Narrative campaigns are great fun to run and to play. One of the best things that they can accomplish is the generation of very detailed and unique unit lore/histories. Unfortunately many campaigns generate this cool stuff and then it goes to waste as it is not recorded or organized in a useful fashion. One of the troubles is that, if the details are not immediately recorded, they fade and soon it becomes very difficult to remember all the particulars of the encounter.
To combat this in the long distance campaign that will run between the annual Geekfests I’ll make a standard format for a booklet about each individual force. I’ll bring these to Geekfest as finished products that can be expanded, if desirable, at the leisure of the individuals or email them to the long distance players that are not actually attending Geekfest. It’s also possible that I’ll continue to update them annually but the goal is to give everyone a good framework so they can add what they think is important. I think that, initially I’ll generate an email version of what I have and give some comments on what I think would be cool to include. Hopefully this will get me some information that I can use to move the file from its current rough state to something that folks can carry around with them as they play their regular games. Wouldn’t that be cool!
To get started here is a rough format of the thing I have in mind.
Title: The name of the Unit being recorded in the vernacular that the player finds most evocative (ex. Secrets of the Dark Angels Third Company, The Codex Unwritten, Life and Times of the Tertholen 307th Regiment H co Special Infantry (AH), or simply Waaagh! Snotfinga!)
Unit History: A history of the force including cool fluffy bits (if any) and a timeline. This section can include information about particular battles but there is a space later on for most of that.
Personnel: A “Who’s who?” of the unit. List all of the named things in the army including commanders, sergeants, colorful troopers, squad names, vehicle names, ship names etc… basically any unit that you have permanent information about. Note that this is also a great place to include members who have left the unit either through death, MIA, or abandonment/betrayal. It’s surprising how much depth these personalities can create.
Battle Honors: This is the place to list and add as much detail as desired to specific battles and campaigns. It could include notable action of individual and any honors, medals, heraldry, or promotions that came of it. It’s also a good spot to add unit citations and campaign/battle badges.
(ex. In the battle of Sweltering Amber the ratlings of the Thertholen Sniper squads singlehandedly saved the collapsing Imperial right flank at enormous cost. The Squads receive a unit citation for valorous conduct and the addition of “Fireproof” to their unit guidon. Survivors of the action are granted an order of merit and extra rations.) This should yield all kinds of cool painting/modeling detail as well as the cool background color.
Engagements: Here at the end is a list of battles the unit fought in as much detail as the player cares to include. It can be as simple as. “Fought the Tau on Oedipus IV and got thrashed.” to a full up battle honor citation. Having this list at the end should make it easier to keep a running update. Other sections can then be updated at a later time if the battle was particularly significant as long as you get the info down before it’s forgotten.