Bridging the Gap

Discuss Tau background and even your own Cadre fiction here.
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Calmsword
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Bridging the Gap

Post#1 » Jul 09 2017 11:59

Without wanting to spark another round of "stop complaining and just enjoy a game" vs "I spend way too much money on this hobby for them to screw over my armylist/fluff" I've been reading the index and thinking about what's happening in the Tau side of the galaxy.

Not only have our rules changed, but it seems like we're in this big-sky moment where we're taking root as a legit faction in terms of the galactic stage.

Looking at the map, we've got a massive Necron Empire that seems to have taken root to the west, warp storms to the east and the never ending toss up of what's going on with the realm of Ultramar (seemingly getting closer all the time). We've got a massive colony fleet that could have ended up... anywhere. And are in a rapid-fire 5th phase... I feel like we're a bit like the unmentionable space marine armor that seemed to be skipped as well.

But if we were going to use the indexes to seek some kind of inspiration for the current fluff, as we're lacking a codex for now:

Bonding: Every Tau unit basically has this. Usually the hallmark of veterans that had served together for a time enough to enter into a kind of empathetic union akin to marriage= almost every Tau unit has this now as just part of their rules.

The fluff?: Perhaps now that the Empire is wholly on a war footing with the loss of an entire colonization fleet* the Tau no longer consider the galaxy to be a place of compromise. They have their allies, the worlds beyond the Gulf seem to be entirely hostile, perhaps now the Fire Caste trains their Warriors with the intent of becoming bonded before graduation (or even as the graduation ceremony).

If the Tau are truly beings of change (despite recent novelizations that show that stagnant and reactionary) they wouldn't balk at the concept of 'updating' their own warrior culture.

*(I will not be calling it the '4th sphere'... it makes no sense... The 'spheres' were, and still are, periods of expansion, they are a unit of time not a single fleet- but whatever.

Kroot and Markerlights: Once they were barred from using this valuable technology and now, perhaps due to streamlining, they get to use it as well.

The fluff?: It's about time the most numerous of the Tau allies enjoyed integrated battle-nets, I'll be modeling my Shapers with antenna thank-you-very-much. But this is, narratively, in important step forward for the Kroot. We have examples of them being absolutely terrified of the Tyranids, specifically with the Genestealers, maybe this has caused them to double down in terms of how they consider themselves members of the Empire which, in turn, has caused the Tau to realize how much they really need the children of Pech.

Manta Strikes: Now, I still don't understand why we lost the term 'deepstrike' and every explanation for the same benefits result in the same deployment fashion- but this could be a cool narrative as well: Now that the Tau have footholds in the Coreward Marches (Ciaphus Cain novels) the 3rd Sphere colonies (Warzone Damocles) this might be indicative that the Mantas now form a more up front and obvious vehicle for the armies of the Greater Good.

Anyway, these are just musings to try and see how the old codex links up with the new index.

The fact is, if the current fluff is to be believed, 40k is now 2 hundred years AFTER Guilliman became Protector of the Imperium which would mean, again, that either all our characters (barring Farsight) went into stasis or they're dead... So who knows, am I right?
~Good Hunting

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Arka0415
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Re: Bridging the Gap

Post#2 » Jul 10 2017 12:27

Calmsword wrote:Not only have our rules changed, but it seems like we're in this big-sky moment where we're taking root as a legit faction in terms of the galactic stage.


Heck yeah! Tau'va!

Calmsword wrote:Looking at the map, we've got a massive Necron Empire that seems to have taken root to the west, warp storms to the east and the never ending toss up of what's going on with the realm of Ultramar (seemingly getting closer all the time). We've got a massive colony fleet that could have ended up... anywhere. And are in a rapid-fire 5th phase... I feel like we're a bit like the unmentionable space marine armor that seemed to be skipped as well.


Bits of Ultramar? Some 3rd-rate Necron dynasty? Sounds like dozens and dozens of new septs to me. The Fith Sphere Expansion is pushing every frontier, and it looks like the Tau will have the same galactic clout and firepower as any of the major sub-factions in the galaxy. We're not as strong as all the Orks of course, but we're certainly stronger than many Waaghs put together. Likewise we pale in comparison to the Imperium but can certainly fight an even war with Ultramar.

Calmsword wrote:I will not be calling it the '4th sphere'... it makes no sense... The 'spheres' were, and still are, periods of expansion, they are a unit of time not a single fleet- but whatever.


Well, the Fourth Sphere wasn't a single fleet- it was supposed to be spearheaded by a large colonization fleet, which would have been followed up by logistics fleets, more colony ships, space stations, resupply missions, etc. But when the vanguard vanished basically overnight, that basically knocked the wind out of the Fourth Sphere entirely. The remaining ships were grounded, and readied for the Fifth Sphere.

Calmsword wrote:IIt's about time the most numerous of the Tau allies enjoyed integrated battle-nets, I'll be modeling my Shapers with antenna thank-you-very-much. But this is, narratively, in important step forward for the Kroot.


I like this interpretation. You could also interpret it, alternatively, as some Shas'ui told a Shaper in very simple Tau'sia, with big gestures, to SHOOT AT THE LIGHTS! :P

Calmsword wrote:Manta Strikes: Now, I still don't understand why we lost the term 'deepstrike' and every explanation for the same benefits result in the same deployment fashion- but this could be a cool narrative as well: Now that the Tau have footholds in the Coreward Marches (Ciaphus Cain novels) the 3rd Sphere colonies (Warzone Damocles) this might be indicative that the Mantas now form a more up front and obvious vehicle for the armies of the Greater Good.


It's annoying that there isn't a single term to use to describe these abilities. "Deep strike" was great. Now, it's cool to imagine a giant Manta swooping overhead to allow XV8s or Commanders to jump from the back and land in a cloud of dust and thruster exhaust, but... couldn't an Orca do the job better? Mantas are HUGE! Seems like a waste of logistics to use an entire Manta to deploy a single Commander (which, I bet, most people will be doing).

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SniperTau
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Re: Bridging the Gap

Post#3 » Jul 10 2017 03:50

Calmsword.

I completely agree with your ideas about bonding. The T'au identity for me has always been our flexibility, whether reflected in the weapons lists for our crisis suits or in our approach to negotiation. It makes a lot of sense that bonding would become a standard part of the graduation from shas'saal to shas'la.

On your ideas about our auxiliaries, if we are 200 years past where we were, and we have stealth systems and all that, it makes sense to give our valuable allies some way of communication, to achieve more synergy on the battlefield. This also ties in with the entire empire on a war footing, as the leadership will be looking to improve warfare tactics and standard equipment.

About 'Manta Strike'...... I always envision battlesuits being dropped from low orbit rather than from low altitude aircraft.
If entire battlesuit cadres relied on single craft for deployment a lucky lascannon shot could send them down, whereas if they dropped from low orbit there are multiple targets and so losses would be lower. No matter the rules, I am always going to refer to it as deep strike. Also, since many cadres, what with many resources put into a vanished fleet, might not have mantas, and instead rely on, after the initial drop, Orcas to ferry them up to a Kor'vattra vessel from which the would deploy again. this would also prevent enemy anti-aircraft assets from destroying vehicles. I think my idea makes sense, but I can see your ideas working for more well equipped cadres.

I hope I make sense.

Tau'va,

Sniper

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TauMan
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Re: Bridging the Gap

Post#4 » Jul 10 2017 09:53

Calmsword wrote:Not only have our rules changed, but it seems like we're in this big-sky moment where we're taking root as a legit faction in terms of the galactic stage.

For the Tau Empire as Noble Bright heroes cue: Star Trek the Next Generation Theme
"I am Jean Luc Picard captain the Starship Enterprise. We come in peace."

For the Tau Empire as Grim Dark heroes cue: Darth Vader's Theme
"Come to the dark side, it is more powerful than you can ever imagine!"

For the Farsight Enclaves (either way) cue Batman (1989) Theme
Imperial Guardsman: "W-who a-are you?"
Farsight (in Batman voice): "O'Shovah...Commander O'Shovah."

In any case it's "We're here baby! The-Tau-are in-the-house!"

Calmsword wrote:Bonding: Every Tau unit basically has this. Usually the hallmark of veterans that had served together for a time enough to enter into a kind of empathetic union akin to marriage= almost every Tau unit has this now as just part of their rules.

The fluff?: Perhaps now that the Empire is wholly on a war footing with the loss of an entire colonization fleet* the Tau no longer consider the galaxy to be a place of compromise. They have their allies, the worlds beyond the Gulf seem to be entirely hostile, perhaps now the Fire Caste trains their Warriors with the intent of becoming bonded before graduation (or even as the graduation ceremony).


It's always been my interpretation that all Tau are capable of bonding at a very deep level. That Tau of all castes can bond more easily and more deeply than humans. This most likely the basis of their communal culture; and therefore, the foundation of the philosophy of the Tau'Va. To cooperate together as a group is (IMHO) inherent to their nature, and is as much biological, as it is socialization or acculturation. As I see it this kind of deep bonding can occur between two of more individuals, or even larger organizations like cadres, work co-operatives, air squadrons, and diplomatic delegations.

Now let me remind you that the ceremony of ta'lissera only exists for the earth and fire castes; but we can assume there must be equivalent rituals/ceremonies for the other castes as well. For the Fire caste there is the effect of the "Band of Brothers", a brotherhood forged in the crucible of battle. But any group of fire warriors, like any group of Tau; would if they were kept together long enough, bond together in this way. And so, in my view of the Tau, ta'lissera isn't something that is done to a group of fire warriors to forge them together; but rather it is performed for them as a recognition of what already exists.

It is almost certain then that a group of shas'saal spending four or five tau'cyrs together at the academy, would (if kept together) certainly enter a cadre already bonded together.

Calmsword wrote:*(I will not be calling it the '4th sphere'... it makes no sense... The 'spheres' were, and still are, periods of expansion, they are a unit of time not a single fleet- but whatever.


I think you meant to say 5th Sphere? However, you are correct when you say that losing one fleet doesn't define a sphere of expansion. We can safely say this is just another example of Gue'la propaganda. However having said that, just think of what it means for GW to give up "The Fourth Sphere of Expansion" from a storytelling point of view?

They just handed us a golden egg, or if you will, a golden ticket and walked away from it! Just think about it, we now have an entire century to fill with stories...and the possibilities are endless. Don't look this gift horse in the mouth, but put a saddle on this palomino pony, and ride it off into the sunset!

Arka0415 wrote:Well, the Fourth Sphere wasn't a single fleet- it was supposed to be spearheaded by a large colonization fleet, which would have been followed up by logistics fleets, more colony ships, space stations, resupply missions, etc. But when the vanguard vanished basically overnight, that basically knocked the wind out of the Fourth Sphere entirely. The remaining ships were grounded, and readied for the Fifth Sphere.

Actually, a colony fleet is every thing you just described and more. It's military vessels, troop transports, logistic vessels, colonist transports, survey ships and manufacturing vessels. And during any sphere of expansion, there are more than one fleet sent out. Three where dispatched during the Second Sphere alone; two of which, were commanded by O'Shovah. The last one being the fleet he used to colonize the Farsight Enclaves. Note without the colony ships full of settlers, he couldn't have done that.

Arka0415 wrote: Calmsword wrote:
It's about time the most numerous of the Tau allies enjoyed integrated battle-nets, I'll be modeling my Shapers with antenna thank-you-very-much. But this is, narratively, in important step forward for the Kroot.

I like this interpretation. You could also interpret it, alternatively, as some Shas'ui told a Shaper in very simple Tau'sia, with big gestures, to SHOOT AT THE LIGHTS! :P


Ah, come on Tau'fann, the Tau would have been doing this since the First Sphere of Expansion! NATO forces have been doing this since the end of the last century (20th century Terra). Just the because the game doesn't reflect this, doesn't mean it wouldn't have been there all along. Some smart game designers create rules for it? :crafty:

SniperTau wrote:bout 'Manta Strike'...... I always envision battlesuits being dropped from low orbit rather than from low altitude aircraft.

Well according to both fluff and the BL stories, the Tau don't do direct orbital insertion; although they definitely would have the capacity to do so. Mantas are both atmospheric and deep space vehicles, a single Manta being able to transport an entire cadre; and squadrons of Mantras are used to transport entire Tau armies planetside.The game rule really should be named, "Orca Strike", but it's Games Workshop **sigh**. :-?

SniperTau wrote:The fact is, if the current fluff is to be believed, 40k is now 2 hundred years AFTER Guilliman became Protector of the Imperium which would mean, again, that either all our characters (barring Farsight) went into stasis or they're dead... So who knows, am I right?

I maybe wrong, but I think it was suppose to be a hundred years? But if that's the case, why don't we have all new weapons and vehicles? We're not the Imperium who uses the same stuff they used 10,000 years ago? And we shouldn't we get all "new characters" too? :P

TauMan
Feverishly writing plot ideas for the "Fourth Sphere of Expansion" :evil:
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N.Y.A.B.X.T.T.

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Unusualsuspect
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Re: Bridging the Gap

Post#5 » Jul 10 2017 01:36

Timeline-wise, I believe the number is 112 years after the events of the Gathering Storm (Guilliman effectively taking dictatorial control over the Imperium), which is enough that there SHOULD be a lot more technological progression than we'll actually see in the rules, T'au characters WILL need an explanation for why they're still around and fighting (and not either dead or still sleeping in cryo), and most fortunately of all, I think there's juuuuuuust enough time for me to fit my Kroot eugenics program (including Kroot fed nothing but Mek Boyz locked into a room with discarded T'au, Imperial, and Eldar tech as an engineering side project) into the fluff to explain why my Kroot can represent anything from Genestealers to Orks to Eldar to Space Marines...

But mostly to explain why all of my conversions look so damn ramshackle, poorly designed, and even more poorly executed. ;)

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Panzer
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Re: Bridging the Gap

Post#6 » Jul 10 2017 01:57

Well to be fair...all our suits got a good bit more durable Toughness and Wound wise while other units like Space Marines didn't....so I guess there was some technological progress. :P

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Unusualsuspect
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Re: Bridging the Gap

Post#7 » Jul 10 2017 02:00

Panzer wrote:Well to be fair...all our suits got a good bit more durable Toughness and Wound wise while other units like Space Marines didn't....so I guess there was some technological progress. :P


Seems more like a sidegrade than an upgrade, given they made the suits so damn heavy they've unbalanced them as a shooting platform on the move AND they're about 2/3 as fast as they used to be, when you take the lack of JSJ into account. ;)

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Panzer
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Re: Bridging the Gap

Post#8 » Jul 10 2017 02:20

Unusualsuspect wrote:
Panzer wrote:Well to be fair...all our suits got a good bit more durable Toughness and Wound wise while other units like Space Marines didn't....so I guess there was some technological progress. :P


Seems more like a sidegrade than an upgrade, given they made the suits so damn heavy they've unbalanced them as a shooting platform on the move AND they're about 2/3 as fast as they used to be, when you take the lack of JSJ into account. ;)

Well they are stable enough to fall back and still shoot unlike the Broadside so not that much of a sidegrade after all. :P

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Unusualsuspect
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Re: Bridging the Gap

Post#9 » Jul 10 2017 03:52

Panzer wrote:
Unusualsuspect wrote:
Panzer wrote:Well to be fair...all our suits got a good bit more durable Toughness and Wound wise while other units like Space Marines didn't....so I guess there was some technological progress. :P


Seems more like a sidegrade than an upgrade, given they made the suits so damn heavy they've unbalanced them as a shooting platform on the move AND they're about 2/3 as fast as they used to be, when you take the lack of JSJ into account. ;)

Well they are stable enough to fall back and still shoot unlike the Broadside so not that much of a sidegrade after all. :P


Stormboyz are stable enough to fall back and still shoot. That sets the bar a bit low, IMO. ;)

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Panzer
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Re: Bridging the Gap

Post#10 » Jul 10 2017 10:58

Unusualsuspect wrote:
Panzer wrote:
Unusualsuspect wrote:
Seems more like a sidegrade than an upgrade, given they made the suits so damn heavy they've unbalanced them as a shooting platform on the move AND they're about 2/3 as fast as they used to be, when you take the lack of JSJ into account. ;)

Well they are stable enough to fall back and still shoot unlike the Broadside so not that much of a sidegrade after all. :P


Stormboyz are stable enough to fall back and still shoot. That sets the bar a bit low, IMO. ;)

Or makes Stormboyz really awesome? :D

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