Thanks for getting this ball rolling, Arc'Thunder
I've been having this same discussion with friends locally as we plan a weekend of Shadow War, with the goal of ending up with a Pathfinder rules set that is both true to the established fiction and not obviously weaker than their peers. It may be helpful to set out a few assumptions from that fiction:
- Pathfinder teams are expected to suffer high attrition rates whilst performing vital work for the Greater Good.
Ultimately, the list ought to represent a plucky team operating largely on daring, against terrible odds.
- Experienced fighters generally change role, for example the survivors of a Pathfinder deployment becoming a Stealth Team.
Tau don't field 'veteran infantry' units, though the teams they do deploy adapt quickly to the environment of their warzone.
- Tau combat doctrine does not generally support individualism (though Pathfinders and Stealth Teams are a noted exception)
Individuals laden with kit aren't a typically Tau solution.
- Tau are defined by their combined arms approach to combat as an expression of the Greater Good
More than being 'a shooty faction', or their specific range of engagement, or their high tech tools, it's the mutual cooperation that makes a Tau force feel Tau even across different game systems
In isolation, the published list gives some of this flavour with drones carrying key wargear, Supporting Fire, markerlights and the Bonding Knife Ritual. These are nuanced and recognisably Tau tools.
Where it largely falls down (as we are discussing!) is in providing a challenge to other lists.
I completely agree with your first point Peregrim
. Bringing the team up to the 'codex' 10+3 means that Tau aren't punished for having key wargear outside of the miscellaneous kit lists. As it stands, every telescopic sight analogue we take is a warm body with a gun we don't
Allowing the team to be a little bit larger also allows us to keep individuals weaker, fitting in with the assumption of high attrition rates.
I'd add the following too...
- In any missions that allow Ork Boyz kill teams to field additional models (such as the Raid or Hit and Run), add a fighter with the Drone role to the random number of models that take part in the mission for a Tau Pathfinder kill team.
...and further clarify the Drone role. Something along the lines of "cannot be chosen during the Advance step, nor be nominated to replace a dead leader" alongside any mobility tweaks.
For giving +1 at short range for carbines: Pro
: Emphasises the pulse carbine as a firefighting weapon with a high rate of fire, and the Tau Pathfinder kill team as a best able to engage at medium ranges. Con
: It eats up much of the design space currently occupied by the pulse pistol, and may unfairly punish low model count elite forces oriented towards hand-to-hand. Right now, the pulse pistol is a really appealing upgrade to make small fireteams better able to land Supporting Fire and halt charges.
, is it it worth expanding the pulse carbine 'known issues' to note that the weapon has a specialism in short ranged suppressive fire depicted in the 40k rules, the sculpted model and
the fiction? Or rather, one of the game's iconic pinning weapons is thoroughly mediocre at this task despite Shadow War's greater focus on this aspect.
For the FAQ
, I would like to ask if it was intentional that Drones have fallen to I2 from their codex value of I4 (and the Recon Drone to W1 from W2) when similar values have been retained - the Eldar Exarch at W2, for example.
It's not a deal breaker, but I3 or I4 would go a long way to reflect both jet packs and their resilience to small arms fire in boosting the chance of ignoring pinning.
I am completely comfortable with Tau having a fear of heights. Drones falling off building so easily is a comical image, though.
In addition to the 10+3 change, these are the other minor tweaks I will be testing:
- A fighter selected at the target of a markerlight gains no benefit from camo gear for the remainder of the phase.
Issue: Camo gear punishes the midrange weapons of the Tau team disproportionately. 50 points buys enough for a team of 10 to limit Tau firing to 14". The standard counters other shooting lists use (extreme range weapons, telescopic sights or both) aren't available, and the currently available tool (pulse accelerator drone) costs a full fighter and careful positioning just to break even.
Pro: Provides a costly tactical counter to camo gear, requiring the full shooting phase of a fighter. It fits the fiction of Pathfinders being experts at providing firing solutions on hard targets to their comrades.
Con: This change assumes that the access to long/extreme ranged weapons remains limited. If the rail rifle gains range, accuracy or mobility then this tweak would be less justifiable.
- Add the following to the Bonding Knife Ritual: If a fighter is already entitled to test to recover from pinning, they can instead add one to their initiative for this test.
Issue: With native I2, Tau are very vulnerable to pinning from even small arms fire from long and extreme range.
Pro: Encourages careful position even under the 12" aura of the Shas'Ui, providing a minor reward whilst exposing the team to additional risk from follow-up moves, templates and sustained fire weapons. It reflects the team being dauntless in dedication to the Greater Good despite otherwise being poorly suited to intense combat.
Con: I don't see a drawback here, other than not recognising the issue exists, so long as Tau firepower is deliberately limited in range and accuracy.