Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Rose by any other name...

...can be much cooler.

Tired of naming your lists "Joes army" or "Bobs Eldar"? Why don't you come up with a better name?
1- Elements of an Army Name
An army name often has several components to it, but it varies from army to army for obvious reasons. Dark Eldar do not have regiments, Imperial Guard do not gather in mobs (except for conscripts, but that is something else entirely) and Space Marines do not name themselves after anyone but Primarchs.
Common elements:
A number: This can be an Army, Regiment, Company, etc. etc.
Commander's Name- General, Captain, Lord, Archon, Warboss etc. etc.
Planet/System name- includes craftworlds and crusade fleets
2- Adjectives as elements
Alot of armies contain cool adjectives to describe them. This is even further reinforced by unit selection and colour scheme. Grey Knights are an example of this.
3- Creatures as elements
Typically these are mythical or reptillian in manner, or in some cases both. Predator are obvious choices here unless you are going for a parody army (Major Moo's Mad Cows). Examples: Drake, Dragoon, Serpent, Lion, Raptor, Pheonix
4- Elements as elements
I am not talking periodic table here, I mean old school. Fire, Water, Air, Earth. You can be a little more detailed though, like Iron, Steel, Flaming.
5- Paranormal elements
Anything spooky. Banshees, Ghosts, Gremlins, Phantoms. Spooky adjectives work too: Etheral is a fine example.
6- Orginization as an element
This is in thinks like the Cadian "Shocktroops", Mordian Iron "Guard" or Gundrite "Rifles". The type of army it is plays in here.
7- Combos
You can score more here. The correct combinations can make or brake a name. Firedrake is cool. Firedragoon not so much.
8- Don't go overboard.
Limit it to only a couple elements, and typically only one of each type.
9- Rhyming/Alliteration
Can be good, can be had. Typically, you only want to rhyme/alliterate an element with a commander's name or a colour like "Rasczak's Roughnecks" or "Blackie's Blackguard" "Grey Ghosts". "Flyin' Lions" is just weird.
10- Multiples names
Alot of times an army may also have a nic name. My Guard for instance is the 23rd Uragal Shocktroops a.k.a "Schraider's Raiders"

So there you have it. A quick guide to naming an army. The same rules can apply to fantasy and most specialist games as well.
Here are some further examples

8th Elysian "Droptroops"- The Wareagles
17th Gundrite "Rifles" - The Fire Bats
Warboss Griznack's Bad Ol' (Battle) Boyz
Da Green Horde
The Order of the Gleaming Chalice
Inquistor Stienhart's Household Guard
Sons of Salamis Chapter
Iron Knights Chapter
Craftworld Pentaxis Strike Force
Autarch Feanor's Warhost
Archon Drazni's Wytch Band- The Venomous Vixens
The Gryphons of Kalaptis

Old British regiments are also great examples. Nothumberland Fusilers. Highlanders. Lightfoot. etc. etc.