I received an email a couple of days ago from a regular reader, mk6marine.
I just recently came across the rules for the Death Korps of Krieg Siege Army. Have you ever experimented with the list and ran your Praetorians that way? Considering the limited time between the Zulu Wars and WWI, I don't think it is much of a stretch to think that Praetorians may have adopted the tactics of their brother Death Korps (whom each are patterned after). If you haven't even seen the list, it can be downloaded from Forgeworld. They include some special rules which give +1WS (which i feel caters to a block of Praetorians with bayonets fixed), regrouping under 50% (Rourke's Drift comes to mind), and no negative leadership modifiers in close combat (again, that last man standing mentality). In my mind the Krieg mentality of a lot of infantry with artillery support and maybe some cavalry is perfectly in line with the victorian themed Praetorians. Just curious as to your thoughts. Feel free to post this on your blog to see if there are any fellow Praetorians who may have tried it.
Forgeworld have been good enough to publish an updated version of this army list on their website as a free download, the original having been printed in the Imperial Armour series. You can find the download, and others, at, http://www.forgeworld.co.uk/News/Downloads.html
The list uses a small group of special rules, which are essentially updated versions of the 4th Edition codex Iron Discipline, Die-hards and Hardened Fighters. These allow units to always regroup when within 6" of an officer, confer the Stubborn USR, and add +1WS respectively. Which in my mind do indeed seem appropriate to the Praetorian theme of an army lead by its officers, with a strict discipline which see's them standing against the odds. Oh - and with a Bayonet. I used the two former rules myself back when we had those lovely Doctrines.
With the list you do lose a few units though, Ratlings, Ogryns, Enginseers, Priests, Veterans, Chimeras, Pyskers, Special Weapon Squads, Sentinels, Valkyies, and all the artillery type vehicles. There are some serious drawbacks amongst that little lot. While they don't scream 'Praetorian', some like abhuman auxiliaries are a nice touch, Priests also fit right in if you've ever seen Zulu (and if not, why not?), and Special Weapons squads are clearly Engineers. More pressingly perhaps, from the perspective of game play ,the loss Veterans, Chimeras, Pyskers and Valkyries especially is potentially acute. These are without doubt some of the most commonly used units in competitive armies, and with good reason.
However, you gain towed artillery, Roughrider Command Squads, Engineers and Heavy Weapons platoons amongst others, all of which are definite boons amongst others for creating a themed list. The towed artillery especially fits in perfectly with the theme of Praetorians, and look every inch the part, both light field pieces like the Thudd Gun (a personal favourite of mine, even if I've never used one) and heavier guns like the Earthshaker carriage. Likewise Heavy Weapons platoons work well for batteries of field guns - though it has to be said regular Heavy Weapons squads work just as well. Roughrider Command Squads are great thematically as well, for leading a massed cavalry charge, warriors on horseback fitting in perfectly with the ethos of the army unlike some other regiments. The Engineers meanwhile, sit in the place of Special Weapons Squads. However, as independent units, even with extras like the Hades Assault Drill, they don't quite fill the gap of Veterans.
I can certainly see the appeal of using this list for Praetorians, the special rules sit nicely, as do the extra units. However, several of these extra units, like the towed artillery, can be used anyway with the regular Guard codex given opponents permission - which you would need to use this list anyway. There are also special rules like the Death Riders bionics save which don't quite make sense for Praetorians.
So the question is are the units which are not available to the regular codex, and the special rules that important to creating a themed army? Modeling aside, is the result when using this list more thematic then a regular codex list, perhaps with some extra units? Further are the restrictions of the Krieg list, the lack of access to some of the Guards 'best' units, worth this?
I've not quite made my mind up yet, but what do you think?