Archivist: Fantasy Flight Fluff Additions (entry)

Discuss Tau background and even your own Cadre fiction here.
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Archivist: Fantasy Flight Fluff Additions (entry)

Post#1 » Oct 18 2015 02:32

Warhammer 40k: Conquest is a Fantasy Flight game that... I wish someone would play with me. There's some new fluff for their upcoming decks and I thought I'd post it here.

Background

The factions are fighting over a resource rich sector 'none can resist' called the Traxis sector. Based on the fact that Tau forces are lead by Shadowsun, I would place the Traxis sector somewhere in the Zeist/Medusa region possibly adjacent to the Lithesh Sector.

Shadowsun’s Guile

Tau forces in the Traxis sector are under the command of the warlord known to the Imperium as Commander Shadowsun– one of the most brilliant tactical minds in the Tau empire. Known as the “Spearhead of the Greater Good,” Shadowsun’s keen grasp of technology serves her well in her conquests.

The newest world to be opened to conflict is: Sacaellum

Quotes

“We fight now not to claim this world, but to save it.”
–Commander Starblaze


Characters

Commander Starblaze: Saving Sacaellum

The Tau Empire has expanded quickly into the Traxis sector, and their guiding principle—For the Greater Good—has proven attractive to many, even those who once fought for the Emperor of Mankind. Some Tau commanders are known for accepting humans into the ranks of their armies and giving them the chance to prove their new devotion to the Greater Good. Commander Starblaze is one such leader.
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Re: Archivist: Fantasy Flight Fluff Additions (entry)

Post#2 » Oct 18 2015 07:26

Good stuff, but I was under the impression that Fantasy Flight had more material. Is this all, or is this just the first instalment? I'm only asking because I don't know what's what with FF stuff.

New Expressions Mean New Tau Words:
H'ka'r'jida Tau'va- 'Spearhead of the Greater Good', literally: 'Lance of the Greater Good'


PS. Calmsword, I'd play with you except I'm in the middle of the continent! :sad:

Edit to correct tau appellation: jida = spear, but r'jida = lance (long spear) TM
Last edited by TauMan on Nov 04 2015 03:24, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Archivist: Fantasy Flight Fluff Additions (entry)

Post#3 » Oct 19 2015 12:35

Well, should you find yourself on the west coast...

Fantasy flight does have a lot more details- this is just for their card game. I might just start downloading the FF books but I thought we had most of the info from them. No?
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Re: Archivist: Fantasy Flight Fluff Additions (entry)

Post#4 » Oct 19 2015 04:26

Most Tau fluff to be found in FFG books is concentrated in the various books for the Deathwatch RPG, namely the Core Rulebook, the Achilus Assault, the Jericho Reach and the Mark of the Xenos (focusing on both general Fire Caste units, Tau activity within the Canis Salient of the Jericho Reach, and the Velk'han Sept established there). Rites of Battle features a short section on Tau vehicles and aircraft as well, and may be worth looking into to.

The Rising Tempest campaign book for the Deathwatch RPG focuses around a conflict with the Tau (though they turn out to be mind-controlled by other aliens...), whilst the Ark of Lost Souls campaign book features the XV46 Vanguard Void Battlesuit in its appendix.

Rogue Trader: Into the Storm features a decent section on Kroot and their role as mercenaries outside of the Tau Empire, whilst the Rogue Trader: Tau Character Guide is entirely focused on Tau, with special reference to Tau explorers hailing from the Fire Caste. The associated Twilight Crusade campaign book also features Tau and a mission to rescue an Ethereal, but I failed to notice any fluff of significant importance in it.

Rogue Trader: Battlefleet Koronus, Stars of Inequity, and Edge of the Abyss all have minor sections on Kroot as well.

As far as I have noticed, information about Tau from the FFG books haven't really made their way onto this site in any major way aside from the acknowledgement of the existence of the Velk'han Sept in some of the stickied lore posts, and a recent thread on the XV46 Vanguard Void Battlesuit. Which is a shame really since there is actually quite a bit of information to be found.
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Re: Archivist: Fantasy Flight Fluff Additions (entry)

Post#5 » Oct 19 2015 03:26

Ionus wrote:As far as I have noticed, information about Tau from the FFG books haven't really made their way onto this site in any major way aside from the acknowledgement of the existence of the Velk'han Sept in some of the stickied lore posts, and a recent thread on the XV46 Vanguard Void Battlesuit. Which is a shame really since there is actually quite a bit of information to be found.

So Ionus, if I hear you right what you're saying is: "There's gold in them thar FF hills!" Guess I better get Bob and his team of Squats over there pronto quick!
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Re: Archivist: Fantasy Flight Fluff Additions (entry)

Post#6 » Oct 23 2015 04:15

Deathwatch: Core Rulebook Entry

Source:
[*]Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), 165, 315, 338, 352-356, 366

Masking Screen - An Imperial version of a stealth field generator that takes the form a a small translucent polyhedron that is attached to the shoulder. It was developed by reverse-engineering a small number of Tau stealth field generators captured by the Deathwatch. Naturally, it is not as effective as the Tau one.

They are guided by a caste of rulers and spiritual leaders called Ethereals, who appear to be able to inspire in the Tau a curious combination of duty and contentment. The Imperium has no concern if its citizens are content, so long as they do their duty; to the Tau the two concepts are one and the same.


Location of Tau worlds in the Jericho Reach (bottom left)

Lord Militant Achilus, who initially led the Achilus Crusade into the Jericho Reach before his ship disappeared into the Warp, believed the primary focus of the Crusade was 'to open a new front against the alien Tau'.

This warzone against the Tau would become known as the 'Canis Salient', and its first battles were to liberate dozens of human-inhabited worlds from Tau expansion. Now the Imperial forces are also fighting on a second front against the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Dagon in the same warzone.

Lord Commander Ebongrave, who leads the Imperial forces in the Canis Salient, is obsessed with eliminating the Tau and their influence on Imperial worlds; he considers the Tau a higher priority threat than even the Tyranids. The planets Argoth, Kaggeran and Rheelas were all quarantined by Ebongrave due to his belief that they were riddled with Tau emissaries and sympathisers, leading to mass starvation, riots and apocalyptic cult activity.

Note: FFG seem to explore the 'grimdark' route of Tau a bit more, which I find iffy as it contradicts lore in most other sources (indeed, the only other source that comes close is the non-canon ending od Dark Crusade). The 'grimdark' and more ruthless actions of the Tau in the Jericho Reach may be due to the fact that the Velk'Han Sept is isolated from the main Tau Empire, and is also on a constant war footing.

The Velk’Han Sept is the empire ruled by the Tau and the primary objective of the Imperial Crusade in the Canis Salient. It consists of several dozen populated worlds. While several worlds are properly colonized Tau worlds, many others are mostly human-populated and are ruled by proxy through sympathetic human leaders. The Sept capital world, Tsua’Malor, acts as the central seat of Tau governance and rule.


Tau taskforce that rules and defends the Sept is known as the Mal'caor Shi.

The Velk'Han Sept makes use of human auxiliaries, but does not arm or direct them in person; instead doing so by proxy by passing on orders to the leaders of allied human worlds.

The capital on Tsua'Malor (a Desert World) features a city that rings the entire equator, and houses millions.

The Mal’caor Shi’s ruling council, a small number of Ethereals and ambassadors, gather in the kilometre-high edifice known in the gue’la tongue as the Transcendence. Each caste has its own district in Equatorial City, from the floating tethered platforms of the Air Caste to the bronze-walled fortresses of the Earth Caste. Several billion humans also live on this world, in the planet’s other cities cut from the rocky desert by Imperial pilgrim-settlers thousands of years before. Every city has a Tau quarter of glittering spires and grand pavilions, where the human leaders gather to listen to the wisdom of Tau ambassadors. One such city, Beldar, is home to the Gue’Retha, a research institute and university to which the Tau transport all the brightest and most talented humans to educate them in Tau philosophy and technology. Attached to the Gue’Retha is a place which the Tau decline to name, but which human malcontents call the Lacuna. This underground research facility, it is rumoured, is where the Tau conduct psychological experiments on gue’la prisoners. The results supposedly help the Tau refine their methods of social manipulation, but no one can be sure since any heard to utter such thoughts vanish, quite possibly into the Lacuna itself.


Imperial religion is prohibited and the Tau Water Caste run education (and re-education) programs that instil an understanding and love of the Greater Good into the sometimes reluctant gue’la minds. Populations are regularly sterilised to prevent population growth outstretching Tau methods of control. Human transgressors against the Greater Good are not publicly executed, as is the Imperial way, for the Tau see no need to publicise the fates of those who oppose them. Instead, such gue’la simply disappear, and it is the way of the Greater Good to convince oneself that they never existed at all.


Iphigenia is a human world in the Velk'Han Sept, and appears to be a Feudal World as it is ruled by tribal kings united under a High King. Alongside this power structure is the 'Grey Kings', which are the Tau emissaries sent to the world to request armed forces to fight for the Tau, as well as to take the most technically skilled people to orbital stations for retraining. They are then either sent elsewhere in the Sept to work under Earth Caste work teams or Air Caste starship crews, or sent back down as 'enlightened ones'. The Tau are also building 'strange structures' in the southern wastes of the world.

This world is, on the surface, a featureless rock, but is riddled right down to its core by crystalline caves. Never settled by humans, Krrk’tikit was given by the Tau to their Vespid auxiliaries, and the insectoid xenos now inhabit city-hives built into the largest chambers. Hatcheries, nutrient lakes and warrior mustering chambers have been constructed, while the Vespid strain leaders blood their warriors in huge warrens of jagged crystal designated as battlegrounds.

There are also indigenous creatures that have floating bodies of crystal and can manipulate energy fields as weapons, which the Tau unsuccessfully targeted for absorption.

The Black Reef is the primary reason for Tsua'Malor's suitability as the Sept capital, and is a stellar phenomenon that consists of a series of gravitation anomalies. It protects most angles of approach to the world, and hundreds of planets and millions of asteroids are caught in the Black Reef. Whilst the Black Reef presents itself as a major stellar obstruction, the Tau have made continued attempts to explore it. Cadres of auxiliary species well suited to space exploration suffer a high attrition rate in undertaking this task, even though they can survive conditions that would kill any Tau or human. The Black Reef is believed to be the result of an ancient catastrophe caused by some race that once inhabited the area.

The Greyshell Front is the Tau/Imperial battlezone in the Canis Salient. It is considered to be a meat grinder by Imperial troops.
Ebongrave’s purges are most frequent on the Greyhell Front and a Guardsman is almost as likely to be executed by his own side as he is to be killed by the xenos. Life is no better for the gue’la auxiliaries, who are wont to be abandoned by their Tau overlords or betrayed by Imperial intelligence officers who have worked their way into their ranks.


Baraban is a world covered in temperate forests contested by the Imperium and the Tau. The Tau army there largely consists of Vespid and Kroot. 'Ghosts' and supernatural phenomena terrorise Guard forces and drive some mad every time they launch an assault. Even Space Marines report having witnessed their Primarch wading into battle, or feeling Horus's mortal blow on the Emperor's body as on their own. Whilst the Imperium believes the cause of the ghosts to be the Tau, both Kroot and Vespid also have their own troubles; the Kroot in particular develop useless and dead-end strains of evolution very easily.

Ravacene is a contested world by Kroot and Imperial forces. Due to its Death World-like ash-jungle terrain, Guard regiments are constantly rotated due to casualties and psychological effects. Meanwhile, the Kroot have become well-adapted to the world.

Veren is a world of no strategic value, yet is fiercely defended by the Tau for unknown reasons. Ebongrave sends forces there believing that the world must therefore be of great importance. Due to most fighting taking place in coral tunnels or mountain passes at close-quarters, Tau suffer greater rates of attrition on this world than anywhere else in the Canis Salient.

Apologies for any grammar/spelling/long-sentence-syndrome errors in the above information. I only did a very quick spellcheck and review.
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Re: Archivist: Fantasy Flight Fluff Additions (entry)

Post#7 » Oct 23 2015 09:04

The Sept is composed of 35-40 colonies worlds tau and a number of human worlds 50-100 Tau attached to, but lower worlds races xeno

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Re: Archivist: Fantasy Flight Fluff Additions (entry)

Post#8 » Oct 23 2015 03:30

Very, very nice! I was introduced to the Warhammer universe through FFG's roleplaying games. Even my signature, Shas'vre Ka'ra, is the name of a character I made from the Rogue Trader supplement. Which books did you get all this from? I have the core rule book but I don't remember quite this much detail on the Tau worlds inside of it. Maybe I should crack mine open again and flip through.

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Re: Archivist: Fantasy Flight Fluff Additions (entry)

Post#9 » Oct 24 2015 05:37

Thank you Isoroku, and Shas'vre Ka'ra that would be great. Let us know if you find anything worthwhile.
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Re: Archivist: Fantasy Flight Fluff Additions (entry)

Post#10 » Oct 24 2015 06:06

There is a description of special troops of a high-gravity world, very rough and cold, they are Gue'vesa but the description almost seem Squats are extremely loyal troops to the Tau Empire

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Re: Archivist: Fantasy Flight Fluff Additions (entry)

Post#11 » Oct 25 2015 01:15

Have you got which book thats from? Ill see if i can trace it down.
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Re: Archivist: Fantasy Flight Fluff Additions (entry)

Post#12 » Oct 25 2015 05:50

Highlock IV - Old abandoned imperial world, located near the edge of the rupture Styx, who joined the Tau as they entered Jericho Basin. The human population of the planet, which had fallen into savagery, have skin covered with hair due to cold weather, and is extremely strong due to the high gravity of the planet. Elite formations have delivered and skilled warriors known as the Freemen of Highlock employed by the Tau as shock troops.

Basic book I'm not sure

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Re: Archivist: Fantasy Flight Fluff Additions (entry)

Post#13 » Oct 27 2015 05:41

Deathwatch: Mark of the Xenos Entry Part 1


Vespid were not encountered by the Imperium during the Damocles Gulf Crusade (I can't recall if this contradicts existing fluff, but it seems reasonable).

How Fire Caste progress through different roles in their service:
An experienced Fire Caste warrior will have started his career as line infantry and received cross training in the operation of every form of vehicle fielded by the Tau. He then progresses to serve first in a Pathfinder team, and next dons a stealth suit to complete his mastery of the arts of infiltration and ambush. The most skilled of warriors eventually join a battlesuit team, piloting one of the XV-8 “Crisis” Suits or one of its variants such as the XV-88 “Broadside.” Of these elite veterans of service to the Greater Good, a small number progress to become leaders of their own Cadre, either replacing a fallen leader or taking command of a newly created formation.


States that Tau only live for roughly 40 years, and they only show signs of ageing towards the very end of their lives.

Markerlight beams are visible when they pass through smoke or fog; in clear air they are invisible. When mounted on another weapon (like a Pulse Carbine), it is selected through a simple toggle switch.

Imperial forces have encountered XV88 Broadside Battlesuits armed with Ion Cannons instead of Railguns/Heavy Rail Rifles on the Greyshell Front.

Shas’O Vior’la Suam Eldi, also known as Commander Flamewing, is young commander serving in the Zurcon System. Previously fought as part of Farsight's taskforce that swept outwards after the Damocles Gulf Crusade. With the foundation of the Velk'Han Sept, Flamewing was given command of a newly raised Hunter Cadre and oppose the advance of Hive Fleet Dagon on the world of Zurcon Extremis. However, the Tau severely underestimated the numbers of Tyranids they would encounter and Flamewing's Cadre was left trapped when his forces are surrounded by Tyranids. They hold out on a mesa for six days, before on the seventh the Mon'Tau comes into effect when the last Ethereal on the planet dies. The Tau become surly and fractious; "Shockingly, several brawls erupted in the ranks, a phenomenon that none had ever witnessed or experienced. Flamewing then decides the force must make a final push out from the mesa and take down as many Tyranids as they can before falling. The ensuing battle rages for an entire day, and only Flamewing and his Crisis Team retinue are left alive afterwards; still surrounded by Tyranids. They are then saved when multiple Cadres led by Aun'O Tsualal attack the rear of the Tyranid horde. After that incident, Flamewing believes that the Imperials should be working with the Tau to fight the Tyranids, and in several engagements has made clandestine, tenuous, alliances with Imperial forces when Tyranids are involved.

The lowest ranks of Ethereals usually form councils that oversee settlements, the highest ranks oversee entire Septs.

Apparently Ethereals must be present on a strategic level to ensure the stability of the Tau underneath their command. (Deathwatch fluff seems to focus on the the fact that No Ethereal = RageAngry Tau, which contradicts Codex fluff somewhat)

The Deathwatch have actually captured a low-ranked Ethereal named Aun’La Tsua’Malor Viorla when they boarded a lone vessel passing near Tau-controlled space. Naturally they try and work out what method the Ethereal is using to 'control' Tau, and can't work out what function the diamond shaped organ on his forehead does. However, the Deathwatch he may be a fake since the operation to grab him went too smoothly, and there weren't enough Tau forces present in guarding him.

Shield Drones project a shield of radius two metres.

Under the armament section of Drones where they are 'armed with one of the following', apart from Marker Lights and Shield Generators, there is also long-range vox, scanner, and injector with five doses of pain suppressant listed.

Honour Blades:
Tau Ethereals utilise Honour Blades as symbols of office, ceremonial weapons, and (in an emergency) in self defence. While each weapon is custom-made and individual, they all feature a broad blade fitted to a long, lightweight metallic staff. Ethereals use the blades primarily to settle disputes, engaging in lengthy, highly stylised duels that are more coordinated comeditation than combat. The combatants dance and weave as if in a trance, their weapons flashing past one another scant millimetres and microseconds from causing terrible damage. Yet somehow, the dance is always bloodless, as if the Ethereals are in total union with one another. In truth, the combatants are engaged in a deeply spiritual duel, conducted at a level which none outside of their caste can discern. Some Ethereals
carry their Honour Blades on the field of battle, not expecting to have to use them, but prepared to make a last stand against their barbaric foes nonetheless.


That concludes this entry. The next one will focus on the Kroot and Vespid.
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Re: Archivist: Fantasy Flight Fluff Additions (entry)

Post#14 » Oct 27 2015 06:54

Deathwatch: Mark of the Xenos Entry Part Two


Kroot evolutionary dead-ends can be very specific due to hyper-specialisation i.e. only able to live in a specific environment or only a particular prey.

Kroot DNA is unique in that it can store far more information that other species, and can incoporate useful DNA strands into its own.

Kroot Shapers are instinctively able to analyze the genetic characteristics of any creature they eat, isolate its DNA so it doesn't corrupt its own, and interpret which characteristics are favourable or detrimental to Kroot evolution. Shapers are as much responsible for guarding against regression as they are for ensuring the development of favourable genetic traits.

Kroot have an overwhelming urge to consume the corpses of those they slay in combat, and is a throwback to their early evolution. Only Shapers can curtail this instinct.

Tyranids have been declared to be 'inedible' (which has much worse connotations for Kroot then it does to humans). Tyranids cause utter revulsion in Shapers, possibly due to the Tyranid's own means to modify genetic inheritance of other species towards their own development.

Kroot avoid preying on humans who worship Chaos. This is the result to an event where the Kroot consumed the bodies of a warband of Slaanesh and developed a number of entirely undersirable mutations. (Very likely a reference to the 'Echoes of Mon'tau story).

Naturally, Kroot are forbidden from consuming Tau. This is primarily because, as a species, they are indebted to the Tau for saving their homeworld of Pech. Kroot who are caught breaking this rule are executed by Shapers.

Shapers have 'shamanic' powers which they can call upon using rituals, which generally involve calling upon the warrior spirits of ancestors; whether to aid the Kroot in battle in battle, hunting, or giving prophetic visions or dreams.

The Imperium does not know how Kroot reproduce.

Kroot Bolt Throwers mounted on Great Knarlocs make use of explosive tipped rounds that utilise the same technology as Smart Missile Systems.

Kroot Hounds are highly temperamental and prone to attacking their keepers, although veteran keepers tend to have a close bond with their charges.

The spines running along a Kroot Hounds back are sensory ganglia that they use to detect the presence of enemies even in very dense terrain.

When Tau are not around, Kroot Hounds are usually allowed to roam free as they usually hunt as a pack. If Tau or other allies are around, Kroot Hounds are always accompanied by their keeper in order to avoid any accidents.

Kroot Hounds are sometimes used as guards by Shapers and Master Shapers.

Tau psychic potential as reported by a Space Marine Librarian.
Upon investigating this matter further, I discovered how. The Tau appear to have a reduced mind-spoor. They are not blanks, let me be quite clear on that, but their presence in the Sea of Souls is somehow muted, as if only tenuously anchored in the material universe.


Vespid (the world) is located approximately three light years away from the Sept world of D'yanoi. The upper layers of the planet's atmosphere are host to many thousands of floating islands of rock kept aloft by lighter-than-air gases trapped within. The islands are flat-topped and come to a point towards the bottom; they are where the Vespid carve out their homes. Because the islands are so large, the air pressure is varies significantly from the topmost and bottommost levels. The lower levels are home the special crystals used in Neutron Blasters, and can only large female Vespids have the constitution to reach and harvest them.

The three pairs of eyes of a Vespid see different ranges of light each; one pair sees inthe ultraviolet range, one in the standard visible spectrum, and one in the infrared spectrum.

The biologis of the Adeptus Mechanicus state that according to the laws of bio-aerodynamics, Vespid should not be able to fly!

When the Tau first encountered the Vespid, they had dveloped a reasonably stable planetary government and had technology, but had yet to achieve space flight. Because of their alien mindset, the Tau had trouble getting the Vespid to even register them as fellow sentients at first. That all changed with the development of the Communion Helm.

Vespid are known as 'mal'kor' in the Tau language. The term Stingwing was coined by hte first Imperial units to survive contact with the species, and has since become a universal name amongst the Imperial Guard.
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Re: Archivist: Fantasy Flight Fluff Additions (entry)

Post#15 » Nov 01 2015 07:40

Deathwatch: The Achilus Assault Entry


The foundation of the Velk'han Sept is special in that it was not part of any particular Sphere of Expansion, but instead a single concerted strike across the void to a very specific, discrete region. Because the foundation of the Sept required so much resources and was so isolated, the Earth Caste were initially opposed to the Sept founding plan. However, it was a combination of Fire Caste belligerence and Water Caste ambition that pushed the plan through.

Water Caste are physically tall and slender compared to other Tau.

Tau numbers in the reach as believed by the Imperium: 80+ Fire Caste Commands, 120 Air Caste Commands, 350 Earth Caste Commands, and 35 Water Caste Commands. Each command is expected to have at minimum 12-20 Cadres present.

The section on Tau space travel describes the same method as Ether Drives in the Taros Campaign.

The discovery of the Jericho Reach by the Tau was similar to how they first discovered space travel: they found an ancient tablet on the world of Landfall, on the edge of the Empire, which showed a star chart plotting a fast and safe route through the Warp to a distant region of space. The Tau's unique method of Warp travel allows them to exploit the route better than most, as they don't suffer as much from the warp anomalies the Black Reach generates at the other end.

The world of Ag'ni was found in the Jericho Reach to be ideal for colonisation, with native planet and animal life and no intelligent life present. However, soon after landfall it was discovered that there was an extremely aggressive microbe that pervades the planet (with a deadliness to rival the Life Eater virus in that it kills and consumes the body in seconds). With this discovery the planet is ordered to be purged for reseeding, and now the planet serves as a testing ground for the Fire Caste and latest Earth Caste inventions. Without fear of unleashing unwanted levels of destruction, things from planetary defoliants to ionospheric inversion have been tested. Pulse plasma warheads have levelled entire mountain ranges and the detonation of a seismic discontinuity charge brought about the creation of an entire chain of super-volcanoes at the world's south pole. Despite this widespread destruction, the microbes still persist on the planet.

On the conquered human world of Jaya, when it was first discovered that a number of humans had been corrupted by Tyranid vanguard organisms, the Earth Caste immediately set to work developing a way to combat the 'gene coded domination' that had yet to be activated it the humans. Amazingly, the Tau made rapid inroads in combating the genetic taint, using recombinant gene-recoding techniques unknown to the Adeptus Mechanicus. As of writing around half the planet's population has been successfully 're-coded', and the Earth Caste are working hard to recode the rest before the Hive Mind sends the activation signal.

Tau have far less experience with Death Worlds than the Imperium, and have yet to truly appreciate the extremes of malevolence they can offer.

High Admiral Kor'O Y'eldi roughly translates into 'the winged one'.

There is an unknown class of battlesuit used to escort Water Caste envoys that contains a staggering array of concealed weaponry and is configured for operating in the void. They also carry high-yield fusion charges.
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