As I've been tinkering away building my little Empire army I've also been tinkering with their background. I do like to have a story behind my armies and this one grew in the telling. What I like about the Empire is that there is such a sense of geography to it: the grand counties and chartered cities have such a sense of character that just deciding where the army is from helps you build its character.
Since the big game I'm building this for will be The Siege Of Altdorf and since Tom and Matt's armies are from Nuln and Nordland respectively, I decided on Reikland just to have some locals in the game. Also, with the advent of a white spray that actually covers a model the colour scheme shouldn't be too hard.
So, here are the detachments that make up my little force and what units they mighty eventually command:
Thelius Umbra and the Altdorf All-College Drinking Society
Battle Wizard Lord, Battle Wizards
The Drinking Society have been characters in my background for a couple of years now but this is the first chance I've had to create them for the tabletop. Thelius Umbra is Patriarch of the Grey College and the Drinking Society are his most trusted off-the-books agents drawn from all eight colleges:
Exiled Bretonnian noblewoman and Bright Wizard Lieutenant the Lady Desfleuves, Sabifa de Martrand; swordswoman and Light College exorcist Erza Drescler; bookish Beasts Wizard Fitz Bernhardt; the mysterious Grey Child Josephine Klein; taciturn Celestial Wizard Dana Mahler; muscular Gold Wizard Guido “The Big Man” Flieshman; gun-toting Jade Wizard Viktor Eisner; and part-time accountant, Amethyst Wizard Andreas Eckermann.
The Society has one further member, the High Elf Loremaster Korando but he's not terribly relevant to matters right now.
The Bogenhafen Longshots
Captain of the Empire, Crossbowmen, Handgunners, Pistoliers, Steam Tank
The main detachment of the army hails from the obscenely wealthy chartered city of Bogenhafen. I love their ridiculously ostentatious cream and purple uniforms. The Longshots, as you can see, are a rifle regiment for no better reason than I love Sharpe. I'll probably have two officers from the Longshots so I can field a General Of The Empire when I don't feel like using Umbra.
The Steam Tank in the Empire Bestiary is actually showing Bogenhafen colours so that's why I've listed the thing here and not with the other war machines.
The Captain is, in fact, a Major and the official commander of the army.
The Reikland Silver Blades
Captain of the Empire with Battle Standard, Warrior Priest, Haberdiers, Spearmen, Swordsmen, Free Company Militia
Basically, all the close combat state troops come from this regiment. As much as the Bogenhafen colour scheme attracts me I do want something rather simpler for the larger state units. With white spray in hand a cream cloth should only take a couple of layers. I've also lumped in the Warrior Priest as the regimental chaplain.
The Free Company are irregulars but they're paid through the Silver Blades.
Markus Wulfhart and his Hunters
Markus Wulfhart, Huntsmen
I have a Markus Wulfhart and ten Huntsmen from when I was planning to do Stirland Outlaws for a Mordheim campaign that never happened. I'm not usually one for special characters but I do rather like Wulfhart and his little band of archers, both in terms of what they do and their background.
The Carroburg Greatswords
Pragmatism, this. The Bogenhafen Captain is the actual army commander but keeping him with one of his own units would be a magnificent waste of time. I don't really see a regiment of riflemen and archers maintaining Greatswords so he'd have to be assigned a bodyguard from another regiment.
And the red cloth and black lacquer armour of the Carroburg regiment has always been my favourite.
The Black Guard of Morr
Grand Master, Witch Hunter, Knightly Orders, Demigryph Knights
Death's own Knightly Order, bane of the undead. I first encountered them in the Tale Of Four Gamers series that ran from White Dwarf #300 and I rather like the purple and black colour scheme. I also have a great idea for giving them albino demgryphs.
Admittedly, the Witch Hunter can't be mounted but I include him in this detachment because it makes sense. He'll be lurking off somewhere else when I field him, possibly with the Huntsmen or in a ranked unit of his own.
The Painted Ladies of Nuln
Master Engineer, Outriders, war machines
Yes, there's an engineering school in Altdorf but I don't like the Altdorf colour scheme (quartered red and blue, ugh). Plus, Tom and I have been talking about linking up his Nuln army and the Society for a while so having a detachment “from” his army will provide that link rather nicely.
They're called The Painted Ladies, incidentally, as a rather crude joke about the soot stains on their faces and, hopefully, because I'll be able to convert a female Master Engineer using one of those Statuesque Heroic Female Heads.