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ColonelCrow

Novels as Inspiration

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I thought it might be interesting to have a thread where we could suggest novels and stories to one another that might be particularly inspiring for our Only War games, both works set in the Warhammer 40K universe and others.

 

I'm probably not alone in being an enthusiast for Dan Abnett's work in the Gaunt's Ghosts series from Black Library, but as I work my way through other Imperial Guard novels, I've found other authors to be a fan of as well. So far, I've read Mitchell Scanlon's Fifteen Hours, Steve Lyons' Death World, Steve Parker's Rebel Winter, and Lucius Soulban's Desert Raiders. I was particularly impressed with Rebel Winter, to the point that I've just now written Black Library putting in my vote in favor of a sequel.

 

I'm less familiar with military science fiction outside the Warhammer 40K line, at least beyond Heinlein's Starship Troopers and Haldeman's searing answer to it, The Forever War, both of which have much to recommend them. I remember greatly enjoying David Drake's Hammer's Slammers stories when I was around thirteen or fourteen, but that's been years ago, and is about armor, not infantry, besides.

 

Of the speculative fiction I've read recently, I'd actualy recommend a fantasy series, Steve Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen, much of which is concerned with military adventures at the squad level (and, to be sure, much of which is not—they're very long, complex books).

 

Anyone else have any suggestions?

 

 

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http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9780786416561?redirected=true&gclid=COqk6dOAlLkCFUbHtAodiEcABQ

 

Eye of the Tiger by John Edmund Delezen is a fantastic view of a Recon Marine in Vietnam.  Covers how he was affected by stress/awful conditions/combat etc.  Also really well written.  It isn't a 'story' as such though so if you are looking for plot info perhaps not so useful - but for conditions that your players might encounter to get them in the right mood it could work.

 

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Eye of the Tiger by John Edmund Delezen is a fantastic view of a Recon Marine in Vietnam.

 

Looks interesting, Brother Kane, thanks for the suggestion!

 

 

 

I ran 2 campaigns as Gaunt's Ghosts. The first was the attack on occupied Hagia, the second was the siege of vervunhive.

 

Cool! I'm nowhere near confident enough in my abilities as a GM to do Abnett's inventions justice yet. I'm just getting started with the game.

 

Anyone else?

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I ran 2 campaigns as Gaunt's Ghosts. The first was the attack on occupied Hagia, the second was the siege of vervunhive.

 

Cool! I'm nowhere near confident enough in my abilities as a GM to do Abnett's inventions justice yet. I'm just getting started with the game.

 

Anyone else?

 

Neither am I, if you want to just go for it. I basically just went through the book and looked up every time it mentioned fighting away from where gaunt was. Note: I had to really tone down the siege of vervunhive for this campaign. Basically I had them fighting those zoicans who broke through the wall in guerilla warfare. they only visited the front once or twice. 

 

Another tip, if you are going to make a campaign that is based around the book of an imperial hero (gaunt, cain, macharius, etc.) do not focus the campaign around that. even most officers will only meet them one or two times briefly. Also Ignore the reality of the character portrayed in the book and focus on how the common soldier views them, a heroic speech or brief show of strength in combat for the character is enough. The players should not be in proximity to them for an extended period of time or the illusion of heroics will be broken when a particularly observant character spots Caiphas Cain's heroics for the escape attempt that it really is.  

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I've had it in the back of my mind for a while now to try running a military campaign that is a veiled retelling of the Trojan War from Homer's Illiad...

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I've had it in the back of my mind for a while now to try running a military campaign that is a veiled retelling of the Trojan War from Homer's Illiad...

 

But from which side? Quite a few stories can be made interesting if you switch to the antagonist's view, such as leading an undersupplied, underequipped, mass infantry attack against the garrison holding Yorke's Rift. Call it operation "Welshmen".

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I'd suggest 13th VALLEY by John M. Del Vecchio.  Fictionalized story in Viet Nam, with all that entails.  THE NAKED AND THE DEAD by Norman Mailer also comes to mind.  W.E.B. Griffin's stuff (The Brotherhood of War and Semper Fi series) is a little mass-market history, but is worth a look.

 

If you're wanting a really good commander down to grunt's eye view story, though, ORTONA by Mark Zuehlke is a solid bit of history covering the Canadian Army's fight to take an Italian town (the battle is sometimes called "Little Stalingrad").  It'd be a solid look at the kind of grinding campaign I'd expect the Imperial Guard to get stuck in.

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If you want a campaign with lots of history, consider Armageddon (second or third war) - lots of famous battles, masses of orks, and a great setting.

 

Depending on your regiment, you can't go wrong with Gunheads or Baneblade as source material, and I have a lot of time for the Ciaphas Caine series. They're much better Imperial Guard books than those who write them off as comedy relief (most without having read them) would have you believe.

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For a slightly different take I recomend Red Storm Rising, Without Remorse, Clear and Present Danger, Rainbow 6, and Bear and the Dragon by Tom Clancy - mainly small squad-level actions but Red Storm Rising is a full-blown invasion of Europe and Bear and the Dragon is an invasion of Siberia.

 

I also highly recomend Sniper One by Sgt Dan Mills - a very insightful look at the inside of the British Army in modern Iraq.

 

Hope these help someone.

 

Regards

 

Surak

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