PDA

View Full Version : Tau non-state military.



adurell
05-04-2013, 12:59
This may be a dumb question, but...

Do Tau have any form of military service that is not tied to the main command centre? Privateers, mercenary companies, trade company guards etc. ? Any sort of warbands other than those under direct control of etherals? More like "a skilled and wealthy tau commands his own cadre of warriors and is hired by earth caste convoy operating on the fringes of the Empire to escort them".

I am pretty newb to Tau fluff, and I don't think that it's possible according to it, but then again an empire with only official military warbands seems unnatural, even in case of them space-communists. :P

LordLucan
05-04-2013, 14:16
Farsight and his enclaves hire themselves out as mercenaries on occasion I believe, but they are not strictly part of the Tau Empire, as they've lost their ethereals and O'Shovah refuses to return to the Empire.

m1acca1551
05-04-2013, 14:24
I think that despite the outward show of unity, there will always be a grey area that will allow for some sort of deviousness amongst the Tau, even though very centralized in there command, i don't think for a second that the Tau would shy away from using mercenaries to do some sort of dirty work in certain areas of the galaxy.

I'd like to think that Tau envoys and trade missions to the Imperium of man would include human forces almost as a recruitment poster for the down trodden pdf or guard seeing a potential brighter future serving the collective good instead of being food for the constant meat grinder that is the guard.

Hopefully the new book will illuminate some of the back ground to the Tau without making them too similar to the Imperium which has become unfortunately dull and stale

Horus38
05-04-2013, 14:58
Tau mercenaries/outrider forces working with other factions seems plausible, especially smaller groups.


More like "a skilled and wealthy tau commands his own cadre of warriors and is hired by earth caste convoy operating on the fringes of the Empire to escort them".

^ This however seems unlikely. The earth caste would have direct access to Tau military assets and would not need to hire them.

adurell
05-04-2013, 15:24
Actually, after thinking a bit, I found out m question boils down to "how much personal freedom are Tau allowed within the Empire". If the Ethereals strictly keep everything under control- eg. no private enterprises (all work/science done by earth caste, officla business), no free trade (water caste-only official trade missions instead)- then no mercenary army is possible aswell. If their control is a bit less strict, some of the more rescouceful Tau could actually operate for their Empire, but in a less state-controlled way.

The real question is- how much personal freedom do Tau have in their strict caste system.

canucklhead
05-04-2013, 16:17
As long as you aren't changing the rules for building the army, then the background is yours to imagine. While it's unlikely that a high ranking member of any caste would be permitted to act with so little oversight that they could run their own little backwater pirate kingdom, it's not impossible. The history of your army is yours, and I can't wait to hear it.

My only advice is to stick to the rules where they matter, and write the fluff as you like.

Tastyfish
05-04-2013, 17:05
You could have them as the bodyguard to a Water caste diplomat, providing him with protection and offering their military services to a multi-species trading guild they are courting. Building up good will amongst the people and indebting their leaders to the Empire, so that future negotiations are in the Tau's favour.

There's seems almost certainly no private enterprise, and the state is in complete control, but when you're on the fringes you're on your own more or less. They'd be working for the Empire, but would be on a fairly short leash due to the problems with long distance communications. If there's a few alien species and renegade human worlds spread across a sector, then the diplomat in charge might decide that they need to be brought into the fold of the Tau'va as a collective rather than remaining in an embassy working on one species at a time.

Problem with pure mercenaries, if that the state decides what your role in life is - there just isn't the scope for a Tau to decide he wants to start being a mercenary because no one in the Empire can pay him, and they have all the soldiers they need.

Alternatively, there's a whole bunch of Enclaves technically under Farsight's rule (of which some have been known to sell their services as mercenaries), Farsight himself is only really going to be in charge of one of them at a time and probably is using something fairly close to the Tau sept model as that's what he's going to be familiar with and he's got even slower ships than the Empire does. They're going to have to be fairly independent due to their isolation. Those mercs probably wouldn't be able to work with other Tau though.

Rogue Star
05-04-2013, 18:08
Actually, after thinking a bit, I found out m question boils down to "how much personal freedom are Tau allowed within the Empire". If the Ethereals strictly keep everything under control- eg. no private enterprises (all work/science done by earth caste, officla business), no free trade (water caste-only official trade missions instead)- then no mercenary army is possible aswell. If their control is a bit less strict, some of the more rescouceful Tau could actually operate for their Empire, but in a less state-controlled way.

The real question is- how much personal freedom do Tau have in their strict caste system.

What do you want to achieve within the background, in order to create the army as you've imagined it?

It sounds like you want Fire Caste Private Military Contractors, but this is unlikely as it essentially gives a Tau "Warlord" his own personal warband, like Commander Farsight. While their are likely such organisations present, they will be there merely to deceive; a seemingly small Fire Caste cadre that offers a local human governor aid in putting down a rebellion, resisting another alien invasion, dealing with an aggressive sector-neighbors, etc. However, once these Tau have their foot/hoof in the door, it merely opens the way for the Tau Empire to come in and claim the planet, as a military coup.

Likewise, in the Battle Fleet Gothic rules, i believe the Tau made use of Privateers, using them to harass regions close to them, while maintaining a stance as non-aggressive third party.

ForgottenLore
05-04-2013, 19:06
Like Rogue Star said, the Empire may present the appearance of independent warbands to facilitate interactions with outsiders, but that would only be a ruse.

Another possibility though is the idea that Tau military commanders may, at times and under certain circumstance, be allowed a great deal of autonomy, as long as they get results.

adurell
05-04-2013, 19:09
A Tau "warlord" seems just what I want. The type who operates within the boundaries of the empire, but is not one of these strict idealist-firecaste-commander types. I find the depiction of Shas'o's way too idealistic for people in power.

Perhaps a venerated Shas'o on the fringes of the empire, whose veteran skills make him an influental tau in a chosen area. While he is (obviously) affilated with the Fire Caste he managed to use his contacts to get assigned to a "stabilize-the-region" duty, and so he has quite a lot of freedom in doing what he really wants- building his part of the empire, while remaining true to the idea of Greater Good and to the Ethereals. Is that credible?

Rogue Star
05-04-2013, 20:01
I find the depiction of Shas'o's way too idealistic for people in power.

The Tau as a race, are pretty idealistic. They were on the verge of self-extinction, which they pulled back from by embracing the ideals the Ethereal Caste preached. This gives them a general outlook that, provided you embrace the Greater Good, everything can be salvaged, even the rather wartorn state of the 40K universe.


Perhaps a venerated Shas'o on the fringes of the empire, whose veteran skills make him an influential tau in a chosen area. While he is (obviously) affiliated with the Fire Caste he managed to use his contacts to get assigned to a "stabilize-the-region" duty, and so he has quite a lot of freedom in doing what he really wants- building his part of the empire, while remaining true to the idea of Greater Good and to the Ethereals. Is that credible?

Possible, although you might need to justify his less than enthusiastic attitude towards the Greater Good. Also, how much he can run his part, will be affected by the fact he is a Fire Caste Tau - the caste system isn't something Tau are placed in based on aptitude, it is biological hardwiring. A member of the Fire Caste, will never get logistics, infrastructure or the like, and will need to rely on the co-operation or coercion, of the other Castes, who might not react well to Empire building.

adurell
05-04-2013, 20:22
The Tau, as a race- yes. However, are the major figures of their society bereft of any personal ambition?

Also, his attitude towards the Greater Good would be just as enthusiastic as everyone else- however, he would believe to be the right tau for the job of ruling his sector of the empire. He would simply not like the idea of being told what to do by anyone lower than an Ethereal. Sort of "I know my sector and so I should be the one to lead it to the Greater Good, with the blessing of Ethereals but not in accordance to anyone else.".

As for the ruling part, I'd see it as sort of Don Corelone-styled. Sure, he doesn't know logistics, but he is venerated enough that he gets support for what he does from like-minded Tau. As for the Ethereals, I am not sure if a particularily renowned Shas'o can sway the opinion of a relatively inexperienced member of their caste in some matters.... sort of "you are in charge but I give you council you find wise enough to comply with." behind-the-throne leader.

ForgottenLore
05-04-2013, 20:32
Perhaps a venerated Shas'o on the fringes of the empire, whose veteran skills make him an influental tau in a chosen area. While he is (obviously) affilated with the Fire Caste he managed to use his contacts to get assigned to a "stabilize-the-region" duty, and so he has quite a lot of freedom in doing what he really wants- building his part of the empire, while remaining true to the idea of Greater Good and to the Ethereals. Is that credible?

Seems doable to me. A bit of a stretch, but doable.

For my own Tau, I have them as a colony that is cut off from the rest of the empire. They fully intend to re-integrate once regular communications can be established, but for the time being they are essentially an independent group running things the way they think they should be run. That backstory gives me the freedom to ignore any parts of the official fluff that I think GW screws up.

Iron_Lord
06-04-2013, 11:23
The Demiurg from Battlefleet Gothic, are hired by the Tau despite not being part of their Empire.

Polaria
07-04-2013, 06:49
Kroot are mercenaries, but Tau themselves are so absolutely under Ethereal control that going mercenary seems very unplausible. Barring Farsight who isn't really doing Greater Good anymore.

canucklhead
07-04-2013, 20:17
possible Warlord Background number one.

Commander (insert name) is one of the very few Tau who simply is not efffected by the subtle yet pervasive mind control of the Ethereals. This does not make him a fool, however, and he played the part of the good little brainwashed soldier until rose to his present position as a respected general. In fact, he is so devoted[I] to the Tau'va
that he volunteered for the distasteful duty of pacifying the (insert name) system. A backwater system, far from the inner worlds and their tight controls, allows (insert name) a measure of freedom. With only his local Ethereals to answer to, he has littler trouble convincing them that his various [I]strategies for bringing he varied and fractious race of (insert name) into the Tau'va are essential and for the Greater Good. Commander () is not a rebel, or a traitor, but he sees no harm in making a good life for himself while building the Ethereals' precious Empire.

bittick
08-04-2013, 04:02
Or maybe your local Ethereal is just lazy. "Yeah sure, whatever you want. Just don't interrupt me again when my stories are on."

Or perhaps he's on some sort of extended mission. That part of the galaxy is too dangerous for Ethereals and he's got to operate on his own or something.

Or perhaps he's just sent to escort some Earth caste on an unimportant mission, with a decent army but he's just going to be on guard duty on a newly conquered planet or something, so no Ethereal comes along. Then there's a warp storm and the planet is cut off.

agurus1
08-04-2013, 05:59
it would be interesting if a race or particular area of space had a passive (and deteriorating) effect on Ethereals. if the area or race needed pacifying in the name of the Greater Good, it would be interesting to see to what extent the Ethereals would allow the Fire Caste to go outside of their control, how long they would go without extended contact with the Ethereals.

ForgottenLore
08-04-2013, 06:11
This seems an appropriate time to mention that the new Farsight fluff mentions that fire warrior commanders have standing orders to return to base for instructions if, somehow, all of their Ethereal advisors get killed.

adurell
09-04-2013, 12:06
However, it also states that some Shas'o's see Farsight as "more of a trailblazer" than just a rebel. That is nice, since it makes those Tau a bit less unified and idealistic than my first impression after reading the new book was ^^