This has been a very interesting thread to read through, and a lot of the comments seem dead on.
I definitely see our Signature Systems returning (hopefully with a few new ones) as the Tau equivalent of a Relics list.
As to new auxiliaries, human allies seem like a reasonable assumption, given that they already have GC as a human/alien mix, so we know GW is open to the idea of adapting AM kits for a less imperial flavour.
Other than that, my money is on Demiurg all the way. They already have a sizeable lore and in-game presence, despite not having any models. Ion-technology is from the Demiurg, and that's seen a marked increase in later editions. I remember that it was only the Ion Cannon and the CIB when I started playing Tau. They also had greater presence in BFG - with two Demiurg ships vs one each for Nicassar and Kroot - and in the lore they've been around since M.31 (I was reading "The Primarchs" which is a short story collection for the Horus Heresy setting, and the Alpha Legion story makes direct mention of the Demiurg). So, we know GW hasn't forgotten about them, and given the connections people often draw between them and the squats/space dwarfs, it's safe to assume GW know that there's a fan market for them too.
So, squats (sorry, Kharadron Overlords), Ion tech, BFG, and greater lore mention than other alien races make me think they're definitely earmarked for our new buddies.
That being said, the point has been raised that over a century has passed since the events of Gathering Storm, so "additional auxiliaries" may mean a brand new race that has been discovered and incorporated into the Tau empire, although this is doubtful. GW has plenty of unrepresented but fan-loved species already in existence, it seems unnecessary to create something entirely new when they already have viable options.
One last thing to say about auxiliaries is that a group box for the Kroot (kind of like a "start collecting" kit) including a carnivore squad, a squad of hounds, and krootox would be really cool and it it's economical enough, might encourage a greater Kroot presence on the tabletop.
So far, we have SM:7, CSM:8, AdMech:7, AM:8, and Craftworld Eldar(what's their abbreviation, CE?):5
It seems there's no hard and fast rule about how many sub-faction rules there are. Currently, they average at 7, so perhaps we'll see seven T'au septs fleshed out? CE only having 5 is a drastic drop, but I would guess it has more to do with there being other "Eldar" factions out there (Harleclowns, DE, Ynnari) rather than there being a lack of distinct sub-factions.
Looking at the AM, there are no rules for either Krieg or Elysian, so the presence or absence of a distinct faction doesn't seem to dictate the creation of rules, although it's sure to play a role. This is good news for Tau as it means that despite many of our septs not necessarily having distinct, well-defined character to them, they can still get rules.
T'au will certainly get a sept rule, as will Vior'la. Dal'yth has gotten plenty of attention due to the Damocles Crusade so they're likely in there too. Sa'cea seems to be popular - is that due to cities of death? I haven't encountered them much in my fluff and lore adventures - so they're likely to get a rule, as is N'dras what with all the little references and secretive comments about them, as well as the fact that, "secret weapons testing and development location" is already more distinct character than most septs got, and should be easily translatable into a game mechanic.
Mu'gulath Bay got tons of focus too, so I'm willing to bet it will get its own rule.
That puts us at 6 factions from my guestimates, leaving one more slot to bring us up to the current average. FSE will almost certainly get their own sept rule (O'Shovah having FSE as a sept in the index pretty much guarantees this).
The CSM "renegades" legion trait is worth mentioning though, as it's basically a sub-faction trait for those sub-factions without any distinct character of their own. We may well get something like this for the Tau given how little lore has been written on most of the septs.
Borkan and Kel'shan are other possible contenders based on lore presence.
So, as I mentioned, we pretty much know that the FSE are going to be a sept, and this has raised some concerns in terms of signature systems, strategems, etc. given how most sub-factions have received only a single faction specific strategem and relic in the new codices. However, given how much effort has been devoted to the FSE in previous editions we may find them getting their own "section" rather than a single entry in each of these cases. An entire codex supplement being reduced to one character, on item, and one special rule seems like a hectic downgrade, and the complete opposite of encouraging diversification, which is ostensibly what these sub-factions are supposed to do.
Even in prior codex editions, there was more effort made to mark the FSE as separate from standard Tau empire configurations, so I think it's safe to say GW will put a bit of effort into this even if the FSE don't become a brand new codex (ala Harleclowns, DG, etc). Rember, not all codexes WILL follow the same model, and certainly not down to the exact detail. We might end up with less sub-factions, but with more detail available to each.
So 100 years huh? Chaos Tau seems like going the opposite direction to what the Tau have been set up as. It would be like chaos 'crons or DE, neither of which seem imminent. But rebel Tau? Possibly, we already have FSE after all. I'm definitely looking forward to them exploring the impact of O'Shovah's return, and the death of Aun'Va. PLus, the continuing revelations of the Etherals grand plan, and exactly how Tau will interact with the warp and chaos. The new and improved galaxy scale eye of terror mean we're pretty much guaranteed to have encountered it en masse now, so it can't be swept under the rug as an isolated incident or an anomoly of some kind.
All in all, I'm looking forward to seeing how the general narrative post-War Zone Damocles plays out, and I certainly wouldn't say no to a few new characters given how much I liked Longstrike and Darkstrider.
Last edited by Harkus959
on Oct 18 2017 03:20, edited 1 time in total.