13 Jul 18

Naming Your Kill Team

The Last Chancers. Gaunt’s Ghosts. The Red Skull Kommandos. The 41st Millennium is full of elite teams whose names have passed into legend, and each of their members is a renowned hero in their own way.

Kill Team has been designed with the narrative of Warhammer 40,000 firmly in mind, designed to transform the troops you battle with into a distinct and memorable cast of characters. This is Warhammer 40,000 on the ground level – with every troop, right down to the lowliest Grot, capable of playing a key role, each member of your team should feel valuable and important. In Kill Team, naming your team matters so much we’ve made it compulsory – as well as really really easy.

When adding a soldier to your roster, they need a name – you can pick one for yourself or you can generate one using a range of generation tables found in the book. These can also be used to generate a background for your kill team and their purpose in this particular theatre of war.

These random generation tables mean you can quickly create a background for your kill team and all the specialists in it with just a few dice rolls. This is really cool for roleplayers and narrative fans and gives your missions an extra edge – after all, it’s easy to throw away the life of Unnamed Guardsman #734, but Matthias Vhens, the haunted battlefield medic who rescued four men in your last battle? Never!

Let’s generate up an Imperial Guard kill team to demonstrate. Firstly, we’ll roll for the background. We’ve got a 6 – which means our squad is made up of “fresh meat”.

So, we’ve got a squad of peachy-keen rookies. So far, so thematic. What about their mission? Let’s roll again – a 4!

Looks like our troops have been sent to blow up some supply lines despite being so fresh! Times must be desperate for the Astra Militarum to have to resort to this…

Finally, let’s generate a quirk to round it off – a 5!

Ah, of course. They’re obviously Catachans. That explains everything. Demolitions missions deep behind enemy lines with almost no training? That’s basically a holiday for the Jungle Fighters.

Let’s round it off with the demeanour and name for our first soldier – the Leader of the team. We roll a D66 for the name on the Catachan naming table, and get a 52:

Catachans love their nicknames – we imagine Weiss probably got his after volunteering to lead a bunch of rookies on a mission to blow something up.

Finally, we roll a D10 for his demeanour. How does the Wildman conduct himself? We get a 10 – auspicious!

So, bringing it all together, a story emerges. Our unit is a bunch of Catachan Jungle Fighter Rookies, hailing from a particularly deadly sector of their already dangerous planet. Fresh-faced and eager to prove themselves, they’ve volunteered for a dangerous demolitions mission, led by the bombastic Sergeant “Wildman” Weiss.

We can use these rolls to help decide how the kill team fights, as well as what kind of weapons and wargear we might want to use. In this case, it’d make sense to stack up on flamers and a grenade launcher (as they’re demolitions troops) and try and get up-close and personal with the enemy as much as possible.

Roll again, and we could end up with a completely different story – a pack of grizzled, tunnel-fighting assassins, the final survivors of a disastrous action. You don’t have to be a well-versed loremaster or budding writer to have a thrilling backstory for your kill team.

Every kill team has its own tables for background generation and names, from the Tyranids to the Necrons, meaning that when you take part in a campaign, you’ll be playing against others with rich backgrounds and thematic depth of their own. What happens when a stranded group of Fire Warriors from the disastrous Fourth Sphere Expansion run into a pack of Wyches hunting for fresh warriors for their arenas? Kill Team lets you play it out.

We’ll be taking a closer look at using Kill Team for narrative roleplaying soon, as well as providing loads more Kill Team Focuses for you to get your teeth into – check them out in the Kill Team Focus Index.