By way of an explanation… or How it all started

All right, all right, I know there is such a term as “fluff rape”. Now, before anyone accuses me of this, I will dig deeply into the very beginnings of my Wh40k gaming days, and tell you the story of how my main character ended up in the company of five Blood Angels.

It all started with an Epic size Eldar Phantom Titan. It belonged to TWA, who was trying to convince me for the umpteenth time that painting miniatures would actually be great fun. This aesthetic, bizarre thing caught my eye, and after looking through his set of colours, I instantly decided to paint it in several hues of green, Rotting Flesh featuring prominently in the combo. As you can imagine, TWA was not happy, but I told him if I was to paint this thing, I would surely paint it the way I liked it, or I would not paint it at all.

He relented, and gave me the titan to paint. I had painted one or two miniatures before (literally!) in my whole life, so you have to understand his missgivings. The titan progressed, and TWA joked that he had a whole lot more eldar figures for me to paint, namely a whole Epic host. Meanwhile, I had begun to read his Rogue Trader and Compendium books to find out more about Eldar. I started to like the space elves of the grim future. That was almost fifteen years ago.

(That’s him! It’s all his fault!)









So I decided that, yes, I would paint the Epic Eldar host, but, again, only if I could use my own craftworld’s colour scheme, AND if I could play with them. Since TWA badly wanted me to play the game, the eldar host effectively became mine, and I painted it. I even bought new models for it. The problem was that back then many hobby gamers did not expect creativity at all, and a non-standart colour scheme earned you raised eye-brows, to say the least.

But that did not really matter, as I played mainly against TWA at that point. He had to put up with a lot from me: I had created Characters, a persona for my headquarter unit, a background story for the craftworld, and so on. And I REALLY hated it to see my characters die. I hated to hear him gloat over how he had hit my tank, cooking the crew inside. I hated to hear him describe in detail how his (inserst troop choice here) had gutted my Swooping Hawks. But most of all I hated to hear him say “But that is what the game is about!”
No, it isn’t. The game is about tactics (not my forte, though), and having fun together, and for me, the game was also about playing out a story around my characters. Call it tabletop-roleplaying, if you like.

Again, he relented. He bit his tongue multiple times every time we played. My troops were now not “wiped out”, they “had to leave the game”, characters were not “splattered across the battlefield”, they “went down after putting up a heroic fight”. It was difficult for him, and he called me a sissy. But we persevered, and went on playing. Eventually, a friend of his joined us with an Ork army, and we even organized a competition running for several month through a local game store and commentated by a newsletter we printed ourselves.

It was at this point that a small campaign developed, involving TWA’s Blood Angels together with his Inquisitor and Howling Griffons, our friend’s Orks and my Eldar. We set up a background for our games, even started to write some fan-fluff, and played. A lot.
TWA also owned some imperial buildings and ruins for Epic, so we could stage some nice city fights. It was all about Orks invading the subsector, the Howling Griffons who had developed a working relationship with the local Eldar fighting the Orks back together, their numbers eventually being bolstered by the newly arrived Inquisitor Lucius and his contingent of Blood Angels.

That was when it happened (so you don’t think I have gotten derailed into mulling over the past), I can still remember the situation vividly: It was one of those games where TWA managed the tremendous feat of playing both the Orks AND (on the other side) Inquisitor Lucius and his Blood Angels, who were allied with my Eldar. Space Marines and Eldar were set up in one half of the city, and the Orks were trying to flush them out. I had some jetbikes on the prowl to flank the Orks, and my HQ fairly in the center of the field safely tucked away in a building. Or so I thought.

For when the Orks really got into a fight with several BA units, the Marines withdrew into the building, whereupon the Orks started shelling the building well and truly. They made a good job of it, and the building collpased. Fullstop. When the dust had settled (figuratively speaking) we started to roll dice according to the rules to see which units had survived the crash and which had not, increasing the chances of survival with one of the psy things from the farseer’s arsenal of powers (and even further for the Marines with the fact that the Eldar at the windows rule-wise gave them partial cover from the initial shelling at least). As it turned out, only one of the six or so stands of Marines that had gone in was still there (mostly), and the Eldar were technically wiped out. I say technically, because one of those was my main character. Since the surviving Marines were ‘routed’ and had to leave the battlefield as quickly as possible, and most of all so as not to piss me off for good, it was decided unanimously that the farseer was of course only badly wounded, and the four Marines would find her and take her back to wherever she could be treated properly. After all, they were allies, and nobody else was around to do it. But running from the battlefield, said TWA, they were a shame to their chapter, for being Astartes, they should know no fear, shouldn’t they?

Roleplaying, we spun the story further to find out more: Where would they actually bring her? Eldar healers would probably mean back to the craftworld. How would the Eldar react to the Marines? How would their chapter judge what they had done, or view their contact with xenos? Would the Marines, after escaping death so narrowly and only through the sacrifice of others (the Eldar in front of them, who in game terms counted as partial cover) fall victim to the Blood Angel’s curse? How would their strange, psychic surroundings influence them?

So this is how an Eldar battleseer ended up with for Marines crazed with shell shock. The rest of the story you can read elsewhere in this blog.
I decided to ‘keep’ them, despite the fact that I did not care too much for the Space Marine background, and positively disliked their appearance and especially the models for being misproportioned. I did update my command stand to hold one battleseer and four lovingly painted marines, and used them in our battles henceforth. When I also started to to collect the “big figures”, of course it was Eldar, of course they got my colourscheme. And of course, when it came to selecting an HQ, I painted one battleseer and four Space Marines, to the best of my abilities. You know themThe tiny Original.







Ya, all right, I can count, too. There were only four Marines at first, all the initial survivers from the collapsing building. As if by design they fitted nicely onto one stand together with my battleseer, and could even be incorporated rule-wise. Later this also worked for the 28mm figures. But then there was a new edition of the rules, and now it had to be five marines. This was one of the things that started off the Ambrosius Campaign. Along the story, the fifth marine joined our Unlikely Quintet.

By the way, did you notice that the models for the “big guys” were chosen carefully to match their tiny originals, banner, pose and all? We even found one with a similar haircut…

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