern equipment readily adjusts to different environments with a lick of paint.
When you have an idea of the environment your army excels in you can determine the environment they struggle in. A Jungle Fighting army called to fight in urban environments opens up all sorts of background and modelling options. Great story often comes from throwing someone in the deep end.
What’s weird about it?
It wouldn’t be Games Workshop if things weren’t a little odd. Your mushroom obsessed goblins? They worship the moon and ride bouncing murder blobs. The twisted ghouls who consume flesh? They think they are noble knights of old. The evil witch elves? The writers actually believe their racial misandry is good writing that empowers women.
Weirdness really makes an army background come to life and reflect the ludicrous universes they are a part of. It also provides an excellent talking point during a game.
If this is true, what else?
Games Workshop has some brilliant faction backgrounds and fiction. They also have extensive game universes where not everything is set in stone. A perfect foundation to build on. Where can this lead?
We are familiar with the Necron flayers either as curse or virus. If this is true, are there other curses/viruses? What about a C’tan curse that erodes the Necrons affected? You can drill holes, slice off parts, melt sections then slap on the rust effect once painted.
The Idonenth Deepkin fled from the self-absorbed, overbearing parent figure of Teclis. We know the vast majority fled undersea. If this is true, do enclaves exist elsewhere? Instead of fleeing to the ocean is there an underground city of Deepkin riding giant moles and earthworms?