Word of the Day for Wednesday, May 2, 2007
termagant \TUR-muh-guhnt\, noun:
1. A scolding, nagging, bad-tempered woman; a shrew.
2. Overbearing; shrewish; scolding.
Termagant comes from Middle English Termagaunt, alteration of Tervagant, from Old French.
Termagant was an imaginary Muslim deity represented in medieval morality plays as extremely violent and turbulent. By the sixteenth century, termagant was used for a boisterous, brawling, turbulent person of either sex, but eventually it came to refer only to women.
GW picked a strange name for the lowliest of the tyranid foot soldiers. In any case, I'll have 40 of these bad-tempered little women in my Hive Fleet Vivax army, though I guess they're just called "gaunts" nowadays. Like I mentioned before, all of mine come from the Macragge package, and though they were quite cheap, their sculpt is not as detailed or poseable as the regular gaunt boxed sets. Gaunt broods all have to have the same weapons and upgrades (conveniently I just wanted simple fleshborers), but when I first started playing 'Nids in 2nd edition you could have a few here or there with interesting weapon variants. You had to buy separate metal models for them; I still have two of the webgun gaunts lying around, and there was also some kind of speargun available. Come to think of it, the webgun used the mini-flame template, which newcomers to the game would probably never know existed. It was pretty ridiculous in all honesty, and I'm glad they changed all template weapons in 3rd edition to use the standard size. As well, both of those old gaunt guns are now obsolete, but other standard Nid guns like the devourer or spinefist are available.
My hive fleet's termagants will be the workers of the swarm: fast, numerous, a lil' stingy (S4 from their toxin sacs), but easy to kill. They're also extremely dependent on synapse creatures, which is one of the reasons why I'll be huddling them around the hive tyrant most of the time. I want them to create a massive bugball that will take a significant investment by my enemy to reduce their numbers below killing and/or scoring capacity. They should be able to play offensive as well as defensive roles at will. My zope will probably be hanging out with them too, firing off warp blasts and combining his psychic scream with the tyrant's to keep any enemies that come within 18" of them at -2 Ld. The termagants are initiative 4 but even if they encounter I5 or I6 opponents, the tyrant can ping his bonesword to give them catalyst and they can all still inflict damage before dying. And if anyone is crazy enough to assault the hive tyrant, they'll have to pass a leadership test, plus lose 1 attack each from his lash whip.