"Just because you ARE a character, dosen't mean you HAVE character"
The Wolf, Pulp Fiction
When i say "gay", i of course mean the British playground meaning of it, i.e lame, unfun and somewhat embarrasing. Not the popular lifestyle choice made by people who are lame, unfun and somewhat embarrasing (this of course is a joke).
In both Warhammer FB and 40k special characters are common and important- to the point where WHFB was sometimes called "herohammer" in the past... a direction 40k seems to be moving in if you ask me.
These Characters add fighting strength, cunning, extra rules and lots of bad-assery to your forces. like i said in my previous article, they also add a depth to your forces by helping create a narrative to each battle. they also increase your tactical options and therefore stimulate the old grey stuff more in battle. Always a good thing!
these characters come in two kinds "Spoonfeds" and "homebrews". Spoonfeds are codex/army book issue characters with rules, stats and options given by the gods at GW- and these are fine. The second are complete custom constructs of your own fevered imagination- built by you or your little buddies from the groud up. Rule of thumb for these- take the points cost you originally made up for these guys and add 50. there- thats better!
in this article i plan to help you with renaming your "Spoonfeds"
"Out Of Toilet Paper"
Vulcan, Marbo, Lilith, Creed, Loki, Ironhide, Von Carstein. Characters that professional games designers have created to be balanced and interesting (snorts in derision) and these can be used, as is, right out the box. if you want to do that, there is nothing wrong with that either, then i gues you had better stop reading. Thanks for stopping by!
Using your own names and fluff for these guys is pretty awesome, can be very creative and engaging. but there is one simple rule YOU MUST OBEY!!
YOU CANNOT CHANGE RULES, POINTS, STATS OR EQUIPMENT
if you are renaming your Spoonfed it must play in the game exactly as its codex origin. simple.
So how do you think of a name? well, it can be anything. its nice if it is relevant to your army, like for instance Sgt Bastonne in the new Guard codex obviously references the battle of Bastogne during the second world war, as well as being a nod to Band of Brothers, the HBO series that rules, set partially in that battle. Sly Marbo is Slyvester Stallone and Rambo intermixed (but that touches on being gay in my book).
Look for words you like the sound or look of and say them outloud. try and get a feel for their rythm, and that will help you choose a second name to go with it. literary tricks like alliteration (Sgt Slaughter), assonance (Major Sabre) or reptition (reepicheek from the Narnia books, for example).
if you use real human names, try to make them out of the ordinary. have them flow- Benjamin Cisco, Illya Kuryakin (ten points to tell me where this is from) Matt Tracker. all good names (all taken, sorry).
here are a few ideas for finding names:
favourite author/song titles/band names/film characters/georgraphical places/ historical figures/mythical figures
people you know/ people on TV / random phonebook flicking
you dont have to be Stephen King to make up your characters names. just take one each from one of the above catagories and mix em up. pick two at random. yes, for every Zeus Dakota you get you might also get a Judas Sharpe.
be a creative, out-of-the-box thinking motherfucker. you can do it!
Once you have a name, start with the model. a plastic kitbash will help you shape the character... WHY has he got a crossbow? why is he in a mask? etc...
with the fluff, your on you own kid. once you have a name, hopefully, a story will emerge. a famer turned warrior. a foundling child with a dark talent for killing, a man whos seen too much war but just cant stop. a wisecracking guy with a terrible secret. someone else with a terrible secret. a Man With No Name. and a a terrible secret. you get the picture.
if you borrow, thats cool but tweak it so it belongs only to you. Reference, don't steal.
dont go mad either... do one at a timer. once you have the name, the fluff will follow. and then GLORY ON THE BATTLEFIELD!!
COMMING SOON: Part 2: Homebrew characters
"WAAAAGH! VROOM VROOM!!! DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA! Dead gud innit yoof?!" - typical Mekboy sales pitch
I think something that modern 40k (and WFB for that matter) lacks is a set of character creation rules for players to use.
Back in the WFB 3rd and Rogue Trader era (and earlier) the rulebooks contained rules so you could 'Roll up' your own special characters (and Monsters and Vehicles in some cases) D&D style. Unfortunately this sort of thing is no more and WFB and 40k are designed for competitive and tournament play (and to force you to buy the latest GW minis) the role-play game elements have been bred-out.
IMHO pre-generated characters should be examples to inspire players to create their own characters that fit their armies. after all no 2 armies are alike, so why should the same choice of fixed characters be leading them?
~The ravings of a single mad Goblin is bad enough, but such a power-hungry, malice-filled creature as Mortis can never hope to be understood~
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