Flavour versus Fluff, part 1

What does your orks taste of?

We’ve all read tons of background history for 40k, but have you ever considered the flavour that your army has?

Let me explain that. Flavour is that warm fuzzy feeling that a 40k army gives you. The mood, if you will. I’ve borrowed the concept from Magic: The Gathering, where it mostly shines through in the illustrations and the – aptly named – flavour text (or flavor, for you Americans). Here are two points for you to concider:

  • Fluff is information. Fictional facts about the history, disposition and composition of an army.
  • Flavour is emotion. Archetypes that the army draws upon, as well as symbolical analogies with the real world.

The “versus” I put in the topic is a bit of a misnomer, really. The two can certainly mix and play off each other. Black Library novels, for example. The Horus Heresy series is full of both. Flavour and emotion is borne by the information/fluff you get through the characters. However, the flavour is distinct from “mainstream” 40k. The 31:th millennium is much more progressive and filled with hope – at least to start with – than the 41:st.

The nature of the marine

Imagine that you’ve never heard of Space Marines. Then you see the picture on the right. What goes through your head? What is the blue space knight about?

The answers to those questions will be different for everybody. Since it plays off emotions, flavour will be stronger than fluff – but a bit harder to control for the writer/modeller.

Spicing things up

Flavour can also be something you add. Consider my Sol Invictus chaos marines – they use the same rules as any other renegade marines, but eschew the spiky aestethics for a more stripped-down “army grunt” look. That, along with the background history (fluff) I’ve written for them, gives them a distinct flavour.

In the next installment of this series, I’m going to talk about just that: how you can use flavour to drive home the theme of your army.

Lollipop image borrowed from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/veganfeast/3431844730/