So I have to go back and add in a few more details to my fluff.
Lothar Gunther-Buchheim, in his famous novel Das Boot, identified 'Subject Number One', which occupies most of soliders'/sailors' conversations. If you haven't read the book, and are over 18, I'll leave it to your imagination as to what that is.
I would suggest that Subject Number Two would be pay/allowances. Or lack thereof. Go into any mess/NAAFI and eavesdrop on some conversations, I bet half would be along the lines of 'I've been underpaid by XXX this month, blah blah blah', punctuated by colourful addition of appropriate expletives.
I realised my background book didn't have very much on this, just pay figures really. Here's what's in the boom with a bit of expansion:
12. Pay and Allowances. Soldiers in the Palladian Guard can draw two types of pay. Standing Pay is the common wage paid to all Guardsmen at all times and is comparatively little, when stood against a roughly parallel manufacturing job. This is due to the extensive subsidies in the form of food and accommodation a soldier receives, as well as their spiritually fulfilling employment. However Legionary soldiers, when part of a battle group or on crusade, also draw Campaign Pay, which is considerably more and also qualifies the soldier for a share in any spoils of war. The relative shares are given below. Non-N.C.O.s are not entitled to plunder, but instead are usually granted pay by their lieutenants in lieu of medals, for feats of courage. Given are the respective pay scales for the different ranks, in Imperial Credits :–
I wanted my pay to reflect two things.
- The vaguely Roman theme of the army. Although it doesn't show through in many of the models a lot of the fluff and names is Roman-inspired. So to reflect that I made the majority of soldiers' pay come from loot and plunder, and their main source would be in the ratio of plunder appropriate to their rank.
- The very snobbish view of officers in the Palladian Guard. So officers - apart from getting lots more money - also get bravery medals. Although soldiers are eligible for some awards, the majority of their reward for bravery would come from extra bonuses. In fact, these bonuses would be taken from the pay of all the men executed for desertion. Very fair, and everybody's happy!
Also it hints a little bit at a dark undertone of the Guard - once the glorious battles are over and the news cameras have stopped rolling, the officers turn a blind eye to a considerable amount of loot and pillage, as a reward for the horrors they have to face. I'd imagine even the Commissars would let this happen. Let the guys let off steam and steal from a few locals - so long as they don't bring their boisterousness back to base.
Anyway, just a little side avenue but it gives insight into a lot more than you'd think from the paragraph title. That's what the fluff is about - you get as much info from the implications and what's left out as you do from what's on the page.
Hope you enjoyed! Until next time...