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Lately I'm trying to write myself some background for my chaos space marines. It makes the game more 'real' to me (if you get what I mean). Well I've done some research on the current and old chaos fluff but I'm still struggling with a valid reason to have 4 different warbands fighting together for any length of time.
So in desperation I've come here to beg for help. Any tips and tricks I would get from you guys would be great.
Now this is my plan so far: My army consists of four different warbands. An Emperor's children based warband, night lords, iron warriors and thousand sons. I don't know from which chapter my overall leader will come but I'm kinda leaning towards either the night lords or the thousand sons. As I've read in all the fluff the leader of such an 'alliance' has to be extremely tough, strong and charismatic to get warbands fighting together for a while.
My first ideas for reasons to work together would be:
1. old alliances, pledges (seeing as they are not diametrically opposed and all from the original legions).
2. the overall leader is a charismatic psyker who can convince the others to fight for him either through talk or some kind of mind control.
3. they are based on the same space hulk drifting through the warp.
4. one of them has a prophetic vision from the gods and use bribes, blackmail and force to get the other warbands fighting for them.
And what are further tips for writing any good piece of army fluff?
How about you use a combination of a charismatic leader and a devious psyker; where the brutal, intelligent and respected warlord which the legions follow is only a puppet for the psycher who is in real command.
Trying to control the entire warband would be a tough ask, but if it were just a single man (and I'm guessing he'd be a pretty dumb/thick one for a space marine) which he'd spend much of his time 'counseling' would be far easier. Perhaps there'd be some influence on the lesser leaders for good measure, but puppeteering an entire chaos warband sounds like something only choas would do
What do you think of that?
GLORY TO THE DICE GODS!
Well, actually.. you've not picked any outright enemies.
The Emperor's Children and World Eaters have a massive grudge, as do the Thousand Sons and the Death Guard, but generally the other chaos legions aren't exactly at each others throats. I can totally see groups from these legions teaming up if there's something in it for them.
The Emperor's Children are probably the toughest to explain because fluffwise they're all noise marines (they all have the psycho-surgery which makes their senses overtuned) and noise marines are, to put it mildly, total freaks who are driven more by an endless quest for excessive sensory input than any kind of material goal. They have a long history of not following orders and being unreliable - they abandoned Horus' army at the siege of Terra to go and kill civilians because it was more fun, and the other legions probably haven't forgotten it. Anyone who deals with them is probably going to keep a knife behind their back.
The Thousand Sons are easy. They (or rather, the sorceror who leads them) will side with whoever advances their goals, whatever those goals might be. They probably won't tell anyone why they're there, and they will always have their own agenda, but they have always joined up with other warbands.
The Night Lords and the Iron Warriors, other than being tactically very different, are fairly pragmatic as chaos marines go. If there's a big enough reward. count them in.
Alternately, you could make it a Black Crusade army. The legions might not like each other, but when Abaddon says its time most followers of chaos do seem to put down what they're doing and pitch in.
If you hate that, though, I'd say make the leader a Thousand Sons Sorcerer or Daemon Prince. You could say that Tzeentch gave him a vision of great conquest, but that he didn't have the troops. He then went and looked up some old friends in the Night Lords and Iron Warriors and convinced them it'd be worth their while. En route they find some bored Emperor's Children (never a good thing) who choose to tag along for the laughs. No one else trusts them, but they might as well soak up some bolter shells for everyone else.
Well those are all very good suggestions. I can fully imagine the thousand sons character 'advising' the overall leader. Like whispers in the dark or invoking dreams or visions in the mind of the big dude. And my overall leader, well I think he would be from the night lords. Firstly because I have a lot of models from them (so they are one of the bigger parts) and secondly because I thinks it's easiest explained why he would fall to the tzeentchian 'advise'.
Now that (the most stip-downed version) of the fluff is set, how can I best proceed writing the army fluff? I don't really know how to write good and convincing stuff.
The most important thing in writing good fluff is to constantly ask your characters questions. Take any materials you already have and ask about them. Let's say your Night Lord Champion is fully modeled and painted; for the sake of example he's got a power fist, Mark of Slaanesh, and plasma pistol. Here's what you know or can gather about him:
A: He's in the Night Lords, which gives you a pile of jumping-off points in the Legion's lore: Is he from Nostramo, as is normal? Maybe he's a super-old grizzled vet who's been with the Legion since before they found the Night Haunter, and he's actually from Terra? Or is he a new kid from some other planet, and he was taken as a slave/apprentice? Is he even a Night Lord--gene-seed wise--or was he "adopted" from some other warband or loyalist Chapter? EX: Tyjec'Amun is a Thousand Son, but to reflect my own inexperience as a player I decided he was a recent recruit from Cadia.
B: He's a Chaos Lord; he's the boss: How did he climb the ladder? Was he just a rank-and-file trooper back in the day, but worked his way up through dogged perseverance? Maybe he was a Captain since before the Heresy (not recommended, as you don't want to contradict GW--more on that later)? Maybe he promoted himself, by killing his way up the ladder?
C: He's from one of the Legions: How does he feel about Night Haunter? Has he met Night Haunter? Were they close? Doers he feel that the Haunter's death was an ultimate ethical expression, or just a waste of time? EX: Despite never having met Magnus, Tyjec'Amun views him as a hero, father-figure, and religious prophet all in one; at the same time, he's displeased with Magnus for not doing much of anything for the last 10,000 years.
D: His wargear: Why? Does he love the killiness of a p-fist, despite the lack of mobility? Does he thrill to the feel of his enemy's guts disintegrating in his hand? Does he not trust a bolt pistol to do the job after that run-in with a Blood Angels Terminator squad? Maybe he's addicted to risks, to dancing the edge between life and death, hence the explosive pistol and slow melee weapon? Is that daredevil nature how he fell to Slaanesh?
Now of course that all assumes that you've got a model in front of you, and/or specific gear already in mind. If you don't, try sitting for a moment and imagining a day in the character's life. What does he do outside of combat? Does he have hobbies? Friends? Enemies (personal ones, I mean, like "that Crimson Fist Sergeant who cut off my leg and got away", not "the Imperium")? When he does fight, what's his personal fighting style that he's been developing for the last few millenia? How does he get on with the other marines in his warband, especially those whom he doesn't feel strongly about? How does he feel about Chaos and its gods? What are his dreams, goals, fears (yeah, yeah, "and they shall know no", but seriously, everyone has fears, even if they're existential), secrets? What does he look like, and what does that tell you about him? If you say "he has a scar" then the next question is "how'd he get it?" An exercise that writers and actors sometimes use to practice character-building is to go to a public place and people-watch, then make up stuff to explain what you observe about the people you see and how they act.
You can just go through this process for the Lord, or you can go through it for every Astartes in your army; it's up to you. Personally, I find just fleshing out my HQs and squad leaders to be a happy medium.
One quick thing to think about is his war record. A good rule for this is "2 wins, 1 loss". You don't want to be a Mary Sue, so sprinkle a few defeats in there. As a bonus, we often learn more--about life and ourselves--from failure than from success, so it might give you more answers (or better yet, questions) about your army.
Also, don't forget that this is GW's setting. Contradicting pre-existing official fluff will make you look inexperienced (at best) or like Matt Ward (at worst), so you'll want to do as much fluff research as you can before--and as--you set quill to vellum.
Finally--because as I said I'm an egomaniac--here's a link to the fluff on my theoretical force; I was told it was pretty good. http://www.librarium-online.com/foru...ml#post1585956 (Thousand Sons/Alpha Legion Warband)
I hope I was of some assistance.
Last edited by Tyjec'Amun; November 9th, 2011 at 19:27. Reason: Forgot to mention GW.
If you keep your Night Lord as commander, then you also have to give reasons for the Iron Warriors and Emperor's Children to stay with him and obey him. As has been mentioned before, the EC are notoriously difficult to keep in mind, as they have what amounts to an insanely advanced case of ADHD. The IW, on the other hand, are bitter and grudging, and are said to not like working for other commanders (even their own are tolerated, not loved). One Warsmith, for example, conquered a nearly unconquerable citadel, partially because it would excuse his debt to Abbadon and not get his warband dragged into the 13th Crusade.
One idea would be to make the IW Warsmith and the NL leader equal partners. It's not uncommon for that to happen, both sides work together in order to further their goals. It would provide an interesting dynamic to your fluff, especially if the IW and NL have roughly equal numbers. The EC, on the other hand, could be the element that are constantly straining at the leash, and have to, at times, be physically smacked around by the overall commander (s) in order to stay in line. You could even have their ships have been destroyed early on, ensuring that they need to stay in line or end up marooned on the next raid.