Simple answer: It’s easier to write down the background information that I’ve conceived for this campaign than it is to schedule a battle with a friend.
But it’s more than that. A narrative campaign should take place in a well-developed setting, and while the Warhammer 40K universe is probably the most detailed fictional creation in human history, it takes time to “flesh out” a new corner of the universe. I don’t just want to document random battles by putting them in a fictional setting; I want a fictional setting to give context and meaning to my battles.
Thus I’m in no rush. It’s only been 10 days since The Corvus Cluster was born. I’m sure even the birth of Slannesh in the 30th Millennium—for all the violence of the event—didn’t lead to much conscious actions for a bit.
Now that I’ve a bit of background written down, I’m already seeing some really exciting ideas arise for tabletop battles. Most are inspired by my access to miniatures, my available terrain, and the limits (and the possibilities) of the limited material that I’ve developed.
Here are some of the ideas percolating in my mind:
* At an upcoming gaming convention, I’m running a scenario based on the Lament of Brother-Sergeant Valerus. His fate is, as you know, already sealed by the time the campaign begins. But what the heck? It’s a great story, and I’d like to play it out. What’s more, after writing up the story—and painting up the figure of Valerus—I’m feeling kind of emotionally distressed at the thought of his upcoming doom. I really would like to hold onto him as an ongoing character. Alas, that cannot be. (But it suggests the subconscious emotional power of a detailed background.)
* So I can brush up on my long-ignored Battlefleet Gothic, I’m thinking of having an impetuous, xeno-hating captain of an escort ship decide to take a shot at an Orca-class gunship patrolling Tau space around Medea III. It’s a tiny one-on-one fight that, while helping me relearn the rules, could lead to a more serious confrontation between the Imperium and Tau. (Spoiler: The Damocles Gulf Crusade is only a few years away!)
* It would make sense that, with the Tau intruding so blatantly into Imperial space, there would be a number of skirmishes between the two empires. I’ve got a small space base painted up (doubles as ship corridors), so I was thinking of having my Knights of Altair try to board a Tau ship–or have the Knights raid a Tau outpost that the waster caste is using to stir up trouble on other Imperial worlds.
* Some of the largest collections available for my use are orks and Imperial Guard, so I might go down to my local Games Workshop store and challenge someone to a fight that could conceivably occur over one of the islands between Hegira’s northern and southern continents. If the Imperial Guard wins, the orks are held up in their invasion of the northern continent. If the orks win, then maybe the orks will have taken the first step to conquering the moon.
* I’ve got some Starship Trooper bugs I’ve wanted to paint up, so a Mechanicus Adeptus expedition–or a little looting by greedy rogue traders–to the Prysmos system might be in order. I’ve been painting up some GW buildings, so a fight between a small group of humans versus bugs might be fun. A sci-fi Alamo scenario?
I just bought some Tau ships online (got sniped on a great Imperial navy collection), so I may fight that Battlefleet Gothic battle any day now. Or I may be delayed as I work on some Martian-like terrain (a future blog). But, in any case, I’m really looking forward to getting out the first—of many, many—battle reports.
Until then … may the Emperor’s blessings be upon you.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.