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Psiweapon
13-08-2005, 19:57
Ok, I'm trying to set up some parameters to give each guy (or girl) in my Tau army, some kind of background (and a name)
So far I've thought of:
Caste
Rank
Gender
Age
What sept do they hail from.
What kind of planet/facility do they hail from
What previous occupation did they have.

What I would like to discuss, is the proportion of each caste in the overall population, what kind of planets / facilities / colonies do tau have, and what kind of tasks can a tau fulfill (not necessarily only the shas, but all the other castes too)

Any info about this topics would be welcome :)

Lostanddamned
13-08-2005, 21:02
Caste: fire (always, this is the warrior caste)
Rank: this is in the codex
Sept/planet: I get the impression that this is the same, and likely to be identical for all your tau
previous occupation: none, fire caste warriors are born to be soilders.

Lord Barker
13-08-2005, 21:19
In the way of previous occupation, while they would be warriors their whole life, being born into the Fire caste, they may have had different battlefield jobs and positions of authority.
It's odvious where commanders have been, first they were the squaddies etc etc.
Other things like being in some combat engineering unit, some training personel (phisical training, basic training, you get the picture), bodyguarding some ethereal.

Psiweapon
13-08-2005, 21:37
Caste: fire (always, this is the warrior caste)
Rank: this is in the codex
Sept/planet: I get the impression that this is the same, and likely to be identical for all your tau
previous occupation: none, fire caste warriors are born to be soilders.

Man an army does include support personnel, right? Fio for the mantaining, por for organizing, reporting, and as liaison with other organizations, kor for aerospatial shipping and transport, and if it's important enough perhaps an assigned overseeing aun.

And about fire warriors being soldiers, well, I think they are warriors, but perhaps they're not only limited to being soldiers, but they also can be tank crew, tacticians, explorers, weapon testers, part of warships, part of a security force, bodyguards, instructors...

You're probably right about the sept, but my idea for my tau is an army for a relatively young ice world, so I'd fancy having personnel from other septs.

Isoroku
13-08-2005, 23:49
Explorators in the Army? only Shas'la o Shas'ui member in the Team?
Team the Crisis in the Army?

Captain Stuart
14-08-2005, 01:15
You could set up a background for your ice planet by ripping off "The Thing"/"The Thing from Another World". Those movies had a science team with a military team for security. Would that suffice for an ice colony?

Khaine's Messenger
14-08-2005, 02:41
My own interpretation of the organization of the Fire Caste is that hunter cadres (keyed to a specific tactical doctrine--Mont'ka and Kauyon being the two popular formations--as specified by the Tau codex) are mishmash affairs thrown together from available units. Naturally, it's quite possible that all of the Tau in a cadre have been together for a long time (as such is the nature of the disparate Tau Empire) and have developed a measure of self-dependancy that gives them a uniform appearance, but in general the same effect will only be generated in a fresh cadre if the administrative abilities of their "bureaucracy" (assuming any exists) and chain of command are well-focused enough (which the Tau seem to be...).

Indeed, depending on your own interpretation, the color schemes of every unit could be wildly disparate or rigidly regimented...if you're a camo sort, this means that their carapaces would probably be all different sorts; ice, jungle, desert....although one can probably assume that there are kits available to convert one style of camo to another, and that each fire warrior could easily be assigned garments suitable to the world on which they serve (a small, utilitarian wardrobe...although quite possibly not to be considered "personally owned" by any stretch of the imagination).

On the other hand, if you're the "camo is for the weak" sort (which I wouldn't spot the Tau as being, but then in this hobby, almost anything you can paint you can justify with background), you're in a spot of trouble, as wild colorschemes (like you find on SM) would clash quite a bit if a whole bunch of Tau are called together.

On the topic of previous occupations? Well, this is a bit interesting, as it seems that once you become a battlesuit pilot, you get "married" to your battlesuit. We don't know if the same is true for tank crews, although that's the only thing I'd quibble over. For everything else, you've got a sort of gradation of prior tasks...for example, Shas'la Kais spent some time in his earlier years as a personal bodyguard for a water caste envoy (on a Kroot world no less; perhaps his presence is to serve as some interaction between those two cultures, in order to reinforce the notion that the Tau are able warriors...it would seem odd to think that the water caste envoy really needed such protection on a Tau ally world...). Further, Kais' father (a shas'o) even had a bodyguard of burst-cannon wielding Tau of unknown rank...and I don't know if the instructors in the battle domes are on "active" duty or not.

Anything a soldier would be expected to do tody would be a good sort of "job," although there are some grey area things these days that you could foist off on the other castes when you think about it.

Psiweapon
14-08-2005, 04:06
Khaine's Messenger:
So, you do think that armies, cadres, etc. are in fact built up of individuals from each corner of the empire? I agree with that, but I'd add that it doesn't *have* to be that way, and that combinations (old teams plus newcomers) can be found too, for sure.

About the color schemes, my army is mostly regimented, all color schemes are based on space wolves grey, white, and ultramarines blue. I throw in red for lights, optics and such things, and black-washed boltgun metal for the mechanic parts. The exceptions are:

1) Shovah'Ui - A shas'ui I have depicting a "younger O'Shovah" as a firewarriors squad leader. I'm doing this model more for the fun of it than for the flavor of my army (he will not be included in my fluff, I think)
2) Stealthsuits - Mi stealthsuits are painted in pure white with 'ardcoated blood red for some details. Shas'Vre have some parts painted in "gem effect"

Troops and commanders have a flashier color scheme, and heavy support and pathfinders have a more dull one - I think they would need / use more camo.

I didn't know they grew so attached to their battlesuits - have you watched Exo Squad, Khaine's ?

What I would like to hear about now, are what kind of "worlds" do the Tau have: I know, from reading stuff, that they have hive-like worlds, farming / fishing dedicated worlds, waystations (not worlds but hey, there would be people living there), and research colonies. And any info about what a "tau" home is like?

Khaine's Messenger
14-08-2005, 04:32
Khaine's Messenger:
So, you do think that armies, cadres, etc. are in fact built up of individuals from each corner of the empire?

"Each" is stretching it a bit as it suggests a sort of all-inclusive bubble. What I mean to say is that a cadre can be made up of a variety of individuals and groups. Variety does not guarantee that all realms of the Empire are represented.


(old teams plus newcomers)

Yes, that is another "dimension" on which you can put things together, and depending on the situation it is quite possible that a fresh cadre could be absorbing some old campaigners into their ranks or the exact opposite way around, depending on how a commander selects his force (or has it selected for him).


Stealthsuits

Well, stealthsuits are a bit of a non-uniform thing anyways...


I didn't know they grew so attached to their battlesuits - have you watched Exo Squad, Khaine's ?

By "grow attached" I don't mean that they feel any real affection for their mounts, but they are tasked with a portion of a reciprocal relationship that has slightly more of a burdening effect than a normal soldier's routines, as he is placing a great deal of faith in his fighting machine. And yes I have, but not in the last nine years. ;)


what kind of "worlds" do the Tau have

If the Imperium has it, the Tau do too; although from Kill Team, it would seem that the closest thing the Tau have to a hive-world is one of their more well-developed septworlds, with a population in the low ten-ish billion (a water caste envoy freaks out when Kage notes that he hails from a world where one city has a population of 13 billion). Feral worlds would be the only thing they would be unfamiliar with, although feral worlds belonging to Empire member races would not be out of the realm of possibility, I suppose. [EDIT]Forge worlds, too...ah, the crime of posting near local midnight. Brain running low....


And any info about what a "tau" home is like?

That depends on how you think of tau living. While each Tau might have a mat to his or her own and a small footlocker/shelf's worth of stuff that might optimistically be called their possessions, a lot of people would probably say their homes (or barracks-like conditions, take your pick) would be fairly spartan. I wouldn't say so, though...although I can't place my own thoughts on the matter. In terms of architecture, Tau seem to like round things...their buildings are either domes or mushrooms and arcing supports and such. Think round.

Mikko
14-08-2005, 13:36
You might find the Tau glossary (http://www.minivault.com/Tauglossary.htm) helpful with names. And by way of example, I'm fairly happy with what I've come up with for my Brightfire hunter cadre (http://students.oamk.fi/~m4kumi00/brightfire.html).

Psiweapon
14-08-2005, 13:49
Sorry about the... each corner thingy. I wasn't literally thinking about that.

Probably the reason behind Tau not having worlds with such a high population is that they would control their birth rate - more kids if the prospected needs for workers is higher, less if it looks like they'll be needing less.

I don't know how is the Tau educational system, nor how do they raise their children, but probably it's a communal-like thing. I wonder how do little Tau play? The games they play would be a good way to induce them to think and act in a proper way for their caste, just as animals play that they're hunting (This starts to reek of Aldous Huxley... ;)) But I'd bet that "bloodlines" are known, I mean, perhaps you not raised by my parents, but I know who they were (And this could be a good tool to grow gratitude with other Tau, but not attachment)

About tau individuality, I think that as we humans gain wealth and possessions as we become successful, my bet is that Tau gain individuality. All tau begin their lives as shas'la, fio'la, por'la, kor'la, aun'la, plus the sept name. But as they progress in their lives, they get nicknames, scalp locks, jewellery-like equipment (and this is going only by the codex) So perhaps they are allowed to be more "individual" the more successful they are?

About the exo squad things - well, I live in Spain, and I was able to watch the show when I was six, and I'm somewhat into animation now, so I looked for info/chapters in the internet, and when I found them I also found that I still liked the show! :o I was mentioning it because I think the mechs in that show are quite similar to tau battlesuits.

Psiweapon
14-08-2005, 13:57
You might find the Tau glossary (http://www.minivault.com/Tauglossary.htm) helpful with names. And by way of example, I'm fairly happy with what I've come up with for my Brightfire hunter cadre (http://students.oamk.fi/~m4kumi00/brightfire.html).

I took a a look recently on that, it's good :)

Philosophical Aun
14-08-2005, 16:38
I have a slightly different way of looking at the way the Tau function.

The Tau Ancestors:

My Tau are descendants from a Nocternal scavanger creature that lived in tunnel systems beneath the great savannas of T'au. They were far smaller then the usual prey and hunters (savannas produce bigger animals) and had to band together, as well as hunt at night in order to survive.

This need for cooperation created a species that thought of "We" before "I". Although very difficult for a human to imagine, most Tau have some difficulty of imagining themselves an an individual, instead they think of their Caste.

This creates a species where initiative is frowned upon (thinking for oneself!) although with very little internal strife.

Not all Tau are like this however, and manage to think of themselves as "I". This comes from a mutation in the Tau gene... and these are the Tau who are innovative and forward thinking. In the early Tau history, these were very rare... having great difficulty staying with the flocks of Tau who were so collectivistic, and thus were alone in a hostile world.

However, as the Tau technology advanced... and individuals managed to defend themselves against the great beasts of the savannas, they became more common and often became the leaders of the "flock" Tau.

This started the Mont'au.

The individualistic Tau wished themselves to be the supreme leaders, and had great difficulty defering to others. They rebelled, fought and brought great devastation to the flock-Tau who followed them, unable to lead themselves with any great ability.

It was only when the Ethereals arrived and reigned in the individuality of these Tau that the era of prosperity began.

As such, most Tau today never leave the 'la stage... and are perfectly happy about it. They get told what to do and they do it, having very little capacity for great leaps of innovation.

The Tau that -do- have individuality (to a greater or lesser extent) rise in the ranks and become the leaders... but they are closely watched, for the greater the individuality...the greater the Egoism.

As such, the Tau are in a bit of a bind. Their brightest minds are also the most dangerous.

Psiweapon
14-08-2005, 16:51
Oo never heard that underground nocturnal scavenger thing, care to explain it a bit further? :)

Philosophical Aun
14-08-2005, 17:13
Oo never heard that underground nocturnal scavenger thing, care to explain it a bit further?

Mainly my own view on the matter! Its not "official" by a long shot.

Simply put, I envisioned the Tau... not as Hunters (being so small, lacking a focusing pupil and being suited for nightly escapades(infrared vision)), but rather as Scavangers!

Xander-K
14-08-2005, 17:43
Indeed, depending on your own interpretation, the color schemes of every unit could be wildly disparate or rigidly regimented...if you're a camo sort, this means that their carapaces would probably be all different sorts; ice, jungle, desert....although one can probably assume that there are kits available to convert one style of camo to another, and that each fire warrior could easily be assigned garments suitable to the world on which they serve (a small, utilitarian wardrobe...although quite possibly not to be considered "personally owned" by any stretch of the imagination).

You are assuming that Tau wear camo uniforms as IG do, but where is there fluff to back this up?

Psiweapon
14-08-2005, 18:15
Mainly my own view on the matter! Its not "official" by a long shot.

Simply put, I envisioned the Tau... not as Hunters (being so small, lacking a focusing pupil and being suited for nightly escapades(infrared vision)), but rather as Scavangers!

Now that's good reasoning :) But I'd argue that they could still be social nocturnal stalker-hunters (like early prehistorical men, but during the night) But your interpretation is original, well-thought, and fitting (I don't like it that much because it makes Tau a little tad bit too collective for me, but it is indeed a very good interpretation)

Sephiroth
14-08-2005, 18:18
You are assuming that Tau wear camo uniforms as IG do, but where is there fluff to back this up?

Well, their was this alternate paint scheme in the Codex: Tau.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v289/Zekk/esquema_05.jpg

Looks like camo to me. ;)

My own personal opinion is that the Tau's uniform is able to function in most conditions (Desert, Arctic, etc) After all, we know that the battledomes have differing sections which have a multitude artificial environments, it would make sense to design something that they can fight in all the different areas.

Psiweapon
14-08-2005, 18:36
If they have their stealthsuits, perhaps they also have color-shifting war fatigues, and Tau are known for liking hi-tech on everything. With color-shifting I don't mean camaleonic, but something along the lines of:

Colorscheme Selection menu. Please choose the assigned colorscheme.
pattern: stripes [stains] plain polygons
colors: blue ochre [green] white gray brown

Or even a signal sent to all suits from the appropiate HQ. But I think that this would be a little unpractical.

edit: BTW, is that Grievous?

Khaine's Messenger
14-08-2005, 20:01
You are assuming that Tau wear camo uniforms as IG do, but where is there fluff to back this up?

As IG do? I meant as most militaries tend to do. There's little reason to assume they're as egotistical as the Harlequins, the more fanatical Space Marines (who even have a special rule titled "take pride in your colors"), or those human commanders in the past who were slow on the uptake after the invention of firearms, and as such, camoflage or "drab" colors would work quite well in their world view. Camoflage is only common sense in an era where weapons that can "reach out and touch you" are the norm. I'm not saying Gillie suits, mind you, just something that would be functional in a given environment and doesn't say "shoot me!" There might not be any background to "back it up," but there's no suggestion to the contrary of what I've just said. Those who forgo camoflage do so at their own risk to life and limb, and while I suppose some Tau would do so, I can imagine most pragmatic commanders would do no such thing.

And psi, as I said earlier I think it would just be a paint kit and a small wardrobe. There's no need to overcomplicate affairs (unless you really want to). ;)

As to education and family lines...pretty much, yeah (although I haven't read Brave New World), it's going to be a communal affair in order to place your loyalty to the state/Tau'va first and family second (family might define some of your personal traits, however, and as such there are some expectations based on your "known" bloodline...but no easy paths because of it); indeed, one wonders what the Tau concept of "family" even is.

One of the air caste personnel in Fire Warrior seems to imply that mating is a sort of "by lottery" affair, although this doesn't say anything much about Tau romance or associated social constructs (it seemed to me when I first read the codex that the ta'lissera rite was a lot like a sort of "marriage"; indeed, does this by lottery affair ever involve actual coupling, or is it like artificial insemination? Either? Both?). So, yes, there'd be some knowledge of one's "bloodline," but you really can't throw yourself on the mercy of your family because you've never really had one...your father will likely have moved on, and will only take more than a passing interest in your duties if he has the ability to cut through the administration to find you (as shas'la kais' father did), and even then, his fondness for you is going to be dampened quite a bit and will mostly be like indulging in a niggling curiosity; your mother was likely used as a "breeder," and will be equally detached; you'll never know her unless you or she makes the effort to indulge in such curiosity. The only Tau who would possess a great deal of "family" would probably be those who are serving as colonists....

Deadnight
14-08-2005, 20:40
Just like the IG, i would suspect the tau fire warriors would get different uniforms/kit for each terrain type they're in.

IE: shas'o or'es is sent to a desert world. his guys are given desert fatigues. then he's off to a jungle world, and is given camo fatigues.

it happens to IG. each campaing seems to have a different uniform based o0n the terrain (IG codex pictures of colour schemes)

Psiweapon
14-08-2005, 20:44
As (almost) always, I agree with you, khaine's :)

The mating thing looks like a bit difficult to me. As sexual beings, tau must have some kind of instinct that drives them into inserting/being inserted body parts into/by other tau. The difficult areas I see are in:

a) Hierarchy. Tau society is greatly collective, yet hierarchical. Do eminent Tau have a greater burden in terms of having more descendants? ("-Oh no. I have to mate for the third time in this month, my loyal fio'la, I only hope the best for my descendants. -They will be great artificers for sure, Fio'El Don'Kur, mat the Tau'Va make your burden light.")

b) The "all Tau are equal" clashes with their loving of technology, as an all-encompassing and progressive state would end up doing eugenics...

The colonists thing seems pretty logical to me.

Deadnight
14-08-2005, 20:45
in fire warrior, its a case of your mate is chosen for you by fio'la scientists. these dudes determine the best mates for the best offspring.

can't you just feel the love? :D

Psiweapon
14-08-2005, 20:48
Tau version of some popular song ;):

I feel sorted...

Mikko
14-08-2005, 20:57
Of course, even if procreation is scientifically coordinated it doesn't mean sex is. Given their general tech level I'd imagine they have some pretty reliable prophylactics... :)

Psiweapon
14-08-2005, 23:34
Of course, even if procreation is scientifically coordinated it doesn't mean sex is. Given their general tech level I'd imagine they have some pretty reliable prophylactics... :)
XDD you're evil

Mikko
16-08-2005, 18:44
XDD you're evil
Domo arigato! :D

Just pointing out that even if they are into eugenics and controlled procreation, that doesn't in any way rule out romance and personal relations outside of the system...

Philosophical Aun
16-08-2005, 19:04
Just pointing out that even if they are into eugenics and controlled procreation, that doesn't in any way rule out romance and personal relations outside of the system...

Quite right.

The law that forbids cross-caste mating would is only present because cross-caste mating exists.

Mikko
17-08-2005, 08:46
Quite right.

The law that forbids cross-caste mating would is only present because cross-caste mating exists.
Or perhaps not. The castes aren't social as much as biological; they're almost separate species. I don't think it's been established how closely intimate they are with eachother - is it like breeds of dogs, which can and do procreate, or rats, which can't and won't even try... or D&D races which can, ahem, mingle, but only crossbreed with humans...

Or, and here's a thought, what if Ethereals are cross-caste prodigy?

Philosophical Aun
17-08-2005, 08:59
I don't think it's been established how closely intimate they are with eachother - is it like breeds of dogs, which can and do procreate, or rats, which can't and won't even try... or D&D races which can, ahem, mingle, but only crossbreed with humans...

Or, and here's a thought, what if Ethereals are cross-caste prodigy?

What I meant was... if there wasn't cross-breeding going on, why bother forbidding it? It would be like forbidding people to travel to Jupiter today, utterly pointless.

As I see it, the Ethereals are trying to stave off another civil war by making sure no caste can ever rule the Tau by themselves. (Other then the Ethereals)

Mikko
17-08-2005, 09:11
What I meant was... if there wasn't cross-breeding going on, why bother forbidding it? It would be like forbidding people to travel to Jupiter today, utterly pointless.

As I see it, the Ethereals are trying to stave off another civil war by making sure no caste can ever rule the Tau by themselves. (Other then the Ethereals)
...while the Ethereals are too few in number to actually ever pose a serious internal threat to the nation. Also, any aspiring tyrant, born out of some socio-genetic freak occurrence, would essentially have five different cultures to take over rather than just one... and since the different castes need eachother, they're not likely to start fighting amongst themselves, either. The stability is certainly a big part of the whole plan, yes.

Also, from the Tau codex: "By use of the caste system, not only are the Tau performing the most basic form of genetic engineering, but they also reinforce the individual's belief that they have a position to fill in the empire and their efforts are rewarded."

It's niche protection. Just like D&D. :D

Philosophical Aun
17-08-2005, 12:46
and since the different castes need eachother, they're not likely to start fighting amongst themselves, either. The stability is certainly a big part of the whole plan, yes.

And yet, the plan isn't flawless... we must not forget the military dictatorship of Farsight, where the Fire Caste is running the show!