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Tau Warp Travel, a Tactical Truth
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Old 24 Jun 2006, 15:49   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tau Warp Travel, a Tactical Truth

The Tau have had a very smooth ride through out their dynamic expansions, for one reason:
  • No access to the warp.

The warp is known to cause many casualties, from single lives, to whole colonies, and without this occasional killer, the Tau have never lost a colony ship, or fleet barge from any other reason then battle. This is good. However, there is one thing that the warp would help with:

[i]Intercepting Battles-

With the fast expansions of the Tau Empire, encounters with Imperial Fleets, and other races have been more numerous. Now, in major expansions like the "spheres", the outer lining armies are vast, and strong, as they need to be to take over planets. But at a certain point, that strong fleet will move back to the center of the Tau Empire, and regroup in their different planets, leaving the new planets to build, and grow armies of their own. However, suppose at this exact time Imperial Fleets invaded the growing sphere, and without a strong army, they are overtaken. It would take a long time to get back, and retake the grounds without warp travel.

[i]Life Spans-

Another good reason for warp travel is the normal tau life span. Eventually the Tau will have a mass of planets so large, a normal barge would not be able to transport its occupants within the 20-50 years of their lifespans. So, you have two options.
  • Medically enhance the normal Tau lifespan, (by a large amount).
  • Warp Travel.

[i]The Thing About Warp Travel-

The thing about warp travel is that it is highly unpredictable, and thus causes many casualties. And, with the fact that the Tau are still out numbered by the other races, (except maybe Eldar), this may be hard on them. Even less troops might be too much of a risk. And while it may be a fleet at a time, that adds up to a lot of troops in a decade's length. And even if the Tau were to use the warp, there's still the problem of accessing it. They have actually, only one option.
  • Take Psykers, and use them.

This might be an effective plan, but it also might not. You couldn't force an Emperor's servant to give you access to the warp, as they're obedient to only him, and maybe some imperial captains. They would know you wouldn't kill them, because you need them for warp travel, so threatening is out of the list.

Beyond this, there is only one "theory" for warp travel. And that is technological warp advancement. Which probably would not work as the warp is a natural portal, and not technological, or man-made.

[i]Medical Enhancement-

This is our only option left, that would allow center barges to advance through out the enlarged Empire. And, this is also the closest to the Tau in probability. It is not known by how much the Tau can increase their lifespan, but if we can do it through medicine, I'm sure the Tau can do it permanently, through technology.
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Old 24 Jun 2006, 17:54   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau Warp Travel, a Tactical Truth

Are tau lifespans really that short?

Anyways, there's a few other things one has to consider:

- Information. If you know its coming far enough ahead of time, you can move to intercept.

- Philosophy: As you said, they most likely make sure each planet develops a defensive fleet of its own. But they also seem to make sure the position's been fully consolidated before returning home. Its not like the tau have massive internal turmoil like the empire; if those fleets aren't busy handling the expansion, they won't be busy waging war on their own worlds. "not being kept busy" is a big advantage in this way. Greater good helps fleet readiness, in a pretty direct way.

- Alternatives to the warp. One word: Necrons. granted, they've got quite a few million years behind their tech, but its doable. Copying's always a lot easier than figuring it out the first time, too... maybe Medusa V's results will be they figure out that
A) warp's not something you wanna fool around in unless you've got a thing for daemons and spiky mutated evil versions of yourself or just dying from exploding maelstrom-eaten planets...
B) The necrons don't use it, which means there's a better way to get around the galaxy. That whole branch of non-warp FTL is pretty much getting shone on with a big green gauss flashlight, at least telling us that "hey, its very much possible. Those guys over there are doing it".

As for medical enhancement, that's something everyone does, even the Orks. bionics, transplants, artificial organs, probably even some long-term hibernation (cryogenics or other methods).
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Old 24 Jun 2006, 19:36   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau Warp Travel, a Tactical Truth

The warp won't mess with the Tau that much because they barely exist to the demons. So all those spiky versions of Tau running around just went poof.

I think what the Tau are trying to do on Medusa V is to study how the warp works so they will be able to make a machine version of the navigators (don't they remind anyone of Dune). Then with their observations they will be able to create a real space bubble around them while the machine pilots the ship and all of the Tau go to cryo-sleep.

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Old 24 Jun 2006, 20:10   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau Warp Travel, a Tactical Truth

Interestng, but a little-known, yet very very importat fact is that the Tau HAVE warp travel. They make "warp hops" that are slower, but more stable, than convetionaly travel. Without it, there would be no Tau empire, becase each colony ship would take centres to travel from planet to planet.
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Old 24 Jun 2006, 20:34   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau Warp Travel, a Tactical Truth

Yes, the Tau are able to access the Warp on a very limited basis, they are able to dip into it for short periods, making long jumps in the process. As it is described in the codex, it is similar to holding a tennis ball underwater. The Tau warp drives can only "hold the ball under" for so long, and then they return to the surface, or realspace.
On Medusa V the Tau are probably trying to figure out how to extend the length of this dive, so that they can travel greater distances in the warp, extending their capabilities in the real universe.

Also Tau are invulnerable to the Warp's debilitating psychic effects. Demons cannot feed off of them, they will not mutate, and they cannot be posessed. Tau get all the benefits of Warp travel, with half the dnagers.
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Old 24 Jun 2006, 20:34   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau Warp Travel, a Tactical Truth

Warp travel is not the only Faster than Light option. Necrons certainly don't use the warp.
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Old 24 Jun 2006, 21:28   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau Warp Travel, a Tactical Truth

Lets get this right. Travelling in the warp is leaving the material universe and becoming immaterial. Travel in the warp can take days, weeks, years or decades. There is no guarrantee that a ship travelling in the warp will even exit the warp in the same time as when it entered. The shining beacon guides imperial ships however the farther they go the less the beacon shines and the astronomicons have less of a reference point. Eldar ships sail in the warp like ships sail in the ocean with sails etc. Tau vessels skirt the warp, they don't directly enter it but skim along the edges.

Warp travel is extremely dangerous and stop speculating...all this is clearly written in the fluff and armada games
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Old 24 Jun 2006, 21:33   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau Warp Travel, a Tactical Truth

Originally Posted by Farseer Tanis
Eldar ships sail in the warp like ships sail in the ocean with sails etc.
Unless Armada changed this appreciably, the sails are how Eldar ships travel in Real space. For FTL travel, I thought they were still limited to Webgates.

The Necrontyr had at one time a method of FTL travel that allowed them to go almost anywhere in the galaxy instantly, without entering the warp. It is uncertain how this worked or how much of this capability they retain, but it is probably how they were able to penetrate the defensive cordon around Mars.
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Old 24 Jun 2006, 22:22   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau Warp Travel, a Tactical Truth

Eldar ships can make Warp Jumps just like Imperial ones. However, due to their greater psychic ability, and the fact the entire ship is essentially one big psychic lump of Wraithbone, it is difficult, and extremely dangerous. As such, they only ever make short hops, and only when there is no other alternative.
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Old 25 Jun 2006, 00:19   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau Warp Travel, a Tactical Truth

Originally Posted by Crisis 5-41 (KHRAY-ZEAZ for Rev)
...I think what the Tau are trying to do on Medusa V is to study how the warp works so they will be able to make a machine version of the navigators (don't they remind anyone of Dune)...
This thought struck my mind when I was reading the pamplet about Medusa V. Would be very interesting if the Tau could develop an artificial means of Warp navigation...and I wonder if anyone would chase them down for it.

Certainly the imperium wouldn't- even with the benefits. Having Psykers isn't just a navigational necessity, but a cultural one- since only Psykers can see the 'Immortal Light of the Emperor'. Having a machine guide you is heretical in their eyes.

Orks don't need it, 'cuz orks arlready badash.

Necrons hate the warp anyway, and the Eldar/Dark Eldar know more about the warp than any of the other races in 40K.

It would be a nice twist of the necrons suddendly weren't the only ones using their own FTL methods (Farsight springs to mind....). Though I wonder if the necrons would be able to pulverize ships using thier FTL methods...since I cannot recall if Necrons transition to another plain for FTL travel or just 'fold space'...

On the other hand, if the Tau discover a desert planet with a strange mind-changing narcotic substance... then we'll see Tau Heightliners show up before long... ;D
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