View Full Version : Third Phase Colony: T'Lan

13-02-2006, 21:07
I thought it would be beneficial to come up with some background where GW leaves gaps. I have noticed over the years the wealth of information that people have added to other races, for instance, the Eldar on these boards. I thought it would be interesting to talk about how the Tau go about starting a new colony on a world, and the process that goes through. How do they assess new worlds, who are the first colonists, do they show up in mass with thousands, or is it a slow build up. Do they instantly protect a world with the Kor'vattra, or is it slowly brought under protection. What are the first industries that are created, how much what each castes show up. What unknown technology do they use. When does an ethereal show up on the colony to lead it?

I will propose some of my own ideas first. I look forward to any ideas.


The farthest travelers in the Tau empire presently are the Niccassar, the psionic space farers. By now, I would think that the Tau, after each of the Phases, prepares immediately for the next. At the moment, while the Tau are conducting the Third Phase Colonization, the Fourth Phase is being worked on as well. The Tau strike me as planners, if anything at all.

For this purpose it will be necessary to send out ships to assess new systems. While it may be possible to tradw tih Gue'la traders, their reports cannot be trusted. Even if they trade honestly, their information can be hundres if not thousands of years old.

It makes since then that the Tau would send out something to each additional world that is nearby that may be habitable for them. Throught long range telescopes they would be able to determin possible likely planets from a great deal away. After they had assessed all possible nearby planets, what is their next action.

I would sudgest they would send a very complex probe, as opposed to sending a ship. While a whip would be a sure way to get the anwers, it also is a serious use of resources, that in the Empire is very important. Even messenger ships are to valuable.

My guess would be that the probe would therefore be a much more advanced drone then. Perhaps even looking like a normal drone, but the size of a Devilfish, or even larger if necessary, perhaps a Tigershark. It would make heavy use of the Tau gravitronic technology. It would probably have heat shielding on the top of it for reintry purposes, and have fairly extensive communications equipment to that it would contact the local waypoints to convey information to the Earth Caste that built it. The underside however would have saws, torches and other tools. They would test the water, perform experiments on the ground, report animal life, test the rock surface. In addition most likely it would be very lightly armored. Just enough to protect it from most preditors, but not enough to stop a serious assault. It's primary purpose is to assess the vegitation, soil samples and send them back to the Por'ar'tol that sent it.

I would sudgest the statistics would be something like this.

ZV-10 "Probe" Drone - 25 pts
2 2 5 5 3 3 3 7 4+(4+I)
The ZV-10 comes equipped with a Burst Cannon but can be upgraded to a Fusion Blaster for +10 pts or a Plasma rifle for +14pts. It also has two other hardpoints that can be taken from the Crisis Suit Support Equipment List.

Khaine's Messenger
13-02-2006, 21:24
For this purpose it will be necessary to send out ships to assess new systems.

Yes, it would. This system is limited primarily by just how small you can make a gravitic drive and store enough "fuel" for using that gravitic drive to go to distant (or even adjacent) systems and return with information, possibly even enough equipment to enter/leave a planet's gravity well. There is some debate over what the smallest FTL vessel is, but I can't recall offhand what the contenders are.

After they had assessed all possible nearby planets, what is their next action.

Deploy a small satellite (read: drone) network around habitable-looking planets to map its surface (and climate and electric/magnetic field and other miscellaneous details) and return that information to a ship via direct uplink or manual access before a second ship sends down a survey team (of specialist drones perhaps) to prospective settlement sites and potential resources (collecting soil, flora/fauna, and liquid samples). Entrusting the entire task to one drone is a bit much. Most likely, "one drone" missions would serve in lieu of Niccassar forward scouts because for all their usefulness, the Niccassar are slow....

13-02-2006, 21:24
Kor'vattra Vessals

The Kor'vattra have not mastred a Warp engine small enough to be fit in a ZV-10, therefore it will be necessary for the Drone to be fired in system, more then one if there are multiple planets.

Therefore it makes since that the Por'ar'tol would refit certain escorts with enough cargo room, perhaps even a Merchant Class vessal, to carry a large load of ZV-10s, and then make quick hops between the various system, staying long enough to launch the probes, before moving onto the next system.

The majority of the weapons would be gone, to make room for more cargo room for the ZV-10s.

Therefore the Empire would launch perhaps a dozen merchant vessals that move quietly from possible system to another, launching a Probe to each. They also will most likely leave a waypoint in the area, shielded with as much stealth technology as possible to receive and pass along this information back to the Por'ar'tol that launched it.

Colony Decisions

The Tau would seek colonies that were the following things I believe.

Mineral Wealth
Climate Suitable

Mineral Wealth

Some of the fluff shows situations where the Tau fight very hard for a planet if it contains mineral wealth. T'ros [also known by it's previos name of Taros by imperial citizens] was fought becuase of the planets high mineral value. The Tau, with the dependence on technology need planets that can supply their industry, and assist in their growth. While a world that is simply capable of producing food is useful, a world that could produce both would be much more so.


The Tau are bounded on all sides by remnants of the Imperium, in one form or another. Either worlds that are of high importance to the Imperium, such as Nimbossa, or those of lower importance, such as T'ros. In any event, as they expand, it becomes more important that each planet be able to be protected from Imperial Aggression.

In addition if they colonize planets to the east, they are forced to deal with possible invasion by splinter fleets from leviathon, something that is too dreadful to imagine.

For these reasons, likely colony targets are preferably close by a Sept that can lend military support if necessary. In addition no colony should be left undefended, and therefore will need some type of space force as soon as possible.

In addition, it may be that the most likely planet is already held by another race. This race may be friendly, such as the Kroot, Nicissar, Vespid, or be held by races that have yet to accept the Tau'va, such as the Gue'la, or be unable to, such as the Orks. In any case, this must be taken into account. A unsettled suitable planet would be preferred, but such planets are unlikely, first becuase the Gue'la claim all the worlds in the universe, and second, that at some point most worlds have been settled.

Suitable Climate

While mining colonies and such are valuable, the best worlds are those that may eventually raised to the level of a full Sept, able to colonize other, nearby worlds. For this reason, the best worlds are those that are already habitable by the Tau, generally of a warmer climate. Inhospitable worlds may have their own uses, but Colony worlds must be able to sustain a high population.

13-02-2006, 21:29
Your right. The first drone sent would most likely simply be a satalite of some type that would orbit around the planet.

Perhaps it would send out a beacon that has the Tau Message in it as well. You know the one, "Do not fear us..." etc...

I would think it would stay in orbit, take topographical photographs, map the world, and send back all viable assessments to the Por'ar'tol.

After they had gotten this information, perhaps they would weed out the best worlds, and send a second probe, or a survey team. My guess at this point, would be a full survey team. I think I'll address that now.

13-02-2006, 21:44
Por Survey Team

After the Earth Caste had made it's assessments. The same modified Merchant Class Vessals would return, however, instead of carrying Drones, they would carry expeditionary forces now.

Note: Perhaps the ZV-10 would also be the satilite, but after making all of the reports it could make from orbit, would decend onto the planet. It would there make assessments, and if trained properly, perhaps do more. I am unsure of how the Tau construct buildings, but if the Tau have any ability with nanites, the Drone could bperhaps build a shelter of some type, so that when the Survey Team arrived, they would have a base of operations. This may be beyond Tau Technology however.

The Survey team would most like decend in something the size of an Orca, perhaps even one of those modified to be more of a scientic vessal.

Fio - The majority of the staff would be Earth Caste workers and scientsts, there to confirm findings of the ZV-10. In addition they would be able to do research on the planet and assess things that were to complicated for the Drone.
Shas - I would think that Fire Warriors would be few, but perhaps a few would be there, especially if they used a larger squad. A single bonded squad, but more likely 1 out of ten of the crue would be Fio, in case the team got into trouble.
Por - Unless there were reason to espect inhabitants of the planet, the Por may not be there. However if there were any inhabitants, I would think that a Por representative would be mandatory, perhaps more of them. While the Fio ran tests, the Por would assess the naitves, learn their customes, and effectively do PR.
Note: I just realized I have been using Por for the Earth Caste in other parts of this, instead of the Water, my apologies
Kor - There would be no more then 2 of the Kor. They would be the pilots.


The Survey party would most likely be left on the island for several months to make an assessment. If the ZV-10 could construct a base camp, then it would be much easier, but if not then enough supplies from the Merchant class vessal would be sent down for them to construct a building for their needs. The vessal, or another, would then return a few months later to pick them up, and return them to the Sept for reports.

Mission Ideas: It would be fun to play some missions that surround the experiences of the Survey Team, especially if the world were not as hospitable as it seemed.

After the Survey Team had finished, it would leave the Base Camp under the protection of a pack of Drones, and the ZV-10 if it is still running, while they leave. If the world is chosen for colonization, perhaps this will serve as the central location for a opening settlement, if not it makes a simple Tau Waystation.

Khaine's Messenger
13-02-2006, 21:51
I am unsure of how the Tau construct buildings, but if the Tau have any ability with nanites (...)

Erm...why would they need nanites? That would be expensive and time-consuming. You could just as well use prefabricated structures (or tents; no need to overcomplicate these things). And the descent ship would probably have to be at least as big as a Manta Missile Destroyer to house a staff/drone contingent large enough to do everything right and proper. And assuming that, they may not even need temporary structures....

13-02-2006, 21:52
Tau Construction

Tau armor is made of a crystilline alloy according to the background, of a style unknown to the Imperium. How this is constructed is unknown.

While I would love it if the Tau had significant understanding of nanites, I don't think they really are capable of that. That would give them the ability to reorganize matter at an atomic level, something no background supports.

Therefore, it makes since to me that the Survey Team would have to build their base camp. This, however, would not be difficult. The land could have been cleared by the ZV-10, for a landing area.

After that, the Tau could construct the primary buildings using pre-fabricated buildings. Moving the pieces would not be difficult, as their gravity control would be enough that I would think they could create a harness to lift such structures with little effort. The merchant vessal would stay in orbit a few days until the construction is finished.

Tau Outpost 70 pts
Armor 12/12/12
Weapons: A Tau Outpost can purchase up to 4 Tau Sentry Drones around it, all of which form a single Force Organization Chart as a Troops Choice. In addition it comes with (2) Drones and it's communications equipment give it the efect of having a Networked Markerlight, Targeting Array and Target Lockers. It also has a single firepoint in all directions.

13-02-2006, 21:55
Do you think they would be able to do all of their tests in a fast enough time. I would think a survey team would need several months to make all of the necessary tests, especially if there is some native inhabitants.

I agree completely regarding the pre-fabriacated buildings, that would be the order of the day.

Perhaps a Manta would be the transport, but would leave after the construction of a base camp.

Hmmm, maybe the team shows up aboard the modified Manta, makes an initial assessment, and if the planet shows real promise, makes a base camp and stays. If the planet is obviously a poor choice (Death World) they leave and write it off.

13-02-2006, 22:49
Perhaps reading up the Tau fluff on the subject would help. Hop to Specialist Games and look into the Battlefleet Gothic article under their rulebook section. The article is rather obviously "To unite the stars". Read it at will.

Currently the smallest 'properly' warp capable ship the Tau posses for wide use is the Skether'qan Messenger boat. 1 Pilot, a whole bunch of AI systems and extensive repair drones, some of the most sophisticated communications technology in the Empire and they are very widespread in use. They have to be the fastest ships as they carry the communications of the Tau around the Empire.

Y'see, Tau don't have 'subspace comms' or 'astropathy' or anything like that, if they're going to communicate FTL, they have to have the ships to take it there.

These ships are escorts in Battlefleet Gothic, far out-sizing the 'itzy' Manta Missile Destroyer. If you go by the scale, they're more than a kilometer long. A fair bit more.

A Manta is capable of making an 'ether jump' with it's drive, but unless the other fluff is incorrect it should not be able to support itself away from a fleet(deduced from the fact it remains an Attack Craft/Ordnance in Battlefleet Gothic). It can make a disengage jump to safety, but it'd need to be picked up later.

Even the Tau Orca Gunships(not to be confused with the Orca Dropships), Warden Gunships and Nicassar Dhows are unable to make independent warp jumps.

Curiously, going by the BFG stuff, it's quite likely anyone scouting a System is quite likely to be one of the Nicassar dhows. They're pretty decent explorers and spacefarers, with a nice natural curiosity for the universe around them. Not to mention they can steer their starships with their psychic powers. :eek:

Failing all of that, they could always just pay some Demiurg to go and scan it, or even more likely just tell them what their last scans of the system were. Demiurg were out and about at their current stage, apparently, when the Tau castes were at each others throats, when Mankind was at it's own throat and even as far back, perhaps, as th Fall of the Eldar. Before that, nothing is known or suggested officially. I'm sure they'll have did a bit of local stellar cartography and profiling when looking for good resources that they can pass on to their new found friends in the Empire.


14-02-2006, 03:32
the nicassar are deployed away from the imperium by the bfg fluff

14-02-2006, 13:53
I would think that the Niccisar would make the original finding of the planets... you know, "Hey, there are some good planets over here I think... I'm not really built for planet study, just thought you guys should know."

It would be them that would get the planets entered into the database first, but I would be surprised if they did any serious study of it.

As with the FTL's, yea, I agree. I don't believe that any of the smaller ships would be equipped with FTL's. That's why I think a larger ship would transport the primary Survey Team and drop off the ZV-10 drone.

Also, I was under the impression that they had a type of way station in various places to convey messeges as well.

14-02-2006, 14:51

After the survey team had finished it's work the information would be sent back to the Fio'ar'tol for review.

From how it has been sudgested, with various "phases" of colonization, I do not think that the Tau are constantly growing. Instead, they Build up their forces, Push forward to take world, Consolidate their position, repear the process.

Therefore, it makes since to me that they would decide on worlds to be major colonies, and would send major resources to take the world and/or colonize it.

In the present case, I'm going to use a sample world, called Landau by the Imperium, but renamed T'lan by the Tau.

A short background may be beneficial.

Before the birth of the Tau species the planet known as TíLan had been a thriving planet for this part of the sector, and many ancient maps of the Imperium still place it as a hub of civilization for this area of space. Great cities rose from the ground, and their imperial tithes were considered respectable for this area. Their Imperial Guard regiments protected nearby systems and at one time the Space Marine Chapter of the Black Templars built a great Fortress Monastery in the system to assist in guarding Landau. However, years ago a war had erupted on the planet that was so deadly that it destroyed their great cities, and in the end left everything to be taken by the great forests.

Perhaps if the Angels of Death had appeared to save them, or they had saved themselves the fate of Landau would not have happened, but only the Emperor can know what would have happened if those dread events had not transpired. It may have been the planetís success that lead to itís downfall. The only known record now exists in a the ancient diary of the Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor Caleb DíAntonia. By the time Inquisitor DíAntonia had come on the scene, there was little that could be done. The ruling families of Landau had been infiltrated by vicious strain of a genestealer cult, that later would be seen as the beginnings of Hive Fleet Behemeth. While he succeeded in uncovering them, he could not stop the war that quickly broke out on the planet. The planet was razed in years of violence, and it even spilled out onto the neighboring planet of Dante eventually. In the end however, when all seem lost Inquisitor Caleb lead a strike team of Deathwatch Space Marines into the heart of the planetís missile defense network, re-targetd the deadly warheads for maximum damage and targeted the planet with them. Billions died, but billions more in neighboring systems were saved from the genestealer plague that would infect them if he had not.

Since that time, thousands of years have passed, and the forrests have come back and reclaimed the world as it's own, covering the great works and follies of man once again, for someone else to start anew.

The Gal'leath Explorer battleships are being phased out, but at the moment they are still being used. How many Explorer Class ships would they send, would they send part of the Commerce Protection Fleet, or simply other ships, would they leave ships in orbit, a permenant fleet, or simply long enough to set up orbitals?