Army Fluff: A History of the Ghostwind Corsairs

Do you have a backstory to your army? What is it? I've been thinking a lot about fluff since reading the Iyanden supplement and have endeavored to improve my own armies fluff. While it makes little difference in terms of tournament play, I do like the narrative aspect of 6th edition and having your armies background figured out helps spread that narrative and ultimately, to me at least, it makes my games more flavorful and interesting.

Previously I have talked in brief about the fluff of my army. Its backstory, characters, and the like have been rolling around in my head since my first Falcon model was painted. This story has changed and evolved quite a bit since it has started and since about 4th edition I have had the general concept of my army locked in.

Ghostwind Corsairs circa 3rd Edition Warhammer 40k
When I began 40k I started working on my army and its back story. I was intrigued by the idea of the Eldar Craftworlds, but wanted something personal and my own. My original Farseer was named Polymethius (Far removed from Eldar naming conventions as I now understand them) and he was aided by the Warlock, Magus of Doomspear. I think that's about as far as I got with my fluff. Polymethius read his Runes and they showed him that Falcon Grav Tanks and Striking Scorpions were awesome, so he used them in his forces. He adopted the Guerrilla tactics made famous by the Pathfinders of Alaitoc and his Rangers obtained proficiency in marksmanship by hunting Kroot. The Kroot Hunt of Pathfinder-dom was the result of a number of left over Kroot bits from my friend's Tau army and my desire to make my own Alaitoc Pathfinder models. The only other note I had made about my armies fluff is that based upon my early encounters with Orks and Tau, my Craftworld was somewhere on the Eastern Fringe of the Galaxy.

I was generally undecided on my overall army scheme and it was at this time that I resolved to collect every Eldar model that I could and make individual Eldar Craftworld armies. My original color scheme was akin to the Detroit Tigers using Blue with Orange highlights and stayed until someone pointed that out to me. Aspect Warriors kept their ceremonial color schemes, for what little I had painted of them.

Ghostwind Corsairs circa 4th Edition Warhammer 40k
In fourth edition my model count grew significantly and my army concept as it is today took a more solid shape. GW released an article about army fluff and design ideas and in it, it had a unique Eldar army design that sort of fit my model purchase plans, The Ghostwind. I have neither been able to locate the original article, nor back up the concept in Eldar fluff since, but the general idea of the Ghostwind was that it was a combined arms of multiple Craftworlds. Essentially, when the Eldar, as a unified whole, needed something done, and something done right, they called upon the Seers of Ulthwe, the Aspect Warriors of Biel-Tan, Rangers of Alaitoc, and so on and so forth. This was of course provided that the participating Craftworlds had goals that were in line. Satisfied with the idea that I didn't have to lock into a Craftworld and I could continue purchasing all the models so I set out to make a Ghostwind. If you played against my army at this time you would have seen three Falcons, one in the colors of Alaitoc, one in Saim-hann, and one in Biel-tan. I had an Ulthwe Fire Prism, and an Iyanden Wraithlord. I started using Seer Councils on foot and really got into studying the Eldar way of warfare. The Ghostwind concept really didn't require much expansion of thought and so I focused on my tactics. I literally read books on the German Blitzkrieg of WWII and adapted the tactics to my Wave Serpent and Falcon rushes. Other than a growing collection of models not much developed in the way of fluff.

Ghostwind Corsairs circa 5th Edition Warhammer 40k
This is when I really began developing the fluff of my army in earnest. I could no longer locate this "army with fluff" article I had read and the lack of a unified color scheme began bothering me. In addition I had no trouble with painted the Alaitoc color scheme, but I had the hardest time with those damn Biel-Tan thorn patterns. I settled on a lightened Alaitoc scheme backed with wraith bone colored highlights instead of Yellow. In old GW paint terms this meant ultramarines blue with ice blue splotches on vehicles. The under carriage was painted bleached bone and blood red was used for eyes and gems. For my Aspect Warriors I continued to paint them with the themes in their temple and my Guardians wore bleached bone suits of mesh armor with ice blue helmets. This color scheme came about thanks to the Dawn of War army painter as I could mess around with paint schemes and not waste any paint.

The "Corsairs" of my army was attached at this time. If the idea of a Ghostwind was gone from the mythos of Eldar (I'm beginning to think I had some sort of delusion that it actually existed in this point) I'd still try and claim it. The Ghostwind Corsairs thus are a band of outcast Eldar brought together on a mission of salvation for the Eldar race. Unwilling to accept that the death of the Eldar race is the only means of defeating Slaanesh, the Ghostwind Corsairs, led by rogue Farseer Laewynn, will stop it nothing to prevent the extinction of the Eldar race. This usually worked its way into my games as trying to retrieve some ancient artifact or the defense/recovery of a maiden world.

In terms of painting, I tried to add little accents to my models to show their former craftworld allegiances. One of my Guardian squads has a red shoulder pad for example to show they were from Saim-hann. My Wraithlord, now bleached bone with an ice blue head and other accents has one yellow shoulder pad to designate it as an Iyanden unit.

To back the fluff of my army I've never really run the Avatar of Khaine in games. In addition I tried to keep the number of Aspect Warriors and Wraith units to a minimum. I also included a few Dark Eldar models to sort of show a mixed group or an alliance between my Eldar and a Dark Eldar Wych Cult. Ultimately it didn't mesh well and unless I converted more models it would look like I just added Dark Eldar units to my Eldar army.... as it still does today.

Ghostwind Corsairs in 6th Edition Warhammer 40k
This brings us to present day. My army sits, fluff-wise, roughly unchanged from its 5th edition incarnation. If I keep the notion of being a Corsairs army, do I add in actual Corsairs models to the mix? What about the Avatar of Khaine? The inclusion of wraith units? They are cool models in this edition and somewhat the focus. 

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I think if you have 'Corasirs' in the title, then you're at least looking at using an IA11 list, even if your not using any of the figures.

    DE as allies would be almost called for in 6th; Archon in a venom to deliver a webway portal to the unit you want to remove, followed by assaulting wytches and Incubi. Let the Craftworlders and corsairs do the shooting with the long range stuff.