[Outdated] A Comprehensive Guide to Septs of The Tau Empire

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Majonga
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[Outdated] A Comprehensive Guide to Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#1 » Jun 28 2011 01:11

Preface:
Hello once again, ATT members and guests. 2 years ago I wrote a quick guide to the Septs of the Tau Empire here. Reading that over, I realized that a lot of it was based on assumption and in certain facts were just plain wrong. However I felt that such a guide was needed as there appeared to be nowhere online where a fully researched and comprehensive collection of background for Tau Septs could be found. I found Lexicanum had a reasonable collection, but that most of the Septs are summed up in a single sentence and contained little more information than outlined in the Codex. Therefore I decided to do the research myself and write an article that collected as much background about the Septs as I could possibly find. I wanted to go beyond questions beyond the simple, "What is the Sept like?" and address questions like "What place does this Sept have in the Empire?" and "What have members of that Sept achieved?"

Having sat on my research for nearly a year now, I think I have collected enough knowledge from all of Games Workshop Publications, including those of Black Library and Forgeworld, to truly produce a Comprehensive Guide. It is important that I express that the facts and assumptions I present in the following article are not definitive, I remain open to new information, and in fact I welcome it as it would be almost impossible to address every part of every Games Workshop publication that mentioned Tau on my own. In the article itself I have made a number of assumptions and I have identified and explained my reasoning behind each. That however does not mean that my answer is correct, it is merely the conclusion I have come to through my research and if anyone can present evidence to the contrary I am perfectly willing to edit the article to incorporate the new information.

Finally I must give special thanks to Doombringer, a Tau background god in his own right. He help provide me with a number of background articles that I could not otherwise have come by, including a number of out of print books. I want to give further thanks to a few other members of Advanced Tau Tactica, including Wolfs16 and Mnemonic who helped go over the Article and correct mistakes as well as provide corrections and new sources for the actual content. I also want to thank Didi-et-Gogo for his help on the Home Sept of Shadowsun.
Majonga


A Comprehensive Guide To The Septs of The Tau Empire
By Majonga

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Table of Contents:
Introduction & Explanatory Notes
First Sphere Septs
Second Sphere Septs
Third Sphere Septs
Bibliography
Appendices


Introduction:
I
Explanatory Points

I shall begin by addressing a number of background points with the intention of explaining and defending some of the assumptions I have made for the sake of this article. These include the birthplace of a number of individuals and justification for the use of a few items of background that some would refute as canonical evidence. I have attached a bibliography which sets out my references in a rough hierarchy, so you should be able to judge the 'weight' of the reference I have used by the reference number (Lowest Number being the most trustworthy). My references do not include page numbers as much of my research was done with PDF documents, whose page numbers were wrong. If there is any question as to exactly what reference I am referring to e.g. page number, ask and I will attempt to find a page number if possible.

There are a few characters who I have placed as 'notable sept members' despite being unable to find any article which actually detailed their home Sept. The first of which is Commander Shadowsun. While there is a tau translation of her name (O'Shaserra) I could find no information that detailed either her birth sept or full name. I have attributed O'Shaserra to the Tau'n Sept, based on the paint scheme done by the 'eavy Metal Team, who paint her Sept symbols in yellow, generally depicts a member of the Tau'n Sept.1 I have heard some claim she is a member of the T'au Sept, based on her white armour, however a high-definition picture of the model shows her colours to be the Yellow of Tau'n and the armour colour should only really be used in the absence of Sept Symbols and even then, with the Tau's habit of changing armour colour to suit the terrain it is not something to be entirely relied on.

Another Tau who lacks background in this regard is Commander Puretide. I could not even find a reference to a Tau name for Puretide. However, Codex: Tau Empire does state that Puretide was Commander of the Armies of Dal'yth.1 There is evidence, in the form of Forgeworld's release of O'Ralai's Experimental Rules, that High Commanders are natives of that Sept.14 While it is possible that Puretide's position as the greatest leader of his era could explain his appointment to command of another Sept's Military, I personally believe the Tau did not see the Damocles Gulf Crusade as enough of a danger to make such dramatic appointments.19 Therefore I have placed Puretide as a native of the Dal'yth Sept for the sake of this article.

Another Tau whose 'nationality' is in question is Forgeworld's O'R'myr. The controversy that surrounds this character is that he is stated to be a Hero of the defence of Fi'rios.10,13 Due to the timeline this could be the colonisation campaign fought against the Orks, or it could be a slightly later action defending the newly founded sept. Either way, some have taken this to mean that O'R'myr is a member of the new Fi'rios Sept. I would refute this assumption on the grounds that O'R'myr is stated to be in command of the Tau Sept Coalition on T'ros.13 Working on the same assumptions I have made for Puretide and the evidence from O'Ralai, It would suggest that O'R'myr would be a native of the T'au Sept, as he is still part of the Military of that Sept after the Colonisation of Fi'rios.

Shas'O'Vior'la'Kais is a character mentioned several times in Codex: Tau and Codex: Tau Empire, twice as a quotation and once in a short story.1,2 There are two other O'Kais mentioned in the background I collected. One mentioned in the Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse supplement, the other is the leader of the Shas High Command on the world of Kronus, featured in the Relic PC game Dawn of War: Dark Crusade expansion. It is reasonable to believe that the Shas'O'Vior'la'Kais' mentioned in the Codex are one and the same. I have assumed that the O'Kais mentioned in the Apocalypse supplement is another reference to the same commander, since there is no mention of his 'sept name'.7 The O'kais mentioned in Dark Crusade is different. He is mentioned as a student of Puretide, and it is reasonable to assume that such a student would be quoted often in the Tau Codices alongside other students of the great commander. the white sept colours shown in Dawn of War show him to be a member of the T'au sept.27 It is possible that Relic made a mistake and gave O'Kais the wrong sept colour, but I am inclined to say that Relic's games are a separate background source to themselves and therefore it is unlikely to be the Same O'Kais in other Sources. Therefore I have set down two O'Kais one for the Vior'la Sept and one for the T'au Sept.

This leads nicely on to another point I want to address: I have used the Relic Dawn of War series PC games. There a number of people who would refute the Relic PC games entirely due to their position outside the Games Workshop Publications. However, I have decided to use them as a source in my article (albeit low down in my source hierarchy). They have Sept colours for a few Septs which are not stated in the Codices and a few characters who I feel relevant. In using these sources I have to refute a point which may crop up in some minds. The Dawn of War Campaigns are open ended and it is possible that the Tau win the campaign and establish a fully-fledged sept world. However in Dawn of War 2, dialogue between the characters suggests that the Blood Raven were victorious on Kronus (dark crusade), so Kronus would not have been established as a Sept World. As a side-note, there is reference also to the Kaurava campaign featured in Dawn of War: Soulstorm. Judging by the reaction of the Space Marines and their refusal to speak of it, the general consensus is that that system fell to the chaos invasion.

A character that appears in the Dawn of War: Soulstorm expansion is Shas'O'Ores'Ka. I have included him as a native of the Fal'shia sept, despite their being no reference to his home Sept. The reasoning behind this being that he is commander of a Sept expedition bearing the Sept colour of Fal'shia (at least, the colour Relic has stated as Fal'shian). His position there is refutable but unless there is evidence to the contrary I am inclined to believe that this is the case.

Finally, I wish to address a number of assumptions made on the geography of some of the Sept worlds. I have seen claims that Bork'an is an Iceworld and D'yannoi is a world of swamps. I believe this notion to have come from page 60 of Codex: Tau Empire. This page displays a number of painted fire-warriors and kroot as examples to hobbyists. A caption for a fire-warrior painted in the Tau dress uniform states that 'the colors worn by the warriors of T’au reflect the arid climate of that world'.1 Many have taken this to mean that the following Bork'an and D'yannoi figures suggest the same, however I would refute this with evidence from the Warhammer 40,000: Battle Missions supplement states that Bork'an has a number of jungles in which the natives engaged a Tyranid invasion. It is highly unlikely that an ice-world is likely to have jungles and so I am believe that these pictures are merely examples of Tau combat dress, rather than representations of those world's climates.

As a side note to the above, I have seen other claims, particularly on other forums and at Lexicanum, that each Sept has its own paint scheme. This is incorrect, the Tau do not have paint schemes in the way that, for example, Space Marines do.1,2 They Tau change their armour and camouflage depending on their environment, only the Sept colour remains the same and this is the part that identifies which Sept the Tau is from. Therefore, you could have a Tau in the standard camoflague that we know to be based on T'au's climate, but have a red Sept Symbol, which would set him or her out as a native of Vior'la.


II
Septs, Why?, What? & How?

The second part of the introduction shall focus on septs in general. I shall seek to answer two main questions. First "Why do the septs exist?" and second "What is their purpose." The answer to both is interlinked in my opinion and to understand what a Sept is you must explore the inner workings and administration of the Tau Empire as a whole.

The Tau Empire currently consists of roughly 100 colonised worlds, including alien homeworlds such as Pech and Vespid.10 That is about 1/10,000th the size of the Imperium of Man. Although alien, the Tau Empire is no different from any other empire. An empire's existence relies on its ability to control and administrate to its populous. In fact, this is actually the criteria for a modern state in International Law. The ability to control and bring your administration to a group of people relies on one thing: Communication. The ability to react to situations and provide governance is paramount. The Imperium of Man relies on the psyker, specifically the Astropath to maintain communication between Planets, Sub Sectors, Sectors and even entire Segmentums. Using psychic messages to communicate across a galaxy that would take hundreds of lifetimes to cross. Without the psyker the Imperium is blind.

The Tau Empire cannot do this. The Tau have a very low warp resonance and their race is not only bereft of psykers, they barely understand their existence.1,2 They have no equivalent of the Astropath and so cannot send psychic messages through the warp. The Tau get round this by sending messages physically through messenger ships and drones, which move from way-station to way-station like a relay.16 This was how many empires in human history have tackled administration of large areas. This system, in comparison with humanities psychic powers is incredibly slow. The speed of Tau communications is important for the structure of the Tau Empire. To run the Empire from a single central government such as the Council of Highest on T'au with the system of communication that the Tau utilise would be completely infeasible.

To get round this problem the Tau Empire governs through a number of Sept worlds, who act as local government for the empire and central hubs for the communication networks.25 Each Sept is semi-autonomous. While they are subject to the edicts and decrees made by the Council of the Highest, they have their own governing councils, their own bureaucracies and most importantly their own fleets and armies.1 The day to day running of the Empire is carried out by the Sept Worlds of which there are just over 20 unique locations. With roughly 100 colonised planets in the Empire, each Sept world governs and defends roughly 4-5 colonised worlds each, not including any way-stations or listening posts.

Two other questions crop up at this point: "How do Septs come into existence?" and "What makes a Sept World different from others?" Sept Worlds are worlds that are the most populous or the most influential worlds in that given area of Tau space. Each time the Tau Empire goes through one of its periods of expansion, new worlds are brought into the Empire. The most successful of these planets grows to dominate those in its sphere of influence. Either by design or by natural selection, these worlds establish themselves as the hub for the communications network that stretches from the further frontier back to T'au itself and to the furthest frontier again. Exactly how a Sept world is selected remains unknown but it is clear that some worlds develop faster and rapidly establish themselves. Ksi'm'yen and Fi'rios are two examples of recent colonies who developed into full blown Septs in a matter of 1-2 Terran Years.1,10

This system of provincial government as it where, explains how each Sept begins to form its own character, as it is expected to survive without major assistance from T'au itself. This correlates with the Tau's general desire for self-sufficiency that can be seen even in small townships which cultivate their own produce.19 Each Sept's character is affected not only by its relative independence, but also by the varying levels of each caste that make up its population. For example, Vior'la is known to have a huge majority of Shas Caste and is therefore a very militarised sept world. Whereas Bork'an, a predominately Fio Caste world, is known for its universities and scientific research.1,2

In conclusion, A Sept world exists because of the limited communications in the Tau Empire despite the relatively small area it encompasses. It is semi-independent and composed of about 4-6 colonised worlds with a particularly prosperous planet which is the Sept Capitol and eponymous world. Each Sept has varying characteristics based mostly off the capitol world, its population demographics and general climate. They have their own armies and governments, but overall, they answer to the central government on T’au. As a final note, the independence that the septs maintain may lead some to come to the conclusion that Septs may attempt to secede from the empire. I would like to counter this thought immediately; it is simply not in the Tau nature to think that way. The tau have a deep collective philosophy, this applies not only to castes, but also to Septs. We can see that although forces from T'au participated in the fighting on T'ros, they were supported by a fleet mostly out of Vash'ya10 and again we see Fal'shians deployed alongside Tau from Bork'an in the Annexation of Cytheria.5 I do not believe it would even enter their minds that they would be better off on their own, such thinking is a step on the road to the Mont'au.
Last edited by Majonga on Jul 30 2011 04:38, edited 6 times in total.
He who defends everything, defends nothing - O'R'myr

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Majonga
Shas
Posts: 48

Re: A Comprehensive Guide to The Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#2 » Jun 28 2011 01:12

First Sphere Expansion Septs

These are the First Septs founded by original Tau colonists Sometime in the Early 40th Millennium, as Vior'la was established enough to defeat Waaagh Garskrak in 600.40.28,22 These are the largest and most populated Septs that have the most pre-eminence. They are spread quite widely across the cluster that is the Tau Empire and are the direct founders of the 2nd and 3rd Sphere Septs.5,22,23

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T'au
The Founders
Sept Colour: White1,2
Sphere: First (1st)
Predominant Caste: Unknown


Description: T'au is the home-world of the entire Tau race; the Spiritual and Administrative Capitol of the Empire.2 It is a world of varying climates but is predominately arid with much of its geography being either vast savannah or mountainous, with few lush areas.1 It is these arid plains where the Tau first flourished and the tribal castes were formed.1 Indeed the dress uniform of the Fire Caste was developed from the camouflage patterns used on these plains.1 T'au is home to the Council of the Highest, the Ethereal council who governs the Empire through a series of orders and edicts which are enacted without question.1,2 T'au is one of the most heavily populated worlds in the Empire, with dozens of cities. Imperial scans suggest that the capitol of the empire lies on the equator, at its centre a giant fortress whose purpose is only guessed at.

Character: Tau originating from this Sept are considered especially learned and wise.1,2 The inhabitants of this Sept are known for their experience; they being the Sept who founded all others and forged the 2nd Sphere Septs. Meditation and contemplation are key factors of their life and members of T'au are known to plan their actions down to the minutest detail. It has also been suggested that Tau from T'au are slightly set in their ways and loath to change them.25

Notable Members:
Aun’El'T’au'Tam’ya: Well-known Tau of the Ethereal Caste.1,2
Aun’O'T’au'Acaya'Va’Denta: Also known as Aun'Va, incredibly respected Ethereal, initiator of the third sphere expansion and ruler of the Third Sphere Septs.1
Aun’O'T’au'Kathl’an: Ethereal of almost legendary status in the Council of the Highest, has the power to commit an entire Kor battle fleet into battle with the Imperium.17
Por’vre'T’au'Cho: Water Caste Envoy on Syl’kell.1,2
Shas’O'T’au'Shi’ur: Commander of the 5th ten cadre, hero of Uor’la, favoured disciple of Aun’shi.17
Shas'O'Tau'Kais: Supreme Fire Caste Commander on Kronus, student of Puretide.27
Shas'O'Tau'R'myr: Supreme Fire Caste Commander on T'ros and commander of all troops during the Defence of Fi'rios. A Hero of the Third Sphere Expansion.10,13

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Tau'n
The Colonists
Sept Colour: Yellow24,25
Sphere: First (2nd)
Predominant Caste: None


Description: Tau'n was the first off-world colony of the Tau Empire, which can be seen by its name Tau two, or New Tau.1,2 Not much is known about Tau'n's climate or population but Tau'n is set apart from other Septs as it is reputed to have roughly equal numbers of each Caste in it, making it perhaps the most balanced of all Septs.23

Character: Those who founded Tau'n were the first colonists in the Empire; those hardy and brave enough to take to space in search of a new home. This has bred a pioneering spirit to those of Tau'n and Tau from this Sept are known to lead exploratory missions or colonisation fleets.1,2 As Tau'n also has a balanced population between the Castes, balance and moderation are key parts of Tau'n's culture. All castes are respected equally and there is a greater feeling of co-operation, which leads the Tau of Tau'n to be slightly more sophisticated than their brethren.23

Notable Members:
Por’el'Tau’n'Ukos: Famous water caste negotiator1,2
Kor’O Tau’n Viel: Supreme Commander of the Tau'n Kor Battlefleet9
Shas’O'Tau'n'Shaserra: Supreme Fire Caste Commander of the Third Sphere Expansion, student of Puretide and rival of Farsight.1

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D'yanoi
The Traditionalists
Sept Colour:Light Blue1,2
Sphere: First (3rd)
Predominant Caste: Unknown


Description: D'yanoi's most interesting phenomena is its two Moons. The name D'yanoi in fact means "twin moons", and these moons cast the planet in a perpetual twilight, neither day nor night. D'yanoi is unique among the first sphere expansion in its distance from T'au.1,2 Indeed D'yanoi was isolated from the rest of the Empire for a lengthy period following the First Sphere Expansion. Because of this the inhabitants suffered from a lack of supplies and were forced to revert back to a lower level of technology. Contact has been re-established and D'yanoi is now a fully functioning Sept of the Empire.1,2

Character: D'yanoi's time cut off from the Empire defined their character quite drastically. Although they have recovered, their reversion back to old technology has given them a rustic, traditional stereotype, that could lead to a slight distrust of new technology.1,2 The planet's twilight may also cause most natives of D'yanoi to seem dour or grim in comparison to other Septs. The Sept is very close to Vespid and it may have been forces of D'yanoi that first made contact with the insectoid race. Nevertheless, D'yanoi's close proximity to Vespid leads to their forces having a higher number of Stingwing auxiliaries.2

Notable Members:
None

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Bork'an
The Scientists
Sept Colour: Jade Green1
Sphere: First (4th)
Predominant Caste: Fio (Earth)


Description: Bork'an is an Earth Caste World. It is a centre of academia and learning, with a large number of Research Facilities and Universities.1,2 Many of the Empire's significant scientific breakthroughs were achieved by members of Bork'an. For example the Gal’leath or Explorer, the Tau's first real warp going vessel, was designed and built on Bork'an.9 Bork'an's climate is suggested to be quite tropical or arid with vast jungles and plains.8

Character: Bork'an's Sept colour, jade green, is a symbol of practicality to the Tau.1 Members of Bork'an value useful products and they have been behind much of the research that drives the Empire. This is no better exemplified that the Invasion of Hive Fleet Gorgon. As the Tyranids evolved, the Earth Caste rapidly produced new technology to defeat the swarms.4 Ultimately the Earth Caste's research outfought the Tyranids evolution and Hive Fleet Gorgon was defeated, despite a splinter fleet landing on Bork'an itself.9 The Members of Bork'an hold a special relationship with the Tau of Fal'shia, and the two Septs are often deployed in support of each other.5

Notable Members:
Fio’la'Bork’an'Vashrun Ka’la: Earth Caste Medic famous for his studies of Kroot Biology22
Shas’O'Bork'an'Alo’rra: Fire Caste Commander during the Cytheria Annexation, one of the Heroes of the Third Sphere Expansion.5

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Dal'yth
The Merchants
Sept Colour:Purple27,28
Sphere: First (5th)
Predominant Caste: Por (Water)


Description: Dal'yth is one of the largest and most successful Septs in the Empire. Dal'yth is heavily populated with a number of cities spread across the globe.1,2 It is suggested that outside the cities there is little more than arid wasteland, dominated by rocky mesas, but this may depend on the region.15,19 A predominately Water Caste world, Dal'yth's cities are filled with markets and Embassies from a myriad of alien races. On Dal'yth trade and diplomacy are valued just as highly as military conquest.1,2 As would be suspected of such a cosmopolitan world, Dal'yth has had by far the most contact with other alien races. The inhabitant's welcome off-worlders and it was members of Dal'yth that first made contact with two allies of the Empire, the Demuirg and the Kroot.2,9,22 The Sept of Dal'yth is well positioned for its role as the trade capitol as its position is on the edge of the Damocles Gulf, but also within striking distance of the Perdus Rift. It was on Dal'yth that the Empire finally halted the Imperium's Damocles Gulf Crusade, eventually fighting the Humans to a stalemate where they had to withdraw1,2,15 and it is not uncommon for the Forces of Dal'yth to be mobilised against an incursion from the Perdus Rift.1

Character: The Tau of Dal'yth are mindful both of the benefits of talk and of action. They are openly friendly to aliens and work with all manner of auxiliaries.1,2 A Tau from Dal'yth is likely to seek a solution to problems through talk, but this does not mean they do not know when to take action. Their Fire Caste is equal to any from Vior'la or Sac'ea. Meditation, balance and forethought are key characteristics espoused by Puretide, who is an inspiration not only to the Fire Caste, but to all Dal'ythans.1

Notable Members:
Por’O Dal’yth V’rok: Water Caste ambassador famous for making first contact with the Demuirg race and bringing them into the fold of the Tau Empire.9
Por’O Dal’yth Kiv’rai: Water Caste ambassador who lead the exploratory fleet that discovered the Kroot and successfully fought the War of the Place of Union.22
Commander Puretide: Greatest commander the Fire Caste ever produced, teacher of Farsight, Shadowsun, Icewind, Kais and perhaps more. Hero of the Second Sphere Expansion, commander of the armies of Dal'yth and author of The Meditations on the Way of the Warrior.1

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Fal'shia
The Artisans
Sept Colour: Maroon24,25,5
Sphere: First (6th)
Predominant Caste: Fio (Earth)


Description: Fal'shia is a close Sept to Bork'an. Indeed the two Septs are geographically close as well as close in mindset.1,5 While Bork'an is a centre of learning and research, Fal'shia is a world of artisans. An Earth Caste world famed for the quality of its products, Fal'shia has produced many of the most Important technological innovations that have allowed the Empire to grow.1,2 Fal'shia's relationship with Bork'an has lead their members to often be deployed together in many fields.5 Fal'shia was liberated from the Orks in the First Sphere Expansion by forces from T'au.23

Character: Fal'shians are perhaps more technical than their Bork'an cousins. They are well known problem solvers and this has lead them to creating a number of designs and technology for the Empire.1 Their craftsmanship means that people of Fal'shia are perhaps the best equipped in the Empire.

Notable Members:
Fio’vre'Fal’shia'Gwial: Famous crafter of Bonding Knives used in the Ta'lissera, the Knives are incredibly valuable and sought after.2
Shas’O'Fal'shi'Or’es’ka: Fire Caste Commander, lead a force of technologically advanced Fal'shians during the Kaurava Campaign, Advocated the tactic 'Great Strength, Great Strike'

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Vior'la
The Warriors
Sept Colour: Red1,2
Sphere: First (7th)
Predominant Caste: Shas (Fire)


Description: Vior'la is an almost inhospitable planet that orbits a binary star.1,2 In what is called the 'Trial by Fire' Vior'la annually passes through the gap between the two stars, where it is hit by massive plasma storms that force its inhabitants to live either underground or in protective Domes. Ork Warboss Garskrak learned this to his detriment, when his invading fleet was all but annihilated by the storms.26 Naturally, living in this environment has made the Tau of Vior'la incredibly hardy and skilful. Vior'la is perhaps the most famous Fire Caste world, it's name literally translates as ‘Hot-blooded’ and it's fire warriors have participated in just about every major campaign the Tau Empire has ever fought.25 The Oldest and most respected Fire Caste Academy in the Empire was founded here during the First Sphere Expansion, and the majority of the population are Fire Caste.1,2

Character: Vior'la's inhospitable environment is perhaps the best placement for a Fire Caste world. Only the strong survive in such a place and strength and hardiness are only a few of the characteristics bred into Vior'laan natives. Vior'la arguably produces the best Fire Caste warriors in the Empire, as they are known to be especially aggressive and skilled in the arts of death.1,2 A Vior'laan is best described by their Sept's very name, Hot Blooded. Vior'laans are aggressive but skilled fighters, this however does not mean they are unthinking. Vior'laans spend almost as much time planning and simulating as the T'au Sept, but their aggressive impatient nature means they have little time or interest for more sophisticated pursuits.

Notable Members:
Aun'Vior'la'Shi: Ethereal of legendary status among the Fire Caste, Hero of Fio'vash.2,17,26
Shas’O'Vior’la'Kais: Famous Fire Caste Commander, whose writings are widely respected in the Empire.1,2,7
Shas'O'Vior'la'Shovah'Kais'Mont’yr: Student of Puretide and Hero of Arkunasha, Renegade and Leader of the Farsight Enclaves.1,2

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Sa'cea
The Metropolitans
Sept Colour:Orange1
Sphere: First (8th)
Predominant Caste: Shas (Fire)


Description: Sac'ea is as close to a Hive World as Tau culture can allow.23 It is the hottest and most densely populated world in the Empire.1,2 The standard urban camouflage worn by almost all Septs was developed on Sac'ea.1 The Sac'eans produce more Firewarriors than any other Sept including Vior'la and its culture is highly militarised.1,2 Considering the number of Sa'ceans enlisting as Fire Warriors there are few who attain ranks above Shas'ui. This is not because Sa'ceans lack the instinct for battlesuit operation but because it is Stealth and Broadside armour they specialize in. 25 The Sac'eans share a strong relationship of respect with the Kroot race and often employ them alongside their Military.2,22 Sa'cea is Vior'la's main rival Sept and the Kais'Shi Fire Caste Academy is an equal of Vior'la's more venerable Academy.22,21

Character: Sa'cea's militarised culture has lead to members of Sac'ea being extremely disciplined. They are taught that self denial and strict principles are the path to the Greater Good and this may make them seem somewhat humourless and grim, however they are extremely honourable and fair.1 Martial prowess is as important to them as it is to the Vior'laans. More than any other Sept, the Sac'eans have absolute, unquestioning obedience and loyalty to their superiors; especially Ethereals. So strong is their devotion, that Sac'eans have been known to halt an attack on the edge of victory at a single word from an Ethereal.18

Notable Members:
Shas’el Sa’cea Or’es: Famous and respected Fire Caste commander2
Shas’o Sa’cea Tsua’m: Fire Caste Commander who defeated the forces of The Mont'au on Ke'lshan.23
Shas'el'Sac'ea'Esavon: Fire Caste Commander of the Burning Sun Coalition on Pavonis.18
Last edited by Majonga on Jul 30 2011 04:39, edited 3 times in total.
He who defends everything, defends nothing - O'R'myr

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Majonga
Shas
Posts: 48

Re: A Comprehensive Guide to The Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#3 » Jun 28 2011 01:12

Second Sphere Expansion Septs

These are the Septs founded in the Second Sphere Expansion, which took place shortly after the Damocles Crusade (742.M41), and recaptured much of the territory lost to the Imperium. The Second Sphere Septs have had over 200 years to develop their own personality but are still only moderately populated and lack the History of the First Sphere.1,2

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Au'taal
The Recreationists
Sept Colour:Green1
Sphere: Second (1st)
Predominant Caste: Unknown


Description: Au'taal is the Garden world of the Empire. A beautiful and verdant world, many Tau seek to retire here (Aun'Shi being one) and those who have the freedom to move around spend most of their recreational time in this Sept.1,2,26 Little else is known about the Sept but it seems to be a tourist hotspot for the Tau Empire and the economy is likely to be based on tourism and services.

Character: The Tau of Au'taal are known for their easy going attitude, especially to their duty to the Greater Good. They have the reputation among other Septs of being lazy and lacking in commitment.1,2

Notable Members:
None

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N'dras
The Distrusted
Sept Colour: Unknown
Sphere: Second (2nd)
Predominant Caste: Unknown


Description: N'dras is the most mysterious of all Septs. The World was voluntarily abandoned by the Tau nearly half a century ago (940-950.M41). It is completely unexplained why this exodus happened.1,2

Character: Whatever happened on N'dras is a mystery, but those who did not abandon their home are now viewed with suspicion by the rest of the Empire. The People of N'dras are the black sheep of the Empire and they are general quick temper and brooding countenance.1,2

Notable Members:
None

Image
Ke'lshan
The Xenophobes
Sept Colour: Gold1
Sphere: Second (3rd)
Predominant Caste: Unknown


Description: Few have suffered as much as the Tau of Ke'lshan. The world is situated on the Empires Eastern Frontier on the edge of the Perdus Rift, a haven for pirates, aliens and other denizens.23 A constant picket is kept up by the Air Caste to monitor the Rift for incursions and many swear that the area is haunted. They are not far wrong. The Perdus Rift is a warp anomaly where warp space intrudes on real space.1,2 The world was originally a world of the Imperium that was colonised by Sac'eans during the Second Sphere expansion.4 Since then Ke'lshan has been invaded by the vile Mont'au forces of Slaanesh, the Imperial Guard's Cadian Shock Troops and the full might of Hive Fleet Gorgon. The Sept has weathered all of this and remains a strong frontier position of the Empire.20,4

Character: The Tau of Ke'lshan have suffered much at the hands of many alien races and as such they are incredibly distrustful of aliens, sometimes openly hostile even to those within the Empire.1,2 The losses they have suffered have left the Tau of this world solemn and taciturn weighed down by the horrors they have endured. Nevertheless, the Tau of Ke'lshan are a solid bulwark against the terrors of the Galaxy.1,2

Notable Members:
Shas’El'Ke’lshan'Vorcah: Kroot auxiliary leader, fought against the Tyranid Hive Fleet Gorgon on Sha'draig.4
Shas’O'Ke’lshaan'Vesu’r'R’alai: Supreme commander of all Ke'lshan Fire Caste during the Defence of Ke'lshan from Hive Fleet Gorgon, a Hero of the Third Sphere Expansion.14
Kor’O'Ke’lshan'Vanan: Air Caste Admiral who lead one of the Ke'lshan fleets against Hive Fleet Gorgon at Sha'draig and Ke'lshan4
Kor'O'Ke'lshan'Valroth: another Air Caste Admiral who fought against Hive Fleet Gorgon, he was re-directed to fight the Cadian 18th when they Emerged from the Warp to besiege the planet.4

Image
Elsy'eir
The Artists
Sept Colour: Unknown
Sphere: Second (4th)
Predominant Caste: Por (Water)


Description: Elsy'eir is a world of culture and art. Here the artists, musicians, poets and intellectuals gather to recite and produce their work. It is the Cultural heart of the Empire, home to some of the most respected Artists responsible for much of the Empire's most popular music and art.1,2 For example one of the artistic vogues that is now popular in the Empire is a barely visible colouring that forces the viewer to focus carefully on it to appreciate its beauty, improving concentration and focus, is suspected to come from Elsy'eir.16

Character: As the cultural heart of the Empire the Tau of Elsy'eir are usually quite creative and artistic. They are regarded as intellectuals equal of Bork'an and are renowned for the quality of their poetry and artwork.1,2

Notable Members:
Por’ui'Elsy’eir'K’tadie: A Por reporter famous for her coverage of Commander Brightsword's assault on Nimbossa.

Image
Tash'var
The Frontiersmen
Sept Colour: Unknown
Sphere: Second (5th)
Predominant Caste: Shas (Fire)


Description: Tash'var is the frontier of Tau space, it lies in a relatively unexplored area of the cluster and as such is the first line of defence against the Orks and other piratical races that inhabit this sector.1,2,21 Tash'var has much in common with its sister Sept Ke'lshan, having felt it's fair share of alien incursions. The most famous of these was the struggle for Vor'anoth, an isolated world within Tash'var's Sphere of influence.21

Character: On the frontier, Tau must learn to be hardy and practical. The Tash'varians have been so successful at this that they are famous for it. Their courage is famous throughout the empire and their Firewarriors are easily a match for those of older Septs like Vior'la.1,2

Notable Members:
Shas’O'Tash’var'Ol’nan'B’kak: Famous Fire Caste commander, acolyte of Farsight and hero of Nimbossa.24,16

Image
Vash'ya
The Aviators
Sept Colour: Unknown
Sphere: Second (6th)
Predominant Caste: Kor (Air)


Description: Vash'ya is a predominantly Air Caste World with a large number of orbital stations. Known as the 'World Between Spheres', Vash'ya provides by far the largest percentage of Air Caste to crew the Tau Kor'vattra.1,2,9 Indeed during the Taros Campaign, the entire Tau fleet hailed from Vash'ya.10

Character: The Air Caste of Vash'ya may be the best pilots in the Empire. The Sept provides more Air Caste pilots and crew than any other Sept and their three dimensional awareness makes them equal to Imperial commanders despite a lack of combat experience.11

Notable Members:
None

Image
T'olku
The Diplomats
Sept Colour: Bright Green30
Sphere: Second (7th)
Predominant Caste: Por (Water)


Description: T'olku is another intellectual capital of the Empire. The Universities on this world are known for their focus on debate and diplomatic negotiations.2 Most of those diplomats who have successfully negotiated with Alien species originate from this Sept.1

Character: As would be expected of the Diplomatic Capitol, the Por and Aun Castes of T'olku are adept at debate and negotiations. The Members of this Sept are often valued for their sage council.1

Notable Members:
Aun’O T’olku K’yna: Ethereal who conducted negotiations during the colonisation of Nimbossa by commander Brightsword.2
He who defends everything, defends nothing - O'R'myr

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Majonga
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Posts: 48

Re: A Comprehensive Guide to The Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#4 » Jun 28 2011 01:13

Third Sphere Expansion Septs

The Third Sphere Expansion was announced by Aun'va in 977.997.M415 and Commander Shadowsun lead the grand expansion, taking direct control of the most Northward advances. At first Shadowsun's forces swamped the weakened Imperial defences on the border, but soon the Imperials began to fortify. Shadowsun changed tactics and the Tau began to make lightning strikes on weak positions that weakened the entire front. Slowly but surely Shadowsun overwhelmed the Imperial defences.1 At this point (303.999.M41), the Zeist Crusade was launched and a chapter strength force of Space Marines, stormed the Tau's staging point on Augura, effectively halting the expansion. However, in less than 3 years Shadowsun's forces had laid the foundation for a handful of new Septs (roughly 4-5).1 These Septs have had little time to develop, but already two have shown incredible growth.

Image
Ksi'm'yen
The Schemers
Sept Colour: Grey12
Sphere: Third (1st)
Predominant Caste: Unknown


Description: Ksi'm'yen was once an Imperial world that fell to a coalition combined from several 2nd Sphere Septs, sometime in early 998.M41. The Imperial defenders were stripped almost to the bone, and the Tau captured the world mostly through stealth and subterfuge rather than combat.1,12 Although a young Sept, Ksi'm'yen already proved itself during the Typha IV campaign, during which they used stealth to sneak deep into Imperial territory and strike at a key world in the Imperial supply chain. While they were eventually driven off, the Tau of Ksi'm'yen's Air Caste struck an almost repairable blow to the Imperial defence network and greatly weakened the Imperium at the frontline.12

Character: Although the Tau of Ksi'm'yen have yet to develop a distinct characteristic, they have shown great skill at stealth and subterfuge. Traits of luck and subtlety have also shown themselves among its inhabitants.1 The leaders of Ksi'm'yen have been recognised for their meticulous planning and subtlety but many disapprove of their tendency to take risks other Tau would find unacceptable.12

Notable Members:
Shas’O’Ksi’m’yen’Lunsu: Supreme Commander of the Tau forces during the Typha IV campaign.12

Image
Fi'rios
The Tenacious
Sept Colour: Unknown
Sphere: Third (2nd)
Predominant Caste: Shas (Fire)


Description: Fi'rios was colonised not long after its sister Sept Ksi'm'yen. Whereas the colonisation of Ksi'm'yen met little resistance, The Colonisation of Fi'rios was perhaps one of the most hard-fought episodes of the Third Sphere Expansion.1 The Tau who now occupy this world had to wrest it from the grasp of a fierce and stubborn Ork Warlord, who united the Down Unda Boyz, Up 'Dere Boyz and the Red Speed Boyz into a mighty Horde.20 It was a brutal battle of attrition between tough-but-slow Orks and fast-but-few Tau, made worse by the planets arid mountainous terrain similar to that of T'au.5 Though some of the planet must be quite verdant, as Air Cadres fighting on Fi'rios painted their craft with green camouflage.11 Nevertheless the colonisation was extremely costly but it has established the Fi'risians as the up and coming Fire Caste World.

Character: The people of Fi'rios have become known for an tenacious refusal to accept defeat and are incredibly stubborn. However they have also been noted to temper this feeling with a stoic acceptance of the price all must pay for the Greater Good.

Notable Members:
None



References & Bibliogrpahy:
Games Workshop Codices:
    1. Codex: Tau Empire (4th Edition, Andy Hoare, 2006)
    2. Codex: Tau (3rd Edition, Andy Chambers; Pete Haines; Graeme McNeill, 2001)
    3. Codex: Orks (4th Edition, Phil Kelly, 2008)
    4. Codex: Tyranids (5th Edition, Robbin Cruddace, 2010)
Games Workshop Rulebooks & Supplements:
    5. Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (5th Edition, Rick Priestly; Andy Chambers; and Others, 2008)
    6. Warhammer 40,000 Cities of Death Rulebook (4th Edition, Andy Hoare, 2006)
    7. Warhammer 40,000 Apocalypse Rulebook (4th Edition, Alessio Cavatore; Graham Davey; and Others, 2007)
    8. Warhammer 40,000 Battle Missions Rulebook (5th Edtion, Jervis Johnson, 2010)
    9. Battlefleet Gothic Rulebook: Tau Fleets (Andy Chambers, Gavin Thorpe, Jervis Johnson, 1999)
Forgeworld Rules and Accessories:
    10. Imperial Armour III: Taros Campaign (3rd Edition, Warwick Kinrade; Tony Cottrell, 2005)
    11. Aeronautica Imperialis (Warwick Kinrade, 2006)
    12. Tactica Aeronautica (Wariwick kinrade; Alan Bligh, 2007)
    13. Experimental Rules: Shas'O’R’myr
    14. Experimental Rules: Shas'O'Ralai
Black Library Publications:
    15. Star of Damocles (Andy Hoare, 2007)
    16. The Last Chancers: Kill Team (Gavin Thorpe, 2001)
    17. Firewarrior (Simon Spurrier, 2003)
    18. Ultramarines: Courage and Honour (Graham Mcneil, 2009)
    19. Savage Scars (Andy Hoare, 2011)
Games Workshop Website Articles:
    20. The Colonisation of Fi'rios Campaign
    21. The Struggle for Vor'anoth Campaign
    22. Tau Background: The War of Place Union (Andy Chambers; Andy Hoare; Graeme McNeill)
    23. Tau Background: Echoes of Mont'au (Andy Chambers; Andy Hoare; Graeme McNeill)
    24. Tau Background: Front-line Report On Tau Battle Doctrine (Andy Chambers; Andy Hoare; Graeme McNeill)
    25. Tau Battlesuit Configurations
    26. Aun'Shi Hero of Fio'vash
Dawn of War Relic PC Games:
    27. Dawn of War: Dark Crusade (THQ, 2006)
    28. Dawn of War: Soulstorm (THQ, 2008)
White Dwarf Articles:
    29. Issue 263: 'A world of Warriors (2001)
    30. Issue 315: Tau Designer's Notes (2006)
Warhammer 40,000 Websites and Forums:
Other Items Not Directly Referenced:
    Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition, Robin Cruddance, 2009)
    Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition, Matthew Ward, 2008)
    Warhammer 40,000 Apocalypse Reload (5th Edition, Alessio Cavatore; Robin Cruddance; and Others, 2008)
    Warhammer 40,000 Planetstrike Rulebook (5th Edition, Phil Kelly, 2009)
    Imperial Armour Update 2006 (Warwick Kinrade, 2006)
    Imperial Armour: Apocalypse (Warwick Kinrade; Alan Bligh, 2007)
    Imperial Armour: Apocalypse II (Warwick Kinrade; Alan Bligh, 2008)
    Xenology (Simon Spurrier, 2005)
    Ciaphus Cain: For the Emperor (Sandy Mitchell, 2003)
    Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer: Damocles Gulf Edition (Matt Ralphs, 2003)
    Fear the Alien: Unity (James Gilmer, 2010)
    Tau Background: Cleanse the Xenos (Andy Chambers; Andy Hoare; Graeme McNeill)
    Dawn of War 2 (THQ, 2009)
Last edited by Majonga on Jun 29 2011 05:17, edited 2 times in total.
He who defends everything, defends nothing - O'R'myr

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Majonga
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Re: A Comprehensive Guide to The Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#5 » Jun 28 2011 01:42

Appendix:

Creating Your Own Sept


[Area under reconstruction, Article will be re-written and republished ASAP]
Last edited by Majonga on Jul 07 2011 01:28, edited 3 times in total.
He who defends everything, defends nothing - O'R'myr

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Agent00abe
Shas'Ui
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Re: A Comprehensive Guide to The Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#6 » Jun 29 2011 06:01

Wauw, just wauw.
This is just awesome, can't fathom the research you have done here. Couldn't have been easy.
You certainly win one internets, thumbs up :)
Does this Railgun make me look fat?

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Firah
Shas
Posts: 69

Re: A Comprehensive Guide to The Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#7 » Jun 29 2011 12:13

Excellent work! it must have taken ages :D

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Didi et Gogo
Kor'Vre
Kor'Vre
Posts: 520

Re: A Comprehensive Guide to The Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#8 » Jun 29 2011 04:30

I said it before in my PM, but excellent work. It's a great resource. Congratulations on your promotion as well! :biggrin:

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Tael
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Re: A Comprehensive Guide to The Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#9 » Jun 30 2011 04:34

Superb work, bookmarked for the weekend when I can sit down and really enjoy the content. As Didi says, it is a great resource and a rightful promotion for such quality work.

- Tael.

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Wolfs16
Fio'El
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Posts: 2748

Re: A Comprehensive Guide to The Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#10 » Jun 30 2011 08:15

I absolutley love this! Thank you so much for putting in the work. There are a few grammatical errors, but it was still easy to follow and really helped give some definition to our favorite xenos. Oh and I love the description of the Sa'cea Sept; exactly how I pictured them!

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Eiglepulper
Shas'O
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Re: A Comprehensive Guide to The Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#11 » Jun 30 2011 09:21

Fully agree with the above comments from everyone. I've sent you a PM, the content of which you will definitely like.

E.

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Lynu
Fio
Posts: 68

Re: A Comprehensive Guide to The Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#12 » Jun 30 2011 11:13

Dang, Majonga, that's impressive. Really great source of information for our little blue spacemen. All of the cited references make it all look very professional as well. A reference like this might just be sticky-worthy :crafty: .
All opinions are of equal value.

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Doombringer
Drill Shas
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Re: A Comprehensive Guide to The Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#13 » Jul 09 2011 08:51

Kudos, Majonga. Was greatly looking forward to seeing round two since the first one died at Tau Online.

You have my heartfelt respect for the effort it must have taken to compile a list and bibliography that extensive - I know how difficult that is, and how rewarding it can be to see all your hard work come to fruition.

*Salute*

and *Stickied*

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Kles'ro
Shas
Posts: 377

Re: A Comprehensive Guide to The Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#14 » Jul 22 2011 11:24

A very comprehensive job overall. There were two minor errors that I noticed. The first is that during the introduction you say Bork'an is a Por heavy Sept, and later say it is Fio heavy. Also, the codex says that the Sept color of Bork'an is Jade green, not turquoise, though they use the paint Hawk Turquoise to show it on the model. Other than that, an amazing piece of work.
Know the enemy and yourself, and fear not 1000 battles

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Majonga
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Re: A Comprehensive Guide to The Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#15 » Jul 29 2011 04:27

Kles'ro wrote:A very comprehensive job overall. There were two minor errors that I noticed. The first is that during the introduction you say Bork'an is a Por heavy Sept, and later say it is Fio heavy. Also, the codex says that the Sept color of Bork'an is Jade green, not turquoise, though they use the paint Hawk Turquoise to show it on the model. Other than that, an amazing piece of work.


Thanks Kles'ro I have sorted those errors.
He who defends everything, defends nothing - O'R'myr

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Krel-Tal
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Re: A Comprehensive Guide to The Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#16 » Apr 09 2013 04:52

A wonderful compendium of knowledge and very helpful, thank you.

Are there any plans to update this list with the new information/discrepancies found in the 6th edition codex?
Why is it so much fun to personify my organs?

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Vay
Shas'Ui
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Posts: 882

Re: A Comprehensive Guide to The Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#17 » Jan 19 2014 02:41

Update for addition:
Another Tau whose 'nationality' is in question is Forgeworld's O'R'myr. The controversy that surrounds this character is that he is stated to be a Hero of the defence of Fi'rios.10,13 Due to the timeline this could be the colonisation campaign fought against the Orks, or it could be a slightly later action defending the newly founded sept. Either way, some have taken this to mean that O'R'myr is a member of the new Fi'rios Sept. I would refute this assumption on the grounds that O'R'myr is stated to be in command of the Tau Sept Coalition on T'ros.13 Working on the same assumptions I have made for Puretide and the evidence from O'Ralai, It would suggest that O'R'myr would be a native of the T'au Sept, as he is still part of the Military of that Sept after the Colonisation of Fi'rios.


PG 181 - IA V3 SE -

Shas'O R'Myr belongs to the Dal'yth Sept. Suggests it was the Dal'yth that fought on Taros, and was requested based on their almost genocide by Imperial Forces. Also suggest he is more of a dread pirate Roberts. Those who follow in his steps can take up his mantle.

For the Greater Good (found researching a paint scheme, and failing at sleep)
Shas'O Kais Vay Shone’nan

Melkhior
Shas
Posts: 4

Re: A Comprehensive Guide to The Septs of The Tau Empire

Post#18 » Feb 23 2014 05:41

Could you clarify something for me? It says of Bork'an that:
Bork'an's climate is suggested to be quite tropical or arid with vast jungles and plains.
In the Living Tau Xenolexicon http://advancedtautactica.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=21234 Bork'an translates to 'snow place,' and accordingly all example Bork'an colour schemes seem to be white and gray.

Is this just a case of GW forgetting what they've already established? I'm planning to make my tau from Bork'an, so I'd like to know what's what just for fluff reasons.

Sorry if this is not the right place to post this.

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