Is the Ethereals having control over other T'au confirmed now?

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seven324
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Is the Ethereals having control over other T'au confirmed now?

Post#1 » Jan 02 2018 04:02

As i haven't played since around 4th edition, I'm very behind with specific T'au lore from the Codex/Novels from the past few years.

I've always been against T'au Ethereals having an actual confirmed direct ability to control other T'au with some sort of power over them. To me it takes away from the whole race/Empire by rather than being obeyed due to a misguided loyalty or perceived wisdom due to T'au propaganda and a sense of need, having it be "They literally can't say no" seems very shallow in comparison.

There have always been hints at there being something else going on, but that's all they were - a suggestion. One of them was basically "The Imperium can't understand why so it must be mind control", while the other was how during the time the Ethereals Arrived, the guards were just compelled to let them through and the conflict was solved in one night - but that story does not really support the Mind control aspect, it's a legend in a society where their leaders are held in extremely high regard and as if they are above everyone else, so adding some exaggerated mysticism to them so they don't appear quite so mundane fits in with how they're viewed - and the story says it took a long time for the T'au that would become the Fire Caste to join, anyway.

A few bits of lore i've seen recently mentioned seem to have the Ethereals showing actual direct control over other T'au in some form, but as i don't have access to the sources i'm unable to check exactly what they say myself. One of them is how on the article for Vior'la on Lexicanum it says they were at some point attacked by a Khorne Warband and shortly after everyone started succumbing to Khorne's Rage, until several Ethereals are sent because of their "calming influence" (So if it's true, it even overpowered chaos-caused emotions?) . I've also read how in another Story a similar thing happens where all the Fire Warriors get more aggressive and lose control of themselves when there's no Ethereals there anymore, eventually getting down to just the commander and his bodyguard and they suddenly calm down when reinforcements, including an Ethereal, arrive at the last second.

In the past i've assumed there were other explanations for these and they were just hints that could go either way - e.g. could be control, but it also could just be knowledge of the Ethereal dying along with the Fear of Mont'au that means they behave differently. Now though it seems like it could have gone beyond just hints to a less subtle description.

So, is the whole Mind control/manipulation thing actually true now? or are they still just hints?

PeeJ
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Re: Is the Ethereals having control over other T'au confirmed now?

Post#2 » Jan 02 2018 06:49

There's a little "flavour box" in the last codex that says something along the lines of "Aun'Va has always had a reputation among the ethereals of being able to successfully exert his will over the other casts even without the aid of technology".

So vaguely, yes it's been confirmed, both that they can do it "naturally" and that they use technology to do it.

However I've still seen people arguing against this with somewhat ridiculously obtuse arguments that this passage is just referring to them being very persuasive speakers and that the technology mentioned is a microphone.

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Kakapo42
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Re: Is the Ethereals having control over other T'au confirmed now?

Post#3 » Jan 02 2018 07:00

seven324 wrote:
So, is the whole Mind control/manipulation thing actually true now? or are they still just hints?


The answer is the same as it's always been: only if you want it to be.

No matter how hard modern GW has been trying to convince you otherwise, ultimately you have the power over background lore, not them. One of the great things about 40k background is that it comes with a built-in clause that lets you choose to dismiss whatever background you don't want - a founding pillar of it is "Everything is canon, but not everything is true." Thus, if you don't want mind-controlling Ethereals (and personally I agree that it's a pretty boring idea), then it's nothing more than baseless Imperial Propaganda. On the other hand, if for whatever reason someone else does want mind-controlling Ethereals, then it's true for them.

Indeed, many argue that this is now the only way one can approach Tau background lore, as recent background stories and worldbuilding from GW have been increasingly riddled with inconsistencies and continuity errors (not to mention numerous offerings of poor quality). This is further compounded by a bad case of Flanderization which has affected all of 40k in the last decade or so, but has hit the Tau particularly hard. In light of this, it is commonly argued that the only way to enjoy Tau background is to pick and choose what parts you like and discard what you don't.

As an aside, it is interesting to compare the mind-controlling Ethereals theory with the 'Ork technology works because they believe it will' theory. Both started out as in-universe conspiracy theories by Imperial authorities because they could not believe any other alternatives, and both had the same level of support in GW background, but both were readily adopted by the, for lack of a better term, '1D4Chan' side of the 40k community and have spread virulently ever since, to the point now where they have begun to bleed back into GW material.

But I digress. Ultimately, at the end of the day, the real question you should be asking is not "Is the whole mind control/manipulation thing actually true now?", but rather "Do you want the whole mind control/manipulation thing to be actually true now?" If you do, then it is, and if you don't, then it isn't.
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seven324
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Re: Is the Ethereals having control over other T'au confirmed now?

Post#4 » Jan 02 2018 07:46

PeeJ wrote:There's a little "flavour box" in the last codex that says something along the lines of "Aun'Va has always had a reputation among the ethereals of being able to successfully exert his will over the other casts even without the aid of technology".

So vaguely, yes it's been confirmed, both that they can do it "naturally" and that they use technology to do it.

However I've still seen people arguing against this with somewhat ridiculously obtuse arguments that this passage is just referring to them being very persuasive speakers and that the technology mentioned is a microphone.


That doesn't really seem to support the idea that much, though. If he has a reputation for doing that "successfully" then that means it isn't some guaranteed thing, that it's something they can fail at doing and different Ethereals are skilled at to different levels - if it was some biological (or say, warp related) method for example, then there should be no real question of it working, and we know that isn't the case because it's stated that T'au can disagree and argue with him, they just don't because of his experience. If it was more along the lines of "certain T'au are more susceptible" then giving Aun'va a reptuation for that wouldn't really fit.


Kakapo42 wrote:
seven324 wrote:
So, is the whole Mind control/manipulation thing actually true now? or are they still just hints?


The answer is the same as it's always been: only if you want it to be.

No matter how hard modern GW has been trying to convince you otherwise, ultimately you have the power over background lore, not them. One of the great things about 40k background is that it comes with a built-in clause that lets you choose to dismiss whatever background you don't want - a founding pillar of it is "Everything is canon, but not everything is true." Thus, if you don't want mind-controlling Ethereals (and personally I agree that it's a pretty boring idea), then it's nothing more than baseless Imperial Propaganda. On the other hand, if for whatever reason someone else does want mind-controlling Ethereals, then it's true for them.

Indeed, many argue that this is now the only way one can approach Tau background lore, as recent background stories and worldbuilding from GW have been increasingly riddled with inconsistencies and continuity errors (not to mention numerous offerings of poor quality). This is further compounded by a bad case of Flanderization which has affected all of 40k in the last decade or so, but has hit the Tau particularly hard. In light of this, it is commonly argued that the only way to enjoy Tau background is to pick and choose what parts you like and discard what you don't.

As an aside, it is interesting to compare the mind-controlling Ethereals theory with the 'Ork technology works because they believe it will' theory. Both started out as in-universe conspiracy theories by Imperial authorities because they could not believe any other alternatives, and both had the same level of support in GW background, but both were readily adopted by the, for lack of a better term, '1D4Chan' side of the 40k community and have spread virulently ever since, to the point now where they have begun to bleed back into GW material.

But I digress. Ultimately, at the end of the day, the real question you should be asking is not "Is the whole mind control/manipulation thing actually true now?", but rather "Do you want the whole mind control/manipulation thing to be actually true now?" If you do, then it is, and if you don't, then it isn't.


That isn't quite how it works though, is it? You can come up with your own backstory, lore, idea, theories etc for your miniatures and scenarios and gameplay but there is still a defined, established set of backstory and lore for the setting as a whole that isn't changeable by anyone other than GW. You can create things for your own backstory but that has no bearing on the official setting, it only applies to you - that doesn't apply to the actual established setting/canon. There is some leeway with what is and isn't true (like T'au blood colour), but for the most part there are definite, set-in-stone aspects of the lore, the Mind Control stuff seems like it could be going beyond speculation/just a possibility to "This is true now" with how prevalent it's getting.

I hadn't actually thought about comparing it to the "Orks believe it so it's true" thing before, but you're right there. That's another thing that really annoys me, we've had out-of-context information, in-universe speculation and even things that go against the idea (e.g. The Imperium captures an Ork ship, says "This shouldn't work!" despite there being no Orks around to make it work and it obviously still working), yet people are still adamant that's entirely true. Seems like it might end up with a similar situation here where it ends up becoming more widespread in the lore because people think it is already true based on ambiguous hints and speculation.

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TauMan
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Re: Is the Ethereals having control over other T'au confirmed now?

Post#5 » Jan 02 2018 08:33

seven324
This is one of the perennial questions comes up at least two or three times a year. And boy did you started early for 2018! :roll:

Here's the list
  • Do the Ethereals have "mind control"?
  • Are drones really artificial intelligence with sentience like R2D2, or are they just programmable robots?
  • Is Farsight: 1) a minion of Chaos? 2) a military dictator? 3) in love with Shadowsun?
  • Is the Dawn Blade: 1) a Chaos daemon weapon? 2) an ancient Necron weapon? 3) a fraud put there by Alpharius and Omegon?
  • Is Phil Kelly: 1) a Chaos daemon? 2) a minion of Chaos? 3) a Nurgling? 4) on the payroll of Vladimir Putin?

I like to go back to the root source the novel Fire Warrior by Simon Spurrier; most of the established lore begins with Simon Spurrier. Anything written (IMHO) by "He-who-shall-not-be-named" can be shoved in an airlock and blasted into the void! :fear:


The following quotes are from Fire Warrior by Simon Spurrier (eBook) Published in 2005 by Black Library, Games Workshop Ltd. © Games Workshop Limited, 2005, 2011. All rights reserved.

Quote #1: "It was a ray of light, stammering on the serenity of its own words. It was a dreamscent, whispering past his senses, a pheromone medley of spice and fruit. It was a song without a chorus, a breathless celebration of melody and rhythm, stained by a taint of discordant pain."


Note pheromones have a scent but are otherwise odorless; therefore there would be no 'medley of spice and fruit'. Must be considered a secondary conditioning to the effect of the pheromones; or possibly just bad writing on the part of Mr. Spurrier's part.

Quote #2: "Weak and frail, shaking from the bone-pitted wound above his nasal orifice, the Aun raised his head defiantly and fixed Kais with a stare of pure peace. It filled his mind, overriding every sense in a rush of inexorable calmness. It waved away the smoke and the pain, it washed clean the blood in his brain and assuaged his racing thoughts. He was a puppet to it: an empty vessel given awareness of its own hollowness and somehow, against every expectation, glad of it."


NOTE: The quotes when taken out of context do make it seem like the ethereal's "pheromone ability" is mind control; however, if you were to read the novel it really isn't. They seem to have the ability to calm and well - inspire. Long out of print Fire Warrior is now available as an ebook from Black Library.

The TauMan
Q: Is Farsight in love with Shadowsun?
A: You tell me? They're married!
Viro’los gu brath!
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seven324
Shas
Posts: 52

Re: Is the Ethereals having control over other T'au confirmed now?

Post#6 » Jan 03 2018 04:34

TauMan wrote:seven324
This is one of the perennial questions comes up at least two or three times a year. And boy did you started early for 2018! :roll:


The following quotes are from Fire Warrior by Simon Spurrier (eBook) Published in 2005 by Black Library, Games Workshop Ltd. © Games Workshop Limited, 2005, 2011. All rights reserved.

Quote #1: "It was a ray of light, stammering on the serenity of its own words. It was a dreamscent, whispering past his senses, a pheromone medley of spice and fruit. It was a song without a chorus, a breathless celebration of melody and rhythm, stained by a taint of discordant pain."


Note pheromones have a scent but are otherwise odorless; therefore there would be no 'medley of spice and fruit'. Must be considered a secondary conditioning to the effect of the pheromones; or possibly just bad writing on the part of Mr. Spurrier's part.

Quote #2: "Weak and frail, shaking from the bone-pitted wound above his nasal orifice, the Aun raised his head defiantly and fixed Kais with a stare of pure peace. It filled his mind, overriding every sense in a rush of inexorable calmness. It waved away the smoke and the pain, it washed clean the blood in his brain and assuaged his racing thoughts. He was a puppet to it: an empty vessel given awareness of its own hollowness and somehow, against every expectation, glad of it."


NOTE: The quotes when taken out of context do make it seem like the ethereal's "pheromone ability" is mind control; however, if you were to read the novel it really isn't. They seem to have the ability to calm and well - inspire. Long out of print Fire Warrior is now available as an ebook from Black Library.

The TauMan
Q: Is Farsight in love with Shadowsun?
A: You tell me? They're married!


I know it used to be a pretty common question, just seemed like there was more that might seem like the idea had now been more directly/outright stated since i last read any novels/codex's myself! I do have Firewarrior but have yet to read it.

With that first quote, i don't know if there's something preceding it that gives it more context, but how does that specifically suggest pheromones? I get that it mentions them, but comparing what's going on at at first to a ray of light and then later on a song suggests that the middle part about the scent also just seems to be an analogy to vaguely describe the emotions or feel of what he's experiencing rather than what's actually occurring.

It seems like it could be a similar occurrence with the 2nd quote as it specifically mentions the stare causing it along with the context of it being done in defiance, although without knowing specifically what all that is in relation to i don't know if there's more to it. To me it reads at something that seems like it could occur because of T'au society and the whole Status of the Ethereals - A society highly indoctrinated around the "Greater Good" and the need for the Ethereals along with the fear of the Mont'au without them, so having an almost diety-like figure who's held in extremely high regard do that as an act of defiance seems like it could have that sort of effect - in other society's it would be just a simple stare but it goes well beyond that to the T'au because of the situation and who's doing it.

They don't seem to really suggest it's an actual "ability" or something biological to me, but obviously I've yet to read the novel so maybe there's something i'm missing. The ability to calm nearby T'au wouldn't be as bad as actual mind control/influencing them would suggest, at least.

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