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Trial by Fire
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Old 09 Sep 2009, 06:05   #1 (permalink)
PNW
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Default Trial by Fire

Ok, so i'm preparing to write another tau story, and i need some information on Trials by Fire, in the Fire Caste culture
1) I know that a trial is taken before a Shas can be promoted to the next rank, but what does this trial entail? I'm hoping for it to be ambiguous, so i can make it into a simulated battle, but if fluff says otherwise i'll adjust
2) What happens if a Shas fails it? I'm under the impression that there is no shame in being a 'la for ever, but i'm not sure.
3) How hard are the trials? If a full squad of Firewarriors were to take the test, how many would be expected to successfully pass it?

Unrelated:
1) How much interaction is there between Shas and Fios (Fire Caste and Earth Caste (IIRC))? Would it be odd to have a Shas'la and Fio'la be friends?
2) What is the procedure for adding new members to a Firewarrior team? What if the team is bonded, and they lose a member? Will they take a new member and go through the ritual again, or just fight at diminished capacity?
3) In game, teams are limited to 2 gun drones, but for a story, could a team potentially have more? Also, how knowledgeable are Shas when it comes to the internal workings of Gun Drones?
4) Can a Photon Grenade be thrown like a normal Flash Bang, or what? I'm not 100% on their usage...
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Old 09 Sep 2009, 06:40   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trial by Fire

Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW
Ok, so i'm preparing to write another tau story, and i need some information on Trials by Fire, in the Fire Caste culture
1) I know that a trial is taken before a Shas can be promoted to the next rank, but what does this trial entail? I'm hoping for it to be ambiguous, so i can make it into a simulated battle, but if fluff says otherwise i'll adjust
The Fluff is varied enough that trials for the next rank can be virtually anything the Firewarrior administering the test wants it to be. We have at least one example of other high(er) ranked Tau granting rank as a reward for something done (Kais).

I don't imagine pure simulation (no matter the fact that it is of a superior quality in content) to be used for anything more than the basic squad level though ('Vre at the absolute most imo).

Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW
2) What happens if a Shas fails it? I'm under the impression that there is no shame in being a 'la for ever, but i'm not sure.
They can try again at a later time. We don't have quite as much fluff on the rank advancement area to say anything definitive, but I imagine they are transferred out to where unproductive Shas's can be useful (whether it's a new squad or post).

Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW
3) How hard are the trials? If a full squad of Firewarriors were to take the test, how many would be expected to successfully pass it?
Again, the fluff is scant in this area. Obviously it can't be too easy or we'd have a horde of the buggers running around, but I would say it's largely up to the writer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW
Unrelated:
1) How much interaction is there between Shas and Fios (Fire Caste and Earth Caste (IIRC))? Would it be odd to have a Shas'la and Fio'la be friends?
We have no fluff banning castes from interacting and because of the open nature of the Tau I would imagine interaction/friendship is extremely probably in most situations. I know there is plenty of interaction between the castes as far as weapon development goes as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW
2) What is the procedure for adding new members to a Firewarrior team? What if the team is bonded, and they lose a member? Will they take a new member and go through the ritual again, or just fight at diminished capacity?
I don't know, to be honest. Using the Bonded suit teams as an example they seem to just fight at diminished strengths. However, this isn't very efficient, so I imagine that may only apply to something close like the XV8's... I don't think anyone will have a problem depending on what you choose to write. I do have one thing to mention that you should consider though... Most bonded members seem to be roughly the same ranks, bonding something as large as a team could have the repercussion of setting the groups advancement back for the most part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW
3) In game, teams are limited to 2 gun drones, but for a story, could a team potentially have more? Also, how knowledgeable are Shas when it comes to the internal workings of Gun Drones?
Yes, I don't see why not. Hard wired gear and personal gear seems much more common than what the table top seems to imply, so one or two extra DC's wouldn't be a stretch (though I'm curious about why you'd need that many, or more). Fluffwise, you could say that the FW's are teamed up with a Gun Drone squadron and the team leader has been given an emergency override tactical controller for the drone squadron, or something that allows him to tap into the collective of the squadron.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW
4) Can a Photon Grenade be thrown like a normal Flash Bang, or what? I'm not 100% on their usage...
Yes. Going by the equipment options in the codex you have carbines that launch them (representing pinning) or you can buy them separately (to throw by hand).
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Old 09 Sep 2009, 09:03   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trial by Fire

Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW
Ok, so i'm preparing to write another tau story, and i need some information on Trials by Fire, in the Fire Caste culture
1) I know that a trial is taken before a Shas can be promoted to the next rank, but what does this trial entail? I'm hoping for it to be ambiguous, so i can make it into a simulated battle, but if fluff says otherwise i'll adjust
The Trial By Fire can be a live combat scenario... the first one certainly is.

I personally suspect the Trial By Fire is essentially a normal battle, only with the 'tested' units under closer observation, and possibly given slightly different tasks (ie: a Shas'la trying to become a Shas'ui may be expected to display some command skills).
Quote:
2) What happens if a Shas fails it? I'm under the impression that there is no shame in being a 'la for ever, but i'm not sure.
There is no shame. If a Firewarrior's skills lie in peerless marksmanship as an infantryman, he will remain an infantryman.
Quote:
3) How hard are the trials? If a full squad of Firewarriors were to take the test, how many would be expected to successfully pass it?
That we do not know.

Quote:
1) How much interaction is there between Shas and Fios (Fire Caste and Earth Caste (IIRC))? Would it be odd to have a Shas'la and Fio'la be friends?
Not sure. It is not unreasonable to assume a friendship could form if they have a reasonable chance of interacting (ie: the Fio in question is part of the Cadre's quartermaster corps).
Quote:
2) What is the procedure for adding new members to a Firewarrior team? What if the team is bonded, and they lose a member? Will they take a new member and go through the ritual again, or just fight at diminished capacity?
I would imagine a normal Firewarrior team can have new members added to replace losses, although they'd have to re-train together - a lot of what makes a good squad is familiarity and trust.
With Bonded units it could go either way... although I'd guess it depends on the size and type of unit.

Quote:
3) In game, teams are limited to 2 gun drones, but for a story, could a team potentially have more? Also, how knowledgeable are Shas when it comes to the internal workings of Gun Drones?
Potentially, yes. However, a Cadre only has so many Drones...

As for knowledge of their workings, this is up for debate. After all, you don't need to know how a computer works to use one. Certainly there would be engineers (probably Fio) and possibly a few skilled Shas who know how they work, but I don't imagine a standard Firewarrior would.

Quote:
4) Can a Photon Grenade be thrown like a normal Flash Bang, or what? I'm not 100% on their usage...
Yes - the Tau use hand-held Photon Grenades as well as launcher-fired models.
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Old 13 Sep 2009, 01:59   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trial by Fire

Good answers from both enderwiggin and Wargamer. I'll just throw in a few additional bits of information:

3) How hard: Though not directly talking about Trials By Fire, the WD263 article "A World of Warriors" mentions that "Competition between Vior'la's cities is fierce, and it is not unheard of for warriors to be injured or even killed in training." (p. 14)

1) Shas/Fio interaction: Plenty, I'm sure. The fio are the caste who not only build and test the Fire Warrior's equipment, but also maintain their vehicles. Camaraderie is certain to be built.

3) Absolutely. For instance, one of the stratagems the tau can taken in Apocalypse is the deployment of a drone network high overhead (outside of the game) that line warriors can access. Furthermore, per the 5th edition codex, tau are extensively crosstrained. And in IA3 Epic rules, the developers mention giving the tau higher armor than they "should" have because of the widespread use of ablative drones.
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Old 15 Sep 2009, 23:35   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trial by Fire

Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW
Ok, so i'm preparing to write another tau story, and i need some information on Trials by Fire, in the Fire Caste culture
1) I know that a trial is taken before a Shas can be promoted to the next rank, but what does this trial entail? I'm hoping for it to be ambiguous, so i can make it into a simulated battle, but if fluff says otherwise i'll adjust
Usually an actual battle, in all the cases we have. I'd imagine that if no appropriate fight is in the offering, there could be simulated ones up to a point. At least, Shas'el can only be promoted to Shas'O after "repeated success in the field" (C:TE)

Quote:
2) What happens if a Shas fails it? I'm under the impression that there is no shame in being a 'la for ever, but i'm not sure.
They can try again (forgot where I read this, but I'm sure I did somewhere)... but no shame is garnered if you choose not to. Everyone has a place in the Tau'va, and finding yours (and admitting that this is your place when it's not the top) is actually a mark of honor after a kind.

Quote:
3) How hard are the trials? If a full squad of Firewarriors were to take the test, how many would be expected to successfully pass it?
By modern human standards, they'd be pretty harsh. However, we're talking about a bunch of people who are drafted at birth and trained from the moment they can walk, all or nearly all make it to Shas'la rank. Past that? Not nearly the same ratio. I'd estimate only about one in three tops make it to Shas'ui rank, and about that ratio seems reasonable for each promotion level (except for Shas'el to Shas'o, which would be far lower)

Quote:
Unrelated:
1) How much interaction is there between Shas and Fios (Fire Caste and Earth Caste (IIRC))? Would it be odd to have a Shas'la and Fio'la be friends?
Plenty of interaction, camaraderie, and even friendship... but nothing past that. While the "castes" are not nearly as divisive as those found in, say, India circa 1900, they are still there.

Quote:
2) What is the procedure for adding new members to a Firewarrior team? What if the team is bonded, and they lose a member? Will they take a new member and go through the ritual again, or just fight at diminished capacity?
I was actually under the impression that it is very rare for anyone of equal rank to be assigned to a group. The only instances of confirmed transfers have been a Shas'ui taking the leadership of a group of Shas'las. Even this would never happen to a Ta'lissera bonded group.

Quote:
3) In game, teams are limited to 2 gun drones, but for a story, could a team potentially have more? Also, how knowledgeable are Shas when it comes to the internal workings of Gun Drones?
Actually, this statement is not quite true. Even in a regular team of XV8 suits, you can have two drones APIECE, not total. I sometimes do this with Heatwave squads, giving them TL-Flamers and a couple of drones each. When it comes to Infantry, they would only have a couple of drones actively attached (unless an Ethereal was there with his own as well), but they could be supported by actual Gun Drone squads in coordination.

As for how much a given Shas knows about his equipment, this is one of the biggest stand-out points for the Tau. A given Fire Warrior knows enough about each and every piece of his equipment to carry out field repairs to a point. Certain battlefield damage requires facilities to repair (or just replacement, in the case of something getting smashed to tiny bits), but all Shas know the theory and basic construction behind their gear.

Quote:
4) Can a Photon Grenade be thrown like a normal Flash Bang, or what? I'm not 100% on their usage...
In a word, yes. This is actually what gives Pulse Carbines pinning in-game, they fire Photon Grenades with the Pulse volley. Taking those kinds of hits in the middle of that much confusion will drive a foe to ground disoriented.
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