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Good guys?
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Old 07 Jul 2006, 03:17   #1 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
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Default Good guys?

I've always been a fan of the good guy. I played a Paladin in World of Warcraft and Dungeons&Dragons, most of my RPG characters have been somewhere on the Good alignment. Recently, I've come to Warhammer 40K with the same mentality, but as you can imagine, it's extremely difficult to find a source of good in Warhammer 40K. I've had some trouble deciding on what army to play, I've looked at almost all of them. Tyranids, Tau, Space Marines, and Orks interest me the most. Tyranids aren't good obviously, but they're good at close combat (I'm a fan of close combat--ranged is nice and all, but I like chopping up the enemy). Space Marines can be viewed as good from a certain standpoint, but it's really up in the air as to just how good they are. Orks are similar to Tyranids in neither being good nor evil. Tyranids fight to eat and reproduce, Orks fight because they like it. There's no personal motivation involved, it's just what they're made to do.

A lot of people I've spoken to describe Tau as being Warhammer 40K's good guys. They're young, naive, heck they serve something called "The Greater Good". They do use diplomacy to avoid fighting where they can, and when they fight it's designed to be quick and precise to avoid massive casualties or collateral damage. They accept other races seemingly openly, so long as they are willing to submit completely. If they can't get a planet to submit, they'll work out a trade agreement with them.

Then again, if someone says "No" too many times, suddenly the guy has an army of tanks and Fire Warriors on their front door. Diplomacy might be their first resort, but they also don't seem to mind blowing their enemy's face off if it means getting what they want. A person must submit completely to Tau society to be spared, and those Auxillaries that join the Tau are just cannon fodder shoved in front of the Fire Warriors and Kroot.

I'm a bit confused at that last part. Supposedly, Tau do not believe in "expendable troops, yet every battle report, every army list, even the GW site in Auxillary tactics says it right there. Auxillaries are expendable cannon fodder, no better off than Gretchin in Ork society. They might not be punted or shoved into cannons like ammo, but when war is around, Auxillaries become body armor. How good is that?

Not to mention, the entire society is built on the individual having no place in the world. Individual needs and desires are set aside for the good of the whole. Individual choice is removed through castes, with the capability to move only within the ranks of your own Caste.

Do you think the Tau are "good" compared to other races? I know, a term like "good" doesn't really have a place in the dark future of warfare, and it's all subjective, and everything else. But do you think the Tau are the closest thing to the good guys? Can anyone be a good guy? Could an Ork Warlord become a hero to a planet's populace? We all know of the good deeds of the Ultramarines, whose system of Macragge is almost a perfect example of an ideal human society.

While I'm not really seriously thinking about playing Tau, the idea has crossed my mind that a Hybrid force might be good to play and write fluff for. But, while I consider my options, I'm looking to hear ideas on how one could portray various armies as good in Warhammer 40K.

So, what do you think? Are Tau the "good guys" of the future?
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Old 07 Jul 2006, 03:28   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good guys?

i don't look at them as the good guy, i see them as just a race trying to survive and expand. There under dogs and that what i see them as .
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Old 07 Jul 2006, 03:35   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good guys?

I'm a bit confused at that last part. Supposedly, Tau do not believe in "expendable troops, yet every battle report, every army list, even the GW site in Auxillary tactics says it right there.
The Tau do not believe in expending their own troops, a.k.a Firewarriors,crisis and stealth suits,pathfinders etc. The kroot on the other hand are Auxillaries, and can be 'expended' if need be.

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Old 07 Jul 2006, 04:07   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good guys?

Fluff and gameplay are two different things.

What one player does with their troops does not represent the whole of a race's tactics. Even if most players use Auxileries as expendable troops, this is not something that is neccesarily true in fluff.

It's kinda like Eldar Guardians being used as cannon fodder, and albative wounds. Fluff wise, Eldar would never do that (if they did, they'd be extinct by now), however, it is done by players who feel it is for the good of their army.

Don't presume that a player's actions always represents what the army would really do if it existed.

And about GW saying the same thing, two things about it: First, they are players like the rest of us, and create those tacticas based on gameplay, not flavour. Second, quite a few of them tend to be wrong in various places, or at least, less than ideal representatives.

Hope this helps ^_^.
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Old 07 Jul 2006, 04:12   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good guys?

I don't have the new Codex, but my older one has this line on page 14:

"When they absolutely must storm defences, the attack will be led by auxiliary (Been spelling that wrong, horrid time to find that out) troops such as the Kroot in a variation of Kauyon. The assault troops are not used as pawns--the Tau way of war does not recognise the concept of expendable troops. Instead their safety is entrusted to the troops providing the covering fire who must identify and kill enemy firebases before the assault forces suffers serious harm."

So, fluffwise (At least in my Codex, not sure what the new one might say) it seems they respect the lives of all their troops, Tau or otherwise. In practice, though, everyone just uses them as more cheap shields for the Tau units firing. Even GW seems to advocate this kind of thing, even though it doesn't seem to work well with the fluff. It does paint them in a bit more positive light though, I suppose, refusing to use any troops as an expendable bait or lure.

I guess people overall are guilty of using lists to win rather than for fluff, but it does help me with my original question of how people see Tau. If a player sees the Tau race as being good, yet uses Auxiliary troops as cheap shields for his other units, the Tau no longer seem quite so good.

I also know what you mean about GW employees being wrong. I remember the artist who painted some Imperial Fist scout models. He had originally planned on painting Wolf Scouts from the Space Wolves, but he said "...Wolf Scouts can't take sniper rifles". -sigh-
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Old 07 Jul 2006, 05:42   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good guys?

I don't really see them as "good guys". I see them , like the Imperium, as aggressive expansionists. Sure, they might try to persuade a planet or society to join the greater goof, but if it's succsessful it just means that they don't have to waste military resources on it. As said earlier, if a planet simply refuses anything the Tau offer, they get a pulse rifle pointed in their face.
But seriously, a Guardsman, I'm willing to bet, could a) outshoot me, b) give me the beating of my life, and c) shove more squad-based tactics down my throat than I'd ever care to digest. Guard are hard, hard men. Whether or not GW's inconsistent, Marine-worshipping fluff keeps with that, mkay?

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Old 07 Jul 2006, 06:11   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good guys?

Actually the Tau do not throw their auxilaries around as cannon fodder, as said the actions of players does not indicate the fluff exactly. Many tacticaly sound decisions arent true to the fluff. For instance on the last turn a player might hide a unit of khorn berserkers so they dont get uselessly shot up. From a fluff standpoint that just wouldnt happen they would go charging forward some more but from a tactical standpoint it would be dumber than dumb to simply throw them out to be shot up for extra vp on the last turn. Like I said in game actions dont always corrospond to the fluff.

Anyway I do see Tau as one of the good guys of 40k there are a few others. Alright not many but a few. I mean yea they are prepared to fight if diplomacy doesnt work but you have to admit if they didnt they would be dead by now. I mean look at the other races in 40k, you must, absolutely must have a strong edge in 40k to survive, if the Tau just said "ok well I guess its no then" well they would have been wiped out by now. However unlike Chaos and the Imperium when they do say "surrender and you will not be harmed." With most others its simply surrender and die. They arent holy paladins but in comparison to the rest of the races in 40k they are as good as you can get really.

However it does not sound like Tau are the race for you. With the Tau close combat is a no go. Instead I would point you towards Space Wolves. Sure they are vikings in space but these guys are also fairly goody especially as marines go. They fight with distinct honor but they do not use prisoners to crew their ships instead using well trained and fiercly loyal warriors, some who failed to become full marines and others who have been doing it for generations. The Space Wolves also dont like to see collateral damage. After Armogeddon when the populace was rounded up and shipped off for what they had seen Logan Grimnar (the Space Wolves chapter master) now refuses to work with the Inquisition for the most part. They are really fairly good. As Imperials they arent as "goody" as the Tau in many respects but as far as CC oriented armies go they are probably the most "good." With the others you have Khorn, Zealous Templars, Bugs out to eat everyone and Da Orks! So given that yea Id say they would fit your ticket the best.

Other than that you could always creat your own SM chapter or something like that.

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Old 07 Jul 2006, 06:16   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good guys?

The tau are, to the annoyance of many, the lightest of the sides available in 40K. At least, when they were initially released...

it seems that there are some who point out the darker flaws in the Tau. Later fluff points out to this, and I fear that GW will want to pervert them into 'just another 40K' race- dark, flawed, and by no means hospitable. As it stands, if the Eldar speak of a great and horrible evil you're standing on, the Tau would actually listen (to reason), instead of the SM/Iguard commanders, who think nothing the Eldar say is true. Kinda like Cassandra and troy, in a way...

Personally I see the Tau as good. I see the Imperium of man with good intentions but lead by evil zealots. I see the Eldar as good and fighting for the safety of the universe from chaos- with the exception of some ambitious craftworlds.

Ironicly the Tau are communist, but it isn't an evil amongst a race that accepts functional communism as the norm.
If nothing else, the Kroot know how to throw a good party.
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Old 07 Jul 2006, 07:07   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good guys?

You're right Vash, while I would like to collect Tau (I like Mechs and power armor, and the futuristic look of their weapons), I don't think I would enjoy the pure ranged combat aspect of it, at least not right off the bat. I think if I had the money for a second army, though, I would definitely collect Tau. They're very mobile and have a lot of firepower, which I like.

Odd that you bring up Space Wolves, as that is the Marine army I am looking at. I really liked the Space Wolves when I read some of their fluff, and they really like close combat (Which I am all about), plus they're Space Marines which seems to be about the best army to start with if you're going from scratch. I'm currently working on some fluff for a DIY Chapter that uses the Space Wolves rules (Most of them, there are some obviously missing like Blood Feud). I had planned on giving them a mix of White Scar tribal ferocity with Salamander humanity and the fantasy-in-the-future of Space Wolves.

However, I've read a lot of articles lately about there being too many Space Marine players, people finding the army too dull, and I thought I would look around for other alternatives. I looked deeper at Tyranids, Orks, and Tau. Along the way, I began to think of how I could perhaps mold other armies to be more "noble" and "good guy"-like. And I started asking myself if my Space Marines could really be all that noble and good. I had originally wondered why Space Marines couldn't be the good guys of the Warhammer 40K universe instead of the Tau, and that discussion begot a hundred more, and here I am talking to you folks about it.

I didn't think the Tau really did treat their auxiliary troops like fodder, but as I said I didn't have the new Codex (So I thought maybe their idea on that had changed--they moved the White Scars' homeworld across the galaxy, there is a possibility the Tau could have changed their mind about those Imperial Guard guys that they recruited), so I didn't know for sure. My Codex says they don't believe in expendable troops, I've seen a lot of lists that use them that way, so you can understand my confusion. Of course, it's kind of like an Ultramarine list filled with 6 man las/plas squads and an 8 man assault squad, I suppose. But I know more about Space Marines than Tau, so they're a bit easier for me to understand.

I'd like to thank you, Vash, for being honest with me. You even suggested Space Marines, which I don't believe most people would have done (GOD ANYTHING BUT ANOTHER SPACE MARINE PLAYER!!! they cry), and I appreciate your offering me suggestions that will help me enjoy my game more, regardless of what you play yourself.

I also don't see the Tau's lighter side as being an annoyance. The galaxy is a big place, surely there's some room for optimism and hope in there, even if it is pretty much doomed to be crushed by the weight of a cruel and uncaring galaxy. I, personally, think of them as being very well-intentioned and reasonable, perhaps to their own detriment at times. Tau are very much "good guys" so long as you agree with them, otherwise you're in front of the firing squad like just about any other race.
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Old 07 Jul 2006, 08:05   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good guys?

What is "Good"? I'm sure Hitler thought he was doing "good" for Germany. Personally....in the harsh environment of Warhammer 40k no one is good, only fighting to survive.

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